Monday, 31 August 2009

Destroying a Habitat

and I couldn't be happier.

Those sow beetles don't know their place and keep invading the upstairs. They won't find it so easy to hide now that their wall camouflage is disappearing!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

A Weekend by the (Inland) Sea

I spent the weekend with Toots and Padre at this cute little cottage at Sandy Hook.

Padre's sister bought the cottage a few years ago for a song as the roof was caving in, and the whole place was in a sad state.

They did a number of renovations including opening up the dormer in the attic so it made a very cool skylight in the living room.

The rest of the house maintained its original charm.

Last year Padre's father laid all the laminate flooring, no mean feat, even if he wasn't a sprightly 95 years of age at the time.
Early morning after a rain looking east over Lake Winnipeg. It was a lovely weekend.

No More Nicotine

The people who lived here before The Geek must have smoked like fiends. The hallway past her bedroom was coated in the stuff, as were the stairs to the basement.
It is sooo much brighter now.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Soon to be History

I suspect the people who applied this...stuff... meant well, after all, it is very hard to insulate an outside wall when doing so will narrow the stairwell.

And this coating may have made the walls less chilly to the touch.

But man, is it UGLY!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Weekend Summary

The colours keep popping in the garden.

Look at the neat red varigated petals on this zinnia.

We went looking for light fixtures at the Old House Revival Company, which is why Tina found this cool lamp. Had we been looking for a lamp, we would have found light fixtures.

And I know why this tomato variety is called Million Bells. This plant keeps producing tons of baby tomatoes.
In fact, I am having a wonderful tomato year. I have to stake my tomato cages to keep them from tipping over.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Patching the Last of the Plaster

The Geek has finished mudding and sanding the plaster in the stairwell,

resulting in the usual amount of dust.

Too bad we can't sell the stuff.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Recipe # 7: Rhubarb Crumble

5 cups chopped rhubarb
3 tbsp orange or lime juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
2 tbsp butter cut into small pieces

1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

Arrange sliced rhubarb in a buttered 9" x 12" baking dish. Sprinkle the juice, the granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg evenly over the rhubarb. Dot with the butter.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; mix in the brown sugar and the oats. Combine with the melted butter and rub together to form fine crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the filling.
Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.

An Old-Fashioned Word

On August 17 I published my first instructable (instructables describes itself as a 'make, how-to and D-I-Y site).
Later that day, I received an e-mail from them, as follows,

Your Instructable "Bicyling Modestly in a Skirt" was just featured by one of our editors!
Look for it on the Instructables homepage within the next 30 minutes. Being featured means we think you are awesome. Keep up the great work!

Now that is pretty cool; who doesn't want to think they are awesome?

Then today I received this e-mail,

"Your Instructable "Bicyling Modestly in a Skirt" just became popular!
Look for it on the Instructables homepage within the next 30 minutes. Being popular means lots of people are checking out your Instructable and telling us they really like it. Keep up the great work!"
I was frankly a little puzzled. As an instructable, it isn't that exciting or ground breaking. If you want to ride a bicycle in a skirt, you put a pair of shorts underneath. Big deal. But last time I checked, 4,690 people have looked at it.

The Geek and I figure it must be because I used the word 'modestly' in the title. People either don't know what that means, or they think it means something opposite to what it really does.
And who can blame them? There are a great many immodest people in the news these days. Young who dress inappropriately and, while getting out of cars, give cause to change the old rhyme to "I see England/I see France/ I see, YIKES!/No underpants."

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Recipe # 6 Summer Steak Salad

Summer Steak Salad


1/2 lb. leftover steak, cut into thin strips

6 cups mixed baby greens

1/2 red onion, diced

1/4 cup crumbled blue or feta cheese

2 tomatoes, sliced

2 avocados, peeled and sliced


1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat. Saute steak until the pieces are slightly crisp.

Arrange lettuce, red onion, avocado, tomato and steak strips on four salad plates. Crumble cheese over each salad.

In small mixing bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Drizzle the dressing over salads and serve.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Drywalling as a Sport

The Geek is starting to mud the drywall on the vent from the range hood. She installed the hood a couple of years ago while I was at an evening class. I got home around 2100 hours (she usually gets home from work at 1745) to a hole in the exterior brick wall and a fully installed range hood.

Since there were more urgent projects in the works, it took awhile before the exhaust vent was framed in, then eventually drywall was screwed on.

This is Phase I of re-doing the back hallway. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Just a Quiet Sunday

This morning I decided I would have to pick the peas and beans in the garden, even if it was wet. We may not have a dry day for awhile.

I also picked some tomatoes and some late raspberries, but those didn't make it into the house.

I went to an Urban Farmers' Market at the Riverview Community Club. There weren't many vegetables, but if I had wanted jewellery, a baby sling or some chain mail, I would have been in the right place.

I didn't buy anything there, but I did find this pitcher at an estate sale. I couldn't decide if it was unbelievably ugly, or incredibly cute, but it made me smile, and that was good enough.

I'm going to keep it in my sewing room where it can hold all my little sewing gadgets.

And I think I may have gotten rid of the fruit flies! Just don't be surprised at what I have hidden in the microwave.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

I Must Finish What I Have Started...

Yesterday I visited the Costume Museum at its new location on Pacific Avenue. I haven't been there for years; in fact, I was only there once, when they were still in Dugald.

I liked the display of luggage they had in one corner.

As far as clothing goes, I was born at the wrong time. I love most of the pre-1970s styles.

I was all inspired to go home and make a dress much like this one, but thankfully, guilt/common sense kicked in and I convinced myself to finish off some projects I have been working on for awhile.

Such as;

New summer curtains for the Geek's bedroom. At least she will get a few months wear out of them before we have to put up the flannel ones again.

And pillowcases for her bed. She likes her square European pillow, but pillowcases for those European pillows are hard to find here. We have found some in the past at Ikea, but that is not handy at the moment.

I also finished some light coloured cyclettes I have had in the works since spring.

I might have finished a dress I cut out on Father's Day, but then around 1715 sister C. and her husband, J., came over with their boys.

C. had called around 1500 hours asking if I would mind having the nephews visit while she and J. went out for her birthday supper. Sewing can wait; the kids will only be little once.

We had fun going to the playground and 'playing' Blokus and with the Spirograph. Then they hopped on the computer to check their Webkinz. We had to call the Geek in Calgary at one point to get the combination for the game case. She even suggested I had planned to have the boys over while she was away so I could have them all to myself.

They were all much more spunky than I was when their parents came to get them at 2230. (My excuse being I was up at 0500.)

Of note: For those of you interested in environmentally friendly home heating; three boys can, in the space of about three hours, raise the temperature of a house by 1.5°C. And this was with all the windows open on an 18°C evening.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Small, Unassuming, Delicious!

The Geek and I have been discussing the classification of eating establishments. I looked up the definitions of some of these words, and this is what I found.

cafe ~ noun
1. a restaurant, often with an enclosed or outdoor section extending onto the sidewalk.
2. a restaurant, usually small and unpretentious.

diner ~ noun
1. a small, informal, and usually inexpensive restaurant.

restaurant ~noun
1. a place where meals are served to the public.

bistro ~ noun
1. a small, modest, informal, European-style restaurant serving wine.

Basically, they all mean the same thing. But not all eating establishments are created equal. We have found a few favourites among the many we have tried. Here are three of them; small, unassuming places all.

Chez Sophie: Rue Langevin and De La Cathedral.
A few years ago several couples moved to Canada from Alsace, France. One couple bought Le Croissant, a French bakery on Tache, and another couple bought Aladdin's Pizza. Aladdin's underwent several name changes in the next few years. Aladdin's Chez Sophie, Chez Sophie Aladdin's, and now just plain Chez Sophie. I suspect they did not want to lose the customers that new them as Aladdin's as they transformed themselves.

During our brief heatwave, the Geek and I had supper on Sophie's patio. She had a Chevre Salad and I had the tortellini a la creme. Both were great.

Dessert was a marvelous, refreshing, Strawberry Melba.

We have been there several times and have never been disappointed.

The Tallest Poppy: 631 Main Street. Kudos to the woman who opened her restaurant on the Main Street strip before gentrification had really started.

As her sign said, this is where the North End does meet the deep south. Items on her menu have included sandwiches with egg salad with blue cheese, pulled pork, bar-b-que chicken, and bison brisket.

The furnishings could best be described as eclectic and the decorations minimal. But the place is clean and the food is good.

Bistro 7 1/4: 725 Osborne St. S. I have been hearing good things about this place for awhile.

In most places, a seat near the kitchen is supposed to be some kind of punishment for annoying the maitre d'. Here, the Chef's table is the kitchen and as far as I am concerned, it is the best seat in the house. You are able to watch the chefs at work, and see what goes into their meal.

Mussels are the house specialty and they went through a lot in the hour we were there. The Geek plans to try those next time.

I'll do another post later about some of our other favourite places.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A Summer Storm

The rainbow was the first sign that the rain had started.

I had decided around 2 pm that a thunderstorm was bound to happen that evening. Environment Canada, however, was forecasting clouds only.
I am wondering if they keep their meteorologists chained to their desks. If the weather forecasters had gone outside and felt the 30 degree air, the humidity that surrounded you like a wet blanket, and noticed that their wasn't a hint of a breeze, surely they would have ignored their doppler radar and announced that a storm was imminent. As it was, they didn't update the website about a thunderstorm until the storm had already started.


As long as everyone is safe, I love a good thunderstorm.

And it made the weather for the next day's caper so much better.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Felting Experiment

Felted wool is supposed to be wind-proof and very warm. And nicer looking than some of the synthetic stuff around.

One of the things I was looking for on my day-trip were some wool pants that I could felt. I found two pair, pictured here with a sweater for The Geek.
While doing some research on the subject, I found you can only felt fibres, as in unwoven material such as wool. Once wool has been woven, it can only be fulled. And of course, once it has been made into a garment, it can only be shrunk. I may, out of sheer obstinacy, still refer to it as felting or fulling as that sounds planned, rather than shrinking, which just sounds like carelessness.
The pants on the left, which bore this tag, shrunk, I mean fulled, the better of the two pairs at about 7 cm in length and 2 cm in width, but the sweater below, which Tina found at a rummage sale, was the best. It diminished by 15 cm in length and 10 cm in width. It will probably be quite cozy now, whereas before it was so loosely woven that you could see through it.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Stay-cation day Trip

I noticed a great deal of canola still blooming on my day-trip south of Winnipeg. The smell of the flowers filled the cab but that is not a good sign, considering how little summer we have left.

These sunflowers seemed to be doing better.

and this grain is starting to ripen.

I stopped at the bakery in Grunthal and bought some oatmeal and date cookies.

It is really a good thing I have never had aspirations of being a hand-model. My hands are definitely on the sturdy side.

I marvelled at the collection of tractors that this farmer, just east of Morris, has on display. I am not sure if he was getting ready for a sale, or if he finds this the best way to store them.

The Red River is flowing tranquilly northward. It is hard to believe that just a few months ago it was escaping its banks and causing havoc wherever it went.

The Red River Floodway also does not show the weeks of heavy use it had this year.

I am quite sure tho' that those people in the towns and on individual properties in Southern Manitoba have not forgotten their very tense siege behind their ring dikes. For some of them, they were cut off from the outside world for over six weeks; if they were able to get out, it was by boat.

I stopped at the Mennonite Central Committee Thrift stores in a few towns. We have been fans of the MCC for years, and I wanted to buy some wool pants for a felting experiment. As much as I am loathe to think about it, winter will be back sooner than we think.

So I found two pair of mens trousers (apparently women in Manitoba don't wear wool) and a sweater for The Geek.

And of course, there were a few other things that couldn't be left behind.

Five drinking glasses, a pillowcase, a handbag, a bandana, three knitting books, two cloth carriers, two packets of brass trim, and a cute, tiny little red purse. All purchased for the princely sum of $15.55.