Sunday, July 30, 2006


Some kids have more spark than others. This afternoon I got to play with one of my favourite boys.


Fresh water dills

One of the things some of us look forward to is the beginning of the harvest and the influx of food that is alive with all the Mother Nature can pack into her delicacies. Although I enjoy a sour dill pickle now and again, it's the ones I brew up on the counter in the ancient ways, that I develop a deep lust for.

I'm all about the senses! :D


Pierrette puts by over 50 litres of sour dills most years and inevitably there are cucumbers she misses picking and they get too large to pickle. Given that she's making ten quarts of pickles every two days, there are plenty of cucumbers to go around for table use, and even chicken feed! I finally found a great use for the ones that get a bit too big to pickle in the usual way.

Fresh water dills can kill off a lot of these big ones. The beauty of them is that at least in the early stages, they serve up more like a vegetable than a harsh sour pickle. I can eat a lot more of them than I can ever stomach of the sour pickles and over the years have come to prefer the freshwater versions of the dill pickle. They are dead easy to make, which is always a hit with me.

Here's how I learnt to do it.

- Wash a jar and rinse it well.

- Wash the cucumbers, scrubbing the spines off them as well as the dirt.

- Poke the cukes several times with a fork to help speed up the mingling of the brine and fruit juices.

- Peel and halve some garlic, or not. I used 5 gloves for this batch and put them at the bottom of the jar.

- Collect and put a handful of dill weed in the jar bottom. As much or as little as you like, I think. I would guess that a cup or two of loosely packed sprigs went into this batch. I suspect the flowering heads give an odd flavour so I've avoided them this time.

- Add 15-20ml (A table spoon to a table spoon and a teaspoon) of pickling salt per litre of container size. I disolve this in good clean water ahead and add that after I've packed the jar full of cucumbers.

- Pack the jar, chucky jambed full of fork stabbed cucumbers so that none float. You want all the fruit below the level of the water.

- Fill the jar with good clean potable water so that all the fruit is submerged. I cover the mouth of the jar with some kind of plastic cling wrap and then poke a hole in the wrap with a fork.

Do not seal the jar! It will explode

Set the jar aside on the kitchen counter to ferment and watch as the bubbles start to rise in a couple of days. The water will go cloudy and after a week on the counter find some space in the fridge to slow the process down some. I can never wait much more than a week to begin sampling the bounty, but the process isn't usually complete and through the entirety of the larger fruit for a couple of weeks. We'll be finished our first jar before that time though, I'm sure. ;^)

One of the great gifts of summer.

Friday, July 28, 2006

4km race day!

Race #2 for me. Seems a little lame in that crowd. It was fun never the less, and tough! Running on grass is not easy! Training on gravel did not seem to count for much while running on grass that was cut long to sustain life through the drought here. It was wicked. I finished in a time of 24:14.

I took to heart that I'd be applying 95-100% of maximum heart rate through this one. I was dopey running at that intensity. I could hardly keep the markers on the correct side of me. I fumbled the turn around at the half way mark not being familiar with the routine and had to be coached against a commonly missed natural short cut. I neglected to catch my exact time either on the provided clock or my chrono. Uhg! It was still fun and it was fun to watch Pam blow away her PB for this challenging little jaunt. Pam's a friend from

A small crew


Mike Booth out front. Winner of the last two Manitoba Marathons


Ian sucking wind at the 2km turn around


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Thanks to sugarplumkitty@lj for the nod on this. I'd never heard of it and I'm sure many others haven't. Take care out there.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Moe macro

More outstanding macro work. Little scary bugs.

Shane Walker's close up work is the real deal.

Manon prepared a big tub of mint for drying yesterday and every few minutes she's come and find me with another little bug of some sort. The jumping spiders are so cool and she found one that looked much like this one below. It's a world away from where I come from to develop an interest in bugs.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Meite's recent trip to Ireland was full of adventure. The images are many and not all of which are posted. I think there is almost ninety in this group and are mostly reclaimed from underexposed images or others I found interesting in some way.

My flickr account is a free one, so only the latest 200 images can be seen. Unless you save the links to the individual images, you won't see them in the list once I've displaced them with another couple of hundred images, which happens surprisingly fast. I love digital images!
Meite's recent trip to Ireland was full of adventure. The images are many and not all of which are posted. I think there is almost ninety in this group and are mostly reclaimed from underexposed images or others I found interesting in some way.

My flickr account is a free one, so only the latest 200 images can be seen. Unless you save the links to the individual images, you won't see them in the list once I've displaced them with another couple of hundred images, which happens surprisingly fast. I love digital images!


My baby is growing up. We were invited to a neighbour's party last night. We've been here fifteen years and are still very much the new people on the block. Although I must say that the two older girls have broken down boundaries at a speed like I would have never have guessed possible. My hat's off to Meite for all those years of being ostracized from the social circle to now command a seat at any old local bloods table.

Josh was a year late in graduating, but he stuck it out and the celebration at home was last night. Meite was off work at 16:00 so I ran in and brought her home to rub elbows once again with the locals. She's almost out grown that scene, but she did managed to make herself ill with some kind of power beer funnel. I guess you can take the girl out of the country...

Dinner tonight had a new food available. Peas! Big bowls of peas! Manon worked up a storm today on several fronts, but the peas were best for me.

We'll have cukes out the wazoo. Today was the first big picking and there are ten liters of sour dills on the counter at bed time. Cold water dills are next for me!

The tomatoes are as tall as Pierrette. I'll try and get some images of that mess soon. The new bed to the south of the shop is hot and productive. Productive as long as the water holds out that is.

Some recent uploaded images:

This Gruen was fun to do. It responded well and the balance hadn't been messed with so it keeps time like, well, clockwork! :P

Gruen VeriThin before

Gruen VeriThin before

I'm sorry I missed out on shots of the dial before I cleaned it up. I wasn't expecting much, but it came out better than expected.

Gruen VeriThin after - front on dial side cased

Some shots I've left dark and others I've lightened up.

back side with case back - light

back side with case back - dark

back side dark

back side light

A buck bought me this little oil and vinegar bit for the table. I was so happy! I love having olive oil and vinegar on the table every meal.

dollarama oil and vinegar

A. seemanni sling wider pan

These little guys have grown so much! Nothing quite like heat and lots of food to spin the gears of growth.

A. seemanni sling closer and best of the series

And finally my geeky bit for the night is the discovery of the TOR project.

Best bedroom guitar work so far...

This Cannon never sounded so good

Friday, July 21, 2006

Oops, I followed my tail a little too closely!

Ball pythons are dim.
It's just the way it is. Yes they are docile and yes in some respects they make good beginner snakes, but they are not the sharpest tacks in the package.

Noam Chomsky

I can't help but love this guy when his knowledge of history always is so keen.
Noam Chomsky is a treasure to all independant thinkers.

A seven minute video of a phone interview about the latest developments between Lebanon and Israel. Boys!

Balance in all things.

quiz poop swipped from gleefishy

You Are: 50% Dog, 50% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.
You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.
And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

You Are a Visual Learner

You tend to remember what you see, and you have a good eye for aesthetics.
You excel at art, design, and computer programming.
You would be an excellent film director - or the next Bill Gates!

Ya... me and Bill. That''s what I was thinking. I can't imagine myself making money in any significant quantity. Really...
Mr. Sarcastic

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hebrew lessons

During one of his many trips to London, George Burns became friends with a
very wealthy, yet very modest, Jewish chap named Hyman Goldfarb. On one
visit, Hy told George that because of his large donations to charities
through the years, the queen wanted to knight him, but he was going to
turn it down. "That's a great honor," George said. "Why would you turn
it down?" "Because during the ceremony you have to say something in Latin,"
he said. "And I don't wish to bother studying Latin just for that."

"So say something in Hebrew. The queen wouldn't know the difference."

"Brilliant," Hy complimented me, "but what should I say?"

"Remember that question the son asks the father on the first night of Passover?
... 'Why is this night different from all other nights?'

Can you say that in Hebrew?" "Of course," he said. "Ma nishtana ha leila hazeh.
Thank you, old sport, I shall become a knight." At the ceremony Hy waited his turn while several of the other honorees went before the queen. Finally they called his name. He knelt before Her Majesty, she placed her sword on one shoulder and then on the other, and motioned for Hy to speak.

Out came "Ma nishtana ha leila hazeh."

The queen turned to her husband and said, "Why is this knight different from all other knights?"

I took the grandfathers and a load of wood to the medicine man today. I hope they meet with his approval. Oh the tangled web...
Errant son.

Green tree frog

A green tree frog waiting for me to get a few rows watered after dark.

We all went into the city tonight to spend some time with Meite. We met at the grocery and shopped for dinner, then went back to J & J's to cook up a storm. I played useless, but the food was wonderful.

Then we sat down to watch a goofy little film, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang! I haven't enjoyed a fluffy bit of entertainment like that since Lock stock and two smoking barrels.

A lame close up of green tree frog

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dolomedes triton - Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Oh oh! Now I've got an egg sack to think about!

I suppose some people have real lives. :P

What's this going to do besides hatch larva that will crawl through the air holes. :D Interesting stuff to ponder. Too bad work gets in the way of questions like, how long and how many. < g >


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wimpage and gardening

Rabbits, deer, whatever, it's always something when one chooses to garden. If it's not the weather, it's a blight of some kind or hail comes down in vengefully qualities. The farmers here are beginning to whine about moisture. I've been wet so long I don't care anymore. I am simply lapping up the heat, and extreme drying conditions. I suppose I'll sing a different tune when fire takes the barn and chicken coup. There are no horses this year to eat a buffer zone around the out buildings.

I've learnt to trap the so called pocket gophers we have here and that's helping to keep some of the produce for ourselves. Ornamentation isn't my gig though, just the food can motivate me to tend the dirt.

I'm finishing up a bit of fiction that made the short list for a Pulitzer. It's taken me since Christmas and after cleaning up the story today at lunch found that there is a whole lot of stuff at the beginning that I skipped. Maybe that's why the reviews and my interpretations don't jive. It's the worst thing I've ever plodded through. It's my habit to give a book 80 pages. If by that time I see no merit I shuffle it off to some other realm and move on to something else.

This one had all the reviews I rely on saying all the right things. It was a gift too which complicated matters. I feel like I've sinned deeply by seeing this thing through. I'll plug away at the beginning bits to try and at least formulate more hate posturing. I've only burned one book, but this is another candidate for that honour. Being unschooled, I no doubt have missed the boat entirely, but life is short and I'll have to give myself a firm shake when this is finally over and get back on the 80 page band wagon.

A Heatbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
Your mileage may vary.

Mr. Distractable

I can go for weeks on statements like this:

"Individual genes have their own family trees that are independent of individual organisms. As a consequence some gene complexes, like the one for type A blood that occurs in both humans and chimps are more closely related to similar groups (like the chimp type A blood) in entirely different species than they are to other blood groups within the same species. Weird eh? Working genetic structures tend to get conserved by natural selection though as most "would be" modifications from mutations render them worse off rather than better off so then tend to get weeded out leaving the original form fairly durable (the more essential for function, and intolerant of small changes, the more durable)."

The possible avenues of possiblitities this opens up is staggering. Ah... life is sweet and the breeze is cool again.
The lunatic fringe - Ian

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lazy hazy days of summer

A failed domino cascade.
Manon's been at it again.

I'm a little behind in the harvesting. I had a tough time believing that I would have my garlic out of the ground by the middle of July. It's benefited greatly from the chicken coup manure last year. It's big and full even if it has been dry while it was bulking up. I can only dream what it might have been like with a little more moisture.

The deer have plowed through a lot of produce, but some still stands. The beets, beans and carrots have been pretty much wiped out. Even with the set backs the peppers and tomatoes are looking fabulous. The corn should be good too if the deer leave us any.

The best of the lot

The lot of it

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Baked summer, parched grass and love of life.

Orioles and hmmmmming birds sucking up the window hung feed nectar in this blossom starved heat wave summer. I thought it was leaking, but I'm feeding many bees, wasps and hornets that usually fend for themselves more. Not a breath of a breath moving the air today. Aiming at 40C, melting my Celtic core. It's Runday! Baking, chickens with wings held awkwardly trying to avoid cardiac arrest.

Grandfathers gathered, wood to prepare now, I look, but without preference for what's ahead. Open, completely at sea. An experiment of one, of all. Plumbing awakening, expressing some optimism, pain transient throughout my back, the dog ever forgiving.

Compassion, a gift to an elder. Old Joe next door is now very nearly eighty years in, and without a doubt the gardener tending to the Zen garden as a peasant with more Zen spirit in his big toe nail than many masters have managed to gather through a life time of intentional practise.

Joe called on Friday eve to see if Pierrette will spend a day in the back country gathering berries. After card playing, there is little to compete for her attention that might draw her more strongly. Joe loves Pierrette. He lights up like dragonfly colours when he sees her. She's idealised, nurtured, attended to and appreciated for all the good she is. Integrity counts still, in some circles. Joe insisted on taking the truck so as not to brutalise the car on ATV ruined back roads. He had lunch made, drinks, ice water, and all the accoutrement known to the practised gatherer, in ready celebration of a kindred spirit's company.

A couple of hundred kilometers, sparse pin cherries and fewer blueberries still, they arrived back here 14 hours later with broad and genuine smiles of time well spent. The bears will surely be starving. I've already seen ant hills torn down at their feet and it's a long way to winter still. There are some hazelnuts. Pin cherries enough for a little jelly to warm my Dad's heart, and tiny blueberries enough for a bowl each. Pure sunshine on a spoon. Small dense berries jambed with blue, big and bold.

Another stroke has taken Joe. His right arm and hand don't want to shift the truck well, so it's a two handed affair, leaving the steering to self government and fate. Joe laments that the Ford company no longer supplies the small bushing to repair the wear that is not allowing the clutch to release cleanly, making the two handed shift even more taxing than it should be. Let's have a look. Vernier caliper, micrometer, hole gauges and a contortionists willingness, I dismantle and measure.

All the while Joe's stories, and among them, of recognising a small flanged washer sometime during some winter adventure tucked safely away to install in the spring. It's lasted a whole year, but it wasn't a perfect fit. If it could only have been a little thicker walled, I'm sure it would have done much better.

Steel, lathe, drills and repeated fittings once again have resurrected the two handed shift into the realm of reasonable adaptation. Joe wants to pay, not realizing it is me in debt.
Compassion in plumbing awaits - Ian

Mighty Manon strikes again!

I love this kid. She's a busy one, but like me, it'll be a wonder if she can stand the nine to five grind.

Video of some Manon style entertainment.

What a day in a summer of heat. Again it's bright blue and the grass is not in need of cutting! Yeah! Oh the smell of burning grass on a hot muffler is sweet indeed. We are going to have to ration water soon though. There's only a few feet left in the well and if this keeps up I can easily imagine the well going dry.

The gardens look great though! I'll have to pull the garlic tomorrow though. I can't believe it's done already. Tomorrow is forecast to go to 37C or so. They low balled today's estimate, missing by three degrees. I'm just so grateful to be warmed right into my bones that it's difficult to complain about any down side the heat brings.

Manon and I gathered grandfathers (field stones) for a local medicine man's sweat lodge today. I hope he approves of our choices. I'll try and begin hauling wood for the occasion tomorrow I think, unless I get distracted with plumbing or something. I hope that hot encounter will help clear a path ahead.

Pierrette spent the day off with Joe picking berries. Joe's had another stroke and has pretty much lost the use of his right arm now. That doesn't hold him up for a minute of course. He's made of hardy stock! There were almost no berries to be found. Both Joe and PU are expert at locating likely habitat for berries of all kinds, but without water, they don't seem to be very plentiful this year. We had enough blue berries tonight for everyone to have a bowl, but that was it. The pin cherries were a little better, but for the number of miles travelled and the hours spent it was not very rewarding to the pickers. We'll have a few jars of jelly for Dad when he gets here. Joe thought they covered about 200km's in the back country east of us. Pierrette was grateful to have been out with the master. She was shown all his best spots, so even if there were no berries, PU came away with a rich bounty for other years when it isn't so dry. At least they didn't have to worry too much about bears. They must be hungry though. I saw an ant hill this week that was all ripped apart by a bear. There are a few hazel nuts, but not even the choke cherries have fruit this year.

Joe was having a heck of a time shifting the old truck he drives. Ford apparently doesn't make the bushing that might have helped with the hydraulic clutch. So I suggested that I could make him one and immediately set out to dismantle the pedal linkage in his truck. A couple hours later, I had a very serviceable steel bushing installed and low and behold the shifting was a lot easier than before we started. Celebrating was fun. Making Joe happy is a great gift. He's got a large does of humility although he's never been anything but a poor working man, his heart is solid gold. I bet thousands show up to his funeral, or I would hope so, he's a treasure in many ways.
I. N. A. T.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

midnight @ 30C

You might think a guy could learn from his mistakes, but no. At 20:30 last night I decided enough was enough and I was going to begin the process of installing Fedora Core 5. I anticipated some grief as is usually the case with a new operating system install, but my primary drive has decided it's got issues and that meant the boot loader calved.

Brock did the good friend on broad band deal and took a spare drive of his and installed the OS along with what would amount to a months worth of updates for me to download. How hard can it be when everything is installed? Big plans, but Murphy still rules. I still can't see my connection speed which is a bit of a hassle, but at least I'm connected and all my preparation on the last install paid dividends again when every ones old home directories have the correct permissions. That will help ease the pain of migration for everyone.

I'll be configuring for weeks, but at least it's begun and now I can get back to whatever was supposed to be going on. I may just bite into another rats nest tomorrow seeing as how I'm on a roll. I'll see how the sleep goes tonight before I tackle anything silly again.

PU is off to the cottage and I think that's likely a good place for her in this heat. I'm kind of expecting the lid to come off the house in a blow tonight. I ran today, but there were warnings out not to do such things. It was a little steamy too so at 35C it felt more like 40C according to the news. The good news is that the grass is all dying! Yeah! Now that the riding mower steering is all rebuilt I can buy parts to give the push mowers some more compression.

I shopped a bit for mowers when I was picking up the steering parts, but I must be missing something. We've had this riding mower for 8 years. The motor is supposed to be rated for 600 hours. We cut about 50 hours a year, making a rebuild forecast every 12 years. Ours was rebuilt at year 4 and is ready again. 200 hours seems a little thin. I've mower to learn, no doubt. :P

I transferred my little Aphonopelma seemanni tarantulas to bigger (2oz) deli cups this morning. They are certainly growing quickly. One got away on me and scampered away from the intended target, but I would have too if I spent my days in a small vial. Their getting hairy now and showing some colour too. I just hope I can keep them alive through the winter. There is so much to do, always and I'm so slow at moving forward.

PU has the living room in disaster mode. It's a room that wants painting in the worst way, so it's difficult to complain about the chaos. She's a machine for moving ahead, but she's not much into picking up or putting away. :D

I'm booked to run a 4km cross country race on the 27th and then I think I'll sign up to run the 5km Ron Melnichuk later on in August. If all goes well with those, I'll sign up to run the 10km race I blundered last year later on in September. I'm excited to be able to build up some strength again without it being sucked out of me over one thing or another.

I had the most horrific nightmare early this morning. I almost never remember dreams anymore and haven't had a nightmare like this in ages, but it's stuck with me all day. It was a dream of preparing for suicide. I want to grow up now. :( 4:47 is way too early to start the day, no matter how hot it is.
Trudging the happy road of destiny.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Keeping the niggers down

This is part of a rant that's not going to happen. I have an increasing traffic in fear mongering intolerant emails aimed at keeping those damned immigrants out of Canada. Oh the times, they are a changing. Is anyone listening to those winds and thinking of the consequences? I don't believe the numbers are growing, but maybe it's just a darker day today.

Heart on the sleeve

Sunday, July 9, 2006

river gnome

I found this little guy today waiting for me by the river.


Manon and I had been out hunting snappers. Manon saw a larger one, but we didn't find any of a manageable size. We saw lots of fish and a boat load of big river clams.

Funny man, face on

River clams and a quarter

Close up of the heavy shells

More of the heavy shells

A must see

Land of the Gods - Legend of the Marathon

They have a good trailer for the film if this kind of thing does it for you.

I ran a blistering (for me) eight miles today. 13 kilometers in an hour and twenty four minutes. Now of course I'm coughing and can't sleep, but never mind all that, because that predicts a 65 minute 10km which puts the 60 minute barrier within reach for a race day. Yeah!

It's taken me since the new year to claw my way back to a position where that's possible. Now if I can just recover from this run without succumbing to a cold or something, I'll count myself lucky. What a brutal run!

My splits make me happy though! My last mile was 10:08 or something silly like that. My heart rate was within three of maximum on several occasions. Oh I do love it when things are intense. Even after nearly 30 years, I'm betting my parents don't miss me at all. < g > I must have been a nightmare of a kid to live with.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

More bug macro

More fun with bug macro shots. A member of runningmania took these close up shots.
Another day in paradise.


It's hot and a lot like summer here this year. It seems like ages since we had a real summer. It's hot during the day, then thunder storms at night. Just like when I was a kid!

I found these tornado shots tonight. I bet we have a scare this year.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Canada is another year older and the fireworks locally blew me away again this year. I expect there is federal money involved to ensure that the south east of the province has a central location with a kick ass show to celebrate Canada day, but every year I just shake my head in wonderment at the high quality of the showcase.

17 minutes of remarkably quick dispensation of funds. heheh. My favourite part of any fireworks display for me in the percussion of the larger cannons. I love it when my gut is massaged by some deep concussion.

Last year we had Claudel with us. We fed her perogies and she thought those were pretty much along her ideas of tasty bits.

Manon and Bonnie headed off to be at the field station on the tall grass preserve for 8:30 to put the final touches on the Nature Conservancy float. Then Manon headed off to gather candy at the parade and Bonnie donned a butterfly costume for the ride on the float.

Manon spent the day running wild around town with her crew from school. Pools, trampolines and a lot of running around will no doubt catch up to her tomorrow. The Stockwell kids stopped by tonight looking for her. I'm betting they'll want to take a round out of her tomorrow. Hope she's up for it. heheh I might have to make French toast to get her going again. Go with Roger's! (syrup)

The steering collapsed on the riding mower so I've spent a good number of hours coming to the conclusion that it really needs replacing. I come from a place where, if it can be "repaired" no number of hours is too much to invest in a rebuild, but I got over it today. The down side was that I spent many hours behind a push mower trying to trim up the lawn before it got any farther away from being an easy cut! It was brutally slow to coax the new dummied down, consumer friendly, low rpm, idiot switch ridden piece of crap to get through some of the long stuff. It was a perfectly dry hot summer day, but even sharp blades were beyond this throttled back, bottom feeding, lamers delight of a machine.

Of course I'm not resentful. I don't hold grudges and I'm NOT ANGRY!

Parts are on order, but if Dad was here, which he will be soon, we could spend days rebuilding teeth on gears.

Five gets you ten, my allergies cut my legs out from under me tomorrow!

Senior writer of Running Time's Mike Tynn when speaking of the marathon:

The Dedicated runner knows that the soul comes into its own when it is confronted with a challenge, when there are difficulties, hardships, obstacle, frustration, heartaches and pain that cannot be shared with the outside world.

“If you want to run, then run a mile. If you want to experience another life, run a marathon.”
-Emil Zatopek

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Yummy macro

Some yummy macro shots of insects I saw posted on the Reptiles Canada forum

Tonight has tornado written all over it. If this is the end, it's been fun!