Monday, August 31, 2009

The Ten Commandments of Rugby

More of my girls are showing an interest in playing rugby. These, apparently are the ten commandments they strive to live by. They're a course crew like us.

1. Thou shalt not hesitate at the breakdown, but be mighty to get your rightful ball; for, though it is written, that the meek shall inherit the earth, it was a poor translation. The meek shall be trampled into the dirt.

2. Thou shalt not speak profanely of the Whistler, nor question the purity of his birth, even though he be blind to the transgressions by devils on the other team at ruck and maul, and whistles them not.

3. Thou shalt not smite an opponent with a clenched fist, yeah, even in retaliation; for it is written that the Whistler and the Flag Waver shall assuredly miss the cowardly first punch and see the avenging second. Believeth that what goeth around shall surely cometh, and verily, evil men will be found at the bottom of rucks.

4. Thou should not kiss thy teammate on the mouth when he scores; for such is an abomination unto God, especially kisses in tongues, unless you play football with the round white ball, and thus it is expected.

5. Thou shalt not take the Word of the Coach in vain, for blessed is the Word of the Coach. Instead, wonder at his mighty wisdom and sticketh to His Game Plan, lest the Coach acquaint you with his disciples coaching lower grades.

6. Thou shalt not chip nor kick for touch, if thou be a prop or wear any jersey number below that of 9; for this is an abomination unto the Coach and surely you will be His at training, perhaps everlasting.

7. Thou shalt not run across the field with ball in hand, but runneth straight; for it is written that the touchline is the best defender.

8. Thou shalt not kick the ball to thine enemies unless it bounceth; for the Spirit of the Bounce of the Ball may cause confusion unto them, and if thy heart be pure, make it bounceth back unto you.

9. Thou shalt not pass the ball to a teammate about to be smashed by the mighty enemy, unless he owes you money, or has rodgered someone dear to your heart, in which case all is forgiven.

10. Thou shalt not vomit on they teammates after the game, for this is unmanly and they could do it unto you.

Mmmm sweet, thick walled peppers and sauce

How's this. I should have weighed this thing. It was plump with water and fragrant like a pepper should be.


Dinner was the unknown fresh pasta dish, although I cheated tonight and used the store bought carbs (spaghetti).

Here's the deal. In the morning add olive oil and saute onions, garlic and a good whack of bruised basil together until the onions are "just" sweet. Toss in a 5ml of dry mustard to help emulsify the sauce and another generous splash of Paprika for colour. Add crumbled (small bites are what I like for size) feta cheese until you're happy with the quantity. Depending on how much salty cheese you put in there, add pickling salt to help break down the tomatoes. I used our abundant cherry tomatoes today. They were very sweet. It was a nice balance with the hot peppers I added.

Turn off the heat leaving all the ingredients in high live colours still and walk away for the day and let it stew. I add some fresh ground pepper too if I feel like it.

Once it's stewed several hours and you've stirred it, tended it and tasted it. Cook your pasta and heat your sauce only enough to make it quickly hot and then serve with imaginative breads, cheeses, wine and company.

I have no idea what this stuff is supposed to be called. I have just evolved this way. Please enlighten me if I've stolen and idea from the classic repertoire. It's a fresh summer tomato sauce.

Freedom to choose in soft drinks

How much fun would this be?

I'm not really that big into soft drinks, but the idea of such a wide variety hosted by such a well invested lover of pop, thrills me. My curiosity is on fire.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scotch Apple Pudding

Haven't had any of this for a while, but I have a hankering. This recipe comes from Barb Curtis of Bowmanville, Ontario via The Harrowsmith #1 Cookbook. It's a popular desert around here. Maybe some of you would enjoy it too. We like it best when it's made with frost sweetened root stock crab apples.

Scotch Apple Pudding

2 (480ml) cups sliced apples
1/2 cup (120ml) white sugar
1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup (120ml) milk
1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) salt
1/2 cup (120ml) brown sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) rolled oats
1/2 (120ml) cup flour
2 tsp. (10ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (120ml) vanilla
1/3 cup (80ml) butter

Arrange apples in bottom of buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Mix remaining ingredients and pour over apples. Bake at 350F (175C) for 1 hour or until it's a beautiful golden brown on top.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Patches the calico cat

I have been asked if we are starting a cat ranch. PU got spooked and brought this one inside before the inevitable dwindling of their numbers begins. We need more indoor pets. There are only the two fish tanks, one pit bull and four cockatiels in the house just now. Apparently this kitten has a soft spot for people. There are nine better lookers at the ranch just now if anyone else is interested. This is a limited time offer, harsh as that may seem.


Monday, August 17, 2009

West Coast Tour Dates

I'm headed to the west coast to visit my folks in September. If you need me to fetch, carry or dutifully visit, please place your orders now.


New music keeps coming up strong

No doubt some of you will be tired of me proselytizing. It's what I do. Please share your passions.

I don't know how much my own experiences with riot police in Detroit play into this, but I can't get enough of this video.

The Sam Roberts Band

I think this should be called reckless endangerment.

And if that wasn't dark enough, this one is on the music stand just now.

Amelia Curran

I have to wait until next March to see this woman perform again. I'll be there early for a front row seat.

There is so much good music and great song writing out there! I'm so happy not to have died before I got old.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I remember summer

I want the inside of my nose to burn with heat when I inhale.
I want my share of above average temperatures and below average rain fall.
I would welcome some chapped skin.
I crave the need to blink more often just to keep my eyes wet.
I'd settle for a little sunburn.
I'd like to check the well water level to find it begging for conservation.
I'd like to have to spread out the laundry loads to span several days to conserve water.
I'd like to be driven to late evening swimming at St. Malo park as the sun sets.
I'd like to be driven to eat dinner outside to escape the heat of the house.
I fantasize about the root cellar having a dry floor.
I feel the shortage of grass hoppers.
I want to be plagued by huge pails of string beans, topping and tailing well into the dark hours.
I want warm sweet tomatoes off the vine, splashed into mayonnaise, pepper and toasted City rye bread.
I wish my prickly pear cactus had survived.
I would like to have to leave the dogs at home while I run because they can't sweat and cool off as well as I can.
I could live with more dust from the gravel road.
I'd like to scout around on the lawn tractor losing track of where I had cut and not cut grass.
I'd like to have to haul water every day to keep my chickens alive.
I'd like to be face first into a musk melon.
I'd like to drive my truck back into the bush and bring in my wood without fear of sinking in mud.
I'd like to crank the fridges up and maybe have a freezer fail from over work.
I remember what hot burnt lawn smells like.
I want to run 90w oil in the mowers.
I want to rise at 4:30 and shut all the windows and draw all the blinds to keep the house cool during the day.
I want to make tea in the sun by the gallon and drink it, savouring the lime or lemon, ice cold after work.
I want deviled eggs and potato salad with sharp green onions from the garden because it's too hot to cook.
I want gallon jars of fresh water dills perking on the kitchen counter.
I'd like to see my wife dressed in a little next to nothing, doing some canning while sweating up a storm.
I want to look to the west and hope the rain is coming this way.
Thinking about getting up to work early before the shop becomes intolerably hot is appealing.
I get nostalgic for train rails snapping shut as the mid day sun sucks up the expansion joints.
I could stand a healthy brush fire and some rushing to finish ice cream before it melts.

One of Boo's cool desert shots at Grasslands. Can you spot the grass hopper?


Friday, August 14, 2009

Last year's garlic and hail

The fruit was superb and the drying conditions were excellent. We have never had garlic keep through a full year before this, although we've tried. This is the last of what was harvested in August of 2008. It's all about the food.

Walking on the sunny side of the street is best when living with what Mother Nature doles out. I'm trying, I really am. Yesterday we had a hail storm that delivered hail the size of ping pong balls that were dancing off the ground like stones dropped on a drum skin. It was a bit disheartening for the gardeners.

We saw cars today that were not up to that type of abuse and some were looking severely pocked. Maybe we can squeeze out a paint job or two on claims here too. We only had 10mm of rain though which is 10mm more than we needed, but not nearly as much as many others had. Cutting the grass every three or four days in August is getting a bit tiresome. Moanin'


Thursday, August 13, 2009

humidity and beans

The humidity index must have been well into the upper reaches of the scale today. Snoot and I set out for a run and immediately felt the heavy air working against us. We took it slowly and enjoyed the time out.

We took the dogs with us and when Rosie came in afterward, she just fell to the cooler floor with a thud panting to beat the band. Snoot and I played some football after dinner and dishes tonight and that's when I noticed that hydration issues might have to be addressed. It's been ages since I have been caught short on fluid, but today I missed my levels by a country mile. Suffice it to say that urine should not bring paint colours to mind.


Brenda G. was gracious in getting us some beans. Ours seem to be rotting before they can be harvested in any serious quantity. I French cut what we had and they went into the freezer. PU put another four bags away today, but we should be swimming in beans and we are not. Not a single cuke yet either. Normally I'd have four liter jars of fresh water dills brewing on the counter by now with the larger culls in abundance. Having peas in the middle of August is a bit weird too, but the taste fabulous!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Garlic harvest

It's been a wonderful festival of fresh vegetables lately and the fun continues to grow. Today it looked like it was going to deliver excellent drying conditions with plenty of warmth and wind. What a treat it is to be hot after so many cool wet days this summer. It looked like the ideal day to pull the garlic and get the curing of it underway.


Every year I think I plant enough and every year I set out to plant more. The better I get at curing it the longer it keeps and the sweeter it tastes. Like carrots after a good frost, well cured garlic is delectable.

This year I planted it very close together and hoped we would have enough moisture to support the crowded rows and I got lucky. For next year I'll put bone meal in directly at planting time and see if I can boost the bulb sizes a bit. I am reasonably happy with what I got, but I expected bigger bulbs with the moisture being in abundance. Sure did have good germination rates though. Virtually every clove planted yielded a bulb.


PU's been really throwing herself into the gardens this year again. The results have helped make the place look loved.