Sunday, July 21, 2013


I'm on a ferry heading for home. The good news is that it's a beautiful, sunny day and there is just the barest of swells. The bad news is...there is no bad news.

I've spent the past week visiting friends and family. I had a fabulous time.

I started off by visiting my Dad and his wife. We had a great time, but it was too dang hot in the city. I was relieved to escape to our little slice of heaven.

My long-awaited and much anticipated visit with Son1 was fun and informative.

He's become quite skilled at skinning flounder.

The family reunion was a blast, and so well organized. The festivities were capped off by a fun concert of folk music with Blaine Henshaw.  (Sorry for the picture quality, all I had was my cell phone.)

Now I'm heading home, back to the real world. I'm already looking forward to coming back to my native land next month.

Oh, to cap off a perfect trip, we're now being given an impromptu live concert of fiddle music!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our little slice of heaven

This doesn't need much explanation, right? The weather was lovely. The only noise was the twittering, cawing, squawking of birds. And the buzzing of deer flies. Ouch!

Friday, July 12, 2013


I generally like all fruits, some more than others. Local strawberries cannot be beat when at the perfect stage of ripeness. Strawberry shortcake, made with biscuits (of course) and vanilla flavoured whipped cream, is heaven.

My favourite fruit though is the blueberry. This is a life-long preference.

It all started while spending summers on the island where my mom grew up. Blueberries grew wild in the field behind the house in such an abundance that it took but an hour to pick enough berries for a pie. Even making allowance for my rule of "one for the pot, one for the mouth", it never took long to collect enough berries for a batch of muffins. I have vivid memories of sitting in the hay amongst the berry plants, filling up on berries warm from the sun.


We had a little dog, Penny, who liked eating berries right off the plant. Some people thought that was strange, but it just meant she was smarter than the average dog.

Here's a recipe I tried yesterday that made good use of the frozen berries from last year. I need to make room in my deep freeze for the coming bounty.

Try it, you'll like it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Oh, the sweet smell of summer.

We were skunked last night. 

There I was, blissfully dreaming about…well, something, when an odour pervaded my senses. I believe the first, brief sniff of skunk has a certain sweetness to it, so I awoke thinking about perfume. 

But then the full olfactory barrage hit. 

I pulled the blanket over my face. Too late, the smell had lodged in my nose. All the windows were open for cooling breezes and the room quickly filled with the stink that lingers. 

I swear I could still smell Monsieur Le Pew when I got up this morning. I definitely smelled the musk when I opened the basement door to let the cats up. I’m thinking that little stinker must have targeted the house. I just hope he/she doesn’t decide to stick around. 

Here are a couple links to some interesting skunk facts.

They are darn cute though, eh?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sultry, and not the good kind

Did anyone besides me almost melt this past weekend? I live in the Northeast of USA, just about as north and east as you can get before hitting Canada, and it felt like the tropics. 

The worst part, in my opinion, was that the air   did   not   move. The Egyptians were on to something when they used large fans for cooling pharaohs and other mucky-mucks. As were all other cultures who made use of fans.

Is there a culture that doesn’t/didn’t use fans? Either hand-held or fixed?

If the air moves, you feel cooler. I’m sure there’s a physics lesson in there. I didn’t take physics in high school or college, so I’m stymied. Be that as it may, moving air is more pleasant than still air. I could live without air conditioning, but I’d suffer terribly without a fan. So, who else melted last weekend?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Allergy season approaches.

And to that end, old-fashioned handkerchiefs, aka hankies, may be making an appearance in my life. I’ve been thinking about them for a while now, given my love of reading historical romances. Everyone has a hankie in those stories, from the large, white squares of the gentlemen, to the dainty, embroidered bits of linen of the ladies.

With spring around the corner, and the advent of pollen, I predict an increased need for a moisture collector.

In my hunt through the sewing cupboard for buttons for my recently finished knitting project (huzzah!) I came across a box of handkerchiefs that had belonged to my mother-in-law. The box itself is a piece of history – shallow, with a hinged lid and a quilted cover. Something you’d leave on top of your dressing table so a fresh hankie would always be at hand.

Anyway, I pawed thru the collection of hankies and became lost in the patterns of the printed cloth, the delicate lace edging and fine embroidery. Some of the hankies would be suitable for only a tear. Literally one tear, with no nasal involvement at all. Others would hold up to a few good blows.

 So I’m thinking of giving a few of the hardier variety a launder and a press, and tucking a couple into my handbag.  So much classier than digging a wadded up and tattered paper tissue from my pocket, don’t you think?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

When I'm not writing, I'm knitting.

I'm so close to the end of knitting my sweater, I can taste it.

Not really, I've yet to chew on the yarn. Bruno-the-cat quite often attempts to eat the strands as he plays along with me - it's evident that I'm having great fun playing with all that yarn. And there are two sticks to bat at, and catch, and chew the ends of. Of course he wants to play too! Mogget-the-cat doesn't get involved until I lay the work down, and then she promptly claims it as her bed.

The picture is of the two sleeves, worked at the same time, so I won't have to walk with a weird slouch to camouflage any row counting mistakes.

Not that I make mistakes. Nope.

I've four inches to knit on the sleeves, then I assemble the parts (back, two fronts [it's a cardigan], sleeves). At that point I'll pick up stitches along the neckline (oy!) and knit a shawl collar.

By the way, my favourite colour is purple.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Writing, and books on writing.

Whenever I get really stuck in my writing, the sort of stuck that can’t be fixed with a liberal application of chocolate, I turn to my writing craft books. I have several, from broad sweeping tomes like “Story” by Robert McKee, to shorter, more focused books like “Conflict and Suspense” by James Scott Bell. (I love his writing style. I also have his “Plot & Structure” and “Revision & Self-Editing.”) I find that reading the advice of these authors somehow un-sticks that bent synapse in my brain and I can get back to my WIP, often with fresh ideas and more energy.

If I need more in the planning/plotting department for a new story, I’ll dig out “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook” by Donald Maass. Heavens above, this is a marvelous book. Worksheets to fill out, questions to answer, excellent examples, all combine to get the brain juices flowing. 

I’ve come across another writing craft book that has joined my list of necessary references. “Writing Active Setting, Book 1: Characterization and Sensory Detail” by Mary Buckham. I’d taken a few online classes by this author, and was excited to hear she’d put some of her vast knowledge into book form. The section on using sensory detail to enhance the setting was full of fabulous ideas, which I will be putting to use as I revise my current WIP.

Now I’m waiting for the release of the second in the series, “Book 2: Setting to Show Emotion, Add Conflict, and Show Back Story”.  *drums fingers* 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter doldrums

My body must be tired of winter. I have a craving for all things citrus. Yes, I know, here in North America, winter is the season when citrus fruits are at their most abundant. And cheapest. I suspect it has something to do with the growing season in the parts of the world where citrus fruits are grown. But I digress.

Thinking about oranges, lemons, etc. makes me think of summer. Might it have something to do with my summer drink of gin and tonic, with a wedge of lime? Perhaps. Regardless, right now, I can’t get enough of those citrus flavours. I’m drinking two or three large glasses of orange juice instead of my usual one small glass, used to wash down my multi-vitamin. I bought a jar of lemon curd, thinking I’d make a yummy sounding ginger cake with lemon frosting. That jar is now empty. Turns out lemon curd is delicious on toast.

I was in Target yesterday, and whilst standing in the check-out line, I was sorely tempted to buy a bag of gummy fruits, knowing full well I’d eat only the orange, green and yellow pieces. My mouth is watering right now thinking of the sweet/tart taste.

Yesterday afternoon, I gave in to my yearning. I also had a bunch of sad looking Clementine’s that needed using, so it was the perfect excuse. I went online, as you do, to search for a yummy recipe that involved oranges and cake, and found this. Oh my golly good heavens above, it is some good. I altered the recipe only in that I poked holes in the cake with a fork and drizzled the very hot glaze over the still warm cake while it was in the pan. Moist, orangey deliciousness.

I think a slice would make a great afternoon snack. So glad you agree with me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I made brownies.

I know, not exactly a "stop the presses" moment. I've made brownies more times than I can remember. From scratch and by doctoring a mix.

But the brownies I made yesterday may just be the best brownies ever made, ever.

I wanted to make something for dessert for the evening meal and I was undecided. I flipped through a couple of cookbooks, including one that is a collection of 100 varieties of a basic cookie recipe (many of which I've made, and they are yummy). Nothing piqued my interest.

So I went online and headed to one of my favourite sites, Good Food. I did a search for cakes and chocolate, because if it isn't chocolate, well, then, pshaw! And I found Fudgy Coconut Brownies. Oh my, good heavens, holy moly. The recipe is written for those in the UK, and, fortunately, I have a food scale so didn't have to do any brain-hurting conversions.

These brownies are rich, chocolatey, and buttery. The coconut is not at all overpowering, but just gives it a little bit of something extra. I believe I've finally found my go-to brownie recipe.