Friday, July 28, 2017


Yesterday, my new friend J and I went to Keji National Park for a cycle around the trails. I have never been to the main Kejimkujik Park -- but have been to the Seaside Adjunct many times (lately made famous by a recent visit by PM Justin Trudeau and his entourage :)

I met J while we were "working" at the community breakfast at West Queens Community Hall last Saturday. We were both Newbies - and they had us taking orders and serving! Very sharp learning curve there -- but I think we did a pretty good job? (the next Breakfast is August 26-- consider going! - for $8 you get eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, hash browns, toast, juice and coffee or tea)(also the bake sale down the road at the hostel is that same weekend!)
So. J picked me up at 10 am and we threw my bike into the back of her truck and we were off. It's about an hour and a half? to Keji (I dont know how long it took -- we were chatting too much!). This year is free admission to Keji ( National Parks are free because of Canada's 150 birthday)( more info here)
After checking in at the Visitors Centre, we drove to the parking lot and started down the Mersey River Trail. We also rode the Slapfoot Trail and the trail from Jake's Landing to Merrymakedge Beach.

J getting some shots of the beautiful greens of the grasses, trees and other plants:

The water at Keji is tarry black from the tannic acids from peat leaching into the water. And Keji is also known for its dark sky at night (great for oberving the galaxy). Dark water, dark sky - dark beer -Boxing Rock's Dark as Keji!

Some very interesting fungi....

It was a fabulous outing -- Thank you so much, J, for inviting me on your adventure!

I plan to return to Keji again this summer with Mr. B. I'd like to walk along the trails. Biking the trails was really fun (and sometimes scary down some big hills), but if you really want to SEE nature, I think walking is better. We had to stop and get off of our bikes a lot! But, having said that, I'd like to cycle those trails again :) ( just dont go on a weekend - the trail is narrow, so when you pass someone coming toward you, you have to get off your bike - yesterday wasn't busy, but on a busy day, that would be less enjoyable).

This is one if those times that I wished that I lived here year-round so I could see the park throughout the seasons.
You can read more about Keji here on the official website:
or here on Wikipedia:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ahhhhhh, summer! And Books!

The school year wrapped up too quickly and involved a room change (and a grade change! I'm teaching Kindergarten next year!). That left me exhausted and ill-prepared for our yearly pilgrimage east. I have finally recovered from my high-energy students, and from the move ( moving classrooms is like moving houses - I had about a hundred cartons)(mostly books)
But now I am in beautiful Port Mouton!
Mr B and I have had numerous road trips so far this summer. One of our favourite destinations is LaHave. The LaHave bakery has a fabulous selection of baked goods -- and some wonderful breakfasts (the wraps are delicious)( better this year than last? Perhaps it was the sundried tomato aioli? - see the article about the South Shore in the most recent issue of Saltscapes for the recipe :) .
At the back of the bakery is a great craft co op ( definitely look here for souvenirs) But even better is the new book store!!! LaHave River Books opened last summer. It has something for everyone. Current fiction, interesting non fiction, childrens books, local authors..... it has a used book section, and a free (used) book section.

I LOVE bookstores. I decided right then, that I need to be buying books every time I go into independent bookstores. (Instead of buying them online) I went a bit overboard here :)

I bought a board book for Baby G (Atlantic Animal ABC), and the Row Bot book is so much fun! We will have fun with that one in Kindergarten. I had looked at Morgan's Boat Ride before, and i had regretted not purchasing it! Town is By the Sea is illustrated by the same person who illustrated Sidewalk Flowers (which is a wordless book, set in Toronto). Hand Drawn Halifax is really fun. Both Mr. B and I have been trhough it a few times already. Road Signs that Say West is a Young Adult book by local author Sylvia Gunnery, who also works at the LaHave River Bookstore! After I read it, I will lend it to some Grade 8's at school :) oh! Not shown in the above photo is 50 Ways to Save the Honeybees - a personal crusade of mine... I also picked up a free (used) cooy of Petersons A Field Guide to Wildflowers. I definitley needed that.

A trip to LaHave always includes a visit to Westcote Bell Pottery ( just a few buildings away from the Bakery). And I never seem to get out of there empty handed. We have purchased both Vaughan and Jackie's work over the years!

Sometimes we take a trip across the cable ferry (if we are going to Lunenburg). But today we are going to Mahone Bay (and Bridgewater).
I can't wait to get back to LaHave!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine Swap

Vivian hosted a one on one Valentine Goody Swap this year.
I am so very lucky to be Viv's partner!
I am crossing my fingers that she gets her box before Valentine's Day.
I had such a hard time deciding what to include. Because if you know Vivian - you will know that she has everything! And what she doesn't have, she can make. I've never met such well rounded, talented artist.
I forgot to take photos of what I sent before I had wrapped everything. But here it is, in the box.

I made her some mittens out of recycled and felted sweaters. The pink sweater is cashmere :). There are lots of other goodies in there including heart shaped gingerbread cookies, and some vintage sewing notions.

And YAY! Both of our parcels made it to their destinations before Valentines Day!
this is what came from Viv:

such fun goodies! Thank you Vivian!

super cute lovey dovey swans :)

and a vertical garland - it looks awesome on my classroom door - but I could not get a decent photo :(

Valentines - Love is All Around

This year, to help jump-start my creativity, I joined a few valentine swaps.

First up is Aunt Peaches Valentine Swap. I think that I have joined this one 3 times. I've received lovely valentines from around the world. We send 3 out, we get 3 back. Easy peasy. ( well, it should be, I don't usually get three back :(

I was a bit inspired by the song Love is All Around (the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show).
so I included the lyrics on the back.

It's funny -- all these years I have been singing it to myself as "you can have it now" not "you can have the town" . When I researched the lyrics I found many different versions ( "you can have it all") . And apparently the lyrics DID change after the first season. I never found an official copy of the lyrics, so I chose this one.

Hmm, funny -- now that I look at these onscreen, I wish that I had stitched the hearts. They look a bit detached and floating. Oh well! (they were made from a very thick piece of felted / fulled sweater, so I decided not to stitch because I thought it would destroy the paper. I should have stitched first, then glued them on...)

so, 3 strangers will receive one each, and the rest went off to friends.


This month'sFood in Jars Challenge is Salt Preserving. I wasn't interested in most of the salt preserving ( salt preserved lemons seem to be a favourite of most people - but in the north, I don't have a bumper crop of lemons that needs "putting up")( although this salt preserved grapefruit with black pepper and loves sounds pretty wonderful! - and really, it only takes one grapefruit - maybe I will try it today....)
Marisa suggested making sauerkraut -- which is made of only cabbage and salt ( and other veggies/ spices as desired). I used Marisa's recipe from her blog -- find it here.
So I broke out my new mandoline ( Mr. B calls it my banjo) and shredded up some cabbage and some carrot. I added the salt, and it bubbled away on the shelf for a few days. Now, a week later, it has stopped bubbling, but continues to ferment. My kitchen is a bit cool, so it might take another week. Sauerkraut can take a week, or 6 weeks! You just have to keep tasting it to see if you like it :). When I tasted mine, it seemed salty and hot, like horseradish! I'll test it again in a few days.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars is hosting a year long Food in Jars Mastery Challenge on herwebsite and on Facebook.
The January challenge is Marmalade.
Marmalade is not my favourite preserve, but I was willing to give it a try because Mr. B loves Marmalade (and so does my mom - more on that later).
First up, I tried Cranberry Lime Marmalade. It was beautiful and jewel-like. Lime rinds just look terrible when you boil them though! (greenish, greyish, brown). So glad that they were hidden in the cranberries. Mr. B liked the tartness, but agreed with me -- it needed more lime. I'm going to try again this week with double the limeyness. I haven't seen my mom yet for the taste test.

Next up I tried Emma Galloway of My Darling Lemon Thyme's Three Citrus Ginger Marmalade. Apparently she doesn't like bitter marmalade, so it was less bitter. It is made with Ruby Red Grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Mr. B declared it his favourite marmalade! And apparently it will get better as it ages :) But sadly I realized that my mom shouldn't be eating this one because she isn't supposed to eat grapefruit. Doh! I'm going to have to make another batch of orange marmalade. Here is the Three Citrus version in progress:

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Happy 2017!

A new year....
And we started the year off right -- at the beach (wishing it was warmer!)

2016 (and earlier) was all about blog troubles. Blogging has become increasingly more difficult for me. I want to blog from my iPad or phone, but Blogger no longer has an app, and wants you to blog from your browser (a grand technological leap back, in my opinion) , and the other apps I used (blogpress, BlogGo) don't work anymore. Seriously, blogging died because it was murdered.

I have so many problems with photo rotation! It used to be so easy, if a photo loaded and was rotated, then just click it and rotate. That feature is no longer on desktop blogger. AND all of the past photos that's I did rotate, have, years later, reverted back to sideways or upside down. So disappointing and frustrating. Yet, here I am, in an attempt to revive this thing! ( I am posting with the app Blogo - which appears to be great so far. Unfortunately, you get one blog for free, then you have to pay a yearly fee to add more - I'm starting with the one for free, then will re-evaluate)

2016 was bittersweet with my friendships. I was so busy with school, and I didn't see Meep as often as I wanted to, and my dear friend D retired. After 10 years of her being my teacher partne-in-crime, she retired. But I still saw her often (weekly!) as she lived near school. Then she moved :( I still see her, but not as often -- but she has a fabulous house :) . And then MC, my other teacher-partner-in-crime, my lost sister, left my school for greener pastures. I miss her terribly.

2016 also brought much joy! Baby G! Adorableness. And the Lovely Miss L is such a wonderful mommy :)

My "one word" for 2017 is NURTURE. I am going to nurture myself first. Reconnect with my friends who I miss so much. Spend more time with family (that's you Mr. B). And, of course, nurture the kiddos at school.

I'm also hoping to make something every week! Nurture my soul! This week I have made quince paste from the frozen quince that I found on the ground underneath the quince in Nova Scotia, and I made rosehip jelly. I sewed a tea cozy, and knit a scarf. I sewed a hat from felted sweaters. Of course, being on holiday really helps :) but, even before the holidays I sewed a lot for Baby G!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Summer recap :)

Whoa! I haven't been here in a LONG time. I planned to blog a lot this summer.... but I had a very lazy summer :)

The end of school is always a busy time -- but this year was busier than ever. My daughter, the Lovely Miss L -- had a baby! I'm refering to him as G -- my little Grandpeanut. He will call me Mimi (mimmy). I just can't face being called Grandma yet -- besides, my mom is Gramma -- and we don't want to confuse the little peanut, do we?

I had a lovely time this summer on the East Coast. I missed the little peanut, but Miss L was SO GOOD at FaceTiming with me, and texting me photos.

Andy loved rowing with our neighbour, B! She took us out into our inner harbour. So peaceful!


 I taught myself how to filet mackerel. The internet is one awesome teacher.


I went a little overboard with the preserving. I canned blueberry sauce, rasberry sauce, raspberry jam, raspberry lime jam, raspberry-saskatoonberry jam, blackberry rhubarb jam,  pincherry-lime jam(my favourite), saskatoonberry jam, and many kinds of blackberry jam (seedless is worth the work!)  I filled about 100 jars. Guess what EVERYONE is getting for Christmas this year!
And I made watermelon rind pickles (sweet) and some curry pickles (vinegar)! (I also made watermelon jam. Not my favourite)
I tried to make choke cherry jam -- but I couldn't get that weird astringency to go away, so I composted it.

 Lots of pin cherries. Imagine pitting these. Not so fun. But so worth it!

 All of those berries, i picked from my yard, or from the sides of the road. Foraging is so fun. I picked those pin cherries, and then  later that afternoon, the birds swooped down and ate ALL of the cherries from the tops of the trees (and the few that I missed lower down)

 Freezing raspberries

I picked so many blackberries that I had to give away a whole grocery bagfull of frozen packs at the end of the summer.  I couldn't fit them in the cooler to bring back to Toronto. Uh, we had 3 coolers full of jams and berries....

A very huge thank you to Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars for her brilliant blog and her perfect recipe books.

And a shout out to Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison for their awesome recipe book, Batch (I made my own pectin!)(And that is where the watermelon rind pickle recipe came from). And they are home town favourites (Toronto). Their website is Well Preserved.

If you want to get into preserving -- there are so many places to take classes. Last fall, Mr. B and I took a CSA canning class at the West End Food Coop. Last year, BlogTO created a list of where to take cooking classes in Toronto -- lots of them have canning classes. And so many other cooking classes.... (Mr. B? Pick a class! - MY birthday is coming up :)

My perfect dream life would include canning and preserving every day. I LOVE teaching, but canning would still win :)
I bought a food dehydrator this year too. So far I have made rhubarb candies (from Batch) and dried apples and dried raspberries (I was picking 4 quarts a day at one point! my freezer filled up too quickly!) I'm hoping to dry a lot more this fall.

Well, that was summer. Let's see if I manage to blog more often in the fall :)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories - Rheostatics and The Lawn

Side 1 -- The Rheostatics -- Melville
Side 2 - The Lawn -- DeBussy Fields

 Obviously, this tape is a keeper. I'm not sure where all of my other Rheo tapes are -- I had lots....
(That's my writing for Melville -- I think that is Jamie D's writing for the Lawn tracklist.... )

I first started listing to the Rheostatics around 1990. They played a few times at Call the Office. I remember Blue Rodeo joining them onstage for an impromptu gig -- because Blue Rodeo's outdoor concert was cancelled (it was pouring rain). That was a fun night :) . I spent some time before and after most of their London shows just hanging with the band. I don't really remember it much -- almost 30 years ago. I just remember one of the guys saying (every time he re-met me) "I have an Aunt Martha" :) I wonder who it was. I'm thinking Tim?

I think that this is my favourite song from Melville... but, seriously, I like them all. I have this on cd. I have 2 copies of this cd -- and 2 of Whale Music :)

Mr. B and I went to see the Rheostatics on Friday night at Massey Hall -- read about it here, on the tumblr blog: Tales of the Rabbitfish.


At first, the signage (letters on poles) seemed to be a mistake. But I posted on facebook -- "An epic typo, or a new era?"




 I am so happy that we went (we also saw them in September at the AGO). I'm hoping that we can see them again, soon -- they are playing in Dundas, Ontario on August 27th at  -- but I don't think I'll be able to go to that one :(

Hearing Martin Tielli sing is like listening to angels :) It made me so incredibly happy to hear them. I'm still on the high 2 days later :)

My favourite Rheostatics Song:
California Dreamline from Whale Music (also my favourite album)(of all time :)

Another favourite -- a cover of Jane Siberry's One More Colour! (from Introducing Happiness)

And... The Lawn... What ever happened to The Lawn? I think that I heard somewhere that the drummer, Mike Duggan, is the owner of my neighbourhood brewery, Duggan's (Parkdale). Good beer, good food - you should try it sometime :)