Daughters and Spiders

26 08 2010

Wolf Spider

Last night I was about at the end of my rope, hauling my 3 year old daughter to her bedroom for the umpteenth timeout of the day, when all of a sudden I spot this giant wolf spider on the wall right above her bedroom door!

I accidentally swore to myself, then ran her into the living room. Somehow I managed to catch the thing in a jar and seal the lid on tight. That was so frightening, but it provided a great mental break and comedic interruption of an otherwise rotten day. Composing myself, I called DD into the kitchen for a little spider show and tell. I don’t want her to be afraid of them like I am, so now that it’s safely in a jar we could both take a close look at the thing. I appreciate her innocent fascination.

Let’s Take A Walk Through Finnerty Gardens

27 04 2008

This past Friday my parents took Jasmine and I for a magical walk through UVic’s famous Finnerty Gardens. The Rhododendrons were in full bloom, as were many other fabulous species.

I last visited with my Grandpa and Grandma Whitbread when I was about 7 years old. I remember picking spent rhodo blooms off the forest floor. I noticed that some were scented, and others were not, and that all Rhododendron flowers were quite sticky. The bright orange ones really caught my eye at the time.

Jasmine slept through most of the walk, but when she did rouse from her snooze, she became infatuated with touching the beautiful blooms. I hope when she’s older she’ll have as much fun in the gardens with her Grammie and Grandpa as I did with mine.

Let’s Make Some Concord Grape PIE!

25 04 2008

I made these pies back in September of 2006. To celebrate the start of my recipes section, here’s the photographic adventure in annual Concord grape pie bake!

Today I decided to make some Concord Grape Pies. I first discovered this tasty treat last year when trying to figure out what to do with all the grapes in the back yard. The year we bought the house we attempted wine, but it turned out to be too acidic. Here’s the label I made in illustrator:
Baby Gull Wine

Unfortunately my dog likes to eat everything edible in the back yard, and apparently grapes can do some major kidney damage to the canine family. So we found a simple recipe online. It uses grapes, lemon juice(I used lime today, since I of course had a spare one in the fridge) sugar, flour, a dab of butter and a pinch of salt.

I picked all the grapes that were left.

Picked Concord Grapes

I dumped them into a sink full of cool water and removed them from their stems, quite the grape orgy in there!

Washing Concord Grapes

Then the skins get removed from the innards. A simple yet time consuming job. (did you know that all grapes are white inside, only the skins contain the pigment?)

Naked Concord Grapes

The nekked grapes are brought to a boil.

Cooking Concord Grapes

Then put through a food mill to remove the seeds.

Concord Grapes in the Food Mill

Then they go back with the skins and the dry ingredients are added.

Dry Ingredients Added

And then they go into the pie shells! (there’s Gypsy protesting in the background)

Ready to Bake

Heres one fresh baked! Mmmmm… pie – Complete with pie bird(I collect them too)

Fresh Baked Concord Grape Pie

A Cold Winter’s Day – In the Spring

21 04 2008

I’ve heard of April showers, but this is ridiculous. A recent ridge of low pressure brought some seriously frigid arctic air to the area last weekend. Friday we had these giant snowflakes come down in the evening, they were about 2″ across! Saturday morning saw scenes like that of my photo (taken in January/’06), while some areas closer to sea level were still green. The last time we had snow this late in the season was way back in 1955. I heard that Toronto had temperatures in the mid-twenties, which is equally as unseasonable. I’m sure they were gloating in their shorts and sunglasses.

Soon the temperatures will rise, the rain will stop falling, and we’ll wish we had such a surplus of water. Until then, I’ll take what sunny breaks I can get, out in the garden pulling weeds or planting tropicals.

Almost a foot of snow blankets the backyard

The Other Type of Weed

15 04 2008

Weeds, before

Here you see my veggie beds. On the right is the one I’ve been using for the past three years or so to grow mainly tomatoes and squash. On the left is the bed I’ve never used. Full of weeds it sits, making me feel guilty every time I look at it. Today I decided to tackle those weeds. I pulled out my favorite gloves and shovel, and had at ‘er.

Weeds, after

Here’s the bed, now lovingly devoid of weeds. Soon I’ll plant some squash, maybe cucumber, bulb fennel, maybe some peas or beans. The beds are 4′ X 8′ and they sit at the very back of my property. The short fence you see separates this area from the rest of the back yard, which is handy when you have a vegetable loving dog. You can see she’s broken through the fence more than once, we used old wainscoting to temporarily block the hole. She used her teeth to rip the lattice apart, sneaky dog.

Surprise, it’s Saturn!

14 04 2008

This year we had the opportunity to see the moon in it’s fully eclipsed format. I took a few photos, none of which turned out very well. In my defense I was trying to use my camera in pitch black while my husband was calling me for supper. After uploading the pictures to my computer I opened them and noticed, when I zoomed in, that one of the ‘stars’ was very blue and spherical! After contacting the Centre of the Universe Observatory, they told me that what I’d photographed was actually Saturn! What a fluke! Anyhow, here are a couple of photos. You can click them a couple of times to enlarge fully.

Jasmine turns 10 months

14 04 2008

Ok, so I know it’s silly to celebrate a monthly birthday.

From the time babies are born we count the days they’ve been here. It starts with days, progresses to weeks, then on to months. It seems to stay at months for far too long. ‘Little Sally is 23 months old!’ Well whoop de frickin’ doo! I’m 357 months old! After kids reach the age of 1, ages should be given by year only. One and a half or whatever is acceptable. When Jasmine turns a year I’m going to attempt to refrain from this ridiculous habit.

Until then, Happy 10 month Birthday Jasmine!

My Worst Nightmare

14 04 2008

Last night I dreamt that I was shopping in a local mall. I put Jasmine in her stroller without strapping her in. I turned around to look at something on a table, and when I turned back she was gone. The panic and rage I felt were unreal. I was terrified and more angry than I’ve ever been in my life. I stormed the mall looking for her. Gazing accusingly at passersby holding babies, checking to see if each one was her.

I’ve had many lucid dreams in the past. This time I wished to myself that it was a dream, thinking that my emotions were so strong, it must be real.

It reminded me of Michael Dunahee who disappeared from Victoria back in 1991, and was never found. It can happen to anyone. Keep a close eye on your children, and hug them tight at night. I never want to feel that kind of pain in real life.

I Smell a Rat

13 04 2008

About a week ago, while tidying up the closet in the nursery, we discovered a small animal had been living in our midst. We purchased a couple of rat traps and set one up in the closet, the other in the crawl space.

A few days later, I was up in the middle of the night to change Jasmine. Upon entering the nursery I saw Toffee jump three feet in the air, then go sniffing under the toy chest. I turned around to see a tail slip under the door. The next morning I spotted feet and a tail scooting past the recycling boxes. That afternoon I noticed the hind end of a rat running over Gypsy’s water dish, disappearing down the hole that leads the radiator hose into the basement. Our monster Aloe Vera plant was also discovered, gnawed almost to death!

That evening we picked Toffee up from the animal hospital after having her teeth cleaned. Not 15 minutes later I went to check on her and she had that rat dead in the nursery! Still woozy from the drugs, I was amazed she was able to take down such a big rat.

Toffee is known for her good hunting skills. She brought home a live mouse last summer, which my Mother-in-Law Barb and I caught and released in the front yard. I’m glad to know Toffee is here to protect us from the little critters that eat her food.

Toffee The Protector