Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rote Grutze!

You might well be forgiven for saying "God bless you" or "Gusundeit" after reading the post title, but no need. It's not a sneeze and I certainly hope it doesn't taste like one! Probably as much as Kitkat and Fauntleroy as they will be eating it tomorrow night.

Last weekend, Lonsdale produced it's last 6 cups of red currants and having made a batch of jam with the first, struggled with ideas for the end of the season bounty. I've tried two variations of red currant pie and both were runny, sour messes. 3 jars of jam is more than enough as it's not exactly my favourite but does look nice on the table at Christmas.

As mother nature seems hell bent against my getting culture in the form of Shakespeare in the Park, raining me out yet again this week, I got myself to thinking about a sans picnic dinner for the boys and what else I could do with my little red harvest. Three spoons and big tub of red currants not being an option.

Deep in the recesses of my mind, I remembered a Martha Steward dessert composed of the red globes of sour goodness and after an ask of the Google, the idea of rote grutze to round out our Thursday night meal was born.

This German dessert is apparently very good for you if a little on the sour side. Not exactly selling features for a dessert in my estimation but one must try what one must.

Six cups of red currants takes a LONG time to pick. Especially when the base of the bush is home to a snake and the mosquitoes were out in force. Luckily neither of those ended up in the pot and now four dishes are a chillin' in the fridge for tomorrow night's festivities.

If all else fails, the dollop of whipped cream will become a bowlful and we'll just be done with red currants for now.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

From the gardens

From Lonsdale we have treats that will last the year. Dilly Beans and Malt Vinegar Onions.

From the Beach garden, Teatro Verde served me well!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

All hail her majesty, the Queen!

After too many weeks of waiting, my version of Mary, Queen of Teck has finally taken up residence in her "palace". The red strap in the photo is to keep raccoons out - in case any of them didn't get the message when the others got their heads cracked open.

I told her highness it was bunting in honour of her arrival. She seemed pleased but her workers did not like the clickety clack of the ratchet one bit. And I put that in place with no protective gear. Not real bright.

I'll bee, hold on to your hats there are lots more bee jokes coming, the first to admit foundation of the royal residence needs a little work. Kitkat and I had set up the stone supports from an old garden bench but they were knocked over by the wind. Probably not best for an 80 lb hive.

Delay issue addressed, I finally managed to find a time convenient for both Todd, my bee connection, and myself to make the swap. At his direction, I read his website about what I needed to prepare when I came to claim my queen. In retrospect, a couple things make me go hmmmmmmmmm....

"we do not stop the flight of bees, or close entrances, until you arrive for pick-up" - apparently, 'close entrances' equates to grabbing some long grass and stuffing it in the entrance to the hive. Keep in mind, 1000+ bees are then placed in your vehicle. Anxious views in the rearview mirror were on tap for the hour long drive to Lonsdale. There were one or two stragglers that followed the hive into Gertrude. I fear they were sucked out the sunroof. I hope they made it home. 

"bring your protective clothing; or arrive early to purchase it from our store here " - as always, I did as instructed and brought my bee gitch. Apparently it was just for show. After selecting my single, that's bee lingo for those not in the know, Todd said he'd need my help in lifting it. "Should I get my gloves and hood?" I asked. "Getting stung is part of the business, might as well get used to it." With extreme care I hoisted my side and prayed for no pissed off bees. 

Sadly, there likely won't bee much honey this year as it's late in the season. So now I'll have a nervous winter praying they make it through! IronMan's grandma is busy knitting them a bee cozy as I write. Seriously, there is such a thing. No foolin.

Between the bees and painting the LAST room on the main floor, it's been a crazy weekend and now time for bed. But first, a little video of the bees in action!

Friday, July 19, 2013

What I've been up to

Well, let’s run down the list of things that have happened since we last chatted:

Toronto experienced apocalyptic flooding two weeks ago. Our home escaped any real damage. We survived it better than the poor Dollhouse Girls, we boys only had a bit of water in the cold cellar. My biggest concern came with the bike ride home. Futile best describes my waiting for the rain to stop before heading home. While craning my neck skyward, I naturally scratched mosquito bites from the weekend trip to Lonsdale.

Of note is one on my ankle that I ended up drawing blood from. Nice. Ah well, the rain would wash it away. I did not anticipate however having to ride through a foot plus of water in the “where the Ferrari was abandoned” underpass; black, foul smelling, sewer water.

For days after, all I could think was that I had contracted SARS, bird flu and / or any number of infections. Almost two weeks in, and all seems to be ok.

Lonsdale also hosted it’s first guest – Kitkat! That weekend also produced 6 cups of red currants and 6 jars + 2 servings of yummy green beans! First flowers and rhubarb and now, summer produce!

I’m afraid I wasn’t the best host as I had yard work to do and I don’t dare ask my guests to help. We did attempt a walk in the woods but were driven back by deer flies. I can deny all I want that my hair is thinning, but when those nasty buggers can get to the crown of your head and dig in, I have to question my vitamin B and headstand efforts. Alas.

I have also learned that despite having similar alcohol content, you really can’t drink sake like wine, especially after having 6 tester shots to find out which you prefer. Makes for a fun evening but not for a hangover free morning. Still, I recommend a half bottle and a visit to an izakaya. Guu, I think it’s called, on Church St, is particularly good fun.

Lastly, and it’s hard to admit, but Kitkat and Kerouac were correct. When you reach a certain age, the saying “you really dropped the ball”, takes on an entirely new meeting. I scoffed at them at some point in the last two years for saying so but unless you are wearing particularly supportive undergarments, one needs to be mindful when one sits down these days.

Things tend to hand lower than they did and if you’re not careful you become your own version of a nutcracker. Ouch.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy Pride and Happy Weeping

Lonsdale has been keeping IronMan and I extremely busy the last few weeks but everything is coming together nicely.

Yesterday we put the finishing touches on what we are calling the French room. My bargain antique bed, direct from France, is the focal point and the walls are a fabulous grey (with a hint of purple according to Baco Noir) and the white trim makes it pop.

IronMan can't wait to start on the last themed room as it will include wallpaper and he just loves how long it takes for me to be happy with each piece and it's positioning. We are arguing over this being being an Italian themed room or English Regency. I found an 1837 date plaque in the basement and that puts us right at the end of the regency.

Having an aversion to all things Capodimonte and attraction to all things Downton Abbey, plus the fact that I'll be hanging the wallpaper, I'm quite confident that regency will reign supreme. I'll drink Italian wine in front of the fire place of course but will dream of queens and coronets when I sleep.

I addition to decorating, the mass of flower beds seem to be under control. The roots on crabgrass are fascinating - if pervasive and a pain in the ass. I can now do a weekly weed scan and pick out any lingering offenders in an hour or so. I hope to see that time decline over the coming weeks. Next year this should leave me more time to tend to vegetable gardens.

There is one patch that is thick with lilies that still has a few weeds in it. I hesitate sticking my hand in there as I often see snakes slithering about. I will get to it, I just need to pluck up the ol' courage.

We have also 'relocated' two raccoons. I can't elaborate, but rest assured they have gone on a well deserved trip and the attic is now rodent free. At least those of substantial size. I'm sure I'll have mice at my door in the fall, but I'm ready for them.

And finally, on this long overdue post, HAPPY PRIDE and CANADA DAY!!!! We made it back for a late afternoon stroll of the street, a visit to the Fire Hydrants to partake in the communal keg and an evening visit to the dollhouse. Another thing Ironman loves - when I try to jam as much as I can into a day. Good times.

In honour of pride, please enjoy Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and their fabulous anthem, Same Love.