Sunday, November 16, 2008

Photo: End of Fall

Bare trees against a backdrop of falling autumn leaves, as a crow family calls to their members at a distance.

"Zoo Poo" to Energy?

Toronto Zoo wants to turn poo into energy

It's an interesting idea - as I have purchased poo from the Metro Toronto Zoo in the past (they sell small packs of it as "Zoo Poo", to use as fertilizer), I was glad to see they were thinking of other good uses for all the poo generated by the zoo - it makes sense to find some way to convert it to energy! As long as they still sell it for fertilizer too... :)

The Zoo is a really fun experience, btw, and I highly recommend it the next time you're in the Toronto area.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Downtown Halifax Parade of Lights 2008

Wow, almost missed it! It's tomorrow night, November 15th, 2008. So if you'll be in the Halifax area, be sure to check it out! Everyone, especially the kiddies, has a lot of fun!

Read all about it here!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Simplify Your Christmas Gift-Giving

Finances are often tight around the holidays, but this year, things will be even tighter for many families. So now, more than ever, it might be a good idea to look at your Christmas gift giving, and say "Do I really need a new ------? Or could I give it up, and instead donate the money that would go towards it to a cause that could really use it, to help people or animals just live? Not have extra, superficial things, but the basics of life?"

So I thought I'd bring you this repeat post from November of 2007 - these are all amazing charities who do wonderful work! Our big one at our household this year will be the World Vision Catalogue - haven't decided yet what we'll end up doing - chickens or goats?

You're tired of roaming the malls trying to find the perfect gift, knowing it probably doesn't exist. Even after all the searching, you might end up getting your loved one something that will be worn out in 6 months anyway - and contribute to a pile of clutter they don't need. Ugh!

So maybe this year, you should consider something else...something that won't sit around as clutter but instead would make a huge difference in someone's life. Doesn't that sound more like what Christmas is all about?

And I won't even mention the fact that you don't have to hit the malls to do this... :)

I've chosen some wonderful charities that are personal favorites of mine - check 'em out (or choose one of your own faves) and make a donation in your loved one's name that will make the season sparkle more brightly for all involved!

Hope for Wildlife
The woman who runs this place, Hope Swinimer (get it? Hope Swinimer and Hope for Wildlife?!) is a dynamo. The woman LIVES to help wounded or abandoned/orphaned wild animals get rehabilitated. Even with this difficult and constantly heavy workload, she ALWAYS has time to answer questions from the general public regarding their own wildlife issues. We've been in contact with her more than once, regarding getting a humane trap to try and catch one of our cats that got outside (she lends them out for free!), and about a local crow whose wing was broken (can it be fixed? should we try and capture it or leave it be?). She is patient and kind, and a really great person to talk to. When I went over to my parent's house recently, I happened to glance at their list of phone numbers by the phone, and there was Hope's number! They had been in touch with her about wildlife issues too.

Her cause is admirable, and her dedication inspiring. If you want to donate to a worthy animal-related cause, please consider this one!

Learn more about all the work the Foundation does here.

Go to their Donation Page:

World Vision International Catalogue

A perennial favorite with me! They've come up with a great way to really make you feel connected to your donation. It also lets you see just how far a small amount of Western money can go in some developing nations. You can choose to buy a family a goat (to provide milk and cheese, both to eat and to sell), or a pair of rabbits (to breed them, to eat some and sell the meat), or buy a family 10 fruit trees, or buy a school safe water. All of these gifts are very reasonably priced! They also have larger gifts, like wells, that you can buy a share in - several people's donations get pooled together and can build a well for a town. It's a very cool gift idea - imagine telling your friend who has everything that you bought them a goat for Christmas! :)

Kiva - loans that change lives

A simple idea: you loan money to a person in a developing nation who has a small business that needs money to expand (generally an amount that would be considered a pittance in the West, but to them is an unattainable sum). As they pay the loan back (usually over the course of a year) you get your money back. You can choose from lots of types of businesses: there's everything from a grocery store owner in Paraguay that wants to expand his merchandise to someone wanting to sell an expanded variety of clothing in Azerbaijan. A great way to help people in developing nations support themselves!

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) International
This organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. An organization of heroes - men and women who spent years training in medicine. They could stay home and make a fortune in cushy surroundings. But instead, these brave doctors go to some of the most dangerous areas in the world to give medical aid - medicines, surgeries and everything in between - to people in most desperate need. Whether in war, or massive natural disaster, these people will work in horrid conditions to bring health and survival to the people they treat.

Donation page:

An American site that allows people to donate to various projects that public school teachers have created as great learning experiences for their students, but lack the funds to carry out. Everything from buying a projector for a science class to buying props to help illustrate proper food portion size for good health, and everything in between. Look up your favorite subject, and you'll likely find a project relating to it. Help some kids get a richer educational experience!

Blankets of Love Foundation

(snail mail donation only)
People in the grips of depression and other mental illnesses need comfort more than most. Some of these people have been abandoned by their families, and feel abandoned by society. This great charity gives them a bit of personalized comfort, in a physical form that they can touch and hold on to. Here's a quote from one of the recipients:

"One day Bob came in and gave me this special quilt and told me it was made just for me to help me get through my dark days with depression. I cried and couldn't believe someone would make something so nice for me. I bring my Blanket of Love with me each time I go back to the Hospital."
-- Sarah

To donate financially, click on her "Contact" link in the left sidebar for more info. To donate a quilt, click on her "How to Participate" link.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Photo: Memories of April

I've been struggling with the gargantuan (well, maybe not gargantuan, but still, pretty freakin' big) task of resorting, labeling and reburning my photos onto dvds. I take a LOT of photos!

I came across this one from April of 2006, back when the Junco babies were regularly brought to the feeder by their parents, being taught where they could find food. I remember this little one quite clearly, as he or she was ENORMOUS, just a round little ball of birdie. This wasn't just because it was cold out or something, it didn't matter what the weather, this little one was like twice the size of the others! So adorable! Even his stance is really wide, to support his large size. I just wanna pick him up and give him a hug! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pysanky Gift Ideas for the Holidays

I've updated the Pysanka Gift Guide on for the 2008 Holiday Season! If you know someone who loves the ancient art of Ukrainian Easter Egg decorating, I've listed tons of great gift ideas that will totally thrill the pysanka lover on your list! Great general Ukrainian gift ideas too, with Ukrainian food, humor and more!

Have fun shopping, and get your holiday gift shopping finished EARLY!

Look for Ann's Ukrainian Gifts Shop's Christmas Section, opening soon!

Ladybug at Sunset

We've had a LOT of ladybugs around the last couple of days. They're a great beneficial insect, and get rid of nasty things like aphids. Glad to see them around, hope they have plans for the winter!

PhotoJournal: Ah, Autumn - Part I

Autumn is so beautiful, I was just at the back of the property, and I took a deep breath, the very distinct scent of freshly fallen leaves filling the air (these same leaves won't be so pretty-smelling come spring time, but for now, they are a pleasant, unique-to-autumn smell). Mix in warmish autumn air, and you just want to sit outside and relax. If you can. :) The colours are just so lovely, the sky a perfect backdrop in a lovely blue... *sigh*

Monday, October 06, 2008

Thanksgiving Success

This year, I had my folks over for the first time for a holiday meal (until now, I, along with others, have been going over to their place). Due to work schedules, I had the meal on Sunday, instead of the official holiday date of Monday, October 13th, 2008 (today!).

I went to the Halifax Farmer's Market on the 4th to get most of the food I'd need for the big day -- I didn't want to risk not being able to get there the following Saturday and not have local produce at my feast table. Celebrating the harvest is what Thanksgiving is all about, after all!

This year my table was spread with produce from Selwood Green, an organic farm in the Minas Basin area of Nova Scotia. And what wonderful produce it was, too! Fresh, colorful peppers, celery, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers - everything bright, crisp, and grown without chemicals. Very nice!


Cabbages, carrots and onions are all in peak season right now, and would have made an ideal starter - if only we had enough room on our plates! I brought it out last, as it was at the back of the fridge, and there was hardly room for more than a tiny bowlful on the side. I made a lot too, so we'll be eating coleslaw for a few days. :)

Cranberry Sauce
Modified from a recipe from my favorite pickling book, "Put a Lid on It - Small Batch Preserving for Every Season" by Ellie Topp & Margaret Howard - I used Turning Leaf Merlot instead of port. Soooo good.

Family Recipe Relish
I'd need to get permission to share this relish recipe, which some members of my family have made for decades. It's got cabbage, onion, celery, cucumbers, peppers and more, very tasty.

But of course! Thanksgiving wouldn't be thanksgiving without it. I would have loved to buy a free-range turkey this year, but it would be a little too expensive for us to manage. Next year though! It was seasoned with a collection of spices, some from the garden and some purchased from the grocery store and Farmer's Market. Parsley, sage, and rosemary will be the main players. For poultry or pork, it's best to remember Scarborough Fair - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme make a perfect combination. If you ever need help calculating cooking times, or figuring out how to carve a turkey, check out the incredibly helpful Butterball site. Thank goodness that's there! I consult it every year!

I dressed up our beautiful organic carrots with a great recipe for "zippy" glazed carrots by Chef Meow, really delicious!

I used my recipe, based on a conglomeration of several I found on the Internet, for this classic Ukrainian mushroom dish. Delish! I used three kinds of mushrooms - crimini, shittake, and white button. The different kinds of mushrooms add a wonderful depth to the dish. Add a little more Turning Leaf Merlot, and yum-my!

Ukrainian-meat-on-a-stick. Wow. What a delicious food! My parents had picked me up an extra pork roast during Sobey's latest BOGO sale. It was a gorgeous roast, and it made perfect patychky! Thanks to mister anchovy, I was able to get in touch with this delicious culinary memory from my childhood.

Good ol' Mashed Potatoes
Dave had a hard job of it, seeing as our potato masher is still packed away somewhere, but he did a darn good job of it with a fork! :)

Club House Turkey, with pan drippings. They have a commercial out now that shows making the gravy with their package and pan drippings, and I've always found it worked great! Making the whole thing from scratch doesn't generally turn out well for me, so for years I've been doing it this way. And now they've made a commercial about it, so I guess lots of others have been doing it, too!

All in all, dinner turned out great! My mom brought a wonderful lemon dessert, so that was an extra thing off my "to-do" list. :) It was all yummy, and we ate till we were stuffed! :) It was a terrific celebration of the harvest - we had much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Cool PreSchool Idea - Kids learning to embrace the great outdoors

There's a great new-to-Canada idea for a preschool just outside of Ottawa, Ontario. The Carp Ridge Forest Pre-School is outdoors. All the time! If it gets really cold, they have tent-like shelter they can go into (also used for story times and naptimes). They get to hike around in all sorts of weather, learn about nature and wildlife, all in a safe, monitored environment - sounds fantastic! (And FYI, there's modern toilet facilities available). :)

When I was growing up, we had a small forest on our property, and I LOVED tramping around in the leaves and snow, seeing bugs and birds and all sorts of things. My parents made sure I was safely exposed to the beauty of nature, and because of that, I grew up to really appreciate nature, no matter the weather.

Read about this preschool on the CBC here. Visit the pre-school home page here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

City Changes

The house we're now renting is only a few streets away from where I grew up. And even though it hasn't been that long since I moved out to the country, the city has changed quite a bit. It is MUCH noisier. MUCH. There are way more people here, and traffic is heavy, even in the middle of the day - I imagine that's partly why it seems more noisy. :) It's going to take some getting used to!

I'm very thankful for the little bit of wilderness at the back edge of the property. The lovely autumn asters nodding in the delicate breeze at sunset. Ahhhh...a little respite from having to comfort all the animals (who are totally stressed at leaving the only home they've ever known - so sorry guys!), all the packing/unpacking, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning... I'll be very glad when we're finally all settled here, and can gear up for Hallowe'en...and Christmas! (I know, I know, it's early, but I can't help it, I'm a total Christmas Freak). :)

But for now, there's warm autumn breezes, and lovely asters at sunset...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Farmer's Market, Earlier this Time

I mentioned yesterday to my parents, over my dad's homemade fishcakes, that I was thinking of going to the Farmer's Market again this week. Surprisingly, they told me they had never gone before! I guess it's like one of those things, like people who live in Toronto but have never gone up the CN Tower - somehow, in all the years they've been here, they'd never gone!

We went an hour earlier this time, and got there around 8:45 am. It was a little less crowded! This time, because we could take it just a bit more slowly, I was able to get the names of some of the places we bought food from, which is nice! If I enjoy stuff, I want to share it with you all! :)

I got some lovely looking unpasteurized honey from C & L Farms Ent. who came to the market from Collingwood, NS. It's called Pure Wildflower Honey - doesn't that just conjure up images of vast fields of wildflowers in the wilderness of Nova Scotia, little bees buzzing everywhere? :) And the honey tastes really good too! I heard once that if you have bad seasonal allergies, at the beginning of the season you should buy honeycomb from a local beehive and eat it. It will be made from all the local blooming flowers and contain the pollen which makes you sneeze and such, but the way it's introduced to the body makes it so your symptoms are lessened when you come in contact with it in the air. I've heard some people swear by it!

I picked up a staple of many Canadian kitchens, pure Maple Syrup, from the folks at Frosty Maple Products, in Southampton, NS. If you've never had the real thing on pancakes or waffles, you owe it to yourself to give it a try!

One place I really wanted to support was Getaway Farm (from Canning, NS), who after being in organic transition, have just been certified organic! Congratulations! Organic transition, from what I understand, is one of the toughest places for a farm to be in - they have all the costs of being organic, but without the full certification, so they can't charge organic prices. A tough spot! But fortunately, they've come through it, and I was very happy to pick up some lovely bacon - which I immediately ate when I got home! :) Yummy! (No, I didn't eat ALL of it...yet) :) I felt good knowing that the animal I was partaking of had led a much happier, longer life, too (learn more here).

And after reading stellar reviews on the Farmer's Market website, I just had to try the Scottish Highland cattle raised on hay and grass from Highview Farm, from Wolfville, NS. I got some lovely lean ground beef from them, and I look forward to making hamburgers in the next couple of days and seeing what a difference grass-fed makes! (Want to know why grass-fed beef is better for you, and better for the cows, too? Read here.)

My parents bought some fruits and vegetables, and were amazed by the wide variety of food and products available. They had a good time, which I was glad for. Once again, the Halifax Farmer's Market was a goldmine for fresh tasting, healthy, locally grown food and locally made products.

Support your local farmers! It's good for the environment, and yourself!

Read about my previous trip here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ann's Triumphant Return to the Farmer's Market

Okay, well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. :D

I apologize for the delay, it's hard enough moving, but also I've been having a lot of internet access issues lately (which are now hopefully resolved), all leading to delays in posting here.

Years ago, back in university, one of our classes involved doing a study of the Halifax Farmer's Market, an institution since the 1700s. Every Sunday, farmers from near and far (some leaving at 3 am to get to the market on time) come to sell their produce, their meat, herbs, jams - and now artisans and artists too, sell greeting cards and prints, silk scarves, carvings, and all other manner of delightful things. Doing this study for a course involved our group going to the market repeatedly, doing interviews, taking photos and the like. It was a very interesting experience. Of course, living where I have for the past several years meant I wasn't able to go for a very long time.

But now that I'm back in the city, even though I was sore and tired from all the cleaning I've been doing of our new place, I hopped on the bus and returned to the market. I had heard from a friend in our old anthropology group, who had gone there more recently than I, that the market had gotten even more popular and busy than it used to be. And boy, she wasn't kidding. It was a madhouse!

There's booths along the outside edges, which you can't see in this photo, for all the people! I could barely find a place to stand and take this pic!

In some places, I'm talkin' wall to wall people, having wait for 5 minutes just to get back in the stream of people moving (if you happened to pause to look at or buy something). Now I see why they're building a new state-of-the-art facility (super environmentally friendly, bien sûr). I don't know, though, as my friend also pointed out, being in a brand new facility will make the market lose that old-world charm that you currently get from wandering around the old passages of the Keith's brewery building. Around every turn there's a new array of stalls, artwork, fresh produce. It just won't be the same in a new, wide-open building.

Also, going to the market on Saturday mornings is very much like being part of a secret club. You can easily identify other members of the club, carrying baskets or reusable tote bags on the streets immediately surrounding the market. You know exactly where they're going. You meet their gaze, and even though we often greet people with a smile and/or a 'llo in these parts, there's an extra understanding in the smile. They know you're going there too. You can also see them on the streets when you leave, as they are laden with fresh goods, crafts, and other goodies. They see your bag bulging too, and smile. This, sadly, will probably also be lost when the new facility opens up, as it will be open seven days a week. I wonder if Saturday morning will still be the busiest time there...?

All in all, although my visit was brief, I got just gorgeous produce and I look forward to going again very soon! Here's only some of what I was able to obtain - great stuff, eh? Guess what I'm making with it? (Here's a hint). Yum! Locally grown, super-fresh, and ever-so-good-for-you! :D

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

BeanDreams: Herb Drying

I gathered up my catnip crop and set it out on a pan in the oven to dry. I love the variations in the colors of the leaves, the shades and hues are really lovely!

I put them in a 150 deg F oven, stirring them up carefully with my hands every ten minutes or so (it's very hot at first, while the leaves are still moist, so be careful!), until they've dried out and become crispy, but not burned. I store the leaves whole, and will crush them to release more scent when the time comes to use them - usually I rub it into the fabric of the blanket the cats like to sleep on.

My kitties prefer the fresh stuff, but it's getting colder now, and the plants won't last outside much longer. I'd bring them inside for the winter, but they wouldn't survive the cats indoors! :) So, dried will have to do until spring again.

Monday, September 08, 2008


As one of my co-workers stated - "Oh, you're moving? Moving sucks." Oh yeah. It does.

There's a lot of things I'm going to miss about living out here, and a lot of things I'll be happy to leave behind. I will really miss seeing the baby pheasants grow up, and all the bunnies and other wildlife that have become part of my daily life here. I'll miss the country air, and the (relative) quiet.

I'll be trading in the annoyance of ATVs and snowmobiles for the annoyance of loud music blaring from cars driving down the street, so it's pretty much equal there.

I'll be glad to be able to go to the Farmer's Market in Halifax, the biggest and oldest one in the province (since the 1700s) - assuming I can get Saturdays off. :) The place we're renting has a nice view, and a quiet backyard, which will be nice to relax in.

So, once we're actually done moving all our stuff from one place to the other, and get properly settled in, I'll get back to blogging about the more ruralish aspects of my new city life.

Wish us luck! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Baby Pheasants are "babies" no more

They've grown so big! I got unexpectedly awoken early this morning, but got a nice reward, seeing the babies sitting under our backyard maple, shaking out the dew from their feathers. What a cute bunch! You can definitely see the second one from the left is going to be a boy - he's getting his pretty red feathers in around his neck (and some on his chest too, which I've seen on earlier occasions).

It's funny when their bodies are all puffed out like that, it makes their heads look ridiculously scrawny and small! (Like, check out the one on the far right - she's looking like a Skesis or something!) Okay, cuter than that, but you get my drift. :)

I really can't get over how fast they've grown. I guess they have to, with the cooler weather coming on. :) What sweet little dears...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BeanDreams: the previous generation

I mean seriously - anyone can grow cucumber - but it takes a special kind of gardener to grow cukes like this! My mother's plants are as tall as we are!

It's actually kinda scary standing next to them, it's like a jungle, pressing in on you...thank goodness it's behind a fence! ;)

So, as far as gardening: like father, like daughter.

(Of course, my Dad helps with the garden too! :D)

Busy Bees

Caught this sweet little bee, working hard in my parent's garden earlier this lovely summer (but feeling fall-ish) evening...

Friday, August 15, 2008

From Blossom to Fruit

Remember these?

Well, they've turned into these:

The turning of the seasons is a beautiful thing. :) Lovely apples just after a rainfall...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baby Junco

Awwww....what a little cutie.

You can hear his shrill trills in the backyard, since he hasn't learned his species call yet - but he's finally making the trip to the feeder with mama. He's come along quite well, I see him pecking on the ground and getting some of his own seeds - of course, he prefers if mama feeds him the seeds still... :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Molly Has A Problem

Heard a noise amongst our collection of empty boxes (kept around in prep for our eventual move). Peeked inside a box tucked inside another box, and found Molly cat.

As has been sadly seen many, many times on, Molly definitely needs boxhab.

She's addicted to boxes.

Oh, she thinks she's okay - note the defiant look on her face...but we all can see she has a problem.

Poor Molly...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Garden Gnome Globetrotter

Garden Gnomes. Some people love 'em, some hate 'em. Some people hate them enough to steal them from other people's gardens, just so they don't have to look at them. I'm sure that Eve Stuart-Kelso thought that's what had happened to her gnome when he went missing. But a few months later, he re-appeared on her doorstep, complete with a photo album detailing his world tour! Seriously! BBC did a great report on it, check it out here.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Moments Ago, the Pheasants Return

Momma and babies checking out the front lawn. So exciting!

Mom Pheasant lies down flat quickly when she senses I'm at the door taking pictures. Other birds were in the yard, too, including a couple of grackles (one shown here) and blue jays.

Two babies peckin' cute! They're about the size of pigeons now, maybe a touch bigger.

Mom and kids. So happy to see them out and about! Hope they all grow big and strong. I wonder how many are boys and how many are girls? Only time will tell!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

So wrong... (BeanDreams)

No. Don't do that.

My kohlrabi doesn't even have a bulb, and now you're eating the leaves??!!


Note: after looking around for a while, I believe that (once again, found on that awesome pest-identification page from Pest-Control Canada, photo #395) it is the caterpillar of the White-Marked Tussock Moth (a big name for a rather plain-looking moth, if you ask me). :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Beloved Bachelor's Buttons

I just love these flowers...can't get enough! So happy to be growing them again.


Meant to post this last week, but I've been quite under the weather lately. Here's a little update on how all that BeanDreaming is going...


Ah, time to let nature take its course...after eating and enjoying a crop, you've got to let some of it go to seed, so you can plant again next year. Here, you can see the daikon radish setting a seed blossom. My radish, this year as last, grew very slow and not very big. Still, a nice addition to stir fries.

And my bok choi is all finished too, and has started to set some lovely yellow flowers. Although I planted several, now that I've grown it for a couple years, I think that the variety I chose (Joi Choi) is just too petite for the way I want to use it. I love those thick white stalks, but these plants are very small - at least the way I'm growing them. :) I think if I grow bok choi again, I would pick a larger variety.

I'm not the only one enjoying the flowers:

The catnip and oregano are growing like gangbusters, truly a resounding success! I'm really, really pleased with how this crop turned out, I'll have lots to dry and use throughout the winter.

But the parsley??!! What's going wrong with them? I have no idea. I looked around online and it says that parsley doesn't like the mid-summer heat. Maybe I should move it into the shade for a while. It's funny too, because one of them is growing nicely, but the others just stopped after putting out one true leaf. Pretty disappointing, I wanted to use some fresh in cooking...

My bachelor's buttons are just starting to open - I love them so! I'm very excited. But the kohlrabi??? Some of the leaves were looking a little "blighty" - I though there might be a lack of airflow, so I made some spaces between the plants to get more air in there, it seems to have helped. But no bulb!! What's going on?

I looked around and found a site that said the long roots of kohlrabi don't lend themselves well to container planting. WHAAA??? NOW you tell me! Crap. I looked all over the place to try and find what might be causing the lack of bulb. I finally found one mention of it on the FarmGirl Fare auxiliary site. She had the same problem I did, and was also unable to find any info online about exactly "why" this lack of bulb occurs. I think perhaps the planter is too small, and they don't like the crowding? I dunno. All I know is, I have a nice crop of leaves, but no bulb. Oh well, the leaves will be nice in a stir fry. :) At least they're edible, otherwise I'd have nothing to show for it! Bleargh.

Oh well, that's just part of the job when it comes to home gardening. You have to learn by trial and error - sometimes you get fantastic results, and other times...well, it's all a growing experience! (Ouch, just realized what a bad pun that was)... :)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Baby Pheasants

Finally saw them crossing our lawn, very cautiously, a few minutes ago!

And now...getting ready to cross the dangerously-lacking-in-cover driveway...

Wait for me!!!

Phew! We all made it!

Sorry the pictures aren't clearer, but they were the best I could do under the circumstances (poor weather, fast moving birds at a distance, etc. etc. etc.) :D I'm just so thrilled to have seen them finally, AND to have gotten some pics to share these babies with you!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today's "Stew" - Good-Bye Cakes

I read the Stew last night, and by the time I was done, my eyes were tearing I was laughing so hard. Jeff Houck did a great piece on memorable Good-Bye cakes - memorable for all the wrong reasons. If you need a laugh, head over there now. OMG.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eat Your Borscht!

New tees, totes and gifts available with my brand new design - dedicated to borscht fans, of course! ;) Warn others that they'd better eat their borscht, or you'll be forced to step in!

Ukrainian humor and borscht fans alike will love this design! Check it out!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Orange: the color of summer

Tiger lilies really say "summer's here" to me. The neighbours had a gorgeous display of them when I was growing up, and we have a lot growing on the property here now, so these flowers have been around me virtually my entire life.

The colors of these flowers are perfect for the mid-summer's heat too - various bright shades of orange, each one more vibrant than the last. Just beautiful!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Tees for Ukrainian Food Lovers!

Having trouble getting as much borscht as you want? Think something "official" would help? Well, now you've got it! Get your Official Borscht Taste Tester tee today, and get to the front of the line for seconds and thirds of your favorite Ukrainian dish!

And oh yes, we haven't forgotten all the other great Ukrainian foods you love - we've got tees and totes for Holubtsi Taste Testers, Kielbasa Taste Testers, and Perogy Taste Testers!

Get yours today!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What Dave's Mom Saw This Morning

I'll be keeping my camera at the ready, for when they come around again.

Six, count 'em, SIX baby pheasants!!! She saw them, their mom, and two males walking together, taking a circuitous route around the neighbourhood. Last year we waited, but it didn't seem as if they had managed to have any babies (even though there were several females in the group), so to see that this year they had six is just wonderful! So heartwarming! I can't wait to see them myself, it's really great news.

I'll post pics when I get 'em!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

BeanDreams: Summer Sage

The sage that I planted a few years ago has set flowers:

Lovely, aren't they? I understand that sage plants get a little hard and woody after a couple of years, so it's advisable to tear up your old plants and start some fresh. The leaves on these plants still seem to be of good quality, though, so I'll keep mine going for a while. And now I'll have some seeds to replant if I need to!

Caught this busy guy on our princess bush out front - as I've mentioned before, there haven't been as many bees around these parts as is usual, so every bee is extra special.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Urban Farming

The BBC has a really interesting article on an urban farming project in Detroit.

A wonderful program, and something that is sorely needed in today's world. Not only does this provide fresh vegetables for poor inner-city folks who can't afford them otherwise (contributing greatly to their overall health and well-being), but it's great for cities to become more self-sufficient. Growing food to feed their people, instead of having it shipped to them over great distances from far-off places (which often means less-than-fresh produce, and a lot of gas used in its transportation) is really the way to go.

They have a website promoting the program at Check it out!