Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Night Visitor

Just stepped out to empty our kitchen compost the dark, I thought I saw a small dark shape near me on the step. Though it was very dark, something just told me, "that's a frog". Don't know why, just felt it. So I reached indoors and turned on the outdoor light...

And gave a little squeal because I was right, somehow...

He's a big feller, too, as big as my hand, sans fingers. Not like the little guys we've had around here the rest of the summer. Guess the girls will have to wait for their final trip outdoors for the night, he looks pretty comfy where he is....

Ouch - Nova Scotians actually buying *less* locally....

A report in the Chronicle Herald states that Nova Scotians are spending only $0.13 of every food dollar buying locally, down 17% from 1997. In fact, it states on average our food was traveling over 4,000 kilometers (not miles, km) from farm to our plates.

This is not good! As a side note, I was at the grocery store the other night, wanting to pick up some potatoes. In Canada, there's only ONE place you need to get your potatoes from, and that's the bright red soil of PEI. PEI equals potatoes here in Canada. 'Nuff said. But EVERY type of potato sold at the store, BUT ONE, was from the US!? Seriously? Like, I'm talking 10 different bags/styles of potatoes, and they all were from the US. We grow enough potatoes locally and next door in PEI, why are we wasting gas shipping them all the way in from another country?

As it says in the report, as if in answer to my question: "Several factors have contributed to the decline, including larger supermarket chains that can buy and sell cheaper by volume."

If you'll notice, I've added a link in my "home/about" bar at the top of this blog, highlighting some of our local farmers' markets. If you know of other links for farmers' markets in other areas, add them in the comments area of this post! Support local farmers!! :)

Read the full article on the report here:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hair Decorations: the next Level

Dazzling photo gallery on Mainichi: tsumami kanzashi, or traditional women's hair ornaments made of tiny folded silk pieces. Absolutely amazing craftsmanship. And some of the ideas he's come up with are just astonishing - cut open watermelon, a shrimp, fir boughs with acorns - just abounding in creativity.

Be sure to check it out! They have photos of the finished product, as well as some images of the process, and a short interview with the craftsman. link

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rainy Day Fun

What a downpour we've been having this morning. The girls still wanted to go out....

We went to the top of the hill, I came prepared with a blanket to sit on, and an umbrella. Lila decided early on to come sit with me under the umbrella, and Casey sat nearby playing goofily with her rock.  Of course, both girls decided that it was best to shake off while standing next to me, and since my blanket soaked through the bottom, I wasn't that dry anyway... :)

When it was getting close to finishing time, I saw a movement in the grass near my feet, and a little brown frog struggled into view.  I said to him "surely you're not looking to sit under the umbrella, too?" but he just stared back at me.  I think he considered it for a minute though...

Rather than have him noticed by the girls, I thought it best we go in, and leave the little guy to his adventure in the woods beyond our yard.  :)

Guess what Casey, you're staying in the basement for a while, you big muddy girl.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BeanDreams: Fruition

A little earlier than I expected, but certainly not unwelcome! I've tasted some already, snacking as I string some supports between bamboo poles, and they are wonderfully crisp and sweet. I hope I have enough to cook with, but that's all up to my restraint, I think! :)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mic Mac Bar and Grill

MicMac Bar and Grill a.k.a. Mic Mac Tavern
217 Waverley Road, Dartmouth

I haven't gone to the Micmac Bar and Grill for probably 10 years at least. I lived outside of town, and didn't come in very often. And after a time, even though my parents used to come there before they were married in 1970 (happy 40 years guys!), and long after, it kinda fell by the wayside of our family vision. Then once I moved back into the city, and coworkers would mention with a glow in their eyes that their treat for the night was going to the Micmac for a steak dinner, and friends of my parents mentioned it to them again, we ended up going there yesterday for supper.

My God, you must go. :)

It was 30+°C yesterday, and just miserable outside, but inside was beautifully cool. The decor is not elaborate, it's very simple and homey. Big wooden chairs, lots of windows, and two levels, with lots of seating (and lots of parking). Not a place where you get dressed up to go eat, just come casual. Not a fancy-dan looking place, but that's because they put their money where it counts: hiring super-friendly and helpful staff, and in the quality of the food.

Our waitress was the granddaughter of the original owners, whose black and white pictures were on the walls. This place is ESTABLISHED, and a family-run business, and looks to continue to be so for generations to come. Her mother and stepfather own the place, and her father cuts/butchers all the steaks and makes the ground beef himself. (We weren't served by just her, though - while she was the main waitress, we had at least 3 different people attending to our needs over the course of the dinner--you never felt ignored.)

Butchering the steaks themselves must be the reason they can keep their prices so low. We had 10-oz filet mignon (bacon wrapped), with fries for $13.99. $13.99!!!. They also have a secret spice medley that only the waitress's dad knows (I hope he has that info backed up somewhere!) that is just incredible. No steak sauce needed! And so tender, just melts in your mouth, a truly amazing piece of beef. I might just go for the 7oz next time, because the 10oz was so big, I had to bring some home (not that that was a bad thing!) One side of mushroom and onions are enough for 2 people, as recommended by our waitress, and she was dead on. Lovely fresh mushrooms too, no canned crap here! Hand cut french fries come in LARGE portions, and if you think you might be cheated by getting baked potato as a side instead, you'd be sorely mistaken. They are enormous! Gravy is true beef gravy, definitely not pre-packaged because it tastes deeply beefy and not too salty.

Did I mention the steaks were incredible? :) I'm sure the other things on the menu are equally well prepared, but for certain, when you ask people about this place, the steaks are what get raved about. Truly a special treat. But inexpensive enough that it doesn't have to be saved for special occasions.

Go early, because when we left at 4.30 pm it looked like it was going to be a packed house.

Directions can be found on Google Maps.

The street view is not quite on, it's actually the blue-gray building next to the one that shows up when you zoom in.