Sunday, April 15, 2012

Amazing World we live in now...

Wow. Technology will continue to allow us to do the most amazing things, improving our lives in ways we can't yet see. This story is incredible, about a little boy who got lost, ended up being adopted out to another continent, and then, miraculously, was able to find his hometown and his family again once he grew up, thanks to Google Maps!

From the BBC:

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter (dinner)!

Hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful Easter weekend. I'm working, of course. :) Hotels never close! But I still made a nice meal for us to enjoy, albeit separately.

I tried this recipe for ham, but left out the sauce (I just used a little toupie ham, so the drippings weren't really existent). So basically, it was a steaming, then glazing with Dijon and brown sugar, followed by a packing on of toasted bread crumbs baked on high heat for a few minutes. It looks DIVINE...

For sides, I went with mustard mixed pickles (a jar of Habitant in the fridge is a great memory of childhood, it always goes great with pork and ham dishes), my fave pidpenky (my own recipe, an amalgam of ones I found online) with garlic, wine and beef consomme, candied carrots (with a little butter and brown sugar, although this sounds really good...), possibly vinegared beets (I'll share the recipe if I end up making it - its a symbolic dish for Ukrainians, with the red symbolizing the blood of Christ, and the vinegar and usually horseradish symbolizing the bitterness of the death Jesus faced), and for a starch we'll have Potato bread stuffing - I'll use this recipe as a base - instead of poultry seasoning, I'll likely use a lot of sage and a little summer savory, little minced onion, etc (check out more details on how I've made my dressing in the past). No paska this year though, no time! (Here's the recipe my family's used for decades). And no koubassa either :( you have to hunt in this city for decent stuff, we don't have a large Eastern European community like Montreal or Toronto. Although we are getting more ethnic cuisine from other cultures, slowly over time, which is great!

Just a side note: I love SOAR (which is where the stuffing base recipe came from) - for SO many years in the early days of the Internet, that was THE place for online recipes. They don't show up high in the search engines these days, but there are a TON of great recipes there (and not a lot of repeats of the same ones over and over that you find on ALL the sites, this site was before those days!), be sure to take some time to look around! The ethnic foods section was especially amazing, you just didn't have access to these recipes unless you were brought up with them - it was really inspiring!

So, that'll be Easter supper here in Halifax - hope you have a great Easter supper celebration wherever you are! Christos Voskrese!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Speaking of bees - amazing bee evolution in Japanese bees!

Speaking of bees, bees in another part of the world have come up with an AMAZING defence mechanism against their worst enemy, the very agressive giant Asian Hornet. Their stingers can't pierce its tough exoskeleton, so they devised a "hot defensive bee ball" - they all get together in a swarm around the invader, and beat their wings until they cook the hornet to death inside the ball, while remaining unharmed themselves!!!!

AMAZING... Read more here.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

No Bees = No Food

Another link in the chain has been discovered in the mystery surrounding the seemingly world-wide collapse of beehive colonies. A particular type of pesticide that was developed to be less damaging to humans and mammals apparently affects the bees so they are unable to return back to the beehive, reducing populations and making them extra susceptible to stresses that can collapse the whole colony.

CNN has an article discussing the latest studies. Once again it's come to light that pesticides may save crops from one threat, but we are creating new problems in return...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring must be coming!

A sign of spring today - I saw evidence of a large bird being at our bird feeder when I took the girls out to play today. About 10 minutes later I heard the unmistakable "gobble gobble" of a ring-necked pheasant in the woods. So they've come out of the deep woods - and visited the feeder, yay! :) I loved seeing their babies a couple of years ago. And later on, a nuthatch showed up, so he's traveling through as well. Spring can't be that far off!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunset Tonight

Gorgeous night.  Had to edit out the power lines, but we do get a great view otherwise at the top of our hill... :)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Kotatsu for world peace?

Mainichi has a wonderful opinion piece on how the world might be a better place if the use of the kotatsu was more widespread.  Personally, we can't imagine why on earth use of the kotatsu hasn't caught on more in Canada, and other northern areas. They are just the best!  In brief, it's the way the Japanese stay warm in the winter, with limited central heating. Its a special, small electric heater screwed to the bottom of a square or coffee table, with a large duvet sort of blanket over-top, and a piece of board the same size as the surface of the table put on top.  Its super warm and cozy, there's nothing like the feeling of having your lower half tucked in and warm while watching TV or playing games, reading, surfing on the laptop, etc.

I've written about our family kotatsu before, its become an indispensable part of our winter-time life. We all gather around it come evening, the cats jostling for position on top, little Lila jostling for position underneath, with our legs in there too.  Our old table was quite old and it broke, and the new one we have is smaller, so we all have to squeeze in a little tighter!

We joke about the "peace of the kotatsu" often at our house.  But it really is true, it calms and soothes tempers, even amongst the cats! Cats that normally want to smack at each other, once they get settled down on top, will sleep close together, happy as can be.

For instance, Baby and Peepers:

And Peepers and Kuroi:

No clawing, no fighting, just everyone enjoying the warm cuddly nature of the kotatsu. So maybe that gentleman from Mainichi wasn't too far off after all! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh no! Seagull Rescue!

This happened in Dartmouth yesterday, and Patrick Helliwell got some great photos of it. Poor bird, he looks so helpless, like he really gave up. Apparently he got in a fight with some crows and ended up in the position you will see when you click the link. Thank God NS Power were able to rescue him, and he didn't get himself fried!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


About 10 minutes ago THIS happened outside. This has NEVER happened before. At least not since I've lived here!  Not something you see every day in the suburbs of Dartmouth, and as the cop said to me, not usually when it's this cold out either! But I guess the horses must get their exercise no matter the weather, so dutifully the police bundle up and go!

Edit: Coincidence?  The force is looking to disband the horse unit, along with some others (the horse and rider on the left are pictured on the CBC page too!) Hope they get to stay around!  Its a nice touch of tradition, and a great way to get kids involved with the police in a positive way.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Post Holiday Clean Up, Hoarders

Having always had hoarding tendencies myself, I try hard to keep on top of the clutter level in my home. The biggest and easiest thing for me has always been to 'head it off at the pass' by carefully thinking about what I bring into the home in the first place - do I really need it, or will it just end up being garbage?

I love watching A&E's Hoarders, because I find it very inspiring to get up and do a little cleaning. :) Its' back for another season, premiering last Monday. You can watch the latest episodes online (yay!) - look under "top videos".

Matt Paxton, one of the cleaning specialists they have on the show, has a great set of tips for decluttering BEFORE it becomes an untenable situation, check 'em out!  Now's a great time, post-holidays, to reassess your stuff and get some cleaning in, pre-Spring!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy 2012!

Hope everyone had a fun New Year's eve! :)  Thought I'd start the new year off here with a cute story from the BBC, how a woman in Sweden found her lost wedding ring 16 years later, in a most peculiar (and gardening-related) way!

Find out here!

Happy New Year!