Thursday, 30 May 2013


Or, ok, ducks.

I actually have a little time to post today, but as is usual when I haven't really posted for a while I don't have a heckuva lot to say.

I could talk about rain, I suppose.

We've been getting some. The end.

All right, sorry, but there's just not that much to say about it. We're in a thunderstorm cycle. Mid-afternoon noise and downpours the past couple of days. We're also at the start of our busy season for school programs. End result? A lot of wet kids.

That's ok for the young ones, since they absolutely love rain gear (and umbrellas. I hate that part. Ever try to take a group of umbrella-wielding six-year-olds on a walk through a forest? Works about as well as you might think), but once you hit about Grade 4 you know that you're going to be looking at a group of people who are too cool to wear anything but hoodies. Absorbent, non-drying hoodies.

It's hard to have sympathy for the hoodie crowd. If being too cool means you end up absolutely cold, well, maybe you'll remember that for next time.

Sorry, I'm a bit grumpy. I've already been wet with a group once today. Thankfully, that's the only group I have.

Funny thing is, if I wasn't with a group I'd enjoy the rain. I enjoy rain in general. I like the sound of rain (especially on canvas, but then my two fans will have already read my childhood memories of our old tent trailer), I like the look of rain, and -- as long as we're not talking torrential downpour -- I like the feel of being out in the rain. Rain becomes a lot less fun, though, when you're trying to herd a group of poorly-dressed students through a program that they stopped caring about the moment they felt the first drops hit them.

Stupid people. Wrecking my rain.

Anyway, there you have a semblance of a post. Time for me to get back to work. Enjoy the ducks.

I'd imagine that they're enjoying the rain. Sans stupid people, of course.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Very quick pointless photo because I'm busy

It's a couple of old coots American Coots. I took the shot this morning. I was actually out there to take pictures of something else, but the something else will probably end up on the work blog so you don't get to see it here.

Yet. Maybe you will if I don't use it for the work blog.

Coots are weird. They look like ducks but they aren't ducks (they're more closely related to Rails, if I'm remembering right. And I'd better be remembering right, because I'm not going to bother to look it up. You can if you like). They make obnoxious sounds. They have bright neon orange babies (again, look it up if you like) that are amongst the ugliest things on the lake.

An older fellow that I used to work with years ago had a recipe for cooking coots that he liked to give to his groups. He'd tell them that if you want to cook a coot get a big pot, fill it with rocks, put in enough water to cover the rocks, put the coot on top, and then put the whole thing on the fire. When the water boils off, throw away the coot and eat the rocks.

And, erm, now you know. I need to get back to work.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Apparently it's just too much effort

Today's photo inadvertently exemplifies the post title. The camera's at work because I was half-thinking of taking some shots of an event that's happening here right now, but at the moment I don't feel like it so I just took a photo of the side of the filing cabinet instead. I didn't have to move from my desk chair for it.

Hey, at least it's something. I haven't had time to take photos lately. If I have time to blather in this coming week, Whomever only knows what you'll be seeing here.

Anyway. I should keep this short, because I should be working on the newsletter. Actually, I have been working on the newsletter. I'm just using this as an excuse to take a brain break.

So, effort. I have a LinkedIn account, did you know that? No, really. I keep getting the update e-mails, so I must have one.

I've signed in once, I think. Maybe twice. I have a handful of contacts, but I'm not sure that I remember my password.

I guess it's just too much effort to bother to maintain, as much as it would probably be of professional value. It's much easier just to broadcast work-related things on the Twitter account. I do have my own Twitter account, by the way, but I only use it to follow other accounts with. I guess it's too much effort to think of things to tweet that anyone would care about.

It's funny, considering how much time I spend with social media stuff here at work, how little enthusiasm I have for social media in my personal life. I can't even blame that on my lack of computer, since I'm lucky enough to have one of those workplaces where personal internet use is ok'd as long as it's not interfering with the job.

You wouldn't be reading this if that wasn't the case.

I'm not on Facebook by personal choice (I probably should be, so that I could be helping out with the work Facebook page, but I'm not. That's how little I want to be on Facebook). Even if my feelings about Facebook were different, though, I have a feeling that I'd have the least-updated Facebook account in the history of Facebook accounts.

I just don't have the energy to have fake friends.

I need to find the energy to get back to the newsletter, however. Probably no blather here for the next couple of days, but then my two fans are probably completely surprised that I made the effort to blather today after what they've just read.

And now... go back and read the inane sentences my coworkers have left on the filing cabinet. You know you want to. Maybe create one of your own, if you like. E-mail me or comment and I'll put it up there.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Here's another picture

And not even a particularly good one, but at least we now know that spruce needles and pine needles can be friends.

Friends in death on a barbeque cover, true, but sometimes that's how life... erm, death... goes.


Just saying.

It probably won't be tomorrow, though...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

More of the same

The busy same, I mean.

Oh, and this photo's not exactly recent. I imagine that these flowers are just about ready to burst now, if they're not already open.

Incidentally, and on a totally different topic, if you're dealing with an unhappy digestive system a lunch of Greek yoghurt, peaches, almonds, and soy nuts is actually more tasty than you might think.

I wouldn't want to do this for very long, though.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Time, where did you go?

 Yeah, sorry. I may actually have time to properly blather at some point, but not today.

So... have two fairly bad photos of a butterfly (I think it's a Comma. Yes, that's the real name of a butterfly) that were taken with the zoom since the silly thing wouldn't stay still when I was close to it.

Oh, and as a special bonus, Time, where did you go?
Love that dancersizing, Stephen.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Oh, I'm still here

Just had a bit of a week, that's all.

Kind of busy now, but have a flower. It was the last daffodil.

I like to think that it waited for me.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

So I met my dad's new neighbours...

And with this picture I've probably abruptly lost at least half of my two fans.

Too bad, that, because as long as Blogger cooperates there are going to be a couple more yet.

Blogger and I have had a few issues this morning.

Anyway, these three (plus a scorpion, I'm told) are the new(ish) neighbours. I feel a little sorry for the guy, to be honest. He's moved into a very small house that was poorly taken care of as a rental (I'm not sure if it's still a rental or if he, for some reason, bought it), but he seems to be keen on actually taking care of a yard that hasn't seen much but the occasional mow for several years so good luck to him.

His snakes are gorgeous.

There's two of them in this photo as well, but only one -- a female, if that matters to anyone out there -- was particularly interested in what I was doing with the camera.

Or how I smelled.

Or whatever it was that attracted her attention.

I don't know much about pythons so I couldn't tell you what kinds they are. He did tell me, but I was too busy fiddling with the camera at the time to remember much.

They're beautiful snakes, they're obviously well looked after, and yes, they're outside. He takes them outside when he's working in the yard. He wears them if he's not doing anything too active, and when he needs both of his hands he leaves them in a tree.

Yep, you read that right. He leaves them in a tree, they climb around... I've never actually seen that done in Alberta, but the snakes seem all right for it. How the neighbourhood will be if anything goes a little weird with the arrangement has yet to be seen, but because of the structure of the yards (Dad lives on a hill and the lots are long. The houses also aren't right next to each other like they'd be in a newer development), if you're going to leave your snakes in a tree this is probably one of the better places to do it.

Get a load of those eyes, would you? Just stunning.

They really are amazing animals, and it's too bad that so many people get squicked out by them. Don't get me wrong -- I do understand. Everything from the old biblical evil to the fear of being hurt to the fact that they're just so different from us goes against snakes. And I'm not saying that I'd ever have a snake as a pet myself, although I'd certainly take a snake over many of the so-called mainstream pets out there that involve so much effort for so little reward.

We, um, practically had a gerbil colony for a bit when I was a kid. Stinky cages, sharp teeth, and no real desire for affection? Oh yeah, sign me up for rodents again, please. Although I do hear that rats are rather nice...

Anyway. As in, time to stop typing according to my wrist. Which I still haven't mentioned is recovering from yet another sprain, have I? I guess that's because you can't get much of a blog post out of the fact that a weakened joint tends to be reinjured easily. I could, though, have disgusted what's left of my two fans by posting a photo of the raging case of contact dermatitis that my brace has given me these past couple of weeks. I'm an itchy, rashy girl, folks.

Anyone grateful for the snakes yet? At least they're pretty.

Ok, off I go to attempt to draw something for the other blog (with a sore wrist, yes. I did say attempt). This upcoming week is yet another one where the posts will probably be sparse, but at least I have a few new photos from yesterday.

There's still a couple more of the snakes, if anyone's interested.



Saturday, 11 May 2013

Special extra post guest-starring my mom's handwriting

 By special request from the comments (otherwise known as my sister-in-law), the infamous Lemon Jello Cake.

This card was in the stack from my grandmother that I was talking about earlier, so I still haven't cracked open Mom's recipe box. The funny thing is, I can tell that she probably wrote it out for Grandma in a hurry. After all, some of the lines aren't dead straight...

Um, I should probably say now that I'm laughing as I type this. Otherwise, it'll sound like handwriting was a thing between my mother and me, which it wasn't.

As far as the recipe goes, it looks pretty dated what with the boxed mix and the Jello, but it tastes good and the texture's nice. Mom always made it in a tube pan, but a bundt pan would do as well.

Click on the scans to enlarge them, as usual.

Take a clove of garlic...

Yesterday after work when I got in to my dad's place (after this week, I definitely wanted to make sure that I was out of town. You can't make me work if you can't fiiind meee...), I went to grab down my mother's recipe box because I wanted to see if I could find her gingerbread recipe. The cake, not the cookie. You know, the stuff you have with hard sauce. Now, I know very well that I could find three hundred (or more) recipes for gingerbread with hard sauce just via cooking's magic pixie -- that'd be Google, these days -- but I just thought that I'd see if I could find the family one before I started looking for ones from other people's families.

Or other people's research kitchens, I suppose.

That's Mom's box on the top left of the slightly-less-pointless-than-usual  photo, by the way. It's kind of... how shall I put this... butt-ugly? No, I should be politer. How about dated in design? At any rate, it's absolutely stuffed with recipe cards, to the point where you couldn't fit another in if you tried. Some are just commercial advertising cards, but the vast majority are either in my mother's excruciatingly neat handwriting or her mother's excruciatingly neat handwriting.

It must have run in the family, the excruciatingly neat handwriting, but it certainly skipped me. I always said that my mother didn't really know what to do about a left-handed child.


When I went to reach for the box I was somewhat surprised to find a stack of cards on top that showed no indication of the maternal line. Turns out that they were recipe cards from my paternal grandmother that my uncle had kept at his place.


I'd never really seen any of my grandmother's recipes. Oh, I'd had her cooking, of course, but for whatever reason -- very possibly Grandma Ol's tiny, tiny kitchen was high on the reason list -- all of the teaching side of grandmotherly cooking when I was growing up came from the maternal side of things. When I showed interest in these newly (to me) discovered cards, Dad mentioned that there were also some small recipe books.

Guess what I did last night?

Let's just say that I haven't quite made it to Mom's box yet.

Looking through Grandma's cards was interesting (there were an awful lot of wine-making recipes there, Grandma...) but almost more interesting was the stack of recipe pamphlets. You know the sort of thing: some advertising geniuses decide that the way to create demand for their product is to prove that it can be used for anything. Some products work better than others, obviously. The good people of the 1960s Kellogg's book did all right, because cereal's pretty easy to use in baking. The earlier Atora Beef Suet book from England was a bit disturbing. Apparently the better way to health is to put a spoonful of beef suet in your hot milk at night? And it cures consumption? Who knew? The Reynolds Wrap guide to barbeque cooking was kind of hilarious (for a handy cooler for your party drinks, line a wheelbarrow with Reynolds Wrap and fill with ice. Yeah, you'd like that kind of overusage, wouldn't you, Reynolds?), and the book in the front introducing the brand new product of shell-less sunflower seeds is pretty close to already becoming a family joke between my father and me. Basically, you take any recipe you can think of and ADD SUNFLOWER SEEDS!!!

There were a couple of actual historically interesting pamphlets in the stack, though. The one you see labelled Milk in the photo didn't have a date on it that I could easily find, but it had to have been fairly early since it described storing milk by putting it in a scalded jug, covering the jug "tightly" with a plate, and then storing the jug on a shelf inside a basin filled with cool water. You have to make sure that you replenish the water regularly, of course. Another pamphlet, this time from the Alberta Government, told housewives how to use the new method of freezing to preserve foods. And don't think that you were just sticking things in your refrigerator freezer (or "zero unit"), folks. You were preparing things in large quantities -- including making syrups and brines -- to take to commercial cold storage lockers. In waxed cardboard or tins. Some cold storage lockers may even offer the new plastic containers, ladies, which are more expensive but can be reused.

Every town used to have its own cold storage business, you see. The town I grew up in had one. The building's now just a regular store, but my father can remember when you used to go down there to pick up the meat or produce you had put away earlier in the year. According to the pamphlet I was reading, you paid about $12 a year for a locker able to store about 180 lbs or so.

Life's changed a bit, wouldn't you say?

I get a kick out of reading old recipes and could probably natter on about changing ingredients and changing tastes, but my wrist -- oh, I don't think I told you about my wrist. Tomorrow, maybe -- is telling me that I've been typing long enough for now. Besides, after a week of not having time to post, and a week before that of Oh, Never Mind (yes, that's last week's official title), the blog's probably going into shock at the thought of having to carry all of these words.

Thought I'd leave you with the recipe that I took today's post title from, however. Drawing by Yours Garlicky, a few years ago. It's from an old herbal. Try it if you want to, but I think that maybe I'll pass this time. Having earworms is bad enough...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Yeah, still busy

Unfortunately, busy today was busy with programs out in the wind during poplar pollen season. I think my head very well may explode tonight.

I'll let you know if it does.

Meanwhile, look at me getting all arty with the camera, eh? Considering that I don't have a macro yet I think that the focus isn't too bad. And if I remember right, this was taken on the same windy day that the crocus pictures were taken (I haven't had a chance to get out puttering for pictures for a while. Busy, did I mention?).

Not bad altogether, I figure.

That 's it for today, sadly. Poor neglected blog. No promises for tomorrow, either. Ah well, I did warn you.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Sorry, busy

Probably busy tomorrow, too.

Probably busy all week.

Busy busy busy...

Have a flower or two, at least.
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