Vegetables and Herbs

Every year we grow our own food.  Something about the taste of a freshly picked vegetable really makes a meal.


Every evening my wife goes out to water and cover the plants. Every morning she goes to check on the progress.  It’s always a slow start at the beginning of the season as the seeds begin to take root.  Patience in gardening is required.


In the past, we have purchased some plants that were already begun at a nursery.  This year was mostly seeds.  We also tried something new by putting everything up higher on tables.  This was to keep the wild rabbits out.  It seemed to work.


We have moved everything closer to our house now so that they don’t wither up in the sun.  This should also slow the growing process a bit as well to spread out the vegetables over the next couple of weeks as they finish ripening. 

I can’t wait to dive into some of the peppers my omelettes will be devine.

Dog Days Are Done

With less than a month remaining with summer, it feels like we haven't done much. But I'd be wrong. It also feels like we are cramming the last of summer vacation into two weeks, but again, I'd be wrong… Kind of.


The past week or so has been dry, warm and smoke filled. We have reached the end of the Dog Days of Summer. It has made for a more lackadaisical few days. Not much has been going on in my household which is nice in a sense. We are working on plans to finish up the summer as well as a bit of back to school preparation.

Our middle child is changing bedrooms. Which is a good reason to de-clutter and purge unwanted items. This has us busy off and on during whatever moments we have available.

My family is getting a bit stir crazy and I feel we need to get away. So that's the plan. Get out of the house and chill out someplace else before the hectic school activities begin.

We are planning a visit to my mother's home and then my sister's home. We also have some camping plans and a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge thrown in for some waterpark fun.

Summer is far from over. Let's do this!

Six

It happened suddenly and without warning. It wasn't until I looked at my salary that it actually hit me. After all is said and done, I somehow make six figures a year. No, it's not a brag in this day and age either. It's just an observation really. A fact I never tried to accomplish.

I am far from educated so that never got me very far. Life has always been a push or even a struggle to get up that hill into adulthood. Pinching pennies, spending long hours working, having a plan, sticking to a budget. All of it with goals in mind. Not all of the goals involved money.

I never sought money as a reason to work. Of course money is noice and affords me the lifestyle I want to live. But working for money? Not my thing. I have been enjoying work because of the challenges it presents me. Jobs lose their luster and thrill after a while but my current job has so many avenues available to me, I really don't know where I may end up.

So, I set my goals. Next year? Travel as much as possible. The year after? Put money into upgrading the home. The year after that? Help our oldest with post secondary education. The year after that? More travel. The work I get paid to do helps promote my plans. Sixth year? Seems like it will hit me fast.

Work goals? Learn as much as possible whenever possible. Share my knowledge with others. Help others achieve their goals. Make a difference in how the work environment feels. None of that sounds too lofty. Nor does it feel like a corporate ladder to climb. I figure if something interests me, I'll work towards it.

Busy Busy

Today's post is short. I've been rather busy picking up some of the chores my wife usually does. I don't usually do laundry, but today was an exception.

We both have certain things that we do to keep the household running smooth. We have a good understanding of the shared responsibilities. Tonight I also prepared a dinner for some friends coming over. We went to meet our friends up the road at the Krause Berry Farm for a glass of wine before coming to our home for some brisket and mashed potatoes.

The kids helped to take down and fold most of the laundry. They also helped make dinner and set the table for our guests. It is nice that our kids are helpful without any fights.

We ate dinner outside with our friends and… I forgot to take my underwear off the laundry line. So now our friends know my brand of underwear…

Bad Min Ton

My wife is very competitive at everything she plays. From video games to table top games- she has a mean streak. I hate playing Dr. Luigi against her. Badminton is no different.

When we first moved into this home we set up a badminton court in our backyard during the summer. It has moved locations a couple times, and we even set up temporary flood lights to play into the evening hours. Whenever we had friends over, my wife would try and make it sound like they were going to have a friendly match. Little did they know that she was ruthless. That's probably part of the reason we don't entertain as much as we once did.

A few years ago, we tore out our old deck. I moved it directly onto where our court should have been. We did not play badminton for about three years. Life was wonderful. Until this year. My wife convinced me and some of my friends to move the deck and use it as a Parkour wall to get onto the tree deck. She took advantage of my newfound enjoyment of Parkour and soon after the deck was moved, the badminton net was erected.

My joyful summers have come to an end. My wife has begun playing two to three times a day against our children. I only play her to spare their lives. I am afraid that if we invite anyone over for a BBQ, they will be subjected to a clear and utter badminton dominance from my wife. Ridicule 100% guaranteed as well.


You have been forewarned. Be careful of my wife. She is as vindictive as The Eradicator from "Kids in the Hall". Let the carnage begin!

Is The Grass Greener?

We love to travel.  We love to visit friends. We love relaxing. We love our home.?.


It’s always difficult to return home after experiencing a bit of luxury. For example, earlier this week we spent some time Lakeside at our children’s coaches’ home.  It was a home that her grandparents had bought, now they live there with her parents and children.  It’s a lovely piece of land that I understand completely why they would keep it in the family.  If I could move our house onto that land, it’d be complete luxury.


Then there’s my sister’s home which I briefly mentioned this spring in my quick adventure about Traveling Vancouver Island. She lives right on the water’s edge in Powell River.  My family and I are planning a visit to see her and her family this August. It is a lovely place with spectacular views. She is very lucky to have all of that.


As jealous as I am of anyone with waterfront property, I have to remind myself that people are sometimes envious of our property as well. We are just far enough away from the suburbs and city that we can still do our shopping and I can go to work.  The land we have is surrounded by trees giving us nothing but privacy.  I love living in the countryside. Even though I am constantly doing Home repairs, I don’t know when or if there would be a right time to sell this place and move.


We aren’t rich and we aren’t poor.  We are what they say as House Rich/cash poor. We live in a home that has some fantastic features.  But it also has some tremendous flaws.  The key word is “home“. This is our home.  At the end of the day, I love where we live.  I don’t think I could ever give it up.

Pants-Free Comfort at Home

I came home tonight after work and did a very “Dad” thing.  I took off my pants and just hung out in my underpants and dress shirt. It’s a liberating sensation to just drop the trousers and let your legs air out.


Usually I put some on lounge pants or shorts, but today I didn’t.  No reason really. I just didn’t want to.  Maybe I’m a bit lazy. Maybe I wanted some more freedom in my own home.


Butt, I’m happy not putting on pants this evening.  Sure, my wife and kids are embarrassed- only more for themselves, not me.  I’m not embarrassed.  It was mentioned though by everyone in the household that I should be wearing pants at the dinner table.

I’m not showing off anything totes inappropes, so who cares.  I know in the past, friends have seen me in far less clothing, or even naked, on occasion.  I’m not exactly a sex symbol to most folks.  However, I’m kind of ok with how I look. I’m not trying to impress anyone.

Don’t look!


So there you have it.  I did a stereotypical “Dad” thing this evening after a long day at work.  Now I’m going to bed.  

I plan on sleeping naked- just in case you needed that visual tonight. All in the name of comfort.

Saturday in the Countryside

I don’t know if I could ever give up this lifestyle.  I’m not talking lavish luxuries- we are halfway between being well off and dirt poor on the best of days- I’m talking about location, location, location. 


We live on the outskirts of a suburb in a little corner of the countryside, yet close enough to enjoy the local shops.  Today was a prime example of everything country that makes life wonderful. Except country music.  That’s not our thing.


The day began with me doing maintenance on the bikes that we own.  Just a bit of tightening brakes, oiling chains and straightening handles bars.  As I did this, an older lady in a diesel truck pulled up into our driveway where I was working.  I traded with her a bunch of empty egg cartons and she gave me some farm fresh eggs that she had gotten in the morning from one of her hens. Nothing beats farm fresh eggs- perfect for a ham and egg breakfast.


I finished the work on the bicycles, packed up my tools, then began smoking a brisket for our dinner.  Our oldest has been keeping an eye on the temperature to make sure is does a slow smoke.  She has taken up wood burning as a hobby. While she stayed home to practice her new found art, we had her watch after our dinner. My wife and I took our two youngest on a bike ride up the road to the local berry farm. A few years back, the Krause Berry Farm did a major overhaul and added a bakery, a dessert shoppe and a winery.  My wife and I enjoyed a couple of cold Wine-a-Ritas before cycling back home with the kids.

It was under fifteen minutes to ride home as a family.  On our way, we passed some other families on bikes enjoying the afternoon, some horses grazing in a field, and a guy on a tractor heading down the road.  With the exception of the horses, everyone waved and smiled.  It’s very surreal to have such friendliness shared amongst strangers.  But that’s the country lifestyle.  A lifestyle I’m not ready to give up on. A lifestyle I never knew I wanted.

150 Years/150 Reasons

Happy Canada Day!

Canada is celebrating 150 years of being a country today.  So I’m going to share 150 reasons I love Canada (in no particular order).

  1. The natural beauty of this country.
  2. Free health care.
  3. Our flag.
  4. Our national anthem.
  5. Our Prime Minister.
  6. Our diverse culture.
  7. Bilingual schooling.
  8. Immigration laws.
  9. British Columbia.
  10. Alberta.
  11. Saskatchewan.
  12. Manitoba.
  13. Ontario.
  14. Quebec.
  15. Newfoundland.
  16. New Brunswick.
  17. Nova Scotia.
  18. Prince Edward Island.
  19. Yukon.
  20. Nunavut.
  21. North West Territories.
  22. The Northern Lights.
  23. The Rocky Mountains.
  24. Trans Canada Highway.
  25. The prairies.
  26. Lakes.  Lots of lakes.
  27. The nicer side of Niagra Falls.
  28. Hells Gate.
  29. Okanagan Wineries.
  30. Whistler.
  31. Snow blowers.
  32. Snow.
  33. Ice.
  34. I can go swimming in the ocean and skiing on the mountain within a couple of hours.
  35. Newfies.
  36. Québécois.
  37. CN Rail.
  38. Our gun laws.
  39. Peace.
  40. Freedom.
  41. The RCMP.
  42. Walkie-talkies.
  43. Peanut butter invented in Canada.
  44. Poutine.
  45. Ketchup Potato Chips.
  46. Our colourful money.
  47. Canadian Tire Money.
  48. No pennies.
  49. Loonies.
  50. Toonies.
  51. Touque.
  52. Toboggan.
  53. Igloos.
  54. Winter Olympics.
  55. Hockey. 
  56. Basketball.
  57. Zippers.
  58. Beavers.
  59. Moose.
  60. BC Salmon.
  61. Otters.
  62. Killer Whales.
  63. Canada Goose.
  64. Polar Bears.
  65. Log Rider’s Waltz.
  66. Winnie the Pooh.
  67. Superman.
  68. Politeness.
  69. I’m sorry.
  70. Eh?
  71. Timbits.
  72. Lumber.
  73. Natural gas.
  74. Hollywood North.
  75. CBC.
  76. The Friendly Giant.
  77. Mr. Dressup.
  78. The Raccoons.
  79. Fred Penner.
  80. Raffi.
  81. Just For Laughs.
  82. Kids in the Hall.
  83. SCTV.
  84. Bob and Doug 
  85. Some of the greatest comedians.
  86. Some of the greatest actors.
  87. Some of the greatest singers.
  88. Some of the strangest news articles.
  89. IMAX
  90. Molson Canadian.
  91. Real Beer (that’s not water).
  92. Glacier water.
  93. Pop.
  94. The metric system.
  95. The Pacific Ocean.
  96. The Atlantic Ocean.
  97. Santa lives in Canada.
  98. Lax marijuana laws.
  99. The Maple Leaf.
  100. Maple syrup.
  101. Nanaimo Bars.
  102. Split Pea Soup.
  103. Beaver Tails.
  104. Alberta Beef.
  105. Kraft Dinner.
  106. Montreal Steak Spice.
  107. Montreal Smoked Meat.
  108. Smoked salmon.
  109. Red Rose Tea.
  110. Coffee Crisp.
  111. Crispy Crunch.
  112. Girl Guide Mint Cookies.
  113. Kinder Surprise Eggs aren’t illegal…
  114. PEI Potatoes.
  115. Yukon Gold Potatoes.
  116. Hudson’s Bay.
  117. Air Canada.
  118. The Rocky Mountaineer.
  119. Postal Codes.
  120. Vulcan, Alberta.
  121. Drumheller, Alberta.
  122. Calgary Expo.
  123. Vancouver.
  124. Victoria.
  125. Calgary.
  126. Halifax.
  127. Montreal.
  128. Toronto.
  129. Friendly border guards.
  130. We are proud to display our flag as we travel.
  131. Bathtub races.
  132. Expo Ernie.
  133. Giant rubber duck.
  134. Inflatable beavers.
  135. Canadarm.
  136. Chris Hadfield- making space travel cool again.
  137. Best sushi around.
  138. Real Canadian Superstore.
  139. President’s Choice brand.
  140. 75% of the world’s mustard.
  141. Trivial Pursuit.
  142. 2-4.
  143. 26er.
  144. Insulin is a Canadian invention.
  145. Neighbours.
  146. Colour.
  147. Favourite.
  148. Zed.
  149. My friends.
  150. My family.

All of this and more helps to define what I feel makes Canada a great place to live. Happy 150th Canada!

Grilling on a Long Weekend 

This weekend is Canada’s 150th Birthday. So naturally people have a long weekend planned.  Either today or Monday off.  I’m planning on enjoying the time with my family tomorrow during the day.  An old friend of mine will be visiting in the evening for dinner.  Pretty subdued and relaxed. My favorite part of the weekends in the summer? We are going to BBQ!  

I forgot to Instagram my dinner tonight.


Smart shopping and preparing meals is another aspect of my father that I took away from him.  Sure, when I was younger I just wanted to take off instead of help.  But I did learn a lot about being a savvy shopper when it come to meat.  I learned to buy in larger quantities and separate the meat into meals.  Today I bought some grilling steaks and divided them into three meals for the five of us.  As I trimmed the fat off the meat, I remember clearly my father explaining the easiest way to do this to avoid waste.  

I also recall late afternoons on weekends, my father would come home from his morning golf game and we would watch PBS.  Sometimes it was “This Old House” or “Fawlty Towers”, usually it was “The Frugal Gourmet”.  I would sit on the floor and play with my Transformers or Lego and the show would be on as background noise. The room we had was segregated from the kitchen with a half wall. When cooking at the stove, you would face the tv.  My father would be in the kitchen preparing our weekend meal and talk to no one in particular about “what a good idea” when he saw something on the tv.


Maybe it was subconscious.  Maybe I took my father’s acknowledgement of the show as intelligent.  Whatever it was, I have become a great chef in our home.  I can make some of the most flavorful meals around with some of the simplest ingredients.  I love experimenting with foods and spices.  Not to mention accompanying sides.  This summer, I look forward to all of the meals that we can cook and enjoy outside.  Hopefully I can convince our children to help out.  Maybe they could learn a thing or two.  Sort of how I did- even without my father being aware of it.