Archive for ‘Random Tidbits’

March 10, 2016

Proof that one voice really can make a difference . . .

I woke up this morning to find workers cutting down the trees in the yard behind my apartment. When I talked to the workers, I learned that they had been asked to remove all the trees in order to “save” the pavement in a nearby parking lot, which was starting to buckle under the trees’ root systems.

This is, to my mind, a major misplacement of priorities. Something is very wrong when people value paved surfaces like parking lots over living, breathing trees — trees that mark the seasons with their budding and falling leaves; trees that provide hang-outs for birds; trees that offer a tiny shred of natural beauty and a few pearls of peace in our “go-go-go” urban concrete environment.

I wrote a letter to the apartment board, expressing my dismay in their decision to cut down the trees. I described the value the trees brought to me and the neighbourhood by their very presence. I didn’t think my letter would do any good — the trees were being cut down as I typed the words and pressed send.

A few hours later, I received a call from my landlord. He said that the apartment board had taken my letter to heart and were going to stop cutting the trees down.

So half the trees in my back yard will live.

All because one person (me) wrote one letter defending something they believed in, and one group of people (the apartment board) was open enough to listen (and for that, I want to thank them).

Heartening proof that one voice really can make a difference. . . .¬†ūüĆĪ

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July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Ten reasons why I love Canada:

  1. Abundant and easy access to nature and green space.
  2. Friendly people.
  3. Geographical and cultural diversity.
  4. Big cities, tiny hamlets and everything in between = countless living and travel opportunities.
  5. Lakes, lakes, lakes! (And rivers and oceans, too!)
  6. Four seasons.
  7. First Nations’ history and culture.
  8. Environmental ethic.
  9. Diversity of wildlife (and an ethos to respect and protect it).
  10. Natural beauty, from coast to coast to coast.

Happy Canada Day!

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November 11, 2014

On this day, we remember

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.

Lest we forget.

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December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays

The best gift you can give is

the gift of your time;

the gift of an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on;

the gift of an open heart.

Merry Christmas.

November 11, 2013

On November 11, remember those who fought, and those who still fight

In honour of our fallen soldiers and those who serve our country, past, present and future:  Lest we forget.

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November 8, 2013

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” (Victor Borge)

Just had a good dinner and a good laugh with a new friend.

Laughter: it cleans out the soul, puts a shine on your face, and leaves you fresh to travel the path before you.

This weekend, get out there and laugh. It does a body good.

October 17, 2013

Put the lonesome on the shelf . . .

Because everyone needs a carefree song about love once in a while!

(Song: “You & I” by Ingrid Michaelson)
(Video by tinydoodlez)

September 22, 2013

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

It’s the first day of fall! Here are a¬†few quotes to celebrate the coming season of colour and change:

Autumn mornings, sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings.
(Terri Guillemets)

Autumn is a second spring, where every leaf is a flower.
(Albert Camus)

Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.
(Faith Baldwin)

Inside of us, there’s a continual autumn. Our leaves fall and are blown out over the water.
(Rumi)

O’ pumpkin pie, your time has come ’round again and I am autumnrifically happy!
(Terri Guillemets)

 

September 16, 2013

The perfect relationship

Together we are one thing.
Apart we are another.
Which do I prefer?
Both, please.

October 13, 2012

How to make crabapple sauce

Today I had the pleasure of making crabapple sauce with family friends.  Here is the process, in a nutshell:

  1. Shake the crabapple tree to let loose a rain of apples. It helps to lay a tarp under the tree so the fallen apples are easier to see and collect.
  2. Gather the apples into a large bin or bag.
  3. Wash the apples:  Take them inside, pour them into the sink (in batches, if necessary), fill the sink with water and swish the apples around to rinse off any dirt or bugs.
  4. Remove the apples to a large, tall stock pot.  Discard any apples that are green, rotten, bird-eaten or generally undesirable looking.  (Bruised apples are fine, though!)
  5. Fill the stock pot with water until you can just see the water coming up beneath the pile of apples — about an inch or two from the topmost apples.
  6. Boil the apples on high heat, covered, until they break down and turn mushy. ¬†They will fill the kitchen with a mouthwatering aroma when they’re ready!
  7. Remove the pot from heat.  Squeeze the apples, in batches, through a strainer or colander placed inside or over a large bowl.  We used a soup ladle to scoop the apples into the colander, then used the back of the ladle to mash the apples against the sides of the colander.  This process separates the apple sauce (which oozes through the colander into the bowl) from the skins, stems, cores and seeds (which can go into the compost).
  8. Place the extracted sauce back in the pot and reheat to boiling.
  9. While the sauce is reheating, prepare/sterilize clean jars and lids for canning.  We sterilized as follows:  Lids Рplace them in a glass pie plate and pour boiling water over them.  Jars РLine them up on the counter and fill the first few jars with boiling water.  (When you are ready to fill a jar with sauce, as per the next step, pour the boiling water from that jar into the next empty jar in line, fill, and repeat down the line.)
  10. Scoop the hot sauce into the sterilized jars with a ladle or glass measuring cup.  Fill to about an inch or half-inch from the top.  Use tongs to take a sterilized lid from the pie plate and place on the jar.  Screw the lid band in place loosely and turn the jar upside down for a minute or two.  Repeat until all your sauce has been canned.
    (Note:  It is important to sterilize the jars and lids immediately before you start the canning process, so all germs are killed and the jars will seal properly.)
  11. Let the batch sit to cool. ¬†As the hot jars cool, the temperature change creates a vacuum seal between the lid and the jar rim. ¬†You will hear “popping” sounds as the slight convex dome of each lid snaps down tight. ¬†Once the jars have sealed, tighten the rim band or remove it completely.
    (Note: ¬†You can tell if your jars have sealed properly if the convex dome of the lid is now concave and doesn’t pop up and down when you press on it. ¬†Discard (or eat the contents of!) any jars that don’t seal properly.)
  12. Label your jars and store your home-made crabapple sauce in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to gobble it up!

I was surprised at how little effort and time was required to make up this tasty treat. ¬†No need to add sugar, either — folks who want a sweeter sauce can add sweetener afterwards, to their liking. ¬†We got about 5.5 litres of sauce from one big stock pot of apples. ¬†Our sauce was a beautiful golden yellow hue because, well, that was the colour of the apples this year!

Crabapples down. ¬†What’s next? ¬†ūüėČ

Photo of jars of homemade crab apple sauce

Home-made crabapple sauce. Yum!