Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

They came to ride.

And ride we did. A 34 km tour of Ottawa, just like last time! This time through the farm, over the locks of the canal, to the Hog’s Back and Mooney’s Bay, then up the river pathway all the way to the top where the rivers meet. From there we rode through the heavily fortified (watch those bayonettes!) gates and up the driveway to Rideau Hall, just for a quick look at the façade before heading back. Through the Market—with a stop for gelato!—and along the canal, around Dow’s Lake, through the farm to home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In the garden. It's crunchy.

Bit of a contrast from the garden of just a few weeks ago. We need rain. Lots of it. Though the accidental overexposure and depth of field doesn't make it look nearly as bad as it actually is. Perhaps it's because you're missing the audible 'crunch' component when walking on the grass hay. The bee bomb and lilies seem to be doing alright though. The bumbles and monarchs like the purple firework flower, and the honeybees the yellow daisies.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Parallel Botany: Kohlrabi

Straight from outer space, and into my belly, this alien vegetable is a new one for me. But this is yet another joy of being part of a CSA share: being exposed to new and wonderful vegetables. Just when you thought you knew them all, kohlrabi drops like a meteor into your veggie-loving heart.

Tastes a bit like a cross between a broccoli stem, turnip, and radish. In other words: unique. To prepare, pull off the leaves (juice 'em!), and peel the remaining 'bulb' (the outside is quite woody). From here you have a lot of options. Basically, anything you would do with a potato, you can do with kohlrabi.

I chopped it and made a tinfoil packet for the BBQ. It looked a little plain and colourless on it's own, so I added some striped beets and scape, tossed it with olive oil, and salt + pepper. Delish!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I'm making progress now, faster than I can blog about. These photos show four full rows, but I'm actually up to six! Day-quilting helps the progress along: the "Crafty-Lunches" my coworker and I inaugurated last week helped. Otherwise I've been avoiding the blistering heat and sun on weekends by sitting inside on the window seat happily piecing. Cat at my feet, whipstitching, breeze through the window. Bliss. The quilt is really starting to take shape now. Amazing.

In other quilt-related news: my über-talented quilter-author cousin—whom I blame entirely for this new obsession of mine—has launched her new website! Check it out here. And see the quilt that started it all for me.

When we were in Massachusetts, I took advantage of the cat-free space to lay out about 17 of 30 rows of hexagons.
A little more than half of the quilt is planned out now, which makes it easy
to grab a row's worth and sneak in some stitch-time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CUC bound!

Earlier this month, Mark's Ultimate Frisbee team, Glide, competed at Regionals in North Bay for a spot to go to the Canadian Ultimate Championships in Victoria, BC. It was super-exciting to watch from the sidelines; every game was a nail-biter. I was so pumped just watching! Put me in, Coach! I'm ready! Put me in!

Going into the tournament we knew that the top five teams from Ontario were guaranteed a spot at Nats, and Glide
just missed that fifth spot, finishing sixth of thirteen. But! A sixth spot just opened up, and that spot goes to Glide, so book your flights! Because they're effing going! Woot!

So if you happen to be in Victoria August 16 to 19, I highly recommend going to watch.
Last year Nats were in Ottawa, and it's very impressive watching these phenomenal athletes perform at such a high level. You will be on the edge of your seat, I promise.

Here's a few snaps from Regionals, but if you're interested, you can view the full album

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

There was a hike

Near Meech Lake. Needed some tree time. Also wanted to test out the new pack for the big trip. Since I am a nerd, I loaded it up with laundry. Twenty pounds of it. 6 km and 1.5 hours later and I'm still good to go. So we swam. Watched the sun set. I could put this day on repeat and never tire.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Going carless

Since we'll be going away for a while, and our lease expired yesterday, we have decided to go carless until we leave at the end of November. It seemed like a logical decision from many perspectives, but I should note, it's only an idea we can entertain because we live in a city and can take advantage of buses, cabs, vrtucar for errands, and car rentals for weekend getaways.

Environmentally, I'm happy to contribute less to the carbon crisis, and get more exercise at the same time.
Financially, it's a no-brainer: we're going to save a lot of money on car insurance, lease payments, maintenance, and gas. And because Mark and I commute by bus and bike, the amount we pay to have the car sit in the driveway the majority of the time is rather absurd.

It will take a lot more organization — getting groceries as needed, rather than waiting until we're in dire need of a big trip to the grocery store. I'll also have to make sure my tires aren't flat before I'm already running late for work and can't just jump in the car and go, like last week! I think another challenge will be accepting and/or asking for rides. Many wonderful friends have said we can go on joint grocery trips, etc, but I am fiercely stubbornly independent, and think it might be difficult to take people up on their offers. Also, I'm curious to see how I fare on my own.

We've said we'll get a car next year when we're back, but part of me wonders if we'll unexpectedly prefer not having one, like the situation with our TV. We got rid of cable/satellite over 3 years ago, and thought I'd miss it, but I don't.

All of this logical talk aside, I felt an unexpected amount of sadness saying goodbye to the car yesterday, and a surprising amount of panic without the hunk of carbon-emitting convenience sitting in the driveway.

But! Perks so far: smaller keychain, no more car to wash, and no car blocking my bike exit.

Feels weird though... 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

ROOD 002: Anniversary book

This post is part of what will undoubtedly be an ongoing series, which I am lovingly calling ROOD (Ridiculously Out Of Date). Posts which I have had in draft mode for, oh, some number of... months, but for whatever reason, have not devoted the time to finishing (sigh). Though blogging is generally meant to be a timely affair and these posts are sadly irrelevant, I still feel compelled to share them with you. I hope you find this trip down memory lane an enjoyable one.

I made this photobook for Mark for our fourth anniversary last September. We hiked four of the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack within these years, so I thought that was a nice parallel. Some of our best times have been on these mountains and in these trees. Hopefully we'll get there later this summer to climb a few more!

Friday, July 6, 2012


They're fully fledged now, and have been swarming the feeder, six at a time. The cats sit low on the window seat, in super-stealth mode, and twitch at them. I can't determine if it's torture or entertainment for them.

I'm not sure where they roosted this year, but a couple of years ago they lived in one of our birdhouses, and I remember being impressed by the non-stop nest-building stage. And then, later, the non-stop food-fetching stage. You could sometimes hear the cheeping when the food arrived to the voracious little beaks within.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Juicing has been a great way of using the extra greens from the CSA shares. In fact, it's a great way of using any and all fruits and veggies that are a bit too mealy, wilty, or limp to eat on their own. I'd never juiced before, but a friend gave me her old juicer that she wasn't using anymore, and it's awesome! It does a phenomenal job of extracting the juice, so I'm left with only very dry, fibrous pulp, which I am saving in the freezer to add to soups and muffins. Anyone have any other uses for the pulp?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CSA sharing Wednesdays

I enjoyed reading Shanna's funny post about how having a CSA share is like—but really not at all like—being a parent. Not that I would know, but I did feel some weighty responsibility when I picked up last week's share, which included a massive head of napa cabbage. It filled my bike basket entirely. After we split it with our CSA share sharing buddies, it was a much more manageable size, but even still, it's been napa cabbage salad every day over here.

I can also relate to the pressure to do something interesting and creative with the spoils. I tried to make this lovely chard and onion galette, but it was an epic, epic failure. Firstly, my dough didn't bind... entirely possible because I used mystery flour instead of white flour (I'm trying to use it up!), and coconut oil instead of butter (but it says 'use like butter'!)... in any case, I ended up with a non-doughy, but still tasty, crumbly, cracker-like base, on which I piled the sauteed chard and onion, since there was zero hope of this "cracker" wrapping around anything... It was not good, people. Not good. Mark powered through it like a trooper; just took a few glasses of milk to help wash it down... 

Random aside about my bike basket:
The basket was kicking around the house, and I needed something to help carry home the CSA bounty. So Mark attached it to my bike, and it is the *new awesome.* I mean, my paniers are great, but they've got nothing on this basket. However, I am under strict orders not to fill it with kittens. Hrmph. Other than carrying CSA bounty, what good is a bike basket if you can't fill it with kittens?!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's taking over

And we're not sure what it is. At first we thought zucchini, but it's too big for that now. Doesn't quite look like squash either. Our best guess is pumpkin, which is funny, because we didn't plant pumpkin. Possibly a rogue seed from our compost soil, which would be remarkable, because of the one pumpkin we had at Halloween, I roasted all but a handful of the seeds. It also means the compost we spread on the garden hadn't composted enough. An interesting (and hopefully fruitful) mystery...

In the garden

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wedding + memories + mooooooose!

My cousin got married last weekend! What a beautiful wedding (and weekend) it was! The weather was—not exaggerating—the most perfect weather there could ever be. Sunny, warm (not ridiculously hot like it had been), a lovely breeze. Perfection. The waterside location wasn't too shabby either. The stunning bride and handsome groom are so clearly in love and make the perfect team together. And I had the distinct honour of being the groomsladybro!

It was so great to catch up with family that I hadn't seen in years and spend some time in Bracebridge. It was a trip down memory lane to visit Bowyers Beach where my grandmother used to take me and my brother and my cousin swimming. I used to beg her to take us here! I remembered each turn in the road to get to the beach; so surreal that it was so long ago, but so incredibly familiar. Etched.

Oh, and on the drive through Algonquin Park, we saw a moose! I'm pretty giddy in this photo, because—believe it or not—this is my first moose-sighting.

My bouquet is holding up so well; it is so lovely to have a lingering piece of that beautiful day to enjoy.  :)