Friday, April 29, 2011

Say "Awwww"

On occasion Cookie likes to hide under a blanket. I suppose she does this to keep warm.

On the other hand, her sister Oreo loves to follow the sun rays around the house.

She may look all cuddly but deep down she has the heart of a hunter.

Richard's Millie enjoys any spot to lie down...a laundry basket seems to do the trick.

And these little chicks seem to like to huddle together for comfort... do these sweet little ducklings. Cute or what?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring at Voyageur Park

The weather has been pretty cold and wet lately but we found one nice day on the weekend and headed over to Voyageur Park, close to the Quebec border.

I'd never been here before and the walk had amazing wetlands...

...and the woods were full of interesting shapes.

Fallen trees had funky fungi.

The coltsfoot was up. They are the first flowers to bloom in the spring and look almost like dandelions but actually bloom before the dandelions do!

The trees were budding and waiting for more sun and heat.

After almost an hour hike, you get to the beach.

I just loved the patterns made by bird feet on the sand.

Richard walked further down where the beach was more rocky.

What a nice place for a picnic.

The Canadian geese had gathered on a little spit of land in the Ottawa River. You can see Chute à Blondeau in the distance.

I love the bleakness of the landscape.

There's something so nice about the silence of this place.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

I was so excited when I looked out my window and saw a Sharp-Shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus).

He was likely looking for his supper...a mouse foraging in the sunflower seed on the ground or a poor, unsuspecting songbird.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hawk, he left, or something like that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lorne Elliott

Last week we were lucky enough to catch Lorne Elliott giving a reading at the Dalkeith library. Lorne Elliott is a comic and writer best known for his show Madly Off In All Directions heard on CBC radio.

He was test driving a new story and read it to us in his comical fashion.

After 45 entertaining minutes, he asked for feedback from the audience. What worked. What didn't.

I asked him what conditioner he used and noted that perhaps he and I were separated at birth because of our matching hairdos.

Monday, April 25, 2011

100 Things to do with a Matzo

We're just about at the end of Passover and I'm getting ready to get back to leavened bread! In the meantime, it's amazing what you can do with matzo. Chocolate caramel crunch...

The ol' standard: matzo, butter and jam...

...or a matzo pb&j.

Savoury versions can include an Italian recipe my sis sent me that was almost like a matzo pie/lasagne type thing.

Using matzo meal, there's always the classic matzo ball soup.

My mom's incomparable fried matzo, almost like French toast.

Would go great with a side of bacon, eh?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ab Fab Matzoh Crunch

My late father bought me this fantastic book by Marcy Goldman many years ago and I use it all the time. In it, she calls this recipe "My Trademark, Most Requested, Absolutely Magnificent Caramel Matzoh Crunch" and she's right. You've gotta try it. It's absolutely the best!

You'll need:
4-6 unsalted matzohs
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large (or two smaller) cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment — on top of the foil. This is very important since the mixture becomes sticky during baking.

Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly with the matzohs, cutting extra pieces, as required, to fit any spaces.

In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes).

Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and pour over the matzoh, covering completely.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lower the heat to 325°, and replace the pan).

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chopped chocolate or chips.

Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzoh.

While still warm, break into squares or odd shapes. Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Drawing Old Houses

Trying to get inspired to take out my colour pencils and get drawing again, I looked back at what has inspired me in the past. This old house was a starting point...

...which led to a more detailed look at the same house.

My friend actually lived in this old home and while sitting on his lawn, waiting for the barbecue to cook our meal, I noticed the pattern of the shadows cast by the setting sun.

This was one of the first old house drawings I did; another local deserted home close to where I live.

This old place attracted me because of its setting and also because the snow was melting and made interesting patterns in the corn rows.

I did a small series of old houses drawn on taupe, recycled paper. I just loved the effect.

One of my favourites I called Ghost House. Still love it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ring-billed Gulls

Now that the weather has improved somewhat, I spend my lunch hour at work down by the Mill Pond in Alexandria. These two ring-billed gulls were walking side-by-side, having a conversation with each other.

I observed them while I was having my peanut butter and jam sandwich in the car.

Lovely looking critters, eh?


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