Friday, July 29, 2011

Crazy for Anchormen

CTV Ottawa's former newscaster was Max Keeping and I was lucky enough to get his autograph yesterday when he was granting a local senior's wish to meet him.

Some years ago, my friend Anne bought one of my drawings (of a local log house) to give to the well-known ABC anchorman Peter Jennings and he wrote me this thank you note.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kitty Visit

Once every few weeks or so on my lunch hour, I drop into the local feed supply shop that takes in unwanted kittens.

I play with all of them and the gal who works there is happy for my visits, saying that I help to socialize them and get them adopted easier.

Sometimes you just have to nap, even if the paparrazi are flashing away.

These little black kitties had found their way into some sort of mechanical thingie that was for sale.

Cuties or what?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The summer is flying by and most of mine is being spent indoors. Yes, my 2- day-a-week job has blossomed into a 4- or 5-day-a-week job, as I replace other workers who are taking vacations. Still, my lunchtimes are glorious as I have a picnic everyday at the park on Mill Pond in Alexandria.

And I'm never alone. There are usually a few friends about looking for handouts!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yum, Yum, Yum!

I just love the taste of summer, especially when it's available in your own backyard. The heat has brought out the best in the garden with more to come! Best of all, I don't have to shop for veggies for the next few months.

To see some gorgeous views of summer, click here to check out Richard's blog.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dalkeith 200

On Saturday, the tiny town of Dalkeith celebrated its 200th anniversary. One of the organizers asked if I'd exhibit some of my I did.

It was a beautiful day and since we were in Glengarry County, there were pipers piping...

...and a few dignitaries and speeches.

Richard met a few folks and chatted away.

The pulled pork sandwiches were delicious...

...and cold Beau's beer on a hot day hit the spot!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby, It's Hot Out There

The reading outside from my car's thermometer was 39 Celsius (102 Farenheit). And that's not with the humidity. With the humidex it feels like 46 Celsius which is like 107 F. Too frigging hot!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

French Bean Salad

I saw this recipe in the current issue of Canadian Living magazine. It's perfect for my garden with too many green beans, yards of chives and tons of buttercrunch lettuce. And it's yummy too. Might just be a new fave!

8 oz. green beans, trimmed
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup. olive oil
1 head Boston (or buttercrunch) lettuce, torn
1/3 cup thinly sliced sweet onion

Cook green beans in salted boiling water for 5 minutes, until tender crisp. Drain and chill in cold water. Pat dry, cut in half and set aside.

In large bowl whisk together vinegar, chives, mustard and a shake of salt. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking until emulsified.

Add lettuce, onion and green beans; toss to coat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Time...

...and the living is easy! The garden is starting to produce its bounty: yellow zukes and cilantro...

...beans and peas. Oh my!

The wild red and black raspberry bushes are loaded with fruit. Every evening, once the deer flies are tucked in their little deer fly beds, I go out and pick enough berries to top my morning cereal.

My fabulous foxglove bloomed this year. Yes!

And this little fellow seems to have found a happy home on my bag of aluminum cans for recycling. Two days ago I discovered him and thought he was in danger (?) and took him outside. Today he's back so obviously, he likes it there. His new froggy home...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plethora of Cakes

Last week was a busy one for cake-making! Here's my ninth version of my "faux" poutine cake, this one done to raise funds for Heart & Stroke Foundation.

It was auctioned off after the golf tournament by autioneer Barb Newman and raised $60 for the cause.

Back to cake making, this chocolate cake was for two birthdays celebrated in Ottawa.

Thirty-year-old Danagh has a business called "Aspen Wellness Centre" and I recreated the tree logo on her business card for her cake. Matching coloured roses ran on the sides along with grass and chocolate rocks.

And finally, for three-year-old Lexa, a Tinkerbell cake, or at least my version of what I think a Tinkerbell cake should look like. Every three-year-old needs pink roses, right?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Haiku Judgement Day

Natalie and Gordon asked us over for a barbecue and then to act as judges for Nat's Hen Haiku Contest. I made dessert and figured mini-cupcakes with random words would be fun for the judges to get warmed up and create their own haikus.

Richard and Sue got the ball rolling with their haiku. And yes, we all had latex gloves so that we weren't handling the dessert with our bare hands.

There was an excited high five, when their collaborative haiku was done.

Not exactly poetry but not bad.

Mine wasn't exactly Chaucer either!

Natalie proved to be the brains of the operation when she said she had "inadvertently" rubbed off an icing letter and made "primp" into "pimp." There were yells of "Cheater!" but I just thought it was clever to make your own word.

And here's Nat's haiku.

Gordon thought long about his verbiage with entranced Richard and Sue looking on.

...and came up with this ditty. Okay, so it's harder than it looks people!

Once warmed up with wine, beer, barbecue, (did I say wine?), it was to the serious (?) business of judging.

With over one hundred haikus to judge, it was a tough choice. But we did it!

To see a list of the winners of the hen haiku contest and a nifty video of our judging process, click here to go to Knatolee's blog

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nutmeg, My Inspiration

I'm crazy about all my kitty cats but somehow Nutmeg, with her calico coloured spots, is so graphically pleasing, I seem to draw her all the time. Here's a quick sketch I did a while back...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Flowering Catalpa Tree

Right across the street from my office is the most amazing Catalpa tree. I can smell it in the morning when I get to work.

The flowers are really gorgeous and amazingly plentiful on a fairly small tree.

They are just beautiful bunches of blooms but I wish you could smell them. Almost like lilac but sweeter.

Each flower later becomes a long bean, which is why the catalpa has also been known as the Indian bean tree or cigar tree.
Another reason I fancy this tree is because one night when I was little, my mom brought me 2 or 3 beans from a catalpa tree that she found on her way home. She told me they were Jack and the beanstalk's beans. And I believed her!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How Cold Was It?

It was so hot, I figured it was the perfect time to defrost my freezer. I used a gizmo my parents always used. It's probably very dangerous and illegal now, but it works!

I even have its original box. The "Lady Torcan Defroster." Don't you love it?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Hot Was It?

It was so hot yesterday that this lady and her dog went for a walk in Mill Pond,in beautiful downtown Alexandria (Ontario). It was 33C and with the humidex, something like 40C. Wowza!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Italy Cake

I made this cake for a friend who loves Italy, is learning Italian and is heading off there this fall. The cake itself was chocolate with a lemon filling and topped with limoncello-flavoured buttercream. Yum!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bye Bye Bees

Last Saturday, Richard and I were sitting outside and suddenly the log cabin was swarming with bees.

Today, my friend Sam the bee whisperer, came over to remove the bees for me.

He removed the outside board and batten and then used a circular saw to get through the particle board.

On one side of the particle board there were a few nice honeycombs.

But on the other side of the wall, there were tons of bees and lots of comb. Sam was surprised that in only five day they had built all that comb. They are industrious bees!

Sam took some of the honey comb and tied it to hive racks.

Then he slid the honeycomb into the wooden bee hive.

He carefully took a stick and a dustpan and knocked some bees off their hanging comb and onto the dustpan...and then knocked them into the box where their own comb was now hanging.

As he removed the wax combs, he dropped more bees into the wooden box.

Sam was so wonderful with the bees. He didn't get stung (and neither did I!)

Most of the comb he had to throw out. He suggested I melt it down and make a candle or two.

A couple of the combs had honey -- the most DELICIOUS honey I have ever tasted! (And fresh too!)

After removal of the combs, Sam vacuumed up the bees with his homemade bee vacuum. Very cool.

He said that 70% of the bees were in his vacuum.

The rest were tucked away in their new hive and would soon be joined by the other gals in the vacuum when Sam got home.

Thanks Sam! That was a fun day. Check out Sam's fabulous bee website: Sam'


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