Friday, December 24, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings

Over the past year I have noticed that I many more followers to our blog. In fact we have just received over 10,000 hits.
I want to wish you and your families and loved ones a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last of the Holiday Rush

The last of our holiday rush is over! Gifts have all been purchased. Groceries have been bought and put away. Now all that is left is to give the house a quick clean, then sit back and relax.

Husband's sister and family will be arriving tomorrow around noon. We are really looking forward to spending the holidays with them.

Christmas eve my parents will come and we will all have a fondue dinner, then open gifts from them. We are German so we still celebrate Christmas eve, but have now 'Canadianized' the season as well, and will open the rest of the gifts Christmas morning. A tradition turkey dinner will accompany Christmas day and my parents will return for for the meal as well as a friend who would otherwise be alone for Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simple Things

Up early on a Saturday morning. Having a coffee, sitting by the fireplace and looking out the window. Watched a moose standing across the road eating his breakfast of willows. It was wonderful watching him. Life doesn't get better than that! Its the simple things that make us happy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Now that winter is here I decided that I would really like to wear more skirts in the cold weather. I do have to dress up for work and I usually wear pants all winter due to the cold, and also because I have never in my adult life been able to find dress boots that fit my calves.

I'm sick and tired of going out to Christmas and New Year parties wearing a dress with snowboots and carrying my dress shoes in a plastic grocery bag to the event. (You ladies who live in northern climates know what I mean! I'm sure you have done it before too!)

Trust me, these boots look lovely with evening wear ;)

I finally did a search online for wide calf boots and guess what I found? A company specializing in wide calf boots! has all sorts of boots in wide calf, extra wide calf and super wide calf and I found a pair I thought looked great. I measured as instructed by the website and ordered them. A week and a half later the boots appeared on my doorstep thanks to door-to-door delivery! I was a little nervous at first, but they actually zipped up.... all the way up! [Cue the angels singing and the Hallelujah chorus] I honestly couldn't believe it! The quality is nice and I'm very happy that I can finally dress up in winter!
This is the boot I purchased. I thought it had a classic look and shouldn't go out of style. It is the Ros Hommerson Ella boot in super wide calf.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Homemaking Book

In an effort to become a little bit more organized for the upcoming year, I have decided to for go the usual planning calendar that I normally buy (and only use for the first four months of the year) and make myself a homemaking book.

My homemaking book is personalized for the things that I want to keep track of. I took an old binder which I recovered with some leftover fabric and sewed a small pocket in the front to hold my fountain pen.

It was very simple to sew the cover:

1. Open the binder and place face up on the wrong side of the fabric

2. Using a pen trace the outline onto the fabric

3. Using a ruler make the outline bigger by 1 cm

4. Cut out the fabric

5. Place the binder face up on a new section of the fabric and trace out the each section of the cover (without the spine) plus an extra 3 cm to use as a hem (must cut 2 fabric flap sections)

6. Using a ruler make the outline bigger by 1 cm (other than the 3cm hem)

7. Cut out the fabric

8. Get out the sewing machine

10. Zigzag stitch the hem portion of the inside flap and zigzag the middle section of the larger fabric cover at the spine

11. Turn over the 3cm hem with wrong sides together and sew

12. **Pin all pieces wrong sides together and sew with a 1 cm seam allowance

13. Turn inside out and iron

14. Place binder inside the cover

** If you want to add a pocket on the front cover you must do it now before sewing all the pieces together.

Here you can see the inside flap and how the binder cover slips in.

I purchased heavier paper to put in my homemaking book because I write mainly with a fountain pen and I need thicker paper so I doesn't bleed through. I then proceded to section my book with purchased cardboard tabs and made up my own pages with vintage images and fonts.

Though it seems like a lot, some sections only have one or two pages or combine page. Sections in my book include:
To Do List (now and someday)
Shopping List
Weekly Menu
Diet and Exercise
Housework schedule (still needs to be worked on)
Future blog posts
Gift giving ideas
Books to read
List of books read
Movies to see
Beauty and Fashion idea
Vegetable garden journal
Flower garden journal
Party planner

Photos of some of my pages:

The great thing about a homemaking book is that everything is one place and easy to find. Plus I can add and reorganize
sections as I see fit and not what a commercial calendar/personal organizer thinks I need to keep track of.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winter Storm

We took a mini vacation/family reunion and spent a few days in Vancouver to visit my sister, and other sister who was visiting at the same time. Of course Vancouver weather is usually very mild, and it didn't disappoint us with being warm and rainy.

October and the beginning of November have been unseasonably warm this year, but as we arrived home we found a bit of snow on the ground.

This morning though winter arrived. We have had snow warnings (15cm) and strong wind warnings (70 km/h) which began last night. This morning our power went out and didn't come back on until 12:30pm. Luckily I had an emergency water supply tucked away in the garage so that I could give the birds water this morning. Since we are on a well water once the electricity ceases, so does the well pump. I sat by oil lamp light in the kitchen and stayed warm with the gas fireplace writing some letters before I finally ventured out.

Since we had just gotten back from Vancouver I didn't have any fresh groceries in the fridge and I spent yesterday working until late. So I drove out to the local grocery store only to find that the entire northern part of the city was suffering from the power outage. I had to go right into town to find an open store and I was a little nervous with the wind and snow.

The school officially closed at 1pm (due to lack of power) and I had to go pick up the kids. The highway was terrible with the snow blowing across it and it was very difficult to see - it was much worse compared to when I drove to town. I just went slow and we made it safely.

I fear that the power may go off again today, so I have refilled our emergency water rations and filled up some large pots as well. Now that I have my fresh groceries we should be good for quite a few days... just in case.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In remembrance of our Veterans, military personnel and fallen soldiers.
To honour of them and their families.
To say "Thank You" for dedicating your lives in the service of our country.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Raw Milk Controversy

I had planned on a completely different blog post for today; that was until I saw this morning's local newspaper with the following story. I will let you read it first and I'll put in my 2 cents worth after....

Milk battle on between owners, Northern Health
October 22, 2010

Bernice Trick
Citizen staff

A group of milk-cow owners in Hixon is fighting Northern Health for the right to consume the milk they produce, despite it being unpasteurized.

Lesley McConnachie, owner of Hunny Do Ranch, where the milking cows are kept and cared for said, "Northern Health has ordered the members of the group to cease and desist the practice of packaging and distributing the raw milk to the members."

McConnachie has letters from George Abbot, when he was minister of health services, and an official in the Attorney General's department, saying the province's Milk Industry Act does not prevent consumption of milk by owners of cows, or anyone who has direct care and control of a milk cow.

"When we showed the letters to Northern Health, they just said "Those people are not our boss."

"In the two years we've been doing this, no one (in the co-operative) has become sick, and besides that, it's not exactly a spreadable disease," said McConnachie, who sees Northern Health officials "as big bullies".

Gred Thibault, NH manager of public health protection, showed much concern for the Hixon people who are consuming raw milk.

"We know the risk of unpasteurized milk to contain illness-casuing bacteria is very high," said Thibault, citing food poisoning and salmonella as common illnesses caused by raw milk.

"In farm-animal environment, you'll also find ecoli, parasites and crytoporidium that cause people to become very ill, ususally with cramps and diarrhea," said Thibault, adding those who seem to at most risk are young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

"It's true that not every squirt of milk will be contaminated, but as a health inspector for 24 years, I can pretty well guarantee if you go from drinking store-bought milk to raw farm milk, you will become severely ill within a month to three months.

"I've got the follow-up data from my field experience that shows individuals drinking raw milk will become sick.

"They may call it the flu or something else, but I've been able to trace it back in many, many cases to unpasteurized milk.

Recognizing the problem, in the early '90s the federal goverment brought in legislation requiring pasteurization of all milk products."

He added that "studies show there is no added benefit for pasteurized or unpasteurized milk, but the potential for illness is greatly increased with unpasteurized milk."

He says the Hixon group is good at creating loopholes to continue marketing milk products like butter, and suffice to say that an inspection visit to the ranch milking barn did not score well with NH environment officials.

McConnachie is baffled why the officials care if members consume milk from their own cows.

"It's pretty well known that people consume what they want - alcohol, tobacco, raw sushi, spinach - and nobody says a word about that. I just want Northern Health to leave our members alone," said McConnachie.

"This all started with one cow, and it just grew from there. Today we have eight milking cows," said McConnachie who provides the pasture for grazing, and is ultimately responsible for the milking, distribution and daily care of the animals.

But the share mambers are in contact with the ranch and their own cows, often helping with the feeding, watering and the clean up, said McConnachie.

Now for my comments:

First off I want to say that we are not part of the Hunny Do Ranch cowshare members, nor do we currently drink raw milk, though we did investigate the program about a year ago and completely agree with the health benefits of drinking raw milk.. Both husband and I grew up in environments in which we did drink raw cow or goats milk at various times during our childhood and teenage years.

We as individuals need to begin thinking for ourselves, and not believe everything presented by the various milk marketing boards and milk producer associations (remember this is a business and no one wants to lose potential revenue). They are taking away our individual choices and freedoms by outlawing the sale of raw milk.

Milk has been drunk by humans for millennia and I fail to believe that it is unhealthy unless pasteurized (pasteurization has only been around since 1864 so isn't is amazing that the human animal is still alive considering raw milk has been drunk for centuries before this discovery?). This is a natural food which is illegal in Canada and many other countries, yet the governments condone 'fake' foods full of chemicals, fillers, flavourings, colourings, preservatives etc. It just doesn't make sense to me.

I also have to wonder why Northern Health is all of a sudden so concerned about a few people in the area drinking raw milk, when the general public purchases and consumes a variety or products from grocery stores that have been recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, yet unless you actually go onto their website the public usually doesn't hear about the recalls. Perhaps Northern Health should put their efforts into warning the general population at large about foods that could be harmful to those that unknowingly purchase those products.

I personally believe that raw milk is very healthy due to the enzymes and healthy bacteria that are present and not destroyed by pasteurization. We live in a society in which everything is so sanitized and sterilized that our bodies can no longer cope with, and fight off various diseases... eat a little dirt - its good for you ;) I feel this is why, according to the above article, the inspector is finding that some people become ill after consuming raw milk - they are getting diarrhea because their bodies are not accustomed to to the various enzymes/good bacterias that humans should be ingesting. Obviously milk must be gathered and produced in a clean environment from cows and goats that have been kept in good conditions with proper nutrition so as not to be contaminated by e-coli or bad bacterias.

I noticed one glaring mistake in the article as follows "the federal government brought in legislation requiring pasteurization of all milk products". This is not true, as in Canada we are able to produce and purchase raw milk cheeses. From the Health Canada website: "Raw milk cheese is made from raw milk. While raw milk is not allowed to be sold in Canada, raw milk cheese is allowed for sale. This is because the way raw milk cheeses are manufactured and produced helps eliminate any harmful bacteria that may be present in raw milk. "

The article in the newspaper has really infuriated me, and husband and I have been discussing writing a letter to the editor in support of the cowshare program and Hunny Do Ranch. I am going to investigate the feasibility of obtaining a cow for milk and see if the cost and time involved would be something that we could handle. Perhaps Northern Health has pushed us into it... let them try to ban me from drinking milk from our own cow!

For more information about raw milk and to make your own informed decisions, you can google 'raw milk' and come up with various websites with pros and cons.

I would also recommend listening to the Darcy's podcast from Stumbling Homestead who just happened to post a raw milk podcast this morning (wow, what great timing!)

And here are some other websites:


Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Monday, October 4, 2010

2010 Harvest

22 lbs (10 kilos) of sauerkraut

14 quarts (14 litres) of mincemeat

7 bags of carrots for the freezer

2 litres of fermenting carrots

2 litres of kimchi

13 jars of nectarine jam

12 pints (500 ml) of pears

13 quarts of dill pickles

12 pints of bread and butter pickles

12 pints pickled hot peppers

12 pints pickled green tomatoes and hot peppers

18 pints of salsa

Lost count of peas and beans canned and frozen

12 pints of canned corn

6 bags of tomatoes for the freezer

12 quarts of canned tomatoes

12 pints of canned cherries

2 bags of cherries for the freezer

7 bags of cabbage for the freezer

5 bags of shredded zucchini for the freezer

I still have to work on the leeks and pumpkins

I'm not sure how many potatoes we have - probably around 50 lbs (22 kilo). Our potatoes did not do well this year, I think because of our extremely hot summer they didn't get enough water.

Plus we ate a lot of fresh vegetables from the garden this year.

Vegetables we planted that did not do well (mostly likely as they were early varieties that were fooled by the heat):
  • Radish
  • Mustard Greens
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnips
  • Corn (that is a challange as it is in our climate)
  • Kale
  • Beets

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rainy Day Blues

Actually I'm not really blue, but it has been raining all day and I have a bad head cold. So I'm taking it easy today. Husband I went out this afternoon and did our grocery shopping plus looked around for a crock with which to make Sauerkraut and Kimchi in.

Tomorrow I'll be making mincemeat with our green tomatoes to can for future Christmas baking. I'll also be making dilled carrots and then freezing the what is left of the carrots. And preparing the cabbage for sauerkraut. We have not yet built a cold storage room so right now everything is still in the garage which it cool, but it is definately not an optimum produce storage area.

During the week I canned cherries, canned pears, made dill pickles, made nectarine jam, canned corn off the cob and baked 2 fresh peach pies. Husband was in the Okanagon and brought home several boxes of fruits which don't grow in our area, so I had to get busy.

For my birthday Husband had bought me a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer which I love, and today we bought the extra attachments to go with it (food grinder, pasta maker, fruit & vegetable strainer, slicer & shredder)! I couldn't believe our luck as the package of attachments was on sale for $100 off the original price!

This is my mixer above - the Kitchen Aid Artisan in silver.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

As most people with gardens, I have an abundance of zucchini that I need to use up.

We like zucchini bread and I wanted to make a chocolate version, but I couldn't find any healthy type recipes so I kind of made up my own. It is really good and not too sweet. This recipe make 4 loaves which I need for my family as they eat it like crazy. So without further ado, here is the recipe....

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 c sugar
5 duck eggs (I realize most people don't use duck eggs so use 6 chicken eggs)
1/3 c oil
1/3 c apple sauce
4 T water
2 T vanilla
5 c shredded zucchini
3 c flour
2 c whole wheat flour
1 c unsweetened cocoa
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
2 t ground cinnamon
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease four 4x8 loaf pans

In a medium bowl beat together sugar, eggs, oil, apple sauce, water and vanilla until well blended. Stir in zucchini.

Add dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter between the four pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick near the centre comes out clean.

Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove from pans. (If you don't let them cool first the bottom of the loaf will rip off when removing)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Sly Fox

I love to watch the wildlife in our area and since we have been living here we have often observed a fox coming to visit our property. We know that she/he has a den across the road from us and it usually comes to check out the compost, but we haven't seen it for a about year or so.

The other day as we were working on the pole barn, Son came with a wheelbarrow full of gravel to pour into the holes. As he dumped it, the hens and one of the roosters came running towards us. We thought that they must have figured to was food that we were dumping - that is until Daughter yelled "A FOX!" We looked up to see the fox standing 20 meters away from us with one of our ducks in its mouth. We ran at the fox brandishing our shovels and screaming like a mob of angry villagers.


Luckily it dropped the duck and ran. She appears to be okay other than walking with a limp. We put the birds immediately back into the henhouse enclosure. That night I realized that I didn't remember seeing one of our hens (she stands out as she is a very silvery colour). The next morning I checked and sure enough she is missing. The night before we also had a hen die which had seemed fine all day - perhaps the fox had tried to get her and she managed to get away. I had looked her over and she seemed fine, but perhaps had internal injuries or died of shock?

Now the fox just keeps hanging around. The other day it walked up the driveway, sat down and scratched at its fur. It then walked over to our kitchen window and looked in at us. The dog was barking and going crazy, but the fox seemed completely unperturbed. He continued on along the side of the house and at this point Husband ran outside to scare it away. He was yelling, a shoe was thrown, and the fox just trotted away not frightened at all.

Later that same evening as Daughter went to feed the birds, she saw him hanging around the hen house. She grabbed the water hose and sprayed him full force!


The day before yesterday he was back. So cheeky! He came up to the front walkway only 10 feet away from our front door, sat down and again scratched at his fur and began grooming himself. Daughter ran out and scared him away.

I'm beginning to get a little frightened as this is a wild animal with obviously no fear of humans. I don't know too much about fox or if they can become aggressive towards people, but I think we may have to do 'something' about him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Erecting Poles for the Barn

Husband has been wanting to build a pole barn since we finished building the house. Finally, the long wait is over and construction has begun.

Yesterday he rented an auger for the Bobcat and dug the 2 meter holes (6 foot) that the poles will sit in. Today he used the Bobcat to maneuver the poles into place. Unfortunately, this morning Husband found a hen in one of the holes - she was totally covered in mud after spending the night alone in the pit. She gladly jumped onto the stick that Husband put down for her and seemed none the worse for wear as she was lifted to safety (other than being really dirty).

The videos below document the erection of one of the poles (I had to split it up as I needed to move around the equipment). The back of the barn will attach to the hen house (the off white building in the background) and the barn will house equipment, travel trailer and such.

In the video Husband is driving the Bobcat, Son is moving the poles, and you can catch a couple of glimpses of Daughter as well.

Now that the poles are all in place (12 poles in all), they must be levelled and the holes filled in with gravel. The poles have already been pressure treated with wood preservative so that they don't decay in the ground.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Acreage All Sorts

Weather: Last weekend the temperatures began to cool off and we finally received more than just a short drizzle of rain. I can't believe how quickly it has changed from a super hot summer to cool and fall like in just a couple of days. The leaves have begun changing colour and even the mice seem to know autumn is on its way. The great white hunter (aka Son) has been trapping the mice families that are trying to move into our garage and crawlspace. Daughter seems disgusted and wants us to just catch the mice and turn them loose in the 'wild'.

This morning we received our first frost.

With the rain the forest fires have be brought under control and the choking smoke that was plaguing our city (as well as others) has finally dissipated.

Garden: Most things are growing well and I have been picking beans, peas, tomatoes and peppers like crazy. We will have to assess our produce at the end of the harvest to see what seeds did well so we can re-order in the spring. Some things we did not have luck with this year namely radish, spinach and beets. I think it is perhaps because we ordered short season varieties and then the hot summer pushed them into seed right way.

Some of our produce picked one evening after work

Preserving: Needless to say with the garden producing like crazy I in turn have been preserving like crazy - pickling, freezing and canning. I have also made salsa and relish.
Pickled green tomatoes and peppers

Perfect pearls of pea perfection (just a little alliteration for you)


Who's that conehead?

Kaiser was once again at the veterinarian. He got into a fight with the neighbour's Bull Mastiff and he was on the losing end. Kaiser is not a vicious dog, he just wants to play with everyone but doesn't understand that not everyone wants to play with him. His front right leg was bitten quite severely and became infected after a few days. He now has a drain tube and is on heavy antibiotics. We are seriously investigating and researching electric dog fencing.


Moose: The moose have been out again at night. We noticed their tracks going on the path between the garden and berry garden. They stopped to have a look at our produce but continued on their way - I guess the fence around the garden helped after all. The next night one was back and walked over the berry garden fence and through the berry bushes and out again. Luckily it didn't squash any of our strawberry plants or berry bushes.

Grouse: We have been seeing quite a few grouse around lately. Usually they are in a flock of 4-7. This one was on the road - she stopped and stood still thinking I couldn't see her while her friends took off into the bush.

Bear: The bears are out in full force. Since April there have been over 700 reported sighting within the city. The expect that in fall there will be quite a problem because the hot dry summer has dried up their food source of berries. Now they will be coming into town to look for other goodies to eat - garbage, fruit, and whatever else takes their fancy.

I spoke with a lady that lives in our area and she said to watch out as there is a grizzley in the area. I hadn't heard about it, but now I wonder if that was the bear my neighbour across the road saw the other day. She telephoned us to say a HUGE bear was in her yard and was heading across the street to our property. We never did see it, but I waited for 30 minutes befdore heading out for my daily walk.

Pioneer Week Challenge: Well it wasn't a huge success this year, but I did okay. Obviously we cooked at home other than one day when we had Indian takeout. I didn't purchase anything other than a few groceries that I needed, and a pair of Birkenstock shoes to wear in the house as my feet were killing my from standing in the kitchen at length. I combined all my trips into town to cut on my fuel consumption.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pioneer Week

A new Pioneer Week Challenge hosted by Crunchy Chicken. I've been so busy I almost missed it!

Pioneer Living Rules (as reposted from Crunchy's blog)

1. Food: During Pioneer Week, you must make all your meals from scratch. This isn't really as hard as it sounds particularly if you start now. That's right, I'm letting you prepare meals ahead of time to freeze if you won't have time during the work week. But, anything prepared ahead of time must be made from scratch.

2. Energy usage: Keep your energy usage low by keeping the A/C (or heat if you live in the other hemisphere) low or off, use only one light in the house at a time (or at least turn off the lights when you are not using them) and line dry your clothes. Since you'll be doing a lot of cooking at home, try to coordinate when you are using the oven to take advantage of baking and/or roasting items at the same time. I don't expect you to unplug your fridge or freezer, so don't worry about that.

3. Conserve water: Since we don't all lug our water from the stream for home use, we'll have to do a few things to help conserve water. Besides taking shorter showers (5 minutes or less or take a military style shower) and flushing less often, you can create a great reminder about water usage by turning the water off on most of your sinks so when you go to use them nothing comes out.

4. Transportation: Walk or bike as much as possible. This will force you to support more local stores if you can't drive across town. If this isn't feasible, then drive or take public transportation. Most importantly, try to combine trips and if you really don't need to go out, stay home!

5. Rethink your entertainment: Instead of spending the week passively watching television or movies, try to engage more with the people you live with or neighbors within walking distance. Get the family back into playing games, music or just sitting around talking and telling stories. If you aren't in the mood for socializing try picking up that long lost craft hobby or start a new one.

6. Watch your wallet: Think of this as a Buy Nothing Week. Since you'll be pretty much eating at home all week, you don't really need to buy anything, now do you?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


It RAINED for about 10 minutes this afternoon!!!!!!

I was in the grocery store and that is all everyone could talk about.

Who knew one could be so happy over just a little rain?

Vintage Blog and Historical Cookbooks

I have decided to discontinue my vintage blog as I just don't have time to work on it along with everything else I do. I do want to save this one particular post so I have copied it over onto this blog.


For my birthday in May my sister at Reduce, Reuse and Rummage bought me the wonderful book "Eat My Words: Reading Women's Lives Through the Cookbooks they Wrote" It's a wonderful book which reaches far beyond recipes (or receipts as they were called long ago) and into the social lives of women, the struggle for equality in regard learning how to read and write, and the struggle of women to become published authors.

This brings me to a topic I have been wanting to write about since January when I purchased a vintage metal recipe box as a gift for my sister. When the box arrived it came with some freebees and you can't imagine how excited I was! In it were several cookbooks with handwritten recipes, newspaper and magazine recipes, newspaper articles and most things were also dated! I have been pouring over the books and have come to learn a lot about the previous owner.

The brown spiral notebook begins in 1940 when I presume Mrs. Sheldon was a young bride. I know her name is Mrs. Sheldon because the red "Sugar An' Spice And All Things Nice" children's cookbook was copyrighted 1950 and contains the name Melissa Linda Sheldon (I assume this was her daughter as the dates fit) and most articles in the books are from Cleveland. The strange thing that I found in the red children's cookbook was a stash of alcoholic drink recipes.

I'm not sure if you can see the daughter's signature in this photo

More photos of the brown notebook with newspaper clippings and handwritten recipes and Mrs. Sheldon's notes about the recipes and changes she made. Again the first dates on the recipes are 1940, but the stamps on the lower corner are from 1935 and 1936 - I wonder if she just had them lying around and then added them to the book. This notebook appears to end after WWII as on the back cover there is a newspaper clipping about two brothers stationed in the South Pacific.

Close up of stamps

The blue binder is predominately composed of recipes clipped from newspapers and magazines and covers the 1950's and into the mid 1960's.

I love her notes! Obviously the books came from an estate sale and I am sorry that Mrs. Sheldon's family let them go and didn't see the books for the insight/history that they provide about this woman's life.

The back of the binder held several newspaper articles about people.

This clipping is from an entire page of The Cleveland Press dated Wednesday, June 24, 1964
Entitled "40 Years Ago in Lorain Tornado Struck Like Giant Claw of Death"
Mrs Sheldon has written in green ink "I remember this storm"

So, what I have learned about Mrs. Sheldon (from my detective work)? That she was a young bride in around 1940 and had at least one daughter. She grew up and lived in or around the Cleveland, Ohio area and was most like born around 1920. I don't think she had much of an education, perhaps just some high school based on the simple spelling mistakes that I find throughout the books. I believe she was of Danish origin as there are several Danish recipes in the books and one note "Recipes from a danish church out west". She must have had friends who lived in or she visited Michigan and Toronto as some recipes say "Sandusky, Michigan" and there are two sheets of letterhead from the Royal York hotel in Toronto with recipes on them (but the handwriting is different than Mrs. Sheldon's)

I can say that I feel blessed to have received these books. I feel that I am now the keeper of Mrs. Sheldon's life in a way. It would have been such a shame should these books have been thrown away or destroyed.

It has made me come to realize that I also need to clean up the mess I have of my own recipes. For years I have just thrown things into a binder (not even clipped in!). I am now slowly taking everything and either writing or pasting the recipes into a proper book. Hopefully my children will keep the book and pass it on.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heat Wave and Fires

The heat wave continues and the past two days has seen temperatures of 32c (90f) which for us is extremely hot.

I took this photo yesterday morning as the sky seemed very strange when I woke up. It had a yellowish cast, there was a haze hanging around, and the sun was a bright orange (the photo doesn't quite do the colour justice).

The haze is actually smoke from all of the forest fires burning in British Columbia. There are a few in our area, but not close enough to be of any concern. The smoke just blows everywhere and is causing air quality advisories for people with respiratory difficulties.

According to the news this morning 70% of the British Columbia is under extreme fire danger. I never thought I would actually say this, but... "I wish it would rain!"

I don't think we have had any rain to speak of since about mid-June. Usually it rains in the evening during the summer, but we haven't even had that.

We have been watering the gardens, greenhouses and new sod like crazy. I'm scared we may run the well dry! So far so good....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken Coop Re-Do

We have been needing to rebuild the chicken/duck coop for a while. Since Cockzilla's disappearing/reappearing trick we couldn't wait any longer. We have a lot of fox in the area and can't risk them getting into the pen for a tasty meal.

The pen as it was

Husband having taken off the the plywood temporary roof and wire

Building the outside walls up higher
Husband being supervised by the chickens
Daughter painting the hen house
Proper roof being put on complete with an asphalt shingling material to keep off the rain and snow
The finished product

My job is to now clean out the old manure and replenish with clean hay. Unfortunately I have run out of hay and only have a half bale left. Friends of our have hay put aside for us and were going to deliver it, but it appears we will have to pick it up as we can't wait any longer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Garden Photos

Small decorative windmill sitting in the 'crazy garden'

Wildflowers planted in the drainage area

Close up of the wildflowers

Inside of the large greenhouse (it's like a wild jungle)

Early Girl tomatoes in the small greenhouse

Wonderful cabbage this year because they have been covered all summer

Vegetable garden - LOOK! CORN! (it's very difficult to grow here)

Vegetable garden with greenhouses in the background

Vegetable garden (the white fabric is what is used to cover the cabbage)

Our squash garden

Close up of Pumpkins

Close up of Winter Squash

Front our our home

Front flowerbed with mostly perennials