Monday, May 14, 2018


I hope everyone had a nice weekend and was able to sit outside for a few minutes and enjoy the beautiful spring air.

I did that on Friday evening for awhile.  I had spent a hard day cleaning out my strawberry bed, and tilling part of the garden.  After supper I went outside to water a couple of very small trees we planted last year, and after I was finished that, I sat on the park bench in the backyard and just listened to the evening birdsong for a few minutes.  I could just feel my exhaustion melting away to be replaced with a beautiful content and satisfied feeling.

The next few weeks are going to be spent outside getting everything ready for planting in a week or so.  There is a lot of work we need to do in the yard before we plant, so you won't be seeing me on here very much.

I might pop on once or twice to let you know we are still alive and well, and maybe share a picture or two, but that will be all.

I will resume regular posting and Recipe Thursdays once the garden is in and I can catch my breath.

In the meantime I hope everyone stays well, and is able to enjoy the beautiful spring days, before summer hits us for real.

Take Care everyone... see you soon!

Thursday, May 10, 2018


When I was a child, my Mother and I had a "girls" day out about twice a year. It is the only time I can remember as a young child, going somewhere with my Mom, where the whole family didn't tag along. It started when I was quite young, maybe around 8 yrs old or so, and continued for a few years.
We would walk to Corydon Ave, get on the trolley bus ( yes Winnipeg had electric buses back then) and we would head downtown to the beauty school to get perms in our hair. It was a big deal to be in a place where there were only females, especially since our home was mostly males. For a couple of hours we were pampered, fussed over, and treated like queens, and when we left there, we looked just like the girls and women in all the papers and magazines.

After our hair was done, we would walk down Portage Avenue until we came to Woolworth's Department Store. It was the place to go for so many things - my Mom loved shopping there, but I loved the big lunch counter along the back wall - the one with the stools that twisted around and around and around.

After Mom finished her shopping, we would go to that counter for a bit of a treat before heading home.

I always had a glass of milk, Mom had coffee, and we both shared a slice of Icebox Cheesecake - something that had yet made it into recipe books or household kitchens in our city.

It was exotic, so refreshing, and left you wanting another piece, because you could only get it at this particular lunch counter, and only when you were on a girls day out, with Mom!

In later years, Mom began making a cheesecake much like the Woolworth's Icebox cake, but it never quite tasted the way the one did in the store - where we sat just the two of us, having a special treat out together.

It's a Memory I cherish, and with Mother's Day this coming weekend, it it particularly wonderful to sit and remember that special time we had together.

The recipe isn't a secret anymore, so make one this weekend, and share it with your Mother, if you are lucky enough to still have her with you.

If like, me you will be missing your Mother this Mother's Day, make it anyway, and remember those special moments you shared with your Mom.

HAPYY MOTHER'S DAY to all the Mom's out there!


Woolworth's Famous Icebox Cheesecake.

  • 1
    (12-ounce) can Carnation evaporated milk, well chilled
  • 1⅔
    cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½
    cup confectioners' sugar
  • 6
    tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 1
    (3-ounce) box lemon Jell-O gelatin or any flavor you like
  • 1
    cup boiling water
  • 1
    (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1
    cup granulated sugar
  • 4
    tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


To begin, shake the can of evaporated milk and refrigerate until well chilled, at least an hour.

In a small mixing bowl and using a wire whisk, dissolve the Jell-O in the boiling water, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and melted butter. Reserve 1/3 cup of the mixture for the topping. Press the remainder firmly into the bottom of an 11.5x7.5-inch or similar dish. Refrigerate or put in the freezer until needed.
In another large mixing bowl and using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and lemon juice or vanilla until smooth and creamy. Beat in the cooled Jell-O until well blended. Refrigerate mixture for now.
Shake the can of chilled evaporated milk again and pour into another large mixing bowl. Beat on high speed of mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. It should have the consistency of beaten egg whites. Beat in the cream cheese/Jell-O mixture.

Pour mixture over the chilled crust. Sprinkle top with the remaining crumb mixture. Refrigerate for several hours before cutting into squares.
You can use a larger pan, like 9x12-inch and the dessert will be thinner. If you have too much filling for the smaller pan, pour it into small bowls and refrigerate for a quick and creamy snack.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


I really feel like I am not accomplishing anything this week.  My spring allergies hit me over the weekend, and try as I might, I just can't be outside until I get them better under control.

Such a pain...

But I did use that time to be a bit creative with something that I dreamt up at the last minute.

My little piano student was having a birthday - turning 8 yrs old, and so I decided to make him a book mark, as he is such a great little reader.

I couldn't figure out what to make him, so decided to go with the piano teacher  in me and stitch him a piano keyboard - sort of a visual piano he could look at and think of his lessons, maybe even use as a tool to learn the names of the notes with as well.

So I got out some graph paper and drew out my design and started working on it.

For a simple piece it took an awful lot of stitching, and I will admit that I really missed my daylight lamp ( which is currently being used on plants upstairs, especially stitching the white keys!

But I got it done in time for his party, and he was delighted with it, as he also got three chapter books from his parents, and now has his own book mark!

How's that for teacher's intuition!

For a special treat, I developed a photo of Chip peeking out of his bed and framed it for his room... and that was even better than the book mark, I am told.

Who says you have to give expensive and extravagant gifts!  Most kids don't need that - think it's the parents who expect it, not always the kids.

My Mom used to say children could have just as much fun with pots and lids as they could with toys, and she was right... well young children anyway!

Because I still wasn't feeling up to working outside yesterday,  I designed a new mug rug for a special birthday, which should have been in the mail a couple of weeks ago. 

My plan was to work outside today, but once again the wind is gusting and the dust is really flying, so I guess that means I will be staying inside and finishing the projects I started indoors yesterday.

And I will find you a really good recipe for tomorrow!

See you then!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I  hope everyone is getting a chance to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring days, before things like mosquitoes appear and ruin our time outside.  Yesterday it was a whopping 30C here in our little corner of the world.  Quite the surprise, and quite unwelcome, actually.  We need rain, not extreme heat - but we are not in control, so guess we take what we get.

Gary and I have been spending quite a bit of every day outside working in the yard.  That's mostly my fault.  I  have dreamt up so many projects for the yard over the winter, and I am determined to see them all done.

I am sort of working all over at once, but poor Gary has been slugging, and I mean slugging it out with a sledgehammer and determination, removing a brick planter that ran the entire length of the front of our house.

Yes, that's it - ugly and boring, isn't it?  I took this right after the snow melted in March that's why the grass looks so dead.  Nothing grew in this narrow West facing brick flower bed.  The bed did nothing for the front of the house, and nothing for the plants that tried to grow in it, so I wanted it gone.

Little did we know that every layer is mortared together with cement and as if that wasn't enough to keep it secure, there is also rebar running through each and every layer and brick!

So yes, it was a miserable task to get it off.  Not much was selvaged in this project, I'm afraid.

While Gary was slugging away,  I got busy and cut away almost 2 feet of grass to extend the bed wider, and I have been digging ever since!

What a ton of work - I am not quite to the end of the mess, but already I can see a huge difference in the look of the house.

Because our house is long and flat, I want to add some depth with small shrubs.  A Peony for sure - I have my eye on the double magenta-red blooms of the Felix Crousse Peony.  I would like a Nine Bark beside the stairs in the corner - love the colour they bring to any place they stand, and maybe a Hydrangea or   Kodiak Orange Bush Honeysuckle.  And a couple of perennials, and some annuals.

You wouldn't believe what that all looks like in my mind!

But - work in progress - so I'd better get back to work.

Till later...

Monday, May 7, 2018


Do you think I have flipped my lid on this post?  Maybe - we'll see.  You be the judge.

I was a youth in the 60's - so I know all about the Hippie movement of the 60's.  The hippies of that era were a little older than I was - but I wasn't that much younger that I didn't understand what being a hippie was all about.

My Mother, bless her soul, didn't understand the hippie movement, nor did she tolerate it... to the point that if she she saw a young woman wearing a long dress, sandals, hair down to her behind with beads around her neck - she automatically assumed she was a hippie.

Fifty some years later there is new criteria to be a "Modern-Day Hippie",  -  I checked into it to see what it is all about -  here's what I learned?

1. You are a Modern Day Hippie if you are or have been a vegetarian.
Vegetarian, you say?  Are they still called that?  Then what is Vegan?   And NO, I have never been either, but the older I get, I am enjoying meat less and less, and I realize that I really could quite comfortably eat this way.  As long as I could have eggs, cheese, milk, AND vegetables - yes I could be vegetarian, most certainly!

2.  You are a Modern Day Hippie if you have avoided hitting an animal or stopped to help an injured animal.
What kind of looser would NOT avoid hitting an animal, or NOT help an injured animal?  What on earth does this have to do with being a Hippie?  I consider that being a decent human being, to be kind and loving to any and all creatures - large or small... Sheesh!

3.  You have a litter bug song!
I guess this must be very important for some reason unknown to me.  Sorry no, I don't have one - but I guess I could write one on the fly, if I had to.

4. You love Vintage!
Yeah!  Finally - Yes - that's me... I do love vintage!

5. You Volunteer, give back to your community!
Yup - I do.  I play the piano at the Personal Care Home... happy to do it, and happy to make other's happy with music, but people from all walks of life and every age volunteer - that makes them all Hippies? 

6.  You Conserve water when brushing your teeth!
OMG!  Really!  Turning off the tap and saving water ( and $ on your water bill) makes you a Hippie?  Okay, now I am really confused!  But yes - I do turn off the water while I brush, more because I pay the bills than because I am a Hippie!

7. You do Yoga!
Ah -NO - I don't do yoga.  I did try it once in nursing school - it was recommended as a way to relax before exams.  I twisted my back so badly, that I had to chew pain pills for a week - I guess it helped - I sure was relaxed...

8.  You Nix Parabens and Sulfates!
I  do, but this is getting easier and easier as less and less products have them...

9. You Choose Organic!
Isn't that pretty much the same as #8?  I grow my own vegetables, and I do not use chemicals of any kind, either to the soil, or to the plants, and certainly not to the produce... so yes - I choose organic!

10. You do not harm animals by supporting animal testing in any way!
What kind of animals are we talking about?  Mice?  What kind of testing are we talking about?  Cancer drugs?  Really this is way to broad a statement for any intelligent person to say yay or nay to... or so I believe...

11. You buy clothing for a cause!
Indeed I do - cause it's illegal to go around naked - and anyway I wouldn't force that torture on anyone ( seeing me in my all together).  Seriously - I do know what they refer to - and no, I have never ever bought clothing for a cause - I have looked in shops that sold items such as these - but none have ever been for someone my size - so sadly - no I do not support these shops.

12. You have Energy efficient appliances!
I hope this is over soon - don't know how much more of this I can take.  Yes - I did have all energy efficient appliances in my other house - but we sold them with the house - the home we now live in did not have energy efficient anything - we are replacing them as we can afford them, but like many people, we have to budget for such things.... is this a yes... or a no?  How about sort of Maybe?

13. You drive energy efficient cars!
Is there such a thing?  Who wrote this stuff anyway?  I can't afford a Hybrid, and they haven't invented solar-powered cars yet, have they?  However I do have a small SUV that is economical to drive - yes!

14. You Adopted your pet?
As opposed to what - stole them?  Yes, I adopted my pets - every one of them... and I looked after them and loved each and every one of them until they left me for the Rainbow bridge.  I did not abandon them, mistreat them, harm them in any way.... I thought we covered this one already!

15. You Grow your own, and compost!
Guess they didn't read my last post!

Oh - that's it.

So now if I have answered yes to 10 or more  - I am officially a Modern Day Hippie.

Here we go!  Watch for it!

1. no
2. yes
3. no
4. yes
5. yes
6. yes
7. no
8. yes
9. yes
10. yes
11. no
12. yes
13. yes
14. yes
15. yes

total: 11 yes!

I'm a Hippie!

Whoot Whoot!

Awe Mom - It doesn't mean anything - really it doesn't!

To be honest I think whomever wrote these 15 items is a little light on the load, if you know what I mean - and they certainly have no clue about real life.  Maybe I shouldn't say that - but there - I have.

But it was fun, was it not?

Friday, May 4, 2018


It's Friday, and gardening season is here!  I can't be happier with the prospect of being on my hands and knees digging in the dirt!

I am so fortunate that I have the time to grow my own bedding plants and vegetable seedlings for my gardens.  Every year I am expanding my list of things to grow, and every year I am saving myself more money by seeding my own plants.

I know not everyone has the time or even the right conditions or space to do this, but if you garden and you do have the time, it is well worth your effort.  It's a bit late to start now for this years growing season, but think about doing it next year.  Your efforts save you money, but more importantly, you get to enjoy poking around in dirt long before spring - it really feels like your are shortening winter to some small degree.

Over the years I have saved every seed tray and pot from purchased plants - if I was given a carrying try, I saved those as well.  I did have a little mini starter set at one time, but I never found them to be very effective, and so I start my plants in things I have saved like these:

You can also start seeds in egg cartons,  toilet paper rolls, some people even make their own paper pots from used newspapers.  Once my seedlings are large enough ( have their second and sometimes third leaves, I transplant them into these fiber pots, that can be purchased anywhere.

I like these because you can direct sew these right into your garden if you want - they will compost down with time.  I do that only after I have used them for several seasons - I'm too frugal to give them up to the soil, if I can still get some use from them.

I start all my seeds in the south facing picture window in the dining room.  The heat and the sun in that room are perfect for getting seeds to germinate.  Other years I have left them in that room until it was time to plant them out in the garden - but it pretty much meant that we could not use the dining room, so this year I decided to make a green-house upstairs in my studio.

I got a nice big table and set up three florescent lights, and once the seedlings were transplanted from trays to pots I took them up and let them grow under the lights.

They have done so well - and because of this I have been able to start much more this year than any year before.

Here is a tour of my growing table in the studio.  I can't wait to get all these plants out into the garden and watch them take off - but that will have to wait for at least another three weeks or so - maybe more for things like tomatoes.

So here you go - welcome to my green table!  And remember - save those trays and pots that your bedding plants come in this year - if you don't want them - I'll take them!


Thursday, May 3, 2018


It's Recipe Thursday, and today I have not one, but two recipes to share with you.

 My Aunt Olga Rossnagel prepared the first recipe many times for us during our many visits to the farm.  The recipe tastes like something you would find in any fine dining establishment - it is that good - and better yet - it is so simple to make.

I decided to add another recipe today to compliment the first recipe... the two combined is my idea of a perfect light lunch...  I hope you agree.

Today we will be making a light lunch of Marinated Mixed Vegetables, and Herb-Cheese Biscuits.

Aunt Olga's Marinated Vegetables.

In a ice cream pail (or very large bowl) prepare the following:
Wash, and cut/chop

I head of Broccoli 
I head Cauliflower
6-8 large Carrots
1- 2 large onions  of your choice ( Red, Yellow or Spanish)
1 bunch of Celery

1 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Salad Dressing

You can add whatever raw vegetable you desire to this mixture, bearing in mind this mixture will be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week - so you won't want to use anything that will go mushy.  I often add cherry tomatoes if I know I am making this for a large gathering.

Stir mixture together, and add 1 full bottle of  Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing.  Mix well, put a lid on the pail and place in the fridge.
( best to make 1 day before you want to eat it)... stir it a few times during the day, and always stir before serving.

Stores for up to a week in the fridge.

I guarantee, you won't be able to get enough of these veggies, once you taste them.

 Ruth's Herb-Cheese Biscuits
(Ruth Agee Ekstrom, Bittersweet Herb Farm)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon each: dried marjoram;
parsley; oregano; thyme
1/2 cup shredded brick or cheddar cheese
5 tablespoons soft butter
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450F.  Mix flours, baking powder,
herbs and cheese in a large bowl with a fork.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the 
mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Add the milk and stir until mixture clings together.  
If too dry, add a bit more milk.

Form the dough into a ball, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead gently, not more than 5 turns of the dough.

Roll out to a 1/2 in thickness, and cut with a biscuit cutter or a glass.
Place on baking sheet 1 inch apart .
Bake for 12-15 minutes.

I hope you get a chance to try these two recipes.  The vegetables are perfect anytime as a salad, served on a bed of lettuce, or as a side when you are having a BBQ.