Beyond

I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

most wonderful time

We're settling into the week before Christmas.

The tree, fetched from a nearby farm, is up and decorated, warming the living room with its lights each night. Almost all gifts are bought and wrapped, peeking from underneath the tree. Baking is in the freezer, with more to follow over the next few days.

Christmas dinner for about 15 is planned and most of the food bought. Dickens's A Christmas Carol has been read, smiled at, enjoyed again. Last Sunday's service at church went well, and will repeat for the Christmas Eve service. Hosting a party for the band tomorrow night.

This year will have its familiarities, and new memories waiting to be made. But yesterday, I had a moment. That sounds momentous, but I did indeed have one.

I rarely (okay, never) regret the fact that I am a full-time mom. I wouldn't trade the time I enjoy with the girls for anything. It's meant choices, and sacrifice, and D's having a job that allows this is a blessing I never want to take for granted. It also means time as a family. It makes for what can be a very laid-back, relaxed schedule. It gives us flexibility. It's the choice we feel is best for our family. I really do love what I do.

That said, it also means that I make no money. Typically, I've joked about this, my status as leech or parasite. But I stood in Best Buy yesterday and looked at a gift I wanted to buy D. And I have no money of my own. And for one brief moment, I wished for a job so that I could have the option to buy something for the guy who makes it all possible without spending money he earned. I actually cried for a minute. Then R, my wise-souled comforter, did her quiet arm-around-me thing and I remembered that the money I would have had did not replace the beyond monetary things I do have.

God bless us, every one... (Tiny Tim)


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

daring cook, december

This month's challenge was poaching. No, not sneaking off to the woods to steal endangered animals, but the cooking technique.

Poached eggs remind me of childhood. Coming into the sunny kitchen in the morning, the little radio playing the morning show while Dad had a poached egg on toast before leaving for the office, is one of those childhood vignettes for me. It comes back to me whenever I make that breakfast for myself, something I often do. It's comfort food, both from the happy memories and the simple goodness of it. So the poaching technique was not really new to me, but using it to make eggs benedict definitely was.

"Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num."
The eggs were poached in just-simmering water, cooking gently until the white was set and the yolk softly cooked. And once again, the hens were contributors to the challenge. Fresh eggs do poach more easily as the white tends to stay around the egg better in the water.

Hollandaise sauce! One word: "yummm". Six words: "I wanted to lick my plate". Smooth, buttery lemony goodness. Oh, it was amazing and the technique, while requiring attention, was not as difficult as I had thought (thanks to the wonderful directions provided by the DC hosts this month!). Our first attempt at eggs benedict was English muffin, bacon, poached egg and the sauce. Delicious! I only had salted butter on hand, though, and found less salt would have been better. But for a first take, I loved it and the family did, too. It made for a Saturday breakfast that felt remarkably pampered and indulgent.
Eggs benedict, traditional on English muffin with bacon

On our second go, we altered things a bit; I made crepes and used prosciutto in the place of the bacon. Unsalted butter this time made for a better hollandaise, but the prosciutto itself was quite salty and I think a lower-salt version of the prosciutto might be a good thing. Regardless, these were a huge hit with the taste testers (D and the 3 girls) and the crepes were actually preferred to the muffins by the kids.
Eggs benedict on crepes with prosciutto.

This recipe is another keeper for us. Using a broad saucepan let me poach several eggs at a time, which is nice for serving a group. I would like to try the other poaching recipe provided this month, oeufs en meurette, eggs poached in red wine and served on toasted baguette slices with mushrooms and onion... it sounds amazing. Another time, though!

Side note: hollandaise is also a delight on broiled salmon. We took the sauce knowledge and applied it to a non-poaching. So good!

Side note 2: my other egg comfort food: a soft-boiled egg, cut off the top and dip buttered toast fingers into it. Simple and wonderful. Eaten by a crackling fire, with tea: divine.


Monday, 6 December 2010

on the fly

Generally, week by week for Sunday morning I plan a a lot. Picking the songs based on theme, key, who's going to be there for the band, etc. But sometimes decisions are made on the fly.

Last night the four ladies from our worship team took part in a community concert. We had planned the songs, rehearsed them (given this group, that really doesn't take loads of time as they are officially awesome), and we were ready to go.

We were a quartet among a group of choirs and arrived to be greeted by friendly faces, glad we were able to join in this year. We planned to do my 'Silence Broken' and Mariah Carey's 'Jesus, Born on this Day'. The other three would stand with mics and I'd sing from the piano. Easy enough.

We warmed up downstairs in a classroom with no piano, just to tweak last minute things. So, we were set.

The program started to an overflow house and I sat and listened to the choirs, and two thoughts grew: the piano's sound was ok, not stellar, and wow, the acoustics in here are nice. Then I got one of those thoughts that makes the other gals either roll their eyes, or laugh, or both.

I leaned over to Care, Bee and Connnie and whispered, "let's do the second song a capella, no mics". The looks were hilarious: a bit of disbelief followed by the well-known and beloved 'let's do this' smiles. Within a few minutes, right there in the concert, we decided to go all in. No mics, no accompaniment, on 'Jesus, Born on this Day'.

It was perfect.

The voices blended, raised, pure, nothing to distract, the hall was perfect for it. We finished on a triumphant chord, then silence. Then the place exploded in applause. It was one of those 'wow' moments that still buzzes in my head this morning.

I plan to never play for that song again with that crew. :) Ladies, you outdid yourselves last night! Thanks again for the privilege of working with you.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

blank page

I sat down to write and nothing came. So I played. Moving through chord structures, trying new combinations. Playing in C# major, something I'd always feared as a pianist and realizing it's not so tough after all.

But no words. Nothing.

A text came from Seren: put a blank page in front of you.

A blank page. It stared at me; the inspiration came. Realizing that, like the page, each day is blank and waits to be filled. Interactions start as blank pages, waiting for the dialogue to be written.

One line at a time, one minute at a time. Life comes in fragments that we build on, chain together, and make:
- a relationship.
- a day.
- a mistake.
- a victory.
- a life.

We unite the good moments with the bad, the brilliant flashes with the awkward stumbles, the clever insights with the foolish blundering: each of us has these moments. How will I put mine together?

There's a song there, and it's taking shape.



Sunday, 14 November 2010

daring cook, november

Soufflés! This month's challenge was once again something I'd never made before.
Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
I will admit that their reputation as cantankerous little tests of a cook's ability, not to mention expectations of tiptoeing around the house lest the souffle get annoyed with our heavy footfalls and collapse in a glorious flat mess of failed cookery, had me a little intimidated. However, the instructions and tips on the Daring Kitchen website made it much less daunting. It was good to be able to use up lots of eggs, too - our hens have been laying well.
We tried the chocolate one first; while it didn't rise as much as we'd hoped (need cleaner edges on the dish, I think), it tasted divine. My sous chefs (the 3 girls) enjoyed helping and all agreed it would be well worth trying again. The recipe from Gordon Ramsay referred to a soufflé as "a sexy pudding" - a good description. The flavor was amazing, the texture silky - delicious and smooth to eat.
We next did a savory one, using spinach and gruyere cheese, now feeling a little more confident in soufflé -land. The flavor was amazing, the sous chefs loved taking part in this one and all of the girls raved about the taste. We found it rich, but the lightness of the soufflé meant that it wasn't too much. Delicious and light but lots of taste. Definitely one we'll add to the favorites list.
Now that we feel more comfortable with this, we're thinking maybe crab and leek? Hmm...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

home again

Calgary and the GMA week were both amazing, and both left much scurrying around in my mind. Which either means that I'm thinking a lot, or there is plenty of space in there for said thoughts to scurry. I'd like to think the former, though I do wonder sometimes.

The weekend brought opportunities for new contacts, hearing stories and advice from seasoned artists, taking in the Covenant Awards and some great performances. It was a chance at learning in a format I've never experienced before, and both D and I tried to glean all we could from our time there.

One point of clarification that I seem to be getting from the weekend is that I should continue to focus on my writing. I've often thought that my musical strength is more in the writing, and the weekend gave me several little landmarks that pointed me once again in that direction. On the plane ride home, as I pondered this and sorted through thoughts in an internal dialogue, and one sentence came at the end of it all: "you have more songs to write".

And for all the loveliness of the mountains and the vast expanse of blue, blue sky, nothing of the weekend quite compared to the tacklehugs of three very excited girls who awaited us at home. That was blissful. Several days' worth of laundry later, and I'm feeling back to normal.

But really, if we allow things to affect us, whether tragedy or joy, there can no 'back to normal'. We find a new 'normal'. Let's see where this new normal takes us.


Friday, 29 October 2010

so close, so much

I can see the Rockies. When we drove around the city yesterday en route to an event, I literally squealed, "mountains! mountains!" to which D replied, "I think they're clouds". They were indeed the mountains, but pretty far away. So close yet so far away; our schedule won't let us get to see lovely and much-hyped-but-apparently-very-worth-it Banff. Another time.

We've been meeting musicians, networking (schmoozing? sounds too smarmy. These are really nice people to talk to), and yesterday took in a panel critique of songs. One of mine ('Only You') got played and got good feedback. Very encouraging. Interesting that one of the songwriters on the panel picked up that I liked Evanescence from the song. Perceptive of him.

Last night's showcase was fun, nine artists sharing music. Got to chat with some more musicians and - oh, happyness (yes, spelled wrong but looks cuter that way and just 'fits' better) - finally got to meet dear EP and her wonderful hubby, after forging an online new/old friendship that began months ago when EP wrote an article about me. We slipped into talking and laughing like old friends so easily, and went out after for more time together. A lovely end to a day that was certainly a 'so much' day.

Today is a taking-in and connecting day. Tomorrow I perform for the performance competition. But today I can breathe easily, eat without fear of food affecting my singing, and tonight dress up and go to the Covenant Awards with D.

Maybe I'll get another glimpse of those snowy, rocky mountains today.

(ps to E and R, I can't thank you enough for being there last night. I think of it as the first of many meetings. We really must get these provinces to move closer together.)



Tuesday, 26 October 2010

gma canada

Every year, GMA (Gospel Music Association) Canada hosts the Covenant awards, celebrating Christian music in Canada. In conjunction with that, they are putting on GMA Canada Week, including a songwriting competition and a performance competition.

I'm entered in both.

(insert deep breath here)

I alternate between "what a great opportunity!" and "what have I gotten myself into?".

Three weeks ago I emailed mp3s and lyrics for five songs for the songwriting competition. That part's done. Next Saturday in Calgary, I go on stage for my 10-minute slot for the performance competition. That part's got me pretty intimidated. One criteria to be in this competition is that you not be a signed artist - but there are some very professional, experienced performers among the indie artists out there.

I'm praying my little 'firefly' can take wing and shine.


Thursday, 14 October 2010

daring cook, october

Another month, another something new in the kitchen. I've never even eaten them before, but this month (tonight, in fact) I made stuffed grape leaves.
Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
It took a trip to the local Italian food store and some hunting there to find the leaves, but the rest of the ingredients were readily found. Leaves were rinsed of their brine, rice soaked and stuffing mixed.

The stuffing was ground beef, short-grain rice, and spices including allspice and cinnamon. These spices used to surprise me when I saw them anywhere outside of an apple or pumpkin pie, but now I've gotten accustomed to tasting them with different meats.

Rolling the leaves around the stuffing was fun and again involved my three sous chefs (aka daughters) who were again keen to try a new food.
Rinsed and dried grape leaf

Stuffing, ready to roll!

Into the pan they went, lined up neatly and with dried apricots wedged between them for more flavour. Water and lemon juice was added and them simmered for 40 minutes. Beef kebabs I'd marinated in red wine went on the grill toward the end, to fill out the meal along with a cucumber/yogurt salad I'd made earlier.
Cooked and ready for tasting.

The result: delicious! The rolled leaves held up well to the cooking time, though I had to be careful when I lifted them from the pan. A nice flavour, accented by some tamarind-chutney sauce I'd found. The girls liked the taste as well. Another new discovery for our kitchen!

Check out music from Barb Glennie


This is cool. I'm now listed on reverbnation.com, and they have this nifty little widget setup. Lots of artist links and such, I'm still finding my way around it.


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

pink!

I'm typically a neutrals sort of girl. But this ... oooh, I couldn't help it. It's so cute! Want want want!




Friday, 1 October 2010

spicy

Spices, I'm thinking, have a bit of a season about them (no pun intended).

Spring is a time of herbs: parsley, thyme, oregano. Fresh and new. Summer wants basil and rosemary, their heady flavors adding punch to sun-sweet tomatoes and light omelets. Fall is all about the brown spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice all jostle for their place in my baking. Winter likes the brown spices but also welcomes some of the herbs as sage and summer savory find their place in roasts and stews.

Today in the kitchen many apples met a saucy end as they boiled into mush and moved through the food mill to make a lovely pink applesauce. The garden yielded its last of the season, with eight pie pumpkins now sitting primly on the walkway, waiting their turn. Over the weekend they will be cooked, mashed, and put into pies. The seeds will be roasted for snacks. Pastry for the pies was made today and now waits in neat packets in the fridge. The house smells like, well, fall.

What other spices have a seasonal feel? Hmm...


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

seven

Sunday came and went. Another September 26th. Seven years since J went home. Seven years since we learned how much changes in an instant. Seven years missing him.

Another anniversary of the day. Yes, says my rational mind, but another day does not make him any more gone from you.

That's not the point, I reply.

What is, then? Oh rational mind, you can be annoying when you persist.

I don't know.

But I always dread the day coming when it's "one more year since". I get introspective, retrospective. I miss my nephew, my friend, the silliness and brilliance and imperfections that made him, him.

ever and anon.


Thursday, 16 September 2010

drear

This has been a singularly dreary day. Not in a things-went-bad way, but in the cool chill and wind of a dreary fall day. It was never really bright outside at all, and I was cheered by lighting a few pretty candles and making cozy food (shrimp risotto, and an apple coffee cake for dessert!), and hanging with my family all day.

The season of making thick, hearty soups and savory stews is upon us. I love using the grill, but comfort food, made flavorful with slow cooking and great seasoning, gets me excited. Creamy mac & cheese in the oven. French onion soup, dark with onions caramelized and cooked down in rich red wine. Roasted meat with pan gravy. Mmmm. And the cinnamonny nutmegness of apple pies, pumpkin pies, spice cakes.

'Drear' should be the noun form of 'dreary'. Perhaps it is. "Look at the drear out there. I'm putting on a fire". See? It works. Sometimes the dreary days are my favorite.

Four hundred posts. Wow.


daring kitchen, september

Fall is in the air, and now in my kitchen. This month's Daring Kitchen challenge was for preserving food. Now, I've done the canning thing. Every year since I've been married, I think. And two years ago, with our stall at the local farmer's market, we made more preserves than I'd ever thought I could in one summer.

We made jam. Strawberry, peach, raspberry, plum, strawberry-rhubarb.
We made jelly. Raspberry, apple, crabapple, cranberry-merlot, grape-apple, jalapeno pepper, hot red pepper.
We made marmalade. Traditional orange and lemon, and a raspberry-orange version we made up ourselves.
We made bread & butter pickles. Cucumber relish. Corn relish. Chow-chow. Salsa. Chili sauce. Chutney.

So when I saw preserves, I thought, done that. But they came up with one that, in our thousand-plus jar summer, we had never, ever made: apple butter.
The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
We started off with Pink Lady apples (yummy to eat, too, by the way), cored and cooked until we had, well, applesauce - another fall favorite of mine to make. I don't peel the apples for applesauce; it saves time and makes the sauce a pretty pink color. After adding sugar and spices, it was back on the stove to slowly simmer. And simmer. And simmer. The house smelled amazing, as a side bonus.

Several hours later, it had thickened into a plummy-brown, smooth, spreadable paste. Some was put into a freezer bag to preserve it, but some we kept out and tried on toast. Delicious! Definitely something I will make again.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

farther

Today I ran for 30 minutes. And covered 4.5km. I have never run so long or so far in one go. I'm tired, but the sense of accomplishment is something of a reward in itself.

My goal of 5km is in reach, and I begin to ponder what to do over the winter when snow flies and the ice covers the pavement, and the biting wind is enough to keep me indoors. Pilates? Yoga? I don't want to lose the advantage I have gained over the summer, and I have another goal to shoot for now: I want to run my first 5km race in May.

I still don't like running. Can one like the benefits while not liking the activity?



Monday, 13 September 2010

change

I love fall. While the warm nights of summer give me pause to sigh and enjoy the porch until the mosquitoes discover us, and the promise of spring always fills me with hope, autumn is my favorite season.

On my second run last week, I headed into the cool morning to the sound of geese starting their journey to their southern home. The swallows left us weeks ago, and the starlings chattered in the trees before their departure. Heading up our laneway, I realized that the dipping and soaring Monarch butterflies of a week before had been replaced by quietly falling leaves: the first to give in. One tree had a side of one limb turned a fiery red, as if it had stuck its hand out too far and been burnt for its efforts.

Busy? Yes, As school starts and gives structure to our day, and lessons begin and add kid-ferrying to my evenings, the lazy what-time-is-it-oh-well-I-don't-care days are gone and I must actually keep an eye on the clock most days to ensure that schedules are kept.

Work? Yes, as we dug out a garden by the pool to replace overgrown shrubs with a rock. D found a boulder while excavating under a torn-down barn, dug it out and cleaned it off in preparation for a new above-ground home. It seems to take its change of occupation stoically, going from structural (cornerstone of a century-old log barn) to ornamental (visual anchor of the garden and sometime seat). Work inside, of course, is still calling, but the urgency of outside work speaks more loudly.

Soon, soon, the frost will come. Savor the days while we have them.


Friday, 3 September 2010

forty

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" - Satchel Paige

Today I am forty years old. I spent the earlier part of this year dreading it, feeling the inevitable approach, wanting to hide from it but knowing it was futility. It sounded like the end of being carefree, the start of careworn. The end of fun. The start of being drab. But then over the last month or so, I realized a few things.

I am more fit and in better shape at 40 than I was at 30.
I am more confident at 40 than I was at 30. Or 20.
I have blessings beyond count at 40, some of which I did not have at any other age.
I have wisdom at 40 that I did not have at 33. Some of it hurt to acquire, but I've got it.
I have a musical ability and confidence that I did not have five, ten, fifteen, years ago.
I have a better sense of who I am at 40 than I did at 15, at 20, at 25.
I have am amazing husband who insists that I am, in his words, "smokin' hawt". And he says I'm getting better.
I have three wonderful girls who seem to think I'm pretty cool. R insisted on buying a dogtag that said 'fabulous' for me to wear yesterday, since she said I am.
I know at 40 that God's got amazing things in store for me.

The dread of turning 40 started to get buried under the realization that, really, what I make of it is what counts. So last night as I watched the clock change and entered my next decade, I said aloud, "Forty. Ha," and smiled.

I plan to make it fabulous.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

babyblogs

We're back at school, and the girls have a new assignment this year: each of them now has a blog. It's intended as a writing exercise, getting them to think of what they wish to communicate it and the best way to do so. It's a side lesson of grammar, composition and editing. The fact that they're excited about it lets the lesson part sneak in (almost) unnoticed.

I hope they have fun. They all enjoy making up stories, telling me about their adventures. Writing is fast becoming a lost art, and I hope they can find the joy in it.


Sunday, 29 August 2010

eight weeks

I feel like an idiot.

Remembered today an annual songwriting award. Not based on radio play, but on actual songwriting merit. Something I think I'd have a shot at. I looked it up online and got excited as I read over the guidelines, thinking I'd found a home, a happy place where my songs could feel good.

The deadline was June 30th.



Wednesday, 25 August 2010

close call

From my East Coast tour and trip, I return to my glamorous life on the farm.

My chickens squawk a lot sometimes. When they wander happily around they make little purring sounds that are really quite pleasant, though I must admit it was not what I expected as a kid who grew up thinking all they did was cluck. If they cluck or squawk, they're upset. Ah, the things you learn.

Yesterday after supper one kept complaining. There are a few who do this, and when I rush out they are sitting there looking at me saying, "what? Oh, right. Umm... I was ... er... concerned. Yeah, that's it. Nothing to see here." And so last night I sighed, having scolded them several times before with the 'boy who cried wolf' story. I called the girls to head out and see if it was (again) nothing. Wrong.

As I passed out the door I heard A's shrill scream and saw a fox race across the yard to the field, Sam (aka Archie the Wonder Dog) in hot pursuit. I rounded the corner to see A's terrified face, and feathers on the ground. Not again, I thought. Apparently Queen Victoria the chicken did not use her secret pro hunter abilities.

But, a happy ending. All nine hens were safe, though scared and some had been grabbed at, though not injured. The fox in hindsight seemed small and may have found the hens too big to easily carry off. Sam was awfully pleased with himself, and I was glad again of having a large dog on the farm. The chickens, while thankful for their rescue, may well be giving me that condescending "I told you so!" look for the next few days.

I hate it when they're right.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

home

We are home. Sleeping in our own beds after ten nomadic days visiting friends and family in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The time flew by but we did manage to fit a lot in...

- a few days in Fredericton, with a show there. Smallish attendance but all went well and it felt really good. Meeka was delighted to be appointed videographer for the concerts and took her job very seriously.

- the cottage gave us some good family time, relaxing while the kids swam and explored and canoed. The second day the kids hit the wildlife park with D's folks while we celebrated our 19th anniversary in fine style in Halifax.

- Oasis. Definitely a highlight for me. The biggest event I've played, and I was pleasantly surprised to not be hit by the expected wall-o'-nerves. It felt good, was smooth and well-received, though I realized that fronting a concert like that takes endurance! Whew. Tired but made it through. I do believe that my running made it possible. Hm, cross-training for music? The band outdid themselves this week. Several comments on their talent, professionalism, and just being a tight band (high praise that), and my continued appreciation for their willingness to join me on the trip.

- a few days in Dartmouth, including a day in Halifax to the Citadel, walking the waterfront, and a sailing ship ride on the Mar. Sunday morning at FBC Dartmouth was a good wrap to the week.

And now I'm home, and realizing that all the things I was putting off "until after the trip" are waiting here and now need to be dealt with. Autumn, here we come!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

daring kitchen, august

I'm on tour this week with a few concerts, but before we left I did manage to make this month's Daring Kitchen challenge. And we're three for three on the "try something new and realize you love it" front.

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Perogies. Or pierogies. Or potstickers. Lots of different cultural takes on these stuffed dumplings. I made a traditional Russian type filling, and experimented with the other. While it didn't really represent Canada per se, my second stuffing brought together flavors that I do love.

The dough came together well, a simple dough of flour, egg, salt, and water. The only difficulty was in cutting it out, as the dough seemed more inclined to stretch than to submit to my biscuit cutter. That said, the same stretch came in handy when wrapping the dough around the stuffing.

The Russian filling of mashed potato, onion, and bacon was delicious. I was supposed to use cottage cheese but had none, so made some yogurt cheese by putting plain yogurt through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. While I put things together it dripped over a bowl and I had a drier yogurt to add in. The tang was a nice compliment to the rest of the ingredients.

For the others we sauteed some minced garlic, added butter and white wine and then chopped spinach. This was cooked and cooled, then stirred into ricotta cheese. It made for a savory filling that was my favorite.

One fun thing about this was enlisting the girls, who happily filled and sealed perogies while I made more dough as needed. I think of the whole batches, I actually made about four. The kids took care of the rest and enjoyed doing it.

The perogies were simmered and then fried in butter. The frying step made the outside nice and crispy. Another big hit for me, my hubby, and the three girls.



Thursday, 12 August 2010

point

Everything on every front seems to be coming down to one point, when we leave tomorrow.

The second batch of chicks made their one-way trip yesterday and we now have fifteen more roasters in the freezer. The coop needs to be cleaned today, the grass cut, the laundry done, the fridge cleaned. That's farm.

The display board came together yesterday (a backdrop for my CD table, mostly aesthetic but I like it), we had our last band rehearsal last night and planned the gear transport. Set lists are planned with the usual margin for last-minute changes on the fly. Tonight I meet with the guys who will be leading on one Sunday to go over material I set up yesterday, and make sure that's covered. Need to print charts, lineups. That's music.

A second interview today, either live or being taped. Got the call for that yesterday. And here I thought I could stop thinking. That's promo (and yes, very cool and kinda fun).

Packing. That would help. House watchers arranged, kennel booked.

I'm excited to return to our old stomping grounds, share more Maritime memories with the kids, see family and friends. It will be a very different trip east, concerts and all, but it's exciting.

Monday, 9 August 2010

interview

I heard something today for the first time. And yes, I got emotional.

My song on the radio.

An interview, recorded on Friday over the phone, was played and through the course of it, four of my songs. I got to talk about my background, my songwriting, even this little blog. Many thanks to KC and the guys who took my scary rural phone and worked their techie magic on it.

I sounded ok. No, I sounded interesting. If I met that person, I do think I'd like her. I guess that's a good thing.

They finished the interview by playing 'We Hold On'. He'd have been 25 on Saturday. I wish, for the umpteenth time, I could have shared moments like these with him. Any moments, but these would have a little extra glee shared with him.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

farm lesson #426

Chickens, even ones with prim names like Queen Victoria (Vicky, for short - the girls named her), will chase, catch, kill, and eat little frogs on the grass.

Yes, really.

Ew.

I had seen the chickens chase little moths flitting above the top of the grass, and even seen them curious around a frog that had been mowed by accident. But this cold, unrelenting pursuit was something new.

Granted, this did get me thinking of a scenario where a fox sneaks up on what he thinks is a weak little chicken, an easy supper, then BAM! Queen Victoria chicken ninja strike!

It could happen.


Friday, 6 August 2010

random verse

Something I felt like writing... not a masterpiece by any means. But I recognize that sometimes, the words speak better then I let them follow their own way instead of making them submit.

words

turning, twisting
wrestling
let go
forming, shaping
squeezing
let go
bend to my will
say what i want

no.
speak for yourself
flow as you will
run
spin, twirl
loose, free
you say much more
when i let you lead.


dream

Seren's book comes out today. It's brilliant. This is not an official review so much as just be being stupidly proud of my dear friend and her dream sitting cozily between a front and back cover.

You did it! I'm humming little happy tunes as I think of it.

It's available for order at amazon, releases in the US today, and will be in Canada on August 31st. My kids' take on it:

"It's funny, cool, adventurous and amazing all at the same time. I love the part where Meeka tries to open the door with a stinky smelly fish! I also like Jackson's book that keeps changing." (M, age 10)

"Jackson doesn't feel important but wishes he was. Meeka is funny and messes everything up. With help from the Author, everyone can be a hero like Jackson. I like how the story is funny and what it teaches." (A, age 12)

"This book is witty - the sentences she uses, the definitions of long words. It gives a great perspective on the Author and our purpose in life." (R, age 14)

The book, aimed at the 9-12 reader, is a wonderful read-aloud that will amuse, inspire, and encourage. There are silly moments, laugh-out-loud passages, poignant bits, and the cosine of 7.88. Woven in amongst all of that is a real lesson that kids (and adults!) need to hear about purpose and fulfillment.

I guess it was a bit of a review, after all...