Tuesday, April 30, 2013


This is so exciting!  Our cute little birds are starting to lay eggs for us.

Yvon found this in their cage yesterday.

I don't know who's hand that is, so it might be misleading, but it isn't as small as I expected the first egg to be. The chickens start with half-formed or tiny eggs for the first few days and then settle into a standard size.  The standard for each breed we've got varies.

Here is a normal egg for us (in my hands), compared to the quail egg. 

We're going to fry the tiny thing this afternoon to see how it tastes.  We're too impatient to wait for there to be 5 or 10 of them.

We've had a bit of drama with the quails, but I think it's settled out to be three hens and one rooster.  The other definite and sex-crazed rooster was first pecked by the hens, isolated to heal and then escaped somehow.  Being a Japanese variety and cold-hardy, there's a chance he might survive in our climate.  I hold on to that hope.  If his behaviour didn't change, his lifespan with the hens was limited anyway.  I cling to the hope that he is flying freely somewhere and finding enough food.

The chickens have increased production again after a slow winter with little light, so maybe we'll start getting enough eggs to stop buying them.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The season of growth

Every spring the blogging world goes crazy with flower pictures, lovely picnics and cherry blossoms.

Isn't it lovely?  Look at all the vivid colours.


Flowers are just bursting out with colour and lovely perfumes.  Ah, spring!

Okay, that's probably enough sarcasm for one morning.  

But there really is some growth there.  There are tulips poking through, and daffodils, daylilies and dandilions.  And onions.

And in the house I'm growing a new batch of aphids.  Fresh and green and ripe for picking.  

Ooops, there's that sarcasm sneaking back in.  I've never had aphids indoors before and it's ticking me off.  Every day I have to run my fingers along the baby leaves of tomatoes and foxgloves to pick the off and try to keep their numbers under control.  

And I've got these growing in the window and they truly are ready to pick today.

Again, not very colourful, but they were fun.  And fast.  This is what they looked like last week on the first day of emergence.   

Teeny, tiny grey mushrooms.  And the next day:

Significantly bigger. And they kept growing and growing.

 Until today, when they will be brutally cut up and added to a mushroom sauce for our pork chops.  Hopefully they'll be yummy because there will be more growing on the opposite side of the box next week and there should be a few rounds of growth after that.

I don't know why the box says "Kits for Kids".  I've been having fun with it. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

A surprise

Yesterday I was given a gift but I wouldn't be shown the gift until after church.  I had to think about it all through the service.

No, I did listen too.  And I sang. 

But I was excited by the surprise. 

This is what it was:

Cool!  Now we'll always have sharp pencils near the phone. 

With a sharp pencil, I made a long to-do list for myself and promptly scratched one off. Attach pencil sharpener to ledge. 

It's a good day!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Orange Sky at Night

If "red sky at night" is a "sailor's delight", what is an orange sky?


That's what it means around here.  And in April it is no gardener's delight. Or jogger's delight (not that I know anything about that).  Or biker's, walker's, picnic-ers delight.

Just when the mounds were shrinking fast, the white stuff is a-fallin' again.

But just to put it all in perspective, this was my yard on this date last year:

It's not so different really.  Fresher and fluffier last year, but it looks like the depth is similar.  And it all goes away quickly, so I'll try not to be discouraged. 

Fresh snow in April?  We all have different definitions of normal. 

Sticky Ham and Cheese Buns

 Have you ever had mustard worchestershire caramel?  No?  You might want to try is sometime.  It's surprisingly tasty. 

Maybe this is an American thing, but I saw a recipe for sticky buns on one of my favourite blogs (Home Joys).  They looked awesome and didn't look too weird but I've certainly never baked sandwiches after they've been assembled and covered with sticky sauce.  Many of the comments sounded as if this was a common thing though. 

So, I thought it was worth trying.  And then I repeated it for a party we had on Friday night with some friends in our community. The recipe was requested by a few people. 

First I baked buns.  You can buy them, but I wanted them pretty small.  It was a potluck, so you don't want to fill up on the first thing you grab.  Heck, there's bound to be casserole, pasta, salads and maybe awesome cakes coming yet!  Maybe someone brought cheesecake - you don't know, do you?  Don't waste all your hunger on buns. That's all I'm sayin'.

But do grab one little bun.  It's worth it. 

Slice them and put ham and cheese in them.  I bought a fondue cheese package and sliced it.  It tastes like strong swiss and wine and gets lovely and melty. 

Then the sauce is the weirdly yummy thing. 

1/2 cup butter
1/3  cup brown sugar OR 1/4 cup honey
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp mustard
2 tsp poppy seeds
Melt it all together, pour it on and bake at 350 (covered) for about 30 minutes.

The first time I made them, I didn't think covering it was important.  It is.  The brown sugar and butter and heat created a caramel coating that you could peel off and eat separately.  It was so good that I'd consider making that as a candy one day.  

There you have it.  It's not hard to do, but it somehow creates something special out of a simple ham and cheese bun. 

Try it. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Study of Change

I know it's inevitable, but I just updated my hallway pictures this morning and it's shocking how much my girls have grown up.

And that is just by looking at head shots that don't show the great heights to which certain girls are reaching.

We last bought school pictures for the kids a few years ago because the cost was really getting high.  And everyone has a good camera, so it seems silly to buy them.  Since 2009, the school hasn't provided any great pictures anyway.

On to the differences...

Alice, grade 1 versus grade 4.

 She's still pretty cute, but in grade 1 she was SO cute.  That was the year she insisted on wearing a dress and carrying her matching purse to school on picture day.  Now I struggle to keep her out of her ripped jeans on special days.

Laura, grade 3 versus grade 7.  

Suddenly so grown up and always photogenic. 

Some people are always in motion and hard to take capture on film.  Alice tends to be like that - talking or chewing or making a face or impatiently moving onto the next thing.  When she does pose for the camera, it is definitely a pose with a pasted on smile that doesn't look quite like herself.  I tried to catch my mother-in-law in a picture yesterday and she is exactly the same way.

Laura and her character have always been easy to capture. 

 And Beth, grade 5 vs. grade 8. 

Beth is definitely a young lady now.  The differences don't maybe show as well in this picture, but she is easy to picture as the adult woman she will be.

And since we rarely get a family picture taken, I'll be putting this one on our wall too.