now that’s customer service!
December 5, 2011, 3:25 pm
Filed under: canada | Tags: , , ,

Sheesh. Just came across this article in the Toronto Star about OB tampons being pulled off and then re-introduced into the market after people complained. Click the link. You can either enter your name or just close the text box and a video will play.OB. Pretty cute! At the end you can get a coupon.

Sure wish Verizon would send me an apology after all the troubles we’ve had with the phone. Or that companies would say sorry I insulted your intelligence and tried to shrink the package while charging you the same price (Breyers/ Angel Soft you’re on the hook here).

Anyways, that’s a nice holiday time story for you about how consumers can make change! You go girls.


the daily driver breakfast
February 5, 2011, 6:26 pm
Filed under: canada, oatmeal, recipe | Tags: , ,

We eat a lot of oatmeal for breakfast. Over time we’ve developed this way of making it. It incorporates one of Canada’s classic breakfast treats: Red River Cereal. Here’s a picture of it installed in the National Museum of American Indians in DC.

family kitchen display NMAI

Red River!

Along with the Robin Hood flour and the Canada corn starch, it’s got a distinctive look. And now that I can’t easily get it, i recall it fondly. Of course when mom brings down 2 1.35 kg boxes you’d better start eating! Red River is cracked wheat, rye and flax. You can make it as a hot cereal on its own a 4:1 ratio of water to mix. But it’s kind of yicky that way. Cut with oatmeal it’s great. Just gives the oatmeal a bit of interest. I think i’ll make it straight for folks sometime soon–just to retest my old memory of it. BTW mom we’re down one WHOLE box already. We put away 1.35 kg over the last six months or so??! Guess we do like the oatmeal!!

Red River Oatmeal

1 scant cup oatmeal (regular)
1/4 cup red river cereal
2 cups water
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 banana cut up

Boil in small saucepan over medium heat until water is absorbed and oatmeal is cooked (about 5 mins?)
Serve with brown sugar and milk.

the cat came back
August 20, 2010, 10:18 am
Filed under: canada | Tags: ,

We’ve been worried sick about our little northern pet pal Charlie who went missing 11 days ago while best pal was visiting us at the acres. We don’t know how many lives he used up in his crazy adventure out and about in east Toronto, but we’re sure glad he came back. Cheers little dude. Enjoy your weekend Charlie, I’m sure you will be quite spoiled!!!

the handsome urban adventurer

maple syrup
June 20, 2010, 8:22 pm
Filed under: canada, food | Tags:

Around these parts we do like the sweet stuff. (Bees get busy!!)…One of the things we especially love is maple syrup. On our cottage vacation in the bruce peninsula, we made sure to visit different farms to pick up some vats of the stuff. We had a great time talking with one couple who are living the dream. They have a nice house in the woods a barn and this insanely modern sugar system–tubing in the woods and the most amazing copper boiler. Little doode asked a load of questions and was keen to learn about the man’s woodworking stuff. In the end we left with some knowledge, some syrup and a stile–that we hang on the christmas tree!

A little while back I checked out this Serious Eats Interview with Schoolyard Sugarbush on making and using Maple Syrup.

Here’s a great tip I need to remember:

“In pretty much any recipe you can use a half cup of syrup instead of a cup of white sugar and you’ll get the same sweetness. You just need to take out three spoonfuls of liquid from the recipe, because of the liquid in the syrup. The calories for syrup and sugar are the same for the same measurement, so by using half a cup of syrup instead of a cup of sugar, you are eating half the calories.”

How cool is that?

the chicken tractor that stopped us cold
June 10, 2010, 8:17 pm
Filed under: bruce peninsula, canada, chickens, travels | Tags: , , , ,

I’m thinking back to our great summer vacation two summers ago–when we rented a crappy shack on lake huron near sauble beach. There were lots of good times on that vaca, but one that stands out is the chicken tractor. Yes we have a strange idea of fun. But anyhow.

On the last day of vaca we decided that each person would get to choose one thing to do. My choice was easy. A day or so prior we’d driven past the most amazing chicken tractor I’d ever seen. So my choice was that we’d drive on back there and get some pictures. We drove and drove, and then –there it was. I was nervous–was it as cool as I remembered? Relief NO CONTEST–cool! Coolest chicken tractor EVER!!!

We pulled over to check it out. We’re on the side of the road in awe, we got out the car to take a closer look. And then I look back down the road. A gigantic combine was approaching. It was so huge it took the whole road and the shoulder–where the honda was sitting. Like some kind of freak show circus thing–we ran like lunatics jumped back in the car and got out the way. It was pretty funny. Got no pictures of that, but we did drive into the farm and we did get LOTS of pictures of the cool thing. Ok enough build up, here are the pics and you can decide!!

hey what is that thing?

love the blue skies up near owen sound

there's a lot of chickens in there

check out the double decker nest box system!

chickens like shade

The chickens would follow the shade, spreading out when the clouds moved in, out into the grass, and then coming back in under the tractor when the sun re-appeared. It was cool!

The family who owned the farm were nice folks. They were doing the whole subsistence farming thing, by the looks of it. And kind of new on the job I think, a younger couple with kids. They had a ton of beets-and we bought some. They said they drove it all into TO, which seems crazy to imagine. Kind of a long haul. Beautiful skies and farmland up there. Definitely one of my favorite places in Canada. You should go!

Oh yeah, and to answer the question that you have–the other things we did–spent time at the beach watching the sunset, go-carting, and can’t recall, but probably going to Tim Horton’s!

Washington DC: museum run-and-my weirdo issue
April 1, 2010, 9:35 pm
Filed under: art, canada, niagara falls | Tags: ,

I like to think I’m a pretty level headed person, but I do have one little “issue.” You see, I can’t stop. When I’m out traveling, I can’t stop. Hungry, nope too bad, keep going. Tired, nope you can’t sit and have a rest. Keep going. Can I take a subway. No way man, keep on walking.

So, here I was, in DC for one day only. My big vaca. Sick on March break, no fun there, but now, for one day only–hang out in DC. Ack the pressure! Weekend warrior–Wednesday style!

Here’s how it went down. How many museums can i visit in one day? How far can I walk?

Leave hotel N and 17th. Walk down the street. Walk into and leave several coffee shops as I’m a bit hungry and thirsty. But no I don’t buy. I keep on walking.

check out that teeny boxwood!!

First stop. Renwick Gallery. This is my only real planned stop. I wanted to see the Japanese internment exhibition. I go in at 10:20. Interesting premise for an exhibit: stuff that folks made while they were interned during the war. A really interesting sad moment in history.  But alas, it didn’t really engage me the way  i’d hoped. There wasn’t enough context–it was just the stuff. And the stuff wasn’t really that remarkable. A bit disappointed. Check the rest of the museum–it’s been closed for a while I think. Part of it was being re-installed. Upstairs they had a strange permanent collection. Some crafts, some paintings. I didn’t really understand the premise.

first salon style of the day

Check out 10:45.

I keep walking down the street. Voila, the FDIC building appears. Oh it says there’s an exhibit. I should go in. I don’t know why but I’m compelled to go in. I think i’ve been in there before. Scary. Anyhow it was useful. Nice graphs of bank closures through history. I come away feeling confident that FDIC is protecting my investment!

11:01 I snapped this picture on my way out.

something nice about it

Onward. I head across the way to the Corcoran Gallery. Whew so many museums. I get a water and some chips from their disorganized cafe–I’m tired today. But by 11:20 I’ve seen a cool exhibit, and snapped this picture.

neat exhibit from wales

This traveling exhibit was worth seeing. Two sisters from Wales collected a bunch of French art! Also Turners. Some nice things in there. Annoying tour group stood in front of two nice cezannes for at least 5 minutes. Argh. When there are only a couple of rooms–people should MOVE along! Sheesh. Anyhow I whizzed in and out and back through the exhibit to see everything. Wandered through the rest of the place, got lost several times, saw some more salon style stuff–word of the day i guess. They had some nice things.

more salon style

I was thinking about art museums and what they think is important to share. Terms like Salon style, and Golden age are always explained and defined, for example. And then there was a section of American art. You know,

some grand landscapes

some heroic indians

la la la, got it seen it, need it, got it. I like the purple walls! Ok, so now it’s 11:32 and it’s time to move on. Time to go outside!

Wow it’s sunny out. And so pretty. Check it out.

red cross and cherry tree

Notice that the tree has a boo boo. Ok I keep walking. 11:52 I pass the WWII memorial and about a bazillion school tours. Yikes. It’s busy. Keep walking. I’m heading to the tidal basin. To see the cherry trees. With a LOT of other folks. It’s noon now.



washington memorial


It takes me 30 minutes to walk around the basin. I head past the capitol, and then along the mall, until I reach the American Indian Museum, where I have decided that I really must stop and eat something. So I do, and then I see the exhibits. I liked the Metis section best. Bombardier! Cool!

notice the red river cereal!

I leave the museum at 2pm. I’m pretty zonked. But manage to keep on walking all the back to the hotel. Whew!

egg police
February 24, 2010, 1:00 am
Filed under: canada, chickens, food issues | Tags: ,

Watch it! Coming to a city near you. Patrolling the farmer’s markets, foodie restaurant back entrances, it’s the duh duh duh…egg police!

I guess I could see this coming. The big guys getting nervous. Wanting to shut it down. According to the story, the egg board is going to crack down. They’ve even fined a farmer 3000 for selling eggs to a restaurant. Finding your own farm fresh egg supply is a black market activity. Sources on the down low. I know someone who knows someone. Tee hee. It’s kind of funny.

So far my girls have shared 4.5 dozen eggs. Not a lot, really. We’re managing to stay on top of the supply. Right now we’ve got two laying –edwina super chicken lays every day. spanky  has come out of her molt and she lays every other day, as she did before. And today–special news edition–Bubbles laid a nice little green egg, first one for her out of her molt! Happy day!