Another Moose

I told my niece that I saw a moose on the way to work this morning
She said, “How do you know he was on his way to work?”
– Author Unknown –


Not so long ago, a pair of Moose ambled across the field behind our house. The moose (not meese or mooses) stopped for a short while, contemplated something, then moved on. (This was the best I could do, photo wise. The light was not great, nor was the weather…)

Fast forward to last week. I was at our local Canadian Tire store, and what do you think I saw? A moose – and not just any moose. A genuine Canadian moose dressed in red Trooper’s Hat, plaid shirt and a sporty scarf – with a Rudolph Nose!

Portrait of a Moose

Showing great restraint, I didn’t buy the moose. I did buy two strings of Christmas lights, though. Two days later, I realized I needed one more string of lights… and guess what? Apparently I needed a moose too, because there it was, right where I had left it in the store. Waiting patiently, glassy eyes sparkling, red nose acting like a beacon as it drew me down the aisle of this, that and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t need or want.

Moose with an HDR filter

Did I need a moose? No, of course not. Did I want something that makes me smile every time I look at it? Well, maybe. Did I have a vehicle in the parking lot big enough to carry a small moose? Well, yes I did. Was The Car Guy willing to carry the beast through the store and out into the parking lot? Well, yes he said he would.

Moose with a cartoonish filter

Does red plaid clash with my decor? Not at all.
Going, going, gone – another Canadian Tire Moose gets a home!

Moose needs a name. I’m thinking ‘Bruce’. What would you name this moose?

Daylight Saving Time

A Guide to Changing the time on your Clocks:
1. Smart Phone – Leave it Alone. It does it with Magic
2. Appliances – You’ll need a Masters in Electronic Engineering or a hammer.
3. Sundial – Move one house to the right.
4. Car Clock – Not worth it. Wait six months.
– Internet Meme –

Daylight savings time—why are they saving it, and where do they keep it?
– Author Unknown –

Twice a year, we go through the ritual of resetting our clocks – our part of Canada  observes Daylight Saving Time.  Actually, it is The Car Guy who performs the clock changing task. He used to be pretty thorough about the job, but with the advent of digital clocks in just about every appliance, he has given up. He sets the most critical ones, and leaves the rest to fend for themselves. It doesn’t really matter much whether the water softener cycles an hour later for six months of the year. It does matter if the furnace comes on an hour after we get up…

I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year.
– Victor Borge –

“Whatever” Clock

It is rather ironic for me to talk about time. I have never worn a watch. I can tell you what year it is, and what month it is, but I won’t know exactly what day of the month it is. I might be able to tell you what day of the week it is, and I will certainly know whether it is morning, afternoon, or evening. But I won’t know what time it is, to the exact minute – so my ‘Whatever’ clock is close enough for most of my purposes.

“ISH” Time

clockMany years ago, I spotted the perfect clock for me.  I should have bought it, but didn’t, and regretted the decision for a long time. I eventually made a similar clock for myself, and it is one of my most valuable possessions. It runs on “ish” time. If it was true to the original, it would not have the minute hand on it. But I consult this clock when I want to know the time more precisely than the “Whatever” clock. So, I put the minute hand on. Visiting children love this clock. Actually what they love is turning the hands. After a visit from them I have to reset the time and take a few kinks out of the hands.

One of the ways the telegraph changed us as humans was it gave us a new sense of what time it is. It gave us an understanding of simultaneity. It gave us the ability to synchronize clocks from one place to another. It made it possible for the world to have standard time and time zones and then Daylight Savings Time and then after that jetlag. All of that is due to the telegraph because, before that, the time was whatever it was wherever you were.
– James Gleick –

Middle East Clock

The kitchen clock was a purchase I made in the Middle East. The numerals are Eastern Arabic. It is amazing how many people look at this clock, read the time, but don’t notice the numerals.

Digital Clocks

One of our children attended two different schools in one year. It was the grade where children are taught how to tell time. The one school taught the concept near the beginning of the term; the other school taught it near the middle of the term – and she missed both lessons in the transition.

We didn’t realize until some months later that she couldn’t tell time on a regular clock. We had lots of digital clocks, so telling the time wasn’t a problem for her – though we should have guessed something was up when she would say the time was 9:15, not quarter past 9.

You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe “Daylight Saving Time.”
– Dave Barry

Lots of Quotes about Time: If you have the time, here is the link to all my quotations about time: Time Quotations

How disruptive is Daylight Savings Time for you?

If a Man says He Will Fix it

Mike Holmes the Make It Right Building expert, is more than a man with a hammer. His simple philosophy is to do things the right way – with your head, your heart, and your hands. He educates and inspires viewers like us.

The QuipperyOur home is about 39 years old. We purchased it 28 years ago, and for the past 15 years it has supplied us with a never ending list of things to repair and upgrade. If Holmes had been called in to assess some of our reno projects, he would have said, “This should never have been built this way.” Other projects – he would have said, “This met code when it was built, but it doesn’t today. Fix it.”

Holmes has taken up residence in our head. Every time we pick up a hammer or saw, our first thought is, what would Holmes do? The fictional character Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek also lives in our head. He inspires us to “Make It So.” Armed with these inspirations and a good selection of sharp tools to occasionally draw blood with, we set off each day on a mission.

Home Renovator’s Serenity Prayer: Higher Power (internet, Home Depot, library, family) – Grant me the courage (balls) to fix the things I can, the humility to call in the pros when I’m in over my head, and the wisdom to know the difference.
– thissortaoldlife.com –

Home renovation shows make everything look pretty fast and easy. In just half an hour, an outdated, grungy bathroom is transformed into a candidate for Better Homes and Gardens. Real reality, as opposed to television reality, means that bathroom was a disaster zone for several months or more!

Real reality often means that the only reason the project ever gets finished is because the house is being put up for sale. At least, that was how it worked out in one of our previous abodes. The project wasn’t even a reno. Just a repair.

One cold and blustery Christmas Day, I was cooking a turkey dinner. Twenty guests were gathering around the table in anticipation of the feast. Just as I was taking the bird out of the oven, I heard an unexpected sound, like escaping water, coming from the nearby laundry room. The water was escaping all right, from a gradually enlarging hole in the ceiling. A water pipe had frozen and then burst. We turned off the water supply and had dinner. After a leisurely meal, men with glasses of wine in one hand and sundry tools in the other, headed for the laundry room. Several hours later, the pipe was repaired and the water was back on.

The laundry room ceiling now had a hole in it measuring about 1 foot by 1 foot. We decided to let the whole thing dry for a while. For a while stretched into a long while, which might have been forever had we not had to sell the house…

What reno project or repair in your house is still waiting patiently for the finishing touches?

Are plumbing repairs blue jobs or a pink jobs at your house? What about drywall repair?

Cookbook Shelf

Savella Stechishin

In response to a blogging suggestion from Feeding on Folly – What does Your Bookshelf Say About You: I got no further than the Cookbook Shelf and this book – Traditional Ukrainian Cookery by Savella Stechishin. The Car Guys sister, by remarkable coincidence, had just asked us if we still have this cookbook.

The answer is yes, we still have it – the 9th edition (printed in 1976). This book was first published in 1957 by Trident Press Ltd in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Car Guy looked it up online, and found out that used copies are for sale on various sites for as little as $35 to as much as $400!

Savella Stechishin’s Traditional Ukrainian Cookery is to Ukrainian cuisine what Julia Child’s cookbook is to French cooking.
– Vera Krycak –

Savella Stechishin did much more than write a cookbook! She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1930 – the first Ukrainian woman to receive a degree there. She taught in Saskatchewan schools, was a home economist for Women’s Services at the University of Saskatchewan and lectured at the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She also gave Ukrainian language courses at Saskatoon’s Mohyla Institute, where she was dean of women. She co-founded the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1989.

The Car Guy’s heritage is Ukrainian and Swedish. This has introduced a wealth of interesting recipes to our family. My culinary repertoire was blandly vanilla in comparison!

What is the most dog-eared, well used, loved, recipe book in your kitchen?

Christmas Desserts and Family Traditions

The QuipperyThe Fruitcake

Have you ever thought what it must be like to be a Fruit Cake? Made weeks or months in advance of Christmas Dinner, it is left to steep in whatever secret ingredient is used to give it that special flavour (I prefer rum). It is briefly admired as it is paraded down the catwalk of the dessert tray – then ignored by a bunch of carnivores who have just devoured half of a gigantic turkey.

I’ve always liked Fruit Cake. Back in the days when I’d do lots of Christmas baking, I’d serve it with Rum Hard Sauce. It is a simple recipe. Beat 3-4 tablespoons of butter (though my recipe says margarine because back then it was much cheaper than butter.) Add 1 cup of icing sugar, 1/4 cup rum, and 1/8 cup milk. Beat and chill before serving.

In a 1983 New York Times column titled “Fruitcake Is Forever,” Russell Baker claimed to be in possession of a fruitcake that a long-dead relative had baked in 1794 as a Christmas gift for President George Washington. Washington allegedly sent it back with a note explaining that it was “unseemly for Presidents to accept gifts weighing more than 80 pounds, even though they were only eight inches in diameter.
– Mental Floss –

The Sugar Cookie

The Fruit Cake’s nemesis is the Sugar Cookie sitting next to it on the platter. The Sugar Cookie, made just that morning, is unaware that it will be the hands down favourite. It may or may not have been tarted up with icing and silver sprinkles – but it will be devoured. Every last crumb will be gone by the time the last guest has headed  home with a tupperware container full of turkey and mashed potatoes. The Fruit Cake will sit untouched and forlorn on the platter – much to the delight of the hostess who created it (and loves any dessert that contains booze or chocolate or fruit or all three.) It is just a matter of time, however, before the last of the Fruit Cake is also devoured (as is the eggnog) and the hostess – well, she has gained five pounds in weight. (I speak from experience.)

Gingerbread

Baking and decorating Gingerbread is a tradition in our family. I’ve written about this in the past (Line up the Usual Suspects and How to Plan a Gingerbread Party.)

Rum Balls

Rum Ball making has become one of my son-in-law’s traditions. Each year he tries to increase the amount of rum, yet maintain the consistency of the dough such that it can be rolled into balls. Needless to say, Rum Balls are for adults only. Rum Ball rolling is time consuming and is usually done in front of the TV set while watching a movie. In years gone by, the traditional movie for the job was Amadeas. Don’t ask me why it has to be that movie – it is just the right movie for the job.

My eldest daughter decided to introduce Rum Ball making to her family this year. Her post began

Turns out, twenty-two years is enough time to forget a recipe. Although, as I stood in the grocery store calling my younger sister (wife of the rum ball making son-in-law) to find out what almond paste was, it occurred to me that I might not have actually made this recipe before. I did participate in the ritual of drinking wine, watching a movie and rolling. I’m just not sure I ever assembled the ingredients and then mixed them up in such a huge bowl.

Carrot Cake

Huh? Carrot Cake doesn’t seem like a traditional Christmas dessert – but it is just about my favourite treat other than something made with dark chocolate. We have done extensive testing of store bought carrot cake and the Fountain Hills AZ Safeway store makes a carrot cake to die for! Since it is just going to be two of us for Christmas dinner this year, quick and simple Safeway carrot cake is the way to go!

What are your traditional Christmas Desserts?

Indoor Cold Storage – Project Accomplished!

New fridge

The new fridge finally arrived. Twice actually. The first time, the delivery truck couldn’t negotiate the deep snow in our drive way and had to abort the mission. With little hope that the snow would melt before spring, The Car Guy abandoned his plan to mow the grass one more time this fall. He removed the mower from the tractor and installed the snow blade. I helped him. We had some brief discussions about either buying a new tractor with easier implement changing, or moving to the city…

Two days later the fridge was delivered. If you have been following the Fridge in the Middle Story, you will note that the fridge just fit into the cabinet and all is right in the kitchen again. Now, and here is the ‘cool’ part, we have a water and ice dispenser – and not just cubed ice – crushed ice too!

Think of the summer drink possibilities – except now it is fall.

Fridge with a graphic filter

Or, it should be fall except  winter arrived first. The two seasons have been exchanging blows – snow, some melting, more snow, some more melting. Today we are back into snow.

I tried to dig the potatoes during one of the melting spells, but the garden was one large mud patch. It just wasn’t worth the effort for a bucket full of potatoes. It really is too bad, because the hills I did dig yielded very few potatoes, but they weren’t scabby. First time ever. The weather forecast says we return to normal fall weather next week. Maybe I’ll get the spuds out of the ground yet.

Spuds, taters – is there another word for potatoes in your part of the world?

I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see.
– Bill Callahan, Letters to Emma Bowlcut –

Another snow day

Fridge in the Middle

The Car Guy and I decided to replace our refrigerator. It is over 20 years old and well past its ‘best before’ date.

This is a haiku
Haiku’s don’t have to make sense
Refrigerator
– Author Unknown –

The appliance store had so many fridges to choose from – at least, that is what we thought when we first walked in the door! But, as our sales associate, Todd, walked us through the choices, it became clear that our new fridge would be ‘one of a kind’. Yes, if we wanted a fridge with an ice maker/water dispenser, with two upper doors and a lower freezer, that would fit in the space we had, in the colour white (to match the appliances we weren’t replacing) – our selection was one fridge.

So we ordered the fridge. It was supposed to be delivered in a week – two weeks tops! That was almost two months ago.

On a very local scale, a refrigerator is the center of the universe. On the inside is food essential to life, and on the outside of the door is a summary of the life events of the household.
– Robert Fulghum –

In the meantime, my old fridge is in a ‘not so convenient’ place in the kitchen. The Car Guy had to pull it out so that he could add the plumbing for the ice maker/water dispenser. He also had to raise the cabinet above the fridge by one inch.

He didn’t move the fridge back into the fridge ‘home’ because the fridge is heavy, awkward to move and only fits into the space if you give it a mighty shove… and the new fridge might arrive any day now!

Figuring out why people who choose not to do something don’t in fact do it is like attempting to interview the elves who live inside your refrigerator but come out only when the light is off.
– Eileen Pollack –

A fridge in the middle of the room seemed like a huge inconvenience initially. Now it is merely a mild annoyance. We can still use the fridge, even if the doors don’t open all the way. We can still get to the coffee maker and we can squeeze by the fridge to get from one room to another!

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?
– Erma Bombeck –

In the grand scheme of  Red House Renos, the ‘fridge in the middle’ is way down the list of projects that seemed to take forever to finish!

Open your refrigerator door, and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century. The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.
– Bill Bryson –

What is the oldest appliance in your house? Which one would you love to replace?

How many times have you been watching an episode of ‘South Park’ and thought, ‘I’d like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator?’
– Trey Parker –

I’d Rather Be… Here than There

March is a strange month.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations –

I’d rather be here where it is warm:

Warm and sunny Arizona

Than there where it is cold:

Cold and snowy Alberta

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is I’d Rather Be…

Where would you rather be?

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month.

My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

 

They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
– English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –

 

The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree tradition when he put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848.

We have a Tannenbaum forest here at the Red House, but my Christmas Tree is a very realistic, artificial tree – I don’t want my forest to think of me as a tree killer…

Are you ready for Christmas, or are there still lots of things to tick off your list before you can say, “It’s a Wrap!”

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Favorite.

Water Fountain Bubble

I could have (okay I did) spend hours one afternoon in front of a water fountain – taking photos of ‘never two the same’ Shape Shifting Blobs and impressively big Bubbles.

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

– William Shakespeare –