We harvested a zucchini!  Last year our zucchinis were all eaten by animals, so we are quite pleased that we get to enjoy them this year.  Plus there are three more on the way!  I'm so proud and super happy because Zucchini is a definite favourite!

Looking Good!


Top View.

Way to go, Zucchini!! :)


Previous Garden 2010 Blog Posts:

Garden 2010 - Midsummer Update
Garden 2010 - Six Weeks Later
Garden 2010 - Day 12
Plants in the Ground, Plants in the Ground
How Does Your Garden Grow?


Posted by Jen B On Saturday, July 31, 2010 No comments
This is the public beach that is a simple bike ride away from my house.  Feeling exploratory yesterday, I took a tour down to the beach to see how far away it actually was and see if it was plausible that I could ride there, swim, and ride back.  I discovered that not only is it super quick to get there (15 min) the ride there is mostly downhill. Beautiful.  Which begs the question, how have I not done this before now?

Recently I have gained a tremendous amount of confidence in my bike riding.  I used to think places were much farther away then they actually are, and I also underestimated my energy/ability to get to and from a destination.  For whatever reason I believed that my body was going to give out or break or something equally awful that would leave me stranded wherever I set out to be.  Anxiety is really stupid, isn’t it?  All my positive bike rides this summer have allowed me to let go of most of these fears and gain the confidence to go anywhere I want to on my bike.  I am not trained to do a Tour de France or anything, but within safe distance it is pretty much a sure bet that I can get there and back on my own energy.

I wasn’t just fighting anxiety on this one, I was also suffering from a case of not remembering where I am.  Because I live here, I often forget that I live in cottage country.  Near a lake.  People struggle through horrendous traffic on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons to enjoy this, and I often ignore it.  Shameful.  To my credit, the past few summers have been rainy and about eight months of the year is cold or snowy, so it has been relatively easy to forget.  Also, the beach has become more and more privatized over the past few years, so there are only a handful of public access points and even less parking spaces.  There is an increase in ticket-happy by-law officers who have no problem writing $60 tickets for anyone parked in the wrong spot.  We luckily have a parking pass, but it is still a gamble whether there will be a free spot and we only have one pass, so if there are more people who want to swim than seat belts, it is an added complication.  So how happy am I that I figured out that I could ride my bike to beach and not worry about parking?

I did my test ride to beach last night and if the sun keeps shining l might take myself of a trip to the beach this afternoon.  Very excited. :)

Public access point to the beach.

One of the "Township-owned beach areas"

The trail to the beach with my happy bike.


 Art shot of my bike at the beach.  The kick stand just sunk into the sand,
so I had to hold it up.  Hence the close up.



Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 30, 2010 No comments
From noon today until noon tomorrow you can vote for Elmvale, Ontario to win a $25,000 grant from Kraft Canada to spruce up their community centre.  It is part of the Kraft Celebration Tour where they have communities battle it out for your votes during a 24 period.  Elmvale, Ontario is up against Brighton, Ontario - but anyone can vote, and you can vote as often as you like!  I have already voted about twenty times since noon!  And I will definitely be voting more over the next 24 hours.

The best part is that you don't have to sign up for anything - just keep voting!  Click here to cast your vote!  And keep voting all day! :)

Big thanks to Lori for letting me know about this!

UPDATE: Brighton, Ontario got the most votes and was the winner.  It is too bad for Elmvale, but I am sure Brighton needs the cash just the same.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote!  You Rock!

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, July 22, 2010 2 comments
I fought through a swarm of mosquitoes this morning in order to give my garden a good weeding.  With all the rain we had overnight there were plenty of weeds to remove and I am sure I got thirty new mosquito bites for my effort.  Such is life when you live near a marsh in the summer! :)

The Garden is coming along nicely.  We have already eaten a few peas, beans, and made some salads from the romaine and spinach.  Everything is tasting great so far!
 
Our herbs. The cilantro (front) has gone to flower, so we need to get some more of them started.   The lavender and oregano (middle) are coming along and the basil (back) is looking great!

A pile of beans.  The Buddha is hanging out in the garden too.

Peas in the pod!  I don't like peas as a rule, but right out of the pod they taste amazing!

Carrots and Onions.

Pepper plants soaking up the sun.

Romaine.  We have been picking off leaves and making awesome salads.

Row of Romaine.  Soon to be salad. Yum.

Spinach.  We weren't really paying attention and planted something called Long Standing Bloomsdale spinach.  It tastes like normal spinach but it is growing really tall.  I hope it puffs out and we have lots of spinach to eat.

Tomatoes!

Our Zucchinis are big!  Zucchini is my favourite so I can't wait to harvest these!

We even have a Zucchini on it's way.  Note to rabbits: please don't eat this!

We have some corn that is about five feet tall.  Last year our corn got eaten by animals before we had a chance to try it.  I hope we get a chance to sample it this year.

Our cucumbers all died, but I noticed this little guy this morning.  Maybe he is going to make it after all. 
Here is hoping! :)



Previous Garden 2010 Blog Posts:

Garden 2010 - Six Weeks Later
Garden 2010 - Day 12
Plants in the Ground, Plants in the Ground
How Does Your Garden Grow?


Posted by Jen B On Monday, July 19, 2010 No comments
There was an amazing double rainbow on our ride back from town tonight.  It wasn't as intense as the one this guy saw, but it was pretty none the less.  I unfortunately didn't have my camera with me so I missed out on some pretty amazing shots.  :(

I've always loved rainbows.  When we were kids, rainbows were exciting.  Dad would hop in the car and drive to wherever he could get the best shot of the rainbow.  We could go with him too, if we were fast enough.  Even if we weren't, his rainbow pictures were always beautiful.

Tonight's rainbow was still going strong when I got home, but the batteries in my camera were dead (of course!).  Note to self: keep batteries charged and take camera along with you when you go places.

Here are some photos of a double rainbow we saw last year, though:


 
Also, if you haven't watched the Double Rainbow Guy Video or the reaction Double Rainbow Song Video - they are all kinds of funny.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, July 15, 2010 2 comments
I went on an amazing 15km bike ride this morning that got me craving some protein when I got home.  Using the Magic Bullet we got for Christmas last year, I decided to make some super scrambled eggs.  I seriously need to do a grocery shop, as my available scrambled egg ingredients were quite limited (no vegetables!).  :(

Magic Bullet Scrambled Eggs: a recipe in photos.
First, I added chopped ham to the blender cup.


Next I added some cubed cheese.


 Then I added an egg and some milk.


I put on the blender lid and was ready to go!


Blended.  This stage looks kind of gross,
but it will be soooo yummy!


Mmmm.... Scrambled eggs and toast.


If I had more ingredients on hand, I would have added chopped broccoli, chopped green onions, and some mushrooms.  Even without the vegetables it tasted amazing!  Wanting a more balanced meal, though, I paired my protein scrambled eggs with some vegetable cocktail.  Yum!

I buy the low sodium kind, so I added some hot sauce
and pepper to give it some kick.
Very Yum.


Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, July 14, 2010 2 comments
I enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  The smell of fresh ground coffee.  Reading in the sunshine.  Getting a 500g cheese bar for only $3.97.  There are thousands of examples, all simple stuff, that can instantly boost my level on the happy-o-meter.

Today it was my bike bell.

I got a number of accessories for my bike last month, one of which was a cute little bell.   I love the sound it makes; there is just something about the "bring bring" that gets me smiling.  There is not much traffic up here, so I have only used it three times so far.  The first time, I alerted a neighbour that I was passing by so we could have a wave.  The other two times I've been able to use it were this morning.

Riding on the trail, I came up behind about twenty eight-year-old summer campers with their two teenage counsellors.  I rang the bell once (*glee*), and the back half of the campers moved aside so I could get past.  I had to ring the bell again for the front half of the campers (*super-glee*), and they too moved aside.  The bell not only sounds amazing ("bring bring") but it makes people move at my command!  Nice.

Now of course, if it was anyone else ringing the bell - like a small child who didn't respond to the phrase "stop it!" - I would probably have an opposite reaction to the ringing.  As it is, though, I get a little bit of joy from using my cute little bike bell.  :)

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2 comments
I bought a domain name!  From now on this little blog can be found at:

www.myadorablesmalltownlife.com

If you have an RSS feed, bookmark, or particular post's link saved, they will all re-direct to the new URL.  Don't ask me how, just be awed by the magic that is the internet!  Also, the transition between the Blogger URL and my new URL was supposed to take 2-3 business days, but somehow it only took 15 minutes.  The internet works in mysterious ways. :)

Also, thanks to everyone who has been reading this blog.  I hope the transition to the new URL is as smooth as I'm reporting it to be.  *So far it seems really easy!*   If you have any problems accessing the blog, please let me know.


Posted by Jen B On Monday, July 12, 2010 2 comments
In our first day of (somewhat) reprieve from the heat, I thought I would reflect on this past week and it's consequences.  Starting Sunday July 4, here is my "Heat Wave" by the numbers.

Number of days with a temperature over 30°C:  5

Number of days with a "feels like" temperature over 30°C:  6

Number of days I wore a dress:  4

Number of times the power went out for less than 30 seconds:  3

Number of times the power went out for more than 30 seconds:  0*
          *although I have a bad feeling about today (the power has already blinked twice!)

Number of indoor activities/projects worked on to beat the heat:  3
                              -books finished:  1
                              -scrapbook pages done:  4
                              -Warehouse 13 episodes watched:  9

Number of iced coffees drank:  2

Number of meals made on the BBQ (including tonight's):  6
                              -hot dogs eaten:  4
                              -pork buttons eaten:  8
                              -hamburgers eaten:  2

Number of pressure/heat/barometer change type headaches experienced:  2

Number of blog posts about the heat:  4

Number of times this week that I've said: "it's hot!":  1000+ 

Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 09, 2010 2 comments
It is still super hot out so we are doing our best to avoid use of the oven at all costs.  Somehow my cravings aren't coinciding with this new and beneficial cooking style.  Mainly, I really wanted cookies.  I had ingredients on hand, but baking them - even for 12 minutes - would probably raise the temperature in the house by 5000°C.  Spending the afternoon living on the surface of the Sun, didn't seem worth the joy I would get from the cookies.

But then I remembered - No Bake Cookies!  My family calls them Haystacks, but they are also known as Crow's Feet.  I couldn't find my recipe, so I adapted a recipe I found online to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand.

Basically it is just butter, sugar, milk, and chocolate, boiled and mixed with oatmeal.

 Mmmmmm... Chocolate...

Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and refrigerate.

Gooey chocolate goodness.

The cookies I made tasted amazing but never really hardened.  I think the fridge was refusing to work because it is too hot.  I put them in the freezer, and though they are now easier to handle, they are still really gooey.  A benefit of having them in the freezer is that they are very cold, which is great for this weather!

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, July 08, 2010 No comments
We're in the middle of a heat wave here and after oodles of complaining about it, I decided to take advantage of it by putting some clothes out on the line.

Our clothes line can be described simply as make shift.  During a winter ice storm a few years back, the actual line snapped when it was heavily coated with ice.  Since that time we've made a garden where the clothes line used to hang, so we needed not only a new line, but a new location. Reinstalling a proper line was more hassle than we wanted to deal with, so we picked up some utility cord at the dollar store and made an informal yet quite functional clothes line with the aid of an old swing set.  Make shift.

It's not perfect, but it works for my purposes.

Happy laundry.

The old swing set comes in quite handy, actually.

The laundry dried really quickly and when I brought it inside it was warm (like I had just taken it out of the dryer!).  I was only out in the heat/humidity for short spurts today, but even so I was sweaty and gross when I got back inside.  I will be happy when this heat wave breaks, that is for sure!

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, July 07, 2010 No comments
I slid down to Barrie over the weekend for Canada Day/Promenade Days with my family.  Promenade days in Barrie is like a giant sidewalk sale, where the whole downtown is blocked off (in a fun way, Toronto!) and shop owners and artisans are out on the street hawking their wares.  We were there for about an hour, and it wasn't much to write home about - or blog about for that matter!  Although my multi-talented brother David has an amazing camera and an amazing eye for shots, so the photos make the day look really interesting. :)  I did get a deal on some Nag Champa incense, and seeing my family is always a good time, so it was worth the trip to Barrie. :)

The best part of our day was lunchtime spent at Applebees (Mom's treat! Wahoo!).  That restaurant is a family favourite of ours and I ate something called the Southwestern burger, which was loaded with bacon, deep friend onion sticks, BBQ sauce, and probably 3900 calories (my estimate).  It tasted like bliss and I didn't eat again for nine hours! :)

The following are some of the photos my brother took of our adventure at Promenade Days!

Downtown Barrie!


It was Canada Day weekend,
so the Beavers were out in full force!


Do you think these two businesses
are in cahoots? 


There's another one!


More downtown fun!


There was even a midway!


Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, July 06, 2010 No comments
It's hot out there today!  The Weather Network says it is 31°C but it apparently feels like 41°C (if you rock Fahrenheit that is 88° and 106° respectively)!!  That is Hottt!!!

Despite feeling sluggish and groggy in the heat, I rode my bike to the corner store to get the mail.  There were about eight other people there too, all in line for - or already eating - ice cream cones.  Everyone was discussing the heat.  Adding to the discussion, the store owner looked at me and scolded:

"And you're riding a bike!"

"I'm only going this far" I laughed, holding my fingers apart to measure about an inch.

I would judge me too if I was going any further than that! It's too damn hot! :)

Posted by Jen B On Monday, July 05, 2010 No comments
After all the craziness in Toronto last weekend, it is nice that this weekend is Pride and we can turn our attention to something happy, fun, and fabulous!!

For information on where and how to celebrate this weekend, check out Pride Toronto.

In celebration of Pride this year, I'm posting some awesome LGBT links you should check out!

Joe My God:  For up to the minute news on everything happening with the gay community in the United States.  I used to read this blog daily, but sometimes the news about how gays are treated in America is so depressing/infuriating I have to take a few days between visits.  It isn't all bad news, as Joe does post awesome quotes, funny videos, and good news (when available) so it is definitely worth a read!

That's Gay with Bryan Safi:  Hilarious video commentary on issues affecting the LGBT community.

Night Work - Scissor Sisters: Video for their new song Fire With Fire - the new album came out this week!

And for everyone going to the Toronto Pride Parade on Sunday - make sure you have water and sunscreen!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, July 02, 2010 No comments
In honour of Canada Day I'm posting my favourite National Film Board video: The Log Drivers Waltz.  Enjoy!



How are you celebrating Canada Day?  If you are headed to a cottage or enjoying some BBQ this weekend, I hope you eat some awesome food!  In celebration of anyone enjoying BBQ, here is a photo of a Prime Rib Roast we cooked last year.  My Aunt got a side of beef and passed some around and we got this giant roast for free (I think they retail at $60!!).



















Have an amazing long weekend everybody!!!

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, July 01, 2010 No comments
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