Inundated With Tomatoes

Fall is here at last. The tomatoes went crazy in my garden this year. They grew so tall they pulled the tomato cages over. I had to stake them up with thick bamboo stakes and use string to tie them on. Then the fruit came—baskets of ripe tomatoes. Right beside the tomatoes were two cucumber vines that kept spitting out large prickly cukes. What to do with all that food?

I gave a bunch away, but looked for recipes to use it. This is a gazpacho soup which used both a ton of tomatoes and a bunch of cucumber. Perfect!

I loved it. My husband said he wasn’t used to this kind of food, and although it was very good, it left him wondering what was for dinner!

Recipe –

Large prickly cucumber, peeled and sliced

Tomatoes in equal amount to the cuke

2 cloves garlic

¾ c. red onion

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Parsley leaves, handful

Oregano leaves, handful

Put through blender till smooth and season to taste with salt, pepper, Worchestershire sauce, bruschetta spices. Slice an avocado and add to soup, cool in refrigerator. Serve with crusty bread, toasted, and topped with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

What do you do with  your tomatoes?

Canada 150 – New Short Story

Spring is here and my garden is leaping ahead as the weather finally warms. And where am I? I’m glued to my laptop, working away on a story about Canada, 150 years since Confederation.

It’s been a challenge, a group of writers who have committed to each compose a short story or novella about Canada illustrating an era sometime in the last 150 years of history. The interesting thing is we’ve all chosen a story that is quite different from the others, taking place in a separate place and time. With a country this big, and a history this long, it hasn’t been too difficult to do.

Given the different areas from the north, the eastern maritimes, the west coast, the prairies, the vast stretches of Upper and Lower Canada, there is a lot to choose from. With connections to French settlers, British immigrants, Russian contact in the north, the gold rush up the western mountains and into the Klondike, America along the southern border, the Doukhabors, Mennonites, Viking  explorers—there’s a huge choice.

It’s a stretch for me to step out like this, and also a lot of fun. One day soon, it will be available for your enjoyment.

Cruise to Spain via Portugal

Our cruise to Spain was exactly what we wanted — kind of like the slow boat to China. We left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a Sunday and spent twelve days at sea. It was eight days from departure for our first stop – the Portuguese island of Madeira. By then we had begun to unwind and felt like we were finally on vacation.

P1040170The ancient barricade wall at Funchal

P1040159Painted on the barricade

The capital of Madeira is Funchal and that is where our ship docked. What a beautiful place. The trip up to the peak of the mountain in a taxi allowed us to stop at some spectacular gardens.

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Then we rode the cable-car back down to the city. It was hair-raising but worth it for the fabulous views. Old buildings, beautiful churches, tiny gardens clinging to minute spaces on the steep hillside. Definitely a must see.

P1040219A resident of the gardens

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Happy New Year! Out with the old, In with the new

IMG_0647Frost on the rocks this morning

When I got home from work today, I dove into my closet with a laundry hamper, a wastebasket and some large plastic bags. Does that sound like fun? 🙂 Probably not, but I’d been wanting to get something done about all the stuff that had accumulated. Even a tiny step, just to get started.

Besides there are bigger issues looking at me and I don’t have the time or the energy to make those decisions. But I could do this.

I was going to get a head start on junking out my clothes. First I emptied my dresser drawers and put back only what fits, what I use. It’s very surprising, what can end up in my sock drawer!

Then I started on the shelves in my closet. I did the purses. I did the belts. I did the sweaters. I must have been getting tired by then because suddenly I was having trouble making decisions. Throw the sweater out? My sister gave it to me. Keep it? I haven’t worn it in three years.

I thought perhaps it was time to quit for the night, but it seemed like I’d just gotten started. So I pulled out my scarves and shawls. OMG. I didn’t know I had that many. Twice as much as I thought possible. So many, I divided them into piles of different shapes, then by colour. I should have quit while I was ahead, because almost all of them went back into the closet. I’ll deal with them next time.

Thank you to all you readers and bloggers. I hope you have a good start on the new year of 2016. Make those plans and believe in them. They can happen, just don’t give up. Like they say – Failure isn’t the last step, it’s the first step toward success.

 

Merry Christmas, wreaths, garlands, swags

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Do you make your own Christmas wreaths and garlands? I went out to cut branches for my Christmas swags for either side of the door, and came back with the following –

  • red cedar (you can tell by the colour of the stems and bark)
  • balsam fir, with the delightful light green tips to the branches
  • fir, with fuzzier needle formation
  • salal, which gives great berries but stays green all year
  • hawthorne, for the beautiful red berries
  • broom, which is a weed, but adds a lovely straight sweeping component

This is what I came up with for my front door. What do you do for your Christmas greenery? Merry Christmas everyone!