Archive for November, 2013

Victory Upper Deck

I have finished the framing of the upper deck on the Victory.  Only the little quarter deck to go.  This is an important deck because some of it will be visible in the finished model unlike the other decks below which are only seen through the port openings.

Key feature on the upper deck is the ships wheel.  I enclose a closeup of the wheel.  A bit cruder than other ship wheels that I have made but given the fact that it is smaller than a dime I am happy.  What I am very happy about is that I managed to set the wheel up so that it actually controls the rudder despite that the rudder arm is 3 decks below and has been hidden for over a year.



Dog Poop

We have two Westies staying with us for a couple of months.  They are actually fairly mature dogs (in dog years about the same age as the wife and I)  So you would expect that they would have the mature view of the world but no they are like puppies always looking for food and always wanting hugs and minding.  Fortunately Pat has the grandmother gene and talks to them like little children and give them lots of attention.  I, on the other hand, am the grumpy grandfather that for some reason the dogs love and want to be with me or on my lap all the time.

Anyway the purpose of this blog is to discuss a scientific experiment.  I have been observing a phenomena that could get me written up in Scientific American.  I believe we have magic dogs that can actually produce mass.   I know, shocking but I think I am close to proving it.

We feed them 1 cup of dried dog food (3/4 cup for the female) each day.  Plus a couple of little treats and maybe some veggie scraps.  These dogs act like teenage boys in their constant devotion to food.

On the many trips to the back yard they produce massive amounts of Poop.  2-3 times a day I am out there bagging up their excrement.  I am convinced that each of the dogs produce 2 cups of output with only about 1 1/2 cups of input.  Unfortunately Pat will not allow me to use one of her measuring cups to prove my hypothesis.  I am thinking of investing in my own measuring cup so I can document my observations, write it up, get published, become famous and get an honorary doctorate from some obscure university.   A PhD in dog poopology. Even Dr. Sheldon Cooper would be amazed by this breakthrough in Physics.

Granted it is a doctorate that I would have a problem bragging about to our friends in the community.  But I could get a guest shot on Big Bang.  My family will be so proud.

Grilled Salmon

When we first moved out to the Island we experienced fresh Salmon many times as we thought this was why we came here.

Just like salted peanuts, it became a little over done so we moved on to other meals and other types of seafood.  Mussels and Oysters and Scallops are common in our area.

I realize you people in the frozen interior of the continent cannot understand how you would get tired of fresh Salmon, but you can.

Growing up in Saskatchewan with Salmon coming from cans, I thought that Sockeye Salmon was a generic term for Salmon. At the young age I was not a fan of Salmon sandwiches or Salmon casserole but I now realize that my parents were poor (my brother and I did not know this at the time) so Salmon was an economical protein.

However I have been listening to my friends in the valley about proper Salmon tasting.  Like wine there is actually a rating on taste.

The top in the flavour (according to some chefs) is the King or Tyee  or Chinook (basically the same thing but different names)  They are among the largest of Salmons but becoming rare.  Close to Chinook flavour is Sockeye at one time the most common.  50 years ago Sockeye Salmon flowed up the rivers on the west coast like Mosquito’s in Manitoba.

Sockeye Salmon is the definition of what most people refer to as salmon as their meat is pink (due to their diet on shrimp)  This is why all farmed Atlantic Salmon fish are dyed pink so they can simulate Sockeye.

It is Friday and we often have seafood meals.  It has been a time since we had a Salmon and as I was shopping I thought this would be a nice choice.  At the local store there were lots of fresh Coho (which is in the late run now in our rivers) plus farmed Atlantic Salmon.  But the fish merchant was featuring a late caught fresh wild Sockeye.

When you see the fish in the display next to the other choices, the sockeye meat is a rich succulent red.   More expensive than the farmed and Coho but a cut for $8 was enough for two of us, a bargain.  I did a quick BBQ, with very little seasoning.

It was wonderful.   Another reason to celebrate moving out to Vancouver Island so we can experience this bounty.

Only Slight Burnt Pizza

You may remember my business plan to produce a new flavour of Pizza called Burnt Pizza.  Nice crisp bottom and caramelized tips of blackened Pepperoni on the top.  Yummy

I made another pizza tonight with the same marvelous ingredients and only burnt it a little bit.  Decided to modify my marketing strategy to emphasize the only slightly burnt.  Apparently, according to the wife, you could actually taste the sun dried tomatoes and cheese.  And it was more energy efficient since it spent less time in the oven.  A win win

Perhaps I need to experiment further.

Choosing Your Children’s Names

When you have a baby the choosing of their first name is often a battle (well lets say issue) that can consume a family.  Every Grand Parent and Uncle and Aunt offers advice on what you should select.  The first born name faces even more pressure if you have a young woman going through great chemical changes and a husband that is facing the challenge of his life.

Following a family tradition can be overwhelming.  Can you imagine the pressure that Kate and William had before they selected the safe George???

If the couple are mature enough they get past this and try to select a name that is proper for the time.  Hence why none of our daughters were named Maude or Elvira or Adelaide or Rilla.

At the time we had children there was a trend to abandon the structures of previous family names and go free spirit.  Moonbeam, Flower and Freeman.  Interesting enough Freeman was a common first name for our family 250 years ago. Whatever we tried to go with names that the kids could live with through their lives.  (Although Robbie would have been nice)

Anyway the choice of the first name is a well documented process , but today it is the last name that is the battleground.  Quebec has a long history where a married woman has a last name that is her maiden name hyphenated with her husbands name.  Now this goes to the the issue of which name would be the last and what happens if your son or daughter marries another hyphenated person.

I was listening to an interview on CBC radio of a couple that are facing this issue.  The wife declared that she would not adopt the “Slave Name” of her husband.  In the interview that was her opinion of abandoning the names which she grew up with and changing to her husband’s name.  Scary if that that is the attitude of some women.  Anyway a much deeper issue than the point of this blog.

As it happens they both had hyphenated last names and after a significant debate, they put all 4 names in a hat and the kid has 4 hyphenated last names.  They managed to pick a first name but the kid is faced with (and I have chosen to select alternatives so I will not be sued but this is an accurate example of the name)  Jacob Malensky-Broden-Morgan-Chandel.

The couple being interviewed on the radio were so effervescent and saying their son can pick his favorite name when he becomes 18.  But can you imagine the problem at school or when he signs up for boy scouts or Air Cadets.  When he has graduated from university and gets a job and goes to his first business conference and has a nameplate that covers half his chest.

What happens if he meets a girl from the same dysfunctional naming tradition?


Tacos has to be one of the iconic meals that defines a nation.  Up there with Pizza from Italy, Cabbage rolls from Ukraine, Tandoori from India, Frog Legs from France and Chinese food from …. well China.

Over the years we have made tacos at home for the kids.  Most of the time we would use the soft tortillas.  A well mixed meat base with Guacamole, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese.  Assemble a meal in a rollup and consume.  Ummm delicious

Rarely did we every do the crisp taco shell variation.  Some might claim that this is the authentic version but I am not sure.

Pat and I were shopping the other day and I noticed the Tostido Taco shell package.  Our dining choices often depends on sudden inspirations.  (well mine are, Pat normally plans ahead)

“Lets have a traditional Taco meal tomorrow” says I and picked up a package of crisp taco shells.

The last time we made a Taco meal using the crisp shells was when our kids were younger.  Now I realize why.  No matter how careful you are, the shells shatter on the first bite and you have taco guts all over your hands and possibly your outfit.

So I decided to do some research and found out that the crisp taco is not an authentic Mexican version.  I had to go into Wikileaks to get the true info.  Apparently firm shell tacos were invented and pushed onto the North American market by a well financed market group owned by a consortium of Kimberly-Clark (Bounty napkins) and Proctor and Gamble (Tide detergent).  Now that explains things

Taste great but not to be repeated.


Seniors should not go on the roof

For those thousands of my blog followers, I should tell you that I am a senior.

I know my daughters tell me all the time not to give personal details on the blog because, as Angela Merkel of Germany apparently just discovered, there are no secrets that you can hide. 


I have a friend that I know through our group associations.  Lets call him Dave.  Not because that is the random name selected from “2001 a Space Odyssey” but because it is his real name. 

Dave is a couple of years older than I am and very fit.  He and his wife live on a large rural property near us.  A wonderful extended 1 storey house with great forest views. 

Unfortunately, unlike me, Dave still thinks he is young because he is slim and active.  But last month he had a brief episode where he passed out.  Went to hospital (I met him right after he came home) and he thought it was an isolated event.  Still keeping fit from working in the yard and taking long hikes

Earlier this week he did something stupid.  Went up on the ladder onto his roof and took along his leaf blower to blow off all the leaves that were mounding in the valleys. 

He apparently had another fainting spell and fell from the roof to the ground breaking all his ribs, deflating one of his lungs and suffering a concussion. 

His wife was not aware that he was going on the roof and only discovered him after 30 minutes.

Pat has not allowed me to climb a ladder outside without her being there to hold the ladder and there is NO WAY she allows me to go on the roof.  When I was younger I did it all the time, but realize that maybe this is not part of my ability.

Now she is thinking that I cannot even climb a ladder.

Going to be hard to put up the Christmas lights. 


Earlier this week I was working on a crossword puzzle.  The clue was  “8 letter word for Fish Stew”

Now Pat and I make variations of fish stew all the time.  Chowders and Bouillabaisse come to mind but neither one has 8 letters.  As the puzzle became more complete the letters were being revealed as Matel??? .

I finally had to look it up and the word was Matelote.  (pronounced mat teh low)

I was confused because I am used to the term Matelot (mat low) which means a sailor and often used in the books I read about the Royal Navy.  Apparently a carry over from when the Normans conquered England.

What kind of stew is made from fish and old sailors?

So I researched and it is a type of fish stew from the Lorraine region of France traditionally made with fresh water eels.

Very similar ingredients to Beef Bourguignon with a red wine sauce and pearl onions and mushrooms.

This is the kind of inspiration we use to select dishes we want to prepare.  Unfortunately we cannot source eels (either fresh water or salt) at our local stores so I substituted Red Snapper (mostly because it was on sale)

Certainly a different kind of fish stew and not bad,  but not sure I will repeat it.  In any event I will now know what the word is when used in a crossword puzzle again.