Archive for May, 2014

Spice Rack

Meagan spotted a design for a spice rack that mounts on the back of a door.  At their place they have a perfect place for it as the door to the pantry sort of splits the kitchen so is very handy.  She sent me a picture and asked me to build a replica for her birthday.

We delivered it last week and after I mounted it Pat filled and labelled all the spices they have.  Frees up two shelves in their cupboard and looks quite attractive.

Spice Rack

Lopper Sharpener

I have written in the past about my annual volunteering for Broom Busting.  The cutting down of Scottish Broom bushes that are invasive plants that spreading throughout the Island.

Broombusting is an major physical activity as you use big loppers to cut the bush stalks (normally about 1″  in diameter) at the ground level and drag them to a central spot to be shredded. Far more intensive workout than my normal visit to the gym.

Over the last couple of weeks I have gone out 3 times and come back each day exhausted.

Two events scheduled for this week but a couple of days ago I was assisting the single lady next door pull out some dead bushes and in yanking on the root ball, pulled a muscle in my left arm.  Now it did hurt (and still does) but it meant that I could not attend the two Broom Busting projects yesterday and this morning.  Felt guilty about not participating (but truthfully with a lot less exhaustion)  However I was able to fulfill my guilt feeling by agreeing to sharpen all the loppers for the organization.

These are not the little garden variety loppers, they are the big ones with handles up to 3 feet long.  The  organization has about 70 of these tools although the average group of volunteers that show up each day ranges from 12 to 40 people (apparently the invasion of the Broom is not a shared community threat)  Still the loppers get heavy use and the blades get dull.

I had noticed this late last year and agreed to sharpen some of them which I did.  With my arm issue this week I contacted the head Broombuster and said I would sharpen them.  She delivered the entire inventory today and I spent the afternoon sharpening (I have the tools and the skill) straightening, tightening and repairing the set.  I am good at this.

So unlike the grunt workers that are on the knees cutting and dragging, I will be the skilled member of the group.  The Lopper Sharpener.  I was even named in the public announcement that went out this evening to the members and the local newspaper.

Made me feel less guilty about skipping today’s workout.  Still when I get back from Alberta I will be out there, but I will be recognized as special.

Oyster Fest

Today our hiking group took the ferry to Denman Island, dropped the cars off, hiked down to the beach and crossed over to Sandy Island (also called Tree Island) .  The 500 meter  crossing has to be done at low tide as it is normally under water.  The feature of this hike is that the stretch to the small island has THOUSANDS OF OYSTERS.

Yesterday I stopped off and bought my fishing  license as several other guys did, so it was legal to gather oysters.  We picked up a bunch on the crossing over and when we stopped for lunch shucked them and ate them raw with a splash of Tabasco.  They were HUGE probably the biggest I have ever had, and they were delicious.

On the way back I picked my limit of 15 to take home.  The last 3 km carrying a bag that must have weighed 30 lb was a bit of a chore.  We BBQd them in their shells for supper with just a side salad.  They were so big we only managed to eat a dozen and froze the rest.  What a feast




Victory Hull Completion

A major step in the building of the Victory.  I have completed the Hull.  The hammock nettings are done, gratings are in and the gun ports lids are mounted.  Now is the masting and rigging stage.

It came at a good time.  I spend less time in the shop over the summer and I can work on this at my leisure.  I actually enjoy the rigging phase.  This time next year we will be delivering the finished product

Hull Complete



Martha Crawford Cantarini

Pat and I belong to a local Probus club which is basically a club for retired coots like us that have a business or professional background.  We have monthly meetings where there is a guest speaker and then reports from the various groups (Hiking, photography, singing, golf, dinner, fishing etc)  Basically a social club where we meet lots of people and maybe raise a little funds for charity (although that is way down the list of our priorities)

We have met lots of friends through the club and participate in several of the groups.  Anyway that is only background.

The guest speakers at each meeting talk for about 45 minutes on various subjects.  It may be a charity looking for funding, or a semi famous local mountain climber talking about his conquests, or a star gazer showing us pictures he has taken of the stars.  Not always polished speakers but generally interesting.

However today we had a star.  Martha Crawford Cantarini.  She is about 92 years old and lives on Denman Island just south of us.

From 1945 to 1965 she was a stunt woman in Hollywood primarily in Westerns and action movies because her major skill was on horseback.  In 2005 she was awarded the lifetime achievement  Golden Boot award the equivalent of an Oscar for stunt doubles.

She was a delight.  Telling stories of the background of stunts (with brief videos) that she performed backing up all the female stars we all know from that era and insights on some of the many movie celebrities she worked with.

Her stories were brief, often humorous  and yet gave a sense of what it was like shooting movies in the old days when the stars were on the set during stunts, because they would have to get on the horse or walk in to the scene immediately after the stunt.  She met and often socialized with the actors.  Apparently today the stunt people never meet the stars because the stunts are shot in separate locations or studios.

A 92 year old that can tell an interesting and coherent story.  She was married to a Jockey in California and when their careers were over, they chose to move to Denman Island (off Vancouver Island)  for a new life.             45 minutes went by in a heartbeat and we clamored for more, but as her grand daughter (who was driving her) said, they had to make the ferry back to Denman.

Look her up in the internet and read the interview done with her a few years ago.  What a delight and something I would never have experienced if we had not joined this club a few years ago.


Chicken Pot Pie

It is our 45th wedding anniversary.  We spent the day sourcing and arranging our array of hanging flower baskets plus replacing some shrubs that had outgrown their positions in our yard.  Lots of sunshine.

Over the last week we had leftover chicken from Pat’s birthday Rotisserie chicken and our grilled chicken salad so tonight we made Chicken Pot Pie.  It seems so simple but making pastry for an 8 x 12 dish from scratch is just so finicky.  I admit when I make Quiche or we make pies we buy the frozen pie shells.  So I seldom make pastry from scratch even though we have the proper shortening.  Even Chandler struggled when he was here.

It looked so easy when Mother and Aunt Grace rolled it out .  It looks so easy when you see them on the cooking channel.  You cut in the shortening and add a little cold water and then roll it out smooth.  Mine always looks like it has scabies and the fluted edge to the pot pie , well let us just say I would never serve this to company, well maybe to my kids or Blaine, but not to Lisa or our friends even though it tastes great.



I have not lost my mind

The Thrifty grocery store that opened a couple of years ago near us (by the way it is not Thrifty but the quality is great) has become our go-to grocery.  We shop virtually every other day for something because it is so convenient (and we have the time)

Over the months I have found my favorite teller for check out.  She is young, pretty but most of all effervescent and chatty.  Just a delight to go through the line and chat with her.  But I had a problem.

Her name is Kimberly which I read on her nameplate, and I would try to acknowledge her by name but realized that she was actually named Kristen.

I thought this was a typical problem I am now having of not remembering names so gave up and just tried to be friendly.

Today I went off to pick up bread and sandwich fixins and there at the checkout was Kimberly at the till and Kristen bagging.  They are identical twins!!!!

I told them of my confusion and they laughed  and confirmed that they very seldom work the same shift.

I thanked them by saying I was happy that I had not lost my mind, I do remember their names.

Veal Scaloppini with Mushrooms (Sunday)

Yesterday morning (Saturday) I did my first volunteer work this year on the Broom weed removal (if you do not understand this concept look back about 100 blogs)  This is a very physical activity where you use big loppers to cut down bushes and drag them to a pile.

I came back at noon totally whipped.  After a nap (and aching in all my muscles) Pat and I went off to the store to pick up the ingredients for the meal that night and Sunday dinner.  For Sunday I had voted for steaks and Pat wanted a roast of Lamb.  As we were at the meat counter, we noticed that they had a small selection of Veal in the sliced Scaloppini cut.  Compared to the steaks or the lamb it was a bargain.  8 slices for about $6.

Now I do realize that this is a blog with access to the world and there will be people that search the internet and may attack me for eating the flesh of a young calf.  But screw them.

(by the way I live in New Jersey, try and find me)

Tonight I prepared Veal Scaloppini in a cream sauce with mushrooms.   We happened to have a bag of local fresh brown mushrooms so it seemed a perfect fit.

Pat wanted me to substitute 10% cream but I went for the real thing.  You only live once.

We prepared mini potatoes with Rosemary which I grilled on the BBQ.

A wonderful meal, as good as any Scaloppini meal I have had at a restaurant, and a whole lot cheaper than the Lamb Roast or the steaks.

I actually opened a bottle of good Chardonnay from our cellar for the meal (which is an event).