Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NHE

And enter summer Margot, who is full of energy and enthusiasm and always working with the public in a very active and entertaining manner.
NHE stands for Natural Heritage Education. In the summer I work for Ontario Parks, in one of the smaller parks, as a Natural Heritage Education Leader. This means I coordinate programming, guest speakers, events and activities for the campers. I have a history of outdoor, environmental and cultural heritage education and this translates very well into what I do now. I love it! I love working with the public; sharing my passion, stories and tales; being outside (even in the rain); and learning - there is always something new to learn.

Right now I am at (yet another) conference, with all the other NHE people from all over Ontario. It is a great opportunity to network, and learn about other parks that I have yet to have the opportunity to experience. I will be sure to update you with some fun tidbits from my week. I hope your week is lovely so far!

Monday, May 30, 2011

In the Garden: A 'How to' with Melanie

Today we have another wonderful post from a friend, fellow blogger and incredible photographer Melanie from Tip Toe Thirty.
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So, I'm on my 4th year of gardening.  I've learned a great lesson each of those 4 years.  Things that are basic enough, and yet easy enough to screw up.  Hopefully by discussing the mistakes I made, I can help one less person make them.  And none of them are super serious mistakes, just little things that can keep your garden from thriving like it should.

1. To Water Or Not To Water?

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You should water your garden everyday right?  No?  Every two days?  How do you know?  The first thing is, yes, there is a problem with watering "consistantly" or on a schedule.  By continually giving just a little water every day to your plants you're telling them to grow a shallow root system.  If they never have to reach far to get to nice moist soil, then why would they?  Do the finger test to find out whether you should water or not.  Hopefully you didn't start the hobby of gardening with hopes that you would stay clean... because I need you to stick a finger in it.  Seriously.  Put your finger into the dirt.  I reach down as far as my finger will go.  Is it cold?  Moist?  Dry?  Can you not even get your finger to pierce the ground?  That's how you know whether to water or not... cold & moist soil is happy soil.  Dry or warm soil is, well, dry.



2. Lighting- How much is too much? Or not enough?
You need at LEAST 8 hours of sun a day.  Find the sunniest spot in your yard.   A place where your front porch or back porch or trees or WHATEVER won't cast a shadow on your garden.  The best gardens face south.  Until this year my garden faced west.  Well, in my defense, south west.  It worked, but I'm excited to see how much it takes off this year now that it is facing south!

south

3. Animals
Do a little research.  See what kind of animals are common in your neck of the woods and plan to keep them out before they even get in.  My biggest problem here in these parts are stubborn and unminding labrador retrievers and 2 year olds.  Oh yeah, and bunnies.  So a 3 foot green construction fence is enough to keep those "critters" out of my garden.  And it's low enough that I can just step into it to get into my garden.  If you have deer or other large creatures then you'll need to plan accordingly.  But that's the point, PLAN.  Plan ahead of time so that half of your crop doesn't get eating by the next door neighbor's pet rabbit that has gotten loose. ;-)
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4. Herb Planting
This is the lesson I'm learning this year.  I dedicated two rows of my garden to herbs.  Did you know that some herbs prefer baskets and/or boxes over garden beds?  Did you know some herbs prefer dryness over moistness?  (I have rosemary that I only water every 2 or 3 times because they prefer dry barren conditions.)  I wish I had planted my basil, cilantro, chives and rosemary in pretty planters instead of with my tomatoes and beans!  Besides, it would have decorated my back porch a little more.
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That's all from me today.  Thanks so much to Margot for letting me pop on her blog and grace you with my presence!  If you guys are looking for some more reads come visit me over at Tip Toe Thirty.  I like to talk about crafting, my kids, photography, and gardening.

See you around the blog world!
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Thank you so much Mel, for sharing your gardening wisdom. I know that I am going to be keeping these tips in the back of my mind, when I am out in my garden. And I will be sure to share an update of how that is going, very soon!

Giveaway Winner!

Good morning! I am just popping in quickly to share the winner of the giveaway! I used the random number generator, even though there were only 9 entries. Thanks to everyone who entered. And don't worry there will be something to win next month also!
Congratulations to Stacy from Let it Unravel, I will be contacting you very shortly for your mailing information!

Thanks again everyone, and keep your eyes peeled for another guest post, coming up very soon!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Guest Post: Lassie Buns by Caitlin

Today I have a delicious treat for you from one of my lovely sponsors. Caitlin is a long time friend and baker extraordinaire. I'm sure you will be drooling by the end!
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My name is Caitlin from Bake What Your Momma Gave You, and I’ve known Margot since we were roommates in our first year of university.  It’s funny that I now have the baking blog, because back in the day, Margot was always the baker.  She’d bake up delicious crumbles and no fuss treats for us to share.  When Margot suggested a guest post, I knew right away that I wanted to find a quintessentially Newfoundland baked good.  Never having been to Newfoundland myself, I went to my friend Aimee from Cornerbrook and asked her what she thought.  She immediately said lassie buns, and just to confirm, I asked my friend Craig from Gander, who said that they have nostalgia factor for him.   

 
There are not a lot of recipes on the internet for lassie buns, but one thing I was warned about was a tendency towards dry-ness.  Knowing that, I decided to play with the recipe a bit.  Let me tell you, the rest of Canada is missing out!  I was delighted to find out how awesome these little ginger molasses cakies are.  Soft and lightly sweet.  Amazing with a cup of tea and yummy with some cheddar cheese.  These delicious treats are just one more thing that Newfoundland has to offer.  Try them yourself and see!

Lassie Buns

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup warm water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat together butter and sugar, add eggs, sour cream and then molasses.
  3. Add dry ingredients to your butter mixture and beat until just combined.
  4. Add warm water, stirring again until combined.
  5. Make into little paddies and bake for 10 minutes, turning the cookie sheet after 5.  I piped mine on to the sheet instead of forming paddies and then used a wet hand to smooth the top.  It might be easier because the dough is sticky. 
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Having been to Newfoundland many times, I can say I have only had these once (that I can remember) and I think I might just have to whip up this recipe, and try it for myself. A lassie bun and a warm cup of tea sounds delish don't you think? If you would like see more of Caitlin's tasty treats hop on over to Bake What Your Momma Gave You and look through her recipe book! Thanks so much Caitlin, we loved having you here today!

Have you entered the giveaway yet? Today is the last day, 12:00 midnight EST. I will post the winner in the am!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Passing on Good Feelings!

Way back in April, Sarah presented me with this award. Thank you so much! I am so honoured, and no I did not forget. I just haven't found the time to think of seven facts.
So thank you again Sarah! And I would like to pass this award on to a friend and very new blogger, Rhiannon. She and her partner have started a blog together about creating a handcrafted home; crafting, recipes and green living, it makes for a great read! Head on over to Oh Beloved and share some of that blog love I know you keep lying around. Ok, and the idea behind this award is to share 7 facts about yourself, and pass it on.... So here's my facts:
  1. I speak four languages. I am only fluent in English, but can happily converse in french, and can manage a conversation in Spanish and German (I love to practice if you're interested!!).
  2. I have a baby brother who is 6'7"!
      3.  Reggie's real name is John (I'm still going to call him Reggie), and we got
           engaged after knowing each other barely four months!
      4.  I never wanted an animal, I'm allergic and it can be very
           uncomfortable. Now we have Gunner, and my allergies don't seem
           too bad. And how could you not love that furry little guy?
      5.  I have a recent obsession with brightly coloured nail polish!
      6.  When I was young I thought I wanted to live in a city, busy with lots
           of lights. Now we live in the country, and I couldn't imagine anything
           different.
      7.  I have an extremely hard time accepting compliments, and Reggie
           loves to prove that one.

Thanks for reading! Any interesting facts you want to share? Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for Michelle's giveaway, I'm sure you all need a couple of cards to write a sweet little note:)

Nature Inspired Crafts!

 At the end of April Sarah put a call out to do an ATC swap. I signed up right away, and to my surprise she was the one I was sending my ATC to. I was very excited, and I already had an idea. The theme for the ATC was grow. Using some cotton fabric scraps, felt, buttons and a first time freezer paper stencil experience - here is what I created for Sarah:
A little fabric Artist Trading Card, with the theme grow. On one side is a cute little nest, with two robin's eggs, and the word grow (the theme), on the other side is a cute little chick with the initials HG, which stands for my etsy site (I will get there, no worries). This little trading card was so fun, it inspired me to make this:
A 6"x4" piece of sewn artwork! Which I have just put on my etsy site! I have created a new collection on my site, called Sew Artsy. I have so many other ideas for these little pieces of art and I am just bursting to sew them (I just have to find the time). You can see my etsy site here, or search Hooked Goods. I am still trying to get things on the site, it takes a long time to photograph everything, but I'm getting there.

So there you have it, some crafting completed, and my etsy site finally unveiled! Let me know what you think, I would love some feedback, on the craft and the site :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

More, wine and friends!

At the end of the conference I attended last week they had a fancy dinner at another winery complete with wine pairing. The Hernder Estate is a beautiful place! And, although I couldn't have as much wine as others because I was driving, I had at least the mandatory 2 sips in order to taste the wine with the food.

To start the evening I tasted a 2002 Reserve Cabernet Franc
 Then, with our first course of mixed greens we were served a 2008 Reisling.
Our second course was a mushroom and cream penne, served with a 2006 Fumé Blanc (named for it's smoky flavour). Here you can see all my wines, not completely finished...
And the final course was a cheese and lobster stuffed chicken breast, with rice and grilled vegetables. This dish was paired with a 2006 Merlot, which at first I thought was strange, Merlot with chicken, but it really brought out the lobster flavour.
At the end they had a dessert table with a few different Icewines to try. I had the strawberry, and decided that it tasted like strawberry syrup with a hint of alcohol. All in all it was a wonderful week, with new experiences, a fantastic presentation and great company. I think I might have to look more seriously at heading back to the world of academia, I sure do miss it.

I know my blog has been lacking recently in my more traditional posts about crafting, recipes and Newfoundland. And I promise to get back to those very soon. There has just been so much going on recently that I have wanted to share with you!

What have you been up to lately? Three more days to sign up for the giveaway!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where did May go?

It seems that just yesterday I was writing about it being the last of April, and all of the things I had to look forward to in May. It sure was a lovely month. But I have to say I am definitely looking forward to June, here are some of the things on the horizon:

1: Water Lilies, floating just a touch out of a human's reach.
 2: Cottage visits, and boat time.
 3: Picking strawberries!
 4: Fishing the Pigeon River, or at least watching Reggie do so.
5: Enjoying beautiful sunsets after a long day.
What are you looking forward to in June?

I am still looking for June sponsors if you are interested, here for more info. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wine Tour & New Friends

Last week I mentioned (here) that I was heading to the St. Catharine's area to present research at the 13th Canadian Congress on Leisure Research. Well my mom went with me, and we started off the trip with a wonderful wine tour. The tour company was Crush on Niagara Wine Tours, and our tour guides name was Jerry. We had such a fantastic time, and I learned a lot! I have always liked wine, and thought I preferred red, but I decided to try mostly white, because I didn't know much about it. And I loved it! I will tell you which I preferred later on.
Our first stop on the tour was the Henry of Pelham Family Estate. It was a beautiful place, where the tasting bar was decorated as an old wine cellar. This winery is owned and operated by the Speck Brothers. Their line of Sibling Rivalry wines are the most recent additions to their vintages (if you live in Ontario, you might have seen these in the LCBO).
 A little wine-cellaresque, don't you think?
 
 
 The whites lined up for me to taste! And for others also :)
 
 
 Mom, enjoying the Sibling Rivalry Rosé.
 
The next stop on our tour was Flat Rock Cellars, a new winery founded in 1999 they have an eco-conscious look at the production of wine.
The tasting bar and sales area is located high on a hill, overlooking the acreage.
 
And our final stop was Vineland Estates. A very well established, and much larger winery than the previous two.
 
My first taste of Icewine was at Henry of Pelham, but at Vineland I tried the Cabernet Sauvingnon Icewine, which is a pretty pink colour, and tastes of Strawberry-Rhubarb and warm spice.
Many people have weddings, or at least wedding photos taken at Vineland Estates, and you can tell why.
 
 So all in all, a lovely day, full of new experiences, tastes and friends!
And my favourite wine of the day? It's a tie between the Henry of Pelham Reisling and the Vineland Cabernet Sauvingnon Icewine. Each for very different purposes of course!

What is your favourite wine?