Monday, July 15, 2019

Cheese Making Weekend!! Jam, Pets, Garden and Squirrels Too! :))

Hello Friends!! :)

I have a lot of photos to share with you so I'll keep the yackity-yack to a minimum (although I highly doubt that is possible with me lol)! :) I MADE CHEESE!!! Not only has my overall MOJO returned, so has my cheese making mojo! The wheel on the left is a Cheddar that will age for 3 months. On the breadboard I made another American cheese and a Quick Mozzarella. I'll update this post and my cheese making blog this week with recipes! (

I guess I can count this one as the fourth cheese I made this weekend. It is a failed Cheddar. It never "knit" together during the pressing process. But lemons into lemonade right? It makes a FABULOUS curd cheese for poutine! :)

Alex surprised me, he made me a cheese press! I'd been using bread boards balanced precariously with bricks and my dumbbells before and my cheese never got pressed evenly. This one works like a charm! This one cost under $20 to make. (Please see my post on Rainy Day Cheese Making for instructions on how to make this press!)

Two of these ↑↑ equals:

All of these! We have plenty of strawberry jam for the winter now! :) I made half the batch with brandy too, that'll be delicious! :)

The green and yellow beans are almost ready to harvest!

My greenhouse tomatoes are starting to flower too!
The pumpkins are flowering!

Out of nowhere, I have my first ever green pepper, it's about the size of a baseball right now.

This was an experiment - eggplant. I've never seen an eggplant flower before, very pretty!
Spunky and Frasier
Sweet Little Algie
Today is the day friends...we are starting the release of the squirrels. Boo hoo hoo...Two weeks ago, we weened them off the bottle. Last week we weened them off the milk. We gave them nuts in shells and a lot more branches, pine cones and leaves to teach them that's how they have to eat. They have done SO WELL. But they have ants in their pants! Stage one is bringing the cage out near the woods (in our backyard) and leaving them there a week in the cage. We will still bring them food and water a few times a day and put a tarp over the cage when it's bad weather. The following week, we make an opening for them to come and go as they please - that's what I'm dreading but we have to let them "leave the nest"!!!

But these six will NEVER leave our nest if we can help it! :)

Baby Oscar: One pillow is not enough

Pretty Miss Marlene

Charlie (a.k.a. Charlita)  thinks she's hiding

Big Boss Leo - how dare I waken his slumber...

Wiley Dana - hard to get a photo of this one!

And the apple of my eye, Jack (a.k.a. Jackson, Jack Rabbit, Hound Dog Jack, Flea-Bitten Jack, Scooby Doo Jackson etc...) :

Thanks for stopping by! For anyone interested, please join me on Thursday for Thursday Art Date With Rain, our theme this week is Yellow and Orange. 😊

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Thursday Art Date: Camping/Campfire

Hello Friends! :)

Welcome to Thursday's Art Date! 

Our theme today is Camping/Campfire. Bugs is scaring the heck out of Daffy Duck with his ghost stories! Poor Daffy is so gullible! ;)

When I was eight years old, I remember having the time of my life camping one summer when I was in the Girl Guides. I camped in a tent, went swimming in the lake, hiked in the mountains, took lots of photos on my little Brownie Camera and roasted marshmallows over the campfire at night. Lots of my friends were Girl Guides too so it was a few weeks to remember that's for sure! I always wonder what happened to all of those photos I took! At least they are in my memory. :)

Painting realistic looking fire is not my forté! But I like how this acrylic campfire looks!

A campfire ghost story favourite when you're in the mountains is to talk about Sasquatch/Big Foot. There are people who think the whole Big Foot idea is hooey...yet others are absolutely convinced such a creature exists and have even seen one!

The above still from the Patterson-Gimlin footage of 1967 in Northern California seems pretty legit to me. People have been trying to debunk this footage for decades without success. (Don't you hate debunkers???) If Nature can create Giant Squids, the Platypus and Wolverines (not the Hugh Jackman kind, lol)...why not a Sasquatch? :)  Is seeing really believing? A lot of things that I believe in...well, I've never actually seen, so I am open to all possibilities! :)

I've been watching a lot of Big Foot movies lately, and they are mostly all horror-based. The Big Legend is a good one, corny at times, but not full-on horror. Although I don't know whether Big Foot would be aggressive or not, I decided to recreate a recent nightmare (likely brought on by all the Big Foot movies...) This was painted with a mix of watercolour and acrylic.

We are thinking that Monday will be the day that we start phase one of the release of the squirrels. Oh we'll miss them! But they are passing all of the tests that show they will indeed survive; and they need to be out in the woods soon. This is Spunky eating a sunflower seed. He shreds the shell a little at a time until he gets to the seed. (You can hear one of our cats meowing in the background by the window!)

I hope everyone is having a lovely week so far! Mine is very busy and I'll do my best to visit my friends soon! :) xx


July 18th: Next Thursday's theme is Yellow and Orange. Click on the link for ideas and inspiration! Remember it's all about creating. You can showcase your paintings, drawings, photography, sculpting, baking, poetry...whatever you like! :)

Thursday Art Date With Rain. Click on the link for a description of the art date as well as a list of upcoming themes.

Don't forget to add the URL link to your post (not your blog) to the link gadget below to share your wonderful creations! Please don't include a link unless you participate in the art date!


Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Squirrels Are Squirreling Things Away!

The triplets LOVE Melba toast...when they eat it all we hear is crunch, crunch, crunch...

Hello Friends :)

I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend! I just wanted to do an update post on the squirrels. Most of the time it's hard to tell them apart now, they've all grown so quickly and are starting to look the same. Nice buffet they have huh?

They have really started to squirrel-away their food...they have "hidden" stashes everywhere around the cage. They love those peanuts and sunflower seeds! One thing we were advised by the wildlife expert was to give them seeds and nuts in shells because they will have to learn how to open them when they're back in the woods; so we switched from shelled nuts and seeds to the ones in the shells. So far they are doing fine opening them up.

You can see Spunky on the left, hiding a peanut under the greenery. They have so much food that they've hoarded...their instinct is to prepare for winter! 

They are still drinking the "mother's milk" but this week we are weening them off of it. They have to get used to drinking water now because there won't be that type of milk in the wild. They are also in "escape" mode. Every time we open the cage door to clean it and fill up on the food supplies, they try their best to dash out. This is a sign they are ready to be released soon.

Another suggestion was to give them pine cones. I brought home a bunch of them on my walk in the woods with the dogs and the squirrels are devouring them really fast!

This close up shows why they are eating them up - they're looking for the pine nuts! It's amazing how their instinct kicks in without their mom to show them how to find those pine nuts. I feel silly that I didn't realize where pine nuts came from lol...Just a quick fact I read:

"The pine cone is only the pine nuts' first shell. Pine nuts have a second shell, which also has to be removed before eating. ... While all pine trees will produce a pine nut, there are only about 18 species that produce nuts large enough to be of value as human food. These trees are found in Asia, Europe and North America." - Huff Post

They eat them like a corn on the cob's funny to watch! The fact that they're enjoying the pine cones is another great sign that they will do very well once released. After spending the next week weening them off the "mother's milk", it'll be time for stage one of their release, leaving the cage outside by the woods so that they can get used to the sounds/smells/sights of the other critters. 

So that's the rodent news for today! :) Weather wise it's been extremely humid and very hot here in the Laurentians. Lots of thunderstorms.

Which is very bad news for poor Marlene. She is in a constant state of heightened anxiety because of the thunder. I watched a few Cesar Milan videos recently and he has one that shows you how to prepare your anxious dog for fireworks...I'm going to try to apply this technique with Marlene as best as I can to see if it helps her during storms too. There are puddles of her saliva all over the house...gets slippery! Jack has no issue with noises, he'd be more terrified if we ran out of food!

Mustard Greens and Miner's Lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce

"Green Forest" Romaine Lettuce

My lettuces are finally growing and fast, we've been eating lots of salads lately. 

The sugar pumpkin patch is thriving!

And lookie here! The carving pumpkin seeds finally germinated! The five I started indoors are getting a bit bigger and I have six or seven new plants popping up! So happy! :)

Aaaah...strawberries, ice cream and whipped cream...who can resist? :)

See you Thursday for the art date! The theme is Camping/Campfire.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Thursday Art Date: Flora...Red and White Feast!

Hello Friends!  Happy Independence Day to my American Friends!! :) 

Welcome to Thursday's art date! Our art theme today is flora. The flora in my region is alive and blooming. The trees, plants, flowers...everything is so pretty! It's been a long time coming and I'm soaking in every moment!

Bugs Bunny decided to check out the flora in his neck of the woods on a long hike. I have to say I was influenced by the late great Crocodile Hunter when it came to Bugs' wardrobe!

So many folks are on summer blog breaks, I wonder if anyone will participate in the art date this week! I won't be giving it up in any case! :)

Here is my oil painting for this week. The flora that I associate the most with Canada is the maple tree. We have them all over the property and they look especially brilliant in the fall. I decided to add our baby squirrels Algie, Spunky and Frasier to this painting. :)

Let's get down to the food shall we? I tried Joyce's Polish Pizzas (Zapiekanka) last week and they were really delicious, thanks so much Joyce! :)

I made my Potato Ham and Gruyere Tart and served it with fresh spinach from the garden! Yum! :) It's SO NICE to be able to eat fresh homegrown food!

Canada Day was July 1st and I'd been planning a red and white feast for a few weeks. This is the spread!! Tomatoes, watermelon and strawberries gave me the red I wanted...the potatoes and the cheeses represented the white.

We started off with some Watermelon and Pineapple Sangria - oh my goodness people...this was SO good. It was nice and sweet made with Moscato wine and brandy. (I love how clipart can hide messy counters lol)

This was surprisingly delicious in its simplicity. Watermelon and Feta Skewers. The mix of sweet and salty was a success!

The main course was a Caprese Panini. I used my Homemade Quick Mozzarella for this sandwich with local juicy tomatoes and fresh basil from the window garden. A sprinkling of good Balsamic vinegar and it's amazing! The corn was so sweet too!

Potato salad is so summery, I had to include it! I made some with my Homemade Mayo.

The coup de grâce of the evening was Strawberry Shortcake with fresh local strawberries! Thanks again to Joyce for that recipe winner! The only change I made to her recipe was to add some Fragoli strawberry liqueur to the strawberries.

The weather is hot and humid lately - just how I like it! We've had a lot of porch time, watching the squirrels and snacking on Rice Krispie Squares and my Knock-Off Tim Horton's Iced Coffee. I'll update everyone on the squirrels this weekend. They are in "escape mode" now. We were told once they were off the mother's milk, they would do their best to escape, which means release time is sooner than expected!


July 11th: Next Thursday's theme is Camping/Campfire. Click on the link for ideas and inspiration! Remember it's all about creating. You can showcase your paintings, drawings, photography, sculpting, baking, poetry...whatever you like! :)

Thursday Art Date With Rain. Click on the link for a description of the art date as well as a list of upcoming themes.

Don't forget to add the URL link to you post (not your blog) to the link gadget below to share your wonderful creations!