Here a Cluck, There a Cluck…

Let us in!
Pecking order

My friend’s chickens are a hoot, each with their own silly personality. There’s nothing silly about their eggs though, and I’m lucky enough to get a share of them. Yum!


Joe’s Birthday Dinner…Location To Be Determined

Here is what’s on the menu for tonight:

Greens with Balsamic Vinegar and Truffle Oil
Braised Moose Ribs with Espresso Stout and Chocolate (from Michele Genest’s ‘The Boreal Gourmet’)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Squash and Rutabaga
Served with a Saxenburg Guinea Fowl red, an acquisition from the recent wine festival. I’m hoping the smokiness of this wine will be perfect with the strong flavours of the ribs. For those who don’t like that, there’ll be other choices but the Guinea Fowl is the one that I’m hoping will sing with this meal.

And for dessert:
Apple and Wild Cranberry Tart (also from ‘The Boreal Gourmet’)
Served with a Canadian ice-wine (Jackson-Triggs).

My challenge will be to pull this off without much access to water. There’s a blockage in our greywater pipe so using sinks, shower, and especially toilets is off limits at the moment. Someone is supposed to come this morning to try again to unblock it (no success yesterday) so I’m hoping we’ll be back to normal before guests come. Otherwise we might have to move the entire meal to a friend’s house. Wish us luck.


Our daughter came home for the week-end. She’s going through some tough times so it was good just to have a chance to talk and hang out. We watched movies on Saturday night, went out for our traditional eggs bennie breakfast on Sunday morning, and spent Sunday evening at a friend’s house where we had a belated Thanksgiving meal. She flies back to Vancouver this morning, hopefully feeling a bit more centred and supported.


Joe and I went to a wine tasting festival last night. With something like 182 wines on offer and more than 500 people crowded into the Convention Centre, it was a bit overwhelming. I’d much prefer a few friends gathered around several bottles of wine.

However we did find some wines that we quite enjoyed. My favourite of the night was the Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Red from South Africa. It was smoky; almost peaty. It was as if I were tasting a scotch. The woman representing the company that was selling it said you could spend an hour drinking a glass of this wine while curled up by the fire reading a book, and every sip would taste different.

Other favourites included a spicy syrah from Sicily (Santa Margherita Syrah Sicilia IGT), a malbec from France (Rigal Original Malbec), and a carmenere and a chardonnay from Chile (Tamaya Carmenere Reserva and Tamaya Viognier Chardonnay Reserva). The last two were being sold by Stile Wines of Vancouver. I recognized the name because it’s run by the same family that owns my favourite shoe store on Commercial Drive. They said the next time I was shopping for shoes I should go upstairs in the same building to see their wine operation.

The choice of Canadian wines was disappointing, with Grey Monk the only offering from this country. Everyone is familiar with Grey Monk; I was looking to try some things I hadn’t before, but no luck on that front.

All in all it was an interesting evening that resulted in some new bottles of wine in my stash. But would I go again? I’m not sure.

Where Do Memories Go When They Are Lost?

A long-time friend of mine emailed me the other day to say his young daughter had discovered Mary Poppins. Not only has this given him a chance to relive this endearing movie many times over, but it prompted him to search out a book that has been sitting on his shelf for thirty years. The book is entitled Maria Poppina.

In his email, my friend wrote: “The original drawings are great; very different from the movie, but the chalk drawing they jump into is there. Sadly, my Latin isn’t any better at 51 than it was at 21.”

I was intrigued. I had never heard of a Latin version of Mary Poppins. I was curious as to where my friend would have uncovered such a book.

I replied to his email, writing: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that book. I’ll have to go looking for it in the library.”

His response almost knocked me off my chair, literally.

“Oh yes you have (seen Maria Poppina). You gave it to me as a present in 1978. Tee hee hee.”

I spent the next several minutes first systematically and then frantically searching for any such memory. But there wasn’t a hint of it in my grey mush of a brain. Not a whisper. Not a shadow. Not a ghost. Nothing.

This shocked me. It also scared me a little bit. I often forget things, but when people prompt me I am able to retrieve at least a partial picture. This is the first time I can remember losing a memory so totally and completely. 

So my question is, where do memories go when they get lost?

Lated edited to say: I have since found out that I hand wrote a short dedication in the front of the book, all in Latin. I have no knowledge of Latin so now I’m thoroughly puzzled by this whole thing.

Tasting Fall

I woke up this morning craving fall flavours. I was in the kitchen bright and early making pumpkin muffins, red cabbage with apples, and a casserole of potatoes, squash, onions and mushrooms. It might be winter outside but inside we’re still in the throws of fall with all its great smells and tastes.