Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shhh, the Bag Lady isn't really here

Okay, okay, the Bag Lady knows she said she was going to take the weekend off from blogging because she was going camping. But that was before it poured rain yesterday. And before the Rancher had such a long day at work that he fell asleep on the couch right after supper. If it dries up today, they may venture forth on a camping adventure. There is frost in the forecast for Sunday night (Gah, can you believe it?!) and the Bag Lady is undecided about what to do. If she goes camping, she will have to pick her tomatoes before she leaves so they don't freeze. If, on the other hand, she stays home, she can cover her tomatoes to protect them, and they will have more time to mature on the vine. What to do, what to do....

In the meantime, she wanted to share a few photos with you of her garden produce.
Here are some of her tomatoes:


This one was delicious!


This is one of the survivors of the late frost we experienced in July. Isn't it huge, and beautiful? (The Bag Lady is hoping it is one of the Pink Ponderosa variety - they are so pretty!)

And here are some of the peppers she is planning to use to make hot pepper jelly:



The round red ones are not supposed to be very hot, and neither are the banana peppers. The green ones are Cayenne peppers and were accidentally broken off during a wild Frisbee episode with the Princess and the Rancher's almost-two-year old grandson! No big deal - they will be fine just as they are! The little red ones are called Super Chilies. The Bag Lady has never grown them before and has no idea how hot they will be. Well, except that the little stick that came with them from the nursery says they are hot peppers.
The habaneros are starting to produce. The Bag Lady is afraid of them. She found a recipe for a hot pepper jelly that is called Habanero Gold. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Also might cause your head to explode....

Friday, August 29, 2008

If I Had A Million Dollars......

Oh, wait -- do you have to be Canadian to know that song?


Well, whatever..... if I had a million dollars, I would give all of you medals for watching that video yesterday! Instead, I give you my heart-felt thanks.

The Bag Lady may be taking a day or two off over the weekend............ or not.

On the other hand:

she is suffering greatly from some split-personality disorder from having to constantly write in third-person (and way too much beer...) and she is taking a day off.

Love ya! *waving frantically from the barred windows*

M
E
L
T
D
O
W
N

It's Friday, isn't it?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On the Road Again

The Bag Lady did go to the mountains with the Rancher yesterday. It was a 6 hour trip, and she took a lot of photographs. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very co-operative and it was cloudy and dim or perhaps it was the Bag Lady who was dim and the pictures are not very good.

She did manage to videotape a portion of their trip. This extremely long video is a small part of the trip, but it was the reason they went..... to pick up a load of mats from an oil lease. In some areas around here, they have to build roads across swamps in order to haul the oil-drilling equipment into a well site. The easiest way to do that is to lay down wooden mats to drive on. When they are finished, they haul the mats out again in order to re-use them. The mats are made of oak, and are very heavy.

This particular video shows the trip from the main road down a very steep, very long road to the oil lease in order to pick up a load of mats. The Bag Lady had to do a lot of editing to shorten the enormous amount of video she took. Even then, the video is around 5 minutes long. Do not feel obligated to watch it. There is no music, and a lot of inane, sometimes inaudible conversation. On the other hand, if you are a big fan of noise, dust, and trees, you'll love this! The video also does not impart exactly how steep, rough and narrow the road was.


video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How'd It Get to be Wednesday Already?!

The Bag Lady had a cranky day yesterday. Nothing went right. She was doing some sewing, and the fabric wasn't co-operating. Nor was her sewing machine. Sheesh.

Today, she might just go to work with the Rancher. He has to make a trip out west and will be close to the mountains, so she might get some good photographs. He was there yesterday and said the scenery was fabulous! He even volunteered to take the camera with him today (if the Bag Lady can't go) to take photos for the blog (who are you and what have you done with the Rancher?)!

She still hasn't managed to get the final photographs of the paint job at her mother-in-law's house.... maybe tomorrow.

The weather is supposed to be cooling off dramatically toward the weekend, and the Rancher and the Bag Lady have plans to go camping. Figures. Rain and cold. Here's hoping the forecast is wrong!

Good grief, no-one wants to hear how cranky the Bag Lady is!

Here's something to ponder instead:



"WE HAZ MOUSE....NOW WUT?"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Babblin' Around

Yesterday, the Rancher, his mother and the Bag Lady took some cows to be sold at the auction held today. The auction mart where they took their cows is approximately an hour away, and they noticed on the drive that there was a large police presence on the highway. In that hour, they saw 4 police cars. This area has been plagued with accidents in the past few years, prompting the province to provide sheriffs to help police the highways. They were certainly on the job yesterday!

After they delivered their cows to the auction, they decided to have supper at a cafe in the little town close to the auction mart.

Lo and behold, there were 2 police cars pulled in there, and the officers were inside, having their supper. Shortly thereafter, 2 more police cars pulled in. One of the officers had to walk past the table where the Rancher et al were seated on his way to the restroom. When the officer came out of the washroom, he stopped at the table across the aisle to invite the little boy seated there to come out and have a look at his police car! The little boy was about 7 years old, and seemed quite excited. The officer told him to come and get him when he was ready to leave.

The little boy and his family left a few minutes before the Bag Lady and her family, so when she and her mother-in-law exited the restaurant, the policeman was just taking the handcuffs off the little boy! The boy seemed absolutely thrilled about the whole experience and the Bag Lady couldn't help but think what a good P.R move that was on that police officer's part!

The Bag Lady took a few photos on the trip, mostly to show her sister, Reb, who blogs over at Sibu Pegasus Power, how much the city has expanded since she was here last. Unfortunately, the photos aren't very good. If it had been dark, the lights would have shown up nicely.....

This was taken from the top of the hill (which, by the way, is nowhere near as high as it used to be - they cut it down quite drastically when they twinned the highway):

New intersection between Costco and the airport:


Here are some gulls taking flight from a field outside town:



Here's a little video clip of the new construction in town:

video

Sorry if this post is a little boring for everyone else.... the Bag Lady will try to have something more exciting tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blurry Bird

Here is a tiny little video clip of a Downy Woodpecker having a treat at the Bag Lady's birdfeeder. He was actually there for quite awhile, and the Bag Lady took a lot of little videos, but she thought he looked kinda funny in this one! (Don't blink - it's even shorter than she remembered...!)


video

She had a very busy week last week, and a busy weekend as well, so she's a little played out, but in a good way. She has quite a lot on her plate for the coming week, too! Cattle to round up, painting to touch up, paperwork to catch up, housework to make up....

Friday, August 22, 2008

And Another Thing.....

The Bag Lady took these photos just a few minutes ago to show you how her yard looked this morning....
The sun finally makes an appearance (haven't seen it since Monday!)




It's rather misty:

And very close to freezing:


Horsin' Around

A few weeks ago, one of the Rancher's horses came up lame, so he and a friend did a little work on horse hooves....
Whilst they worked on one, the other hovered in the background, keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings.


The Bag Lady regrets that she doesn't have pictures of the on-going paint job yet. It turned out to be a bigger job than originally thought, partly because of the extremely high humidity - it has been pouring rain for most of the week! The paint hasn't been drying as quickly as it ordinarily would. Sigh.
She will pull together a post as soon as she has good photos!
In the meantime, have a good weekend!

Oops - forgot to mention our crazy weather. It was 29C (88?F) on Monday, then the temperature dropped and it started to rain. Rained most of the week (over 2 inches) and this morning at 5:30, the temperature was 4C (37?F) - the Bag Lady is too lazy to get a conversion chart to figure out exactly what that is in Fahrenheit. All she really knows is that it was danged hot on Monday, and by Friday, she's at risk of losing her tomatoes AGAIN!! Sheesh.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cliffhanger

A little while ago, the Bag Lady had an idea about starting a novelette, and passing it around, with everyone who was interested adding a couple paragraphs. Well, several folks expressed an interest in playing along, and today the Bag Lady is pleased to present the results! The bloggers who joined in were: (in random order, to protect their anonymity!)

Missicat (of Missicat's World)
Leah (of the Goat's Lunch Pail)
Sagan (of Living Healthy in the Real World)
Melissa (of Melissa's Mind Sweeper)
Emily (of Walking Contradiction)
Reb (of Sibu Pegasus Power)
Crabby McSlacker (of Cranky Fitness)
Tokaiangel (of Off the Scale)
and the Bag Lady

The Bag Lady wishes to thank all the bloggers who participated and hopes they had as much fun as she did! Without further ado, the Bag Lady presents.....


I was whistling to myself under my breath as I swung my car into the parking lot. I'm not sure what was making me so happy, and I've always despised people who do that; it sounds like a pit full of hissing snakes when other people do it, but there you have it. I jumped out of the car and checked the address on the building before I made my way toward it.

The door made a little hissing sound as I opened it and I thought perhaps it was happy, too. I gave my head a little shake at that crazy thought, and strolled into the air-conditioned office. I looked around at the utilitarian sparseness and wondered who on earth had decorated the place. There were closed doors on all three walls, with a waist-high desk directly ahead of me. No other furniture, no diplomas or photographs, not even a calendar - nothing to tell a visitor what kind of business you had wandered into. And not a soul in sight.


"Hello?" My voice echoed in the room. The phone shrilled, startling me. I waited for one of the doors to open and someone to respond to the phone. Nothing. I moved toward the desk, counting the rings.
From where I stood, I could see the phone, light flashing with each ring. I finally leaned over the desk and almost fainted when I saw the body sprawled on the floor behind it.

It's not my first dead body. Cleaning rooms at The Gleaning Seniors' Lodge and Care Centre got me used to seeing corpses. But a surprise dead body is startling. It's like surprise nudity. There's nothing wrong with the human body in all its glory when it's expected. But when you
come up on somebody who's nak-
"Meow."
"What the? Oh, kitty. Hello." I reached out to the sleek black and white tabby that jumped down off the chair and came toward me.
Meeeeooooowwww!"
The cat turned away and shuddered its tail at the body then stalked toward the elevator.
"Rarrrrmeeeooowwwww!" It had half turned toward me, tail high and curved slightly inward at the top. It looked impatient. Did it want me to follow it?

The cat appeared to not be bothered by the corpse that lay there on the
ground unceremoniously, face down in the carpet. I wondered how long
the cat had been wandering around the room, alone with this body.
Typical of a feline to have such complete indifference as to the state
of its owner.

And now the cat stood there before the elevator, staring fixedly at
me with those unblinking eyes. I moved towards it and only its tail
flicked back and forth. There was much that I could learn from this
room; I was sure that further investigation of the desk would provide
me with information about the person who had, only a short time before,
sat behind it. And there was no doubt that a closer inspection of the
body itself would expand my knowledge of what had happened in this
office, but now I found myself inexplicably drawn towards the
elevator. After all, that body wasn't going anywhere, and I wanted to
take a look around this building. So I pressed the elevator button.
As I waited for the door to open, something behind me stirred and I
turned sharply as the cat hissed, running under the desk like a shot.


There was nothing there, I think. If the cat hadn't reacted, I would have been sure of it. As it was the hair was standing on the back of my neck, and my heart pounded like it was on a trampoline. Cats don't bestir themselves for just nothing. I sidled back toward the desk myself, eying the corners of the room, the large potted plants. It was still as death.
Behind the desk now, I backed up against the wall. The cat looked up at me, its eyes glowing dimly from a dark space under the file drawer.

Almost frozen, I glanced down at the body again. She lay there, her brown hair partially covering her face. Old?young?I couldn't tell from the clothes; they were nondescript; slightly full skirt, sensible shoes. Then I noticed her left hand, plump and white, a large solitaire sparkling.


It was the largest, sparkliest diamond I have ever seen. The longer I stared at it, the more mesmerized I became. At that point, a bomb could have exploded in the vicinity and I would not have blinked an eye. As I continued to stare, it seemed to grow larger and more brilliant, casting a glow that infused the office. Behind me, a soft, husky voice spoke. "We have been looking for this gem for centuries. A pity she wouldn't give it up without a fight". I whirled around – but I was alone in the office. Except…for the cat. We locked eyes.

Ridiculous. Here I was, alone in a room with a cat and a corpse, and now apparently the cat was talking to me. I squatted down and peered underneath the desk where the cat watched me warily.

"Could you repeat that, please?" I asked politely.

"I SAID it's a pity she wouldn't give it up without a fight. Stand up old girl, why on earth are you talking to a cat?"

The voice wasn't coming from the cat. Of course. Cats don't talk. I straightened quickly and there he was, standing stock straight in the middle of the office as if he'd been there all along. The eminent Dr Rowley Watson, dressed in his standard: tweed jacket, plus fours, green wellies and a pipe, twirling his silvery moustache. He regarded my present fluster with a twinkle. I sighed with relief.

"I suppose you're wondering why I brought you here." He sucked toothlessly on his pipe and puffed the smoke out in a series of perfect, rising hoops. "To the middle of this perfectly bland office, in the middle of Nowheresville, in the middle of the night."

"Well - I presume it has something to do with her!" I pointed at the dead woman on the floor.

"Yes!" He cried, delighted. "Thank goodness. I was worried you'd lost your mind for a minute, what with all the talking to cats. Yes my dear old fruit, you are about to commence solving one of the most intriguing puzzles ever to land on the doorstep of Watson & Daughter: Private Eyes. And that's not the best part."

"What's the best part?"

"That you only have until daybreak to do it!"


"ONLY! Until daybreak?! And you question my sanity?" I asked as I pulled my camera out of my pocket and began snapping the scene.

"Yes, dear - must I repeat everything? By daybreak the staff will start coming in and someone is bound to notice and call the police. That will inconvenience us immensely, not to mention the damage that will be done to the evidence."


"Da, what was that you said about looking for the gem for centuries? Who has been looking and what is so special about that gem?"


Don't tell me you can't recall at least hearing about the Gem of Eternity?!? Surely you learned about it in one of those Ancient Egyptian classes you took back in the 1970's when digging up buried mummies was all you could think about. No? Well let me explain again: once put on, the wearer is guaranteed eternal life even if they remove the stone. However, if removed, the outward appearance of the person changes to reflect their real age, which clearly could be quite frightening to those they encounter. This woman here is probably over 120 years but with the ring on, she still looks the same as she did over a century ago. I calmly asked her for it but she was too self conscious to risk exposing her real self to the world




"So, was it you who bonked her on the head?" I was only half-joking; thinking this Gem of Eternity could make even reasonably sane people a little bit crazy.

"No, I'm pretty sure you'll discover she was poisoned. That's almost the only thing the Gem of Eternity will not guard against." He strolled toward the body, rolling his pipe to the other side of his mouth. "There is a small faction of fanatics who have been looking for the Gem for centuries. They call themselves the Gem Seekers - original, don't you think?" His eyes twinkled.

Behind him, the elevator finally dinged, signaling it's arrival. As the doors slid open, A glint caught my eye. "Look out!" I dove at him, tackling him to the floor behind the desk as the first shot spat out.
Frantically, I searched the desktop for some sort of weapon, but knew there would be nothing of any use against a gun.
"Watson?" A voice called out, "Is that you?"
I watched as Da worked frantically at pulling the solitaire off the plump white hand of the corpse we shared the small space with.
"Quick, " he whispered, "touch the diamond." We held the ring between us. "Now, stand up, follow my lead, and whatever happens, don't let go!"
"Are you nuts?" I whispered fiercely, "He has a gun!" Ignoring my protests, Rowley Watson rose, dragging me with him.
"Ah," he said, as calmly as greeting an old friend at a social gathering, "Alistair, old man."
I looked from Watson to the man across the room, gun held loosely at his side.
"Watson. I should have known."
"Alistair." Watson nodded in the direction of the body. "Is this your doing?" Sternly, as if speaking to a recalcitrant school boy.
"No," he shook his head slowly, "That was Marguerite. She has become obsessed with acquiring the Gem ever since she turned 50. Personally, I think she's menopausal."
Watson nodded again. "And where is Marguerite now?"

"Probably on her way to Liberia."

Alistair and Watson stared at one another for a moment. They assessed one another like Olympic wrestlers trying to feel out the other's weakness. I had more important things to do like sort out what had happened . Was Marguerite really on her way to Liberia? Or was she somewhere in the building? Hiding. Waiting.

I shook my head to clear these thoughts. I had enough to think about with the body and the solitaire's sparkles taunting me. I needed a closer look at the body, but couldn't let go of Rowley and the ring.

"Come with me."

The commanding tone of my voice startled even me. I became aware of my muscles, my heartbeat, and how secure my feet felt on the floor. I breathed more deeply, taking more than my share of air into lungs. Life force sped through my veins and I felt a cocoon of energy build around me. I even felt taller. My vision sharpened and my sense of smell became acute.

It didn't matter about Alistair and the gun or Peg maybe waiting in the shadows or anything. I felt the presence of the solitaire in my body and in my mind. My hand tingled nearly to the point of a compelling itch.

"Hey Marguerite! Come out and show yourself."

"For heaven's sake be quiet." Watson sounded irritated and stronger than usual.

"Like hell. I've got a few hours to solve this and if the killer is right here and we can't be harmed, then why not just ask? Seriously, what's wrong with the direct approach?"

"In a word sweetheart… blowguns."

"Blowguns?"

I felt myself tremble, my new-found confidence starting to fade.

I'd never been hunted by blowgun-wielding assassins before and I wasn't looking forward to the experience. I'd heard accounts that blowguns were no longer just an obscure weapon used by indigenous rain forest tribes, but were gaining in popularity among hired killers. Blowguns were famous for being "silent but deadly," though not in the way that causes twelve year old boys to giggle.

I heard a rustling noise in the corner of the room and then suddenly: Thwoooosh! Thwoosh! Thwack!

We were under blowgun attack! Darts were flying everywhere as yet again we dived for cover.

Were they poison darts?

Thwack!


"Aaaargh"!

We would soon find out, because apparently a dart had just hit Alistair's forearm--sending his gun to the floor.

Alistair dived for his gun, as did I. And Watson too as he had little choice. We were both still clinging to the precious gem for dear life as darts flew all around us.

Was Alistair weakening? Were the darts indeed poisoned? You certainly couldn't tell by the speed with which he dropped to the floor and groped for the gun. But I summoned my courage and lunged too.

Watson flopped down right along side me.

"Damn it, warn me next time before you do that, will you!"

This was no time for bickering, however so I left his complaint unanswered. I felt the cold metal of the gun and wrenched mightlily... then Watson grabbed onto the gun too and we struggled with Alistair until...

Blam Blam Blam! The gun went off.

I heard an unfamiliar scream, and the sound of a body dropping. All three of us followed the sound and saw the shocking sight of...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's Wednesday Already?

Oooh, ouch. Aww. Eee. Geez!

Bag Lady is still paining, err, painting. Time for the second coat today. Should go a wee bit faster than the first coat - all the taping and preparation work is already done. All that climbing up and down ladders and contorting herself to reach into cramped spaces and crawling around on her knees to get at stuff close to the floor has certainly reminded her how out of shape she is! But her mother-in-law is pleased with the colour, and her sister-in-law is there suffering right along with her helping, too. At least the cooler weather has made the job a little more pleasant.

And it is going to make quite a change in the house! When it is all finished, the Bag Lady will post some photos for you.... probably by the end of the week.

In the meantime, she doesn't have much else to share with you. Unless, of course, you'd like to volunteer to come and clean her house for her....No? Shoot. She'd really be willing to share that with someone...

She will work really hard at coming up with an intelligent, witty post sometime soon. That would make a nice change, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hot....Pepper....Moon.

The Bag Lady has another busy week ahead of her. She is in the process of painting her mother-in-law's kitchen and utility room, then has to ready her own house for a little soiree she is throwing on the weekend for her nephew. She is hoping the weather will be co-operative, and the outdoor oven can be put to good use. She hasn't used it much at all this summer - it is in need of a little repair work, which may or may not get done before the weekend. It has also been so darned hot here for much of the summer that it hasn't really appealed to her to spend a lot of time outside, feeding a fire. She's such a slacker.

The hot weather finally broke tonight. It was 29C here this afternoon, but after a couple thunderstorms it has cooled considerably and is tolerable. The forecast is for more rain and much cooler temperatures in the middle of the week, but it is supposed to warm up and be sunny again by the weekend. Hopefully they are right.

Here is a photo of some people beating the heat this past weekend (it was 33C, which is danged hot in Fahrenheit, too!) Tailgate party in the middle of the river.....


It was hot enough that these peppers ripened practically overnight!



And here is a photo of the almost full moon rising the other night.


Hopefully the Bag Lady will be allowed to share photos of the dramatic transformation of her mother-in-law's kitchen... it is going to be so-o-o pretty! But only if the Bag Lady gets off her arse and gets over there. See ya!

Monday, August 18, 2008

And So It Begins...

Canning season is upon the Bag Lady's house.

Here is a little pictorial tutorial:

Clean jars:



Assembled ingredients:


(Yes, that IS a huge bowl of sugar.)

Cook jelly:


Ladle into sterilized jars, seal:



Raspberry jelly and blueberry jam:



And that is the winter supply of jelly and jam. Of course, some of these will be given away, because the Bag Lady always makes more than she and the Rancher can use.

Some of her peppers are quickly ripening, so she may make some hot pepper jelly next. The tomatoes are also starting to ripen, but there aren't enough ripe yet for any of the recipes she has planned. Soon, though.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scat, Bear...

The Bag Lady was out in the pasture yesterday and happened to find one of the rags that ordinarily are tucked into the space beside the seat on the Cat that is parked out there. She picked it up and pondered how it came to be lying so far away from the Cat. When she looked more closely at it, she noticed it had been chewed on. Blaming the calves (they will chew almost anything) she took the rag back to the Cat. Then she got to wondering how on earth a calf would have been able to reach the rag in the first place.... but thought perhaps it was blown off the Cat by the wind. Highly unlikely, because the rag has been tucked in there for a couple of years, but...

When she got back to the Cat, she noticed this:


The seat was not damaged like this a couple of weeks ago. She and the Rancher assume that it was a bear. She looked around for any other signs, but didn't find anything.

Oh, and see the trees behind the Bag Lady's garden? That Cat is parked just behind those trees. Maybe a couple hundred feet from her house....



Later on that morning, when they were checking on things over at their summer pasture, she happened upon this:


Sorry for the blurriness, but that black-looking mass? That is bear scat. Yup, the Bag Lady has stooped to posting pictures of bear poo.

Have a nice day!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Round-up; Babble Version

Wow, another week has flown by.

Remember when you were a kid, and time seemed to drag on forever, especially if you were waiting for something special (a birthday, or Christmas, or summer vacation to start)? When the Bag Lady was a wee child before she became the Bag Lady and would start whining about how long it would be until such and such happened, her mother would always respond by saying "Don't wish your life away!" or "Just wait until you're older; time speeds up!"

She was right, too (actually, she was right about most things, but she was an incredibly smart, talented woman....after all, she raised the Bag Lady!) The Bag Lady sometimes wonders where the hell the time went. How did it get to be 2008? Who turned the calendar ahead so fast? What happened to that fabulous existence the Bag Lady kept putting off until later.... "Oh," she would tell herself, "There's plenty of time to do .....!" or; "As soon as I do ...., I can finally do ....." (you can fill in the blanks)

Well, life happened, that's what happened. The Bag Lady has led a varied life. It wasn't perhaps the life she thought she would live, but there is very little about it that she would change. Well, okay, maybe a couple things. But not very many. She would have been kinder to herself; she would never have started smoking, and maybe wouldn't have eaten that escargot that time (that was 15 years ago and she can still taste it - that shit'll kill ya!) but she is grateful for the experiences she has had, and truly feels that she is where she is supposed to be except for the times she is somewhere else!

How about you? Are you where you thought you would be? Where you should be?


Sheesh, the heat must be getting to her! Okay, enough soul-searching, back to our regularly scheduled blogging!


Here are the sunflowers that the messy birds planted in the Bag Lady's flowerbed:



The bees find them attractive:



And that's how things were at the ranch this week...
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Berry-Picking Bag Lady Revealed

For those of you who are curious about what the Bag Lady looks like, here is a photo, taken when she was berry-picking the other day.


Garden Update

The Bag Lady thought she should show you the progress in her produce.
Remember yesterday she said she had lots of volunteer dill in her garden? Well, here's a picture. She did not plant this, it came from seed that fell from her plants last year. The seed was spread all over the garden when it was tilled, but she has tamed it to mostly one row:
(Click on any of the photos to enlarge them)


On the deck, her peppers are doing fairly well:

Here are some of her tomatoes...she got scissor-happy and trimmed off a lot of the excess foliage. She read somewhere that it will help the tomatoes grow larger:

Here's a close-up of the ripest one:



Here are the rest of her tomatoes:

Here are some more peppers:

Oh, and the banana peppers:


This is her grapevine, which surprised her by coming back after that nasty unexpected frost at the beginning of the summer:
This was taken shortly after the frost, when she realized the vine had survived:

And this is what the grapevine looks like now. Doing quite well, considering, don't you think?

The tomatoes weren't the only thing she got scissor-happy with! She was so hot when she was working in her garden the other night, she decided she couldn't stand it any longer, and took the scissors to her hair! She has trimmed her bangs on other occasions, but has never attempted to do her entire head. Here's the result:


She sees now, thanks to this photo, that she needs to do a wee bit more trimming! But her head is cooler!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tales from the Garden

Here are a couple pictures of what the Bag Lady's been up to lately:

She picked some peas, which the cat had to inspect (he wasn't very impressed):




And shelled them:



Then she blanched them and froze them, but didn't take a picture.

She has also been making jelly and jam, and working in the garden. It doesn't seem to matter how bleeping dry it is, the weeds will still grow! She has been harvesting lots of spinach and dehydrating it for future use. She dug some potatoes, carrots, onions and rutabaga the other day and used them in a stew with home-grown beef, and some of the fresh peas.

Some of her tomatoes are starting to ripen, and she has banana peppers that are ready to use. She's about to get really busy with canning! Might try pickling some of the peppers as there are so many!

She has a huge amount of dill in her garden - a whole row! - that is volunteer. She allowed some of it to go to seed last year so she could harvest the seed, and obviously didn't get it all... but now she has a lot of dill that she can't use because she didn't plant any cucumbers to make pickles. She will make some dilled carrots, and probably will dehydrate some and freeze some, but wow, there's so much! She'll have to search the web for some ideas of what else to do with it. Anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Video!

The Bag Lady finally got around to editing another video for you. She's been doing all sorts of things lately - fencing, gardening, making jelly, freezing garden produce, sewing CartSmart bags, drinking beer and partying , working hard. Really.




video

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Update

Such busy, busy times.

The Bag Lady went berry-picking on Friday, but didn't go to the woods to look for pin-cherries. According to sources in the know, the bushes are simply no longer there. But she and her hubby's cousin did spend several arduous hours in the extremely hot sun picking raspberries.
Here is a rather blurry photo of the Bag Lady's co-conspirator companion...


And here is a photo of the fruits of their labour:

It doesn't look like a lot, does it? But this is a 57 litre cooler..... The Bag Lady extracted over 12 cups of juice from these berries (she is uncertain because the last batch is still dripping), which will produce approximately 18 jars of jelly.
She also tried an experiment - once she had extracted the juice from the berries, she put the mash into the dehydrator and made fruit leather. It tastes great, but there are a huge amount of seeds in it. Anyone know the nutritional value of raspberry seeds?

She also has a batch of blueberries (courtesy of her berry-picking companion) that she will turn into jam. And perhaps a pie. Yum. Thanks, cousin!

Oh, and check out Rook's Nest for a really cool photo of an old bathtub used as a planter.

Here's something the Bag Lady did one year:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

AHA! Red Velvet Cake










You Are a Red Velvet Cake



Rich, decadent, and sensual.

You have a deep appeal that transcends all trends.

You are the definition of passion: intense, adventurous, and seductive.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Round-up

The CowMan and the Bag Lady went to check on the state of their summer pasture last evening. It has been terribly dry here, and they wanted to see how their cows were faring. Whilst they were there, they saw a pair of Sandhill Cranes:

They are very difficult to see in this photo, because they were quite a distance away. She shot this photo at maximum zoom, which (obviously) didn't work very well. The Bag Lady tried to take a little video of them, and although it is terribly blurry, she wants to share it with you so you can hear them calling to each other (turn up your volume a little):


video

A little later on, the Bag Lady happened upon this:


video

So ends the "nature-walk" portion of this post.

The Bag Lady had a crazy idea the other night, while she was lying, wide-eyed and sleep-deprived in her bed. She came up with an idea for a game, and wondered if any of you would like to play. She wants to write a "novelette", but never seems to have enough time. She was thinking if she started with a couple of paragraphs, then sent it on to someone else, who would add a couple of paragraphs, then send it on to someone else to add a couple of paragraphs, and so on and so on, when everyone who was interested in playing had their turn, she would publish it on her blog (or all the participants can publish it at the same time). Do you think she is crazy? Needs more sleep?
What do you all think? If anyone is interested in playing along, email the Bag Lady at the address in the sidebar.
Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

By Special Request

Here's a little video the Bag Lady made at the request of some of her blog-buddies. She tried to keep it short in order not to bore you all to tears!


video

She had to cut quite a lot of her journey out of the video (it's not easy to condense a 4 hour trip into a 2.5 minute video.....!) She left out the parts with the horse and buggy, and the wild Indian attack (sorry, that's probably not politically correct. Get over it - it was a joke!)

Hope you enjoy it anyway.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Smile-Maker

For a dose of cuteness, go here

(Hope it works this time!)

Wednesday Whatnots

There's been so much going on lately around the old stump ranch that the Bag Lady doesn't know what to share with you! The Cowboy and the Bag Lady have been working on hauling the hay home. There are different flowers in bloom again, but a lot of the flower bed is looking pretty sad because it is so dry.

We are heading into another heat wave - it's supposed to reach 32C (90F) here today, and stay warm into the weekend. We have had very little rain this summer and it is apparent in the yard and garden.

Here is a photo of a day lily - see how dry the chives are in the background?


The Bag Lady hopes to have a few minutes sometime soon to devote to putting together a proper post. She wants to share more of the ranching side of things with you, but although she has a lot of raw film footage, she hasn't had time to do any editing yet! She's been driving the truck and trailer whilst the Cow Whisperer loads the hay onto it. Soon, hopefully, she'll have time to sit down and cobble together a little video for you.

In the meantime, here is a picture of the sun setting last night.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Weekend Review

The Bag Lady was planning on sharing some photos with you today from her weekend, but Blogger had other ideas, and wouldn't let her upload any of them last night. If that situation changes, she will certainly add some photos to this post!

The Bag Lady's mother-in-law will be celebrating her 80th birthday in November, and her children wanted to throw a party in her honour. They decided that it would be nice to have it when the weather was more co-operative than it usually is in November, so they chose this past weekend. There was a good turn-out of folks who have known the Cowboy's mother for many years, and the weather was quite warm. There was a little shower early on, but that blew over and the sun shone for the rest of the day.

Games were played, an enormous quantity of food was prepared and consumed, a lot of visiting was done, and a good time was had by all. There were children and grand-children and great-grandchildren; cousins and uncles and aunts and in-laws (and perhaps even an out-law or two!); nieces and nephews and good friends and neighbours. It was a terrific occasion to celebrate a terrific lady.



The Bag Lady found a photograph from her mother-in-law's youth of her riding a horse named Flirt. Her mother-in-law was a terrific horsewoman (who rode well into her seventies!), and it is a wonderful picture, so the Bag Lady blew it up on her computer and took it town and had it put on the cake for the party. (Blogger finally sorta/kinda let the Bag Lady upload the photo, but she had to capture it and drag it into her post because it wouldn't finish....sigh.)


Update! Here is the original photo that was used to decorate the cake:


(Please note that she's riding bareback, and MIL told BL that the expression on her face is not one of "Yahoo, I'm having a blast!" but more of the "Holy Crap!" variety.... If the horse had done this with the Bag Lady on her, the Bag Lady probably would have slid right off....)


The first part of the weekend was spent in preparation for the party and the last part of the weekend was spent cleaning up after the party, and very little sleep was had by quite a few of the preparers and cleaners!

The Cowboy hauled some more hay off the field yesterday, then received a call from one of the neighbours who was having a great deal of difficulty getting her haying done. She was almost finished baling her hay when her baler broke down, so the Cowboy took his baler over and finished up for her. That's what neighbours do out here in the country.

It was a busy weekend, and the Bag Lady was played out, but she has garden to tend to and bags to sew and spinach to dehydrate; there's still hay to be hauled and housework and laundry and holy cow, what's she doing sitting here.....?

Have a good day!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

It's a long weekend here in Canada.
The Bag Lady has been long weekend-ing. Birthday partying.
Today is a hay-hauling day.
And she is trying to get her house back in order.
She has another birthday party to attend today, too.

She may even have party pictures to post tomorrow (Blogger is not being co-operative today!)


Bag Lady will (hopefully) be back in operation tomorrow.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Whine and Dine?

The Princess had an encounter......


video

....of the not-so-very close kind!


The Bag Lady assures you that no animals were harmed during the making of this film. Nor after, nor before....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Brief Friday Round-up


The Cowman and the Bag Lady hauled some of their hay off the field and brought it home to stack it in the yard yesterday. Over, and over, and over again. They finally finished one field at 8:30 last night, then had supper.

The Cowman had to go to work today, so they will continue the hay-haul another day. In the meantime, the Bag Lady will go to town and run some errands. She was played out last night for some reason. Hauling hay is not a physically demanding job, but it is tiring nonetheless. Either that or the Bag Lady is getting old.... nah, that can't be it!

This is a long weekend in Alberta, and it is shaping up to be a busy one out here at the ol' stump ranch, so hopefully she'll have something interesting to share with you next week (at the very least, a report of a fun-filled time!)

Have a great weekend!