Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

The Bag Lady is currently laid up, waging a battle against sciatica. So far, the sciatica seems to have the upper hand, but the Bag Lady is going to try to enlist some assistance today (somewhere, somehow, somebody must be working in a physiotherapy office, or chiropractic office..... right?)

In the meantime, she finds it impossible to sit at her computer for any length of time, but wanted to share some photos with you of what her neighbourhood looks like right now.

There is a lot of frost around:

Frost and snow:

The sun is just behind the hill, and the "rainbow" is part of a sun dog:

More frost and snow line the driveway (c'mon in, we'll have some hot chocolate!)




First though, the Princess wants you to throw her frisbee for her (but don't throw it in the deep snow or you'll have to go get it yourself, thankyouverymuch!)

Yes, out here where the snow is packed down is much easier for her!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Birdbath Closed

Due to the onset of winter, this birdbath is closed until further notice.


Poor birdies.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Coyote

As the Bag Lady was busy preparing for her Christmas feast, she glanced out the window and saw that there was a visitor in her yard!




The Princess happened to be sleeping beside the door, so she didn't see the coyote right away, which allowed the Bag Lady time to get the camera and take a picture. When the Princess awoke shortly thereafter, she spied the coyote and set up quite a ruckus. The Bag Lady, however, refused to open the door because she could see what the Princess could not - there were at least three more coyotes out in the pasture not far away, which meant that the Princess would be outnumbered.

The bold coyote who had ventured so close to the house heard the Princess roaring, and quickly rejoined the rest of the pack and convinced them that it was time to move on. The Princess eventually settled down and forgave the Bag Lady for not opening the door.


It is not at all unusual to see coyotes around this area, but the Bag Lady rarely manages to get pictures of them. In spite of their boldness, they move away quickly when they feel threatened, and most of the time when the Bag Lady sees them, she doesn't have her camera close at hand.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mizfit's Hidden Talent Show

Mizfit is hosting a blogger hidden talent show today! Many, many bloggers have participated and uploaded videos of their talents, so slip on over there and have a peek!

Charlotte, of the Great Fitness Experiment, and POD, of Thuffering Thuccotash have also participated with posts on their blogs. There are probably others, too, that the Bag Lady is unaware of! (AHA, the Bag Lady has a talent for poor sentence structure!)

She would love to post a video of her own hidden talent (if only she had one.... a talent, that is. Or even a video of a talent, which is hard to do when she doesn't have a hidden talent....) BUT she DID find a video (of very poor quality, which is, in itself a talent, she supposes - the talent to consistently produce poor quality videos!) from many, many years ago....

(Please keep in mind that this is supposed to be funny.... the Bag Lady does not actually know how to play ANY musical instruments....obviously!)


video

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays!

The Bag Lady had yesterday off from work, so did some baking. She made another batch of shortbread (the first batch mysteriously disappeared....), butter tarts and fiddle diddle (using Sagan's recipe!)

She has to work today, then has a couple days off, then works the morning of Christmas Eve. Uh oh. That means that Christmas is only four days away! Time to panic....

She may not get around to posting very regularly this week. (especially now that she realizes how little time she has left to get everything done!)

So, in case she doesn't get another chance, she'll wish you all a Merry Christmas! Hope the season is full of peace and joy for you all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

The Bag Lady finally remembered to take her camera along when she went out to do the chores! The calves that were born this summer are in the corral, along with some yearling steers, and the Bag Lady gives them oats every day. When the calves were first weaned, they were quite leery of humans, but oats are like crack for cattle, and the calves now look forward to their daily "fix"!

They are still a little wary of humans, but are also very curious, so when the Bag Lady went to check on the barn, they followed her and peeked around the corner to see what she was doing.

This guy figured that if he looked cute enough, he might get some extra rations. Alas, the Bag Lady had no more to give him.

These calves look like they were all lined up for inspection. In truth, they were inspecting the Bag Lady!


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Morning

It's that time of the year again. The time of year when the short daylight hours are compensated for by the beauty of the sky as the sun rises or sets.

This was taken a couple of weeks ago (the Bag Lady has been too busy to download the pictures from her camera!)

(and yes, she is trying to distract you from the fact that she has nothing much to talk about today!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brrrrr

It is still cold out, but gradually warming..... only -37C this morning! Yippee.

The Bag Lady has the day off, and the weather is supposed to be warmer still tomorrow, which means her truck might start! She had to have the Rancher drive her to work yesterday because her truck absolutely refused ("I'm not going anywhere - are you crazy?"). He replaced the battery in her truck yesterday, which should help.

She forgot to take her camera with her yesterday, which is rather a shame, because there is a great deal of beauty to be seen even when it is that cold (if, of course, you can see through the ice fog). The sunrise was incredible, but you'll just have to take her word for it. Those of you who have never experienced the kind of sub-zero temperatures she's talking about will be shaking your heads and wondering "ice-fog?" That is the fog that is created by the warmer, moist air being emitted by exhaust (from furnaces and vehicles, etc.) The air above is crystal-clear, and the sky is an incredible shade of blue, whilst the ice-fog makes it nearly impossible to see anything at ground level.

She may get another opportunity to photograph some ice-fog for you because she and the Rancher have to go back to town today for errands and appointments.


Ten days until Christmas.
Uh oh.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

The Bag Lady wanted to share this with you:


Unfortunately, it's hard to take a picture through the window, but there was NO WAY she was going outside in her housecoat to snap this! So it is a little blurry, but you can still read it, can't you? (Kind of her to add the numbers, wasn't it? For clarity's sake.)

Technically, it is reading -49, but what's a degree or two between frost-bite, right?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Clean Freak (or Freakin' Cleaning, take your pick)

"There is no point in wasting my money on mind-altering drugs, because the drugs need something to work with."


This thought popped into the Bag Lady's head this morning. She was, as she so often does, writing blog posts in her head. Sadly, a lot of the time when she does this, she is nowhere near the computer, and by the time she has finished whatever she was doing and is sitting in front of the keyboard with that little cursor blinking expectantly in front of her, she has totally forgotten what she had so cleverly composed mere moments before. Which is why y'all are so often subjected to mundane, blow-by-blow posts about nothing.

In a lot of ways, you should probably be really glad that this happens to the Bag Lady on such a regular basis, because otherwise you would be subjected to all manner of strange, nonsensical babble. Oh, wait.....

Moving right along (nice segue, don't you think?) the Bag Lady (returning now to regular programming, aka, mundane minutiae) is up to her elbows (figuratively. In reality, it's only up to her knees, but somehow that doesn't sound right) in cleaning and tidying her house in preparation for the festive season. She has even cleaned the light/fan fixtures in her living room, which involved rickety ladders and much cussing of design of said living room (it wasn't pretty, especially considering it was the Bag Lady who thought having a ceiling that sloped from 12 feet high to 8 feet high would be such a good idea.... giving nary a thought to the fact that someone who is deathly afraid of heights would have to climb a rickety ladder and actually clean the freakin' light fixtures every couple of years time she turned around!) But the light/fan fixtures are all shiny, the carpet has been shampooed, the (brand-new, $50.00-on-sale-and-now-we-know-why) artificial tree is shedding it's artificial needles with abandon, and the Bag Lady can move on to decorating the tree. (Honestly, you would think they could make an artificial tree that would at least hang onto all the little plastic needles until you touched it to hang stuff on it - the Bag Lady is going to have to hang a LOT of ornaments to cover up the fact that all that's left of her $50.00-on-sale-and-now-we-know-why tree is the metal to which the little green plastic needles used to be attached!)

Once the tree is decorated, the Bag Lady will move on to cleaning the rest of the house and doing some more baking. Oh crap. She's only got 15 days left to get everything done. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the (really freakin' cold!) Ranch

The Bag Lady thought Sunday was bad, what with the power failure starting her day off, but that was only because she hadn't experienced Monday yet!

Yesterday morning, the Rancher got up and went to work at his usual OMG-it's-early!-o'clock, and the Bag Lady got up not long after he left. When she went to the bathroom and turned on the tap, a wee trickle of water was all it produced. She sighed deeply, struggled into her clothes and grabbed a flashlight. Monday morning was even colder than Sunday morning had been, and the heater in the pumphouse (where the well and the pressure tank that delivers water to the house is situated) had been turned down during the recent warm spell. When the Bag Lady got to the pumphouse, she could tell that the Rancher had been there before her. (Footprints in the snow, the pumphouse was quite warm, the heat gun was already plugged in and lying close to the pipes. "Bag Lady - Girl Detective") He had thawed the pipes a little, but the ice was still jammed in there, so the Bag Lady worked on them a little more.

By the time the water was flowing freely, it was too late for her to take a shower to get ready for work. Still dressed (although not exactly in the attire that would be presentable in her work-place.... ahem), she went out to start her truck. The Rancher had very kindly plugged in the block heater on her truck for her, so it should have started. It didn't. It tried, then made a funny little grinding noise, and refused to try any more.

She went back into the house and called her work place to tell them she couldn't get her truck started and didn't know if she would make it in to work. She consulted with the Rancher on his cell phone, and he told her how to hook up the super-duper heavy-duty battery charger he purchased for this very reason. Out into the cold she went again. She dragged the super-duper heavy-duty battery charger from the shop to the house and decided she needed to use the extension cord that was currently (get it? snicker) supposed to be delivering current to her block heater. When she tried to unplug her block heater from the extension cord, the end of the plug came right off the cord going to the block heater! Which explained why her truck wouldn't start. The current wasn't getting through the broken plug to the block heater.

She finally managed to pry the broken plug off the end of the extension cord, and plugged in the super-duper heavy-duty battery charger. She wishes she could report that her truck sprang into life with a roar, but unfortunately, it did not. The super-duper heavy-duty battery charger did supply enough boost to the battery to make the starter work, but the truck was just too darned cold to start.

It took until 3:00 in the afternoon for the Bag Lady to get her truck started. She moved it into the heated shop for overnight and will be taking it to a repair shop today.

She was not happy about missing work yesterday because Monday's are usually really busy and she has lots to do, but it was one of those things. (Why, you ask, didn't she call a taxi to come and fetch her and take her to work? It's simple, really - it would have cost her about $20.00 more to go to work and back in a taxi than she would have earned in the day. One of the disadvantages of living so far from town.)

She did manage to get a few things done around home, though, so the day was definitely not a write-off! She got caught up on paperwork and did chores and made a nice supper for the Rancher.

December has certainly not been a stellar month for the Bag Lady so far, and she sincerely hopes that that will be the end of her bad luck....knock on wood.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Where'd the Weekend Go?

Crap, it's Monday already??!

The Bag Lady had yesterday off from her paying job. The Rancher had to get up and go to work, though, so the alarm went off at 5 am. The Bag Lady got up and stumbled out to turn the coffee pot on, but it had only made about 3 cups of lukewarm coffee when the power went off!

She found some candles and a flashlight and phoned the power company. The recording on their emergency line said they were aware of the outage and hoped to have the power restored by 6 am. The Bag Lady went back to bed, hoping they would be right.

They weren't.

The Rancher had to go to work with a cup of lukewarm coffee and no thermos, and the Bag Lady fired up the wood stove for the first time this year. It really hasn't been cold enough to light the stove until now. Naturally, the coldest morning so far is also the morning the power went off!

The power did come back on around 8 am, and the Bag Lady sprang into action. She made a pot of coffee. She vacuumed and cleaned her kitchen. She baked shortbread cookies. The Rancher's cousin had to take a load of gravel out to the area where the Rancher was working, so he very kindly stopped by and picked up the Rancher's thermos to deliver it to him. The Bag Lady gave him a bag of cookies as a thank you!

The Bag Lady's cousin over at the Goat's Lunch Pail usually posts something she is grateful for on Mondays, and the Bag Lady is taking a page from her book today and expressing her gratitude for the wood stove that kept her warm during the power outage!

Sometimes the old-fashioned things are the best!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Recipes

The Bag Lady apologizes for being "missing in action", but she's been busy. (and no, it wasn't because she was dodging paparazzi trying to interview her regarding her torrid affair with Tiger.... she's probably one of the few gorgeous women who hasn't had a fling with him. *ahem*)

She has been working, both at her paying job, and on the ranch, and around the house. She has a ton of paperwork to do, and has made scarcely a dent in it so far (where DOES all that crap come from, anyway?)

She did get a start on some of her Christmas baking. She made Eggnog Fudge, which she has never made before, and survived the sugar coma it sent her into.

Warning: do NOT make this fudge if you have young children observing you.

SPARE YOURSELF THE SHAME, THE DEGRADATION, THE HUMILIATION YOU WILL FEEL WHEN YOU AWAKEN FROM THE SUGAR COMA YOU WILL INEVITABLY SLIP INTO IF YOU SO MUCH AS LICK THE SPOON, BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP UNTIL THE WHOLE FREAKIN' PAN IS GONE!

And what kind of example is that to set for your children?

She also made Marble Bark. Well, sort of. She was going to make Almond Marble Bark, but didn't have any almonds. Her recipe called for three ingredients: white chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and almonds. Simple, right? She didn't have bittersweet chocolate (well, she did, but it had been hanging around her pantry for so long it had turned grey, so she decided it was best not to use it), and her almonds were wa-a-a-ay at the back of the pantry, but the pecans (which she actually prefers to almonds, if the truth be known) were right up front, so she made up her own recipe. She toasted the pecans, then she melted 5 squares of semi-sweet chocolate (2 minutes on medium in the microwave), into which she dumped a couple handfuls of chopped pecans, then she melted 5 squares of white chocolate, into which she dumped a generous amount of toffee bits. She spooned piles of each mixture onto a piece of tinfoil, then drew a knife through the whole thing to marble the mixture. Refrigerate until firm, then break into pieces.
Yum.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Do You See What I See?

The Bag Lady has the day off from her paying job.

She has big plans for getting started on her Christmas baking.

Of course, that means she has to get off of her ever-expanding a$$ sometime soon. *ahem*

And here, for it's entertainment value, is a picture she took at the end of her driveway the other day when she was on her way to work. Can you see what she saw?

(try clicking on it to enlarge it....)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fire

The fire that gutted an apartment building in the city over the weekend has been labeled as "suspicious". It apparently started in a vacant suite in the building.

The Bag Lady's friend works the early shift at a local doughnut shop, and her hubby drove her to work on Saturday morning at 3:30 am. When he arrived back home, he went upstairs to their apartment to get ready to go to his own job. He was shaving when the fire alarm went off. Having worked as a volunteer fire fighter in the past, he immediately left his apartment and made his way downstairs. When he got to the second floor, he could smell smoke. When he realized that the other tenants were not responding to the alarm, he roused the caretaker and the two of them started banging on doors and ensured that everyone got out safely. The Bag Lady wonders how many people would have been injured or perhaps even killed if he hadn't been awake and alerted people to the danger.

The fire department responded and eventually thought they had the fire contained, so they allowed him to go back into the building to collect what he needed for his day on the job. He called his wife to tell her about the fire, but assured her that it was out and everything was okay. Off he went to work. Unbeknownst to all involved, the fire was still burning inside the walls, and eventually flared up again.

The Bag Lady's friend got an inkling that all was NOT well when someone from the fire department came into the doughnut shop and ordered coffee and doughnuts for 35 firefighters who were working on a blazing fire.

The Bag Lady's friends, along with about 40 other residents of the building, lost everything except the clothes on their backs. But no one died, and material things can be replaced. There has been a huge outpouring of support for the victims of the fire, and the management company has assured everyone that there will be places for them to live in other buildings owned by the company.

Get up now and check your smoke detectors, 'kay? If the smoke detectors had malfunctioned, things would have been far worse.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oh No!

An apartment building burned to the ground in the city on Friday night. Friends of ours lost everything except the clothes on their backs. So did 40 or so other people.

A month before Christmas. What a tragedy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hmmmm.......?

The Bag Lady is the mistress of half-finished projects. She eventually does get things done, but her house is almost always in a state of turmoil. Perhaps this is due to some deep-seated fear that if she finishes everything, she'll die! As long as she has things to do, she reasons, she has to stay alive to do them. (she didn't say it was RATIONAL!) (She is also, by the way, very superstitious and is even now contemplating removing the sentence about dying.....)

In any case, she still hasn't finished the hallway (cut her some slack, she's been working every day since she finished the painting, and has to work again tonight....) and she has some vague ideas in her head about hanging some sort of rail from which to hang an assortment of yet-to-be-determined artwork/paintings/photographs. Or not.

Naturally, she forgot to take a "before" picture of the wall she is talking about. And the one picture that she did take is rather poor.

Here is the only "before" picture she thought to take:


This is the wall with a coat of primer on it. (well, okay, this is part of the wall with a coat of primer on it.)


And this is what the hallway looks like right now (seriously... just took these a minute ago):

This is the wall she's talking about. It's only eight feet long.

She's thinking of doing something like this:

What do you think? She's open to suggestions....

(Oh, and by the way, there is really quite a difference between the colour in the before and after, even if it doesn't look like it in these pictures!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Random Photo

The Bag Lady was going through some of her old pictures, wondering what she had been photographing around this time last year. These pictures were taken in the late afternoon when she was out and about with the Rancher.

She liked the light play on the trees and snow.







Happy Thanksgiving to all her American readers!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

(Or, How the Bag Lady Spent Her Day Off)

The Rancher and the Bag Lady weaned calves yesterday. They had been planning on doing it for a few weeks now, but things kept getting in the way (work, weather, illness.....) Yesterday was bright and sunny and the temperature relatively mild, so it is a good time to take the calves away from their mothers. If you wean them when the weather is poor (cold, rainy, snowing), it increases the chances of the calves getting sick.

The calves had an opportunity in the morning to have a good last drink of milk, and once they were locked away from their mothers in the corral, the Rancher and the Bag Lady gave them lots of hay to eat and spread out lots of straw in the shed for them to sleep on. Things will be a little noisy for a few days around the ol' stump ranch, because the mamas will be bawling at their calves, trying to get them to come and have a drink to ease their aching bags, but once they realize that they can't get to them, things will quiet down again and the cows will go about the business of eating and drinking and growing next year's calf! They will also be grateful that they aren't still feeding their calves when the weather gets really cold. That is really hard on their bags - when the calf finishes drinking, those wet teats freeze!

Oh.... was that too much information? Sorry. It's just a fact of life. The Bag Lady sometimes thinks she should try not to be too plain-spoken about things like that, but then she realizes that most of the people who read her blog are intelligent adults, so probably won't be offended.

They also took some of their older cows to auction on Monday, which made the Bag Lady sad. She doesn't like to see them go, but when they can no longer do their job (and with the scarcity of feed this year due to the drought), they have to be sold. The Bag Lady and the Rancher have pensioned off several cows over the years, allowing them to die on the ranch of natural causes, but that is not exactly sound economic practice. The Bag Lady has a habit of becoming too attached to some of the animals.... she sometimes thinks she isn't quite cut out for this job.

After they separated cows and calves in the morning, the Bag Lady finished painting her hallway. She is pleased with the results, but isn't quite ready for the "reveal". She wants the paint to dry so she can see if she needs to do any touch-ups, then she'll replace the light switch covers, etc. and hang the paintings before she shows you what she's done. (Besides those reasons, she's just too darned tired to take pictures right now!)

She cleaned up her mess, then made supper. Then she cleaned up that mess and made some pomegranate liqueur. It needs to steep for a few weeks before it's ready, and she wanted it for Christmas (which, by the way, is a month from today. Eeek!). In between all of these tasks, she did some laundry so she has something clean to wear to work tomorrow.

Did someone mention day off?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mini Rant

The Bag Lady must lead a fairly sheltered life. That's not to say that she is "innocent", but rather that she chooses to ignore a lot of what passes for entertainment in this increasingly strange world.

She was puttering around the house last night when the Rancher called her to come and see something on TV (what he actually said was "come and see THIS", but it's difficult to convey the shock and disgust in his voice with printed words). She went and stared in open-mouthed amazement watched a performance by a young woman on a popular late-night talk show. Now, the Bag Lady isn't going to name any names, and she doesn't want to sound like a prude (in fact, she has been known to do a few wild and crazy things in her life, but only after a few too many cocktails, and not on national television) but she could not believe what she was seeing.

The only other thing she'll say on the topic is "Honey, you ain't no Lady!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Regrets

The Bag Lady thinks she may have screwed up. On the other hand, maybe not.

On Sunday, she decided to paint her hallway. Spur of the moment decisions are not necessarily smart.....

But she can fix it. Right after work today, she is going to pick up another can of paint!

Actually, she really likes the colour that she chose, it just needs to be lighter. She'll add some white, slap on another coat and it will all be perfect.

Really it will.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday? What Happened to Thursday?

The Bag Lady is working evening shift now (well, okay, yesterday and today). She had a very strange evening last night - there must have been something in the air, causing all the 13 year old boys to act like..... well.... 13 year old boys! Sheesh! Hopefully they got it all out of their systems (or they will at least find somewhere else to hang out tonight) - the Bag Lady isn't sure she could handle another night like last night without losing the few shreds of sanity that she has left. Oh, alright, it wasn't that bad, but she had to be firm with a couple of little trouble makers. (And some of you may have deduced that the Bag Lady is pretty much a marshmallow most of the time.)

In other news, she did not do any cooking, so won't be sharing food pictures. (Stop that cheering in the back there.... yes, you!) To be perfectly honest, she hasn't done much of anything worth blogging about lately. (So why, you ask, is she bothering to blog? Well, it's because she loves her almost-daily visits with all of you, and wanted to say hi.)

Hi, everyone! Hope you all have a great weekend. Do something exciting, 'kay? Then blog about it so the Bag Lady can live vicariously through you. Or at the very least, make up something totally outrageous and put it in the Bag Lady's comment section so she can have a giggle!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not a Food Blog, But......

.... here are some pictures of some of the Bag Lady's creations over the past few days.

She bought some huge, beautiful, pomegranates last week, and decided to try some experimenting. She created a pomegranate barbecue sauce, which she used on some pork ribs. Along with some french fries, sweet potato fries and peas, it made a nice meal.




She spent most of her day off yesterday in the kitchen. First, she made some Hot & Spicy Pumpkin Chutney (sadly, she forgot to take photos of it after it was in the jars, and it looks rather like a dog's breakfast in the pan....)


Then she whipped up some Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts from a recipe she found on the internet:




It was a bit of a nasty morning on the ranch, with snow and rain creating a bit of a blizzard, but it eventually cleared off and the sun shone brightly. She tried to take a picture of the steam rising from the backs of the cows as the moisture dried in the sun, but it didn't show up very well. (if you click to enlarge the picture, you can sorta/kinda see it, if you squint!) They certainly seemed to be basking in the warmth though, and most of them stood still for quite some time, ignoring the feed the Bag Lady had spread out for them, letting the sun dry their backs.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Step Right Up

The Bag Lady finally remembered that she did post her recipe for Hot & Spicy Pumpkin Chutney last year, so here is the link to that post.

She is afraid that working at a place where fitness is the main focus is having an effect on her self-proclaimed slackitude! One of the trainers convinced her yesterday that she should join in on a step-aerobics class. So she did. She hopes to recover soon.

She actually did fairly well. She did not fall on her face, she did not have a major cardiac episode, and she did not die of embarrassment because she couldn't keep up. She did, however, have a little trouble with some of the routines. But for her very first time in a step-aerobics class, she thinks she did okay.

At the end of the class, they did a little abdominal work on the dreaded stability balls. The Bag Lady was tempted to slink quietly away, but there weren't enough people in the class to allow that! So she did some abominable ... err.... abysmal... umm... abdominal work! And is pleased to report that the ball only rolled away on her once, forcing her to do the ever-graceful octopus move, but she actually managed not to fall off. Sigh. (She has never claimed to be very stable. ahem)

She does not have to work outside the home today, so is hoping to get some chutney put up (don't you love colloquialisms? Preserving is putting up. Putting down is a different, more permanent type of preserving, in a way...) and catch up on a few other chores. Provided she can stay on her poor, sore legs long enough!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin!

Remember the Bag Lady mentioning her big pumpkin? Well, she finally got around to doing something with it this weekend. First, out of curiosity, she weighed it. It was a whopping 14 pounds.

Here it is, beside a can of pie filling:

She cut it in half:



Scooped out the seeds (which she rinsed to get rid of the membrane, then set aside to roast later)


She cut it into smaller pieces, then boiled it to soften the rind (she also put half of it in a roaster with some water and cooked it in the oven for the same results)


She peeled it and cut it into chunks.

She sprayed the seeds with olive oil, sprinkled them with sea salt and roasted them in the oven:


Then she whipped up a pie:


Yum

She still has a huge amount of pumpkin, which she will use to make Hot & Spicy Pumpkin Chutney. But she has to stop at the grocery store on her way home from work this afternoon because she needs some hot peppers for the chutney.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wild Friday

Where the heck did this week go?

The Bag Lady finally got around to downloading the pictures from her camera that she has taken over the course of the last couple of weeks, and decided to share this one with you:



This was taken a couple of weeks ago (she thinks it was a couple weeks - the days all run one into the next and her life is a blur....) The snow has melted off the trees, but there is still snow on the ground.

She has been sewing a lot, but hasn't taken pictures of anything she made, and most of it is gone now to it's new owners. She is also hard at work knitting her scarf. It will soon be long enough to show up in a picture!

She had an eye examination yesterday, and her prescription has changed a little bit - enough to warrant new contact lenses. The lens in her left eye now corrects her astigmatism, and she is pleased to report that she can see quite a bit better. She thinks it will take a few days to get accustomed to the new lens, though, because it is thicker than the old one was.

(OMG, the Bag Lady really has nothing to say when she is reduced to discussing her new contact lenses. She needs to do something wild and crazy so she can post something exciting!!)

She just realized that it's Friday the 13th! That'll make life interesting for the superstitious types!

Happy weekend, all of you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We Shall Always Remember

The Bag Lady has been attempting to write a post about Remembrance Day. She recently found her father's medals and wanted to share a picture of them with you, but is still having computer trouble and cannot get pictures to load properly. Sigh. In the meantime, here is a link to her post from last year for those of you who missed it.

She hopes that everyone will take the time to observe two minutes of silence at 11 am to remember the men and women who have given their lives in the service of their countries. Two minutes seems hardly long enough to show our respect and appreciation for these brave men and women.

(She held her breath and tried one.last.time! and it worked! Here are her dad's medals for service in the Second World War.)

Edited to add.... upon further inspection, the Bag Lady now thinks that the pin on the left in the photo is not from her dad's military service. The bronze coloured star is the Atlantic Star (he was in the navy, and served in the Atlantic Theatre), the medal next to it is for voluntary service. The third medal on the bar is a mystery. The medal on the far right is a commemorative medal, dated 1952 - 1977.
(the small medals at the bottom are replicas of the larger ones)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doing Nothing

The Bag Lady had a minor collapse last evening. She decided she wasn't going to DO anything. She had worked hard at her job, then had to run a lot of errands in town, so she was tired and wasn't going to do ANYthing. That is, until she remembered the yarn she purchased.....

She sat on the couch and started knitting a scarf. The yarn is of the variegated variety (snicker) so it will be white and green and blue and light blue. It is actually making quite a pretty pattern as she goes along. She knit whilst watching a little television (something that she does very rarely) and she caught the last half of NCIS, which she quite enjoyed. She knit until her hand seized up and told her she wouldn't be able to move it if she didn't stop soon.

She had planned on taking a hot bath and going to bed early, but that fell through during the zoned out knitting episode. She figures, at the rate she knits, this scarf will be done somewhere around June (hopefully, she won't NEED it in June, but in these parts, one can never tell!)

She still hasn't had time to download any pictures from her camera, but hopes to get around to that sometime soon. (It's been so long since she downloaded it, she isn't even sure what's on it now!) She will try to remember to take a picture of the pumpkin that she is planning to decimate soon, too.

She is still having trouble trying to upload pictures to her blog, though, so it may be awhile until she can resume sharing photos with you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, Already?

Oh my gosh, how did it get to be Monday?

The Bag Lady has been getting caught up on some of her housework and sewing, as well as working, and hasn't had anything interesting much to blog about.

Enough of her tomatoes were finally ripe to do something with, so she processed them. She ended up with 14 cups of tomatoes, which she cooked with some onions and garlic and spices and canned. She ended up with 6 jars of lovely sauce that she can use for spaghetti sauce. Added to some scramble-fried (homegrown) ground beef, it will make a lovely meal!

The Rancher has gone back to work for a little while. He has been working night shift, so the Bag Lady has been tiptoeing around (when she hasn't been at work during the day) and has resumed feeding the cows.

She has a large pumpkin that her sister-in-law gave her that she will soon turn into pie filling. She sees a lot of pumpkin pies in the future!

And she's off to work in a little while, so will have to sign off for now.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Excuses

The Bag Lady has been busy with all kinds of things in real life, and just wanted to stop in and say hello. She was going to post some pictures for you, but her computer is in a snit and won't cooperate. So after she takes it out behind the woodshed and gives it a "good talking to" with a willow switch, she hopes to have something for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, she hopes everyone is doing well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Babble

The Bag Lady is having difficulty adjusting to the time change! Believe it or not, the change back to standard time causes her more trouble than losing an hour in the spring. She gets up early as a rule anyway, so losing the hour in the spring doesn't really bother her. It just means that other people are getting up closer to the time she is awake. But gaining the hour in the fall? Instead of getting up at 5:30 in the morning, this morning she was awake at 4:30. Sigh.

She still seems to be busy with all manner of sewing, and trying in vain to keep ahead of the dust bunnies (which are rapidly growing into dust elephants) and housework. The Rancher has taken over the care and feeding of the cows, which is a good thing because the Bag Lady doesn't seem able to manage her time very well. He has also been pitching in with some of the kitchen duties, for which the Bag Lady is grateful.

She got an email from a friend with more pictures of the People of WalMart. What the heck goes through some people's minds when they get dressed to go out in public? Do they REALLY think they look good when they are wearing clothes that look like sausage casings? It made the Bag Lady sad. (It also reminded her to check her image in the mirror from ALL directions before venturing out into the world!) She can still remember the care and attention to detail her mother took before she went out. She would even have us make sure there were no stray hairs on her shoulders and back from combing her hair. That wouldn't even cross the minds of some of the folks in the pictures! (And if the Bag Lady knew how, she would share some of the pictures with you, but she doesn't, which, on second thought is probably a good thing.....)

It is apparently winter in the Bag Lady's neck of the woods. It snowed almost 8 inches on the weekend, and although some of it has melted, a lot of it is still hanging around. The Bag Lady is resigned to the fact that she probably won't see the grass until some time in March or April. Some of the trees and bushes were caught unawares, too, and still have leaves on them. It looks a little strange to see the rose bush with all it's (admittedly brown) leaves against a backdrop of snow.

So what's happening in your life?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Winter? Already?

So.
Remember how the Bag Lady was bragging about it snowing in town but not at her house? Well..... things can change.
There was no snow on the ground anywhere when the Bag Lady went to work yesterday morning, but it started snowing around noon in town. By the time she finished work at 2 pm, there was quite a lot of snow on the ground (and on her truck). She bravely set off from work and was quickly reminded just how slippery it can be when the temperature is just below freezing!

She stopped and got her hair trimmed, then ran some errands and actually bought a new winter coat - woohoo! (She hasn't had a new winter coat for about 10 years) After running her errands, she set off for home. There were sirens all around town, the snow was falling thickly, traffic was moving slowly. Every intersection was icy and the whole affair was fraught with tension. The Bag Lady has 4-wheel drive in her little truck, and she occasionally turned it on to gain a little traction taking off at the icy intersections. Once out on the highway, she ended up behind a little truck that was proceeding quite cautiously at 80 km/hr. That was fine with her - the road conditions certainly didn't warrant going any faster. Unfortunately, the little truck in front of her was not perhaps as well prepared for winter as he could have been.

The dreaded river hill had been sanded on the side closest to the city, but the other side of the bridge falls under a different municipality and they had not yet sent any trucks out to deal with the road conditions. The little truck in front of the Bag Lady was in trouble almost as soon as they left the bridge. In order to get home, she takes an exit immediately after the bridge, and the exit road swoops around and meets up with another highway. When the little truck started onto the other highway from the stop sign, he started fishtailing. The Bag Lady waited for him to get straightened out, then followed him to the base of the hill. He was not going very fast, but even so, he started fishtailing again as soon as he tried to accelerate up the hill. The Bag Lady put her truck in 4-wheel drive and didn't have any problems, except for the little truck sliding all over the road in front of her. He kept slowing down and speeding up, then sliding around again. He finally came to almost a complete stop, which enabled the Bag Lady to get around him and continue up the hill.
Heartless as it may sound, for all she knows, he's still down there at the bottom of the hill, trying to get enough traction to get home! There was nothing she could do to help. She had to pass a big truck, too, who was having a lot of trouble making his way up the hill. It took her almost 20 minutes longer to get home than it normally would, but she made it safely.
She heard on the radio while she was driving home that the road conditions were terrible (which made her mutter under her breath) and that there were numerous accidents throughout the area.
She is hoping that the weather improves today because she doesn't relish the thought of driving home from town when it's icy AND dark outside! She is a big bit of a coward about driving at night.

The forecast is for warmer weather on the weekend, so she is hoping they are right. She has to work again on Saturday morning.

She's hoping the weather where you are is better than it is here right now and that you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Woes

The Bag Lady had big plans today. She had to work this morning, and then had a choice between staying in town and trying to find a place where she could get a haircut without an appointment, or coming home to write a blog post and do some sewing. She opted for the second choice.

When she got home, she and the Rancher had a little visit, then she headed for the computer. The Rancher casually mentioned that she wouldn't have much time. The power was scheduled to go off at 3 pm and wouldn't be back on until 6 pm. She had seen a cluster of power trucks on her way home, but had hoped that either they were finished whatever they were doing, or that they were planning on doing some hotline work (which just means they wouldn't turn the electricity off in order to do whatever they were going to do.) Consequently, her hopes for a productive afternoon were quickly dashed.

Should have stayed in town and gotten her hair cut.

Instead, she did a little sewing by hand, then spent some quality time with the Rancher. Talking. (Silly people..... the Bag Lady and the Rancher are too old for that!)

It feels quite wintery here - gloomy and dull, and in fact, it was snowing in town. It is not snowing at the ranch (must be because we're south of town. Seriously. 27 km makes a difference, doesn't it?)

So now that the electricity is back on, the Rancher is happy (he won't miss the opening game of the World Serious) and the Bag Lady is happy because she can post this, then she can go and do some more sewing.
She knows there is at least one person out there who is probably wondering what the HECK happened to the sewing the Bag Lady promised to do for her --- it's almost done, really! In fact, if all goes well, it will be in the mail tomorrow!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Post About Nothing

The Bag Lady is suffering from writer's block. Strangely enough, when she worked from home and only had the cows and assorted domestic critters for inspiration, she found things to blog about. Granted, sometimes those were really mundane and/or boring things, but she usually managed to choke something out, and a lot of you were kind enough to read and comment.

Now that she is working, she should, theoretically, have lots to write about, but she finds that she doesn't. She could write hysterically scathing descriptions of the people at work, except that they are all so nice, there's nothing to deride! Unfortunately, nice is boring. She could make something up, but that wouldn't be fair. Neither is she the type to bare her soul to the world, even if she had something deep and dark to bare. Sadly, she's far too shallow and transparent. She is not a deep thinker, nor a grand intellectual, so she doesn't have anything profound to pontificate about. (Does one pontificate about something or does one pontificate on something? See? We are not dealing with a great intellect here. Hell, we probably aren't even dealing with a full deck!!)

And nothing has happened lately to piss her off, so she can't even write a decent rant. Sheesh. So, with apologies, she hopes you have a great day, and that something happens soon (or that her brain comes back from the extended vacation it is apparently enjoying) so that she'll have something she can share with you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

The Bag Lady doesn't have much for you today. She had a busy weekend, full of sewing and housework and ranch work and entertaining!

She did make an experimental batch of stuffed mushrooms on Saturday that turned out surprisingly well, so she will share her recipe with you!

Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

16 large mushroom caps, stems removed
6 portions Laughing Cow Cheese
1/4 C butter
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
onion salt to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 can crab meat

Soften the cheese and butter in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds. Beat together, then add the remaining ingredients, mixing well.

Spoon into mushroom caps, piling the filling on top. Bake at 350F for approx. 15 minutes, then broil for a couple of minutes to brown the tops.
Enjoy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken, Not Blackbirds!

As promised, here is a little tutorial on making pastry.


The Bag Lady had a half pound of lard left after she portioned out the lard she made, so she decided to make pastry. This meant she had to cut her recipe in half, which took ages (math is NOT her strong suit) -- How do you cut an egg in half? What do you do with the other half?

Anyway, this is 2 3/4 Cups of flour, mixed with1 tsp salt. Oh, and a big lump of home-made lard in the middle.
Cut the lard into the flour and salt mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives, until it resembles coarse oatmeal.



Mix your half an egg (the Bag Lady broke it into a measuring cup, mixed it up with a fork, then took a little bit out - she's a bit anal, can you tell?) with half a tablespoon of vinegar in a measuring cup, then add very cold water until you have half a cup. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients a little at a time until it clings together (the Bag Lady used a little more than a quarter of a cup of liquid):

Gather it into a ball:



Cut it into three equal portions:



On a lightly floured surface:


With a floured rolling pin:

Roll out the dough into a circle:


To transfer it to the pie plate, roll it loosely around the rolling pin:

Then unroll it onto the pie plate:


Trim to fit:



This is where the Bag Lady ran into trouble ... err... forgot to take more pictures.... fill the pie crust with filling of choice (this pie has chicken and veggies with a little sauce), then follow the same procedure for rolling out the top crust and transferring it to the pie. Seal the edges with a little reserved egg/water mixture, then pinch it or use a fork to make a design around the edge. (The Bag Lady is a pincher, in case you can't tell!)

Bake according to your recipe.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Now go... go forth and bake a pie!

(Edited to add - forgot to mention, the bowl and the rolling pin belonged to the Bag Lady's mother - the Bag Lady was trying to "channel" her, because her pastry was always the best!!)