Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Already?

The Bag Lady's weekend did not go exactly as planned. She and the Rancher decided they were too lazy not interested in going camping, so they stayed home and had a few people over for supper on Saturday night, instead.

The Bag Lady made her famous fried chicken and potato salad, and created a new dish (new for her) - seafood-stuffed mushrooms. Her SIL brought fresh corn on the cob and a fresh baguette, which rounded out the meal nicely. They cooked the corn and the mushrooms on the barbecue, which worked very well.

A few more friends dropped in unexpectedly, and before the Bag Lady knew it, they were all sitting around a blazing fire in the firepit in her back yard and having a wonderful time! Until 4 o'clock in the morning! Unfortunately, the Bag Lady is unaccustomed to staying up that late (she is usually starting to wake up around then), so when her internal alarm clock woke her at 8 am on Sunday, she ended up being a little sluggish for the rest of the day.

She has a myriad of things to attend to this week. She needs to work in her garden and yard, finishing harvesting more vegetables and attempting to get things tidied up. Of course, if she runs out of things to do outside, there is always housework and laundry...

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a Week!

It's been a busy week around the ol' stump ranch, and the Bag Lady and the Rancher have been working fairly hard.

They ran out of pasture for their cows here at home and decided they had to move them to new pasture, but in order to do that, they had to do a little fence-building. So they loaded up the truck with some supplies and off they went:

Here is the area they needed to fence. It is a "beaver lake" that has dried up. With the drought conditions, the beaver have left for wetter pastures, and the water has disappeared:

Originally, the water came up to the end of the wooden rail fence (see where the Rancher is standing? That used to be too wet to walk in):

The Rancher pounded posts (by hand!) With this:

And then they strung some wire:

Of course, the Bag Lady had to investigate the flora (she is pretty sure that this is wild mint - at least, that's what it smells and tastes like!):

When they finished building the fence, they had to drive around the rest of the fence line to make sure it was all up, and while they were touring around, the Bag Lady was happy to see lots of hazelnuts (filberts) on the bushes (there weren't any last year):

She also spied some high-bush cranberries (and remembers exactly where they were, so will probably be doing some berry-picking very soon! Cranberry jelly for Thanksgiving is in her future!):

She and the Rancher will probably spend some time camping in the area on the weekend, and she's hoping to pick some cranberries and hazelnuts and might even lift a beer or two - it's supposed to be around +30C (86F) - perfect weather for stumbling around in the bush, picking berries!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Does Colour Really Matter?

The Bag Lady and the Rancher went on a excursion yesterday. They wandered through the bush and came upon a dugout that was in the process of drying up. This has been a terribly dry year (the area where they live has been declared an agricultural disaster area), and they were shocked to discover how much the water has disappeared from this dugout. In previous years, it has been so full, it has overflowed it's banks.

That is definitely not the case this year. In fact, the Bag Lady was surprised to see shells in the dirt and mud along the banks. She has never seen freshwater snail shells before (click on any of the pictures to enlarge):

They wandered around and followed this dry beaver run for awhile:

And finally came upon the abandoned beaver dam:

Here is another dry run, leading to the same beaver dam:

When the Rancher crossed over one of the runs, he casually remarked to the Bag Lady the only words that he knew would strike terror in her heart. "Bear tracks":

These are pictures of what are probably the tracks of a black bear, although the Rancher said that the bear he had seen in the area previously was actually brown. The Bag Lady wasn't about to hang around to find out what colour the bear really was! As far as she was concerned, they had wandered too far from the truck and it was definitely time for the excursion to end!

They made their way back to the truck and the Bag Lady is really not all that disappointed that she still doesn't know what colour that bear was!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Wedding Review

The Bag Lady and the Rancher had a busy weekend. Friends of theirs got married, and the bride used the Bag Lady's house to get dressed for the wedding. The Bag Lady was pleased as punch to have a hand in making the day special for her friend.
First, the Bag Lady cleaned her bedroom/bathroom and got it ready for the bride to use:

Then she set out some refreshments:

The bride's daughter did her mom's hair:

And helped lace her mom into her wedding dress:

Making sure everything looks good:

Adding the finishing touches:

The groom and groomsmen await the bride's arrival:

The bride and her 6 attendants (the bride and groom each have 3 grown daughters) arrive in style:

The bride's mother walked her down the aisle:


The first dance as a married couple:

It was truly a family affair with 4 generations taking part in the ceremony, and a wonderful time was had by all!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Angel Skirt and Frosty

The Bag Lady is totally enamoured of the newest calf to be born on the ranch. He is so darned cute!
His mama is one of the oldest cows on the place, and she is also one of the friendliest and most placid (and can be really freakin' annoying if she doesn't want to go somewhere.... she just won't go!) She likes to be scratched and will stand and allow you to scratch her for as long as possible.

The Bag Lady thought the clouds the other night looked very interesting. There was little pink cloud peeking through the rest of the dark clouds, almost like an angel's petticoat hanging down:

Or not.

Thursday, August 20, 2009



Email the Bag lady at the address in the sidebar with your mailing address.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Remember the day the temperature dipped below freezing at the Bag Lady's house? That chilly morning, she took a stroll out into the pasture and discovered this: (click on any of the images to enlarge - the Bag Lady recommends enlarging the first one - it's so darned cute!)

The Bag Lady had actually been aware that this cow had decided it was time to have a calf, and the Bag Lady was glad to see the little guy all curled up close to his mom for warmth!

As the Bag Lady shivered her way back to the house, she spied this spiderweb on the barbed wire fence, and thought it looked interesting, all covered with frost:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Now You See-um

There's still time to enter for the giveaway mentioned in yesterday's post. Leave a comment on that post to be entered to win 2 coupons for POM Wonderful pomegranate juice!

The Bag Lady is being driven slowly and quietly insane by the little bugs that are known as no-see-ums around these parts. They seem especially bad this year, so much so that the Bag Lady has been forced to close her windows. They are so tiny, they can come in through the screens.

The Bag Lady has a little trouble with her eyes to begin with. She sometimes sees little spots and has "floaters", so these little bugs really annoy her. She's never sure if they are real. (Okay, that sounded a little strange. But you must be accustomed to the Bag Lady being a little strange by now - if you aren't, you obviously haven't been hanging around her blog long enough!)

They commit suicide on light bulbs, and fall all over her stove. Creeps her out. How many of them have been consumed because they blended in and looked like pepper? Hmmm??

And they make her itch. She has no idea if they actually bite, but that doesn't stop her from itching. Little buggers.

What useful purpose do they serve? How many of them would it take to make a meal for a bird? Perhaps they are a delicacy to birds. They are only in season for a short part of the year, so maybe they are a bird's lobster. Perhaps the birds are all clarifying butter and adding garlic and calling to one another, "Hey, it's no-see-um season! C'mon over. Bring some mountain ash berries*." Which could be why all the no-see-ums are so eager to get through the screen into the Bag Lady's house. They are trying to escape being the delicacy-du-jour at the next chickadee soiree.

Or not.

Edited to add: *After mountain ash berries freeze, they become intoxicating - birds, usually cedar waxwings, will eat them and get drunk!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Giveaway Post!

The Bag Lady spent an enjoyable weekend puttering around the garden, going to town for supper with friends on Saturday, and having people out to her place for supper on Sunday.

She spent a lazy Sunday dealing with some of the bounty from her garden.... pickling beans. She used the same recipe and the same method as she did when she pickled carrots awhile back. Except for adding some dried hot peppers to a couple of jars, just for change.

She is sure that you all find this fascinating..... you don't? Dang. Do you want her to make up a tell you a story? Not that either? Sheesh.

Well then perhaps she could interest you in a giveaway? She has two coupons for POM Wonderful that she is willing to share with some lucky reader. For the price of a comment, that is. Just mention in the comment section whether you are interested in receiving the coupons for POM Wonderful (which she was tickled pomegranate pink to receive from the POM Wonderful people!!) and the Bag Lady will use a randomly generated number to pick a winner.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (Garden Edition)

Here are some pictures of the Bag Lady's garden. She spent a few enjoyable hours picking peas and beans today. There is a frost warning (can you believe it!?) for tonight in her area, so she thought she would pick a few things, just in case. She also covered her tomatoes to be on the safe side.

Here are her peas and dill:

Dill, corn, beans, turnips:

Corn and carrots, and many weeds:

This is the newest addition to the ranch:
And this was a fraction too late - the bull was resting his chin on this cow's neck - he moved just as the Bag Lady took the picture.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Short Tale

A very old friend of the Rancher's stopped in unexpectedly yesterday.

The Rancher and the Bag Lady took the rest of the day off to visit and have a few beers with him.

They hadn't seen him for about ten years.

They had a lot of catching up to do.

They had a very good time.

The end.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The Bag Lady, as you may have noticed if you've been reading her blog for any amount of time at all, tries to keep things fairly light and facetious cheerful, but lately things have been happening around her that are, to say the least, worrisome and slightly depressing.

One of her and the Rancher's friends is in the midst of a nasty and bitter divorce. Another friend has to have her elderly dog put down. Yet another friend was complaining to the Rancher that he approached his bank for a loan and was having trouble getting approved because he, as a rancher, doesn't have a JOB! WTF? The man has a herd of some 100 cows, but the bank, because he doesn't leave his home, work 8 hours, and put a paycheque in the bank every two weeks, decides that ranching is not a job?

Thousands upon thousands of people used to farm/ranch as their sole support a mere 30 years ago. A few cows, chickens, pigs, a crop of some sort and they managed to raise a family and perhaps even send a child or two to college or even university. Nowadays, ranching is not considered a job. The people who raise the animals who feed this great nation are not actually working. What the hell do the bankers think the ranchers do? Where would the rest of the world be without the people who raise the food they eat? Ranching is no longer a living - it's a lifestyle.

On a lighter note...... ummm, anyone want to step in here?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Random Tuesday

Here are some totally random photos the Bag Lady has taken recently. The first was taken on the short weekend camping trip the Rancher and the Bag Lady embarked upon recently (she has been trying to find time to put together a video of that weekend, but she's been quite busy with other things!)

Like this! These are the first (of many) beans she picked. These were consumed for supper that night, unlike the rest, which were processed into mustard beans, or put in the freezer for later:

And, believe it or not, this is a picture of the flock of geese who stopped for a rest in the pasture recently. They were on a training mission, teaching the young how to stay together in preparation for their upcoming journey south. The Bag Lady thinks they may need just a wee bit more practice, because when the flock took off, one of them must not have been paying proper attention. The Bag Lady and the Rancher watched the whole group fly off, then one poor lonesome soul almost a minute later came along, honking and flapping, trying to catch up!

(There's no point clicking on that one to try to see the geese - the Bag Lady was quite a distance away, and had the camera on maximum zoom, so it just gets blurrier when you enlarge it! You'll just have to take the Bag Lady's word for it that those are geese. They are! Has she ever lied to you?)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend Report

The Bag Lady had a busy weekend dealing with her garden produce.

She picked spinach and peas and beans and more beans and more spinach and more peas, and dealt with all of that. She dehydrated the spinach and blanched and froze the peas, and made mustard pickles with the green and yellow beans. She also finally got around to making her pluot jam. She still has beans that need to be blanched and frozen, so she will do that today.

She will wait a day or two, then pick more peas and beans. The plants are still producing like crazy. She is also going to have to deal with her beets soon, but needs to go to town and get more lids for her canning jars.

The weather remains warm, verging on hot, but is supposed to change this week. A little rain would be welcome. Her tomatoes could use a drink. Actually, so could the Bag Lady, but she's afraid she wouldn't be able to stop!

Here is a rather strange-looking picture of the mustard beans being processed. The Bag Lady isn't sure why the colour is off a little.... it looks more like a picture of some bizarre soup!

Friday, August 7, 2009

In a Pickle

Whew. The Bag Lady is exhausted. She's been working hard to create this pictorial/tutorial for you, and the most difficult part was getting the photos uploaded and set in proper order (because, naturally, when she uploaded them in what she thought was the right order, they all ended up in the wrong place....)

But here goes. The first step is assembling everything you need to do a proper job of canning. You will need jars, lids and rings, a ladle, and a set of tongs. One of the handiest things is a little magnet on a plastic handle for taking the lids out of the hot water. The Bag Lady has canned without one, but it is far easier to use one than it is to fish the lids out with a fork, scalding your fingers!

You will also need a canner. They are sold in hardware stores and come complete with a rack for lifting the jars in and out of the water. You can get by without one - basically all it is is a big pot with a lid - it has to be large enough to hold your jars with at least an inch of water covering them. Set a rack in the bottom of the pot so that your jars are not sitting right on the bottom - the boiling water has to surround the jars.

Next step is to assemble the ingredients you will use for your brine. You will need:

3 Cups of water
1 Cup of Pickling Vinegar (7%)
1/4 Cup of Pickling Salt (do not use regular table salt)

And, of course, your carrots, dill, garlic and onion (if you are using it - the Bag Lady didn't use onion in this batch, but always uses garlic!)

Cut your carrots so they are at least half an inch shorter than the jar - you need to leave a little headspace.
Put your clean jars in the boiling water canner and bring it to a boil. In another pot, mix the water, vinegar and salt and bring it to a boil.

Place the lids in hot water to soften the sealing compound.

Put your carrots, dill and garlic in the jar, then pour in enough brine to cover them, leaving about a quarter of an inch headspace.
Wipe the rim of the jar to make sure it's clean.

Using your handy-dandy little magnet-on-a-stick (the Bag Lady wishes she had been the clever person who invented this - she'd be rich!), lift a lid out of the hot (not boiling) water and.... it on the jar.

Screw the ring onto the jar, making sure it is finger tight.

Place the jar in the canner. Repeat for all the jars (or until you run out of brine and curse yourself for not doubling the recipe... which has never happened to the Bag Lady, nosirree!)

When all the jars are full, set the rack down into the canner so the jars are completely covered with water, put the lid on and bring to a boil. Boil the jars for 15 minutes (for pints) or 20 minutes (for quarts).

Remove the jars from the canner and let sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Try not to jump out of your skin when the lids snap - that means they have sealed and could possibly be why they are called "snap lids"!

Label the jars with the date and store in a cool, dark place. Your carrots will be pickled in about 6 weeks or so.

And then it will be on to the peas.....

And just so you don't think it's all work around the ranch, here's one of the Bag Lady's flowers:

She sincerely hopes she hasn't forgotten anything in her little tutorial.... but if she has, she apologizes.
Have a good weekend!