Monday, November 30, 2009


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


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


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:


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


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?