Monday, December 23, 2013

Merpy Holimas

Whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, all the best of the season to all of you!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Where Does the Time Go?

The Bag Lady can't believe it is almost Christmas! This year seems to have flown by incredibly fast.

She has been keeping busy, doing a lot of sewing. She has branched out from making just her CartSmart Bags into scarves and casserole carriers and items for babies and her new favourite thing to make, Whimsical Wine Wraps. They are so much fun to make because the Bag Lady can use her imagination to embellish and decorate them.

She has a facebook page for her items (if you aren't already a facebook friend of the Bag Lady's, her facebook page is here - check it out!)

Enough shameless self-promotion, though.

How are things with everyone? The Bag Lady hasn't been very good at keeping up with her blog-buddies, but she does drop in occasionally, even if she doesn't leave a comment. Sometimes the word verifications are so difficult for her to read that she gives up after the third try!

Hope your winter is going well!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian Edition

Hellllooooo? Is there an echo in here? Good grief, look at the dust!

The Bag Lady has been ignoring her blog to the point where she wouldn't be surprised if no-one ever reads it again. She would try to tell you that she's just been so darned busy she hasn't had time to blog, but she knows that most of her loyal readers are too smart to be fooled by that old saw! Granted, she has been busy, but she's also been lazy, and seduced by the ease of posting little snippets on facebook rather than having to think too darned much about actually composing something that might entertain, enlighten, encourage, educate or (okay, she's running out of words that start with 'e') elucidate her discerning readers.

She spent a good portion of the summer mowing the lawn. In between rain storms. It rained a lot in the Bag Lady's neck of the woods this summer, and she could probably still mow the lawn if she so desired, but the shine is off.... the honeymoon is over.... she's darned tired of mowing the damned lawn! Her garden produced like crazy, in spite of her efforts to cut back. She has filled her freezer and her pantry with all manner of home-grown goodies, and she's not done yet. Oh no, oh ho, she still has tomatoes ripening on her kitchen counter, and boxes full of carrots that she needs to do something with. (Although, in the carrot race, her cousin, Leah, of the Goat's Lunch Pail fame, has her beat hands down, apparently.)

She and the Rancher have spent the last few days gathering wood for their stove for the winter. In fact, they now have more wood in their woodshed than they have ever had in previous years, due to the Rancher's industrious, nay, busy-beaverish activity. This may in part be due to the fact that they purchased an electric wood-splitter last year and the novelty has yet to wear off. The Bag Lady may never lift another axe, barring any unforeseen possessions by the spirit of Lizzie Borden.

She hopes this brings y'all up to date on the excitement that is her life! Now on to the important stuff.... what's been going on with all of you?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pickly Post

The Bag Lady has a lot of lovely beets in her garden, so will be making beet pickles soon! She thought she would share her recipe, which she got from her mother-in-law many years ago.
At the end of the recipe are some general instructions for using a hot water canner. And a bonus recipe for making dill pickles. Any kind of dill pickles.

Beet Pickles

Wash beets. Trim stems, leaving 2 inches of stalk (this is so the colour doesn't all bleed out). Boil the beets, skins on, for approximately 35 - 45 minutes. Dunk in cold water - the skins should slip right off. Slice or cut the beets into chunks.

In a large stainless steel or enamel pot, combine

2 Cups water
2 Cups vinegar
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 Tbsp pickling spice (in a cheesecloth bag or a tea ball)

Boil 5 minutes. Add sliced beets. Boil 5 - 10 minutes more.
 Put in jars and seal.

In times past, that would be all you did. Nowadays, it is recommended that you process everything in a water bath.

When the Bag Lady makes pickles or does any type of canning, she uses her canner. She fills it with water and has it boiling on the stove while she makes whatever she is planning to preserve.She puts her jars in it and lets the canner bubble away until she needs the jars. The lids are in a separate little pot in hot but not boiling water. She uses tongs to remove a jar from the canner (pours the water back into the pot), fills the jar, being sure to leave some headspace and using a metal knife or spoon to remove air bubbles, wipes the rim to be sure it is clean. Using a little magnet on a wand, she removes a lid from the hot water, centers it on the jar and screws on the ring. Sets the jar carefully back into the canner, and repeats the steps until all the jars are full. Then she sets the wire rack down into the water, adds the lid and processes the jars for the time recommended.
How long you process the jars depends on the size of your jars and the altitude of the area where you live, but for most recipes, pint jars should be processed approximately 10 - 15 minutes, quarts for 15 - 20. That is a rough guide - you should be able to find more information online for your own area.
When the jars have been processed for the amount of time recommended, carefully remove them from the canner and set them on a towel. Leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. Check that all jars sealed. (you'll probably hear them snapping shortly after they come out of the canner).

Bonus Recipe for Dill Pickles....


Bring to a boil:
 3 Cups water
1 Cup white vinegar
1/4 Cup pickling salt

Thoroughly wash all vegetables that you plan on using, including the dill. This brine works for cucumbers, beans, carrots....
Put a sprig of dill in the bottom of your hot, sterilized jar. You can add onion or garlic, too. Pack in the vegetable of choice, add another sprig of dill, add brine. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch or so of headspace. Seal and process according to the instructions above.
These pickles need to sit for several weeks before they are ready.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mellow Yellow

The Bag Lady and the Rancher took a trip yesterday to attend a birthday party for his sister. She lives about an hour north of the ranch, and the canola is in full bloom 'round these parts right now.

It is difficult to take good pictures from a moving vehicle, but these give an impression of how pretty it was on the drive home with the sun low in the sky. (These were taken around 10 pm)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Camping Clean!

The Bag Lady is all about re-purposing and re-using things, and loves coming up with unique and interesting ideas - it keeps her mind active. (Well, it keeps what's left of her mind active.... she has been decidedly distracted lately, and keeps marching purposefully into a room, then standing in the center of said room, gazing around, wondering why she went there. Sigh)

She is considering going camping sometime this summer, and was almost ready to discard an empty Downy container when she realized it just might come in handy. So she rinsed it out and set about thinking up an efficient "wash-station". (This part of the procedure definitely took a lot of time, considering her current state of mindlessness.)

First, she spray-painted it black. Her reasoning is that if it sits in the full sun, the black paint will heat the water (and it does!) making it much more pleasant than washing in cold water.

Then came the hardest part.... she gave a lot of thought (when she remembered it) to how best to set up her wash station, and finally came up with these items...

And set up her wash-station.

Now, if she could just remember where it was she wanted to go camping..... and remember to take it with her!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thunder on the Right (and, quite frankly, the left, too)

Not sure what keeps the Bag Lady so busy that she can only manage to post once a month, but there you have it.... she must be either living a lot in the real world, or doesn't have the imagination to come up with anything interesting to blog about. (and that is as far as we are going in that direction!)

She put a garden in this year, as always, but it is quite a bit smaller than it used to be. And, if it keeps raining like it has been for most of the month of June, it will drown! There have been a few sunny breaks between bouts of rain and thunderstorms, but not many!

And, finally, here's a picture for you. The Princess in her new "thundershirt" that the Bag Lady made for her. She didn't want her picture taken, for some reason, so hid under the coffee table. The angle makes her look a little disproportionate. Her head really isn't twice as large as her body.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hummingbird Wars

The hummingbirds are back in the Bag Lady's neighbourhood and it's not safe to go outside!

The Bag Lady hung one feeder last week, thinking it was probably too early, but the very next day there was a hummer. He guarded that feeder so fiercely that the Bag Lady dug around and found two more.

He guards them just as fiercely, but they are far enough apart that the other hummingbird(s) can at least sneak a drink periodically.

He also chases away any other birds that get too close......

....... including this blue jay! Immediately after the picture was taken, he went on the offensive. The Bag Lady also witnessed him  chasing a purple finch around and around in that bush! (In case you are having difficulty finding the hummingbird in the picture, look just above the white roof of the garden shed in the lower left portion of the picture. He and the blue jay are sitting in the same bush.)

The Bag Lady knows that the hummingbirds will settle down, but for now, she is careful when she opens the door because they zip along her deck at warp speed!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Long Ago, Far Away

Good grief, how did it get to be February already?

The Bag Lady has been doing a lot of family tree research on the computer. is addictive. She has traced several lines of her family tree back to the 1600's.... in North America! This surprised her, in a way. Her grandfather on her father's side came to Canada as a teenager in the 1890's, which is probably where she got the notion that her family were recent immigrants.

Of course, she knew that her mother's family had been here a little longer, but had no idea that some lines on both sides had been here so long. Several ancestors on her mother's side left the United States for Canada around the time of the American Revolution.

Her parents met in Halifax during WWII. Her father was from Alberta and joined the navy during the war. Her mother lived in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which is practically a continent away. They married after the war ended and settled in Alberta.

The oddest thing that she has discovered is that one line of her ancestry on both sides of her family tree can be traced back to Scituate, Massachusetts in the 1640's. Now, she really has no idea how large Scituate was in those days, but thinks it is a distinct possibility that those ancestors knew each other! She wonders if they were on friendly terms. She wonders what they would think of their respective descendents finally meeting and marrying after all those years. (She also wonders how the hell you pronounce "Scituate"...)

Some day, perhaps, she will be able to travel to Massachusetts and stand on ground that her ancestors stood on when they first came to North America. Wouldn't that be cool?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Photo Finish Friday Heifer

It's been quite a long time since the Bag Lady posted a ranch picture.
This is one of last year's calves. She was the last of the heifers to decide to try the oats the Bag Lady has been giving them daily. She is now one of the first at the gate when the Bag Lady brings the pails, and will actually eat out of the pail while the Bag Lady is trying to get to the troughs.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year

A lonely neighbour has said many times that he's "looking for a new set of tits to hang over the kitchen sink"

The Bag Lady made some for him.....

(Bums, too!)

Hopefully, that will start his new year off right.