Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tick Bite!!

I love spring.  Especially after spending so much time on the internet looking at all of the possibilities of starting a new garden.  Unfortunately, even though it is still a bit chilly outside bugs are alive and well and traveling by whatever means they can manage.  Since I don't care to be wet or cold, it is not hard for me to spend several days at home before venturing outside.

 In this particular case, I had not been outside in a week  accept to visit friends who have a dog that spends lots of time outdoors.    It is a mystery (not really) of how it happened that I was bitten by a tick.  But it did in fact happen. How do I know (you may ask) that it was a tick?  We pulled it off of me and stared at it for quite some time in disbelief!  After several days of of trying to attend to it myself with antibiotic creams, enduring pain, swelling and eventual infection, Scootard put his foot down and took me to the hospital. At least it was a fairly decent day out.

After doing the initial interview with the nursing staff, it was made clear that this was a "rare" event for the hospital although they had seen this happen from time to time.    I had to ask myself with all of the outdoor sports that go on here all year round, how in the world could this be "rare"???  Everybody and their brother has dogs and cats!  I know, I fight to keep them out of my garden...ha

So, we sat.  And sat.  And sat.  Eventually, a student came in and asked to see my "mystery".  What!  Where's the REAL doctor??  ha  Sheesh....I mean I might have Lime Disease here people!

Meanwhile, Scootard was busy texting our friends in the US about our current adventure and giving them updates.....

I decided to kill some time since I was a little tired of listening to the drunk guy next to me who had "somehow" broken his foot when he kicked a wall, a cop or something else.  I watched the events unfold in Boston at the marathon.  What a shocker that one was....:-(

Ok, so now the REAL doctor comes in, takes a look, asked me more question about my symptoms and says.....ohhhh, I want to take some x-rays to make sure everything is alright.  She was concerned that the infection may have gone to my bone.  So off we went!

 And of course the parking meter was about to run out since we had spent all of our time "waiting" to be seen...:-(.  But when Scootard went back to refill the meter, it was broken!  UGH!!  and the meter person was on the hunt for those who had not paid.  After showing her that it was in fact broken, she initialed it told Scootard  put the same ticket in the windshield so that she can see it when she goes by.  She extended us for another hour without charge....Yay!

The x-rays came back and all was well although there was a nasty infection going on.  It has not entered my bone.  However, the doctor still was not sure if it was Lime Disease or not and decided to treat me for the infection as well as Lime Disease.  Otherwise, I was good to go!  The doctor did a great job and agreed to pose for this shot for me....:-).  She looked so young that Chris asked her if her parents knew she was playing doctor....ha

It was time to blow this joint and go and grab a bite to eat. Thank God,  I had successfully escaped a near death experience! haha

 Now, we're talkin.....:-)

We had never been to this place before, but we were both starving after 4 hours at the hospital with little to eat before we left.

Scootard got this salad thingee.....

and whatever else that was....ha.  No idea.

I ordered spinach and ricotta ravioli....:-)

After lunch we picked up my meds that the doctor prescribed for me.  It was going to be a 14 day regimen which I already knew was going to have "unpleasant" side affects.....:-(.  But better safe than sorry later, right?

So, we started our trip back home.  Glad to be "ok" and thankful that it had not gotten any worse.  The antibiotics that I had been using kept things from getting really bad, but just weren't quite strong enough.  Now, I had the real deal and hopefully, things will get better sooner than later.

It was a pleasant drive home.  I'm grateful to my husband who insisted that I go to the hospital for taking me even though I didn't want to go....:-).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cats, Frogs and Desert in Greece!

Spring seems to be slow in coming to BC this year.  There has been a lot of rain.  So, of course whenever one can venture out past the fireplace or heater, one does.  I have two gardens that I am working on.  The one in BC which I am constantly working on keeping this out.....

or this.....  I mean Really???

the other one is in the United States where I have great plans for and would like to incorporate things like this........

Or this.....

After some thought about the chairs that I painted and left in the states earlier this year, I decided on this for now. The reason is because I saw her sitting on a yellow chair almost identical to the one I painted yellow and she had pink flowers behind her on the  So, she will be traveling to the states with us to be placed in that newly started garden.

We had dinner and headed to some place we had never been for desert.

The place was quite striking inside.  I mean when was the last time you stepped off a city street in one country only to have desert in another!  This was no ordinary ice cream shop!

Everywhere you looked, you were in Greece.....:-).  This might in fact be the closest I ever come to it too.

The art work extended all the way up to the ceiling, but the workers looked "nervous" about me taking pictures although I did manage to get a few more pics.

They even had a life size horse and knight positioned right behind our table.....very cool!

Scootard made a new friend.....:-)

....Scootard decided on ice cream. Since I was a bit chilly, I ordered a coffee and cookie....:-).

I sipped on my coffee and sat there amazed that I was eating desert in Greece...ha

after Scootard got finished making his acquaintance with his new friend, he decided to enjoy eating in Greece as well.....:-)

after having enjoyed our desert in Greece without ever having to hop a flight... we headed to the beach to watch the sunset before heading home....

See ya next time!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Revenge of the Homemade Washing Detergent!

ok, I used my homemade washing detergent.  Here's the skinny:

IF you decide to double your recipe like I did........DOUBLE YOUR WATER AS WELL!  *^#(^ it wasn't me I didn't and when I went to use it, all three jugs were a thick, nearly solid mass of goo! *#-o d'oh! haha.

Soooooo, I decided to divide one of the containers I was going to open into TWO containers by squeezing out half of one container and adding water to fill the rest of the container.  I did this with both the halves.  So, now I have more detergent than what I started with; which I am fine with.   

Ok, then I decided to see how it did with the clothes.  I washed two loads so far and they came out "ok" I guess. No better or worse than a commercial detergent, but substantially cheaper. 

anyway, I don't know if using organic soap would make a difference with the consistency of the detergent or not.  Once I get through these batches I will try organic soap and see if it has a better consistency than this.       

 However you decide to do it,  SHAKE WELL BEFORE USING! *:) happy 

Monday, April 8, 2013

I made my own Washing Detergent!

I don't know about everyone else, but here in Canada it is not unusual to have to pay over $15.00 for a small jug of washing detergent.  We are trying to find more cost cutting ways to accomplish the same thing with the same quality of results.  I found a recipe on a website called Pinterest that has a DIY section.  I have modified the recipe to suit my own taste, but it is mostly in tact. I doubled everything except the washing soda because I ran out and the water because I wanted a more concentrated liquid. 

Here is what you will need:

1. 2 bars of soap grated (any kind you want, but a "pure soap" is recommended for those who are wanting to be as organic as possible. I used Irish Spring original.
2  2 cups of Borax - (I used 20 Mule brand)
3. 1 cup of washing soda (baking soda that has been baked in the oven on 400 until grainy, crystallized and opaque in color.You can also buy it at some stores already made.
4. a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
5. a grater- be sure to use a grater with a fine end as this will make it easier to dissolve in the water.
6. a funnel
7. a long spoon
8. 2 empty gallon jugs/containers

So, here goes!

Grate your soap using a regular kitchen grater.

 I used this brand of Borax.  I'm sure borax comes in other brands as well.  This happens to be what we had on hand.

I decided to run the Borax through a sifter to get the lumps out.  It is often damp in BC and things like this clump up at times.

Since I didn't have washing soda on hand, I made it myself by spreading a full box of baking soda.

To make "washing soda" place the baking soda on a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven until it is grainy and  slightly tented in color.  The original recipe said about 30 minutes.  But I think it depends on your oven.  I took mine out at the hour mark after checking it several times and stirring it.

I am recommending this step next for those of you who choose to use soap other than "pure soap".  What I found was that some of the soap did not dissolve well and had to be skimmed off the top of the pot and put through the blender to make it smoother.  I don't know if you would have this problem with all natural soap as this is the first time I have done this. At any rate, it only takes a minute to do. 

Using a large stock pot, take the soap mixture and stir it into the pot with the rest of the water, the borax and  the washing soda.  Heat your water on the stove enough to dissolve your ingredients making sure to stir frequently with your long handled spoon.

I didn't have two gallon jugs.  So, I washed out a half gallon jug of milk and a half gallon jug I had of canola oil.  Be sure to wash well so that you do not have food residue in them.  You can also buy whatever containers you desire to use.  Be sure that you jugs are leak proof!  Scootard retrieved a jug from our trash can that had been recently crushed and it had a small hole in it!  Yikes!!...haha.  I had to find another jug!  By the way, I used these same containers to measure out my water and poured it in the pot.

Stir everything together and let it cool before transferring to the containers that you will use to store the mixture. I used a measuring cup  with a spouted tip to dip into the pot with and a funnel to cut down on wasted or spilled liquid.

Clean up the outside of the containers which are probably slippery by now with soap. 

Make some labels for your containers to keep other family members from accidentally ingesting the liquid.  It may look like some kind of a cool smoothy to kids!

Use approximately 1/2 – 1 cup per large load (depending on how dirty the clothes are! You can also make it more concentrated by slightly reducing the amount of water you add to it. This mixture does not make a lot of suds, but is said to be very effective.   However, If you are using a front loading machine, you may have to reduce this amount a bit to avoid a "white out" in your laundry room! 
Store it with the rest of your laundry stuff....:-)

If you are a powdered detergent user, you can also make a DRY version of the exact same soap.  is This is a  recipe found at
Powdered Laundry Soap:
2 cups finely grated soap (Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote, homemade, or a combination)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
Mix and store in a container or whatever you have. Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.  Since there is no water added…it is very concentrated and you hardly use any per load!

Once you are finished making your detergent, sit down and enjoy a nice snack for a job well done!

And let me know if you try it and how it works out for you!
see ya next time!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Trip To The Okanagan

One would think that after all of my gallivanting over the past few months, that we would want to stay put for a while.  Well, we kinda did until it dawned on me that we had not seen my aging mother in law since last year.  Although I wasn't too keen on the idea of a 6 hour car ride, we packed anyway.  As always there are things to be done before you take a road trip.  One of them being to do "something" with the food you may have just purchased after coming home from a previous road trip.  I had all manner of peppers that I had just purchased for the purpose of making my own blend of hot sauce.  I affectionately named it the "Don't Do it" sauce.

I took another shot from a different angle just in case you thought these were plastic...haha

So, after Scootard cut the stems off of all of the peppers and pressed about 8 cloves of garlic for me, I was ready to rock and roll!  By the way, the peppers that I used where Thai chillies (5), Pablanos (2). That's the big green one you see in the bowl.It's not to be mistaken for a green "bell" pepper; Habanero (4), Red Fresnos (4) Green Jalapeno (4), Anaheim (5).

I have made this sauce about three times before and realized that I needed some "protection" from the oils in the peppers which could leave you feeling as though you had been in the sun with fair skin for too long!

after heating a large skillet with some good quality olive oil and salt....I dumped the peppers in and let them cook until tender stirring often.  The thing with the garlic though is that unless you want it "toasted": you will have to put it in AFTER the peppers are cooked.  It takes very little time to cook garlic.  I turned the heat off and then I put the garlic in and let them cook for another minute or two.  And......


I even had enough left over after putting some in my favorite table thingee, to store in a jar under refrigeration....:-).  While I was cooking the peppers, I also made a pot of soup, and a pot of lentils to take with us.

After a good nights rest, we hit the road!

BC is always beautiful with the snow capped mountains and various elevations of land along the road in the distance....

Penticton was our destination and it was going to be a long 6 hour journey.....

I noticed that the further we went.....THE COLDER IT GOT!  And I had on sandals  when we left!  Sheesh....

The outside temperature was reading 50 degrees (10 degrees c).

As we approached Allison Pass the temperature got ridiculous....ha

NOW, it was time to stop and get some socks and tennis shoes on......sheesh!!

Nothing like cold AND WET during a long holiday weekend.......:-(

The lake looked like it was still frozen over, but not cold enough to stand on if you know what I mean.....

I was glad when the sky started to clear some and it stopped raining.  Perhaps it wasn't going to be a bad weekend after all.....:-)

Here are a couple of shots of the Skaha Lake just south of Penticton......

We were getting closer to our destination......

The next thing you know.......Scootard and "Mom" were reunited about a long break in between visits.....:-)

It was time for me to take a time out on the deck, soak in some sun and settle in for a nice long weekend...:-)

And before you knew it, it was time to head back to our own town....:-).  Gotta love the holiday weekends though.....:-)

See ya next time!