As some of you may have realized by now,
I love the smell, the taste, the look!
I'm the woman in the grocery store with the basil pushed into
her nose while she shops.....

This year I planted purple basil in my very large planter outside and
although the influx of the dreaded Japanese beatle wasn't as bad as
 last year, my basil leaves were getting eaten.
I did my coffee remedy which I came across last year as an
organic discouragement to these beatles, but these little guys are
tough to beat this year for some strange reason.
My basil is quite holey and I was worried about not having
a lush crop of it for my Pesto!
About three weeks ago, I decided to pull the basil out of my nose
and bring it home to plant it.  Inside.  Where there were no bugs.
See the Basil Wizard?  He's very wise and scary looking isn't he?
My friend Gail, who lives way up north here in Ontario, gifted me with him
a couple years ago.  He was made by a local artisan and he's very
unique don't you think?  I think maybe he casts spells on the basil
because it's now about a foot tall in the low parts!!
You can barely see the Basil Wizard surrounded by the lushness!
Basil is a magical herb, therefore it's only fitting to have a Wizard
watching over it!
This is the first time I've ever grown Kale in my veggie garden and it's
absolutely perfect!  Amazingly, the beatles have not discovered this
particular leaf.  Maybe the marigolds I planted around my veggies helped
with that afterall?  Not even the bunnies chewed on any of our leafy vegetables.
Look how lush this kale looks.....
Wait for it.....

Awhile back I posted on baking your own kale chipsYesterday, I picked a
bucketful of this lush bounty and started getting ready to bake some kale!

I was out of parchment paper which lead to a crazy chase all over the village for
some more while my oven was heating up.  Nothing's ever easy is it?

This time when I made them, I made the raw chunks larger and it worked out much better because they shrink up soooo much after baking.

These may appear to be wilty looking dulse-like treats, however, are light and
crisp with just a touch of sea salt and extremely addictive!

To make your own kale chips.....

Wash your kale
Cut out the center stem
Tear into bite size chunks
Spin in salad spinner to dry
Toss in a bowl with drizzled olive oil.
Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper.
Sprinkle sea salt very lightly over kale
Bake in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes til crispy.
Kale chips make a wonderful, healthy alternative to potato chips
for serving as a light snack to your company or just as
an extra special treat for yourself!
I love eating the food we grow ourselves!
I definitely have some catching up to do with my blogging and
really don't feel the need to explain other than "It's Summer"...
a time when your family & friends are socializing with you regularly for
BBQ's and campfires.  We've all been there right?

Enough said.

Quite some time ago, we were visiting our friends Lynne & Paul around the
corner in our wee village and she showed me her ingenious towel rack
Paul had made for their washroom.
If you look closer, you'll see the end brackets are none other than
wall mounted plant hangers!  Isn't this a fabulous idea?!
Dan & I were mulling over ideas to use as chicken perches in our coop and
it suddenly hit me....we could use Lynne & Paul's fantastic towel rack concept!
Although it's not as pretty as their towel rack, it works wonderfully.
Our chickens return to the coop each night at sundown and when I
enter the shed to close their pulley door, all four are lined up perching and cooing
on this particular perch...the longest of the three Dan made for them.

It just goes to show you, you can use your decorating skills in the chicken coop!
Or, perhaps you'll encorporate the towel shelf somewhere into your home.
Either way, this was an idea worth sharing!
You may or may not remember my posting
"Create Your Own Hanging Tomato Planter"?
I'm proud to say "IT WORKED!!!"
See that sweet little ugly tomato!
And, more are on the way!

The funny part was, I thought I would have to rig up some kind of a hook system
along my fence to sprawl the plant across as it grew, but a strange
phenomena happened.
The plant began to curve around and up towards the sun.
It makes so much sense now and I hadn't expected that to happen!

Here, you can see how the plant grew in that direction closer to the pot as well....
So, my inverted, homemade, hanging pot experiment is fantastic!
Can you believe this?
Waiting patiently for the rest of the tomatoes to sprout from the flowers.
The saga of this Cheesebox has been an interesting journey.
I think it was two years ago when my neighbour, Paul, came over and
gave me this antique cheesebox.
It was all dirty, but still had the original writing across the lid.
What did I do with it?
I painted the base rim off-white and the actual round box of it "red".
That was during my menopausal red stage of wanting to brighten my world.
That's over.
Now, I just want peace and serenity in my world with lighter, muted colours.
Did I take a before photo?  No, I didn't.  I wasn't a blogger then.
But, did I take another before photo of the red cheesebox?
No, I didn't...I was a stupid blogger then.
I was just going to paint it and throw it somewhere as extra storage, however,
had the bright idea of adding legs and making it into an occasional table.
Here it is.....
I found some 2-1/2' lengths of whatever those legs were originally...we can't figure
it out?  Anybody know?  Didn't seem long enough for a kitchen table...there were
only three of them and they didn't seem to be from a stairwell?
But, they served my purpose for $4.50 for all three.
Dan cut them down for me and...they were already painted!
How great is that?
The top was a bit of a dilemma for me.
I sanded it down, but carefully...just enough to get the grime off it and not
obliterate the writing as I wanted to preserve at least the outline of it.
That's shadows on the lid, not stains...I'm really not the world famous photographer you think I!
As you all know, I'm the queen of bone-headed moves on my projects.
I had it completed...just like above, when I decided it would be
lovely to put an image of a crown above the wording in the empty space.
Nuh-uh!  Oh no....too much grain in the wood to transfer it properly, so then....
I attempted to draw (by hand) over the vague outline of the crown with a black wood marker and that just looked so tacky and horrific.
That's when I sanded it all back again and restained the top of the lid.
Why does it always take me double the time to finish a project you may ask?
Because I get overzealous about tweaking it with my own touches?
Well, I like how it turned out after I had gone over just the original trace of wording.
And that is how I've left it sitting in my screened-in room and it's perfect
with the wicker furniture in there!
Ahhhhh.....another project put to rest, along with myself!
We've all seen the Seinfeld Episode about the Soup Nazi...
This past Friday morning, I was in Southampton with my friend Nancy, and as usual
we made our way into town to eat at our favourite breakfast restaurant,
The Lighthouse Restaurant.

It wasn't too busy when we arrived, but we were early....salivating no less
because we were getting Eggs Benedict!  Yum!
We've been going there for the last 15 years.  I've blogged about my wonderful experiences at this restaurant HERE where I rave about my
Macedonian Omelette.
This is what I usually order when I visit....I can't get past the deliciousness of it!
However, on this day (Friday) we decided to do the Eggs Benny.
We ordered and sat back to await the arrival of our mecca.
When it came, we cut into our eggs and the yolks were hard.
Not a huge deal, but....that's not how Eggs Benedict are supposed to be.
You're supposed to be able to swirl your yolks around in the yummy
hollandaise sauce and enjoy the burst of flavours that bring joy to your palate!
Am I right?  Am I wrong?
Well, Nancy asked the waitress, very nicely, if she could please make us two
new eggs each because the yolks were cooked too much.
At $9.50 a plate, I don't feel that was asking for something unattainable?
I told the waitress, very sweetly, that we were fine with the rest of the food on
our plates...not to make new plates or anything....and we thanked her very much
and proceeded to wait for our "perfect" eggs.
Nancy looked over to the opening to the kitchen and saw the cook scowling at
the waitress and waving his hands in an "off with you" gesture.
The waitress walked up to our table and said "Ladies, I've been told to ask you to leave."
Nancy thought she was joking and asked her if she was,
and she said "No, you have to"
I said, "You've got to be kidding....we've been coming here for 15 years."
She just shook her head.
So, we left.
In shock.
We couldn't believe it! 
Can you?
We're both 50yr old, middle class women...we weren't drunk and disorderly
and we were not rude AT ALL.
We're still shaking our is everyone we told.
We're hoping the owners, who weren't there, are as shocked and appalled as we were.
Frankly, it was extremely embarassing and thank god we were at the closest booth
to the door, or there may have been a scene, had more people realized what was
happening because we would have informed them about the cooks behaviour!
Have you ever been kicked out of a restaurant for sending your food back to be fixed?
I'd love to know.
I'm not leaving it at just blogging about it....I want an apology.
I seriously will be taking it further very soon.
That cook has ruined our favourite breakfast spot for both Nancy & I and we're
so disappointed because it was always a happy place for us.
Just like the photo of the Soup Nazi at the top of this page, the Egg Nazi of
Southampton feels the Customer is always wrong.
"No Eggs for You!"

Everyday I read yet another post where the blogger
writing it is having issues about actually sitting down and putting
their thoughts on paper.

Here's mine.....
It's summertime.
That's right!  How, oh how, can I sit and write a blog when I have to (as we speak)
go out and water the gardens and the new lawn that's getting rather crispy and
needs tons of TLC?  Who will pick the weeds and the vegetables if I don't?
Who will take the dead heads off the plants finished blooming?

Who will feed and clean out the chickens?
Do the laundry? Organize the chaos we call home in summertime?
I'm heading up to a friend's trailer today in Southampton for a lovely
weekend and am trying to wrap my head around my resolve to post
at least twice a week when I come back.

I know so many of my blogging friends are feeling exactly the same way
and it's frustrating when you see some people posting daily and you
think...How do they do that?!!

How can I post in my downtime, when all I want to do is take pretty
photos of the sky and the water and the gardens, but not
doctor them up in PicMonkey right now...maybe later?
Okay...just one awesome photo!
One morning this past week I was awake at 4:30am and this is how the sky looked!
Don't forget about me....I'll be back!
The chickens have finally come home to roost and we're loving it!
Dan finished off most of the chicken coop and only has a wee bit of chicken
wire to attach at the top of the inside coop, but they are safe and sound.
Would you like a tour of our henhouse and pen?
We placed the dog kennel as the outside barrier in the right side of our vegetable garden
back beside the potting shed.  The dog kennel idea came from Maureen at
It's All Connected as this is what she used as well and it seems to do the trick!
Now, you know I had to start decorating before the coop was even complete!
I've had this chicken for a few years now (in hopes of one day owning chickens!)
and it used to grace the top of our fence around the veggie garden but has now
found a much better home, don't you think?
The girls arrived home on Sunday evening and settled right in by 
having a glorious dirt bath and immediately ridding their area of any greenery
that was left in sight.  This is possibly the only named chicken thus far...Hash (after
Hashbrowns) by Rukmini of Trumatter, who's become a dear cyber friend!
Here's a view of approaching the coop that's built inside the potting shed.
We're you can see there are shavings rather than straw on the floor
and in the nesting's easier to clean up and costs around the same as straw does.  We've also found out that mites and other bug critters are more likely to
infiltrate the straw over the pine shavings.
We used old wooden crates that were taking up valuable space in the garage
to convert over to nesting boxes.  What we're finding though is the hens
are roosting on top of them in the evenings and laying all their eggs in the
lower right red crate and none of the others.  So, we're thinking of moving
all the crates to a lower level around the base of the coop.
Think that will solve their problem?
They are capable of getting into the other boxes...of this we're certain
because there's chicken poop inside all of them every morning!
Dan made this pulley door for the girls and I'm quite proud of him!
Do you see how the pulley is rigged to go up and across the ceiling, then
down to the left of the coop door to be wound around a double hook?
After the chickens wander into their home at night, we close the door from inside
ensuring they won't get stuck trying to come out again.
The Barred Rock hen is my personal far!
She's so easy to hold and touch...not afraid of us at all.
Although during our photo shoot, neither one of us actually
caught a good photo of the chickens eating out of our hand....they did!
Very gently too!
I was a little afraid they would peck me because I am a city girl and had never
even held a chicken in my life until we got ours, let alone sat right inside a pen with them until Maureen got her chickens awhile ago.
Yup....this is me...proudly showing off my chicken poop that rubbed off all over
my tank top when I was picking up the poopy straw!  I debated going
shopping in this shortly after, but nah.....hahahaha!
City girl slowly converting.....
"Hash" was the most hesitant to be in the coop with us while the rest were.....
....actually posing!  This particular Rhode Island Red girl gave me at least
ten fantastic shots of her from all sides, all the while staring at me as if to say,
"Am I not the most gorgeous chicken you've ever seen in your life"
Maybe I'll name her Posy for just this reason.
Yes!  Definitely!  She's the lightest brown hen of the bunch.
They seem to be very happy here and we've been immersing ourselves
in chicken books and magazines...learning soooo much!
Did you know you can tell what colour egg a chicken is going to have from
it's earlobes?  White earlobes mean white eggs and pink earlobes mean brown eggs!
So far, we've exposed our hens to oranges, tomatoes and lettuce and they love all of it.
Dan, who actually wanted to eat the chickens sometime down the road, is now
so fond of them he says he can't possibly eat them!
Yay!  No need for that!  As if I'd let him....I'd probably throw myself
in front of them if he dared.
We're adding two more to our family soon and I'll definitely show you the
new adoptees when they arrive.
We also had a lovely eggs & toast breakfast yesterday with some of our half
dozen the girls have gifted us with already!
Thanks for visiting our chicken coop!

Oh Yah Baby!
The Chickens Are Coming!
We paid for and met them today.

Four beautiful five month old laying hens of which
Three are Rhode Island Reds and One is a Barred Hen.
You can see the Barred Hen better in this shot.....
The people who owned these are moving into town in August and have no room to keep them anymore, but love them to bits!
Remember, we picked up this coop back at the end of March this year?
Then do you recall when we were eating very shortly after?
Well....we've got our plan in motion now and within a day or two will
be ready to show you our little chicken casa.
We'll also be getting two of these Rescue Chickens from Maureen's daughter Christie's rescue farm we visited last week while picking up a riding lawnmower.
Bless their wee hearts....
If you follow Maureen's blog "It's All Connected" you'll have seen her
Rescued Chicken Update yesterday where she explains the fascinating
progress her birds have made in the short time they've been with her!
I can't wait to see ours flourish and become....cocky?  Hahaha

Now that the crazy birthday extravaganza is over, we can focus on our little
part of the world again so....keep an eye out for these new additions to our family!
        Last week, I turned 50. 
        Yep, the BIG Five Oh.       
This is a photo of me at my 50th Birthday Party, held at our home on Saturday.We had a Vintage Birthday Party!
....because....I'm vintage now.
The girls and Dan were throwing the party, but I ended up in the thick of the
planning.  I mean, afterall, it was at our house, so what's a girl to do?
We had massive amounts of food including a pig roast our friend Craig took
care of tending to all day for us!
So funny!  Elmo going after the oven mitt and Blarney licking the cutting board....
well...a little gross, but god love 'em!
Don't worry, we pulled them away from the meat.
We had mountains of delicious food!  The very best was the cupcakes
Miranda & Robynn spent painstaking hours icing!
The jello shooters Alana & Megan made didn't hurt either.....
And, speaking of alcoholic beverages, Mark (Alana's guy), Maureen & I worked on the
punches.  The recipes came from the Ontario LCBO's Summer Edition.
Tequila Sangria & Watermelon/Cucumber Tequila Punch.
I'd advise against putting the Tequila Sangria into these dispensers....the fruit
kinda jammed up the spout and we had to use a ladle.
There was also a non-alcoholic punch...don't worry!
Everyone had a wonderful time, myself included!
It's nice to get together to see friends and any excuse will do really.
Turning 50 just happened to be mine and we had an award for the best vintage hat.
Here's the Winner!
It was a great way of getting our gardens finished, fixing up the screened-in room,
cleaning the house all under the crunch of a deadline.

I loved this photo of my two girls, Alana & Megan,  and myself and wished the other two girls had been in the photo as's hard to get people all together in a photo!
I did get photos of the other two beauties though.....
The Lovely Miranda
and the Beautiful Robynn with hubby, Adrian!

All the girls worked very hard to get ready for this party!
I'll be taking the rest of the summer off from house deadlines and will be able to focus more on blogging and decorating.  In the meantime, while I laze around thinking of post ideas,  you'll find me here.....relaxing!
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the party, especially Dan,
the girls and Maureen (godsend)!