Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Saskatchewan Skunks

This past Saturday we got up bright and early and set off for my cousin Brent's wedding BBQ.  Brent and Kim got married in Hawaii this year, but like any destination wedding, not everyone is able to attend and so they had a come and go BBQ this weekend.

That is a long drive to do in one stretch with kids.  More so if your kids are small.  Our boys did ok thanks to the Where's Waldo complete collection I bought for the trip.  Kept them busy.

We checked into the hotel, had a quick shower and then looked to see where Brent and Kim live.  It was complete dumb luck, but our hotel was right off the main highway and about 10 minutes from Brent's place.

In true Preston family fashion, there was a pig roast.  Almost every outdoor summer special occasion is marked with a good old fashioned Pig Roast.  It's the best way to feed large groups of people.

After the BBQ, we headed back to the hotel.  There was a waterslide for the boys to play on.  They had a great time.  Jill and Jason came over and hung out with the boys in the pool.  Jason is great, he hopped into the water and roughhoused with the kids.  Jason and Zach have a pretty cool bond.  Not everyone gets Zach, but Jason does.  Zach just loves him.

Early Sunday morning after a surprisingly awesome continental breakfast, we were off again.  It was 4 hours to Kenosee park.  The trip in and of itself is beyond boring.  As we were driving down the highway, I spotted a sign for the World's Largest Red Paperclip.

While the boys groaned, I made an executive decision to stop.  I mean come on, how often are you going to have the opportunity to see the largest red paperclip am I right? So stop we did.

Now for a small town, the directions were slightly confusing, perhaps a sly attempt to have you explore their town.  The story of the paperclip is really quite interesting.    A guy started out with this paperclip and started making online trades, paperclip for a fish shaped pen.  Pen for a doorknob... etc.  Eventually working his way up to snowmobiles, condo rentals and a role in a movie directed by Corbin Bernstein.    An economic adviser in Kipling suggested to town council that they make an offer and so the town offered a house for the movie role.  Trade was made a year to the day from the original paperclip offer.

Pretty Cool right?

After the paperclip pit stop, we continued on to Kenosee.  Neither Brad or I had ever been, but pictures online looked great.  In person, it blows it all away.  The place is a small resort like town which strongly reminds me of Riding Mountain.  Views are really pretty.  We had decided that we would camp rather than stay in a hotel.  Why?  Because kids needs to get outside.  They need to get in nature and get dirty.  Go on hikes, go fishing and just get back to simpler things sometimes.

Camping was $15/night.  How it is so cheap, I can't understand.  The next day we got up and headed to the Kenosee Superslides.  It is an amazing waterpark.  Lots of great slides and tons of green space for picnics.    The weather could not have been more perfect.  35 C all freaking day.

Boys had so much fun on the slides.  Me, not so much.  I mean I enjoyed then an all, but  I have come to the conclusion that I was not built to go airborne.  Actually, it's not going airborne that is the problem, it's the landing.  Holy Mother.

I promised the boys that I would go with them on all of the slides and I kept my word.  I didn't want them to see how scared I was because then it would freak them out.
This proved harder than I thought when Zach wanted to go on the 8 story tall free fall slide.  I was TERRIFIED.  Waiting is definitely the hardest part.  First the LONG walk uphill to the slide, then waiting in line and then ascending up a set of stairs to the slide platform.

I was so nervous, my heart was beating out of my chest, I was sweating (which I am going to blame on the heat) and my legs were shaking.

You have to go down this thing on an inner tube.  When it was my turn we got the tube all set up and just as I was going over, I almost lost hold of the tube handles.  There isn't much of a top lip, you just plummet and I just SCREAMED.

But I made it and once was more than enough.

We had arrived when the park opened at 11 am and left around 6 pm.  We were just done.  That much time in the sun  and walking up that many hills is exhausting.

At the campsite, we had a fire.  It's always tricky for us because of Zach's asthma.  His asthma had settled down completely with the exception of two triggers; smoke and hard exercise.  The only indication that he is having trouble is that his lips go a dark purple/blue.  He doesn't get the usual shortness of breath that most people get.  We have to make sure he stays out of the smoke and has his puffers handy.

After the campfire we all went to bed.  We hadn't brought an air mattress and were sleeping on 2 layers of comforters.  When I was a kid I could sleep on the floor of a tent with no padding and be fine; wouldn't even notice it.  As an adult?  My shoulders, back and neck were completely ticked off at me.

Sometime in the night, I heard some clanging and twigs snapping behind our tent.  We had put the camping equipment back there.  I woke up and listened again ( I can't always rely on my hearing) and sure enough I heard it again.  Rather than going out the front of the tent, I unzipped the back window of the tent to get an idea of what was there.

I am not sure that I was expecting, but a big, fat, furry skunk was not it.  My instinct was to yell at it to go away, but thankfully my brain took over and stopped me otherwise we would have been covered in Skunk spray.

In the morning, we surveyed the damage.  Apparently Brad had left some leftover muffin wrappers in the bucket of camping equipment which proved to be irresistible for the skunk.  I haven't decided if that is a compliment or insult of my baking.

We had the intention of going to the beach that day, but the clouds looked black and ominous so we headed home.

While it was a short trip, it was a good one. It's funny how much you can pack into a few days.



Friday, August 19, 2016

Yes I Can

I have always admired pantry shelves that are filled with Mason Jar jewels filled with the spoils of summer.

Brad and I decided that this year we would give it a try.  We started out slowly making some Raspberry jam a few weeks ago.  Since that went well, we of course got completely overconfident and decided to try some new recipes.

On the menu was Bread and Butter pickles, Dill pickles, Strawberry Jam, Peach Jam, Blueberry Jam, Apple Jelly and Stewed Tomatoes.

A family favorite is a venison sausage jambalaya which uses diced tomatoes, so we decided to make our own rather than getting canned.

We  got up bright and early and hit the St. Norbert farmers market.  I have never been and it is amazing.  The smells were intoxicating.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet coffee and cinnamon.  Delicious.  I will definitely be going back.

We wandered around to get our bearings for awhile.  I know that the main purpose of the trip was to get some canning worthy fruits and veggies, but I was tempted into buying honey,  sprouted grain bread and pretty much everything else people were selling.

I stayed focused though and within about 2 hours we were heading home with our organic loot.  First up was the jam.  Now I should preface this by saying I had recently came into a bumper crop of zucchini.  My friend Beth has a garden and had a few extra.  Home grown zucchini are not even in the same ballpark as store bought ones.    Initially I had thought I would turn it into bread and cake.  However, I came across a recipe for Jam that included zucchini.  Essentially you peel the zucchini, shred it and throw it into the pot with the other fruit that is intended to be made into jam.  Coming off our stellar foray into raspberry jam I decided to give it a try with my blueberries.

Now, it looks like blueberry jam.  However, inexplicably it tastes like Grape Jelly.  I can't explain it.  It tastes good, but its odd.  It's like Crystal Pepsi; looks like sprite but tastes like pepsi and puts you off your game for half a second.

After a HUGE haul of the blueberry jam, I set my sights on Apple Jelly.  I love apple jelly, but I've never tried to make it.  I stewed the apples and then let the juice drain through a cheese cloth.  Once that was done, I put the juice in a pot with a diabetes inducing amount of sugar and set it to boil.  I have learned a valuable lesson.  ALWAYS choose a pot way bigger than you think you need.

At some point after the mixture started boiling and began to get close to the brim of the pot.  I kept blowing down the bubbles, but after about 5 minutes of that futility, I began to get light headed.   I left the stove for the briefest of seconds to grab something and the mixture boiled over onto our glass cooktop.

If your culinary skills are better than mine and you have no idea the olfactory assault of this event, let me enlighten you.  It's sickeningly sweet with notes of burnt matches and sulfur.

Add to this copious amounts of smoke and I was  now attempting to fan the smoke out the back door while simultaneously trying to keep the mixture simmering (but not boiling over) on the stove because removing it would have ruined it.  Midway through that dance, the fire alarm went off and seconds later the phone started to ring.  The phone was the alarm company and if I didn't answer it they might have called the fire department so I had to run over and grab the phone.

While running over to the phone the apple mixture boiled over again. F***************CK!

After an ever so brief conversation with the alarm company to which she wrote the cause of the false alarm to be apple jelly, I got the situation under control.

Despite the complete debacle, I still managed to come out with 2 jars of pristine apple jelly.  Clearly I was hoping to get more, but given the nightmare, two jars were very much welcomed.

Once the blueberry and apple jelly were in hand I tackled the peach jam, which was relatively uneventful.  Strawberry jam batch 2 went well.  Batch 1 was a disaster.

I was cooking all of the strawberries using a recipe that called for gelatin, not pectin.  I got to the part where you add the gelatin, but looked like such a small amount to add, that I added a little more.  WHY?  Why did I decide to go rogue?  Everything looked innocent enough at first, but that quickly changed.    The soft spreadable jam began to solidify into solid strawberry scented rubber.

Well d*ammit all to h*ll.  Alright, back to the drawing board and I changed recipes and used one with pectin that turned out perfect.

I was done with fruit at this point so we switched over to veggies.  We started out with the bread and butter pickles. We got everything into jars and I immediately began to freak out.  Despite the fact that we had STUFFED the cucumbers into the jars, once the liquid was added they all began to float.

Gah!  Hoping to resolve the situation, I texted my sister in law Whitney.  In my opinion Whitney is the guru of canning.  I have seen and tasted the amazing things she makes and I knew she would be able to help or at least tell me what we did wrong.

Apparently the answer to that is simple;  Sometimes pickles float.  It reminded me of a Sex and the City quote... "He's just not that into you"; it was quite freeing.

The dill pickles ( I had bought some fresh dill at the market and it smelled wonderful) went super easy and it was about that point that I tapped out and let Brad handle the tomatoes on his own as he had sat out the jam decathlon. We didn't get that many jars of pickles.  We decided to make small batches until we knew how they would turn out.

Of course, the tomatoes went off without a hitch. Once they were done, Brad cracked a beer and flopped down on the couch in a cloud of smug.

Next year we are planting a garden and will take the canning up a notch.  Can't wait!






Yes I Can

I have always admired pantry shelves that are filled with Mason Jar jewels filled with the spoils of summer.

Brad and I decided that this year we would give it a try.  We started out slowly making some Raspberry jam a few weeks ago.  Since that went well, we of course got completely overconfident and decided to try some new recipes.

On the menu was Bread and Butter pickles, Dill pickles, Strawberry Jam, Peach Jam, Blueberry Jam, Apple Jelly and Stewed Tomatoes.

A family favorite is a venison sausage jambalaya which uses diced tomatoes, so we decided to make our own rather than getting canned.

We  got up bright and early and hit the St. Norbert farmers market.  I have never been and it is amazing.  The smells were intoxicating.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet coffee and cinnamon.  Delicious.  I will definitely be going back.

We wandered around to get our bearings for awhile.  I know that the main purpose of the trip was to get some canning worthy fruits and veggies, but I was tempted into buying honey,  sprouted grain bread and pretty much everything else people were selling.

I stayed focused though and within about 2 hours we were heading home with our organic loot.  First up was the jam.  Now I should preface this by saying I had recently came into a bumper crop of zucchini.  My friend Beth has a garden and had a few extra.  Home grown zucchini are not even in the same ballpark as store bought ones.    Initially I had thought I would turn it into bread and cake.  However, I came across a recipe for Jam that included zucchini.  Essentially you peel the zucchini, shred it and throw it into the pot with the other fruit that is intended to be made into jam.  Coming off our stellar foray into raspberry jam I decided to give it a try with my blueberries.

Now, it looks like blueberry jam.  However, inexplicably it tastes like Grape Jelly.  I can't explain it.  It tastes good, but its odd.  It's like Crystal Pepsi; looks like sprite but tastes like pepsi and puts you off your game for half a second.

After a HUGE haul of the blueberry jam, I set my sights on Apple Jelly.  I love apple jelly, but I've never tried to make it.  I stewed the apples and then let the juice drain through a cheese cloth.  Once that was done, I put the juice in a pot with a diabetes inducing amount of sugar and set it to boil.  I have learned a valuable lesson.  ALWAYS choose a pot way bigger than you think you need.

At some point after the mixture started boiling and began to get close to the brim of the pot.  I kept blowing down the bubbles, but after about 5 minutes of that futility, I began to get light headed.   I left the stove for the briefest of seconds to grab something and the mixture boiled over onto our glass cooktop.

If your culinary skills are better than mine and you have no idea the olfactory assault of this event, let me enlighten you.  It's sickeningly sweet with notes of burnt matches and sulfur.

Add to this copious amounts of smoke and I was  now attempting to fan the smoke out the back door while simultaneously trying to keep the mixture simmering (but not boiling over) on the stove because removing it would have ruined it.  Midway through that dance, the fire alarm went off and seconds later the phone started to ring.  The phone was the alarm company and if I didn't answer it they might have called the fire department so I had to run over and grab the phone.

While running over to the phone the apple mixture boiled over again. F***************CK!

After an ever so brief conversation with the alarm company to which she wrote the cause of the false alarm to be apple jelly, I got the situation under control.

Despite the complete debacle, I still managed to come out with 2 jars of pristine apple jelly.  Clearly I was hoping to get more, but given the nightmare, two jars were very much welcomed.

Once the blueberry and apple jelly were in hand I tackled the peach jam, which was relatively uneventful.  Strawberry jam batch 2 went well.  Batch 1 was a disaster.

I was cooking all of the strawberries using a recipe that called for gelatin, not pectin.  I got to the part where you add the gelatin, but looked like such a small amount to add, that I added a little more.  WHY?  Why did I decide to go rogue?  Everything looked innocent enough at first, but that quickly changed.    The soft spreadable jam began to solidify into solid strawberry scented rubber.

Well d*ammit all to h*ll.  Alright, back to the drawing board and I changed recipes and used one with pectin that turned out perfect.

I was done with fruit at this point so we switched over to veggies.  We started out with the bread and butter pickles.  I had bought some fresh dill at the market and it smelled wonderful.  We got everything into jars and I immediately began to freak out.  Despite the fact that we had STUFFED the cucumbers into the jars, once the liquid was added they all began to float.

Gah!  Hoping to resolve the situation, I texted my sister in law Whitney.  In my opinion Whitney is the guru of canning.  I have seen and tasted the amazing things she makes and I knew she would be able to help or at least tell me what we did wrong.

Apparently the answer to that is simple;  Sometimes pickles float.  It reminded me of a Sex and the City quote... "He's just not that into you"; it was quite freeing.

The dill pickles went super easy and it was about that point that I tapped out and let Brad handle the tomatoes on his own as he had sat out the jam decathlon. We didn't get that many jars of pickles.  We decided to make small batches until we knew how they would turn out.

Of course, the tomatoes went off without a hitch. Once they were done, Brad cracked a beer and flopped down on the couch in a cloud of smug.

Next year we are planting a garden and will take the canning up a notch.  Can't wait!






Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Chartreuse Muse

I wanted to paint our pantry a bright color.  Not ecru, not beige, not grey.  A fun, explosion of color.  It seems like the perfect room to do it.  It is closed off from the rest of the living room which means that the color is contained.

When you have an open concept, you have to watch the paint color because how can you stop one color and start another.  Even I admit that a crazy color might be a bit much in this case.

Anyways, when the shelf in the pantry took its unceremonious fall from grace, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to paint once Brad fixed the wall.

If you want to get an unabashed opinion on color, ask a kid.  They truly don't care if it matches, or goes with the room, they just look at each color individually deciding on whether they like it.

Logan came with me to Home Depot and chose this vividly bright lime green.

It was called Lemon Lime, but it was really a bright shade of chartreuse.  I specifically asked the guy at home depot if I needed a tinted primer.  No he said, one coat coverage he said.

LIES.

How many coats?  Two perhaps? Not even close.  Three? Nope. Fourth coat the charm? Not quite.  For me, the magic number was 5.  FIVE!  After the first coat or two I was nervous because with the grey showing through behind, it looked unpleasant.

Midway through coat three I had to go back to Home Depot for another can of paint hoping to run into the paint guru so I could fling paint rolls at his head.  Once coat 5 was on, the color was nice and opaque and looked great.

Notice the gnarly brackets

In theory you would think it would be super easy  to do multiple coats, as it was such a small space, but in actually it was a giant paint in the a$$.  First off we had to take all of the shelving off the wall.  This particular shelving has these special wall brackets that came with them and they didn't sell replacement ones.  Of course not.  Why would they?

I didn't want to have to take them down only to have to MacGyver something ugly to get them back up.  So the decision (right or wrong) was made to leave the brackets in the wall and paint around them.

Now the brackets were  just close enough together so that a paint roller couldn't fit between them horizontally.  In order to use the roller, you had to turn it 90 degrees. Not a natural painting motion.  At first, I was going around each one with a craft brush trying not touch them with paint, but after about the 6th one, I had an epiphany and stopped caring so much.  Main reason for that was once the shelves are back up, you won't be able to even see the brackets and that is even before you put food on the shelves.  With that in mind, things went a little faster as the brackets got licked with color.

Unfortunately getting the top done (cutting into the ceiling) was also a  challenge because a) I am short and need a ladder and b) The ladder we have is huge and didn't exactly fit well in the space and c) we have a freezer in the pantry which was super heavy and I didn't feel like unloading it and moving it out of the pantry, so I had to work around that.  Trifecta of awesome.

Now you may be thinking, where is her lovely partner in this venture.  Brad and I have an understanding.  He loathes painting and everything that comes with it including picking out colors.  I learned a long time ago that it really doesn't matter to him what colors I choose.  Instead, he does all the prep work, cleaning out the room, taking down the shelves, taping everything off.  It works out well as I hate doing that part.

I finished painting all the coats around 11pm Saturday night.  I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out.  When putting everything back, I realized that we had tons of overflow items (10 cans of red kidney beans from an ill fated slip of the hand while online grocery shopping) and I wanted to put them in the basement.

Being married to a handy guy has its perks.  Brad headed off to home depot, came home with some wood and made me a free standing pantry.  We didn't want to have to tie it into the wall, so Brad made the base really wide and narrower as it went up so that it was kind of pyramid or triangle shaped if that makes any sense.   The shelves are super deep, hold a ton of stuff and are really stable.

Moving a bunch of stuff to the basement makes the pantry upstairs so much more organized and easy to find stuff.  If I am being honest, it looks a little bare compared to what I am used to seeing and makes me want to go shopping to fill it up.  I get a little anxious if my stockpile dips.

It was a good little project and I'm really happy with how everything turned out.






Thursday, August 4, 2016

Raspberries and Sandbars

On Saturday we picked Zach up from Camp Arnes.  He always has such a good time there and this time was no exception.  He attended Paintball Camp, which is by far his favorite.

We drove up Saturday, watched the little concert/show that the kids put on, had some lunch and headed back into the city.

Lately, Logan has been so anxious to do stuff.  He absolutely hates relaxing.  His favorite activities of all are spontaneous ones.  It just so happened that on the drive out to pick up Zach, I spotted a Upick fruit sign and made a mental note that it would be a good spot to check out on the way home.

Zach and Logan both seemed up for it, so we turned off the highway onto this little back road.  Not gonna lie, after about 15 minutes it started to feel like we were driving into a Stephen King novel.  After two more turns onto even smaller gravel roads, we finally ended up at the Upick.

It was super quaint.  It was run by this elderly hippy like couple.  So sweet.  They got us all set up with buckets and we were set.  There wasn't any strawberries, but there was loads of raspberries.  With buckets in hand we started picking.  I have to admit my eyes were more optimistic than the reality of my bucket. I had ideas of bringing home 3 buckets worth of raspberries.  It took us about an hour to fill a single bucket.  The sun was beating down, mosquitoes were eating us alive and we made an executive decision that one bucket of raspberries was the perfect amount.
It is the first time we have ever gone to a upick and we didn't know that filling up an ENTIRE bucket to the brim isn't the best idea for raspberries anyways because the berries at the bottom of the pail don't have the structural integrity to handle the weight on top of them and quickly turn into juice.

Since we didn't have any specific plans for the berries anyways, we decided to use them to make jam so the squished berries wouldn't go to waste.

It was a really great day.

Sunday the weather was gorgeous and I didn't want to waste it inside, so we packed up our gear and headed out to Grand Beach.  I haven't been to Grand Beach in at least 10 years and the boys had never been.  

I forgot how soft the sand is.  Just amazing.  It's like you're walking through icing sugar.

We got there about noon and I was totally surprised at how quiet it was.  That being said we were at the East beach which doesn't have the boardwalk and is therefore by nature less busy, but still.

We set up camp and the boys immediately ran into the water.  Brad went with them and they were splashing around and throwing footballs.  It was great.  

Now, I am not much of a swimmer.  I can of course, but it's not really my thing.  But the boys really wanted me to swim with them, so in I went.  Now the sand may be amazing at Grand and the bottom of the lake may be amazing (soft sand goes out really far into the water so you aren't walking on rocks), but the algae is GROSS.

If you are a girl and you swim in this, just know that the top part of your swimsuit acts as a filter and when you come out of the water the "girls" will be covered in this green algae sticky stuff.  Ick.

Taking a break from the water, the boys came up on the beach for some lunch and we covered them in sand. Again, they'd never done that before and it was such a novelty.  So much fun.
  The beach didn't really fill up until about 3pm and then it was just packed.  We stayed until about 4:30 pm and headed home.  It was an awesome day.  Since I am going to be on vacation soon, I think we'll make another trip or two out there!

 

Jackpot

If you follow my blog, you know that I am good friends with our neighbours at the Cabin, Courtney and Dale and something amazing happened to them recently.

You know how you always hear about these crazy wild things, but never think they can happen to you or someone you know?

Well it did.

Last week I got a text from my friend Dale...."we won the lotto"


Dale and Courtney occasionally go to the casino, so I figured, they won a couple of thousand or something.

Nope.  Dale replied... $1.2 million.







As if.  Dale's such a joker, you never know when he's being serious.  So I texted Courtney.  It's true. They won the HSC lottery grand prize.  $1.2 million!!

They had a few options:
1. Luxury home by Maric
2. Luxury home by Kensington
3. Luxury Cottage
4, $1.2 million
Court and Dale live in Stockton Mb on a farm.  What they h*ll are they going to do with a fancy house in the city, other than sell it.  They already have a cottage, which they love.  So the obvious choice was to take the cash.  

It couldn't have gone to better people!  They are the most hardworking, kind people on the planet. 

Congratulations Guys!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Crash and Burn

No clever way to introduce this post, so I'm just going to dive in... Cool?

Our pantry is a little unique in that it's a walk through pantry meaning you can get access to from the kitchen or coming in from the garage which is quite handy when bringing in groceries.

On one side is the standard organizers.  On the other is a cut out (similar to a bump out) where we put a apartment size freezer.  Again, quite handy because the fridge freezer is quite small.

Above the freezer is a whole schwack of dead space.  So Brad installed some organizers above it.  Perfect. There were no studs, so we used those drywall plug things, which seemed to work just fine....for 2 years anyways.

On the weekend we were sitting in the living room (or great room I guess you call it, but I can't buy into that name) and we heard a MASSIVE crash...

We jumped up and ran in the direction of the noise.  There in our pantry, well more specifically, on the floor of our pantry was the additional shelf as well as it's contents.  The shelf had finally had enough of the isometric contraction and released causing the screws to rip out of the wall.

Isn't that just kick you in the cr*tch, spit on your neck fantastic.

First up we had to remove the carnage, which is now lumped into a massive eye sore of a pile in my living room.

Brad then got to work fixing the wall.  He added some wood to the existing studs (that were too far apart for us to anchor into.  The extra wood meant that when we put the shelf back up we wouldn't have to use those drywall plugs.

Now, our pantry is a warm grey.  When we built the house, we had them paint the whole house this neutral color with the expectation that once we were in, we would change the colors over time.  Case in point, Logan's room is now orange, Zach's is now blue.

So I am taking this to be an opportunity to paint and I want  color. With that in mind, Logan and I (who likes to get out and about and is always game for tagging along) went to home depot.  I asked Logan his opinion and he said what about lime green?

Hmmmm.... good call kid.  We chose a bright lemon lime green.  It looked like a big pop of color under the florescent lights, but it was a bit subtler when we held up the chip in the pantry.  Still, we are going to go with it.  All that's left is for Brad to finish up the wall.

Can't wait.

So that was the "Crash" part.  "Burn" part coming up.  Our backyard is a disaster.  Well, maybe disaster is too harsh... perhaps neglected it better.  We can't decide what we want to do or how we want to organize everything, so it's somewhat like Living Prairie museum at this point.

That being said, we have a fence, so our little eyesore doesn't bother anyone else or so we thought.  Turns out our neighbour (Let's call him Herb) is not a fan (I suppose he can see our backyard from his top floor)  and complained.    Not to us of course, that would be direct and the most logical, but to our friend Dave across the street.

Interesting choice of gossip buddy considering our friend Dave has a son Blaise.  Herb got a new dog last month.  Do you know what they named the dog?  Blaze, knowing full well that was the name of the little boy across the street. Classy.  So given that, I was surprised that Dave was up for a chat.

Herb told Dave that he was going to call the cops about our backyard.  Ok, here's my problem with that.  1) Our front yard is the epitome of perfection, manicured lawn, flowers etc. So in terms of curb appeal, there are no issues.  2) Our backyard is the only area with weeds and whatnot (which are there yes, but not super bad, it's mostly dirt.) and city legislation doesn't give a flying f*ck about your backyard. 3)  Given all of the stuff that the cops have to deal with; murders, theft etc, I'm fairly confident that they do not give a rat's a$$ about weeds....

But despite not being a fan of our weeds, Herb and his wife enjoy theirs.  Alot.  Like ALOT alot.  At least 3 or 4 times a week you'll walk outside and about 30 minutes later get the munchies...  In a added tidbit of info, the neighbour on the other side of Herb is a cop.


That's where the irony kicks in. Herb want to call the cops because of my weeds, even though he enjoys his weeds while living next to a cop.  You can't make this stuff up.  Cherry on the Irony cake is that Herb named his dog BLAZE...subtle.

I don't want to be that neighbour, so on Sunday, I headed out into the backyard to pull some weeds.  We had a fire going in the fire pit so I burnt some.  It was for the pure irony of it, but I couldn't resist.

Backyard was now all cleaned up so we headed inside after having dinner outside.  While getting the boys ready for bed, I went over to Logan's window to close the blind and happened to glance over into Herb's yard.  Herb has two dogs that stay outside all the time.  They are really quiet so I have no cause for complaint, but I've never seen anyone in the city do that before.

I guess the two dogs got bored and turned their attention to the rather beautiful and expensive patio furniture; those cushions didn't stand a chance.  I can best compare their backyard to running a kleenex though the laundry....

As of Monday night, the stuffing situation was even worse as they hadn't cleaned up the first foray into quilting supplies before the puppies tore into cushions 3 and 4.

Well hey diddly ho there neighboreenos! Karma Much?







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