Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh crap

Well the big news around our house lately is that we got a puppy. His name is Henry and he's part cuteness and part monster. But we love him always even when we are wondering if there is such a thing as catnip for dogs and if so, why did they stuff our couch with it?? And why didn't the SPCA tell us he has this addiction?

Getting a puppy has had many unexpected consequences.... One of these is that hubby and I are now having a lot of conversations about poop.

Did he go? Where? How many times? Even... consistency? 1 week ago I would have found this utterly disgusting. How quickly things change!

On top of analysing his poop, we also needed to figure out how to dispose of it. Obviously I was not keen on putting it in plastic bags. Here in Ottawa we have a city wide composting program called the Green Bin Program. So the first thing I did was look through the printed green bin literature. I was very happy to see that animal waste was allowed. Yippee! So for the last week I've been picking his poop up with newspaper and putting it in the green bin. (full disclosure - he hasn't had all his shots yet so he doesn't leave our backyard).

For some reason in my sleepy stupor this morning (pre-puppy I rarely saw 8am on a Saturday now I'm up at 6am!), I decided to quickly double check the green bin web site to make sure the rules hadn't changed.

And sure enough they have.

Now dog waste is specifically mentioned as a 'do not put in the green bin' item.

So what should I do? Any suggestions from green dog owners out there?

In fact, any suggestions in general on how to green up dog ownership would be much appreciated! I'm thinking: food, toys, treats etc?

Henry and I say thank you. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Woman's Day, 1952

I was going through a box of my grandad's things at my parents' house on the weekend and found a copy of a Woman's Day magazine from 1952. We'd kept it all these years because in it are the plans for the wooden farm that my grandad built for my dad and my aunt when they were little. This farm is amazing and includes a barn, a water tower, animals and more. I'll be posting the full instructions soon, but in the meantime below are some of the canning recipes that were also in the magazine.

I find old canning recipes really interesting from a historical point of view. I'm fascinated with what people used to eat and especially what they used to can.

Generally it's not a great idea to use old canning recipes because what was considered safe in the 50s is not what is considered safe now.

But I might try some of these. The fruit ones look like they would be fine but I will make sure to compare any recipe I try with some similar recipes written recently (for example Food in Jars recently posted a similar recipe for watermelon jelly). And I will definitely, absolutely water bath can anything I make. If you are thinking of trying any of the recipes I'd encourage you to do the same. Using old canning recipes is definitely something that falls into the 'at your own risk' category.

I was going to crop out the advertisements on the pages but they were just too good. I love the 'waste not, want not' message in the Kerr ad above right. We don't see that much anymore huh? And I thought the refrigerator ad was a great example of the 'resist anything old fashioned' propaganda that was so ubiquitous at the time.

But my absolute favourite is the lipton tea comic strip ad. Is it me or is there some subliminal messaging right around panel 4? I call d.i.r.t.y.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Damson gin or vodka

One of my favourite things to do with damson plums is make damson vodka or damson gin. It's easy to make, is delicious and makes a great gift!

You'll need:
  • damson plums. For one jar you only need a half litre of plums.

  • approx. 250ml of sugar

  • approx. 750ml gin or vodka

  • one litre glass jar

1. Fill a jar half full to 2/3 full with damson plums. Prick each plum with something sharp before adding to the jar. This helps release the juices. Alternatively you can freeze the plums first. I use frozen plums. It's way easier.
2. Add sugar so that it fills approx. a quarter of the jar

3. Fill jars to the top with vodka or gin. Screw on lid.

4. Shake jars once a day until the sugar dissolves. Store in a dark place for 3 months. Remove the plums. Enjoy!

The vodka/gin will keep for at least a year. It does not need to be refrigerated.

The alcohol steeped plums can be eaten - they make a nice boozy addition to a cheese board.

The vodka/gin can be enjoyed straight up, over ice, or in a mixed drink (with mineral water and a twist of lime is nice).