Thanks to Pi(e) Day

pie girl

There is something about pies.  My husband loves them.  If I never ate another pie I’d be alright with that.  But I especially don’t love making pies.  And I’m really not sure why.  Now chocolate… that’s another story!

Yesterday – Pi Day (check the date…. 3/14) – we were invited to a Pi(e) Potluck.  I was reluctant to make a pie and thought of other ideas, but in the end I settled on a couple of recipes to try and, with my sweet little helper (above), set to work.  Then I had this crazy inspiration – I’d master pies – flaky crust and all!

One pie a week, fifty-two pies per year, sounds like a reasonably small challenge that will accomplish two fairly big goals: become a pie expert and bring great epicurean pleasure to one hard-working guy!  Well, maybe not every week.  But definitely more often.

This weeks’ pies – chocolate pecan and flaky pear!  So maybe there will be a few pies to post on here once in a while.


Chalk Talk – Van Gogh



I’ve captured quite a few photos of the fleeting (and lingering) things on our chalk wall.  I thought they’d make nice, quick posts when I want some new material for a post but don’t have much time.  As an added bonus, it gives me a nudge to keep new material going up on the wall.  Some things get left up there long enough to seem like permanent decor.

Welcome to Chalk Talks!  What’s on your chalk board/wall?  Please share a link or photo in the comments!

The Cooks

I’d like to introduce you to the household cooks.  First, let me confess that I have been very slow to train my kids in kitchen skills.  Sure, I’d let them throw in some flour and crack some eggs and get their hands all doughy and lick the spatula, but I was usually more concerned about keeping the mess within bounds than equipping them with a skill.  On top of that, I was always too busy to take the extra time to include them, to teach them, to wait for them, to encourage them, to clean up after them.  Not much has changed – I’m still busy, it still takes extra time, they still make big messes, and there’s a whole lot more clean-up.  What has changed?  That is material for another post or several other posts (a topic I intend to focus on a bit on this blog – change), but for now I’ll leave it at this:
The time I invest in these little people yields exponentially in a short time. And I anticipate I’m only on the brink of experiencing the rewards.  Kids busily occupied with the planning and doing of real things are happy kids!

Zach (14) has taken entirely over breakfasts and, I must say, he’s more ambitious in the morning than I am!  Porridge is still a staple meal, but we eat a lot more banana buckwheat pancakes with coconut whipped cream and fruit topping than we used to.  He’s also the resident salsa master, whether water-bath canned, fresh, or naturally fermented (my fave!).

Gabe (12) covers most lunches, specializing in soups such as creamy carrot and chicken vegetable.  He also makes a tasty bruschetta flatbread, a greek pasta salad, and pretty much any other recipe I stick in front of him. When we’re having pasta for supper he’s the guy I call on to make fresh spelt pasta!  (There is usually a keen younger sibling to help with the task of rolling and hanging it out.)

Ben (10) is the granola maker, he likes to bake and since we don’t eat a whole lot of baking he’s thinking of starting up a little neighbourhood service to expand his baking opportunities.  When chicken adobo is on the supper menu, he’s my man.

Noah (7) is our official pizza crust roller (individual size made up ahead), and he along with….

Danica (5) are in training to take over the bread making.  I predict that in about two more batches they’ll be on their own and I’ll just have to put it in the oven for them.

Katie (2) is egg cracker extraordinaire.  Give her a dozen eggs and a bowl and let her go.  No shells!  She likes to pull up a chair and help me with just about anything I’m doing in the kitchen.

Below are the bread bakers busy at work today. They each make a two-loaf batch so it’s not too difficult to knead.  At the far end of the table you can catch a glimpse of Ben (behind a bucket) working on granola.









Herban-C Raspberry Fizz

DSC_0394  DSC_0399

For the past several months we’ve been experimenting a lot more with fermented foods.  I’ve had a dabbling interest in this for years and have seasonally made the standard sauerkraut and dills. Sometimes I’m really slow at incorporating new things into life even when I really want to!  Since fall we’ve had a steady rotation of either goat or cow milk kefir going, water kefir (which I’m currently trying to “rehabilitate”), Zach has been making regular batches of fermented salsa (delicious!), and I’ve been having fun with fermented beverages!  I’d like to share some of the fermenting adventures here.

Some modifications made to recipe on March 1/15

Herban-C Raspberry Fizz

In a large jar dissolve:

2 L of hot water

6 T Herban-C Tea Mix from the Bulk Herb Store

Steep for 30 min.  Strain and add:

1 cup honey and stir until dissolved (I will try half this amount next time)

1 L water (Next time I will try 2 L)

Frozen raspberries (about 3 cups)

When mixture has cooled completely add a starter.

In this case I used one probiotic capsule – Primal Defense by Garden of Life

Cover the jar with a cloth or loose lid.  Sit on counter for two days or until you see little carbon bubbles forming (you might have to look closely).  Strain into empty soda bottles or other sealable container.  (Beware of using glass.  I’m not brave enough to attempt to regulate the pressure in a glass container.)  Leave on counter until the pressure builds in the bottle.  In a plastic bottle you will be able to feel it becomes very firm.  Place in fridge. Drink at your leisure. 

We drank this today and it was the family-favourite fermented drink so far!  

Current brew – Marshmallow Elderberry Ginger Cold-Soothing Fizz.  It might need a shorter name.  I’ll share the steps and results here in a few days!






It’s going to be -27°C tonight! What should we do?  I know, let’s sleep outside!


Three cozy boys in their quinzee.

Chalk Talk – Curing Like-itis



Sound smarter by taking this one step! Eliminate the overuse of the word LIKE!

Any ideas on engendering a language revolution?  No matter how much we improve in our own household the disease – like-itis – is very contagious!  We need to change the language of the nation!

(Points taken from a few articles on the internet and group collaboration on words for “said”.)

A Late Night with Dickens

It seems like we have a one hour drive to everywhere.  If we head south across the border to the nearest town of notable size (a town with a grocery store) it takes an hour.  If we head north to the city it takes an hour.  If we head west to visit good friends it takes an hour.  When we go to skating (different direction) it takes an hour.  You get my drift.  Now, some of these destinations take a little under an hour but if we always plan on an hour we are more likely to be there on time.  This means that anywhere we go we have two hours (or slightly under) in the truck.  This might seem like a real loss of time, but we listen to so much good stuff while we’re driving.  It always feels like time well spent.

The latest addition to our audio library was the Focus on the Family radio drama of Oliver Twist.  We were all absorbed in the story so much that when we’d arrive at our destination or home we’d linger longer in the truck just to hear a bit more.  On Friday we returned home at a particularly suspensful part of the story with no plans to drive anywhere in almost a week! I couldn’t bear it.  I pulled the book off the shelf and lucky for me the next day was Saturday – a day we’ve been setting aside to be purposefully restful – and I read, read, read Oliver Twist in every moment I could get.  By 11:30pm I was satisfied because I was finished.

This is why I rarely read fiction!  When it’s good I’m not good at stopping.  And every day is not a Saturday.  Now I have to make sure not to spoil anything for the kids!

  • Council of the Wolves
  • Council of the Wolves Council of the Wolves Council of the Wolves

Within days of the bobcat sighting we saw wolves.  In one day, ten wolves passed by on the ice in front of our house – a group of four and a little later a group of six – all heading east.   Later still that day we saw six wolves farther out on the lake, presumably the last group of six we’d seen, heading across to Minnesota.   The following day we saw four smaller, skinnier looking wolves pass by to the east.  One stopped directly in front of the house and howled.   We howled back.  Again, a wolf backtracked but farther out and heading toward Minnesota.  We could see he was howling so we opened the balcony door and could faintly hear his howl and more faintly, his pack-mates replies.

We went down on the ice to do some detective work.  It seemed like wolves converged from all directions and held a council in front of our boat launch.  From there they headed off in different directions.  Who knows?  Makes me want to learn more about wolf behaviour.

Poor Moon Pi

One of our Nigerian dwarf bucks was killed a few days ago.  This came as quite a shock after we had settled into a happy complacency about goat safety.  Gabe, head goatherd, was understandably very upset.  We all were.

The does and kids were being housed in a small shed (The Milk Shed) at night. But in order to keep The Milk Shed smelling fresh and clean for milking, we built the bucks a cozy straw bale bungalow to snuggle in over the winter months.

It had snowed the night of the attack, covering any tracks.  What we could discover from the remaining evidence was that Moon Pi was attacked in his little straw hut, dragged behind it, killed, dragged to the back corner of the fence, and partially eaten.

Our head researcher, Zach, got on the computer right away and started piecing together the evidence – manner of attack, parts eaten, etc. – and decided the predator was a cat.  We were thinking something big – perhaps a mountain lion or a large lynx.  Even though these are dwarf goats, the bucks are over a hundred pounds.   And whatever it was had to jump a four foot fence.

Long story short, it turned out to be a bobcat. We saw him in broad daylight!  We were relieved by this, in a sense, because it feels better to think of there being bobcats in the woods rather than cougars.  (Although, I know more and more are sighted in the area.) The other goats, including the stinky Apollo, are all being housed indoors before night falls and on days when we’re going to be out for a good chunk of the day.

Blogging Again

I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time and am finally getting to setting it up!  It’s going to take some time so bear with me.

My old blog will remain at: but I will no longer be blogging there. This is the new home!

I hope you enjoy!

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