Monday, June 25, 2007

Baskets overflowing

We've been in our house for a full year now. One morning about a year ago, we went to pick cherries off our cherry tree only to discover that the black birds had eaten them all. We had seen the birds in the trees but we though they would, in their kindness, leave some for us humble new house owners. They did not and I shook my fist at them.

This year I think we have an ally. A chipmunk. I have sen him scare off sparrows and robins. I can only speculate that he has kept the black birds away this year because we have a bumper crop (relative to last year). We've seen him up the tree, stuffing cherries in his mouth. Chipmunk - if you have a computer in the hole you have dug in our front yard and you are reading this, thank you (and stop digging holes).
Cherry Thief 1 Cherry Thief 2

We spend a good three hours on Sunday afternoon picking cherries. With a borrowed ladder we were able to get about half up to the top of the tree (yes it needs to be pruned). The weather was amazing - warm and sunny with a nice breeze, we took turns picking and laying on the hammock. If you told me that there was a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I am not sure I would believe you.
Cherry Picker 2 Cherry Picker 3 Cherry Picker 1

At the end of the day we ended up with 2 full 7 litre baskets of cherries. And there is more yet to be picked (if we can find the time).
Fruit of our labour 1

Little get-together

We had a little get-together at our place on Saturday. It's somebody's birthday soon so Tara decided to throw BBQ.

My good friend Greg from high school came down for the weekend to help prep (and visit of course). We introduced him to Carcassonne and he walked us through WoW - a good exchange.

We provided the meat condiments and drinks and everyone else provided the salads and desserts. And boy did they ever come through - we had more great food to eat than we could shake a stick at. We are still going through some of it.

Anyways - a few choice pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Greg, Evan and the Ladybug Deb with a halo (and the two Steves) The gang
Cool Tim

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Google Maps is good

Two quick notes about the wonderful Google Maps:

1. They just got new satellite pictures for the Kitchener-Waterloo area (plus more perhaps). The new photos zoom into the highest resolution possible. Since it's not too wise to give out too much personal info online I won't post a link to our house. But I will to our previous one :)

2. There is an awesome app called Gmaps Pedometer that uses Google Maps to track how long trips are. Perfect for runners, hikers or, like me, cyclists. I used it today to shave 500m off my bike into work. The app also as an elevation map so you can see how steep of a climb various parts of your trip will be.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Phyllo, brie, peaches, honey and walnuts

We both recently ordered an appetizer consisting of backed brie wrapped in phyllo with a sweet walnut sauce. It was so good that I thought I would try to reproduce it at home. I figured I couldn't go wrong with the brie, but I was hesitant about the walnut sauce. So I went with something more familiar - a peach, walnut and honey sauce.

Peach Walnut sauce Phyllo brie

They turned out well. So well that I thought I would post the recipes here. Food like this should be shared.

There aren't any tricks to these - they are pretty much what you would expect. If you haven't worked with phyllo pastry before just remember to thaw it out completely and keep everything covered except the pieces you are working with.

Baked Brie in Phyllo (serves 2)

4 sheets of phyllo
1/2 small round of brie cut in half (and de-rind if you don't like the rind)
2 tbsp of butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375F

Place one sheet of phyllo on your workspace. Brush butter over it. Put the second sheet on top and butter it. Repeat until you run out of phyllo.

Cut the stack into two squares. Place a piece of brie in the center of each square and bring up the edges like a little package, being careful not to tear the phyllo. Squeeze the phyllo at the top to it stays and toss it in the oven (on a cookie sheet) for about 25 minutes (or until the phyllo is brown)

Peach, walnut and honey sauce makes enough to go with the brie

1/4 cup walnuts (pecans would work well too)
2 tbsp butter
2 small peaches (or one large one), cut into pieces
2 tbsp honey

In a metal bowl or on a cookie sheet, toast the walnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes, stirring once.

Melt the butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, toss in the peaches and gently cook just until the peaches are getting soft. Stir in the honey and remove from heat

When the walnuts are toasted and the brie is done and plated, mix the walnut with the peach sauce and then spoon over the brie (or beside if you are like my wife)

That's it for a quick and classy appetizer. You could make the wrapped brie and sauce in advance if you wanted to server more than a couple of people and then just bake the brie and warm the sauce before you eat.

Hmmm Hmmm good.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Helmet

New Helmet

Ok - who here knows what this is? Anyone?

It's a helmet. It's made by Tipperary and it's for people who ride horses. It's purpose is, in the event of a unintended dismount, to keep the brain intact by preventing the head from getting smashed, crushed, trodden or compacted.

And it works. Tara knows first hand.

Friday night I was sitting at home after a wonderful round of golf, eating my oktoberfest sausage, a baked potato and a cheese string (bachelor food on a Friday). I was relaxing, just waiting for Tara to come back from the barn. At 6:30 got a call from my lovely telling me that she just been thrown from Lego and that she is headed to the hospital. She tells me that I need to come.

Now I knew this day would come. I've heard the stories, including some from Tara, and seen pictures of people 'dismounting' (1 2 3 4). I was ready for this day. I didn't panic - I just called a couple of friends and asked them for a lift to Guelph to search for the Guelph General Hospital and there within, Tara.

We got there and I was allowed to go see Tara. She was fine but sore and shaken up. No blood on her face and no turf in her hair. The good doctor examined her, poked and prodded, looked into her eyes and ears and took her for radiographs (X-rays). They also gave her some demerol for the pain. Turns out that nothing was broken and she didn't need to stay overnight.

Today has been spent taking things slowly, getting the car from the barn and buying a new helmet (these helmets are only good for one good fall, just like a bike helmet). We are very thankful that she is ok and that the horse is ok. We are also very thankful for friends who came through for us in a pinch - I don't know what we would have done without you! (Wes and Ruth, Steve and Deb, and Darren and Hannah)

Hopefully this is the last fall for a while but something tells me that this helmet won't be replaced because it got too old...

Monday, June 11, 2007


I took his picture on the weekend. The more I look at it, the more I like it.

His name isn't Jack, but i don't know what it is. Tara can't remember. He's a dog that lives at the barn and he likes to eat carrots. That's all I know.
Happy Jack

I took it on Saturday. Laura and Tim came to the barn with Tara and I. Tara and Laura played with the horse, Tim and I took some pictures. We walked the bridle path which was longer than we had anticipated and the bugs were bad. Really really bad. 10x worse then in Algonquin. But we made it through and I don't feel the effects of west nile yet, so all is good.

Just a few more pictures of the from the day

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Well deserved vacation

Tara and I took last week off. With all the craziness of Tara's schooling, the constant business of my work and the fact that we were approaching our 5 year anniversary, we though it was a good idea to get away from it all.

We puttered around our house for a couple of days and then headed to Bear Trail resort for the remainder of the week. And what a remainder of the week it was.

Bear Trail is a great resort for couples to go and relax. If you want to do nothing, there is a pool to lounge by and each of the rooms has a patio with lounge chairs. There are jacuzzis in each of the rooms and hot tubs with most of them. Big screen TVs with satellite and a decent selection of movies are also in each of the rooms.

Bear Trail is also a great resort for couples to go and have fun. It is situated on the border of Algonquin Park. There are canoes, kayaks, sailboats, and motor boats to use, plus you can swim and fish in the lake. There are mountain bikes and lots of trails right into the park. In the winter you can take snowmobile tours and use snowshoes or cross country skis. There is also a place to horseback ride nearby.

We participated in both the relaxing and active parts of the resort. We rode some horses and hiked into the park and kayaked. We also laid by the pool and on our patio. We even watched a bit of the Stanley Cup.

Tara's prof lent us his macro lens (this one if you are into photography - thanks Nick!). With it we took a bunch of photos. It turns out Tara has a really good eye for small things.

The food was, as expected, spectacular. We ate ourselves full (too full on a couple of occasions). There wasn't any meal that we were disappointed with.

We had a great time. The weather was beautiful, the food was amazing, and we allowed ourselves to relax. A perfect way to celebrate our 5th year of marriage.

(flickr updated)