Boo La La

Hola quieridos amigos!

Thats the Stella Maris cemetery outside the Fortress of Louisbourgh. It’s a really beautiful spot to be a dead. We parked there to play Pokemon because ya gotta catch’em all.

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I got about 11 Evees until the idea of a bunch of skeletons covered in worms made us hungry and we went to get some lunch.

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Pizza and sunshine! Pizza and sunshine!! Look at that bubbly cheese. Pizza, you are the best. Mwah! Mwah! Pizza! Je t’aime, mon amore!

Anyway that was really nice. I went to the library because I am obsessed with the cookbook section. I want to rub it all over my body.

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This is it. I like to come once a month and sit on the little padded seat in this section and pull books out at random to flip through the recipes. Its like a taste adventure, in the ol’ imagination box. I mean I really make myself at home, really spread it. Make it real uncomfortable for anyone else trying to look at cookbooks because they feel like they are interrupting something private and sacred. I’m kidding, Im just hoping someone will shuffle by me and strike up a conversation about muffins or Persian cooking and I can really lean into being the biggest nerd in the library. It’s my dream to work through this section one book at a time. Even the “healthy eating” books. Its my duty. Today I picked up Bitter by Jennifer McLagan. Its been on my To Read list for a couple of years since it came out. And Friday Night Dinners by the always amazing Bonnie Stern.

Last months picks were Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook. Both were fantastic, and I am going to buy myself a copy of Julia Child’s book. I scribbled down a half dozen recipes from Gramercy Tavern. Simple, fresh and totally attainable in a home kitchen. I cant wait to try the citrus cured char and the chicken liver parfait. Yuuuhhhhhhh.. m…  yes. Please.

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Today was a really nice day. We had pizza, and went for a drive in the sunshine. We ran errands. CB and I shared a coffee and dipped cinnamon sugar doughnuts into it. Its been sunny all week and my skin feels greedy for it. When I stand outside in my Tshirt I feel like my skin cells lift up and position themselves to soak up the most uv like solar cells.

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This is a pic I took of Sweetpea while we were sharing a garlic bread out on the step. Just chillin, breathing garlic breath on eachother.

OH!! Last week CB’s mum came up for a surprise visit for the week! (Hi Arlene! We miss you. Sweetpea especially!!) Not.. to segue into that from garlic breath, it just reminded me because we had a big family get together and made a gratuitous amount of spaghetti & meatballs, garlic bread and a Caesar salad big enough to feed an army. It was really, really nice to have a house full of family, eating and talking and drinking. Kids doing their circus routine in the hallway. Sweetpea dodging between peoples feet hunting errant meatballs. Arlene stayed for a whole week, and it was back to back Pop & Chips parties every night. We know how to party over here. We really do miss her now. Made me proper homesick.

Oh and CB made a pizza crust that was insane. Next week we are going to try it out as a donair pizza so I will document the process. Its gonna be good.

I think thats about it. See ya!

 

 

 

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ADVENTURE!: Point Aconi, CB

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Happy New Year, buddies!

I guess this is where I reflect on the ups and downs of 2016 to glean a greater insight into my future. Followed by resolutions to do yoga every day and replace my rum with kale juice or some shit. Meh.

These are some pictures CB and I took out at Point Aconi, about an hour away from here. It was a superlatively nice day and it would have been a shame to let it end without a bit of good old fashioned adventuring. There is supposed to be wicked cool fossils all up in them craggy cliffs but I wasn’t about to go clamouring around on sheer cliff faces covered in rotting seaweed for a peek at an old trilobites stoney old butthole or something. If they even have butts. I’ll never know. There’s a million and one great secret places to fossil hunt in Cape Breton and I mean to check out every damn one of them.

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By the time I had finished farting around on the internet googling a good place for our expedition we only had a couple hours daylight left. So it narrowed down the search to somewhere relatively close. Point Aconi is supposed to have great rocks and nice fossils, nice walking trails and a good beach. Being as it’s January the beach part wasn’t a significant draw for me right now but it is noted for future adventures.

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Snacks were packed (cheese strings and graham crackers, solid adventuring fuel) and we got on the road. It was a beautiful drive, one that I’d like to make again in the summer. Along the same way are a couple of strawberry U-Picks and a really outstanding bakery/antique market that was closed for the season. When we were there in the summer I bought an caviar spoon someone had made out of a seashell and some kind of horn or antler, its lovely. For all my fancy time caviar eating.

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This is the view from where I parked the Buick haphazardly on the side of a cliff.

SOLID WISDOM: Always park your car in the most dangerous way possible. Sometimes if you tempt fate too much it lets you be, because there’s no thrill for it in something so obvious.

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This is.. some kind of.. platform.. that was left here by a videogame designer who was going for a seaside apocalypse feel. I can only assume. I peed on it anyway, so it’s mine now. WHAT!? I was too busy packing snacks to remember to go before I left the house and an hour is the best I get out of an empty bladder these days anyway.

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Look, it really looks like a scene from Fallout 4. For real. Cape Breton would be a great landscape to copy for a Myst-style game. Remember Myst? What a frustrating game. My mom used to play it an keep a notebook beside her to keep track of all the cryptic fucking messages and codes you needed to move through to what Im sure was a very disappointing ending that answered none of our questions. It was the LOST of videogames. MYYYYYST *Shakes fist*

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Oh here’s a cliff face that looks full of tasty fossils. Looks easy to get to. Was not. Covered in heaps of slippery seaweed, perfect for murdering bold adventurers and claiming their snacks for the cold dark ocean. Im sure theres some cool fossils in there though. Just look at it. Pulsing with antiquity. Lusty with precambrian sedimentary rock formations. I just want to see one fossil! Damn it!

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It was very clear and we had a nice view from the point overlooking some snowy hills across the way.

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Looks like some nice walking trails here, but it was getting dark too quickly for us to meander down one of them. Next time!

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Laaaandscapes.

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A new fangled lighthouse robot. Not as impressive as the old school kind.

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The base for the old lighthouse. We stomped around on it.

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Little baby bit of Point Aconi left way out by itself in the ocean. Poor thing.

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Power plant, chugging away. Making it’s own cloud.

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Nice patch of ice to stand precariously on to look down the 912801291 foot sheer drop off onto the rocky shore below. No thanks.

 

 

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The End!

 

Donk the Honks with Bonks of Honky, Honky-Honky Honk Honk-Honk, Honk-Honk, Honk, Honk

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It was my favourite kind of winter day out. When the air is just cold enough for a light bit of snow, blanketing the trees and making the air so still and quiet. There was supposed to be a snow storm today, or as CB’s Nan would put it, we were supposed to “get some dirt.” The snow is starting up now, but this afternoon all we saw was some dainty snowflakes flitting about. The weather so mild I wandered around in my t-shirt to take some pictures.

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The house looked very cute when I went trudging out to throw some food out for the fox so I came back out again with the camera.

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Checked in on the old cast iron tub out back of Joan’s house. It was tempting to crawl into that big fluffy pile of snow. It hasn’t felt like Christmas to me yet, but it did this afternoon taking pictures, everything all red, white and green.

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Last of the lonely golden apples gathering snow on the tree.

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One of my favourite things to see every day when I come home from work, CB’s wood pile. Makes me feel warm just looking at it.

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Little pink birdhouse on the birch tree. No birdies inside.

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Schweep Schweep

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Some old bricks and CB’s neglected hammer

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An old bottle and my neglected apples

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Angelica dries out into these lovely starry wands that would be nice in a christmas tree if you spray painted them silver or gold.

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Old fireplace grills leaning up against the back of Joan’s house.

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Merry Christmas !

No no no, no-no-no, no no NOVEMBER

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Hello grumplings, how’s it is hanging? Yes? Good! No!

I have been thinking about my blog a lot the last few days. Been missing it really. Missing the little community of cool-ass bloggers, and their cool-ass blogs that I usually spent my mornings reading. I miss rambling in broken english and mortifyingly poor grammar. I miss telling you all about the latest food ingested and outgested. The only cure for this kinda blues is to write a blog!

Today is a wet sort of cold that gets into your bones, so we are curdled away inside like squirrels. There is a steady shower of rain that every so often turns to snow and then back to rain again. We have a more temperate little mini climate in Gabarus, and the rest of the island is having a fun-time blizzard today so no complaints here. CB has a fire roaring away, and we’re spending the morning in the kitchen cooking together and watching all the Harry Potter movies. We started last night and have just finished the second one. Its a good background movie on such a Novembery day. I forgot how dark they were, Harry P just straight up murdered some guy. And then got awarded school points for it. Wtf…

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Life is pretty great right now, but one of the top 5 best things has got to be visiting the library regularly. Libraries are the best places on earth. Last month we took out books on compost, solariums, gunsmithing and the first volume of Hellboy. FOR FREE. FOR NO MONEY! It feels like stealing. And stealing feels exhilarating like driving a race car. And driving a race car feels awesome like doing cool drugs. And doing cool drugs feels like visiting the library. I like to get high, on imagination.

This month I grabbed Mastering the art of French Cooking by Julia Child, an ancient old book of Nova Scotian cooking and a book about Scottish baking. We haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while so the Scottish baking book is great, every recipe only has about 5 ingredients, one of which is usually oatmeal. And we never run out of oatmeal…

The first recipe Ive baked from the book is for “sour skons”, to use of the last of the sour cream in the house. This recipe originated in Orkney in the late 1700’s.

ORKNEY SOUR SKONS

200g flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
25g medium oatmeal
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
142ml sour cream
2 tbsp milk

Mix into a soft dough, pat into a 1″ thick round and cut into 6.
Bake at 425F for 15 minutes.

I have to admit, I did not put the caraway in these. Instead I added nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon because I wanted a vehicle on which to shovel tablespoons of apply jelly into my face. And caraway.. I dunno. But I think that would be nice with cheese maybe! Like a fine aged Cheezwhiz perhaps. This recipe took, I shit you not, 17 minutes from when I stood my lazy butt up to when I was eating a softy warm scone. It was super light, with a fluffy texture and I liked the addition of a little oatmeal. They tasted, however, like the 1700s. I’d make these again but probably add a bit of sugar and maybe a pinch more salt to balance it out.

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Sweetpea was hoping I would hate them and dump them all into her dog bowl in a fit of disappointment and rage. Instead I just ate three, covered in jelly. Actually I put mayonnaise on one. Don’t you dare judge me!

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This spider has turned my window plants into his very own apartment complex. I like him, he can stay. I haven’t seen a single fruit fly since he moved in.

I have lots to write about but I should pack it in now and go help CB with the pork dumplings he is making for dinner. EXCITING! Dumplings are the #4 best thing in life by the way. I’ll tell you about the others later. Peace out!

Windowledge

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Ive spent most of the afternoon writing blogs and eating strange snacks. It feels nice to indulge in 2 of my favourite hobbies. Snacks & blogs. Slaps & bongs. Baps & snogs. In a few minutes Ill get up and feed Sweetpea, who has finished napping and is now staring at me very intensely from the couch across the room. Trying to will me out of this recliner with the pure devastating force of her doggy mind. Then we will go for a walk, and she will get to pee on flowers, which always puts her in a very good mood. Its very grey, foggy and a bit rainy out but its nice and warm. Despite that I have a fire on because its nice. Its probably about 30 degrees in here, but whatever! I love combusting trees!

ANYWAY. Early this afternoon I wandered around the house taking pictures of random things. I havent done that in forever. So I thought Id put the pictures up, even though they are pretty boring, its a nice little time capsule of October 2016.

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Nothing feels more like home to me then a pineapple slowly rotting away on a windowsill. Its been a decorative feature of nearly every place we have lived. I like to imagine they are staring wistfully out onto the cold day outside and remembering the tropical island they were plucked from. Thinking about their mom pineapple, and the pina colada they will never become. Sorry pineapples, its your fault for being so delicious.

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These are my fancy wines I bought for cooking. And drinking apparently. Mostly drinking *burp*

Just wanted to show them off so you know factually what a fancy bitch I am. I shouldnt drink wine because it gives me The Sads and makes me cry over cereal commercials. But c’est le vie. J’ai soif. Wuh huh huh… (thats French for laughter, like the cook in The Little Mermaid, you know?)

GREEN THUMB ALERT! That plant there is called a goldfish plant or a dolphin plant or something. Whatever, its pretty cool looking and pretty happy on the kitchen windowsill. I shared a bit of wine with it so its drunk now and growing all over the fucking place.

Beside it is my nans old kitchen timer, one of my most precious objects, and a glass full of ivy seedlings. I have 5 ivy plants now. Does anyone want an ivy ??

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I dont know why I am so fascinated with documenting the inside of my fridge but I am, so there. Here we have all the food groups represented, sweet potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise. I keep my green onions in a jar of water because that way they last 2 weeks instead of 2 days. 79cents a bunch is no joke people, Im not messing around, having those suckers get all dry on me. I save the root and plant it in the pot with my ivy plant, so then I have ivy and green onions shooting up all over and it makes no visual sense but is handy. We stretch 79 cents in this house, damn it!

There’s my soup stock that I should be making into onion soup right now, but I became lazy after wine. Oh and I made cranberry juice by boiling cranberries in sugary water. Its good. The door: 1/2 a lime, yeast, 389719723 jars of half eaten jam, 3 kinds of hot sauce, and donair sauce for squirting on pizza.

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Holy Mackerel! Photo by Paddy Barry,  hanging in a place of sunny yellow prestige.

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This salty old chap reflecting the windows in the kitchen.

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Upstairs this guy is hanging over the terrrlitt in our Salle Du Bain, its a dad running upstairs in the night to pee. CB says he had like a family trailing behind him at one point but they are all gone now. LOL. This wine is making me so fucking morose lololol.

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Ummmm.. I took this while peeing, because the light was hitting that old pitcher nicely. Sorry.. Probably shouldnt have typed that. Oh well, too late now, absolutely nothing I can do. Once something is typed on the internet it can never be backspaced.

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This owl is cute.

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This is a pink verigated I saved from a clearance rack in walmart. Who puts a living thing on a clearance rack! Sick, people. Sick. Shes doing hella good up in the bathroom.

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This is a wall in our bedroom. Those are postcards from our friends, some antlers CB’s poppy had mounted, and a ton of old books. Closet doors are too expensive so this was my solution, to hang curtains. Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart.

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Pineapple lights, light up my life…

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This is a lamp that needs a shade, but Im holding out for a funky one, in front of a painting of the one eyed kitten I did in highschool, and a postcard I wrote to my Gram in NZ and never sent. Sorry Gram. Also my strawberry angel man, strumming the tune of my heart.

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This is the small bathroom downstairs. Its super, super blue. I love it.

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Some old javex bottles we found in the forest, and treasures from our travels. Shells and coins mostly.

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This mirror is amazing. That is all.

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This is a… tree? Made out of mussel shells that CB’s Nan Marie bought for me as a present. I think its so beautiful, and I love how it reflects the light in the bathroom.

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Last picture. Living room window looking out at one of the bigger apple trees, my dried hydrangeas and an aloe plant I got because I burn myself so often at work.

Okay thats all the nonsense I have time for today. Gonna go walk Sweetpea before she just packs up and leaves. See ya!

Old Bones

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Its well into October now. Celtic Colours is in full swing here in Cape Breton. People visit from all over to drive the Cabot Trail and take pictures of the landscape bursting in flaming reds, oranges and yellows. The air is sweet with the mulchy scent of dying plants & acrid with woodsmoke. The weather is cool but sunny. Its the best month of the year.

Im sitting here eating bone marrow spread thin on cream crackers and having a glass of nice German wine from the Mosel valley. Am I not the fanciest motherfucker who ever did live? For lunch I had apple juice and a kitkat bar so I guess it evens out….

Yesterday I made some bone broth, because I have been craving onion soup. But for real onion soup, with good dark broth, sweet onions, lots of red wine and gooey cheese. So I roasted some beef bones, making sure to collect the marrow that had melted into the pan below. Liquid gold.

I was going to include a recipe for bone broth here but its pretty straight forward so I wont bother. But you should give it a go, its cheap and makes your house smell so, so, so so , so so , sosososososo.. so good.

We have been binging episodes of Hannibal lately and I think maybe he has inspired something in me. I’ve been craving nice wine and the sweet soft butter that lives inside bones. Hopefully this is as far as his influence goes, being a serial killer seems like a lot of effort.

 

Hurricane Matthew went through here last week, causing massive flooding and pulling down enormous trees all over Cape Breton. We made out just fine though, thankfully! We lost power & water but we had fun in the morning cooking up sausages and pancakes on the new woodstove. Then checking social media we felt immediately guilty for having fun, because a lot of other people had horrible flooding in their houses.

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Apple pancakes! While CB was cooking I wandered around the immediate neighborhood assessing the damage, picking up debris, and collecting all the apples that had blown off the tops of the apple trees. Im going to make HURRICANE JELLY! Yeaaah! We then made apple pancakes, my favourite.

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In order to flush the toilet we collected water from the old well beside Joans house. This is a picture I took while thinking about all the ghosts of dead settler children must be haunting this creepy fucking well 1 minute before I fell into it. The plywood beneath me was rotten and gave out under me. Luckily my butt stopped my fall. Its so handy. That would have really ruined my day. Sweetpea would NOT have Lassie’d me out of that situation for sure.

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A few days before the hurricane blew all our shit all over the backyard and made everything in our fridge rot, we had BEAUTIFUL weather! CB & I did a hike on gull cove road to take pictures of mushrooms and to tire out Sweetpea. She is such a bog dog. She is happiest when either sleeping in bed between us or racing around like a psychopath covered in muddy bog water. Here she is majestically leading the way into the forest.

I stopped approximately every 1.47 minutes to take a picture of a “cool” mushroom. By the end of the walk I had a sore neck and 300 pictures of mushrooms. Here is 1% of the mushroom pictures I took. Those golden yellow beauties are chanterelles. They are the only mushroom I am confident in recognizing, so I put them in my wool kitten ear hat to carry them home. I forgot them until 4 days later when I put my hat on my head and wondered what all the hard lumps were. Oops.

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Well.. I think thats the end of this blog. Bye!

 

Really Quite Paradise

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Hey! Im back! Havent been very bloggy this summer, but as wordpress reminded me a bit ago, its been almost 10 years of me writing dumb crap on the internet so I’m able to forgive myself for the odd temporary absence. Absence makes ones farts grow fonder anyway. However, I know that the internet demands sacrifices in the form of pictures of dogs and flowers in order for the Web Gods to continue smiling upon us so I will suck it up and do my part.

So here is a dog:

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Here are some flowers:

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Here is a dog with flowers:

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That would be Sweetpea, a big beautiful wild rose, an ant crawling on a peony for some unknown purpose, and finally Sweetpea again. She is posing artistically with Foxgloves and looking a bit nervous about a spider.

Im sorry if these pictures have been blogged about before, I had them uploaded in old drafts and I cant be bothered to check up and see if Ive ever actually shown them to you before.

I may as well post the rest of the pictures from the old drafts, they sum up our summer in Gabarus pretty nicely!

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This summer I finally got my motorcycle licence! This was taken on our first ride together to the beach, which has been a one of our shared life goals for ages now. Romance! I took a two day course, and flipped the bike twice, but got right back on. By the end of the two days I could barely move my legs and my knees were held together mostly with Band-Aids but I was very proud of myself. Mine is the old BMW and its so sexy and her name is Zerhilde. It means warrior goddess in German, whatever…

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I spent almost every day after work this summer swimming in the ocean. It was absolutely, balls-clenchingly cold, but it felt so fresh and nice. A couple of nights a seal swam with me, but pretty far away. It was still magical as fuck.

This summer we ate some amazing meals together. Lobster, mackerel and cod fish suppers at the churches and community galls around the area.  A sushi place opened up here and made me so happy. I crave me some fish eggs and eel on rice so bad. We also cooked a lot of nice meals for each other, lovely big leisurely breakfast, lots of curries, Chinese pork dumplings & salty cucumber, thai dishes, etc.

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Midnight ice cream snacks in bed..

Gorged on fresh strawberries and blueberries.

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I made an absolute buttload of blueberry jam and experimented with making rose sugar and angelica liqueurs.

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We took a week and drove to Newfoundland to make desserts at an amazing Food Festival there called Roots, Rants & Roars which I should probably do a post about.CB got a rep at the event for being the worlds most patient cook, spending hours standing slowly stirring scrunchions so they didnt burn and frying 700 doughnuts. We made blueberry doughnuts, screech n’ scrunchion doughnuts, and apple fritters with apples from our apple trees.

We got to see some of our old friends from Fogo which was so nice. I miss my Fogo people every day. We got to have a couple of meals with Murray & Judy, and buy a some of Paddy Barry’s photographs which are now on our wall.

We cooked beside Duff Goldman. We had breakfast with CB’s food-crush Zane Caplansky and his super cool wife Willa.

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We ate this!

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I made this cool cake! Most proud of this one.

I chopped off my hair. Buzzed one side and dyed it purple.

We went for numerous long drives and talked about life and the world and everything in it.

We went for hikes through the woods, taking pictures of mushrooms and frogs.

Hung out with Sweetpea, who is quite possibly The Best.

Oh yeah, and we started a business! More on that to come…

Anyway Im tired and this is so many pictures so, so long for now!