Blackberry Slump

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Blackberry Time

Every year about this time, here in southern British Columbia, the push is on to pick blackberries. Blackberries are a perennial and a relative of the raspberry. This plant grows wild along side our roads and in sunnier parts along the edges of fields and forests. They also bramble meaning they have a long vine that travels up fences and over other vegetation with very sharp thorns.

Make sure you cover yourself well if going picking. I saw one woman with a neat idea for a hands free bucket for picking berries.  She had an old belt and had cut the top off a milk jug leaving the handle which she looped through the belt. This allows for hands free picking.

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Blackberry Slump

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

Dumplings:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

Berries:

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (defrosted and drained) blackberries
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet your berries and how sweet you would like your slump to be)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Whipping cream or vanilla ice cream for topping

METHOD

1. Make the dumplings: In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your clean hands, cut the butter into the flour until the flour resembles a coarse meal.

Add the milk all at once and stir until the flour is just moistened. Handling the dough as little as possible, form into a ball. Set aside.

2. Heat berries with sugar, cinnamon, lemon, water until boiling: In a 2-qt saucepan, add the berries, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water. Heat until boiling, stirring a few times so that the berries are well coated with the sauce.

3. Add chunks of dumpling dough: Once the berry mixture is boiling, tear off spoonful chunks from the dough ball and drop onto the fruit around the edges of the pot. You should have enough dough for 6 dumplings.

4. Cover and simmer: Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, without peeking at the dumplings.

Place dumplings in serving bowls and top with berries. Serve with cream or ice cream. Serve hot or chilled.

** You can also interchange berries. Strawberries, blueberries.

Want to know more about blackberries?
The blackberry

Secret Garden

Moving can be a chore but this new place is amazing. Not so much the house but the garden. I love watching what will come up and bloom next. So I’m calling this piece the secret garden.

When I arrived the rhododendron was in full bloom.

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It was wonderful to step outside to take a break and gaze on this beauty. Alas all her blooming is over for this year.

Next was the garden at the side and the front of the house.

Purple Hydrangea, Lily and Yucca Plant

 

Even the weeds look amazing. They are probably not weeds but have tiny flowers.

 

The best part is the other side of the yard. This is a special place. Huge cedar trees hundreds of years old stand on the property beside a creek. Open the gate and you enter into another world. We live on a busy street so it’s like this amazing calming yard.

 

There is a little get away down at the bottom of the steps beside the creek. We are really enjoying this area.

 

Hidden way in the back of the yard behind the cedars and the creek is this beauty.

Mountain Ash

Word to the wise. If you are going to plant ground cover don’t plant ivy around trees. Ivy can kill trees that they climb. They can weaken them as their roots burrow into their trunks and sap the life out of them.

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Cedar wrapped in Ivy

 

On a final note. You never know what you will find in a garden that keeps it’s secrets till spring.

Here are some Hostas in bloom.

 

 

 

Enjoy your day and thanks for visiting.

 

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Merge Point

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I’ve been driving Hwy 1 east and west between Abbotsford, Chilliwack and beyond on my way to see friends and for pleasure drive.  In the Summer time this highway is super busy.  The speed is posted at 100km but around the clover leafs, exits and entrances to the freeway it gets bogged down. Why?  People don’t know how to merge into traffic.  I have seen drivers pull out into traffic doing 60km. Talk about slam on the brake time.  It’s a miracle that person did not get hit.  If you are merging behind this slow driver you have to say a prayer for yourself too.

Hats off to all the big rig drivers who pull into the left lane when they see traffic merging if they can. Love the over head lighted signs that say, “Leave the cell phone alone. Focus on the road.”

It’s never a good idea to ride right beside a semi and trailer.  They can’t see you.  I saw one woman with a van full of kids riding right in the truck’s blind spot.  She did this for a long time and no one could pass her.  The Semi’s do the speed limit or just above and ride in the right lane.  I was  the one who scooted up to her rear and got her moving out from beside the semi.  Scary stuff.  I think she wanted the shade. Still if he wanted to move over she would have been in danger.

With this said summer is over and the highway only has the occasional traveler other than trucks and people going about their business.  Happy Trails to you.

Tractor unit hauling tractor units in Idaho

Tractor unit hauling tractor units in Idaho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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A River Runs Through It – The Mighty Fraser River.

A River Runs Through It – The Mighty Fraser River.

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The Fraser River, from the grounds of Westminster Abbey, above Hatzic in Mission, British Columbia, looking upstream

It’s spring run-off time here in British Columbia and the largest river is running at capacity.  Everyone is waiting with baited breath to see if it will jump the banks.  The Fraser has had some serious problems in the past and has caused damage to the communities it runs through.  Get the sand bags going.

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Sand Bags – Flooding in Fraser Valley – 1948 flooding

Most of the communities have taken precautions over the years by building dikes along the river bank since the terrible flood in 1948 when the river overflowed its banks and caused wide spread damage in every community along the river.

 The Fraser River drains a 85,ooo sq mile area in British Columbia. The source of the Fraser is Mount Robson in the Rocky Mountains.  The river is named after the explorer and fur trader Simon Fraser.  Travelling west, then south, the river travels past the communities it serves and gathers other rivers the further south it goes. To name a few:  Chilcotin River, Nechako River, Bridge River, Seton Rivers Thompson River and the Pitt River in Port Coquitlam/Maple Ridge. These are only a few of the creeks and rivers that gather in the Fraser River waters. The Fraser River travels through the cities and towns of  Williams Lake, Prince George, Lillooet, and Lytton down through the Fraser Canyon and then the Fraser Valley through Hope, Chilliwack, Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and finally to Richmond and Vancouver where it flows into the Strait of Georgia between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

 This River has a rich history from Gold rush days, Native fisheries and transportation.  Floating log booms to the mills is a old tradition on the river. The Fraser widens and narrows and is wild in some places and can have rapids and is dangerous. There are brave people who traverse these rapids and make a living from the river. The Salmon reigns supreme during the big salmon spawning runs.  Fishing  is restricted to openings to keep salmon population high. Sport fishing for Sturgeon and Salmon along the river are popular past times. Fishing is mostly catch and release unless there is a fishery opening.

Baked Salmon

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Baked Salmon

Salmon Stuffing

1-2 lb      whole Salmon-cleaned, head and tail removed.
300 g       bread crumbs
1           bunch parsley finely chopped
2           lemons 1 for zest and 1 garnish
            salt & pepper to taste
1/4         butter or margarine
            Foil 
            water to moisten bread crumbs, 
            save bit of parsley for garnish

In a bowl place bread crumbs,  lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper, and butter.  Mix by hand until well distributed through out the bread crumbs.  Depending on how moist the crumbs are add a tablespoon of water and mix again by hand and repeat until stuffing is moist and holds lightly together.  Stuff inside of salmon belly and wrap in foil.  You can skewer together or sew together salmon belly once stuffing is inserted.  Bake at 350 F for 45 min to 1 hr depending on size of salmon. This can be done in the middle of the oven or on the BBQ placing Salmon on top shelf of BBQ.  Salmon should be flaky and moist when done.  Place on platter and garnish with lemon slices and parsley. ~ENJOY!

Nothing is more satifying that sitting around a campfire.

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50 of the Greatest Campfire Songs EVER!

1. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
2. Let It Be – The Beatles
3. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
4. Time of your Life – Green Day
5. Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan
6. Our House – Crosby, Still Nash & Young
7. Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House
8. Something Inside so Strong – Labi Siffre
9. Love Song – The Cure
10. True Colours – Cyndi Lauper
11. Hotel California -The Eagles
12. In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley
13. Leaving On A Jet Plane – Frank Sinatra
14. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) – Harry Belafonte
15. Fire and Rain – James Taylor
16. Hallelujah – John Cale
17. Working Class Hero – John Lennon
18. Take me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
19. Wandering Star – Lee Marvin
20. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas
21.Redemption Song – Joe Strummer & Johnny Cash
22. Talkin’ About a Revolution – Tracy Chapman
23. Daydream Believer – The Monkees
24. Down in Albion – Baby Shambles
25. Forever In Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond
26. Only Love Can Break Your Heart – Neil Young
27. Come As You Are – Nirvana
28. (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
29. Baby, I Love your Way – Peter Frampton
30. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
31. Dirty Old Town – The Pogues
32. King of the Road – The Proclaimers
33. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
34. Killing Me Softly With His Song – Roberta Flack
35. Vincent – Don McLean
36. Handbags and Gladrags – Rod Stewart
37. Wonderwall – Ryan Adams
38. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head – Sacha Distel
39. New Slang – The Shins
40. Mrs. Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
41. There is a Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
42. Grazed Knees – Snow Patrol
43. Lost In Hollywood – System of a Down
44. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations
45. Africa – Toto
46. Handle with Care – Traveling Wilburys
47. All I Want Is You – U2
48. Island in the Sun. – Weezer
49. She’s Not There – The Zombies
50. There She Goes – The Las

Please feel free to comment and add your favorite to the list.

The Vintage Swimwear Special

Wow, Love these bathing suits. Vintage all the way.

Roxy Vintage Style

Vintage Style SwimsuitsWhen I lived in Sydney I built up quite the collection of vintage style swimwear.

A 1950s bathing suit is the beach equivalent of a wiggle dress. An outfit in itself, it’s flattering and feminine, especially on women with curves. I love ones with halter necklines for complete cleavage control – it’s hard to pull off seaside chic when one boob is making a break for freedom.

For the journey to my sunbaking spot I just pull on a pair of Tara Starlet high-waisted shorts, a floral headscarf and some giant sunglasses to complete the fifties vibe.

I do own a couple of bikinis bought in moments of extreme optimism, but I always go back to my one-pieces. Who wants to be suffering midriff-related anxiety when they’re trying to relax on holiday?

If you’re looking for the genuine article I recommend Glamour Surf or Etsy. Most of the vintage originals are expensive but…

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