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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

My Go-to Soup and a good salad

   Two or three times a week I whip up this, so-easy soup that is full of nutrition, and James likes it too!

Carrot Lentil Soup

1 large or two small carrots, peeled and grated
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbspn. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lentils
1 tspn. each turmeric and curry powder
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Brown onion in olive oil until softened, add celery, carrots, lentils, turmeric and curry powder. Stir until coated with oil and cook 5 minutes. Add stock and adjust seasoning. Cook for 40 mins. or until all vegetables are tender and lentils are cooked.

   I just treated myself to a delicious small salad while my leftover roast chicken and veggies is heating up. The salad is so easy - half a leftover, overripe avocado, in chunks, small cubes of cucumber and half a dozen small shrimp,  which I took from the freezer twenty minutes ago and chopped into three pieces each, all on a bed of lettuce. The dressing was easy too - some lemon juice, a squirt of mustard and balsamic vinegar, and the oil that the sundried tomatoes were stored in, whisked together. You could use EVO oil. Then toss everything in a bowl (I used the bowl I mixed the dressing in). Try to keep everything roughly the same size for a nice presentation. Oh, and I added some goat cheese because the very ripe avocado and the goat cheese had much the same texture. Delicious!

Monday, 29 April 2013

News of the Day

   A dreary drizzly day. James is sick so I have the day to myself. Hopped on my bike between rain showers to get my tax return in the mail. Put up a poster at the tennis courts regarding the Thursday social (weather permitting!) and had a guy in to paint the upstairs landing which was peeling badly - it now looks great and there is a ton of paint left for me to freshen up the rest of the door trims and woodwork around the house. Much accomplished!!

   I am reading a great detective mystery at the moment and can barely put it down. It's "A Question of Identity" by Susan Hill. I had to return "Cloud Atlas" unfinished for the second time as it was due back. I'm barely a third of the way through it but want to read it before I buy the movie. It was so hard to follow that I'm hoping reading the book will help clarify some of the confusions I had.

   Monday dance group tonight and, I guess, more discussion about whether to postpone or continue with the Christmas Dance. I have changed my opinion, based on last week's discussion, as I feel if we postpone it this year, it will never happen, then we would lose the deposit. Better to hold it and suffer a small loss than be out $500. I will try to bring others round to my side!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Forsythia.......finally


   My forsythia has been taking its own sweet time to bloom but, finally, the blossoms started to open yesterday. I had brought in a few canes last week to force indoors but now they are all at the same stage, thanks to our recent warmer days. By next week it will be a brilliant yellow. It is sad that the blossoms last only a few days and then the bush reverts to green for the remainder of the year. One year I pruned it quite heavily in the Fall (it does tend to get rather straggly) and the next Spring had no blossoms at all!

   Dancing last night and attended the AGM of the RSCDS at the intermission. Great dances that we all enjoyed but a smaller than usual crowd - didn't quite make it to 100. There was a reception beforehand for the volunteers and coordinators of the various committees to which I was invited. Wine and cheese, vegetable and fruit platters were served. This is the last monthly dance until the Fall but we do still have a couple of other events - the West End Ball in May and the White Heather Ball in June. After that I will take a break from dancing and concentrate on golf and tennis!
 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Fish Pie

   Trying to stay ahead of food before it expires is a constant problem in my small household. The other day I needed to use up several ingredients that were left over from my latest cooking attempt. This resulted in a fairly successful new recipe of my own invention. I did photograph the result but seem to have deleted it prematurely. Nevertheless, here's the recipe, as far as I can remember it. It was one of those concoctions where you keep adding different flavours and can't quite recall exactly what went in!

Fish Pie (for want of a better name)

1 basa or other firm fleshed fish fillett
12 small or 6 large shrimp
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cremini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup green peas
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 can coconut milk, thinned to pouring consistency with milk
1tbspn. tomato paste
1 tsp each curry powder and garam masala
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper
1 tsp. corn starch
2 cups potatoes, cubed (I used small red potatoes, skins left on)
1 tspn. crushed garlic
4 oz. goat cheese
Milk as required for mashed potatoes

Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil until soft. Add coconut milk, tomato paste, curry powder, garam masala, salt and pepper. Stir well until bubbling, then reduce heat to simmer. Chop fish into chunks and add to pan. Cook until fish becomes opaque, about 5 minutes. Create a slurry with the corn starch and a couple of tspns. water, add to sauce and stir until sauce thickens.   Add shrimp and cook another 5 minutes. Add peas and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to a deep casserole.

   Cook potatoes in salted water until tender, drain and dry off on warm burner. Mash and beat in garlic, goat cheese and a little milk to make a smooth consistency. Spoon on top of fish and smooth to cover, then create some peaks for browning. Dot with butter. Place under broiler until slightly browned.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

A Day Out

   A sunny day and getting warmer, but I spent it indoors at the Scarborough Golf and Country Club. The event was RTO's annual lunch and travelogue. It started with a glass of wine and conversation, followed by roast chicken and a very yummy chocolate mousse cake. Coffee was on the table as the room was prepared for the travelogue - a visit to Germany - the lights were dimmed and we sat back to be transported to the Bavarian countryside.

   The presenter was knowledgeable and entertaining as we "virtually" visited the many cities and towns that line the rivers of this interesting country. The antiquity of some of the buildings surprised me; the Baroque period was well represented as were the Middle Ages with many timbered buildings that have either been preserved in their original state or. accurately reconstructed. My favourite was a castle built by one of the Prussian princes to resemble Versailles in France.

   No housework achieved today, as I needed a nap when I got home. Also, no need to cook dinner as I am sure I will still be stuffed from lunch! I will potter in the garden for an hour or two but mostly just admiring the new growth and other signs of Spring. I love these little tulips, which still have to open completely, as they are usually the first tulips to appear, probably because they are in a warm, sunny spot.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Dreary Day

   It has rained pretty well all day and curtailed our activities - no park or strolls to the shops. We did manage to the play group where James reached a new level of participation by requesting his favourite song and doing all the actions  for "Shake your wiggles out". Unfortunately this tired him out so much he fell asleep while I prepared lunch. We went ahead with lunch (one of his favourites, sausages) with little hope of getting him to sleep again. Nothing daunted, I had him upstairs by 1:15 and he surprised me by falling asleep after 2 stories and a song. A successful afternoon!

   The tax return turned out as I expected with a hefty sum to pay the government. This result came from a combination of factors. Hopefully, this is a one time occurrence and next year I will be back to paying just a small sum at tax time. Luckily I have been putting aside enough to cover the bill.

  I am about to try out a new recipe tonight - or rather, a combination of recipes to use up ingredients that are about to expire. It's a fish pie, made with coconut milk left over from last week's curried chicken, which I will cover with a mashed potato and goat cheese topping  broiled to toasty goodness. I'll throw in some vegetables just to keep me well nourished!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Tax Time

   I just remembered that tax returns have to be submitted in 8 days, so James and I walked down to the post office to pick up the forms. This is the first year that the forms have not been mailed out which is why It had escaped my notice that the deadline was fast approaching. Tomorrow will be spent trying to round up documents and figure out the bad news. Ever since I retired I have always had to pay more tax, rather than getting a refund, since I have the minimum amount deducted from my pension (I'd rather keep the money until the last possible moment). Years in which I have worked a substantial number of days, the discrepancy has been quite considerable, but, in 2012 I hardly worked at all so shouldn't have too big a bill.
   James spent most of the day outside today and got a little blush on his cheeks - time to break out the sun screen! We were at the park until 12:30 and then he was out in the back yard again after lunch. He just did not want to come inside and it took me until 2:00 p.m. to settle him for his nap. However, he did sleep well and woke bright and refreshed at 3:30.

   Dance group tonight and we had a big discussion as to whether we should hold the annual Christmas Dance in December. Seemingly there is a conflict with another group who are planning an event just 10 days before ours. We may have to postpone our dance until next year, since both dances would draw from the same participants. To cancel it completely would mean losing the deposit. There are many reasons, pro and con, to be considered. We have to decide before our last night in May. I voted to go ahead with our event but many are undecided as of yet.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Two Cool Days

Just when I thought we had turned the corner on the seasons, the weather gods have proved who's in charge. Although the weekend has been bright and sunny, the temperature has barely reached positive numbers. Saturday morning we woke to snow on the rooftops, today was equally chilly but at least dry. No tennis yet!

   Thankfully the few flowers that are up have survived the chilly nights and some more are trying to bloom. My one forsythia bush is close to flowering, just needs a couple of warm days. Rhubarb and asparagus have also appeared; in fact I will have to keep a close eye on the asparagus shoots as they can go from "ready to pick" to "past their before date" in what seems like a couple of hours!

   Last demo team practice this afternoon - no more until September. We have one more demo this week and Keith took us through most of the dances today. It's at a Senior's residence and luckily the old dears don't usually notice if we get the steps mixed up.

Friday, 19 April 2013

The New Recipe

   A couple of months ago I got a recipe for Butter Chicken which I make frequently. But I now have another great recipe that comes, via the Internet, from Janet and Greta Podloski, the "Looney Spoons"  writers. It's also Indian based and uses chicken thighs which I almost always have in the freezer.

Coconut Curry Chicken

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tsps. minced garlic
1 tbsp. each grated ginger root, curry powder and garam masala
1 can light coconut milk
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsps. brown sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups peeled, diced sweet potato
1 cup green peas

Brown chicken pieces on both sides. Cook onions until softened, add ginger root, garlic, curry powder and garam masala. Mix well. Add rest of ingredients down to salt. Cook and stir until bubbling. Stir in sweet potatoes. Return chicken, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Add green peas and cook another 5 minutes.

Note: I left the chicken pieces whole and kept them in the pan while I cooked and added the other ingredients. You can also cut the chicken into small pieces. I also added a cornstarch and water slurry (1 tsp. cornstarch and 3 tsps. water) just before the peas and cooked, stirring, until the sauce thickened. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Ahh, Spring....

   A gorgeous day today. James and I  were out by 9:30, first to the Play Group until 11:00, then on the way home making a detour to the park. I could not get him to leave. He was (variously) rolling down the hill (yes, the very one where I broke my leg chasing him last fall!), riding the swings (he can now stay on by himself), scaling the climber, or coming down the slide. It was well after 12:00 when we got home so lunch was somewhat delayed.

   Yesterday with the grandkids turned out well. Judy had left a dinner they all liked, crispy chicken legs baked in the oven, with  steamed broccoli. They each would eat only one broccoli "tree", but filled up on raw vegetables and hummus dip. That was completely demolished! Dessert was butterscotch ice cream and cookies. They showed me where the ice cream was kept and assured me it was OK to have some. I had my doubts but forbidden treats are a grandmother's speciality!

   Bath and bedtime seemed to take for ages but finally all were clean, teeth brushed (almost forgot that one), read to (a different story for each), and tucked in. No fussing or complaining so, all in all, a successful evening. However, I am glad I only do this occasionally!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dashing here....dashing there

   No time for a proper post - it has been one of these days when I didn't need to think of something to keep me busy.

   I was up at 7:30 and out the door by 8:15 to a teaching assignment. Very mild but rainy. I had a lovely MID class of just 4 students and an Educational  Assistant. One on two isn't a bad ratio! I would gladly go back there. Basically all I had to do was read them a story, talk about it and take them through an activity. They knew the class routines very well and were quite independent on most things. There was one high-functioning autistic student but even he managed to cope well with a new face in the classroom. An easy morning.

   Stopped in at the garden centre on the way home and picked up some pansies for my porch planter, and onion sets to get in the garden on the next nice day. A quick lunch then back on the road to the Tennis Centre for a meeting with the volunteer captain to discuss any improvements we need to make for the summer tournament. Back home by 4:00 p.m. Now I am off to the suburbs to spend the evening with the grandkids while the parents take in a show. I hope they are well behaved (the kids, not the parents). More on that tomorrow.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Finally Out in the Garden

   Lots to do in the garden on this first day of no snow and milder temperatures. It was 6C when I got up and James and I were off to the park by 9:00 a.m. A little bit breezy so we didn't stay long. I had promised him a picnic so he had it on the front porch, which is quite sheltered and sunny in the morning, while I started raking the debris off the grass.

   By lunch time all the grass, front and back, was raked, except for a strip on the north side of the house where the ground is still somewhat frozen. We even had time for hide-and-seek and a quick tidy up of the deck. An extra pair of hands are always helpful!

You can see it is still "hat" weather but the gloves are off. Flowers are beginning to appear. This hyacinth is actually in the vegetable patch. Blame those pesky squirrels again!  



Both of us slept this afternoon - all that fresh air and exercise after a winter spent indoors, I guess.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

First Time at the Courts

   The sun woke me this morning and, although the temperature was in the single digits, I decided the time had come to see if I still had it to survive on the tennis courts. I'd had a late night as Margaret had a little party at her house after last night's dance so was a bit slow getting going. I puttered around hoping the sun would warm things up then headed out on my bike.

   No one else was at the tennis courts and I had forgotten the lock combination, so I continued down to Starbucks for a late breakfast. When I got back, six hardy souls were just getting going so I joined Stuart and Sue on Court 3. Since we didn't have a foursome, we just hit back and forth. By then clouds were blowing in and the wind was from the north. I never did get my gloves off but the activity kept me reasonably warm.

    After 40 minutes I'd had enough but was satisfied with my ability to keep up with the others, so headed home. Better to stop while you're ahead! I still had time to fix a pot of soup (my usual carrot and lentil) and have a short nap before lunch. Then it was off to Broadlands for 2 hours of dancing with the demo team. Keith really worked us hard, step practice and some new dances.  All in all, I feel I've had a good amount of exercise today. Tomorrow I will take it easy with James!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A New Recipe

Slept in this morning but after that, just a regular Saturday. Did a load of washing and, after a relax with the Saturday paper, set off to do the weekly shopping. I didn't seem to have used up much this week so had a reasonably small list - mostly fruit and vegetables with a few staples.

   I found a recipe on line yesterday (thanks Judy, it was a "Loony Spoons" recipe that you recommended) for Indian chicken thighs that I will try this week. It required Garam Masala which I didn't have, so went to the bulk food store where I was able to get it. Other than that, everything I needed was in the supermarket. A successful trip!

   It's the April Monthly dance tonight so I won't eat any supper - they always have a nice spread. Marilyn and I are manning the "50-50 Draw" table so will get there a bit early to set up. We practiced some of the dances last night at Wendy's class so I feel quite confident that I have a reasonable chance of dancing them without mistakes. Will have a quick look through them before I leave.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Bacony delights

   Still miserable weather here with ice rain this morning necessitating de-icing the car before going out (Judy, you lucked out on taking today off - hope you managed a sleep-in). At least now the temperature has risen a few degrees and the snow and ice are disappearing.

   Almost forgot to head out yesterday evening for the "Everything's Better with Bacon"  workshop, so much so that I actually ate dinner, albeit a light one. Our host and chef was, incongruously, Jewish and spent some time extolling the virtues of bacon. I didn't actually see her eat any, although she did sample the food as she cooked. She started off by showing us a neat trick to prepare bacon for a salad which was the first course. She called it "Pig Candy" and it's basically bacon rashers dusted with brown sugar and spices, then baked on a rack in a 350F oven. It was such an unusual taste that I can't really describe it, but it was tasty on top of a spinach salad. The salad also had bacon in the vinaigrette, so that course was doubly bacon blessed.

   Next up was Toffee Bacon Shortbread - a very light shortbread mix with toffee bits and crumbled bacon blended in. The combination of sweet and savoury was magical and this is one recipe that I will definitely tackle. It would make a super Christmas treat or hostess gift and was not at all difficult - requires very little prep. but needs some time in the freezer to firm up. By the time it was ready I was so full that I brought it home and will savour it sparingly!

    The last course she prepared was Risotto with Pancetta, Peas and Seared Sea Scallops. I thought I knew how to cook risotto but I soon learned some very valuable tips for making it perfect. Preparing and cooking the scallops was a revelation (did you know that you should NEVER buy fresh scallops unless you are right at the boat as they come ashore?) Seemingly in the store they are kept in some sort of chemical bath to preserve them. Always buy frozen and cook straight from the freezer. The bacon flavour was provided by the pancetta which I rarely buy but will now keep on hand for additional flavour in many dishes. Peas I always have in the freezer!

   The risotto was creamy but just a bit more "al dente" than I like it. However, the flavour imparted by the white wine, butter and parmesan cheese made up for the  firmer texture. Along the way, as Elise stirred and stirred and stirred the risotto, we heard anecdotes from her career as a chef and cooking teacher, got all our questions answered and were entertained by her humourous stories. I managed to consume all my portion of risotto but it was a struggle. Something simple for dinner tonight, methinks!   

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Snow in April

taken April 11th.
   The unthinkable happened this morning - snow, and not just a few flakes! It started out as rain, then became freezing rain. By the time I was heading out to work (luckily fairly close) it was a combination of hail and snow, quite crunchy underfoot but becoming mushy in places. It snowed pretty well all morning, much to the excitement of the kids, but had pretty well turned to rain by the time I set out for my afternoon assignment.

   By now (2C) it is only lying on the grass and boulevards. The roads are reasonably clear so driving isn't a problem. I am sure by tomorrow it will be all gone.

    I am headed out for a cooking demonstration in an hour ("Everything's Better With Bacon" - sounds yummy), but will have a bite to eat (and a glass of wine) before I go in case they don't feed us till quite late. I never have much bacon in the house but, if I knew some new and original ways to use it, I might indulge occasionally.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Marmalade

   While shopping in the local hardware store the other day for a new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (see last week's post "Today's Excitement), I happened across an exciting new cookbook which I couldn't resist, especially as it was on sale for $13!

    "The Complete Book of Preserves and Pickles: jams, jellies, chutneys and relishes"  - all things I like to have on hand to spice up a meal. It's a beautiful, full colour book with many inviting recipes and I couldn't wait to get it home and try something.

    My  first attempt was quite successful - lemon and ginger marmalade. I happened to have a couple of large lemons kicking about and in three hours, with very little effort, I had two jars of tart, juicy marmalade. It was nearly a disaster, though. While the marmalade was coming close to the setting point (a crucial and exact temperature of 220 degrees F) and I was cleaning up, I cut my finger on the very sharp knife I had used to slice the lemons!

    Soon blood was dripping on everything so I had to rush for a couple of band aids. By the time I had staunched the flow, the marmalade was almost 300 degrees, so it is a very stiff mixture but still completely palatable. It is described as a tart, slightly bitter recipe and lives up to its description.  

   I can't wait to try some of the chutneys and relishes. Already I have had someone recommend two of the chutneys (thanks, Sue) and will add the required ingredients to my shopping list this weekend.

  BTW, my cut finger was not as bad as it looked at first and is healing nicely.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

April Showers.....

.......bring May flowers. It's not May yet but the flowers are appearing. We had a humungous storm last night as I was returning from my Monday night dance group. In fact the storm started with a huge clap of thunder in the middle of the last dance, the lights went out and the alarm went off, scaring us all to death!

   I drove home in torrential rain with the wipers going furiously, and lightning bouncing all around. The spray from the trucks on the highway was like being dunked underwater but I made it home in one piece.

   However, the upside is that the grass and borders got a good drink and should show results if we have a few warm days. Haven't had to cut the grass yet but will have to start raking it shortly, now that the snow is all gone. These little blue flowers seem to have sprung up overnight but you can see in the background the daffodils are still a ways from blooming. I wish I knew their name as I can't remember planting them. Maybe the squirrels again?

Monday, 8 April 2013

At the Pool

   I took James swimming this morning to the local indoor pool. He was somewhat reluctant at first - we just went to see the other kids playing but no one was there except for the ladies doing aquafit. Once we were inside he was quite willing to get changed, get his "floaties" on and splash on the edge. The water was wonderfully warm in the paddling pool (sometimes it's a bit on the cool side) so it wasn't long until he was all the way in and splashing like mad! He was soon blowing bubbles and practising his kick while I twirled him around and he had his floaties off for most of the visit.

   We didn't stay too long - better to leave while he's still having fun - so we were back home in time to get the soup cooking for lunch. Just my usual, carrot and lentil, but he had worked up quite an appetite and had a big helping. His eyes were drooping by the time lunch was over so it took only minutes to get him settled for his nap. I had to waken him two hours later, so I had plenty of time for a nap myself and a few cleaning up chores. Hope he sleeps tonight!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sunday Dancing

   A lovely day today, really the first that truly felt like Spring. The temperature was already 12C when I checked this morning and proceeded to rise all afternoon, to 16C. We had a rain shower in the morning but the skies cleared around noon. It's overcast now and more rain is forecast this week, but that will just get things growing.
   
   This afternoon was "Shiftin' Bobbins" celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the founding of RSCDS (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society). A Tea Dance was held and we have been practising the dances all week. Some were fairly straightforward but there were a couple of tricky ones. Luckily I had helpful partners and managed to acquit myself adequately!  My favourites were "Bratach Bana" and "McLeod's Fancy", both lively reels. We also danced a new strathspey which one of the group had devised, called "Ladies of Berkau" which is a beautiful dance with an original tune.

   Everyone brought snacks so we had a nice feed at the interval, sweet and savoury; sandwiches, cheese and crackers, scones, bars and cookies. Dancing certainly gives one an appetite!  Of course, I overdid the nibbling.  In fact, I still wasn't hungry when I got home around 5:00, so just had some fruit and yoghurt for dinner. Hope that holds me until breakfast tomorrow!
  

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Last of the Snow

   I sincerely hope this is the last photo I will post that contains snow! Rain is forecast for the next few days so should clean things up and start the garden growing.

   This photo was taken a few days ago and the pile has diminished somewhat since then. James has been helping it along by shovelling it into his Tonka dump truck and spraying it across the pool cover.

    I am waiting impatiently to see some signs of growth in my forsythia which should be blooming by now. One hyacinth is on the brink of flowering and the daffodils just need a few more days and some rain to be in bloom. Meanwhile I have my beautiful lily to admire and relish!


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Today's Excitement

   I was woken up at 2:30 this morning with my fire alarm "chirping". This is the technical term for the signal you get that the battery needs to be replaced. In a groggy daze I popped out the battery and stumbled back to bed. Come morning it occurred to me that I had replaced the battery quite recently so it might have been a "bleep" rather than a "chirp". Sure enough, when I reinserted the battery I got a continuous "bleep, pause, bleep". This is the signal that carbon monoxide levels are elevated, and warnings on the alarm told me that carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and Fatal ! Panic stations! I popped out the battery again as it was really loud, and headed for the phone.

   As I was still alive and this wasn't really an emergency, I tried to find out who could check the CO levels in my house. After a prolonged search, I finally managed to contact our local fire station. Can you believe their phone number isn't in the directory? The receptionist was very calm, told me to leave my house and they would be there in 5 minutes which, in itself, was rather scary. I assumed they would send one guy with a monitor. But, nooo, they sent a fire truck - I could hear the siren as they raced through my nearest intersection. By this time I had reinserted the battery and, lo and behold, the bleeping had stopped!

   Feeling completely foolish at this point, I had to explain to two burly fireman in full kit, and their supervisor that, yes, It really had been "bleeping", not "chirping". They checked the CO levels throughout the house and all were normal. That at least is reassuring. They also advised me to replace the alarm (it's well over 10 years old) and went on their way. Another embarrassing experience!

  

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Some new plants...I hope


    I have kept these plants flowering over the winter. I think they are a type of impatiens. In fact, this planter has been going for several years now. But, over the winter they have become increasingly "leggy" so it is time to take some cuttings from the tallest ones. Hence the photo as a "before" picture. I have another planter that completely died down recently so will prepare for the new cuttings once they grow some roots. I have found this to be a rather hit and miss process - sometimes the cuttings produce healthy roots but sometimes they just die. It usually takes two to three weeks. Once the weather warms up, towards the end of May, they will go outside to the front porch and add a nice touch of colour to my front entrance.



   James is sleeping at the moment. His naps are also rather "hit or miss" now but he went down fairly easily today, after a fretful twenty minutes. He certainly is a lot easier to live with if he has had a nap. It only took two books and one song before I was able to leave him. Time to get him up so that he is ready to leave with Judy in a half-hour.