STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Friday, August 31, 2012

Freezer Pickles!

Friday! Already! The days are flying by so quickly; the weather has changed and it's really starting to feel like summer's end. The humidity is gone (let's hope for good!), the nights are getting cooler...yep it's starting to feel like that four letter F word...Fall!
It's been another very busy week here. Pickles, pies, putting tomatoes in the freezer, a batch of spaghetti sauce made, divided and frozen for the kiddos, a trip to SJ to set up Mark's kitchen... it just goes on and on. I think I might roast a turkey tomorrow, then I can get turkey soup made for M and L as well before they both leave.... And the cukes in the garden are calling my name, guess I'll have to get my Lady Ashburnham pickles done sometime this weekend too. And of course I have to get back to Kings Landing for another visit - it's Ag Fair weekend after all....
Speaking of pickles - have you ever heard of Freezer Pickles? Me either! Freezer jam, yes. Freezer pickles, no. I came across the recipe on Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a great Blog with wonderful recipes. Since it makes a small batch (4 pints), and the cucumbers were there for the taking, what's a girl got to lose? Only the cost of the sugar and vinegar... so I decided to give them a try. I figure it's an experiment and if they're not great, well it hasn't been a big investment of time or money. So, although I don't usually put a recipe on here unless it's tried and true, I'm stepping out on a limb with this one! They are SO quick and easy, I thought if some of you have an excess of cukes like I do, you might want to try them too. So, although I can't "guarantee" this recipe, as mine are in the freezer and I'll wait at least a month before I open the first bottle, here you go:

Freezer Pickles

8 cups sliced cucumbers, leave the peel on (sliced about 1/8" thick)
2 green peppers, sliced (optional. I omitted these and added thinly sliced onion instead)
3 tablespoons pickling salt
ice cubes

Syrup:
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wash and slice cukes. I cut mine about 1/8" thick. Sprinkle with salt, stir to distribute well. Cover with ice cubes and place in refrigerator for 3 hours. Drain and rinse well with cold water, drain again. I added the onions at this point.
Place ingredients for syrup in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers and let cool. Fill containers leaving at least 1/2" headspace. (I used mason jars, sterilizing them as usual for pickling, but you could use whatever containers you normally use for freezing). Place in freezer. For serving, remove from freezer to thaw, and enjoy!
Yield: about 4 pints

Easy Peasy!!  I will definitely let you know how they taste when I open the first jar. I'm hoping they do stay crisp as the recipe writer promised!!

I see I now have passed 100 Followers!! Yippee! I seemed to be stuck forever at 94 followers, and then in about a week I gained 8 new following friends!! Welcome to you all. As promised I will be having a Giveaway to celebrate! Still pondering what the "prize" will be, but I'll let you know very soon. Stay tuned!

Peace,
Linda

Good Moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

THE BEST Coconut Cream Pie ever!!!

It's time for another recipe. Yesterday was pickle making day (more on that later) and today was pie day! Each August I do one fresh blueberry pie for hubby before the rest of the blueberries go into the freezer, so I figured if I was going to do one pie I may as well do two. I had promised a Coconut Cream Pie to a friend a while back and after tasting it tonight, they gave it the seal of approval.
So I thought I'd share the recipe with you as it is slightly different than the "usual" Coconut Cream Pie. Instead of pastry it is made with an oatmeal crust and the usual meringue is replaced with whipped cream. So if you don't feel like doing pastry or you can't get the hang of meringue, this is the pie for you! This recipe came from my Aunt Gwenn years ago.

Scotch Coconut Cream Pie

Crust:
1 cup regular rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
Mix together above ingredients until mixture becomes crumbly. Pack firmly into bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 9" pie plate. Bake at 375°F for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.

Filling:
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut
Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and eggs in a double boiler. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. (It thickens and goes lumpy very quickly if you don't stir constantly). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and coconut. Let cool, then pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate while you prepare the topping.

Topping:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
coconut, toasted

Toast coconut under broiler, watching constantly (see tip below). Set aside to cool. Whip the cream, then stir in sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooled pie filling and top with toasted coconut. Refrigerate until serving time.

Now - a couple of tips for you. The first one relates directly to the pie above. When toasting coconut, watch it very carefully so it does not burn. Burned coconut smells exactly like skunk!! I learned this lesson the first time I made this pie many years ago... It's NOT a smell you want filling your house!!

The second tip is for making regular pie pastry. I always use a decent amount of flour on my counter where I roll out the pastry, to prevent it from sticking to the counter or the rolling pin. But you don't want that excess flour to stay on your pastry. So as I roll it up on the rolling pin, I brush off the excess flour with my mushroom brush! Then I just unroll the pastry onto the pieplate or onto the top of the pie. Works like a charm!

Peace,
Linda

Enjoy life - it has an expiration date!

Monday, August 27, 2012

To have and to hold...

Proud parents Wendy and Grant

I thought you might like to see a few photos from Emily and Brad's wedding. Brad is the younger son of my good friend Wendy, and I've known him since he was a wee boy. Wendy and I have been friends for 40 years (!!) I know, I know - you're probably in shock because you didn't think I was even 40 yet, did you?! ha. Wendy and I became friends at university and despite being on opposite coasts most of our adult life, have remained close. She and her hubby Grant are both retired from the RCMP now and have just finished building a beautiful retirement home about an hour from here. This was the site of Brad's wedding. Emily and I have become good friends as well, through Choir.





She has a beautiful soprano voice and joined the Fredericton Ladies Choir several years ago. So I felt close to both the bride and groom - how lucky am I!
It was a lovely wedding. Small, very simple, just what the couple wanted. The day was perfect- warm sunshine, a little breeze, not too hot. BOTH bride and groom were radiant - you could clearly see their love for each other. Brad was glowing just as much as Emily was! I didn't take a lot of photos but did get a few good ones, I think. Emily's dress was not the typical white wedding gown but I loved it. Isn't it beautiful?
Best Wishes Brad and Em for a long happy healthy life together!! Thanks for including us in your special day!


Peace,
Linda

"I wished for nothing beyond her smile, and to walk with her thus, hand in hand, along a sun-warmed, flower-bordered path." ~ Andre Gide

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Day Has Come...

Today's date has been circled on our calendar for quite some time now for two "events". Firstly it is Brad and Emily's wedding day and I have been trying to grow copious amounts of flowers for bouquets. Well... they did grow, but I failed a little on the "copious amounts" aspect....
Secondly Mark has been looking forward to today.. He finished work yesterday and left at noon with two of his best buds for 6 days in Vegas! Oh to be young and carefree and think you have money!
The Three Amigos - Drew, Luke and Mark
How that boy loves to give his mother grey hair.... I just hope they come home safe. No blog this time, but I'm sure he'll come home with lots of interesting stories.. Of course, I may not hear many of them.. you know what they say- what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

Back to the flowers... we knew it was a "gamble".. we planted 125 Gladiola bulbs and two rows of Cosmos seeds, in hopes that they would burst into full bloom right at the correct time (THIS week). However it has been a very hot dry summer and we all know that you cannot control Mother Nature. She
has her own ideas, obviously. And I guess she decided not to co-operate fully. Yes we did get some blooms but not the number I was hoping for... Despite my best efforts with lots of watering, it's just not the same as rainfall. I cut 13 gladiola spikes this morning and only got a small handful of Cosmos. However it looks like there'll be LOTS of blooms NEXT week...  Go figure!
So, I called on several of my friends with gardens and armed with clippers last evening, I went "collecting". (Many thanks, Barb and Sue!!) Everyone's gardens are coming to an end at this time of the summer, especially after so little rain, but I think I did well. Here is my "haul" in buckets, ready to make the one hour trip to the wedding site. The FOG (that's Father OGroom) picked them up this a.m. and I'm sure by now they are combined with those from other gardens and all beautifully arranged and in place, waiting for the ceremony to begin. You can be sure I'll be taking lots of photos. It's a beautiful day - picture perfect in fact. Sunny, but with a bit of a breeze. The perfect combination. Just like Brad and Emily.



Peace and Love,
Linda

For the Bride and Groom - May all the love two hearts can hold be yours through a wonderful life together.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sturbridge Visit



My first visit to Old Sturbridge Village was when I was 11 or 12 years old, I think.  I can clearly
remember that autumn visit with my parents. Obviously it made an impression on me, likely I had never experienced a "living history museum" before. My next visit was last spring... uhhhh, we won't say how many years later that is, okay? I did remember parts of it, and some of the buildings. (The human brain, and memory, is an amazing thing, isn't it?) You can read about last year's visit here and here.







So when daughter Laura, History lover and Kings Landing addict, asked if we could take a quick trip there on her few days off, how could I say No? Besides, we were due for a little bit of "girl time", and of course you can always throw in a little shopping to sweeten the deal... (see me winking?) It was very quickly planned, reservations made for three nights, a stop at the bank for some US cash and we were off. It worked out well for us to share lunch with my friend Susan and drop off her beloved Canadian maple syrup on our way down. That was a bonus, for sure! (C'mon up for "Lobstah" anytime Susan!!) Read Susan's latest post here about what she was doing (!!!) while we were driving merrily on....

After a night in Salem NH, we hit the Interstate and Mass. Turnpike, covering the last miles quickly, arriving not long after opening time. We spent the entire day, and what a beautiful day it was - sunny skies, perfect warm temps, not a drop of the predicted rain did we see!

Luck was with us! We covered the entire village, visiting every building, and talked with many of the costumed staff. We found many similarities to Kings Landing, but also some differences. The time period is similar - OSV represents early New England from 1790-1840 and KL is the re-creation of a United Empire Loyalist "village" of the 1800's, with buildings spanning 1780-1910. Although OSV has things that KL doesn't ( a tinsmith, potter and cobbler), KL has more interpretive staff in their buildings.
I think what  impressed us both the most was the number  of interactive aspects of OSV. There were games you could play on your own (Graces, Hoop and Stick and stilts), and a number of  guessing games (identifying artifacts and equipment, facts about "then vs. now", etc.) There was even a life-size very realisitic "cow" that children could  try to milk ( however it gave water rather than milk!) Laura took lots of "mental notes" to suggest ways KL could improve...  All in all it was well worth the trip/visit.

Living history museums such as these are, in my mind, more important than ever to teach the modern generation about what life was like in the past and bring history alive in a fun way.  Attendance is declining each year at both of these wonderful attractions.. why don't you plan a visit?


Peace,
Linda

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
~ Marcus Garvey




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Latest Reads...

It's been a while since I've done a book review. Guess that's because I haven't had much time to read lately. But you can be sure I always have a book on the go, and since my last post about books, I have finished three: Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
I enjoyed Sonoma Rose, as I always do Chiaverini's books, but I didn't like it as much as her Elm Creek Quilts series. I won this book in a blog giveaway back in late February (thanks again Janet Ann!!) so it's high time I got around to reading it. Set in Prohibition era America, it's the story of a young woman who decides to break away from her abusive husband for the safety of her children. The discovery that her husband is boot-legging is the final straw and she flees with her children and her precious heirloom quilts. With the help of her first love they escape to start a new life near San Fransisco, while trying to find medical help for two of her children who have a "mysterious disease". It's a good story- what I would describe as an "easy summer read"... I think I'll donate this book to my Guild's library to add to our Chiaverini collection. (Speaking of Giveaways, I see I have almost reached 100 Followers. [ Welcome newest Followers!!] When I reach 100, I think I should have a Giveaway to celebrate!! Stay tuned!)
Gone Girl was a disappointment, I think it has been highly over-rated. I did eventually get "hooked in" and kept reading just to see what would happen to this totally dysfunctional couple and their marriage, but I could not recommend this book. The ending was totally ridiculous and unrealistic. Fiction indeed!! I am no prude but I cannot see why an author has to try and see how many times she can put the "F word" on one page.. are there not enough other words in the English language for her to use??? Don't bother - there are too many other good books out there waiting to be read...
Like  The Art of Racing in the Rain!! Loved it!! Told from the prospective of the family dog, it's the story of family, love, loss and loyalty. You will feel a wide range of emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, compassion, etc.) and if you don't shed a tear or two, well, you're not paying attention!!  You'll learn a little about racing and a lot about how much a pet is a part of the family. I'm not a "dog person" but I don't think I'll ever look at a canine pet the same way again... A great read - put it on your list!
Next - our visit at Old Sturbridge Village (as soon as I edit more photos)... Hope the sun is shining where you are...

Peace,
Linda

"The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade." ~ Anthony Trollope


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday

As the summer wanes and we have not had any appreciable amount of rain in weeks, it's getting harder to find wildflowers worthy of this weekly post. Perhaps it's just that I have not had time the last few weeks to really "go looking".. but my looking this afternoon didn't turn up much. So what you're seeing today are just common ordinary "wildfower weeds"... nothing too exotic. My quest this afternoon  took me up the Old Springhill Road close to where I live; it's a rural road with a wonderful view over the Saint John River, looking upriver at what locals call "The Islands" - that being Sugar Island, Eqpahak Island, Hartt's Island, Big and Little Chokey Islands and Parsnip Island. I loved the clouds - so puffy and cotton candy-like. I just thought you might like to see the "setting" for today's flower photos.


As I was snapping away, I heard the distinctive dee-dee-dee of a killdeer, a member of the plover family, common on farmland. It didn't take me long to spot him with his black breastbands and his noisy call. He kept an eye on me as I walked along the pasture fence, seeing what I could find for wildflowers.

So what did I find today? Clockwise, from lower left: Goldenrod, a very common plant in late summer fields and ditches. Did you know it belongs to the sunflower family? Historically it has been used topically for wound healing and as a diuretic, and is still used today for natural dyeing of wool.  Queen Anne's Lace is not just a member of the carrot (and also parsley) family, it is the parent of our garden carrot.
No doubt this is why it is sometimes also known as "wild carrot". Queen Anne's Lace tolerates dry conditions very well which explains why it is still so abundant this year. Apparently it's name refers to Queen Anne of England who reigned during the early 1700's and was reputed to be an expert lace-maker.  Purple Loosestrife which I have already written about here. Nasty plant, but I still think it's beautiful.. (guess I'm a sucker for purple... )  and lastly Cow Parsnip which is part of the parsley family. Cow parsnip looks like the big sister of Queen Anne's Lace, having a similar shaped (but considerably larger) white flowerhead. Cow Parsnip is often confused with Giant Hogweed and also Water Hemlock. The sap of Giant Hogweed on your skin can cause severe inflammation, and Water Hemlock is very toxic if ingested, so it is wise to know the differences between them. You can read an excellent comparison here. 

So there you go- common ordinary plants this week, but as I've said before, there is beauty in all flowers. You don't have to be an orchid!!

Peace,
Linda

"If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence." ~  George Eliot

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The busy days of August.. and Lobstah!

I have not been ignoring you! I have just been busy, busy, busy. Too busy! I'm tired!
The last 10 days have been a blur. A "showery" weekend - two showers - a bridal shower for my friend Emily and then a baby shower for Kathryn. (One of these days I'll get back to a post showing you the cute little gift idea I made for Kathryn.... quick, easy and sooo cute - you'll all want to make one... or two.. for any new Moms in your life). The next day, last Monday, I made my Peach Jam (recipe here) and then we went down to our friend Donna's cottage for our last visit before they headed home to Quebec. On Tuesday I had a hundred things to do before Laura and I headed out on a road trip. Wednesday we were off to Massachusetts, with a short detour in Maine to see my friend Susan. More about that later... Got home Saturday night and it's been "catch-up" ever since. Everything needs attention after you've been away. The garden is bursting with cucumbers so I should be making pickles, but no time this week, and next is not looking good either... (If you are local and would like a few cukes, get in touch!) I have been trying to get a little done, as time allows,  on the scrappy red and lights quilt I started working on while watching the Olympics.. but my progress is slow. I wouldn't win any medals! ha! I will be showing you something soon though.. don't give up on me!!
Today I decided I should get bedding sorted out to go to Mark's new apartment. In his four years at university, he had a total of 4 sets of sheets- 2 sets for a twin bed in Residence, then 2 sets of double for his bed in the apartment. Out of those 4 sets of sheets, I have one complete set. Now can someone tell me how you lose sheets??? Arrggghhhh!! I can see losing a pillowcase here and there perhaps, but I have no idea how he managed to lose 3 flat sheets AND a double mattress pad!!! Was he wearing them to Toga parties??! And coming home naked??  hmmm.. okay, not going to let my mind go there...At least we DO have the blanket and comforter.... Guess he's going to have to "make do" with one mismatched set....
OK. Sorry. Just had to blow off a little steam... Back to our girls trip last week. This is Laura's sixth year working at Kings Landing. She had never been to Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge Mass., and as she had a few days off last week, we decided it was our only chance to go for this year, so we hastily made some reservations and hit the road! Sturbridge is about an eight hour drive from here, so we were happy to have an opportunity to break that up a bit with a short detour in Maine on Wednesday. My friend Susan of Plays With Needles was vacationing in Maine last week with her family. Since she wanted some good Canadian maple syrup, I told her I would meet her on Wednesday and bring her a few litres. We arranged to meet for lunch at a Lobster Pound near Acadia National Park where they were spending their time. What a wonderful lunch we had!! You choose your own live lobster out of the tank and it is placed in a rope-like pouch and tagged with your
number. Then it goes into the steamer pots with seawater over a wood fire. When it's ready your number is called and it's given to you in a metal tray with a pair of crackers... and was it good!! Susan and Jim had fun cracking them open and pulling out the tender sweet meat...  yummy...  Messy work but sooo worth it!! (Laura and I opted for lobster sandwiches so we wouldn't spend the rest of the day smelling like lobster.)  My photos are not terribly flattering, but they prove we were there.. eatin' lobstah!!
Be sure to check out Susan's blog over the next few days; I'm sure she'll be posting some fabulous photos from their time spent at Acadia National Park. She has already done one post on the tidepools here.

Edit: Wed. 2pm.  Susan has just posted a humourous look at our "lobstah lunch", be sure to read it here.

I'll be back with more photos from our visit to Old Sturbridge Village. The next few weeks will be just as busy for me, but I will try to blog much more often. Thanks for hangin' with me.. and welcome to my new followers!!

Peace,
Linda

Life is too short not to eat well.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bless All That Grows

It's been a while since I've shown you any stitching. This piece of cross-stitch was finished long ago and rolled up (and forgotten!!) I found it recently and got it framed very simply. Being a gardener, I like it's message...  I'm thinkin' the good Lord must be blessing all that grows around here, otherwise things would have dried up and died long ago. We have had a very hot dry summer and the crops and gardens have suffered. 
I have been watering every day for weeks now (and I'm getting more than a little tired of it!) My little vegetable garden is doing OK but more rain would sure help. Things have been a little slow developing, but the few short rains we've had in the last week have sure made a difference! You can almost SEE things growing after a rain...
Do you have a vegetable garden? My Mum always had a great garden, and I have continued  to work the same plot. I add compost every year and the earth always rewards me with a good yield. This year I have lettuce, spinach, peas, yellow beans, beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and several rows of flowers. I have planted about 125 gladiola bulbs and a double row of cosmos, in hopes that they will all bloom at the right time to provide flowers for bouquets for a friend's wedding near the end of this month (not the bridal bouquets, but just "informal garden flower bouquets" for decorating).  I staggered the planting of the bulbs over about 3 weeks so I'm hoping at least some of them will be right on target with their bloom-time.  The wedding is two weeks away and the first two glads have just started to bloom now, so I think we'll be okay. It was a gamble as you never know what the weather will be like...  Isn't this one below lovely?

Peace,
Linda

We Have A Little Garden

We have a little garden,
A garden of our own,
And every day we water there
The seeds that we have sown.

We love our little garden
And tend it with such care
You will not find a faced leaf
Or blighted blossom there.

~ Beatrix Potter

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Or maybe I should say who CAME to dinner? Normally I don't get too excited over unexpected guests at my table, but late this afternoon I was thrilled to see this cardinal arrive "just in time for a meal"... He only stayed about 30 seconds to sample the fare at my feeder.. I'm hoping he'll come back. You see, I have never had a cardinal at my feeder. Never!! I know there is a nesting pair of cardinals nearby, but they never come to my backyard. They are frequent visitors at my older brother's backyard feeders, but they don't visit me. Until today! I am sooo happy. Isn't he gorgeous? Look at that bright red plumage! Wow!
Have you had lots of birds at your feeders this summer?
Usually I get "the standard fare" of chickadees, sparrows and finches, but lately I've also had redpolls. I don't think I've ever seen redpolls at the feeder in the summer. Of course there always seems to be a woodpecker nearby - they LOVE my old apple trees... and a pair of hummingbirds are constantly buzzing about. We won't mention the crows...
Oliver loves lying in the familyroom window and watching all the action - how lucky for him that this feeder hangs only about ten feet from his favourite spot... he has a "front row seat" for all the activity. What a lucky puss!

Peace,
Linda




Blessings

As rising sun strikes fiery jewels
In morning drops of dew
I stroll amidst the garden
To watch the earth renew.
The flashing vibrant cardinal
Trills his prelude to the day
While radiant beams of sunlight
Melt shadowy mist away.
He tells me it's a lovely day
With him I must agree--
For his joyous song of morning
Showers blessings down on me.

~ Rea Williams

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday

It's time again for Wildflower Wednesday and since the last two WW posts have been about "pesky" plants, I figured today was a good day to just share some beauty! Not too much to say today, just thought I'd share this natural beauty with you. This large lilypond is not too far from the city limits and I have admired it for years, so I figured it was time for a visit with camera in hand.  (For you locals, it's just past the end of the Killarney Road, heading out the Nashwaak, on your right. I suggest parking at the Esso and walking from there, as the shoulder of the road is very narrow so it's difficult to park in front of the pond...)
I don't know much about water lilies, other than that these are known as hardy water lilies (which bloom only
during the day), as opposed to the tropical varieties which may bloom day or night. These floating aquatic plants (Nymphaeaceae) have fragrant white or pink flowers and flat floating leaves, shiny green above and purplish-red underneath. The flowers are 3-6" wide and the leaves are up to 12" in diameter.
There were many frogs and dragonflies, and a pair of mallards soaking up the beauty along with me.. I was wishing I had a pair of waders to don, so I could wade right in and get a little closer... 
I hope you'll enjoy my photographic efforts of today.. why not leave me a comment and tell me where you're visiting from?


Peace,
Linda

"The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator." ~ Louis Pasteur

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rattle on the Stovepipe!!

We are having a beautiful long weekend - the sun is shining, the sky is blue... What are you up to this weekend? Are you looking for a fun activity for the whole family? Or just by yourself? Well, if you are in N.B. why not head out to Kings Landing? They are hosting another "special event" weekend - the "Rattle on the Stovepipe" Music Festival. If you are a music lover, this is where you should be! Join in  the fun and celebrate our region and culture, history and heritage with theatre, concerts,and workshops in song,
music and dance. You can stroll around and just enjoy the performances or you can actually take part in all the "mini-workshops" (free! with admission). You can learn how to play the Bodhran (it's a traditional Irish frame drum) or the kazoo. You can join in the singing of rounds in harmony, or hymns at the church. You will hear some fine fiddle music and learn how to do a country dance. Fun for all!!
The "Kings Landing Dramatic Lyceum Music and Theatre Troupe" are an exceptional group of performers and they will make sure you are having a good time. The "kitchen party" in the Pub and the Concert in the Kings Head Inn garden are worth the price of
admission alone! I could listen to this group all day long. Michelle, Don, Tom, Scott and Heather have worked and performed together for so long, they are "a well-oiled machine" as they say. They have a wonderful (large!) repertoire of 19th century music to share with their audiences - what a treat! For those of you familiar with our local very talented Steeves family, you'll be happy to know that Patrick Steeves has returned to KL for the summer and his rich vocals, dramatic experience and accomplished talents on many instruments add another wonderful layer to this group. What talent - Kings Landing is very fortunate indeed to have such gifted 
musicians in their employ. So - get away from your computer and git yerself up to the Landing to enjoy all the special music this weekend. The fun continues today and tomorrow, hours are 11a.m. to 6p.m. And be sure you get a wagon ride - teamster Glen gives a very enjoyable and informative ride with lots of laughs!   (wink) 

Peace,
Linda

Can't you just hear the music?

Edit: I have added a YouTube video below of  Tom, Kelsey and Pat performing a song during their play "Many People Often Say" at the Ingraham Barn Theatre, just to give you a little taste...



Friday, August 3, 2012

Ceol Binn - Sweet Music

We are so very fortunate here in my city to have so many wonderful cultural events in the historic downtown district through the summer. There are seven scheduled concerts every week from early June until Labour Day - and they're all FREE!! Concerts take place outdoors in Officers' Square, at the Guard House, on the Lighthouse Deck and also at the Main Street Commons on the north side. As well there is a Summer Recital Series at the Cathedral.  There is also free
Summer Theatre daily, and a free outdoor Classic Movie Series on Sunday evenings. Something for everyone! How lucky are we?!!
I try to get to at least several of the concerts each summer; this past Tuesday night Kathleen Gorey-McSorley and Carolyn Holyoke put on a fine show of Celtic music under the stately elms in front of the Museum in Officers' Square. Kathleen is one of Fredericton's up and coming young musical stars. Also sharing the stage on Tuesday evening for a few numbers, direct from Ireland, was Eoghan Mac An Ghaill.
At only 17, Kathleen already has an impressive list of international performances across Canada, the U.S., Scotland and Ireland. Among her many accomplishments, a couple of highlights are competing at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Ireland in 2008 and again in 2010, and the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championships in Ottawa in both 2009 and 2010. She has also appeared twice in concert with Ashley MacIsaac.
Kathleen has released two CD's, the second “Ceol Binn” (Irish for "Sweet Music") was nominated for
an ECMA (East Coast Music Award, for those of you who are "not from these parts") as well as two Music New Brunswick nominations. Last summer she returned to Ireland to travel and perform, and she will be returning to Ireland in a few weeks to begin her post-secondary studies.
Besides the fiddle Kathleen plays piano, mandolin, banjo, tin whistle and has begun to add vocals to her act. She is also an award winning Irish dancer, does a little Cape Breton step dancing and plays in the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. Kathleen is accompanied by pianist Carolyn Holyoke, also an accomplished musician of great talent. Kathleen and Carolyn performed in the Nova Scotia Royal Military Tattoo in Halifax earlier this summer. You can read about that here.
Kathleen is one of a number of very talented young Frederictonians to quickly rise to musical success. She joins Measha Breuggergosman, Derrick Paul Miller, Amber Bishop, Patrick Maubert, Kristen Pottle, Maureen Batt and Keith Hallett, to name a few; I think
this speaks very highly of the dedication of our School District administration to keeping music a priority in the curriculum, and music teachers such as Carolyn Holyoke, Maureen Steeves, Sylbie Roy, Krista Touesnard, and Don Bosse among many others, who give so much to their students. There are many strong music programs in this city and so many opportunities for children and youth to participate. We are fortunate indeed! So Congrats to Kathleen and best wishes for continued success! We are all proud of you! And thanks for a wonderful concert!

Peace,
Linda

"Without music, life is a journey through a desert."
~ Pat Conroy

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday

What? July is gone? How did that happen? The days seem to be flying by and we've turned the calendar to a new month... August. Wow... How can the summer be disappearing this quickly... Sigh....
It's time again for another Wildflower Wednesday. Some will say this one should not be given the limelight, as today's "feature" is indeed an invasive pest. But I see beauty in all plants and although you don't want to bring this one home to your garden, it does have beautiful blooms (at least I think so). However, beauty aside, take heed if you have this plant on your property or nearby...
 Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a non-native species, introduced to North America from Europe (without its natural predators). In the wild it invades habitats along rivers, streams, lakes, in ditches and wetlands. If left unchecked it quickly dominates. The dense root mat blocks other plants from growing (cattails, rushes, sedges and other native aquatic plants upon which wildlife depends).
 Such a change in plant species threatens the hundreds of species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, fish and amphibians that rely on healthy wetland habitat for their survival. For example cattail stands are home to species such as muskrats and nesting birds - loosestrife does not provide the same  necessary shelter and food sources. Loosestrife clogs  the water channels in marshlands, interfering with fish spawning.
In urban areas it grows in ditches and can block or disrupt water flow. In agricultural areas it clogs irrigation canals and reduces the value of forage. Once established it tends to dominate and is very difficult to eradicate, spreading quickly and easily. One plant can produce 2 -3 million seeds!!!
Don't confuse this plant with look-alikes such as Fireweed. Purple Loosestrife can be easily identified by its ridged square stem. The leaves are smooth, opposite and attached directly to the stem. One plant can grow as tall as 2 meters with as many as 30 stems from the same woody root mass. The flowers are pinky-purple and are tightly clustered along the tall spikes.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture - it's not pretty. Well, okay, I think the flowers themselves are pretty, but the "overall picture"? Not so much... So if you have any Purple Loosestrife on your property or in the neighborhood, you might want to look into getting rid of it now if you can... before it spreads  anymore... There's lots of excellent info on the web, regarding how to best deal with it.

Peace,
Linda

"A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows."
~ Doug Larson


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