Thursday, November 20, 2008

some like it hot...

In what have so far have been vain attempts to keep the local squirrel population from continually feasting at our bird feeder, I am upping the ante today.
I have liberally dumped in cayenne pepper in hopes that the squirrels are not little Tex-Mex immigrants who like their food hot and spicy.
In the last week or so, I have just sprinkled the seeds and mixed it in. However after seeing a blue jay leave empty-beaked? this morning, I knew I had to shovel the pepper in next time.
Here's why:
The easiest way to convince squirrels that they aren’t welcome at your feeder is also a natural and environmentally friendly one. Squirrels and other mammals can taste the hot sensation of the capsaicin in chili peppers, but birds do not. One taste is all it would take for a squirrel to learn his lesson and move on to other feeding grounds. There are commercially available capsaicin mixtures especially designed for use in birdfeeders, or you can make your own potent additive using ground cayenne pepper. Just sprinkle the powder over the seeds and mix them gently before filling the feeder. But don’t stir them vigorously or stand over the feeder while you pour them in, or you’ll endure a cloud of hot pepper fumes—and be sure to wash your hands afterward so you don’t get it in your eyes accidentally.

I have been assured by my neighbor that if I offered the squirrels peanuts, they would no longer be interested in the birdseed. Of course that makes me think, do I want the squirrels being any more nutty than they already are?
Btw, I'm no scrooge when it comes to birdseed; I buy black-oil sunflower seeds, the caviar of bird food.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Current Reads

Eat Fat Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater
The Joy of Cooking Cookbook by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Just finished:
Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck
The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

**Updated. I listed the wrong Bonhoeffer book. Hopefully I can post some quotes as it is a lesser known but very helpful book.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day in Ottawa

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the legalist

Him: "Mommy, are you going to wear your jamamas to church?"
Me: "Maybe".
Him: "No, you're not allowed to wear jamamas to church."

Friday, November 07, 2008

to share

We began sponsoring a child through Compassion International in June so that we could help our son understand what life is like for children in other parts of the world and because we wanted to help another family in desperate need. I chose a boy the same age as our son from a list of children who have been on the waiting list for over a year. I wanted to pick them all as I looked at each of their little faces, but Tian was the little boy who was closest to my son's age. We have since received the package from Compassion introducing us to Tian and later a letter from his father sharing more about their family. It is a remarkable experience and one that I hope we learn important lessons from as we seek to share ourselves with Tian and his family.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

winter prep

Our five year old son looking out onto our backyard patio area says:

"Mommy, aren't you going to bring in that burgalur for the winter?"
My mind is flipping through its mental rolodex as I try to recall what he calls the burgalur. Got it.
"Do you mean the bbq, the grill?", I ask.
"No, we just cover it with a tarp and leave it outside."

We have no sympathy for freezing burgalurs at our house.