Three Strikes, You’re Out

About 20+ years ago one of my neighbours had planted several small rhodos outside his fence next to the road. On my way home from work, I noticed one of the small plants lying on the side of the road, where deer had pulled it out of the ground. The deer problem was bad around here. If you wanted to grow anything, you had to have a fence around it.

Since the frontage was out of the neighbours’ line of vision, and they might not know their pIant was uprooted, I stopped, picked up the rhodo, and brought it to their door.

“The deer must have pulled out your rhodo. Thought you might want to  replant it.”

“Oh, thanks. Yeah, those darned deer. Just set it over there,” the neighbour said, and pointed to a shady spot near the door.

A few days later, another of the rhodos was pulled out and the scenario was repeated (I stopped, delivered the poor plant so it could be saved).

This time I was met with a sigh as they took the plant from my hand.

The third time I passed by and saw a rhodo uprooted, I stopped and knocked on the door. The neighbour’s adult son answered.

“Sorry, but the deer keep pulling out your rhodos. They don’t seem to like eating them but they don’t know that until after they pull on the leaves and uproot the plant.” I handed over the foot-high shrub.

The son took the plant from me. “Thanks,” he muttered, and flung it into the shrubbery a few feet from the house.

I noticed that the two or three rhodos left on the neighbours’ frontage were drying up and dying. I had tried three times to save the ones that had been uprooted, but when I saw that they didn’t really care about them, I changed my attitude.

“Okay,” I thought. “Three strikes, and  you’re out.”

The fourth time I drove by and saw rhodos in trouble, there were two of them lying on the ground, several feet from where they had been planted, looking limp and near death’s door.

I took them home, stuck them in the ground, and gave them a drink of water.

The neighbour has no rhodos on his frontage, but in the photo below, you can see the two I rescued. They have been happy for over 20 years.

 

Kladrubers and Other Horses

Kladrubers have been  bred on the national horse breeding farm, Kladruby nad Laben, in the Czech Republic, for nearly 400 years. Originally bred as carriage horses for the German/Austrian royal House of Habsburg, this breeding line of  horses  was founded in 1579 by Rudolf II. Considered rare, the breed has survived with new blood being added from other fine lines from Spain and Italy.

The horses come in white (grays) and black and share some bloodlines with the famous Lipizzaner horses.

One of the main uses for the Kladruber was as a carriage horse for royalty. The white ones were preferred for happy occasions while the black were used for sombre occasions such as funerals.

The Kladrubers are put outside every day for their health and exercise.

At  Pardubice (which is not too far from the Kladruby breeding farm), a steeplechase event  was first held in 1874. The course has been changed several times  over the past 144 years with improvements in mind each time.  The Kladrubers, being bred for use as carriage horses, are not racing in the steeplechase, but in the photo below, they are making a drive-by appearance as a sideshow for the main race.

 

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Some facts about Kladrubers:

They have been bred for over 400 years.

A fire in 1757 destroyed about 200 years’ worth of breeding records.

Much of the breed was destroyed in the 1930s when they were killed for food. (What a horror that is.)

Since then the breeding program has brought the numbers of Kladrubers up again.

They are still used by royalty for their carriages, and public ceremonies.

The Swedish police has used them for special occasions.

Kladrubers are used by the Danish royalty.

The Czechs sent a breeding pair of Kladrubers  to Britain’s William and Kate as a wedding gift.

The white Kladrubers are only seen at the breeding farm at Kladruby, while the blacks are bred at Slatinany.

 

And now for the steeplechase, a variety of horse breeds, not Kladrubers, are running this race.

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You can see in the photo below, that the horse on the right is having second thoughts about jumping the obstacle in front of him. I don’t blame him! A broken leg could end it all.

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And off they go for another round.

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The photos were taken by friends who live within driving distance of this area, using a small camera, not with a blog post in mind. I appreciated the photos and information about their trips to the Kladruber farm and the steeplechase in nearby Pardubice.

While searching for more info about the Kladruber horses, I came across a blog that has amazing closeups of Kladrubers. If you are interested, please visit.  http://www.tresbohemes.com/2017/02/kladruber-czech-horses-of-emperors-and-kings/

Their post is wonderful.

 

Pasta Fun

On Mother’s Day we had a lot of fun. We decided to make fettuccine. Our dinner was already cooking (a beef roast, chard from the garden, carrots, mashed potatoes), but thought we would make some pasta just for fun and freeze it for another time.

We put the flour, eggs, oil, and water in the Kitchen Aid mixer bowl and let the dough hook mix it up  to form a ball of dough that was not dry, but not sticky either. We let it rest about half an hour and then cut it up into eight pieces.


After pressing the pieces flat  we passed them through the roller attachment on the Kitchen Aid, first on setting #1 and then on #2 and again on #6. By the third pass, the dough was thin enough.

We set the flattened dough on a floured board and changed the attachment to one that would cut strips about 3/8  of an inch wide (I’m guessing). The sheets of dough were then passed through the roller, with the mixer at a slightly higher speed.

Once the fettuccine came out of the roller, cut into strips, it was important to dust those strips with flour so the ribbons of dough didn’t stick to each other.

The last sheet was ready to pass through the roller.

Quick and easy and fun to make, this fettuccine is not perfect, but we know the ingredients that are in it, and I like to know what I’m eating.

We put most of the fettuccine on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, to freeze and later put in ziploc bags, but it looked so good that we decided to boil a small pot of fettuccine to have alongside the potatoes, roast, and gravy.

It was delicious and, best of all, we had fun making it.

 

 

Quince

Quince (not to be confused with “quints” – a set of five children born at the same time) is an unusual shrub. It flowers prolifically. The fruit looks like small wrinkled up yellow apples.

There are several kinds of quince and I’m not sure which kind I have in my back yard. I thought there was only one kind of quince bush until I tried to find out more about it. It’s possible that mine is a flowering quince because the fruit is smaller than that of some other types.

Here is my quince bush in April, just beginning to get blossoms.

Now, in May, the flowers have opened up and the whole bush is loaded in lovely blossoms.

Last year in the fall I took some pictures of the quince fruit as it was still ripening on the shrub. The fruit was smaller than the size of a golf ball, which is why I wonder if the shrub is an ornamental variety. Pictures of quince I found in recipes online are a bit bigger.

Nevertheless, I made jam from this bitter fruit.  I strained the juice after cooking the quince and then added the sugar to make jam, so there were no seeds or peels in it. While you wouldn’t try to eat quince raw — too astringent — the jam was pretty good.

Do you know something about quince that you would like to share with us?

Bad Potatoes

Have you noticed that your potatoes are full of blemishes? A few years ago when I first noticed it,  I thought it was just a bad potato year. Then I thought maybe it was the excessive rain we had another year, and I wondered about disease. I kept thinking that “next year they’ll be good again.”  I’m not even talking about potatoes from my garden. These are the No. 1 potatoes that I buy in the store. For several years now the potatoes have had blue bruising.  It’s not getting better. On the contrary, it’s as bad as it has ever been.

I thought it might be our local Vancouver Island potatoes and started buying potatoes from eastern Canada and from the U. S., but the problem seems to be everywhere.

I wonder, if I’d been one of the starving Irish in the years of the potato famine (1845 – 1849), how much of the bad (blighted) potato I would have cut away. I suppose it would depend on how hungry I was.

Do you have potatoes like this in your area? What do you think is going on?

The Dogwood

For some reason, this is a good year for the dogwood. Local dogwoods are in fine form. Even the little one in our yard is blooming prolifically.

It is the provincial floral emblem of British Columbia.

The Dogwood Speaks Out

 

One day I could be forty-five,

That’s feet in height, I mean.

My flowers are a velvet white

With just a hint of green.

 

Their petals number four to six,

But never all the same, 

And now I’m sure you’re wondering,

“How did it get that name?”

 

In Sanskrit, I am named for “dag,”

Which happens to be “skewer,”

But changing “dag” to “dog” makes sense,

And questions asked are fewer.

 

The berries on my flowers feed

An awful lot of birds,

And deer who want to browse my twigs

Keep munching them in herds.

 

The bears and beavers eat my leaves,

Perhaps they think I’m salad.

Then satisfied, they amble on, 

They burp and sing a ballad.

 

For tanning agents and for dyes,

My bark is useful too.

The Salish and the Thompsons somehow

Knew just what to do.

 

The Cowichans made knitting needles

From my solid wood.

They knitted sweaters with designs

As often as they could.

 

I’m useful and I’m beautiful,

I’m really quite a tree,

For B.C.’s floral emblem

They’ve officially chosen me.

 

Marking Trolling Wire

Always ready to help, Ruby sits nearby and supervises while the Captain marks trolling wire. He buys the stainless steel wire in a huge 1200-foot roll and then sets it up to mark it as he rewinds it onto another roll. Here is the newly bought, unmarked wire.

After it is marked, it is wound onto another roll.

Here is the setup, from the new roll to the finished roll, and the work area in the middle.

The stainless steel cable (5/64″) is made up of seven strands, so these are split into four and three, and kept apart by the nail in this little block of wood. Then a short piece of “marking wire,” also stainless steel, is inserted in the space.

This short piece of marking wire is then twisted around the trolling wire, going one way on one side  …

until it is all neatly wrapped around the trolling wire.

Then the other end of the marking wire is twisted in the opposite direction until it is all tidily wrapped around the trolling wire.

About six inches farther along, another mark is put into the wire, so you now have two sets of wrappings, six inches apart. Why do we do this?

It is where the line snap is hooked on. The two marks on the wire keep the snap from sliding up or down the cable. Tied to the line snap are the perlon fishing line and any flashers or lures that the Captain feels like using. The lure in this photo is just an old beat up coho spoon that has seen better days.

Two fathoms (a fathom is about six feet) farther along, the Captain will put another set of marks on the wire to stop the next piece of gear from sliding up or down when he sets the gear in the water.

The trolling wire is spooled onto the gurdies that you see in the photo below, about 300 feet on each spool. There are two sets of three gurdies, one on each side of the boat. From the gurdies, the wire goes up through pulleys and is attached to the trolling poles  which are lowered partway down while fishing, to keep the lines away from the boat.

Lead balls of about 55 lbs are fastened to the end of the trolling cable before it is lowered into the water by the gurdies (with hydraulic controls), and the line snaps with the trolling gear are fastened on between the markers (sometimes every two fathoms) as the line sinks into the water.

The boats below are at anchor but their trolling poles are down and you can see their position during fishing time. When they come in to a wharf, of course they raise the poles straight up so they don’t smash into other boats.

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Now you hope that the lines don’t tangle in bad weather and the fish will bite before that orca gets them.