Category Archives: Home & Garden


Fiddleheads are back in supermarkets here in Canada. We always have to stare at them in wonder, but we haven’t yet got round to trying them!!!

As we understand it, fiddleheads need to be washed well and then you cook them like asparagus although they do need to be cooked thoroughly as undercooked fiddleheads may cause an upset stomach.

Another reason we never get round to it is because the season is incredibly short.  Perhaps next year!

Fiddleheads - May 2014


Adding Some Maturity to our Garden

We thought it was about time we started to add a little maturity to our garden.  The plan was to have five evergreens along the back fence, but this meant moving our already established crab apple – a bit of a risk!

Work started by moving the crab apple just a few feet to the right, to make room for the five evergreens.




Settling it back in.


Next, digging holes for the five trees – this machine certainly made light work of it.


Here come the trees. Heavier than they look we think as it took two men to keep the machine from tipping!



Finally, all in place and looking like they’ve always been there.


Thanks to Hazel Clarke for thinking to take some photos as we didn’t!


Gardening in Alberta

Last year we planted a number of plants in our back garden. We had selected plants that were supposedly hardy for the region but all the same, after what has been a long winter, we sort of suspected we would never see any of them again. However, we were wrong! We are pleasantly surprised to report that plants in our north facing garden with winter temperatures of -20 to -30 have actually survived! We are now thinking that it might be possible to have a garden in Alberta!

In early May our Crab Apple was just twigs, with no leaves or flowers. Since then though, the leaves have been coming on gradually and the flowers seem to have come out in just a few days! This plant (we can’t remember what it is!), didn’t even lose its leaves over winter and now looks as though it is going to surprise us further with bright pink flowers.And there is much more continuing to bud, sprout and grow. We now think that, from the whole garden, we MAY have lost just one plant, unless of course it recovers over the coming weeks.Less hardy plants can survive too. We have had to bring this one in on a few occasions as temperatures can go into minus figures overnight, even in May. As summer comes on though, it should be OK to leave it out all the time, unless we get some freaky weather.So, maybe Albertan gardening is perfectly possible – it just takes a bit of extra thought and care.


Garden Birds of Alberta

When we moved into our home, we had no garden to speak of, just lawn, no trees or plants. We were quite disappointed last spring and summer when we had no garden birds visitng us. As regular readers will know, we spent a lot of time last year knocking our rear garden (or yard, as it is called here) into shape. As such, we were really quite happy when these fellows appeared in our garden last weekend. Perhaps the addition of the plants is working!

We are not entirely sure what they are as they aren’t anything we would have seen in the UK. We have looked in our Alberta bird book and think they could be:

Chipping Sparrow
Western Tanager
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
We’re sort of guessing here so if anyone knows exactly what they are, we would love to know!

Visitors from the UK – Part 1

Jan’s sister Linda and her partner, Andrew and his two girls, Sarah and Katie, are our latest visitors from the UK. They arrived on the 25th July and stayed with us for 5 days before heading off on a tour of the Rockies (where, we hear, they have seen a multitude of bears (both adults and cubs). Jan and I have only ever sighted one bear in the Rockies and so we are delighted for them (or insanely jealous…one of the two!)

Here’s the family group, in front of the Okotoks Big Rock that we have featured on previous posts.We took a trip over to Saskatoon Farm…
…but you know by now what the traffic is like around here. We were caught for, ooh, it must have been seconds, in a horrific traffic jam!…The entrance to Saskatoon Farm……and these are the buildings that form the store and restaurant – they are quite individual……they have some beautiful floral displays……and a very sweet dog (we think he is called Pedro).Later, we whizzed past the local RCMP office…no, seriously, that IS a police station!…We also went and met Jan for lunch down in High River (as Jan has had to continue working while our visitors have been here). We took a little drive down to where we had previously seen Eagles (see prior posts) and this time we got to see an Osprey.High River has a number of painted murals on local walls. The Glass family are based in the town and they have a long association with Chuckwagon Racing, as celebrated on this particular illustration…
Later, we had some lunch in a local park by the Highwood River……where they do a rather large Dandelion!On one of the evenings, the dart board in our basement came into use. The competition was fierce…Katie, Jan and Eamonn versus Sarah, Linda and Andrew. Despite Katie’s fine efforts here (well, if you excuse the dart embedded in the wall a couple of feet beneath the dart-board), victory went to Sarah and co.However, when they return from the Rockies this Friday, (they then stay with us for another week), there will undoubtedly be an opportunity for revenge!

Part 2 to follow in due course.


Jan’s Taurus – Few More Pics

We had previously promised a few more pics of Jan’s Ford Taurus. A couple of months into ownership, it seems to be running very well and as you might imagine, it’s a tad more economical than our other car! We used the Taurus for our day trip to Kananaskis, where these shots were taken. Busy, eh!So much for the “camera never lies”…the car is in need of a clean but in the sunlight, it looks rather smart…A leather interior (rather than cloth) helps to keep the static electricity shocks to a minimum. Jan, being just a little-un at 5ft 1″, particularly likes the fact that the car has pedals that can be raised or lowered to a comfortable position at the touch of a button. It also has bluetooth connectivity with her cell phone so that Jan can freak out when the car starts talking to her as she drives, reading her text messages and the like! Also, it has a snazzy little USB port hidden away in a compartment so that you can hook up your Ipod and notionally at least, use voice controls to choose tracks, etc. However, to date, this fool-proof Microsoft technology seems to be being unhinged by the Lancastrian tones in Jan’s accent!And here’s the owner, looking very proud!J&E.