Summer Has Arrived!


We’ve gone from chilly, cloudy and wet to hot and sunny…..supposed to be VERY hot today….up to 29C/90F.

Dinner on Friday was really good.  My cassoulet didn’t quite turn out as hoped but it did taste good, which was main the thing.  I didn’t pre-cook the beans this time hoping that they wouldn’t go quite as mushy.  That sort of worked but still a little mushier than I would have liked……next time I won’t cook it for 5 hours, which was the suggested time.  I think 3 or 4 is probably sufficient.  I also used my big, deep cast iron pan this time….I really should use it more often for stuff like this!

The meat (chicken, country style pork ribs and that delicious sausage) browned in the duck fat ready to go in the pan with the beans…..

The flavor was great.  Not sure it was the duck fat, the pan or just all the meat…..especially the sausage.  I couldn’t get the sausage I had the last time…..from one of our local meat shops, homemade and absolutely delicious… at the last minute I picked up some of Jamie Oliver’s garlic and herb sausages….OMG!!  They were fantastic….I’ll definitely get some again.


In the oven….you have to slowly, at the side of the pot, add more stock (to keep it soupy) and then gently “break the crust” every half hour or so, which is what makes it that beautiful colour.   Of course I forgot to take a pic of it on the table…..but it did look very nice.



Salad, bread and tiramisu finished off the night.  We are all organized for our upcoming trip…’s less than a week away.   I just have all the last bit of stuff to do, like packing!  I’ll get everything that I think I want to take laid out in the spare room and then put half of it back in the closet or drawers….I am determined not to over pack this time.  I say that all the time and still do so we’ll see how that turns out.  And of course I’ve got to get some money…..just enough UK pounds and Euros to get me through the first day or two then I can use the ATM’s over there (only ones connected to banks….NEVER the stand alone ones)  And when I was there last September we could even use our bank cards in some of the stores and restaurants!  Technology has come a long way!  How did we ever plan trips when we had to get all cash or travelers cheques?  I guess in a way it wasn’t bad in that we obviously had a budget and had to stick to it….now you just find an ATM and spend, spend, spend.  I remember coming home from a trip to Vegas when between Ken and I we had about $20.  Not sure what we would have done if our flight had been delayed……credit cards I guess….if we even had them back then.

My grass guy finally showed up yesterday.  He was supposed to come on Friday, which of course he didn’t.  He is not going to do grass anymore!!  He’s working full time and then spends his weekends doing grass…..or at least saying he’s going to do grass….and it’s just not working out for him.  This is NOT a bad thing, other than the timing.  I’ve said I was going to fire him for a long time anyway.

On Saturday when my son and the kids were here we pulled out the lawnmower because I was just going to do it myself……which I CAN do but don’t want too.  Ken paid a fortune for that stupid lawnmower so I thought I might as well use it.  Put gas in it and changed the spark plugs….good so far, except then all the gas started leaking out!!  Argh!!  The primer bulb has a little hole in it.  I went online and watched a couple of videos for directions on repairing it……seems sort of straight forward so I’m going to give it a try….I think!  Ah sigh…..Ken would have had it done in no time.  If I have success I’ll get the kids to do the grass while I’m gone and then decide what I’m going to do when I get back.  If I do it, it will save me $40 every two weeks…..I’ll have to think about it….is it worth it?  I have a weedeater and a blower so have everything I need…..hmmmm.

Lots of little jobs got done outside.  Now that the truck is gone and my driveway is empty you can really notice the mess that was made when the garage was being done.  I tried to clean that up a bit but there’s a lot of gravel and rocks that were dug up when they were doing the foundation…..nothing is going to make look better until I get the driveway redone.  Was hoping to do that this year since it really needs to be done but cha ching, cha ching…’s going to cost at least the equivalent of a trip somewhere!!

I have a guy coming to give me an estimate for power washing the deck and patio.  I AM NOT going to do that this year.  I’ve done it the last 3.  The first year I quite enjoyed it, the next not so much and then last year I was ready to throw the bloody thing off the deck.  It’s not a hard job it’s just that my power washer isn’t a bazillion psi or whatever it’s called and it  takes forever to do.  This guy will be able to do it in an hour or two so I hope he’s not too expensive.  Then I can get the deck ready before I leave.  I can’t wait to get the table up.  I must admit that I did a pretty good job staining it…..Ken would be proud of me!  I know he would have ended up doing it himself cuz watching me would have drove him crazy.

There are some days that I still miss him so much…..all those things that you just take for granted for so long… repairing lawnmowers!!  It would just all get done!  Now I either have to do it or hire someone to do it.  Depending on what it is I will also think it to death…..which more often than not is way worse than just doing it.  Think for two days and then whatever….actually doing it or making the phone call…..two minutes!!  Still a learning curve for me when it comes to this but I WILL get it sorted out eventually!

BBQ at a friends last night.  Hadn’t seen them since Christmas so fun to get together and catch up.  Baseball today, even though it’s a holiday (our Victoria Day weekend)….finally a nice day for it and it’s the last one now until I get back at the end of June.



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