Niagara Region Wind Farm Open House

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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For sake of anonymity, I will use false names for anyone I speak of in this write up.

It should be noted that the true inauguration celebration happened at approximately 1pm and as noted in Niagara This Week, all the bigwigs in suits were bused in attendance for this champagne shindig.

“Representatives from Boralex, Enercon and the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation all defended wind power and their new farm that straddles Haldimand County and the Niagara Region.”

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Michael Weidemann, executive vice president of ENERCON Canada standing outside of the company’s recent project in Lowbanks. The Niagara Region Wind Farm is a joint partnership with ENERCON, Boralex and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation. – Alexandra Heck/ Metroland – Photo from Niagara This Week.

Here is a local write up from a local media company.

https://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/7375757-ceos-address-wind-concerns-at-farm-unveiling/

Here is my write up:

I arrived at the gates of hell, sorry, I mean gates to the property where the event was held on Bird Road, Lowbanks, Ontario shortly after 4pm.

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I stopped and talked to Linda from MAWTi for a quick moment before entering the property.  Her infant was napping in the stroller and I asked how the 1pm shindig went and we discussed a few things before I carried on.  Linda was holding a nice big sign, specific to the design of the Enercon Turbines that infest our rural routes and in many cases, our backyards and as always, she is fierce in her stance against the projects despite the extreme heat, humidity and sun.

So attendees to this event had to drive quite the distance through the agricultural farmed land to the designated parking area by the temporary white tents and out near the turbines.  I was greeted by ‘security’ before getting to the parking and tent area.  Really?  Security?  Is this necessary?  For some reason, the community attendees were required to purchase a ticket(s) online ($0).  Anyways, Mr. Security didn’t ask for my ticket, just told me where to park because ‘its about to get real busy.’
I said ‘Oh ya? Whys that?’
He replied with ‘I just think its going to get super busy, people want to come and see these turbines.’
I replied with a bit of a sarcastic tone ‘most of us get to see them every single day, like it or not’ and I put my window up drove to park.

There was one big white tent with tables set up inside, a bar that clearly had the champagne cleared out, but residents were privy to chilled water and pop.  Inside the tent situated at one end were the typical large displays with descriptive images of the internal mechanics of the project Enercon E-101 turbines, stats and facts and various pamphlets touting the good of the wind industry.  I pretended like I haven’t seen all this before and snapped a picture.  Internally I felt like a moron because anyone who is interested in Industrial Wind Turbines for any reason, knows about the guts so I passed on any further photo ops.June 2017 107

I took a pamphlet from CanWea titled, “The Secret Is Out, Wind Is In. Building a stronger, cleaner and affordable energy system.”  I grumbled under my breath, ‘Gawd, this shit is thick’ and an elderly man I hadn’t noticed beside me snickered and nodded his head. I winked and quickly scooted away before I felt obligated to engage in conversation.  canwea

The pamphlet, if it is to spout the reality of Renewables, should read, The Secret Is Out, Wind Is RAMMED In. Building the most unreliable, intermittent power grid, wiping out ecological systems far and wide, dividing communities, harming humans and creating wide spread energy poverty in Ontario.  That is what it should read.  The TRUTH.

So then I began my stroll to the other end of the tent.  This tent was huge!  Obviously there was a need for this large tent to house all the leaseholders, stakeholders and investors and surely it must be challenging to squeeze that much corruption into one tent.

Fred from Boralex noticed me and walked over and we said our courteous hellos.  We chatted for a brief few more minutes about this and that, but as usual I was eager to jumped into question mode.  There are some mechanics I don’t understand and want to understand better.

I asked ‘are the converters are under the ground?’
Fred replied no they are in the turbines themselves.
Me, not fully understanding how can a converter be INSIDE the turbine did my squinty face and I asked ‘so under the turbine?’
Fred said do you want to go in the turbine I can explain better.  Off we went to the turbine. Fred, Roger and myself.June 2017 114

Before I got to the turbine I could hear this high pitch screaming.  I knew I was in for it with these triggered ears and head of mine, but in I went because curiosity always gets the better of me. It is so loud with this high pitched frequency that I cannot relate it to anything else I have ever experienced before.  It could be like tinnitus in 4D.  Anyways, in I went.  WOW!  Not going to lie, very impressive!  (Impressive minus the high pitched screaming that is).  We talked for a bit about what was inside and how it all works and fans etc. and guess what.  They have an elevator to get to the top.  Yup.  An elevator.

Don’t quote me on this, but if I understood correctly the high pitched screaming is because they convert from AC to DC then back from DC to AC.  It is the switching of something at a very rapid pace that makes the high pitched noise and does the converting inside the converters that really are inside the turbine.  So this converting back and forth, as I was told, was the most perfect energy (Hz I believe) wave that is created.  Picture a hand moving in a up and down in a perfect wave motion <– as per Fred with Boralex.

Up Close to Live Grid Input

This photo is of the computer board inside the Turbine.  It is ‘live’ so the numbers are changing accordingly.  Interesting to me is they tout the 3.0MW turbines, yet their measurement for live power is in kW.  The Electrical energy of 5125.397 MWh is from commencement with the Grid, Nov 2, 2016.  Operating hours is the same, since commencement with the Grid.

As we continued to converse with others joining in on the conversation, an eager graduate who proudly just graduated his 4 year program at Mohawk almost bounced over, blonde trendy hair flopping all over as he runs his hands through it, whips his clipboard out from under his arm, fully armed with his resume and credentials from school and bodly interrupted our conversation.  He wanted a job in the wind industry.  BADLY.  I took the opportunity to move on and Fred continued his conversation with this very eager new graduate.

I made my way back to the tent.  I wanted to see what was on the computer screens and to see if there was a presentation.  I asked the young lady there, very nice young lady, if there was a presentation put on later.  Nope.  No presentation, just a slide show of photos of during and after construction of the project.  Nothing worth sticking around for.

On my way back to my truck I noticed a GAS generator.  Ok, best photo OP of the day.  A gas generator used to run the computers for the slide show.  The irony was not lost on me.June 2017 117

When I was leaving I saw the eager graduate at his vehicle.  I stopped and asked him about his program at Mohawk.  I wanted to know if he was serious about Wind and what he knew.  He clearly is in over his head.  It was shocking to me that after 4 years he hadn’t a clue about the simplest thing,  such as The Grid app on a smart phone or a reasonable ‘educated’ response to any questions I asked him.  I asked why the wind industry and he said it fascinated him the most.  I slide into our conversation that you will not be a very liked person within the communities and could cause conflicts between friend and family.
He said ‘my dad and his friends have already yelled at me several times for it.’
I responded with ‘it isn’t the yelling that should concern you; it is WHY they are yelling.  What are they trying telling you? What aren’t you listening too?’
Then I told him Wind Industry will die one day.
He seriously thought I was crazy, I could tell, meanwhile I KNOW he is.  ALL the energy needs of the world?  Ok, buddy, refund in your education should be first on your list.

I asked ‘do you have a smart phone?’
‘Yes”
I asked ‘do you follow any of the grid apps?’ He actually responded with ‘what is that.’  If ever there was a time to smack my forehead in disbelief then would of been an appropriate time.
I asked ‘do you have Google?’
He said ‘yes, I use it.’
I responded with ‘Google wind turbines and do some homework before you settle into the wind industry.’

We talked for a few more minutes and it became more and more obvious to me, and apparent to him that he really didn’t know squat.  I suggested he talk to rural route residents on both sides of the fence.  Talk to people who are slammed with energy poverty.  He inquired on what energy poverty was.  Spending 4 years in a renewables program and no idea with energy poverty is.  Again I encouraged Google, the local news and worldwide news.  We discussed other renewable options ‘taught’ in his 4 year program such as hydro, geothermal and solar.  He (reluctantly) admitted the majority of his program focused on solar and wind, because Geothermal and Hydro weren’t our future.  Boy would I love to get my hands on that program.  He is a young kid, 24 yrs old tops and has no idea that there is a grid app and spent 4 years in the renewable energy program and to boot he PAID for that education.  I showed him my app and what was being contributed to the grid live.

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Snapshot of my grid app on my phone.  It was a pretty remarkable day with West Lincoln NRWF pumping it to the grid.  Good thing I didn’t depend on this 230MW, $1 Billion wind farm to use my toaster this particular day. (was not a current day photo)

He looked confused and said ‘OK, thanks for sharing that.’

I strongly urged him  ‘seriously do yourself a favor and do as most responsible adults would, research your desired field and look into wind and its many complex problems associated with it.’

He said with so much excitement and enthusiasm, ‘look at these,’ both hands held out, one with a water bottle in it and his blonde hair flopping around in the wind.  ‘They are huge and incredibly technical and generate so much energy to your home every day.’

I dropped the f-bomb and said tell your dad he has more yelling to do, I have to go.

I left the scene.  Yes, scene.  I feel like it wasn’t real and entirely staged.  There were maybe 2 dozen tops when I was there.  People brought their small children and there was a great mix of people of various ages.

Now, it is time for reflection.

Open house.  It is slightly interesting but predictable, that the entire community wasn’t invited to the inauguration.  There wasn’t even a great attempt at getting the word out that there was an open house with left over, sun exposed heated gooey cheese, bread and non-alcoholic beverages for the left over community.

If the people I communicate with almost daily didn’t share the info, I wouldn’t of been informed of this event.  Which also raises an eyebrow, as I am suppose to be on the list of event notifications with Niagara Region Wind Farm.

There wasn’t even a wee bit of an attempt to ooohhh and ahhhh us with a small guided presentation, touting the benefits of the wind farm, the project completion, what this means for the community, how many jobs they (didn’t) create and so forth.  No attempt to dazzle us, the left over community, with a show of any sort.  We don’t matter.  Clearly.

The designation of this champagne shindig was for those who profit financially.  Stakeholders.  Upper Management. Leaseholders.

Left out of the 1pm champagne inauguration is all the community members who are forced to live with these monstrous jolly green giants.  Our choices revoked, our voices silenced and in too many cases, family units shattered.  Our health can be adversely impacted, with families forced from their homes, permanently or to seek temporary relief.   All the rate payers for electricity who are forced to subsidize an embellished industry, were left out of this celebration that they felt was appropriate to have in our backyards.  All of us were left out of the celebrations.

This was not an accident.  This is a Wind Industry, excelling with the support of the Liberal government, decimating rural route Ontario on our dime.

My wounds are salted.

I have been working on this write up for a few days.  I was rattled by the photo below.  It literally stopped me in my tracks.  I stared at it and over the last few days, looked at it several times.  It took me some time to actually grasp and process this picture.  It became apparent that I needed to acknowledge there are people actually celebrating with champagne around the corner from our once treasured home, while my family and my personal life has been inverted.   WAI_JUN22LowbanksWindpAH3___Super_PortraitThis is not my photo, this is from Niagara News This Week.

This picture right here.  This picture brought it full circle for me and flooded my soul with a wave of raw emotions.  These people are truly proud, celebrating the very same project that has devastated lives.  Destroyed lives.  Causing harm to family members and collapsing family units.  Is causing physical harm to people. Is causing harm to the environment.  Is forcing families from their homes.  This project, this celebration, is also a contributor to the highest rates of electricity in North America.  Energy poverty is forefront.  A top news chart.  These projects are costing rate payers BILLIONS of extra money.

All of these champagne celebrating guests have hijacked my family of our rights to prosper, to enjoy our home and property, our right to health and protection and have subscribed to the removal of our rights, both under the Charter and in the Constitutional Act.  This is no small feat.  This is no small crime.  This is a methodical conquering of the removal of many rights for everyone.  You are not exempt from this wind industry corruption because you have your champagne glass in hand.  You just haven’t felt the true wrath of your ill informed decisions.  Yet here we have my neighbors celebrating with a corrupt industry, champagne filled glasses held high, in honor of all the mayhem forced into many peoples lives.

The ill placement of Industrial Wind Turbines has stolen our future.

Excuse me while I fill a glass with champagne to celebrate.

 

**Some photos compliments of Niagara News This Week.

 

 

Because I can…Does It Mean I Should?

Absolutely.

Remember when you were a child , you swore when you were an adult (which according to my calendar was taking way tooooo long) and could do anything you wanted, you would?

I think I was defiant from the day I was born.  I was going to stay out after dark every single night.  I was going to go to bed when I wanted or even if I wanted.  I was never planning on cleaning the bathroom and who cares if the dishes ever got done.  I was going to talk on the phone for hours to my friends and just to be extra defiant, I wasn’t going to answer the other line when it beeped.  Defiance right there 🙂  I was going to have purple hair, be covered in butterfly tattoos, but just the temporary tattoos of course.  I will wear my shorts as short as I wanted and dammit I was going to wear a ripped t-shirt every day of the week.  I was going to take a basket and skip through orchards collecting apples, pears, peaches and cherries as my HIGH PAYING job.  In my spare time I was going to swim with wild orcas who would of course wait for me in the bay.  The bay of what I don’t know because I live in Ontario with lakes.  HAH!  I was going to eat candy whenever I wanted and especially before unstructured meals.  *GASP*

Meal structure was a simple item to rebel against, but I was met with opposition everywhere I went.  I recall being at my grandparents home often and it was a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Or toast with jam.  I was not allowed deep fried French fries no matter where I slept and had breakfast.

The rules around meals were meant to be broken and the defiant kid in me will rule the world, or at least I will rule my meal time when I am all grown up and ultimately I will be the boss of me.

As an adult, I realize how influenced the parental adult brain is with the concept of preferred food items for each meal time and truly is very structured for anyone willing to obey.  This structured meal concept is passed on from generation to generation.

Breakfast is cereal, toast, eggs, fruit etc. You know, we have all seen the recommendations, even on school display boards starting, classroom walls in pre-kindergarten.  On daycare kitchen walls.  In hospital cafeterias, in school cafeterias, in diabetes clinics and so forth.  You know where it isn’t?  In my home.   Is it a recommendation? Or is it here let us control the dairy industry, poultry, cattle and so forth, contributions into each home, on the dinner plate.  No need to think for yourself, the government is always willing to do it for you.  Ok, I promised myself I would not get political in this post, so back to the topic.

Lunch should be a sandwich on whole grain bread, wrap, salad, juice, fruit, veggie sticks, water.  Those sorts of items.

Dinner should be a meat protein, (back off vegans/vegetarians, eat your tofu in the corner and be quiet over there), carb such as potato or rice and veggies, salad, water, milk.  Don’t forget that big old glass of cold milk.
You are welcome dairy industry for that push.

I told myself so many times as a young one “when I grow up” I will eat Oreos for breakfast.  Chips and my current favourite chocolate bar for lunch.  Popcorn for dinner.  I love popcorn so even breakfast and lunch is a suitable option.  I will eat when I want and what I want.  I recall in my childhood mind, that these choices and their health implications don’t apply to me.

But, here I am in. In adulthood and all those childhood promises to myself are not even a concern. Why? Because I truly can.  I can have candy before meals.  I can stay out after dark.  I can have purple hair and all the butterfly lick on tattoos I want.  Yes, I used to lick them on; no need for a wet cloth with this girl.

Today, as a practicing adult, I am just happy with a good cup of coffee sitting on my front porch watching and listening to nature when I wake up.  Who cares about Oreos for breakfast. Just give me good COFFEE.  COFFEE.  COFFEE.

However, every now and then I get a wee bit hungry for something to go with my liquid energizer in the morning.  There was a day earlier this week that was so stinking hot, humid and gross that the thought of anything other than a bowl of ice cream seemed unacceptable and almost intolerable for consumption. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the inner child appeared.   We, the adult me with the child me, decided we will have a big bowl of chocolate ice cream with sliced bananas for breakfast.  Brilliant!  Thank you inner child for the collaboration!

My daughter (who is 27 now) loved to have cookies smashed into milk for breakfast.  A gross sludge looking concoction in a big oversized mug.  GAG! I let her. Yup, as a responsible adult parent, I allowed the cookie slop for breakfast.  Why not?  I know, mother of the year right there right?  I had in my back pocket, the security that she was a fantastic eater, veggies, fruit, and a balanced diet and knowing soggy cookies wasn’t her choice every day I was fine when she did eat it.  She also taught her much younger brother the love of smashed cookie slop for breakfast or a great movie time snack.  I personally can’t be bothered to even try it, its gross in my books, but hey, if you like smashed soggy cookies drowning in milk, be my guest.  My son (who is now 17) loves eggs.  He eats eggs a lot. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Eggs aren’t just for breakfast in case you haven’t heard.  I believe we as a society, welcomed the versatility of eggs many years ago (also influenced by the poultry industry to increase egg consumption <– shit, sorry got political again).

So if you are hankering for some ice cream for breakfast, go ahead, listen to your inner child.  It is OK to step away from the embedded food schedule that Health Canada and their ‘professional’ structure has influenced onto our very own kitchen tables.

I think I’ll have popcorn for dinner tonight.  Extra butter! Just because I can.

(photo compliments of google images.  I was too busy eating my ice cream breakfast to think to snap a photo.)

 

 

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I really should of been a baker. Not a fancy sort with funky icing designs, or cake too pretty to eat sort of baker, but a practical, every day healthy food consumption kind of baker.  Stop at my little corner bakery on the way to work for your breakfast to-go.  I could do it.  Maybe I should do it…

Sixteen years ago when my son was diagnosed with life threatening food allergies (peanuts and tree nuts) I started paying attention to ingredients in food. Up until then I had the grab and shove in cart mentality.

That many years ago there wasn’t a large variety of peanut/nut free foods or even strict allergen listing requirements that is available today. So, if my child was to enjoy a cookie, or a muffin or at that point, bread, I had better get the baking ingredients out and get’er done.  Besides, I started to notice this food in EVERYTHING called ‘Soy’ and labeled in many different forms. Soy lecithin, soy flour, hydrolyzed soy, soy soy soy. After much research into the world of soy, we avoid all soy in this home and if you buy anything premade/boxed etc., you will more than likely find it in the ingredients list. Anyways, this post isn’t about the deteriorating ingredient list in foods, its about super refreshing delicious Lemon Blueberry Muffins.

When it comes to blueberries and baking, the type matters. The small wild blueberries, won’t give you the blue bleed. The taste of biting into a juicy blueberry isn’t as prominent in the small blueberries, so I recommend Blueberries. You can use wild blueberries, just not my fav when it comes to baking.

If you are lucky like us, you will have a Mennonite Blueberry Farm around the corner. I can pop in anytime of year and grab a bag of frozen big juicy blueberries.

Chances are you can buy blueberries in your local area in the late summer when it is in season. The good things about this farm is they don’t use pesticides or harmful treatments so you can just plop them in a freezer bag and have on hand all year around. No washing. (Fantastic for smoothies too).

I also got a wonderful gift recently from a friend who went to Mexico and brought back vanilla.  The good stuff!

Like most of my recipes they have happened by accident and the measurements are my critiquing over time. Ok, here we go.

Side Note: I never advocate for the use of margarine in my baking.  It has a different outcome and really, if you are using margarine, do yourself a favour and don’t.  Seriously, don’t believe all the crap the agencies tell you.  Hydrolyzed anything and soy is not for human consumption!

Ingredients

1/2 cup melted butter
2 large farm eggs
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2 cups of blueberries (frozen is best for the addition to baking)
Zest of 2 organic lemons (zest of anything should be organic to avoid crop sprays)
2 tsp of vanilla
2 cups of AP flour, plus more for blueberry dusting
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt

See that ingredient list?  Wonderful!  Okay, lets get ready to bake!

Preheat your oven to 375 – I use convention oven, but any oven will do.  Line your muffin tray with paper cups.

In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, add your melted butter (room temperature so you don’t scramble your eggs), vanilla, sugar, milk and mix until all incorporated.  Add in your lemon zest.jUNE 2017 058
(yup, those are pretty blue eggs from a friends farm)

Put the frozen blueberries into a bowl and cover them with flour and make sure they are all dusted.

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After your wet ingredients are all mixed well, add in your dry ingredients slowly with mixer on low.  Let it mix for 1 minute on medium speed.  If your batter looks too dry don’t be afraid to add a splash of milk to get the desired texture seen in the picture.  Some flours, especially depending on age, can be more dry than others.  A bit more milk never hurt anyone.

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Remove bowl from mixer stand.  Add your frozen flour dusted blueberries (not all the flour in the bottom of the bowl, just the blueberries) to your batter.  Fold the blueberries in gently.

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Once completely mixed, scoop into lined muffin tray.  Fill them up!

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Put the trays in your preheated oven.  Turn 1/2 way through cooking.  Watch your muffins as they can easily overcook in the matter of 2 mins.  Then you’ll have dry I need a drink of coffee kind of muffins.  Look for a bounce back when gently pushed in the middle to see if it is done.  Cook for 15-20 mins depending on your oven and elevation.

Remove from tray immediately and place on a bakers rack to cool.

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Bakers tip:  Baked foods always continue to cook for a few minutes while cooling.  So its OK to pull from the oven when JUST done, that extra minute you would wait in the oven, let it do it on the counter.

This is such a great ‘summer’ muffin that can be enjoyed at anytime of the year.  The lemon is fresh and the blueberries are juicy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Never Spare Me The ‘Sparagus

Yes, I know, I know;  I disappeared from the joys of expressing ones self in blogging.  A lot, and I mean a lot has been going on in my life, which I will get to writing as the days and weeks go by, but for now I am looking forward to getting my feet wet again with a simply delicious season-appropriate recipe.

Each seasons brings out natures finest in fresh food offerings.

Summer is probably best known for the berry season.  Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries.  Then we have juicy plump tomatoes that are warm from the sun and we promise ourselves as we slurp the tomato we will never eat a tomato in the winter again.  And what do we do?  Buy tomatoes in December.  A friend grows heritage tomatoes and I got a bunch off her last spring and I ate one like an apple in the car on the way home.  O M G!  It is amazing how they taste like, well like a tomato should.
Falls’ crisp cool air is symmetrical to the crisp bite into an orchard apple or pear.
Fall also gifts us with beautiful squash, potatoes, garlic, leeks and the every delicious versatile cabbage family that doesn’t hold anything against the baby cabbage aka Brussel sprouts.

And then we have spring.  You know what is one of my favourite spring foods? You guess it.  ASPARAGUS!  Never spare me the ‘Sparagus.

Oh as an interesting FACT, did you know this about asparagus?

“Depending on which study you read, between 22% and 50% of the population report having pungent pee after eating asparagus. But that doesn’t mean only some people’s bodies generate that smell. Researchers believe that, during digestion, the vegetable’s sulfurous amino acids break down into smelly chemical components in all people. And because those components are “volatile,” meaning airborne, the odor wafts upward as the urine leaves the body and can be detected as soon as 15 minutes after you eat this spring delicacy.

But only about one-quarter of the population appears to have the special gene that allows them to smell those compounds. So the issue isn’t whether or not your pee is smelly; it’s whether you’re able to smell it. If you smell a funny fragrance in your urine after you eat asparagus, you’re not only normal, you have a good nose.”

Ref: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/why-pee-smells-funny-eat-asparagus

Good news (or is it), I have good nose.

Asparagus is also said to be good for Kidney stones.  I get stones and as soon as I feel them, and trust me YOU KNOW, I eat a bundle of asparagus and within 24 hrs I am feeling much relief.  I just make a point of eating asparagus 2-3 times a week when I feel the stones reappear (and hold my nose when I pee).

Ok, enough chatter, lets get your fork and knife ready, this is a doozy!

Chicken Breast stuffed with Asparagus & Provolone Cheese

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
1 bundle of asparagus (always tastes best from your own backyard or a friends)
2 cups of bread crumbs – add garlic powder, basil, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.
2 eggs beaten
4 slices of Provolone cheese
Olive Oil
Cooking string

Put olive oil in pan.  Add enough to cover bottom of fying pan plus a little more.

Lightly steam your asparagus for 1 min.

Cut your chicken breasts in half but leave joined – butterfly.

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Add a slice of provolone and 3-4 asparagus pieces to the middle of your butterflied chicken breast.

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Tie up your chicken breast, but not too tight.  Just enough to hold it together.  Dunk the stuffed breast into the egg and roll it around to make sure it is good and covered.  Put in bread crumb mixture and cover completely.

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Turn on oil in pan to preheat while you do the rest.  med-high should work.
Place all your stuffed breast in the preheated pan and turn all 3 sides when browned.

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Preheat oven to 425 while your stuffed chicken is cooking.  Line a flat sheet (cookie sheet) with tinfoil.
Flip chicken breast to cook all around.

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Here they are, all browning up and ready to transfer to oven.

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Place in pre-heated oven, uncovered for 10-15 mins.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. **Remember to remove the string before eating**

Because I love asparagus, I also made a steamed batch of asparagus with fresh garlic and shredded lemon rind and a Greek themed salad.

Dinner is served and what a fine feast it was!

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Delicious!

And my 2 delicious sides!

Hope you give this recipe a try, it does not disappoint.

Cheers!!!

Sandy

Be Good To The Senior In You ❤️

Buttermilk Bran Muffins

Ingredients
1 cup of 100% Wheat Bran
1 1/2 cup of 1% buttermilk
1/3 cup sunflower or safflower oil
1 large egg
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of AP Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (more or less) raisins

Directions:  Preheat over to 375 (convection bake). Line muffin tin with muffin paper or silicone inserts. My preference is non-bleached muffin paper that is biodegradable. Top that Starbucks & Tim Hortons!!

Bowl #1
Wheat bran and buttermilk. Mix and let it stand for 5-10 mins.

Bowl #2
Oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix with a blender on medium until creamy and smooth.

Mix bowl #2 into bowl #1. Make sure they are incorporated into each other fully.

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into mixture and mix with spatula until smooth and mixed well.  Stir in raisins.

Scoop into prepared muffin pan. Fill to the top of the liner. Not halfway. All the way to the top (see picture).

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Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Easy right?v
Use the ‘spring back’ test to check for readiness.  Remove promptly from pan and place on cooling rack.

Enjoy warm and cooled.

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MailBoxes

For a part-time job I collate and deliver flyers in the rural route around my house. The compensation is actually much higher than most would assume and the entire cheque goes into my retirement savings plan. Pretty smart eh?

As we all can appreciate, each new opportunity we embark on comes with both, good and bad, challenges. Since I operate approximately 250 mailboxes weekly I feel I am a good judge of character for what’s good and bad about the mailboxes and their owners.

So with that said, let’s talk about mailboxes and their owners. You’re going to be amazed at the variety readily available for any delivery person in a rural route.

Creative.
Some people are creative. I have a snoopy mail box on my route, a Great Dane canine shaped mail box equipped with even a tail and big ears, one that has ‘HI’ in pink lettering, a mailbox with Jesus on the cross, one with hearts all over it and of course business related mailboxes that carry their company name and/or logo. These mailboxes are my favourite. They are clean and I feel safe opening and closing them as they are all in wonderful working order.

No. Not Creative.
There is one mailbox that has corn stalks. A messy dirty dried bunch of dead cobweb infested corn stalks, tied to the mailbox with some weird faceless pumpkin dudes tied to the stalks. This isn’t fall themed coloured corn stalks, this is stale, brown crusty corn stalks from your local farmers field.  This is not creative by my standards, this is just creepy and annoying. I have to fight with the leaves to open the door and I drop the F bomb at least once during the stalk box visit. It’s dead corn stalks for crying out loud. Tie them to your front door and leave the mailbox out of it. I will tell you what your husband, neighbours and friends are afraid to tell you!! NO ONE is impressed with your dead dirty corn stalks. Just let us do our job without having to tackle the jungle to do it. While you’re at it, do us all a favour and give the dead stalks back to the farmer whose field you stole them from. We all know you walked across the road and cut yourself a few stalks. Stalker.

Now that the creators are out of the way, we have the majority to talk about. Mailboxes are gross. They almost always have spiders, cobwebs, earwigs and duck tape, are falling apart in one way or another, missing pieces and man, I just don’t understand people. You know what I have? I have a friggin mailbox! No duct tape holding it together, no threats inside written on paper, no missing door, it’s not bent and wobbly. It’s a mailbox with a fully operational door.

Rust Buckets.
I don’t want to have to go to the emergency room and get a tetanus shot when I cut my hand again trying to reach in your rotting, falling apart rusty mailbox, that also has its door hanging off by one sliver of a rusty hinge. CHANGE IT! If you ask me real nice I’ll drive it over and you can call the city and say someone knocked your mailbox over. Lucky for you, they’ll send someone out to repair it. But once they see your rust bucket, they’ll spend the money you aren’t and get a real one. Geesh! Why is it so hard?

Arachnophobia.
If your mailbox has spider webs, spiders , earwigs or any bug on it when I arrive, I can guarantee you without a doubt, I will bet my house and children, that I used YOUR flyer to beat and kill the pests and swiped all the webs away before I put your flyer set inside your box. It’s not dirt smears on your flyers, it’s your friendly neighbourhood spider. If it’s sticky, it’s just the webs. If you have a mailbox and see the flyer in your driveway and wonder why. Check your mailbox. It could of been so gross that I wasn’t willing to battle the arachnid farm living in and on your mailbox. Fix it or next week you’ll get the flyer in your driveway again.
Side note: House #4935, the next time I open your mailbox and hundreds of earwigs fall out I’m burning it down. To the ground.

Duct Tape.
I do not want to battle duct tape. I checked my contract with work and not anywhere does it say I will need to battle hanging sticky bunches of duct tape while trying to get the flyers in the mailbox. If your mailbox needs duct tape, I’m going to go out on a limb here, but it just might need replacing.

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Terrorist Proof.
For those of you that think it’s hilarious to weld and make your own two thousand pound mailbox I’m not laughing. First. Rule 101. Mailbox doors open down not up. So it’s bad enough you feel the need to build a missile and terrorist proof mailbox, but to have a door that weighs a hundred pounds open the wrong way is not cooperating with flyer delivery physics. Because of your terrorist proof mailbox, I felt the need to accept your challenge and started lifting weights. Carry on neurotic.

Trickster.
There is a mailbox, rusty, bent and clearly in need of retirement on my route, like so many. This one I’m not so sure I need permission to drive it over. It just might accidentally happen one fine day. The door is not hinged on, like you would assume. I open the door and let it go thinking it’s hanging on by hinges. You know, like it should be. It falls off. I constantly forget because it goes against mailbox door policy. Hinges! I have to pull forward and get out, get the door and put it back on. Eventually I got fed up and just threw the door in the mailbox. The door remained inside the mailbox for over a month. Recently the door was back on. I said to myself “Oh good, someone fixed it”. I pulled it down letting the door go again and what does it do? Falls into the tall grass surrounding the mailbox AGAIN! I’ve had enough. So you understand trickster, I drove over your door, reversed and drove over it again, forward shift. One more time driving over it for good measure. I have your door in my car. You will never see it again. I hope your mail gets snowed on!

A Barn.
Is this massive structure really necessary for some envelops and a few pieces of paper? What exactly are you expecting to get delivered? Mail order a new car recently? Seriously, knock it down a size, you look pretty silly. You know what women say about guys who drive trucks with stupidly large tires. Well your friendly neighbourhood group of fine ladies would like to know if your mailbox is compensating for anything.

Let’s talk about some of the people now.

Love letters. Some people are just bat shit crazy. Obviously this poor guy is at his wits end and left a love letter for his federally criminal thieves. Why would you take someone else’s flyers? Oh right, cause you’re bat shit crazy that’s why. Leave his flyers alone.

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I have a few regulars who wait or come flying out of the house when they see the delivery lady. Interesting for sure. One gentleman is a bit much. I’ve actually informed the office that they may have to intervene if he can’t get his wackiness under control. Fortunately they know who I’m talking about from previous experience. Everything with this guy is a conspiracy. Oh wait, this is the best. He says one of the local grocery chains in the next town over is prejudice because they won’t put Merry Christmas on their flyers so he won’t shop there. Of course he told me this in July. Makes total sense; When you’re a nut job. He also wants to know why they aren’t saying God bless in schools anymore. But wait, this is what he actually says “Fuck. I want to fucking know, like fuck, why they aren’t fucking you know, saying God fucking bless in schools any fucking more? Fuck.” This is a 50+ year old man who clearly role models ZZTop. After ten to fifteen minutes weekly, of listening to his rants for 4 months, I finally told him I was an atheist and a spy so I had better get back to work before my boss, a bigger spy kicked my ass. I haven’t seen him since. Magical.

One elderly lady every week tells me she doesn’t want the flyer anymore, opens it and says oh yes this one I do, it’s the other one you deliver I don’t want. After several attempts to explain, I only deliver one set week after week, I now respond with “yes ma’am, you have a wonderful day” and I carry on.

Ok, these type of people make me want to get out of my car and kick them right in the. Shins. Yes shins. They look at me as I approach their mailbox like I’m committing a criminal act or like the act of delivering to their mailbox is some foreign action that they can’t seem to comprehend exactly what is happening right before their very eyes. Listen. Let’s cut through the red tape. You have a mailbox for a reason. You open your mailbox and collect papers and envelops. I know you collect from the mailbox, because it’s empty. Surely you must understand that by having a mailbox this means It will likely get used. STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE I’M A CRIMINAL. It’s going IN your mailbox, not OUT of your house.

To wrap up the variety show, let’s talk about our local serial killer. There is a house hidden way back in the trees. The only reason I know there is a house in there, is because of the mailbox and driveway. If there was a universal sign for ‘A Serial Killer Lives Here’ this would definitely be it. Yup. Here we have it. A stuffed large dog tied to a tree with a real dog leash. No seriously. Look at the picture. This is the real thing. Once in a while I guess the wind knocks the dog over and the next week it will be propped back up.

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I’m just waiting for the day the forensics team shows up and a graveyard is uncovered. I’ll be there with my hand on my hip saying what took ya so long?

I throw a flyer bag in their driveway while driving because I don’t want to stop for their
mailbox. A lot can happen in 60 seconds. What I do know for certain is if these guys were my neighbours you’d see a ‘for sale sign’ the exact same day this dog went on the front lawn. Four months later, still no forensic team. Go figure.

I must say I do have a little bit more empathy readily available for Canada Post workers. A little bit. For the most part I laugh most of it off but I can see how some of it could easily get on your nerves if it was five days a week for twenty-five years. When I get to telling my stories to family and friends we get a good chuckle from it. But what if one day I stop laughing at it all. Will I go flyer postal?

Next time you go to your mailbox, ask yourself if it’s a user friendly mailbox. If it has duct tape holding it together, or parts missing, know that all us delivery folks are talking about YOU being crazy and cheap!

Now I’ll leave y’all to debate if mailboxes should be one word or two.

I Waited My Whole Life ….

…for a girl like her. Today I mourn the loss of my canine soulmate. Cinder is my everything. She is more than I ever could ask a canine companion to be. She is a German Shepherd like no other I’ve ever had the chance to meet, and the best part is, her and I, we were one, for 6 wonderful years.

She is so incredibly intelligent, balanced, respectful, protective and kind. It’s her unconditional love that I will miss every day of my future life. She helped me show people that German Shepherds are not to be feared. She got camp grounds to remove their bans on German Sheps after meeting her and proving them wrong. She showed the fearful that she was a kind and gentle soul and would slather them in kisses to prove it! She even won over the haters!!

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How we got to today.
Just over a year ago Cinder ruptured her ACL on her hind left leg. X-rays also revealed a partial tear of her right ACL. Surgery was upwards of $8-$10,000 and not a guarantee with a fairly long restricted recovery. We took an alternative route, a brace for her ruptured leg, cartrophen shots at the vet and some natural supplements.

Now, Miss Cinder can be a bit stubborn and it took us a few different styles of braces before we got one she would walk in while wearing. If you knew Cinder well, you’d know she spent most of her day roaming our 23 acres while on flock protection duty. Her brace wasn’t meant to be worn other than for ‘short designated’ walks. Well, I wasn’t telling them that this working dog stays at it most of the day … We were just going to figure out what would work.

We had already retired the ball and chuck-it as soon as the first ACL ruptured. She lived to find that ball after we buried it in the bush and we took the throwing of it away to help preserve her right leg and reduce her pain in the left. Every day she would get her ball and drop it at your feet and stare at you. Waiting. Not understanding. Eventually she’d take it and give up and roll all over it. The ultimate love of a toy. Now to tell her to stay put on her bed, she’d have to be in her dog crate/kennel locked up for that to happen. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do that to her. It’s not in her DNA. This is a German shepherd, the working and incredibly intelligent breed! My golden retriever would ask for that recommendation in writing so he can show me for the days I force him off his bed but Miss Cinder wouldn’t have any of that. She had a job to do.

The brace helped. It definitely did. However, it wears on her, and if worn too long she will bleed. We made some adjustments and got minimal use out of it before she would start to tug at it. She wanted freedom.

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Most recently she completely ruptured her other ACL. These are very painful conditions. As far as pain goes, on a scale of 1-10 their pain can be as high as a 9. We were now dealing with 2 legs in excruciating pain. Every day.

I asked a lot of her to live with one ruptured ACL and the pain that goes along with that. She did it for me. She would do it longer and again if I asked her. She did it without even flinching in her personality for over a year. Her demeanour, kindness and loyalty never wavered. Not even once. I could not ask her to live with twice the pain for another year. She has served me and it is my turn to serve her, to finally release her from her pain.

It was such a heart wrenching, soul twisting decision to make. I paced the floor for days, knowing what the right thing to do was, but getting there took a lot for me to finally acknowledge I had to let go. To not ask her to hang on longer. I desperately wanted to, I was ready to beg her …she would. But it wouldn’t be fair.

I love her fiercely and I still can’t imagine my days without her. She’s my girl. We are a team. I still need her. Very much so. I’m not ready to let go. Six years is not long enough for such a beautiful soul. But I had to accept and I love her enough to release her from her pain. It couldn’t be about me any longer. I have been selfish long enough.

It’s been her and I for 6 years. It was her and I with her last heartbeat. I couldn’t imagine any other way. Her and I. Always. To the end.

I feel very alone in my grieving. No one loves her like I do and I know and felt her love each and every day. She would give her life for this family without hesitation. Such a huge loss. The loss of love to give, and the loss of love to receive.

I haven’t cried so very hard from the depths of my soul in such a long time. I was at her side until the last beat of her heart. Her last breath. I held her long after she was gone. I cried into her chest. The sadness is overwhelming. I hugged her and told her I was soooo sorry I kept her in pain for so long and she needed to be free now. I thanked her for her loyalty, devotion to our family and her immense love. I laid on the floor with her, hugging her until it didn’t feel like her anymore.

Such a tragedy. Cinder is gone. Forever.

The Separation

If you have read my blog you’ll notice I write about so many different topics, randomness in every left corner there is, but some topics seem to be consistent. Ducklings, chickens and other simple categories like food, rants and matters of opinions. I’ve been very busy lately and haven’t blogged out much of anything, but eventually I’ll get some time back on my side and will get these 1/2 finished blogs up and posted.

For the sake of reading preference and categorization, I have decided to separate my blog accordingly.

The homestead posts dealing with chickens, ducklings, eventually other animals and other homestead topics will be written on this site: sandyacreshomestead.wordpress.com

It’s now live and hopefully I’ll have something written and posted soon. Hope to see you over there soon!!! I look forward to sharing my writes on this craziness I call a backyard flock.

Cheers!

Sandy
https://sandyacreshomestead.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/welcome/