Skip to content

Garlic is planted!

November 6, 2020

On a quest for the perfect garlic for garlic chicken, so there are 9 varieties planted in a 4’x10′ bed for a total of 96 future bulbs. The earliest harvest will be June, and the last likely in August or even September. I gave the soil some serious amendments of alfalfa pellets, kelp meal, green sand, and glacial till dust. Cloves are planted 6″ apart because I want to see how big I can grow them, instead of the usual 4″. We shall see!

And some decisions to make, because I’d like to post another photo, and this theme only allows a single, featured, photo. Maybe I’m missing a switch.

Virtual A&S in November

November 3, 2020

Do I need to introduce this? In our region, John Macandrew started a little thing called “First Monday Virtual A&S” as a way to inspire and encourage the creative SCA spirit online, long before the pandemic world. The first Monday of the month, we are invited to share our creative endeavours of the past month, those complete, on-going, and not yet started but we have a piece to inspire.

If you aren’t doing it in your world, do consider it!

This month, I completed planting my garlic patch of 96 (because I am on a mission to compare 9 varieties of garlic), and am part-way through some kumihimo for a group project.

SCA Educational Happenings!

May 30, 2020

Because I can?

It’s time for things to change up again, and I’m going to be exploring the world of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc, and my local “kingdom”, the Kingdom of An Tir.

This means I might be adding some educational type things, a bit at a time. We’ll see how it goes!

The first thing is making a local-ish file available online, because… you know.


And maybe a tracker of classes I’ve taught, from the U of Ithra.

ithra classes to WIKI

More later!

David Suzuki’s words stick with me

January 2, 2013

Sometimes I get so busy with life that I forget to write some of it down. Much of life goes by without being noticed, as I expect it does with the majority of people in our modern world. Sometimes a thing will continue to hover in my mind without actually becoming a write-able topic. Haunting. Persistent. Lurking. Like this. I caught a goodly bit of an “epac” presentation on TV that now hovers. It’s not going away, so I’m putting down here what I have managed to capture.

David Suzuki’s shows are always interesting. Perhaps not glue-to-the-seat interesting, but worth watching, a staple in the stable of Canadian shows. Then I saw his talk: 2012 National Symposium Lecture in Prince Edward Island (Canada). How different from the shows… Not just glued to my seat, but rivetted. Superglued. Heart and mind grabbed so hard that I had to write down a few things, desperately scribbled in a frantic endeavour to record important ideas, many being direct quotes that burned themselves into my brain…

  • Words are not actions.
  • Harper’s ‘law and order government’ breaks its own laws.
  • Proportional representation as a better method of determining better leadership.
  • “… need to evolve…”
  • We have elevated the economy over the ecology to our detriment.
  • The fighting will continue until we shift the paradigm. Clean air, water, soil, clean energy from the sun, biodiversity. The human animal is still connected to nature. An intelligent creature would not pollute their environment. “There is no Plan B.”
  • “Nature is the source of our well-being and our lives.”
  • “We can affect the future by what we do now.”
  • “An economy in constant growth is cancer.”
  • “Limit growth to what nature can manage in order to support us.”
  • Read Jeff (Geoff?) Rubin’s “End of Growth”.
  • “Enshrine the right to a healthy environment in our constitution.”
  • ‘Pacha Mama’ of Bolivia and Equador, environment as a being with rights. Bhutan’s happiness as gross national product.
  • We’ve got to put fences around humans!

So, now what? For me, it’s brought a fresh awareness of my personal actions on our finite planet. What is the size of my footprint? Will there be anything left for the children and grandchildren of my generation? That -is- how immediate this is!

We cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into apathy! -Each- of us needs to do what we can, because, as we each do our little bit, those collective bits become a great wave, a movement that is greater than the current craze for “Occupy” gatherings. How much of your “overhead” do you supply? Food? Clothing? Transportation? Shelter? Power for any of that? How much do you rely on outside input? How far do those supplies have to travel? Everything we do has a cost, and we can recognize who pays, or will pay, for it.

We don’t need to go back to the Stone Age, but we do have to alter how we occupy this planet. It starts with our awareness of our choices, and continues with making more sustainable choices as we find and develop them.

Are you on-board?

Food for a Milonga

June 23, 2012

So many things go into making a successful milonga, a dance event of Argentine tango, or, as one of my dance partners says, “Tango Argentino!”

I won’t go into the customs that make Salon Tango, the social dance, so welcoming, nor the reminders to attendees. This milonga calls for a finger-food potluck. An appetiser array. So here is some of my research, with a hint of experience from my medieval events… Of course, this post started because I never know what to bring!

Thanks to Lynne for many ideas and a reminder of “lots of toothpicks.”

Project Tango has a “Food Volunteer”. The part that is relevant to us is:

“vegetarian items only
“mix of fresh fruit, veg, sweet, salty, chocolate and non”

The parameters us are: food that is non-smelly (dancing is close embrace); finger food that is not messy (dancing could happen at any moment); safe to eat at room temperature (no cooking facilities); easy to grab and go (the dancing thing again); prepped before the dance, ready to eat; easy to serve and clean up. Skip the garlic and onions; add the mint and rosemary and cinnamon and other herbs and spices to make your shared breath pleasant.


  • apples (cored, sliced, dipped in lemon juice), grapes, berries, cubed melon, orange wedges
  • carrots (sticks or baby), bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, sliced jicama
  • crackers (or bread cut relatively small, or small buns)
  • cheese (brie and camembert styles and triple crèmes are good with fruits; harder cheese, not too strong, are Cheddar or Gouda cheese, dry jack, Swiss (Emmenthaler) styles, Gruyere styles, many “tomme” styles and Parmesan styles)
  • cookies (chocolate and a non-chocolate; mini cookies are especially nice)
  • chocolate covered pretzels (sweet *and* salty)
  • Hot Chocolates’ ginger pieces in dark chocolate (hint, hint)

Chips or other savory snack like popcorn are kind of a “maybe” because greasy fingers on nice dresses and suits are impolite.

Dips are only a little messy. Hummous (recipe below), soft cream cheese and laban (quality yoghurt, drained for a creamy cheese-like consistency; see below) all take well to crackers and veggies.

Meats, even cured meats, have issues with temperature, especially if the day is hot; it’s easier to just avoid them altogether.

A Little Bit More

(this section mostly from the New York Times)

  • Top rye flatbread with thin slices of crisp apple and shaved country ham, prosciutto or regular deli ham and bread-and-butter pickles.
  • Tapenade: Combine about 1 pound pitted black olives in food processor with 1/4 cup drained capers, at least 5 anchovies, 2 garlic cloves, black pepper and olive oil as necessary to make a coarse paste. Can also be a dip. Use sparingly; it’s strong.
  • Portable Caprese: Skewer a small ball of mozzarella, a grape tomato and a bit of basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.
  • Marinated mushrooms: Cut button mushrooms into chunks and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let rest five minutes. Spear two chunks with a piece of Parmesan about the same size.
  • Stuff Medjool dates with a piece of Parmesan or Manchego or an almond. Or fresh goat cheese. Or mozzarella, and bake until the cheese begins to melt.
  • Gently cook raw nuts in oil or butter (or a mixture) with salt and spices — pimentón, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, sugar — whatever combination you like. When they’re fragrant, bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool.
  • Coat good olives in olive oil mixed with rosemary, thyme, and/or lemon or orange peel; spices, like chilies, are O.K. Let sit overnight if time allows.
  • Fill endive leaves with crème fraîche or sour cream and drained ricotta mixed with chopped parsley, thyme, and a little olive oil.
  • A dip of puréed white or other beans (if canned, drain them) with garlic and olive oil in food processor, adding olive oil as needed. Stir in lemon juice to taste. You can add cumin or chopped rosemary with lemon zest.
  • Hummus: Truly one of the great culinary inventions. Mix four parts well-cooked or canned chickpeas with one part tahini, along with some of its oil, in a food processor. Add cumin or pimentón and purée, adding as much olive oil as needed. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste; garnish with olive oil and pimentón.
  • Drain good whole-fat yogurt in cheesecloth for 15 minutes; squeeze to remove remaining liquid. Add salt, pimentón and olive oil. Thin with a little more yogurt to use as a dip, or serve on crackers or bread.
  • Mix four parts drained yogurt (as above), farmer cheese or cream cheese with one part sour cream, until creamy. Add thyme and chopped parsley (or any fresh herbs), salt and pepper.
  • Start by draining yogurt as above but do not squeeze; or use sour cream. Stir in chopped seeded cucumber, bell pepper, scallion, dill, then add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Or use chopped arugula and/or cress, with some herbs. Or use horseradish and/or Dijon mustard, with or without vegetables. Or chopped fresh parsley. Always taste for salt.
  • Mash four parts goat cheese with one part fig jam for a spread.

Actual Recipes

(I’m sorry to’ve lost the source; tell me where they come from and I’ll add the info)

Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar

Yields: serves many
Prep time: 10 min
Fresh strawberries, washed, hulled or unhulled, and dried
1/2 cup good-quality aged Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
Place strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and powdered sugar in separate bowls.
To serve, let each guest dip a strawberry into the balsamic vinegar and then into the powdered sugar.
Serves many.

Watermelon Cubes with Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Yields: 6 servings
Prep time: 15 min
About 1/2 pound seedless red or yellow watermelon flesh
1/2 freshly-squeezed lime juice
Traditional Aceto Balsamico (aged Balsamic Vinegar)
Cut the watermelon flesh into 6 (1 1/2-inch) cubes.
Use the small end of a melon-baller to remove a scoop of flesh from one side of the watermelon cubes, creating a small cavity for the juice.
To serve, place a watermelon cube, cavity-side up, on each of 6 small plates and squeeze a little lime juice over them. Fill each cavity with balsamic vinegar. NOTE: I use a dropper to add the balsamic vinegar.
Makes 6 servings.

Pão de Queijo
Pao de Queijo is a Brazilian cheese bread made with tapioca flour. They’re puffy and chewy, like Japanese mocha, and perfect finger food, great for dipping! This Brazil recipe is really simple and will not take you long at all. This recipe is also great for coeliacs as tapioca flour is gluten-free.

Ready in 20 mins
Makes: 16 Pão de Queijo
1 egg
175g tapioca flour
80ml olive oil
160ml milk
65g grated cheese
1tsp salt to taste
Preparation method
Prep: 5 mins | Cook: 15 mins
1.Pre-heat the oven to 200 C / Gas 6 and grease a cupcake tray.
2.Put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth to create your batter. This recipe is quite simple so feel free to experiment by adding herbs and spices to the mix.
3.Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake tray and then bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until the batter has puffed up and they are slightly brown on top. Leave them to cool.

Strawberries dipped in chocolate…

Your food should be ready to eat, so dancers don’t need to fuss with it. It should not need knives, forks or spoons; it should be “clean” enough to eat with your fingers, or toothpick-ready. Label your serving plate so you can get it back, or remember to take it with you at the end of the milonga.

Say… You know all this already, don’t you…?