Fermenting With David

scoby kombucha

Our SCOBY arrived in the mail today.

David is pretty awesome – and we enjoy a wide range of activities. It’s wonderful that his interests are so varied – he does enjoy his computer games like Minecraft (he even has his own server), loves building with Lego, and will read for hours and hours at a time.

But he also really enjoys baking bread with me, and recently we discovered the art of “food fermentation.” Earlier today, thanks to the kindness of a stranger, a “SCOBY” – the “mother” of Kombucha, arrived in the mail. I’ve never had kombucha, but have heard of it’s health benefits (although most are not scientifically proven although the idea of adding more probiotics to our diet is appealing) as well as apparently the ability to create flavoured carbonated beverages with it.

So it was fun to prepare the tea mixture that the scoby went into and David was right there by my side, helping with it all. He gets a kick out of our food “experiments.”

This evening, we’re going to try fermenting garlic cloves in honey. I came across this in a Facebook group that I recently discovered and people there are raving about this, both it’s flavour when it’s completed, as well as claims about how it cures a cough almost immediately and keeps the cold and flu bugs away. Regardless, David and I both love garlic – cooked with most of our dishes, home made garlic bread, and we’ve even done fermented garlic like this.

David especially loves the fermented garlic which had added oregano in the salt brine. The scent of it fermenting is also enjoyable to us, but quite possibly not to everyone! :)

So now I’m looking for ideas for how to flavour kombucha. If you’re reading this and have make this beverage, would love to know what you do with it!

On the weekend, we have plans to do quite a bit of bread baking, with a number of loaves going into the freezer for later.


Business Partnership Advice – Red Flags At The Beginning

“Deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior.” ~Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

So many people want to start a new business and dream of financial independence. Indeed, starting a business is a very good step to taking control of your own destiny, and while a business may fail, that is not a reason to give up. Rather, it’s an opportunity to learn and try to understand what went wrong, what mistakes were made, and perhaps even understand that one’s own expectations about the market for a product or service were not based on reality.

Often, we’re also faced with realizing that we do not have all the skills necessary to provide all of the services, so we look for others that may appear to have similar goals, values and ethics and that can provide the skills that we do not have, while we can provide skills and knowledge that they do not have.

This is often about as close as you can get to a perfect partnership arrangement. But not always. There are some red flags that you need to watch out for. This does not mean you shouldn’t be suspicious of everything or completely lack trust, but if you are investing a lot of your own hard earned money into something, if you don’t watch out for red flags at the beginning, and deal with them immediately, you could find yourself in a situation where you lose everything.

Of course, you may have legal recourse under such a situation, but sadly, our court systems in North America tend to work very slowly, and at the same time, legal costs can be astoundingly high – such that legal action is often not worth the time or effort.

The biggest red flag to watch out for from my experience is lying. When a potential or new partner you’ve begun business with shows signs of easily and without remorse, lying to you about a variety of things, run. The old adage, “three strikes and you’re out” does not apply here. It can be difficult, because you might want to try to understand why the person is lying to you, and during those conversations, especially if the person turns out to be a pathological liar, perhaps even psychopathic, they can trick you into feeling sorry for them, and will often make promises about “doing better,” “it won’t happen again…,” “I promise to get counseling…,” “I will make up for this..” or any other number of emotional triggers that may have you wanting to forgive them and offering you hope of being able to move on.

And for a time, perhaps a month or two, things will seemed to have improved, but during this time, your own efforts, your own investments will get deeper and deeper, and suddenly, there’s a new lie, or new crazy activity you might discover.

People who have these psychopathic tendencies can often come across to others as being responsible and even impressive. Indeed, they may have impressive skills in some areas. They are often quick to try to show them off.. and sometimes will even help others outside the business – this helps them to cover up their own lies within the business. To outsiders, the psychopathic liar appears to be a wonderful person – how on earth could such a person be so dishonest?

But then there will be other lies.. and they may even ask you to protect them… but in doing so, you are playing right into their hands, as the manipulate the truth.

They might even go so far as to lie about a pregnancy! Or a miscarriage! And beg you to not talk about what really happened… so you are emotionally stuck with trying to protect the person, believing you are doing something good.. but in the meantime, this person is now open to saying whatever they want.

They have an amazing ability to even turn others against you, while you made promises to them about helping and protecting them. Others will then help them, while you’re the one stuck carrying the bag.. the bag of financial losses, projects never completed, agreements not kept, while they come up with a boat load of excuses to outsiders, but you know that there really is no excuse; what happened was not your expectation or the expectation they lead you to believe and hope for.

They will even go so far as to make sure it’s pointed out that YOU needed THEM. Which, may be partially true (their skills were a big part of the business), but they will never point out that YOU helped them with rent money, sent money of your own to them to help them, took on their debt even, at the beginning. Noo.. none of those things will ever be mentioned by the other person, and it’s not your way to make that public, until it’s much much too late. They will never point out to others the things you have done to build the business, such as bringing in clients, some of whom might actually be acquaintances of yours before you start the business.

At first, you might believe many of their claims that they make, that impress you and cause you to believe that they have the life experience and skills you are hoping for in a business partner. Lies that are so believable, why would you doubt them? Lies like… “I grew up a Catholic, and then converted to Protestantism” is something you might hear from such a person and you’re impressed, even if  you don’t agree with their theology, but it shows an open minded person who thinks.

But then you find out their childhood theology was no such thing. What they have told you is just a mirage. And you’ll wonder, “Huh? What the heck?”

They may tell you grandiose stories about rock climbing adventures, or playing a mean Banjo in the Church worship group. They may tell you that they are separated from their spouse even… when they are not. But why would you not believe such things?

The more important question is, “Why on earth would someone lie about such things in the first place?”

After awhile, as you catch them in more lies, and confront them (especially the ones that are important to the business), they will gradually move from a demeanour of shedding fake tears to one of making you feel guilty for discovering the lie. Instead of remorse, they will display anger and insolent type of behaviors that you would expect from a rebellious 15 year old; not a grown adult.

Sometimes, they might even promise to stop lying, seek councelling, and they appear genuine, and they will relight the spark of hope in you. They will come to you with great ideas for the business, and for a short period of time, will give you renewed hope that you’ve crossed a barrier and perhaps… in the end… all will be well.

One one occasion, when a person was confronted with a very serious lie that also involved some very serious actions about an agreement with a client over money, the person did accept the idea of counseling – and even provided a name of a therapist. However, they then came up with excuses, “I’m not sure how to get there though as it’s out of town.” There were plenty of resources in town, though… it was all a stall tactic for them.

Don’t kid yourself. Unless a person like this is willing to undergo intense therapy, they will not stop their behaviour.

One behaviour to look out for is the “segmenting” of their life – they may get very close to you, but at the same time, will try to limit your time with others in their life. They do this as a protective mechanism which helps them maintain their lies. They will give you excuses about some of the things others might say to you, and their understanding but in the meantime, they are actually promoting those thoughts in others – and this segmentation aids them in doing so. They certainly do not want you and the others to all get together at the same time, and the possibility that a topic or subject comes up in discussion that they’ve told major boner lies about.

Often, you will ask, “Why did you lie about that?” or, “Why do you keep lying over and over about things, when it’s important to know the truth?” or “Why are you lying about the status of a project, when it’s important to know where we’re at, so we can adjust?

They won’t really have an answer for that. But they will use the project as an excuse to let others know just how “great” they are, even though they may not actually be spending much time on it. In fact, they could actually be spending time on other conflicts of interest for their own gain, using your resources, and the project you thought they were working on, as an excuse to appear busy, while doing other things.

When you get frustrated, they will use your frustration against you. You all of a sudden become “mean” or “unthinking” toward them.

Some other things that may happen with a person like this:

  • You might be looking at ways to increase your business, and in doing so, hire someone to take on some jobs they do, so the partners can work on bigger and better things. But instead, after a long time, you have nothing to show for this, so you decide that it’s really important to try to cut expenses – and when you do, they will complain about you and an additional work load (when they weren’t really working on the business with you in the first place during that time you hired or sub contracted out stuff).
  • You may purchase some product or service that is supposed to help them be more efficient, but instead of using it for the business purpose, use it for their own personal purposes, and when you see that it’s really a wasted expense, they will moan and complain about the idea of that service stop being paid for, blame it on you, while neglecting to tell others that they did not use it for it’s intended purpose in the first place.
  • They may pretend to be working in the best interests of the business, but you may later find out, perhaps years later, that they were spending enormous amounts of time on other things, maybe even earning an income using PayPal, or some other ways of hiding income – and when confronted, will try to downplay what they did. And yet, you will discover even more conflicts of interest and by this time, perhaps they have quite assisted in making sure your own personal funds that you put into the business are completely diminished and gone.
  • They will refuse to assist with normal and accepted business practices, sharing information or even documenting things –  possibly because they don’t want you to know what they are not really doing. Who knows? Maybe they want you to need them, even if it is financially hurting you – it gives them power over you while you continue to try to deal with their lies and the fall out from it. They always seem to be able to make you deal with the fallout and will never offer up apologies unless pressed to do so. And after being pressed to do so, the apologies are usually simply “lip service.”
  • When confronted with a lie, instead of admitting to the truth, they will seek to defend themselves with more lies, and often they don’t even see the irrationality of their lies. It just “makes sense” to them, at the time, in order to try to cover up their lies, and still somehow pretend they’ve told the truth.

There are many many more things that they will engage in, on a day to day basis, which often has the intended result of making you think they really are interested, they are sorry for their actions… but it’s all a sociopathic/psychopathic strategy. They really have no conscience. And it can be so very very frustrating as well as depressing, if you’re watching the very things you built, being torn away – by lies.

Which brings me back to where I discussed above, that you will often ask the “why” questions… “why are you lying about this?” etc.

The only answer to this is that they are psychopathic. It’s a hard word and a  hard diagnosis to accept. We often think of the psychopath as the crazy axe-murdering person, but there are psychopaths out there, who while they won’t show violent tendencies, show through their actions in other ways, a total lack of ability to understand remorse, to understand change, to understand values,

But because it is such a hard word to use to describe someone, and so often used to describe a person who does horrifying things physically, we tend to forget or put less emphasis on the horrifying emotional and financial damages the non-physical psychopath can cause.

YOU, on the other hand, KNOW you’re not perfect, you know:

  • There is always room for improvement.
  • You understand remorse when you did something wrong.
  • You understand that you can make mistakes and while it’s not good to beat yourself up over them, you understand the idea of trying to make up for them, and striving to improve.
  • You understand that honest communication is important, and try, over and over to reach that level.
  • You care – not just giving lip service to the word, but your actions show care, and to many people, it’s not just seen, but is known to be genuine. When you discover the psychopath has lied about a pregnancy, and then lied about a miscarriage, you will care. You will try to understand what you think they are feeling and provide empathy. You will talk and listen. You will help them. They then will turn it all around on you.

A psychopath does not get this. It is impossible for them without a great deal of therapy. They are simply not capable, but they are capable of doing a LOT of damage. And you may not realize the damage until it is too late.

So watch out for those early signs… especially of habitual lying without true remorse. While this article linked below is dealing mostly with romantic relationships (and indeed, you may have even had a romantic relationship with your psychopath business partner but had to end it but decided to try to continue and have hope in a business relationship), the concepts and information still apply to other relationships that include the psychopath in your life:

Pathological Lying: A Psychopathic Manipulation Tool

If you are considering a new business with a partner, and they show signs of not being able to deal with even everyday normal events without lying about them, RUN.

These types of people, no matter how sincere or how much you try to help them, could possibly drive you levels of frustration that you simply don’t know what to do, and when you do something to try to solve the problem, perhaps even out of frustration, trying to maybe contact one of their relatives for understanding of their behaviour, or to seek mediation, they will use that against YOU, even though it was your sincere purpose to try to make things right. And after awhile, you will end up resigning yourself to the fact the damage has been done; it’s not going to get better.  And your losses will not likely ever be recouped.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.




Go Away, CRTC

Just. Go Away.

CRTC Issues Ultimatum To Netflix, Google

There never really was a need for the CRTC or for regulation of the airwaves and content programming. Why these regulators think they ought to control what I choose to watch, have streamed to me, or anything else is irrelevant. Their reasons are irrelevant. In fact, it is simply a sign of their psychopathy. A psychopathic need to control.

I don’t subscribe to Netflix. I don’t have cable TV (or satellite for that matter). And that is my choice. If I choose to subscribe to Netflix, why on earth would some psychopaths feel that they know what my choices should be?



Blackberry & Geocaching

geocache find

Our First Geocache Find

My son who is now 12 years old, has discovered a new hobby that he has been enjoying: Geocaching. For those who have never heard of it, it is one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America. Basically, it involves locating “caches” that have been hidden and then logging and recording your experience.

To find caches, you need to know approximately where they are. The person who hid the cache will provide coordinates which are then uploaded to a website. http://geocaching.com seems to be the most popular.

You can search for hidden caches at the above mentioned website but members who have registered for free will only get to see a limited number. You can subscribe for a modest fee of $29.99/year and then enjoy other benefits including the ability to see where all caches have been hidden. As a non-premium member, you will not have access to information about all caches and you will be limited in the number of caches you can get information about.

Geocaching Mobile Apps

There are also a variety of geocaching apps for the Iphone and Android mobile devices. My son has an Iphone and has installed a geocaching app which allows him to use the built in GPS to locate caches. One of his first discoveries was a cache that had been hidden about a minute walk from our house. And that was my first introduction to geocaching as well.

Unfortunately, Blackberries are not very well supported as far as the hobby of geocaching. When my son and I attended an introductory seminar about geocaching, I was laughed at when I asked about apps that might be available for my mobile device, and told “Get an Iphone or Android.” Well, being in a long term contract with my mobile provider doesn’t really make that an option for me at this time.

So I continued to research and came across “CacheSense,” an app for Geocaching that has been developed for a number of Blackberries including BB10, PlayBook and OS versions 4.x through 7.x. My own Blackberry is a Torch (9810) and is running Version 7.1. I was quite excited to discover CacheSense but at first, I thought that maybe I was not going to be able to get it to work.

I initially downloaded the software from the CacheSense website. However, after installing it and trying to run it, I received the error:”CacheSense: Module ‘CacheSense-2′ attempts to access a secure API.”

I was advised to delete the app, remove the battery from my Blackberry, reinstall the battery and turning my device on before trying to download the software and reinstalling it. However, I again ran into problems and when the Blackberry attempted to download, it would be interrupted with an error message of “Error 907 Invalid COD.”

At that point, I thought that I was doomed for now at being able to use my Blackberry on geocaching expeditions with my son. But on a hunch, I searched the Blackberry World from my Torch for “CacheSense” and found it there. Downloading and installing from Blackberry World went without a hitch.

At this point, I have not thoroughly explored the application and it does seem to be a bit “clunky” compared to what my son has on his Iphone – but that could be me. I find the Blackberry to be a bit “clunky” overall. In addition, without paying a $9.99 registration fee, the CacheSense application will only run for 30 days. After that in order to continue using it, you’ll need to pay the registration fee.


CacheSense supports both BlackBerry and Google maps. I have not played around enough to know if one is better than the other. And again with the BlackBerry, it can be difficult to locate the Google Maps application. For some reason, Google has removed the link for Blackberries and they are not available on BlackBerry World at the time of this writing.

However, I discovered that if you open your browser on your BlackBerry device and type in the URL:  http://google.com/mobile/other you will be able to download Google Maps.

So far, I have not used CacheSense to locate any caches yet, although the app has downloaded a small list of them that are in my vicinity. I’m going to wait until my son is available and then we can compare notes on each others Geocaching apps and see which one we prefer.

But at least there is an option for the BlackBerry!


Richter’s – Awesome Customer Service

I love vegetable gardening. When I was a child, my parents had a vegetable garden and although there were times I thought some of the work was not what I wanted to do – all that weeding – I enjoyed the fact that we could go to our garden and pick our own tomatoes, rhubarb, and even strawberries during the summer months.

Both my grandfather and my father were big influences on me; trying new and interesting crops, teaching me how to save seeds from the previous year, and having plants in our gardens that many would not think of. I used to have horseradish that was transplanted from my grandfather’s garden, as well as interesting things like “Egyptian Onions.”

Up until about 1999, I always had my own vegetable garden and at some point during the 1990’s, I discovered Richter’s Herbs, a mail order as well as bricks and mortar retailer of seeds of herbs and vegetables. Located in Goodwood, Ontario, I would sometimes drop in to their retail location to browse or purchase something new I wanted to try, on trips between Grand Valley and Ottawa.  Each spring, I would eagerly await their catalogue and pour over it, thinking about and wondering of the interesting herbs and vegetable varieties they had to offer.

In about 1999, I had some life experiences which meant I could no longer have either the time or the space for a garden, but I certainly missed it.

Last year, an opportunity came up for me to start a new vegetable garden. Being out of the habit for almost 15 years, it was both a joy and a frustration, having forgotten so much of what I had learned.  In addition, it was one of the smallest gardens I’d ever had, but nevertheless, it was a garden.

This year, being able to continue with the same garden, I fondly recalled years ago looking through the Richter’s catalogue years ago and decided to order some of their seed products.

I probably left it a bit late in the season, which is my fault, and partly because they have so many interesting varieties of herbs and seeds; how to try all that I wanted to try in such a small plot?

Finally though, a few weeks ago I submitted my order and anxiously awaited it’s arrival, which was shipped via Canada Post on April 14th, 2014.

Well, there were issues with Canada Post as I wrote about here.  I immediately got in touch with Richter’s, advising them of the delivery problems and their customer service was just awesome! They communicated with me in a timely manner, made arrangements to have another shipment to me via another courier company, and expressed their care and concern that I was a satisfied customer even if it cost them money.

And the day after I advised them of the delivery issues, I was thrilled to discover a replacement package arrive at my door. How amazing is that?

Both Kim and the founder of Richter’s, Conrad, emailed me and expressed their concerns as well as their desires of ensuring I was a satisfied customer.  Their attention to making sure I received what I ordered also meant that my plans to plant some seeds with my 11 year old son over the weekend including “Amish Paste Tomatoes,” was possible to carry through with. David and I had a lot of fun and some special time together planting our seeds, planning our garden this year, and sharing and learning together.

So not only was their attention to customer service important to me, it also made it possible that the plans my son and I had for this weekend together, were able to be carried out, and for that I am truly appreciative. I’m sure David and I would have found other fun things to do,  but it was nice to be able to do what we planned with the idea of also looking forward to working in our wee garden together, come this summer and also reap together, what we have sowed together.

If you are interested in some really interesting varieties of herbs and vegetables, I highly recommend that you take a look at the Richter’s catalogue yourself. I almost wish I lived in a zone and with enough property that I could try just about everything they have to offer!

While you can browse their offerings online, ordering a printed catalogue from them is also recommended. Their website is here.