Our New Project

guitarOne of the things about my son David that I am so happy about is his love of music. I had always hoped he would enjoy music and also realize that having an interest in a wide genre would give him an appreciation for many musical styles, composers, artists and musicians. And with that in mind, I actually took him, along with his older brother, to see The Who when David was four years old. I wondered if it would be worth it; the tickets were expensive and I wondered if David would remember the concert when he was older.

But I also thought, “When David is 21, and discovers he had the opportunity to see The Who, but his dad did not take him, then he might be very disappointed. At least he will be able to say he has seen The Who, even if he doesn’t remember.”

So it was agreed to take him. And not only did he remember it for days after, he still remembers it almost ten years later. And I’ll never forget how disappointed he was when the concert ended: He wanted more of The Who!

Later, David saw The Irish Rovers (we had front row seats and to their amazing credit, everyone of the Rovers commented after to David about they noticed him singing along to every song), and he enjoyed that. He has also see live, many other bands including Deep Purple, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, CCR Revisited, Pat Benatar, Nazareth, Trooper, Cheap Trick, Honeymoon Suite, David Wilcox… the list goes on.

With living in Orangeville and having the Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival almost in our backyard, he’s also had many opportunities to listen to fine Blues musicians and a highlight was in 2014, when we got to not only hear Steve Strongman, but have a conversation with him during which Mr. Strongman gave David his “game pick” that he had used during his performance. That pick has become one of David’s treasured possessions.

guitar2And today, it makes me very happy that my son has such a varied list of music on his Iphone and knows how to operate the CD player, and I will often hear him deciding to play a Deep Purple CD… or The Irish Rovers… or Steve Strongman.. or Suns of Stone.. or whatever he is in the mood for at the time.

This year, when David and I visited the Orangeville’s Bluesfest, we were very happy to see that Cithara Guitars were there again this year, in the Vendor’s area. Last year, David had a great time at their tent, talking about their products and the fact that their lines of guitars are named after Greek deities.  So this year, when he saw that they were offering kits to make your own guitar, he told me it was a project that he would love to work on with me. Our own guitar… that we  made ourselves from a kit…

So that is what we are doing. David and I agreed on the acoustic guitar kit and are now working on it and so looking forward to completing it.. and playing!

And I’m very happy for a project that my son enjoys and wants to work on, with me!

 

A Plug For A Great Dentist

When I was a kid, I hated going to the dentist. Despised it, and after having a root canal done on my two front teeth (after an accident which caused some dental damage), the experience was enough to give me fears and shivers just thinking about going to one.

The dentist our family went to was not exactly a very empathetic person, either. His “dental chair side” manner was not one that would encourage children that were petrified to be any less so. At least I don’t remember him being that way.

So it is with a lot of confidence after taking my son to a dentist, that I can highly recommend Dr. Gewarges – and if you have children and live close enough to the Shelburne, ON area to use his services, you might want to consider his clinic.

David was originally very nervous about going to the dentist, but Dr. Gewarges and his staff had David at ease almost immediately. For children (and adults), being at ease is probably the most important thing to ensuring an experience that will ensure good dental practices later in life, including regular checkups. Dr. G, as his patients often call him, had funny jokes, a smile, and a demeanor that just couldn’t but make David smile and realize that he could relax and my son went away with no more fears of going to the dentist.

It was with a bit of sadness to learn that Dr. Gewarges had decided to sell his clinic in Orangeville and retire, a few years back. But recently, we learned that he just could not keep away from practicing the profession he loved and has since opened a new clinic in Shelburne. And seriously, if you are looking for a family dentist, and live in the area, I would suggest that giving Dr. G a try will probably be something you won’t regret.

Details:

Small Town Family Dental
125 Main St. W
Shelburne, Ontario, L9V 3K3,
519-306-3300

Website: http://smalltowndental.ca/

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.

 

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.

Maps

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.