Monday, November 29, 2010

The Young Get It

A 15 year-old boy understands the implications of our actions. This past week it was -30 C in Calgary, while at the same time it was not yet cold enough to freeze water at the Arctic Circle in Iqualuit Northwest Territories Canada. We are told the polar bears are starving because there's no sea ice, and after their six month summer fast they are running out of time.

My young friend Thomas, who lives in the Netherlands, just completed this video for his AV class assignment. We had some trouble deciding on how to translate a Dutch idiomatic word that means animals take only what they need and do not ravage the earth. I'm not sure we succeeded, but watch and see if you agree.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hallelujah! Flash Mob

One of my great joys used to be singing in the church choir. And this was one of my favorite songs. I may be one of the few people who listen to the entire "Messiah" year round. So this tickled me when I just found it.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Asian Chicken Vegetable Soup

One of my biggest faults as a cook is that while my experimentation sometimes results in something truly delicious I can rarely make that dish again. Tony says, "Write it down," and I say, "I will," and I put it off and forget what I used for ingredients and that's that! This time I will write it down! This soup is hearty, spectacular and was made from stuff in the fridge and pantry.


2 cups cooked boned chicken
2 quarts water
1 large onion, diced
1 small can cooked pumpkin
3 bay leaves
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp five spice mix
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Mrs Dash original mix
1/2 cup smooth "natural" peanut butter
1 cup dried mixed vegetable flakes (carrots, potato, onion, celery)
1 cup brown parboiled rice
salt to taste


Bring water to the boil, add boned chicken, bay leaves and diced onion. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, add pumpkin, spices, vegetable flakes and peanut butter. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, add rice and stir. Stir occasionally and cook until rice is done.

A perfect dinner for a wet, chilly November evening.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This Island Earth

Jonathan Edwards has been one of my favorite singer/songwriters for many years, and this is one of his beautiful and moving songs. Now in his mid-60s he can still stand up on a stage and sing live without a band, no lip sync, no electronic manipulation needed. And like most of his songs it leaves you thinking.

After seeing a video of a right-wing politician standing up in a congressional hearing in the USA to claim a verse in Genesis as proof that we need not give a damn about how we abuse or misuse the earth, because only God can destroy it, I sort of needed to hear this.

Friday, November 12, 2010

12 Nov 2010

While the rest of the country has been walloped with floods and blizzards we still haven't had our first frost, although the hills above us have been brushed with snow and the breeze has a knife's edge. Nonetheless it was sunny this morning and while the moment lasted I went out with the camera to capture the late fall flowers.

The flowers around our Kanji lantern are still working hard. Only the top emerges from the chaos of greenery. The crystal palace lobelia is intensely purple-blue against the silver lamb's ear. The white roses are outdoing themselves, the sedums are stilll going strong, and behind them the tall stalks of toad lilies are frilled with dozens of delicate spotted blossoms. The peach-coloured mini roses and the candy striped red-and white climbers are blooming again after a late summer rest.

The hydrangeas in Ruth's garden next door are breathtaking. These blossoms have been on since mid-summer and are now sun-bleached. The leaves have turned a spectacular marbling of golds, bronzes and greens.

Along the fence the strawberries have dressed themselves in brilliant autumn colours. Even better they are still producing berries, and somewhat optimistically - blossoms! The leaves are almost as beautiful as flowers and on a grey day are like fireworks just outside the window.

Nestled down in the leaves tiny blue blossoms barely 1/4 of an inch across push up looking for a little sun. I'm not sure what these are, blue bacopia maybe - They probably escaped from a summer basket and have set up housekeeping along the fence. They look a bit like forget-me-nots but are a lovely ground cover.

Down the street Del's eight foot high rose bush is laden with a hundred blossoms and even more buds. This is another of those spectacular constant-bloomers which has been laden with flowers since July. The three inch wide roses are white, just barely tinged with pink.

Surely makes a morning walk enjoyable.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

KIVA Loan for November

While we usually loan to women, our 19th KIVA loan goes to a man, 40 year-old Santiago Llauce De La Cruz of Peru, a married man with five children. Santiago lives with his family in the San Carlos neighbourhood of the Arbolsol village, a rural area in the Morrope district, an hour and a half from the city of Chiclayo. The principle work here is farming and raising animals.

Santiago has raised and sold animals for ten years. He raises goats, pigs and poultry in pens installed outside his home. He sells his animals to buyers from the area and he also also sells them in the Morrope market. This business is the only source of income for his family so he works hard to make it as productive as possible.

Santiago has had a previous loan from Kiva. With that money, he was able to buy animal feed and his animals benefitted with better health and quicker growth, allowing them to be sold at a better price. He will use this loan to buy more young animals and animal feed and improve his business. He is very happy and thankful for the people that have collaborated with him through Kiva and he faces his future with optimism and energy.