When I make a pie I think of my grandmother. I think of the many summers I went blueberry picking with her in the woods, filling my tummy and an ice cream pail with wild blueberries, and always (always) being worried about black bears. She and my grandfather, had a massive garden in their backyard complete with raspberry bushes that ran along one edge of the plot. When I think about it now, my sisters and I probably picked it clean and left little to no berries for a pie. There was however a huge rhubarb plant that provided ample stalks with which to make strawberry/rhubarb pie. In the fall there would be apple
and pumpkin pie brought to the house - my youngest sister did not like pumpkin (talk about favorites!)

When I make a pie I also think of how my mother was so lucky that she didn't have to bake a pie herself since her mother, my Nanny, would always provide one for our Sunday family suppers. I am not so lucky since my home is over 4,000 km away from her and my grandmother. So I have had to learn to make my own pies...with a little help from Schmecks Appeal.

Consisting of 92 pages, with recipes such as Satan's Choice, Barbie's Peach Pie, Whisky Pumpkin Pie and Grandmother's Lemon Apple Pie, one gets a story and sometimes a little advice. Something you would expect if you were in the kitchen with your mother or grandmother. This little book, Pies and Tarts with Schmecks Appeal, was purchased right before leaving Ontario for British Columbia in 1990. It has since survived 4 moves, a flood while in storage (The Joy of Cooking was not so lucky) and some messy situations in the kitchen. This is the book I sought when I needed to make my first lemon meringue pie - from scratch. Nowadays I cheat (shhh) and use Sheriff's Lemon Pie Filling, but I always make a Schmecks meringue.


Considering that I live in "rural suburbia", 22 acres of which most is field, cats seem to be a logical pet to have. We have four cats. Three were rescued from feral litters over the past years and the fourth, a pet store kitten, is our first cat when we moved to the property in 2003.

I mention cats because our latest feral cats, the kittens I fondly call them, have had their 2nd birthday. They are a pair, a brother and sister rescued from our neighbor's open garage/workshop. They came to us as a spitting, biting black and a timid orange with blue eyes. Originally my daughter and I were pushing to name them Dolce & Gabbana but, aside from the receptionist at the Vet's office, no one in the house understood the reference. So Comet and Mia they became.

Our intention for taking in Mia and Comet was to eventually adopt them out.... the summer we took them... in 2008... Umm, that didn't quite happen.
We named them,
We loved them,
(We also did the responsible thing and had them spayed and neutered)
And we insisted they go as a pair.
Three reasons why we are celebrating a second year with the kittens!

Lets face it, this was the first time we (I) "planned" to do something like this. Our intentions had merit, but personally I believe the plan was to always keep them. Just these two I tell myself!

So the other two are not put out...

Pepper is our first feral cat. He was brought home by one of our Great Pyrenees Guardian Dogs. We aren't too certain which dog brought Pepper home from the barn across the road, Hera or Badger, but I think it was Hera our female. Pepper was so tiny he nicely fit in the palm of my hand. This was quite handy when it came to feeding him formula. Pepper in one hand, medicine dropper in the other. He would hold on to the syringe with his two front paws and suck away!

Even though he spent most of his early life with humans, I swear from the beginning he imprinted himself on the dogs, since he behaves more dog-like than cat-like. Mind you, he seems to hop like a rabbit...so who knows. No matter, he takes beautiful pictures and I like it that he pretends I am not doing it.

Last but not least is Smudge. He keeps the troops in check and is the hunter who likes to come home with the occasional "gift". He is what one calls the Alpha male. I have to remind myself that his offerings of headless mice and lifeless shrews are just his way to let me know he is doing his job and can provide for the family...(sigh) Men!