Monday, 14 November 2016

PARSNIP HAUL

GARDEN COMMITTEE GOES EASY IN 2016

The Garden Committee of the Place Under The Pine took the easy route this year relying on low maintenance plants such as the raspberry to make up the bulk of this years garden produce. The other extremely low maintenance plant, the parsnip, was recently unearthed, with happy results.

Why so late in the season? This particular vegetable requires a good frosting to improve the flavour.

How easy was the parsnip to grow? In early spring a few small seeds were buried...in late fall a shovel was pushed into the ground and a game of hide and seek (parsnip style...similar to carrot style) was played.

The result:

The parsnip is well loved by the citizens of the PUTP, especially when roasted. Great taste and low effort to grow makes this plant a new staple of the garden.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

TRUMP! SERIOUSLY?

HOW TO EXPLAIN...

On Monday, Olivia (our 10 year old daughter) asked me, "Did Donald Trump win the election in the United States?" (we are Canadian to put this into context). She had run across a news headline while working on the ipads at school proclaiming 'Trump won and the world is going to end'.

I calmly replied that there is no way that anyone with common sense would allow a Donald Trump to run their country.

Lolli then started asking really tough questions. "Why does he want to get rid of Muslims? All the muslim people in my class are really nice."
"Why does he want to put up a wall?"
"He sounds racist, is he racist? That is not ok."
I tried to explain that the US is a different country, with different beliefs, a different social structure, a history of racism and slavery and all that...wow, what a complicated thing to try and explain and even harder b/c I don't understand the thinking behind a vote for Trump at all.

What makes it even harder is the extreme difference between Trump and our new prime minister Justin Trudeau. Justin is all about breaking down walls, helping refugees, bringing people together, trying to solve our own racial problems dealing with our native people, and he is just a happy positive guy...with great fashion sense to boot (when he is out and a'boot).

I'm very thankful that we have a leader I can tell my children to look up to.

PM Trudeau | "Wheels"

Monday, 24 October 2016

WHAT'S ON THE TUBE?

VIRAL IS A GOOD WORD IN OUR WORLD

The Place Under the Pine is down one TV screen (good life lesson: toy cars thrown by three year olds and screens do not mix), but, that is not the Tube we are referring to. YouTube, that is the TUBE that has been generating a lot of discussion lately around the PUTP.
 
The PUTP YouTube channel / memory preserving experiment has gone extremely well. Dozens of weekly vlogs have been made and shared with friends and family.
 
Here is the latest - Apple picking | Sports | Rubber Boots
 
 
 
Recently, the channel has expanded with videos on cooking (Cooking With Olivia) and what the young ones take in their school lunch.
 
Lolli makes oatmeal choc chip cookies
 
 
 
The increase in Tube-talk has been about one of these lunch videos. We had one go 'viral'. Not take-over-the-world viral, but to put it into context, typically a video hits between 30 - 60 views ... this 'viral' lunch video's count was over 8,000 at last check (and still growing). 
 
Be the 9,000 or 10,000th viewer. Here it is:
 
 
 
This is very exciting for all the citizens of the PUTP. YouTube is probably the most popular site visited, and everyone has their favourite channel. Being part of the "Tube" is a way of life around the PUTP, which is why having a little bit of success generates so much buzz. 
 

Monday, 26 September 2016

BASEBALL WAS A HIT THIS SUMMER

BASEBALL - A PLACE UNDER THE PINE PASTIME?


Baseball has always been one of the underrepresented sports in the Place Under The Pine. Historical records indicate Matty played the '87 season with little success (other than a monster triple on the last game of the season!), there are no recorded stats but heresay says 'that's probably a good thing'.

The 2013 T-ball season was Lolli's one and only year. She posted a 1.000% batting average, but, hung up her glove after that long summer.

The most fun she had was posing for baseball pics
The 2015 T-ball season was Elli's first attempt with the ol' bat and ball. He had some skill, he had a good time, and was very successful. But, his mind seemed to be stuck in winter mode (aka hockey brain) and he also struggled with playing two summer sports (baseball and soccer) and picking a favourite...at that point soccer seemed to be winning the favourite-sport race.
It seemed that maybe baseball would follow the regular Place Under The Pine path and become a 2nd tier sport.

That was, until this year.

What a snag!
 

2016 has turned things around. The summer of 2016 saw hours and hours and hours of time spent on the baseball diamond (and not on the soccer pitch). The fire for Baseball has been lit in Elli. It seemed to be a mix of things that have brought Baseball to the forefront of Elli's sporting life.

Potential homerun swing
The format of the games changes slightly, from the casual 'everyone wins' to a game where there were actual outs (scores and standings were even kept!). Elli is that kid that thrives on competition. He wants to be the best and tries extra hard to get there.

Yes, another win!
He also had a great team made up of fun loving, spirited kids, who also seemed to be interested in being competitive. He also had a super duper coach who brought out more than the just the basic hitting and catching skills in every kid, but, so much extra. With bubblegum blowing contest, team cheers, and waterfights the kids had so much fun. Extra fun. That kind of fun that made them excited to go to every game, practice, and even head into their backyards just to throw the ball around with ol' Dad. All this fun (and time spent practicing) made the team better and better and better - it was a vicious circle...to a point where they were just slaughtering every team they played.

Waterfight! Perfect timing after a hot midday game.
 
Their coach went above and beyond setting up a home & home series with Napanee's rep team. It was amazing to see that our team held up pretty well against this all star team.
This year was such a great experience and not only for Elli, but, for the whole gang of the Place Under The Pine. It was so much fun that they are even considering rep baseball for next season. Yes, rep sports, an unprecedented idea in these parts!

Like the socks Elli!
And, with a .933 batting average, and a dedication by Elli to get even better, it would be a real shame to deny him a chance at higher calibre baseball - and most likely a career in the major leagues. Probably with the Blue Jays.
The elders of the PUTP have called this idea 'The Retirement Plan' (no pressure).





Wednesday, 21 September 2016

HOW TO BREAK IN NEW RUBBER BOOTS

BREAKING IN RUBBER BOOTS

A brand new pair of rubber boots is a rarity in the PUTP. The typical rubber boot is bought used, passed down through all kids, and is still in good enough shape to resell. Rubber boots are one of those essential pieces that seem to last forever.
Recently a shiny new pair of Elliot sized rubber boots were purchased. Being brand new they had that brand new smell, that brand new shine, and that brand new stiffness - they needed to be worked-in before actually being worn to school for a day.
 
Here is how Elliott achieved the worn-in look and feel.
 
Step 1 - Fill in the rustic sandbox with water (get your little brother to help)
 
video
 
 
Fill mudpit until water reaches edge of boot top

 Step 2 - Swish around with tools (and boots) until the water and clay/mud form into a thick soupy consistency.
 
This will be a messy job so wear appropriate clothing
 
Shovel in extra dirt if needed
Step 3 - Submerge your boots in the mudbath. Ensure you push down hard to really get into the muck.
 
 
 
Step 4 - Remove boots from the mud hole. It is important at this stage to leave some mud on the boots, this will remove all shine from the toe. Allow to dry naturally outside.
  

 
 

Thursday, 15 September 2016

BLUEBERRY PICKING

AN HOUR OF PICKING INSPIRES A GARDEN REVAMP

Not far away from the Place Under The Pines is this wonderful place called Prince Edward County. PEC (for short) is an agricultural wonderland filled with apple orchards, grape vines, wineries, pumpkin patches, maple syrup bushes, and berry farms. Earlier this summer the citizens of the PUTP visited PEC and visited the U-Pick blueberry field. 
 
If you haven't watched our adventures in The County here is your chance -
 
 
 
It was these blueberries that caught the attention of the PUTP citizens. Like most produce when you eat it right off the plant it is delicious and flavourful and usually there is no comparison to what you get at the grocery store. This is the case with blueberries, but, to even greater extreme. The blueberries were out of this world flavourful. On a scale of 1 to 10 they easily hit an 11...maybe an 11.5!!!
 






This experience solidified the idea of planting blueberry bushes in the Place Under The Pine. The idea has been floating around for years, but, never prioritized until now. Expect to see a row of bushes come next spring.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

THE WEEK TOLD THROUGH PICTURES

A HANDFUL OF PICTURES TELL SO MUCH

The week before school started was a busy time around the Place Under The Pine.


There was a flurry of scootering, biking, skateboarding...really anything you could ride with wheels...savouring the last few 'free' days of non-scheduled daytime.

Helmet, check. Scooter, um, I'll get it

There was more screentime than normal...as it is almost non existent after school starts.

Just one more Pokémon...
There was also time to finish up the to-do list from summer - one thing on the to-do list was to smash the rocks brought back from our diamond mining trip.

*Smash* Add another diamond to the pile

The citizens of the Place Under The Pine like to finish off their summer with an out of town trip. This year it was a few days in Ottawa.

Be sure to ride the dinosaurs outside the Museum of Nature

The Parliament Building - that's where the Prime Minister works kids.

Everybody ready for the light show?