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?


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

PICKLING PICKLES

WE LOVE PICKLES YUM YUM YUM

The kitchen was bustling with activity. A small mountain of cucumbers, peeled garlic cloves, the smell of dill in the air, and a simmering pot of a mysterious vinegar mixture was all the evidence one would need to know that it was PICKLING TIME! 



This would be the first batch of pickles ever made in the Place Under The Pine.
Everything seemed to be in order - dill & garlic were placed into a jar.


Then cucumbers crammed in.


The special mixture of vinegar, salt, and secret ingredients was added and the jars were given a hot bath to seal them shut.


The end product looks amazing, the process smelled amazing, therefore, they should be amazing pickles. Only time will tell - three weeks to be exact.
















Wednesday, 24 August 2016

HARRY POTTER REVIVAL

THE PHOENIX RISES AGAIN

There has been a resurgence of interest in the Harry Potter franchise lately. Various books in the series are being read by 4 out of 6 citizens. All ages are reading them - and the ones that are not of reading age are playing with Harry Potter toys. 
 
Oskie playing Harry at Hogwarts
 
It is reminiscent of a time, many moons ago, when Lolli first read the Sorcerer's Stone and she had a Harry Potter party. And, even a decade before this party when Jen and Matt first read the Harry Potter books.
 
Lolli's bedside table
It is almost magical how Harry Potter has remained so popular over such a long period of time in the PUTP. The story is so well written, so creative, so imaginative, that minds off all kinds enjoy it...even obsess about it.
 
Journal found on Lolli's desk
The battered copy of The Philosopher's Stone has been read over and over and over and over and over and over (at least 10 times) by everyone over the age of 5.
 
Elli's first round with the old copy of The Philosopher's Stone
Matty just finished rereading it and commented, "...it really it magical, in a fun whimsical way...there is adventure, wit, humour, friendship, and the triumph of good over evil." No sooner had he turned the last page of book one he picked up book two.








Wednesday, 17 August 2016

RASPBERRY - THE OFFICIAL PLANT OF THE PLACE UNDER THE PINE

The plant that asks for so little, yet gives so much.

The raspberry plant has been named the official plant of the Place Under The Pine. It is a plant that has given nourishment, piece of mind, and pride to the citizens of the PUTP - and in return it has asked for so little.
 
Congrats Raspberry
Seven years ago three small, gnarled, unspectacular looking stalks were plucked from a friend's garden. They were planted in the backyard in the only spot available at the time - a tiny gravel and clay patch right beside the fence (in 23.5 hours of shade to boot). This spot was so undesirable to plant life that grass would not even grow there! Yet, out of this lifeless plot the raspberry thrived; it spread; it filled with berries.
As the garden expanded so has the raspberry. There is a thick bush now where there was once three piddly stalks. The rogue shoots that pop up out of the garden have been transplanted - there is now a row of fruiting plants that line the wall along the front yard. There are plans to export surplus stalks to neighbours and friends who want to start their own raspberry patch.
This plant continues to delight not only the citizens of the PUTP, but, visitors. Earlier this summer a young visitor commented, while eating a handful of berries, "your backyard is so amazing - you grow your own food!'.
 
'...so amazing - you grow your own food'

Later when Elli retold this story he implied an increased sense of security knowing that we could "just eat raspberries if we ran out of food".
During every summer get-together our visitors pick tart raspberries and praise their taste. It is a real showpiece and source of pride for the citizens of the Place Under The Pine.
 


And, in return all this plant has ever asked for is a small cutting in the fall. 
 
Cutting day is fun for the entire family
 What an amazing plant.