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father’s day trout burgers

June 20, 2010

zora naki

I invented trout burgers for dinner tonight – delish!

1 lb trout, chopped
1/2 small onion, minced
2 eggs
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp dill weed
juice of a lime
1/2 cup panko (bread crumbs)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and form into five patties (205 calories each). Chill for 20 minutes before cooking. Fry over medium heat in a non-stick pan, using olive oil spray.

We served them with mustard, cheater’s tartar sauce (mayo, capers, relish), pan-fried mushrooms, and slicer dills on sourdough buns – extremely yummy.

happy father’s day!

we have a grassy knoll

May 30, 2010

zora naki

progress on the front yard garden continues.

we started with two truckloads of topsoil.

after a lot of shoveling, we ended up with a nice flat tabletop.

i started planting things around the edges, but something wasn’t quite right. it was a bit meh. i called around and found a landscape designer who came over for two hours, looked at all the stuff i’d bought on clearance and gave me some advice re: shaping the yard, adding some dimension. i dug some more dirt.

and friday, i hauled a crapload of sod home.

we’re considering sinking a cup or two and using it as a pitch-n-putt.

winnie-the-pooh approved this message.

modern house numbers

May 29, 2010

zora naki

a lengthy search paid off with these numbers from WestOn Letters. Ordered online, arrived after a slight delay – really happy with the end result.

They come with a pattern, so you can eyeball placement before making it permanent. I ordered the spacers as well, to mount the numbers off the wall – it adds a nice shadow effect when it’s sunny out. These puppies are the 6″ Deep Ribbon in Natural Satin Aluminum.

Now if only I could find a hose-hanger in something similar…

how many plants does it take to fill a front yard?

April 25, 2010

zora naki

Now that the giant pile of dirt is leveled, I have started to plant. Or at least, obsess about planting. I did have a landscape plan drawn up (hard to believe that was more than two years ago), but now I think that it isn’t what I want.

I want edible landscaping, along with some evergreen permanent plantings to help things along during the winter. I want it to look modern, but not rigid. I like chartreuse and lime green leaves, and red and white flowers and grasses. I also love palm trees and banana plants, but I have given up on them, because they require more babying to get through a winter than i am willing to dole out (I have kids – my TLC is being used up already).

The big question is how many plants and how (where) do you plant them? In straight lines? In groups? In patterns? I have no freaking idea, so I’m buying things and trying to figure it out as I go (lots of polls of passers-by, google searches, landscaping books from the library).

The basic rules:

  • buy multiples (odd numbers are best)
  • buy edibles where possible
  • arrange from lowest to highest
  • plan for the future (allow for growth)
  • buy plants that will survive with minimal care and attention

I hit up a liquidation sale at a grower and made some spur-of-the-moment decisions (60% off was a highly motivating factor, although plants were mostly unlabeled). I also bought some specific things I knew I wanted.

Here’s my plant list (with my guesses at final size in brackets):

5 euonymous – unlabeled but gold and green variegation, shrubby (size? but I’ve seen them grown into hedges)
4 rhododendron -vulcan red (5′ x 5′)
5 azalea -white (unlabeled – guessing 4′ x 4′)
1 magnolia grandiflora (unlabeled, but can grow quite large over time)
1 dwarf braeburn apple (on M27 dwarf stock, 6′-8′ adult height)
1 dwarf jonagold apple (on M27 dwarf stock, 6′-8′ adult height)
1 dwarf spartan apple (on M27 dwarf stock, 6′-8′ adult height) – the three apples can cross-pollinate each other.
8 euphorbia (various types)
12 carex (no idea, but they’re variegated and about 12″ high, i’ve seen them growing in sun and shade around here)
3 skimmia (existing – 4′ x 4′)
3 peony – white
6 choisya – 3 Sundance, 3 standard (can be as big as 8’x8′ but more like 3′ – 5′ height in our climate)
some miscellaneous grasses
a flat of creeping thyme to plant between the front path pavers

Still looking for a bunch of pachysandra to plant by the skimmia on the shady side garden (picture above) and some lavender to plant along the sides of the path.

the garden, she is planted

April 23, 2010

zora naki

Busy busy! I gave myself special dispensation to buy some bedding plants because I feel like I just don’t have TIME to grow things from seed, what with all the weeding and the shoveling and the reclaiming of land from the things that Ran Wild last year. Also, I am into instant gratification (a sad commentary on our times, but I am a product of society, so there you have it).

Dug out the beds, weeded, and topped up with about 4 inches of fresh soil.

I’ve planted 16 tomato plants and 5 peppers. There are raspberries, onions, garlic and potatoes from last year that are coming on strong. Oh, and I did plant SOME seeds (I’m not totally lame) – fava beans, yellow wax beans, purple beans (two varieties), beets (chioggia), carrots (purple haze), peas, and spring onions. Apparently I like colourful vegetables.

Squash, zucchini, and swiss chard (bright lights, natch). Still have some white cauliflower plants waiting to be tucked in somewhere. Still looking for purple cauliflower (graffiti) to add to the crop. Debating broccoli.

And the herb garden is zooming along. The perennial crop is going gangbusters: fennel, chives (regular and garlic), oregano (regular and greek), thyme (regular and lemon), sage, parsley, lemon balm, chamomile (roman and german), and the mints (peppermint, spearmint, orange mint).

I’ve added two small rosemary bushes to replace what died a few years back, and also potted a wee bay leaf tree in the terracotta pot you can see tucked in there. My nemesis – basil – is destined for some pots – maybe I can baby it to fruition this year with some vigilant gardening. This will be my new superhero name: The Vigilant Gardener. And I will wear green and carry a trowel and slay weeds and slugs with a single deadly blast from my unblinking eyeballs of organic wrath, powered solely by spring fever.

this is the outside now

April 22, 2010

zora naki

Okay, so i’ve been on hiatus for awhile now, what with the moving back in and getting settled and life in general, but i have some new photos.

The outside of our house (pre-reno):

The outside (post-reno, pre-paint, not a real door)

The outside (post-paint, and with 30 cubic yards of soil dumped on the front lawn):

We decided to level the front yard to match the height of the yard next door. The kids had a blast body-surfing down the giant pile of dirt – it was the ‘most fun EVER’, according to daughter. They begged me not to spread it out, but alas, i am hard-hearted, and also wanting to do some landscaping.

Thus, after five days of a LOT of shoveling (and some help from quite possibly the nicest neighbours in the history of neighbourhoods anywhere):

Now onto some planting! (picture me gleefully rubbing my hands together…)

the pink room

November 28, 2009

zora naki

if you have any experience with six-year-old girls, you may find that they have an all-consuming passion for pink. my daughter is no exception. her primary directive for her room was that it be pink. so we complied.

pink wall (just one).

pink closet doors

pink built-in bookcase with plywood shelves

light fixture

the pink princess herself

literally TWO MINUTES after her room was painted, she declared that her new favourite colour was orange.

the big window

November 11, 2009

zora naki

the big windowthe big windowthe big window

the big window stretches from floor to ceiling on the landing of the stairs leading up to the second floor. I was thinking we should do some thing like Maynard Architects’ Tattoo House – they took pictures of nearby trees and simplified them into graphic forms. Cut the shapes out of UV-stable vinyl and applied to the glass.

the big window
the big window

Sadly, my idea was ix-nayed by other inhabitants on the grounds of privacy (we’re on a corner).

I still think it would have looked neat…

the ikea kitchen

November 10, 2009

zora naki

say what you will about IKEA, their kitchens have a decent reputation (Consumer Reports did an article ranking them 3rd, but unless you pay to sign up to their site, you can’t read it). The hardware is Blum – fully extending drawers, decent quality. Until I can afford Viola Park (or in my dreams henrybuilt), I will be very happy with my brown-black Nexus and glossy white Abstrakt doors.

kitchen after painting

the ikea kitchen

after cabinets…
the ikea kitchen

before with bumpout

the ikea kitchen

after with cabinets. Because of the heating ducts and sun tunnel, the two tall cabinets next to the back door were hacked to be 12″ depth – I just need to exchange some shelves and drawers to fit these new dimensions.

the ikea kitchen

The contractor built bases for the cabinets out of wood. In his opinion, this is a much more solid option than the legs provided. It seems like a good idea, especially since part of the lower cabinets dogleg across the room without a wall to hang on. I’ve also read that  a reinforced base is recommended if you are planning to use a heavier countertop material like granite or quartz.

the ikea kitchen

On the tall cabinet side, we boosted these up an additional few inches on top of the regular toe kick height, so that the upper cabinets would start at 70 1/2″, thus clearing the top of my new fridge.

the ikea kitchen

Bought a nice, square range hood on clearance (last year’s model) at midland appliance – half the price of a comparable IKEA model.

the ikea kitchen

the corner windows before…

the ikea kitchen

and now. We raised them up about 12 inches to match the window over the sink, and also to give us some more wall space for things like hiding counter clutter from the neighbours.

the ikea kitchen

IKEA has kitchen sales events two-three times a year: spend more than $1000 and you get 10 – 15% back in IKEA gift cards. FYI – my cabinetry was about $5K. I used the gift cards for closet fittings (IKEA kitchen cabinet boxes + drawers=way better value than the PAX system).

Keep in mind that if you are going to go down the same path, you must budget for AGGRAVATION. Measure your kitchen and play around with the kitchen planning software on the IKEA website. Save your plans online, and then retrieve them at your local store. The kitchen clerks are generally helpful – when you can get their attention (this can take a loooonnnnggggg time). I like to pick one clerk and stare at them mercilessly until they notice me. Small whining children can help speed up this process.

Remember that any cabinet can be set up in any combination of shelves and drawers – more options than are available on the website (especially for the tall cabinets). The clerk should help you sort this out.

After that, they will add all of the pieces that you’ve forgotten (trim, etc.), and if they are really good, they will provide you with a labeled layout and a manifest of which item goes with which cabinet (ESSENTIAL). Then plan on going back at least three times for exchanges and missing parts. It’s the nature of the beast…

if you want to read more about other people’s opinions on IKEA kitchens, check out these links:

apartment therapy q&a

this is the smallest person’s opinion of the goings-on…

the ikea kitchen

paint and (some) trim

November 9, 2009

zora naki

The drywalling is done (except for touch-ups) and the painter managed to spray two floors before going to bed with the flu. It seems like everyone is getting sick, being sick or in recovery from being sick right now, including us! I hope he heals quickly.

The arch entry to the living room is drywalled.

drywall arch

painted with closet doors added.

painted arch

living room

living room drywallliving room painted
the fireplace has been retiled and we’re on the waiting list for the logset and door installation.fireplace tile - panther gold mosaic

one of the bedrooms drywalled
bedroom drywall
and painted.
bedroom painted

The window trim is uber-simple – a squared off sill and drywalled box around the other three sides. I love our windows, but i am a little puzzled as to how i am going to mount blinds over them – the windows need to be able to open at the top and to swing open. The up side is that when they are closed, the silence in the house is deafening. who knew good windows could make such a difference in blocking sound?

more to come…

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