Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

Christmas Present Utilization Day

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Today I got to break out both the new meat carving set and pneumatic impact gun.

Carved a block of back bacon with the Classic W├╝sthof carving set for breakfast. Then later that afternoon Chris and I put on his wife’s winter tires using a FatMax 1/2″ impact gun that works with my Motomaster twin stack compressor from Canadian Tire. The impact gun cost more than the compressor but the gun needs to be more efficient since it only has a small volume of air that the compressor can provide.

I’m very happy with both!
The big problem of the day was that we found a nail in one of the winter tires going on the car.

Meat Pies & A Rack of Lamb

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Lo and I made up the meat pies again for this years New Years Day party in Niagara at my Grandparents. My Dads cousin remarked that only Scottish folks get together on New Years Day because they didn’t have enough to drink on New Years Eve.

This year our variation pies were made with venison graciously donated by Nick and Annyse. Apparently Nicks family got two deer this year so there is plenty to go around. We added a bit of regular pork to try and keep it from drying out too much. Bacon fat also helped during the browning. Both pies got way more vegetables than the original recipe calls for – it keeps the pies moister and changes the texture for what I think is the better. Nothing fancy just your basic common soup stock veggies – onion, celery, carrot and garlic. The originals didn’t have any garlic in them since some people in our family are a little sensitive to it.

We stayed in this year and had a quiet New Years Eve roasting a rack of lamb and all the trimmings. Next year we’ll throw on a New Years Eve party again. It’s just a lot of work but I do like the commute from the living room to the bedroom at the end of the night.

Turkey Fry

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

What is a Canadian with a cheap frozen turkey purchased on sale after our own Thanksgiving to do on American Thanksgiving? Why fry up a turkey in the backyard of course!

We invited as many people over as we could find to help us eat up a 16 pound turkey. It was my first turkey fry so I didn’t really know what I was in for. Worst case we could order in pizza with chicken on top.

We defrosted the turkey in the fridge for 3 days before the weekend. On the day of the fry I measured how much oil we needed by putting the bird on the rack drumsticks up. Cut some slits in the skin underneath each drumstick to allow the oil to drain out. Then put the bird in the pot and filled it with water to the top of the turkey. Remove everything but the water and mark the height with tape or something. You now know how much oil you’ll need for this bird. You can be a little over or under and I wouldn’t do this with another 16 pound turkey, I’d just put in 15L of oil next time based on experience.

Since the volume of the pot is constant the more turkey you can fit in your pot the less oil you’ll need – it’s the best of both worlds. But there is a maximum of course. The turkey can touch the sides, but shouldn’t crowd the pot.
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Thanksgiving Weekend 2010

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Lo and I did lots of hiking between family dinners and re-caulking the side door. We went up to Kelso Conservation Area to walk the edge of the escarpment looking at the leaves changing. Looks like we got there just in time as they have really nice colours. This part of the trail happens to be part of the Bruce Trail.

Then we packed up and took off with Chris and Denise to The Cheltenham “Badlands” north of Brampton. So many people and kids rolling around in the red clay dirt. Quite a few covered head to toe in red dust. Kind of PEI like. ;)

Photos from the weekend. If there are trees it’s from Kelso, red dirt is from the badlands.

Go North!

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

We headed north to a resort in Horseshoe Valley this past weekend with Kevin and Heather to check out the colours of the fall season. It was a nice little weekend away.

There are tonnes of activities to do up there but we ended up doing some mountain biking at Hardwood hills and a few hikes on trails found in the local area on the Ontario Trails Council website.

We did a nice easy walk through Copeland Forest which was a bit later into the day after mountain biking. Since it is wild turkey season we made sure to be out of there before dusk. The next day after checking out of the resort we got lost trying to find the trailhead for the Barrie section of the Ganaraska Trail. We eventually found it thanks to Kevin’s blackberry and a helpful dog walker who pointed us up the road a bit more.

The treetop course was all booked up for the weekend. Next time we’ll have to call ahead a few more days in advance to book a spot.

I’m glad I put the mud guards on my Outlander. We took some awesome gravel back roads along some country lines and the hills out there are pretty challenging for any vehicle loaded down with 4 adults and all their stuff. The guards really helped keep the gravel from messing up the paint along the side of the vehicle.

Real maple syrup from Sugar Sweet Farms which is run by Brian Lempriere made it all worth while getting lost and having a fun drive in squares.

Photos of the weekend.

Happy Earth Day

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

We did a walkabout cleanup on Tuesday at work that picked up about 8 large bags of trash from around the grounds.

This weekend Lo and I are going out to Halton Hills to do some tree planting on the Bruce Trail on Saturday. A fun little hike with a work party attached to it.

NYC

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

We took a trip down to New York City as tourists visiting a friend in the city. It seems like we went everywhere!

Visited the Chelsea Brewery and went on their free tour on Saturday after our flight in. Then went to a market to pick up a few things for dinner. Lots of trips through the subway, but we only saw one rat. We checked out the Brooklyn bridge just as the sun was starting to set and things were cooling off.

Sunday we were off to Liberty and Ellis Island. Lo did very good on the ferry over – not a tinge of green. Then we went to Stout NYC to watch the hockey game. We all had Team Canada gear on but it was a little nerve racking wearing a Team Canada hockey jersey in the heart of the beast. There was quite the cheer with 28 seconds to go in the 3rd – but the small group of Canadians were even louder in OT. To top the night off we we went to Babbo — which is Mario Batali’s restaurant for an over indulging meal of the pasta tasting menu. There were some substitutions for Lo’s allergies though – mmm lobster.

Monday the city came back to life as everyone returned after the snowy weekend. Lo and I wandered through central park and then did some shopping at some huge discount store called Century 21 — all I could think about was real estate and obviously we couldn’t afford any of that in NYC. The store was down near where the twin towers used to be so we had a quick tour of the area – they are building a monument there now. Then we took the subway back up to Grand Central station and wandered down to the piers. Then a quick walk up through China town and little Italy before packing up for the airport that night.

Photos are here.

2006 Pontiac Vibe

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

I did some work on Lo’s Vibe this weekend. Kevin kindly invited me over to his dads to enjoy the comfort of a two car garage even though it was pretty warm around here for January.

We did an oil change and replaced the spark plugs. She had 120k km on the vehicle and it was a little early for the plugs but it made sense to do since Lo was concerned about a drop in fuel mileage.

I should also replace her air filter and clean the MAF sensor but I’ll leave those jobs for warmer days it’s now dipped back down into the negatives.
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Front Brake Job

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Kevin and I got all geared up to change the front pads and rotors on my Cavalier this weekend. Since I was jacking the car up and I was close to my 135K oil change we did that as well.

Things went really well for a bunch of novices. Labour took probably 4 times as long as a brake shop, but it’s fun to get in there with a wrench and have a go. We’ll only get better. The big problem of the day was when we were missing the 3/4″ hex socket to get the caliper pins off so a quick trip to Canadian Tire was in order.

What wasn’t very good to see was that my pads wearing unevenly. Which means the caliper pins were seized – they were pretty hard to turn through the bushings but they moved. I cleaned and lubed them up and along with the bushings in the caliper itself and hopefully these new ceramic pads will wear better.

I decided to replace the rotors instead of machining the OEM ones again. They’ve been machined 3 times now and warp every pad change (40-50K km). But I think they warped even more this time because of the uneven pad pressure, just the piston was pushing outward on the rotor with a single pad instead of both pads grabbing the rotor.

The next front brake job I’ll have to replace the calipers since it’s about the same cost as rebuilding them on the Cavalier.

But up next in the home mechanic maintenance is trying to figure out the rear shoes and drums, then doing a brake fluid flush.

Flu Shot 2008

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Yesterday I got an email from HR here at GE about the employee benefit of bringing in nurses to administer on site flu shots. I have to admit that I have yet to get a flu shot when they have been available ever since University.

Today I read this CBC article titled Canadians urged to get flu shots despite problems.

I think I’ll continue the trend and not get a flu shot again this year. If I was interacting with older people or newborns more often then I might. But I’m not convinced it does more good than bad. I’ll just let nature take it’s course and roll the dice.

This from a complete health care idiot.