Five Ways Wasps are Like People

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We have been dealing with a wasp infestation in our home.  They had built a nest in a small opening at the place where the roof and chimney meet and were getting into the home through the fireplace.  The fireplace is located in our family room in the basement.  The family room has no door but the wasps were staying mostly in the basement.   Once I found out where these creatures were getting in at, I contacted a pest control company. I found out how good I was at multi-tasking and thinking under pressure:  I’m on the phone with the pest control company, phone in one hand, and a can of Raid in the other, spraying the wasps as they came out of the fireplace.

As the pest control company couldn’t come out until the following Monday, I was able to seal off the room using some poly plastic wrap & duct tape.  (Ok wasps, I thought, you can have this space and we will take the rest).

I suffered one sting, my first sting ever.  I did react with flu like symptoms and congestion; however I was allergy tested last week and I am not allergic.

It took two applications of chemical to finally get rid of all the wasps.  My husband climbed on the roof and caulked the areas where they were getting in.  This weekend, approximately three weeks later, we were finally able to “take back our family room”.

(This reads so calmly; in reality I was pretty freaked out and it felt like something out of a horror movie.  Hearing that buzzing behind the fireplace glass was quite unsettling).

It got me thinking, though, that there are certain commonalities between wasps and humans:

  1. Wasps attack when they are out of their element (I was stung by one that was in our family room).  When humans are out of their comfort zone, they can do the same thing.
  2. Wasps attack when they feel threatened or their nest is threatened. If someone is threatening us or our nest, we want to attack too.
  3. Wasps are territorial.
  4. The queen rules the nest. Often, the woman is in charge of the home.
  5. I asked the owner of the pest control company why the wasps were crawling on the floor.  He told me they were confused, I guess because they were out of their natural environment.  Don’t people also experience some sense of confusion when in an unfamiliar place?

I guess wasps have a role to play in nature and apparently they do help pollinate but seriously, God, what were you thinking when you created them?

Five Businesses That Prosper During a Recession

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Not every business is losing money during the recession Alberta (and other parts of the country) are having.  I’m betting these businesses are doing okay for themselves:

  1. Shoe repair places – People who are economizing will opt to get shoes, handbags, belts, etc. repaired rather than replaced with pricey new alternatives.
  2. In a similar vein, those who alter clothing for a living may see an uptick in their business as consumers choose to have clothing “re-imagined” rather than buy their new expensive counterparts. If the consumer has lost a great deal of weight, having their existing clothing taken in is cheaper than purchasing new. [I can attest to this from personal experience having lost almost 50 lbs. My husband’s lost about 30 lbs.  Getting our clothes altered vs. buying new has saved us a bundle.  My husband’s Tommy Hilfiger t-shirts, for example, would be easily $50 each CAD to re-buy new. Alterations came to just $20.00/shirt.]
  3. Dollar stores, thrift and second hand retailers and discount food emporiums – As consumers search for the best deals possible for the necessities of life, as well as clothing and furniture, retailers in this category likely see an increase their profits.
  4. Campgrounds – vacationers select camping as the low-cost alternative to pricey fly/hotel –based getaways.
  5. Home renovation stores – homeowners opt to do their own repairs and renovations rather than higher expensive contractors to do the same (know your limits – some jobs are best left to the professionals such as plumbing, gasfitting and electrical). For example we had to re-do our deck this year – the wood was so rotted out, it had become a safety issue. The cost of doing it ourselves, even with hiring my husband’s nephew to help, was around $3,000.00.  A professional would have likely cost between $5,000 and $10,000.00.

Sadly there are also businesses such as gold buyers, and pawn shops, who profit off the misery of others.

I’m no economist so I may be off in these predictions, but this makes sense to me.

Know Where Your Food Comes From

Grazed Right Farm - picture from Grazedright.com
Grazed Right Farm – picture from Grazedright.com

 

On Sunday August 9, 2015, my husband and I spent a lovely afternoon, along with about 20 others, on the Campbell ranch.  Located 30 minutes southwest of Calgary, the ranch is the home of Grazed Right http://grazedright.com/, Ben and Stephanie Campbell’s fledgling grass fed, humanely and ethically raised, hormone and antibiotic free, beef (Angus beef, to be precise).

We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying their beef and it is delicious, lower in saturated fat, higher in the “good fats” and very lean and tasty.  We can’t wait for our fall, 2015 order.

Ben and Stephanie hosted an appreciation BBQ for their customers serving beef on a bun (you weren’t expecting me to say fish were you ;)) and assorted side dishes.  After the BBQ, held in their field, the BBQ took  on the atmosphere of an Old tyme Sunday picnic, with people playing Frisbee, kids riding Ben’s horse, etc.

(I left my camera at home and my phone in  the car so no pictures of the day, I’m afraid).

Afterwards, we all went on a “walkabout” around parts of the ranch, and Ben spoke eloquently and passionately of his love for his family’s ranch –  Ben is a 3rd generation Campbell rancher — and his commitment to raising quality cattle in an ethical, humane, responsible, sustainable (and delicious!) manner.

Despite the near 30 C heat, and a very persistent wasp, it was a wonderful afternoon reconnecting with the land, hearing about sustainable farming practices, and really knowing where my food comes from, something that occasionally gets forgotten by this City Slicker.

 

If you live in the Calgary area, contact Ben at grazedright@gmail.com to place your order.

Ode to the Parsnip (aka Root Vegetable Roast)

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image from thinkvegetables.co.uk

I snuck a parsnip yesterday.  And by that I mean I bought a single parsnip. It felt fantastic buying it (and a little naughty;)).  You see, it’s not a vegetable I eat often, given that my husband is not a fan of the parsnip.  (My husband is also not a fan of squash.  You should have seen me at a potluck we attended last week–there was spaghetti squash and my heart lept!  I proceeded to enjoy my portion – and my husband’s portion – of the same.  Plain spaghetti squash…so good). But I digress.  Back to my parsnip.  I paired it with carrots and roasted in the oven.  Roasting parsnip elevates this humble vegetable into a kind of caramelized sweetness.   I realize this is more of a fall dish, but with the rainy, stormy weather we’ve been having lately in Southern Alberta, it has felt more like fall than summer.

2 carrots, and 1 glorious parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks

1 T. oil

salt, pepper, spice mix

Place in a pan and toss together.  Roast at 400 F for about 20 minutes.  Serves one.

Steak and Pepper Stir Fry

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This was “planned overs” for supper last night.

2 peppers, thinly sliced

2 medium size steaks (I used steaks we’d had left over from a BBQ the night before), thinly sliced and trimmed of fat. You could also use uncooked steak, thinly sliced, and cook at the same time as the peppers until done).

1/4 c. Organicville Teriyaki Sauce

1/8 c. orange juice

 

 

Saute peppers over medium heat.  I used a large frying pan sprayed with cooking spray, added 1/4 c. of water, and covered it so the peppers softened.  Add steak, teriyaki sauce and juice. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes. Serve with cooked rice, in a wrap, or even in a lettuce wrap.  Makes about 4 servings.