Hamburg Highlights

Everyone has been asking when I am going to post about my trip to Germany. I have been so busy since my return that I haven’t had time to compile my photos and thoughts about the whole experience, but I think that I am now ready to put fingers to computer and get something down in print before the summer has passed me by.

There were several highlight about the trip, but I’m going to start in the order in which the delights arrived. The number one highlight, was seeing my sister and her children in their own environment. It warmed my heart greatly to be able to spend time with my sister’s twin daughters.  My sister owns and operates a popular cafe/restaurant called, Mamalicious. As a result, my nieces were the designated tour guides of Hamburg during our stay. It was great to see their city through their eyes and delight in ten year old enthusiasm.  It helps that it was Harbour Birthday and they live one block from the harbour! I am so glad that we were able to spend the time together. My only and crazy regret, is that I didn’t have an opportunity to try my sister’s cheesecake! She is famous for her cheesecake but after eating the wonderful breakfast that she prepared for us, I was too full to try the cheesecake. Thinking that I would be spending more time at the cafe, I thought that I would have other opportunities to sample her special delight. I was wrong. So I am left with one regret when it comes to my Hamburg visit…… that I didn’t have the opportunity to try my sister’s cheesecake! I will just have to go back!

My sister, her girls and me

{My sister, her girls and me}

(My sister and her staff at Mamalicious in Hamburg}

{My sister and her staff at Mamalicious in Hamburg}

{Bikes we rode through the streets of Hamburg}

{Bikes we rode through the streets of Hamburg}

{Harbour Birthday - from submarines....}

{Harbour Birthday – from submarines….}

{To the largest ship in the world - Queen Mary 2}

{To the largest ship in the world – Queen Mary 2}

{Canapy tops over the harbour}

{Canapy tops over the harbour}

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The past little while has been totally busy with several trips. My husband and I went to Calgary to pick up a car that we bought from my daughter after the Netski was run over by a moose. Goodbye Netski, hello Sunshine, the name of our new car. It gave us an opportunity to spend a little time with family and the one and only grandson.

Grandson {Grandson}

We enjoyed casual breakfasts like this one prepared by my daughter,



 and even found some time to spend with the grand dogs.


{Grand Dog Cheetah}



 {Grand Dog Chet}

Then it was time to make the long trek back home. I have made this drive several times before. I always enjoy the prairie landscape with its open fields, grain elevators and hay bales,

Hay Bales

{Hay Bales}

Birds Migrating

{Birds Migrating as far as the eye could see}

 and then you enter Ontario and almost immediately you drive along lake after lake, after lake,









All the way across the country, the scenery is always so beautiful!

Then we were home for a few days and I had to attend a course in Toronto for the week. Toronto is always fun. I enjoy the cultural diversity and with that comes cultural food, like this great meal I had in a mall kiosk, called Villa Mandina.

Falafel Dinner

{Falafel Dinner}

 I tell you it tasted even better than it looked (if that is even possible)!

And I managed to sneak in an evening walk along the water like this stroll along the pier in Port Credit.

{Port Credit}

{Port Credit}

{Port Credit}

{Barge in Port Credit}

{Toronto Skyline from Port Credit}

{Toronto Skyline from Port Credit}

I was home less than a week when we went to Germany, but I will write more about that trip a little later.

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Day Like Today

We went to the Bryan Adams concert last night and he put on a great show! He always gives 100% into every note of every song that he sings. He was there to do the job that he seems to love and that is to share his music with his fans and the fans were grateful.

My favourite Bryan Adams tune is the 1998 tune, Day like Today, but the last two times that I have seen him, he hasn’t played it. With 19 albums under his belt, one would think that he could mix them up a bit. I love him just the same though.

I started saving my concert ticket stubs in 1991 when Freddie Mercury passed. By then I had seen a lot of concerts, but Freddie’s passing really struck me as something very note worthy in my life and I began to think that this would be the start of loosing musicians that had played a part in my life. Like loss of a friend. When I saw Freddie Mercury it was at the beginning of his career. At the time I could never have imagined what an impact his music would make on the world, never mind the fact that his music played a part in some of my fondest memories. Anyway from that point forward I started saving my ticket stubs. Tonight I have another one to add to the memory chit fondness collection.

I’m already looking forward to the next time he comes through town. If Bryan Adams is coming to your town or city, you should make a point to go! You won’t be disappointed……even if he doesn’t play your favourite song.

{Ticket Stub}

{Ticket Stub}

{Bryan Adams}

{Bryan Adams}




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Musical Feast (7)

 Seven Sundays of feasting and there doesn’t seem to be any end is sight! Randy Bachman’s show was once again on the “Eyes” theme with favourites like Van Morrison’s, Brown Eyed Girl.

I do have to say that this week we deserved to feast with all of the planting we did. We even managed to have a little jig in our step as we listened to Randy’s inspired music selection. We planted two weeping larch trees, two climbing hydrangeas, one weeping Norway spruce, and four butternut trees, otherwise known as white walnut trees. The butternut trees came from friends of ours that have dedicated their lives to the propagation and longevity of this tree! No one loves these trees like they do! The tree is on the Ontario’s Species at Risk list. For the last couple of years we would see this couple at the annual Christmas party and we would always talk about their walnut trees. I had always said that I would like to have a couple of their trees. You need at least two in order for cross pollination to occur and you need pollination in order to produce nuts.  Well in December  it isn’t possible to plant trees, but this year the Butternut tree lovers made it happen. They called me last week and offered to not only bring the trees but to plant them too! That was an offer that I couldn’t refuse! So we spent the afternoon planting the trees and then once we had planted all four trees and supplied this year’s generation of blackflies with their dinner, we went in to begin cooking our own.

{Mr. and Mrs. Butternut Friends}

{Mr. and Mrs. Butternut Friends}

Tonight we had Diamond Rio’s, Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce and the Banana Cake. I served the chicken with lemon parsley couscous and steamed broccoli and red pepper. The Banana Cake was delicious! Way more delicious than I could have imagined. It was simple, light and loaded with walnuts! I served it with whipping cream and a drizzle of some maple liqueur whiskey called Sortilege.  It was a nice end to a simple country meal. What made this meal authentically country was the mouse that the cat chased through the kitchen as we finished dinner. I think we need a new cat! Thank goodness our friends don’t mind a little country with their chicken!!

Diamond Rio

{Diamond Rio}

{Gene Johnson's Chicken Breasts with Lemon-Caper Sauce}

{Gene Johnson’s Chicken Breasts with Lemon-Caper Sauce}

{Dan Truman’s Favourite Banana Cake}

{Dan Truman’s Favourite Banana Cake}

Apparently Diamond Rio has a song called, “I Could do it with my Eyes Closed”. I couldn’t find a video for that song but I did find this one and suddenly I was grateful for the wonderful life I have and of course for all of my new trees. Cross your fingers that they live!

I have a new idea for a remix song for Randy’s eyes theme. Instead of Gordon Lightfoot’s, Black Day in July, we have, Blackfly in the Eye. I’m going to have to get it on karaoke!  I know I could make my rendition a hit in and around our house this summer.

Visit Wendy Diamond of a Musical Feast fame here.

Visit Randy Bachman Feast of Music fame here.

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Goldie Robin???

Do you remember the robin’s nest that I was talking about here? Well, I thought that now that we are home and the dogs are going in and out of the house and we are coming and going, that mama robin would think better of her location choice for her summer home, right outside our back door! Not….. this morning she was happily snuggled in her nest, looking as though she was right at home and having her morning tea. Surely she must be thinking, “Great place, but it’s too bad about the neighbours…..” The funniest thing is that she started and stopped building three different nests, before settling on the third and final model. She is way too cute! I wonder when the little ones will arrive……………

Goldie Robin?

 {Goldie Robin}

{Summer Home}{Summer Home – Outside Our Back Door}


















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Woody Woodpecker all right! That is an understatement. Really he’s a Pileated Woodpecker. If you would llike to know more about these delightful birds click here. They really are a sight to see in the woods. They are big, sometimes almost a foot high. They soar through the air with the precision and acrobatic ability of a fighter pilot on his final mission. Last year, this cute little fellow ate all of the wood moulding from around the windows of the house!  O.K., maybe it wasn’t him exactly, but definitely a relative. Like a cousin, brother, mother or uncle. You get the idea. And guess what? He’s back for another year of fun! They truly are entertaining to watch, unless of course they are destroying your house! Look at the bright red comb on his head glowing in the morning light! Gotta love ’em…..


Pileated Woodpecker

{Pileated Woodpecker in my front yard this morning!}




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Musical Feast (6)

Tonight Randy’s show was about eyes. Songs like “Don’t You Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. I always liked that one!

Tonight we had some good friends of ours join us for dinner. The meal that I chose for this week’s Musical Feast was Chicken from Hell. It was submitted by Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi.  It was by far the best meal that I have cooked from the Musical Feast Cookbook yet. I’m sure that this recipe will be a family favourite. It was that good! The Olive Marinara sauce was great all on its own. Then you add the chicken that has been covered in an olive tapenade and breadcrumbs….. all I can say is that it was a winner through and through! I can’t wait to have it again. Probably for lunch tomorrow, but that’s o.k., I don’t mind.

Randy didn’t play a song from Bon Jovi in regard to “eyes”. I found one. It was written for their first album, but never made the cut. Check it out here. It’s called Heartbreak Eye’s. I’m sorry to say that I can “see” why it didn’t make the final cut…….

Friends, music, food and laughter…… it doesn’t get much better than that!

Visit Wendy Diamond of a Musical Feast fame here.

Visit Randy Bachman Feast of Music fame here.

{Musical Feast (Chicken From Hell)} {Chicken from Hell}

Chicken From Hell

 {Chicken from Hell}{Blueberry Crème Brule Cheesecake}

{Blueberry Crème Brule Cheesecake}

{Blueberry Crème Brule Cheesecake}

 {Blueberry Crème Brule Cheesecake}

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One would think that I am referring to Bed and Breakfast. Not in this case. This time I’m talking about birds and beavers. The other day my husband called me to the window to see what he was seeing. Down the middle of the road there was this huge beaver, just plodding along. Our road is beginning to flood out down by the beaver pond. He must be doing a good job of his life’s passion. He seems to be a happy guy, doesn’t he?

Because we were away for a couple of weeks over Easter, I think a robin decided that right outside our back door would be a great spot for a new summer home. I don’t mind so much…. but our back yard life would come to a halt for this bird and her future family. We would be constantly minding the birds. I hope she changes her mind. Location, location, location.

We also seem to have a healthy population of partridge this year! They seem to be everywhere. Either we are coming around a corner and scaring a partridge or partridge is coming around a corner and scaring us.

In all cases there seem to be plenty of birds and beavers this year!



 {Mr. Beaver}

{Birds Nest}

{Bird Nest Outside Our Back Door}


 {Partridge On Our Front Lawn}


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Musical Feast (5)

Randy’s show tonight was focused around the function drums and certain drum solos that have made the songs we love exceptional. It was a really good show, starting with Karen Carpenter. Did you know she was a drummer? I think that I had forgotten that somewhere along the way. Like a lot of other people I just love the pure tone of her voice. Randy did play a song from the Rolling Stone’s, “Get Off Of My Cloud”, I hadn’t ever really noticed the drums in that song before but it was interesting. Those songs and many more were ours for a two hour joy ride down drummers lane.

For the musical feast tonight, I made Keith Richard’s mothers recipe for Shepherds Pie. Again it is comfort food to the max. Keith says that he could eat it every day. I don’t think that I would go that far as it has probably been more than twenty years since I last made Shepherd’s Pie. Wayne seemed to love it. It is definitely guy hearty food. For the Shepherd Pie lovers out there, what makes your Shepherds Pie stand out from the rest? I’d like to know…….

In the name of Wendy Diamond and her A Musical Feast Cookbook, please donate to the homeless.

Visit Wendy Diamond here .

Visit Randy Bachman here


Keith Richards - Sheppard's Pie

{ Keith Richard’s Shepherds Pie}

 {Keith Richards Sheppard's Pie}

 {Keith Richard’s Shepherds Pie}










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Moose Runs Over Car

We live about 30km outside the city. For the last eight years we have always felt relief when we turn off the main highway onto our dead end country road and make the 3km drive down, what seems to us as our own private road, finally reaching our domicile at the end. Lately it has proven to be the most dangerous part of our drive.

Most recently we were coming home from a late event. We turned onto our road with that same familiar sense of relief when we encountered another vehicle on our road. Now, one has to know about country roads in the spring time….. the shoulders of the road are very soft and if you aren’t careful you will end up sinking into the ditch.  So as the car approached we came to a full stop to allow for the passing vehicle. Much to our surprise we saw what we thought were the reflective tape on a pair of running shoes. It looked like there was someone running beside the oncoming vehicle! Moments later we realized that it wasn’t a runner, it was a moose and it was heading right for our car! At the same time my husband and I both said, “It’s a moose”.  Everything happened so fast, but we thought that it would go either left or right around our vehicle but it didn’t, it went running up the hood of our car! When it was on top of the roof of the car, it lost its footing and slid off the driver’s side and ran off into the bush. We sat there in total disbelief of what has just occurred. The driver of the other vehicle pulled up beside us and said, “I’ve seen a car run over a moose but never a moose run over a car!” Feeling great relief that we weren’t injured, the moose wasn’t injured, we drove off in shock.

The very next night when we were coming home from another event in which we took two vehicles to town, I was following behind my husband in the vehicle that was involved in the moose incident, we turned onto our country road with the same sense of relief, drove about half way down the road when all of a sudden the steering wheel made a sudden jolt to the left and the next thing you know, I felt as though I was sitting on the ground. The driver’s side wheel broke off and the car had come to a sudden hault. It seems that the impact from the moose standing on top of the car, compounded by the fact that our road is full of potholes, attributed to the wheel falling off. I am so grateful that it happened on our road and not on the highway while travelling at 90km an hour with a transport on my butt!

{Death of the "Netski"}

{Death of the “Netski”}

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