John's blog

Where have I been?

Well I haven't written anything recently. It's not that there isn't anything happening, rather it is that there is too much happening.

When we first started this little venture on the net, I had just taken a lay-off from a job that was 70 miles away from home, and I went from almost no time at home to always being at home. This gave me a lot more time to work on this web site and house renovations and many other things. Now I have just started a job with one of the local potato processing plants. I'm doing QA (quality assurance) and working on upgrading the computer network and processes that are currently in place.

This is a big job with a lot to learn. Not only do I have the potato quality to learn, but also the procedures and people as well. In addition to the new job, 95% of my co-workers speak plaudietch as their primary language. I know, I host Carl's plautdietch content, but I'm not that good with understanding and speaking yet. So in addition to everything else, I'm starting a low-german course with Red River Community College at the Winkler campus. <em>Etch mot Ein bate meia plautdietch readen.</em> (spelling in plautdietch is not my strong point)

The house renovations got stalled when I started the new job, but we did manage to tear apart a bit of wall tonight, by the end of the week, our bedroom will be larger, and we'll be able to close off one of the doors. Maybe even put in a bookshelf where the door was. The house is small enough that every bit counts. We also picked up the ceiling panels today. I don't know when we're going to put them up, but we spent the money on them so it will have to happen eventually. I'm hoping that the living room is actually finished before Christmas. And by finished I mean every last bit done. I'm not sure if that will happen, but it's a goal.

Well one of these days I'll get it finished and then post some before and after pictures. I'm sure you'll agree that it was worth the effort.

Water, water, everywhere!

Well it's been a while since anything was posted at this site. No, we haven't forgotten about it, it's just that with all the rain, we've been busy with our new pool. Busy trying to get rid of it that is.

Our basement was only a coal chute and cistern, with a dirt floor when it was built, but later someone put in a nice concrete floor. They never did bother to make it very level, and drainage was never a priority. A few years ago, a hole was cut into the floor and a sump pump was put in, but it only gets the water that seeps into the hole.

With the floor being very VERY wavy, we wound up with 3 inches of water in one area and a dry spot six feet away. The wet/dry vacuum was turned on and 20+ gallons were sucked up and drained into the sump pit, but we could see it seeping in at the edge of the wall. after a few mornings like that we decided to make a second sump hole.

Cutting through the concrete was made easier by the puddle that cooled the blade and kept the dust down, but after cutting around the hole, a sledge was needed. It took another day to find a sledge to borrow while the water now came into the basement at a much faster rate. Two hits broke it up and several buckets of mud were dug out with a new sump pump installed.

This seemed to solve most of the problems, however the basement is still quite damp, and a few things got wet through this whole process. Some of my wife's favourite books were in a box on the floor that got soaked. Two weeks or more later we're still trying to salvage them. It turns out that they can be saved. Even a bit of mold isn't the end of the world.

So, we're getting closer to a usable basement again. This fall I'll have to improve both sump pits to go a little deeper and maybe try to drive some pipes into the soil to help the water drain.

Mission Supper on Friday

We went to the Mission Supper this past Friday. This was the first Mission supper I have gone to. My wife has gone to several and told me what we could expect as far as food, and she was pretty close on the menu.


   As you can see, the centre piece looked great

The meats included sweet and sour farmer sausage and chicken with a cornmeal breading. The chicken was good, nice flavour and not too dry either. Clearly the people making the chicken know what they're doing. The sausage was also good. I never grew up with sweet ans sour sausage and until a couple of years ago, I only had it one or two times. It's still a little strange for me, but I really like it. One of these days I'm going to have to try making it myself.

You'll notice the recipe section of our web site. It's not there by accident. I am quite fond of cooking and baking and have kicked my wife out of what was her kitchen, and am making it mine. She's just as happy to let me do that, although she did make supper the other day. It is up to me to make most of the meals, so I look for things that can be made ahead and pre-portioned into lunches or easily reheated if we are short on time. The challenge to all this is to find something other than chili, stew, or sandwiches.

So when we go to a supper like this I keep my eyes open for different flavours that I'm not used to, and flavours that I've forgotten about. I think the farmer sausage will be on our menu this spring.


   Your friends and neighbours enjoying a great meal.

So if you have a really good recipe for sweet and sour farmer sausage, or anything else for that matter, post a recipe on our site.

How do you lose a hood?

I was driving into Reinland the other day when I spotted a strange sight. Someone lost the hood of their truck. Well I assume it was a truck, looked like a nice dark blue truck. Probably a few years old.

The hood was leaning up against the sign for the village and it looked like it was in good shape too.

At first I thought, "someone was using it as a sled and lost it" but it didn't look scratched up or really even dented. Now it didn't look like it was in that great a shape, after all the car or truck that it was supposed to be attached to seemed to be missing. You would think that someone would notice if their hood was missing and try to duct tape it back on, or maybe some bungee cords to hold it down. Sadly though the hood was left at the side of the road, lonely and missing its home.

I didn't have my camera with me, so I came back later and took a picture. It was getting late, so it's partly lit by the headlights.


(click for bigger picture)

Hey, there is more info...
turns out someone removed the hood from the sign, so it may have found its way home.