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My Mom was a Home Economics teacher at my school. As luck would have it, one year she was my teacher. I’m pretty sure it was uncomfortable for both of us. I know it was uncomfortable for me. I never called her Mom or Mrs. Avery, I just put up my hand and asked or answered. One day Mom left the Home Ec Room with instructions to “finish cleaning up our stations and wash the dishes”. We were working on the dishes when we started fooling around. We filled the pastry brushes with liquid dish soap and brushed them to make bubbles. I had just put the bubbles on my station partner’s face as if to shave, when mom walked back in.

She sent me off to the cloakroom to think about my transgressions. At least I didn’t have to go home and explain to her why I had detention that day! I have always enjoyed the odd prank so it is a good thing mom didn’t have me for more than the one year as I might have had to call her by name or Mom.

But having a Home Ec teacher for a parent did help me to become a successful B&B operator. I learned a lot from her. Mom taught me to read the recipe first, clean my work space, gather the ingredients, the bowls and tools, turn on the oven, prepare the pans, measure carefully. and clean up as you go. I also remember the large sign on the bulletin board in her classroom “if all else fails follow directions”. Usually it comes to mind after disaster has struck though!

That is another story, or many, for another day!

This week’s e-mail recipe will make a great gift for any health conscious cook you know. Get a nice jar and a giant blank label to write instructions on and make this recipe! The best part is you will surely have left overs to use for yourself.

(If you aren’t on Anne’s weekly email recipe list you can sign up at her cookbook website:

Buckwheat Pancakes in Bulk


What you’ll need:

  • 1 Cup buckwheat flour
  • 4 Cups unbleached flour
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 Cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 Cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

What you do

  1. Add the flours, flaxseeds, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a very large bowl.
  2. Using a large spoon, stir the ingredients together thoroughly.
  3. Spoon the mix into a large jar.
  4. Add a label on the front of the jar that says:
Stir 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix, 2 eggs and 1 1/4 cup of milk in a bowl until smooth.

Add 1 cup of blueberries, bananas or chocolate chips if desired.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.

Pour 1/2 cup of mixture in a pan in small circles.

Cook the pancakes for 2 or 3 minutes on each side (Watch for the bubbles, then flip).

Enjoy with warmed maple syrup.

When man is born he learns fairly quickly to roll from his back to his front then onto his knees. This begins a whole new process of movement called crawling. Once he masters the crawl he moves on to speed. He then moves to walking and more speed – running. Then comes the tricycle, the bicycle, the scooter, etcetera until it is time to learn to drive, many times speed comes before mastery.

I have been told that many a good man falls to his knees for a good woman and learns to crawl all over again. Such has not been my experience. When Rick proposed to me he was standing in the kitchen holding a small wooden box. I was wearing an oven mitt, holding a fry pan and a spatula. Oh yes and clothes of course! To this day he says he never asked me to marry but to get engaged. I guess I made an assumption even though he wasn’t on his knees, but he didn’t start running when we started the wedding plans either.

To hear his sisters talk he hit the ground running and was always into mischief. We have been married for thirty-five years in November and I must say I have not brought this man to his knees for any reason other than to fix a tire or mend a broken pipe.

Not until recently that is……. one evening when I was busy preparing for next mornings breakfast. I had made a ‘Morning Magic Muesli’ and I needed a bit of whipped cream for the top so I used a small electric Braun handmixer for the job. It was whipping nicely I just needed to get a bit of Vanilla and Sugar to finish it.

While continuing to whip I reached across the counter. The cup tipped a bit but I didn’t let go of the mixer so it kept right on whirring and whipping and spraying.

At that precise moment Rick walked in to the kitchen to Whipped Cream flying in every direction. I stood there with my finger glued to the on button watching it spray in disbelief. I didn’t think I had made that much Whipped Cream! Needless to say Rick started to laugh and laugh and laugh which was his mistake of the thrity five years of being my husband. I used some ill chosen expletives to which I immediately repented and together we got down on our knees to clean. Took thirty five years and Whipped Cream but finally he is on his knees!!!

Likely the next time (and I am known for my kitchen antics!) I will be doing the clean up myself!

When we built our house one of the many ‘wants’ was a bountiful herb garden and edible flowers. Being the gardener that I am, I assumed if you stuck it in the ground and watered, the herbs and flowers would grow into a bountiful garden that would supply the breakfast table. Rather like the add for liquid fertilizer that you see on tv – an instant garden! Well I didn’t realize how much sun the many herbs and flowers needed, so I didn’t understand why they weren’t growing on the north side between the house and the woods with less than an hour of sun a day……except the mint.

I love it when our guests enjoy the mint with their fruit or cereal dishes or with their egg blossoms and lamb patties. I use it quite a bit to dress up the plates and even use it in flower arrangements and in centerpeices. It can be used to make make tea and is considered an aid to digestion, it can be used to cleanse wounds, ease sore muscles, relieve headaches and when our dog Chewy lies under the tree on top of the mint she smells… well minty! So many uses can one ever have enough mint in their garden?

When I was buying little herb plants I was intrigued with the different flavors of mint. There was Pineapple, Chocolate, Spearmint and Peppermint to name a few. I bought them all and put them in my herb garden and in my cut flower garden. The tiny mint plants were planted, watered and cared for along with the rest of the flowers and herbs and they started to grow. I loved to rub a leaf between my fingers and tell myself which flavor of mint. This was good stuff, getting into the garden and helping it grow, I was becoming a gardener!

My sister Joan, who is an avid gardener, suggested I draw out a map of my plantings around the house so I would know what and where everything was situated. It was an excellent peice of advice, I just never got around to doing it. Besides they had tags and I put them in the ground beside each of the plants.

I didn’t have a plan, and didn’t really know a drought plant from a water lily. I would buy whatever looked pretty or interesting from the racks at the grocery store or the garden centre. Sometimes I would buy the bigger flowering potted plants for the guest rooms and around the house. When they started to look a bit worse for the lack of suitable light I would plant them in the flower garden hoping they would survive. A few of them did grow and are still growing to this day, unfortunately I can’t tell you what they are as the tags have faded or disappeared and I don’t have a plan of my plantings.

The mint is doing well, although I cannot tell the difference between the varieties anymore. The mint is doing better than expected. Much better than I ever dreamed! It is in the herb garden and the flower garden and the rock garden and the lawn and the ashpalt all doing exceptionally well year round. Now how do you make a plan of that? I believe that it spreads under the ground, over the ground, in the wind and on every creature that walks or flies by it. I think it must go on a walk about each night finding a new place to put down roots and have very large families. The cute little big eared rabbits (that seem to be multplying daily) and those adorable big brown eyed deer that dine in our yard everyday are not yet enjoying the mint as part of their fine dining experience.

An easy herb tea: pick, rinse and tear several fresh mint leaves. Put in a cup, add hot water and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain add honey to taste.  To make a cool drink add ice cubes and refrigerate.

I now look on the mint as therapy. Rather than pulling out the odd weed that grows I can pull out mint by the handful and feel that I am accomplishing something. I know that in a couple of weeks I can do it all again. If you want fresh mint to take home after your stay please ask. I will be happy to give you a bag with or without roots! Either way it is worth a mint to share.

If you aren’t on the weekly e-mail list of Anne’s Amazing recipes then you missed this week’s absolutely astounding recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Seriously, they are the best ever. Try them, and if yours is better, post the recipe in the comments and we will test it to see. It’s not an official contest, but if there is a better recipe out there we will find a way to reward you. ūüôā Oh, and if you want to get the new recipe each week you can sign up for the weekly e-mail at:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degree F.
  2. Mix the sugars and melted butter thoroughly. Then add the egg, yolk, vanilla and mix until it’s creamy.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and stir very well.
  4. Add in the chocolate chunks and stir.
  5. Try and resist eating the dough (it’s tasty!) as you drop 1/4 cup balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 15 – 17 minutes.
  7. Let them cool for a few minutes and then remove them from the pan.
  8. If you can stand it, put them on a cooling rack, or dig in and enjoy.

Janet Cameron has been doing art in many different mediums for many years. She is a self taught artist who attended school for a bit but when they told her it was impossible to do this or that with the different mediums she left. She had been doing those impossible things for years with great success.

When we met ten years ago she was producing ‘Thread Art’ pictures and was sewing as fast as she could. She took a hacksaw to the motor housing of her machine because it kept overheating. Still no matter how many she produced she could not keep up. Because it was such a unique craft – sewing a complete picture on canvas using a sewing maching – her work was in demand all over the world and the demand got to be too overwhelming, she got tired and has switched gears.

She had been busy with many smaller projects as she has switched mediums. She made geese out of old golf clubs, painted miniature pictures inside old barnacles, painted Santa Claus on toothpicks, painted Santa heads on each flap of a pine cone, made sheep out of papier mache, torn paper pictures, rug hooking, and several thread and acrylic commissions over the years. The list is extensive and varied. She uses these ‘fun projects’ as a break. I would go for coffee and put my feet up but she switches tables and keeps on working!

She is challenging herself with a different medium for now. She has moved on to ‘mud and acrylic on canvas’. She produced two one foot by one foot canvases of sheep last month. They were outstanding. She sells her work at Judy Mitchell Gallery and I think they sold before she got home from delivering them. Today she took two more of the same size and they sold before she left the parking lot. Her work is stunning and so realistic I would love to have a huge wall to display at least eight one foot by one foot sheep pictures. If she brings them over to show before she takes them to the gallery I will take a picture and put them up for you to enjoy.

I was privileged to see the first two sheep pictures the same day she took them to the gallery. They were so life like I stood and stared for over ten minutes, I knew they would sell instantly they stared right back and held your gaze!

When we asked Janet about art for the cookbook she said yes with great enthusiasm. We had no idea what she would come up with. The cartoon works in “Breakfast with the Broads” are sure to bring a smile. She has a great sense of humour and has applied it to the cartoon story board she has created for her characters.

We are privileged to own a variety of Janet’s art work and proud to call her our friend as well. If you come to stay with us and view her works, you will be amazed at her talent. And you may even get to meet her!

If Janet stops by and we happen to be serving Salmon Benedict I make sure I have a full jar of capers on hand as she is likely to design some sort of image on top of the Hollandaise Sauce using the capers. The more there are the happier she is as she loves capers!

We feed a large  number of hummingbirds each year mostly Rufous. It is a full time committment for Rick to keep them fed every day.  There is a group of volunteers that have come to band these little suckers for the last couple of years Their estimates are 50 birds per cup of sugar water consistantly per day. We have 14 two cup feeders that Rick fills every day, some days twice a day. That equates to over 700 birds. It starts in mid March with a few birds buzzing around where the feeders should be, so we know they are returning.  Within a week we go from a couple of feeders to about five and by the end of April we have the full fourteen out and filled every day.  For a while Rick is filling some of them twice a day.

Early morning and later in the evening before sunset the activity is high around each feeder.¬† The hummers are buzzing, chattering, chasing each other off ‘their’ feeder¬† and eating and eating and eating and eating. A dear friend gave me a pottery plaque “Bird and Breakfast” and for four months our¬†bed and breakfast also¬†becomes just that¬†a bird and breakfast.

It is fun to watch the camera/people shy little birds trying to avoid our guests.  If the guests go to one feeder the birds go the one farthest away.  The guests move closer and the birds move back to the first one and on it goes. Those with the telphotos or a great deal of patience manage to get some great pictures.

When the were here banding the little birds they would catch them in the net then gently wrap them in a little blanket to keep them from flying off.  They checked many things such as sex, weight, length of bill, species, whether they are carrying or have laid an egg etc.  They did all of this with great care and just before they released them they put a tiny band on a tiny leg, gave them a drink then let them fly away. It was quite a process to watch. 

Around¬†the beginning of July the birds start to move on and Rick starts taking down the feeders. By the end of July we only have a couple of pair of Anna’s that stay until later fall so we leave one feeder up for them. We always miss them when they leave but we know that next year they will return hungry as ever!

One of our guests apologized for not eating all of their breakfast. She said “it was delicious and she hated to leave it, but she ate like a bird at breakfast”.¬† I didn’t tell her¬†that I heard birds ate their weight every day!¬†

This morning I mixed organic Apple juice and Blueberry juice and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on top. Not a drop was left.

Rick and I didn’t do much traveling while we ran the motel. We had our heads down working, raising the children and we both had commitments in the community. We took our children to Disneyland and to Disneyworld and we went to Hawaii twice. That was pretty much the extent of our travels for eighteen years.

When we started the B & B it was all very new and we again put our heads down and worked year round without holidays. I don’t regret any of it as we were there for the children (probably more than they liked at the time) then so busy re-establishing ourselves in a new community that we didn’t think we were missing out on anything.

Five years ago very good friends introduced us to the world of international travel away from North America. We flew to England, Scotland and Germany with them and had our eyes opened wide and wider. Oh yes our mouths were hanging open too! I learned that architectual ‘old’ is new again, and that for all of the crush of people in the cities there are still some very beautiful historical sites and farm lands in the countries we visited. I had developed my own little interpretation on each country from books, movies and television. Many places were surreal knowing that building was bombed during the war, or that one has been here since the Romans, oh yes and this is where the Queen lives. Yes that man running towards me with two body guards really is the Prince, only I didn’t realize it until he passed by! Not that I would have tried to stop him!

Our children used to tell us we needed to ‘get a life outside of our business’. Now they complain they cannot keep track of which country we are coming from or going to. We are home about ten months of the year working and the other two months we have some wonderful capable innsitters that look after our B & B while we travel.

Last evening we were talking with our guests and the subject of cruising came up. They are heading out on a cruise to South America soon and are doing a great deal of investigating into different tours in different areas . It brought back great memories of the two cruises we have taken in the last couple of years. We had talked about going on the Alaska cruise but I wasn’t sure if four days on a ship on the water would be too confining…then we were told about the cruise through the South Pacific and we jumped in with both feet without another thought. Well there were many thoughts and many nights when I worried about everything from the weather, the seas, the food and what if we didn’t like the ship. We were going to be on it for 35 days! Well, being the seasoned travelers we would make the best of it. Wouldn’t we?

Both cruises were with Voyages of Discovery and each touched a different side of South America. The first cruise started in Tahiti and traveled through the South Pacific to the west side of South America stopping at six of those ‘in my lifetime I would love to see’ spots – Bora Bora, Easter Island, Robinson Crusoe Island, Machu Picchu, Galapagos Islands, and Panama Canal, and many others in between. This really was the most amazing trip I have ever taken. I am still in awe at the many sites we saw, the wonderful people we met (locals, Discovery staff and cruisers), the accommodations and food we experienced along the way.

The repositioning cruise last fall from Lisbon, Portugal to Buenos Aires, Argentina was our second and we enjoyed it as much as the first. Before we crossed the Atlantic Ocean we stopped at Madeira Island and Cape Verde two very different landscapes. Madeira was lush and green with terraced farms and Cape Verde was barren red lava rock with only a few scrub brush. Crossing the ocean was calm and beautiful – not much to see for a couple of days but there are many things to keep you busy on board. Once we started to see the Brazil coast line there were offshore drill platforms, sailing ships and freighters in the shipping lanes.

It was very different on the west side of South America as we stopped in bigger ports so our tours were mostly city tours. Every port has their down side but each also has their charm. We learned a bit about the history, the people, the culture, the architecture and the food. Every stop along the way was well worth the time. Of course when you are doing city tours of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Montevideo in Uruguay, and Buenos Aires in Argentina it was again ‘in my lifetime I would like to see’ moments. What is not to like?

From Buenos Aires we flew to Iguassu Falls. We stayed on the Argentinian side and took a day trip to the Brazilian side, which I would highly recommend as the view is entirely different from each side. Back to Buenos Aires then we flew home. Creating memories!! Next cruise March 2009!

We tried a new ‘Amazing Apple Museli for breakfast’ this morning. It was finished off with relish by our guests so we now have a new cereal dish to include in our menu list. It will be great when the apples come off our trees in the fall.

Every now and again as I look to the sea (a pretty constant past time for me!) I catch a glimpse of a sailboat with red sails. This of course immediately brings to mind “Red Sails in the Sunset”. Never have I seen the two together but we have such awe inspiring sunsets it is difficult not to think of the on coming sunset when ever I see it.

Watching the many different boats pass I wonder where are they going? Where did they come from? Although we have both pleasure craft and commercial traffic most of the year there is a huge increase in the pleasure boats during the summer months. The sizes range from Ski Fleas to freighters, some under way with large diesel engines, others under paddle power and everything in between. Some are like floating cities while others don’t have room for an extra towel. What gets them interested in being on the water? Where did they learn to drive a boat or to navigate? How far do they travel in a day? Where do they stay? Will they make it to their destination by sunset? Where and what do they eat?

Tomorrow our first course will be a Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Cake with Lemon Yogurt and Granola topped with Blueberries and Blueberry syrup, followed by Salt Spring Island Lamb patties and Egg Blossoms with Whole Wheat Seven Grain Cereal Toast, our garden mint, salsa and chutney. We have a full house again so it will be a busy kitchen in the morning!

Now as I upload the sailboat there is a plane from Salt Spring Air is doing touch and goes on the water out front. It is always an ever-changing landscape on the sea, so relaxing yet always something happening.

Salt Spring Island a beautiful place to be...

Sitting on the deck yesterday I heard a mixed medley of honking. As I looked up I saw that school was in. The parents were busy keeping the goslings together and all going in the same direction as they build their paddling abilities. Quite a chore no doubt and it sounded like the little ones had a great deal to say about it. The moms and dads seemed to be keeping an eye out for the Bald Eagles that cruise by checking out the possibility of a Bird for Breakfast. No luck for the Eagle as the little ones were quickly surrounded by the adults and the gaggle tightened up.

The Canada Geese have their nests around the point of land to the south of us. As they mate for life and tend to return to their birthplace to breed the numbers are increasing every year. They usually lay up to fourteen eggs in April in a nest made of down feathers from the female and then keep them warm for about 28 days until they hatch.

When they first started school they didn’t have their Canada Goose colors yet. They were much smaller and looked like little brown/yellow fuzzy balls with heads. It doesn’t take long before they grow and change their colors as the fuzz turns to feathers.

Soon they will be doing low fly bys with everyone working their vocal chords as much as they flap their wings. I think it usually takes a couple of months after they hatch before they start to fly. So they may have already started practicing.


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July 2008