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Tomato Juice Does NOT work to remove skunk spray from pet fur

Tomato Juice Does NOT work to remove skunk spray from pet fur

This week we’re going to do something a little different – we’re going to feature a few cool kitchen tips and ASK YOU FOR YOURS (because we KNOW you’ve got some good ones!). And, we’ve got a little walk down memory lane courtesy of my Grandma Muriel. She wrote me to tell me about her memories of her Grandmother making bread.

We’ll feature our favourite kitchen tips next week in our Breakfast with the Broads newsletter.

  • Skunk Spray Removal: Tomato juice does NOT work. I don’t know who started that false rumour but all it does is make your dog smell like stinky tomatoes. The only thing that removes the greasy and awful spray from pet fur is this concoction: One Cup White Vinegar, 1/2 Cup Baking Soda, 2 Tablespoons Dish Soap or Pet Shampoo, and 1 litre of water. Don’t mix together until you’re ready to use it – it bubbles and expands rapidly once mixed together!
  • Fire Extinguisher: <Source Ultimate Money Blog>Baking soda can be thrown on stove fires to extinguish the flames. The carbon dioxide generated when the powder burns starves the fire of oxygen.
  • Corn Sweetner: <Source: http://www.bearhaus.com/kithints.html> When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corns natural sweetness.
  • Shell Pecans Easier: <Source: http://www.bearhaus.com/kithints.html> Pecans are easy to shell if they are first soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes or so. Or microwave 2 cups of pecans or Brazil nuts in 1 cup of water for 5 to 6 minutes on HIGH.
  • Best Burn Relief: Have pure lavender oil on hand to drop on any burn. The worst oven burns will be healed within days! Plus, it provides a cooling feeling.
  • Kneading Bread: See story below.

Cooking Bread the Old Fashioned Way on the Farms of Saskatchewan

– Written by Muriel Avery (my Grandmother about her Grandmother)

Grandma says the bread needs to squeak

Grandma says the bread needs to squeak

Grandmother went through quite a routine when she was making bread, especially during the cold winter months, -40 degrees celcius or worse. Her house was heated by wood stoves in each of the three rooms on the ground floor, because there was no cement basement, just a cellar under the kitchen part of the house and therefore, no furnace.

They didn’t build cement basements out on the farms when that house was built in the 1890’s. The kitchen was quite a good size with a fairly large oven, cupboards and the kitchen table.

The pan she used was shaped just for making bread. It was shiny tin, a fairly large, round pan rather shallow for its diameter, so that you could do all the preparation in the one pan. The flour she would have used in 1930 was very white and consisted of the starchy part of the grain only (the endosperm), to produce a very white slice of bread when it was cut. The yeast was, as I remember, a dried cake about an inch square and about one quarter of and inch thick. Before you could begin the bread making process, you had to soak the yeast to soften it. When that was done you could proceed.

In that pan she would have mixed in warm water (or potato water), sugar, salt the softened yeast. The flour was added by handfuls, probably right out of the flour sack, until the mixture was of the desired consistency. The dough was formed into a ball, kneaded a few times, patted into a round ball, then coated with a thin layer of butter to keep it from drying out while it was rising, and the lid put on the pan.

Next came the wrapping process. The first wrapping was one or two blankets or more depending on the outside temperature, which determined the temperature of the house. The final wrap was a red and white cow hide, tanned and wool lined. Then it was set on the kitchen table to keep warm for the night.

The stove would have been stoked with wood for the night and then again by my Grandfather who was always up at 5.30 AM. The next morning the dough was kneaded until it ‘squeaked’.

It was formed into loaves and put, one or two at a time, into a baking pan. These may have been set for a short time on top of the warming oven, which, in the old stoves, was well above the cooking surface of the stove, then later set on the table to finish rising. They were then baked (which killed off the yeast) and were ready to be eaten. Yeast has to be kept warm because it is a living organism and will die if it is frozen or if cold will not grow to raise the dough.

Depending on the time of year, the making of bread could be an almost daily part of keeping house

Have you got a story or a great tip – please share it with us in the comments!

Julie’s Note: Mom wrote this before she left (they are somewhere in Germany right now)…but if you aren’t familiar with their Bed & Breakfast (Anne’s Oceanfront Hideaway on Salt Spring Island) it might not make sense. Their B&B has four rooms, so they can have a maximum of 8 guests at any time. When they serve breakfast, it’s in four courses, and they cater to all diet restrictions and likes/dislikes. They put out an incredible breakfast each day. One guest described them as a real detriment to lunch!

Usually there are only one or two special diets at any one breakfast. It is not a difficult task, with a bit of planning, to cater to one or two special diets in a morning. But one weekend we were hit with the challenge of all time… for two days we had a Vegan (no animal products), a Vegetarian (no meat or fish, but eggs and cheese okay), a lactose intolerant (no dairy products), and a Celiac (Gluten Free – no wheat rye, oats, barley or derivatives like malt) plus four other people that would eat anything sharing a brekafast table. Two said “the more meat and sweet the happier we will be”.

When we sat down to plan, we were very worried we would make a mistake. To minimize the chaos and confusion we decided to use as much of the same foods for the special diets as possible to avoid cross contamination and to have each meal look similar to the other.

We separated the kitchen into seven different work stations:

  • two different stations for breads,
  • two stations for the cereal dish,
  • two different stations for the hot entrees,
  • and one for the fruit and juice.

We used:

  • Puffed Rice sweetened with juice from the health food store (no malt/no grains)
  • Flavoured Soy Yogurt (no dairy/animal)
  • Soy Cheddar Cheese Cheese grated (no dairy/animal)
  • Firm Tofu smoke flavor (no animal)
  • Rice Milk (no dairy/animal)
  • Almond Butter
  • Rice Soft Tortilla  Shells (no grains)
  • Rice Bread and Cinnamon Buns

We made up the four special diets first. We had made a name card for each diet in each course.

The individual cereal dishes (cereal, yogurt, pear half, raspberry syrup, sprinkle of almonds ) were put on the table with the water juice and fruit plate.

Two bun/bread baskets: Rice Toast and Rice Cinnamon Buns (celiac), Rick’s Milkless Muffins and Peanut Butter Tea Biscuits( all others).

The hot entree was a bit more of a challenge. We were serving salmon scrambled wraps (which normally has eggs, salmon, cream, cheese and a few other ingredients in it). We used the rice tortilla wraps so the Celiac became a non issue for the hot entree. The vegan had tofu and vegetables in his wrap. The vegetarian had the egg mix with cheese minus the salmon, and the lactose intolerant had the egg mix with salmon minus the cheese. The remainder had the full meal deal complete with eggs, salmon and cheese.

None of them knew there were special diets at the table as they looked quite similar at first glance and unless they checked up on what ingredients we used, no one knew.

It was also the only time in thirteen years that eight people had eight different hot beverages.  We had hot chocolate, reg coffee, decaf coffee, English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Decaf Orange Pekoe Tea, Peppermint Tea, Chamomile Tea, and hot water. Oh yes there was rice milk, 2% milk, half n half, soy margarine and butter as well.

On day two we were still vigilant but more experienced and calmer while prepping for the morning fare of Portobella Benedict.

TIP: We use name placards for seating at the table.  Needless to say this proved to be a saving grace during the two days.


Each year the huge crab apple tree in our backyard prolifically produces a plethora of small bright red fruits. While the fruit makes wonderful jelly and is also very tasty when dried, it is a real challenge to keep up. Every year I think we should cut it down as it continues to grow bigger and bigger and produce more and more little red apples. Yes, yes, I know that is what it is supposed to do, but how big is it going to grow and how much fruit is it going to produce?

Starting mid August we pick up crab apples so they don’t get crushed and then tracked into the house. Rick picks them up before he goes for his morning walk and then again when he comes back. We go out after we serve breakfast and pick up more apples, before our guests leave for the day and before new guests check in. Still, we have apples tracking into the house which adds extra work to the daily routine.

So we’re debating again…should we cut it down? We decided not to. It looks beautiful and it feeds some of the wildlife that visit us. The raccoons and the woodpeckers feast each year for weeks.

And the highlight these days are the two does and a buck that visit every day and night to vacuum up the fruit. Normally I curse at them as they destroy my tulips and eat my grapes, but right now they are a big help as they catch the fallen fruits that land on the lawn as well as the driveway. It’s much less work for us to do, and it’s really nice to watch them at work.

Last week we had bark mulch brought in and beautifully spread through the flower beds and around the trees. This week it is full of hoof prints. But I guess I can’t complain because these three beautiful – four legged vaccum cleaners don’t use electricity, eat within a hundred miles of where their food is grown, give back to their environment and are fun to watch . It doesn’t get any more eco-friendly than that!

It is 2:00 am, the phone rings. “Hello Rick this is the Garry Oak Room calling. I am locked out on the deck, my husband is asleep and I can’t wake him up. Can you let me in?” Rick gets out of bed, puts on his housecoat and goes upstairs with the key to let her in. Unfortunately they have the chain lock on the door so he can’t get in. He also can’t wake the husband. With a full house, he’s trying desperately not to wake everyone else but he isn’t having any luck.

Other than breaking down the door, and waking up our other guests, the only way of getting her back into the room quietly, is with a key to open the sliding door from the outside.

Rick gets dressed and then gets the ladder. Our son comes up stairs wanting to know what is happening as he saw the ladder going past his bedroom window. Rick is now crawling across the shingles, past another guest room, to where the lady is waiting for him to open the door. He passed her the key, she went in and he went back to bed.

The next morning at the breakfast table she told her husband that there was another man in the room last night and he just laughed.  “Sure there was” he said. He had no idea what had gone on! Thankfully she had a cell phone with her when she was on the deck or it might have been breakfast time before she was rescued.

Do you carry your cellphone everywhere? It sure came in handy this night!

Rick and I heard some loud thumping. We assumed it was one of our sons building something (they both have grown up to be in the construction business) in the basement.  After awhile the pounding got more persistent and we figured perhaps they were having a ‘brotherly’ argument and one had locked the other out.  Either way we ignored it until it became so persistent we figured we’d better figure out what was going on.

Rick went downstairs and I went outside.  We both returned not finding either of the boys nor the source of the noise.  When we sat back down, it started again! This time we went upstairs looking for the source.  When I went upstairs I still heard the pounding but didn’t see any people! I knocked on our guests door but didn’t get an answer… so I went to the balcony on the adjoining room.

As soon as I opened the door our guests said “Oh thank goodness, we locked ourselves out here“.  She had on a housecoat but I noticed his shoulders were bare. It was starting to drizzle so I passed them a couple of towels and went to get the key.

I opened the door and the gentleman was standing wrapped in the two towels.  His wife was laughing and said “For years I’ve told him he was going to get caught without his clothes on and it has happened on our 25th anniversary.”

She went on to say “I remembered as soon as I heard the door click shut that you had said “Remember to unlock the door before you close it…..” Fortunately for them we heard the pounding, and fortunately for me the balconies are separated. I had no idea he was on the other side stark naked and freezing!

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