Mini Trip To Coombs, BC

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Fry was (finally) neutered on Tuesday! I had to drop him off at the vet’s office in Nanaimo at 8:15am and pick him up around 3pm, so I had an entire day to spend off Gabriola with the car. I ran some errands (Value Village, obviously) but still had a pretty huge chunk of time left, so I decided to drive to Coombs and visit the market there. 36 minutes of highway driving north of Nanaimo, Coombs is a funny little tourist stop on the way to Port Alberni and Tofino.

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Trying Out Spud.ca

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I’ve seen the Spud.ca truck driving around the island a fair bit since moving here, and thought I would give the service a try. Spud provides local, organic produce and other groceries for purchase online, and free home delivery (which is appealing!). The first thing I noticed was, predictably, the prices were fairly high on some items. For example a bunch of carrots including greens are $4.99 ea on the website, but at the grocery store on the island they are only $1.75. There did seem to be some deals, though, particularly if you purchase a bundle of items. They all come from local Vancouver Island farms, which also makes me pretty happy.

Ultimately I’d love it if we could provide our own produce, but we aren’t there yet (except when it comes to plums and apples haha). The local grocery store is pretty great, but the produce section is fairly small and the selection is limited. Because I eat mostly fruits and veggies (and so do the bunnies, and they never stop eating), this limits the type of meals I can make. My first delivery from Spud arrived yesterday and I was happy with the quality of the produce and the delivery guy was very friendly and professional.

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The Plums Have Landed

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Our plums are almost ready to be picked! We’ve done a few small picks, and already have more plums than we know what to do with. Anyone have good plum recipes to share? We are going to do some jam, syrup and attempt to make some plum wine as well.

Fresh Local Cucumbers for Bread and Butter Pickles!

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After making a round of not-so-amazing pickles with some small cucumbers I picked up cheap at Sunrise Market, I went in search of real pickling cucumbers on the island. The grocery store didn’t have any, Thrifty Foods in Nanaimo was out, and I didn’t see any at the farmers market. Bummer. Then we happened to pop into the Crofter’s Gleann on the way home one day and they had some still on the vine that they offered to me. I got to check out their growing operation as the 6 pickling cukes I wanted were snipped off the plant. Pretty fresh!

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Book Review: Sleep Donation

sleepdonationRead for: I like Karen Russell

Rating: 4.5/5

This was a pretty great little novella. I loved the notion of an insomnia epidemic that kills people by keeping them wide awake for long stretches of time. It’s creepily plausible. To deal with the people unable to sleep doctors have found a way to collect sleep donations from those not afflicted by the insomnia epidemic, much the way healthy people can donate blood to help those in need of transfusion. In the same way blood donations can be tainted, sleep donations can also be tainted. Slumber Corps collects a sleep donation from a mysterious donor that doctors soon learn has been contaminated by a nightmare, and it is too late to keep it from be distributed to those sick with insomnia. I won’t give anything away because this is a very short novella, but I will say that the world building, particularly the nighttime world where people drink cocktails to either make them sleep or keep them awake, was really neat. The ending was a bit abrupt, but I probably felt this way because, like many of her other short stories, I wish this book just went on and on forever. Too bad it wasn’t developed into a full fledged novel!

This book is only available as an ebook or audio book from recently launched Atavist Books. I wish I had a hard copy, but it is so short I was able to read it on my iPhone in about an hour. Karen Russell is so creative it kinda hurts my brain.

Rain, Please

tumblr_ma72dmokD61ra0v4co1_500As a lifelong citizen of Vancouver it’s not very often that I wish for rain, but we really need some right now. It’s been very hot and dry here and things are looking pretty crispy. We have been on early high alert on Gabriola for weeks now with a ban on outdoor fires and no powered equipment to be used after 1pm. Thankfully we have not had any major fires (though there have been some small ones that were put out quickly, one from a beach fire left unattended that spread to some driftwood and dry grass, another from a burn barrel also left unattended that spread to nearby trees… what’s the lesson here? Ha)

There are a LOT of forest fires burning in BC right now, too. According to this article, of the province‚Äôs 700 fires that have been ignited this season, 300 have been started by lightning. The other 400 were started by people. An article from this morning notes that over 200,000 hectares of forest have been burned. We’ve had to pull firefighters from all over the country, and now 80 firefighters from Australia are flying in to BC to help. Thankfully there haven’t been any major injuries this season, but we’ve still got the month of August to go. I hope it rains soon!!