Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I can be clicker-trained!

Well, after the wonderful response to my previous post, it occurs to me that Eddie and I are not just similar in our scruffy gray hair or somewhat portly bodies - we are also both very easy to clicker-train.  I blog, you click (on the comment button) and reward me (with your words) and guess what?  I repeat the behaviour!
Of course, Eddie was quick to point out that cookies are even faster at shaping behaviour than words.

Yeah, you're supposed to 'click' and send cookies raining from the sky!
That's how clicker training works!
He didn't quite get what I meant when I told him computer 'cookies' are not the same as the kind I keep in his treat pouch.

Today was a good day - sunny, warm, productive.  My three-season tires are back on my car and my winter tires back in storage.  I filed my income tax return and will be getting a refund (though the $1000 refund will only cover one eighth of what I will be paying out next week to have some old and dangerous wiring replaced and the insulation in the attic brought up to code. Ugh.)  Mitzi and I took a walk around town, and I smiled at the sight of a young long-haired man lying on his back on the grass with a very large black cat fast asleep on his chest.  Eddie and I wandered down to the beach and watched seven eagles catch a ride on a thermal, circling higher and higher in the blue sky.  And I picked the first harvest from the garden, and made my first kale chips.

The kale and swiss chard made it through the mild winter, so a few weeks ago I split and trimmed some of the clumps, replanted in fresh, nutritious soil, and watched them take off.  This is a picture of the kale and rainbow swiss chard after I harvested a bunch today - I forgot to take a 'before' picture!

Kale and Swiss Chard

I steamed the chard for my dinner veggie.  I cooked baby potatoes from the market with a sprig of fresh mint from my garden, then tossed them with fresh parsley and chives, also from my garden.  And I baked fresh sole from the fish market with a little fresh tarragon from the pot on my patio.  Yum!

First harvest 2013

Then I tried out the new-to-me dehydrator I bought from a neighbour recently.  I took the freshly harvested kale,  removed the stalks, tossed the leaves with a little olive oil and sea salt, and lay them in the dehydrator which worked its magic for a few hours.

Filling the racks

OH. MY. GOODNESS.  I was sneaking crisp, salty kale chips out of the top rack before it was even finished.  And I can't show you a picture of the finished product - I ate them all!  Best Snack Ever.  This may well be a nightly event!

Well, ah hopes you uses that de-hyd-rator thingy
to make some treats fer Eddie and me!
An' I don't mean kale chips!
Some of the summer bulbs I planted are beginning to show their shoots, the sweet peas (spelled it correctly this time, Evensong!) are a couple of inches high, the young tomato plants are doing okay, the honeysuckle and hydrangea both have heads of tightly clustered buds which will one day burst open with colour.  And the evergreen clematis and columbine I planted the other week are beginning to flower.

Columbine greets the springtime sun

Evergreen clematis climbs a trellis
outside my bedroom window

In a week when the Boston Marathon turned to terror, and on a day when the senate of  that same country declined to take even small steps to reduce gun violence.....
and in a week when one of my very favourite Canadian singers, Rita MacNeil, unexpectedly passes away, leaving her amazing legacy of Cape Breton humor, courage, and song.....
in a month when the numbers of lost dogs and unclaimed strays became overwhelming to this animal lover....
and at a time in history when sadness and horror bombards us from every side thanks to social media....
it is good to feel the sun on my face, watch my dogs playing in the yard, eat produce I have grown, watch new life emerge from the soil.

Despite all the challenges that face our world, for this moment of this day in this one woman's life, I have to say: "Life is Good".  


georgia little pea said...

*click* Nice. I was wondering what you meant by kale chips because I couldn't imagine chipping kale. Mystery solved. I mentioned it to Cushion and he grunted. I don't think crispy leafy greens are his thing.

I'm jealous and incredulous that the clematis you put in "the other week" are already flowering when all of my vines DIED. Ce la.

*click* do I get a treat now? X

Karen said...

I read every post! Envious of your produce and flowers. Spring is late in the Cariboo this year. :(

Jean said...

GLP - hmmmm....I wonder if Australians call those packets of crunchy things "potato crisps" like the British do, instead of "potato chips" as we do here in Canada? And what we call 'fries', you call 'chips'? Sorry to confuse you. Tell Cushion kale crisps don't taste like leafy veggies - they taste like salty crunch!

Does a comment on your comment count as a 'treat'?

Karen, spring will get there eventually!

Marie said...

Loved your comments this morning about Spring and the new greens from your garden - Spring is just barely starting here but there's no sign of those greens! Except, I should add, in the stores.
The unexpected passing of Rita McNeil is so sad, I saw her seven times in concert and shall never forget that she had the voice of an angel.

Caroline said...

I have to try the Kale chips as Kale is one of my favorite veggies!
*click* :)

EvenSong said...

*click* Now I'm hungry!

Sheryl said...

Sounds tasty! *click*

Jean said...

You gals are just too funny! Thanks for the *click*s. Eddie, Mitzi and I are working on the photos of today's walk - we are such good (clicker-trained) puppies!

Dawn said...

Jean, I wish you had gotten a photo of the young man with the cat!

Meanwhile, have you ever showed us your remodeled kitchen? Can't believe I missed it, but maybe so.

I have lived in an old house too. There is always something that needs fixing. And when you open up a wall (just a little bit), you often find more things that need updating. But old houses can be really nice and cozy. Congratulations on giving the old place more new life.

Jean said...

Dawn, I haven't ever shown the remodelled kitchen. That's because I still haven't finished off that one little corner that I'm not happy with, where the metal dryer vent is exposed and sticks out like a sore thumb where it goes into the ceiling. I have the materials to finish it off, but when I'm not sure about my skills to do it well, I tend to procrastinate. Sadly, I've given up on construction-types in this area, so sooner or later I'm going to have to pull out the tools and get to work. But I will post the pics sooner or later.

Cathy said...

Maybe Blogger should adopt a "LIKE" button as in FaceBook. When you post or share an interesting photo, article or video, or a just-finished painting, you get click click click. .....instant rewards. And being a clicker trainer yourself, you know that the faster the reward is delivered after the click, the better.
And for the trainer the "LIKE" button is as facile as delivering "Charlie Bears" to the canine mouth, whereas making a COMMENT is more like putting on the stove and cooking your own treats before delivering them.

Jean said...

Cathy, you are so right! Having recently become involved in Facebook during the search for Levi (and confirming my initial response that it is a disorganized and irritating platform that I will very seldom use), I will say that the one feature I like is the ability to acknowledge a post with a mere click on the "Like" button. In fact, I find myself looking for that feature when I read someone else's blog, forgetting I am reading blogger or wordpress not facebook! A "Like" button would be a great addition to Blogger.

Linda Toews said...

Hi Jean
Love your blog! Click! If that evergreen clematis is armandi snowdrift - we planted it last fall on our arbour (in a pot on the concrete patio). It grew tremendously all winter and is just finishing flowering - absolutely spectacular - it seems to be a very good choice for our climate.

Jean said...

Hi Linda - I think it is armandi snowdrift. I was assured it would grow well in virtually any soil, any conditions on the west coast and it certainly seems to be doing well. The soil here is heavy clay (though I dug a big whole and filled it with good soil), and if it does do well, I think I'll buy several more next year - trying to create a natural screen between my place and the neighbours.

turtlegardens said...

It is still winter in my neck of the woods though it is spring while i ma in Vancouver!Beautiful photos. I will be looking for a new-to -em dehydrator too. Those chips are on my list of food I can eat! Click.

Anonymous said...

I've still got kale from last year growing. I'll have to try making those chips. A nice healthy snack.