Category Archives: Food

Mason Bee Reveal Shows ‘Profit’

We unrolled the paper tubes we’d set out over the summer, and opened the unit with plastic trays.

Excited to not only “preserve our capital” but notch a “profit” of a dozen cocoons. Our location in a townhouse with only a high balcony on which to set out bee houses is not the best, so we were happy with this year’s results!

Paper tubes rolled from the Burnaby Now proved to be much more attractive than plastic trays.

The supervisor was having trouble seeing the action and was meowking indignantly around our feet, so we eventually let her on the table, where she soon fell asleep .

mason bee cocoon harvesting

Leftover Pizza Dough = Butter, Sugar, Walnut Rolls

I often have some dough left over when I use the breadmaker to make pizza dough, as with only two of us in the family, one medium-large pizza at a time is plenty.

So one of my mainstays for using up leftover dough is to simply roll it out very thin, spread some butter or margarine on it, sprinkle lightly with brown sugar and chopped walnuts, roll up, slice into bite sizes, bake and . . . yum!

butter sugar walnut rolls

Nikkei Matsuri 2017

Fun festival at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre just up the hill from our place in south Burnaby, BC. The main draw for me? Japadog . . . : -)

Nikkei Matsuri 2017

It was also great to run into a gal pushing 100 years old that we met at a party about three years ago. She was out and about at the event with her walker, since she lives in the Japanese seniors’ residence there, and we had a good long chat in Japanese, mostly Yumi and Yuki, with me following along as best I could.

Here’s a post about that convivial, multilingual, multi-generational potluck.

Yeasty Spirits

That roller coaster of emotions as you’re 9/10 of the way through the bread recipe and you discover you have about 1/3 of a teaspoon of yeast.

Grumble grumble, not wanting to go to the store for one stupid little jar of yeast.

Check the cupboards.

A brand-spanking new jar of yeast!

My spirits, er, rose. . .

: -)

DFO Community Advisor’s Last Fish Release on Burnaby’s Byrne Creek

Kids from Clinton Elementary in south Burnaby helped Byrne Creek Streamkeepers volunteers and DFO release coho smolts (yearling salmon) in Byrne Creek today.

It was a bittersweet event, as it was the last release on Byrne with retiring DFO Community Advisor Maurice Coulter-Boisvert.

But we’re very happy that long-time tech Scott is taking over Maurice’s role. Looking forward to working with you!

Byrne Creek coho smolt release
DFO and City of Burnaby staff share a laugh. It was that kind of uplifting day, and event, eh?

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers stalwart and Stream of Dreams co-founder Joan helps connect the kids to nature

Maurice on the salmon life cycle

Joan demonstrates proper fish release technique

Lining up to take fish down to the creek. The excitement is palpable. . . : – )

Netting coho smolts out of the tank, and putting them in baggies for the kids

Helping hands guide excited kids for a safe release

Look at them go!

Volunteer Ray points out how the fish quickly change color to match their new surroundings

They are so beautiful. Thanks so much to the volunteers at Kanaka Creek who raise these cuties!

Don’t mess with this crew : -)

Hours After Setting Up Mason Bee Station, Action!

We built this little shelter for our balcony and installed a mason-bee release box, and two containers of paper tubes that Yumi patiently rolled using bee-whisperer Joe Sadowski’s exact instructions as to proper sizing. He provided us with several dozen tubes, and a dowel to fashion our own.

Little bee station I made from scrap lumber saved in our garage. Nothing fancy, just a bit of shelter from rain. I had some old paint from painting a bedroom over ten years ago, and by chance it matches our siding :-).

Joe’s bee-release box at upper left — fashioned from a small plant container. A wooden box I made at center, and a pop-bottle tube holder Joe made on the right.

And within hours of taking cocoons out of their over-winter storage in the fridge, we’ve got action!

Yumi rolled over a hundred tubes in one evening!

mason bee action south Burnaby BC
Mason bees do not provide honey, but they are super pollinators, and are very docile and people-friendly.

I’d like to thank the City of Burnaby Parks Dept. for getting us started with mason bees a few years ago with their “adopt a mason bee condo” program in which volunteers were trained to monitor and maintain boxes supplied by the City and installed in municipal parks and schoolyards.

A few mason bee resources:

Suzuki Foundation How to Harvest Mason Bee Cocoons

West Coast Seeds A Year in Mason Bee Keeping

Bee Diverse — If you’re not handy and want to buy all your supplies this is a good source. Many garden shops also carry mason bee gear.

Rescuing Tofu’s Bad Rep


I think tofu has an unnecessarily bad rep. You just have to know where to get the good stuff. And there are few places to get the good stuff.

I have never yet found any tofu in a major “western” supermarket that I liked. It’s rubbery. It’s tasteless. It’s ickilly smooth.

Here’s what I look for: It’s bought in an Asian market, preferably Japanese. It’s “momen,” or “momendofu” meaning it has weight and a non-icky, slightly textured consistency.

Once opened, you have to eat it in a day or two. If it lasts longer than that in your fridge, it’s got too many preservatives and who knows what other chemicals in it.

If you can serve it cold, cubed, with only a dash of quality soy sauce and sprinkled with bonito flakes, and it’s yummy — that’s my tofu.

If it’s some weirdness shaped into “hot dogs” or “hamburgers” and saturated with artificial flavours, yuck.