Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Few Duds

I am completely overwhelmed by the kind comments you left on my last post. I am struggling to know what to say that would convey how much it meant to me to see so many people leave comments, and how helpful and encouraging those comments were. Thank you all so much!

I thought in light of my worrying about blogging about all the great things about our new home, and how that might sound like I was bragging, I would do a post about some of the things here that aren't so spectacular.

Dud # 1

The first day I drove out to the blueberry farm I saw a sign for a local winery. I decided to stop by and see what they had to offer. I mean, how great was this - fresh blueberries and wine all within a few kilometres of my front door! As I walked into the small shop, which was really just a room in an old shed, I was overcome by a smell I hadn't encountered since being in Jay's aunt's basement a number of years ago. Trust me, this is not a smell I wanted to ever encounter again, especially since the source of it was a rat infestation.

It wasn't just the smell that was off-putting. The bottles of wine were all labelled "Grapes Wine." I was puzzled by the addition of the "s" at the end of grape until I heard the owner trying to help the other unfortunate customers. She had an Eastern European accent that was very hard to understand, and the customers she was helping were Chinese. It was fascinating to observe. I don't think a single word was understood by either party, but in the end the Chinese family managed to walk out with a couple bottles of Grapes Wine.

I wasn't in the market for Grapes Wine though. I was looking for a nice fruit wine, and the lady told me she would have some in a couple weeks. So two weeks later, and with an adjustment downward in my expectations, I returned. The minute I entered the room she was motioning me over for a sample. Not good. I am really, really picky about what I drink from, and here was this lady pulling out a rather sketchy looking glass and pouring some even sketchier looking wine into it, with the vague smell of rats lingering in the background. There was no gracious way to say no, and even if there was there was the small problem of the language barrier so I wouldn't have been understood anyway. I drank the sample. For a full two weeks I kept waiting to come down with some rare disease.

The wine itself is hard to accurately describe. Aged vinegar would cover some of its characteristics, but there was a hint of some other mysterious flavour there as well. Hopefully it had nothing to do with rats. In case you're wondering, yes I did buy a bottle. I felt sorry for her. It was, of course, undrinkable. For a few brief moments I considered mixing it with some olive oil to make an oil and vinegar salad dressing, but there was that little issue of the unidentified flavour...the contents went down the kitchen drain.

Dud # 2

Just outside a small community near us is an ice cream factory. I love finding local sources of food, so imagine how excited I was to discover I could contribute to the local food economy by eating ice cream! There is an ice cream stand in front of the factory, and I was impressed by all the flavours they offered. I asked the lady if it was possible to by a container of the ice cream rather than a cone and she told me it was only available in large pails. A large pail sounded perfect, so I asked what flavours she had. She told me chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. I thought it a bit odd given all the flavours they were offering in cones, but I was determined to do my bit for the local food economy even if the choices were rather limited.

When she handed me the pail I was shocked. It wasn't the brand of ice cream they were selling at the stand. It was one of those budget, super junkie ice creams full of unpronounceable mystery ingredients. Reading the long list was like prepping for a chemistry exam. This is the part where you would expect me to tell you I walked away empty-handed, and I really should have. But I was too embarrassed to tell her I didn't want it. And here's the worst thing about the whole story. That ice cream is now gone, and it didn't go down the kitchen drain. Jay and I ate every spoonful of the junky stuff. I still feel a great sense of shame every time I think about it.

Dud # 3

The final dud would be me for writing a post titled Four Generations and completely forgetting to put a picture of the four generations in the post. I blame it on all those chemicals I ingested eating that ice cream. Or worse, it could be the early onset of the disease I have been waiting to be struck down with since I drank that wine sample. So here, better late than never, is a picture of four generations of Hammonds.


I have a big, BIG announcement to make on my blog, and I am hoping to have all the details by the time I write my next post. Any guesses?

50 comments:

  1. You're opening an ice cream flavored wine shop? Or a wine flavored ice cream shop? (Even better!) :-)

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    1. Good guesses, but incorrect. :-)

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    2. Ice cream flavored wine shop....pure awesome. I'll take a scoop of Champagne and a scoop of Malbec. Covered in black cherries and halved walnuts (I haven't had breakfast yet...).

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    3. Ice cream flavored wine shop....pure awesome. I'll take a scoop of Champagne and a scoop of Malbec. Covered in black cherries and halved walnuts (I haven't had breakfast yet...).

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    4. Ice cream flavored wine shop....pure awesome. I'll take a scoop of Champagne and a scoop of Malbec. Covered in black cherries and halved walnuts (I haven't had breakfast yet...).

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  2. I have to agree with Lisa, I think. It seems like the only reasonable thing for you to do right now is open some sort of eatery(drinkery?) because clearly your town could use some help!

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    1. I don't want to give any hints, but will say this much. The announcement has nothing to do with food. :-)

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  3. I'm hoping it is what I think it is, but I'm not going to guess in case it's not that. (Cryptic enough for you?!)

    I can not believe you went back to the wine place.

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    1. Your guess is correct. :-)

      I don't know which is harder to believe. That I went back to the wine place, or that I consumed a bucket of very low quality ice cream.

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  4. I'm intrigued! I can't wait to read your announcement. Your duds are funny and they were fun to read. I'm such a fiend for ice cream, I probably would have eaten it all too. :)

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    1. When I bought it I told myself I would let Jay eat it all. My resolve lasted until after dinner that night. Thank you for saying you would have eaten it too. :-)

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  5. You're a braver (and much nicer) person than I am, obviously, Kristie. I would have walked out of that wine shed the moment I smelled the awful smell, wouldn't have tasted the wine (or bought any), and wouldn't have bought the ice cream!

    So, my guess for the big announcement is that you have another grandchild in the offing, courtesy of Rebekah and Anton.

    Mary G. in Texas

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    1. It's a good guess, Mary, but not the correct one. Well, at least as far as I know it isn't correct. :-)

      I need some of your courage. These aren't the first incidents where I have bought something because I felt sorry for someone, or felt too embarrassed to hand something back.

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  6. Oh yes, I certainly DO have a guess, and I can't wait to hear you confirm it. And you made me laugh with your "Duds" -- nice try at making us feel less envious of your idyllic life up there. Silly girl.

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    1. My guess is your guess is correct. :-)

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  7. You are a very nice person Kristie, especially buying the wine. I would have run away at the first whiff of the ratty smell. So funny re the icecream too, I guess we would also have eaten it up just like you two! Now I wonder if I should tell the dud story of my trip to the local picture framer the other day. Sometimes these things do go quite awry.
    I can't guess your secret, but await with great interest to learn it :) x

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    1. Yes, please tell your dud story! We have a print we need to get framed, and maybe I can learn something from your experience so I don't have another dud to add to my list. Ha!

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  8. I'm very intrigued with your forthcoming announcement so do hurry up and tell us your secret. I don't think I'd have liked a sip of that wine but like you I wouldn't have wanted to hurt their feelings by saying no. What else could you do!
    Patricia x

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    1. That's what I thought, Patricia. I was sort of cornered and felt like I had to try the wine. I hate hurting people's feelings. I really shouldn't have bought it though. What I should have done was phone the health inspector's office!

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  9. I've been never good at guessing games, and I am also very impatient... so "I have something to tell you, lets talk tomorrow" definetly does not work with me, I play up all kinds of scenarios in my mind (mainly about what the hell did I do wrong) and by the time I get close to a nervous breakdown... So Just tell us please as fast as you can.

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    1. Sorry about that. I can guarantee you that you didn't do anything wrong. :-) And I can say it is a good announcement, not a bad one. I'll post as soon as I am able to. Hopefully that will be in the next day or two.

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    2. I understand, because as I said before (at the house buying/selling time) that we alsohave the tradition, NOT to talk about things that are coming and will be supposedly good beforehand... somehow saying it out loud might jinx it or I don't know...

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  10. I'm another who couldn't have brought herself not to buy the wine, but like you I'd have used it as drain-cleaner. DH and I would have eaten the ice-cream too, being too economically-minded to waste it. no wonder our waistlines are expanding over time.... As for denting the idyll, I don't tend to mention that the farm next to our French cottage has a big barn in which they rear broiler chickens. It's a little way from us, but at a certain point in the rearing cycle, when the wind is from the north-west, let's say we don't tend to take tea in the garden.....

    I can't possibly guess what your secret is, but you have intrigued me. :-)

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    1. A kindred spirit!

      Broiler chickens sounds rather grim. At least I can choose not to go back to the winery. You are stuck with those birds. Hopefully the wind doesn't blow from the north-west very often!

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  11. Your two "dud" stories aren't totally encouraging me to look forward to our move there! Especially coming from the Okanagan with dozens of great wineries. We'll have to bring some wine with us.
    Your announcement? I'll take a guess at it - you're going to teach a class at the local yarn store or community centre?

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    1. Please don't be put off by the duds I wrote about. There are many wonderful things here! I just thought I needed to balance out some of my bragging about our new location. :-)

      As far as wineries go though, the only other place in North America that would come close to matching the Okanagan would be Northern California. There are some good wineries to be found around here, but just to be on the safe side I suggest you bring some wine with you when you move.

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  12. Kristie,

    I agree with everyone that you're a nice person, but not today?! I want to know the announcement badly. My wild guess is that someone like a literary agent has contacted you and want your memoir before you have finished it. If I'm a literary agent, I would offer you a contract!!! In my mind, the agent is from a well known place. I'm envious, but I want to know all about it.

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    1. Sorry Keiko! I didn't mean to cause any distress. :-)

      Your guess is definitely a wild one. I sure wish you were a literary agent. I would accept your contract offer!

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  13. Ruth in Ontario, CanadaAugust 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Too funny! In case you're ever again tempted by politeness to buy something you're not sure you really want, just remember this little mantra - "Life's too short to drink cheap wine/eat cheap ice cream (or chocolate)/knit with cheap yarn/..." - substitute your own occasion-appropriate substance! I'm much more heartless than you are, I'm afraid. I'm with Keiko above on the guess - something literary?

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    1. I like your mantra, and I have been using it for yarn, chocolate and tea for many years. I guess I need to expand it to include wine and ice cream.

      I see you and Keiko have collaborated with your guesses. :-)

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  14. I believe I know, but I won't spill the beans.. if I'm right, congratulations are in order! Sooooo exciting...!!! ;)

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    1. I should have said people who know me in a non-blogging capacity weren't allowed to guess. Thanks for not spilling the beans!

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  15. Don't worry about sharing sounding like bragging when the news is good, no one would think that. I've got nothing on the possible announcement--because someone else already offered it and was incorrect. :)

    I probably would have bought the ice cream too, but I really hope I would have found an out on the wine. I'm going to take a few moments to prepare excuses just in case. And I would have helped get rid of the ice cream...perhaps with the help of a little Hershey's syrup.

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    1. Ha! I bet you were going to guess another grandchild was on the way!

      I was sorry to hear your family is suffering from a case of appliance flu.

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    2. Thanks! I thought about you as I kept having to re-light our water heater in the evening. We also lost a refrigerator.

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  16. I know, I know!!! But my lips are sealed. :)

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    1. I know you know. :-) Thanks for the sealed lips.

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  17. I have a pic just like that, but it's of my grandmother, my mother, me and my eldest daughter (2nd child) ... so four generations of women in the one shot, all the oldest daughters in their families.

    And no, I can't begin to guess :)

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    1. What an awesome picture to have, Annie! Both of my grandmothers were alive when my two oldest boys were young, but for some reason we never got a four generation picture. I deeply regret that now. I was determined not to have the same thing happen this time!

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  18. I would have bought the wine, too. the ice cream,maybe. If I did buy it, I would have eaten it for sure.

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    1. I'm glad to hear I am not the only one! I'm not sure you would have eaten the ice cream once you tasted it though. It was pretty awful. :-)

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  19. There must be some good local produced food somewhere close by. I hope future searches produce some gems to make up for the duds. If your announcement isn't a new grandchild and can't be that you are moving again. Could it be that you have met another wild animal on a walk, or is it about your forthcoming holiday?

    Sarah x

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    1. No worries Sarah - I have found lots of good local food. I think it is because I am willing to try out local sources that I stumbled across the duds. Thankfully there are way more gems than duds though!

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  20. I'm only just catching up now I'm home again but never be shy about good news..everyone normal loves to share it.
    Your winery remined me of the of the more - shall we say traditional - old boy winemakers in France years ago. As a lady, your presence would be recognised by the winemaker dusting out the tasting glass ( which came free with a brand of mustard) with his handkerchief....

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    1. Welcome home! My question is, did you sample the wine out of the dirty tasting glass? :-)

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    2. Yup.
      My bugs are tougher than their bugs.

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  21. I'm on pins and needles waiting for you to make your big, BIG announcement!!!

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    1. I think it is funny that the people who know what the big announcement is are almost more excited than the ones who don't. :-)

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  22. I would have guessed a new Grandbaby might be on the way, so if not maybe a new little Puppy instead :-) Can't wait to find out!!! Mel x

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    1. I would have been happy with a new grandbaby, and a new puppy would be lots of fun (but also lots of work!), but no, it isn't either of those. :-)

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