Friday, 25 July 2014


E's "New" Bike

DIY special insert

Here in the Place Under The Pine we make it a priority to be resourceful, for a good many reasons. We like the feeling of being able to solve our own problems. We like the environmental reasons; turning trash into treasure, or just keeping something out of the landfill. The kids also learn some great life skills and they have fun doing it. And, you cannot forget the bonus of saving some cash in the process.

This latest DIY project started last summer when E outgrew his little blue bike and started riding the 'Pretty Extreme' pink bike.
The Pretty Extreme's colours clashed with most of E's outfits. Something needed to change.
This bike, which was originally found on the side of the road, was Lolli's ride a few summers ago. It was kept in the backyard, unused, for a summer with the intent of fixing it up as soon as E was old enough to ride it.
Free Bike circa 2011
Well, a year after pedaling the pink bike around, a trip was taken to the Home Depot and a can of spray paint was bought. E walked down the spray paint aisle and within minutes his vision locked onto the Tremclad Metallic Red! "Red with sparkles" is how he described it.

The transformation started with the wheels being removed. Then copious amounts of painters tape and newspaper were wrapped around the parts that were to remain unpainted. The can of paint was shaken vigorously, as instructed, and everyone had a turn letting that red-shiny paint fly. A quick spray of black on the handlebar and we repeated the process again. Two coats completely covered any hint of the previous pink.

E was put to work reattaching everything his old Dad couldn't figure out.
Throw me the 5/16th will ya?

Some aftermarket accessories were added to bring a bit of dazzle and originality - a ringy bell, tinkly spoke thingies, two (count em) two lights, and a new reflector.

Not bad looking for a bike that was found on the side of the road years earlier. Total cost for this transformation ($10 spray paint, $10 in accessories): $20. Having a new bike: Priceless!
The 'New' Bike
However, a small problem arose on the inaugural ride of the 'new' bike - the training wheel broke!
This turned out to be a good thing though, as it motivated E to try riding the bike two wheel style. Being who he is, he succeeded first try and has not looked back.

Vintage picture of E without scrapes on knees and hands.

Friday, 11 July 2014



The last week has seen a big change in the garden, reaching that exciting point where plants turn to food. Students of previous years 'Dirty Hands' garden education training recognized the signs of harvest and were anxious to pick.

As in years past the Raspberry bush is the first produce to be picked. Many of the early flowering fruits have started turning the dark red that means they are ready for the picking. This first wave of early birds do not typically make it into the house, they are often popped into mouths by eager young gardening students. And, even though there were more berries this year, there were also three little helpers that rank raspberries in their top ten foods of all time.
Experienced pickers know the right ones to eat

Bushes are dripping with berries this year

As a first time picker, little Oskie was given the honour of trying the first raspberry of 2014. His face puckered a bit on the first bite, but, he quickly asked for "mo" (translated "more") while also pushing his fingers together signing "mo". Double asking was a sure fire sign these berries were full of great flavour (babies cannot tell a lie).

First raspberry of 2014 #looksdelicious

"Mo" raspberries were eaten that day
This years Cutting of the Lettuce honour was shared between Lolli and Elli, who lopped off two bowls full. At the Cutting of the Lettuce feast Elli ran back out to the garden three additional times to refill his bowl.

Lettuce aka Mixed Greens
In addition to the cutting, Lolli incorporated part of the PUTP culinary training by making her own salad dressing to accompany her fresh cut mixed greens. The recipe used was wholly original and goes as follows - equal amounts EVOO and fresh squeezed lemon juice, squirt of yellow mustard, dashes of salt and pepper, some sugar. Put all ingredients in a mason jar, secure the lid, shake.

Tasters of the Cutting of the Lettuce feast raved about the wonderful flavours of both the lettuce and the dressing.
More incorporation of the gardening program and the culinary arts program is expected in the future.

There have been many positives so far, but, not all is ideal in the PUTP garden. There has been disappointing results coming from the cabbage patch.
The preliminary plans envisioned a green, leafy, overproductive patch that grew not only cabbages but babies as well (see picture below). There is some literature in the PUTP library under the title Cabbage Patch Kids, that promote the idea of babies being born from cabbages. Further research has now concluded this was false. Babies come from storks, not cabbages.

Planners envisioned babies coming out of the cabbage patch
The disappointment in the cabbage patch comes from the lack of cabbages. The four cabbage plants that are currently in the patch are not growing, and in fact seem to be withering away, dying a slow death. There are three theories that are to be investigated, but, any help or advice from the public would be appreciated.

Theory 1) Slugs
Theory 2) The seeds were of low quality. The supplier, Dollarama, has never been used before this year.
Theory 3) Not enough love. As an under-performer these plants are often ignored by gardening students in favour of shiny bright things such as strawberries and raspberries.  

The loveless cabbage plant - in need of psychological help?

Monday, 7 July 2014



PUTPs first stick stickered car - a five member mobile! Two sharp looking parents, one girl who skips, a boy who plays hockey, and a now walking toddler who can flick a soccer ball up into the air multiple times. HONK HONK

Even though the Place Under The Pine has only one vehicle, the Ministry of Transport/People Moving thought it imperative that a unique identification method be applied to every motorized vehicle in the nation. 

Effective immediately : Every motorized vehicle is required to show how many frequent users ride in the car/van/truck using a simple method of identifying stickers (IDS).
The IDS method is very simple, a sticker representing each rider is applied to the rear window of the vehicle. Each stick figure must bear some resemblance to the rider it is intended to identify. For eg, a figure may have glasses, be participating in a sport that rider is known to like/participate in, be of a certain size in comparison to other figures, etc.

**Figures depicting rude behaviour will be removed immediately and a fine and/or time out time could be applied to offending citizen**

If a vehicle with these IDS are seen driving down the road, one is to honk a greeting (two short toots indicate HELLO, I SEE YOU).

Wednesday, 2 July 2014



The other day when our Father was not paying attention we borrowed the camera to take a few pictures of the lego cars we made.

First up, Lollipop's comfort cruiser. It is meant to hold three people. I have taken a picture of the people. They come prepared with backpacks.

As you can see, the car is equipped with a steering wheel and a coffee cup. The camera blurred them out for some reason?

There are cup holders near every seat. I had to borrow the yellow chairs from my brother's boat - that is why he is yelling in the background, if you can hear that? I told him I will give them back when I'm done with taking the picture. Uh, little brothers.

Finally! Uh, big sisters. Now, for Ellipops stuff. First, I made a place where the rabbit can eat pies.

Then, when Lolli gave me back the chairs she stole, I finished my boat. It is a police boat. The man in the back is wearing a light on his head.

I have a police truck too. There were more chairs, but, I think Lolli stole them.