Last summer we had an eight person tent. To put that in perspective, you can fit three queen sized air mattresses in it and still had left over space. Since it was just Jordon, Marley and I inside it, it was cavernous which also made it chilly. It was a fair weather tent and while Jordon did spray it down with Nikwax Tent and Gear Solar Proof Spray to make it UV and water proof, a good storm would have played havoc on it. It’s a great tent for the weekend in the backyard, not for spending some time in a storm.
We looked at a four person tent earlier this year but it had a massive vestibule on it which was the size our existing eight person tent. That didn’t make Jodon’s stated goal of a smaller tent any closer. We looked at a few other tents that were the same size but we were not thrilled with some aspect of the design and they cost three times as much. This week I was at Walmart running some errands and I wandered into the sporting goods to see what they had. They had the above tent. Five person, smaller footprint, full coverage rainfly, and affordable. It was exactly what we were looking for.
So today, I took back Mark and Oliver and showed them what it looked like while Jordon was at work. They thought it was a great idea so I picked it up and brought it home. If Jordon hated it, I could return it but I was sure he would like it. Part of me was reluctant to get a cheap tent. We have amazing two person tents but I learned that a combination of car camping + Nikwax sealant + repair kits means that I can take a bit of a risk. Our backcountry tents are long term investments but if we get five summers out of this, I’ll be really happy.
So Mark and Oliver have their five person tent and now Jordon and I will. Lots of space for all of us.
This film explains part of the reason why I love to get out of the city, away from the crowds and go find some desolate places.
This is what I look like in monochrome. Photo by Jordon.
Jordon and Mark were feeling sick this weekend. Also Safeway is cutting back some hours which means that Mark’s shift was cut. Jordon told all of us to get our go-bags packed and ready to go and in the car. We drove down to Classic Carwash and then decided if we were going north or south. We voted south so we drove to Highway 11 and went south towards Regina. At Chamberlain we had another vote and decided on Moose Jaw where we went to the Deja Vu Cafe for a late lunch.
After exploring Moose Jaw for a bit, we came home to Saskatoon and called it an early night. Jordon is still struggling with his infection and Mark has a cold. It was good to get away even if Mark slept most of the way.
Today I had to work but Jordon took the boys out and ran some errands. Mark’s Work Warehouse had Nalgene Water Bottles on sale. We all needed an additional one for this summer and so Jordon picked them up on sale. We are taking a few trips where water will be a low supply. We have Nalgene bottles already and some Swell water bottles to have cold water in but we realized that we will need one more each to make it for five and six hour hikes.
Jordon also bought me a book of Caribbean recipes called Caribbean Potluck.
It looks to be a lot of fun and was fun to come home to. Of course when I came home, I promptly made perogies. Well half of the perogies. I forgot Mark and Oliver had consumed a lot earlier in the week.
I really, really wish some people in my life growing up had learned this lesson. I did find it interesting that so much over friendliness is a symptom of not listening and caring about who we are.
We ordered a sizzling seafood platter that featured mussels, lobster, and shrimp. We also split a beef and shrimp noodle bowl as well as a shrimp and coconut curry dish. The food was excellent and the service was fast. It wasn’t that busy but there was enough people in there that I was surprised at the speed. The food came out fresh and piping hot and was all on our plates within minutes.
The service was excellent although since there were no problems we didn’t need a lot. Our drinks were replaced or topped up and we were checked enough times that if we needed anything, it was there but not enough to be annoying.
Service was one thing but how was the taste? It was fresh and tasted like it was prepared by someone that loved to cook. The food was exceptionally prepared and made a fun night even more enjoyable.
With being right next door to another Saskatoon favorite, Thien Vietnam, their food has to be excellent and it was. At the end of a very filling meal, my thought was “I need to come back more often.”
We went for our Valentine’s Dinner on Saturday night. We wanted something casual so Jordon and I went out to the Red Pepper in downtown Saskatoon. It was a nice quiet dinner for the two of us. Good food, relaxed meal, and fun times. I’ll post a review this week.
This morning I woke up to Jordon giving me a big plush Snoopy who is holding a Valentine.
Jordon also gave me a heart shaped pendant and necklace and some Toronto Blue Jays ear rings. There was also a chocolate rose and some other chocolates.
I gave Jordon a large Nalgene water bottle and a book that documents abandoned places. The photography is both beautiful and terrifying.
- Jordon and I went out to dinner at Red Pepper last night. It was a nice day and the food was good. I’ll post a review later this week.
- It’s Jordon’s birthday in less than a month. I am in pretty good shape as for my gift for him. Mark knows what he is getting him. Oliver’s gift for him has been ordered and I even know what the dog is getting him. We are winning the organizational battle. Now we just need to know where to take him for dinner.
- Believe it or not, after screwing up almost every Father’s Day ever, I have a nice gift ordered for Jordon this year from the boys.
- I bought Jordon a Gerber Scout knife last year and he has really liked it. He carries it with him many days. He had picked one up for Mark this year and then gave me one today. I am not really planning to fight a grizzly bear with it but many times around the campground or on the road, I find myself saying, “Jordon, pass me your knife.” Now I won’t have to. Well I mean I will probably forget it somewhere and I will still have to say, “Jordon, pass me your knife.” Now instead of just giving it to me, I will now have to explain where I left my knife and go get it. Great.
- I escaped the worst crisis of my marriage the other night. Jordon sprung slow TV on me out of nowhere. The Norwegians are obsessed with it but he turned on an 11 hour real time documentary of a cruise down a Norwegian canal. Luckily Netflix stopped streaming it but it’s working tonight. I am like 8 minutes into it and I am so bored and kind of getting sucked into it.
- Mark picked up a new lens from Don’s Photo. He is a really excited about it.
- Speaking of lenses. Jordon is trying out a new Olympus wide angle lens. He is thinking of making the switch from Pentax. I am all in favor of that because it means that I get to use his Olympus lenses. That being said, I think he will hold on to his Pentax system. He still checks Pentax Rumors daily. It’s like family to him.
Jordon’s mother made spaghetti all of the time growing up. At 17 he said “enough” and never tried it again for almost two decades. Even now he likes it but doesn’t want it very much. This recipe is a way to serve it while still giving it a different flavour.
- 1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1-inch dice
- 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
- 4 cloves garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
- Kosher salt
- 3 pounds ground chuck, brisket or round or combination
- 2 cups tomato paste
- 3 cups hearty red wine
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- High quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
- In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and season again generously with salt. Don’t rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don’t be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and taste frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
- During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the spaghetti. Pasta water should ALWAYS be well salted. Salty as the ocean! TASTE IT! If your pasta water is under seasoned it doesn’t matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned. When the water is at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- While the pasta is cooking remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.
- Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce, if needed, to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over a medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmigiano and a generous drizzle of the high quality finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or 1 big pasta bowl. Top with remaining grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.