A return to normalcy


We kiss them on top of their heads and send them on their way. For the most part, we’re smiling, and some of them are too.

Ah, September. Back to school season.

As Staples so hilariously captured in an ad in the 1990s, for most parents, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” while the kids can be a little mopey.

We fell into that category to some extent. Our daughter enjoyed what may be her last relaxed summer. Actually, it was really relaxed as for the first time since she began organized school (dating back to Junior Kindergarten), she did not lace up the cleats and play soccer.

So no games, no practices, just time hanging out on the couch or with friends and family.

And it ended on Sept. 8.

Our girl will very likely be working next summer, as she’ll be 14. Time to start saving for post secondary education.

With school back in session, fall activities are just around the corner, or they’ve resumed. I’m talking hockey for some, dance for others, and a multitude of school sports mixed in for good measure.

For Brenna, it’s back to dance. Last year, she was at it four days a week, and faced a surprisingly heavy homework load for a kid in Grade 7.

We’ll see what this year brings, with a new teacher, her final year of elementary school, and three nights of dance.

Juggling school and extracurriculars can be tough on kids – and parents. But it’s part of the life experience, as multi-tasking is a necessary skill these days. Plus, not all one’s education takes place in the classroom, for sure.

So far, so good for Brenna, as she’s even planning her next day’s outfit before she goes to bed. And she’s hopping right out of bed when her alarm goes off. I’d have to go in and light a stick of dynamite under her bed last year.

But it is very early in the school year, so we’ll see how things shake out.

Q it up

Several times over the summer, folks have come up to me to say how much they enjoy my barbecue tales in this column. I have had a couple of people jokingly ask me to stop, as they’re working to lose weight.

Good for them. I wish them well. It’s not easy.

But I still love to barbecue. I will still write about the family barbecue experience and our Big Green Egg.

Fortunately for the dieters, I didn’t post last week about the succulent ribs I cooked over the Labour Day weekend.

I did not tell them about how tender they were after five hours on the Egg.

No mention of how we lightly rubbed them with mustard (to hold the seasoning) and added our rub, cooked them in the rack for a couple of hours before pulling them off, wrapping them in tin foil, adding a couple of ounces of apple juice to each foil pack, and cooking them for another two hours.

Nor did I write about unwrapping the ribs, putting them on the grill and smothering them in barbecue sauce for a final hour of cooking, slathering on more sauce every 20 minutes or so.

And I most certainly did not say anything about how they were fall-off-the-bone tender.

Just writing about not writing about the ribs has me thinking I want to do up another batch this weekend.

ribs cooking

No life vest for you!

Barbecuing at this time of the year is beautiful. You can sit outside and not melt (not that warm weather has stopped me from grilling in the past, mind you). The sound of water flowing down the stream into our pond is very relaxing, especially combined with the rustling of leaves chased by the autumn wind.

Oh, there’s also the calming effect I receive from the classic rock music coming from my boom box. And the odd cold beverage.

But there’s one thing that riles me up. Yellowjackets.

I hate wasps. They are seemingly everywhere and will continue to bug us all for the next three weeks or so.

I have built another redneck wasp trap to handle the problem in the backyard.

They aren’t as bad so far (knock on wood) as they were last year in our yard. Remember, my friends Sensei Jeff and Chad knocked down the big nest we found under our play set in July.

But there are still enough of them around that I recreated the pop bottle trap Chad showed me last year.

Cut the top off a 2L pop bottle where it gets as wide as the rest of the bottle. Turn the top upside down and lower it into the open bottle. Tape it into place. Add a couple of inches of pop, rinsing the top with a little water to ensure the sugar the wasps crave is in the bottle, not on it.

Then place it outside near, but not too close to, where you hang out.

You’ll be amazed at how effective the trap is.



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