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Parent Sauces

Check out the new episode of The Agency Podcast. Listen right here or find it at all the good podcast places.

We celebrate a milestone this episode. We talk about the idea of writing a mystery novel, cooking indoors and out as well as okra, tomato juice and juniper berries. Wow we got it all. And we love MARE OF EASTTOWN! 

Thank you to our listeners, and thank you to the following for their sounds: and rbnx on Freesounds.

Please email us about anything, questions, what you’re reading or cooking, and has your life gone back to “normal” yet? What are you watching?

And find more content on our Facebook page and Instagram. Follow or “like” us! Please! And if you enjoy us, tell your friends.

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Baby Sparrows

There are many birds in our community here in the southwest corner of Toronto. We have house sparrows nesting here, and grackles and starlings. I think there is a cardinal nest in one of the spruces, as I see the pair going in and out, but I can’t see the nest. This morning I noticed baby sparrows being fed in the top floor apartment of the green skyscraper bird house condo complex. I grabbed my camera and shot a very brief video.

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DIY combo alcohol/twig camping stove

I’m planning on going on a canoe trip with my buddy East Texas Red this summer, assuming we get enough people vaccinated against COVID-19 that travel and camping remain a reasonable possibility. I’m the cook on this adventure. Much of the cooking will be on an open fire. I want to have a back-up but we have quite a number of portages so I don’t want to haul my Coleman stove along. There are lots of options, but I decided to go with a home-made combination alcohol/twig camping or hobo stove. I ordered up an alcohol burner online. While waiting for it to arrive, I went ahead and constructed the stove. It’s similar to others I’ve seen on YouTube.

I made the stove from a tomato juice can and some hardware cloth (steel mesh), which I had left-over from last summer’s catio project. For tools, I used a dremel to cut into the can and the hardware cloth. By the way I braised cabbage last night using the tomato juice and it was really tasty.

The main considerations were to have an elevated floor allowing ventilation from below, an ample opening to feed twigs, additional ventilation at the top, and a mesh platform to hold an alcohol stove in the right place in the event it’s a rainy week in which dry twigs are in short supply. I did a burn test to see how easy it would be to start a twig fire and how hot it would burn. It turns out it is very easy to get a fire going. I learned it is important to gather plenty of fuel and to add new wood as it burns to keep the fire good and hot. The fire gets plenty hot enough to quickly cook dinner at a campsite.

Here’s a short video….

It took me all of 20 minutes to make the stove. I have it sitting on a metal pie plate for safety. The stove only weighs a few ounces. It doesn’t fold up for tiny storage the way some commercial twig stoves do, but we will have room in our food barrel for a stove this size, no problem.

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M is for Mystery

The new episode of The Agency Podcast is up. You can listen right here or find it at all the good podcast places.

Is it possible for two people living in different cities to write a mystery novel together? We explore this idea and much more this week. Please join us.

We would love to hear from you. Please email us:

Thank you for listening – and special thanks to our Patreon supporters. If you would like to help The Agency pay some bills, please visit our Patreon page:

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Hard to believe Bob Dylan turned 80 today. I remember like it was yesterday hearing Blood on the Tracks for the first time and feeling like it was perfect. I wore out my first copy of that record, then Hard Rain and Desire before even knowing about Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding and the rest. Let’s just say he caught my attention.

The other kids at school all said, oh yeah he writes some good songs but he can’t sing worth a damn, but I thought, no no no, that’s wrong, it was the way Mr. Dylan delivered a song that caught my attention.

Happy Birthday Bob!

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2 Herons

We took a walk down the street this morning to see if we could find the yellow-crowned night heron recently spotted in Col. Sam Smith Park. This bird, very rare for our area, turned out to be easy to find – we saw the birders well before we saw the bird.

I saw movement in another tree over to the right and spotted a green heron, another interesting bird which has been hanging out in the park recently.

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An exciting time in the garden

There is so much activity in the garden right now. Tomatoes and hot chiles are in and some of the earlier veggies are growing fast. Peonies are just starting to bloom in our yard and so are the poppies. The giant hostas I split off the first plants are doing very well. It’s quite an explosion of life out there. Here’s a few pictures.