Everybody wants a nice yard but no one wants to take care of it. That’s right, I’m one of these people. I would rather leave the grass mowing to someone else and leave my weekend free for some (well-deserved) R&R.
This year was the year to switch companies. We had used Escapes Inc. for many years. The company is run by a husband and wife team and for the most part, they do a good job. However we needed a change and our job was becoming too small for them. The straw the broke the camel’s back was when they came by in the Spring to power rake our yard. We had not asked for it nor agreed on the price. Luckily I was home that day and stopped them in their tracks. In my opinion, that’s not good business practice – assume the sale, do the work and invoice the customer.
The new company that we selected was Property Werks.ca. To date, we are very happy with their lawn care. Shane comes by every two weeks, rolls the mower off his white truck and meticulously mows our yard. He fills up numerous garbage bags with lawn clippings and leaves it behind. Some customers want the lawn clippings to make their own compost. Others like me would discard it with our organics. Before he scoots away, he’ll take out his whipper snapper and makes sure your lawn has nice edging or if there are some overgrown grass in your garden, he’ll gladly trim it down for you.
Their prices are very competitive and they gave me a break because my front yard isn’t very big. Shane flies through there in less than a minute. Awesome, efficient and friendly.
On our first visit to the Kingsland Farmer’s Market on Macleod Trail south, we discovered an Alberta winery that specializes in making fruit wines. Field Stone is the first business who was granted a licence under Alberta’s new cottage winery regulations. When asked about their location, they said they were situated near Strathmore. All their wines are made from 100% Alberta fruit. Almost 90% of the fruit are grown on the orchards near Strathmore.
Head out to the Kingsland Farmers Market from Thursday to Sunday and try out their wines. Try their fruit wines which ranges from dry to sweet. Or if you have sweet palate, try their dessert wines, especially the blackcurrant and raspberry.
Last week, they had a special where if you buy the Raspberry Fruit Wine at the regular price, you can buy the second bottle for 20% off. We asked about the dessert wines and they said the offer will be for the dessert wines. They will alternate throughout the summer with the different fruits, so here’s your chance to stock up on some delicious wines that are made locally.
We’re stocking up for Christmas stocking stuffers. I know it’s a long time from now but I think they will age nicely.
Other than today, we have been enjoying a pretty good summer in Calgary. I’ve been running out of suntan lotion and mosquito repellent because I hate being sunburned and being eaten alive.
Here’s a tip that I wanted to share with you. I shop at the Dollar Store in Glamorgan a lot because I like the owners and they seem to stock some interesting items that you won’t find anywhere else.
My latest find is a tube of Banana Boat Kid’s Suntan lotion with a 50 SPF. At this Dollar Store, I bought it for $5. If you went down the block to London Drugs, you would easily pay $10 or $12 for it so there’s a saving for you.
My last tube was purchased at Liquidation World, south of the Chinook mall for $5. Same price but not the same size. I’ve included a photo of the two tubes for you to compare. Which tube do you prefer? The larger one or the smaller one for the same price? Clearly, there’s more value at the Dollar Store.
Other items of interest include Crocs-like shoes. I found a pair for less than $10 that I use when I’m gardening. It’s a great shoe for casual wear and when you need to clean it, you can spray it down with the garden hose. Next time you’re on Richmond Road and 37th Avenue SW, be sure to drop into the Dollar Store. It’s in the same strip mall as Safeway , Momoyama’s Japanese Restaurant, Glamorgan Bakery (where they sell the awesome cheese buns) and the bowling alley.
If you need a good dry cleaner to bring your shirts, pants, suits or camping gear to, try this place out. They charge only $2.29 for shirts to be cleaned and pressed. And blazers go for $8.99 which is cheaper than Tower Cleaners who wanted to charge me $12.
To find this cleaner, head west on Old Banff Coach Road and turn left on 73rd. Drive down about a block then turn right into a small plaza. There you will find a grocery, liquor store and a Chinese restaurant. Magic Cleaners is right next to the liquor store with the bright blue sign on top of the store.
They have all my business because the prices are reasonable and they take care of your clothing. No coupons are required and they offer expedite service.
After waiting for our friends from Reno to arrive at the car rental facility south of the airport in Sacramento, we took both cars and navigated down down to Old Sacramento for some cajun / creole seafood. Located right on the river was Joe’s Crab Shack. The menus weren’t thick but there were a lot of choices. When our drinks arrived, we had made up our mind.
My wife and decided to order a bucket each. Our friends from Reno ordered a larger bucket to share. My wife ordered Joe’s Classic Steampot and it came with tasty dungeness crab, snow crab, boiled shrimp and smoked sausage. My taste buds were up for some crawfish so I ordered the Orleans which came with a pound of crawfish, 12 shrimps and an Andouille sausage.
The waitress came by to put a bib on each of us. It’s hilarious wearing this bib but I can tell you, it helps when you’re trying to get the meat out of the claws. Too bad they don’t give you gloves because I had to visit the little boy’s room to wash my hands. Eating crawfish is not for the squeamish. You need to grab the tail with one hand and the body with the other hand then you twist in opposite directions. The shell falls off the tail portion and that’s the part you eat.
For the best deals in travel, be sure to visit Squidoo.
One of the best ways to fly internationally is in business class. There you are invited to the front of the plane where individual pods are assigned to travellers like you. It’s nice on a long trip to be treated like royalty or you can adjust your seat and convert it to a bed. You can either sit up and watch your personal entertainment device or lie back and sleep the miles away. Have I convinced you to fly business class? If so, sign up.
The place to sign up is at Sobey’s in their club Sobeys program. Every time you shop there, you can earn Aeroplan points. The thing I like about shopping at Sobey’s is when they have promotional days such as their Dollar Days. I have to admit, I hate broccoli, however for a buck a bag, I can stomach that. It’s actually pretty good in Chinese dishes like Beef and Broccoli or a hotpot with chicken, tofu, celery, green onions, carrots and mushrooms.
Many times a week, Sobey’s will have sale days where they will encourage some bulk buying on your part. As a reward, they will give you additional points. Last week for instance, I purchased two bottles of salsa verde (to make chili verde with pork). From that purchase, I earned 25 points. If you like tea, they were giving you 100 points if you bought 4 boxes. My pantry is full of tea and coffee so I skipped this deal. Bottom line is that everyone needs groceries and a vacation. It makes perfect sense to shop for groceries, earn your Aeroplan points to fly business class on your vacation.
One of the best places to see wildlife is K-Country or Kananaskis. Take 16th Avenue and head west out of town. Watch for signs to Kananaskis, take the exit and make a left turn. Drive south until Barrier Lake then stop for a photo. After Barrier Lake, there will be some spectacular scenery on your right. Pull over safely and take some photographs.
On our drive out yesterday, we saw two bambis. They were standing on the roadside so I slowly pulled over to the shoulder and turned on my hazards. We watched them and took several photos of them. After a while, they hopped across the road and into the trees.
We decided to drive further. After 10 minutes, I noticed a coyote running along the grassy area down from the highway. We didn’t stop but we admired his trot. Another 10 minutes and we noticed a line of cars parked to the right. We decided to join them and soon after, noticed that there was a moose grazing in the meadows.
Don’t get fooled when you drive through the gates at D’Arcy Ranch in Okotoks and think that golf is easy as you drive through a flat piece of land. The late Jerry D’Arcy used to own this ranch and it was used as a quarter-horse operation. The maintenance shack was used for horse shows when Jerry was around. And by the way, Jerry was the president of the Calgary Stampede during the 1974-1975 season.
Hole # 1 is not an easy starting hole. It’s a straight fairway but there’s lots of trouble if you slice your tee shot right. It’s better to be straight or left. Hole # 2 is where they used to race the horses. Now, it’s a dog-leg right par 4 with a steep cliff in the back. Hole # 3 is a beauty. If not the signature hole, it should be. From the blue tees, golfers think it’s an easy birdie hole but when they have to navigate their shot avoiding the pond to the right, it’s a different story.
There is a large ravine that carves the whole course up. If you like elevation, hole # 3 is one of the holes that you can drop one club down. Another is hole # 16 and 18 where a good drive down the middle will reward the player because hitting the slope will cause the ball to trickle closer to the green, making the second shot easier.
It’s challenging but fair. The greens are in awesome shape and the twilight deals are hard to beat. For $53, you can spend time at the range, play 9 holes then sit down for a steak dinner.
I used to live in one of those towers near Southland Crossing when it was just a Safeway. Now there’s plenty of restaurants to choose from, ranging from Japanese to Chinese, to Vietnamese and Thai. One place that caught my eye was Saigon Bistro so we decided to give it a try. We walked in and was seated very quickly. It was dinner time but the restaurant was only a quarter full on a Saturday night.
We ordered the Sweet and Sour Chicken wings as appetizers because the photo of it in the menu reminded me of the tamarind flavoured wings served at other Vietnamese restaurants. When it came, I thought they made a mistake because the wings were dry and not soaking in sauce. They were like Salt and Pepper wings, the kind that you order at Chinese restaurants. I called the waiter over and said that it wasn’t the same as what we had ordered. He looked at it and said it was missing the sauce. The waitress brought a dish over with some Thai sweet chili sauce for us to dip the wings in.
For entrees, we decided to go with Crispy Fried Chicken and a Beef Cube dish. The Crispy Fried Chicken was served with the sauce on the side. It had a gingery taste to it and had green pepper and onions in it. It was fair. The Beef Cube dish was better but surprisingly, only one bowl of rice accompanied both dishes. Since there were two of us eating, we ordered an extra bowl for $1.50. The total bill came out to $34 without tip. (We did leave a tip but the service was so-so.) The food was nothing to write home about and we know we will not be eating here again.
I was wrong and I am admitting it. The 2012 Ferrari that I posted awhile back is probably a 2010 or 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia. Either way, I’m jealous (but not envious). It looks the same guy that was driving it this morning as he drove down Bow Trail towards downtown. He was alone this morning with no passenger.
As you can see from the photo, its a nice dark grey. Looking on the DuPont Registry, they range in price from $290,000.00 to $420,000.00. The interesting thing is, when you look at the mileage for used Ferraris, they are really low. I guess it’s not the same as shopping for a Toyota or Volkswagen. For instance, there is a red 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia Rosso Muguello with black leather for $299,900.00. There’s only 190 miles on it. Or a 2011 black one for the same price but with 768 miles on it.