Friday, 22 June 2018

Those Yellow Fields ~ Can YOU Tell The Difference Between Them?

“That’s not a canola field.”

I used to hear that a lot from my grandparents when I was a kid. We’d drive by giant fields on the way to their farm, and I’d point to the yellow flowers I saw and shout, “Look at that canola field, Grandpa!”

Turns out they weren't always canola fields. Sometimes they were dandelions.  The same weeds I used to pick for my Mom because I thought they were “pretty flowers.” (Hey, I bet you did that when you were little too!)

It’s been a few years since I mistook dandelions for canola (and not just because the weeds burst in early spring and canola blooms in July), but as the potatoes and peas in Grandma’s garden start sprouting, I'm starting to get excited. It won’t be long before the Alberta landscape becomes a checkerboard of canola fields.

And if you’re travelling in southern Alberta you might see another yellow crop I used to confuse for canola—mustard!

So how do you tell the difference?

Good question.

Grandpa says it isn’t easy. The flowers on a canola plant are a little bigger and a paler yellow, while mustard seeds are small and a slightly darker in colour.  Honestly? I think I’d need to hold them side by side to really know the difference, and even then I’m not sure I’d be able to tell you which one is the canola plant.

What I DO know is that Canada is known for both. Most of the mustard seed goes to make Dijon mustard in France and hot dog mustard (my favourite!) in the US, and the canola goes all over the world. (To learn more about that, check out SHIVER ME TIMBERS, one of the 16 educational graphic novels in the Superman Duffy series you can order FREE from the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.)

Luckily, Grandpa never gets tired of answering these questions for me.

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend. I'm counting down the last days of about you?

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 15 June 2018

It's ALMOST Time!

It's almost here...the END of the school year.

It's always a bittersweet time for me. I love school (I really do!) but I'm also excited for everything I have planned this summer...starting this weekend, when I'm taking my Dad and Grandpa fishing for Father's Day. My sister, Amelia, and I have collected a jar full of worms from the garden, fishing licenses have been purchased, and Sunday, we're off!

BUT...when I get back, I'll be studying for my final exams, and making sure I turn in my last few assignments so I start the summer off right. Obviously I'll be doing a lot of running and training, especially at my grandparents's canola farm—I have a personal best to beat. And sure, I'll hang out with my sister doing crafts and baking stuff...

And I have other plans as well. Like, volunteering for the public library's Reading Buddy program—again. I did it a couple of years ago and it was so fun helping younger kids learn how to read. Mrs. Kratky says it's one of the best ways to become a stronger reader—and writer.

I've also set a personal goal to read 10 books for September. Five a month. Easy peasy...right?

What are your summer goals?

Gotta Jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 June 2018

Gone Fishing ~ Catch Ya Later

Father's Day is coming up soon and I am SO excited about the surprise I'm planning for my dad and Grandpa—we're going on a fishing adventure!

This weekend, Mom is taking me to get my fishing license, and then my sister, Amelia and I are going to root through the soil for worms. (You wouldn't believe how many of those slimy things are in a good shovel's worth of good soil.) They're perfect for trout fishing.

By the time Father's Day comes around, I should have a jar or two of them.

And the best part? Mom says if—or, when—we catch enough fish she'll cook them for dinner. There is nothing like a great fish fry. She just tosses the fish in some breadcrumbs and parmesan, and fries them up in a bit of canola oil. Delicious! I can hardly wait.

I guess we should probably have a back up plan if we don't catch any fish...but I'll just stay optimistic.  What are you planning for Father's Day?

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 1 June 2018

Donut Day, You Say?

Well, this is new!

If you've read my blog for long enough, you know that I love to learn about all of the fun days that people celebrate around the world—like Opposites Day and May The Fourth. But I didn't even know that June 1 is DONUT DAY!

Which is funny, because the illustrator of the Superman Duffy graphic novels, James Grasdal, LOVES donuts. They're one of his favourite foods, which is why he talks about them a lot when doing school visits—and he even drew them in MISCONCEPTIONS, which takes place at a carnival. (Who goes to the fair and doesn't buy mini donuts? No one I know, that's for sure!)

Donuts are also mentioned in GOTTA JET, the book where "cartoon me and my grandpa" go to the racetrack and watch Kevin Therres's Jet Engine Funny Car speed down the track. The exhaust—according to James, and maybe my grandpa—smells a little like donuts. That's because the car runs on 100% canola biodiesel, which has a very different scent than regular gasoline or diesel. Personally, I think it smells like popcorn.

But I can get behind donuts. In fact, I plan on buying one today to celebrate this very special occasion. Oh I know, they're not the healthiest snack, but like my mom always says, "everything in moderation."

My favourite donut? A Boston Cream. Or maybe a Raspberry Bismark! Hm...I also like Sour Cream Glazed, and... Yikes! How will I choose? What delicious flavour will YOU eat today in celebration of Donut Day?

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy