The Best Ribs

By John Sherratt

Summer weekends and friends mean BBQ.  These ribs are easy and delicious…. Make a lot!

The key to ribs that fall off the bone is a long, slow cook and there are a couple of ways to achieve this.  You can use your oven and get excellent results.  You can also use a gas or charcoal grill, as long as you can achieve a steady temperature over several hours.

You’ll need:

  • Ribs! – I like back ribs
  • Rib rub (recipe below)
  • Sauce
  • About 4 hours
  • Some friends – why not invite your Neighbours?

 

Ribs:  A key to great ribs is to remove the membrane on the back. This is tricky but a kitchen towel helps. Pick up an edge of the membrane and, using the towel for grip, remove the membrane.

Rib Rub:  Mix together  1 tablespoon each of the following:  cumin, paprika, granulated garlic, granulated onion, chili powder, brown sugar. Add two tablespoons of kosher salt. Finally, 1 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, black pepper and white pepper. Sprinkle this mixture on both sides of the ribs and let sit for 1 hour.

Low and Slow:  Place the ribs on a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil and bake at 225F for 4 hours. This long, slow cook will result in tender, delicious ribs.

The Sauce:  If you are really ambitious, make your favourite recipe. The best result I’ve had is to mix your favourite store bought sauce with honey. The ratio should be about 2 parts sauce to 1 part honey. Experiment with different sauce and honey to find your  favourite.

The finale:  Now you’re going to finish the ribs on the bbq. The goal here is to create layers of sticky sauce on the ribs. Brush a layer of sauce on the ribs and place on bbq. Turn the ribs and brush another layer of sauce and watch for the sauce to turn sticky. Repeat this until you can’t wait anymore.

Eat:  Gather your neighbours and enjoy these delicious ribs with various salads.

Make a Facebook Page or Group for Your Neighbourhood

By Janelle Breese Biagioni

Social media is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it continues to grow daily and has become an important tool in our lives to help us stay connected, to promote business and social causes, and to learn about community events. Social media, in particular, Facebook is a channel that could compliment the connections you have made in your building or neighbourhood.

Neighbours have plenty of reasons for connecting on Facebook. It’s a place to post events that may be happening in the neighbourhood or nearby. It’s a place to post important information such as a lost pet, or notice of a road closure. It is also a place to keep neighbours informed about upcoming meetings such as Block Watch or Emergency Preparedness etc.

There are two ways to connect your neighbours through Facebook. You can either create a page or a group for your neighbourhood by clicking on the links found on the left hand side of your feed at the very bottom. Here are some things to consider in choosing a page over a group:

Creating a Neighbourhood Page

  • There are very specific guidelines to use when creating a page on Facebook so check them out: www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
  • Pages need to have a relevant name to the place, person or organization it is showcasing. It seems natural to name it something like “Cook Street Neighbours”.
  • Once you publish a page, it is visible to everyone so you want to be sure that whatever you are posting on the page is what you want the world to know! For example, it is not advisable to post that you are heading out of town on a 3 week cruise and would like people to keep an eye on your house. If your page is named after the street, you don’t want to alert those with poor intentions as to where unoccupied homes are.
  • When a page is published anyone can post to it as well
  • You can have an “unpublished” page; however, this requires that anyone who is going to post to the page must have a “role” on the page. This means that the person setting up the page is the administrator and would assign a role to everyone. Neighbours could be added as a “Live Contributor”. The challenge here is that the admin person must already be friends on Facebook with each person they are adding and they must add each person individually. Time consuming, but doable.

Creating a Group for Your Neighbourhood

In many ways, this is a much simpler way to go. Facebook groups are a specific way to keep in touch with the people that you want to and not the general public. In a group, neighbours can post comments, videos, or share photos and make comments on posts just like they do on their personal timeline.

Facebook groups can be created as:

  • Public – this means that anyone, anywhere can find the group and post something to the group. For a neighbourhood, this may not be the best as then you must be guarded about what you post (e.g. leaving town on vacation)
  • Closed – this means that only members (e.g. neighbours) are added to the group. Anyone in the general public can find the group, but they CANNOT SEE any posts in the group. The public is also not able to post to a closed group and would have to send a request to do so. This keeps your post private and only available to those who should see the information. So if you are going away and would like someone to pick up your newspaper or water the garden, you could feel confident in posting to a closed group.
  • Secret – this is similar to the closed group with an added security. Only members of this group can find the group. So the admin person adds everyone to the group and only those admitted to the group can find it on Facebook and/or post to it.

In closing, remember that not all of your neighbours will be on Facebook or feel computer-savvy enough to participate. You will want to connect personally with these neighbours to keep them informed of events happening on your block.

 

Emergency Preparedness Week May 7 – 13, 2017

Public Safety Canada is promoting Emergency Preparedness Week from May 7 – 13, 2017. This national event is to bring awareness to individuals and families on how to protect themselves in an emergency or disaster.

This year’s theme is: Plan. Prepare. Be Aware.

It is important for people to understand and know the risks, make a plan for them and their family and to ensure they have a fully stocked emergency kit on hand.

It is also prudent to have a “Grab and Go Bag” for each person in the family and one for your pets. A Grab and Go Bag should be the size that you can carry and kept near the main exit of your home. Recommended contents for a Grab and Go Bag are:

  • A change of clothing
  • Warm jacket or hoodie
  • Bottled water  and snacks
  • Personal care  items (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.) in a Ziploc bag
  • Family picture
  • Something to keep you busy  (e.g. journal/pens)
  • Coins or small bills to purchase snacks or make phone calls
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Emergency contact info/ medical information
  • Medication if needed
  • Extra shoes/clothes as space allows (women should keep an extra pair of flat shoes in their vehicle too – you can’t walk far in high heels)
  • A comforting item (blanket, teddy bear, trinket, toy)

For more information or to download a toolkit, visit: https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/ep-wk/tlkt-en.aspx

Helpful Tips to Being a Good Rural Neighbour

By Amber Woodworth

Living out in “The Country” can be an unparalleled living when the days are long, the breeze is warm and connections exist. The ideology of simple living and neighbours that know and help one another is a reality for many of us that are lucky enough to experience it.

Living in a rural community can also have ‘its’ long days in the right circumstances.

In my time of living in the sticks, we have had power outages that last days, snowstorms that force people to indoors for days, and social causes that have encouraged neighbours and community to come together indefinitely.

Here are some tips for those of you who are living out in the boonies; many of us raising our families in neighbourhoods that offer us something the city just can’t deliver…

#1 – Get out of your comfort zone. It sounds scary, I know. Trust me, if you can just step your toe across the line the rewards can be so worth it!

#2 – Introduce yourself.  “Stranger Danger”… I remember my Mom telling me not to talk to people I didn’t know. Well guess what? People still generally don’t, but as adults, we don’t have to be quite so hesitant.

#3 – Say “Hi” to your neighbours! This one is pretty simple. It can be an ice breaker for many as well as a way for those of us who do know each other to stay connected in two seconds time.

#4 – Get the family involved.  Spend time in your neighbourhood with your family.  Whether you walk the dog down the road or take the kids out on their bikes, being out in your neighbourhood will likely introduce you to others out doing similar things.

#5 – Work in your front yard or area around your driveway.  Maybe you are cutting the grass or working in the garden, but being outside encourages neighbours to connect as they pass by.

#6 – Help out (it’s actually fun.)  When the snow storm hits, helping your neighbor can be an easy and rewarding contribution to your neighbourhood.  If you have a tractor or plow of any kind, the work goes quickly and you will be paid with an abundance of gratitude from your neighbours (alongside treats, refreshments and sometimes tips!)

#7 – Stay local.  Whether you get your mail from the post office, frequent the one coffee shop in town or know the gas station staff by name, having fewer amenities really gets people into their local businesses and getting to know those that live in their own backyards.

#8 – Find a “Hub” in your neighbourhood or create one!   Having a neighbourhood Hub or gathering place can be as effortless as finding a great hill for kids to ride their bikes down.  You can create a “Little Library” book exchange for adults & kids to share and exchange their previously loved books.  Finding a place where people already gather, such as a mailbox can be a great location to add some interest and create a reason for neighbours to linger.

#9 – Get involved! Many rural neighbourhoods will have community events, to recognize holidays such as Family Day, Canada Day and Christmas. This year, look for Canada 150 events to celebrate Canada’s birthday! You are likely to not only meet neighbours at these celebrations, but also enjoy yourself!  You can also expect to find local farmers markets (what a blessing!). The key to any opportunity within your neighbourhood is to actually get out and participate in the activities being offered.

#10 – Have fun!  Life is too short for anything else. Get out in your neighbourhood without any pressure and just do what you love. Garden, cycle, take the dog for a walk, whatever it is… enjoy yourself.  Everyone loves to have a good time and knowing that their neighbours do too, is an opportunity to connect.

Whatever it is you do to be a good neighbour in your rural community, joining us on Neighbour Day is a great addition!  Whether you host a BBQ or get a group of neighbours together to walk dogs, the most important step is to just get out there and talk to one another.

Thanks for joining me today and feel free download our toolkit to plan a Neighbour Day event and then share your photos and comments with us at www.facebook.com/neighbourdayvictoria. You can also post to Twitter (@neighbour_day) and to Instagram (neigbourdayvictoria).

Put Out the Welcome Mat for New Neighbours

By Janelle Breese Biagioni

Moving to a new home is both exciting and stressful! Not only is it a lot of work to transition to a new neighbourhood, but the new people moving in as well as those already residing in the neighbourhood, are curious about who is living next door. Here are some quick tips for both the established neighbour and for the ‘new kid on the block’ to get to know one another:

  • Read the signals – not everyone is open to chatting up a storm with someone they don’t know. Start by waving or saying hello and take the cue from there. If the person gives the vibe they are too busy to chit chat, don’t take it personal or assume they are unfriendly. See your brief encounter as an invitation to connect at another time.
  • Let’s Connect – download the toolkit on this website which has a template for Let’s Connect cards. Take it over to your new neighbour and introduce yourself. The Let’s Connect card provides your name and the names of others living in your home as well as contact info. You can also leave this in their mailbox or on the door as an invitation to connect at another time.
  • Take a gift – giving a small gift to someone is always a pleasant way to say ‘welcome to the neighbourhood’. Given the growing concerns around food allergies and/or food sensitivities, taking a baked item may no longer be a good idea. Instead take some homemade pickles or home canned fruit, a fresh fruit basket, or a package containing information about local resources and include a gift card to a nearby business or restaurant.
  • Make it about the kids – If you or the neighbours have children, it’s a great way to get the conversation going. Knock on the door to introduce your little ones and to invite their child(ren) for a playdate. Share information about the local school: Let them know if the kids walk together or if there is a school bus that picks them up – provide information on where the bus stop is and what time it arrives. If the children walk to school, offer to go with the new neighbour and their child on their first day to make introductions.
  • Bring another friendly face – invite another neighbour to go with you to meet the new family. It’s like being the informal ‘welcome wagon’ but certainly having a couple of neighbours drop by to say hello would make anyone feel welcomed in a neighbourhood. Most important – if your street has an annual gathering be sure to let the new neighbours know when it is and how they can participate.

It’s Neighbour Day!

By Janelle Breese Biagioni

Finally! Spring is here and so is British Columbia’s Inaugural Neighbour Day! It’s a day to throw open your front door and get to know your neighbours.

Some families have already established good connections with their neighbours, while others may have taken a more private approach to living on the block. Neighbour Day is an opportunity for everyone to connect with one or two people on the street, or to get to know everyone. Why? Because there is tremendous value in connecting to the people living near you.

Statistics show that neighbourhoods are safer when the residents are aware of who should be there. Knowing who lives in what house (e.g. seniors, young family, or a person with a disability), neighbours actually help to keep them personally safe. For example, when you know a person and suddenly you realize they haven’t been seen for a few days, checking in on them could be a great benefit. Or if they have fallen or become ill, it could make all the difference if they have someone to call.

As important as safety, having fun in a neighbourhood and creating a welcoming space for everyone is essential to creating a thriving community. Relationships are crucial to our emotional and physical well-being, so building those connections close to home is a natural starting place.

Neighbour Day does not have to be a huge burden for anyone. Check out our suggestions for Themes and Activities in the toolkit. It’s all about getting out and meeting people. Plan a coffee party or a meet and greet on the street, a family fun day at a nearby park, or get a permit to close down your street and really rock the block with a BBQ and other activities. Anything goes ~ just have fun!