Sleuthing at the Stove – Summer Yummies and Found Monies!

August 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Once upon a time I decided to plant my home garden in such a way that my standard Vancouver city lot of 33′ by 120′ would be an amazing example of organics in the middle of the urban setting. Out the back of my property ,which consisted of a  downwards slope from the lane to the kitchen, was grass.  A lot of grass.  I am not a fan of grass and find it overrated in general.  So I began the process of terracing my property.  Now we have five levels from the carport at the lane to our kitchen door at the bottom.  The most common question I am asked is: “HOW LARGE IS YOUR PROPERTY?”292183_212336108868978_100002777705705_269924_1884003815_n[1]

I did not do my research  and check the soil or the sunshine or placement of my fruits and vegie gardens – I was impatient to obtain results.  As you can appreciate a lot of mistakes were made in the process of growing this garden.  There were also a lot of joys and surprises – the kiwi plant and the fig tree.  Firstly I was told kiwis would not grow in our climate.  Year after year my crop of kiwis defies this statement.  As for the fig tree – I just haphazardly placed it mid-section next to my neighbours on the north.  That tree is hardy.  I got swept up in life and never had time to really do what you are supposed to do  with fig trees – pruning and all that!  The end result was  my tiny fig tree becoming a fig bearing monster.  The wildlife are in love with it.  Buffet at  the top  of the tree – inaccessible to mere humans.  The dogs love the figs when they fall and splatter  all over the brick!   So do the ants and any other ankle animals.  Of course these figs are a danger to hapless humans trudging around my backyard.  If they do not look where they are going it is possible to find them laying on the ground in no time at all.  The dogs find this highly amusing.  Over the years I have wondered if the cats are in on placing these figs in the most unlikely places….a thought to ponder.


The fig tree was a gift.  When I first moved into my house a Croatian friend left two house warming gifts for me – a fig branch and a walnut branch to plant.  The walnut never made it.  The fig is a testament to endurance and neglect.  Over the years I had to explore solutions to all the figs.  I have to admit I was never a great lover of just sitting and eating the figs. Even a glass of wine would not help.  So I began the process of making fig jams and preserves.  Some worked out amazingly well and some I will not repeat.  One of my favorites is the Balsamic Fig Jam.  When I first made it I was not impressed.  I let the jams sit for a year and now they are mouthwatering. A  vegan wrap, some goats cheese, and some balsamic fig!  A good glass of homemade Croatian wine, sunshine, a good book and I was in heaven! (all recipes will be posted for you to try.  )

The best thing about canning the jams and preserves is access to the figs year round. A cold snowy evening in December and out comes the figs – you can put them in anything.  Crepes? yes!  Panini? Absolutely – add cheese! Baguettes – mouth watering!  But my whole fig relationship was not with out trial and error – similar to some investigations I have worked on.  As I am writing this blog my daughter enters the kitchen and asks if there any figs that have not been turned into jam.  I point at the tree. She grimaces. Loads are out there waiting for some action on my part or the freedom to fall to the ground.

Figs remind me of the pieces of investigations.  You think you have picked all the figs but there they are – more of them – hiding cleverly IMG_0523

under the leaves.  Investigations have layers as well – sometimes layers of deceit, layers of confusion, layers of deliberate misdirection, layers of unknown misdirection, layers of neglect,  layers and layers to work through.  What makes someone want to do this for a living? It is the completion of the puzzle; finding the answers to the questions; closing chapters for some people.  Not all investigators can do this work.  Many are surveillance operatives only. This is not a negative – it is reality.  Just as you hire a criminal lawyer if it is a criminal matter and a litigator for civil suits you need to determine the expertise of the investigator.  Some are highly skilled and highly educated individuals that have chosen to work in a field that often does not recognize their abilities.  Some will never leave their vehicle and be seen by the public.

Recently the Bank of Canada announced there were millions of dollars in forgotten accounts.  Monies left by people that have moved on, passed away, or just forgotten they had these accounts.  It is easy enough to find out if you are one of these people.  Just go to the site and search your name. That’s it folks.  You do not need to pay anyone any money to do this!  Avoid all companies offering you a percentage to find funds in your name!  Waste of your mullah!IMG_0529 IMG_0530 IMG_0531

I was recently hired to find the relatives of someone that had left substantial funds in their account and there was no known family. Difficult?  Well I thought it would be relatively simple based on the information on the internet today.  Again, just like the planting of my garden I made some impatient assumptions.  It could not have been harder.  Never mind that the surname was Smith – of course right?  He had passed away in the Yukon and therefore I thought well its a much smaller populace to deal with.  By the time I had finished that investigation (something like the hidden figs) the clues took me all the way to the Gold Rush and back.  What an investigation that was!  What great history I learned about the Yukon!  It was fascinating, thrilling, rewarding, and at the end of it all disappointing.  There was no family left to receive this bounty – another family that has faded into the history books.  Just like preserving figs I think we need to preserve the stories of these individuals.  They are not celebrities.  They are not the movers and shakers of the world.  They are the core – the foundation of our society.  They are forgotten.  I have the privilege in my job of learning about people and often feel that we need way more books about the average Joe/Jane of our society.  Who was he? What did he do? What were his interests? What was his life like?  I confess to an incredible inquisitiveness that sometimes is placated when hired by a client to do this work.  Once the file is over and the documentation is saved in my files I move on.  Perhaps it is time to start a book on Me, you and figs.




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  1. i loved it! to compare a fig to man to investigation…..who would have thought of the similarities…good job Keti!


    • so happy you enjoyed the blog Liz. The comparison was fun!


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