From the academic to the comedic to the downright strange, podcasts come in every genre and cover every topic. You might be intimidated by the sheer number of them, let alone by the mechanics of how to listen to podcasts in the first place.

If that’s the case for you, we can help you get started.

How to listen to podcasts on an Apple product

If you have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, your device should already be equipped with the Apple Podcast app. (If you’re looking for it, the icon is purple with two white circles surrounding a figure.) Free to use, the app allows you to browse, sample, and subscribe to podcasts. When you subscribe, new episodes will download automatically.

If, for whatever reason, the app isn’t on your Apple device, you can find it in the App Store and download it for free.

How to listen to podcasts on an Android phone

Many Android devices come pre-installed with the Google Podcast app, which functions much the way the Apple Podcast app does. The Google Podcast app icon features a multi-coloured diamond against a white background.

But there are plenty of podcast apps you can use. Popular options include Spotify, SoundCloud, Pocket Casts, and Stitcher. Many of these apps work on both Apple and Android devices, and most of them are free. (Some offer different tiers of service with the most basic one being free.)

There are also podcast platforms devoted to particular genres. Laughable, for instance, features comedic content.

How to listen to podcasts online

Don’t have a smartphone or a tablet? You can still enjoy podcasts because all you really need is an Internet connection.

Many of the apps we mentioned earlier also have their own websites where you can download and listen to podcasts for free. But many organizations, including virtually every major news outlet, offer podcasts as well. If there’s a publication or a public figure you like, just visit their websites. More often than not, you’ll find they have podcasts that are right up your alley.

Next, check out the best Canadian podcasts.

My father had already been friends with Ken for years at the time this story first began. They’d bonded over one thing that brings so many men together: the love of old vehicles. Ken Turnbull of Treherne, Man., had been a mechanic for years, starting with Lancaster bombers with the RCAF and working his way to where he was now: restoring steam engines and antique cars. A radar tech while in service, my father was a highway truck inspector with a penchant for thrift stores, socializing and knowing where every antique car in southern Manitoba was parked.

“Rick,” Ken said to my father, “I’m getting older, but I think I have one last car in me,” and held up the gift that my father had given him months back: a plastic and metal miniature of a 1915 Model T military ambulance. This wouldn’t be the first time the veteran had worked on a Model T, but this one would be different.

My father is a frugal man. There are catalogues with newly made parts for some of the oldest cars, but those cost thousands of dollars. There were already-restored cars that could be refitted into the ambulance model, but that was no fun. Instead my dad drove up to Ken’s garage one day with a trailer-load of rusty fenders and axles that looked like they’d been pulled straight from the back 40 of some nameless farm (which they likely had been). Thus started the odyssey that would continue the rest of that year, and into the next.

Model T Ambulance - Rick (fore- ground) and Ken in the shop
Rick (foreground) and Ken in the shop.

The plan was that Ken would restore the parts Dad brought him if possible and send him away again with a wish list of new parts. Whenever my father was there, Ken would stop working and talk, or humbly show off his progress. He would never work with an audience, no matter how willing that audience was to help.

The parts kept coming. First rusty bits of frame, then a surprisingly intact motor. The wood body came from re-claimed beams off of a railroad bridge and the coil box from a car that no longer ran. The only new parts on the Model T ended up being the canvas on top, the tires under it and the paint covering it all. Even the paintbrushes were cleaned and used from other projects! Everything was recycled, refurbished, or fabricated from not-quite-right parts from other antiques, or other things that might suit a specific purpose. For example, the hood ornament is actually a nose ring from a bull, with a metal red cross symbol soldered on.

My father insisted on several details. Never anything major; he trusted Ken with everything to do with building a car. The few pieces of work that my father managed to achieve under Ken’s supervision were mostly decorative. He installed a small wooden sleeve by the driver’s seat to hold a book titled Poems of a Red Cross Man by Robert Service. Near the front fender, he hand-traced a sketch of “Winnie the Bear” by A. A. Milne, Canadian Army Veterinary Corps. Most significantly, he sought out Ken’s military service number, and used it as the registration number for the Model T. To this day, the number is painted on both sides of the ambulance and appears on its vehicle registration.

Model T Ambulance - Ambulance sideview with Ken's service number on display.
Ambulance sideview with Ken’s service number on display.

The day finally came when the car would officially be considered complete. It had already been inspected and registered, and ready for its maiden voyage. My father arranged for it to be played out of the garage by bugler Les Allison, under the watchful eye of a contingent from the Royal Canadian Legion, and the glass eye of the local news crew. It went without a hitch; the ambulance ran perfectly, the Legion members and news reporter all got to enjoy rides, and Ken said goodbye to the last car he would complete. Until Ken’s death in 2015, my father would let him drive the ambulance in any parade he liked, happily trailering the car across the province all summer.

It doesn’t see as much road time as it used to (40 km/h and wooden seats not being conducive to road trips), but every so often the 1915 Model T ambulance with its bull’s nose ring, a 100-year-old book of poetry and veteran’s service number tattoo emerges from her trailer for another trip down memory lane, just how Ken Turnbull would have wanted it.

Next, check out this story of how this person was reunited with their dream car—25 years later!

My husband, Leroy, and I enjoy the outdoors and taking road trips. We often have our camera accessible to capture wildlife sightings. We have taken many photos of bears, mountain goats, birds and butterflies. These encounters have always been highlights of our journeys.

In the summer of 2019, we took a weekend road trip to Kenora, Ont. At the B&B where we stayed, we saw a variety of small wildlife but the highlight of this trip was encountering a family of wild lynx on the roadside near Kenora. As we were driving, we first spotted an adult lynx strolling across the highway—the first time we’d ever seen a wild lynx! We were very excited and quickly pulled over to watch this beautiful cat. While watching her, we heard some “cat-like” crying in the bushes on the side of the road close to where we were parked. We realized there was a baby lynx calling for its parent. On the other side of the road on the rocky hillside, there were two additional medium-size lynxes watching and waiting.

The baby lynx was peeking in and out of the bushes and at one point came within ten feet of our vehicle, which provided us with a great photo op! The adult lynx (we assume the mother) crossed the road several times in front of our vehicle to check on the baby. The mother totally ignored us and seemed unconcerned with our presence. We watched this scene for at least 30 minutes, eventually deciding to leave, so the lynxes could proceed to their destination.

It was just an amazing experience to see this wildlife interaction. We were thrilled to get a few pictures of the baby lynx—this one is our favourite.

Next, check out what it’s like to photograph wildlife in Southwestern Ontario.

Murdoch Mysteries Filming Locations - background actors in downtown Cobourg, Ontario
Murdoch Mysteries background actors in downtown Cobourg.

Before the pandemic hit, people who visited the historic harbour town of Cobourg, Ontario, may have occasionally found themselves doing a double-take. Seeing folks all dressed up in early 1900s attire made those passing by stop and stare. It was a busy year of filming in Cobourg and the downtown core seemed to change its wardrobe on a weekly basis. For example, just one week later, the scene changed to an American setting by replacing every Canadian flag with the Stars and Stripes for the filming of Ginny & Georgia. I can only imagine what the visitors must be thinking when they see such a dramatic change of setting, wondering if they’ve taken a wrong turn!

Up until 2020, filming activities in this picturesque town made these sights quite common. Cobourg had become one of the province’s go-to locations for filming. In 2019, production companies who filmed there included Shaftesbury Murdoch Inc. (Murdoch Mysteries), Netflix (Ginny & Georgia), TF Content Ltd. (Hey Lady!) and Marblemedia (Landscape Artist of the Year Canada).

Murdoch Mysteries filming locations - Victoria Hall in Cobourg, Ontario
Victoria Hall—a popular filming location for Murdoch Mysteries.

Cobourg boasts many historic Victorian and Edwardian buildings, which makes the town a good filming location for Murdoch Mysteries. Victoria Hall, which was built in 1859, is a perfect “stunt-double” for Toronto’s old Union Station. In fact, fans have fun picking out local settings around town. The Ravensworth Manor, named and styled after the Ravensworth Plantation in Virginia, was a breathtaking location for the wedding of Constable Henry Higgins (played by Lachlan Murdoch) and Ruth Newsome (Siobhan Murphy). The boardwalk in Victoria Park is the scene for a fast-paced roller-skating episode in Season 10, where Murdoch investigates the murder of one of the champions in this ruthless sport, and Bagot Street also offered a perfect stage for a bicycle chase-scene. Viewers have now witnessed Constable George Crabtree (portrayed by Canadian actor Jonny Harris) ask two different women on two separate occasions for their hand in marriage. Both proposals took place at the pergola in Victoria Park, with Lake Ontario in the background.

Murdoch Mysteries Filming Locations - on set at Victoria Hall in Cobourg Ontario
A lovely shot of Victoria Hall as a backdrop for a fall fair in Wellsbury, New England.

Ginny & Georgia is a Netflix series set during the present day, in a fictional town called Wellsbury, in New England. Part of the first season was filmed in Cobourg throughout 2019. El Camino Restaurant became the “Blue Farm Cafe.” Scotiabank became “Beachway Trust, Massachusetts” and the versatile Victoria Hall starred once again as the backdrop for the local fall fair.

Another show, called Hey Lady!, is a CBC GEM original comedy series, starring veteran Canadian actors Jayne Eastwood and Jackie Richardson. One trailer features a scene in the historical “Old Bailey” courtroom inside Victoria Hall, while the series Landscape Artist of the Year Canada highlights the famous view from Cobourg harbour in one episode.

Adam Bureau, coordinator of arts, culture and tourism for the Town of Cobourg, stated prior to the pandemic that audience “followings” are attracting more tourism: “In Cobourg, the arts are so popular and all of these events bring together the community spirit and add to the economy.”

Murdoch Mysteries Filming Locations - Background actors in Cobourg
Background actors awaiting their cue in downtown Cobourg.

At the moment, due to COVID-19, the town has had to turn down requests to film in Victoria Hall, which is presently closed to the public. Murdoch Mysteries was in town briefly in November 2020, filming on private property at Cobourg’s eastern edge. Any future filming will include detailed COVID-19 policies and procedures.

The pandemic and social distancing are also affecting background actors (extras). Miranda Lukaniuk-Lipovisek, who has 30 years of experience in the film industry (and created Local BG Talent), has a new workshop called, “Getting Back Into Background Post-Pandemic,” that she says highlights “all you need to know about the film industry protocols that have enabled our industry to continue to operate.” Miranda’s goal is to keep working to develop digital technology with a local company, Kleurvision, that will change the way background performers are cast for productions across Ontario, for the better.

In September 2019, I stopped by the Murdoch Mysteries set at the Old Market building. When I joined the gaggle of women watching from across the street, several of them asked anxiously, “Have you seen him?” Everyone smiled. We all knew the “him” was Yannick Bisson, who portrays Detective William Murdoch.

COVID-19 has created a mountain of challenges, but things are progressing to a new normal. There will be “Lights, Camera, Action” once again in Cobourg and we all look forward to spotting “him” in the near future.

Next, read the fascinating story of Ontario’s most famous ghost town.

The one wedding, other than my own, that I remember well is my mother’s. Not many people can say the first wedding they ever attended was their mom’s, but I can. I was nine when my mother got married.

It was December 1969. My mother worked for a local drugstore in Chatham, Ontario, and the time was fast approaching for the annual Christmas party. This particular year, everyone had to bring a date. Mom had been divorced since January 1962. I don’t recall her going on any other dates, but she needed one for this occasion. Mom had met a man a few years earlier at a church camp. She decided he would be a great candidate as her escort to the Christmas party. When she finally got up the nerve, she called Ron in London and asked him if he would be her escort. Since he already knew she had three sons, why he ever said yes is beyond me. Anyway, he readily agreed and arrangements were made.

Did I mention that his name was Ron? Ron Armstrong? Flashback five months earlier to July 1969. A man named Neil Armstrong had just walked on the moon. Now, a man named Ron Armstrong was taking my mother on a date. To me, the man that walked on the moon was going to date my mother. As a nine-year-old boy, no one could tell me any different. I didn’t hear the name “Ron,” I only heard “Armstrong” and that was enough for me. My mom was dating an astronaut! I was going to be the coolest kid in school. I told all my friends about it and couldn’t understand why no one believed me.

Finally the day arrived when I was going to meet the astronaut. I don’t know who was more excited about this date, my mother or me. He arrived. He wasn’t the astronaut. He was just some guy from London that wanted to date my mother. I was devastated. How could my mother do that to me? How was I going to face all my friends at school on Monday?

My Mother Married An Astronaut
Robert with his mom and new stepdad on the couple’s wedding day.

A New Beginning

It didn’t turn out all that badly, though. Apparently, Ron was taken with me and decided to ask my mother out for another date and I was invited along! Ron wanted to take Mom and me to a New Year’s Eve party at our church. My brothers Mike and Tim came along as well. Ron was obviously not scared off by Mom’s three sons, because he came back for more.

Ron, who eventually became our dad, said that I didn’t influence his decision to marry my mom, but I doubt that very much. During that second date, I went up to him, tugged on his suit jacket and said “Gee, Mr. Armstrong, I sure would like to have you for a father.” Now, how could any man refuse an invitation like that? Since he didn’t run away, I can only conclude that he agreed with my idea. Six weeks later, he proposed to Mom. Five months later, they were married. I don’t know if it was my mom’s suggestion to get married so quickly (being afraid he may change his mind about her and her three sons), or if it was his idea (wanting to get it over with before he actually realized what he had gotten himself into).

Ron proposed to Mom on Valentine’s Day, 1970. It was a Saturday night and I had my pajamas on. Mom was sitting on the couch with Ron right next to her, when she called me to her. When I got there, I sat on the arm of the couch. Normally that would have been a capital offense and I would have been punished, but for some reason that didn’t happen. Mom said, “Mr. Armstrong just asked me to marry him. How would you like a new father?” I didn’t answer her. I guess my actions spoke louder than words. I literally flew over her and landed on Ron’s lap facing him with my arms around his neck. I remember that moment as if it happened yesterday. I was getting a new father! I didn’t care anymore that he never went to the moon—I was there myself knowing I was getting a dad.

Lessons Learned

June 13th 1970 arrived very quickly. As a nine year old, there wasn’t much I could do in the wedding but Mom and “Dad” were able to find something: my job was to “give away” the bride. When the minister asked “Who gives this woman to this man?” I was to stand and say as loudly as possible, “My brothers and I.” How many nine-year-old boys can honestly say they gave away their Mom?

My mom always said that living with and raising three boys by herself was very difficult. Not only was it lonely, but stressful as well. Now with Ron in the picture she felt things were going to get a little easier. I thought things were going to be great.

We moved from Chatham to London, from a small one-bedroom apartment to a three bedroom home with its own backyard. It wasn’t long after we moved that I learned a very valuable lesson, as well as one of the perks of having both a mother and a father.

I believe it was the day we arrived in London. I wanted to ride my bike around the block and proceeded to ask Mom if I could. Her answer was “no.” I was so disappointed. I wanted to explore this new world. I then came up with a great idea. I asked Dad if I could go. His answer was “yes.” So around the block I went thinking this was great. Whenever Mom said “no” to anything, all I had to do was ask Dad and he’d say “yes.” This having a father was going to be a real good thing!

And then I got home! Mom was not happy. I got punished for disobeying her. “But Dad said it was okay to go around the block,” I argued. Not a good thing to say. Not only did I get in trouble with Mom, but so did Dad! He got off easy as he was new at being a father, but apparently I was to know better than to ask him after I had asked her. So I did learn a lesson. From then on, I asked Dad first.

I don’t know if Mom caught on that I was asking him first or not, but eventually Dad started answering me by asking “What did your mother say?” Well, I was back to square one again.

Dream Dad

My mom may not have married an astronaut, but she sure married a man who was out of this world. He was the best thing to happen to me in my short nine years. Dad passed away in 1992, so I had only 22 years with him, and yet we shared so many wonderful times together.

Dad loved sports and we were able to share a number of events together. When he and Mom first got married, he was the business manager for the “Chester Pegg Diamonds,” which was an Ontario Intercounty baseball team. His involvement enabled me to be a ball boy at a number of the games. This helped fuel my love for the game. Together we also saw the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, and the Detroit Pistons. Dad also took me to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the “Indy 500.”

Dad was not a handy fellow around the house. Whatever needed to be done, my mother either did it or a handyman was called in. I may not have learned how to do things around the house from him, but he taught me many other things. He taught me to be compassionate, but also passionate; how to love unconditionally; how to fall asleep anywhere, anytime; and how to treat my own children.

I remember a couple of days before he died, I was sitting by his side in the hospital and he was telling me that he didn’t have very many friends. When I tried to dispute him, he wouldn’t listen to me. After his funeral, on the way to the cemetery, I looked behind me and saw the long processional and said to him, “See Dad, there are all the friends you thought you didn’t have.”

Dad was 45 when he married my mom. It was his first marriage. He never had any children of his own, but he accepted the three of us boys as his own. It takes a special kind of person to do that. He was that special person.

Next, read the heartwarming story of how a mother and son healed their troubled relationship.

Lugging your clothes to the dry cleaner every month (or week) can be a pain—particularly during the pandemic. There are only so many times you can re-wear a shirt before it starts to smell. Plus, dry cleaning can get expensive. If you’re up for the challenge, and you trust yourself to wash some of your higher-end clothing items on your own, then dry cleaning at home will be a breeze. (These clothing care tips from dry cleaners can help.)

We asked fashion stylist Cindy Conroy to share some tips on how to wash “dry clean only” clothes at home. “Depending on the fabric, some clothes labelled ‘dry-clean only’ can be washed at home—whether you put it in the washing machine or hand wash it,” Conroy says. “All you need to do is be careful.”

Washing your “dry clean only” clothes at home

  1. First things first, Conroy recommends starting with something easy, especially if you’ve never tried to dry clean at home before. Ease your way in with a dress shirt or polyester pants before trying an expensive suit. (Find out five dry clean only items you should never attempt to wash on your own.)
  2. If you’re too anxious to try using your washing machine, wash your clothes in your sink using a laundry bar.
  3. To start hand washing, fill the sink (or tub if you have a lot of clothes) with cold water and place your clothes in (sort them first!). Rub your laundry bar on a few pieces of clothing so that suds start to appear in the water and the clothes can soak. Take out one item of clothing at a time and rub the problem areas with your laundry bar (pay extra attention to areas where you sweat, such as the armpits and collar). When you’re done scrubbing let it soak while you tackle another piece. When you’re finished, rinse all of your clothes in cold water until the water runs clear.
  4. If you’re daring enough to use the washing machine, make sure to separate your darks, colours, and whites before starting the load to prevent bleeding or colour transfer. “If you have a dress, shirt or pants that have specks of colour, err on the side of caution and wash those separately from your other items,” says Conroy.
  5. Wash your “dry clean only” clothes in cold water with a gentle yet heavy-duty detergent. Conroy recommends Woolite Darks. This will keep your clothes looking like new and prevent them from getting stretched out.
  6. If you have cashmere or wool clothing items to dry clean at home, Conroy recommends using a wool and cashmere shampoo. If you don’t have that on hand, Conroy says a laundry bar will also work. “Hand wash and spot clean where needed before hanging flat to air dry on a rack,” says Conroy. “When the item is three-quarters of the way dry, transfer it to a coated metal or plastic hanger that won’t pierce the fabric or cause it to dry into a stiff, awkward form (like hanger indents in the sleeves).”

Treating bad stains and odours

If the clothes you’re attempting to dry clean at home have a bad stain or odour, you’re going to want to break out the vinegar. “Bacteria trapped in the fibres of the clothing causes discolouration and/or odour. Soaking an item in half a cup of vinegar and cold water for 30 minutes preps it,” says Conroy. (Check out more genius uses for vinegar all around the house.)

After the stain has been prepped, gently rub the area with your fingers to break up the fibres. If the stain won’t budge, turn the clothing item inside out and apply a small amount of vinegar directly to the area. Then, wash normally using the steps laid out above and you’ll have clean clothes in no time.

Another great stain remover for when you dry clean at home is baking soda. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda and a quarter cup of warm water to make a paste. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for one to two hours before washing. (Here are eight more ways to boost laundry detergent.)

Drying your clothes

When it comes to drying your “dry clean only” clothes, Conroy warns to never, ever put them in the dryer. It may seem like the easy way out, but it can completely ruin your nice garments. “Hang your items somewhere in your home. It can be on hangers dangling over your tub, on doorknobs or a clothing rack,” says Conroy. “But don’t let them dry completely. You want them to be damp to the touch, not sopping wet. When they are, they’re ready to be steamed. If you don’t have a steamer at home, you can use an iron, but you’ll only get that professional dry cleaned look with a steamer. So it’s worth the investment.” When you’re steaming, make sure you aren’t too close to the fabric, but close enough that the steam is dissolving the creases.

Now that your “dry clean only” clothes look fresh and clean, check out these expert laundry tips.

Woman learning a new language at home

1. Don’t place a timer on learning a new language. “It’s like learning a new skill,” says Safieh Moghaddam, the associate chair of linguistics and languages at the University of Toronto. There’s no set amount of hours for mastering a language—and the learning process will vary for everyone.

2. Language learning apps are more popular than ever. According to data compiled by free language app Duolingo, more than 30 million people attempted to learn a new language in the United States in 2020.

3. Learn cognates first. These are words that look and mean the same thing as words you already know—for instance, historia in Spanish or bruder in German. “This may help the learner gain confidence and think that learning a new language is not that challenging,” says Moghaddam.

4. Choose outlets that spark your interest. Studies have found that individuals who frequently watch foreign films or television shows are typically better at reading, listening and learning vocabulary. Subtitles allow you to see and hear each spoken word.

5. Learning a new language is all about listening. You must first expose your mind to a language without deliberately trying to learn it, says Steve Kauffman, polyglot and co-founder of the online learning language tool LingQ. As a result, more than 70 per cent of your learning time should be devoted to listening and reading.

6. Come up with real-life scenarios and practice hypothetical conversations during the learning process. “You have no control over what the native speaker is going to say back to you,” says Kauffman, so be prepared for different conversation outcomes.

7. For native English speakers, Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. More than 450 million people in the world speak it, making it the second-most spoken language on Earth.

8. The two most difficult languages to learn are Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. Mandarin has thousands of characters and includes four tones, meaning words can be pronounced in four different ways. Arabic, meanwhile, includes sounds that don’t exist in the English language.

9. The best way to stay motivated is to take a break and regroup when you’re ready. During your break, track the progress you’ve made and take time to reflect on areas of improvement. A lack of motivation could also mean you need to change your studying style, says Moghaddam.

10. Don’t be discouraged by mistakes. In fact, mistakes can actually make you smarter because you’re less likely to make the same error twice. Naturally, the brain is a slow learner, and the mindset of mastering a skill quickly is counterproductive, says Kauffman.

Find out why learning new skills as an adult is easier than you think!

Gasoline and diesel fuel are perishable commodities, and that’s why fuel stabilizers matter. Add a small amount of fuel stabilizer to stored fuel and your lawn mower, snowblower, rototiller, chainsaw, generator and vehicle will start easier and run better. Fail to use fuel stabilizer can mean poor performance or an engine that fails to start at all after several months of storage.

What do fuel stabilizers do?

Fuel stabilizers keep fuel fresh and effective for at least two years of storage time.

Chemical reactions within stored fuel, plus the evaporation of some volatile components, can leave liquid fuels less likely to ignite properly in an engine after more than three months of storage. Old fuel can also leave gummy deposits behind in sensitive areas of the motor. The bottom line is trouble, unless you let a fuel stabilizer prevent it. This stuff really works.

When should I use a fuel stabilizer?

There are two situations when you should use fuel stabilizer. If you’ll be storing fuel in an approved gas can for more than a few months, put the required amount of stabilizer in the can, then add the fuel and seal the cap. If you’re adding stabilizer directly to the fuel tank that supplies an engine, put the required amount of stabilizer into the less than full tank, top off the fuel level, then start the engine. Allow it to run for 10 minutes so the stabilizer gets mixed with the fuel that enters the carburetor or fuel injection system, preventing gummy deposits and greatly increasing the odds of a quick-and-easy post-storage startup.

Which fuel stabilizer should I use?

Fuel stabilizers are suitable for all kinds of gasoline and diesel engines, including two-stroke motors as you’ll find in chainsaws, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and certain water pumps. Some brands of fuel stabilizer are formulated to be used only with gasoline or diesel fuel, while other brands are dual purpose. Read labels and learn.

How much fuel stabilizer should I use?

Directions on every bottle of stabilizer tell you how much to add for a given amount of fuel, and you’ll find that the quantities specified are small. A tablespoon or two in a lawnmower or chainsaw gas tank is enough to allow gasoline to burn cleanly even after years of storage. One small bottle of stabilizer preserves a full tank of fuel in a car or truck.

Next, find out how to change a fuel filter in four easy steps.

It’s almost summer, so you know we’re getting ready for s’mores weather. We’ve got the pantry stocked with cookies ‘n creme stuffed marshmallows, along with graham crackers and plenty of chocolate. Of course, it’s not a summer BBQ without potato chips, so we’d say with these two in hand, you’re all set for sunny weather.

While we definitely love both of these, we’ve never thought about combining them. But it turns out someone did—and a good thing too, because it results in the perfect sweet n’salty 4-ingredient dessert.

How to Make Ruffles Krispie Treats

This combination makes a decadent snack that gives you all the crunch and sticky sweetness of a Rice Krispies treat with just enough salt to keep it from being overwhelming. This recipe comes to us from TikTok user @sweetafternoon, whose first video became so popular on the video platform, she ended up posting the recipe. It’s super simple to follow.

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 package (10 ounces) mini marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Ruffles potato chips

Note that we estimated the amounts here—but it should be pretty close to the video!

@sweetafternoonRemaking my vid that got 1.8M views. I make this every week🤪 can we get @gordonramsayofficial to react!? #gordonreacts #tiktokfood #myjob #fyp♬ positions – Ariana Grande

Directions

  1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet, then add marshmallows and stir.
  3. Add a few drops of vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in the Ruffles chips, making sure they’re coated in the marshmallow mixture. (Yum!)
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and let to cool, then cut into squares.

Voila! You’ve got your Ruffles krispie treats, with crunchy chips, soft, gooey marshmallow, and of course, plenty of sweet n’ salty deliciousness.

You Can Make Them Even Better

Of course, you don’t have to stop at the original recipe. Plenty of commenters said they added chocolate, so you could make this recipe with original Stuffed Puffs and get both marshmallow and chocolate in one go! People have also tried making them colorful by using Peeps marshmallows, and the recipe creator even hinted she might try them with BBQ or spicy chips.

Next, check out this collection of sweet and savoury snacks that will satisfy your cravings.

A black bear

My pal Bosco the Bear

I met Bosco in the remote wilderness near British Columbia’s Mount Robson. At the end of a long day of backpacking, I had made a lean-to in a clearing beside a stream and was preparing to catch supper. Then I looked up, and there he was: an enormous black bear, slowly circling the clearing within 30 yards.

He wasn’t Bosco to me yet, and I viewed his presence with trepidation. My provisions were vulnerable if he was in a piratical mood, since I was unarmed. However, I decided to go about my fishing. The bear came along.

I’ve lived with wild creatures for 30 years, always respecting their first fear—fast movements—so I let the bear see every slow, deliberate move I made. Soon he was sitting on his haunches less than five feet away, intensely interested in my activity. When I landed a 35-centimetre Loch Leven trout, I tossed it to him. He gulped without bothering to chew. And when I flipped out the fly again, he moved closer, planted his well-upholstered fanny on the turf beside my boot and leaned half his 225 kilograms against my right leg!

When drizzly darkness set in, I was still fishing for that bear, fascinated as much by his gentle manners as by his insatiable capacity. I began to think of him in a friendly way as Big Bosco, and I didn’t mind when he followed me back to camp.

After supper I built up the fire, sat on the sleeping bag under the lean-to and lit my pipe. All this time Bosco had sat just outside the heat perimeter of the fire, but the moment I was comfortably settled he walked over and sat down beside me. Overlooking the stench of wet fur, I rather enjoyed his warmth. I listened to the rain thumping on the tarp in time with the steady, powerful cur-rump, cur-rump of his heartbeat beneath his thick coat. When smoke blew our way, he snorted and sneezed, and I imitated most of his body movements, even the sneezing and snorting, swaying my head in every direction, sniffing the air as he did.

Then Bosco began licking my hands. Guessing what he wanted, I got him a handful of salt. He enthusiastically nailed my hand to the ground with his two-inch claws—claws capable of peeling the bark from a full-grown cedar, claws that carried his 225 kilograms at full speed to the top of the tallest tree, claws that could rip a man’s body like a band saw. Finally, the last grain of salt was gone, and again we sat together. I wondered if this could be for real.

Bosco stood up on all fours, burped a long, fishy belch and stepped out into the rainy blackness. But he soon was back—with a message. He sat down near the sleeping bag and attempted to scratch the area of his rump just above his tail, but he couldn’t reach it. Again and again he nudged me and growled savagely at the itch. Finally I got the message and laid a light hand on his back. He flattened out to occupy the total seven feet of the lean-to as I began to scratch through his dense, oily hair.

Then the full significance of his visit hit me. Just above his stubby tail, several engorged ticks were dangerously embedded in swollen flesh. When I twisted out the first parasite, I thought I was in for a mauling—his roar shook the forest. But I was determined to finish the job. Each time I removed a tick, I showed it to him for a sniff before dropping it on the fire, and by the last one he was affably licking my hand.

A cold, sniffling nose awakened me several times during the night as the bear came and went. He left the sleeping bag wetter and muddier each time he crawled around and over me, but he never put his full weight down when he touched any part of my body.

Becoming brothers

The next day I set off again, over a ridge, down through a chilly river, up to the next crest, through thickets of birch and alder and down a wide, north-running river canyon. To my surprise, Bosco followed like a faithful dog, digging grubs or bulbs when I stopped to rest. That evening, I fished for Bosco’s supper.

As the days passed and I hiked north, I used a system of trout, salt and scratch rewards to teach the bear to respond to the call “Bosco!” One evening, he walked over to the log where I was enjoying my pipe and began to dig at my boots. When I stood up, he led me straight over to a dead hollow bee tree at which he clawed unsuccessfully.

Returning to camp, I covered my head with mosquito netting; tied shirt, pants and glove openings; and got the hatchet. I built a smoke fire near the base of the tree and hacked away until the hollow shell crashed to earth, split wide open and exposed the hive’s total summer production. For my understanding and efforts, I received three stinging welts. Bosco ate 20 pounds of honeycomb, bee bread and hundreds of bees. He snored most of that night at the foot of the sleeping bag.

At campsites, Bosco never tolerated long periods of relaxation and reflection, and true to my sucker form where animals are concerned, I babied his every whim. When he wanted his back scratched, I scratched; when he wanted a fish dinner, I fished; when he wanted to romp and roll with me in the meadow, I romped and rolled—and still wear scars to prove that he played games consummately out of my league.

During one particularly rough session, I tackled his right front leg, bowling him over on his back. As I sat on his belly, he retaliated with a left hook that not only opened a five-centimetre gash down the front of my chin but also spun me across the meadow. When I woke up, Bosco was licking my wound. His shame and remorse were inconsolable. He sat down with his ears back and bawled like a whipped pup once I was able to put my arm around his neck and repeat all the soft ursine vocabulary he had taught me.

It is not my intention to attribute character traits to the bear that he could not possess or exaggerate those he had. I simply studied him for what he was and saw him manifest only the normal qualities of his species, which were formidable enough without exaggeration. Other than calling him Bosco, I never attempted human training upon him. On the contrary; I did everything possible to train myself to become a fellow bear.

The affection Bosco and I developed for each other was spontaneous and genuinely brotherly. When it occurred to him to waddle over my way on his hind legs, grab me in a smothering bear hug and express an overflowing emotion with a face licking, I went along with it for two reasons. First, I was crazy about that varmint. Second, I nourished a healthy respect for what one swat from the ambidextrous giant could accomplish.

A fond farewell

Although his size and strength made Bosco almost invulnerable to attack by other animals, he had his own collection of phobias. Thunder and lightning made him cringe and whine. When whisky jacks flew into camp looking for food, he fled in terror, the cacophonic birds power-diving and pecking him out of sight.

Bosco’s phenomenal sense of smell amazed me. Trudging along behind me, he would suddenly stop, sniff the air and make a beeline for a big, succulent mushroom 200 yards away, or to a flat rock across the river under which chipmunks had warehoused their winter seed supply or to a berry patch two ridges over.

One afternoon when we were crossing a heath where dwarf willows grew in hedge-like clumps, Bosco suddenly reared up and let out a “maw!” I could detect no reason for alarm, but Bosco stood erect and forbade me to move. He advanced, began to snarl—and pandemonium broke out. From every clump of willows sprouted an upright bear! Black bear, brown bear, cinnamon bear and one champagne.

But these were young bears, two-year-olds, and no match for Bosco. He charged his closest contestant with the fury of a Sherman tank, and before the two-year-old could pick himself up, Bosco dispatched a second bear and tore into a thicket to dislodge a third. At the end of the circuit, my gladiator friend remembered me and trudged back, unscathed and still champion.

That night, we sat longer than usual at the campfire. Bosco nudged, pawed, talked at great length and looked me long in the eye before allowing me to retire. In my ignorance, I assumed it was a rehash of that afternoon’s battle. He was gone most of the night.

Along toward next mid-afternoon, I sensed something was wrong. Bosco didn’t forage but clung to my heels. I was looking over a streamside campsite when the big bear about-faced and broke into a headlong, swinging lope up the hill we had just descended. I didn’t call to him as he went over the crest full steam without once looking back.

That evening, I cooked supper with one eye on the hillside, then lay awake for hours waiting for the familiar nudge. By morning, I was desolate: I knew I would never again see big brother Bosco. He left behind a relationship I shall treasure.

If you enjoyed the story of Bosco the bear, don’t miss this incredible true tale of a hiker who forged a powerful bond with an Alaskan timber wolf.