Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Fits perfectly under the wood stove when not in use.
I'm going to build a twin section wood box outta pine next week, one side to store kindling and the other for larger pieces for cooking and heating. The splitter makes life easy in a pinch I can get the size I need.
I bought two lifters for the stove, glad I did! Makes life easier when I want to get at the firebox quickly and to adjust the damper. GUESS WHAT! My cast iron Wok fits perfectly over the firebox when you remove the lid. The seal is as tight with the wok as with the lid in place!
I made lazy lasagna tonight on the cook stove. This is a picture of it, just outta the oven and being served up. I moved the rack up and was able to broil the top after it was baked. Tea water boiling beside it, and more on the go as I type.
I'm thinking the electric stove/oven is becoming a glorified clock! Might even become a bread box in the near future. I'm so excited about the water jacket, it seems to be working very well. I guess we'll know when the hydro bill comes next month. I know we are saving on oil, if all goes well we won't be needing anymore this season.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
An outdoor arrangement that I made...taken before the snow!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Either way, I do love that little contraption and am thankful that I am able to grow so many plants. The onions, lettuce, greens and chard have been able to stay in the greenhouse overnight for a while now. They are not so tender and aren’t hurt by the cold, but I’m sure a bit more sun would really get them growing too!
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
- Margaret Atwood
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I've just finished reading the "House of Night" series by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast (Mother & Daughter) ok. there is one more to go "Hunted" but I've decided to wait until it's out in paper back. I think it could be a good T.V. series, have to wait and see. Reading stuff like House of Night has been a real time suck, to ease a really important time suck, like jumping up on the eliptical.
I've managed to set aside a heap of linen that will make oodles of double sided reusable bum wipes. I think I have enough for the whole family and even more to gift to family and friends... Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmans Kathee and Lee ;) and yup Papa! You're septic systems and butts will thank me in the New Year.
I finally finished my red lotus and OM symbol. "This symbolizes the original nature of the heart (hrdaya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion, activity and all the qualities of the heart." I want to add a quote, but alas the wall paper is anaglypta and is embossed, making it difficult to paint anything that requires detail or fine lines.
Now to tackle my clothes and find a practical solution for storing them. Wish me luck!
Zee.. over and out
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Zee, I really enjoyed our (short but sweet) visit together too. SO MUCH to talk about, so little time!! Gardening of course is one of my favourite topics! And I totally agree…”A garden is never finished”. I feel like my gardens ‘evolve’. I have plans or ideas but as I start them, they seem to ‘happen’ the way they were meant to. I have plans this year of expanding the little garden I started last year on the hill on the left side of our yard. It’s almost impossible to cut the grass that grows there, so I have been turning it into gardens and will extend the path I made too. I have plans to work on our fire pit area too and a new perennial bed near my compost.
The compost area is the project I’m working on now. It’s too early to get into the garden, so it’s the perfect time to do the reno job I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I cleared an area to the west of where my compost used to sit and have expanded it to three bins. I was able to use the pallets I was using before, with only one new one needed. I got it all banged together, but plan on getting some slab wood and covering it, just so it looks cool, and I want to make a roof too. Here’s where it’s at right now…this is the old pile...and the new set-up...
I want to re-pile the winter compost and get it ‘working’ and will spread that out right near that area so it can become the new perennial bed. I have a lot of flowers that would do better in a wet spot, and this area is right near the creek so it’s perfect. I want to lay some newspapers then the compost, some soil and some hay. I’ll let that sit and ‘cook’ and then will add the perennials a little later as things warm up.
My greenhouse is up early this year. I call it ‘the little greenhouse that I hate to love’…I would love to have a ‘real’ greenhouse, but instead we make do with this contraption that we scab together every year. The structure is made of metal poles from part of our camping canopy as well as wood duct taped to the poles, then plastic stapled to the wood. We reinforce it with more wood on top of the staples, because the wind can be brutal. (Actually the wind IS brutal, and I have to say I really do NOT like the wind when it comes to my greenhouse) We got the greenhouse up early this year, so we will be ready to pop the trays of seedlings in as soon as they’re up. As long as the sun is out, it can get really warm in there. Of course, if it was a real greenhouse, we would be heating it and wouldn’t have to bring all the trays in every night. BUT, the only power we use is that of our legs and arms to truck them in and out, so I guess it’s much more environmentally sound than a real one! I do love it… So far, the onions are up and almost due for their first clipping. (I keep them cut to 4” tall) A few greens and a couple of lettuce are up, but looking a bit spindly. I pre-sprouted my pepper seeds and some were sprouted by Saturday, so I potted them up into cell paks. Tomatoes are the next to be sprouted. SUCH a great time of year!! (Just a bit more sun would make it perfect...)
Friday, April 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
"Things are always changing, so nothing can be yours. ~ Shuyryu Suzuki
As difficult as it can be, the message is to kick back and go with the flow. I'm learning to spend less time trying to alter the journey and accept where it leads me.
One of my favorite Garden quotes, from the same person above
"A Garden is never finished"
So stop grinding about what needs to be done and just do it in the spirit of fun, because no matter how many chores make your list, the garden will never be finished. What a gift this is! The joy and pain (in the arse, or any muscle group) a garden brings, it’s an ongoing, always changing, forever opportunity to learn... I'll die, my garden will flourish and the job of tending that garden will simply pass on to some other person providing a whole new opportunity to learn. I'm also thinking of other things we tend to. Like raising children or nurturing a relationship with a partner, that job will never be finished. Kathee and I were discussing an article in McLean’s magazine about timing sleep for children, training them to sleep to optimize a parent’s right to look after themselves. Such a strange concept, training and altering... heck molding children to better fit into our busy schedules. It makes me wonder how we value and recognize the purpose of life. You can waste a lot of time and energy trying to shape and mold things to create your perfect existence, or you can let the garden grow.
Life is crazy, this is what makes it so wonderful. You'll never finish all that needs to be done before you die, but you can certainly waste your time trying.
Kathee you inspire
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The girl in green is the Sea Witch who was amazing! After each show (5 shows in total) the cast signed autographs for all the kids...so much fun! Kate is really going to miss all the time she spent with these new friends!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Life is full of surprises. I was tweeting "I have many projects that need attending to, it is now part of my daily practice... order is bliss" I've been re-reading my copy of Crooked Cucumber, what do ya know? Inspiration abounds in this book. I often nudge myself into re-eveluating my thoughts towards certain daily activities and chores, encorporating the hard stuff reaps the rewards you often don't come to realize, this is the desired result.
There are a bazillion and one things to do, maybe even more than that... but the most important thing is to be grateful for the opportunity to tackle them.
I got my book "Seed to Seed" and hope to spend some time over the course of this summer to learn. I may not be able to put it all into practice just yet, but I am capable of learning. DH and I are going to get the chicken house up and ready for the good weather, hoping to welcome a new group of ladies to their new homestead this spring. I've been hanging out with my Storey's Country Living, imagining ten acres and al l the possibilities. I think we'll resume the search when things settle down here and life is less intense.
Gardening is... let the seeds thrive and eventually come full circle!
Here's to Spring Lee and Kathee and all the other Eclectic womyn out there.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
zee aka Gracie
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
bưởi aka Pomelo
Happy New Year Everyone!
If you were born in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997
congratulations you are an Ox!
We had a great time visiting family in Toronto this week. Lots of yummy food, tea reconnecting with friends and family. The kids hung out and played games, chatted and ran up and down the stairs in search of treats. Monday morning brought the family home once again to enjoy a hearty bowl of vegetarian Pho soup for breakfast, New Years day is vegetarian eating!! The kids received beautiful red envelopes with lucky money from their aunts and uncles. After some more time visiting, we got into our cars and headed over to the cemetary to bring offering of food and incense to grandpa. Dh and his brothers shoveled a twenty foot path in the deep snow to make way for everyone to get up close to the tombstone and place the incense, fruit and flowers, I'm sure it was at least 20 below. We had to head home after the cemetary, but the rest of the clan headed downtown to visit the Temple.
It's time to get a move on and start thinking of change, what can I work towards in this new year to make the lives of those who surround me near and far better, and what could I be doing to improve my own situation. Life is Good!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
The seed catalogues seem to arrive earlier every year, but I make myself wait until after Christmas before I go through them. I like to have all the Christmas decorations put away and the house back into some semblance of normal and THEN.......it’s Garden Planning Day!
I begin by collecting all the ‘tools’ I will need: last year’s garden plan (so I can review where I planted things last year and how they should be rotated this year), the seed catalogues, (with their promise of possibilities!), last year’s garden journal, where I hope that I did actually keep track of all the important things that went on in the garden last year,(nothing more than an old binder, but decorated with garden mag photos for inspiration!), my clipboard, graph paper, ruler and a brand new, perfectly sharpened pencil, and of course a hot cup of Earl Grey!
First though, I take out my seeds from previous years, and figure out what I will be able to use this year. Then I know what seeds I will be needing. I always buy my seeds from William Dam. They aren’t organic, but are untreated. I like the ‘family’ story of the company and that was the first catalogue I ever bought seeds out of. I like the choice that I have come to depend on and have always been pleased with their service, and products. In the past few years though, I have been wanting more heirloom plants, so I have been ordering from a few other companies. Aside from the practical issue of being able to save the seeds for next year and not have to buy those same seeds again (not possible with the hybrids), when I pick out seeds of the heirlooms, I really get caught up in their "story"...okay, maybe I just get suckered in by their marketing strategies, but who wouldn’t?! The thought of growing a tomato whose seeds have been around since the 1800's when someone had the foresight to stuff a few seeds in their sock as they left the "Old Country", or a Sweet Pea that has been traced back to a reclusive monk in Quebec in the 1500's......that thrills me! Such history! These were people like me, who were passionate about gardening and wanted to make sure their plants would survive not only all the perils of everyday growing, like insects and disease, but would also survive time and distance. So after taking that tiny seed and tending to it, until it’s grown into a huge plant, that then provides us with food or flowers, I feel connected to the past and those people.
The two Heirloom seed companies that I like to buy from are:
Terra Edibles, http://www.terraedibles.ca/
and Upper Canada Seeds, http://www.uppercanadaseeds.ca/
Upper Canada offers over 250 varieties of tomatoes!! (occasionally they’ll offer a couple of peppers, but they specialize in just tomatoes) I LOVE reading the info about every tomato and what these growers think of it as well. It is a much more personal experience. Although it’s said that the heirlooms might not have the best disease resistance, ( I have never had a problem with any heirloom I have bought), their taste far surpasses ANY hybrid! This is what I remember tomatoes tasting like when I was a kid.....a REAL tomato taste! And once you’ve figured out how to save tomato seeds (not hard to do, but there is a method), it is great being able to have your own seeds for the next year. What makes these even better, is that they have now grown in your soil, in your part of the world, and will be the best suited tomatoes for you. That’s pretty incredible.
Every year, I like to try a few varieties that I’ve never grown before. This year, I am going to grow 2 new green tomatoes. (Green Velvet is a deliciously tasty one that I have grown for 3 years now, so it will be fun to compare taste with the other 2. I’m also trying to find a new orange cherry tomato, since the one I have been growing for years has to be ordered from the States,( which I usually get a friend to do for me when she orders hers) But I am determined to find an heirloom that is just as good, if not better! I’ve also ordered a new paste variety, a couple of large red ones and 2 new orange ones. So exciting!
Terra Edibles sells more than just tomatoes. In fact they sell more than just seeds. But since I get my tomatoes from Upper Canada Seeds, I look to Terra Edibles for heirloom varieties of other plants that I would like. I am buying a bean this year, that has "dark purple stems, lilac flowers and purple pods"which I plan on putting in one of my flower beds as well as the veg garden... doesn’t that sound beautiful! I am also going to try growing a bean for drying. Since we’ve been trying eat more beans lately, it seems to make sense to grow our own. It will be a new experience for me. Kale is another veg that we have started to eat a lot of, so I am ordering a Red variety from T.E. (And a green one from William Dam) And one thing that I am very excited about it, are the Sugar Snap peas that I have ordered. I have always bought Sugar Snaps from W.D, but last year they were unavailable because of some disease problem they had...? So I ordered the only other variety they offered, but was not impressed. This year, the catalogue doesn’t even have Sugar Snaps listed, so it looks like they taken that one right out of the catalogue.. They were the most prolific, sweetest snap pea, and was our family’s favourite veggie. I was so disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to buy them anymore.....but THEN, in the Terra Edibles catalogue there is a snap pea, also called Sugar Snap! So I am going to try that one this year, with fingers crossed....
Today I am going to spend some time writing in my garden journal, recording my plans and some ideas and some projects that I want to work on this year, both in the veggie garden and the flower beds. I’m also going to drag out my back issues of Organic Gardening Mag. for the months of January/February and maybe some of my favourite garden books: Eliot Coleman’s ‘The New Organic Grower’, Better Homes and Gardens ‘New Garden Book’, and a few new-to-me garden books I found at a used book sale last year and have been ‘saving’ for just such a day. With a temperature of minus 30 this morning, I am going no further than the couch, where I will be sitting in the warm sun with my books and mags (and a cup of earl Grey) and dreaming of the garden days ahead...