Thanksgiving Challenge

Last year at this time I was in full-out Thanksgiving dinner mode. See last year’s post here. This year I thought I was going to cruise through the weekend with absolutely no stress in sight. Alas, here I am on Thanksgiving Monday in the throes of assembling something “wow-worthy”. If not for my family’s enjoyment then at least my own sense of accomplishment. Here’s the thing…since we went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving for a couple of days I figured that I wouldn’t feel like preparing one myself so I didn’t fill my fridge and pantry with any of the necessary ingredients. This Thanksgiving Day I have decided to challenge myself by putting together a full spread with a near empty kitchen. I seem to like this type of challenge since I do this type of thing frequently. I cook with the spirit of adventure – trying new things is great fun and I seldom use recipes except to bake.  I am sticking to an Autumn harvest theme in celebration of the season.

 

At present I have a luscious smelling pot of pumpkin and roasted garlic soup simmering on the stove. It is chock full of delicious organic ingredients and fresh herbs from my garden. In the oven is a cauliflower roasting away with real butter (mmmm…) and a sweet mesquite spice blend.  I have yet to sort out a main dish but I suspect a chickpea something or other is about to be concocted.  I’ll report back on that if anyone is interested in the comments below.  Cyndi over at Healthy A-Z inquired as to whether I would be making the gluten-free pumpkin pie that I made last year. She inspired me to do so. Sadly, my cupboards were void of the necessary items so I have decided to whip up a spiced custard and serve with baked apples. 

 

This time of year encourages me to get busy in my kitchen and get back to the simplicity of great food using what is being harvested. Soups and stews fill my foodie brain and I enjoy the run out to the back garden to snip herbs for whatever is in the works on the stove. I am usually hopping from stone to stone down the garden path in my bare feet and quickly darting back into the warmth of my fragrant kitchen with my arms full of healthy goodness.  

 

To all of my fellow Canadians, may you be filled with thanks for all of your blessings and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. To all the non-Canadians, let the spirit of gratefulness bring you peace at this splendid time of year.

 

 

 

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”  – Oprah Winfrey

 

 

 

 

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Garden Goddess Strikes Again

It’s that time of year again! The annual planting of my veggie garden. My green thumbs are twitching and I’m ready to get dirty…again.

 

 

 

Last weekend, I made the trek to the “local” heirloom plant sale and stocked up. There were a few things that I couldn’t get my hands on like kale, so I am still on the hunt for a few items. Fingers crossed that I’ll find good quality heirloom plants. The garden centres seem to be either picked over, sold out, or they lost mass amounts of plants due to the frost we had last week. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled.

 

 

 

In order to prep the garden, I needed a rototiller. I wasn’t in the frame of mind to ask the neighbour that helped me last year. This year I wanted to do it myself. It looked like to fun of an opportunity to pass up. Who doesn’t like crazy, loud engines attached to tines that clutch hungrily at the soil? I just couldn’t resist the temptation. The last time I used a rototiller was in Horticulture college. It was not a positive experience, although I did laugh like crazy when a friend of mine wanted to be the first to take a crack at it. Having no clue what she was doing she quickly lost control and was dragged along behind it. I seem to remember that being the last time I ever saw my beautiful, off-white fisherman sweater…she had borrowed it. This year’s garden prep was the perfect opportunity for me to have at it. Luckily, I have a fan-flippin’-tastic boss that just happened to have a rototiller I could borrow. I was in luck! This machine kicks butt! I seriously need one!

 

 

 

The Machine That Won My Heart

The Machine That Won My Heart

*if you look to the right of the rototiller you can see my new spade mentioned in a previous post (that I did not dance late into the night with).

 

 

 

The only problem with me having a rototiller of my own would be that I would feel the need to dig up every bit of unused space on my property. Plus, I’d like to be less petrol-dependent so this would be seriously counter-productive.

 

 

 

Let me just say that the time I spent rototilling the garden has been the most fun I’ve had all week. And I’ve had a good week so far. Is that sad?

 

 

 

I worked up a serious sweat working in this crazy heat we’ve been having. It’s been above 32 degrees Celsius the last couple days. I thought it would be great to go with  breezy, wavy beach hair this morning which was not well thought out. My hair is super thick as it is so this made it even thicker feeling. Looked great before I started gardening though. I tried an easy  beach wave spray recipe that uses sea salt, coconut oil, water and hair gel. Oh…my…gosh. Why this is a good idea while hot out I won’t ever understand. It made me even hotter. I will not be hanging out on a beach after spraying my hair with this concoction, let me tell you. Mind you, I don’t normally hang out on beaches anyway since sand in my bathing suit makes me cranky.  This hair technique must be reserved for days when I will be trying to sport a carefree look while in air conditioning.

 

 

 

Soft soil after rototilling

Soft soil after rototilling

 

 

 

 

It took me all of about 15 seconds to figure out proper tilling technique and get serious. The soil in the garden is now so fluffy that it is simply dreamy. I was able to smooth it flat(ish) with a leaf rake afterward. That’s how soft it is. This is temporary since soon enough it will be tamped down by rain, walking around in it, and settling. I must get my vegetable plants in the ground when the soil is perfect. Not only does it make my life easier but the plants get a great start at getting their roots going with as little resistance as possible. I guess you know what I’ll be doing later this afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.”  ~Mirabel Osler

Food for Thought

It happened again. I was sucked into the world of documentaries. I had heard about Farmaggedon (the documentary) a little while ago and my interest was piqued. However, my enthusiasm for educational and informative viewing material is not shared most days by those that compete for viewing time in my household. It is usually “fluff” viewing or MMA that is being watched in our home which I also love. I enjoy MMA immensely to the resounding gasps of my friends. I guess I don’t seem like the type. What is the “type” of woman who likes MMA anyway? Why must we be a certain type to have interest in MMA, documentaries, musicals, dramas, action flicks? I enjoy all of the above. Does this make me well-rounded? I decree that yes, it does make me a versatile viewer. However, the aforementioned documentary Farmaggedon was what got my attention today and has tumbled around my thoughts to the point that I have something to say on the subject.

 

 

The documentary really got me to thinking, yet again, about the source of our food. Where it comes from, how it’s processed, and the regulations and laws surrounding our food industry. Of course, each country has their own laws regarding the food industry. My main points will be focused on North American food industry practices since the documentary that I have most recently watched is American. There is definitely a difference between the U.S. and Canadian food industry regulations and practices but there are many overlapping practices as well. I do not declare that I am an expert on the food industry, processing, or laws of such. I am seeing this from the standpoint of a human being. We all need to eat. From a stance of an individual that wants to know what is in my food and that the food I choose is safe, healthy and what it is labelled as being.

 

“Why should conservationists have a positive interest in …farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat.” – Wendell Berry

If you have not had the opportunity to inform yourself on our food industry, I would highly recommend doing so. Perhaps you may learn a thing or two that you were either unaware of or didn’t really want to acknowledge. The need for awareness is not going to turn you into a die-hard activist (unless you choose to do so). It will merely give you an idea of what you are consuming – good or bad, healthy or not, whatever, that’s your choice. Not knowing what’s going on in the food industry than bashing those trying to make a difference is sheer ignorance and close-mindedness. I for one want to have the option to choose my food, not be dictated to and only given choices that will essentially make me a lab rat.

 

 

I have always had a strong sense of  personal choice from an early age. My sisters will attest to me (the youngest of three girls) brazenly spouting the phrase, “I have the right to…!” That seemed to be my most well-known tagline. I am still that same feisty girl with the desire to declare my free choice in all scenarios. However, I do not feel the need to shout it any more but firmly state my view when necessary. I know where I stand. I won’t be bullied into believing something just because I am told that I have to or believe every advertisement that appears before my eyes. I am smarter than that, thank you very much.

 


“There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” – Denis Waitley

 

While watching Farmaggedon it really hit home about the state of North American agriculture. I applaud farmers worldwide for what they do. Farmers are definitely some of the hardest working people on the planet. They toil each and every day in all   weather conditions to put food on the table – our tables. We have allowed our farmers to be manipulated and bullied by the likes of the FDA and large corporations that are driven by profit, not supplying healthy food to folks like you and me. The small-scale farmers that want to supply people with wholesome food choices are fighting a huge battle and taking a massive hit while we stand idly by with our hands in our pockets not knowing what to do. It is essential that people start speaking up to create change in governmental practices and laws that are strangulating the only people who really can provide good food to our tables, other than ourselves – the farmer. Factory farming is a practice focused on profit and creates many issues I won’t get into. Factory farming, in my eyes, is not farming. It is mass production of an item. How easily people forget that the chicken living its life in a restricted area sitting in its own waste becomes that piece of fried chicken on your plate. All for the sake of saving a couple of dollars at the grocery store. Shudder.  Simply put, for me factory farming has taken the personal touch out of agriculture. If you happen to be a factory-farmer I apologize if my words offend you but I, like you, am entitled to my opinion. I am not vilifying you per say, but the practices involved in mass production of living beings. Feel free to voice your thoughts. Just please do so respectfully. I am saddened by the thought of so many living beings treated like they are merely a dollar sign. I feel sickish inside. Moving on.

“I don’t understand the notion that modern farming is anything to do with nature. It’s a pretty gross interference with nature.”  – Peter Singer

 

In review of the documentary, I felt it weighed in heavily on the subject of raw milk farming and legislation. Perhaps I was hoping for a broader subject matter since I don’t consume milk personally but it was very eye-opening none-the-less. It comes right down to the fact that as consumers we should have the ability to purchase foods of our choosing. Of course there must be stipulations such as nothing that is endangered, for instance. If one really looks at the source of food from a family run farm as opposed to a large-scale factory operation, I think most of us would choose the former. I prefer produce from my garden over produce from a greenhouse sprayed with several rounds of insecticides and fungicides. It’s common sense, really. It is frightening that it has gotten to the point that small farms are being raided and their livelihood seized by the FDA. Why does the government feel so threatened by these small farms? Is it really in the name of consumer safety? I, for one, highly doubt it. My guess would be that the government is so tied to Big Ag giants that the government is no longer “for the people” but instead for the profit. We are at a point in history where we have all screwed up royally by trusting large corporations to dictate to the masses, myself included.

 

 

Standing up to the Bully (Big Ag/government) where our food is concerned is now at our doorsteps. Being aware makes a difference.  Simple steps like voting with our food budget is a great place to start. Local markets, farmers and small businesses can make a big impact. We are already seeing many large food companies trying to cater to certain markets by diversifying. It’s a small step in the right direction but it is still supporting large-scale operations. Picture yourself as a farmer trying to support your family. You want to supply people with an exceptional product that you give every waking minute to producing. The FDA steps in and claims some bogus law made in the 1930’s and seizes your animals/crops. How would you feel? Who would you turn to? The red tape is so restrictive for many small businesses that even making a profit can be a very difficult task. To sit at a desk in a cubicle somewhere and  sneer at those that want to have access to real food that is grown and produced with passion and care or at the farmer themself  is hypocritical. The next time you eat a burger or a salad or drink a milkshake remember that someone somewhere had to get those items to market so you could stuff your face with them. Changing our thinking process to bring us closer to the food we consume and the reality of food production may just open our eyes and our heart a little bit more.

 

 

 

 

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.  – Harry Truman


 

Snippets in Time…Thanksgiving

I think this year’s Thanksgiving weekend ranks at the top of my Thanksgiving memories. The weather was incredibly beautiful and autumnal. One evening being cool and rainy was a great excuse to bundle up inside with a glass of red wine, a cozy blanket and an interesting documentary. What? I love a good documentary! Monday morning  the sunshine and crisp air beckoned us outside to get the garden prepped for winter. There was raking to be done and the removal of the veggie garden plants. The whole family chipped in on the task which made it so much more enjoyable. We had some good laughs while working as a team to accomplish a goal. Things went slightly awry when the kids thought it would be fun to chuck green “grounder” tomatoes at each other. They quickly realized it wasn’t as intelligent as originally thought once put into action. A learning lesson was had – being pummeled with green tomatoes is like having rocks thrown at you! Those shenanigans died down without me even having to pull out the “safety first” speech.

 


We indulged in our quiet Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening and reported to each other something we were thankful for. I stated that I had a few things on my list and was quickly shut down after three. Well! (Insert huffy breath here.) I was trying to keep it brief. I didn’t even ramble. I guess everyone was just incredibly thankful for the good and plentiful food set before them that waiting to consume it was a hardship.  I had prepared everything  healthier and  lighter with a  whole food mindset although I don’t think anyone even noticed that all the “unnecessary  stuff” was absent. All I heard was a resounding “thank you for a great dinner”. Chalk one more up for eating clean.

 

 

After mentioning in my last post that I would be making a wheat-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie there was some interest shown as to how it would turn out. Truthfully, it was delicious. I have made pumpkin pie in many variations over the years and I think this has to be one of my favourite methods. I didn’t feel that drive to overeat or the icky feeling from too rich of a dessert. I have tried everything from store-bought to tofu pumpkin pie to made from scratch using local pumpkins. This year’s was the winner! A co-worker/friend of mine came across the recipe and thought it looked like something I would be into so she posted it on my Facebook page. So glad she did…thank you.

 

 

There seemed to be a lot of kitchen activity this weekend and I even managed to stock the fridge with lunches and snacks for the next few days. We started the day yesterday with quinoa crepes with fresh, hot applesauce and real Canadian maple syrup… Mmmm. Yesterday I whipped up another new recipe to me – Banana Prune Cake. Very yummy and not too sweet. The prunes were supposed to be dates but I only had prunes so I substituted. Last night’s kitchen adventure was a speedy home-made hummus with extra garlic. Sorry to every one of you in advance that I am in close proximity to over the next few days. I pumped up the garlic amount in an effort to try to rid myself of the lingering sinus/ear annoyance I have been fighting for the past week.

 

 

All in all, this Thanksgiving was wonderful and reaffirming of the blessings of Life. Sharing healthy, delicious food, enjoying nature, and being with those I love has made beautiful memories and a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.

 

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”   – William James

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Brassica oleracea

Kale, beautiful kale. This year was the first time I have grown kale in my garden. To be honest, it’s the first time in my life that I have ever eaten kale as well (to the best of my knowledge). I love leafy greens such as chard, spinach and those delectable dainty salad greens such as arugula, but had surprisingly never been enticed by kale. Now I love it!  It is such an incredibly lush looking specimen with its large blue-green leaves. I am fascinated by its natural waxiness that makes water bead and roll off its leaves upon contact. Yes, I enjoy the little things in my daily life to the extreme. Makes me appreciate the world around me more when I take the time to notice the minute details.

Solanum melongenm

Aubergine, brinjal, eggplant.

I have learned so much this season.  I knew that the eggplant is a member of the nightshade family – a relative of tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. I knew this because, according to a naturopath I consulted with years ago, I was to avoid all members of the nightshade family. Guess I don’t follow advice very well, eh?  I am nutty for nightshades but try to keep my consumption moderate. I used to eat tomato sandwiches every day for a period of time when I was in my 20’s until I realized this was a reason I felt “off”.  Everything in moderation.

Yes, that is an arm in the background not part of the plant. This is an eggplant, not an arm-plant.

I recently learned that the eggplant is not actually a vegetable, but a fruit. I was aware that tomatoes are fruits but never considered the eggplant anything other than an intriguing  veggie. Not only is the eggplant a fruit but (wait for it)…it is a berry! Say what?  The plant world is fantastic, isn’t it?

The lovely eggplant is not a powerhouse of nutrients but does contain fiber and antioxidants.  Plus, it’s nice to shake up the variety of vegetables on offer at the  dinner table.

Cucumis sativus

My cucumber plant is going berserk. It took a bit to get going at the beginning of the season then just took off. I would normally have pinched it off but since it seems to be doing so well on top of the pergola I think I’ll just let it do its thing.  My daughter asked me recently if the cucumber was in the same plant family as squash. She was “bang on”. Squash, melons and cukes are all part of one big happy family.

Useful for so much more than munching on or slapping on your eyes when they are puffy or tired, cucumbers are very versatile.

– cucumber can be used to quickly shine shoes and repel water
– tightens collagen in the skin for instant firming action
– it is suggested that cucumber skin can erase pen, marker or crayon – I haven’t tested this one so try at your own risk
I love cucumber in a glass of water on a hot day instead of lemons or limes. 

Capsicum annuum “Tequila Sunrise”

I am so excited to taste this variety of pepper. It looks so spectacular against the green leaves.

Lycopersicon esculentum  

The tomatoes are starting to ripen. We have harvested a couple of bowls full at this point with a plethora left to pluck upon ripening. I have been enjoying the “chocolate” variety over the past week. I love the subtle differences between the varieties. The distinguishable tastes, acidity, texture differences…oh my!

This truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

“The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.”     ~Hanna Rion

Over the Moon with Glee

I am over the moon with glee! Yes, I said glee. The joyous, crazy-happy, smiling like a lunatic kind of glee.

The reason? Why I have harvested my first tomatoes of the summer, of course.

First tomatoes of the summer from my garden.

When I purchased the starter plants, the tag stated that they were a yellow pear variety but I’m kind of thinking they were tagged incorrectly. They look like yellow plum to me. No worries, they are still heirloom, organically grown and oh-s0 incredibly delicious.

I decided that these little lovelies would be best showcased as insalata Caprese. Or the rustic Canadian version of such. Since I am the only one in my house that likes (in my case, loves) tomatoes, I only made a small bowl to enjoy with my dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was enjoyed alfresco, overlooking the garden.

Prior to dinner I took a stroll through the garden to see how the other plants were doing. The eggplant has loads of blossoms and one fascinating fruit. I never realized just how beautiful an eggplant plant really is until recently. The leaves a large and lush and the blossoms are  fragile and genteel looking but with a strength that can withstand brutal winds. Quite interesting. But it is the fruit that is really breathtaking. It almost doesn’t look real as it emerges. I walked past it for a few days before it dawned on me that this was the fruit. I can’t get enough of how intriguing the eggplant is.

This post started as a salute to the glorious  tomato and quickly veered of course, for that I apologize.

I love the meals of summer that are casual yet so robust in flavour simply from the few ingredients that are fresh and over-flowing with taste in their purest form.

I am super easy to please these days. Fresh fruit and veggies with some grains thrown in for good measure and I am happy as a…honey bee collecting pollen.

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”    -Lewis Grizzard

Fruits of my Labour

I’m so excited! I have started harvesting from the garden. It is slim pickings just yet but it is such a great feeling to be picking and eating the fruits of my labour. Last night we ate this beauty – a Purple Beauty pepper. The colour is impressive, to say the least. The inside flesh is green and it tastes like a green pepper with a thinner skin. Lovely.

There were a few jalapenos that were ripe for the picking. Very tasty, indeed. They were included into a big batch of vegetarian chili a couple of nights ago. Tonight I intend to bake some jalapeno-cheddar bread with the two jalapenos waiting on my kitchen counter.

Oh, so soon the tomatoes will be ripe and ready to grace our table. I am most looking forward to my first bite of ripe tomato. All the varieties of tomatoes in the garden are loaded with fruit just needing a few more days. My mouth waters in anticipation.

I have been enjoying the kale for a couple of weeks now in different ways. I sautéed it with garlic one evening for dinner.  Another meal I ate it raw mixed into a salad. And my favourite dish that included kale was a sesame noodle salad. I cooked the kale with the noodles and it turned out perfectly tender without being overcooked. Simply luscious.

The herbs have been gracing our table in different recipes for a few weeks, pesto being the family fave.

I have planted a second row of both purple carrots and beets thanks to one of the neighbourhood rabbits that obliterated the first planting. The rabbit has since taken to the Vinca in the front garden. I am pleased with this so long as he remains out of the veggie garden.

Happy harvesting to all!

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”- Alfred Austin

Happiness is Coffee, Croissants and Friendship

This  morning started perfectly. I slept in late (for me) than lazily slid out of bed with the intention of heading outside. Although, a detour to the kitchen to make coffee was at the top of my priority list.

I was waiting for today to break in  my new bistro coffee cups that I received for my birthday via courier.  The mystery package appeared at my door yesterday and after wrestling with the plastic envelope-bag thingy it was packaged in I found, lovingly packaged within, a beautiful bistro cup and saucer set that is a perfect match to all my dishes.  It was sent by two women that I have an incredibly strong bond with. These dear friends I think of more as sisters than friends. We have become an incredible force; a triangle. We are bound together by some invisible force that is much stronger than each of us individually. The friendship between women that respect and truly love each other is a miraculous thing.  There are no catty words…ever. Only the desire to watch each other  succeed and be the absolute best that we can be. I thought of them with each sip of my morning coffee.

I have to say that this is my all-time favourite breakfast. Fresh fruit, a warmed croissant and a hot cup of coffee with lots of soy milk… mmm… it certainly isn’t a picture of perfection in terms of health promoting breakfast choices but I treat myself every so often this way. We all need to enjoy life and moderation is essential. Besides, a treat isn’t a treat if you eat it regularly. Lingering over my favourite breakfast on a beautiful summer morning made it taste even better.

As I slowly sipped my coffee I watched the cedar trees blow in the breeze. I enjoyed the soft, coolness of air on my skin. After so many days of scorching heat and humidity, the comfortable temperature this morning was very welcome. The birds were singing happily and the squirrels were going berserk as usual, jumping from tree to tree. It was intriguing to watch life go on around me, knowing that I was in no way involved other than to be a bystander to their existence.

Suddenly, out of nowhere appeared a visitor that I haven’t seen in a few weeks. The rabbit. I have been noticing that someone has been munching on my onions, bush beans and carrots but haven’t caught anyone in the act. The rabbit was very wily this morning. He (I’m assuming it is a he) made his way carefully around the lawn stopping to nibble on clover in the grass periodically, never once setting foot within the garden. Although, I thought I caught him looking at me from the corner of his eye a few times to see if he was still under surveillance. He scooted off under the neighbour’s fence after a few minutes, thank goodness. I didn’t want to have to set down my coffee to chase him away!

After breakfast I made my way into the garden to weed. I found it therapeutic today. Thinking of nothing but plucking the crabgrass from the soil and tossing it in the bucket. Nobody interrupting me or my thoughts of  nothingness. It was lovely. I got sidetracked a few times and never did finish weeding but I am getting there.  Tomorrow is another day.

Today started with warm thoughts of  cherished friends that has shaped my day into one bursting with appreciation for camaraderie , love and laughter. Thank you ladies.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  – Marcel Proust 

Schlop

I love the word schlop. If  it’s even a real word. If  it isn’t, I care not…I still like it.

I am using the word schlop to describe the concoction I have brewed in  my backyard. It consists of air-dried dulse, used unbleached coffee filters, and the coffee grounds that were stuck to the filters that wouldn’t shake off into my garden. I threw them all in a bucket and filled it with water. I will add a small amount of Basic H to the brew before using the help with penetration into the soil.  I have been collecting my used coffee filters and grounds (or is it grinds?) and putting them on the soil prior to watering. My neighbourhood Starbuck’s has been very helpful pumping up the volume of my collection rate. My tomatoes seem to be loving, and I mean loving, the special treatment. I haven’t been lavishing my beans with the same treatment since I read somewhere  that legumes don’t like coffee grounds in the surrounding soil. Anyone have any tips on this subject?

I refuse to use chemical fertilizers on my gardens and am constantly searching for alternatives. I haven’t been able to locate any organic or veganic fertilizers in my travels. I did some online research and kept coming back to compost teas, special organic fertilizers suitable for tomatoes but not beans or the other way around , and seaweed fertilizers. I  used fish emulsion fertilizer years ago but recalling the odour makes me gag involuntarily, so I refuse to subject my neighbourhood to the stench. The thought of putting fish bits into my soil freaks me out tremendously…shiver.

So I have come to the conclusion that I will be amending the soil without assistance from store bought products. Sounds daunting but I’m certain that with my horticulture background I can figure it out. Now all I need is to dig out all my old soil science textbooks. Sigh.

You may be asking why I am not using my compost that I had mentioned in previous postings. Well, I can’t hide the truth any longer from you. I am seriously avoiding the task of removing the side of my compost “bin” to get to the good stuff. I have convinced myself that a skunk family has taken up residence within. I don’t know this to be fact, I’ve merely repeated this so many times to myself that I now believe it. I did dig some compost out from the perimeter of the pile but to get right in  makes me want to turn on my heel and split. Which is exactly what I keep doing. I have started a new compost bin that is far smaller which I do not leave open or pile yard waste and sticks into. I think my problem with the large compost pile is that over the last few years many larger sticks have found their way into it which has created a lot of air space. I guess I need to just get over my fear and get to work. Alright, alright, I’ve talked myself into being brave.  Soon.

My neighbour  that has recently become a supporter of my eccentric ways (or is it simply my cheerful nature that is infectious?) caught me as I was running from my car to my house earlier today to comment about my garden. He questioned what I was doing to my tomatoes because they are so robust (compared to his plants, I guess).  I revealed my not-so-secret coffee strategy and  proudly pointed out my brewing schlop. He was intrigued and has plans to pop into Starbucks to build up his used coffee stash as well. Not if I get there first!

Garden Magic

We have lift off!

The garden is growing at full throttle and I couldn’t be happier. I almost suspect that if I was able to sit still long enough I would be able to watch it growing. It always amazes me how plants just know exactly what to do. Fascinating, really. So here is an update on the goings-on taking place in my garden over the past few days.

The tomato plants seem to have at least doubled, if not tripled in size since they were planted. They look healthy and vigorous. As you can probably see in the photo, we have not had any rain lately. The weather network is promising rain all weekend so fingers crossed for at least one day of rain. I feel as though the water police are going to jump out of the bushes and fine me whenever I use the hose to water!

 

Above:  Hooray! The seeds are sprouting! I am so relieved and clicking my heels that the seeds have all started sprouting. Here we have the pole beans about 6 inches tall.

Here are the beet sprouts. Teensy-tiny little sprouts that appear to be quite fragile when they blow in the breeze.

I am so impressed how quickly all the seeds started growing. This whole direct seeding thing is like a giant science experiment. I love it!

Here is where my mind was officially blown. Yup,  my jaw hit the soil. The onions just magically appeared the other day. I was outside a few evenings ago watering (or should I say, guiltily spraying water on the garden) when I thought I detected some grass shoots in the garden. I figured that procrastinating for a few days wouldn’t hurt anyone so I carried on with other things. The next morning I went out back and “poof!”  There, magically growing were four onions!  I can’t stop myself from repeatedly going outside and checking on them. Silly, I know, but they are so impressive.

Yesterday a neighbour knocked on my door with an armful of tomato and pepper plants. The poor things looked like they already had one foot in the grave. He stated that they needed a mother and he knew that I would step up and take the job. You betcha! I think these babies will be living on the rooftop though instead of the garden. No need to crowd together, there is loads of room for everyone. Plus, I’m certain that these are not heirloom veggies and I made a pact with myself about what does and does not get to join the in-crowd of my garden.

“In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy.”  ~Robert Brault