The Garden

The garden is producing! I have been waiting all winter and spring for this. So far we have eaten three kale salads and today I ate four peas. Tomorrow there may be a strawberry ready! Because the bounty is small in size and amount it is enjoyed that much more. It is relished and savoured with every sense. I breathed deeply the smell of those four small peas before eating them. There is nothing like it.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

As a kid rhubarb was a thing eaten by dunking in white sugar. To be honest, it’s the only way I’ve ever eaten it, until a friend gave me a big armload of it from her backyard. It was a bit too much to just eat raw so I decided to bake into something. I went with a crisp, mixed with strawberries to take some of the edge off the sourness.

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Here is the recipe I used. I followed it, except for leaving out the orange zest and just using about a quarter cup of juice from a carton. I also used frozen strawberries and left out the spices.

I was kind of worried about how it would turn out. I didn’t know if it would be sour, mushy, soupy or something else less than wonderful. Luckily, it was just wonderful! A little tart, but in a super flavourful way.

If you don’t have rhubarb in the backyard, you can usually find it at farmer’s markets this time of year. Give this recipe a try, it’s different, but fantastic! Try it for breakfast with a little strawberry yogurt on top, delicious.

May Garden Update

Our garden is officially ‘all in’. We thought it was before, but we kept slowly adding things here and there. We tried a lot of new things this (chard, tomatillos, peas, etc.). We are exciting to see what does well and already thinking about next year when our garden will be huge.

We’ve had pretty optimal growing weather the past few days, with lots of sun and humidity for most of the time and the occasional crazy rain storm. We also got a rain barrel this weekend which helps since the water we use isn’t so cold.

We should have strawberries next week (if I can keep the critters from getting them first) and kale shortly after that.

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P.S. If anyone has any advice for keeping rabbits away please share. We have our intense jail structure (see 2nd picture above) covering our carrots and beets, but we learned afterwards that bunnies also love pea plants and chard. Save our veggies!

Backyard Progress

We have been making some progress on the backyard lately (though when I say ‘we’, I really mean Kurt). Our gardens are nearly ready for planting, our grass is green, and the phase 2 of the pool is underway. I was really hoping to plant some flowers in the far back yard, but a tree branch that fell in the ice storm is occupying most of it still.

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In case you were wondering, that is not my cat in the picture. It is the cat I not so lovingly refer to as ‘damn whitecat’.

We bordered our gardens with concrete slabs from the backyard and filled them with a mix of peat moss, regular dirt and compost. Our region offers free compost from our food waste collection program, so we are using that, along with some worm casings from our worm bin.

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We rented a big saw last weekend and Kurt and his friends cut out some of the metal from the pool. There is still a long way to go, but at least progress is being made. I have hopes that one day there won’t be a giant death hole in the middle of our yard.

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I have dreams that one day our backyard will be a beautiful oasis filled with flowers, vegetables and butterflies, but until then, Kurt is really enjoying sledgehammering everything.

Spring Garden

That time of year I waited and waited for has finally arrived. The snow has melted (all but a stubborn bit of ice blocking access to our shed), the grass is starting to awaken and the sun beckons me to come outside.

There are no flowers yet, but our strawberry plants look very alive and the garlic I planted so long ago in the fall has little green shoots sticking up in rows. I don’t remember planted so many cloves. We even noticed that one of the elephant garlics we planted last spring shot up! Also our carrots from last summer finally grew, though the frost has since killed them. We are just no good with carrots.

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To speed things along we have started some seeds in the house. The tomatoes don’t seem to be doing anything, but everything else has little green stems. We even are trying to start some sweet potatoes. We stuck them in a jar with one end in water and there are now some little roots poking out!

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Our birch sap has started to run as well. Birch syrup and garlic for all!

It’s so nice to be back to the season of new life, rather than looking out to yet another snow storm. My heart goes out to my Mom. Her town is still buried under several feet of snow!

April Goals

The day before April it was as if Spring just all of a sudden arrived (kind of). It’s warm enough for no winter coat now and I’m finally back in sneakers after the long months of boots. With the changing season comes some of my favourite things. Walks outside, eating breakfast beside a sunny window, Cadbury cream egg McFlurries, and some of my less favourite things; Homer meowing at the door for hours wanting to go outside, and mud.

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(That’s his eager, ‘take me outside to eat grass’ face)

This is kind of a crazy month for us. We have both been so busy lately. We are hosting Easter at our house and we have visitors coming this weekend so we are trying to finish painting the living room. This has made the house a disaster zone. Right now it looks like this:

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(No those aren’t spots on the camera, there were actually that many holes that had to be plastered, I think the previous owners practiced darts on every wall)

There is plaster dust everywhere.

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My goals for this month are fairly light because of the busyness and because I’m sure I will be doing a lot of backyard jobs.

1. Train/exercise 3 times per week. In May we are participating in the WWF CN Tour Climb. Where I will be, you guessed it, climbing the CN Tour, a total of 1 776 stairs. We definitely need to start training.

2. Finish my quilt. I’ve been working on a triangle quilt. I’m so sick of cutting triangles, but I only have 94 left to go. Then I can start the fun parts.

3. Clean up the garage. Since we moved we the garage has been a dumping ground. It is a huge mess! We will be having a garage sale at some point and getting rid of most of the junk (hopefully). Then we can create some organization systems for in there.

4. Clean up the yard. The winter wasn’t kind to our yard this year. Once the ground fully thaws I want to clean everything up and plant some flowers. Most of our vegetable seeds having already been started inside.

I know the month will go fast, so I’m just really hoping to get outside and enjoy it!

I really wanted to end this post with a picture of some beautiful Spring flowers for you, but alas all we have are tiny green stumps and garlic shoots. Not so pretty.

Garden Plans

I’m really, really sick of winter. I’m tired of the ice chunks that surround our driveway. I’m tired of the extra time it takes to get out the door in the morning. I’m tired of the dry skin. I’m beyond tired of scraping my windshield. Sadly, this is Canada, and it is only February. Luckily, the time changes soon and that will give us an extra hour of sun in the morning (at least I think, I really have trouble wrapping my head around Daylight Savings).

The temporary cure for this feeling of never-ending winter is thinking forward to Spring. That beautiful season of sun, relative warmth, and green things poking up outside (though when it finally arrives I will probably be complaining of the mud….we live in a very muddy place). With Spring comes garden planting. I’m so very excited!

We’ve already started planning our garden out this year. Kurt has been reading books about seed saving, and such. I’ve been writing up lists of plants, and drawing out plans. We would like to have: tomatoes (a variety or two), hot peppers, kale (red and blue), radishes, carrots, beets, broccoli, garlic, zucchini, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, as well as a few herbs. Our garden space isn’t huge right now, so we try to be economical with how much a plant takes up versus how much it produces. We are also trying to plant mostly heirloom varieties suited for our region. Hopefully this will increase our changes of healthy plants. We are lucky to have a few options for seed producers local to us.

We will be starting some plants early from seed in the house, starting some outside when the frost is gone and we will also be buying some plants. We will have to wait and see what works best. Hopefully we have a good crop of beauties!

(Last year’s tomatoes)
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