Category Archives: Gardening

Raising a Farm Girl

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Oh and I have to share this funny little story with you.

We were at our friends’ place for Canada day. They did a whole pig on a spit. It was incredible. In the evening, as they take the pig off the spit and prepare to butcher it all up into hunks o’ meat for their 70+ guests, Gabrielle walks up to Rob, the man in charge. She says to him with all her manners dressed up,

“Excuse me Rob. May I please have the tail?”

While the adults and children alike are watching in horror as Wilbur is getting carved up, my child is asking for the tail?!

He takes his big knife and hacks off the tail, plunks it on a plate like the grinch serves up the roast beast to wee Cindy-Loo Hoo. And off she waddles with a pig’s tail on her plate, as happy as…. a pig in mud?

I’m raising a farm girl.

My Wild Child and Her Garden

Yeah so this happened…

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And instead of stopping her, I began to take pictures. I truly thought that the paint (since it was children’s paint for Pete’s sake!) would be washable.

Her belly button is still a bit green.

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Oh yeah, and then I let her run around our yard on the grass, nekkid, with paint all over her body like a wild child. I have fantastic pictures but alas! They are all nudies. Not for public consumption.

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I post about the garden on here so I can comfort myself next year when the garden doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough. I post to keep a record of what we grew and how we grow things. Even though we randomly put notes in a notebook, we can’t ever find it from year to year. So the blog serves as our garden journal. Anything more organized just wouldn’t be “Pender” enough.

We have scapes now from the garlic. Those curly Doctor Seuss scapes!IMG_1113

 

We have nasturtiums, compliments entirely of Gabrielle who wanted eating flowers. We have chard and cilantro and kale. There have been a couple barely ripe tomatoes that Gabrielle gobbled up before we could even check their ripeness. Basically, they weren’t green!

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Our friend, Wade, has pigs again so that necessitated a farm visit.

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The picture of the onions on the floor are actually from last year’s garden. So last year, we planted 300 onions. We lost a bunch of the white onions to rot. These yellow onions are still doing well, aside from a little sprouting, and as tasty as ever. ! I think the onions and the beans are the only thing we really did not have to buy for the whole year because of our garden. Our passive unorganized hippy goal is to be self-sufficient in as many vegetables as possible. Our potatoes lasted until Christmas. We still have tomato sauce and dried tomatoes but we did buy fresh tomatoes throughout the year. We had enough parsnips to last us the year but really, how many parsnips can you eat?

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We’ve had family visiting the last couple days and we have more exciting Canada Day parties planned!

And soon I will give full report on Gabrielle’s doctor’s visit last week.

Happy Summering!

As we sink into June

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As we sink into the summer, our garden begins to really take shape. Our house extends to include the deck and the yard. We spend more time with less clothes. We shake out our muscles and let the tension go. And we sink into the sun!

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Rhubarb syrup in carbonated water. It is amazing. And fresh granola bars made with the rhubarb pulp from making the syrup. It was a perfect combination.

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There has been some baby knitting for summer babies that are coming and have begun to come and that we are immediately waiting for. Please pause a minute with me and send these ladies such wonderful warm thoughts as they begin this adventure of motherhood, or they multiply their blessings with more babies! Watching these women and their courage and strength, it expands me somehow. And yet, it moves me closer to my centre.

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I mowed the lawn. And I left a patch for the bees, bumbles and honeybees alike. I just couldn’t bear to mow down such yummy food for them. So now I still have a long patch in my yard…. Silly bees. Or just silly me.

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Oh this little one right here. She has my heart so completely. As we sink into summer, she sinks into being firmly three and a half. And I consider myself blessed beyond belief.

Meddling with the Bees and other Summer Pursuits

So I tried to meddle. But I can explain.

I tried to split my hive into two hives to prevent swarming. Sounds clever right? Even straightforward?

Maybe I’m just out of practise. I haven’t split a hive in a while. So I had 4 boxes in the beehive. And I checked them and made sure the boxes had eggs in it so that they could raise their own queen. Then I literally took the top two boxes and moved them over to their own bottom board. And left the bottom two boxes where they sat. I covered the top boxes’ entrance with grass so the bees would re-orientate themselves and voila! Two hives!

But it was not so. No. The top boxes actually housed the queen. The bottom boxes, queenless, didn’t raise a new queen. Thus after waiting the 28 days to see eggs from a new Queen, I piled all the boxes back together, with newspaper in between. The newspaper in between the separated hives allows the bees time to chew through the newspaper and become reacquainted with each other’s smells again so there is not a big bee war.

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All that to say, now I have one massive hive. Which is doing really well, by the way. And it is sure to produce lots of honey. But again, I am outsmarted by the bees!

 

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After keeping bees now for 7 years, my confidence levels has grown in some aspects, but still, I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps farming of any kind is a humbling experience, because we can’t control the weather, the conditions or the creatures we are trying to manage. And what a blessing that is! If I had to find flowers for 70,000 bees, we would be in great peril!

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Marc took this fantastic picture of Ramona. We joked and said the next time she goes missing again, this can be on her “lost” poster. Oh Ramona.

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We’ve also been outside, gardening, bubbling, doning hippy wear, and doing what people do when living on the gulf islands. Ya know, the usual…

Happy June Everyone!

April in Summary

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In my head, I have been blogging. Even my camera has been blogging as it snaps pictures of our daily lives. But I just wrote the final piece to my Childbirth Educator certification. I’m working at a midwife clinic doing their office admin. I have a full load of doula clients. I am beekeeping. And I’m raising my three year old. The blog got crammed in a back cobwebby corner (let’s not talk about the corners in my house right now!) and finally I’m giving it a brief dust off. So here goes the April dump!

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Between babies, I did get an Easter Feast but I did not get to paint eggs with Gabrielle. Gramma is splendid and filled in for me. When I got home, these beauties were waiting for me at the kitchen table. Way to go G & G!

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I got her a couple toys because I knew Gramma was doing a chocolate easter hunt. I hypothesized that the toys would be more long-lasting. But I was wrong. A couple of the chocolate eggs were eaten immediately, but the next few days consisted of Gabrielle re-hiding the eggs so that her dolls could find them. She even set up an Easter egg hunt for herself just because she loved the whole process so much. And the toys got a total of oh, maybe 15 minutes.

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Then came the Laundry Soap project.

We have been making our own laundry soap now for a couple years. My recipe is very simple. 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of washing soda, 1 grated bar of Ivory soap, a few drops of lavender and repeat until the containers are full. Gabrielle’s job has progressed from peeling the paper off the bars of soap to grating the soap. She gets through maybe 1/3 of the bar before she’s kinda done for a bit. Then she comes back to it. Not to brag, but seriously, her work ethic and attention span astounds me. It’s all that Farmer Influence right?

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Age Three has been mostly very delightful. Partly because I refuse to fight the small stuff. Like getting dressed before going to the beach. It hasn’t all been wonderful by any means, but as a whole, it’s much better than two.

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Gabrielle got new purple butterfly wings. We found them at a consignment store in town. When she remembers them, she loves them. (I’m realizing as I write this that I should have gotten her the wings for Easter!) One night after having barbecue burgers on the deck, Gabrielle had her wings on and she was talking about how when there is a big wind, she will go outside and then she will fly for real! She immediately reasoned that she would have to have a helmet on, of course.

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The evening ended predictably.

With her attempting to fly. For Real.

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And me helping.

I mean, how do you tell your child that you cannot fly? With purple butterfly wings? And a helmet of course.

You don’t!

You just try to make that dream come true. And laugh while trying.

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The garden is coming along. We transplanted our onions and leeks from the greenhouse to the soil now. They are spaced fairly close together but it worked well last year. We are still eating our onions we grew last year. They are in a well-ventilated cooler. They stored much better than our potatoes, which we packed in sawdust. The potatoes have sprouted and are pushing through their cardboard box, begging to be planted. Not yet, potatoes! Not yet!

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Last year the garden felt like Marc’s job. He ripped out the blackberry bushes and roto-tilled the beds. I did some weeding but it felt like minimal work compared to the colossal job he undertook. This year it feels much more even. I’m turning over the beds when he works. And when I work, he is amending the soil too. Now the garden feels like a family project. Gabrielle helps me water (and drinks from the hose- hippy points.) and she cheers on the onions and peas and garlic. She knows where everything is and she’s very excited about the tomatoes. Speaking of which, our tomato plants, while safely in the greenhouse, are flowering! Yay tomatoes! (as I try to block the overflowing counter from last year.)

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There is more I’m excited to share with you. Some knitted toys, and some beekeeping. I’ll squeeze out some more time soon. Spring, with all it’s abundance, is certainly keeping us running this time of year.

Happy April, Friends.