Category Archives: Gardening

Storing up

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Some of the blackberries are a little sour.

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Oh, that one too.

We are riding down a big wave of produce. One of my counters has been filled with vegetable bounty for more than two weeks. Every time I process some, more comes in. I am not complaining. But we are busy trying to keep up.

So far we’ve done two kinds of zucchini pickles. (Dill and Curry.) We had made tomatoes salsa, sauce, dehydrated tomato chips. (I must mention that Gabrielle can eat 5 tomatoes in one sitting.) We have canned two kinds of beans with more in the fridge to still can. I’ve frozen shredded zucchini, and blanched green beans and peas. We have buckets of blueberries and the blackberries fed us dinner one night. But in the next week I need to pick blackberries in earnest to put them in the freezer for winter. With all this garden blogging, I can’t imagine what I’ll even write about in the winter when all this processing is done.

We have a cardboard box of potatoes packed in sawdust to save them for as we need through the winter. And we are hoping to over winter the onions and cabbage and carrots right out in the garden. But we will see how mucky it gets.

When I started writing in this space, we were dreaming of this. Growing food and storing it for all year long. And now we are doing it but after some other adventures. So does this mean in a couple years I’ll be going back to boat living??

The best part about all this bounty is getting to share it with friends and family. So come on down!

(We have the best tomatoes in town!)

Not about that….

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So, when Marc found out he had a hernia, I said, “Oh, so you want to be quite private about this?”

My question is valid. He is a very private person.

He responded by saying, “Well, you can tell people. but don’t do a blog post about it or anything.”

ahem.

So I’m not doing a blog post about it.

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Anyway, he had his hernia surgery on Monday and since then he has been on the couch recuperating. In the time since he found out and was suffering with his hernia, I attended two births. We’ve been just a touch busy around here lately.

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But we’ve found our way. The babies have still been taken care of. As you can see from the picture above, they are getting ready for dinner. I have been doing the “blue” and “pink” jobs around here including mowing the lawn. Twice.

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The first attempt was a little skewed as I was figuring out how the mower worked and uh… apparently I can’t mow in a straight line. So, the lawn looked kinda like a bad haircut. But the second time it is much better. I’m actually proud to say I did it instead of hoping someone else takes the blame for the choppy grass with stray ends.

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In between all this birthing and hernia-ing and gardening and summer-ing that has befallen us, we have been enjoying the sun. (Yeah, I actually have a tan! In Canada! Who ever heard of such a ridiculous thing?!) We have peas popping out of every corner of the pea row and Gabrielle has taken it upon herself to search out and chomp every.single.one. The chard is being nibbled in stir fries, fried rice, and even burgers. Chard omelette? Yes please!

And the tomatoes are turning yellow. Oooo yum!

There is a hum over the garden now as the garden is wreathed in blackberry bushes. The bees are all over it. Every kind of bee. Mason bees, bumble bees and honey bees all slurping up that sweet nectar. The hive smells like honey and the frames are hiding purple nectar in every corner! Go bees!

We are happy and busy. And healing. Thanks for stopping in.

(See Marc, I didn’t blog about your hernia! Well, not the whole post!)

The Choices We Make

Friends of ours used to always say, as a harsh reality check, “People make choices.”

Yup we do. But not always.

Marc and I made a choice to try and have a child. We didn’t choose who the child would be. Or how her heart would be. But yup, we made choices.

We chose to move to the Gulf Islands, where food is a bit more expensive, but houses are cheaper. Ferries are inconvenient but there are no Walmarts. We made choices.

We also try very hard to make conscious choices about how we move through our day, with Gabrielle, with each other, in the spaces we occupy. We try to remain mindful and simple in our day to day. We try not to add unneeded stress to our lives. We try to be small. For me, being small in stature already, this isn’t so hard. But it does take practise.

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So I try to teach Gabrielle where are food comes from. And how to make good food. I try to involve her as much as possible as we move through our chores.
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She doesn’t need much encouraging right now to join us in the garden. We answer her questions (a million times) and we ask her questions about what she sees. We show her which plants are weeds, which plants are babies and cannot be disturbed. We invite her to imagine the garden as her jungle. Of course toddlers take very little time to imagine and own what is before them.

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We say, these green balls will turn yellow and grow and then turn red and we can eat them. And she sees the processes. Mixing dough, letting it rise, punching it down, letting it rise and bake and then we get to eat it all up! She is learning the process of these tomatoes. She asks if when she is a big girl they will be ready, we tell her we hope they are ready before she is much bigger. We say this to echo both our longing for her not to grow up too quickly. And also to teach her about days and weeks.

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Even though she squishes the parsnips a little when she helps harvest the radishes, even though she spills flour everywhere when she helps bake bread. Even though it is a messy thing teaching a little one. Even though it doubles the time needed for a single chore, we slow down and let her learn. Because these choices we make, to bring her along with us on what we deem important, this is what life is about!

 

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The Garden

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It’s gardening season again. Last year we had good succcess with the four beds we planted after rescuing them from the blackberry vines. Good success, that is, until the deer got in to our make-shift fence. This year we are putting up a real fence. And Marc has more than doubled our garden size. I am excited.

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My back wasn’t as excited after a couple hours of pick-axing last weekend but I know it’s for a good cause.

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Marc has been the primary engine on this project. He has shredded his arms and legs trying to get rid of the pervasive blackberry bushes.

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The fence you see in front of Marc is all gone now and we’re going to put up the new fence this weekend. Hurray!

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Spring has really sprung and we are loving the daffodils and the start of the Farmer’s Market again. Our house seems to have added an extra room as we scurry out on the deck when there is sunshine.

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Clothes go back on the line and are mostly dry when I pull them in at night. I’m excited for that fresh-air scent as I pull a shirt on. And one thing I’m really excited about is not washing cloth diapers this summer! Yay Gabrielle!

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Marc has an array of seeds to plant and he knows just where every single one of them is going. I stick to what I’m good at. Weeding. And eating!

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We plant and mulch and weed and are loving this season.

Happy Spring!

Farm Day

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If you didn’t know, Marc is a farmer. It’s official. It came on our tax return documents. I only giggled a little.

The farm he farms is not our own which is quite fortunate because then he actually gets paid while he farms. (It is rare, trust me.)

The fun thing about this career is that he gets to plant things, prune things, grow things, and run a tractor. This week they got a new tractor on the farm so in between planting our seedlings in the greenhouse, he got to show Brie the new tractor.

In this photo below, Gabrielle’s disgusted look is because Marc is showing her a snail he found. She picked up and then put it gently down on a rock saying she didn’t like it because it felt a bit slimy.

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Spring is coming slowly to Pender. It was frosty this morning but the daffodils are budding and the snow drops are nearly done. Yes, while the rest of Canada is buried in snow, we are getting flowers. There’s nothing quite like the gulf islands.

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Gabrielle’s a funny kid. Sometimes she’s into all things that move like busses, taxis, tractors. But with the gator, she said it was too noisy and she chose to walk instead of ride.

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She also took a while to warm up to the idea of going inside the big tractor. She said she was a little bit worried because it was so big. Once inside, it was a challenge to make her leave.

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She wanted to know what all the buttons and handles did. Marc got her out of the tractor to explain the trailer hitch and what gears moved what levers.

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Gabrielle listened closely but who knows how much she understood.

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She was happy to head home for hot chocolate and already talking about going back to ride in the tractor again.