Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I love them and we dine al fresco under the grape vines...
Monday, June 29, 2009
But, today I want to show off the fruit trees.
The tree king in our back yard is the cherry tree. It was well pruned in the past and is basically disease and pest free, but it's a fight between me and the crows to see who gets the fruit first. Unfortunately this past week we had some torrential rain storms and some of the cherries split, but the chickens love them. Last year I made about 8 jars of jam and froze tons. It was so nice to have almost "free" cherry deserts like pie, crumble, cakes and muffins during winter.
Friday, June 26, 2009
On Wednesday I wrote about the heavy rain but I may not have mentioned the strong winds that went along with the rain. It flattened my Lavatera, some of the stalks were broken off but with a strong stake and string I should get it upright again.
And I bought a floating cover today and some seeds. I won a $25.00 gift certificate to a local nursery at my last garden club meeting. Those little root maggots, cabbage loppers and the like will not get the best of me..I hope.
The sun is shining today and will hopefully shine all weekend so I can spend my time in the garden. I hope the sun is shining in your part of the world.
Happy Friday everyone.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Pretty simple, I'm using my regular bread recipe and adding honey, raisins and cinnamon to it.
The biscotti are also really simple and oh so delicious, taken from my trusty, Betty Crocker's New Cookbook with substitutions here is the recipe for Orange Almond Biscotti:
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tbs orange zest
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds (I used toasted walnut pieces because I didn't have almonds on hand)
1/2 tsp pure almond extract (my addition because I like it)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (my addition and you guessed it, I like 'em)
-Heat oven to 350 F.
-Beat sugar butter, orange zest and almond extract.
-Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, walnuts and cranberries
-Shape dough into two equal rectangles, 10 x 3 inches on un-greased cookie sheet.
-Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
-Cool for 15 minutes
-Cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices, place slices cut side down on a cookie sheet.
-Bake for about 15 minutes or until crisp and light brown, remove from cookie sheet and cool.
-Drizzle melted chocolate if desired. I dunk my cookies so no chocoloate drizzles for me...
Enjoy with tea or coffee.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The chickens are all doing well, they are so funny. I've never seen a chicken run, I laugh every time..Here Art is letting them out for some free ranging..
Proof that poppies have weed like tendencies..they are growing amidst rocks at the back of the house which gets very little sun and is never watered. But so pretty.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I was tempted to go back to the supermarket milk, after all, I also want to live frugally as well as green, organic, self reliant, ect....
But as I was walking to buy my milk today, with my dog, with the birds singing, with very little traffic, the sun shining down on my shoulders, and a light breeze to keep me cool I came up with some reasons why I will continue to buy milk from the little farm just down the road from me.
- I don't have to buy a gym membership.
- I'm not producing any pollution.
- Walking keeps me healthy and less of a burden on our Canadian Health Care system.
- My dog is healthier and doesn't require as many visits to the vet.
- $2.50 does not seem like a lot but it helps to keep a local farm in business.
- No trucks, ships, or planes were used to get milk to my table.
- It keeps me sane and out of the psych ward.
Some folks have no problem with raw milk but I prefer to pasteurize my milk. It's really very easy.
Before you start make sure you sterilize your milk bottles and tops.
Heat the milk in a double boiler for 30 minutes to 63C, stir the milk to ensure the milk heats evenly.
Cool very quickly in an ice bath.
Bottle your milk in sterilized bottles.
Full details on how to pastorize your milk can be found here.
What are your reasons for eating locally?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The chickens it seems have grabbed every one's attention.
And their clucking is surprisingly soothing as we sit and watch them scratch at the ground.
One surprising thing.. that is not so soothing, they poop, alot. Who new that such little thing could poop so much.
I'll have to use one pair of my shoes just for the chickens and leave them in the garage..
So, first, wash the chard really, really well. I add some salt to the water to kill any unwanted little critters.
Bring a pot of water to boil and as you wait for the water, roughly chop the chard. Add the chard to the water and boil for two minutes. Quickly place the chard in cold water and then into a strainer.
Divide the cooled and strained chard into zip lock bags.
Label and freeze.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
And look they already laid two eggs.
Now..should I name them? Bettina, Giuliana, Alessia, Iolanda, Colleen and Lili...
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I am Italian, from the Oderzo, a little town near Venice and polenta is a popular dish. My mom used to make, and still does, huge pots of it. It would simmer in the pot for some time, the polenta would always stick to the bottom of the pot and go crispy and brown. My mom would empty the pot and then with a fork she would loosen the crispy polenta that stuck to the bottom of the pot. In my dialect, crostole (probably misspelled) di polenta, we went crazy for these tasty little morsels. Well that's what fresh tortillas bring to mind.
The right type of flour is very important and after some searching we found it at our local grocery store. Maseca is a type of corn flour.
There is ratio of water to flour but Lili knows by touch when it's ready.
Little balls go into the handy dandy tortilla press.
Then into a hot nonstick or heavy cast iron pan, no oil. Sorry didn't get a picture because we ate them as fast as they were coming out of the pan, all we have now are 5...
And here you have it, the final tortillas, all 5 of them.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
the cabbage root maggot.
Picture courtesy of http://www.gardenguides.com/pests/pestinfo/rootmaggot.asp
Not much can be done at this point but if I plant turnips or any cole veggie, like broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy ect. I will need to invest in floating row covers so that the adult fly can not get close to MY seedlings to lay it's icky eggs.
Right now it sure seems like the bugs are winning...the only plants that so far have not been affected by some sort of bug are: all my squash plants, cucumbers but I did loose one to a cutworm, potatoes and tomatoes.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
And thinning out the green onions which I'll use for some salmon salad, really delicious.
Monday, June 8, 2009
We took the 9:30am BC ferry from Saltry Bary to Earls Cove.
Looking up towards Jarvis Inlet as we make our way to Earl's Cove.
Pender Harbour is a beautiful place, made up of small coves and little communities.
After some sight seeing we met up with our friends at the Garden Bay Pub for lunch and music.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Enter the white bean dip, it's excellent on crackers and with a nice glass of wine. It's not necessarily low in fat because it does take quite a bit of olive oil but it has 0 cholesterol and it's not something I eat every day, nor do I drink wine every day, really...
This a general how to recipe, I don't have exact amounts because..well I came upon it by accident and I had to improvise.
Process the beans in a food processor with chopped garlic, parsley. lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. I had about 4 cups of cooked beans and added (about) 1/2 cup of chopped parsley, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tspn of chili flakes, 1 tsp of salt and some pepper. You may need to add more oil or lemon to get the beans to a dip, I chose to add more lemon juice but it's up to you, just taste and amend as you go. Remember that the dip is much stronger after it sits for a few hours.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The cherry tree looks good.
But no seating...Art to the rescue. With plans from Lee Valley and some ingenuity (we don't want to spend any money).
Art built this.
Now it's my turn..I have to make some cushions and we'll be set.
Monday, June 1, 2009
My radishes are all done, they were delicious, I'm going to try to grow some more but it might be too hot.
I am feasting on lettuce with no clear end in sight. You don't know how thrilled I am to walk right by the lettuce display in my grocery store.
For lunch today I made a salad with my home grown butter nut lettuce, dried cranberries, walnuts, calamata olives and feta cheese. I drizzled a little olive oil and red wine vinegar over the salad and grilled some left over polenta. I was pretty much finished with lunch when I thought about taking a picture, next time I guess..
The top picture shows Yukon Gold potatoes, Italian green beans and parsnips, and the bottom picture shows Swiss chard, Spanish Onions, carrots, green onions, lettuce and turnips.
And look at this picture, fried egg flowers, they are so cute and if anyone in Canada wants the seeds just drop me a line, I'm glad to send them out, but I'll need a self stamped envelope.
And finally a picture of the new flower bed done on the cheap, 75% of the perennials were started from seed, 20% were bought at the end of last season for a buck and 5% were 10.00 or less. Some of the more established plants were already here when we moved.