Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I lost the battle but...

The war is not over yet and I don't easily give up and I'm so mad!!!

These, boys and girls, are my cauliflowers...yup, small, oddly colored and full of yucky worms.

So if anyone is keeping track...my broccoli was attacked by the cabbage root maggot and all had to be pulled. And now the cauliflower is chicken food...all my hopes rest with the Brussels sprouts.

So what did I learn? Research, research and more research and oh yes...don't be lazy, use those floating row covers no matter how inconvenient they are.

Turns out that to get a large head of cauliflower I should have gathered up the leaves and tied them around the cauliflower head when it was about two inches wide, hmmmm!!! Who knew.

And the floating row covers would have stopped almost all of these bugs...aphids, cabbage loopers, cabbage worms and cabbage root maggots. Next year I will be much better prepared.

And now for something beautiful, sweet, and heavenly scented...Honeysuckle. I planted this plus an additional two last year. They were dug up from my friends yard and moved to mine. This one is doing very well but the others did not bloom. Not sure what the problem might be, maybe not enough sun. What did I tell you...research, research and more research...sheesh!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The weeding never ends

With all the rain we had, working six days a week and being sick for about week the weeds got the best of me this year...But I'm slowly making a dent...


Tomatoes, beans, peppers and eggplant

Not weeded

Potatoes and Swiss Chard

Partially weeded,

Cucumbers and volunteer potatoes from last year

Totally not weeded.

Broad beans and the now empty bed where my broccoli was eaten by cabbage maggots

Where oh where is my little weeding fairy?

I've done some research, talked to some other gardeners and it seems the best way to stay on top of the weeds is to mulch. I think I'll put down some of the grass clippings around the weeded beds and see how that works but I have been cautioned to leave space around the plant because water will often not penetrate through the grass clippings to the roots.

I'll report back on the effectiveness of mulching with grass clippings.

Pink pom poms

AKA poppies....I have never seen such big poppies nor can I figure out how they thrived in such a poor location, against the house, in a rock bed, with very little sun and no water from me.

They should be taped to the lead wedding car... horns blaring .....

Monday, June 21, 2010


These are my artichoke plants which are located in the chicken run, maybe that's why they are so big and green this year. The chickens love to have a lie down under the big leaves on a hot day.

Artichokes are perennial thistles....a prickly morsel of goodness and I just picked some. First feeding done and looking forward to a few more.

So what do you do with an artichoke? There are several recipes but today I decided to use them in a pasta sauce.

This is how you get an artichoke ready to eat?
Have a bowl of cold water with lots of lemon juice in it, artichokes go black when they are cut.

Start pulling off the tough outer leaves, one by one, he loves me - he loves me not.
Be careful, artichokes are very prickly. With a sharp knife cut the top off the artichoke to get a flat top.

Now you have to scoop out the furry choke. I cut the artichoke in half and use a teaspoon to scrape out the choke but you can leave the artichoke whole and scoop out the choke by opening up the center leaves. Trim the outside close to the stem and plop it in the lemon water.

For my sauce I sauteed onion, garlic and parsley in some olive oil. I then added the artichokes and my home canned tomatoes. Salt and pepper, partially cover the saucepan, lower the heat and simmer for about one hour.

Toss in some cooked pasta, a generous dollop of butter and with a heavy hand sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.

A little warning....

No matter how many leaves you pull you will likely find a stringy leaf, I don't worry about it, I chew it and then take it out of my mouth and place the chewed leaf on the side of my plate, all this is done with with a smile, my pinkie pointed as high as it will go and very ladylike, really.

But if you are serving this to some not so ladylike people you can remove almost all the leaves down to the artichoke heart and avoid the stringy leaf problem all together.
Me.... I'm too cheap and I love them to much.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Seven layer Mexican Dip

Have you ever tried it? It's delicious, impressive, great for parties, can be made a day ahead and super easy to make, here is how.

On a large plate, I used a glass pie plate....

Spread some re-fried beans on your plate, I used a can, that's the first layer.

Spread some guacamole on top of the re-fried beans, that's your second layer.
-You can make your own guacamole with two ripe avocados, which you peel and mash, add a dash of salt and pepper, a teaspoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a tablespoon of lemon and mix. All the seasonings can be adjusted to suit your taste.

Spread some sour cream on top of the guacamole, that's your third layer.

Spread some salsa on top of the sour cream, that's your fourth layer.

Sprinkle some shredded cheddar on top of the salsa, that's the fifth layer.

Sprinkle some sliced black olives on top of the cheese, that's the sixth...almost there.

And finally sprinkle some chopped green onions on top of the olives.

And serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Renos at the cabin.

Right now we are not spending very much time at our float cabin but we hope to change this in the next year or two. In the meantime we have decided to do some renos.

The roof at our cabin was not insulated, just a plain old tin roof, and it could get really hot and really cold up there depending on the season.

Last year Art put up some insulation that he found for free at our local mall and free is always good. And there we left it because we could not think of a good way to finish the walls without adding a huge amount of weight to our cabin.

After speaking with the diver that helped us with our float a little while ago and looking at his cabin we came up with a very inexpensive solution. Knotty Pine...it's really thin and lightweight, it's really cheap and it looks perfect in a cabin.

Last Wednesday, the day before I started feeling so sick, we put up one side and I just love the way it turned out. When I feel better, and when Art and I have some spare time, we will complete the other side but who knows, that might take another year...

Getting our gear together.



And beauty all around us...even in the rain.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

At home sick

I have been home sick for three days now and I'm sick of being sick. Really bad congestion with fever and coughing...

I went to work this morning, started coughing, turned off the lights and went home. Just didn't think that working with food and coughing was a good idea.

Did I mention that while I was sick the weather was brilliantly beautiful? Do you know how wrong it is to be shivering under several blankets with fever when it's 25C outside? Or how is this for wrong...my son, his family, his friend and his family were up at my cabin with my boat swimming, and all the while I was shivering.

Anyway, enough of that, I'm feeling better and I think I might be able to open the restaurant tomorrow. I took a walk around the garden today and I think I might have about 20 artichokes ready to go. Any good salad recipes that include artichokes out there? Let me know if you have one.

Monday, June 14, 2010


The weather is still not very good but these flowers bloom regardless of rain. In this boquet I have Sweet William, Snap dragon and Geum. The Sweet William smells devine.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Goodbye cleaning lady

I'm sad to say that I no longer have someone helping me clean my house. You might think that the issue lies with the cleaning lady but you would be very much mistaken.
The problem is actually with me....did I tell you that I'm an idiot? Well let me tell you now...I'm an idiot. Why?
Because...I feel compelled to clean up my house the night before the cleaning lady comes. And to make it even worse, I only seem to remember about the big cleaning event just when my eyes are closing. I jump out of bed and run around the house, like a madwoman, making sure all is clean and tidy for the cleaning lady....
The stress was killing me. Honestly it was.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New in the backyard

After several years of nagging, hinting, pleading my husband started work on a new project.

The beginnings of something wonderful with logs he found washed up at the lake.

Have you guessed yet? It's my new arbour. See the rock in the bottom picture? In a few years that will be the start of the waterfall to the pond....well that's what I'm trying to talk Art into.

And here it is pretty much finished, now I take over. I'll be looking for inexpensive wisteria, trumpet vine or clematis to climb this new and beautiful arbour.

I am happy, happy, happy...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back yard fruit

I was surprised to see the yellow plums and figs are doing so well despite the wet spring. Last year I made plum sauce with these yellow plums great for dipping chicken fingers and egg rolls or even roasted chicken.
And once I had my fill of figs which I adore I processed the rest whole in a simple syrup. They are so good on a cracker with some goat cheese and a chilled glass of white wine. Amazing.
Both recipes were from the Ball Complete book of home canning. If either of these recipes appeal to you I am happy to email them to you.
Yellow plum


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who's counting???





And that's all I have to say about that!!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bad Cabbage Maggot

Well that's it for my broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, all have been invaded by the evil cabbage maggot. The wet spring did not help as they thrive in damp soil and my decision not to use a row cover also did not help. Row covers work well but...they are a pain. They are hard to put down when it's windy and it's almost always windy in Powell River and with all the wet weather I just didn't feel like dealing with it all. In addition it's hard to deal with the weeds because I have to lift the cover, hopefully on a calm day, do the weeding and then put it down again....not my idea of fun. So this is likely the last time I'll try my hand growing these types of veggies.

In this picture you will notice the root hairs as well as the roots have been munched, the right hand plant, which is hard to see, basically has no more roots.

The poor vegetable slowly wilts and dies with little hope of survival.

I wonder what other problems I'll encounter this summer as a result of a cold and wet spring....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Out for a walk...

Finally a dryish day... I just had to get out of the house. This trail starts in the Powell River Townsite and meanders along for 1/2 a kilometer or so and joins the Willingdon Beach trail.

So today's post is a day in pictures...some of the interesting flora I saw on my walk.

The outer edge of the Townsite. These folks are so lucky, look at the wonderful view they have. That is Texada Island on the left and Harwood Island on the right and Vancouver Island beyond.

It's only 3:00pm but it's so dark in the forest.

This climbing ivy looks lovely right? But it's deadly to the tree.

I imagine the Powell River Parks Board cut the ivy on this tree so that it might live. Look at how thick the main ivy stem is. You can see the dead ivy towards the top on the picture.

Of course I don't go anywhere without my trusty companion.

The forest floor has a carpet of ferns. And...

Giant horse tails, I'm glad they are not in my yard but lovely on this path.

And this old stump was food for the new tree. Amazing roots.

I guess the stump did all it could for this tree, now it's gone, leaving behind a hollow bottom to this tree.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Still here but

a little depressed. The weather continues to be dark, rainy and cool and as a result I've been feeling dark, dreary and cool...But time to get over it.

Have you ever seen such a beautiful lupin? My sister gave this to me last year. She works in a nursery, lucky girl, and got it plus another 20 or so plants for a steal at the end of the season, which she passed on to me...

Not sure what it's called but I'm calling it my tutti frutti lupin.