Tuesday, April 18, 2017

a party, my gardening cards and odds and ends

today is a pretty nice looking day - pretty cold out there with a northern wind but nice to look at all the same!


we had a birthday party in fourchu (our sister community) on saturday evening. it was for our bestie b's mom - her 80th birthday! man, is she some spry for turning 80. and a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush - and yes Senior, you would blush talking with her - bahahahahah! we had a bunch of food during the party, then we played chase the ace and then the dance started. we had a blast at the dance - we haven't seen some of the fourchu folks in months. it was a great night of dancing and being ridiculous and my sister C did not drink too much - bahahahahahahahah! oh bahahahahha! that just killed me! bahahahahah!

speaking of my sister C, she and her hubby G gifted me this box of Flora's Gardening Cards a few years ago.


when they gifted these to me they were still in the plastic wrapping. i looked up what they cost on the internet and almost had a heart attack! i called my sister C and yelled at her for spending so much money!!! i should have known better. my sister C is a bit of a cheap-skate - er, no, i mean she is very frugal! ya, that sounds better! but she and her hubby always have their eyes on deals and when she saw these cards she thought of me and jambaloney and got them for us. at a flea market or a yard sale and she promised that she didn't think she paid $10 bucks for them. i sighed with relief!


every year i get them out and look through all of them....every year i take out the cards of what i am planting and read them to refresh my memory on what goes where, why and when. the cards are beautiful!


every year at the end of gardening season, i put them all back in their appropriate spot and then during the winter when i am bored - i get out my cards and read through all of them again. i hope that i have thanked my sister C enough for these cards - i really love them!

here's a nice grilled pile of veg and a salad for dinner yesterday. sorry it looks so dark - the lighting in this kitchen is gawd-awful so i always just use natural light.


supper was fajeeeetaz!


there's grilled steak, grilled onion, 4 different kinds of peppers, kymberz-almost-salsa-almost-guacamole topping and our own pickled peppers that we grew and pickled last year. yummeh!

this morning for breakfast was a stirfry of kale, mushrooms, onion and garlic.


it was some deelish! here's hoping we'll be eating our own kale soon!

other than that - we have almost all of our tomatoes up and most of our peppers. anything that isn't up tomorrow gets a new seed planted. our tatsoi, mazuna and mesclun lettuces are up in the greenhouse outside. we also have spinach coming up. it's looking like a good start to the season!

jambaloney is up to his eyeballs in work - he was in to work yesterday, has been working all day here at home, and is in to work tomorrow and thursday. i have said it before but honest to goodness - he has been working non-stop since september! even if he goes into town for the whole day - he still does work in the evening. he really has to as they are implementing an entirely new system that he and his colleague D built. and it's impressive!

anyway, i had 2 organic yellow onions and 1 red onion sprouting. i thought - what the heck and put them each in a bowl of water. and yes, they are rooting and turning into new onions. those get planted this afternoon along with the green onion bottoms that i rooted. woohoo! i already have a bunch of green onions going in the greenhouse and our chives will be coming up soon, and i should be receiving my 100 yellow onion and 100 red onion sets from vesseys soon - another woohoo! so no more need to buy onion seeds or sets for the rest of our lives. THAT always makes me happy!

next week peas and onions go in the ground. the following week, depending on the temps it will be potatoes - can i please get a woohoo?!!?!?!?!

anyway, i hope all of you who celebrate Easter had a wonderful Easter weekend. and of course, sending love to you all!

Friday, April 14, 2017

a review of planet whizbang

Planet Whizbang - who names a company that? you can find out more about the name and the logo here. what do they do/make? everything from chicken pluckers, mini-beds-on-plastic (i have to look into this more!), cider press material and clothespins. and every other crazy thing that you can think of!

As you all know, we do not advertise on this blog nor do we have any ads blinking all over the place. when we get a quality product we give an honest review. we were not paid or compensated for this review, although long before the owner, Herrick Kimball, knew that we would do a review, he chopped off some of the shipping costs. that's a true and proper gentlemen right there.

Herrick was responsive through our emails, prompt, professional and polite. that is so rare these days when dealing with customer service reps and the like.

we ordered 40 of his hand-made clothespins - YES - I JUST SAID HAND-MADE CLOTHESPINS!!! i almost fainted when i saw them on his site! the clothespins are made from ash wood and are so beautifully-made. have a look:


the packaging was impeccable and the 2 notepads were thrown in for free.

we also got 5 yards of cider-press material. jambaloney is darned-tootins' that this year is the year we make apple cider and apple cider vinegar. we have a friend who has an apple orchard and only really picks enough for his family - there are always tons left after he picks what he needs and he told us we can pick whatever we need after him.


click this next pic to read what Herrick includes in his packages.


a personal thank you on the receipt - i love his penmanship!




and finally, a better look at the clothespins.


and because of the fact that they are made from ash wood - these clothespins will last the rest of our lives and probably be bequeathed to one of the young kids around here when we die.

let me state again that we do not advertise here. but if we find a super-quality product, handmade in North America - then we will make the investment, try it out and let our friends know about it.

the only downside to the clothespins - and it's a BIGGEE - we are terrified to use them - bahahahah! no really, they are so well-made and beautifully-crafted that we don't want to let them out of their bags and out of the box with a towel covering them to protect them from dust - bahahahahah!

we'll use them kids. just can't say for sure when. we are enjoying just looking at them for now.

if you are looking for quality, handmade clothespins, i couldn't recommend Planet Whizbang more. and just to satisfy your own curiosity about what other great things they have, check out their website here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

some bunnies for Rain and Toirdhealbheach Beucail

Rain is an excellent artist and you can check out some of her work at her blog page Rain's Garden. Toirdhealbheach Beucail simply loves bunnies, has bunnies and volunteers working with bunnies. TB's blog is The Forty-Five. you can find both of their blogs listed in our blogroll.

why all this bunny talk? well, because Rain suggested in a comment that i take up painting. when i read that comment to jambaloney he spit coffee all over himself, fell out of his chair, banged his head, stumbled around a little all the while screaming 'BAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

i replied back to Rain that the only thing i could draw was a bunny from the letter B. get ready to be astounded and make sure to take notes.

you start with a B...i chose to make this one pink.


next comes the ears....you can see the bunny forming now eh?


next up, an eye, a nose, some whiskers, a little smile.


don't forget a little bunny hand and heaven forbid you forget the tail.


last up are bunny feet - have a look - i'm quite pleased with myself.


but then i thought - what about an action shot. like the bunny leaning over a log. it wasn't easy but the result is pretty majestic!


here's both the still and the action.


kids - you want to get your orders in fast as i am sure these are gonna sell like wild! and Rain - thank you for getting me back on the path of drawing. next up - water colours!~ oh ya baby!

BAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

3 lovely surprises came in the mail over the past 2 days!

what a beautiful spring day! and i received a lovely surprise in the mail yesterday and today! woohoo!



years ago i met a very talented artist on facebook. his name is giovanni damiano presenza. not only a talented artist but he studied fine arts at York University and Cambrian College. he also studied brain and cognitive sciences at Laurentian University - go figure?!? his work is what i would call "gothique" and his portraits of his actual friends are to die for, but he also does some joyous stuff and we recently were able to come by some of his paintings.

jambaloney, as you all know, loves fish. every. single. kind. of. fish. known. to. man! when i saw this painting of Gio's angel fish - i knew i had to get it for jambaloney. look at how gorgeous this is!


and then i looked around at some of his other paintings and saw this little pollinator. i asked Gio if he could paint the little bee on a clover. he said no problem. i love bees!


we are sooo very pleased with our "splurge". we often only get practical and utilitarian things - but these paintings are a late 16th anniversary gift to each other. remember - we didn't even remember our anniversary on Jan 19 until our sister and bro reminded us!!! bahahahah!

these paintings go into our new addition once it's built....for now, they will live in our living room and give us a sense of joy every time we see them. thank you so much Gio.

if anyone is interested in seeing more of his work, just type his name in google and you will get his art site and his facebook page. just no one touch the seahorses painting - that one is next on my list!

continuing on, what is leftover mashed potatoes with a ton of butter and mashed carrot and turnip with a ton of butter and nova scotian maple syrup good for? hash people....wonderful, delicious hash!


with pickled beets that we made ourselves that still have bite and kick even though they are a year old!

it was such a nice day that we took our exercise mats out on the deck. hopefully we'll be doing our stretches on the mats or the bare ground (my preference) soon. we can't right now because the whole yard is mud!


and this is my second surprise that came in the mail yesterday.


this is a vanity purchase for sure. but ya know what? sometimes you treat yourself. and for us - treating ourselves to getting the dishwasher back on the porch in the next week or so is just that - a treat! these little cup thingies sway in the wind and attract all kinds of birds, pollinators, etc.

when it rains they will tinkle and sway and birds and pollinators and all kinds of little bugs can bathe or get a drink of water. i just like looking out the window and seeing such vibrant colour.


of course the Rat (i mean Edgar) had to participate in the installation. and yes, that is an old coffee table that hasn't yet completely fallen apart that we use to feed birds on. needless to say, with the Rat (i mean Edgar) sitting on the table no birds were seen.

last up - here's just the thing to keep you going until supper - it's a salad made with sorrel, a few dandelion greens, green onions, mint and parsley all from our greenhouse - woohoo! with oranges and a carrot-ginger dressing that is to die for!


an excellent afternoon snack! we are hoping you are having an excellent spring day too!

Monday, April 10, 2017

re-purposing Winnie's recipe box...and how we live on even if we don't know it

i've had Winnie's recipe box for over 10 yrs now!


who was Winnie? i can only tell you what i've heard because i never actually met her. when jambaloney and i bought our first house in ottawa...and oh what a wonderful house it was - a 200ft long X 75ft wide yard, our next door neighbours, Anna and Rafel lived next door and had the same size lot. can you imagine that? right in the heart of the city? those lots were rare indeed!

Anna and Rafel were from Poland and had only been living there for 3 yrs. they purchased their home from Winnie, who was also from Poland but came to canada during WW2. she lived there for the entire rest of her life and had an amazing garden growing in her backyard. but she was getting close to 90 and needed to sell her beautiful home and garden and move in with family. she was very happy to sell her home and land to Anna and Rafel as they were from Poland, too, and Anna was a gardener extraordinnaire.

Winnie gave Anna all of her seeds and all of her recipe boxes.


Anna was constantly in her garden and so were we. our yard was beautifully landscaped and had a little park, a gazebo and long beautiful lawn that we suntanned in every chance we could. several times a day you would hear Anna's polish-accented voice saying "kimberly. kimberly." and we would meet at the gate, or visit in each other's yards. Anna was a scientist back in Poland but didn't work for the 4yrs she was in canada. she missed working and she missed Poland. Rafel was in IT like my jambaloney so we all really got along well. it was Anna that got me and jambaloney into growing our own food and prepping.

after only 4 short months of us being neighbours, Rafel got a lucrative job in Amsterdam. it was hard for them, but they really wanted to be back in Europe and closer to their family and friends. they asked us if we would take their cat, Karol, named after the famous Polish king. we had my 2 female cats at the time, both of whom have since passed, and we took Karol in a heartbeat. and promptly named him Barrel because he is the shape of a barrel - bahahahah! somehow his name changed to Moby-Moe and Moby-Shambie. who knows how these things happen.

anyway, Anna also asked if i wanted Winnie's recipes and recipe boxes. i said of course.


and i have had those recipes for over 10yrs now. i have sorted through them many times - a lot of them are depression-era recipes and all of those i have kept.


but i wanted to do something special with the box. i don't keep my recipes on cards so that wouldn't work. but i always knew that i wanted to do something special with the box. and after 10 yrs, finally came up with a special use!

once i have started seeds in the little cups in the greenhouse in the house, or in the outdoor greenhouse, i put those seeds in a bag marked "planted". that way i know where the seeds i have planted are. when seeds get planted in the ground, the seed packs don't all fit in the bag so then i take all of the seeds and put them in a container. i know, great system. this year, however, i want to be rigid with what i plant, when where, how, etc.....so i decided to use some of Winnie's extra cards for my seeds.


i will use more cards as the growing season comes on, but these cards say: "1st planting, 2nd planting, 3rd planting, 1st up, 1st flower, 1st fruit, 1st ripe, first in ground". and that is how i am storing my seeds.


i also keep a notebook and a calendar. but Winnie's recipe box really shows me what is really going on even better than my notebook and calendar. i think it's because Winnie's box has so much history to it. and i love looking in it and i love that my first hot wax pepper, from the "1st planting" section, has now been moved to the "1st up" section.

thank you very much Winnie, though we never had the chance to meet. who knew that your recipe box, decorated with cute pictures of cats would live on so long. and thank you Anna. i feel both of you this growing season. and it feels very extra special.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

chia fresca....and our favourite pasta dish

how about some chia fresca?



chia seeds when soaked in water or any other kind of organic fruit juice turn pulpy. and gelatinous. not sounding so pleasant so far but ...


mix it into a fruit juice - you can even add alcohol - and blammo! you got a nutrient dense way to start your morning. or afternoon. or evening. get on it kids!


we make ours in widemouth 250ml jars. we use one tablespoon of chia seeds and then fill the jar with our berkey-filtered rain water. shake the jar and put it on the counter. shake the jar every 10 minutes until it looks like a gelatinous glump and then put it in the fridge. use it up by about 5 days. then make a new one. you can add alcohol to it kids!!!!!

if you are interested you can do some very simple searches about the health benefits of chia seeds.

we had one of our very favourite meals for dinner - organic brown rice spaghetti with a sauce made with chopped up tomatoes, a ton of garlic, sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, spinach, our own overwintered oregano and when served, grated parmesan and parsley.


somehow being able to put your own beautiful oregano in your food makes you feel great.


sending love and hoping that spring is blessing you, too, wherever you are!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

could it possibly be spring? oh i sure hope so!!!

after a day and a half of maritime rain and fog - check it out:


the majority of snow is gone - woohoo! we can see Strachan's Brook out front and we can see the river out back!


look at how much snow the rain and fog got rid of - woohoo! and our first coltsfoot - yay baby!


can you believe that all 8 of my big beef tomatoes came up? and 2 styrafoam cups have 2 tomatoes!!! that means i have 10 big beefs - can i get another woohoo?!!!?!?


if you notice, i mark all of my "first ups" with pink marker...this year i am being dead serious about saving our own seeds.


as each new thing comes up first, i am marking them in pink. i am marking the first ones to set flowers in black and the first to set fruit with green. i will use sticks marked appropriately as the plants aren't going to set flowers or fruit for a few months - but i am the catologing queen this year.

my natural pond is melting and my baby pussy willows are coming back. i love my pond. this is where the spring peepers set their eggs. i love the sound of "meep-meep-meep" in the spring!


and nothing beats a good roast beef dinner.


i brown onions in butter until caramelized. then brown my roast on all sides. the onions go into the crockpot first and then the beef. ALWAYS add a chopped anchovie, fresh crushed garlic, homemade bone broth, sea salt and pepper and the usual suspects: turmeric, cumin and cayenne. cook that baby for a minimum of 4 hours. while it is cooking, make your mashed potatoes with a ton of butter, mashed carrot and turnip with a ton of butter and pure nova scotian maple syrup, and lastly, steam your brussel sprouts for 6 mins and then fry them in butter for 4 mins. the au juice from the roast rounds out the meal. sometimes i do a gravy...sometimes just the au juice.

deelish i say.

i think it might possiblly be spring. oh glory be.