Thursday, March 27, 2014

a little bit of bragging - teehee!

as some of you have noticed, i have started up the Framboise Manor Good Eats blog again. several of my friends, and internet friends, have asked that i start putting up the recipes of pics of food that i put up on this blog. so now, i am going to try to do 2-3 recipes a week.

when i first started this blog, i always asked permission for any new blog that i found that i wanted in our blogroll. so in starting up the Good Eats blog again, i sent out messages to a few food blogs that i follow daily and asked their permission to put them in our Good Eats blogroll.

one of my favourite food blogs is Ozlem's Turkish Table. Ozlem is an internationally renowned chef who does private classes and culinary tours. here is a description about Ozlem from her website:

"I am a native of Turkey and Turkish cuisine and culture is my passion. I taught Turkish cooking classes through Central Market Cooking School in Texas (Austin, San Antonio and Houston) as a guest chef for 5 years. It was a wonderful experience to introduce my homeland’s cuisine, history and traditions to fellow, enthusiastic foodies and I have been delighted to see such amazing interest for Turkish cuisine, and what has been cooked in Turkish homes.

I now teach Turkish cooking classes privately in England and through cookery schools like the prestigious Istanbul Culinary Institute in Istanbul and Central Market Cooking Schools in Texas, USA, now over 7 years. Here you can find my upcoming Turkish cooking classes near you. I also teach cooking classes for small parties in the comfort of your home. Please contact me for inquiries."

like i say, i read her blog daily and i have learned so many Turkish and Mediterranean recipes. her recipes are reliable and she explains all of her recipes in a step-by-step fashion, and includes drool-worthy pictures!
all of this to say - i contacted Ozlem to get her permission to add her blog to our Good Eats blogroll. because she is an internationally renowned chef - i didn't want to just add her without her permission - it would be like asking Gordon Ramsay if you could put a link to him on your sucky little food blog - i just don't think he would agree.

Ozlem gave me not only her permission, but went in and took the time to actually leave a comment on my last post on the Good Eats blog. the last post is a recipe for braised rabbit ( i put it up especially for Mike Yukon!). so, again, she gave permission to add her blog to ours, AND bothered to take the time out of her busy day to leave a comment.

i was honoured and humbled. and i just wanted to share all of this with you. if it sounds like bragging, it kind of is. but i just couldn't believe that someone so busy, a renowned chef, would take the time to bother. 

Ozlem, i appreciate your taking the time to give me permission and to leave a comment. 

for any of you interested in a beautiful food blog, filled with delightful food, beautiful pictures, history and culture - check out Ozlem's Turkish Table. you won't be disappointed!

and for any of you interested in the recipes for the pics of food that i put up here, go and visit the Framboise Manor Good Eats blog. yes, PioneerPreppy, i mean you, too - bahahahhaha!

Monday, March 24, 2014

i might have jumped the gun a little...and my seed planting list.

remember my last post "spring is in the air"? remember, almost all the snow was melted, we were finally seeing brown (a colour that jambaloney, Mr. Smythe and myself have a new-found penchant for?)?


well, we woke up on sunday morning to this:

arghghghghghghghghggh! the white stuff is back! we got 3-5cms and there was no brown to be seen anymore!!!! later in the afternoon tho, we saw some brown. mostly on the catpaths.

it melted and dripped for most of the afternoon - it was a beautiful day - 22C on the plastic-wrapped porch and about 30C in the greenhouse. a large majority of the snow is gone but then it dropped to -10C at night so now it's all ice out there - even the brown parts.

so ya, i may have jumped the gun a bit when i announced spring - especially since we are supposed to be getting belted this wednesday with 20-30cms. ugh. which means we'll probably have snow on the ground for a good few weeks. unless we have enough sunny, bright days to melt it. it's been a long winter, and a lot longer and harder for some of you than us, but man, i am just tired of white.

anyway, i know that some of my gardening buddies will care about my seed list plan for 2014....the rest of you can just skip to the bottom of this post and commiserate with me that the snow is back.

Framboise Manor Plant List 2014:

Tomatoes (12 varieties, some determinate, some indeterminate, 6 plants each):
Early Jetsetter Big Beef, Cobra F1, Earliana, Bloody Butcher, Pomodoro, Martino's, Amish Paste, Saxon, Clark's Early Jewel, Genovese, Big Beef, Pink Roma

Pepper Plants already established: these plants were overwintered:  1 Sweet Italian, 1 Quattro, 1 Orange Belt, 2 Yankee Bells, 2 Cayenne, 3 Big Bomb and 3 Monets. these plants will be potted into bigger pots and moved into the greenhouse once temps at night go no lower than -2C. the plan being that the heat captured during the day will stay ambient even overnight.

Peppers to start from seed: Hungarian Hot Wax (6), Orange Bell (6), Regular Reds (6), Yankee Bell (4), Orange Thai (6), Alma Paprika (6), Hot Chili (6), Early Jalapeno (6), Yellow Bell (6), Cayenne (4), Monet (4).

Cucumber: (6 varieties, 6 plants of each): Summer Dance, Sweeter Yet, Straight 8, Cross Country, Armenian, National Pickling.

Summer Squash/Zucchini:  (4 varieties, 4 plants each): Black Beauty, Sunburst, Elegance, Golden Dawn.

Winter Squash:(2 varieties, 3 plants each): Early Butternut, Burgess Buttercup

Beans: (7 varieties, some pole, some bush, 6 plants each): Light Red Kidney, Navy, Arakara, Tendergreen, Bountiful, Kentucky Wonder, Cherokee Trail of Tears.

Peas: (8 varieties, some pole, some bush): Super Sugar Snap (6), Sugar Snap (6), Oregon Sugar Snap (6), Sugar Lace (6), Lincolnd (4), Dwarf Grey Sugar (6), Saber (4), Asparagus (2).

Melon: (5 varieties, 4 plants each): Small Shining Light Watermelon, Amish Melon, Malali, Earlichamp, Hale's Canteloupe, White sugar.

Pumpkin: Marquis de provence (2).

Beets: (5 varieties and succession planting): Detroit Dark Red Supreme, Detroit Dark Red, Rodina, First Crop, NS beets.

Carrots: (6 varieties with succession planting): White Satin, Purple Haze, Rainbow, Scarlet Nantes, Chantennay Red cored, Scarlet Nantes coreless.

Lettuce: (in pots in the greenhouse with succession planting): Endive, Rome 59, Red veined sorrel, Batavian endive, Australian yellow leaf, Red oak leaf, Mesclun, Heirloom, Black Simpson, Forellenschluss, Paris Island cos, Rouge d' Hiver, Gardeners Blend, Yucaipai.

Onions: (6 varieties with succession planting): Parade, Norstar, Milano, Talon, Yellow Utah, Spanish Red.

Radish: (7 varieties with succession planting): Green Radish, Easter Egg, Daikon, French Breakfast, Cherry Belle, Watermelon.

Spinach: (5 varieties with succession planting): Viceroy, Bloomsdale, Galilee, Red Malabar, Strawberry.

Swiss Chard: (2 varieties with succession planting): Fordhook Giant, Lucius.

Kale: (2 varieties with succession planting): Black Tuscan, Curly Blue Scotch.

Various: Tango Celery, Minute Man Cauliflower, Green Magic Broccoli, All Season Broccoli, Jade Cross Brussel Sprouts, Win Win Choi, Emiko Chinese Cabbage, Optiko Chinese Cabbage, Golden Acre Cabbage, Fennel, Rutabaga.

Potatoes: (3 varieties, 8 tires each): Irish Cobblers, Brown Russets, Red Chieftains.

Garlic: spring and winter sets of saved cloves from last year.

ok - i think i covered everything. the tomatoes and peppers get started in the house this weekend. other cold weather crops get started in the greenhouse this weekend. as soon as the ground is workable we will direct sow the spinach, some brassicas, swiss chard, kale, carrots, onions and peas. and as each week goes by, we will start different things in the greenhouse getting ready to put the actual plants in the ground between may 27 - june 5. however, by being able to start so many things so early - woohoo - it's looking like a bumper year.

i will do our herb planting list in the next day or two.

i am looking forward to seeing your seed planting lists, too.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

getting the greenhouse ready for Framboise Manor Garden 2014!

spring is soooo in the air! (please don't anyone notice that our patio furniture on the berm is still over-turned! just haven't gotten to it yet!

check out my beautiful greenhouse!

isn't she a beauty! and some stick things that we are painting to put around all of our garden beds. (please don't anyone notice my finger in the left hand corner of the pic - not every pic is perfect! and i honestly don't know why every pic i take of the greenhouse makes it look slanty?!?!?!?)

come on in to the greenhouse! it needs a good cleaning after this crazy winter, but a good cleaning is already in the plans. i just wanted to take you all on a tour!

it was a balmy 24 degrees in there today - can you believe it?

 this is the right side of the greenhouse looking in from the door. lots of shelves for smaller pots, when they are ready, and large racks on the floor for bigger plants! (of course the racks were salvaged from the garbage by jam!)

this is a big giant shelf thing that i can't get a proper picture of that is opposite the racks at the back of the greenhouse - it's huge and will hold many pots!

this close to the centre of the greenhouse. we will add my little sink and it will be the washing up, watering area.

this is the nifty dirt-sifting contraption that jambaloney built using and old window frame with larger screen for the first sift of the dirt, and it has another screen underneath for the second round of sifting. and of course a big bin to catch all of the sifted dirt. we plan on mixing 3yrd old compost (our own - i'm sooo proud!), 5 yr old horse manure from our friend's horse farm, some seaweed, some store bought dirt and some peat moss. that is the dirt we will start all of our seedlings in - woohoo!

this is dead centre of the greenhouse with my potting table - i love it!

this is to the right of the potting table (again, ignore my finger!) it has a large table/stand and more shelves.

and this is looking to the right from the door. we have 2 of those plastic greenhouse thingies - the one wrapped in plastic will go in the house to start our tomatoes. the other one in the corner will stay in the greenhouse and i will be able to start some seeds out there in a week or so - woohoo!

can you tell how excited i am? i bet you can. it has been 2 really gorgeous days in a row! here's out front yesterday - beautiful eh?

on a gorgeous day like that you just HAVE to have a BBQ! we had steak and veggie shish-kebabs.


i hope that all of you are feeling spring where you are and are excited to get your gardens started. Framboise Manor Garden 2014 is really looking like it's going to be an awesome garden!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

crawlspace horror - part 2

jambaloney here!

it is STILL frigging winter!

** update - it is 2 weeks later and we are seeing brown - i can't believe this post lingered that long - but we HAVE been busy - my bad!!**

we have been busy with fundraising and i have been working part time so i haven't been back under the crawlspace recently, but here is what i did a few weeks ago - (only 5 more of these babies  to go)!!

i did crawlspace part 1 - and outlined the footers i made ... here is a completed one!

just need to seal the ends...

end cut - this stuff is like breathing radiation, but it DOES keep the pt lumber sealed!

oh ya - here is the sewer pipe, duct-taped to the gray water pipe, sitting on a rock...

sewer pipe sitting on a crap of railway tie..

rusty iron bar keeping gray water pipe from sagging.... YES i wil get back to fix this stuff!

here they are taped together - notice bike stuff?? haven't ridden since i have been here - THAT will change!!!

so here is a bottle jack on a temporary footer in the first spot i wanted to support.. right in the middle of the kitchen..

here are the shovels i used to flatten the ground in the crawl space..

i jacked up the railway tie and then put my footer on the flattened ground and jacked that up - sorry - no pic on that - it was cramped and i spaced that step... you want to put the jack in the final spot to compress the ground where the final support will live BEFORE you put it in place... otherwise it will just sag again.. this is a 4 ton jack - plenty strong enough!

here is the jack back in the temporary place and the permanent footing ready for support..

so i jacked it up really high... and measured..

then went a cut an appropriate length of tamarak

which i nuded in place

if you read my previous post, you will know that the railway ties have "turned" a bit, hence the gap..

which i shimmed with low-grade ceder shingles - you can get a ton at home depot for 10 bucks - not so great for roofing - but nice wide shims!

the last pic looked crooked - hey this is 12-15 inches or crawl space - i did use a level..

so here is the finished product and the jack off to the next spot..

special added bonus - i slammed out a shelf for the greenhouse that day.. from discarded stuff i got in large garbage pickup...

this is for big plants...

all done!!

spring is on it's way..

cheers all!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

spring is in the air - woohoo!

brown! brown! we can finally see some brown - woohoo!


over the past few days there has been much melting and dripping! and we are finally seeing some ground. and because of the melting, jambaloney has finally been able to get to a job that has been driving him crazy since december.


 because the cold weather came on so quick in december, our bags of peat moss and dirt froze to the ground and as we didn't want to rip them, i told him to just leave them there until it thawed. but he would go out every single day and try and lift them up. but it was no go. they were frozen solid to the ground!


here he is all proud of himself finally getting those bags off the ground and into the greenhouse! this bag was still a little frozen...

but with much careful jiggling and wiggling, he finally succeeded.

i guess when you live out in the middle of nowhere, small victories can be found anywhere - bahahahah! but no, like i said, it has been driving him crazy all winter. plus we need the dirt and peat moss in the greenhouse all warmed-up, so that we can start sifting it all to get ready to start some cold-weather plants - woohoo! we'll be doing that this week. he is at work today, and was there yesterday as well, so for wednesday, thursday and friday we will be getting the greenhouse in order. plus on the weekend, i will be starting tomatoes and a few other things in the greenhouse in the house. i am so super excited - woohoo!

so kids, what do you do when you only have a little bit of rabbit stew left? well i'm glad that you asked. you add a little more broth, throw in some celery, add some frozen peas and corn and then dump that on a big hunk of buttered bread. don't forget the cranberries!

 so as you all know from the previous post - jambaloney went down to get some training on driving the fire-truck with our brother b on saturday morning. our brother is going to teach all of us, one at a time. and then we can all practice whenever we want. our brother b is in charge of keeping the truck in running order and good maintenance and jam is going to be his assistant.

we ran into a friend of ours, a, that we hadn't seen in well over a year. a and his wife d have a cottage up here. so we yakked for a while and then a went back to his cottage. when i got home i called because i wanted to leave a message for him and his wife to remember to come to our benefit dance for our friend r on april 5. i thought they had already left and headed back to town but they were still at the cottage. i talked to d for a bit - she's a hoot, she is! i can't wait to see them at the dance. but this next pic is for her.

that's Frankie Blue Eyes on a box IN a hamper! jam had just hung up the laundry in our computer room and needed to get that box out of the way to do so. so he put the box in the hamper and 2 seconds later - there's Frankie Blue Eyes!!! now we can't move the box or the hamper until he finds his next little favourite place!

so continuing on, saturday night was our St. Patrick's Day Dance at our community centre. there was only about 20 of us there but when you have the exact right mix of people, all of whom are in the mood to party - well, a fun time will be had! we had an absolute blast! we were all dancing and singing and yakking and we didn't close the place down until the wee hours of the morning. we had such a good time!

i am soooo looking forward to the benefit dance that we will have on april 5 for our friends r and d! the gifts and donations just keep coming in and there will be awesome door-prizes, a big huge goodie basket, and maybe even some silent auctions. it is going to be a huge success and it is going to be fun!

anyway, i'll leave off with a pic of the moon this morning. sorry for such a blurry pic, but i just thought it was gorgeous!

off now to catch up on some blog reading!


Saturday, March 15, 2014


isn't she a beauty? that's our new fire truck that our friend s found for us. and that's jambaloney in the driver's seat and my brother b in the passenger's seat!

now kids, you all must remember that jambaloney has the driving experience of a 17yr old. and he has never driven a standard. NEVER. and this truck has air brakes.

we went down to the hall this morning for jamie to get training on the truck. our brother b is the only person who can back any of our trucks into our halls - he's a master at all different kinds of fire trucks! and he was going to teach jambaloney.

so we go down and figure that our brother b will drive, with jam in the passenger's seat, and he will explain what he is doing and why. no way jose! our brother b put jam in the driver's seat right off the bat and said "you can do it buddy. you can do it".

when i went out to take the pic i couldn't believe jam was in the driver's seat. he has the driving experience of a 17yr old and has never driven a standard. or used air brakes!!!! but our brother believes in hands-on training and he encouraged jam the whole time. our brother b had jam drive the truck about a kilometer up the road, all the while explaining different stuff, getting him to shift different gears and whatnot, and then when they got to our neighbour r's house, b had jam pull in to their gawd-awful driveway. then b got in the driver's seat to back the truck out.

they came back to the and s were so super impressed that jam had driven the truck. his nerves were shot - remember he has the driving experience of a 17yr old and HAS NEVER DRIVEN A STANDARD.

we thought we were done for the day. but oh no. b had him back in the truck going the other way this time, took him to our church which has a big parking lot, made him turn in, turn around, back up and then drive back out. then jam drove the truck back to the hall. our brother b made him back into the drive of the hall and said he did a really good job. even though the truck was a little sideways. but our other brother d told me earlier that THE ONLY person who could back our firetrucks into the hall was b. our brother d said he couldn't and neither could our other brother d. only b could do it.

so jam got out of the truck to much acclaim from our friend s who gave him a big hug and told him he did real good. so did everyone else.

but it was because of our brother b's calming attitude and manner of teaching that jam did so well.

do i sound proud? it's because i am. i am really, really proud of bringing that city boy here who had never even driven a vehicle until he was 45 and that was only to get us here. and now he is learning how to drive a big, giant firetruck with air brakes.

ugh. i am getting teary. could be from the onions i was just cutting. could be just because i am so proud of him. i am so freakin proud of him.

( a big thanks to my brother b. he has such a compassionate manner about him, he never looks down on anyone, he never judges, he just encourages. and he made me proud of him, too. and i thank him from the bottom of my heart for making my jamby comfortable enough to try and do this. thank you b)

it's been a long couple of weeks...this post doesn't even have any pics!

where to start? well, how about 13 weeks of chase the ace over the winter. having to be out in public every friday night for that whole time. ok - to be honest - we missed 3 fridays due to being snowed in. but heck - we don't like leaving our little mountain top. once a month is good for us. even though we really do love seeing our friends every week!

now we are involved in a benefit dance for dear friends of ours and we were honoured that we were asked to be included. and be in charge of all of the money and document all of the donations. and keep track of the dance tickets and the raffle tickets. and we had to join "the facebook" - something we got rid of back in the city.

it's a lot of computer time during the day and computer time since we got here is just checking out our favourite blogs and putting up our own posts on our blog when we feel like it. both of us have spent several years of our lives carrying blackberries, work cellphones and being on call. when we came here we wanted to ditch all of that. our regular home phone is in the room that is in the farthest end of our house and if we don't hear the phone ring...and don't discover a message on the phone for 3 days - oh well. that all changed when we got a beeper for our VFD. now that thing is with us all the time. thank goodness it doesn't go off too much.

i know that most of you have full-time jobs and cellphones to keep in touch with children and whatnot...but we retired here...because we could. we live on a small, fixed pension, grow a ton of our own food, and live according to our means. and we are happy that way. but this past several months of chase the ace every week, which has just started up again, and with all of the work that we need to start doing to get our seeds going and getting cold weather crops started in the greenhouse soon...well, it's all a little much. please don't think that we are complaining. we love our community and we love being so accepted...but last monday we were in to the city for an appointment, jam had IT contract work on tuesday and wednesday, wednesday night was our VFD meeting, tonight we were setting up the hall for the dance tomorrow, tomorrow during the day our brother B is teaching us all about the new truck that our VFD just bought and tomorrow night is the dance.

we are so looking forward to learning about the new truck tomorrow, sooo looking forward to the dance and we are soooo glad that the community asked us to take care of collecting the monies, gifts and donations for our friend. but man, we are tired.

the man crashed at 10pm. he emptied our freezer to defrost it today and i documented all of our meat. we definitely have a year's worth of meat and that is not counting all of the frozen veg from our garden and frozen local fruit that we picked last summer. i won't even talk about the preps in our pantry - beans, rice, chickpeas, flour, sugar, powdered milk, apple cider vinegar and a ton of canned stuff. we are way over a year's worth. that tired me out today because it took such a load off of my mind. i feel safe.

i feel like we are in a community that loves us and accepts us. we're going tomorrow and our brother b is going to teach us all about the new truck. the hall is set up and decorated for our dance tomorrow night - it will be a blast cuz my besty c will be there - we'll dance up a storm. out benefit dance for our friend will be a success.

i'm just a little tired is all. i'll go read your blogs till i can't keep my eyes open any longer. sorry for all the blathering. i just got a million things on my mind and have to stay on top of all of them. thanks my friends.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

more snow, a deluge and a fantastic brother who gave us wild rabbit - YUMMEH!

yesterday it snowed. ALL. DAY. LONG.

it was still snowing when the sun went down.

today we are experiencing a deluge, the likes of which haven't been seen since biblical times! but that's awesome as it's warm out and the rain is washing away most of the snow - woohoo! jam and i were sitting at the kitchen table the other morning and he said "brown. i just want to see brown". i said "whaaaaa" like my besty b says...i just can't say it as awesome as he does! then jam explained that he is sick of seeing so much white and for so long. we don't normally get snow until january, and then it stays and goes, stays and goes until about mid-march. but this year, we got snow in december and it has kind of stayed around. a lot. so this deluge is a good thing as we will finally see some brown.

now on to the best part of my post! our brother d snares wild rabbits. his wife has made us several rabbit meatpies and they were deeeelish. but then our brother asked us if we wanted some wild rabbits because he has a freezer full of them. can you believe asking us a question like that?!?!?!?!? i jumped all over him and hugged and kissed him, told him i would love him forever and give him all 3 of our cats if he would give us a wild rabbit. that he snared. this year!

he gave us four wild rabbits!!! i couldn't believe it! i haven't had proper braised rabbit or rabbit stew in a million years! we took those rabbits home and i defrosted 2 of them. our wild rabbits aren't huge but they make for a decent supper and a lunch the next day - unless you haven't had wild rabbit in a million years. then you stuff your face on it. like we did.

i now present the braised wild rabbit going into the roaster to roast in juices (homemade stock, not pictured) below:

for our first meal, i wanted a simple braised rabbit. i sauteed some onion, carrot and celery to provide flavour, braised the rabbit on all sides, put the veg and the rabbit in the roaster, filled the roaster about 1/3 of the way up the rabbit and roasted that baby for 3 and a half hours. when we took it out, the meat simply fell off the bones! i served it up with wild rice with mushroom and cranberries (from our own land. yes, Sue, from our own land!)

have a gander:

i would love to say that we used the fancy plates with fancy napkins and other fancy things - but we just dove in to the platter! and the platter looked like this in about 15 minutes:

it was probably the best tasting wild rabbit i have ever had in my life. except for the next rabbit that we made the next day. we were wild rabbit crazy! but since neither of us have had access to wild rabbit in so many years, we just had to have rabbit stew the next day!

i browned this rabbit on all sides and then put it in the crockpot for 4 hours with homemade broth. then i dumped all of the pieces of rabbit and stock into a big pot and added our own homegrown potatoes and carrots. we ate the whole thing!!!!

we still had 2 more wild rabbits in our freezer, when, at the VFD meeting last night, our brother d tells us he has 4 more wild rabbits for us. can you believe this? this is free food....and not only free, but really healthy and local! there is nothing that we could eat that could be more healthy for us!

here's a pic of the next 4 wild rabbits that our brother gave us.

have you ever seen cleaner, packaged meat? our brother isn't only an expert in snaring the wild rabbits, he is an expert in cleaning and preparing them.

what more can i say than that we are gonna stuff our faces with more wild rabbit this evening. probably tomorrow evening too. you can never have too much of a good thing!

for all of our prepper friends out there - ya, we know how lucky we are. pretty much all of our brothers and neighbours know how to hunt and fish - there will be plenty of food to be had around here if SHTF. we've got enough seeds to grow more food than you can shake a stick at, and the protein, be it fowl, fish, deer or wild rabbit, is plentiful!  i'm telling you all to git yer butts up here!

now i am off to go cook another wild rabbit. yummeh!

(a big giant thanks to our brother d. a big giant thanks!)