My Life is really in the Garden

Enjoying and sharing the daily discoveries of the beautiful nature that surrounds me in my lovely garden and everywhere else!


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My garlic crop is growing very well, and so are my potatoes .. happy days


Thursday, May 30, 2013

My garlic crop is growing so very nicely, thanks to the chopped oak leaf mulch, the seaweed (that D & I gathered through the seasons!) and the EM (magic stuff, really).

The hardnecks are just gigantic and I’ve been harvesting the scapes .. some of which I’ve chopped up and put in the freezer for later stir-fries and some I’ve made into pesto .. oh, my goodness .. very garlic-y!   And really, the scapes have grown so early on this crop .. I’m sure that last year that they didn’t arrive till much later.

IMGP2016Stepping back . .here is a view of my garlic crop .. I’ve planted them in  rectangles this year, and should have made the paths between them wider than I did .. guess I got a little greedy in wanting to plant more garlic!

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A little Golden Crowned Sparrow was walking through the garlic forest ..

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I am so looking forward to harvesting this crop …

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Finding tiny objects from the seaweed .. so I decided to decorate the garlic leaves .. pretty, hey?

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The great, ah, scape .. ha ha

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A little Robin goes hunting in the garlic forest …

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I mixed up a batch of garlic scape pesto .. no recipe .. just roughly chopped up the scapes, tossed into the trusty Braun food processor, added lots of olive oil, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds .. finely grated Parmesan cheese … yummmmmmm… very delicious.  Using an ice-cream scoop, soon filled a parchment covered cookie sheet .. into the freezer for a while .. and then ..

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Filled up a ziplock bag and in the freezer .. ready to toss into soups, stews, spaghetti, sandwiches .. sheer heaven ..

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Young Anna’s … so very sweet ..

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Welcome visitors .. I just know these babies have hatched somewhere in our little forested yard ..

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My deluxe greenhouse .. an airplane windshield .. so very perfect …

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I’ve planted these coffee sacks with potatoes … interesting to see how many potatoes I will get.  There are also some volunteer potatoes that I missed digging out .. so happily I will have many potatoes this year.  I heard about growing potatoes in burlap bags, so this is my version of that idea.  I put the bags inside sturdy garbage bags, with holes punched in the bottom for drainage.  And as the plants grow, I’ll unroll the tops and add more soil.

IMGP2017As a matter of fact .. that is what I am going to do right now .. change into my gardening clothes and run .. well. … .first I”ll brew some more tea and then I’ll rush outside!!

🙂


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Yesterday I finally visited with a friend .. and I was baking and making soup .. quelle surpise!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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Yesterday a friend and I met for lunch .. something we’d been planning to do for well over a year and the time had arrived!  We met at the Beach House (formerly McMorrans) and what a beautiful place this is!  So we enjoyed a delicious lunch, admired the magnificent view and 3 hours later .. time to go!  Amazing how time disappeared once we started catching up on what is happening and also discussed creative subjects like “soap”!   We went through several pots of tea …

I’m so excited about my rekindling interest in soap creations .. so many facets to rediscover.  So many paths to wander down .. feels great to be so energized in this creative world.

Anyway, we quite enjoyed the view which included watching seagulls play at riding the waves as they cascaded onto the beach.  Crows strutting around, looking for treasures.  Well loved dogs walking and running along the sandy surface …

Then .. time to continue on with the day.  The skies were overcast .. but the clouds did disperse for a time .. showing off the rich blue hue and fluffy white clouds .. so, since I had my camera along with me, I quickly took some photos!

Purchased a few supplies of organic vegetables and then headed for home .. time to make soup.

The time had arrived for me to finally use the lovely single squash harvested from the garden. Organic, of course .. so I saved the seeds from this vegetable .. visions of a rich crop this summer.

Once I’d peeled and chopped parsnips, carrots, zucchini, celery, a few small potatoes .. and amassed quite a supply of peelings for the compost .. I was ready to start the soup.  Oh .. and I just realized that I omitted the garlic .. how could I have forgotten this!

My supply of bay leaves were at zero .. so outside I went, with my flashlight, to pick some from the tree in the back yard.  Also picked some crunchy kale but decided to make a salad out of these leaves, instead of putting them into the soup pot.  I’ll prepare that salad today!

After about an hour of peeling and chopping, though, I felt like something was missing!  Hmmm … time to remedy that and I poured myself a little glass of red.  Ok, that’s much better.

And I continued onwards.  Added some olive oil to the pot, gradually added in the veggies .. they looked quite colourful.  The bright orange of the squash, the tidy cubes of parsnip, fresh green of the celery, rich orange of the slender carrots, now in neat circles.  This was going to be a good soup.

Topped up with a generous supply of organic chicken broth.  Cooked all in the pressure cooker for about 15 minutes and let cool down.

When all had cooled down .. time to test the soup … delicious .. even without the garlic.  Added some orzo … and yum.  No photos at this point .. but you can get the picture.

Now I was on a cooking spree.

It had been quite awhile since I’d baked an apple crisp so I looked for some ideas and found some recipes that used maple syrup  This I tried.  Peeled and chopped apples from the back yard (including some delicious apples given to me by my gardening neighbour!)   .. mixed in some maple syrup.  Added the topping of flour/oats/butter all blended together and into the oven.

Not finished yet .. I saw several bananas just nearing their sell-by date .. so searched for a recipe for banana bread.  Easy as pie .. peel and mash the bananas .. add flour, baking soda, eggs .. placed batter into a loaf pan and it went into the oven for baking.

I don’t often get into such a cooking and baking mood .. but when I do visit that world, it’s amazing what I can prepare.  Honestly, I amaze even myself!

So I think for today I will put aside my cooking and venture outside.  Time to visit my little friends at the observatory and (ahem) walk off some of the calories from my baking spree!

🙂


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I found myself cooking up a storm a few days ago, my inner chef emerged to take over the kitchen!

Thursday, October 25, 2010

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   I’ve done a lot of this and a little of that, during the past few days.   You know the kind of days that these are.  A little bit of housework.  Some reading.  Some walking.  A few exercise sessions (Callanetics by Callnan Pinckney)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callan_Pinckney

I have the book and had the video, but gave that to my sister, as I know all of the exercises.  I loved her first video, but subsequent videos/dvd’s were just to spacey and new age for me.   The first time I saw her demonstrate her specific types of exercises was on a Johnny Carson show, many years ago.

She was very straightforward in her approach and the exercises were simple, no machines were needed.  You could exercise anywhere.  So I’ve started doing them again and can feel those muscles in my legs and tummy shouting … yea .. at last … so am slowly marching down the road to getting back into shape.  Already my posture is better, I carry myself taller, shoulders back.   Feels great.

Baby steps.

Anyway, yesterday and part of today was spent bundling up my containers of dried seaweed, to store them over the winter so I can use them from time to time.

And a few days ago I think that I called upon my Inner Chef because I found myself cooking up a storm!  Using recently purchased bags of eggplant and some special long green peppers!  I scoured the internet for recipes and soon was making a variety of foods.   Which included:  eggplant hamburgers, which called for peeling &  cutting up the eggplant into cubes, steaming, mixing with eggs, shaping into little patties, light dusting of flour and fry in the pan.

Next time I’ll mash the eggplant into more of a mush.  Good tasting.

Then there was the eggplant au gratin.  This recipe simply said to peel & slice the vegetable, cook in water till tender, then mash (which is the way I will prepare the e/burgers if I make them again).  Next, simply place layers of the eggplant and grated cheese into a greased casserole.  This looks and tastes delicious!

Finally, I prepared the stuffed special green peppers.  I say special, cause I’ve not seen these type before, they are not hot, and they are longer than the regular green bell pepper.  I have saved some seeds and will try and grow them next year.

So I mixed up quinoa/organic beef/garlic/rosemary and a few spices from the cupboard.  Then I cut the tops off of the peppers, ran a knife down one side and popped them all in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Removed them from the pot, placed, cut side  up in a casserole dish.  Spooned the meat filling in each one.  Poured salsa sauce over it all and baked in the oven.  When done, after about 30 minutes, I sprinkled a liberal dose of crumbled mozzarella cheese on top.

Didn’t think I’d like these, but they remind me of lasagna, without the pasta calories.  Delish!

Finally, came the soup.  Why soup?  Well, I guess I had the freezer part of the fridge kinda overstuffed with my zealous supply of frozen fruits from the garden.  DH opened the freezer door and out onto the floor fell frozen bags of tomatoes, packets of meat, etc.  So I decided, instead of trying to make everything fit into that small space again, it was time to make soup!

And also, this is when the idea formulated inside my head .. to make the stuffed peppers!!

So I thawed out the tomatoes, put them in some chicken soup base in a pot.  Cooked it all.  Tried to remove the skin on the tomatoes, finally whipped out the hand blender and soon the soup was looking nice and rosy.  Next I grated one of those lovely potatoes from the garden, to try to thicken it up.  Added a little bit of garlic and rosemary.  Whipped in some sour cream .. and yum, delicious soup!

Lots of food at a very low price and our fridge is full!

Today I went for a drive in the country and obtained some lovely large plant pots … for potting up my recent sale purchases!   So happy am I!

I love driving through the local countryside .. such a beautiful time of the year .. lovely fall colours.   Beautiful farms … lots of work, though, I’ll bet.

Next I went to visit my friend D!   I was invited to try some of her borscht soup. Now, I’ve never tried borscht soup .. somehow the idea of having beets in soup has never appealed to me.  However, today I ventured forth and realized what I’ve been missing.  Now I want to try to make some.  Absolutely delicious.  And I understand the beets are full of good things too!  Oh, I’m learning so much now.

The borscht was served in lovely blue Period  Pyrex bowls … so pretty!  And these were placed on delicately painted dishes!   Did I mention the dollop of sour cream on top!  And D also make these terrific rice cake sandwiches!  She spread some grainy mustard & organic mayonnaise on the top.  Next there was large, flat nasturtium leaf!   Ok, I’ve never eaten a nasturtium leaf (or a flower) before, so this was another tasty treat!  On top of this was a lovely layer of baked salmon.

Now this was a gourmet lunch and very delicious.  Dessert was a decadent square of chocolate!

She is such a magnificent cook, and is always preparing lovely ingenious meals for her family!  I’m learning a lot from her and trying out some of the things I’ve learned at home!  Food is fun, especially this type of food.

After a lovely visit, spent talking non-stop about creative things for several hours, it was time for me to head home and go outside to play around in the garden.

Which I did!

Cause we are supposed to get lots of rain in the next few days!

🙂

 

 

 

 

 


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Mother Nature has been taking care of watering the gardens .. thank you very much.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

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Saturday .. what a day .. windy, blustery … rainy  .. and then the sun did come out, later on in the day.  A sweet promise of what will  happen on Sunday.

So I really wanted to play outside, but decided to save that treat for another day.

Looked outside at the trees, branches waving away in the winds … glad that we planted so many  here .. years ago.  Knowing that the birds have many places to take cover in rough weather.   Places to nest … unseen by human eyes.  I respect their privacy.  Although I would love to see their little homes . .I leave them be.

Happy that Mother Nature is watering the gardens thoroughly . .no worries about dry soil for the plants.   Oh, this will be good for everything, the berries, the garlic .. the fruit trees.  And the grass .. another opportunity for me to use my newest garden tool .. the push mower.

And I must empty the Rubbermaid containers .. that are full of seaweed.    So they can begin to enrich the plants with their mineral laden goodness.

So I didn’t take any pics on Saturday and am posting some of sunnier days:   Including some pics when my pal D & I visited the beaches of Sooke.  Slowed down when we saw a young deer standing, transfixed, by the side of the road.

Then, later, we’d been busy gathering seaweed and were surprised to see deer prints, freshly made.   It had been around our area and hadn’t made a sound!

Visited the beautiful Point No Point for the most delicious chicken soup, homemade bread and tea.  Drank delicious water, untainted by chlorine ..  Looked out the windows at the magnificent ocean vista.  Priceless.  What a lovely place .. it’s been years since I’ve been here and I vow to return again.

Wandered the magnificent property.  Walked the lovely red bridge .. a truly beautiful place to be.

Glad I took pics .. lovely memories of nature.

Well . on with this new day.  Some gardening, you say?  Of course!  At Dakota Cafe!

Laters!

A.M.


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Walking in the rain. Created the most delicious lasagna. Friday was a super day.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

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Friday morning .. wasn’t sure if it was going to be a sunny day or if the rains were actually going to happen.  Air was quite muggy.

Spent a few hours outside, continuing to sort plant pots.  Check on seedlings.   Mix the seaweed in amongst the garlic and into some veggie beds.  Having quite a lovely time of it, really, just working away, here and there. Feeling great that the yard is taking shape.  It will take a few more weeks and then I’ll really have done a thorough job of tidying up.

Finishing planting some fancy geraniums,   Found the best area for my new grape plant .. at the south side of the house.   Just have to dig up the hard soil about a foot and then place the vine in firmly.    When the sun does shine, this part of the yard is the absolute hottest.  I’ll take some pics when I’ve planted it.

Filled with joy when I discovered that a Salmon berry plant was thriving at the side of the yard.  Last year it looked like a dry stick and so I was just so sad.   Here it’s been growing strongly, beneath some bushes .. so time to relocate this little guy, so it can grow in more open space.

There are about 20 Red Hot Poker plants all thriving well in pots.  These I had potted up last year and just left them to grow .. or not . .and they have all decided to grow.   So, time to share these with others, as a yard can only handle so many, I think.  The birds love the brick-red tubular flowers .. as do the butterflies and hummingbirds. Just as I’m clipping away roses from the side yard, the faintest of little rain drops start to fall.   Then nothing .. so I wasn’t sure if the rains were going to be the type that start and stop.

Kept clipping away. Next, time to check on my latest seeds to see if they’ve sprouted .. . nothing yet.   And then to the very back, to place some stakes around the Silverberry bush, which should be growing tall and instead is tending to loom over the yard … soon had the main branches aiming upwards, adding more space to walk around the back area. Now the rains were pouring down in earnest.

I lingered outside awhile.  Enjoying the feeling of being outside in the rain.  Lovely damp earthy smell as the water hits the ground.  Feeling like a kid again .. listening to the birds.   After awhile … time to head indoors. And time to work on the recycling inside.    Found a bucket of music cassettes .. some going back 20 years.   Troupe music from  several forms of folk dancing, middle eastern dancing, clogging.

Let’s see .. when is the last time that I’ve played these tapes .. too long .. time to recycle. So for a few hours I stand at a counter, tiny screwdriver in hand, slowly undoing the 5 screws that hold the cassette together.  Salvage the plastic bits in one container, the metal bits in another.   And, unfortunately, not able to recycle the actual tape .. well, I’ve seen sites where clever people have actually knitted things from this tape, but I know that’s not going to happen here.

So, out it goes. I’ve dissected about 20 or so cassettes …. and time for a break.

So I go for a little walk out in the rainy .. see a neighbour with her daughter and most beautiful little baby .. all are so happy .. and I smile as I continue my walk. Love walking in the rain! And later, back home, time to cook up another gigantic lasagna dish.

This time I’m using the Lambs Quarters that my pal D has collected when we went to the beach.  Thanks to her I have a huge bowl of these most lovely greens to use, instead of spinach. Using those amazing no-cook lasagna strips makes the process so easy.  I cooked up a mixture of chopped onions, ground chicken, ground veggie meal, the last of the frozen tomatillo’s from last year’s harvest and a few frozen green tomatoes.

Add salsa and canned tomatoes (blended up).    First I browned the onions and meat .. then added the rest. Spread a layer of this mixture into the lasagna pan, then a layer of lasagna sections.   A thick layer of the Lambs Quarters.  These are considered a weed .. but, as I’m finding out .. a lot of “weeds” are highly nutritious and delicious.

Then added 2% cottage cheese, some sauce, some shredded mozzarella and repeated layers  till there was absolutely no more room in the pan, except for the last layer of just blended tomatoes on the top .. to soften the lasagna.  A thick layer of shredded mozzarella .. and into the oven.

Cooked for an hour.   MMMMMMMMMM

Sort of thought of taking a photo, but by then, I’d cut into the lasagna .. oh, it was delicious.  So just imagine the most golden brown cheese encrusted lasagna dish that you have ever seen in your life .. times two .. and that would be the finished dish! Absolutely the best lasagna!

Some will be frozen for future meals .. that is .. if we can stop ourselves from cutting a slice and heating it up for a meal!

Twas quite a day.