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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I began my day today with a simple idea of dehydrating celery and this led to a whole day of cooking!!! Oh, and it actually snowed a bit today!

So, here in little Victoria, we had a little bit of snow, a little bit of freezing and a little bit of sun!

I swore I wasn’t going to take any snow photos this year, however, once i went outside and saw a few icicles dripping off one of the bird feeders, I just had to go back inside and fetch my camera!!

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I do clean out the bird feeders every few weeks, as I want to keep the feeders clean!  This is the only feeder that showed icicles on it, so of course, I had to take a pic!

Then I noticed the scarlet red runner beans, the seeds hadn’t fully formed, so I might just leave them here on the vine, or I might just take them inside to juice them along with apples and carrots.

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Strawberry plants growing in plant bags .. I really need to root these, in order to get fresh plants so new strawberries can grow.

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This year, I planted all my garlic in large containers.   I’ll be working on prepping the yard for a basic grassy area, so will grow all my crops (peas, beans) in containers like these.  They work well.

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Vigorous elephant garlic, greens growing away like crazy!  Very healthy soil.  And leaf mulch!

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Snowy covered grass.  I really should have cut the grass a few weeks ago, but, procrastination won out in the end.

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Blue skies from yesterday, sparrows were flying every which way!

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From yesterday also, I discovered this healthy raspberry cane growing away amidst some tall plants at the back of the yard.   Don’t expect any fruit, but am impressed with the vigour of this cane, so I’ll pot this one up!!

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Sweet Mock Orange, from yesterday, before the snows came.  The flowers are still there today.

dec-6-03Well, that is it for photos.

Now I’ll tell you what else happened today!

And I seem to remember that what happened today has occurred in previous years!

Today, for some strange reason, perhaps it is due to my genes and preparing for winter!  I just seemed to morph into a kind of little busy bee that was hell bent on preparing food for the winter.

For I found myself just mindlessly going into food preparation mode!  This has happened before!

Oh, wait!  I didn’t mention that really, my day of food preparation started off with a lowly bunch of celery!!!  Organic celery.   I just didn’t want to use a bit of this in soup today and wanted to dry it for use for the winter, so that it wouldn’t go bad.

Thus, I started to search online for celery powder, which led me to onion powder, this in turn lead me to garlic powder.    This is how I began my culinary day today!!

I found some sites which showed how delicious it could be to combine powdered veggies would make a good alternative to salt, so that is how I began my dehydrating section of the day!

Then I found myself searching online for the best ideas for making freezer hash-browns!   I had a bag of organic potatoes which had begun to sprout roots!   And so I became an industrious busy bee, peeling potatoes, shredding them, putting them in a large pot of boiling water and then after a few minutes, cooling them off in a bowl of iced water.  Followed by layering them in paper towels and clean tea towels, twisting them to squeeze off excess water and then layering them on a cookie sheet in the freezer.    And, once frozen, placing the finished product into zip-lock bags for future hash-brown breakfasts.

Then it was time to reduce the recently baked organic chickens that I had baked a few days ago – broth for soup and chicken shreds for the soup and then for quesadilla’s for the freezer (with lots of shredded cheese and capers!)

After this, it was time to remove the bags of frozen garlic cloves (from my recent harvest of July).   Prepare them for the foil squares & drizzle of olive oil & bake in the oven.  Following that, time for cooling off and a few hours of time spent squeezing the garlic paste out of the cloves, mashing them and putting dollops on waxed paper on a cookie sheet and in the freezer!

OMG.

After I removed the delicious chicken soup from the slow cooker, placing it in the fridge for tomorrows lunch time meal .. I began the tedious task of cleaning up my dishes and the counter.

It has truly been a day!

A day of hanging around the kitchen, preparing food for the winter.  Constantly cleaning up pots, dishes and the stove and kitchen counters.

Not a day that I would repeat too often, but,  a satisfying day.  One that didn’t require a lot of thinking, but one which was, nevertheless, highly satisfying.

A happy day!

🙂

 


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I met the most wonderful dog named Buck. And I’ve re-discovered the joy of dehydrating fruit and veggies!

One day last week, I started my adventures in a garden center!   This is Cannor’s at the Sears Mall .. a lovely gathering of the most wonderful plants and delightful things for the garden.  This sign caught  my attention, cause that is what gardening is all about, right?

I noticed some male and female Sea Buckthorn plants!  I have one at home, but darn if I know which sex it is.   So, after talking with the very knowledgeable Manager there, I learned that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the male and the female plants, besides – the plant tags showed that they both bore orange berries.

After learning that the plants were on sale, 50% off … the decision was easily made for me and so I bought one of each.  So now I have 3, either 2 male and 1 female or the opposite.

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A lone crow flies overhead, flapping madly to join his pals …up in the wild blue sky.a08

Later on I made my way to a local Starbuck’s and happened to meet this most wonderful dog named Buck!  He is so very sweet and I fell in love with him.  I learned that he was born in England, has travelled all over the world and now lives here in Victoria.  I felt so very honoured when he showed his trust by rolling over and offering his tummy to be rubbed and then sat up and leaned into me for a good hug.  And I felt so happy hugging him and feeling all that honest and innocent doggy love.  I miss having dogs and so I value all the dogs that I meet in my life.  All are so very special.

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Now time for a little rest … sweet little Buck.  I learned that Buck is named after the travelling dog in the book published in 1902:  Buck

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Last week, when I dug up a huge container of potatoes, I found a strange green lime-shaped object.  It was something I hadn’t planted and so I was quite puzzled, but brought it into the house anyway.  Before discarding it, I decided to just peel away the outer green covering and lo and behold – found this walnut.  Mystery solved,  a squirrel must have hidden this treasure for a winter treat.  I’ll plant this in a pot (with a label!!) and will wait and see if it will grow for next year.  Those squirrels.  I’m constantly finding peanuts in the shell that they have planted.  For whatever reason (I don’t want to think) the squirrels don’t return and so the peanuts either grow into plants or just fall apart.  I wish that they would just enjoy the peanuts now but that isn’t their way.

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Darling little JaneE Kat, water beading off her fur, she has just had another wash tub sump pump shower and now is munching on her treats.  Life is good.

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During one of my random wanderings in the back yard, noticed this tiny pink geranium flowering away.  I hadn’t noticed the little bee, though, till now .. love such surprises!

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Another sweet surprise, tiny flowers quietly bursting forth ….little trumpets for the bees.

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Last week, my pal D and I went out for a day of gathering seaweed and thrift store shopping.   More about that another day, but just wanted to share a lovely find!  She is always discovering the most amazing little treasures in the shops and here is one!    At first I didn’t pay any attention, but, as she pointed out, this broom was made entirely of bamboo!   As I have a lot of bamboo growing in the yard, this caught my attention quite quickly.  So I purchased this one.   Back at home, I gathered the necessary materials and made one of these brooms for myself!    Tying bunches of the bamboo side branches securely around a length of the solid length of bamboo, using flexible coated garden wire, I soon had it done.  These brooms are just fantastic for sweeping up fallen leaves – I tested them.  More gentle than a rake.  Now I have an interest in trying to make brooms out of fine branches pruned from trees .. these would make a slightly sturdier broom for sweeping.   Another interest to pursue, love it!

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And I’ve fallen madly in love with dehydrating!   Haven’t done this for many years and it is just so much fun to rediscover this again!  I bought a great little dehydrator from Lee Valley .. it works like a charm and was not expensive at all.   Our freezer is full to bursting with a surplus of frozen fruit so I removed about 10 bags which included plums, blueberries, raspberries and pureed them all together.  I then added home-made applesauce and a little bit of liquid honey which was given to us by friends.

This is the result and it is delicious . I’m so excited.  At Lee Valley I also bought the most amazing book on dehydrating,  by Tammy Gangloff, Steven Gangloff & September Ferguson  – full of details on every aspect of dehydrating.   Normally I do not buy books unless they are on sale.  But when I find a book that is so full of information, I do not hesitate to buy it.

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I cut the large circles into 2 sections and rolled each one up in waxed paper, nice and tidy.  Easy to pack in my purse and take along for a quick energy boost throughout the day.a05

I’ve been trying a variety of things to dehydrate.   One mixture has beet leaves, sorrel, nasturtium leaves and kale – dried and powdered and in a jar, ready to sprinkle into stoups or stews for the winter.  And these tomatoes from the garden dry & powder so well!   Hadn’t thought I had many tomatoes at all but it seems there are sufficient.

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Right now I’m waiting for the “Longview” organic red/orange and green pepper slices to dry and I’ll be crumbling them up into little flakes for future dishes.   And there are a dozen ears of corn to be lightly cooked, then the niblets cut away and into the dehydrator.   Dried items take up way less space than frozen food and I really need to make more space in the freezer.  I know there is enough frozen fruit to make a few more batches of fruit leather!   Some for us and some to share.

This is a big bag of greens that I bought from Silver Rill farm last week .. long since washed, cut up, dried and now ready for adding to meals.  What fun.

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So recently my life has been chock full of new discoveries outside and in the kitchen.  Exciting adventures in dehydrating foods and just loving how things are turning out.  Plans for future mixtures are dancing away in my imagination.  In the dehydrator book .. there are ideas for making fun shapes of fruit leather with various colours of fruit puree.  I was just too impatient to try this out at first, but think I will attempt this another day.

And normally I make a paste out of garlic that is left over from planting and sharing.  And freeze the paste, great to add to anything (but not ice-cream!)   This year I will try drying the garlic and powdering some of it.   Delicious garlic grown in the best organic way in my garden.  Yum yum yum!

Oh the endless possibilities of dehydrating.

Now I must go and empty the dried tomatoes & greens and prepare the corn.

On y va!

🙂