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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A lovely sunny, rainy and hailing kind of a day. I purchased my first Mason Bee house (and .. um .. more plants!)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yesterday was so much fun .. wandering around the Fernwood & Haultain neighbourhoods with my pal D … she knows the area so well and thus we walked up many little pathways and shortcuts that I was quite lost.  So in a way, it felt as if I was on a holiday in another town or country and all was new.  Quite energizing.

So when I got home, mid-afternoon, I had a little think about the choices that I had in the rainy afternoon.  Well, number one, it was rainy so I wasn’t excited about working outside and getting all muddy.

That left indoor stuff.  Made a pot of tea, pondered, read further on my Ruth Rendell novel “Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter” … really just wanted to finish this exciting mystery, but it is daylight so I really “should” be doing something.

Thought about working away on my decluttering.  Then decided to put the milk from my tea away to the fridge.  Opened the fridge door .. noticed that there were a few items that were ready for the compost, so I started that activity.  While I was transferring the veggie items to the compost pail, I wondered, curiously  …. if others have this same hobby.  Of purchasing fresh veggies for the compost and just put them in the fridge for a little while till they are in just the right stage for the compost bin?  Just wondering, that’s all.

While looking through the fridge I found a large bowl of peeled potatoes.  I’d purchased some organic potatoes awhile ago and since they were starting to sport buds on the surface, decided to peel them and cook “later” … helloooo .. it’s later now!

D and I had been talking about potatoes and she mentioned that she’d shred potatoes and make hash potato patties for her family and this was a portable snack for walks.  Well, thinks I .. I’ll try that.

Started off with shredding the potatoes with a grater, now that was a bit messy.  So I climbed onto a kitchen chair and brought down the kitchen processor to do the job.  Once all the bits were assembled and the machine plugged .. I started the task of shredding the potatoes.  Next step involved attempting to remove the excess water.  By this point I had realized that these little red skinned potatoes were not the right type for hash browns, but I’m too far gone in the process to stop.  Sliced up red onions and garlic, added to butter sizzling in an iron fry pan and proceeded to cook a gigantic patty.    After (quite) a while, the potatoes were done and very tasty, thank you very much.

I still had about 2 cups of mushy shredded raw potato left, so fetched a container of organic chicken broth, into  a Corningware pot it went, along with the potato mixture.  Searched through the fridge and found a lovely bag of carrots purchased at Dan’s Market.   These carrots were just delicious!  Also discovered some celery, so sliced up ample amounts of both of these and into the pot.  Next I found a bag of dry curry leaves that I had bought a few months ago.  Popped in 5 or 6 of them into the soup.  Yum

Now I was on a roll and decided to make a little carrot salad, so out comes the fine hand grater and soon I had a little bowl of very thin  strips of carrot, topped this off with finely chopped celery, a drizzle of flax oil and this tasted so delicious that I had two (tiny) bowls of salad.

My inner chef was very creative and I bow to her!  I’ve noticed that my cooking is very creative when I’ve tapped into my creative energy and this is so rewarding!

Sorry, no photos, I was thinking of taking photos to share, but that would have stopped my creative flow.  So just visualize very pretty attractive food dishes and you’ll be right!

On with today!  I’d taken some Rosemary cuttings months ago, added EM to the water and patiently waiting for them to root, and most of them have.  Passing by the kitchen counter, something different caught my eye and I returned to have a look .. and saw these oh so very dainty little Rosemary flowers on a cutting that had just the tiniest bit of root.  Magic, sheer magic.

`

New additions for my garden, purchased two of these lovely plants at Country Grocer at Royal Oak.   I’ve been finding all kinds of wonderful new plants …. supplied by local and Vancouver Island Growers .. how lovely!   I’ve not grown these before and Hummingbirds are supposed to love them.  I’ll take photos in the summer.

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There was a bit of a hail storm, well, several, actually … throughout the day.

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I went to the North Saanich Farmers Market today .. it’s once a month for now, soon to be twice a month and in June, yea, every Saturday.  It was my first visit today.  I was on a quest to purchase some Musquee de Provence seeds from Tina at Alden Harvest.  She’d completely sold out of these seeds at Seedy Saturday .. but she saved 6 for me and thus I paid for them .. these are my newest “precious” seeds. I’ll plant 4 and save 2.  Looking forward to taking photos of them this summer.

At the market, I purchased this most lovely Mason Bee house .. isn’t this great?  The little bees are in the top section (see the hole where they can fly out) and soon they will hatch and be busy little bees in our yard.  This style will be very easy to maintain.

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Now for some yard fun, I perched the Mason house on the rustic tree trunk and beside it I placed this funky bell-ringer (from one of our thrift store ventures, when D & I buy things that we don’t really need, but, heck, they are fun).  Not sure if you can see the hummingbird design that is part of the bell-ringer.  I still have to decide where I’m going to install this, but the meantime, this looks good.   Doesn’t it appear as if the Masons have a doorbell?   Or have I had too much fresh air today .. ha ha ha

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I was surprised to see an actual outdoor telephone, at the Deep Cove store, as these pay phones simply don’t exist much anymore.  Nice to see.

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Good storage, plain and simple.7

Inside the washroom … I just had to take these pictures of the crows …. as I seem to be on a theme of crows right now .. time to share.6

Have you ever wondered what you were going to do with that spare set of cupboard doors?   Well, wonder no longer.5

et voila …4

and again ..3

Lovely wooden walkway outside the store .. old-fashioned, friendly and relaxing, don’t you think..2

I fell in love with this pot of wild strawberries, they’ll have small golden fruits.

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These artichokes will occupy a fair bit of land so I’ll put some of them in pots.9

It’s been a fun day .. I’ve travelled in the city, out to North and then Central Saanich and had lots of fun …. talked to quite a few people.  Experienced the relaxed and creative atmosphere of the North Saanich Market.  I bought the world’s most delicious butter tart square there .. omg .. so very delicious that I will definitely return to buy another in May!

The weather has been:   sunny;  rainy;  hailing …. quite a mix and quite lovely for all the plants in our yard.

🙂


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I finally prepared my magnificent Luminara pumpkin ….curry vegetable stew and so very delicious

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I’ve slowly begun to be sort of active and getting things done lately, not much, mind you .. but some.  And as things just build on themselves, without really trying – I’m sure that I’ll be back to my busy whirling dervish kind of person again.

Although I’m not a super big Christmas and New Year celebration kind of person … I did find myself getting swept up into the spirit of things.   And grew to really love shopping .. just to be out in the friendly shopping malls in town and perhaps a visit or two downtown.

Energizing to speak with fellow shoppers.  See the joy in other’s faces.  And sometimes the sadness.  There is always lots of both out in the world.

Years ago I’d decided to feel the joy of Christmas every day of the year so that it wouldn’t feel as if the happy holiday energy wouldn’t suddenly disappear after a few days .. but would stay with me.   And it has.  Although I must admit to loving the atmosphere of Christmas.  The delicious foods (shortbread, Christmas pudding, a little fruit cake) rum and nog, perhaps a fancy drink or two.  Visiting with friends.  Snuggling with my DH .. that’s my very favourite.

Thus far in the New Year .. I decide to get back into exercising .. and I’ve done that with my lovely daily walks.   Walking everywhere and mostly ending up at Swan Lake …quite often.  There are other beautiful places to be in town .. but this is the closest and besides I love seeing the birds of all types.

And back to decluttering.  Spent a bit of time yesterday sorting out books to donate to the blue box (reading program) and have about 100 (yes, that many!!) neatly placed in bags and boxes to take over tomorrow.

Those are fictions books, including some videos and music cd’s.  And I need to cull my gardening book collection .. but not today.

So yesterday, after doing all that .. I decided that it was high time to cut up my wonderful crop of (one) Luminara pumpkin.  But first, I have to ensure that this is non-GM .. so spent some time searching and found that it is not.  Although I still have the plant tab that came with the plant “somewhere” in my gardening stash .. so will double-check on the ‘net once I have that little item.

I’m not knowledgeable about pumpkins and only found out this year (blush) that there are more varieties than the normal orange Jack-o-Lantern!  Months ago, I’d chosen a curry vegetable stew at a local restaurant which contained rich orange pumpkin .. and thus I entered the world of pumpkin land!

So you can see that I was quite happy when I cut up my treasured pumpkin and discovered that the fruit was a rich orange colour!

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Then I spent awhile looking up recipes for curry pumpkin stew .. and there are quite a few.  I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I ended up making up my own recipe!

I steamed 2 of the large sections in a covered roasting pan …. later scooped all the lovely pulp into a bowl.    Added some butter on top and a light sprinkle of pepper!

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Now .. this looked so delicious that I had to put some in a little bowl for tasting.  oh .. my .. this was just ambrosia and tasted like sweet potato!  I managed to freeze most of this to add to a future soup.

The rest of the pumpkin .. well .. I cut it into cubes.  Along with cubed sweet potatoes.  They really looked pretty and I wish I’d taken more photos so I could share in my culinary boasting .. but ended up being so busy, measuring, and all that .. so it completely slipped my mind.

Chopped up onion & garlic (of which I have quite a bit of!) and swirled them in a soup pot with some olive oil.  Added the pumpkin, sweet potato, curry powder, sea salt, freshly ground pepper.    Organic chicken broth & a tin of crushed tomatoes.

Cooked for a while ….. tasted .. and another wonderful dish was born! Yum.  Some for the freezer and some in the fridge for lunches.

And I’d rinsed and rinsed and rinsed the seeds:

31Removed the pumpkin fruit from them …. patted them dry .. and now they are drying in a dish.  Many many seeds!    Lots for me to grow this summer, share with friends and perhaps donate at Seedy Saturday.

Finally, clean-up time.  Lots of materials for composting.

Tired .. but happy .. a great way to end another wonderful day!

🙂


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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!

🙂