Saturday, May 28, 2011

As my Garden Grows - Part 3

In between all the rain, the second raised vegetable bed has finally been built and filled with earth and compost.   The wood came from a neighbour - traded for a couple of boxes of cut up firewood we had left over from the winter (see my post on Simple Heating).    The two boxes are approx 4ft x 16ft each.   Since both beds are "raised" the drainage has been great -- especially with all the rain we've had.  So many farmers here are having a hard time as the seeds planted are starting to rot in the ground.    I may think differently about my raised beds when it comes mid summer time, if we get the hot dry summer that is predicted.   However, we've been collecting the rain water in the various rain barrels we have surrounding our house and the "free" water will be there when we need it.

Tomato, red/green pepper plants that were started inside in early spring are now planted too (see my earlier post on starting seeds), along with some herbs - basil, lemon thyme, tarragon and parsley.   The seeds planted outside a couple of weeks ago are already breaking through the earth - radishes, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce and peas.   

The first crop of oregano has been cut and dried - ready to use in sauces and soups.  Sticks and branches were placed across the bed to deter our cat from using it as her outdoor litter box !

The perennial beds are another story !  With all the rain, they are thriving too and it's been hard to spend any proper time thinning them out as they've become overgrown and crowded.   I started a new perennial bed in the front yard, soon to be a new home for those perennials which have gotten too big in their current spots.

It's amazing how much you can grow in a small space in your own backyard.    I'll be posting new photos as the garden progresses throughout the summer. 


The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination.

Thomas D. Church

Monday, May 23, 2011

Most Amazing Simple Recipe - Whitewater Cooks

I was recently introduced to the most amazing recipe for a rice salad bowl that I just have to share.
The recipe comes from the Whitewater Cooks Recipe book.  Whitewater is a resort in the Canadian Rockies, host to the Fresh Tracks Cafe.  (    I'm looking forward to trying other recipes in this cookbook.  I am told they are all pretty awesome.

The dressing is addictive.   Serves 8

The Bowl
8 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups beets, grated
2 cups carrots, grated
2 cups almonds, toasted
2 cups spinach leaves
2 cups tofu, cubed

Glory Bowl Dressing
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 tbsp tahini paste

Method  :  Prepare your favourite brown rice and set aside.  In a skillet saute tofu cubes,  To prepare dressing, combine nutritional yeast flakes, water, tamari or soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, tahini and crushed garlic in blender.   Add oil in a steady stream, You will have leftover dressing to use again.  To assemble the bowls, place  cooked brown rice into 8 bowls, top with beets, carrots, spinach leaves, almonds and sauteed tofu cubes.  Drizzle bowls with dressing.   So good on any kind of salad greens, spinach, rice or grains.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

As my Garden Grows - Part 2

"A garden is a grand teacher.  It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust."  Gertrude Jekyll

"I have never had so many good ideas day after day
as when I work in the garden. " 
John Erskine

It's been a few weeks now and the seedling that were started in March are ready to plant into the garden.  In another week or so, once the weather cooperates they will be planted.  We've had several weeks of rain and it's been a bit too cool yet to plant the seedlings.  It has rained so much that we've not been able to even cut the grass.   Normally, in this part of the country, (zone 5a - Ontario, Canada) the rule of thumb is to plant flowers after the May long weekend.   We have been known to still have frost into the first week of June.   

I was able to plant some cool weather vegetables by seed last weekend.   Radishes, lettuce, peas, spinach and swiss chard were planted.   I have a new raised vegetable in the works and once it is warm enough, the tomatoe and pepper seedlings will be planted, along with beans, cucumber and zucchini.    

You can grow vegetables in small spaces and enjoy fresh vegetables within feet of your own back door, with minimal cost and lots of fun !

Tomato plants started in March - see earlier post
"As my Garden Grows" on planting seeds

Seedlings covered outside,
"hardening off" before planting
into garden

Herb garden in front, Rhubarb at the back,
Peas, lettuce, raddishes, swiss chard and
spinach planted

Raised bed #1 and #2 under construction
Herbs - Oregano, thyme, chives

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vacation Time

The best part of taking a vacation is not waking up to an alarm clock !   Taking a vacation has many benefits too.  It helps reducing stress, improves your mental health, revitalizes relationships, gives you creative inspiration, and improves your sleep.   A good vacation can help us to reconnect with ourselves, operating as a vehicle for self-discovery and helping us get back to feeling our best.   Vacations keep us healthier.

I've been away for two weeks visiting family, meeting new people and enjoying every minute.  I didn't have a schedule and each day became a gift of unexpected fun.   I was able to see parts of our country I hadn't seen before; enjoy new experiences; some quiet time; lots of rest; time work on a few knitting projects and take long walks.   

A good portion of my travelling/commute was on public transit (which was an adventure in itself - especially on city buses through all parts of the city).

My vacation time allowed the creative ideas to flow, and since my knitting projects are so transportable, I was able to complete some knitting projects.   I learned a couple of new patterns - the entrelac in the cuffs of the fingerless mitts and a faux cable in the socks.

Be sure to take time off to "re-charge your batteries"!  Taking time away from the stresses of daily life gives us the break we need so that we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Simple Scarf - Variegated Ruffles

I just knitted up a fancy scarf for Mother's Day.    It looks quite intricate, but was so easy and quick to do.  I chose a colour which Moms likes to wear and knitted this up few weeks ago so that I could get in the mail to my mom in time for Mother's Day.  This year I will be visiting my daughter on the other side of the country and will miss spending Mother's Day with my own mother.  Unfortunately, we live a distance apart which makes it a little difficult to "just pop in for a visit".    This scarf was made with Sirdar's Salsa! and comes in various colours. 

Check out one of my favourite yarn shops for a look at other scarves made up of similar yarns in the various colours.

Happy Mother's Day Mom !!
What "Mother" Means
"Mother" is such a simple word,
But to me there’s meaning seldom heard.
For everything I am today,
My mother’s love showed me the way.
I’ll love my mother all my days,
For enriching my life in so many ways.
She set me straight and then set me free,
And that’s what the word "mother" means to me.
Thanks for being a wonderful mother, Mom!

By Karl Fuchs

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