Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back to blogging!

Our daughter was born in May of this year and we fell off the blogging train for a while. Here is a brief sumer recap...

-Megan came in May... I have been nursing which means no wine :(
-Our vegetable garden was a success and failure (see November post)
-We discovered a fabulous magazine called Clean Eating with fabulous recipes and healthy living tips
-We had a landscaping company, Plantscape, come and do our front yard which looks beautiful compared to before. We had gutted it the summer earlier and it had 2 trees and that was it.

In order: Front, corner
Side yard.
Corner of lot, corner of driveway

... really, thats about it. We have been very busy with the 2 kids and have had little time for other things. This coming summer should be wonderful! We should have a bit more time for ourselves and the things we enjoy. We do enjoy our kids, don't get me wrong, but we also have other interests and I look forward to getting back into them and blogging all about it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Update and New Eggs

After about a year of convincing Sarah that we could not live without a Big Green Egg, as well as the complete disintegration of our propane (we got it free) grill, we have our Big Green Eggs. One small, one large. The BGE is proclaimed as the worlds best smoker/grill. I'll put it through the paces and report on that lofty claim.

In addition, to fuel my addiction to odd hobbies, Sarah got me a meat grinder and Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Poclyn. She's forgotten what she's gotten into by "Living the Lock Life." It is, after all, me that drive most of the insane things that go on around here. And gifts are, I think, implied permission, aren't they?

As an example, I've come across my new food hero - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from the River Cottage. That would be me, if space, Sarah and the town would allow. But they won't, so it isn't. To (over)compensate for that fact, I'll be making sausage and various other charcuterie, smoking things, making bread and pizza, growing our garden, fly fishing and tying. And likely other half-brained attempts at hobbies. If all goes well, I'll elucidate my experiences here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Last Summer's Vegetable Garden: Trial #1

So our 2010 summer has come and gone. We planted our vegetable garden and it was crazy! We had way too many plants and hadn't planned very well. We had 3 zucchini plants, 4 watermelon plants, 6 or so squash plants, 4 cucumber plants, 4 kale plants and 2 each of 3 tomato varieties... which was way too much of all of these! One of each of those would have been plenty for our family. We also had some peas, lettuce and carrots that worked out really well for us. All of our plants grew well and were straight from seed. Many were started in the house and transferred well. The peas, carrots and lettuce seeds were started from seed outside. Now that we had this crazy trial run, next summer should be much more of a success. We were satisfied with our seeds from The Cottage Gardener and will order from them again. They recently sent out their 2011 seed email with some new varieties. 2011 will be the summer I report on our garden... now that we have a bit of a clue.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seeds Seeds, Seeds!

We finally ordered our seeds and just received them in the mail yesterday. We ordered them from The Cottage Gardner.

We ordered:

Brandywine Tomato: (75-85 days) An Amish heirloom dating back to at least 1885, this is probably the best-known old variety. There are many types of Brandywine available - ours is potato-leaved. Large, reddish-pink fruits have an incredible taste.

Brandywine, Yellow Tomato: (80 days)Indeterminate, potato-leaved - 1900's. This late-maturing tomato provides large, 1-2 lb meaty fruit with an intense flavour, almost tart. A beautiful, bright yellow, this variety is loved by gourmet restaurants, due to its delightful taste. Although it's late maturing, it's quite drought tolerant.

Brown Cherry Tomato: (75 days) Indeterminate. Another wonder tomato from Russia! The fruit is a rich brown/copper-green colour, and is large for a cherry tomato (11/2”– 2”). It’s packed with great taste and is very prolific, continuing to produce well into the fall.

Small Shining Light Watermelon: NEW FOR 2010!! (80-90 days) A very old Russian variety that is perfectly suited for our short northern summers! Fruits are round, 10-12", with a dark green rind and sweet red flesh. Keeps for several weeks after picking.

First-Time Gardener Collection: NEW FOR 2010!! It's difficult being a first-time gardener - there's so much to know and there are so many choices that's it's hard to know where to start. Each year, we advise many new gardeners on the best approach to starting their first gardens. So, we thought that this year we'd put together a collection that was 1) easy to grow 2) could be all sown directly in the garden (no starting indoors) 3)would provide as broad a variety of veggies to experience as possible and 4) contained no "finnicky" or "fussy" plants. So here it is: a ready-made garden that contains tried-and-true heirlooms known for their taste and hardiness: Royal Burgundy bush bean, Ireland Creek Annie's dry bean, Specialty Beet Mix, Colourful Carrot Mix, Specialty Radish Mix, Heirloom Leaf Lettuce Mix, Dwarf Grey Sugar Pea, Sutton's Harbinger Pea, Black Beauty zucchini, Waltham Butternut Winter Squash, Mid-East Prolific Cucumber, Russian Red Kale and Galilee Spinach. (Save $6.50 off the cost of buying the packets individually)

Our seeds have arrived and we plan on starting some seedlings in the house in mid March. All we need to purchase now is some soil and a heating lamp and we are ready to plant. I am glad we are finally getting things going. I was beginning to worry that we wouldn't find the time since we are planning for a new baby and Owen is a very lively 18 month old.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Seed Catalogue

We have decided to order our seeds from a place called The cottage Gardener . We decided to go with them because they are local to southern Ontario and are an Heirloom seedhouse and nursery. They have over 600 heirloom seed varieties as well as one of the most diverse selections of certified organic seeds in canada. We plan on ordering our seeds in the next few weeks once we figure out what we want to grow and more importantly, what we have room to grow.