Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This is just wrong on SO MANY levels!

Yes, you see that right.... fresh unpeeled apple slices in a bag!

Are we so disassociated from our food that we can no longer eat an apple unless it is prepackaged? What purpose does fruit in a plastic bag serve? Why does the food industry think that a person can't eat an apple (the old fashioned way) and compost the core? Will our children grow up thinking that fruit grows in bags?

What about the waste? All of a sudden there is a huge amount of energy wasted in producing the bag, plus the bag ends up in the landfill.

What is this world coming too????

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's warm and muggy feeling today at 25c (77f), which for our northern climate is fairly warm. Daughter and friend wanted to sleep in the tent in the back yard tonight, but I think we have to nix that since it looks like there is a storm on its way.

Plants are coming along wonderfully. As you can see from the photo below, I will have to add soil to my container potatoes, and the lettuce is growing like crazy.



Our compost has had to have some adjustments to it. I noticed that the crows are picking out the yummy items. I saw one scratching underneath the wire mesh, so I dug a small pit and sunk the compost into it and packed the clay around the outside. The crows continued to dig, so I had Daughter ring the outside with some bricks. The next day the bricks were flung a meter (3 ft) away from the compost and the clay was dug out from underneath. Obviously that was not a crow! After packing everything back into its place, I sprinkled a mixture of crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper around the outside of the compost and on top of the bricks. So far so good.Bricks around the base of the compost

I surprised a mother mallard and her ducklings in our lagoon. They surprised me too, because I was expecting only to see the tadpoles in there. It is a good thing that I decided not to sprinkle the mosquito pellets in the lagoon. We decided it was more important to have the tadpoles than to battle the mosquitoes (which were very bad for a few weeks, but seem to be getting less now).

Yuck, the lagoon is not really a wonderful place to be raising ducklings. I know that a lot of people have no idea what a lagoon is - due to my line of work I am often asked this question. So, here is the (my) explanation: a lagoon is part of a sewage waste treatment system that is used where the is predominately clay soil and underground disbursement of water is not possible. The waste runs into two underground tanks where the solids are separated to be broken down by bacterial action and the grey water is drained into an above ground lagoon (pond) where is evaporates.

Don't try this at home....

In my wisdom decided to try to get my bread machine to knead a double batch of bread dough, because I wanted to bring my new neighbour (with two babies) a homemade bread. Obviously it didn't work; I was left with a goopy lumpy mess. I thought it might be like drycleaning.... you know, when the label says 'dryclean only' but if you're careful you can hand wash it anyway. When the bread machine instruction say one batch only - take heed!

I did manage to knead by hand and get the two loaves of bread I wanted. And, my new neighbour was very happy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I bought this poster while in Victoria - I love the look and the message. I plan to have it dry mounted and placed in my laundry room so I can see it everyday.

I just had a look at the publisher's website. They have some cool posters, cards, t shirts and such.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am the proud new owner of an ipod (in bright pink no less). Yes, it really has taken me that long to get one.

Of course one the first things I downloaded onto it were gardening, green living, and cooking podcasts (free) and the best one I found was Gardenfork. It was informative, funny, and I felt like I was visiting with an old friend. Actually, the host reminds me of a good friend from high school who now lives near San Fransisco.

I actually found it on the web as well, so if you are interested you can watch episodes of Gardenfork here.

In case you're interested in viewing an episode here is one from YouTube about making yogurt in a cardboard box.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You just gotta love Freecycle! When I was in Vancouver the other week, my sister was saying how much yogurt they eat. I suggested that she start making her own because it so easy, plus you can make it without colourants and sweeteners.

When I got home I posted a request on my local Freecycle and with in a couple of hours I had a yogurt maker for her at no cost (other than the shipping).

While we were in Kennewick, Washington Husband and I had a look into a huge outdoors/sporting store and I became very excited to find cast iron cookware. I can purchase it here, but am limited to choice and it is very expensive.

I purchased a 12" frying pan, a square grill pan and a muffin tin. Husband thought I was crazy as it cost around $68.00 US including tax. On Saturday we had the opportunity to price out the same or similar items at our local store - the Husband doesn't think I am crazy any more! It would cost me $211.00 CDN PLUS taxes here.

12" Lodge pan in the US $24.95.... in Canada $85.95!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It turned out that this weekend's weather was much better than we expected. This was good as it afforded us more time to work in the yard and do more gardening. Husband managed to spend time hauling away building material scraps and garbage as well as burning some of trees that BC Hydro cut down in front of the property. The kids thought that was great and had a weiner roast.

I finally put together a compost made of wire mesh and clipped together at the ends. I pounded a stake in the middle to hopefully keep the waste material together as it piles up.

Here it is with my first compost offering.

I also baked bread from a recipe that appeared in the first issue of Down to the Roots magazine (I had to extend the baking time). I never have much luck with bread, but this one turned out well. I did use the bread maker to knead the dough which possibly accounts to the success of the baked product.

2 cups warm water
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 handful rolled oats
2 1/2 tsp yeast

Put in bread machine at whole wheat setting to knead. Remove when finished and knead by hand on a floured board. Bake at 375 for approx 30 minutes.

I also managed to get in a batch of yogurt. I think I will try straining it this time to see what a yogurt cheese is like. I have been interested in cheese making for some time, but it seems like a scary undertaking. The latest issue of Mother Earth News has a great article about it - and now it doesn't seem (quite) so difficult.

I love living here and seeing the wildlife that lives with us on the acreage. This little guy has been hanging around and appears quite comfortable cozied up underneath our vehicles. He and another rabbit have done this numerous times over the past week.

Husband has also seen tracks of a deer and her fawn near the lagoon, but we have not actually seen them. It makes me happy knowing that they are here... until they begin nibbling on my garden produce that is.

Here is a photo of the inside of the green house with the tomatoes on either side.

In the back I purchased some cucumbers as I have a feeling the cukes I started (late) may be too late to mature. I also bought some basil and dill pictured here and other herbs as well.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I bought Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" while I was in Penticton the other week. I have been reading it slowly ever since. What a powerful book! If you want to know what we eat, where it comes from and how it is processed - then is the book to read. I found it very informative and yet disturbing.

It has certainly opened my eyes to farming practices... idyllic pastoral fantasies are no longer harboured in my brain. I am approximately half way through the book and realize why I am growing a garden and will eventually raise some chickens, why my family tries to buy local, and why we buy organic.

Though I long wondered about the practice of organic produce farming on a huge scale and if it really is better than traditional farming, this book has answered a lot of my questions.

I found the book so interesting that while in Kennewick I also purchased his other book "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto".