Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekend Update

I really need to finish up my books for our income tax, so that is the plan for today. Needless to say I'm not going into the office or anywhere today. I can also say that I'm having a difficult time getting motivated - hence the blogging.

Saturday's Earth Hour didn't go quite as planned, though we did turn off all the lights and the computer for the whole evening. We did cheat a bit and watched the newest James Bond movie "Quantam of Solace" - so our Earth Hour evening wasn't entirely pure. Though I did look up and down our road and saw neighbours with their lights on - disappointing. I just looked up our city's stats and am totally surprised that we managed a 1.5% cut in electricty up from the paltry 0.2% of last year. The provincial average is down from last year's 2% to a 1.1% for 2009.

Yesterday, it felt like spring had finally arrived. Though the snow has gone down over the past week, yesterday was a glorious sunny day. Our house faces south and we have a front porch with large comfy chairs. Husband and I spent most of the day sitting, drinking coffee and soaking up the vitamin D! It was a wonderful lazy Sunday. (This morning it is snowing again with 4cm expected - UGH!)

My parents came for dinner yesterday and I made a ham. It was wonderful! I purchased a very large ham (bone in) from the butcher. I purposefully bought a large one as then the kids will put it on their sandwiches for school, we can make soup with the bone, and use the leftovers in other meals.

We stopped buying luncheon meat (other than salami) several months ago. Husband has hated the thought of luncheon meat for a long time, and with the Maple Leaf listeriosis outbreak last summer, we were finally prompted to stop purchasing deli meat. I'm glad with the decision, as last week I read another news story about sewing needles being found in deli meats. Hmmm, I'm resourceful, perhaps I should think about ditching the salami too and making my own.

Speaking of making my own... I ran out of my Dove deoderant and I really don't want to buy any more.
Some of the reason I no longer want to purchase it is because it is not a natural product, and Dove which is owned by Unilever, has a lot of criticism against it involving deforestation, race issues, sexism and mercury dumping. Here in Canada it seems hard to imagine because we are constantly being bombarded with Dove's 'Campaign for Real Beauty'

I have tried using natural deoderants in the past, but I feel like at the end of the day they made me smell worse than if I had used nothing at all. This morning I am experimenting with a homemade deoderant which I found at One Green Generation. I changed the formula a bit to 2 parts baking soda to 3 parts cornstarch. I'll let you know how it works.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Today I meant to give my father a gift.

At age 73, I am sure he was wondering what I was doing when I made him put on the pink headphones attached to my iPod. He had a puzzled expression on his face, but I would not tell him what he would be listening to... it would be a surprise.

I found the podcast I had chosen for him and put it on play. The funny expression turned into pure joy when he began to listen to stories in Plattdeutsch. The same Platt he grew up listening to his parents speak in Germany - it was even the same dialect from the same area of the country.

Today I meant to give my father a gift, but I think it was I one who received the gift instead. It was so wonderful seeing how happy I made him!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Earth Hour 2009


We are already planning out our Earth Hour evening. Last year we kept the lights off the entire evening. I imagine this year we will do the same. We plan to use our emergency oil lamps (which luckily we didn't have to use this winter) and play board games.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Below is a ist of tomatos we will be growing this year. Most were started last Tuesday and some have already sprouted. Husband is working on building the new green house so it will be ready once the snow is gone.

Latah - Developed at Latah County at the University of Idaho and named by Dr. Boe. Very early bright red tomato that average about 2” across. The flavor is good and better than many of the super early varieties. Indeterminate, regular leaf foliage. (50 days from transplant) - Originally from Heritage Harvest seed - I saved seeds from last year.

Hahms Gelbe - A wonderful little cherry tomato from Germany with delicious yellow fruit. The small plants grow to about 6” high, about the same size as Andrina, which is a red cherry. The two make an excellent combination in containers and you can then enjoy red and yellow cherries all summer long. Determinate. (60-65 days from transplant) - Originally from Heritage Harvest seed - I saved seeds from last year.

Farthest North - Introduced by the North Dakota State University in 1934. A very early and prolific cherry tomato that sets fruit in cool temperatures. Good for containers and northern areas. Determinate, regular-leaf foliage. (50 days from transplant) - Originally from Heritage Harvest seed - I saved seeds from last year.

Amish Paste - Amish PasteAn Amish heirloom from Wisconsin that produces 6-8oz red elongated tomatoes. Very juicy and great for fresh eating or sauce. A great dual purpose tomato. Indeterminate, regular leaf foliage. (85days from transplant) - From Heritage Harvest seed

White Beauty (1850) - (a.k.a. White Snowball) White Beauty is one of the better white tomatoes and has creamy white flesh and skin. Mild tasting and good for salads or making white tomato sauce. Indeterminate, regular leaf foliage. - Seeds are from our friend L

Siberian Red Tomato This is a very early ripening tomato variety which performs exceptionally well every year in a short growing season. The plant is semi-determinate and produces a very large number of round, brilliant red, juicy fruits which weigh from 3-5 oz set in clusters. Very slight flattening at the top. Juicy tomatoes with excellent flavor for early variety. Determinate. The best tomato for cold climates!- - Seeds are from our friend L

Manitoba – (1956) - Developed at the Morden Research Station in 1956, this has been a prairie staple for years. It is great for canning, sandwiches and salads. It has good flavor and is very productive. Determinate, regular leaf foliage. - - Seeds are from our friend L

Brandywine heirloom tomato is Probably the first heirloom to achieve "cult status" within the growing popularity of heirloom tomatoes. A pink, potato-leaf, Amish variety from the 1880’s. Years ago, seed saving was done by individuals who understood that the greatest thing they could pass on to the next generation was some of the treasured food plants that had sustained life and had proven their value. Fruits are reddish-pink, with light, creamy flesh that average 12 ounces but can grow to 2 pounds. - - Seeds are from our friend L

Purple Russian - Indeterminate (80 days) A Ukraine heirloom, this variety produces beautiful, rich plum-coloured and- shaped paste tomatoes that are 3-4" long, very meaty & blemish-free. Heavy producer. Although they're paste tomatoes, they're juicy enough that they're one of my favourites for fresh eating.- From The Cottage Gardener

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring?

Perhaps in other parts of the world...

We had snow yesterday and fresh snow again this morning. Though the past few days have been fairly warm (up to 4c) this winter appears to be never ending.
Husband and I started some seeds indoors on Tuesday evening - tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and some flowers. I'll put the descriptions in another post, but I wonder if they will ever get into a garden!

I took this photo this morning - you can see the greenhouse is still half buried in snow and behind it, to the left of the tree will one day be the garden. We'll have to get it going this spring (ha ha) if it EVER comes!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Today I ordered our chickens! They will be flown out on June 1st, which gives us lots of time for the snow to melt, and to build a coop and enclosure.

I ordered 25 Black Sex Link pullets from Berg's Hatchery in Manitoba. I did some research and discovered that the Black Sex Link (also called Black Star) is a combination of a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock hen. They are called Sex Link because the chicks can be sexed by colour whether they are male or female.

Black Sex Link hen and rooster

Black Sex Link hen

I also ordered (so far unbeknownst to husband) 15 Ameraucana unsexed chicks. I really want to try these as they lay green, blue, pink, white, and brown eggs. Hopefully I won't have too many males in the batch.

Ameraucana hen and rooster