Monday, April 14, 2014 was spring....for a day!

arghghghghghgh! ok - i had to get that off my chest.

now on to the post. yesterday was awesome! gorgeous and sunny! since i already planted my tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse INSIDE the house on april 10, i thought it was time to get some stuff planted in the OUTSIDE greenhouse. and woohoo - i planted a bucket-load of lettuce and a whole pile of brassicas.

the day was beautiful - check it out! and check out jambaloney's new thingie-ma-bobs that he is building to keep cats out of raised beds, as well as birds, as well as having an easy way to cover beds with plastic when the torrential rains come.

did you notice that there is no snow on the ground. well, there is one tiny piece but i will show it to you later. anyway, it was an awesome, sunny day and we reveled in being unclothed and working in the greenhouse together!

that's four trays of a variety of heirloom, mesclun lettuces that we will be enjoying soon!

the blue things you see below are old water jugs cut in half and they are filled with a variety of lettuces that i will transplant in mid-may. jambaloney got them from the garbage. and all those little president choice pots, jambaloney got in the garbage. i swear i love that man.

i am starting a variety of brassicas in the pots which will also be transplanted in mid-may - woohoo. and because i know that a bunch of you love seeing little planted pots and pots of other stuff, here's another pic - bahahahahah!

we took a break for some gorgeous liver with onions and bacon, a little side salad and some peas and corn - just what we needed to keep working for the rest of the day!

i was on such a roll yesterday with the planting and being naked in the greenhouse, and jambaloney was building those thingie-ma-bobs...i just had to take a pic of our last chunk of snow.

i was all "hey you chunk of snow. you can stay there until you melt. i won't even bother breaking you up with a shovel. you just take all the time you need buddy!"

and then i woke up to this, this morning.

arghghghghghghghghghghghhgghgh! please someone make it go away!!!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

driveway bs ;-)

jambaloney here!

this post i started last fall and never finished, today's little job continued the theme so here you have it!

first off - the text i started

"okay >>  sometimes projects don't get finished when winter hits - i won't complete this til spring so here ya have it!

our driveway is steep and about 100 feet long until the turn around -...."

here WAS a nice fall day

well that was it so here we go with the rest of the fall pics - yes - the driveway is long

someday i will get to putting in this perforated hose @ strategic spots... pay attention to that thing in the upper right corner..

as the ruts that the truck tires make become run-off making deeper ruts every rain

so last fall i started re-trenching the ditch  and adding strategic diverts every 20 feet or so

here is a good pic of how deep the tire tracks had gone...

i filled in the tire ruts with the dirt from the trenching of the ditches

you can get an idea here

here is a ditch before trenching..

same ditch after!

okay off to the beach for gravel!!!

not too much so the truck doesn't suffer...

and seaweed while there!!!

i filled in the rest with beach gravel until the freezing came upon us - got about 75 feet up the driveway!

so now it is spring!!!! and the ruts are back!!!!

and how - i will be filling these in again - but i am also going to devise some kind of scraper to grind down the middle part...

but we have something else to  fix - remember that "thing"? well i found it during large pickup last year i THINK it may be from an old satellite dish - they used to use the real big ones here years ago - it is metal and heavy and hollow in the center

we need some other tools today...

and this stuff...

why you ask? well this winter i got the truck stuck going up the hill and it came to rest against one of the  poles for our chain.   my buddy d came to drag me out - BUT i had to hack the pole down. as it was buried in snow and ice i used a few 2x4s to "glue' it back together. well the snow and ice is gone and my wretched mess is falling apart. i plan to put steel posts in that are set in concrete, but i needed a "here and now" solution..

first off, i took the old pole down and took off the 2x4s.. but it turned out to be too short and fat - i had a lot of chipping away with the axe to make it fit in the new base..

so i looked at the other post and eyed the baby on the left - it was pretty much just sitting on the ground so it wasn't providing support anyway..

so  off it came and trimmed with the sawzall!

it fit in the base nicely and i used the axe to cut some wedges..

and added rocks galore! 

i took an old support from the busted post and banged it in where i stole the new post from - old nails, sledge and rock - good enough!!!

thar she be!!!

and we have our "gate" back!!!

last step was to wrap a plastic bag around it and tape it to prevent water from getting in the crack and rotting the wood..

good enough for a couple of months!!!!!

i will do the rounds to visit you all soon - been a crazy winter but finally the grackles and robins have arrived and there is way more brown than white!!!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

we live in the most AWESOME community ever!

what a crazy couple of days and i mean CRAZY! let's go back to wednesday when we finally got our power and phone back - thank goodness as we had much coordinating to do for our friends' benefit dance on saturday night.

kids - this story that am i about to tell you - you will never believe! let me start back at the beginning - our friend R was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer about a month ago. our 2 small communities just came together like mad. we all scrambled and we all came up with ideas and we all ran around to ensure that we could take at least the financial burden off of our friend R and his wife D during this difficult time. and we sponsored a benefit dance for them this past saturday night.

anyway, amongst the core group of us, having contacted various businesses and individuals, and because of the amount of prizes that we were able to obtain, we decided to sell tickets on 3 separate gift baskets. the certificates that i am showing below are cropped because all of the titles of the certificates had our friends' name on them. but this certificate shows all of the gifts listed in Goodie Basket #1, worth over $800 (make sure to enlarge so that you can read all of the items in the basket):

this next certificate is Goodie Basket #2, valued at over $300:

Goodie Basket #3 was donated by Tim Horton's and was beautifully wrapped by Tim's - it contained coffees, teas, cups, xmas ornaments and a bunch of other stuff. there's a real reason why whenever we send Canadian Forces troops anywhere, the first thing they scream for is to have a Tim Horton's set up. Tim Horton's is a big supporter of our troops, and they also aren't shy when it comes to asking for a donation. the Goodie Basket that they gave us was worth over $100:

this was a list of our silent auction items and we raised quite a bit of money from these items:

lastly, here's a list of our awesome door prizes which everyone enjoyed:

oh - wouldn't i love to tell you all that it went off without even the least of a hitch. but no - that would be a lie. first off, on thursday, a few of us got together  and wrapped up all the goodie baskets in garbage bags and decorated them and made them look fancy. then on friday, jambaloney and i spent about 4 and a half hours making all of the dough for the pizzas that we were selling at the benefit dance. on saturday morning our core crew got together and in an assembly line fashion, whipped off 7 big, giant combination pizzas, 2 cheese pizzas and 3 cheese and pepperoni pizzas, that we put in the fridges with the intention of starting to cook them at 6 as the dance started at 7. all of the ingredients were donated by our core crew so whatever money we made off the pizzas was pure profit and going straight to our friend R and his wife D. in addition, our brother G and sister C donated a bunch of ingredients for the pizzas, as well as a bunch of the items found in the Goodie Baskets, Silent Auction items and door prizes. our other friends S and H held a ham and salad supper in another close community and donated all proceeds to R!

the day couldn't have gone any better! we set up the hall and made it fancy with blue and white table cloths, our dj who agreed to play for free got all of his equipment set up and we all went home to relax a little before getting ready for the dance.

and then everything that could go wrong - DID GO WRONG! but hey, we are cape bretoners and we can handle whatever you throw our way. at 5pm we lost our power. my sister E ran down to the hall to see if the power was still on and it was. me and jam called in the power outage and were told it was only affecting our small area and that the power would be back by 8pm. so our core crew met up at the hall and made the decision to not cancel the benefit dance. we decided to get our VFD generator which was in our sister community of Fourchu and hook it up to at least have lights and be able to serve hamburgers and hotdogs. our Fourchu brothers B and D brought the generator to the hall. then my sister E and i took all of the pizzas to our sister community of Fourchu and they let us use their hall's ovens to cook the pizzas. our other sister C (we're all sisters and brothers here) drove down to Fourchu after 20 mins and picked up the first 4 pizzas and took them back to our hall. even though the power was out in our area, we still filled the hall and people were very gracious, waiting for the pizzas, understanding that we were without power and running off the generator and generally having a good time filling up on hamburgers and hotdogs.

as our friend R normally works the bar with our brother D, jambaloney filled in and did an awesome job as he waitered and bartended for years. our sister C worked the door collecting donations and giving out door prize tickets and our brother G took in dance tickets. everyone worked together and we somehow managed to pull this event off without a hitch!

when we got the rest of the pizzas finished, me and my sister E raced back to our hall with the pizzas and they went like wild fire. and everyone enjoyed them and were very gracious about the wait.  then we held our silent auction and made over $400!!!! then we gave out our door prizes and everyone enjoyed themselves with so many door prizes to be won! then - woohoo - the power came back on and we were able to start the dance. we all had such a good time! we had a group of friends from another neighbouring community who grew up with our friend R and he was really glad to see them. he danced all night long - as did we all. an awesome time was had by everyone. lastly, our friend H made up some Newfoundland "Ugly Sticks" which were demonstrated at the dance - and people loved it and bid on them!!! you can learn more about Ugly Sticks here and the proceeds from that auction also went to our friend R.

after E, S and i counted up the money from tickets and donations - we had over $3,000!!! but we also had a bunch of cards that people dropped off in the donation box, which we didn't open but found out later that it all totaled $4,600!!! can you believe that a few small communities and caring people can raise that much money in such a short time in order to help out a beloved member of the community and his wife??? i find it amazing!

we still have 2 more weeks of selling raffle tickets on the baskets, and will be drawing the winners on April 19th at a special bingo game in Fourchu. i am positive that we can bring the total up to $5,000 if not more.

i have to say that for the past week i have felt such anxiety and worry that the pizzas would go over like a brick because they were mine and jambaloney's idea. and people were surprised to find out that they were home-made from scratch. and so many people said they enjoyed them. i was sick with worry because we had to drive them to Fourchu, cook them and then drive them back. they would have been so much better if they were fresh-made at our hall, but people were very gracious in saying that they were delicious. i just wanted to serve something a little special and have people enjoy them, you know? 

considering all of the things that went wrong and could have thrown everything askew - somehow we pulled it off. mostly because we are such small communities and we look adversity in the face and then give it a punch so that it has a black eye like mine that night!

here is a pic of our friend R, my 2 sisters and me with my shiner.

i have their permission to put up this pic and as more pics of the night come in, i will put up some more. from left to right is my sister E, my brother R, my sister S and me - ya - the one with the shiner.

me and jam can't believe this wonderful community have accepted us right from the beginning with such open arms. i can't believe the awesome time that was had by all - and oh - there are some stories from that night which will become legend - bahahahahah! we had such a great time. and to my friend d - it was so nice to see you and A there and we hope to see you at many more events. thank you both for all of your kind words about the event, the pizza and the blogs.

kids - all i can say is that we pulled it off and our friends have at least some financial worries off their shoulders. our brother and sister D and E have been taking time off work to get R in for his first treatments and everything looks like it is going well. all i ask now is for your prayers, because we all know that prayers work. and we all believe in miracles. and our brother R is strong and i am sure that he can beat at least some of the odds.

oh and the fact that he stepped on my feet through the 2 last waltzes of the night, we'll just keep amongst ourselves. yep, i got a shiner, a bruised up shoulder, several even more bruised up ribs from all of the hugs on saturday night - and now - both of my feet are bruised and crushed from waltzing with R!!! i won't even mention that my bestie C didn't care that i was bruised up - she yelled at me to dance with her like she always does and i did!

oh kids - what a crazy, awesome, crazy night. what a crazy, awesome, crazy community. i can't think of anywhere else i would rather be.

give me a day or 2 to hit up all of your's been a crazy week. a crazy month. and now i have to start planting. it's 4am - and i am still reeling from all that has gone on this past week. i promise to hit you all up in a day or two. thanks for understanding.

gosh do i ever feel good about being a part of this fundraiser...and being a part of this wonderfully crazy community!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

oh man, did i ever jump the gun on spring. power out, telephone lines down and no internet! what a sucky week!

remember this post....where i talked about spring being in the air? ya, right! this has been the worst first week of april ever...have a gander:

that's what we woke up to on monday morning. jambaloney supposed to be going in to work at LobstersRUs. nada.

we lost our power and internet on monday afternoon...about 4pm. no biggee. we got flashlights, and candles and a generator and all that good stuff. so we read for a bit and then go for a nap. wake up at about 9pm, both go to the bathroom together with the bathroom flashlight, it's pitch black, i think i hear my baby, Nudie-noo make a little cry, i run off, jambaloney says take the flashlight, it's too late, i am at the stairs that go up from our kitchen to the living room, need to save my baby, put my foot on the first stair, slip on my socks and end up "braining" myself. in other words, i banged my forehead, nose, cheek, shoulder and at least 3 ribs on my left side off of the 5 steps. right now i look like shrek with my head swollen to twice it's size on one side, my eye looks like i was in the ring with whoever UFC fighter is king right now, my teeth took a jarring, my cheek has a dint and is bruised, so is my shoulder and my ribs. i am a walking bruise!

we had our generator working but at about 4pm only to lose our phone. no biggee - we had power but no way to watch "cult" on netflix. bummer. but got the phone back. and then our friend e called and asked if jam could go over and turn her generator off as they had left it running by mistake, while driving to the city in the worst storm imaginable to get gas for her generator. and then we lost the phone again. and didn't get it back until last night at 8pm. you must remember, we are trying to hold a fundraiser for our friends r and d on saturday night...and none of us having power, or internet or phone or any combination thereof for the past week has made things a little difficult.

our friends in fourchu only got their power and phone this afternoon at about 5pm. they have been down since monday morning.

no matter - we manage. all of us. the benefit dance on saturday is gonna go off without a hitch. we will raise much needed funds for our friends.

anyhoo, we might not have had power, or phone or internet but we still ate like kings. we have a little butane stove that we cook on during power outages, we have the bbq, and if worse comes to worse, we got the propane stove in vandura. 2 is one and all of that.

here's some fried chicken, smashed potatoes with butter and corn and peas. this is a meal that would make MDR and SciFiChick proud!

leftover chicken? leftover mashed potatoes? throw that chicken into some butternut squash puree, add some frozen peas and corn and call it a meal!

but after day 2 of no power, you might want to get a little fancy with some homemade hamburgers done on the grill, add some cheese, don't forget the sauteed mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoe and pickle - and be sure to have some bean salad on the side!

ok, it looks like we are running at full tilt right now with power, phone and internet. but who knows these things. yes kids, spring is right around the corner. maybe just not our corner. here's our sunset tonight and that snow and ice ain't going nowhere fast.

here is the reason that half of my face is swollen to twice it's size and black and blue.

i am going to our friend's benefit dance on saturday and i am gonna look a hot mess. oh well...when you live in a community of people who love you just because you are you - well, that helps. plus all my girlfriends agreed to let me put blue and purple eyeshadow all over their eyes too. S - you promised girl! bahahahahahaha!

EDITED TO ADD: holy moly i have a ton of email to respond to! please forgive me and understand that tomorrow i am at the community centre all day wrapping baskets for the benefit dance, then prepping all the veg for the pizza, saturday we are making the pizzas, saturday night is the actual benefit dance and sunday - well, we'll be clear wore out. if i don't make it to your blogs or emails until monday, please forgive. i am so sorry. this has been a crazy first week of april. ihaven't even started my tomatoes yet. much love to all of you!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

a little bit of bragging - teehee!

as some of you have noticed, i have started up the Framboise Manor Good Eats blog again. several of my friends, and internet friends, have asked that i start putting up the recipes of pics of food that i put up on this blog. so now, i am going to try to do 2-3 recipes a week.

when i first started this blog, i always asked permission for any new blog that i found that i wanted in our blogroll. so in starting up the Good Eats blog again, i sent out messages to a few food blogs that i follow daily and asked their permission to put them in our Good Eats blogroll.

one of my favourite food blogs is Ozlem's Turkish Table. Ozlem is an internationally renowned chef who does private classes and culinary tours. here is a description about Ozlem from her website:

"I am a native of Turkey and Turkish cuisine and culture is my passion. I taught Turkish cooking classes through Central Market Cooking School in Texas (Austin, San Antonio and Houston) as a guest chef for 5 years. It was a wonderful experience to introduce my homeland’s cuisine, history and traditions to fellow, enthusiastic foodies and I have been delighted to see such amazing interest for Turkish cuisine, and what has been cooked in Turkish homes.

I now teach Turkish cooking classes privately in England and through cookery schools like the prestigious Istanbul Culinary Institute in Istanbul and Central Market Cooking Schools in Texas, USA, now over 7 years. Here you can find my upcoming Turkish cooking classes near you. I also teach cooking classes for small parties in the comfort of your home. Please contact me for inquiries."

like i say, i read her blog daily and i have learned so many Turkish and Mediterranean recipes. her recipes are reliable and she explains all of her recipes in a step-by-step fashion, and includes drool-worthy pictures!
all of this to say - i contacted Ozlem to get her permission to add her blog to our Good Eats blogroll. because she is an internationally renowned chef - i didn't want to just add her without her permission - it would be like asking Gordon Ramsay if you could put a link to him on your sucky little food blog - i just don't think he would agree.

Ozlem gave me not only her permission, but went in and took the time to actually leave a comment on my last post on the Good Eats blog. the last post is a recipe for braised rabbit ( i put it up especially for Mike Yukon!). so, again, she gave permission to add her blog to ours, AND bothered to take the time out of her busy day to leave a comment.

i was honoured and humbled. and i just wanted to share all of this with you. if it sounds like bragging, it kind of is. but i just couldn't believe that someone so busy, a renowned chef, would take the time to bother. 

Ozlem, i appreciate your taking the time to give me permission and to leave a comment. 

for any of you interested in a beautiful food blog, filled with delightful food, beautiful pictures, history and culture - check out Ozlem's Turkish Table. you won't be disappointed!

and for any of you interested in the recipes for the pics of food that i put up here, go and visit the Framboise Manor Good Eats blog. yes, PioneerPreppy, i mean you, too - bahahahhaha!

Monday, March 24, 2014

i might have jumped the gun a little...and my seed planting list.

remember my last post "spring is in the air"? remember, almost all the snow was melted, we were finally seeing brown (a colour that jambaloney, Mr. Smythe and myself have a new-found penchant for?)?


well, we woke up on sunday morning to this:

arghghghghghghghghggh! the white stuff is back! we got 3-5cms and there was no brown to be seen anymore!!!! later in the afternoon tho, we saw some brown. mostly on the catpaths.

it melted and dripped for most of the afternoon - it was a beautiful day - 22C on the plastic-wrapped porch and about 30C in the greenhouse. a large majority of the snow is gone but then it dropped to -10C at night so now it's all ice out there - even the brown parts.

so ya, i may have jumped the gun a bit when i announced spring - especially since we are supposed to be getting belted this wednesday with 20-30cms. ugh. which means we'll probably have snow on the ground for a good few weeks. unless we have enough sunny, bright days to melt it. it's been a long winter, and a lot longer and harder for some of you than us, but man, i am just tired of white.

anyway, i know that some of my gardening buddies will care about my seed list plan for 2014....the rest of you can just skip to the bottom of this post and commiserate with me that the snow is back.

Framboise Manor Plant List 2014:

Tomatoes (12 varieties, some determinate, some indeterminate, 6 plants each):
Early Jetsetter Big Beef, Cobra F1, Earliana, Bloody Butcher, Pomodoro, Martino's, Amish Paste, Saxon, Clark's Early Jewel, Genovese, Big Beef, Pink Roma

Pepper Plants already established: these plants were overwintered:  1 Sweet Italian, 1 Quattro, 1 Orange Belt, 2 Yankee Bells, 2 Cayenne, 3 Big Bomb and 3 Monets. these plants will be potted into bigger pots and moved into the greenhouse once temps at night go no lower than -2C. the plan being that the heat captured during the day will stay ambient even overnight.

Peppers to start from seed: Hungarian Hot Wax (6), Orange Bell (6), Regular Reds (6), Yankee Bell (4), Orange Thai (6), Alma Paprika (6), Hot Chili (6), Early Jalapeno (6), Yellow Bell (6), Cayenne (4), Monet (4).

Cucumber: (6 varieties, 6 plants of each): Summer Dance, Sweeter Yet, Straight 8, Cross Country, Armenian, National Pickling.

Summer Squash/Zucchini:  (4 varieties, 4 plants each): Black Beauty, Sunburst, Elegance, Golden Dawn.

Winter Squash:(2 varieties, 3 plants each): Early Butternut, Burgess Buttercup

Beans: (7 varieties, some pole, some bush, 6 plants each): Light Red Kidney, Navy, Arakara, Tendergreen, Bountiful, Kentucky Wonder, Cherokee Trail of Tears.

Peas: (8 varieties, some pole, some bush): Super Sugar Snap (6), Sugar Snap (6), Oregon Sugar Snap (6), Sugar Lace (6), Lincolnd (4), Dwarf Grey Sugar (6), Saber (4), Asparagus (2).

Melon: (5 varieties, 4 plants each): Small Shining Light Watermelon, Amish Melon, Malali, Earlichamp, Hale's Canteloupe, White sugar.

Pumpkin: Marquis de provence (2).

Beets: (5 varieties and succession planting): Detroit Dark Red Supreme, Detroit Dark Red, Rodina, First Crop, NS beets.

Carrots: (6 varieties with succession planting): White Satin, Purple Haze, Rainbow, Scarlet Nantes, Chantennay Red cored, Scarlet Nantes coreless.

Lettuce: (in pots in the greenhouse with succession planting): Endive, Rome 59, Red veined sorrel, Batavian endive, Australian yellow leaf, Red oak leaf, Mesclun, Heirloom, Black Simpson, Forellenschluss, Paris Island cos, Rouge d' Hiver, Gardeners Blend, Yucaipai.

Onions: (6 varieties with succession planting): Parade, Norstar, Milano, Talon, Yellow Utah, Spanish Red.

Radish: (7 varieties with succession planting): Green Radish, Easter Egg, Daikon, French Breakfast, Cherry Belle, Watermelon.

Spinach: (5 varieties with succession planting): Viceroy, Bloomsdale, Galilee, Red Malabar, Strawberry.

Swiss Chard: (2 varieties with succession planting): Fordhook Giant, Lucius.

Kale: (2 varieties with succession planting): Black Tuscan, Curly Blue Scotch.

Various: Tango Celery, Minute Man Cauliflower, Green Magic Broccoli, All Season Broccoli, Jade Cross Brussel Sprouts, Win Win Choi, Emiko Chinese Cabbage, Optiko Chinese Cabbage, Golden Acre Cabbage, Fennel, Rutabaga.

Potatoes: (3 varieties, 8 tires each): Irish Cobblers, Brown Russets, Red Chieftains.

Garlic: spring and winter sets of saved cloves from last year.

ok - i think i covered everything. the tomatoes and peppers get started in the house this weekend. other cold weather crops get started in the greenhouse this weekend. as soon as the ground is workable we will direct sow the spinach, some brassicas, swiss chard, kale, carrots, onions and peas. and as each week goes by, we will start different things in the greenhouse getting ready to put the actual plants in the ground between may 27 - june 5. however, by being able to start so many things so early - woohoo - it's looking like a bumper year.

i will do our herb planting list in the next day or two.

i am looking forward to seeing your seed planting lists, too.