Saturday, April 25, 2015

finally - a nice spring day!

finally - a nice spring day!


and get ready for it kids - up next is the most beautiful thing on the planet!


the dishwasher is back on the porch! high fives all around!!! i am sooooo happy it is out of the basement and back on the porch - woohoo!

on a nice spring day, you want a good breakfast to get you going! poached eggs and chips made from our own potatoes really fill that bill!!!


we've been eating our own potatoes since august. that's 8 months of eating potatoes from our own land - woohoo! and we have tons of seed potatoes ready to be planted at the end of the month.

this next one ain't pretty but it was delicious!


homemade sushi. we've finally decided after several attempts at making sushi that it's actually easier to just make sushi salad.

here's some teryaki chicken legs with sticky rice and a stirfry.


want a great evening snack? more chips - a whole plate load of them cooked to perfection!


here's a big everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad that we always like to have on hand. it's filling and great for grazing throughout the day!


4 kinds of peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, olives, feta, apple, pear, quinoa, cucumber, chia seeds and flax seeds. 2 small spoons for me and 4 big spoons for jam mid-afternoon gives you a real punch. and with the natural antibiotic dressing - deevine!

here's some bulgogi marinating for tomorrow's supper!


the stuff smells so good i want to eat it raw! soya sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, toasted sesame seeds, a ton of ginger and garlic and shredded pear - yummeh!

jam pruned our apple trees. they look pretty good!


we're finally at a place where we can finish our rock garden around the trees. we also plan to make walkways and paths all around the yard  using rocks from our land. jam splits the big rocks using the tools below.


he's really good at splitting rocks!


and soon we'll be making the front yard as pretty as can be! here is jam out pulling up sheets of fallen birdseed.


once it's all pulled up and levelled, we'll put down landscape cloth and rocks. it's going to be beautiful!

well i'm off to prep the veg for aloo gobi - it's for tonight's supper and jam loves it! i hope you all are having a fantastic weekend! i'll be popping by your blogs in a bit and later this eve!

oh i forgot to mention - woohoo - the last season of SAMCRO is on netflix starting today! we're having a SAMCRO marathon with popcorn and hottub dips in between each show. we're going for broke and seeing how many shows we can watch in a row! it's gonna be awesome!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

an april update

finally - the snow is almost all melted!


my goodness it has been an abnormally long winter here! but we spent the weekend re-arranging the greenhouse and all of the 100 seedlings that i planted have come up - woohoo! we'll have home-grown food sometime next november - arghghgh!

jam is working 4 days a week on-site and 7 days a week at home for LobstersRUs! he's doing awesome work and my days are spent making sure he is fed, the cats are fed and the kitty litter is cleaned after a cat gets in it! we have one cat who is fastidious about the kitty litter being cleaned immediately after another cat has been in it! jeesh!

here's some pasta shells stuffed with spinach and cottage cheese with some everything you can think of quinoa salad! very filling and nutritious!


and of course some shrimp and vegetable tempura with dipping sauce and pickled ginger - yummeh!


i have spent hours over the last few weeks and going 150,000 pages in on google searches trying to find anyone who has ever grown their own kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) - also known as "mother" or "mushroom" and all of the links i find START with using a commercially-bought SCOBY?!?!?!?!?!? kombucha is a delicious and healthy fermented tea that is full of wonderful probiotics. and you all know how much we love fermented stuff around here!


the picture above is another fail in trying to grow my own SCOBY. i basically made a very sweet tea- boiled 4 cups of water, removed from heat, added 6 regular teabags and one cup of sugar, let that steep for 20 minutes, then removed the tea bags, poured it into a mason jar, covered it with cheesecloth and an elastic band, put it in the bedroom closet where it is cool and dark, and checked it every day. it was doing great for about 14 days - a mother was forming but then out of nowhere - mould appeared - arrghghghgh!

no worries kids, this time i am trying sweet tea with apple cider vinegar with the mother and i swear, if i fail again, i am moving on and trying to make Kvass. have any of you ever grown your own SCOBY??? if so, i would love to know about how you did it! please leave your details in the comments section.

i am pretty good at fermenting any kind of veg but i am sucking bad at trying to grow my own SCOBY. and for the record - i REFUSE to start with a commercially-bought SCOBY. that plus the fact that there isn't anywhere around here to get a commercially-made one and i want one with bacteria and yeast from nearby.

we all have to take our stands, you know!

hope you are all having a great week!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SEEEEEEEEEEEED STARTING - woohoo!

well...there is still a ton of snow on the ground but with enough bright days like today - it should soon go away. not too soon in my mind!


today i planted almost 100 tiny seeds - woohoo! this is my little plastic greenhouse which is in the house, in front of our other kitchen door (that we don't use!). you can't really see the contraption that jam built but there are 2 fluorescent lights on each side.


the styrofoam cups and plastic trays have been in use for the past 4 years - reduce, re-use and recycle. we are also going to make some soil blockers in addition to using the cups.

today i planted 8 different kinds of peppers, 9 different kinds of tomatoes and 12 different kinds of brassicas. the brassicas (cabbage, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and a bunch of others) will be moved to the outdoor greenhouse in a week and a bit. next week i will direct sew a bunch of herbs, lettuces and spinaches in pots in the greenhouse. i am so happy to finally be planting. hopefully by the end of april, the snow will all be melted and the ground workable so that i can direct sew a bunch of stuff in the ground.

here's some more yummy miso soup with nori, celery and shrimp.


jam has been on a miso soup kick - usually it's me...so we have been having it quite regularly. i just change up the ingredients to keep it interesting.

he's also been going haywire for japchae...and it is so delicious! plus, it makes a great lunch for him to take into work. he's been going in to work several days a week now.


the first crab boat came in yesterday and all of our friends from framboise and fourchu who work on unloading the boats did their orientation yesterday and then put that orientation to work unloading the first boat.

here's a pretty sunset from the other night - i think this is one of my faves!


we had our Easter dinner with our fourchu family last friday afternoon. we go there every easter and every christmas and we always have a wonderful time - they always make us feel like family and feed us well! and they always send us home with a pile of food! we had a really good time and our friend b said "it wouldn't feel like a proper holiday if you guys weren't here. you're family". isn't that a wonderful thing to be told?

and here is a pic of fourchu harbour from last april. i think it is a pretty pic!


well, it's only 2:20pm but jam and i feel that we have put in a good day's work! he washed a bunch of cat plates (10 million to be exact!) and a bunch of pots. i planted all of the seeds. he did some work in the greenhouse and i made sandwiches for lunch. now he is working on his application for LobstersRUs and i am writing this post. soon i'll go start supper - he wants veg stirfy (just plain with EVOO, garlic and ginger) with rice and what he wants he gets!

i finally feel that this year's garden is on it's way. it's been a long winter! i hope you all are enjoying your week!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

it's still crazy april here in Framboise! and an excellent dog rescue site called Dogs Saving Dogs (dogssavingdogs.com)

kids - what are rainy, grey, mild, foggy days in the middle of a crazy april when you still have a foot of snow on the ground - good for?


uncovering dirt!

 i know that you are all in as much awe as i am in in that little piece of dirt - probably wondering to yourself -"is that really bare, uncovered dirt?" - i assure you all that it is, in fact, dirt! i stepped in it in bare feet and picked some up! it's wet and dense but it is dirt! woohoo! our first patch of dirt!!!

on wet, foggy days i am a big fan of some delicious soup!


that's home-made miso soup made from fermented soya bean paste (you know i love anything fermented!), dried seaweed and mushrooms! it was delicious!

and now for a little cutie!



her name is Cleo and i wish that she were ours. but as you can tell from her stoic face - she is a strong American - strong, proud and free. Cleo is one of the amazing dogs from Dogs Saving Dogs (http://www.dogssavingdogs.com/).

i first learned about Dogs Saving Dogs from Brigid over at Home on the Range. Dogs Saving Dogs is an unique dog rescue that offers high-quality, locally-engraved charm sets - a necklace for you and a charm for your dog's collar - with 50% of all revenue going to save the dog. the charm set is personalized with the name of the dog that you helped save! i just received my set and they are beautiful!!!



in case you can't read what the necklace says, it reads "Cleo" and underneath it says "I helped save". Isn't that beautiful????

please go and check out the Dogs Saving Dogs website. i was thrilled with the site, it's awesome goals and it's unique approach to saving dogs! the fact that after i contacted the site asking for information and got a prompt and lovely response in under 12 hours shows me just how much this company cares about what they are doing, and about their customers.

i am saving my charm set and plan to purchase a few more between now and Christmas. Cape Bretoners love their dogs and these will make beautiful gifts to give to our friends. and then one day, when the time is right, and we get our own rescue dog, our dog will proudly wear another charm of another dog that we will have helped save.

(just fyi - i have received no compensation or product other than what i purchased. i am under no obligation to mention this organization. unless you consider being moved to tears by what they are doing, and interacting with a really lovely organization who delivers a beautiful product and gives great customer satisfaction, an obligation!)

i know that we have a lot of dog lovers as readers and if you could just pass on word of mouth about this wonderful organization, that would be great!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

i'm definitely an april fool!

yesterday we got 10 more cms of snow. oh man. it is so pretty but i am sick of looking at snow!


here's a happy little guy enjoying hanging out under the bird feeder and collecting his rewards. (we think we have about 5 squirrels - one mamma and some babies. and yes, to PioneerPreppy's horror they overwinter in our basement, walls and one of our attics - the one we don't use.) this little guy and his family are very good at getting bird seed from under our bird feeders. waste not - want not people.


if my buddy Rob, being that he's quite a sarcastic guy, had have told me that we were going to still have snow in april - i would think he was pulling my leg. it's not just a little snow - we have a ton of snow! arghghghghggh!

this is how i currently feel:



and that is exactly what i am going to do tomorrow after i send the man off to work. he was at work all day today and he'll be back tomorrow. he's been working his butt off this winter and i really hope that they truly appreciate the skills and knowledge that he brings to this local company. he worked for our biggest government department back in ottawa and his kung-fu skills are mad. so i always try to feed him well:


that's a romaine and spinach salad with green and black olives, hearts of palm and artichoke hearts with my standard dressing (EVOO, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar with the mother, fresh lemon and sea salt and fresh cracked peppercorns). with homemade hot pickles (from our garden) on the side.

here's some delicious bass, caught last fall and properly vaccuum-sealed as soon as it came home with a bunch of raosted veg (the potatoes are ours from the garden), some kalamata olives and some orange slices.


my man caught that fish and he is the potatoe man around here. i used to be in charge of the potatoes back in the city but he and the potatoe plants have a real chemistry here. because of his extensive background in the IT field, he is the one who came up with the very technical way of saving potatoes from harvest in november to still eating those potatoes in april. he harvests the potatoes, puts them in a box and then puts a towel over them. and stores them in the basement. he's and IT wizard he is!!!!

kids...i am ready to lose my nut. we have never had snow on the ground this late in the year. i need to get out and walk through the mud with bare feet! i need to put my hands in the dirt! i need to start our seeds. i NEEEEED spring!

oh well. come heck or high water - tomorrow i will be saying:

Monday, March 30, 2015

it's almost april - GO AWAY SNOW!!!!

it's another beautiful, sunny, clear and crisp day outside. hopefully soon we'll see the ground!


it's been a busy week/weekend - jam's been working several hours a day from home. he went onsite on friday and he's back there today. i've been feeding him oriental inspired food for suppers - here's a few:


that's a korean dish called japchae. the noodles are called invisible noodles. they are made from sweet potatoe starch but all i could find around here were sweet potaoe starch vermicelli noodles. still delicious. there's carrot, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and spinach all cooked in a ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, soya-sauce. the egg garnish is called jidan and it is made with two eggs, yolks separated from the whites. then a bit of salt and pepper added to the whisked eggs. and some pickled ginger on the side. this dish can be eaten hot or cold...but we prefer it cold.

next up is some stirfry. i just use whatever vegetables are on hand and make a stronger soya sauce-based ginger/garlic/rice wine vinegar sauce to cook the sauteed veg in.


saturday was our matriarch's 85th birthday party. we went down on friday evening to help our brother G and sister C set up and decorate. sister C was worried that there wouldn't be enough food??? let me just say that that would be impossible - she has been baking and making sandwiches for the past month. we had fun setting up and decorating and then went upstairs to make the last of the sandwiches. we made an assembly line at the table - jam had the bread and would put a scoop of tuna or salmon salad on the bread, pass it to brother G and me - we were the spreaders- and then we would pass it to sister C who sliced the sandwiches into little triangles. we whipped off 3 loaves of bread in about 15 mins. it was fun and silly. we enjoyed ourselves!

then on saturday when we had the party the tables were overloaded with food. we had a nice group of people show up and they really enjoyed themselves. they all said that all of the food and sweets were delicious! our matriarch had a good time and sister C gave me and jam a special friendship card and thanked us for our help. it is nice to feel appreciated and even nicer to get to spend time with our dear brother and sister. brother G gave me a very special gift that i will treasure.

jam is back at work today and may have to go in a few days this week. crab fishing season starts on april 1st but i am not sure if the boats will be able to get out because of the ice-flows in the harbour. i hope the boats and fishermen will be able to get out soon.

our besties in fourchu, C&B, invited us to Easter supper this Friday afternoon. their kids (who are adults but i still call them kids!), who we love, S&D, will be there along with D's girlfriend. i am sure many other people will drop in and out. it will be nice to go and have supper with them and then head down to chase the ace after supper.

i have been sorting seeds and planning the garden but we are definitely off to a late start this year. i get the feeling that when spring really hits we are going to go from winter to spring in less than an hour. come on spring!

i hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

a beautiful spring-ish kind of day

it's a beautiful spring day out there today - beautiful, blue and still tons of white!


but no matter. we can hear the snow melting and a few more days like today and that white stuff will be gone. and none too soon.

it's 1C(34F) outside but on the porch it's a gorgeous summer day of 28C(82F) - let's just say there's been lots of nekkid suntanning on the porch, then grabbing our robes, running out the backdoor and jumping in the hottub!


we have successfully overwintered 14 of our pepper plants by bringing them indoors. this little cayenne plant produced a flower in january and that little flower produced this little baby!


we'll be eating that little guy in some kind of thai-coconut milk-chili dish in the next day or so and keeping all of his seeds for planting this year. as does everyone who saves seeds, i always save seeds from my strongest, earliest producer.  this overwintered monet pepper plant just put out a blossom - woohoo!


here's some rather plain homemade meat spagetti. lots of herbs and fresh garlic in both the meat and the sauce. i usually like to fancy it up a little more with mushrooms and whatnot but didn't really have anything on hand. still it was delicious and filling!


jam likes sauces on his meat when he can't bust out the BBQ so i made him some delicious garlic, ginger, honey pork chops with stir fried cabbage, carrot and bean sprouts and some pickled ginger.


last up - the remainder of our teas that i dried from a variety of wild and domestic plants that grow on our land or that we grew.


from left to right, top to bottom - catnip, lemon balm, comfrey, chamomile, sage, and mixed flower (st. john's wort, evening of primrose, rose petals, anise, dandelion and fennel fower). when i dry leaves or flowers i do so on trays and set them out in the sun making my friend Dani, who is completely off the grid, very proud (teehee). all of these teas were dried without using anything more than pure fresh sunshine!

i start each type of tea in a quart jar and as each tea gets used up, i then move the tea to a pint jar. as you can see it's time to move the chamomile to a pint jar. and the reason why there is only a tiny jar of sage? you guessed it! we loooooove sage tea! it sounded crazy when i first heard about sage tea while on my korean language course - who knew that in the far east, middle east and near eastern countries that sage tea is considered very posh?!?!?!? i certainly didn't know! and my first thought about drinking sage tea was "do i really want to drink a tea that certainly must taste like poultry?" i assumed that because sage is so commonly used in poultry dishes that the tea would be nasty and strange! needless to say - i tried it - loved it! jam tried it - loved it! and guess what???it is incredibly soothing and refreshing at the same time. if you have a sage plant - tear up a few sage leaves, put them in a cup and pour boiling water over them. cover the cup, let it steep 10 mins and then sip your soothing, delicious tea. do the same thing for dried leaves. the health benefits of sage tea are numerous and if you are interested just look it up!

Fern from "Thoughts From Frank and Fern " recently did a great post about comfrey! make sure to check out this post by her.

anyway, jam is hard at work sitting next to me. he says he will get to your comments on his previous posts once he is finished. i hope that you are all having a great day!