Thursday, November 28, 2013

crazy couple of days!

it's been a crazy couple of days - we had a cold spell hit on sunday/monday/tuesday - much colder than normal temps for this time of year! thankfully it's back to regular temps....about 5-6C.

a good time to make a smiley-faced steak and kidney pie - yummeh!

it kind of fell apart when i plated it, but trust me - it was deelish!!!

on tuesday night we got the scare of our lives - a call came over our pager about a fire in our sister community of fourchu!!! nothing is scarier here than fire! but our pager message was garbled so i called our friend S to get the details. then my friend C called and she sounded scared because she could see the fire from her house. we took 5 mins to get our fire gear and bag and then about 9 mins to drive to fourchu. we got to the address and the fire was already out.


it was just a brush fire but the winds had picked up and the elderly man called 911 - which is always a good thing! our friends c, b, and k managed to get there and take care of it lickety-split! b and k just used shovels and shoveled dirt on the fire which put it out and also kept it from spreading. whenever we have a call, jambaloney runs to the shed and grabs some shovels and picks and whatnot.

but anyway, we got there - the fire is out and everyone is safe. thank goodness again! we stopped in to our friend c &b's house and chatted for a bit before coming home.

and then, to our horror - the very next day we had a test call come over our pager. again, we couldn't hear the message and started calling all of our friends, none of whom were home! we didn't know what to do?!?!?! we were terrified and ready to just go driving around when jambaloney said we should call dispatch - DUH! so we called in to dispatch and they told us it was just a test. WHEW!

here's a nice cup of fresh mint, clove basil and chamomile tea that we like to take outside when we watch the sunset - it's very calming and refreshing!

last night the power went out at about 3:30 am! we were expecting it to go out tho as we were having crazy winds of up to 100kms/hour! so we got up at about 4:30am...gathered all the flashlights, lit a bunch of candles and played cards. jambaloney had checked the generator the day before but we didn't need to turn it on and we didn't open the fridge or freezer. true to great form, nova scotia power had us up and running by about 10:30 even though their message said that we wouldn't get power until 6pm.

our experiences here with losing power is always the same - nova scotia power gets us up and running long before the message says they will. we love nova scotia power and can't believe how quickly they get our power back to us even in the middle of crazy wind/rain/snowstorms! we are very fortunate to live out in the middle of nowhere and have such reliable power!

of course, as preppers, we have backups for everything. the first is a cheat as our friends in fourchu are on a different power grid and will take us and our 3 cats at any time - bahahahah! next is our 7,500 W generator which has enough power to run most of our major appliances, including our freezer, fridge, pump, portable heater and a hot plate without any trouble. we also have a huge (23,000) kerosene heater which is always full and can heat the whole house after being on for only a short time. we have our propane bbq and a makeshift firepit if need be, as well as a burning barrel. soon, we will have our woodstove which will only add to being able to heat our home. we also have oil lamps, 84 million candles, tons of food - and then there's the fact that we can just drive over to fourchu to our friends' houses - we could go to anyone's house in fourchu and they would take us in. last but not least, the city is only an hour and a bit away - and we have friends there too that would take us in.

in the event of a full-down-grid TEOTWAWKI or SHTF situation - well, i guess we would have to live and work by daylight, like millions of people before us did quite successfully. and i guess we would have to grow our own food, fish and hunt which we already do. lobster season around here is only 2 months, same with crab season - but we live in an area where if that was the only protein we could get, well let's just say we wouldn't be hurting! we could also get clams, mussels, shrimp, trout, bass, snails, oysters - the ocean and all of the rivers and lakes around here could keep us in protein. but there are men here who pride themselves on getting a deer in the first week of hunting season. if we couldn't get a deer each year, i am sure a barter of extra zucchini and green beans wouldn't be too hard to finagle!

lastly, i will now stand up and admit to the group that i am a seed hoarder. yes, my name is kymber and i hoard seeds. i also know how to grow them. and i got a monster greenhouse in which to extend our growing season. another make-shift greenhouse will be built this spring, along with additional hotboxes. we aren't sure if the end of the world is coming....but we like to be prepared!

all of these things are things that we have learned since moving to such a remote area. if yer gonna live in the boonies like we are, then you have to be prepared!

Monday, November 25, 2013

greenhouse mashup

jambaloney here!

okay so this post is a things-i-did-on-the-greenhouse-before-winter update....

uh, yeah...

my mom and step-dad bought us a compressor, nailer/stapler and framing nailer before we left - in all the business, i never took the time to crack it open - i like to take the time to use new tools correctly - i should have learned this one earlier!!! so in september, i cracked it open -  here is the compressor..

and the nailer/stapler!!!

princess auto special!!!!

i got this out because i wanted to finish the bottom of the roof quickly. as you can see the glass only goes so far and water doesn't run off the roof - a lot of it pools in the greenhouse - no biggie for a month or two, but winter was coming i needed an extension of the ridge small 1x2s did the trick, 18 in all- the brad nailer made quick work of this job..

i screwed a bottom ridge all along the front...

here is a better view..

i used sections of old siding and staples to complete the job..

each gap was extended with siding..

and silicone caulking filled the gaps and cracks as well as covering the staples

here is a good pic that shows how the water will now run right off the roof..

here is a good view as well as showing the completed roof at the back with pressure treated plywood covering the gaps there.. the roof was complete!!!

next - here are tubes of latex i used to seal the windows...

you can see the caulking on the back here, then we painted to seal 'er up good!

i simply used doubled-up plastic at the back...come late spring/summer we will want it all rolled up for venting purposes..

lastly, foam in the big gaps!

the goal was to seal it from drafts as best as i could. here it is on a late november afternoon..

it might be 2 deg c outside, but almost 20 deg c inside

above is a greenhouse in a greenhouse!  ted, this is your seeding tray modified to provide an extra warming area - it will be great for spring hardening off and keep herbs alive in the winter!

we cover it up at night!

special bonus - overwintering peppers in the basement - hopefully a few will survive - we have 15 in the  house doing well!

nice sky!!!

and w's favorite scruttie ;-)))

cheers everybody!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

more cranberries!

yesterday we had a stuffed, roasted chicken for supper - jambaloney got these babies on sale last year and stocked us up with a pile of them - we've been eating them since last year and they are delicious!

they are local and free-range and certified organic. they are tiny but man are they healthy!!! and delicious! because we finally found cranberries on our land i knew we needed to have a meal with cranberry sauce and roasted chicken is one of my favourite ways to eat cranberry sauce!

that's some delicious chicken with gravy made from the drippings, of course smashed and gravy (that's jambaloney's plate - i have to eat mine in a bowl because i use so much gravy on my smashed potatoes - it turns into soup - just how i like it - yummeh!), our own turnip smashed with cream and maple syrup (from jambaloney's step-dad - he makes the best maple syrup!!!), our own purple haze carrots steamed and then fried in butter, and a wild-rice stuffing with bread, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and dried cranberries. smack-dab in the middle of the plate is my cranberry sauce made with about a cup of fresh cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and orange zest.

i do a variety of sauces with cranberries - sometimes i mix in some apple or pear or the pulp of an orange. but for this sauce i wanted to just savour the beautiful fresh cranberries that came from our land!!! speaking of cranberries and our land, we went back to the river today to pick more cranberries. it was a beautiful day!

here's the little hidey-hole in the woods where we keep the canoe and all of the accroutrements that we need down at the river since we spend so much time down there - composting toilet, weather-proof deck box for blankets, towels, dishes, cutlery, etc. jambaloney has already gotten it all winter-ready.

and please let it never be said that even when we are cranberry-picking, that fashion is not important to us. fashion is VERY important to us!!!


anyway, cranberry-picking on your land (did i mention these things are growing on our own land?!?!?!?) can make for some hungry bellies. being that it was such a gorgeous day and we didn't want to spend the afternoon cooking - we threw together one of our little snack plates for dinner.

some purple haze carrots, kimchi, broccoli, hummus and hard boiled eggs (jambaloney puts our home-made hot sauce on his eggs - not me. no way!)

anyway, he went out to do yard work and such and i cleaned and sorted berries. i am crazy about proper processing of berries so i cleaned and hand-picked one by one. the ginormic bowl on the left is the berries that we got today. the green basket on the right were the bad berries - amazing eh?

with this latest haul of cranberries, we now have 20+lbs of fresh and wild strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries in our freezer - i'm thinking that can get us through the winter eh!

tons of sunshine, vitamins and gorgosity in all of those berries - and they were all free! i love knowing that we have fruit, right off of our land - wild, delicious fruit to see us through the winter. and did i mention that it was all free?!?!?? it kinda blows my mind!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

pork shoulder....and cranberries!

jambaloney found these pork shoulders on sale last year and got us a bunch of them! even though they are cheaper cuts of meat, if basted properly and cooked very slowly - they come out tasting divine! i use a maple/mustard glaze and it is really good!

here's some love on a plate - the ham shoulder, our home-grown roasted potatoes, our own swiss chard and our friend D's apples!

we have been eating our friend D's apples every single day - we love those apples! of course, after you eat ham, hot ham sandwiches, cold ham sandwiches and snack on ham and apples all day for a few's time to make home-made ham and beans - yummeh!

here's another meatpie that we made and ate in one day - we love our meatpie around here!


another favourite supper is veggie shis-kebabs on rice. i put some olive oil in a big bowl, add salt and pepper, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and fresh-squeezed garlic and then chop up all of the veg and let them marinate for hours in the oil, constantly stirring them. it's a delicious marinade and some of it dribbles onto jambaloney's perfect rice - yummeh!

oh ya - CRANBERRIES! we have been getting cranberries from a variety of places over the past few years - can you believe that we found some growing down at our own riverfront?!?!?!?!?

the above pic is me laying in the wet grass looking for cranberries. can you say SCORE? oh i think that you can!

look at these babies!

growing right on our land?!?!?!?! that means we now have raspberries, blackberries, blueberries AND cranberries growing right on our land!!! can you say anti-oxidants!!! oh we are thrilled!

the pic above is a ginormac, cleaned kitty-litter bucket and the cranberries are about three inches deep! we were only picking for about 25mins and got that many. we plan on going down tomorrow and picking all of the rest. we are just way too thrilled to find cranberries on our land - woohoo for us!

Monday, November 18, 2013

catching up (with lots of pics, events and food!)


wow! it's been a busy week! what the heck am i saying?!?!?!? it's been a really busy month! this time of year always is; as it is harvest time! we harvested a whole pile of stuff over the past few weeks - of course i only have a pic of our carrot harvest - have a gander:

i don't exactly know the weight of our carrot harvest but it is the best carrot harvest since moving here! the top left are white satin - they are lovely! the bottom left are purple haze - we had never planted them before but they are so sweet - we'll plant a ton more next year! and the white side of the board is a mix of napoli and chantennay reds - deelish!

here's some delicious lasagna - i made a giant dish of it and we ate it for 3 days - yummeh!

we haven't harvested our potatoes yet - we just dig up a few as we need them. that's the great thing about growing potatoes in tires - you don't have to harvest them all at once. and, because they are in tires, they can handle a couple of frosty nights with no worries. we usually harvest our potatoes in early december as we don't get solid frosts until mid-december.

however, we did harvest our seed potatoes. we planted 18 tires of 3 varieties this year and then still had a bunch of baby seed potatoes left over. so jambaloney planted a potatoe in every single spare space of our gardens. here is what we harvested for seed:

that's a freakin' lot of brown russets and red chieftains to be used as seed for next year!!! we harvested our irish cobblers a few days earlier and of course i forgot to take a picture!!! but we got a ton of them to be used for seed for next year!!! the seed potatoes keep well in a box in our basement with a old towel put over them, as our basement is basically a cold store!

anyway - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US - woohoo! i turned 43 on saturday, the 9th, and jambaloney turned 48 on saturday, the 16th. we don't really celebrate our birthdays but usually make special meals for the day of our birthday. i, of course, wanted fish cakes made the plain cape breton way - fresh haddock mixed with creamy smashed potatoes and salt and pepper - MAN - those were delicious!

jambaloney wanted chicken thighs for his birthday!

from left to right - 2 chicken thighs with blow-your-head-off kimchi paste that i make, with additonal kimchi paste for dipping! the next 3 wings on that plate were made using my home-made super hot sauce - he loved both of them! the plate on the right are baked teriyaki chicken thighs with additional teriyaki dipping sauce. it was delicious and we needed baths after we ate them - we were covered in a variety of sauces - bahahahahah!

last week, we had to take a trip into the city - ick! i hate going to the city! but as i have said many times before, thank goodness there is only one city on the island and the population is only 36,000. it was such a beautiful day and we hated wasting it by spending the whole day in the city. here we are in the parking lot of our ONE mall - bahahahahah!

see what i mean about it being such a beautiful day?!??!? and now here's the kicker - this is our busiest street in the city - bahahahahah!


here's a beautiful sunset from the other evening - i find at this time of the year that the sunsets are just gorgeous!

and here's some delicously, herbed lebanese hamburger rice - i love it!

anyway, this past wednesday evening was our monthly volunteer fire department meeting. it was held in fourchu so of course we stopped in at our friend C & B's before the meeting. they are really good friends to us! and then we had our first aid/cpr/aed level III course on friday evening from 6:30 to 10 and then on saturday from 9-3. our volunteer fire department takes training very seriously as the ambulances can take anywhere from an hour to 2 hours (if they got lost - which they frequently do!) to get here. that means, we as volunteers need to take our training seriously. we all really enjoyed our training and there was lots of practice on a variety of scenarios.

anyway, our instructor is the same instructor that our communities have used for years - she is wonderful! on friday she brought a bunch of different cookies for us and on saturday, she brought a beautiful chicken-pot pie for us, even though we all brought our own lunches. we had a card thanking her being passed around the hall during our training and we all signed it. we also got her a pretty red thermos cup for her coffee for when she is traveling around doing training.

she thanked us and was very touched, and thanked us for giving up our friday night/satuday in order to be re-certified and stay on top of our training. that's when our matriarch, V, said - "well jambaloney didn't just give up his saturday - he came in on his BIRTHDAY!!!"! then everyone sang happy birthday to jambaloney while he turned beet red and tried to climb underneath the floorboards - it was soooo funny! even the men sang to him - he was sooo embarrassed!!! we all were killing ourselves laughing!!! what was even funnier was that while we were singing, our friend R went into the kitchen, procured a dinner roll, put some jam on top and six lit candles - bahahahahaah! of course we had to sing happy birthday again! then R went over to our instructor, took the gift bag from her and gave it to jambaloney and said "it's not much, but it's from the heart!!!!"! bahahahahahah! oh - we killed a solid 45 minutes just laughing - it was sooo awesome! we have the bestest, funniest people in our community!!!

continuing on, after training we went to our friend C & B's again. we thought we would just stay for a cup of tea and a chat and head home - we were all pretty tired. but nope, once we all realized that we had been there for 3 hours, my friend C busted out a beer for jambaloney and some wine for me (she ALWAYS has my favourite wine at her house!) and a bit of a party ensued! we had such a good time laughing and chatting and telling stories and laughing some more - it was awesome! our friend B cooked up some home-made fries and deep-fried scallop balls - we stuffed our faces and laughed some more. it was a really good time.

i'll leave off here with another sunset.

i love this time of year! i love sitting with my man in our rocking chairs, watching the sunsets and drinking fresh-picked mint tea - it's so lovely!

i hope you all have a wonderful week and i hope that this coming week will be wonderful as well! off to check out your blogs now!