Thursday, 22 August 2013


Last fall at school, we spent some time digging a trench at the fenceline and putting a foot or so of hardware cloth underground, aimed to discourage the rabbits from getting in and nibbling the produce.

We now have evidence that we either missed a spot or have very determined, Peter Rabbit-type bunnies. A few of us went to the garden to check on things for our crop reports, and saw this little guy sitting right there.

He didn't even move until we were pretty close, even let me rummage for my camera, and just kept on munching the clover, so a daring sort of rabbit as well as a super-cute one. At least it was the clover and not the veggies!

Despite possible rabbit raiding, the gardens are producing well. We picked well over 20 pounds of beans Monday! Plus there are tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, greens, summer squash, and herbs. The peppers are starting also, and I think we will be pulling carrots soon. For anyone wanting to get some fresh veg at good prices, drop by the M Building at Algonquin, near Woodroffe and College, around lunchtime. We have our little garden center and produce stand open every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 to 1.

Sometimes the produce we don't sell goes to the culinary program at school, and they turn it into tasty meals to sell at their store, Savoir Fare (H Building, and definitely worth a visit). Today though, because the extra veg would all be sitting around for several days, we got to buy them at a deep discount. So I came home with a bag of tomatoes and one of summer squash and eggplant and a head of lettuce, all for under 3$, and I have some beans from earlier this week. There will be tomato sauce and bruschetta in my future this weekend!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Wild Fare and Local Fair

Had I mentioned we'll be taking a class trip to visit an enterprise that grows and sells wild and weedy edibles? A few of us in the class are already into it, nibbling purslane in the garden and such. A classmate and I walked along the bike trail near school one day and found a bunch of edibles - a whole patch of wheat or barley, just about ripe, sumac heads for making drink (it's supposed to taste a bit like lemonade, but I found more of a resemblance to iced tea), some catnip for our cats, and lots of chokecherries.

The juice I extracted from mine tastes different than the jelly my mother made with her chokecherries, so I shall be curious to see how my jelly turns out. Need to pick more first, though, since that picking gave only half of what I needed.

The last couple days, though, it's been the wild life out at the parents', in either sense of the word. Wild in the primitive sense, because the new pump they put in the well last year broke down a couple weeks ago, so we are hauling water in pails from the old well or the rain barrels, and hiding behind bushes when Nature calls. (Thankfully, it is isolated and forested enough that there are absolutely no worries about anyone seeing us.) Kenny, who is pretty much the only guy around here who can install the new pump, has been run off his feet busy, but he should come in a day or so. Doing four loads of laundry yesterday was an interesting process. It takes 10 buckets of water to fill the machine, and we used the same water to wash all four loads, lights first, then spun everything out and refilled the machine to do the rinsing the same way.

Wild it has also been in the busy sense, as it is Fair weekend. Baking and handicrafts can be done further ahead of time, but flowers and vegetables kind of have to be picked, arranged, scrubbed, etc., either the afternoon before or the morning of. Mom and I started Thursday evening about 7 when we got home, cut flowers until it was too dark to see which were the best ones, arranged flowers, tagged vases, and packed handicrafts and jams until we had done all we could, went to bed at something like 1 or 2 am, set the alarm for 6, scrambled to finish flower and vegetable stuff the next morning, packed the car full, and made it to town with about 5 minutes to spare on the 10:30 deadline...then came home in the afternoon and did the less rushed prep for the Saturday Flower Show, to bring the next morning. OK, it could be less intense, but we tend to enter everything we can, to help make the tables look full, and it's not like there aren't enough flowers around here. Plus, the arrangement categories are a fun chance to be creative within the guidelines - there'll be categories like 'an arrangement in a hat' or 'an arrangement using foliage only, in a cup and saucer'. The pantry ends up looking like a florist's shop by the time we're through!