Monday, February 28, 2011

Garden Planning

I couldn't resist trying to capture these extra large snowflakes this morning. This is a goddess with a pitcher standing in front of our hedge, pretty much obscured by snow, and the next

 view is of birdhouses on the fence.
Seems like a perfect day to order those few unique seeds from catalogues. There are of course garden centres close by, and at this time of the year there is an ever increasing assortment of seeds to chose from. I have a few on my wish list that aren't at the store, plus it's fun for me to just pore over the catalogues.
 Here's the kitchen table with my list making supplies. Several catalogues, last years' seeds and a new garden planning kit (that was a gift from a girlfriend), with tags, and boxes and string, a journal, and fine copper plant tags. She knows me very well.

My lists grow and change, and plans for 'just one more' garden bed are in the works. And if I have a few more square feet to garden in, maybe I could try a couple of new sunflower varieties?   ... and on it goes. It must be time for tea!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner is a wonderful thing. So often weeks whizz by with no beginning and no end. Being retired, we no longer plan events around our 'days off', but frequently plan around friends and family availability. And so it was, having Sunday dinner with our neighbours. One couple had recently arrived home from two weeks away in Mexico, and the other couple were winging away to Hawaii the very next day. We had such a lovely time together, enjoyed a chicken dinner and a few glasses of wine. Did I take a picture? No. 

Talking about the Mexican beaches and fun time that was had, and the anticipation of a week in Hawaii made me happy to simply share in their holidays.
 It was my pleasure today to check out my Community Garden plot. Growing and ready to eat, even in February, are beautiful kale plants, made sweeter by the cold. Leeks, standing like soldiers in a row, waiting to hop into the soup pot with some potatoes and maybe a little sausage. Mmmmm. Here's a simple recipe for
 Potato Leek Soup that serves 4-6.

3 med. potatoes, chopped, 3 cups cleaned chopped leeks, 1 stalk celery and 1 carrot, chopped, 1 Tablespoon butter, 1 cup stock, 2 1/2 cups milk, opt; snippets herbs thyme, marjoram, parsley. I like to add about half a cup of chopped kale. To make this a meal, add some sauteed sausages and serve with crusty bread and a side salad.
Sautee veggies in butter, gently for 10 minutes. Put into soup pot with liquid, cook 'til tender, 20-30 minutes, then mash or puree. The 'chunky' level is your choice. Add herbs of choice and possibly sauteed sausage and kale. (Cooking the kale with the meat gives a richer flavour.) Add salt & pepper to taste. Heat gently, until just hot, don't boil. Serve right away.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snow Day on Vancouver Island

I often hear people talk about Vancouver Island as if it were a magical place, somehow unreal, and not relating to the rest of Canada. I must admit that I often thank my lucky stars that I live where I do, when weather becomes the news, as it has done so often this past winter.
Today we woke up to a blanket of wet snow. Just a reminder that this is Canada and it is still winter.
After taking the pictures of the yard, I went around to the back porch, where I have a 'hit of Spring' right at my back door. It just makes me smile.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentines'

St. Valentines' greetings. I was searching for vintage Valentine images, and came across this site featuring free clip-art.  I chose this cutie couple to share with you, giving credit to Royce Bair.

This past weekend I spent teaching something I love doing. I've been a soap maker for years and years, and still feel it's magic. A group of us got together for an afternoon of science, and magic, and ended up with big chunks of soap and some soothing bath salts as a Valentines' treat.
This week I plan on doing some sewing, but for no reason at all, I'm finding it difficult to sit down and do it. Like writers block I guess? Anyway I shall press on.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cupcake Heaven

I was in Victoria, BC this week, staying with a friend. Cold clear nights mean sunny days, and there's nothing nicer than sunshine in the middle of winter. I know lots of places have cold clear winter days, like Yellowknife, and the Prairies, but not usually my home.
Guess what I found as I explored the neighbourhood?
I (almost) forgot that Ooh La La Cupcakes were just around the corner! Lots of 'eye candy' for the creative soul, and just plain indulgence for everyone. Yummm.
They've grown to three shops, and here's their link

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seedy Saturday 2011

 Qualicum Beach Seedy Saturday was wonderful. It opened at 10 o'clock, and I was circling the parking lot to find a space at 9:40.
The booths started outside the civic centre and continued into the foyer, down the halls and then they spilled out into the main room. Everything a gardener could wish to see, from recycling, composting and Mason bees, to greenhouses, plants, and fencing. The regular Farmers' Market was on the stage, offering soil blocks of greens, lots of food including jams and eggs and meats. And seeds, seeds, everywhere an opportunity to buy seeds!
There were speakers throughout the day talking about good bugs, good weeds, and saving seeds. And the crowds came!
I hope every booth (there were over 50) had a successful day. I certainly enjoyed your efforts.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Get Growing!

We've had a few cold, clear, sunny days and nights lately, but today we're back to our "wet coast" weather, warmer, overcast and rainy.
As the days get longer, my gardening gene is calling me to get out into the dirt. This week we're stepping over a threshold, and we will have ten hours of daylight, which means I can plant something! I had some soil in the coldframe, and couldn't resist planting two little pots of leeks and one of buttercrunch lettuce. I put a plastic cloche over them, and left them sitting on a bench. My coldframe is a walk-in deal, and I often call it a greenhouse, but it's not because it isn't heated.
 This weekend I'm off to Qualicum Beach to visit their Seedy Saturday. Report and pictures to follow.
Ta ta for now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Royal Tea Party in Honeymoon Bay, B.C.

Here I am, learning something new!
I'm involved with the Honeymoon Bay Society in putting on a Royal Tea to celebrate the Royal Wedding in April. I'll be making sweet little cupcakes and tarts for the event, and pictures will follow!
We had a wonderful sunny day today, and I was thinking about my lavender garden. It looks pretty pitiful right now, but here's what last year looked like. Before I know it the yard will smell like Provence!
What I'm attempting here is to include a link, so you can read the local papers' article on the up-coming event.
Ta ta for now.