Throwback Thursday – Seed picking and planting tips

I originally blogged this post in February 2012 and have gone back to the information recently so what perfect inspiration for a throwback Thursday?.
I haven’t been blogging very much in the past couple of weeks. Things have been busy! Work is busy, kids are busy and life is busy…you know the drill.

A good three to four feet of snow is piling up on the ground here in Western Qc. One of the latest chores is scraping some of the load of snow off the roof. This is definitely a country chore. My husband, a townie, had never heard of the concept of having to take snow off the roof. However, having grown up in Northern Ontario, I remember my father periodically scraping the snow off the roof. This chore was no more exceptional to us than taking out the trash. It sucks but it needs to be done or you have a mess on your hands.

Now, naturally, all this snow inspires me to contemplate our next gardening season. After all, the best garden is always the garden you are planning!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have received my seed catalogues and have thoroughly thumbed through them. One is quite dog-eared by the bath-water-wet hands!

I recently conversed with by bbf (Hey you! You’re awesome!) about her new garden in her new house and gave her a few tips. I was surprised how quickly I rhymed off some of the info. It seems that those soaks in the tub have helped all that garden information sink into my brain! It occurred to me that this would make some good information to pass on in a blog post.

My biggest and best tip is soooo simple yet soooo important: Grow what you like.

I know it sounds silly. But every person who has planted a garden will tell you that they planted something because they WANTED to like it. It always turns out to be a disappointment. For example, I would really love to like radishes. They are simple to grow, you can plant multiple crops over the season, they look cute AND planting radishes with your cucumbers helps with pest control. But you know what: no matter how much I WANT to like them. I. just. don’t. They taste like pepper to me and I really cringe at the texture. If I do manage to get a chicken coop and egg chickens this year, I may throw some in and feed it to the chickens. But otherwise? complete waste of manure. And I don’t mean that in a tongue in cheek way, manure IS a gardener’s gold.


All that to say. Grow what you either like to eat, look at or smell. Gardening is hard work and takes commitment. Don’t waste your time with something that doesn’t give you joy.

A few more practical tips are:

Either get indeterminate tomato seeds or plant a few one week and then a week or two later, plant more. Otherwise they will all ripen at the same time.

Cucumbers are easy but sprawl. Peas grow up usually, not out, so you could put those in the garden along the edge (where they won’t shade other things) and put the cukes by the fence where you can tie them up a bit and keep them off the ground. Just a thought.

Leaf lettuce and herbs are super easy. Lasagna gardening is great for these because they require no weeding with that method and since they don’t root deeply – you don’t have to make a really deep layer bed.

There are lots of different kinds of beans. Some are better for eating and some are better for canning/freezing. Bush beans ripen all at once, usually used for freezing or canning. Pole beans produce continuously, usually better for eating as the season progresses.

Radishes are really easy. Plant them in combo with cukes and they help with the bugs that like cukes. They will probably be the first thing to harvest along with lettuce.

Carrots needs GOOD soil and not clay or rocky or they will be all crooked or you just may not get any at all. If you don’t have good soil, consider the container varieties. Cute and they taste good too.

Green onions are easy but need thinning (so do carrots).

Garlic is a bit harder. More rotting issues. Should usually be planted late fall. You might be able to do it early spring if you get the right variety.

Raspberries come in canes and produce fruit on the second year. They take a bit of pruning, training, etc so look for an easy to manage types. I think there are a type or two that MIGHT fruit in the first year, but they are always best in the second year.

Rotate crops. Don’t grow the same crops in the same place every year. This helps control diseases and different crops suck different nutrients out of the soil. Rotating helps to avoid depleted soil.

Hmmm. There is definitely some kind of life lesson somewhere in that soil sucking part but I am too busy up to the top of my winter rubber boots in snow to make a snarky comment. I am counting on my sister to come up with a zinger for me. Like any good sister should; she regularly contributes sarcasm and good photography to my blogging efforts.


Throwback Thursday and shout out!

Pictures from around the acres. Originally posted  April 9, 2012 and reposted in honor of my sister’s birthday. All pictures were taken by her.      

My sister has a talent that she doesn’t acknowledge.

She has the eye.

You know those people that can pick from all the visual stimuli, frame and produce that great shot? That’s her.



In honor of her upcoming birthday, I am posting some of her shots. I am always amazed how we can both be looking at a scene but see something different.  I appreciate that about her.


Happy birthday Shailagh!

P.s it snowed here last night.  Viva Las Vegas for you!


Quick tip Tuesday – freeze jugs of water for appliance efficiency and power outage preparedness!

When finished with jugs of laundry detergent, milk or juice repurpose them by washing and filling them with water (leave room for expansion). Freeze the jugs in the void spaces of your freezer. A full freezer is much more energy efficient and it will get you through short power outages by keeping the freezer cold (just don’t open the door more than absolutely necessary when the power goes out!).

If the power outage is extended and the jugs thaw, repurpose the water to wash and flush toilets (a must when you live with a well system) etc.

Shout out to my amazing friend Nath for the tip. She picked it up from her parents! See friends – there IS hope that kids will listen…they’ll just never admit it. 😉

Easter Monday wonder.

It’s a bleary Monday morning in western Quebec. The snow is still on the ground and the sun is hidden by a haze of clouds. I find myself dragging my feet not really sure of the cause other than I miss the sun. ⛅️

Play along with me today? What do you see in this picture? Take a moment  to pay active attention to your first impressions.


Do you see snow still on the ground? A dead tree fallen over?   A lack of good sun or lighting and a dreary scene? Does it make you feel blah?

I see a dead tree that could have fallen over on power lines and started a fire but did not.

I see a log that could have blocked the driveway and made me late for work but did not. 

I see a tree that died and fell over just perfectly to keep it out of the way and drying off the ground. I see chainsaw work for the husband and am thankful I have him healthy and willing to take care of the job. I see a chore where the chainsaw is broken and am thankful I have the money to fix it. I see cozy fires  in the fireplace with all that wood.

I see property where my kids are healthy and happy run around crawling and climbing their own castle and keep.

And I am thankful Easter Monday blessed me so that I may have naught to fight today but a silly drag in my steps to overcome.


Throwback Thursday: My First Year in La Belle Province continued….

Thankfully, my husband is the reluctant malleable type and I had but to open his mind to the idea of lawn tractors, atvs, winter hockey rinks in our yard, and bug-bitten, filthy but gloriously happy children – so pleasantly tired their snores fill the house at nighttime – to convince him we needed a rural life.

Our dream started somewhat indirectly and very slowly years ago when we bought a piece of land with a shack on it. The idea being to have a little get-away for weekends out in somewhat wilderness where we could aclimatize the girls to nature…And believe me when I say shack. Shack being the Northern Ontario version where cottage and camp have very distinct definitions. Mishapen, lopsided, log beamed, no electricy or plumbing, porcupine squatting – type of shack my Mother swore she had outgrown visiting before she even became a teenager. We bought a 1974 Shamrock trailer to stay in and camped out (picture me, shivering at 3am, in the pitch dark warming baby bottles on the bbq side burner in a pot of freezing stream water. Fun times!)

We hacked and heaved, battered clean air and good meals with our friends and family for help and even paid a few tradesmen to help us get it into perhaps what one could refer to as a “cabin”. We eventually had electricity, but no heat or water. Even flooring at one point was exciting! We experimented with a composting toilet I sourced off e-bay (awesome…IF you follow the installation instructions – yes, I’m looking at you dh) and a melange of a camping hot water heater with a plug in cooktop. But they were wonderful times!

After a few years of dragging the children literally kicking and screaming (more than once) back to the city on Sunday nights we decided the time was right to take the plunge. We were going to sell the cottage AND the city house and become country-fied for good. No more decompressing from Friday to Sunday afternoon only to scramble to get everything all packed up, loaded, unloaded and washed for the next Friday. Working for the weekend became a desire to work for the peace of soft sunshine that one can only experience as filtered through the foliage of a lot of trees that are on your property. We no longer wanted a “lot”, we dreamed of LAND. Yes, we had the acreage bug and it was itching something fierce.

to be continued….

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Friday night project: miniature coffee cup earrings (silver and polymer clay earrings and charms)

Coffee and I are in a serious relationship. I spend moments dreaming of the perfect creamy latte warm hug. Or the ultimate espresso shot where the crema hits the back of your brain like an electric bolt of deliciousness.

I’ve been striving to recreate those steamy little cups in my miniatures for the past week or two. Last week it was tiny cups of black coffee with a faint cloud of milk and teeny shortbread cookie – to dunk of course!


This week I’ve been experimenting with coffee and a dusting of cinnamon and espresso with crema. Here they are before baking. 


Next steps will be baking and experimenting with a glaze.

I haven’t decided whether to attach the spoons or not yet. leave a comment and let me know what you think! And watch for these soon in my etsy store.

Throwback Thursday: My first blog of my first year in la belle province

I love that moment in the morning stepping out onto the porch when I search my mind for the source of the smell of wood in the morning. Then it dawns on me, ITS TREES IDIOT. And I (we) own them! Well the bank owns them presently, but every month a little tiny leaf of them becomes ours forever.

As children a lot of girls long for big weddings, pretty clothes, nice big houses and fancy cars with handsome husbands. I wanted a house on the hill, with lots of cats and to be able to write books. Oh, and a smoking hot cowboy husband. Well, my house is at the foot of a mountain and I have dogs not cats. (Turns out I prefer animals I can order around.) And my husband is a handsome hockey player instead of a cowboy, but whatevs. Hockey sticks or cattle brands, they both have a certain kink to them!

For that brief perfumed moment in the morning, I can put aside the fact that I need a water softener, the dogs are digging an even bigger trench under my treasured wrap-around porch that is slowly sinking and there are hand prints and dog snot all over my coveted extra long widows and I just think how freaking lucky I am that I am finally here! Turns out, I am a city hater. The traffic gave me heartburn, the smell reminded me of an outhouse and surprise, I hate having neighbours. I yearned for freedom, dewey grass under barefeet and sipping coffee on my porch in my nightgown with no one gawking at weirdo me.

To be continued….

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