Category Archives: Growing and gardening

My scarcity mindset expresses itself in mulch

Last month when All This was bearing down on us, and seeing that isolation was coming – the thing that made me anxious?

I don’t have enough mulch!!

I went out of my way to panic buy a load of hay, and obsessively made trips to the sawmill to bag wood shavings (the best free resource!), especially happy that I can get in and out with my little car stuffed with wood shavings without contacting anyone at all.

30 bales of hay and 30 bags of wood shavings later, I feel peaceful.  There’s hay for the hen coops, hay for the piglets’ bedding.  Hay for mulching the gardens and the greenhouse,  haybales for chicken furniture and fun.  Wood chips for garden paths and mulch and the compost toilet.  I’m good on mulch for the rest of the year, hopefully to next spring.

I’m sure to run out of things that I haven’t thought of, that are inconveniencing;  I’ve already started to.  But this pile of hay says I’ve got what’s really important.  And yes, I was fully aware that this was my version of scarcity fear expressing itself and that it was a little off the norm!

The tulips are up!

So exciting to have tulips again!  I haven’t had since I lived in B.C, and my mom sent me a big box of bulbs last fall.

Yesterday they appeared and now they are poking their spear-like rolled leaves above the ground.  Different tulips, different coloured leaves.  I planted them by colour scheme, but I don”t remember which colours where, so it will be a surprise.
I did wonder if the chickens would cause problems.  The first spears look like they were sampled, but it seems the taste doesn’t agree with them.

Sow it begins

(Feb 8)Tray #1.

February.  This is the beginning of the growing year.  Then there will be two trays, then five, and eight…

Soon every windowsill be be filled, and the shelves will come out, until all the available glass real estate in the house is occupied by trays in early April.

I have calculated  the current maximum seed tray load of the house is 14, unless I evict the aloes from the other picture window, and then I could bump it up again.  I hope it doesn’t come to that.  I need some limits.Outside, winter.

First Frost

Got a serious frost last night, and a warning frost the night before.  There was ice crusted on the water in the stock tank, and the sweet potato vines were finished off.  The squashes themselves took  damage, which is very disappointing.

Not the worst thing to have to can pumpkin, but I like to have squashes and pumpkins throughout the winter for the chickens.  Bummer!

Also today; world climate strike.  I hope the message is deafening, because the increased storms and fluctuating temperatures and melting ice caps haven’t been loud enough, apparently.


How to stand with young climate strikers

Tomato canning

A lovely pile of a wide range of tomato varieties.  I have late blight now in the greenhouse (what the?  It’s not damp), so the harvest may turn out to be smaller this year than usual, but any reduction isn’t showing yet.

Three bread bowls of tomatoes today is the second haul harvested, and now the cauldrons boil and bubble.

The most beautiful time of year.

The apple tree blooms are past now (they were prodigious, and they was no terrible frost this year, so we have reason to expect plenty of apples!), but the hawthorn stays white a little later.

This scrappy placeholder hawthorn tree by the house I allowed to live (until I replace it with a fruit tree), is happy to be becoming quite attractive.I’ve got my decorative birdhouses back out too.

Tomatoes in

It’s that time of year.

The tomatoes are installed in the greenhouse (today), and now I have to scrupulously keep the chickens out (lest this happen again), let the guineas in at night but not so soon that there are marauding chickens still about, keep an eye on closed/open doors for air and heat circulation, and watch the forecast like a hawk for frost temperature dips.  It’s a nervous time, while the tomatoes are still baby plants.

I swear planting is getting faster and more efficient every year though.

This is the transformational stage, between chicken winter habitat and summer food jungle:)

tap tap tap

The sap is running!  Last year we were largely robbed of the sugar season when winter ended a month early (just kidding!  Catastrophic frost in June!).

I completely failed to get taps in the trees on time last year.

This year, the sugar season is right on time, precisely timing the sugar moon.  I’ve got one tree tapped, the sap is flowing, and I’m even boiling it down!In the past I’ve tapped several trees and collected an awe-inspiring quantity of sap, and failed to boil any because in general I don’t even try to resist chugging it, cold, standing next to the tree (WOW!).

I made kombucha from it (wow), I boiled it to make tea, and soup, but not syrup.

Also I believed the horror stories of dripping walls and sauna reenactments from boiling sap indoors and vaporizing 39 out 40 parts water.  Doing it anyways.  I discovered something, maybe.  I was in and out of the house today turning the stove on when I was in and off when I left (window open), and whenever I returned to the cooled pot, there was a remarkable drop in the high water mark.  It seemed quite a bit was evaporating every time while it cooled, without the burner on.  So perhaps that’s a tiny bit more efficient?

But this time, I have a modest amount collected, (still chugging it from the bucket but with a little restraint), and I’m hoping for a quarter cup of syrup :D.  Maybe a half a cup:)


The year’s first shoots are always exciting.

Reliable, pedestrian kale races out of the gate, germinating in three days and fully unfolding cotyledons in <24 hours (pictured at two days old).

More exciting is licorice:


Before too long every windowsill will be full of seedling flats, and I’ll be grumbling at how fast the tyrannical little shoots are pressuring me to pot them up.

I flaked all of February, the early planting, but I’m back on track now with my planting schedule (easier every year as most things are just a straight copy of last year’s schedule).  This week, lettuce and ground cherries.