Monday, July 13, 2009

Independence Days Week #11

(When it's not raining, straw bales and a moving blanket make a great garden lounger!)

We've been getting a lot of rain lately so gardening and harvesting action has slowed down somewhat. Here is what I've been able to do the last week.

Plant something:
- kohl rabi and kale (The soil was really wet, sticky clay so I'm not sure how well the seeds will germinate. The ADGMD said he had wanted to put down a layer of compost first. Oops! Guess we'll see what happens.)
- basil starts gifted to me from a friend

Harvest something:
- 8 ounces of peas please!
- red currants
- lettuce (had to compost a couple of stunted heads that were rotting from too much rain :( )
- lots of fresh herbs from the kitchen garden
- chamomile
- a wee bit of new nettle growth
- It's been too wet to harvest herbs for medicinal use so I've been harvesting a little bit of tansy (contains toxic constituents and should not be used internally) and mugwort instead. Both tansy and mugwort have insect repellent properties, so I'm experimenting with different preparations for this use.

Preserve something:
- drying what herbs I can
- labeling and storing dried herbs in jars
- froze currants to keep until ready for furthering processing

Reduce waste:
- participating in The Law of Return! (i.e. composting :) )
- bought second hand birthday gifts
- bought second hand cast iron, enameled dutch oven
- used old and/or thrifted silk scarves and ribbons to wrap birthday presents
- reusing vinegar and cider jugs for water storage

Preparation and Storage:
- added 8L of water to emergency stores
- reading The Earthwise Herbal and The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism (Full disclosure: These books were purchased new and bought online. What can I say? I try and get local and secondhand whenever I can, but sometimes there are some books that just can't be found that way.)
- reading Naturopathic Gardening. (This was a gift from a friend who had purchased the book some time ago for herself, but with a job that requires a lot of travel, she doesn't have the time and space for gardening yet, so she passed on this delightful text to me. What a lovely and generous surprise for me!)
- bought second hand, fancy glass jars for future gifts (herbal vinegars, liqueurs, oils...)

Build Community Food Systems:
- didn't make it to any of the farmer's markets :(
- gifted homemade chive vinegar to a friend
- received pepper plants from a friend

Eat the Fud:
- still more pasta primavera with fresh garden veg like peas, lamb's quarters, beet greens... (This is my new favourite meal 'cause it's light, quick and simple and sooo tasty!)
- doesn't count as eating exactly, but I'm starting to use my herbal tinctures, oils and infusions


Kyaroru said...

Wow is about all I can say! (PS: I'm back from vacay and will be contacting you soon for the interview. Ciao.)

Amber said...

Thanks! Looking forward to hearing from you. Hope you had a great vacation.

Ruhh said...

wow! Where do you find the time to do it all? I envy your dedication and resilience.

We went up to our cabin this weekend and the garden is doing great and we harvested an amazing salad from it and the local foliage. Mixed greens, lovage and basil from our labours and added some plantain, daisy leaves, violet leaves which we lightly topped with avodado and balsamic. It was delicious!

On another note I thought I would mention that I seen an old foot powered Singer sewing machine going dirt cheap ($50 and was 50% that day) at the Sally Anne on Montreal Road. I would pick it up but don't have the space for it. Maybe you're interested or know someone who is?

Amber said...

Hey thanks Ruhh. I just do whatever I can whenever I have the time. A little bit here and there adds up. Plus, I LOVE doing this kind of stuff, so none of it feels like a chore.

Also, I hardly ever watch tv, and when I do, I'm often doing something else (crafting, putting dried herbs into jars....) Based on North American averages, that adds four extra hours to my day. I can get a lot done in four hours!

I do spend a lot of time on the internet but usually it's to read and learn about the environment, gardening, simple living etc. I consider continuing education. ;)

Wow, what a great deal on the sewing machine. Did it look in good shape? Do you think it still works? I would totally be interested in something like that, but have no way of picking it up. Hmmm....I wonder if it's still there?