Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In the Garden: May 29

Things are looking green, though the earth is surprisingly dry considering the amount of rain we've been getting, my chives are looking great, and tasting awesome, the Rhubarb is almost ready to pick, and is sending out its crazy looking flower stalk. The wild bergamot that I planted last year, from tiny seedlings, has totally taken off, and is even holding it's own against the quack grass- (which is also growing shamefully well). Earlier this week I gave myself a ridiculous blister while weeding the strawberries, without gloves. The day was perfect, N was playing (mostly) quietly nearby and A was having one of those naps in the stroller where you start watching their chest carefully to reassure yourself that it's still moving, and I just went at the dandelions in the strawberry patch, it was getting pretty serious in there, let me tell you.  The strawberries are thriving now, though it may be a few days before I can get to the quack grass in the herbs due to the blister.

I also need to rescue the rest of the little perennial corner, and this week we're hardening off the tomatoes and melons and peppers and celeriac. We are also working on the mini-hoop house for the cruciferae plants. We have tried and tried to grow nice broccoli and cabbage etc. without chemicals but it just hasn't happened, it's either flea beetles eating the entire plant, or cabbage worms so thick that you can't actually eat the stuff, because after picking them all off, you just can't stomach it. So last year we test ran a sheer fabric hoop house, with the most ramshackle of set-ups for the supports (sticks and masonry cloth), and leftover fabric from curtains hastily sewn up together. It worked amazingly well, we picked bugs once, and then didn't have to touch it for the rest of the season, and they grew so nicely.

This year I've taken it up a notch and sewed four ten foot sections of the fabric covering, with french seams, and a nice wide hem that we can weigh down without the fabric unraveling, and we're working a more sturdy steel frame. So this year we should have forty feet of covered area for the garden, and I can already taste the Kale, and Romanesco Broccoli, and Rapini.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


A: always grabbing for the camera, always, and with that look on her face that says " oh- just for a minute let me see".
N: trying out her faces and asking to see each one in between- this one was particularly funny I thought- though I think I'll post the outtakes later too- together they make a really good- genuine portrait of her.

posting along with Jodi at Che and Fidel.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In the Garden; May 20

I think this idea is brilliant- a weekly update on the garden, on the blog. I planned to keep very good notes about everything this year, but somehow it seems like whenever I sit down to write in a journal I suddenly have two little monkeys hanging onto my arm. Or I make a mental note of something and don't actually write it anywhere, thinking that I'll never forget it- but I inevitably do- or at least forget the specifics of it. So I'm going to follow Amanda's lead over at Soulemama, and post weekly garden updates.

So last week we got the space cleaned up- and then we marked out our rows, and planted the potatoes, onions and garlic, also all the seeds, except the squash and corn and grain. And then it rained, beautiful and soft, just right for newly planted seeds. Inside the plants are growing well- the Tomatoes are just right for hardening off- not too big- which is our usual problem. The Celeriac are growing like champs, nice and big, and the cats have eaten all our leeks, so then I bought more plants, and they're trying to finish off those for me too.

The watermelon are growing really well too- though they were slow to germinate. my last few 'Cream of Saskatchewan' watermelons are now up and doing well. Last year these watermelons kept on germinating, and then damping off; it was really depressing. I tried to fix it by sterilizing the containers, and sterilizing the soil, and sprinkling cinnamon on top of the soil, and watering them with a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol in the water, and well and I ended up using 'Sugar Baby'* seedlings that I bought instead  because every thing I started died. Damping off is a fungal thing, and when nothing else worked I deduced that it was on the seeds itself. This year I took my remaining five 'Cream of Saskatchewan' seeds and swished them in rubbing alcohol and let them sit for about ten minutes before I planted them into a sterile potting mixture, inside of sterilized plastic pots (sterilized by letting them soak in the bathtub in a bleach/water solution). Four out of Five germinated, and they are all well on the way to producing their first leaf, so I think it worked. (I should note that 'Cream of Saskatchewan' is not a really hard variety to find, I could have bought new seeds, but I wanted to test out the method, for future reference).

Outside the Asparagus is up- and we've been eating a few stalks every day, it's really producing well now- in it's fourth year. The rhubarb is growing up nice and big too, the Strawberries all seem to have made it through the winter, and the patch is flourishing now, if a little weedy. The Raspberries likewise have started putting out new leaves. I'm so grateful for the Perennials that I have planted out there, it's such a treat in early spring to see stuff already poking up it's head.

*the Sugar Baby watermelons were totally delicious, and I ate half of one every night while I was up breastfeeding A. I would carefully cut it up into small pieces before bed and store it in a Tupperware container next to bed, so at night I'd just wake up and crunch away while I was nursing her- it kept me awake, and was so refreshing (but probably super annoying for K, though he had the grace (or common sense?) to only mention it once... or twice) anyhow they lasted until October- so it was a really great keeper too.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


N: A ninja is born while dressing herself- a process that is usually best done with nothing else on the agenda- it can take some time- exploring all the opportunities that arise.

A: sometimes while I'm carrying her she will pop her head down like that and look into my face, this is not the best shot, of her technically- but it is a pretty sweet thing to remember.

My favorite from last week: A boy after N's heart- I cannot count the times I've come across a similar line up of toys, the laundry basket cage is an awesome addition.

Posting along with Jodi

This Week

:: a rare self portrait in one of my newly made spring tops- vintage cotton- that is perfect for working in.
:: lovely little juice glasses found at the local flea market.
:: mother's day flowers, in colours that make me want to mix new glazes.
:: the giant blank canvas that is the bare garden, this space seems to shrink as things grow.
:: planting N's garden.
:: the littlest potato digger.
:: our super gnarly leftover potatoes- which will hopefully grow- this year we will set them out in the sun after digging to induce dormancy- so they don't sprout so much.
:: the most essential gardening tool for anyone with a baby- a sling.
:: father-daughter onion planting- which is becoming quite a tradition.
:: hurrying to plant the Hazelnut trees before the rain- in the rain.
:: waiting out the sudden burst of heavy rain in the garden shed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


A: enjoying the outsider air, going through a biting phase, which is super painful for me- and hilarious for her. To put that little problem into the spotlight- she also is not that into food yet- which is no big deal for me- I always planned to nurse her into her first year at least- and she's obviously thriving, but I can't even start weaning her to deal with the biting, unless I got her onto bottles and that seems like a giant headache at this stage of the game too. I have to be honest I'm not sure what to do about this one... hopefully it passes.

N: Lovely and windblown by the garden, she is such a spirited girl, with a great personality, and she has always known what she wants.  She also is so verbal- I told her that she can't be so upset when things don't go exactly as she expects them to- like if the food gets to the table before she does, or I put her left shoe on before her right- and she then told me later- during another bewilderingly upsetting event- " it just wasn't exactly how I expected it to be". I feel like that was an ' a-ha!' moment- words! another set of tools to to teach her to use. Also she loves jokes- and we looked a few good ones up this week- which made us both laugh- which reminded me of some good marriage advice I've heard " it's really hard to be mad with someone when you're laughing with them", so maybe I'll try to lighten up the tantrum mood with some knock knock jokes.

(my favorite joke that we looked up- How do you make a tissue dance?- put a boogie in it)

My favorite photo from last week here- I'm a sucker for a back lit child.

Joining in with Jodi.

Friday, May 10, 2013

This Week

This week spring came out with a vengeance, and we got so much done- the garden cleared, the stoop swept, some onions and garlic transplanted, the overwintered carrots and beets in the ground for seed (which is the first year we've done that- it's a bit of an experiment). But then the amazing heat went away again, and now it's a typical Manitoba spring; 10 degrees and super windy, but the end is in sight, the snow is gone (mostly), and things are sprouting.

The kids are so happy to be out of doors, except when N is grouchy, which is quite a lot of late- I've just read this disequilibrium theory, that kids are always unbalanced around their half years (like when 3.5 yrs old, 4.5, 5.5 etc), because they're learning and growing so much, and then they balance out again at their birthdays. I'm not really sure I totally believe it- but it does make me feel less like I'm raising a raging manic depressive maniac, so I'll cling to it for now. I have noticed that she usually tests us most when she's developing, or when I'm not challenging her enough (mentally you know- not challenging her to a fight or anything), so there's usually some new awesome skills that come out of a tough period. I just have to make it through the tough times without my eyeballs bursting from the high blood pressure, no big deal.

(also does this half year disequilibrium ever stop? because both myself and my kids all celebrate birthdays within a two week period, and if this theory applies to adults as well- we should probably just quarantine ourselves between January and May)

For now I'll just content myself with showcasing the (many) good moments from our days, and try to erase the tantrums and whining from my memory.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In the Lilies

Unbelievably I found this arrowhead while cleaning the front flower beds. I was clearing away last years lily debris, and this little guy fell out into my hand. I was so surprised- but also skeptical- see K loves arrowheads, and looks for them as much as he can- which is not much these days, but he and N had just gone out looking for arrowheads together that morning, and had found none, but I thought maybe he'd planted this one there for me to find.

I asked him later and he said an emphatic no, he would never risk me not finding it and losing it forever- (he's occasionally found an arrowhead while looking with someone who has never found one- and left it there for them to find- but it's always tough to find it again, and that's a pretty big risk for someone who treasures these points). Also he didn't really know that I'd planned to clean that flower bed so it would have been a giant risk.

He figures this point is a re-shaped pelican lake point which makes it about 3500 years old. He also says that most people would class it as a much younger besant point, but the curved base and distinct side notches, plus the asymmetric tip- means that it was likely much longer, then broke, and was re-shaped to use again. This makes sense because it's made of knife river flint- which is not native to this area, so it would have been traded for and valued, and you wouldn't rally want to toss it, if it could be salvaged.

We know that this area is a good one for artifacts, we find the odd flake, and K knows quite a bit about this stuff, (ancient artifacts are his first love) so he's found a lot of points, and scrapers, and axes, and hammers, and pottery sherds over the years. I usually find points pretty randomly, mostly after I've gotten fed up and say I'm done with looking, as I'm walking back to the truck, I'll come across a perfect point. It seems like hard work- the way that K looks for points, and it seems like a rare gift when you find them as randomly as I do.

I know that the spot around our house has been populated for thousands of years, but I never really thought that through before. What boggles my mind about finding this point- is that thousands of years ago, in the exact spot I'm sitting right now, some guy shot at an animal, missed, and lost the point. He probably spent a lot of time looking for it-he'd just re-shaped it after all,  then realized it was almost supper or something and time to walk back to camp- so he gave it up as lost- and it was, until it fell out in my hand, while I was weeding the lilies.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


N: True joy is Jamiroquai on mama's iPod and a pink tutu- this week at least. N's taste in music is truly eclectic- since birth she's had clear song preferences, mostly for heavier beats (The Clash, Cake, Jack White, The Ramones)- this week I uploaded "Synkronized" onto the iPod, and it has so far proved to be the best combo of heavy bass, and good dance rhythm. I wake up with 'canned heat' playing in my head at night.

A: This is the preferred method of playing with the bouncer, when you place the kid inside the thing screaming fits ensue- but she will gladly hang on to it and bounce up and down while precariously reaching for the toys on the other side, of course.

joining in with Jodi.

Friday, May 3, 2013

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

posting along with soulemama