Thursday, April 30, 2015

Around the Garden

Well, since I have been working in the garden for the last six weeks, I think it is time I share the progress with you. It all began with a lot of shoveling, removing the snow from the cold frame, digging out the tunnels and freeing the raised beds from their blanket of snow. Some work was done in the tunnels, amending the soil, and the cold frame was repaired after some winter damage, and then it was planting time.

The cold frame was planted first, with beets, spinach, some mixed greens, kale and Swiss chard, and as you can see it is all doing well, I anticipate maybe two, or three weeks, and I will be able to harvest some baby greens. Two weeks later one of the tunnels was planted. Many of the same seeds went in the ground, as well as some marigolds and zinnias, a little experiment on my part. I figure the tunnels function as a little green house so why not see if the seeds will germinate. I made sure the soil was warm enough, and planted a row of each. And guess what, they are sprouting! If all goes well I will have some early flowers, which makes my so very happy.

Peas have been planted, in succession, two weeks apart, and there are still two more succession plantings to do. And this past weekend one of the raised beds was planted with kale, Swiss chard, beets and more salad greens, and covered with a row cover to help with germination, and to protect the seeds and early sprouts from the chickens, who like to scratch around in my gardens.

The herbs are thriving...comfrey, motherwort, lemon balm, chives, all heal, bee balm, yarrow, nettles, peppermint, and echinacea are all sprouting and growing. And the garlic is up! There is always this little part of me that worries about the garlic, buried deep under the snow, trying to stay warm and cozy in our very cold winters, but every spring it surprises me, pushing through the ground at just the right time.

Do you remember those raspberry bushes, the ones I kept having to remind myself to cover with straw before the first snowfall, and just never got around to it, those are sprouting too, sending out new shoots that are oh so green. While I am talking about berries, the post office dropped off a delivery notice yesterday, my berry bushes are in! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, all waiting at the post office. I can't wait to pick them up today, and get them in the ground soon.

There are a few projects to be started around the garden. The first, an extension on the chicken coop, well, because there are new chicks on this little homestead. They arrived yesterday, and we are smitten. Eight Rhode island reds, to add to our existing flock of nine. The second project, new fencing around all the gardens. Last year we put up some quick fences when Shelby, our dog, and the chickens were doing a little digging and scratching in the beds. They were temporary, and this year we will make them permanent. The fencing is on the driveway, some old trees that were cut down a few years ago are being brought from the forest for posts, and soon no dog or chickens will be able to dig up my gardens. The third project, is to lay drip irrigation lines in all the beds. This project is something we have talked about for years, but just haven't done it. I am hoping this is the year it gets done. And the final project is preparing some of our land for a wild flower garden. I have marked the space with rocks, and once the dandelions bloom, and I have harvested what I need to make salves, the area will be covered with cardboard, manure and compost, in preparation for wild flowers next summer.

Oh, and one last exciting thing happening around here. Do you remember the new raised bed I put in at the end of last summer? The plan was that it would grow cut flowers, but that plan has changed, and it is now an asparagus bed. I have 20, two year old crowns waiting patiently to go in the ground. And the cut flowers, I am still planning to grow a lot more than I usually do, but will add them around our existing beds.

While I am busy working away in the gardens, my little man will often help, but sometimes he has other important things to do...creating beautiful mud patties, and mud pies, swinging on his swing, lazing on the hammock, playing a little music on the banging wall, or digging big holes in the sandbox. He does all of that close by, in his play space, created over the years to give him and his friends a place to run free, and wild.

So, there you have it, a little garden update. I love this time of year, the hope that comes with the beginning of a new growing season, the magic of watching a seed grow, the joy of connecting to the earth and the food we eat, it is all good stuff, really good stuff.

How are things around your garden?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Project Complete

Little hands have been finger knitting around here for about two years. Over that time bracelets, necklaces, scarves for gnomes, and so on, have been knit. In the fall Reece and I decided that a larger project was something he could handle, and he got started on finger knitting a skipping rope. The skipping rope requires three strands of single finger knitting about 10 feet long. He began with gusto in the fall, finger knitting as much as he could. When his interest faded a little, we made time in our regular rhythm to finger knit ten minutes here and there throughout the winter. Last week as he completed the final stitches of his third strand, the biggest smile crossed his face. He was so very happy and proud of finishing that last strand. Together we braided the three strands into a skipping rope, and he proudly showed his completed project to his daddy. Of course he promptly wanted to try it out, and we did just that, with mom and dad holding each end, and Reece jumping in the middle.

The very next day, right after lunch, came the request to learn how to two finger knit, and I happily obliged. He picked it up quickly and easily, and spent a good hour patiently moving the yarn between his fingers. Over the weekend, with much excitement, he asked about four finger knitting, and there was no way I was going to say no. I set him up, showed him how to move the yarn between his fingers a few times, and he has been knitting away ever since. I am not quite sure what he is making, but he is so very happy about all this knitting, and that makes me one happy mama.

There is something pretty special about watching your child see a project through from start to finish. Witnessing the joy received from the day to day work required to complete it, and then seeing the big smile at the end, upon final completion. It is pretty darn awesome.

And do you know what else is pretty darn awesome...rope vessels! You see while little hands have been busy knitting, my hands have been busy at the sewing machine. Goodness what fun I am having!


For those of you who were interested in my coltsfoot honey, here is herbalist extraordinaire Susan Weed talking about coltsfoot. She also shares how to make coltsfoot honey. Enjoy. 

Monday, April 27, 2015


I'm a morning person, always have been, always will be. But then I became a mother, and this sweet little being that I birthed into the world decided mornings were for cluster feeding and snuggling. So I did what all of us mothers on this journey do, I surrendered. I sank into those mornings, moving between sleep and consciousness as my little man nursed on and off, slept and snuggled close. Every once in awhile, especially as he got older, I would try to sneak out of bed and reclaim my mornings, but it wasn't to be. For five and half years we spent the early morning hours doing what we did in his early days, snuggling, nursing and sleeping. Slowly the morning nursing came to an end, he stopped waking so early to snuggle, and I managed to slowly reclaim my mornings, for real this time. I thought with the shift, I might begin to hear the pitter patter of little feet when he woke up, sneaking out of his room to find me, but instead I hear his little voice calling "Mommy", and I go to him. I climb in under the covers, and we snuggle. We don't say much at first, I let him slowly take in the day, and I breathe in every bit of him, and then I say our little morning verse,

"The light opens up and I walk in,
the day invites me to begin.
I ask the day how shall I start,
says the day, with a wish upon my heart."

I ask him about his wish for the day, and I share mine. We snuggled a little longer, chat about the day ahead, and then get up and begin to move through our morning rhythm.

As I laid snuggling with him one morning last week, and he curled in tightly to my arms, I realized how fleeting these mornings are. Once last week, it was Justin he called, and a few weeks ago I did hear the pitter patter of little feet as he quietly got up. I know the day will come, far too soon, when our morning ritual together will end, so for now I sink into each and every one, soaking up this precious time with my little man.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

We Found Them

We found the first flowers of spring on our hike this morning....coltsfoot. It was so exciting to see these beautiful, bright, yellow flowers peeking up from the forest floor as we walked. It certainly brought a smile to my face. Reece and I will head back later this week to harvest some of those beautiful flowers to make coltsfoot honey.

Let the foraging begin!

Saturday, April 25, 2015


 "A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, we had a return to cooler weather this week. The days were a mix of rain, hail, snow, and repeat, day after day. It was crazy, but fun! We bundled up and hit the trails for a little hike yesterday. The water in the creek was flowing fast, and you and your little friend were busy tossing sticks over the bridge, into the water, and then watching them float away on the current. The two of you played like this for quite awhile. I love that a few sticks and some water are all you need for a fun time.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Better Than Flowers

Many husbands bring home flowers for their wives, mine brings home rope. Yes, you read that right, rope. I am sure many of you have seen the wonderful rope vessels being made by Maya and Amanda, well, Sunday night I shared them with Justin, and Monday afternoon he came home with rope. Rope!

We woke to rain on Tuesday, and after our morning nature walk, Reece busied himself with a little project, and I found my hands sitting idle, itching to do something creative. I had cast off a knitting project on Sunday, and as of yet had not cast anything else on, so I considered grabbing some yarn and needles and getting started on my next project, but then I saw the rope sitting by my sewing machine. That was all needed to get started.

These are addictive my friends, and so much fun! As the sewing machine hummed along, my little man popped out to see what I was working on, and stood amazed at what was happening. He declared the first one his, and I surprised him by adding a little red, his favourite colour, to the top. He loved it! The second one was all mine, and while I was hoping to make it a little bigger, I fortunately looked up just as my thread was running out. I quickly finished it, and was so very pleased.

So many ideas are floating around in my head, dreams of bowls, baskets, and bags, oh my! Dying rope, painting rope, using different ropes, goodness there are so many ideas. There are plans for the weekend to buy more thread and rope, and then the vessel making will begin again.

And yes, rope is much better than flowers.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Visiting the Fish Ladder

As I shared last week, we have a morning nature walk ritual in our home. For the most part our nature walks take place just outside our front door, but two times during the week we head to local conservation areas. On Wednesday's we spend the morning in the woods with friends, and on Friday mornings I take Reece and his little friend for a hike. Last Friday I had a pretty good feeling that the rainbow trout would be making their way upstream to spawn, so we headed to the fish ladder to take a peek.

You might remember the fish ladder from our visit in the fall to witness the salmon run. It is a pretty amazing spot, and incredible to sit back on the rocks and watch the fish jump up the ladder. It isn't an easy journey to reach the shallow waters to spawn, but they are determined, jumping from the water, trying desperately to make it up and over. I silently cheer every time one makes it up.

We sat for a while, watching them, and then we moved to the top of the ladder, and the calmer waters, to watch as they swam further upstream to spawn.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


 "A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, gosh, I love you. There is so much joy in my soul when I look at you, so much love in my heart. You are an amazing person, and I am so very lucky to spend my days learning and growing with you. Thank you for choosing me, little man, there is no one else I would want to be walking this journey with.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Morning Nature Walk

Morning nature walks are a ritual that started when Reece was a baby. In the beginning he would be in a soft carrier, close to me as we walked along admiring Mother Nature. Later, he would sit in the stroller pointing out interesting things, getting out to walk a little bit, and then jumping back in when his little legs got tired. And finally, once he was old enough, he walked beside me, holding my hand, or running ahead, free and wild. We love these walks, usually just the two of us, but some days, the three of us when the little one who homeschools with us is here.

We are fortunate to have wonderful neighbours who have carved trails throughout their forested property, and give us free access to them. We take a short walk up the road from our home, to our access point, and away we go, walking in the woods.

We were on a mission earlier this week to find the first flowers of spring, and while we searched high and low, we didn't find any. Little hands did find some wonderful seed heads and shared them, with a giggle, as they floated through the air. Those same hands carefully brushed away some leaves to find the first trillium shoots peeking out from the ground, and with much excitement started counting them. He had a wonderful time, just wandering and enjoying his time in the woods.

I followed along, snapping pictures here and there, enjoying the stillness of the woods, the sunshine, and the hope and promise that comes, not only with this time of year, but with our morning nature walk.

How about you, do you have a morning nature walk ritual?