Saturday, May 30, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, we are spending more and more time in the woods these days, that happens this time of year, there is just so much happening. Birds are returning, wild foods growing, chipmunks and squirrels scattering about, and trees just calling to be climbed. We can't help but spend as much time as we can among Mother Nature and all her gifts, it makes us both happy, and strengthens our connection, to each other and to nature. Sharing this time with you means the world to me, I hope you know that.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Around the Garden

Ah, the garden. I am finding much peace in the garden these days, from my early morning walks checking in on everything, to time planting, and harvesting, to sitting back at the end of the day, exhausted but happy after a day in the garden...these are good days, my friends, good days.

Over the weekend the tomatoes went in the ground, and another sowing of carrots, beans, and peas. I have one more sowing of beans to do, and maybe a few seeds, here and there, to plant where previous seeds didn’t come up, but other than that, all the planting is done. It feels good, to have that big job behind us, and to move into the tend and nurture stage.

Cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins have all sprouted, and I hope by next week to show you how we are growing them this year. We are going to try a little vertical gardening in order to free up space in the raised beds. Justin is constructing a little archway, anchored by four large pots, which will grow the cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins. It is an experiment, if it works great, if not, we will have learned something in the process. And lucky for us our local farmers will grow all those things and more, and we are happy to support them should our garden not produce as we would like it to.

The blueberries and alpine strawberries have flowers, and the raspberries are doing well. The asparagus hasn’t done anything yet, but from what I read, once you plant the crowns it can take a while to see any growth. So I will keep waiting. The herb garden is in full bloom and in the next week or so I will start harvesting comfrey, catnip, lemon balm, and all heal to infuse for salves and tinctures.  

Reece ran out to his garden on Tuesday morning, and was excited to see his beans sprouting. I just nodded and smiled, with total understanding about the excitement. It never gets old, seeing the seeds sprout from the earth, the slow unfurling of the magic. It is awesome every single time, and now witnessing his joy in the process, well it is pretty amazing.

We are harvesting from the garden daily, morning, noon, and night. Nettles, salad greens, kale, Swiss chard, and chives are making their way into our meals, and combined with the wild foraging we have been doing, and eggs from our hens, we are starting to tip the scales back to more homegrown, local eating, and I can’t tell you how good that feels. Talking about hens, did you see our chicks? They were a month old yesterday and they are growing like crazy. They have lost their baby feathers, and slowly their new feathers are coming in. The entertainment they provide is never ending, and the lessons for Reece, in nurturing another living thing, can’t be beat.

Justin has finished the fencing and gates on the front garden, and has just one more garden to fence in. You can see he has laid out some logs defining the space, and today he should get pretty close to finishing it up. Gravel is being delivered this week, 23 tons of it, to create pathways in the fenced in areas, and to start work on a space for our bees next spring. Whatever is left will be spread on the driveway.

Did you catch the mention of bees in that last sentence? Yes, next spring we will be adding to our little homestead. This is an addition I have wanted to do for a long time. I did a beekeeping workshop three years ago, and then just didn’t step up and get my own hives going. But no more, they will be here next spring. We are spending some time this year creating a space for the bees, complete with a wildflower bed, and a lovely gravel patio for the hives. We are going to create a hugelkultur bed for the wildflowers, just to spice things up a bit, and try something new. We are both pretty excited about it, and have been collecting a few old logs, and twigs to get started building the bed in the next few weeks.

That about sums up what is happening around my garden, how are things around your garden?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Making a Home for Our Pollinator Friends

There has been a little bee watching going on around here...we are kinda in love with them. They are busy, zooming here and there around the yard, from flower to flower, doing their thing. Honestly, I could sit and watch them all day long.

With the knowledge that many of our pollinators are in trouble we decided to do what we could to attract some to our yard. We do, of course, have many flowers planted in our garden for this exact reason, but we took it a step further yesterday, and with the help of Justin, built a pollinator home for the solitary bees, mainly the mason bee, and the leafcutter bee.

It was a fun project, Reece was excited to be able to use the power drill, although he needed a little extra muscle power from Justin, and when he was done he had a lovely little home for the bees.

While we wait for the bees to try out their new home, we have plans to make a few bee baths, making the garden as bee friendly as possible.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Wild Food Fun

Garlic Mustard

Stinging Nettle

Mother Nature moves at her own pace, slowly and simply, accomplishing what needs to be done. There is no hustle or bustle, she doesn't know what busy means, there is just the present. We have been working over the years to slow our lives down to the pace of nature, to allow Mother Nature to guide us, wrapping us in her arms and leading the way. It has been a pleasant journey, one that has opened our eyes to so much beauty around us, beauty we might have missed if we weren't moving at the pace of nature.

The spring season is in full swing in our part of the world. Migrating birds are returning, some just stopping over for a week or two before they head further north, some coming to stay for the summer. Butterflies and bees are fluttering and buzzing about, flowers are blooming, and the days are getting longer. We spend most of our days outside, in the garden, and find our way to the forest, both close to home, and a little further away, every day.

At the moment the forests we visit are coming to life. Trees are bursting forth with new leaves, ferns have unfurled and are reaching to the sky, wild flowers are peeking out, and wild foods are everywhere, free for the taking. Over the last few weeks we have been harvesting a variety of wild foods, for both medicinal purposes, and for eating. Dandelion leaves have been harvested and added to salads and smoothies. Dandelion flowers have been made into dandelion jelly, as well as set to infuse in oil on my kitchen windowsill. Plantain is there too, on the windowsill, infusing in oil, and will soon become a healing ointment. Our yard, and home is filled with the intoxicating smell of lilacs, and last week as we picked some to bring in the house, we also put some aside for lilac blossom jelly. Coltsfoot is infusing in honey for a lovely coltsfoot honey, which will be be stored away for those winter coughs and sore throats. Ramp season is finished, but we enjoyed it as best we could, and managed to tuck away some ramp pesto in the freezer. We have moved into garlic mustard season, and this weekend batches of pesto were made, and stored away with the ramp pesto in the freezer. And the nettles, goodness so many nettles. We have been enjoying them daily in smoothies, in our eggs, on our pizza, in our soups, and today there are five trays of nettles dehydrating, ready to be added to the apothecary, to be used for nettle tea.

Our yearly rhythm has been closely entwined with the pace of Mother Nature, and as we move into the beginning of Mother Nature's bounty, I feel like we are truly in sync with her, and her cycles, witnessing and enjoying the finer details often missed by most. It is a blessing to notice her, to sink into her rhythm, and allow it to lead us.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, how on earth did I get to be so lucky. You, my little man, are a blessing, and I am so very grateful to be your mother.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, May 21, 2015

His Garden

Things around my garden are pretty similar to last week, more seeds have been planted, a few more sprouts are peeking out from the earth, and I am harvesting food daily from the garden for our meals. A frost is expected here Friday evening, so I have put a stop to anymore planting until the weekend. And for that reason, and because so many of you asked, I thought I would share my little man's garden space today.

His main garden is in the center of the play area, and was, before Reece was born, my herb garden. When we dedicated this area of the yard for a play area years ago, we moved the herbs, and left the garden for Reece. This will be his fifth summer growing in his garden, always with a little help from me.

Reece, July 2011, watering his first garden

When he first started gardening, he grew flowers, tomatoes, snow peas, and cucumbers. He would join me at the garden center on flower shopping day, and excitedly point out all the flowers he wanted to grow in his garden, not quite understanding why he couldn't grow one of everything in his little space. He loved flowers back then and still does, but this summer he is really excited about growing food. A few weekends ago we planted some strawberries, which are slowly making an appearance in his circular garden. This past weekend I helped him make a bean teepee, and he planted pole beans, and marigolds. He also informed me that he wants to grow tomatoes and eggplant, which we picked up from a friend yesterday.

Last summer, in a search for more space to grow food, I asked Reece if he would like another garden in his play area. Of course he said yes, and so Justin built a little raised bed in front of his play structure. Reece and I filled it up with soil, and then transplanted alpine strawberries from one part of the garden to Reece's garden last fall, putting it all to bed with a good layer of straw for the winter. This spring we planted a blackberry bush, requested by Reece, and some sunflowers, which he started inside about six weeks ago.

We will work together on the weekend to plant his tomatoes and eggplant, and his garden will be complete for this season. I will have to remind him every once in a while to water it, and as soon as the seeds have all sprouted I will help him mulch it. It most likely won't get weeded at all, and he will check every day to see if there is something to eat in his garden. It is a lesson in patience for sure, as well as lessons on where our food comes from and the work required to grow it. All great lessons, that I am happy he is learning.

He now has plans to build a few fairy walking paths out of rocks, and maybe a little fairy home or two. I will leave him to it, and head on over to my own gardens to do a little weeding.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Our Weekend

A weekend of sunshine and summer like temperatures meant I spent all day Saturday in the garden. There was the planting of more seeds, and the weeding and tidying of all the perennial flower beds. I helped my little man build a bean teepee for his garden, and watched as he planted pole beans, and marigold seeds. He has plans to add some tomato, and eggplant seedlings to his garden this week, and with the strawberries already planted and a few other flowers he wants to plant, his little garden plot is almost filled up.  Watching him tend and nurture his garden brings a smile to my face, and I hope it is something he will continue to do for years to come.

I made it in the house just in time to cook dinner Saturday night, nettle pizza, and yes, it was enjoyed on the back deck. The rest of the evening was dedicated to rest and reading. I am reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes...have you read it? If you haven't, you should, so good.

Sunday morning dawned with a beautiful sunrise, and the promise of a wonderful day ahead. We walked with friends, in the forest, to see the trilliums, and then enjoyed a potluck lunch back at our place. After lunch the kids played, the adults chatted, and the sun shone bright and strong. Our friends left mid afternoon, and after tidying up I had planned to plant a few more seeds, but instead my body sank into the hammock with a cool drink and my book. It was wonderful. After dinner, we lingered outside, enjoying the warm evening, and soaking up the last of the sunshine.

And today, yes, we have one more day, it's a long weekend here in Canada. We have no plans for today, a walk in the woods, a little garden work, we don't quite know. It is suppose to rain, so maybe I will curl up with my book and a cup of tea. What I do know is we have a full day ahead of us, a day to do whatever we like, and we are going to enjoy it.

How was your weekend?

Joining Karen