Category Archives: gardening

cold cucumber soup

There comes a point in the growing season when you can hardly give away your produce fast enough. It doesn’t seem to happen to me, but luckily I was the recipient of seven large cucumbers from a friend who had too many. What do you do with seven cucumbers?! I started googling cold cucumber soup and found endless versions of it. I chose this one.img_4982

Ingredients:

  • 5 cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 6 scallions chopped (I used red onion)
  • 2 T chopped, fresh dill (I didn’t have any so I skipped it)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used lime since I always have it on hand for G&Ts)
  • 1 quart buttermilk & 1 pint yogurt (I mixed yogurt with skim milk since I didn’t have buttermilk)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers, cut them in half, scrape out the seeds. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and let them stand 30 minutes. Drain excess water. Chop the cucumbers coarsely and put in the blender along with parsley, scallions, dill, lemon juice, buttermilk and yogurt. Blend at high speed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill well before serving.

It doesn’t look very pretty but it tasted delicious. Really fresh and tangy and quick!

HAR

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friday favourite – home grown tomatoes

This week we are celebrating tomatoes, particularly home grown ones, and especially ones you grew yourself! I have several large pots of tomatoes that have done very well this year. The chipmunks left them for us to eat. I have a variety of planters, and the one I really like is this one from Gardener’s Supply Co.

The little cherry tomatoes don’t have a chance of making it to the kitchen, they are eaten immediately. The other ones are delicious layered with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil!

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And they are fun to sketch too!

HAR

 

farming the market

We grew up with a huge vegetable garden. As a kid, it was great to be able to walk out and steal a carrot or pick fresh beans or peas off the vine. I could have done without the weeding required when your farm garden is the size of an average urban house lot.

Now that I live in a city, I could join the growing popularity of urban gardeners and backyard chickens. But I’d much rather make the trek to the local farmers’ market and shop from the source, supporting those that make their livelihood on the land.

I love seasonal markets the most. It connects you to what’s in season and available – a great contrast from a big grocery store.

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This past weekend was about greens – baby kale, green onion, parsley and cucumbers. Plus mushrooms, fresh honey and locally-baked bread. Local strawberries and peas are ready…I just didn’t get up earlier enough to get them. Maybe next week.

This is a great time of year to look for a local market in your area.

CJR

 

friday favourite – peonies

I wait all winter for my peonies to show off for me. They never disappoint me!

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Teleflora.com (the source of all knowledge!?!) says that peonies are known as the flower of riches and honor. With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage.  Sounds good to me!

They make me think of some friend of your mother’s who always wore red lipstick and had an attitude, in a good way. They demand your attention. They are my friday favourite. Try channeling your inner peony today and wear some red lipstick!

HAR

summer starts in Canada

It’s May two-four weekend. Victoria Day. The first weekend when we start to celebrate summer. Named in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday, it also shares the honourable distinction of referring to what use to be the standard size of a case of beer in Canada.

The risk of frost is “usually” gone and gardeners flock to nurseries like beer bugs to a vat of Labatt’s. Weeds come out. Mulch goes down. Fireworks go off.  And BBQs buzz with the ceremonious sizzling of steak to bring on the few short months that make up summer.

Here’s what happened around my yard this long weekend.

Thanks Victoria for a memorable break in your honour.

CJR

there’s a pro for that

I love supporting the local economy, and not just with food, books, yarn. When I need help with something around my house, that I don’t know how to do or don’t really want to learn that skill…I turn to a pro.

That pro is often my brother who built a beautiful garden shed, and just installed my new clothesline:-).

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That pro is sometimes a friend who just loves to prune my decades-old lilac bush.

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That pro might be a friend who cuts my grass. Or the pro who built a path to my shed by reusing the materials he installed about 15 years ago.

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Or the pro who designs beautiful paths and places in the yard.

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I love sharing the workload…with people that love to do what I don’t. They are good at it. And it helps the local economy keep churning too.

CJR

the soil is alive

I gave myself a week or so to get used to the spring forward time. And now, it feels like this fantastic transitional time of year. The darker mornings aren’t great, but after work I actually want to walk the dog. And I’ve noticed as we do our loop around the neighbourhood, I’m walking taller and happier. Could be the years of yoga, regular massages and weekly trainer…but I’m going to give the spring season the credit.

And although I wouldn’t really call myself a gardener…I completely understand the itching to get your fingers in the dirt and start digging and planning and scheming about what will grow this year. For me, it starts with cleaning up the dog poop that has been aging under the snow all winter! But after that’s done, I’m actually thinking (like I do every spring) about what I might, possibly, maybe do in the garden and yard this year.

So step outside. Take a deep breath (or three) and soak up all the new sunshine and warmer weather headed our way. And enjoying what is springing up in the soil.

Happy vernal equinox!

CJR