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We really cultivate a lot of weeds here at Casa Cat Creek. Those, there, I think are lavender and chamomile as well as some lilies and irises. There’s also a lot of dry grass clippings. One day this will be properly edged the whole way around the outbuildings.

This wall of the garage is already that much better because I dug it out last year when I planted those lilies. Last year I got only one measly little flower, but this big bunch looks promising!

I added some irises next to the lilies, and something else from mom. To the right is the Great Expanding Snowball Bush. It will probably have to be tamed every year.

More irises among the snowballs (and weeds. No shortage of weeds.)

 Yay! The weather is finally dry enough to hang the clothes out!

 The front of the house with some irises and some ground cover. The left has many weeds but also something else mom gave me last year, which also seems to have taken root and spread quite well.

 This is another weed we’ve been having a lot of difficulty eradicating. 😛 She won’t stop growing or getting into things she shouldn’t! (Really, Twinkle Toes is quite happy after a good long morning nap, and because we were headed out to two of our favorite thrift stores.)

This is the split rail fence that runs along under our big tree. Terrible terrible weed situation here. The burdock is taking over. I planted mint. I’m very aware how mint will spread, and that is exactly what I want. This is a shady area that also gets trampled when The Young Jedi and Miss Teen climb the tree, so it needs a hardy plant. I’d prefer it be overrun with mint than burdock!

The end of the fence. I had potatoes planted here last year and they did a wonderful job of loosening up the soil. I’ve enlarged the semi circle a little more this year, and put in some chicken and hens, some peonies, and other nameless plants. This is also the location of the poppy plant’s demise.

The bean teepee which houses the asparagus! I’m still planning on planting beans, but I figured this is a good way to shelter the asparagus from inadvertently getting mowed.

Right next to the bean teepee is the new cucumber patch. The Young Jedi is a cucumber fanatic, and Rupert is a pickle connoisseur, so here we have English and pickling cukes, in the spot where I had tomatoes last year.

The garden. It’s shaggy and messy and full of weeds, but there is a lot of good stuff in there! Perhaps next year we’ll fix up that fence and create a second raised bed.

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Toodoodoodoo… it’s all right…

🙂

Finally, the deluge has ended, and I had a chance to cut the Cat Creek grass — my, was it ever getting long! I planted a few starts that I hadn’t managed to get in the ground last week, but I will have to remember to water them because the forecast calls for lots of sun and dry weather this week.

I’ve had one casualty so far: the fuzzy ones mom gave me to transplant. The two I planted have both fallen over, wilted and died an ugly death. I don’t know what they were, though. Poppies? 😦 If so, that’s too bad. I like poppies.

Everything else seems to have taken to their new locations quite well, though, even with the dogs doing their best to lie on everything. 😛

Pictures of all the garden glory tomorrow, promise!

…you’re only a few hours away!

And have I got plans for the day!

Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. the Vankleek Hill Farmer’s Market is open and bustling. They’ve recently moved from indoors at a local high school to their outdoor location, so I’m hoping this rain we’ve been getting lets up. It’s so much more pleasant to meander through the stands when you’re not up to your ankles in mud! Just the same, I am a fervent market-goer, so I will be there — I’m especially hoping for some produce! Enough with the baked goods and frozen meat, already. Give me some fresh new sprouts of something green… (not that I mind meat — I love it — but it isn’t as exciting to buy).

I’m especially hoping “my” veggie man, Alan is back. He’s charming and grows good veggies.

I also have another reason to look forward to the morning: I’ve got clearance from Rupert to head off to the market on my new motorcycle — not that I need permission, but I won’t be taking children with me, so he has agreed to supervise them so I can leave the house on. my. own. (Those of you breastfeeding or with young children know this is momentous.) And in case you were wondering, Oh yes! one can do the groceries on a motorcycle, especially one that is equipped with side luggage and top case. I don’t have a pretty picture of my new blue lady to show you, but perhaps tomorrow will bring sun and I can snap a pic in the parking lot at the market. Promise!

Also as promised, if the sun comes out I will get some pictures of my little garden projects. If the plants haven’t all drowned yet, that is. 😛

Now I’m off to bed with visions of peas and lettuce dancing in my head. Good night, all!

… my garden grows quite nicely, thank you!

May 24th weekend being the traditional planting and gardening weekend in these parts, I took full advantage of the nice weather, and, hoping that all threat of frost has passed, I planted some unwanted wanderer perennials from my mom’s garden — peonies, poppies, chicken and hens, violets and ground cover — and also made a trip to the greenhouse for vegetable and herb starts. This year, what with a little baby and all, I didn’t manage to get around to growing anything from seed, but that’s okay. I got kohlrabi, broccoli, celery, eggplant, asparagus (oooh, hope it works!), leeks, tomatoes, 3 varieties of hot peppers for Rupert, horseradish, lavender, oregano, basil, chamomile, dill…. um, what else? I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Oh, yes, some onions which I have yet to put in.

Sigh. It’s so satisfying after all that digging to look at the neatly aligned, well-behaved little bursts of potential. Let’s hope I don’t go and neglect them like las year (when I could no longer bend over to weed due to my enormous pregnant belly).

Today was a rainy day, but tomorrow, perhaps I’ll get some pictures of all that perfectness. 🙂

Happy hoping everyone!

It feels like we skipped summer and went straight on into fall — except for all the lovely green buds and bright tulips, of course!

This week we’ve gone down to temperatures of around 5 degrees, and it has been wet! Flooding isn’t a concern in our area, but Cat Creek is definitely high and running fast. Last night, as the temperature hovered near zero, I gave in and started up the wood stove. All those windows that were open? Not so much anymore, but I’ve kept the propane heat off.

Our heating system is propane-fuelled hot water. In our province, electricity is insanely expensive, and our house is quite large and leaky, so when we were deciding on a heating system, after evaluating all kinds of options, we finally settled for propane. It’s not cheap, either, but we felt it offered more advantages, a nicer heat, and believe it to be less expensive than electric heat would be. We plan to hook our BBQ up to it when we eventually upgrade, and Rupert can have a line run into the garage for a little spot heater or propane stove. Versatile!

However, to keep our heating costs down, we have two work-horse Regency wood stoves. We have one in the basement and one on the main floor, and we use them to get the room temperature up from 17 degrees (maintained by the hot water system) to comfortable. Wood heat is lovely, it does not rely on electricity to work so it can be a life saver during power outages. It offers a surface for boiling water or warming soup, if necessary, and is a renewable, sustainable, local resource. Stacking wood is a great way to get a little bit of exercise every couple of days; I reduce my dryer use by hanging clothes to dry on a rack near the basement stove; and a pot of water on top of the stove helps to keep the air at a comfortable humidity.

During the fall and winter the wood stove is our main gathering place, and as the ground floor is open concept, it gives a lovely glow to the whole room that we can see from wherever we’re sitting. The wood fire warms our hands and toes, but also our souls, and lends itself nicely to long chats or staring into the flames and daydreaming.

So today, on this grey cold spring day, I’ve got a couple of logs burning in the stove, and feeling a little less dreary because of it. Those tulips poking up help, too. 😛

How do you warm your house? How do you warm your soul? What choices have you made to reduce your heating costs or to make more environmentally-conscious choices?

How does your garden grow?

Here at Casa Cat Creek, our garden grows despite my lack of effort–sometimes. With a job, three kids, the Cat Creek project and regular household chores to attend to, gardening ends up low on the list of priorities. Unfortunately, I know this means I produce less and waste more, as I neglect to weed and water and tie up my poor veggies. But then I think that this garden is supposed to be working for me, and if I have to spend too much time caring for it, it becomes more expensive than it’s worth. So I muddle along doing what I can when I get the chance and settling for good enough.

Yesterday I got the chance. The weather was perfect and mother in law had offered to take Little Miss for a walk, so I spent a couple of hours preparing the garden for planting. It’s early yet for putting out seedlings, but my garlic was up and being crowded by grass, and I wanted to get some cool-weather seeds planted, but before I could, I needed to clear out all the weeds. I pulled the bigger weeds, discovered a volunteer onion and a volunteer garlic left over from last year, and sowed some seeds. I also edged around the outside of the garden frame to give the morning glory a bit of a setback, and here’s how it looked when I was done:

No, this is not the most attractive garden ever built! Top right quadrant is garlic. Bottom left has a stray garlic and an onion. I added cilantro seeds in there, too. Bottom right has lettuce, kale, beets, radicchio and radishes. That top left quadrant will be for Rupert’s hot peppers.

Little Miss also did a little bit of this before MIL arrived:

I started photographing my first pieces, and now have incontrovertible proof that photography is not my forte. I may hire my mother, but here is a teaser of what is to come.

My Etsy Shop

A little bird told me…

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