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It seems like just yesterday I was sweltering in 30 degree heat and wishing for a reprieve, but today it feels like fall has set in. The nights are cool, we’re using our duvet again, and while the afternoon sun is still quite hot, the air in the shade is not. The season of sweaters and “hot again, cool again” has returned. Windows which get opened during the day suddenly need to be closed at night, the wood stove has seemed mighty tempting a couple of times, and our thoughts are turning to getting all those last things accomplished before the cold weather (and snow) sets in. Things like eaves troughs and soffits, insulating the trap door, draft proofing the front and back doors. Yesterday, for the first time in a few months, I made a roast chicken, and my mind wandered to making soup. Not yet, but soon. The kids returned to school this week, and that also makes me feel old, and happy, and sad.

I can’t say I don’t welcome the cooler weather, but summer sure flew by fast, and that makes me feel old and sad. The weeds in my garden are doing better than the plants I wanted there, which also makes me sad, but soon I won’t need to feel guilty for not weeding the garden because it will be too cold for anything to survive. So it won’t be my fault that the garden is dead and unproductive.

Things we’ve done this summer:

  • Planted 180 cedars. (Dug 180 holes!)
  • Went camping for a week with Twinkle Toes for the first time as a family. Really, have you ever gone camping with a one-year-old? It is more of a challenge than it sounds, and it sounds daunting. One of the lessons learned that week: When you suspect your child has a full, poopy diaper, do not continue to roll around in the tent playing “tickle”. I’ll spare you the details.
  • Acquired a new motorcycle, sold one, and fixed several bits on several motorcycles.
  • Successfully (just about) finished a room! I put down, stained and varnished the pine flooring. Now I’m thinking of another career. (Not really, but that pneumatic floor nailer was a lot of fun.)
  • Rupert built a two-storey deck with a friend of his. Quite the accomplishment given he is afraid of heights and that even only 5 years ago, he wouldn’t have known how to hammer in a nail. (I exaggerate, but only a little.)
  • Got over the dread of returning to work after maternity leave, had my position abolished, dealt with that stress, and came out the other side thinking that the world is full of possibilities. Today I ran into one of those possibilities. I’m going to start a production blitz in time for the International Plowing Match which will be taking place in my area in a couple of weeks. I also found out that I may be eligible to take some entrepreneurship courses, which would be dandy!

Casa Cat Creek has been experiencing quite the heat wave. I’ve only just now regained enough energy for anything other than moving to the basement where 28 degrees feels cool, and sitting there in a puddle of sweat to moan.

The sun has been unrelenting and the temperature has been up around — or above — 30 degrees for what feels like ages, but is probably only two weeks or so. I’m happy I’m not 9 months pregnant like I was during last year’s heat wave, but I’m not enjoying it!

However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, and the heat and unrelenting sun, as much as it is making the lawn brown and crunchy, the cedars wilt and me sweat, is fantastic for making cucumbers into pickles.

(It’s also great for bleaching and airing cloth diapers, so get your fluff out on the line!)

Here are my first forays into pickle making:

 

 

I’m following my mother-in-law’s recipe (as I remember it). For the pickles, add fresh dill, garlic and salt, and fill with water above the cucumbers. Add a piece of bread for the yeast which will start the fermentation process. Cover with saran wrap and the lid. Leave the jar in the sun for three days and then refrigerate.

The process is the same for the green tomatoes, only this recipe is a little spicier: Use peppercorns, red pepper flakes and bay leaves.

The jar on the right has been out for two days already. Tomorrow I’ll bring it in. The other two I just set out today.

🙂 Happy pickling!

Casa Cat Creek is at the edge of a village, in the 50 km/hr zone of what is otherwise an 80 km/hr county road. Despite the signs, despite the warning of increased fines, drivers still go through town doing 70-100 km/hr. We worry about the dogs or kids getting hit by a car and we have to deal with people who see our long side property as  a municipal park, treat it as a dumping ground, park on the grass. We rarely using our long side lot because it feels so open. What a shame! It’s a beautiful lot with trees, space for more gardens or a gazebo or badminton net… but we don’t use it.

Rupert has been suggesting since we bought the house that we should put up a cedar hedge the whole way along the property — and I’ve resisted because I don’t like cedar hedges. Most, anyway. It seems so many cedars end up neglected, sparse, ratty looking or cut too short with gaping holes in them. Yuck! But after 3 years of picking up the garbage that gets blown onto our lawn by people who dump coffee cups, chip bags, cigarette packs, and so on on the road, I acquiesced.

Rupert is very much a motivated Start-a-Project kind of man, so within a couple of weeks of deciding what we were going to do, we have this:

and this:

Luckily, the weather was just perfect for the work. The temperature hovered around 19 degrees and it rained on and off all day. Sun and warmer temperatures are predicted for tomorrow and the rest of the week, so I’ll be rigging up a watering system to keep the cedars cozy. Incidentally, I’ll be watering with the outdoor hose — the water from those taps is not softened, which is great considering how poorly cedars deal with salt!

While Rupert dug and planted, Young Jedi and Twinkle Toes did this:

 

Unfortunately, we still have all this to dig and plant!

Ah, but it will be nice to have a wall of green to provide a little privacy and a little more safety. My hope is that the dogs will be less inclined to wander out to the road, since the only exit point will be our driveway. Once the trees fill in, that is. For now one of the dogs is very happily passing between the trees and exploring the lovely bone meal smells.

The next load of trees is slated to arrive in two weeks. We’ll have out work cut out for us, that’s for sure (haha!) since we also have a birthday boy to celebrate, a load of topsoil and 20 cords of wood being delivered. Getting it delivered is the easy part. Stacking it in the wood shed, well, that takes a good week or more of work.

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.

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!

My Etsy Shop

A little bird told me…

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