Monday, 25 May 2015

During the past 9 days

 Two weekends ago, on the Victoria Day long weekend, FOOL, or Fruits of Our Labours was held.   It is an SCA event with 2 days of classes.   Mostly the classes are hands on, but we have roundtables and once in a while when an exceptional lecture class comes about, we will host it as well.    The campsite we use has indoor space and an amazing amount of outdoor space for camping, hiking and marshal activities.    

The upside of the name is that FOOL is easy to remember.  The downside is that when we ask people to design t-shirts for us, there is a trend to want to go with the Court Fool, jester etc, which unfortunately has absolutely nothing to do with this event, especially since FOOL is an acronym, not the real name.  This year's t-shirt was kind of cool.  The design on the back said Fruits of our Labours 8 and then reading down, starting from the 8, it said (infinity) ∞ things to do.    

This year I was mobile and the weather was perfect.  I had great intentions to take photos but I kept getting distracted!  I missed the trillium photos.  I missed the awesome looking campground photos  and missed photos of classes.    The only photos I took were quick snaps of my results from the batik class, which I only took to send off to my sweetie.  It was an awesome event even though I don't have photos to show.

Last week my sweetie texted me to see if I wanted to run into the city mid-day, during his lunch hour.    It seems he found a log splitter which was in our price range and the store had them in stock.    While he was dealing with the log splitter, I wandered around the store.   It is filled with machinery, tools, bits and bobs and some really cool stuff.   On the camping shelf there was an array of cast iron.   It was half the price of any I'd seen elsewhere.   I've been looking for a smaller hanging pot.   This one probably holds about 3 litres total and the small little melting pot was a whim.  I'm not sure if it will be useful, but it is cute.    The larger pot was only $25 and the small one was $8.    At another on-line area store, that little pot was $17, so I'm pretty happy about the price I paid.  If the pot had a lid, it would have been better, but this is still useful.

On Sunday at Westfield, the Inn hearth was a cooking bonanza.   In the back corner, Jamie made corn bread.  His daughter Paige made rusks,which aren't dried but a rich pancake like bread.  I stewed a bunch of rhubarb.  If you can't find rhubarb recipes in 1830's recipe books, check for "spring fruit" recipes.  It seems that rhubarb was considered an ugly name so there was a push on to change it.  Rhubarb is way easier to say than spring fruit and at least points to a specific fruit.

Lots of this happening.  I need 400 yards of plied yarn for Olds Master Spinner level 6, which is in just less than a month.   This is a 52 micron mixed breed sliver, which has a little bit of black in it, making it a silvery white, rather than pure white.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

3 Days of goodies

Saturday was clean up day at Westfield.  We used the opportunity of the site being open on an off day, to have a bread day.   We talked about bread and 19th century cooking.  Then we headed out to the bake oven and put in some bread.   The oven was too hot, so we didn't have time to cook the Plum Cake from Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management.   Next time I am at the bake oven, I will slip it in.  All the ingredients are measured out, so it will be an easy project.

On Sunday my son borrowed the truck and a while later he came home, shouted through the door to ask where I wanted this.   It took a bit of thought to decide between the nice spot beside the pond or on the deck.   The deck won out though because we can put the table under it for al fresco dining but mainly because I can use it as a spinning shelter.  I love to spin outside, but often, the ground is soft, muddy or the grass wet from dew for a good part of the day.   It has stopped me from taking the wheel out before.  Now though, this is a lovely, shady area for spinning as well.

I ate my lunch out there on Monday and spent an hour reading.  While the deck was clear on Sunday, all day Monday, little red Maple tree flowers were raining down.  My lunch was safe though as the shelter protected it.  Yay!

Today a big dump truck dropped off this huge pile of wood.  It will take a few weeks to split, I am sure, not that I can claim to do any of the splitting.  I make kindling sometimes, but don't wield the axe for splitting.  I do a lot of stacking wood though.  This is spare wood.  We still get 20 face cord in as our main wood supply.   With the bitter winters, we've needed more.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

May Garden Update

Some sort of double daffodils I think - but maybe not.
It has been more than a little bit hectic around here.  My son's car decided to not work, leaving us with 1 vehicle and 3 drivers, one of whom commutes 35 minutes each way to work.  We had people coming and going and driving others to work until someone got smart and rented a car for a few days.  It was a weird car, with a very low front passenger seat.  It was so low that I could barely see out the window and it made me horribly car sick every time I went for a ride.  What fun that was!

The weather was nice enough that I have been able to get out and do yard work.  I have weeded the garlic, which now needs it again.  The flower beds in front of the house are almost done.  I've gotten rid of almost all the thistles growing in the lawn.
The rhubarb will be soon ready to harvest.
  These are things I haven't been able to do for several years, so it's been fun and exhausting to do them again.  There is a big bread celebration day at Westfield on June 14th and I've been researching information for that and to present a bread and bake oven workshop.  The workshop was yesterday and I came home exhausted.  The good thing is that I can do way more than I could, but the track back to normalcy does seem frustratingly slow at times.

The garden still needs to be tilled.   On the bright side, I realized that I have 5 year old Madder to harvest and there are flowers and fruits doing what they are supposed to do at this time of year. 

The garlic needs weeding again!
The trees are covered with little green leaves.  Last weekend there was barely a haze of green on a few early shrubs and trees like Lilacs and Willows.   Now everything is dressed in green, spring finery.

I noticed today that there are flowering trees in the neighbours bush lot. They looked delightful and full of promise.   I'm pretty sure they are just sort of pin cherry tree or buckthorns, but they are still pretty.

I was able to get out and prune the Black Currant bush this spring.  The remaining stalks are full of flowers this year.   Unfortunately it is a variety that is susceptible to blossom drop when we get a bit of cold weather.  We have a deep dip in temps forecast for the middle of next week.  I hope I remember to cover it up .  I have harvested a whole 2 berries in the past 3 years because of the blossom drop issue.   I have researched cultivars and I am hoping to find a hardier variety this year.

 The strawberry patch might just give us a few more berries this year.  We have lots of flowers, a good number of plants and this year I should have the mobility to make sure the bird netting is on in time and the little dishes of beer get set out for the slugs.

The best tasting strawberries are those fresh and still warmed by the sun.
I planted these Haskaps late last summer.  They were deeply discounted at a hardware/department store's garden centre.  There were lots of plants and nobody knew what they were.  I came home, looked them up and went back and purchased one.  I came home, researched a bit moret and then went back into town to get a second one, in a second variety, because you need two different types to cross pollinate.

Haskaps are edible Honeysuckle berries.  They are supposed to be incredibly hardy, with a lower rating of gardening zone 3!   They are blue and are described as having a blueberry/raspberry taste if they are quality plants.   A bad variety might taste like tonic water though.  If I have one of those, it is going to be replaced rather quickly!    They bloom and produce fruit in their second year.   The fruit is supposed to ripen 3 weeks before Strawberries, making them a really good short season fruit.  

With the late planting, thus a shorter time to develop a root system and the harsh, long winter, I worried that they might not have survived.  But here they are, with little flowers.   Hopefully they will give fruit, since I noticed that the second bush has finished flowering already, but this one still has some blossoms on it.

Yesterday the Bleeding Hearts were just little mounds of greenery.  Today this one and only this one, has burst forth with multiple stalks of pink blooms for Mother's Day.   It was a rather sweet gift to find this morning.