Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Well Hello There!

My goodness it has been a long while. Happy May Day! I didn't even really notice how long is has been until my friend Sarah asked where I was. And so follows the 'catch-up' post.

I know it has been said a million times by a million people but time really does fly. Spring is a busy time for many people, myself included. We have been outside as much as we can possibly be outside. There is a very short time frame here in good old Saskatchewan between winter and mosquito season. Even though we must still wear mittens and a toque quite often we still go out every day. One day last week we got a little pink from the sun. Today I saw a few snowflakes mixed in amid the rain. True story.

Feeling frustrated in years past about the tomato seedling selection, I decided to go ahead and order Heirloom seeds. We started them a bit late (April 15th) because they took a while to ship, but I am so very happy with the germination rate. Out of 72 seeds sown, all but 5 have sprouted. I chose Oxheart, Beefsteak, Brandywine and Moneymaker. All old seed from real tomatoes!! I know that some of these are less than pretty but I expect great flavour AND the ability to save and store seed. Can't do that with a hybrid. :)

Yesterday we direct sowed the spinach, rainbow chard, red onion, carrots (again, heirloom), radish and mesclun. Should be some nice salads gracing our dinner plates in a few short weeks. Athena has asked for some garden space for herself this year. Of course which mother could deny her child the wonder of her very own garden. She has two raised bins. One for "venchtables" (her word) and one for flowers. She loved every second of planting seed but had to admit her back was a little sore after all the bending over.

We have also been walking the Nature Trail at Pike Lake. Tick season will soon be here and although we don't have deer ticks here, Lyme Disease is not something I care to contract. The ice is off the water so we waded in the lake a bit. The wind in the open areas was biting cold. Add some misty rain to that and, well, BRRRRRR. We loved it anyway. We fare much better if we are a little chilly than a little hot.

The highlight of my past week, not including the cute haircut I got, was the sighting of a rare bird species. I saw a bird in my front arbor. It was a dull, drab bird but I knew that I had never seen it. I was able to snap a few pictures through the glass. After looking through my Saskatchewan bird book and another field guide I came up blank. I emailed the picture to a city nature photographer, like I had done years back for another bird, as I knew he would know. And he did. He told me it was a great sighting. It was a Townsend's Solitaire. Not native to Saskatchewan at all. Since that day, he/she has been back every day around 4pm. It seems lost and alone, but I guess that is why it has the word Solitaire in its name. Thank you again Nick Saunders. 

Oh and on a food note, I am getting really good at making bread. I make two loaves every week. I have the recipe memorized and it feels effortless. Just goes to show you that practice makes progress. And would you just look at this chicken broth. I deglazed the roaster before I made it and added the works to the stock pot. Even Athena commented on the color. We had our elderly neighbors over for a roast chicken dinner on Sunday and she said "Do you add a little vinegar to the broth?" I answered that I did. "I just learned that from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. It leeches the calcium from the bones." And she, with her 73 years of wisdom replied, "Oh, we have always done that!" Figures, just figures. Those old folk know everything!


Sarah said...


(and what are "the works" exactly? I have a turkey that needs to be made into broth)

Dawn said...

I'm happy to see you back in this space! I was going to ask where you were too. ;) I also made chicken broth this week for the first time (and used vinegar). I saw how to do it on Pinterest. I couldn't believe how easy it was. All these years of buying broth....silly me.

Tara said...

Your chicken stock looks delicious! We make our own too but the addition of vinegar is new for me - I will try it.

I hope to be back in the garden after this spell of rain ends. I hope you and Athena have fun with your garden planning :)