Thursday 28 March 2013

Great Music & Tea, Kira

My new plant shelf Andrew made for me.
A home for most of my seedlings until it warms up enough to move them into the screen porch.
A plant sale is in the works for May, I am very excited! There are lots of plants to sell. I will give out more detail as we get closer to May.
The past few days the sun has been shining, perfect weather for drying. I was able to catch up on laundry.
Since we decided to not fix the dryer after it died this past winter.
Afternoon tea.
The sound of Andrew's guitar and voice filling the rooms of our home.
Fern and Meer dancing to Daddy's music.
And baby chicks. The hatching has started and will carry on well into the summer.
Here is a catchy father daughter duet!

Thursday 21 March 2013

How to make Paper Seedling Pots, by Kira

Happy little tomatillo seedlings.

A bottle, tape, scissors, paper is all that is needed.
Cut the paper to size so that it fits around the bottle.
Let about 2 cm hang off the bottom of the bottle.
Wrap the bottle, tape the paper together.
Fold the 2cm over hang in and tape.
There. A seedling pot!

Only another 500 or so seedlings to go.
What was I thinking?!
This is a great idea if you are starting seeds
for a small scale garden or
have the time and love for
paper crafts!
But to keep my sanity I am going to purchase some
pre-made seedling cell packs this year.

Happy seed starting!

Monday 18 March 2013


The challenge of change in a seemingly immovable food system can be daunting.
Yet many people are well aware of the potential for a complete collapse of global food supplies.
There is no single cause, but it could be a single catalyst that brings catastrophe.
Community organizations everywhere are working to improve the integrity of the food supply chain.
Many of the problems are clear.
Many of the solutions are apparent.
But a system stuck in the status quo appears stagnant.

Yet change is underway.
Subtle in some places and more determined in others.
I travelled to Vermont with David Bathe to see success in action.
There we attended the 9th annual Grain Growers Conference,
to see what they are doing in the North-Eastern U.S. to re-establish diverse grain production.


The men and women of the Northern Grain Growers Association represent family run, small scale, predominently organic agriculture.
Many of the challenges they face are similar to ours here.
They are up against a massive agroindustrial complex and a nation addicted to processed food.
With the ardent belief that they represent a better future, the growers have been working together to increase yields, efficiency, and foster a fledgling market for healthy alternatives.

The fact is that they and others like them throughout the U.S. are succeeding in growing new markets and demonstrating the superiority of organic agriculture.
Using a collaborative approach instead of competition to drive innovation, these farming families exemplify social responsibility and gritty self-determination.

Dr. Stephen Jones spoke passionately about growing crops where they are most suited and not necessarily where they have been traditionally grown.
He spoke of using plant breeds suited to specific regions instead of planting what the seed companies are peddling.
His motivation is driven by the farmers, the consumers, the land and the people.
He believes that conventional agriculture is going in the wrong direction.
He believes that the true American heroes are the farmers who provide food for the nation.

Klaas Martens talked about his experiences developing the market for ancient grains and organic produce.
He has real and practical experience forging the infrastrucure necessary for dealing with grains such as Spelt, Einkorn, and Emmer.
He spoke of how, in his early years, the local organic farmers were more than willing to share their knowledge even if it meant sharing the market.
But they all found out that when they increased their production capacity,
the market was only too willing to grow with them.
It's a stark contrast to the usual secretive practices of corporate farming.

Each of the presenters brought with them stories of hope and success.
Even after decades of farming in defiance of the standard model these people have persevered.
The message is that it may seem impossible at first, but there is help.
But there is no helping hand from government.
Innovation and enterprise are the responsibilty of the individual.
The difference between the small scale farmer and the food industry is accountability.
Communities depend on family, friends, and neighbours to work together for the common good.

In a country that continues to be gripped by the red scare,
the corporate model has neglected to understand the difference between socialism
and social responsibility.

Beyond the practical lessons of small scale organic agriculture,
there is something else that I took home with me.
It is that Canadians tend to relinquish responsibility to our government.
Like the Americans, we have also misunderstood socialism.
Knowing that we will be cared for is comforting in a dangerous and volatile world.
But when we have our strength and our health,
we also have an obligation to grow and innovate;
to work for others as well as for ourselves.

If we want to see change in our own agricultural development,
it will be by the hands of individuals and not agencies.
Individuals who are accountable to themselves and to their respective communities.

So what are you waiting for?

Sunday 17 March 2013

Coconut Oil & Brown Sugar Cookies, by Kira


Coconut Oil & Brown Sugar Cookies.

1/2 cup coconut oil ( not melted, room temperature.)
1 large egg
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups of spelt flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour
Preheat oven to 350 F
Place the egg, coconut oil, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium for a couple of minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined.
Make tablespoon size balls and place on a cookie sheet. Lightly flatten each cookie a little.
Bake for about 8 minutes. Let cookies cool a bit before removing them from the cookie sheet.
Makes about 20 cookies.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Kids and More Kids, by Kira

An afternoon spent with great friends at BLACKberry Fields.
Mac & cheese lunch made with spaghetti squash.
Cookies and coffee.
Happy kids.
Conversation of this years plans.
And goats!
Cute kitchen goats.
Ollie & Moose.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Two Coloured Cowl, by Kira

Yes, I made this!
This is the third thing I have crocheted.
I started crocheting last winter.
My first project was a pair of slippers, then a few wash cloths and now this.
Crocheting isn't something I like to fill my spare time doing.
It usually starts by me seeing a pattern or a piece of clothing,
and wanting to make it.
Now that my cowl is done I probably won't pick up my crochet hook until next fall. Now it will be plants, gardens,bees, pigs, chicks and chickens.
Time to get out in the mud!
The Purl Bee is where I found this pattern, I used an organic 2 ply bamboo from our local fiber store.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Tahini Orange Dressing and Kale Apple Salad, by Kira


Tahini Orange Dressing and Kale Apple Salad

For the dressing:

6 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

4 1/2 tablespoons of tahini

5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoon ofmaple syrup

3 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons orange zest

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until it is creamy.
For the salad:
A cup of toasted walnuts
One diced apple
One grapefruit peeled and sliced
6 to 8 cups of kale

Friday 1 March 2013

I smell spring! by Kira

Early morning snowshoe.

Happy ducks dabbling in the open creek.

One of our brightly coloured roosters.

Tent set up in the screen porch.

These kids are ready for spring!


The peppers and eggplants are sprouting. The salad greens
containers are working well.
This week we will start the tomatoes, tomatillos, ground cherries and the fennel.
Oh dear, our house is going to be full of seedlings.