Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The new digs...

So we've moved and the settling in begins...

We are definitely loving the new place.
The puttering is neverending...and we love it.

I'm in love with the front yard, its slightly enchanting...and I can't wait to fill it with more ferns and mosses.

I sit on the back porch and dream about the years to come.
I think about all the vegetation I want to introduce.
Fruit trees and pathways.

It was so open when we first landed here...all of our stuff seemed so small in comparison.

The original garden was over top of the septic access.
That was one of the first things on our to-do list.

Ches scraped back the top layer of grass and raked it out evenly with the terrain.

Ches and I organized the railway ties we just couldn't leave behind at our old house.

All of the excess top soil that was shovel out of the old garden was transported by
wheelbarrow to the new section.

In between each project, we took breaks on the dock. 

Listening to the frogs and their wonderful songs.

The cattails were yummy! 

When we had only been here a week, Ches picked out some cattail that hadn't pollenated yet.

Boiled and buttered, they seriously taste like corn on the cob!

I haven't had 2 seconds to read the section in Steve Brills' book about wild orchids.
I have some..now what is it I do with them again?
So much to do!

The old garden is almost completely levelled at this point.

We had to save some of the existing plants...the chives and the rhubarb

The bees were happy about that...

Ches went and extended the proposed garden area...by a whole railway tie length...
(I do love that man!!!)

This is the pathway to our dock on Holleford creek.
It was alright, but we were finding it getting harder and harder to get through.

The wildlife was starting to take back its territory.

We grabbed some more railway ties (I had no idea how many we actually had!)
and some free chips (compliments of the travelling hydro crews working in the area)
and beat back the wild vines.

We also gave the willow tree a trim!

A big improvement that didn't use any unnatural products.

Don't forgot the boy in the tree.  He loves it there!

So like I said, we are in love with our new property and house.

The garden might not make it this year like we planned..but we are making due with some jimmy-rigged spots around the property.  Updates to follow.  We're also concentrating on composting and buying up the cheap peat moss (seems its nearly the end of season).

The key right now for setting up the larger garden is conditioning the soil for use next year.

A fun fact is that there is nothing wrong withsoil anywhere.  The problem lies with the person trying to grow something there that doesn't belong.  Anytime you plant seeds, you are essentially forcing nature's hand.

By conditioning the soil, you are preparing it for your needs.  You add essential nutrients before you plant, so that you should never need to add things like miracle-gro (don't even get me started on that business!)

Patience is key.

I'm learning to have more of that stuff.

How many of you have started a garden this year?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Asparagus goes great with Pork!

Our asparagus is something we are going to miss immensely.

We started from scratch before and we'll do it again at the new place...
but that will be 3 years from now! 

Once you start the baby asparagus plants it takes 3 years before you can harvest them.

Our asparagus is growing like crazy these days.

Above shows just what I picked yesterday morning!
I think I saw a bundle this size at Costco going for approx $8. While the price goes down when asparagus is in season...we feel like we're making out like bandits by growing or own.
I haven't bought asaparagus in years.

We're trying to get the most out of it before we move this weekend.

Sadly, most of our stuff is already packed up...so that means we have to get creative!

The image above shows my attempt at a homemade steamer!

Take a pot and a steel collander (doesn't work with plastic...sorry).
Add water to pot and bring to a boil.
Place collander on top.

Add the harder, thicker stems first, steam for a few mins then add the tender tops for 1 min.
(You can test the tenderness with a fork, if you're just starting out, or basically when the veg turns bright green)

You'll want to make sure the rest of the meal is well on its way, as steaming doesn't take long at all!

I found a deal on pork tenderloins at the store.  2 large loins for $22!  Above pic shows one of the loins and we only ate half of it between 2.5 people.

We have also packed all of our spices...so I was worried this meal was going to be bland.

Cook the tenderloin at 500 degrees for 25 mins, turning so all sides get browned and crispy.

For the mashed potatoes...peel and chop 8-10 taters.  Boil until a fork can cut them.
Drain and add 3 tbsps of butter or marg and 1/2 cup of milk (or so).

Mash thoroughly.  (Great tension reliever!)

Serve and enjoy!

It was rainy and a little cold last night...so this meal was a great way to add warmth and comfort to our dinner.  The asparagus was just right...crisp and warm but not soggy.  It's my goal to get steaming more...and get away from the microwave. (As soon as I unpack our steamer!!!) 

Served with grainy dijon mustard for dipping.