June 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
Today was THE day to chip up some bananas. I purchased a massive bag at half price (due to ripeness factors), so I got to work right away preserving my haul. Banana chips are quite simple to make. You thinly slice your little friends, then put them in a dehydrator, then turn the dehydrator on, then walk away for 8 hours. At the end you are rewarded with a stash of delicious chip friends. You are now free to cannibalize your friends at will, or store them in a glass jar and visit later on. You could also use up ripe bananas by freezing them (peel them first!) then food processing them into “banana ice cream”. But lets leave that recipe for another day. Today is banana chip day, and here is how it looks:
May 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
The pictures below were taken today, (May 27th) three weeks after the previous series of photos. The grass has taken off and the raspberry canes are shooting out plenty of leaves. A few small flower buds are beginning to develop, so an early summer harvest looks quite possible. I have started to stake the most productive patches and removal of grass and weeds has begun. I will be using a “chop and drop” approach, allowing the cut grass and weeds to act as a mulch. Eventually this material will act as a compost source for the raspberry canes. In addition I will be mixing in some sawdust and woodchips when they are available. The main objective for this piece of land is to promote the wild raspberries without disturbing the natural order of things. I am trying to keep as much of the existing plants and trees as possible. Anything that interferes with the raspberry leaves (thus depriving them of sunlight) will be removed. The stakes are there to hold up tall canes and allow them to stay clear of the ground cover.
Here you can see the grass and other native plants beginning to pop up in the patch.
This area has been staked and the de-grassing has begun.
And finally you can see the raspberry canes coming up through the grass.
So, that’s all for now. I will continue to update with pictures as I work my way through the tangled wild mess. There are a few different varieties mixed in there, so it will be an interesting harvest. I also have some very healthy blackberry canes developing, so I’ll get some pictures of that next time (for the blackberry fans).
May 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Recently I began working for Home Harvest Kitchen Gardens. They specialize in building raised bed gardens for the urban dweller. This is not all that we do but that’s my focus for this post.
So you may be wondering: why a raised bed garden? whats a kitchen garden? why should I grow my own food? Or maybe you already know all the answers! But I’ll respond to my own questions regardless.
Why a RAISED BED garden?
If you are new to growing your own food, you may believe that you have a “black thumb”. I know I fell in to that category a few years ago. The most fundamental thing to remember is: high quality soil = high quality harvest. Everyone knows the saying “you are what you eat”, well your plants are no different. Just like people, plants need a wide range of nutrients in their diet to be healthy and happy. Happy plants are stronger, more nutrient dense, and more resistant to pests. Getting your soil “cooking” takes some time, but it’s well worth the effort.
So to answer the question more directly- A raised bed is used in situations where the existing soil is nutrient depleted. It is essentially a box full of plant food! The plants don’t eat the soil, they just suck up the nutrients within it. That’s why it’s important to start off with a nutrient dense composted mix from organic sources.
What is a KITCHEN GARDEN?
This one is pretty simple. It’s a garden that you will build in close proximity to your kitchen. It will supply your family with herbs, leafy greens, fruiting plants, whatever you like to eat on a regular basis. Step out the door, pick some salad greens, a few tomatoes, some basil etc.. Then use all of your fresh picked organic goodness for the family dinner.
Why should you GROW YOUR OWN FOOD?
When you buy food from the supermarket you have no idea where it was grown, what the quality will be like, and most importantly what chemicals may have been involved during the process. Buying organic produce eliminates some of these mysteries but you still can’t ensure the produce is as fresh and as nutritious as your own home grown crops. You are also restricted to a very small number of varieties when buying from a supermarket. The farmers will only grow products that have the longest shelf life. They are interested in profits, not flavour. A lot of the produce will come from genetically modified plants, heavily sprayed with insecticides and herbicides. Also, if you buy something like apples, pears, or many other fruits, they are forced to pick them way before the fruit is actually ripe. A lot of the fruit in supermarkets will never ripen because of this. This leads to bland nasty tasting fruit and digestion issues. If you’ve ever bitten in to a rock hard pear, you’ll know what I mean. Once you start growing your own food you’ll be amazed at the flavours you have been missing in most fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens.
Here is a 12ft x 4ft Raised Bed, installed in Halifax, Nova Scotia by Home Harvest.
It’s so easy to start growing your own food! You don’t need anything fancy just start experimenting in small pots and expand from there. Happy growing!
April 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
Spring is coming. It has to be!
I’ve been awfully busy recently, and this dreary winter weather hasn’t evoked much optimism. BUT the weather will change, and the blog will thrive once again! We have a lot planned in the next 6 months, including live ‘King&Saint’ coverage from the Tour De France in London, Kings coverage of the British Grand Prix, and the Saint will be posting updates from his many adventures around Europe. Soon after I will be driving across Canada, and there will be a lot to talk about down on my parents farm. Recipes, travel, reunions, reviews, and music will all be saturating this blog until saturation has reached the full mark. Then something may drip down the side.
For now I just want to post a wonderful song that has become part of my “goodbye winter!” soundtrack.
If I Were Free- Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
Good morning everyone,
Today is Sunday, and it is morning. I feel like blogging , but have no real topic I feel drawn to expound upon. And so, my topic this morning will be a little bit of me and a little bit of my life. Reflections on thoughts, events, and travels. There have been too many thoughts to count, less events, but still many, and travels, there have been many little ones, and a few larger ones.
I had to write a paper for my Systematic Theology class that compared two types or approaches to theology: it was a doozy. The question was laid out very clearly I think, but I could not for the life of me figure out was I was suppose to write. How hard is it to compare something? Well, apparently it’s hard when you are not entirely sure about what you are talking about. I could voice the two opinions of the men that I was going to be comparing, but as soon as I tried to put them into writing, my brain failed. It wasn’t until my dear T.A. Karl broke the paper down to the point where a 5 year old could understand it. Write the paper like you were explaining the concepts to someone that had never read the articles. Oh, duh. It seems that the dumbing down of explanation dumbed down my paper. I’m not sure if I was bolstered last semester by a very gracious TA: from whom I learned an incredible amount. And also from whom I learned of the concert addressed later in this post and thus am forever indebted to. My paper contained paragraphs that were made up entirely of one sentence. And there actually was a sentence that did not start with a capital letter, this made the ‘but’ that it started with even less acceptable. That’s ok, why is it ok? Because Jesus, that’s why.
The class that I am taking is teaching me why the answer at the end of the last thought is a good answer, and if I’m to be consistent, the best answer, or better than that, the only answer. But now I’m just getting absurd, offensive, and exclusive. Let’s be honest: yes, yes, and no. Actually, absolutely yes, entirely yes, and fully no. It is the fully no that engages me. There will be many of whom who disagree with me, on both side of the believing fence. Why any one on the other side of the fence would want to see that answer as anything different is beyond me, and why anyone on my side of the believing side fence could fathom it being anything else is WAY beyond me. But both are true, and unfortunately, the vocal portion of either side.
A friend, I think we’ve been long enough to call each other friends by now, said to me that in my manifesto post, found here, had some cryptic (my word) ideas in it. Where not every sentence was not entirely clear regarding my intention or agenda. This advice has helped me greatly in some of my other writing. I often find it very fun to write things that are unclear, that have meaning that if you said ‘I think he was saying this’ I would say “no you’re wrong i was saying this” and yet not write it as clearly as I could. I dare not metacognate to deeply, but I think it has something to do with my favorite painter, Cezane.
About a month ago I started the longest shift of my life. I do not mean this metaphorically because I have found that metaphors can often get on in serious trouble. Like, burning at the stake trouble. No, it was actually the longest shift of my life, it was 21 days long! I stayed at a friends place looking after their foster kids while they went off to Thailand for a mission retreat. I have to say it was an awesome time to spend with the boys. I wrote a lengthy and entertaining summary about our time together that constituted as therapy for all of the unhappy, material, events that went on during the stay. Lights broke, windshields cracked, ankles were sprained, cars died… Mamma Mia! The experience with the two boys however, I was with was fantastic. I got to really build some relationships with people that I have been working with for over a year now. I would say, progress was made!
Three weeks away from ones wife on the other hand really really really sucks! It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. She was only twenty minutes away and came to see me every couple days for a few hours at a time. Gee, I have a new appreciation for her, and also for families where one of the spouses goes away and travels a lot. That has got to be tough!
Fortunately the end of the longest shift of my life was punctuated by a concert in Fargo! Justin Timberlake! I wont go on too long about how awesome he is. You may already know, and if you don’t know, just go listen to part one and two of his new album. You will then know how good he is. His concert was astounding. It merits it’s own few thousand words so here is not the place. I will say that his unplugged stuff was by far my favorite of the show. His covers of Elvis and MJ were really a showcase of how talented he is as a musician. The rest of the show showcased JT the entertainer, and that he is. All I’ll say, I’ve been saying it for a while, I cant wait to hear JT in 20 years. I want to hear JT in the same way we hear Rod Stuart today. Cezane.
I love road trips. The drive was around four and half hours. Rachel and I got to talk about all sorts of things and really dig into conversations. There was lots of silence, and there was lots of music. With nine hours in a car there will be opportunity for lots of lots of things. That why I love it. The trip kind of takes on a life of its own and is, in itself, it own story.
Traveling around Fargo we went to a place Called JL Beers where they may really fantastic burgers and have many many high quality beers on tap. I had an option of three flights of beers. I opted for the ‘on the dark side’ flight which featured stouts, porters and an ESB. The ESB which more resembled an IPA was my favorite: no surprise there. Rachel and I were privileged enough to sit beside one of the regulars of the place. This was really lucky, there is something different about talking to someone who is comfortable and is not concerned about anyone or thing. They open up and talk and talk and talk. The tourist and non regulars are just markers on their time there. They come and go and come and go, and if one of them decides to chat a little thats nice and if one wants to sit and talk for an hours all the better. All of the regulars have probably heard of each other stories. Fresh ears for old jokes. That’s the thing, I want to hear the old jokes. They have been tuned. The stories have been embellished to just the right degree, and the teller knows how to manipulate it to most affect each new hearer because they have told it to so many people in so many ways. I’d like my marker on this guys time hopefully to be a little more than a tick, not an signature, that’s a little presumptions. Maybe just a smile face with the initial tick being the right of left eye.
My parents and grandparents are in Mexico. Woo hoo for them!
It’s almost Sunday afternoon so that tells me my time of writing this needs to come to an end or I’ll have to change the introduction more than I really want to.
God Bless everyone,
February 1, 2014 § 1 Comment
It’s the middle of winter, it’s cold, it’s miserable, it’s February… So here’s a very simple, honest, organic, farm raised, humble, delicious, and most importantly HOT Squash soup to get you through.
You will need:
1 Squash (grown on top of a chicken coop, from your fathers garden)
5 Parsnips (stored in sawdust since harvest)
2 Onions (run of the mill mr.clive type of things)
5 Garlic Cloves (hard working honest types)
Sea Salt (from the north Atlantic)
Ground Pepper (from non-ground peppers)
Arrange your ingredients in a pleasing way on top of a bread board. Board can be made from any high quality wood, must be sizeable in order to hold an honest squash.
Embarass the vegetables thoroughly.
Place in oven to roast at 400F for 30 minutes.
Remove, cool, and excite with 1L of water in your favourite blending machine.
Seek help from a bowl. Consult your stale bread collection. Consume.