Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Apple Day

We have processed raspberries, cherries, peaches, blueberries, apricots, pears and plums - hundreds and hundreds of plums. But today was the day of the apple. Our little orchard didn't do so well this year. Several of the trees bore almost no fruit. I suspect an irrigation problem. And the apples that were there were small. I have been dithering. Picking a bucket here and there and drying them - making a couple of crisps, a couple of pies.... But not doing what I need to do - make applesauce which I use all year in my baking as a substitute for oil and sugar - especially in muffins. The thought of working so hard on all those little apples... I put it off. Hoped they would grow bigger...

It is forcasted to dip below freezing tonight for the first time. So yesterday I picked all my peppers and today I hauled the last of the tomatoes out of the garden and harvested my mint and lemon grass. But the big job was the apples. Starting in the morning, Rhiannon and I and later Kaetlyn and her friend, peeled, cored and chopped apples. (I love doing this with my girls and feeling the connection to generations of mothers and daughters before us and hopefully after us)I made 3 batches of apple sauce (one more to go), 1 batch of juice and the fruit dryer is full, there is a large blue bin in the food storage room full of red delicious and my unknown variety that is sweet and crunchy and my favourite, there are buckets full sitting in the kitchen waiting to be made into the last batch of applesauce, the last apple pies and crisps and some apple butter and the fruit drawer of the fridge is so full you can barely open it. It is the day of the apple.

And to throw in a little variety, I had to process my tomatoes that have been ripening inside to make room for those left out on the vine. I decided on a big pot of tomato sauce (which I have never made before) and canned the rest - so I added 9 more quarts to the 39 already downstairs. My ultimate goal would be to put up enough tomatoes for our entire year. That would be a lot of tomatoes! (isn't that an amazing tomato? I grew that! Fertilized it with my pee, too! [1 part pee to 5 parts water = a good nitrogen fertilizer for your plants])

So it is midnight now. I've been in the kitchen all day except for the time I took Rhiannon to her violin and piano lessons and went to the hardware store to buy an apple-corer-peeler-thingey.

Time for bed and apple dreams....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Everyone left the table tonight totally stuffed. Stuffed. With the abundance from our own delicious garden. We had zucchini pancakes (thank you M-S - we've had them every week since you gave me the recipe), baked squash (red curry), fresh salsa with tortilla chips and baked stuffed jalapeƱos. With our first freezing temperatures forcasted for tomorrow night, it has been time to bring in the last of the produce. Already our large country kitchen is knee deep in tomatoes... And it is with such gratitude that we eat this bounty knowing that it will be many months before we will have any so fresh. We are savouring it! And doing our best to make the most of it and not waste a drop.

I am so grateful for the abundance in my life - in more ways than the fruitfulness of my garden. Last night I met with 2 friends. We meet every month to 'check in' and we have been doing it for 7 years. We share the details of our lives, we support each other, we listen, we laugh and we leave feeling recharged and so grateful for each other.

Then Saturday morning found different friends at my house come to answer my poor chicken's needs as they perched locked up on the coop to keep them safe from the coyote who kept coming back. They brought their know-how, their bobcat and picked up all the very heavy supplies in their pick up truck and before the end of the day we had erected together a very skookum fence around my coop and the chickens were happily pecking and scratching and exploring their new boundaries (much bigger than before). All during the day, I was in awe of their generosity to me - so lovingly and happily and willingly given from their hearts. I have really great friends! I really do!

And Monday (okay, this is in no kind of chronological order but it is how I was thinking about it, okay?), another friend rushed over early to help us herd our chickens back into the coop after we inadvertently let them out and were scared to leave the house with the coyote so close. This friend also gives us rides so often, we should be on their insurance! She really makes our lives richer and easier by accommodating us so graciously. I am so grateful for her kindness!

And in the end, I am filled up - filled with the real love and caring of my friends, of the miracle of creation. And I am grateful. Very grateful. I am blessed!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

For Half My Life

21 years ago at this time I was in a drugged sleep because of the demerol I didn't want or need but got anyways. 21 years ago I had just given birth an hour and a half before. 21 years ago my journey into motherhood began. And now I have been a mother for half of my life. My beautiful, talented, creative, interesting daughter. I am so grateful to our journey together. She hates it when I write these mushy things. Or so she says. I don't know. Somewhere, deep down, I think she loves it. She loves to hear how much her mother loves her. How could I not? Isn't she adorable?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Day of the Coyote

Yesterday was a stressfull day. It started around 9am when a coyote came up on the porch and grabbed our beautiful dove grey ameraucauna cockerel who was destined for New Denver and a happy flock of rooster-less ameraucaunas.... That was bad enough. I ran out there and chased off the coyote but it was too late. And then, the coyote came back 5 times trying for seconds. I spotted it each time and ran out and chased it off before it got anymore of our wee flock. In the end, I was a mess, constantly staring out the window, thinking I saw something moving out there. This morning they ranch cut down all its corn so the field behind our property is just stubble now and they are busy working on the railroad today. So I am hoping that lack of cover and human activity will put off the coyote. So far so good.

I must say that the coyote was beautiful. A large healthy looking dog with a thick, long coat sandy brown with a bit of red and boy could it run! Dean and Rhiannon mean it harm but I can't find it in my heart to hate it or want to hurt it. I just want it to leave my chickens alone....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

This year we decided to travel to Nanaimo to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Here is my pictorial report.

Unusually, we got off to an organized and early start but thanks to insane Kelowna traffic, we missed the Horseshoe Bay ferry and ended up taking the 10:45 from Tswassen - a considerable wait. But that didn't dampen any spirits at all... We were pretty excited - Rhiannon especially.

Luckily it looked like this the whole time we were there so organized family activities out of doors were cancelled and we had the time to travel around and connect with my 9 siblings there (2 missing) and their spouses and children.

A must see on our list was my dear grandfather who still gives very good hugs even if I am not sure he knew who was... I have so many memories of him but I wish I had more... wish I had seen him more often in the last 2 decades so that my children would have more memories of him. And Erin was there by then so our whole family got to visit with him and Renie.

And I got to see this sister... (sorry Laura, maybe you should have smiled for the camera... now this stern picture is down for posterity...)

And this brother....
And this wee-est nephew

and this handsome nephew

and this neice
and this one

And this dapper nephew, too.

And many, many other nieces and nephews who were all cute and handsome and pretty and fun to be around.

And I made pies with the apples, plums and pumpkin I brought from my own garden.

And we had this turkey that my dad carved, as usual.

And then after our family had been so comfortably looked after at different Aunt's and Uncle's and cousin's homes, visiting and playing games, getting our hairs cut, shopping in Coombs, celebrating Erin's birthday (coming on the 18th) and we ate a glorious meal surrounded by ALOT of family and all of my children, we drove home in the sunshine, dropped Erin in Vancouver and made our way to this beautiful valley we love and our dog and cats and chickens.... And now I'm going to have a nap...