Growing Our Food - Part 3 - Hope for the Hopeless

We continue to toil away in the garden hoping to grow our as much food as we can to fill our plates and our cupboards. It was only a few weeks ago when I seriously thought all was lost in my poor city garden, as it genuinely looked like nothing would grow, then July came around and the garden started filling out as quickly as my pregnant belly. I mean it was only in June when the garden looked like it would be an absolute fail due to my poor soil quality and late starts on my seedlings, but somehow the gardening gods were smiling down on me and now the garden appears to be thriving. Sure, it isn't perfect, but we might just get a few dinners out of it and that is better than what I thought only a short while ago.

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Why Wouldn't You Make Your Own Laundry Soap

Well, I never thought the day would come would I would see the bottom of my five gallon pail of laundry soap and yesterday was that day. I had made my own liquid laundry soap a year and a half ago after reading The Green Guide that had a simple recipe in it for making your own detergent.  Now, I didn’t end up using their recipe, but it inspired me to make my own and I used a recipe from The Wellness Mama. And did it ever last. I can guarantee that each load of laundry cost less than five cents. It took less than twenty minutes to make. And I could use it in my front-loading high efficiency washing machine. It’s basically magic.

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Growing Our Food - Part 2: Spring is Nigh

On our afternoon walk today, I noticed something strange, something you usually don't see this time if year in our Northern part of the country... grass. Yes, it was grass! I know my friends on the Eastern part of the country will be cursing me with their arctic temperatures and never-ending snowfall, but over here things are heating up. There was actually a warm-ish wind. I wasn't even wearing mittens. And suddenly it dawned on me, that Spring is right around the corner.

Now, any local would tell me I am nuts and the minus thirties will be back before I know it, but I think Spring is only a few weeks away. And that means it is time to get a few things started for the ol' summer garden. Last year, I was frantically trying to locate a few items for free (of course) off of Kijiji at the last minute, and this year I will not be caught off guard. Seeds have been ordered, so I can cross that off the list, but there is still a lot more to do.

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Farm City by Novella Carpenter- A Book Review

Farm City - The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter

Most people have a running list they keep of their favourite books. For a long time, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving was number one on my list. So many others have moved up and down that list without ever knocking number one out of place. That was until I read Farm City by Novella Carpenter...

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Growing Our Food - Part 1

The most essential part of our sustainable living strategy in our homesteading dream is to grow our own food, which, to me, means learning to garden. Now I am not saying that Cam and I can't garden, but I will say that we are still learning, with the emphasis falling on me. And if you saw our garden last year, you would agree with me; there were cramped tomatoes, peas falling over, and squash vines climbing up the beans. Oy, and you should have seen the year before with weeds taking over the garden come August. So this series of posts will not be intended to be instructional by any means (that would be unwise frankly), they are more to show how we are learning and getting ready for our big dream of self sufficiency in Vavenby. Our goal is to grow as much food as we can in our garden in Northern Alberta, and do our best to preserve the bounty from it so we can enjoy it all year.

It is just about March, and the true sign of Spring appeared on my doorstep a few days ago. It was The West Coast Seeds catalogue (yes, I know I do not live on the west coast, but they offer organic seed varieties, and it is "local" or as local as I can find.) So with the first signs of Spring, it is time to start planning this year's garden and that is what I will share with you today. The Garden Plan...

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How to make the perfect cuppa

In the UK, if they ask you if you would like a 'cuppa', they are asking you if you would like a cup o' tea. The good kind. I know this, because after a recent visit to the UK I had the best cuppa. And I am not talking about a Timmie's Steeped Tea. Pa-lease. This is excellent tea. And I didn't have the best tea at one cute cafe in a country town, nor at Harrod's in London, no, I had the best cuppa EVERYWHERE. I guess everyone in the UK knows how to make a proper cup of tea.

So upon my return to my cold and snowy home in Alberta, I was on a mission to perfect the cuppa. Drinking tea will be very important in Vavenby since sitting on the back porch to listen to the birds will be a regular part of my morning routine. And so after a few attempts, I did it, I perfected the cuppa. 

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