Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Later in the day, my dad took me to his ramps patch. They are growing on a sold lot in a new housing development area and are probably going to get destroyed when construction begins.
My dad has been digging them up and transplanting them into his bush as well as collecting seeds. And of course we gathered some to eat too.
The patch was full of trout lilies, so I harvested a handful while there.
And stopped to admire the blue cohosh in bloom.
The flowers, though small. Are stunning. My dad is going to try and transplant some of these as well.
In the kitchen I set to cleaning and preparing the day's harvest.
And lightly sauteed everything in olive oil, seasoned with just a touch of salt and pepper. My dad, step-mom and I enjoyed a tasty dish of wild, lily family plants!
Monday, April 9, 2012
I love this book! I'd had it on hold at the library for some time and it came available just in time for the long hours I logged travelling to visit family for the holiday weekend.
It is sooo good. It's the tale of three women who each run their own successful, organic farms on Vancouver Island and together own and operate Saanich Organics which distributes local, organic food through a box delivery program and to restaurants and grocery stores.
The book literally gives the reader "all the dirt" on how they do it. There is a chapter written by each woman, devoted to their own farm enterprises, how they started out, what they learned along the way, mistakes they made and rewards they reaped. Rather than being repetitive, these chapters reflect the individual personalities and styles of the women, and their unique approach to how they farm. Chapter four is a discussion of organic farming in general and why they are so passionate about it. Chapter 5 covers the details of their co-owned business.
This book is incredibly rich and full of so much invaluable information, but it's not at all a dry nuts and bolts manual. It is alive with personal stories, humour, blood, sweat and tears. It feels almost as if you are an apprentice on one of their farms, working along beside them while they share their wisdom and experience with you.
I love how open and forthcoming they are with all that they know. There is no hoarding of proprietary knowledge or trade secrets. They genuinely want to see more farmers growing healthy, organic food and make a decent living from it and they are happy to support the movement every way that they can.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in small-scale, organic agriculture. Even if that is not your plan, it's still a great read for learning about organic farming, getting good gardening tips or just to be inspired by three beautiful, strong, smart ladies who are doing amazing work in the world.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Early morning yoga by candlelight + a conversation between Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson = a blissed out way to start the day!
Some particularly blissful gems:
"We have to look to nature to learn how to farm."
"If we can begin to think about running agriculture on contemporary sunlight with no soil erosion, I think we have the basis for a new set of metaphors and we can begin to think about the end of economic growth."
"We are the environment. We are embodiments of the environment...We take our measures of the work we do...from the place we're in."
"We are embedded in a structure that gave rise to us. We didn't give rise to it."
"The only safeguard of abundance is temperance."
Two great minds there. Verily.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Check out this great Nature of Things episode that explores the oft unseen world of plant behaviour. Behaviour that is so complex, it is almost animal-like.
From the highly sensitive parasitic dodder that can sniff out its preferred host, to the wild nicotine plant that gives munching caterpillars the slip with their ability to attract a completely different pollinator, to the amazing community connections between firs and fungi, this episode is a fascinating look into the plant world. You might even find yourself sitting alone on the couch saying things to your laptop like, "Whoa, no way!" "Ha! That's awesome." "Plants are so the coolest."
And that's ok. I'm here to tell you this is a totally normal response.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Yellow dock (Rumex crispus)
Mullein and catnip (Verbascum thapsus, Nepeta cataria)
Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)
I love how raindrops sit on the leaves, sparkling like jewels.
Wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris)
Look at this cutey! I think it is a wood frog.
The nettles are up too. (Urtica dioica) Yum!
Bloody dock (Rumex sanguineus) This is a new edition to the garden, just added last summer.
So much was up that I was able to gather my first wild greens harvest of the year with the dock, nettle, wintercress, dandelion and daylily shoots. Hurray for fresh, free, local greens! I declare the 2012 foraging season officially open. :)