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Today Moonie and I went out to get a few planting supplies. There are a few more things I want to plant.
Here is our current indoor garden. Many of these are sprouting:
This is our outdoor garden, freshly turned and ready for planting:
Today I got this:
Yes, that tray holds 72 (and I resisted the urge to buy two). Because these are all the seeds I still want to plant:
Too much? I can feel Mr. FamilyNature rolling his eyes. Not because he isn’t excited about the garden, but because I know he’s wondering where the frack we’ll put everything.
Don’t worry honey, we’ll find a way to squeeze it all in.
It looks like spring is finally here. It’s warming up, the ground is drying up and my front garden is full of lovely, yellow (and a few purple) crocuses. My 9 year old says they smell like honey.
Last year we had our first real vegetable garden. It was small and we made a couple of mistakes but as soon as the garden started flourishing we knew we’d do it again next year. As we tended to the garden, and as we ate fresh veggies from our garden almost every day, we talked about next year’s garden; what we’d plant and what we’d do differently.
We planted our plants way too close together last year. Not only did things get overcrowded but it also meant that lots of vegetables went to waste because we just couldn’t see them until they had fallen down and were rotting on the ground. We also have just come to the sad realization that butternut squash and pumpkin just don’t do well in our garden. I think we will try to plant a few again this year but we won’t get our hopes up.
I’ve been assembling supplies for this year’s vegetable garden since last year. Toward the end of the summer, I got a great deal on an Organic Seed Grab Bag from Cubit’s Organics on Etsy (I like Cubit’s – a fellow GTAer – check out their Facebook page and their blog). I also got a couple of neat striped garden bag pots from IKEA for next to nothing at the end of the season. Along with my grab bag from Cubit’s we also had some seeds left over from last year’s planting plus, we dried a few green beans and have some of our own seeds to plant this year.
My grade 4 son made newspaper pots at school and with this handy you tube video. We were able to make some at home too. They kind of fell apart when we added soil and water (less water next time) but it was a fun experiment.
We have a little greenhouse from last year so I just had to buy a small box of peat pods. We have various other random gardening supplies that we have collected. Last year we mostly used seedlings in the garden, this year we’re starting from scratch.
Last weekend, I assembled everything together on the dining room table and we planted a bunch of seeds for what will eventually be our garden. I had visions of it being a lovely family afternoon. It was fine and the kids had fun but the truth is, I was ready to pull my hair out by the end of it. Dirt everywhere and kids fighting over who got to plant/water/whatever. At the end our little project I was on my own (which was okay).
We planted lettuce, sage, two kinds of basil, green peppers, habanero peppers, eggplant, yellow pear tomatoes and some forget-me-nots. So far, only the lettuce have sprouted. You can follow my garden here.
Mr. FamilyNature prepared our garden outside today. We’re making our garden twice as big as last year so he dug up some grass, turned the soil and added compost (which we got free from the city at one of the Community Environment Days). It’s ready to go. Eventually, we’ll plant beans, carrots, rainbow chard, red chilli peppers, beets, different kids of tomatoes and much more.
Stay tuned for pictures and updates of this year’s garden!
We’re well into the New Year and I’m thinking about my More or Less Resolutions. Since I didn’t give myself any set-in-stone resolutions, I’m not going to beat myself up over the things I haven’t done yet. Still, I thought I’d post an update.
More Cooking was one of my More or Less Resolutions, and I’m happy to report that I have been doing more cooking.
I think the merits of a good cookbook can be judged on the condition of the book: how many spills, how many missing or falling out pages and just generally how well used the book looks. Take, for example, my trusty old copy of The Joy of Cooking.
Pretty gross, eh? This is the book that taught me about dough, apple pie, how to pick, chop and cook any vegetable I’ve ever come across, how to make shepherd’s pie, how to cook a big turkey dinner and gave me the best vegan chocolate cake recipe ever. Any basic recipe or cooking technique is covered in this book. It is my cooking bible. I don’t use it very much anymore but I will never get rid of it.
Right around Christmas, I got three new cookbooks. First, from dear Mr. Family Nature, I got Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. Then with a gift card from my brother, I bought Seductions of Rice by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid and Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran.
(My friend, MoneyGal, has the best cookbook collection I’ve seen outside of a library. Every time I’m at her house, I like to browse her shelves. Many great cookbook recommendations have come from her, including Seductions of Rice and Indian Home Cooking.)
Of my new cookbooks, the one I’ve used the most so far is Indian Home Cooking. I absolutely love it. As you can see, there are a fair few splashes and sticky notes in the book already.
This book sent me in search of a whole bunch of new and interesting spices that I’d never bought before, like cumin seeds, dried red chillies, green cardamom pods, black mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves and amchur. It also has me using cinnamon sticks and whole cloves in something other than baked goods. The combination of all these spices and more gives foods such rich flavour.
If you like Indian food, I highly recommend this book. The recipes are easy to follow and best of all, the kids (for the most part) like it. Some of the recipes are a bit spicy but I make a note a use a bit less chilli the next time.
Having all these spices on hand has also helped me rediscover my love of chai tea. I leave you with the recipe that I’ve been using. I have a great little pot that has measurements marked on the inside, plus it has a strainer lid, so I whip this up really easily:
- 2 cups water
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 3 cardamom pods
- 5 peppercorns
- ½ inch of ginger root, rinsed and smashed
- 2 tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
- 1 cup milk (soy milk, almond milk or milk of choice)
- 2 tea bags (or 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves)
Bring the water and the spices to a boil on the stove. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for a few minutes. Add the honey and milk, and bring back to a boil. Add the tea bags, remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, strain and enjoy!
Every New Year since I’ve had kids I’ve resolved to lose a few pounds. Don’t we all? That, and eat better, get more exercise, be a better mum, blah, blah, blah. I simply make the declaration “My New Year’s resolutions are _____!” and then I go about my year, not really doing anything to make those resolutions happen.
A quick Google search reveals what we all know: the vast majority of people making New Year’s resolutions fail; somewhere between 80 and 90 percent. So this year, my New Year’s resolution is no more resolutions.
Hmm, but wait a sec …
That doesn’t feel quite right either. I mean, isn’t it a good idea to at least think about these things? Does setting goals have any value at all even if we never really make any strides to achieve them? These are the things I’ve been thinking about the last few days. To resolve or not to resolve; that is the question.
I guess that I’ve decided that there is value in making resolutions. Because it means thinking about ourselves and the things we want to do/change/accomplish. I don’t think it’s necessarily reasonable to have hard-and-fast resolutions that we feel we must accomplish in one year. But I do think it’s a good idea to have a general idea of what we want to do – or at least, a direction in which we want to go. I’m going to call them: More or Less Resolutions. Here are some basic things I’m going to work in the next little while:
- More cooking
- More reading
- MORE BLOGGING!
- More playing
- More gardening
- More exercise
- More pictures
- Less yelling
- Less agonizing/stressing
- Less procrastinating
Do you have any More or Less Resolutions?