Ladies Only Camping Trip..

This trip was a ladies only camping trip for myself and a few girlfriends..

We enough tents, camping box’s and amazing homemade food, that at least in my mind, we moved from camping to glamping.. something I have never really done before..

It was fun and relaxed, there was one thing to be said for all the ladies that came on this trip, the goal was to relax, chill.. in two cases this was the first time that they had ever left their toddlers with dad home alone for the whole weekend, since their babes have been born..

This was our swimming spot..

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We went out to a good ways, at least half way to the island, and we got to watch the eagles fly overhead..

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It was nice to have others on this trip that love to swim as much as I do..

The fire ban was in effect and so we were only allowed to have a fire from 6pm to 11pm..  we were glad to have it but would have liked to have it for much longer

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We did some very baby hiking, as one of our party had to be very careful on her foot, due to injury!

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and then we took a boat cruise..

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It was a couple hours on the water,  the castle island was totally the highlight, the rest was nice but you need to like looking at other people’s houses on waterfront:)

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Hope you are all finding time to get out and enjoy this fine weather, with friends and nature! So far I am really liking my “camping” summer of 2016..

A big thank you goes out to my Dear Hubby, for holding down the farm, but for above and beyond that.. for working hard for days, the gardens, the picking, the prep work and putting things in the freezers, for coming home to a tidy house, and clean dishes in the sink, for coming home to kiss’s and a hot meal.

 

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Just work’in away

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So many rasberries need picking every day or two.. perfect

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still piking the last of the peas, they are almost finished and the beans are in bloom now!

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the red current are almost finished but the black and white are still giving some and clove currents are still turning color yet

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The steamer does a outstanding job of anything that needs to be juiced.. and the red current jelly and pancake syrups are so sweet-tart

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our blueberry season came and went in about ten days:) the jam is outstanding, yes, I know I need to wash them and take the rings off before putting them away

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Sour Cherry season is on us,, jam and pie filling is done for the year..

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The spring beets are coming n and being processed

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and we are starting t plant now for the fall crops as we are taking out spring crops.. the farm kittens follow us everywhere now, they come out with us to do chores and come back in the house to nap and spend the night..

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Blue has settled in and is considered part of the kitten pack now

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Going to a gathering an make fresh buns to take with.. wel, had better get back to it.. how is your soft fruit crops going?

 

 

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Blue Pod Capucijners peas-overview

 Blue Pod Capucijners (pre 1800)

A beautiful heirloom pea that is pretty enough to grow as an ornamental. Tall vines grow 5-6’ and the flowers and pods are purple. The very young pods can be used as a snow pea and the large olive green to brown seed is excellent in soups

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Despite the drought, these peas were up in a row, other peas, did not come up or less then 50 percent came up, and in some other cases I replanted twice.. these had outstanding percentage of being up!

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So pretty flowers, very heavy producer..

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they are never more purple then when they are very young, we harvested then half the size shown for salad raw eating an they are good, we harvested and cooked them at this size, they were good but they tasted like young green beans, not pea pods.. odd, tasty but true

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the older pods first get some green streaks to them and they slowly turn color, the third harvest was excellent, the average pod has eight but many had ten and at least 10 percent have 12 peas per pod.

The top brown pods were vine dried and are next years seed, the rest is mature seed that will be dried for soup use.. overall this pea plant on year one gets a solid 4 star rating.. and a 5 star for being a drought star and a massive producer

it looses .5 star for have pea pods that taste like a green bean, not peas, and it looses .5 star for not attaching as well as it should to the climber fence, you had to really help it train to grow where you wanted it..

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Broad Bean Harvest 2016

Well, I still have a black Russian Broad Beans to harvest yet but they are growing at a different rate and I am looking forward to seeing how they did.. we have had a odd mix of a crazy drought and high winds and hard, hard brief rains.

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Just a few of the plants in the bigger row.. starting to turn color, these were planted very early, I planted them almost six weeks earlier then other folks did.. it worked out well for me this year.

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I was worried about the pollination on these plants, they were in full bloom right after the corn got sprayed and BAM, I lost a ton of my wild bees.. but we still had some and then it poured rain.. I sighed and went.. it will be, what it will be..

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My fears were founded, while I did pick 5 gallon buckets worth of bean pods, and we did have some nice pods, many of what should have been a five bean pod, had two or three.. does not seem like much but when its that many pods that way.. it adds up on what was missing in the end..

But as I have friends who’s plants are still only four to six inches high and not producing at all, I will still take it.. that’s for sure..

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So what did I make as my first thing with my fresh bean..

Had a great fresh feeding and then put the rest away in bagged portions for winter use..  I simmered the pods till tender and soft inside their little skins, half of them were popped out, mashed and made into a amazing Broad bean hummas type dish.

the other half were taken out, after done and then fried till the outside skin was golden brown and crisp, while hot, mushy and bursting with flavour on the inside.. its a taste from my childhood!

The timing was great, this whole row came out, just in time to be replanted into another crop for the fall.

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Friendship, new and old..

I am sorry, for the delay in writing this, but time is flying fast at the moment, I am always in awe and amazed that farm blogger s keep up in the summer time, I sit down and think.. I should x and I am up and off again..

See off-topic again..  So this trip was long time in coming, I was looking though some photos of my many camping trips over the years, and realized that since we had come to the farm, unless I was on a “away” trip I was not exploring Ontario like I should be able to.

So said to hubby, I want to camp at least five times in the summer of 2016, he looked at me and said, then do it..

That is the sum up in so many ways how things start in my world.. I look at hubby or he looks at me and we say.. we should and then the other blinks and says..

Well, what’s stopping you.. if you want to do it.. then do it..

So simple and yet they have been the start of so many things, some amazing, some ok and some I shake my head at and GO…WHY… but I would not be me if I had not done them.

So I started with a trip for us, as a couple, and I got a farm sitter for that one, I planned it carefully and found a mine hike for hubby.. great fun..

I wanted to go to bon eco, and have since I moved to this province but its to far for a day trip and its one thing to get a farm sitter for one night but another to plan for a couple over the summer, so I planned to go alone.. then I said.. I am going to bon eco and said friend went.. Sounds like a blast..

So I went with said friend, she does not like her picture taken, so I am not going to get myself in trouble and post an face photos of her on the blog.. but she was great fun.

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She is a full of life as they come, she will try anything, she is tough and kind all in one.. so I had booked us a walk in camp site, and it was stunning, it was also not clear that it was nearly as far or as hard of a trail..

WOW, what a trail.. it is fair to say that we would have packed quite differently if we had known.. I had booked a walk in site with hubby and we parked at the top and walked down a nice trail to our site.. pleasant..

A lot of things can be said about the trail to that camp and pleasant is not one of them LOL

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But now comes the old.. a dear friend of mine.. a old friend of mine, I meet her in my collage years, she was the reason I was planning on going to Yellowknife, the reason I meet my husband, and she was my only bridesmaid at my wedding, I am honored that her daughter carries my daughters name..

time has moved us across the country, we have lived end for end, we have moved at different paces and we have caught back up.. but as fate would have it.. she would be less then a hour away from where I was camping while I was there.. she had made the trip from goose bay for family reasons and I got the pleasure of her company for the day!

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We swam in the lake, we visited, and eat good food and played card games, we laughed and we got to visit in a way that girlfriends do when we are alone again.. I know, I know, we love having our hubbies and our little ones around.. we do..

But there is a freedom when its just girlfriends, take off that other hats and remind ourselves of that core of who we where and who we are out!

 

I love many of the photos we got of the three of us, but as I need to follow my girlfriends photo rules, this is the best photo of the three of us.

P1070827I love it..  A grounding, a old friend that I have known for more then half my life an a new friend that I have known for a few years now.. a great melding in many ways.. younger me, with the older me..

I came home tired, sore and at peace in so many ways!

 

 

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A Taste of Bon Eco Camping trip..

I snuck off the farm for a camping trip, I will do a detailed post.. hubby held down the farm and I had a girls only hike in camping trip..

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cheers to the view from our site, outstanding!  the one below was taken from the tent in my sleeping bag, now that is a great way to wake upP1070837the rest of this post will be lake and the rocks the other post will be about the adventure and the people!

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Garlic Scape’s and Recipe

In total this year, there was 15 pounds of these lovely’s but the truth was I did 20 plus pounds of them last year and so I still had a good amount of them, both in pickled, frozen and pesto..  so as I was having a awesome visit for the day with Deb, one of my meet in real life now readers:)P1070744  I sent her home with ten pounds of them and only kept five to six pounds for myself..

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Cleaned up, it made a large roasting pan full of them. While a few of them will be eaten fresh, roasted with olive oil and salt.. (so good) a few bags will go in the freezer for later use, the old ones will be added to my homemade pasta sauces later this year to use them up..

But most of them will be made into this recipe below.. its the one kind I am totally out of, and that because despite having made them for a few years now, and making more and more of it each year.. as soon as these ones get opened up.. snap.. yum.. gone!  yes, I am sharing this recipe again.. it is on the blog, but its worth sharing again..

Sweet with a bit of heat-yummy garlic pickled scape’s..

These are made with a standard Medium Syrup, scapes are a low acid food, they must be preserved with salt, acid (vinager) or sugar, or you could ruin them texture wise with pressure canning😛 I highly recommend keeping that flavour and texture alive with water bath canning.

5 cups water, 3 and half cups of sugar, four cups worth of apple mint leaves. Collect your leaves, wash, no stems, bruise them a bit to help release the mint flavour, and add them to a pot that has water and sugar on med heat, bring to a gentle simmer, turn down and simmer for five min, lets sit for another five, strain out the mint leaves.. bring back up to a boil for jarring up.

Tip and tail your garlic scapes, wash them well in cool water, then drain and cut them into two to four inch pieces, this really does need to be a big flexable as size and curl effects the cutting.

Prep your jars, lids and your canning pot as per normal, when you remove the hot jar, put your three to five whole black pepper and two cloves per jar, one inch by one inch horse radish, fill the jar with garlic scapes, fill to half a inch from top, then add the mint syrup to half a inch from the top, wipe your lip, lid and seal, into the hot water bath for ten min.

Out and onto the towel, allow to sit for a full 24 before moving, can be used within a week but ideally let it cure for at least a month, these are sweet, with a bit of heat, crunchy and awesome!

Made five pints. We made these last year and loved them, so needed to make more for this coming year..

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Its going to be a lean winter..

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Sorry Patrick, covering your eyes and ears will not stop this from happening.. you little coffee thief!

Now, you are most likely thinking.. huh.. what do you mean and how can you tell this in the first week of July..

Well, I should be clear on this, I will have more meat then you can shake a stick at, the freezers will be full, farm gate sales will happen and I will need to be running my pressure canners to put up many jars of canned chicken, pork, lamb, and goat..

I will have eggs, I will have my older flock and I have young hens coming up that will be the right age to come right into first lay late fall that will lay thought out the winter for me..

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I will have milk, there will be a dry out time but it will be very small, Juno the goat will provide milk for a good while  and when she is dried up, one or more of my milking sheep will have lambed again and I will have fresh milk all winter long. which means milk, yogurt and cheese..

BUT then it gets much more tricky.. this drought is bad, in the past week I have been getting the talk, and from so many sources..

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My biggest hay burners, but they are so worth it!

My main hay supplier… I have hay for you, but do not add any more critters to the farm, unless you balance it out.. you have only “this much” booked for the winter..  Ps if folks ask.. I have no hay for sale.. only just enough for my regulars

My secondary hay Supplier- No hay..

My main Straw Supplier- No Straw this year!

My Secondary Straw Supplier- Maybe, a little but you are not getting full order, I might? be able to give you a quarter of your normal..

I do my best to buy my grains from local sources,  and I am hearing the same thing from them..  the crop yields are in the 40 percent range if that..  they are going to do their best to try and meet their “regulars” needs..  but they have no extra for sale..

I took a deep breath and said.. what about cost? because when things get this lean.. you know you are going to pay more.. and yes, I am taking a small hit on that.. I nodded and went.. ok!

But then I asked nicely.. ok, so if I was not a regular and you did have a bit left over to sell, what would that price be like.. my regular hay guy, he has doubled his large hay bale price.. average in our area is 40 in yard pickup and he is not even going to consider lower then 80 a bale and my one grain supplier, the farm next door was buying extra and he was already paying 70 a round bale and the guy he bought extra said that second cut what he did get of it, would be a hundred a bale..

Let me give a idea of just how bad it is.. was talking with one of my local’s in his hay field.. one stunted plant, with 6 to 18 inches of bare dead earth around that plant.. he is going to plow the hay field up and replant it back into hay again, hoping that it will come again.

Corn stunted less then knee high and its starting to head out.. its being taken off as silage because they are out of feed, because they did not get a 1st hay cut, so they are needing their grain crops NOW to feed their cows..

Wheat that is only 10 to 11 inches high and are all ready headed out, now to be fair the heads do not look that bad, just very small though.

My local potato farm is showing the strain as well, they water and even with their extra help, everything is stunted, those plants should be big enough that you can not even see the sandy soil they will grow in and instead, they are looking to be four to six inches high and lots of ground showing still.

I honestly thought that my garden was suffering, and compared to a normal year, it is.. it is! but at the same time, I take it all back, compared to so many fellow gardens in the area, my garden is rockin along..

Now you can not compare my gardens to town gardens, the ones that are a average town garden with a person that has a water hose.. they can still be doing great if the person is watering regular.. I know, I know, they are begging for rain, they are with empty rain barrels as well but they can turn the tap on and go..

Myself and others with well, we can not do that.. I would be in a world of hurt right now, if I did not have my new water tank in the yard, I am taking around a 150 gallons out of it daily and I know that my well would not be holding if I had to take it from it.

As it is, I would take a bet that if we do not get rain and a good amount of it, I will be buying water for my well in aug-sept.. one load a month.. The river is low, its end of the summer low already, and its warm, we have been swimming and until you hit a deep (as in feet do not touch the bottom) area, you do not even get to cool water..  its lovely to swim in but that kind of warmth should not be in the water at this time of year..

Creeks are even harder hit, and in the local news some of them have already run dry and up on the other side of the valley, one of the big rivers is running at only 15 percent of its normal rate..  Read that again.. 15 percent!

Now lets get to the reason’s why my own gardens are doing as well as they are..

a) I am on river loam, its just good soil to start with..

b) I have lots of compost, I really do believe that the amount of compost I have added to my soil and gardens for the past years..

c) once again, the hugelbeds and planting with swells in mind have been my greatest secret weapons for producing this year..

d) The last but not least by any means is that I over plant and interplant.. but as I have watched with my girlfriends on more sandy soils then mine.. those that have lots of plant compost or plant cut and drops but do not have the same kind of animal compost to add to their soils, they proved that without the moisture in the soil, the seeds will not germinate..

Do not think that this is about home gardens, this is effecting local CSA, this is effecting local u-picks, it was on the news yesterday that many of the huge local strawberry u-picks only had one or two weekend that they were open, instead of weeks open because they do not have the fruit in the fields to have the gates open.

the farmers markets are hurting as well, the prices are already high and many have made it very clear that the prices are going no where but up! and the amount available is down, way! way down..

So that leaves me at least in a limbo.. I normally buy locally produced food in bulk to produce my own food, if I can not grow it on my own land.. but on a normal year, that is always more cost!

I can head to the regular stores and buy larger amounts at the local wholesale fruit and veggie store but it will not be from Canada and it will not be local.. and in most cases, I will have no idea what so ever if it is GMO or not

Not at all within my own personal views but if I do not buy it bulk and process it, then that leaves me buying pre-made from the stores.. and in many ways, that is even worse for some things..  (some things in the store are Canadian grown and made in Canada)

So that means we are going to have a very lean winter when it comes to what is being put up..  only the next few months on my own land, will give me a idea of just how lean..

Some things I had put away a two year supply of last year, so I am covered for this year at least as long as used in moderation.. but we will see..  we will see..

Are you in a drought zone yourself? Have you been working in a drought zone for a while? Do you find the funds and buy local at the higher prices, do you eat less of what is not available, do you buy from a zone that is producing it? P1070702

As my crazy little faith (the first kitten I have ever owned that truly climbed the curtains) says.. HANG ON! LOL

 

 

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ElderFlowers

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I was worried about the elderflowers, they were slow this year and the blooms are quite a bit smaller then normal on this bad drought year but I am not one to just sit ideal, I did a little further then normal foraging and found a few swampish area’s that they are still holding well in, found out who owned the land and checked to see if I had forage rights on it and yup!

This is just one days worth of pick of the flowers and that is a full roasting pan that can hold an roast up to a twenty pound turkey and its full!

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Many jars of died Elderflowers are done, I have canned up jars of elderflower syrup and I am waiting for the gooseberries to come ready so I can make a gooseberry-elderflower jelly this year as we know that the flavour combo is outstanding per the pie!

Do not forget to try this amazing Elderflower and lemon icecream recipe!

I have a few different jars worth of things bubbling away into a fine drink someday, this one in the photo above is a half-gallon of elderflower-honey mead..

http://www.growforagecookferment.com/elderflower-sparkling-mead/

Full post and recipe found at the link above, I just cut it into half as I want to try it first and because I have lots of dried to make more as I want to do so..

I like to use my eldeflowers in so many ways, cooking, tea, syrups and as a flavouring.. but also in my soaps

Hope that these idea’s will give you the nudge to go collect some of these flowers for yourself!

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Happy Canada Day!

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