Friday, November 21, 2014

No more tiny batches of soup for me...a new 16 quart stock pot.

When I make my Butternut Squash Soup, my roasting pot is filled right to the brim, so stirring is almost impossible and using the stick blender to purée always results in my getting burned. So today, I invested in a large stock pot to make soups and stocks. Finally. It will be easier and I will be able to make about three batches at a time. Isn't it lovely.

Over an hour of chopping and this is what you get. 

The most unbelievable tool for chopping tough herbs like Rosemary. That said it is without a doubt the most dangerous kitchen tool I've ever used. Those round blades are like razors. It is impossible to grab it or clean it without putting downward pressure on the rounded plastic and risking slipping right onto the blades. The sides should be straight up and down. So if you're accident prone....don't buy one of these. 

took some seeds from the Butternuts. They were so superb that I just had to. They are grown in Central Saanich organically by Dan, so they may be better suited to this area than the seeds I've been using. In two years I've not managed one single squash.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A rite of passage...Butternut Squash Soup

Every fall I make Butternut Squash Soup. I love it beyond reason. I was determined this year, to make enough for the whole winter. We like to have a grilled cheese, or a piece of Sourdough bread with the soup. It is perfect for winter.

One of Farmer Dan's beautiful Butternut Squash's. 

Cutting up the squash and vegetables.

Chopped up and cooking. 

I bag the soup, label it with the year and lay them flat on my plate to freeze. When they are frozen they then stand up flat in the freezer. So one batch done, three to go.

The recipe:

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced
3 lb butternut squash {peeled and diced}
1 sweet potato {peeled and diced}
2 Apples {peeled, cored and diced}
6 cups vegetable stock
1Tbsp rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbsp thyme, or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
A pinch of cayenne {optional}

Heat oil in a large pot. Sauté onions and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add squash, sweet potato and apples. Stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until squash is very soft. Purée soup. I use a stick blender, but you must be very careful if soup is hot. I still manage to splash molten soup on myself every time. Maybe use your blender??

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making garden notes....

I went next door and sat in the sun. As usual it was at least ten degrees hotter over there. I took my tape measure, note pad, pen, glasses and coffee next door and sat in the sun. I looked, I pondered and planned. I took measurements of the paths and gardens that are in place, so that I could put them onto my massive {3x4' really} sheet of graph paper.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter cleanup..or..putting the garden to bed for the winter

I've spent a lot of time getting the garden cleaned up and ready for winter. We wrestled the two potted Japanese Maples out of their pots. It was a brutal amount of work. The pots are pumpkin shaped so the root ball was wider than the opening at the top. Good grief. Here is the shed with one of the blue maple pots cleaned up and ready for next year. Allan drained all the hoses and I put the sprayers away. Feels good to be on it. We got our first frost today.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Well, this sure is a change from last weeks weather

Sorry it is such a terrible photo. It's only midnight, so I assume it will go below zero tonight.....shiver.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Garden cat has adjusted

My Garden Cat was very leery of the new yard. There used to be a dog Charlie who lived there and he was afraid of him. He loved Barb very much, but he was pretty nervous when he went over to visit. I looked out my window today and saw him just lounging and hanging out on the table next door. He has adjusted and is relaxed enough to just go hang there!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Feeding the larger birds in our just seems part of a garden

Barb who used to own the house next door always had a bird feeder filled in the front yard. Amanda and I took a run to Buckerfield's to pick up bird seed so she can continue with it. She chose a mixed blend for smaller birds so I decided that I will feed the larger birds. I bought this awesome bird feeder and 35 pounds of sunflower seeds. For the first time in about 25, maybe even 30 years, I am seeing Stellars Jays/Blue Jays. Not just the odd one, there seem to be many. We have a lot of Flickers too. The feeder should be really interesting to watch. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The buttercups were on the assistant built the wall to hold them back

As you know, Buttercups have been a challenge since day one of my gardening. They creep along the ground and get into everything. Once we had everything cleared out for the back yard garden, they seemed to get their second wind and just went for it. The buttercups in the lawn were encroaching quickly into the garden at the front of the house. See how the lawn looks weird and bumpy? Those are Buttercups. I asked my assistant if he could move up the time line for the little wall to hold back the lawn and weeds. Today was that day. And it looks wonderful too. Thank you Allan.

The right hand side of the edging ends in an odd place. Why? We are going to take that little entryway and make it larger, so the garden edging will meet up with the new brick wall going there. 

Monday, November 03, 2014

Isn't this a beautiful bug

I kept stumbling on these pictures when looking for post pictures. This bug landed on me one day when I was perusing the yard next door. The sun was shining and the green bug was iridescent and absolutely gorgeous. I don't know if he is helpful or harmful to the garden. He is just beautiful and welcome. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Is there anything better than unexpectedly receiving seed potatoes in the mail?!

I'll answer that...NO!! NO THERE ISN'T.

My brother Steven, who is as garden obsessed as I am, sent me an unexpected box of seed potatoes. They aren't just any old potato. Apparantly they taste exactly like the ones my grandparents grew. They were so delicious. These could very well be the same variety. Does anyone know what they are? They decend from three originals that Steven's partner Trish was given while in Quebec. 

In the box were some extra little treats. Including these purple flowered peas.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

A French Lilac started for the East Yard.

Amanda LOVES lilac trees. She likes the one I have in my yard. The picture I use on this blog features it prominently.

It is a heavily scented French Lilac in the classic soft purple. I did some reading about propogating last night and I told Amanda, if she is patient, I can dig up a shoot for her yard. I was puttering in the yard and wondered if I could get one out of the ground easier because it's been raining a lot lately. I grabbed the shovel and got this!!

So I potted them up for planting next year. Amanda wanted them together so they would form a clump like mine faster. I am going to really baby it and feed it well and see if I can get a tree out of it sooner rather than later. I've tucked them in my winter nursery. Translated: Right against the greenhouse glass.