Oh, Nature! You make me smile with your wackiness

oh, carrots!


oh, carrots!



Whoa! Where did October come from?!

music to read by :: October Song (Amy Winehouse)

my favourite slippers and dog

Oh, October. You snuck up on me like a thing that sneaks, and made me and my to-do list look like nothing but sitting around reading. But I still love you.

Yeah. October.

basket of homemade mis-matched guest slippers

The time of year I dig out the duvet, my slippers, the box of miss-matched guest slippers; enjoy a warm fire and tea; and still leave some windows open.

This year, it’s also the time time I look back at September and wonder just what the hell I accomplished.

I plan to blame it on the husband. Why? Because he went to Paris for two weeks and I didn’t. I think that’s good enough reason.


September. Let’s say goodbye with a handshake and a wrap-up.

crappy pic of what is actually a lovely scarf

  • Yoga 2 times a week? Yep!
  • Knit two presents? Yep! A scarf for my sister and one for my mom – where I learned how to knit a fringe. Go me!
  • Knit a scarf for me? Nope. But I did make an awesome snake scarf for the kid.
  • Knit a pair of slippers for the basket? Well, one is a pair in my world so we’ll call this one a win.
  • Donate blood. Nope. And I have no good excuse …. Bad me.
  • Pottery? Did none. But did get a commission for something fun so I do have to get my ass in gear.
  • Food budget? Win! But the man was away for 2 weeks, so ….
  • Holes in bedroom. Uhm …. let’s move on.
  • The books on the living room floor are gone!

awesome snake scarf

  • Organize bookcase in bedroom? I’ve done two shelves.
  • Buy paint? Did I mention I didn’t fill the holes?

And now for October. And while I wish it could list reading, fires, tea, and watching the leaves change …. {{sigh}}

House and Home

  • put front and back gardens to bed
  • plant garlic
  • start the damn holes in bedroom
  • finish organizing bookcase in bedroom
  • paint some trip upstairs


  • yoga two times/week
  • knit one present, one pair slippers, and one scarf, plus a scarf for me
  • donate blood


  • research and design commission. yay!

That’s it! That’s all! Plus, you know, all the other crap I have to do in a day.


My thumb is turning a light shade of green!

2012 has been designated the year I become less dependant on society to accomplish my day to day. I don’t mean in a “can you drive me to the store” kind of dependant, but more in the “can you teach me how to change my bike tire so I can do it in the future”, kind of way.

It is also my year to live a more sustainable and frugal life.

Sustainable, in this case,  can be defined as

– pertaining to a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse: sustainable agriculture;
– able to be supported as with the basic necessities or sufficient funds: a sustainable life

And frugal as

– economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful;
– able to be supported as with the basic necessities or sufficient funds: a sustainable life

Challenging myself (and therefore my family) to a whole food “diet” has been part of this lifestyle change, as it forces us to purchase foods of one ingredient and for multiple purposes. But I think this challenge falls mostly to the frugal side of things (and healthy. let’s not forget healthy)

For sustainability, I’ve started looking at what I *do* with some of these whole/real foods once I’ve prepared a meal, with the big kick in the head coming when I started planning my garden.

I want to expand my garden this year, to include more foods we eat, both in the ground and in containers. So in March, I started making a list of the plants and seeds I wanted to buy. Then I made dinner and found myself scraping seeds and such into the compost.



Yeah. I’m a city girl …..

yellow peppersAfter banging my head against the counter for a time, I dug into the compost and pulled out some seeds. Then I wandered around, planting the seeds into already existing indoor pots – it was still winter here.

As you can see, my peppers, mentioned in a previous post, have poked their heads even higher and are almost ready for transplant. I’ll separate them out in the coming weeks and nurse them along. I think these will be container plants so I can attempt to over winter them. The jalopeno plant wintered indoors and seems ok, but we will see if it fruits.

I also channeled my inner kid and dug out the egg cartons. A few weeks later and I have quite a few tomatoes (I think they are roma) greeting the sun.

Depending on how many sprout, I will spread them between containers and ground. Last year I managed to keep a cherry tomato fruiting indoors until the new year.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to use my already existing seeds. The past has always found me wandering the garden stores picking up seedlings and transplanting them at home. It has been expensive and not very sustainable – unless, of course, you own the garden store!

My latest “duh” moment came while staring at my green onions. I use a fair bit of green onions making our flavoured yoghurt cheese, and they sit on the shelf on the fridge wilting and looking sad.

Now, they are stored in a jar of water, on my kitchen window sill and just keep regenerating. I’ve been working off of the same bunch for a few weeks now, and they are tasty! I just change the water every few days. I’ve also stuck a few in dirt (inside) to see what happens. Will they  multiply? No idea. City girl, remember.

I’m feeling a bit more “with it” now, in regards to my garden and how to sustain it. I’m looking at our foods closely, deciding if I want to harvest the seeds and try growing the item. I’m also planning a potato bed and an onion container, and am trying to decide if I want to seed potatoes on hand (they are organic), or just buy the seed potatoes and go from there.

Either way. I’m pretty happy that some of my city brain has moved over to allow a bit more gardener room. Hopefully together, they will figure out how to use this city lot to it’s best potential.


Ok. Who are you and what have you done with March

Buddha enjoying his early greens

Well, I don’t know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but around casa vassal, it’s summer.

The only problem with that is, it is not summer. It is spring.


And spring in Ottawa, usually means still winter.

Yesterday’s temperature topped out around 27 degrees celsius (80.6F), with a “feels like” of 31 (87.8F). Today is to be much of the same, with a chance of rain.

Lilies taking a peek at March

In fact, all week has been in the mid to high twenties and sunny, sunny, sunny.

The point of all being, my garden is very confused. I’ve been out all week, cleaning up the leaves and dog poo, dragging out patio furniture, and hanging the laundry outside.

I’m fully convinced it will snow again, or that I am in some nice drug induced sleep where it is summer all year ’round.

My yard is convinced spring has sprung and is months behind in it’s growing schedule and must catch up.

strawberry plants!

Next week is supposed to be more seasonal, but still between 6-10 degrees (43-50F) and sunny. Shorts weather, practically, if you are 9.

My daughter is estactic.

the honeysuckle is leafing!

I, however, am worried. If we do get any serious frost, or a heavy snow fall, that could be it for my garden.

The indoor plants are doing also doing well; probably due to the over abundance of sun and warmth.

sprouted from just eaten orange peppers

sprouted lemon seed

the lemongrass has rooted!

avocado sprout

How is your garden doing? Any surprises this year?


so. with a winter snowfall warning in effect

While the end of February may not seem like a good time to discuss the garden and what food stuff I plan to put away in the fall, it is. It really is. February is the time I can make crazy plans in my head without worrying about the need to jump into action come the weekend. February also gives me three long months in which change these plans, search for items to repurpose for planting containers, and to decide which plants in the house will go to summer camp. Yes, three months. In Ottawa one shouldn’t really consider putting things into the ground until mid to late May. Yeah. May. (Why do I live here?) Then there is the fact that I live all urban, leaving me with not much space to plant. But I do well with what I have, if I do say so myself. …..

Louisa, over at The Really Good Life , asked what garden plans one might have this week, and my only answer can be, none. Nope. Nada, Zilch. No gardening for me. It has started snowing again and we are expecting 15 centimetres, or so. I can’t even wrap my brain around the idea, not even if I had a green house. (which I totally would had I the space)

But that doesn’t mean I don’t garden on a “small, indoor sense”.

Because, you see, I do seeds.

But not in the “let’s start my plants indoors” way.

avocado plant

1 year old avocado plant, started from seed

In the “hey! look, I have a pile of seeds left over from eating dates!” way.

So, this week, I’ve planted 6 date seeds, 3 avocados, and a handful of pepper seeds.

I also took this time to poke and feed my existing avocado plants, all of which (about 4) will head to summer camp this year.

Summer camp, when I drag my tropical or food plants outside to the porch, deck, or garden until mid-September. Summer camp, the time that sees the most growth in the previous mentioned plants. Summer camp, the time that gave me a 6.5 foot banana plant. Continue reading