Wednesday, July 29, 2009

These are the San Marzano tomato plants. And this was taken over a week ago. They are half again this size now. We've had to double stake all of the plants, and even still they are falling over. The leaves on some of them are enormous. Bigger than I've ever seen. They are heavy with fruit, and I hope they ripen well, now that some heat is around. Ditto the strawberries (to the left), which are full of flowers right now. They are Alpine strawberries. Not quite wild and not quite what you find in stores. Can't wait to taste them!
In the back are the raspberry bushes. Well, canes anyway. They won't be bushes for another year or two. We're looking forward to having free raspberries again. Even in season they are expensive.
Shifting gears to homeschooling for a moment, September is almost here. Not that we are bound by any set start date, but we are aiming for the beginning of September anyway. We have some curriculum, and just need to fill in a few gaps with some math and bible study stuff. I am grateful that we're starting at the beginning rather than jumping in after our son already started school. We've never wanted to send the kids to school, and have always known we'd homeschool. In traditional school he'd be starting kindergarten this year. At home he's doing more advanced reading, starting to learn math and doing some science. Not because we're pushing him, but because that's where he's at. And of course this summer he's learning about gardening and how things grow. Life is learning. Homeschooling helps us take advantage of that to the fullest.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Insane tomato plants, part 2

I went outside today with the kids. While looking over the garden, I noticed that my poor Bear Claw tomato plant had snapped two large branches. They'd come unwound from the twisty support I'd wrapped them around, which I far prefer to cages. Unfortunately one stem was the terminal one, which means (I think) that what is on the plant right now in terms of fruit and flowers is all I'll get. That's still about a dozen tomatoes or so, if they all mature. I'm being optimistic. Next year I'll have to get some velcro ties to keep them attached to their support.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Insane tomato plants

Okay, so it's been a while since we've had a garden. We moved here 2 years ago and didn't plant tomatoes the year we moved. And this year is our first with an actual garden plot. I don't know how, but I seemed to have forgotten just how much space they take up. Especially the heirloom varieties. Yikes.

Our pastor gave me 2 heirloom plants. A Brandywine and a Bear Claw (which may be a Brandywine variety). Gosh are they huge now. The Bear Claw one is a droopy plant by nature, it seems, but it also grabs onto anything it can. It was into the Brandywine, and had reached over the peppers to get into the San Marzano tomato plants. I had to cut off an entire productive branch just to manage the thing. Then I cut out all of the suckers and now there is light reaching the interior of the bush again. I figure I have a good half hour of trimming still to get all of the tomato plants under control. Note to self... plant them further apart next year!!! And take pictures when they first go in. Crazy.

The green beans have been more or less overtaken by the tomatoes, but no matter, since the local bunnies seem to enjoy nibbling on any new shoot that appears anyway. Which so far is distracting them from the strawberry plants. We'll see what happens when they begin to fruit.

It'll take a while before the raspberries yield anything of worth, but that's fine. Root growth is good. In a few years I'll be making raspberry pies without breaking the bank! Just like my grandmother did.

So I guess this fall we'll be expanding the garden.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mmmm, peaches

Okay, so peaches aren't quite in season here yet. But they will be in a month or so. In the meantime there are some pretty good ones coming up from the U.S. The kids and I are enjoying one right now.

I love fresh peaches. The smell of them takes me back to when my son was about 9 months old and I would peel and finely cut them up to share with him. They were so ripe and juicy that year that we went through quart after quart. I love living in an area rich in tender fruit crops. We can have peaches for supper that were still growing on the tree that morning.

Canned peaches are an abomination. All mushy and sugary. I have frozen my own in a very light syrup, and while the texture still isn't wonderful, at least they aren't so sweet. Don't even get me started on artificial peach flavour or aroma. Peach gelatin? Yuck. And while I love Kiss My Face products, they really got their peach lotion all wrong. It smells of peaches, but also of armpits and cat pee. It's got a pretty nasty funk to it.

Once peach season actually arrives here, and I can get my hands on some freestone beauties, I will make a peaches and cream pie. Edna Staebler has a wonderful recipe for Thick Cream Peach Pie in her Pies and Tarts with Schmecks Appeal (
ISBN 0-7710-8283-5. CIP) book. I prefer it with a whole wheat crust, and smaller pieces of peach than she calls for, but otherwise it is a wonderful recipe, if you can get your hands on it. In it she also talks about her friends making peach peel pie. While prepping the fruit for canning, they stew down the peels with some sugar until thick and jammy, and then pour them into a baked pie shell. A little whipped cream certainly couldn't hurt. ;-)

As of right now, strawberry season is just ending and cherry season has begun. Peach season is not far behind (if the heat of summer ever finds us - nearly mid July and still only 22C during the day - not that I mind).

Monday, July 6, 2009

The first step

And here it is. The first step in this blog. Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a 36 year old happily married mom of two. Our son is 4 1/2 and our daughter just turned 22 months. We knew before we ever had kids that we would homeschool them, and this year we're embarking on that journey.

I am also a foodie. I have been all my life, though I didn't know it. I want to thank whoever coined the term, because it gave me something to identify my passion as. I love food. I love reading about food. I love talking about food. I love learning about food. If you go on vacation, I want to know what you ate. I'm sure the seashore was lovely, but tell me about the food. I read cookbooks like novels. My husband has stopped asking me what recipe I'm looking up when I am perusing yet another cookbook. I curl up with recipes like others curl up with Agatha Christie. I am all a-twitter about the upcoming Julie and Julia movie!

Then there is the journey of faith, which I won't really blog a lot about. Faith is a very intimate thing, and not necessarily something that I am comfortable putting out there for the world to read about.

So in a very small nutshell, that is me, and where I am at. Welcome. Walk with me.