Pass The Chutney Please….

It is another very wet fall day here on the island, at the edge of the rainforest. It has been pouring with rain all day long but the sea outside my front door is calm. A misty grey monotone, it is peaceful and beautiful in its own way. It is not too bad out there if one dons head to toe rain gear and rubber boots before venturing out into the monsoon.

However, inside it is warm and dry and I am tempted to stay put, at least for the time being. There is plenty to do indoors anyway. I am still up to my ears in boxes of apples and green tomatoes, and worst of all, what seems like an endless supply of rather large zucchinis. I don’t know what it is, but there always seems to be way more of these monstrous darlings left over at the end of the summer than any ordinary person can deal with, let alone eat.

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Although I had not really intended this blog to be all about food, it seems to be going in that direction. I suppose that is what happens when one grows a garden and there are only two humans to eat the results. Of course there is always the compost heap, or the chickens, but my Motley Crew of fowl, now reduced to only five in number, could not possibly get their beaks around the excess supply of overgrown courgettes lounging around on the back porch.

I hate waste, especially when it involves food. So what to do with the spare stuff? Certain things go into the freezer, like salmon and venison and berries. There is a bit of a battle about freezer space that goes on around here; we must use up the berries soon to make room for the incoming meat later in the fall. That is not a problem; I can always turn those little jewels into juice or syrup or jam when the time comes.

The green tomatoes, apples and zeppelin-ish zukes will inevitably be made into chutney or relish of one sort or another, bottled in glass jars and put away on the pantry shelves. Gradually, over the next year or two the jars will be brought out and opened and the tasty condiments will be served inside a sandwich at lunchtime or alongside a supper main dish such as curry, roasted venison or a casserole.

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Island Golden Glow Pickle with Cheese on Toast for lunch…

Here follows a trio of recipes in case you happen to have some extra apples, green tomatoes or zucchinis hanging around just waiting to be used up. After all, today is a perfect day to be indoors making chutney. Continue reading “Pass The Chutney Please….”

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Sending Out An S.O.S.

The other day I was sitting at the kitchen table thinking about writing yet another little story about making edible food products from excess garden produce. As usual I had the VHF (very high frequency) marine radio turned on, monitoring channel 16, the emergency Coast Guard channel. I thought the following story was more important than the question of what to do with all the green tomatoes sitting on the back porch.

It was around 2 pm when I heard the radio come to life with a man’s voice calling from the fishing vessel, the Proud Canadian. He was hailing the Victoria Coast Guard radio station. The vessel was not far from here, a seine boat I think, that may have been fishing for chum salmon or was perhaps on its way to deliver its load down south.

I listened in alarm while the caller calmly told the Coast Guard that a member of the crew, one of five on board, had just been hit in the head by a tow line and was now lying, unconscious, on the stern deck of the seine boat. As the minutes passed, I heard the caller mention that the injured man was coming to. The radio dispatcher replied. Would a medical evacuation be required? Did the seine boat have a telephone? They had two, a cell phone and a satellite telephone, but there was no signal for the cell phone to work, and later when the Coast Guard tried to call the seiner back they said they could not get through on the satellite phone either. So the call continued on the VHF radio phone.

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VHF radio phone

I listened carefully to the real life drama through the receiver of my own marine radio telephone, located on the shelf above the kitchen sink. As I did, many thoughts raced through my mind. I have lived and worked on or near the water in remote locations for a large part of my life, and I understand how important good communication systems and protocol are in emergency situations like this. They can be a matter of life and death. This is a fact. Continue reading “Sending Out An S.O.S.”

More about Drying

a few more details about the process…

The harvest continues here on the island as the temperatures gradually drop and the season changes before our eyes. Summer is really over now. The maple and alder trees are dropping their autumn leaves and the baring limbs stand in stark contrast to the deep green backdrop of the thick coniferous forest behind our house.

I’ve been busy putting the garden to bed for the winter. The last of the tomatoes have been picked, despite still being as green as grass. They will ripen gradually over time, set out on the counter in the cool laundry room at the back of the house. The garlic has been planted in between the rain storms and I finally got around to picking the last of the apples yesterday, filling a large box with lovely crisp, tart-sweet, yellowish green apples from our orchard.

Garlic being planted with organic fertilizer in shallow trenches.

In my last post I wrote about my drying experiments using excess produce from the garden along with the heat from our woodstove. At least one reader indicated interest in the process, so I thought I would share a few more details of my current pastime. Continue reading “More about Drying”

Harvest Time in the 25th Garden…

dscn5633It has been a while since my last post. Sounds like holy confession. The problem is that there is a glut of things to write about and I am having trouble picking one topic and sticking to it. Like most things in life, not just blog posts.

This year I grew my 25th vegetable garden at home here on the island. I can hardly believe that figure; have I really been planting a kitchen garden for a quarter of a century! Am I allowed to swear on a blog! I could write entirely about the garden and never mention anything else in my life, but really, the garden is just one aspect of this island life, though I do spend a lot of my time engaged in it one way or another. Today I am going to narrow it down to a fraction of that aspect, and tell you a little bit about the harvest of my garden, this particular autumn. Continue reading “Harvest Time in the 25th Garden…”

Home Sweet Home….

There is nothing quite as sweet as arriving home after having been away for a while. Several days ago I returned home after a long road trip. I left a couple of weeks ago to travel with my sister, in her older model Ford pickup truck, empty horse trailer in tow, from another west coast island that she is soon to call home, back to her current abode more than a thousand kilometers inland and away from the coast. Continue reading “Home Sweet Home….”

Certificate Error!!

One day after my first post, and already a computer problem has occurred. Just after proudly informing a few friends about my decision to celebrate my 58th birthday by starting a blog about living off the grid on this remote island, I find I cannot actually access my blog when I enter my blog’s web address. Great!! if anyone actually reads this and can tell me how to fix that problem, I would be very grateful. I keep getting a “certificate error” message on my screen…..

Better yet, perhaps I should just trash the entire project. What a waste of time so far!! I am heading out to pull some weeds!

Please can someone out there help me?

 

© Claudia Lake, claudlakeblog, Island Time, 2016.

58 years young!

Wow! I have just created a blog. It has only taken me about an hour, not counting procrastination time of undetermined years, to figure out how to get this far!  Being my first ever attempt at the creative art of blogging, it is all a bit of an experiment. I hope you will be patient and bear with me.

Today I am celebrating my 58th birthday! As I set off into the next year it seems like a really good idea to get on with some of the things I have been thinking and talking about doing for the past umpteen decades. Including the creation of this blog, where I hope to jot down some of my thoughts, ideas and observations about my life on this beautiful, remote island off the west coast of Canada.

I came here nearly 25 years ago from the middle of London where I had been living and working for some time. I came here to join my partner and friend, who had made his home on these shores many years earlier. During the past quarter of a century we have raised a family here and made a living in this place. It seems like nothing when written in a short sentence like that, but believe me, it has been a rich and rewarding, as well as sometimes difficult and frustrating, experience.

I look forward to sharing some of these experiences with you, but first it is time for a walk and a breath of fresh air!

 

©Claudia Lake, claudlakeblog, Island Time, 2016.