Although spring is officially here, the weather continues to be cold and wet. The vegetables are getting planted, both seeds and starts, in dribs and drabs, slowly but surely. The heat-loving tomatoes, peppers, squash and basil are still indoors, under the fluorescent lights, getting bigger and bigger, just waiting for warmer temperatures outdoors, so they can get into their permanent locations under the cloches in the vegetable garden.
The fruit trees in our orchard have been slow to bloom but about a week ago I noticed that the pears were finally flowering. While I worked in the garden nearby during the sunny afternoon, the plum tree’s blossom also began to open, inviting the hungry bees to come and feast. This morning the apple blossom has begun to burst from sweet pink buds.
The last blast of winter seems to have taken place and the crocuses are blooming. Snowdrops drift across the pet graveyard under the black walnut tree like snowy remnants left behind after the last thaw.
Last week C. and I made a trip to town for supplies. The road to town was finally clear of snow. We were out of milk, coffee, oats and other essentials. It was past time to stock up on groceries. I was eager to find one particular item that had been on my list for the past couple of months: the elusive Seville orange. Continue reading “Marmalade…”
Christmas is over but the tree is still standing as I attempt to retain some sparkle during the continuing dark days.
So far, this New Year is off to a rough start. The dear old dog died and I am still not over that. I catch glimmers of her dark form shuffling here and there in the shadowy corners at the edge of the back garden. My mind is playing tricks on me.
The weather this winter has not helped to cheer me. Here, it has been hovering around freezing, or a few degrees below, for the past month or so. We have been burning through an extraordinary amount of firewood. I find it quite tiresome.
Already it is time to start working on the year-end taxes, again. Next week, that idiot to the south will step into the driver’s seat. Chaos seems to reign everywhere on earth. I find myself waking up in the darkest hours, fighting off the blasted mid-night terrors! Continue reading “When in Doubt…”
Yesterday afternoon I went down to the end of the road in the skiff to collect C. and his mountain of winter-camping gear. He was coming home from his annual hunting trip to the Interior of the province.
Ever since I dropped C. off two weeks ago I have been holding the fort here at home. The weather has been wet and mild, until a couple of days ago, when the season turned the corner to reveal winter coming down the pipeline. As I write, an icy wind is beginning to stir, a storm is brewing.
C. has been going off on expeditions like this every November since I came to join him on this island nearly 25 years ago. He has spent the last two weeks camping in a canvas wall tent, complete with a wood-fired heater, along with his brother and adult son, quietly hiking around the hills of the Interior of the province, looking for mule deer that live in that region.
of a remote island dweller…and chronic tea drinker!
People who live elsewhere often ask, “What do you do all day long on your island.” How do I begin to describe a typical day in this place I call home? There are seasonal differences and a day in my life as a remote, off grid island dweller depends a lot on the weather, among other things.
Let’s take last Tuesday for example. I woke up earlier than usual with the sound of C.’s alarm clock chiming. Still dark outside, I could hear the incessant rainfall on the roof. C. had plans to leave for his annual winter camping and deer-hunting trip to the interior of the province. I needed to get up too, in order to take him and all his gear, in the skiff, down the channel, to the end of the road on the next island where our car stays when we are at home on this island. Have I mentioned that there is no ferry service to our island?
While we ate breakfast the rain stopped, temporarily, for the first time in many, many days. C. was able to load his gear into the skiff without it all getting soaked. We both got dressed for the open boat ride; layers of warm clothing topped off with heavy duty rain gear and rubber boots. From home, it’s a fifteen minute run, in a fast boat, to the end of the road. Continue reading “A Day in The Life…”
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.
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.
Canned fruits and pickled crabapples on the pantry shelf
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.
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….”