Oh, Rubarb….

…cool crop for cool weather.

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.

Continue reading “Oh, Rubarb….”

Black and White…

…and snow all over

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Snow…

Winter has arrived. Snow covers the ground like a duck down duvet. Snow hangs from the boughs of the trees and snow is beginning to fall again. It is a winter wonderland out here on the islands.

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C.’s brother N. is visiting from the city. He came up to the island to help butcher the big mule deer that C. brought home from the last hunting trip of the season. Three days ago it began to snow and now N. is stuck here for the moment, trapped by the snow-obliterated road on the next island that leads to the outside world. This morning I called the fellow who maintains the roads there. He cheerfully told me that he had just got the grader repaired, and that he probably would not be able to get plowing out to the end of the road until Monday; too much snow to be dealt with first on the south end of that island. He had already been part way out by truck and had removed a fallen tree that was also blocking the route. Continue reading “Black and White…”

A Day in The Life…

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…”

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…”