Monthly Archives: September 2014

It Never Ceases to Amaze!

Close up of mixed greens growing exuberantly

The new ‘kitchen garden’, a hugel bed constructed last fall has become an edible jungle


Once again the garden beds have transformed into a jungle of the freshest food! I’m amazed. I probably shouldn’t be, seeing as much the same thing happens every year, but in truth I don’t ever want to see this fecundity as anything less than a series of little miracles. I mentioned building hugel beds in the previous post and  the new kitchen garden hugel provides a perfect example of how well this system actually works. Prolific. Energetic. Exuberant. All good words to describe the growth pattern in this food jungle.


Also mentioned in the previous post was the Spring planted garlic. It was planted late (obviously, seeing as it should have been planted in the Fall) but if the scapes are anything to go by, it hasn’t suffered too much of a set back.  Garlic scape pesto is so easy to make; just a matter of putting scapes, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil in the blender.  It’s delicious, versatile and keeps for several months when frozen. So convenient to add to soups and pasta dishes. Love it!


A blackcurrant branch with fruit

Blackcurrants ready to harvest

The blackcurrant bushes have outdone themselves again this year. Some of the branches are breaking down under the weight of the fruit they bear. Of course this means lots of jam making, and this year I’m also making pie filling preserves. Blackcurrants don’t seem to be as popular here as they are in the U.K. and I’m not sure why  because blackcurrants seem to prefer the cool Springs and late starts to Summer we experience here on the east coast, which are similar to the weather patterns  I remember from my childhood in England. The berries are very high in vitamin C and have a distinctive taste: sweeter than redcurrants with slightly more tang than blueberries. They really are delicious.





Head of Broccoli waiting to be harvested

Broccoli plant which produced many flowerlets after the head was harvested

The cooler weather also seemed to favour the broccoli which provided some magnificent heads. I also planted a variety that keeps sprouting flowerlets, rapidly and repeatedly, after the main head has been cut. This strain is really great and I’d certainly plant it again. Other years I’ve planted strains that promise to do this but have never found them very satisfactory until now. I find having a continual (but smaller) harvest much more convenient than one  harvest of larger heads.


It’s encouraging to be enjoying these successes because for a while it seemed that the three R’s were out to get us. Rodents, Racoons and Ravens that is, the latter being the worst. When a pair of ravens first moved into the neighbourhood it seemed like a pretty cool thing, to anyone such as myself who had never experienced their brand of corvid malevolence. They are very, very smart. That’s the only nice thing I can think of to say about them after they took out most of our ducks, just at the time when they were nesting. It was really very sad, finding half eaten carcasses and egg shells scattered all along the back shore.

These ravens became so brazen that they thought nothing of strutting right inside the turkey and goose sheds to clear out all the eggs. We never did see exactly how they transported eggs off site or how they scared the sitting hens off their nests. Fortunately we were able to save three ducks and a clutch of eleven eggs, all of which hatched. These off-spring will probably not be pure bred (Khaki Campbell and Indian Runner) like their parents were,  but hopefully will still be good layers. Things are much bleaker for turkey and goose progeny. There just won’t be any this year as the ravens took every egg. Grrrrrr!

For a while it was starting to feel that we were extras in a remake of Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds, especially when Calum noticed an eagle sitting on a tree close by. I thought he was King of the Birds, and perhaps he did too until a posse of Greater Black Back Gulls came along and sent him packing. Fortunately they didn’t stick around because I’d hate to even imagine the carnage they could have caused.

Eagle with Greater Black Back Gulls attacking

Attack of the Black Backs

Eagle lifting off from top of Sruce tree

I’m outta’ here


eagle in tree

King of the Birds?









Head of Romaine lettuce

Giant Romaine just waiting to become a magnificent Cesar salad

On a happier note, the weather these past couple of weeks has provided perfect growing conditions and everything seems to double in size almost overnight, every night. It’s crazy! And wonderful. Anyone for another Caesar? Salad that is.

Seems like once again I’m posting observations quite a while after the were written. S’okay! It’s Summertime. My go to reasoning for all ineptitudes. In actuality September has  just arrived and everything in the garden seems very aware of the need to make seed  and the squash plants, many of them sprung from who knows where, are beginning to block walkways and climb up trees. Definitely time to be gathering herbs for drying.






Cilantro in flower and going to seed

Cilantro transforming into Coriander

It’s really cool to see Cilantro transforming into Coriander. Sort of its own personal metamorphosis. I also love working in around Chamomile as it smells so lovely and the delicate flowers just seems to smile welcome. I let it grow wild between the rows as much for this as for the great tea it makes.

A mass of small, daisy-like flowers with some branches of tomatoe plants and beet leaves showing at the edges

Chamomile flowers smiling up from between the rows














A three tier herb planter.

Herb planter by the kitchen door is so convenient

I’m already dreading the time when I won’t be able to reach out my kitchen door for a handful of help to spice up supper. Having a herb planter within easy reach of the kitchen door is truly a wonderful gift. Thank you Calum!

We ended up getting several roosters in the new batch of chickens we acquired several weeks ago to increase our layer flock. Singing cock-a-doodle doesn’t come easy apparently and requires much practice. With them housed in a chicken tractor not far from the bedroom window sleeping in has become little more than a distant memory. They insist on having the last word. Except when it comes to having their picture taken. Whenever I go near with the camera the roosters all scurry towards the back of the enclosure leaving the young hens to deal with the perceived incursion. Definitely all talk, no action!

Several teenaged chickens outside in a 'chicken tractor" which is an outdoor enclosure that can be moved around

Morning chorus all hiding in the back