Archive for September, 2012

Ammunition for the war on slugs

Do you do this, too? I am constantly saving eggshells, crushing them into sharp bits, and sprinkling them over the soil in my garden. I’ve done it for years now. Despite this, you can see that the slugs and snails are still having their way with my poor plants, and it is not even rainy season yet. I don’t know how many eggshells it is going to take.

I know there are other things I could try – chemicals, sharp sand that scratches soft slug bellies, saucers of beer that might tempt the little buggers to drown themselves. I’m attached to the idea of eggshells, though – they’re free and it’s so satisfying to have something useful to do with them, and I love that they are harmless to my little ecosystem.

A little too harmless it seems. “Munch, munch, munch…yum!” say the slugs as they wind their way past the scattered bits of eggshell and enjoy the feast of plants I’ve served up.

September 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm 1 comment

Blueberry oatmeal muffins

Saturday morning muffin making – one of my favourite things. Here is today’s creation, which is an adaptation of my recipe for apricot oatmeal muffins.

Blueberry oatmeal muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup flour
1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a muffin tin. Mix melted butter, sugar and egg. Combine dry ingredients and add to butter mixture with milk. Fold in blueberries and walnuts. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit.

September 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm 3 comments

Windowsill gardening

One of my most successful gardening endeavours this year is happening indoors. I’ve grown several pots of basil from seed on the window sill of my studio this summer and the plants are doing so well in their few inches of sun.

It’s such a satisfying thing to grow a plant from a seed. The ritual of tending to plants brings me endless peace, and basil brings an extra reward. When I water the plants in the morning I brush up against the leaves and experience the earthy summer smell of basil – it’s an amazing signal to my brain to wake up and enjoy the day.

September 20, 2012 at 8:09 am 2 comments

End of summer garden

This weekend feels like the end of summer. The weather is still warm, but it is changing, as is the light, which is thinner now and less intense. Shadows are more pronounced and I see them invading sunny places earlier in the day. I don’t mind – there is something beautiful about the dance of tree leaves in the shade.

The plants of summer are still growing – yellow impatiens, a pot of blue forget-me-nots grown from seed that are just catching their stride, green tomatoes, mint, oregano and chives – but they’re slowing down. Two strawberry plants joined the garden this year and I’m pleased about that: from what I’ve seen in other people’s yards, they don’t wither away in the cold. I’m hoping the Asian greens will stay with me, too, if I don’t eat through them before winter arrives. Gai lan (Chinese broccoli) is the one below with the beautiful white flowers.

I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon outside on the patio in my wicker lounger chair saying farewell to summer and enjoying the beginning of fall. Next weekend I’ll find a garden store so I can plant kale, chrysanthemums, and winter pansies.

September 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm 1 comment

Green tomato season

It’s that time of year again. Green tomatoes on the windowsill time. Do you have them lined up on your windows, too?

At lunch today I did what I often do, which is to walk from my corporate office job down to the beautiful beach. I sat down on a bench on the seawall, and after about 10 minutes I was too hot. I got up and walked a few minutes further and settled myself against a piece of driftwood on the beach proper, near the water. Much better. My sandwich and I were quite happy to have such a wonderful problem.

It is downright chilly in the morning and the night now that mid-September has arrived, and I think this is the last hurrah for my tomato plants. I’ve done all right this year – a steady harvest of two or three cherry tomatoes every day for the last month, and I have another tomato plant with larger fruit that occasionally produces a tomato worth slicing.

I am beginning to wonder about the green tomatoes hanging on the plants. The minute I see a tinge of yellow, they are whisked inside where they can finish ripening in the warm, sunny window of  my studio and not draw away any energy from the other tomatoes on the plant that still need more time. This is working well so far, but I am a little sad watching new tomato nubbins just beginning to form. I don’t think they’re going to have the chance to meet my sandwich or go to the beach.

September 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm 2 comments

East Sooke Regional Park

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Today we went for a hike along the easy trails in East Sooke Regional Park. Here is the view from the top of the trail marked Iron Mine Bay. We sat here, on top of the world, for quite awhile before finally climbing down again. Below us were seagulls paddling in the calm bay and below them was a sea of silver minnows. There were tons of little succulents growing from the rocks where we sat and admired the view. I wish I had a rock garden full of them.

The park has everything you might hope for: row upon row of cedars, a floor of ferns, moss carpeting everything, pine needles and soft pathways underfoot, spirit restoring quiet and wonderful views.

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September 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment


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