Wednesday, September 10, 2014


It’s hard being a Canadian gardener. Here it is the beginning of September and we already have this to wake up to.

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It’s only a light skiff of snow but it reeks havoc on the zucchinis and tomato’s as the temperature naturally drops as well.


And the above snow fall warning isn’t too pleasant as either. I like skiing and we pray for snow…in December.

I’ve covered as many plants as I can with plastic and transplanted some tomato plants into pots and moved them next to the house. I’m hoping to get a little more growth this year out of the garden but the season is changing fast.

I find this blog post quite ironic as only a few days ago I was bragging about how great my garden was looking and now it’s dead and dying.

Yup, it’s hard being a gardener in Canada.

Friday, September 5, 2014

If you got it, flaunt it

We’ve had a pretty productive summer so far and this is the first time I’ve actually not been embarrassed to show off our garden a bit. Usually I feel unsatisfied and timid to share how puny my plants are and I’d skip pictures of the place as the weeds are most definitely bigger than the vegetables. I’m not sure what we did this year to be different I’ll attribute any and all success as a mere abnormality in statistical probability.

But for once I thought I’d share a few plunders from our harvest.

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As you can see zucchini was plentiful this year. We got about the same amount every week of the summer. I’m not sure anyone else around hear likes zucchini as most people we tried to pawn this stuff off on either rejected the offering or had the same problem on their hands.

Dancing queen likes to tell a story about when she first started growing zucchini. She planted four hills and had an over abundance of product come harvest time. When she tried to pass on the plentiful offerings to other people she resorted to writing out zucchini recipes and asking unsuspecting targets at church if they’d like to try out a new delicious prescription for pleasure. Maybe her marketing skills weren’t targeted at the right audience as her pedaling often resulted in coming back with more zucchini than she started out with. 

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We have a 50’ by 60’ garden as we about tripled the size of the plot. Millie was quite worried that we just cultivated a bigger area for morning glory or any other number of noxious weeds that we are really good at growing. But as you can see the weeds are kept in track fairly reasonably.

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I’d like to take some of the credit for the weedless garden but Millie made me buy a wheel hoe this year and it’s made all the difference. I can’t imagine going back to what we did before. It’s so easy and wonderful. Now everyone things we must have spent hours and hours on our garden where in reality a few minutes a day and our weeding chores have been drastically reduced.

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We haven’t really been to the grocery store all month as we’ve been living off of our spoils. I noticed this picture that included a jar of milk left out on the cupboard. Pretty good eating. I could eat some combination of the above ingredients every day of the year.

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Having found no unsuspecting zucchini takers we ended up dehydrating everything.

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We could usually fit in around three big zucchini’s and a few summer squashes at a time.

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The slices are around a quarter to half inch in thickness. In the past we’ve had an automatic chopper upper thing that cuts the slices into quarter inch cubes but that was broken and we were to lazy to find another one.

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The above is the result on one drying sequence. We love dehydrating as it saves so much space and is by far the easiest of all preserving efforts. We dehydrate everything. Beets are great to dehydrate.

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More zucchini but you can see in the background comfrey and marshmallow plants drying on the floor. Millie saves plants such as this to use in healing poultices in the winter. Comfrey is great for sprains, torn muscles, inflammation, etc.

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That smiley faced zucchini made it’s way around our place. Everyone wanted to show how happy they are.

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Kids are about as plentiful around here as zucchini are. Only half the kids in this picture are ours but in looking at this I realized this is how many kids my mom and dad had by the time I was eight years old. This could have been my family photo thirty years ago. Ringo is nine and the youngest in this picture is just over one years old. No wonder my parents grew a garden and didn’t buy a wheel hoe. They needed something for us to do to keep us busy.

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Well, unfortunately the time of plenty is coming to an end but we are not quite ready to harvest everything in the garden yet. We are hoping to extend the growing season a bit even though we are constantly receiving frost warnings and see snow in the mountains. So in an effort to stay busy we are onto such things as deck building.

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And playing with the kids who are growing like weeds.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grumpy old bear

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time up in the nearby national park. Summer time is the only time anyone wants to visit our area and that last for only about 6-8 weeks out of the year. We generally enjoy the area better when there are less people.

I sound kind of grumpy. I’m not trying to be. It’s not my fault I don’t like people (maybe it is my fault.)

I like my kids especially when they are getting along. I take as many pictures as I can with them putting their arms around each other in the hope that I can convince them they are best friends.

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Most of the time they are fighting with each other but occasionally I get a nice one I can hang on the fridge as propaganda.

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a whited out Milly picture. She still doesn’t like people as well and is trying her hardest to stay anonymous on the internet.

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We are bad parents and let our kids look over cliffs whenever they like. Here we are actually teaching our kids to spit on people down below in the townsite.

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Molly and Polly actually get along quite well. I should start taking hugging pictures of them while they are young in case sibling rivalry takes over in a couple of years.

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That’s a bear out there. We see bears often up in these parts and it’s not a big deal. I don’t mind bears. They are nice when you leave them alone.


I like bears but I get annoyed at dumb people very easily. The park rangers even made it easy for those who can’t read by putting up signs with pictures on them. Maybe they are from a different country and can’t tell what a “Bear Will Eat You” sign looks like.

I’m not sure I should generalize all tourists as less than brilliant but these folks are a good representative of the general touristy public.

I guess I shouldn’t say too much. I did stop to take a picture of the tourist who was about to be eaten up by a bear. I would have had fun watching that.

Maybe tourists ARE good for something.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chubby Cheeks

I’m not sure what Ringo’s eating but he sure looks happily plump.

McKrae at reunion

I’m guessing there is a 3 month supply of beef or pork or any other unknown critters stuffed in his oratol passage.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tinka Canseco

Remember Tinka, our Komondor livestock guardian dog? Every year she bulks up on hair in the attempt to hit home runs and collect every burr in the river bottom. Every year we attempt to put the record books straight and keep burrs off the back.

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Tinka usually looks like a 300 lbs pumped up home run hitter.

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Now she looks like a little league runt.

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I’m not sure if it will make her popular with the fella’s but the kids aren’t as afraid of her since she’s 200 lbs lighter.

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She’s back to being a plain old white dog that can’t jump or hit a ball. We’ll put her back on the juice and I’m sure she’ll be ready for the big leagues (winter) in a month or so.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Yarrow Galore

Time for salve making. One of the main ingredients in our handy dandy heal everything concoction is Yarrow. I used to think this was a weed and by all definitions maybe it is. But it is good for healing and all sorts of ailments.

This is what it looks like when it’s in bloom.

IMG_3407 This is just before it blooms. IMG_3406

The chicken pasture is filled with it. IMG_3401

Same with the cow pasture. IMG_3402

Must be thousands of plants all blooming right now. IMG_3403

Anyone need some super duper healing weeds?IMG_3404

We usually just cut the leaves off and soak them in olive oil for 3 weeks or so. Other things we infuse in the oil is comfrey, chickweed, plantain, St. Johns wart, calendula, and anything else we can find. IMG_3405 

Mix it with Balm of Gilead and some bees wax and we could heal leprosy, gout, sniffleous, or hemorrhoids.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

You know it’s been a good day when…

Your hands look like this.

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And the garden looks like this.


Instead of this.


**********Small detour*******

Note to self. Remember to get proper rain gear instead of some cheap survival kit poncho that mostly just held in water instead of keeping it out.


We had a mild flood a couple of weeks back and I had to trench out the north side of the garden to get rid of all the extra water. It rained eight inches in two days and our garden was going to be flooded out if I didn’t dawn that cheap yellow poncho.


Eight inches of rain causes this.


And this.


I’m glad we built on high ground instead of succumbing to the wonderment of the river bottom.IMG_3341

*******Back to how you know its been a good day********

It’s been a godd day when you get to start putting together a Whizbang Wheel Hoe. I tried to use a bicycle tire as the wheel but this contraption needs a 1/2 inch axle and the bicycle tire I scrounged from the dump is smaller that that.


I ordered a wheel from Northern Tools as Herrick Kimball suggested (and Millie wanted to do from the beginning but I thought I was smarter than her so didn’t) so will need to wait a few days to put all the parts together.

You know it’s been a good day when there is a gallon of homemade ice cream waiting to freeze and it’s been 29 C out. IMG_3292

It’s been a good day when the sun is still shining at 9:45 pm and the grass is green and the trees are growing.IMG_3391

It’s been a great day when all the kids look like this.


Poor Polly’s stomach was hurting she said so I let her lay on the couch instead of in her bed. I’m guessing she had heat exhaustion and was tired out from a great full day of fun.

Friday, June 13, 2014

On Sabbatical–Week 1

It’s such a pleasure to take a month off and do whatever I want. Most of the time it involves spending time with the kids.

I haven’t taken pictures of everything we’ve done but here’s a small list:

  • Trip to Waterton to the Teenie Weenie Theater company.


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  • Coached double header baseball games
  • Worked in garden
  • Planted trees
  • Baby sat 11 kids. Not sure I want to do that every day. (5 kids from friend who went to doctors appt, 3 from family member who needed a sitter, and 3 of our own)
  • Moved cow pasture. Fixed fence so yearling wouldn’t get out
  • 11 year old scout camp down to the river bottom
  • Helped pour concrete for neighbors basement
  • I’m going today to help pour another friends basement today as well. I’m not a contractor nor do I have really any of those skills. I find it funny that as soon as I take a sabbatical I now have lots of manual labor offers.

Not bad for the first week. Next week we intend to do a lot more fun stuff like the above.