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I'm a Canadian now residing in Sunny Arizona since 2002. Although I've been a city girl all of my life, I've always loved the country and the laid back life it offers. My love of the Outdoors, Animals,and Gardening comes from my mom Cecile, who loved her home in the country, but sadly passed away in 2005. I promised her I would grow a garden in her name, And I finally did, five years later. One of my best memories of her is how much she loved her garden. The glow on her face when she would show me something new, always creating a life with things she loved. She loved all animals. She taught me simplicity, to enjoy the small things, and see beauty in everything. Today I find myself doing the same things she did in her garden and in life. This blog was created to keep track of my projects and adventures. They may not all be successes, but my goal is to remain unintimidated by whatever engages my curiosity. I want to share this adventure with those who can appreciate the small things, the trial and errors, the simplicity in it all, but mostly,what my mom knew how to do best,just have FUN! *This blog is dedicated to her*

Oct 2, 2013

A Much Needed Break...

Well it's been months since my last post. I wasn't sure weather I should keep this blog up, but I could not imagine myself letting go of it either. I have been out of touch, there's so much that had to be done around the house...lots has changed too, I lost some furry companions. Sad times took the best of me and my motivation was lost. The best part of all this was family visiting me for a while. I sure miss them...

These days I find myself much more motivated since preparing my fall garden.. ahhh true therapy.
The weather is getting cooler in the evenings. It's been a very hot summer so this is a welcome change :)

These interesting times have also caused a setback in my plans,  frustrating to say the least. Loss of hours at work has made everything very difficult.
So being more creative with what I do have is key to keeping my sanity. lol. Also, learning to live off the grid is very eye-opening. We are so dependent on superficial things and  government handouts. It's actually sad.  I want to be ahead of things, be prepared.

I have been learning about old skills, cooking and baking from scratch, and loving spending time in the kitchen. This is probably what I enjoy doing best.
I have found great deals at various thrift shops and yard sales. One that comes to mind is my favorite; a Romertopf clay pot. This is a beauty. Countless recipes can be done with this piece. Made the best Artisan bread I have ever made. This one is a keeper, and tons more bread will be made in this great find  :)  

TaDa!  This bread just melted in my mouth. Delicious and simple. 
Other items I am hoping to come across is a Grain Mill and a Pasta Maker. All hand powered tools, just like our ancestors used. Being less dependant on electricity is something I am working on gradually.
The holidays are creeping up once more, and although I cannot see  family this year I still do plan on spending lots of time in my awesome tiny kitchen, throwing flour around and playing with new recipes. I really enjoy the gift of giving, especially homemade goods.
Pumpkin is everywhere these days. There's not one single place that doesn't offer some type of pumpkin treat. I am trying to decide which pumpkin recipe will be a winner this year...sigh so many to chose from.

Feb 14, 2013

Starter Trays

Here is my new Mini-Greenhouse! an unexpected expense but sure worth it! How nice to start my seeds in their proper place instead of having all my trays covering the coutertops in the house.
This will be a successful summer growing season I just know it. :)   The soil looks beautiful since I tilled the compost in. I've never seen such beautiful black soil in my garden. Now the only thing missing are the worms and soon everything will be transplanted and I will be able to enjoy my garden again. Now if it could only get nicer outside.....

Jan 24, 2013

New year Update

Well Happy New Year to all!,

It's been 2 months since I last posted. I suppose you can call it a break. The holidays were not busy but I spent lots of time in the kitchen doing what I love to do best  :)
Things are slow this new year, the garden is dormant and bare. The cold weeks past have left me unmotivated;feels like hibernation. The hens seem quieter too.

In my last post I mentioned having to make a decision on weather I should use my hens as food. Well that didn't happen. For some reason two of my four decided to start laying again....hmmmm wonder if they knew if something was up?
I decided on letting them just be. I have no problem running a nursing home for hens. Here they will grow old and die. This is where they are happy :) they do keep me smiling despite them getting old.

Chopping some leftover tree stumps, fixing the chicken coop fencing and painting the hallway is about all the projects that I have gotten done since the holidays. And with a new puppy in the house it has kept me on my toes.
The frost has finally passed much to my satisfaction. I can start working outdoors again.I have lost what was left in my garden. Lots of frost damage to some of my fruit trees too.
This weekend will be a busy one, trying to prune and save what is left.

Last week I got a free old dresser that had been painted grey. I couldn't wait to get started on it since I knew it had potential.
Well sure enough this old dresser is pine! A real gem. I intend to finish it over the weekend and give it a final gloss.

February is just around the corner, and almost that time again to pick out my summer seeds. Something I always look forward to  :) I can't wait to see a lush garden again to fill in the empty bare garden beds and walls.

This is it for now, until next time.....

Nov 2, 2012

Tough Decision for Tough Times

I have been thinking alot lately, about my hens. They are wonderful pets. I've enjoyed them since day one. They've provided me with eggs and fun entertainment~but they haven't laid any eggs in months and I know their productive years are gone.

I love to cook and many eggs are needed for recipes,especially with the upcoming holidays. Why am I still buying eggs? It doesn't seem right when I have 6 hens in the yard.

My point is,I feed them and feed them and give them treats and I am getting nothing in return...sigh.I don't know how long I can do this.

As time goes by I see the difficulties ahead with food prices going up fast and the need for quality sustainable foods.
My reasoning for this post is that I have been debating weather I should consider slaughtering (I HATE that word) my own hens for food. It was the furthest thing in my mind for so long.
I've thought about giving them away, but not knowing their outcome hurts. I am attached to them, so it's difficult.

So in the next few weeks I will have to make important decisions. I know I need to toughen up and be strong. I need to focus on the fact that I can get a new batch of young ones and get the cycle going and start enjoying fresh eggs daily again.

Update on that in the next post.

Finally some Growing Vegetables

It's been a while since my last post, let's see..... after getting discouraged about the birds and hens destroying my crops several times I took a break from it and started over...

This is my favorite time of year, I'm sure I've mentionned this plenty of times. This is where the fun starts. Being outside is much more comfortable. Now is when I sit back and watch my garden grow. The Thai Pepper plant is going nuts, I've never seen so many little peppers on one bush. I made some delicious salsa with them, and still many more to pick.

I also have some nice tomatoes that look like they will be huge. I haven't seen tomatoes this big in my garden before. There is far more compost in the soil this year so I must be doing something right.

The Bell peppers are small, but delicious. I came to find out that some whitening on them means not enough calcium, so that's something to do this weekend.
The Cabbage is doing fairly well too, so far no pests on them like I had last year.
My Squash and Pumpin have been planted way late but I figured it wouldn't hurt to start over since it's been very warm. We shall see how they do.
It's also that time to prune the grape vines. It was great to have my first grapes this year :D

Sep 17, 2012

Weather Relief at Last

Finally some much needed cooler temps have arrived! Last week was the grand finale of the Monsoon Rains. We got hit hard by a micro-burst; Soaked the yard and trees pretty well, from that moment on the weather dropped so fast :) What a treat to shut off the Air conditioning and feel the evening breeze come through the open windows.

The weekend was very busy. I decided on growing my potatoes in Bins next to the garden beds, leaving much more room for other root crops. I decided to try Lasagna Garden layering, which consists of laying newspaper, compost and soil. There are various materials to use but this is what I had handy. The long hot summer did a good job of breaking the compost down. Everything was nicely mixed together in the garden beds, now just waiting for transplanting. The fun begins!!

Aug 29, 2012

New Vegetables in Mind

Now that I've cleaned up the garden beds and took out the bamboo shading I'm ready to pick my seeds. Let's see.... I have some that I want to try for the first time.
In my wooden box I have accumulated many different seeds in the last year. I have so many I had to pick which ones would fit in my beds. Once they grow, some of them take up so much space so I need to plan accordingly.
I decided to try Salsify, Kohlrabi, Parsnips and Romanesco Brocoli.
I looked up recipes for them and I'm excited about trying something new in the kitchen :)
The weather is still so hot out, but being the last week of August it makes me feel some relief.
I'm looking forward to spending more time outdoors like biking, hiking and going on regular walks with my dogs.

Last week I made the mistake of baking bread. I got overly excited about trying an artisan bread recipe. Never again in the summer. My house was way too hot, and opening the doors was worse.Lesson learned there. Baking bread will be done in the fall and winter from now on. But it was delicious though  :D

Aug 14, 2012

Mid-August Blues

August has been the highest temps on record. It's brutal. Time to tear out what's left in the garden and get it all ready for next month's seedlings. We barely got any rain this summer  :(
I nearly lost another hen over the weekend. Thankfully I caught it in time.I brought her inside so her body temps could slowly came back to normal. I've been consistent in keeping the pen cool enough for them to survive. I am sooooo looking forward to this winter so I can spend more time outdoors.