Maggie Turner Page by Page: Urbansteading


  1. Anonymous

    I’m exhausted by all the work you did over the weekend too! You processed a Lot of food! Cowboy Candy always sounds so wonderful. The Strawberry Lemon concentrate also sounds delicious! I’m glad you got a good rain to fill your rain containers. Hugs!

  2. Anonymous, it was a lot of work, and it is also a form of play for us, following interests we have had all of our lives. We feel very lucky to have the opportunity to live this way. Cowboy Candy is great stuff, and it is candy, no doubt about it, 4 cups of vinegar, six cups of sugar! We haven’t tried the Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate yet, I have high hopes. The rain was wonderful, we have had a lot of very dry spells here this past summer, and those rain tanks have saved us a bundle in water bills!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  3. Teri

    Hi, Maggie! Master bedroom window and living/dining sliding glass door will face west. Second bedroom window will face east. Ensuite window will face south. Main bath window will face north. And as of yesterday we now have a foundation and walls, but no roof yet.

  4. Thanks Joan! The neighbours have different names for Yippy and Yappy, but I spend more time listening to them than their “owners”, so I think the universe is happy with the names I’ve chosen for them. Hope your week is a good one too!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  5. Bex, we really appreciate being able to garden and can/freeze/dehydrate some of our food. These stores are constantly being consumed by us until next harvest season, when we begin again. For us, on such a tight food budget, we have access to high quality, freshly harvested, organic produce, something we could not afford to buy in the retail outlets available to us, or the farms that sell “artisanal” foods. With canning we can avoid plastic lined cans, high sodium and/or sugar content, and avoid all preservatives and chemicals that might be in commercially canned items. But the real, hidden bonus is that I am doing what I love to do, and Attila is doing what he loves to do, win/win/win x infinity.

  6. Oh Maggie – I am tired just reading this yet I admire you because you obviously enjoy what you do. I know you ‘do it’ because of circumstances but would you if you didn’t have to?
    I’ve known about edible flowers for a long time yet have never associated jams/jellies/pickles with them. You learn something new each day

  7. Hello Cathy! I do love all the activities I describe here, truly I do. I was a Home Economics teacher as a young woman, with three years University training in food chemistry and nutrition. I think that I would be doing this, or something very similar, under any circumstances where I had free choice.
    In 2018 I made Dandelion Jelly, and loved it. I still have some in the pantry, so I haven’t made it again. That was my first foray into jam/jelly making with edible flowers. The Nasturtium Jelly is my second project. In the more distant past I used to pick wild berries and fruits to make jams and jellies, and loved those. I particularly like Rose Hip Jelly, but Granny’s Rose didn’t produce any rose hips this year, so no Jelly. Jelly is so very easy to make with most edible flowers – collect, clean, add boiling water, infuse, strain, prepare jelly, then water bath or steam can for 10 minutes.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  8. Joan, the Nasturtium Jelly is sweet, and kind of peppery. If I had wanted to, I could have chopped up a hot pepper and added it to the bloom infusion, that would give it a real kick. Jams and Jellies are made with sugar, it is required to interact with the pectin/acid to jell the mixture. There is a type of pectin that will jell by interacting with calcium, so jams and jellies can be made with less sugar. The thing about low sugar jams and jellies is that once they are opened they will spoil significantly more quickly than those made with more sugar. I have yet to experiment with the calcium jelling pectin, but that is coming in the future, when I have used up all the regular pectin in my canning cupboard. I plan on making 250 ml jars of the lower sugar jams and jellies, so that they won’t go bad on me, as it takes me quite a while to eat my way through a jar of jam.

    🙂 I am repsonding in the tomorrow you refer to. Already this morning I have cleaned all the rings from yesterday’s canning, washed all the jars in soapy water and rinsed, dried, and labelled all the jars. We are canning tomotoes today, so it will be busy, but perhaps not quite so busy as yesterday, so I’ll take longer breaks. The push of food preservation during harvest season is my marathon, and I am so grateful that I can push myself this much at my age, without injury or pain. Such a feeling of accomplishment.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  9. I’ve recently had a similar experience, where my batch of bread didn’t rise well and was dense and heavy. It tasted fine, but its size was disappointing. I never did figure out the reason it turned out so differently than every other batch I’d made with the exact same recipe, same flour, same yeast, same everything except … I had shaped the loaves, put them into pans, and driven them a mile down the road to rise at our former little house and bake there, because it was so hot that day that we didn’t want to use the oven in the house here at Golden Grain Farm. I didn’t think that short drive when the loaves had not even begun to rise would have had that result. But maybe it did. -Kate

  10. Wow Kate, the effect of a short drive on the loaves of bread is really interesting. I wonder what it might have been, perhaps vibration, air flow in the vehicle, different air flow in the other house, microclimatic differences at the different locations? Mysterious! Bread baking is a dance.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  11. Teri, we voted early, all done! When we went in there were no other voters, and the staff were all wearing masks. I chatted with the young woman on the phones who checked us in, and she was telling me her child is immunocompromised, that would be so hard!

  12. Eileen Barton

    I love autumn! My favorite season. Right now my cat is obsessed with sitting in the window watching a few falling leaves. When the leaves are really falling he gets very excited and vocal about it. So sorry you took a fall but so glad you didn’t get any serious injuries! Stay safe!

  13. Sandy

    I’m sorry you fell too, Maggie. But it sounds like you instinctively protected yourself! Autumn is my favorite season too. We have cooled to 60 degrees F during the day. Some of the leaves have started to change colors. I still have my Geraniums and Cardinal flowers on the balcony. Hummingbirds traveling sought to Mexico often fly by this area. They like to eat from the Cardinal flowers. Sometimes they also eat the seeds on my sunflowers. Nice memories before the snow arrives. (((Hugs))).

  14. Ouch! I hope you won’t have much lingering soreness from your tumble. “All day rain”, wow, do I envy an all day rain. At least it’s not so insanely evil hot here. You’re now going through
    “Fourth wave”? I know you’ll stay as safe as possible. Hang in there! Since the covid shut down in 2020, Julia and I hadn’t been to the library. After getting mad at waiting for a shipment of a 3 volume set of “His Dark Materials” since Sept. 8, we ventured into the library. Julia now is happily reading free books of her own choosing (a new installment of the Dune series) that we won’t have to find a place to store. The library does require masking and distancing. (Better than the grocery stores do…)

  15. Sandy, autumn is such a lovely time of year in the northern North America, what’s not to love! Cardinal flowers are new to me, I had to look them up! They are beautiful, and now that I know that hummingbirds like them, I’ll be on the lookout for seeds! 60F, wow, that is such a change from the hot humid weather we have been seeing. Today began at 22C, and now mid-afternoon it has dropped to 16C, and the rain continues. Your balcony garden sounds beautiful!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  16. Joan, all-day-rain was common when I was young, but not so much now. It is causing a bit of chaos now, because of here in Ontario we have basically,
    “… paved paradise and put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
    Now the rain does not soak into the soil, it runs down paved gutters and off and away to facilitate flooding. Profit seeking development has led to built form that would never have been built if profit had not come into the equation. Humans are short sighted, the wrong people are making decisions for all of us, and our species suffers from hubris, that is our weakness, as enhanced as we think we are as a species. But I digress, all-day rain is causing flooding issues in southern Ontario, where it wasn’t previously a problem.
    So glad to hear it is not so insanely hot where you are!!
    Yes, Canada is experiencing a fourth wave of the Covid Pandemic. The unvaccinated, now representing 31.28% of the total population, are fueling the second wave, and filling up the hospital beds, particularly in Alberta, where the situation is approaching a triage situation. Very few fully vaccinated people are in hospital, even fewer in ICU, and even fewer dying from Covid. Although we feel relatively safe, we are still maintaining social distance, washing our groceries after picking up our orders, wearing masks, and continue to socially isolate. I would find it very painful to think I had passed Covid to a person who might suffer terribly or die from it, not worth taking the chance in my case. Our province is introducing Vaccination Passports for non-essentail situations, like gyms, and indoor dining. Since we don’t participate in any high risk recreational activities, this does not affect our household, but is does affect a lot of unvaccinated people who want to go to bars, so the vaccination rates are rising, as that is the only way to get the Passport for entry into these places. I think it is a good thing, as long as this situation is temporary, but wouldn’t like it much as a long term solution.
    I am glad your library offers a cautious environment in which to borrow books! I’ve always loved libraries, but the one I would describe as mediocre, if I am being kind. I’ve not found one book there that I wanted to spend time reading, so disappointing. Of course, I’ve read a lot over the span of my life, which means I’ve read most of what they have that might interest me. I envy you and Julia your library visits!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  17. Teri

    You were certainly lucky with your gentle rain the other day. Fall came in like a lion for us, with 60mph winds and 2.5 inches of rain. Hundred foot trees danced in the winds as they flung shreds of leaves to the ground. The cottage and our deck were plastered with them. When all was quiet the next morning DH had to take a stiff bristled broom to scrape the leafy wallpaper from the house and deck. We were lucky that we only lost 2 small, 6 foot long branches. After watching the neighbors huge tree bow to half its height in the wind, I expected many trees to be uprooted.

    I think the new build house did pretty well with the rain. I haven’t heard any bad from others who have visited the area. They got 3.5 inches of rain there. When we saw the house last weekend we had stacks of shingles sitting on the new roof. I hope they finished shingling the place before the storm came in. We hope to go visit tomorrow.

    I’ve been so glad to see that Ontario’s 4th wave has been smaller than every other COVID wave we’ve had. We all have a lot to be proud of when it comes to the majority being vaccinated (80% with 2 shots, 85% with one or more shots) and cautious. DH and I also haven’t been doing a lot but we’re watching the stats and are hoping to visit the odd outdoor holiday craft show in the next month or so – masked, of course.

    Interestingly, I see there’s a COVID calculator out on the web, now. It shows you how risky various activities might be.

    I’m glad you weren’t seriously injured by your fall. The forest is a dangerous place to fall.

  18. Teri, 2.5 inches, and 3.5 inches is a lot of rain! So glad you lost branches instead of trees coming down on your cottage. We were lucky as the brunt of the storm had dissipated by the time it rolled over us. I hope you find your new house snug and as it should be when you visit it tomorrow! One of the worst experiences in building that I’ve had was when my first husband and I built a log cottage by ourselves, just the two of us, and the night before we shingled the roof a bad storm came through, what a night! And it did a lot of damage, I ended up having to spend weeks with bleach to remove the water stains from the logs. Not fun. The roof was constructed ina weird way, according to the architects plans, but weird, so that the interior finish went in before the roof, so it was open to a lot of water damage. It wasn’t a typical build.
    It is a relief that the fourth wave is smaller in Ontario, the population has done very well with precautions, and getting vaccinated. Other parts of Canada not so much, Alberta is facing a triage situation in their hospitals, mostly unvaccinated people. Hopefully this will be last variant to contend with, so that the world can begin to recover.
    Thank you for your kind concern, I wasn’t hurt by my fall, thank goodness. I fell getting onto the road, which was foolish, I was impatient to get back to the Camp. All that trekking through difficult terrain, and I tumbled onto the road, lol.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  19. Teri

    Yes, this is the life! DH retires on Thursday. So exciting! And what are our plans? So far, we are going to the local herb farm to buy some paw paws. Why? Because their supposed custard flavor sounds interesting so we want to try them.

    We’re also going to the local farm stand to choose some pumpkins/gourds for the front deck. And we may take a trip to the local cidery for an outdoor tasting. Ah, living the good life!

  20. “They swabbed the handles of carts and baskets, payment terminals and conveyor belts at checkout, surfaces around deli counters, and the plastic and metal handles in frozen food sections.”

    Thanks Teri! That is interesting, it seems the staff are doing a great job at cleaning high-touch surfaces within a grocery store! No coronavirus found, excellent!

    Where we live people do not maintain social distance effectively, we have a devil of a time keeping distance if we go for a simple outdoor walk around the block, some people just aren’t keeping their distance, and since they are outside they don’t see a need to, they aren’t wearing masks. We have ours with us at all times, and use them when people come too close. So trusting people to behave considerately in a grocery store is something we aren’t ready to risk just yet. We are more cautious than most.

    From my perspective, until the virus is under control, and the treatments improve for those with Covid, and those with long-Covid, we will be sanitizing our groceries. Community spread is a significant source of infection, rating almost as high as close contact. Community spread cases have no specific origin, or origin unknown. Until community spread is no longer signficant to the transmissin of the virus, we will sanitize our groceries. Who knows if the person stocking the shelves contaminates a product, could happen, probably won’t but it could. Who knows if the person fulfilling our order has asymptomatic covid, they and we would never know if that were a source of infection. Community spread is coming from somewhere, it remains unspecified. It won’t be much longer though, until the measures Canadians are taking will reign in the virus, and all this will fade into memory.

  21. Teri

    Oh, I didn’t mean you could trust people not to come close. I’m just saying the chances of getting covid from surfaces in the grocery are extremely low, not the people.

    We also have a problem with people not thinking about or forgetting about distance. Outdoors doesn’t bother me that much, as long as there’s a breeze. In my mind’s eye I can see the breeze shredding apart any cloud of virus, and I know the large number of virus particles needed to cause an infection are highly unlikely, so I don’t really worry. All the same, I do move back or away some steps if someone gets too close. But indoors, I try even harder to keep a distance, all the while reminding myself that it may not be these people that could cause a problem but that an invisible cloud of virus that someone exhaled earlier could, too.

    I’ve come upon a few stores that have turned up their air circulation so there’s a breeze in the store. I feel most comfortable in those stores.

  22. Your days remind me in a way of a life lived on a smaller scale many years ago.
    Maggie I’m sorry but I haven’t quite followed/understood your broth making method……I’m curious to know what happens to the veg scraps once you have ‘cooked’ them – I assume you strain them off from the liquid…..then what?

  23. Joan, the cabinets were a great find! People here set all kinds of things at the end of their driveways, to give away. We have found very useful items, new Rhubarb plants, and a Tupperware measuring cup come to mind.
    We enjoy wonderful food!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  24. Cathy, I use a steam juicer to make my Vegetable Broth, like the one in the link:

    The bottom pan is filled with water, the middle pan collects the distilled vegetable juice, the top pan holds the vegetable scraps. The water in the bottom pan is brought to a boil, the middle and top pans are placed on top, and after a few hours the broth is ready. The broth is clear, distilled via the steam from the boiling water. It works like a charm. The vegetable scraps remain separate from the broth, we were composting them, but the rodents are just too fond of cooked vegetable scraps, so for now we are putting them in the garbage. Last year a barn was demolished near us, and the rats migrated through our neighbourhood, so we couldn’t leave cooked scarps in the compost. We think they have moved on now, so perhaps we will attempt composting them again.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  25. Bex, the steam juicer works better at making vegetable broth, and I don’t have to separate the broth from the scraps. Also, the steam juicer will hold more scraps than the Instant Pot, and we generate a lot of scraps. The juicer has a lot of advantages over the Instant Pot in this particular project – which is unusual as the Instant Pot is my go to for so many things.
    The steam juicer is a one trick pony, and it does that one trick so very well!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  26. Sandy

    Autumn is my favorite season too. The cabinets were a great find! It always surprises me to see what people who live near me put out on the curb for pick-up. Could you use the juicer to make bone broth?

  27. Sandy, it is great that people put out servicable items that they no longer need! Recycling at its best.
    Yes, I could make bone broth in the steam canner. People have cooked whole chickens in steam juicers. I love it. Fruit juices are very easily made as well, such as grape juice, you can even leave the fruit on the stem. Since I made bone broth when we bought a quarter of a cow, years and years ago, I’ve had no bones to use for broth. We have turkey bones, but Attila grabs those for his soups and he likes to make his broth in a large pot on the range. I think bone broth in the steam juicer would be very interesting to try!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  28. Margarett

    Dear,dear Maggie: what can I say? I certainly haven’t forgotten you, and the nurse in me is so thankful that your fall ended in” no serious injury”. Reading your posts always remind me of my grandmother. She canned nearly everything and also would completely fill up a huge freezer every year. If someone from church had a death in the family, I can vividly remember her standing by the open freezer ….”should I take a cake, or a
    casserole? “ You definitely took something to the house. And, you either served or cleaned up after the funeral. Everyone that went to the funeral came by to eat after the service. I was usually given the task of writing everyone’s first name on their plastic ice tea cup. My love for geriatrics certainly came from my grandmother.
    Life has been interesting here in Texas. Both grandsons returned to school, and both came down with positive COVID tests within a week. Their schools do not require masks, or social distancing. Mike and I are living our lives with as much protection as possible.
    I am almost certain that the next ‘wave’ will be worse because so many are not getting vaccinated.
    Nothing much is happening here. But, please know that enjoy you and your life. xxoo

  29. Hello Margarett! So glad you and your husband are doing well and staying safe. Here in Ontario we have a high vaccination rate, but other parts of Canada do not, and the hospitals in those areas are full past capacity with the unvaccinated, and the military has been brought in to assist.
    Here the children are back in school. Over 80% of those over 12 are fully vaccinated, so it isn’t as bad as it could be. Grandparents really miss out when the kids are passing Covid around in the schools, and it is very dangerous for unvaccinated parents as well. Our neighbour’s teen brought Covid home and they all had it, the Mom ended up in hospital but luckily avoided ICU. I hope the situation improves in Texas! xxoo Maggie
    Your Grandmother sounds like such a lovely person, so inspiring. I think that her approach to food may become more and more popular as food prices begin to rise, as they are here.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  30. Joan, it was very happy news that Mom and brother’s tests came back negative. They are such troopers, they deserve good luck. Thanks about the canned food, we do enjoy it. Some of it is staples, like canned tomatoes. A lot of it is vegetables with flavour, which is wonderful because most of our food, basics like beans, rice, lentils, would be dull stuff without those canned jars of flavour!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  31. Sandy

    What a relief that your Mom and brother tested cleanly. I know that must have been scary. You and Attila work so hard on the garden each year, but you have all of those wonderful preserved food to enjoy in the cold months ahead!!

  32. Sandy, it is a relief that Mom and brother tested negative for Covid! I honestly believe that both of them would have survived had they caught the virus, they are both fully vaccinated, eat well, so their chances of survival would be very high. But I am so glad we didn’t find out about that!!
    I feel very lucky that Attila loves his garden! Of course, by this time of year, he is getting a little bit weary, as am I. He love to garden, I love to preserve, it works!
    Stay safe dear friend!