The Garden is Growing

I think this year is the first that Attila has had the opportunity to create a full-blown vegetable garden. We have had gardens here at Mist Cottage ever since it was purchased in 2010, but renovations came first, and the five hour one-way commute slowed down any long term gardening interests, or even keeping up with watering and weeding in the short term. But this spring, there are no big renovation projects underway, and we are here almost all the time, so watering and weeding are easy to keep up with. And last night, Attila finished planting the very last of his seedlings, started earlier in the spring, they were waiting patiently in the cold frame. Already I’ve had two meals made from ingredients from the garden. Both were sauteed spinach with garlic scapes, and oh my it was good. I’ve been eating bits of produce as well, every day. Usually there is one ripe strawberry on the hanging basket, or a sweet pea, or a leaf of spinach. Over the weekend we also harvested about a cup of wild strawberries from the front “lawn”, and I made a batch of muffins with them. Wild strawberries have an intense and … Continue reading

What We Do

Thursday, June 13, 2019 The trip to the Camp allowed us the opportunity to keep abreast of ongoing issues. Issue One: Mice!After not catching any mice for many weeks, we arrived at the Camp to find the mouse trap had captured one mouse. Disappointing. This means there is still an undiscovered entry point, undiscovered by us, not by the mice. Back to the drawing board we go on keeping the little monsters out of Grace, where they don’t belong. Issue Two: Army WormsSpring at the Camp has, for three seasons now, included several visits dominated by killing army worms. They find the camp very enticing. So far this spring, we have destroyed four webbed nests in the Dogwoods and Sumacs, and only a few dozen masses of them on tree trunks, mostly on Maples this year. This diminished population may mean their numbers are waning, or it may mean that their season is late, and one of our future visits will reveal that a huge population remains. That is it, all the issues so far this year. The Bright Side:At the Camp, the Black Flies were not too bad, and their season appears to be over. The Mosquitoes are around, … Continue reading

Scarlet Tanager

Last weekend was perfect, the weather, the company, the place, the time. The weather was warm, sunny, and breezy. We stayed overnight at the camp for the first time in 2019. We spent a busy day. I cleaned out Winnie, while Attila felled three dead Elm trees. Winnie is open at one end, more like a stall built of pine boards, with a roof, and a cement pad floor. The leaves blow into Winnie over the late fall, before the snow flies, so that by spring there are a lot of leaves in there. In the leaves this year were mosquitoes, very, very large spiders, centipedes, and a chipmunk who dug a hole under one of the cement pads. I removed everything from Winnie, including our compost toilet buckets that sat there over the winter, a pail with heavy-duty, used plastic bags and a bottle of bleach, and a few worn out tools picked up at the charity shops. Nothing worth stealing, all of it very handy. The biggest challenge cleaning Winnie was that the bottom of the wall boards, which originally sat several inches above the ground, were no longer above the ground. Soil had built up over the … Continue reading

Preservation and Preparation

Wow, it has been a while since I last wrote an entry! I’ve been busy, playing in the kitchen, or is it a lab, not much difference when you come right down to it. New technology is always fun. Over the last year or so I’ve added a steam canner, a steam juicer, and Tattler reusable canning lids to my kitchen equipment. I love the Victorio steam canner. Purchased last year, it is a game changer, no mistake about it. I gave my water bath canning equipment to my sister! The steam canner is lightweight aluminum, so I can easily grab it out of storage in the basement, and get it up and down the stairs without straining myself. It requires comparatively little water to operate, so I can easily carry it to the sink, add the water and carry it back to the stove. It is easy to lift the jars in and out of the canner, making it a breeze to use. And after making my usual first attempt boo boos, it works perfectly every time. The newly acquired Victorio steam juicer has added a whole new dimension to my home food preservation activities. I have only tried … Continue reading

Rhubarb Juice

Friday, May 17, 2019 The day dawned sunny, but still a bit chilly, just under 16C. Not lounging weather to be sure, but good working weather. As the day progressed the clouds became more numerous, and there is no rain expected for a few days. We have had a lot of rain this spring, and here at Mist Cottage the flora and fauna are burgeoning with life. This morning I watched a Blue Jay flitting about the yard, from the Ash tree, to the lawn, and up again. Sitting on the fence, watching him closely, was a Cardinal. Sitting in the Ssh tree, watching him closely, were two Robins. Sitting on the fence at the far side of the yard, watching him closely, were two Chickadees. The Blue Jay has been an unwelcome marauder in our yard, the other birds are frequently going after it and chasing it away. I have seen some bird’s egg shells on the ground, so he must be after their nests. This morning I explored possibilities for our felled Ash logs. I think I might have found some people who will use the wood, not burn it for fuel, but use it to make things. … Continue reading