First Frost!

It has been getting colder through the week, which one might expect in October. Last Tuesday though, the temperature reached 27C, and humidex was 34C. It was summer’s last gasp. So here we are, just a few days later with out first frost. This morning when I arose at 5:45 a.m., I am an early riser, the thermometer outside the kitchen window read -2C. The colours in the yard, and on the rooftops, were muted white, with a thick layer of frost. Attila covered up the garden last night with yards and yards of plastic sheeting, purchased specifically for this purpose. Since the weather reports indicate that the night time temperature will not drop below 5C again for the next two weeks, it is hoped that the garden would be protected from frost damage, and carry on for another few weeks. After waiting for the sun to rise and bring some warmth, Attila uncovered the plants. The cascade of tiny shards of ice from the plastic sheets, as they were removed, sparkled in the sun. The casualty list is short so far, the basil perished. The rest of the garden looks as if it survived, but we will know for … Continue reading

One foot in front of the other…

I will start by saying how very much I like (is love appropriate for inanimate objects, if it is I love) the new front door. I love how the small window lets in the light, and lets me see the tree tops, leaves fluttering in the wind today. I like that it doesn’t let the cold air into the house. I like that it opens and closes so easily. I like that the door handle and lock work so smoothly. I like that the new storm door opens on the same side as the entry door, this is a big one! The old set of doors we had, the entry door opened on the right, and the screen door opened on the left, and it was quite interesting to get them open at the same time in order to pass through them, particularly when carrying objects. Attila did a great job on the new front entry! I don’t think Attila enjoyed installing the new door. The way he just kept on tackling frustration after frustration to retrofit the entry door was inspiring. He is very, very, very glad that the job is done. There are more doors though, that need … Continue reading

A Lasting Gift

Today I had the pleasure of browsing through my bookcase, and a special book caught my eye. It was a gift. One of the significant contexts of my life was Graduate School. I met some truly wonderful people during those years. One of them was Jeremy. He was funny, smart, kind, and a kid compared to me. I was much older than all of the other graduate students in the department, at that time. He had grown up in England, his father an Anglican priest, his mother a woman of colour born in Jamaica. Jeremy’s graduate research took him to Jamaica, the birth place of his mother. He used to send me postcards from Jamaica, I still have a few of them. One year, when we resumed classes, he brought back a book for me, called Lionheart Gal: Life Stories of Jamaican Women, by Sistren with Honor Ford Smith (1987). I treasured the book, it was meaningful to Jeremy, a connection with his Mother, who was a Jamaican woman by birth. A year or so ago I was chatting with an old friend from that period of my life, catching up on the news. It was then I discovered that … Continue reading

Experimentation

When canning I seldom experiment beyond what sounds good to me. No failures to date, all the things I have canned we have loved, either as a food, or as an ingredient. But all these Zucchini needed attention! Today! I have enough relish, more than 24 jars, and only I eat it, so really, I don’t need more relish. So, I can afford to make a batch of relish a little differently. If I fail to produce something I like with this zucchini, well, it wouldn’t be the end of the world as I know it, now would it. So I decided that this morning it was time to experiment with Liquid Stevia as an alternative to sugar in high-acid canning, relish in this case. I could have chosen pickles, but I prefer cucumbers for pickles, and I eat those raw as fast they are harvested. So relish it was. Liquid Stevia was substituted for the entire amount of sugar called for in the recipe: 2 1/4 cups of sugar translated into 2 1/4 teaspoons of Liquid Stevia. The Liquid Stevia was used in the recipe in the very same way that sugar would have been. A few interesting things … Continue reading

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, home fermented Sauerkraut, is a wonderful experience! Early in August I started a batch of Sauerkraut in a one litre mason jar. A week or so ago we opened it up and WOW! It is amazing, soooo good. As an added bonus it was made with a cabbage right out of our garden in the back yard. We only grew two cabbages, so there are no more to make Sauerkraut with. We will buy some now though, and get a few batches bubbling, while cabbage is in season and fresh from an Ontario farm. I found it to be too high in sodium for regular consumption, but I can still have a wee bit as a treat now and again. I am also fermenting Jalepeno Peppers, but they need more time, so we, mostly Attila in this particular we, haven’t tried them yet. They are looking good though, no sign of mold or any issues. Today I cooked pinto beans in the Instant Pot, so easy to do. I kept one portion in a container in the refrigerator for soup, and filled two more containers that went into the freezer. I need to cook some garbanzo beans as well, … Continue reading