The Storm After The Calm

The Storm After The Calm

The past winter was longish, quiet that stretched off into the distant unknown. Calling it calm, as I have, may be overstating the level of activity during that period of life, and the pandemic.

Spring came. Vaccinations came. We are still isolating except for Attila having to go to work.

With spring came the big planning and preparation for the garden. I do participate in the planning stages of the garden, and the infrastructural aspects of the garden. For example, it was my bright idea to purchase a 1000 litre rain water tank to capture and use the run off from the roof for garden watering. I bought our first compost bin and installed it, we now have three that are almost full. I also have significant input into what is grown in the garden, based on what we need for winter eating, and what varieties of those plants will work best for food preservation. Attila focuses on getting the seeds sorted and ready for planting the seedling trays. He constructs his little greenhouses on top of the raised beds. Then he begins to plant his seeds. He isn’t finished planting the resulting seedlings just yet, there are still a few dozen plants to go in the ground.

I grew up on a farm, my paternal family owned farms, my maternal relatives had huge gardens. I was accustomed to lots of land, and plentiful amounts of everything, such as water and matured manure, for the gardens.

Attila plants his garden in mysterious ways. Our garden sits on our on third of an acre lot, competing for space with the drive, the house, the garage, the shed, and the back porch. The first year Attila planted a full garden here at Mist Cottage I thought, “yeah right, what chaos, whatever you makes you happy Attila.” I kept that to myself though, as I wasn’t doing any of the physical work, so I deferred to Attila’s unfamiliar gardening decisions. I was completely blown away by the volume of produce that came out of that seeming chaos. Plentiful is an understatement. Attila’s iterative development methods of gardening pay off.

The whole garden consists of volunteers, perennials, transplants from our yard or Mom’s/Sis’s/Granny’s/Terra’s yard, or started from seed. Starting an entire garden from seed is a huge undertaking, and I thank my lucky stars that Attila loves doing it. The garden is his happy place. Cooking and preserving what comes out of it is my happy place. Good match! We could never afford to buy this quality of food, we are not on an artisanal budget. This is our way of living beyond our means.

Already I am becoming busier and busier. It started with Rhubarb, which has been coming in for weeks now. Then came Spinach. Now things are coming in more frequently, Peas, Swiss Chard, Beets, Garlic Scapes, Strawberries, and Lettuce primarily. We eat a lot of the freshly harvested vegetables, either raw or cooked. As the amount coming out of the garden and into house increases, I begin to preserve some of it for next winter’s enjoyment.

Adding to the activities generated by the garden, I have a temporary new task, sieving my home milled flour. The latest bag of wheat berries have a significantly increased proportion of bran to germ. This is so significant that my loaves do not rise properly. If I sieve the flour to remove some of the bran, the loaves turn out wonderfully well. As you can see below, I removed a lot of bran from the flour, the canister on the left was full of flour before I started. You can see how much flour I have left! Luckily I can use the bran for other things, in casseroles and baked goods. I will try milling a small batch of flour, enough for one loaf, at a finer grind, to see if that will improve the results.

This is how milk is sold in Ontario, Canada BUT ours are sold as 3 one litre bags per bag, not four as in the UK. It is also sold in cartons, but this is the most common offering.



Updated on Mon, Jun 21, 12:25 PM
26 °C
Monday’s set-up has ALL the makings of a severe weather day, with a tornado threat over parts of Ontario.
Wind 21 S km/h
Humidity 68 %
Visibility 25 km
Sunrise 5:23 AM
Wind gust 32 km/h
Pressure 99.8 kPa
Ceiling 10000 m
Sunset 8:55 PM


“Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.”
Robert Frost
1874 – 1963

As most of the marks made in history are scars.


  1. Thanks Joan! It is very satisfying to eat food you have produced through your own labours! What we grow is organic, since no chemicals have been used on the property for the last ten years. Stay safe dear friend!

  2. Sandy

    I love your self-sufficiency! And the variety of veggies you produce from your garden is amazing. Do you replenish the garden soil with the compost you produce? I’ve never had a full veggie garden ~ just flowers. (((Hugs!)))

  3. Sandy, I think growing up on a farm left a lasting impression on me. Attila does a great job on the garden, his interest in growing things began in his early 20s. The garden soil is repleneshed with our own compost. We have also augmented the soil with manure, and peat moss to mitigate the heavy clay. I save the shells from the eggs we eat through year, dry them, and grind them up as a calcium soil ammendment. Almost everything we bring onto the property becomes part of our household ecosystem. All we need is to resurrect the old well, and the septic system on the property to complete the mostly closed system of life here. I would also love to have chickens!! But they are banned here, for now anyway.
    Flowers are wonderful! So good for the soul! If the garden here was down to my labour, I think flowers and a few herbs would be all I could manage. (((Hugs!)))

  4. Bex, yes, in Ontario milk is sold in a bag which contains three 1 litre bags of milk. There are special containers to hold the bags. The bags are very strong, food grade, and provide a way to pour the milk. I added an image of the plastic bag and holder setup above.

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