A Full Table

Sunday, October 18, 2015 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

Alongside sugar pumpkins and pretty gourds, we’ve been enjoying the last flowers from the garden – some velvety read snapdragons. This is before we spent the afternoon harvesting the last of everything growing in the gardens. And baking pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bread. And almost making pumpkin muffins.

DSC_0916

This is after. The last of the rhubarb. A few armfuls of parsley. And kale. A bowl of green tomatoes (which promptly transformed into delicious fried green tomatoes for dinner). Thai basil. Immature little green chili peppers that we’ll slice into pasta. So, so much to be grateful for.

DSC_0913

A Late Harvest

Monday, October 27, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

napkins20

We know the calendar page is about to change and November is around the corner, but oh my has this been a glorious fall so far. Outside our borage plants are still sending out sweet blue flowers, and the tomatoes I left on the plants are slowly ripening.  Our table is filled with a pumpkin, some candles, a new but very old lidded mason jar I found at the local antique market and late October blooms – some anise, marigolds, a huge striped purple dahlia, some roses and of course a vase of the Chinese lanterns we’ve been putting all around the house (it was a very prolific season for Chinese lantern plants).

There is so much to be thankful for.

napkins23

This local Ottawa honey (from the fabulous folks at Radical Homestead who have a number of hives, some on an organic farm inside Ottawa’s Greenbelt making it the most “urban” honey available around here) is finding its way into everything we’re baking these days.  I chose a number of their beautiful glass honey bear jars for special holiday gifts, and I think I might just have to pick up some more. Don’t you love the jars? They are a gift in and of themselves, to be refilled for years to come.

napkins24

napkins21

Gold

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

mer2

October in the nearby bog is a magical spot. The Tamaracks get most of the credit since their feathery soft needles are at their peak of golden color – just before they fall into the sphagnum mossy bog below.  The Tamaracks are the only deciduous conifer in these parts – it grows well right up to the treeline in Northern Canada (it’s actually the official tree of the Northwest Territories).  This particular bog dates back from the end of the last Ice Age: when the ice melted it left an ocean in these parts. And when the ocean finally dried up, the bog was left mostly as it stands today. It is fed by rainwater and its acidic environment is home to a host of unusual and beautiful plants and animals. Like the Tamarack and Labrador Tea.

mer6

There’s a legend to explain why the Tamarack is the only conifer to lose her needles every fall. When Mother Nature was young, a long long time ago, up in Canada’s North, a flock of birds was getting ready to fly soth to find a warmer place to live in the winter. As they flew, they sensed a strong North Wind and knew a a fierce winter storm was coming. They looked for shelter and the only trees they could find so far North were the majestic, huge Tamaracks. In those days the Tamaracks were tall and beautiful and very proud. They were known to spend much time gazing at their splendid selves in the ponds and lakes nearby. The birds asked the Tamaracks if they could seek shelter in their boughs since the storm was coming, but the trees refused. “We are starting our winter sleep, and your noise will disturb us and keep us awake. Find somewhere else to rest.”

So the Tamaracks closed their branches and the birds were forced to fly on. Mother Nature saw this scene unfold and decided to have the Tamarack’s needles fall to the ground so the tree could feel the harshness of winter. And so the Tamarack lost its needles for the first time. Those first few winters were very cold indeed for the Tamaracks and in time they grew much shorter and smaller and their wood grew very very hard and strong.

After much time had passed Mother Nature saw that the Tamaracks had become great helpers to the forest dwellers and First Peoples who lived among them, and decided to give the Tamaracks a gift – special nutrients flowed into the trees which made them healing and medicinal, and so they remain today.

mer4

mer8

There is something beautiful about every weather, every season, every natural place – and discovering it with our little ones leading the way is one of our favorite things to do.

mer1

mer9

mer10

Oh, and it’s not a bog (but rather the Atlantic Ocean off Fogo Island – one of the most beautiful places in the world, some say) but this is quite a feast for the eyes + the ears. It’s one of our favorite bands, Newfoundlanders Hey Rosetta.