Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Green Tomatoes Can Be Yummy Too...

While our tomatoes are ripening at a steady rate {I have noticed that heirlooms tend to be a little more friendly to the homesteader, ripening a bit at a time instead of all at once} we still have plenty of green tomatoes to enjoy as well.

A few years ago I posted some recipes for green tomatoes and here are a couple more for folks to try too. :)

Fried Green Tomatoes
{inspired by the recipe on page 71 from The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook}

6 large green heirloom tomatoes {we used Old Timers}, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup red fife wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup unbleached flour {we are loving the flour from these folks!}
1/2 cup dried & powdered goat's cheese {we easily dried some of the hard batch a friend made for us}
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
enough veggie oil for frying {we used a nice sunflower oil}

Put dry ingredients in large bowl and mix together well. In another bowl pour buttermilk. Dip tomato slices first in buttermilk and then pat in dry mixture on both sides. Fry in a deep pan {everything tastes better in a cast iron pan ;) } for about one minute on each side. If using a heavier oil, you might want drain a little longer on paper towels.


Green Tomato Mincemeat
{from my Granny's recipe box}

6 cups green tomatoes {we used Pink Lady, Old Timer, and Yellow Pear}, chopped
3 cups apples, peeled & chopped
3 cups brown sugar
3 cups raisins
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 cup mixed candied citrus peels
1 cup candied cherries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large kettle {we used a slow cooker}. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until thickened, about 2 hours {we just let ours cook for about 4 hours on the slow cooker, first on high for about a half an hour and then lower for the rest}. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Or cool, and pack into freezer containers and freeze for up to 1 year. Makes about 6 or 7 cups.




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Sunday, August 28, 2011


Yesterday two potato plants were pulled up and by the looks of it the Norlands are ready, but the Burbank Russets have a while to go. With some proper tatters I can now finally celebrate Lughnasadh {and just in time for blueberry season too!}. :D



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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Canucky Musical Awesomeness :D

Some more films for your enjoyment:

This lighthearted, animated short is based on the song "The Log Driver's Waltz" by Wade Hemsworth. Easily one of the most often-requested films in the NFB collection, Kate and Anna McGarrigle sing along to the tale of a young girl who loves to dance and chooses to marry a log driver over his more well-to-do competitor. Driving logs down the river has made the young man the best dancing partner to be found.


{this next one will probably raise some hackles because of some of the historical claims and the parts where "The Celts" are lumped into one homogenized group. Please keep in mind that I am posting this film for its musical and cultural value.}

Celtic Spirits

In this feature-length documentary, two Cape Breton musicians visit Ireland and Scotland in search of their musical roots. Diving deep into Cape Breton music – from the past and present – Celtic Spirits also offers an intimate look at life in the region.




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Monday, August 22, 2011

More Sad News

I am sad to hear that Jack Layton passed this morning after battling with cancer. I lived up the road from him and his wife Olivia Chow when they were both Toronto City Councillors, and they were lovely folks.

Jack would tip his hat at the ladies with his big grin and help older folks with their bags. I would have figured him to have just been a normal working class fellow if I didn't follow city politics or was not involved with activism.

Both Jack and Olivia could also be frequently seen enjoying the festivities at events such as the Kensington Market Festival of Lights and Toronto Gay Pride.

That was while ago though, and he was probably more popularly known as the leader of the Canadian NDP and more recently the Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Government.

Jack also wrote an excellent book Homelessness that is a must read for those who care about housing and homeless issues in Canada.

My warm wishes to his loved ones and supporters. He will be missed!



EDIT: I thought that I would add the last letter that he wrote to Canadians {courtesy of}.

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we've done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let's continue to move forward. Let's demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus
: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada's Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one -- a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world's environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don't let them tell you it can't be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.

All my very best, Jack Layton

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bounty & Beauty {From the Garden}

A part of me wishes that I could pause time to stay at this time of year. Even with sharing, donating, selling, swapping and preserving, we still have a crazy amount of fresh food and medicine from the garden.

When I first got into gardening, this time of year would stress me out. I would see all of this bounty ready to be harvested and I would think "WTF am I supposed to do with all of this?!?!". It still can be a bit overwhelming, but with some good planning that stress is no longer there. Plus, if I do find myself in the middle of the garden with that stress creeping up on me, I've gotta laugh at myself...I could be in the checkout line instead. Now I appreciate the hectic harvest for the blessing it truly is. :)

Here are a few photos of what has been going on in our little dirt patch!

The tomatoes have been a tad slow, but are coming along nicely.

{yellow pear tomatoes}

{old-timer tomatoes}

All of the hand-pollination has been paying off.

{acorn squash}

{small sugar pumpkin}

{strange zucchini}

We have been getting beans galore!

{either purple mustache of soggy creek or purple french climbing pole beans from devon. not sure, because they both look a lot alike and i was dumb and didn't put markers down. >:( }

{purple mustache pole beans & tanya's pink podded bush beans underneath}

The sunflowers are starting to show their pretty faces!

There have been all sorts of other pretty flowers too.

{wild tobacco}


{goldenrod from one of our wild parts of the yard}

{heavenly blue morning glory that ended up being pink}

{tri-colour morning glory}

{cardinal flower}

{daydream cosmos}

{balloon flower}

And here are a few shots of what we have been harvesting lately...

{beet greens, kale, nasturtiums, spinach, chard, arugula and different types of lettuce}

{purple mustache and french climbing pole beans, strange zucchinis, old-timer and pink girl tomatoes, and of course a sunflower}

{nasturtiums, carrots, turnips, beets, kale, squash & pumpkin blossoms, peppermint, and bush & pole beans}



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Friday, August 12, 2011

a huge loss that has come way too soon.

The last few days I have been riding out an onslaught of emotional extremes...from shock to deep sorrow to bitter regret. And there are many others who are probably feeling similar emotions over the loss of Wendy Babcock.

On Wednesday in the wee hours I got a call from a friend to give me the news that had died. At first I thought that it was just a twisted joke or a hoax. Then I spoke with others who had spoken to the police and coroner, which both confirmed her death. A small part of me still hoped that it wasn't real. Then after the media started, I had to accept the truth.

Police have said that foul play is not suspected. For this I am relieved. This doesn't change the fact that her death is a tremendous and terrible loss for those of us who loved her on a personal level, or who were inspired by her and her work. For me it is both.

I can't seem to be able to muster the words that would be worthy to commemorate her or to display why so many loved her and were inspired by her. She sure enjoyed having her picture taken though, and there are plenty that I think depict these reasons.

She was a riot- Once she started her antics, even those in the foulest of moods would be in a laughing fit.

{from Wendy's Facebook}

Her winsome smile- Many will say that Wendy always wore a smile, and I think it was to a large degree to hide the sadness she felt just underneath the surface. But she loved to make others feel welcome and at ease, and one would feel that way once she flashed her pretty smile.

{from Wendy's Facebook}

Her warm heart- Even if she didn't have a penny to her name, Wendy would find a way to help someone she saw in need. And even though she was often going through a hard time herself, she would almost always be there if you needed someone to talk to.

{from Wendy's Facebook}

Her incredible strength- I think most can't really fathom what it is like to face the hardships that were piled onto Wendy, yet she kept on fighting.

Her tireless advocacy- Wendy lived, ate, and breathed for social justice. She was especially dedicated to harm reduction and advocating for those with mental health issues, the homeless, drug users, sex workers, and reforming the child welfare system. She kept a fire lit under our asses to help us keep up with her.

{photo by John Bonnar}

Her outspokenness- She had no issues with being public and expressing her views, some of which were unpopular. She put herself out there, regardless of how it may have effected her personal life. Even in more low key situations, Wendy would take the time to try and educate folks and challenge ignorance and intolerance wherever she saw it.

{photo by John Bonnar}

Here are some beautiful writings by others:

RIP Wendy Babcock

Wendy Babcock: Advocate, activist, mother and friend

Remembering and Celebrating Wendy Babcock

Wendy Babcock turned pain to inspiration

Rest well my sister...til we meet again.



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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance

I am sure many people in Canada will remember the Oka Crisis. I was too young at the time to really appreciate the situation, and the media coverage I did see was not from the First Nations' perspective when it was happening.

Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance helped change that when I watched it in my early 20's. I just watched it again recently and it is still raises the hair on the back of my neck. Here is a little description of the film:

On a July day in 1990, a confrontation propelled Native issues in Kanehsatake and the village of Oka, Quebec, into the international spotlight. Director Alanis Obomsawin spent 78 nerve-wracking days and nights filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army. This powerful documentary takes you right into the action of an age-old Aboriginal struggle. The result is a portrait of the people behind the barricades.



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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Places I Have Loved: Sweetman's Garden

I have written about how Sweetman's Garden was at one time it was at risk of being compromised by the City. Thankfully it is safe. Well, for now at least.

It truly is an enchanting place, and I thought that I would share some photos I took when I visited there last week. I hope you all enjoy the little tour!

On the other side of this little cedar hedge is a whole other world...{the witchy part of me certainly appreciates this symbolism ;)}

The garden also has a program for kids to grow veggies :D



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