Thursday, February 28, 2013

keeping frankenfood out of your garden

There is a really great article called The Four Steps Required to Keep Monsanto OUT of Your Garden over at the Healthy Home Economist that I think is a must read for anyone who is doing their own gardening and wants to avoid GMOs!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

lovely seeds

Sadly I missed the North Bay Seed Exchange this year, but my spirits were brightened when I got these lovely seeds in the post yesterday from the author of one of my favourite 'steader blogs, Bealtaine Cottage. You can see her blog here and her shop here.



Sunday, February 24, 2013

*squee* a giveaway! *swoon*

The lovely folks over at Piebird Bed & Breakfast and Soggy Creek Seed Co. are having an equally lovely giveaway! Check out the pretties that are up for grabs:

 For more info and to enter, head on over to the contest page! :D



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

more local farming & gardening news

There is a couple of things going on locally that might be of interest to my regional readers! 

Tomorrow, Wednesday February 13th the North Bay Heritage Gardeners will be hosting one of their Free Evenings of Education. The topic will be "How to chose plants to extend the season" and will be presented by a very knowledgeable local grower, Lucy Emmott. The event is free, and is being held at Discovery North Bay Museum from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Visit the event Facebook page for more info.

And I got this press release in my email box a few days ago from the North Bay Farmers' Market...
North Bay Farmers’ Market is moving!

Once again, it is that time of year when the farmers, producers, artisans and crafters come out each Saturday to share local offerings with their community.

This season we, the North Bay Farmers’ Market 2013 Board, are happy to announce the much discussed and anticipated move! The Vendors will be setting up at Lot #10 behind the Bus Terminal on Oak Street. In the past we have had over 30 Seasonal Vendors, with a long waiting list for those who were interested in a spot as an Occasional Vendor when the opportunity arose. We are excited as this new location will allow us to offer more Seasonal Vendor booths; there-by offering more of what North Bay has come to love from the Market, fresh locally grown products, food producers, artisans and crafters.

North Bay residents will soon be able to wander through the Market, while catching up with old friends, listening to great live music and enjoying the fresh air. Beginning May 18th, the Market will be open every Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.– RAIN or SHINE through to Thanksgiving…now at the new location, the Oak St. parking lot behind the North Bay Bus Terminal, corner of Wyld and Oak Streets.

Not only will the Market be able increase our Vendor numbers but we will also have considerably more convenient parking spaces. There is parking on the west side of the Discovery North Bay Museum, as well as parking to the east of the new Market location. Watch for signs to direct you…

For upcoming Special Event dates & information, to learn more about the Market’s vendors or for the new 2013 Applications and Rules & Regulations, please visit the Market website at:

For Vendor information please contact: Heather Cote (Communications Director) 705- 493-0613 or email:

An exciting new year is ahead for the North Bay Farmers Market…come join in the excitement! 



north bay 2013 seed exchange & eco fair!

Yay! It is almost here! :D Take a look at the poster below to see some of the highlights:

To find out more details, you can head on over to the event's Facebook page


Monday, February 4, 2013

blue jay bush bean

Thanks to a question from a customer a little while back, I have been trying to track down as much information as possible about the Blue Jay bush bean. This is a variety that I started growing in 2011, after scoring some at a seed exchange; the person who swapped them had done a trial run with them the previous growing season, so as far as I know they were the one to introduce this variety to my neck of the woods {from a preservation project just south of us}.

Besides some whispered rumours, I knew very little about the history of this lovely bean. So after some digging, I came up with a wee bit more, which I will share here. There are many other heirlooms that I adore, and it is my hope to spotlight more of them in the near future. Perhaps this will be a new "regular" feature on this blog.

The Story

The Blue Jay bush bean has dark navy blue/sometimes almost black colouring with splashes of white or beige. The flowers are a lovely pink or purple which attract all sorts of pollinators. From what I understand it is Canadian in origin, and one of its parent plants is the Comtesse de Chambord.

This is still a very rare heirloom variety that almost vanished. Thanks to a preservation project with Seeds of Diversity and Everdale Organic Farm & Learning Centre, gardeners will hopefully be able to enjoy these pretties for generations to come!

To read more about the history and preservation of the Blue Jay Bush Bean, check out the write up over at A Bean Collector's Window.

Growing Conditions

Being a bush bean, there will be no need to trellis the plants and you could probably do well growing Blue Jays in large containers. Like with all bush beans, you need to grow them in full sun and in well-draining soil, preferably with a pH between 6.0 to 6.5. 

Blue Jays seem to tolerate crowding fairly well I have had excellent harvests in both a hot and dry growing season and a cold and wet one.

Some plants that are known to be good companion planting matches with bush beans are peas, radishes, roses, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, marigolds, strawberries, cabbage, beets, celery, eggplant, corn, sunflowers; avoid growing with onions.

Plant the seeds directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed, 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart.

Personally I think that bush beans are one of the easiest plants to grow. While it is never good to neglect any plant, you are probably more apt to kill a bush bean off quicker by over watering than by missing a watering session or two. 

Should you decide to fertilize them {which to me is not necessary}, make sure that whatever you are using is not too high in nitrogen. Too much of that will mess with the pod setting. The only pest I have ever had any issues with when it comes to bush beans are earwigs {*grrr*}, but other ones to keep an eye out for are leafhoppers, aphids, and spider mites.


The really wonderful thing about Blue Jay bush beans is that you can either enjoy them green or dried. Given that they are very prolific, someone who grows them will have a great opportunity to try them both ways! For green beans it takes about 65 days to reach maturity and 90 days for dried beans.




Saturday, February 2, 2013

lookie, i got nominated for something besides cleaning ;)

The Country Witch nominated the nefaeria blog for a Liebster Award. :)

So you are probably wondering what it is, right? Well, the apparent history is traced over here at the Sopphey Says blog, and here is an explanation that I lifted from The Country Witch:

"For those bloggers and readers who are unfamiliar with this award, “The Liebster Award" is given to up and coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. The word ” Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Dawwww....I don't know if those are true characteristics of mine, but I'll take it!
So Rules are...
  1. Thank the person who nominated you. 
  2. When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you. 
  3. Pass the award onto 6 other blogs {while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!}.
  4. You write up 11 new questions directed towards your nominees.
  5. You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog! -You paste the award picture into your blog. {You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!}.
 First, thank you Country Witch! :)

11 Random Facts
  1. I currently have three books on my bedside table.
  2. I have the attention span of a gnat.
  3. One of my biggest talents is how long I can hold onto grudges.
  4. I am pretty much obsessed with the music of Horse Feathers.
  5. I'll take flannel plaid and rubber boots over ribbons and lace any day.
  6. Horses just might be the closest thing to perfection.
  7. I am still waiting for someone to create an IV drip for coffee.
  8. There is always a fine bottle of whiskey in the house for the Dé ocus andé. Should it be within the budget, there is also another one for myself and guests {who are of age, of course}. 
  9. A couple of nights ago I had a dream where a talking moose was our new form of transportation here in town. He even had a little hat with a smiley face on it. 
  10. I can cut a pretty mean rug.
  11. Just in case it wasn't obvious, I really like gardening.
11 Answers to the 11 Questions

{It was not too long ago that I stopped using the term "witchcraft" and "folk magic" interchangeably; so for clarity's sake, I will be answering as a folk magic practitioner.}
  1. What book inspired you the most in relation to witchcraft? It would be impossible for me to choose just one book! However, right now one that I am turning to the most would probably be Healing Threads by Mary Beith.
  2. What is your favourite herb and why? This just might be even more difficult to answer than the first question. One of my favourites and one that I work with most often is the rowan tree. Besides being a real beauty and plentiful in my region, it draws in the birds, the berries make fantastic jellies and its magical virtues are many! :D
  3. What season gets you most excited? Right now I am wanting to say Spring, but to be honest it would probably be the time between mid to late Autumn.
  4. What is your most favourite place in nature?  I have a few sacred spots, but no place quite tugs at me like the wood behind the old family farm.
  5. If you could be any witch in history, who would you be? A wise woman who I think was very admirable is Biddy Early {if someone were to have called her a witch, I am guessing that she just might have throttled them.}
  6. Wand or Athame? Herb knife.
  7. Who is more awesome – Willow or Harry Potter? I am not sure who Willow is, but I think that the trees are lovely! :)
  8. Dawn, Dusk, Twilight or Night? Dawn, I think.
  9. Tarot, Oracle or Runes? Why? I like my oracle cards, but I am probably most partial to my Ogham set.
  10. Who is your most favourite fictional witch of all time? Weatherwax & Ogg!
  11. If you could get rid of sparkly vamps forever, how would you do it? Naww, they have a right to exists, as long as it is not in my vicinity. { ;) }
My 6 Victims

{I don't know if you all have less than 200 blog subscribers, but I am nominating you anyway!} 
Your 11 Questions
  1. Sitting by a camp fire or sun bathing on the beach?
  2.  Your favourite poet?
  3.  If you garden {or could} what are your top three variety choices?
  4. Would you be more likely to speak your mind and risk hurting someone’s feelings, or hold things in to keep the peace?
  5. Mead, wine or whiskey?
  6. What is one thing you never leave your home without?
  7. If you could choose one lifestyle to lead {nomadic, homesteader, pop culture icon, etc.} what would it be? Why?
  8. A book or an electronic reading device?
  9. What do you think your most prominent talent/gift is?
  10. Are you able to harness that talent or gift on a regular basis?
  11. Should you have to take over the world, what changes would your underlings have to look forward to?
Well, that is it for now. Thank you for sticking it out!



Friday, February 1, 2013

A Blessed Imbolc...

altered royalty free photo

Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will.
~an excerpt of A Calendar of Sonnets: February by Helen Hunt Jackson

I hope that you all have a lovely Imbolc, Feast of Brigid, and Merry Lughnasadh & Lammas to you folks in the Southern half!


Aymi & Laurel