My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Greetings from PEI

We arrived on the Island late Sunday evening after two days on the road. The drive was long from Ontario, but well worth the time and effort. Prince Edward Island is gorgeous! The Island has much to boast about...beautiful coastlines, dunes and quaint fishing villages...rolling hills, and fertile fields of rich rust coloured soil which nourishes the potato crops that PEI is famed for.

Properties are well-groomed and most are smaller than those found in Ontario. For the most part, the homes I have seen, sit on lots that are unfenced... unless the occupants tend livestock. I saw very few gardens, but gardens are unnecessary, as the Island is covered with Lupins in beautiful shades of pink, purple and yellow.

Our accommodation is much like the other homes around us... tiny and trimmed. The Islanders take recycling and composting seriously and our host has asked us to do the same. I don't find that a difficult thing to do.

We have had a healthy dose of Maritme weather ...damp at times...but have still enjoyed exploring.

I am hoping to post again along the way. The Internet connection has been iffy at times.

If you have never visited this part of Canada, please do yourself a favour and book a trip to this beautiful Island! While here, don't forget to sample the spuds and the Island's own ice cream..."Cows.". will want to return!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Holiday time

We will be leaving shortly for a trip to PEI and I will blog from our cabin there as I understand that it has internet access.

Hubby, dad and I will be staying at St Peter's Beach. We have plans to cycle a lot as I understand the island has many trails. I am hoping to steal away for some sketching and painting, and have brought along many projects to keep me occupied.

What I most look forward to is leisure time spent with two of my favourite people. Unfortunately, all my other favourite people will be at home...but that is what makes coming home special.

My next entry will originate from that beautiful province of PEI. Stay tuned!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Apple Fly

Last year we had a bumper crop of apples. Unfortunately, they were inedible. Pock- marked, dimpled and discoloured. they fell to the ground, and even the squirrels seemed uninterested.

I recalled seeing red spheres hanging from an apple tree when we visited the Annapolis Royal Gardens in Nova Scotia. I emailed the experts there and described my problems to them, and was delighted to receive a reply from Karen Achenbach, a Horticulturist who identified what I had seen when I visited, as "Apple Fly Maggot Traps." They are red plastic balls, that when painted with glue, and when a lure is hung, attract the pest that is responsible for my failed crop. The Apple Fly lays an egg in the developing apple which causes dimpling and puckering. When the egg hatches, the larva tunnels into the apple leaving brown streaks in its wake.

I managed to locate a supplier for these traps in the States and hung them this morning. Hopefully I will be able to harvest some healthy organic apples this fall. These traps are pesticide free. My only hope is that we do not trap any beneficial insects, but as the tree is no longer in bloom, I am hopeful that this will not happen.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beeswax Candles

I decided today, to take a break today away from lawns and gardens that call out incessantly for attention. I have been experimenting with making Beeswax candles, and I had the "school of hard knocks"...that the candles I made before did not burn well with hemp wicks. So... it is back to the drawing board. Today I decided to remelt my candles, and start all over again using only cotton wicks.

A few years ago I rid my house of paraffin candles after learning that paraffin is a by product of the petroleum industry. I believe that burning paraffin candles in an enclosed living area is like standing in a garage, with a closed door, while a diesel truck is idling. This is only my belief... but I challenge you to investigate for yourself.

I burn both Soy and beeswax, which are both safe alternatives to Paraffin. I melt the beeswax in a double broiler reserved for this purpose only. I use my kitchen stove and cover the floor with papers. It IS a messy endeavor and my intention is to move this sport outside one permittung.

I buy Beeswax unfiltered in bulk. Even with delivery, it works out to around $3. (+) dollars a pound. I don't mind a little bit of residue in my candle. It gives it character!

For the sake of your health and your family's health, please consider this healthy alternative to using Paraffin. Pics to follow!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dandelion Syrup

I stumbled upon the following, and decided that rather than make dandelion wine, which only a few of us MAY drink, that I would instead make something that we all might enjoy. So! It is boiling down to a syrup now...smells delicious and tastes very nice... Pics to follow.

How To Make Dandelion Syrup by Jane Lake

I first made dandelion syrup when my kids were preschoolers and we woke one morning to find the lawn full of dandelions. I never used weedkiller on my lawn, and the dandelions were there for the picking, so...we gathered up buckets of dandelion heads and made a new syrup for pancakes and waffles. The kids were enchanted, and it's still one of their favourite memories.

Dandelion Syrup...

Put 250 dandelion flower heads* in a large kettle. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the kettle, and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover kettle, and simmer for one hour. Remove from heat and leave the kettle covered overnight.
Strain the dandelion mixture and add 2 lbs of white sugar to the remaining liquid. Boil for one and a half hours to a syrup consistency. Wipe any spills from the stove immediately (or you'll need a chisel to remove it!) Store in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another productive day...

My long-awaited-for gardens are now completed. What you cannot see, is this middle aged gal doing a happy dance! (Perhaps it is better that you are spared that sight!)

Hubby filled the beds with soil on Sunday. I filled them with seeds today. The tally so far, is 3 rows of beets. 4 rows of carrots. I-forget-how many rows of peas, yellow beans, green beans, leeks peppers, and Tiny Tim tomatoes. Still to be planted is squash and Heirloom tomatoes. The squash will be guided up a trellis on the north side of the bed, and the fruit will hang, thereby taking up less room. All of this is an experiment this year. I have yet to see what will grow best.

If you haven't seen it yet, you must have a look at "All New Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. It is one of the best gardening books that I have read...

My neighbours have announced that they may do their shopping at my place this year so I think I may plant an extra row or two for their tables...if, that is, the rabbits go easy on the harvest. I am seriously considering sending them down the street where there is a much larger garden planted. I am sure Hugh can spare a carrot or two.

Pics of the new beds are to the right of this posting.