Tuesday, August 26, 2008

over due, over view photo's

It seems I have not posted over view photos of the veggie garden since June I think. Now photo quality is hampered by the use of a Fuji point & shot due to the D40 being in Nova Scotia with my Sister. Boy is it annoying taking a bunch of photos with half of them fuzzy and the rest washed out & not overly clear. Anyhow, here we go:

Tomatoes & Pumpkin vines. There are 3 pumpkins growing on 2 vines, two of them are defiantly a pie pumpkin but one is looking like it may grow to be a large pumpkin.

Cucumbers climbing to the second floor. The lower vines have almost lost all there leaves but I am still able to pick a couple cucumbers every few days.

The zucchini seeds I started after identify the pumpkin mix up. As with most veggie bloggers I am hoping there is enough time left for these late comers to produce.

Broccoli transplants. Even though the row cover keeps the cabbage butterflies off it does not stop slugs from munching away. They do seem to rebound well from there grazing.

Brussel Sprouts, Celery & Broccoli. The celery has grown well but I really don't like celery unless it is in stew or soup. I don't eat stew or soup unitl the fall & winter so this is kind of a waste of space. It is also a great host from ear wigs which eat the inner flesh of the celery. Next year I will not be growing celery.

Aww aren't they sweet looking and quiet, the best time of the day! The cats really have not been that bad though. Asides from feet attacking & towel attacking well folding to name a few they are entertaining to watch and nice to pet.

I will be posting this week about what I have been harvesting lately as well as a recipe for raw sauce. It is a tomato, pepper, onion relish that is jarred & processed for safe keeping. It is very good on hamburgers and is a great use from the excess tomatoes this time of year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cats, Plumbing, More Rain and of course some harvesting

Unbenounce to me I find out that well my sister is in Nova Scotia we are keeping her cats. My Mom didn't bother to filling me in on this information, rather strategically I might add. Not that I don't like cats I just really don't want to look after or put up with them. The older cat is pretty low maintenance but the younger one at times is spawn from the devil, it is going to be a long two weeks.

Spencer, the younger one.

Isis, the older one.

I have also been renoing the laundry room because of a little mishap I had. I was storing my tools in old metal cabinets in the laundry room which were not up to snuff for tool storage. So I installed some shelves in a basement closet for the tools and then proceeded to take down the heavy, metal cabinets hanging over the sink. I think you have an idea were this is going to go... I lost my grip, the cabinet dropped right on the laundry drain pipe. It busted the drain pipe as well as the laundry sink sending water everywhere.

It is actually kind of funny how a little project turns into a big project. My first idea was to just repair the drain and be done with it. Then my Mom and I started thinking it would be nice to have a gooseneck faucet with a side spray which involves moving all the water lines. Then I need to paint the god awful 70's paneling. Oh and then we need a nice vinyl floor and then some trim. What about some new cabinets with a counter top for folding, hmm that sounds like a good idea. So needless to say I have some work to do, not sure how long this will take me but I will post some photos when it is finished. All I have accomplished thus far is the new water lines, new drain line and the new sink & faucet. Basically what needs to be done to get the laundry room functioning again.

Finished pipes. The two holes are where the water lines originally came out. Not sure what I am going to do about this, maybe cover it with a wall hung soap dish.

New Faucet & Sink. The brass fixture beside is kind of an interesting gadget. It is the shut off for the laundry machine, it has ball valves so there are no washers to fail. It also has a single lever shut off so the pressure can easily be shut off when the machine is not in use.

Thankfully all the rain has made the vegetable garden pretty low maintenance. All I have had to do in that department is pick things. I have been harvesting pole beans, cucumbers, peppers & tomatoes.

I have also pulled all the onions. When the tops fall over it is time to harvest and lay them out in the sun(if it ever comes out) to let them dry. In place of the onions I planted some carrots seeds and like I side in my last post I went ahead with planting beets seeds beside the radishes. I am hoping with the aid of row cover I will be able to harvest carrots & beets some time in October.

Onions drying on the south facing window sill.

I have also been cooking some simply summer fare with some of my harvest. The picture below is of Roast Chicken Breast, Stuffed with Goats Cheese & Sage pared with a Greek Salad with Homemade Greek Dressing. Recipe Follows:

Roast Chicken Breast, Stuff w/ Goats Cheese & Sage

This could not be simpler:

Boneless chicken breast with skin
Goats cheese (can sub w/ feta or any firm cheese)
Sage leaves from the garden

Pre-Heat oven/grill to 400. Start by making a pocket between the skin and breast. Then insert a 1/4" rounds of goats cheese topped with a sage leaf. Place in a oiled pan, salt the meat and fire it into the oven/grill. After 15 minutes or so reduce heat to 320 and continue cooking until cooked through. About 30-40 minutes total depending on the chicken breast size.

Greek Salad w/ Dressing

For Dressing:

1 minced garlic clove or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 grinds of pepper
1/2 grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 good pinches of dried oregano

In a jar combine all ingredients and give it a good shake. It can them be stored in the fridge for a while.

For Salad:

Red Onions
Kalamata Olives

Cube tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and feta to bit size pieces. Then slice the red onions thinly and pit and halve the olives. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and dress.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rain, Rain ......................... Rain!

The past weekend was another wet, stormy weekend. Toronto has broke records for rain fall this summer and my area is well above average but to my knowledge we have not broken any records. I must say it has been great not having to drag the hose around. The photo above is of the treed lot behind our backyard. I have never seen water collect like this in the 5 years we have lived here.

One thing that is not faring well is my cucumbers. The leaves are covered with yellow spots and shortly after they go brown and crispy. They are still putting out cucumbers thought so that is a good thing. I think next year a disease resistant variety will be on the shopping list.

The rain has also been swamping my seedlings but thankfully it does not seem to bother them.

Radishes, with fall beets to be planted beside once the radishes get going

Zucchini, hopefully just enough time to produce before frost, thanks to the pumpkin mix up

The plant that seems to like this weather the most is the accidental pumpkin vine. You can watch this plant grow daily with the one pumpkin going from a large marble size to a soft ball size in a week.

Some what on topic, I have visited another waterfall in Hamilton, ON. This time it was Albion Falls which is located on Mountain Brow Blvd on the south side of Hamilton. The rain has certainly made all the waterfalls more spectacular this summer, usually this time of year the flow is reduced. Here is a few photo's for the waterfall.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Photolific Night In Toronto

The drive to Toronto was good and we only were stuck in traffic twice for about 15 minutes each time. After the drive and finding some were to park that was not $30 dollars, we hit the pavement with the camera and tripod at 8pm. This left about 45 minutes of good sun setting light and the remaining time being spent on night photography. It was really exciting, some much so that we ran about 1hrs20min late picking up my sisters fiancé. Needless to say he was a little cranky about this but such is life. It was a much longer drive home due to construction reducing the highway to one lane so we did not make it back until 2:30am ish. Although I could have kept taking pictures all night if we didn't have to pick up Kris.

Here is a series of some of the photo's:

Toronto Skyline

Queen St & University Ave

Brookfield Place, Bay St

Campbell House, Queen St

London Life Building, University Ave

University Ave, North Bound

University Ave, South Bound

Brookfield Place, KI Resturant, Bay St.
art glass by Dale Chihuly

Brookfield Place, KI Resturant, Bay St.
Looking rather sultry

Canadian Opera Company, University Ave
Advertising a Jag

King St, East

King St, East

Bank of Montreal, Bay St
One amazing plaster ceiling

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Harvest,Toad & Recipes Post

I have just pulled all the beets, they had all grown to a good size and they were in the way of me being able to plant more broccoli. After pulling the beets I found the little toad in the photo below the beets. The toad blends in very well, I am surprised I even noticed it was there. After taking a couple photos of the toad I picked it up and moved it to the shade of the brussel sprouts.

I feel like I should have a drum roll before this photo, Tomatoes, finally. So far I have picked 3 cherokee purples, 1 moonglow & 1 japanese trifele black and still waiting on aunt ruby's german green & hillbilly potato loaf. I have also added a tomato count to the side bar, I have keeped up the weight count pretty well so it should be even easier to keep count of the tomatoes. Next year I am planning on having ripe tomatoes by july 1st at the latest. I am going to start them earlier, keep potting them up under lights until I can plant them out. Then plant them out either in a cold frame or plastic tents to get a jump start on the season.


My mom made Bacon, Tomatoes Sandwiches with some of the tomatoes:

toasted bread
crispy bacon
sliced tomato

Butter toasted bread, then spread mayonase and top will tomato & bacon.

Simply, Fast and very tasty.

I made the dish above, it is a take on Insalata Caprese salad. I can not take full credit for it through, I took inspiration from Bobby Flay, he used chiles and a few other things though. I thought that those ingredients would take away from the fresh mozzarella & tomato taste so I made a hybrid recipe, so here we go:

Insalata Caprese, Dan's way

2 large or 4 small fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
2 large or 4 small tomatoes
light flavored oil ( I used grapeseed oil)
red wine vinegar (or balsamic, white wine etc)
chives from the garden

Start of by adding a bunch of chives to a blender or food processor and add oil until it is at the level it will blend together readily. Once the oil turns green strain into a squirt bottle or bowl and put aside.

Now cut up the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella about a 1/4" thick. Place one tomato on the plate and then partly cover the tomato with mozzarella and season with salt, it takes a good amount of salt to season the tomato & cheese. Continue this until the plate is full.

Once it is arrange and seasoned drizzle the chive oil and vinegar over the dish. The rule of thumbs for oil to vinegar is always 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar so aim for this.

When it is all dressed let it sit at room temperature so the flavors meld together. I made it before starting dinner, this seemed to offer enough time for it to marinate.

And enjoy!

Anyhow, I am off to Toronto this evening with my Sister to pick up her Fiance. If I am blogging again in a couple days it means she did not kill me on the highway! Pray for me, lol.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just Veg Today

Lots happening lately.

If you recall a while back when I was saying that I planted my zucchini with compost that not to my knowledge had squash seeds in. Well I ended up with two pumpkin vines and no zucchini, I guess I thinned the wrong one. I believe it is a pie pumpkin because that is the only pumpkins I have had. It should be nice to have home grown, home made pumpkin pie. When I realized it was a pumpkin growing I planted some new zucchini seeds in place of my cabbage, there is just enough time from them to grow before the frost, about 50 days. I didn't use my compost this time.

Speaking of the cabbage, they had a little miss hap. They start to get a fair amount of cabbage butterfly damage and I was just about to pick them because of this. Well when I first thought this I should have pulled them because a critter in the night came and ate a 1/4 of each head. So needles to say they when in the composter, not really interested in wild animal saliva, yuck!

The real exciting part is my tomatoes are starting to turn and I should be able to start picking some tomorrow. This is great but I still want to try and get my tomatoes producing ripe fruit by July not August.

I have also been busy with fall crops. I have ground seeded the turnips and they have just germinated. The third broccoli seedlings I started did not even sprout this time but I was lucky enough to score transplants from a farmer in the Dundas, Ontario area. I bought a bag of 10 plants for $1 buck, what a deal! They are some really nice looking plants and I have them in the ground already. They are growing in a row covered tunnel to keep the cabbage butterfly off of them as well as to keep some of the heat off of them.

The cucumbers are just starting to be large enough to pick. The plants are getting yellow spots on the leaves, this must be some disease. I am guessing it is from all the rain we have had and I am hoping I get a good crop before it kills the plant. The pole beans are just starting to produce good size beans but the lima beans have just flowers so far.