Sunday, April 30, 2017

So Much Pizza and Some Gardening

When I have time on my hands...I'm usually in the kitchen! Insomnia turns me into a productive homemaker...I baked, cleaned the house, re-organized the kitchen, did some gardening, laundry...and took a long walk with the dogs in the woods. It turned into a nice day and last night I actually slept ELEVEN glorious hours! :)

After I made the bread yesterday, I started on some pizza dough. My plan was to make a bunch of it so it would be all ready when we wanted pizza...but of course I got a craving! I had leftover thick-crust dough from Pizza-Ghetti night and a leftover green pepper so I made our version of an all-dressed pizza with ham and green olives too. I had some Feta to use up so I made a three-cheese pizza with Feta, Parm and Mozz. The third one is one of our favourites: Prosciutto (which I also had to use up), apricot jam and leftover Blue cheese which actually froze very well from last month! We had a little of each one for dinner, and we'll have lunches for a few days!! I actually made 2 more portions of pizza dough for the freezer too.

And I did it, I got rid of those nasty peat pots that I have come to dislike so much! :)  I now have:

- Basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme, chives

- Spinach, Buttercrunch lettuce, beets, spring onions, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, garden peas and 2 pots of of course my lemon tree.

...all sitting in the sunny window! In about two weeks, I can start hardening them off and then in three weeks, most of these are destined for the garden.

I also started my radish and carrot seeds yesterday in big containers. I am still waiting on my mint, chamomile, (more) chives and rosemary that I'll start when I receive them - though I have no clue where they'll go...I have no more room in the window! I'll figure something out!

And for end of May I will plant these directly in containers outside:

- Cucumbers, ground cherries, orange peppers, green and yellow beans, and probably more of the lettuces.
- All of my flowers and ornamental grass

At that point, I'll have to see what's growing and what's not, figure out a successive planting schedule, get bigger containers for my window starters and start looking around for used windows for my winter cold frames. I'm really loving this! I'm going to spend May through to November outside I think! :)

This is a photo from last summer. Today it's overcast, so if I have the motivation, I'm going to head to the garden center and pick up some screening and 2 x 8's so that this week Alex and I can screen in my porch. We are going to make a screen door too. Last year, I just used what I could find and it was a pain to move that screen every time we wanted to go down the stairs! You see where my garden tools are? That is such a silly space, it's so narrow you can barely even walk there, but we can't screen it in because of the clothesline...I can move the garden tools, but I would still like access to that clothesline so I don't have to stand on my tip toes to reach it from the stairs...we thought about moving the clothesline, but it's in the perfect I'm thinking of a screened Dutch door kind of set up so I can open it and just use the clothesline when I need to...the hamster wheel is turning in my head!

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Are you part of my club? Some nights I'm so exhausted by 9 pm that I need to start unwinding and I'm out like a light by 10 pm. But then inevitably around 3 am, I'm wide awake. Normally I wake up and can fall back asleep, but some nights I just lay there wondering for hours if I should just bite the bullet and get up or not.

I got up. And I baked bread. It's now 5 am and I need to figure out what to do next. All the pets are in my office with me but they're sleeping. I wish I had that gift they have of being able to fall asleep any time I want to! Alex is sleeping too, so I can't make all that much noise. I guess building a raised bed is out for now! :) But of course, I feel like I'm winding down again at the same time, I may have to nap with Jack on the couch for a few hours! 

Yesterday we treated ourselves to dinner. We have a nice restaurant in the next town that offers a huge "table d'hôte", mostly all the meals are under $10 with a soup, dessert and beverage included. It's cafeteria-style, you order at the counter and they give you a buzzer to let you know when it's ready and you just seat yourself. No big tips to worry about so it makes going there very affordable. Alex got the double burger and I got the fish and chips. I still like our homemade food better though, but it was nice to be out! :)

It looks like tomorrow and Sunday will be the only sunny days for the next week, so I'm going to get my seeds replanted this morning. The peat pots are just not working out for me! I'm going to replant what's in the peat pots into new plastic pots with more dirt so they retain the water better. I'm hoping I have better results this way!

I hope you're all sleeping soundly as I watch the sun come up! :)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Peat Pots...??

I got up early this morning and there was still a lot of fog. When I was walking back with the dogs to the covered bridge, it was pretty much gone, but the sky looked as though a storm was on its way. So far, the forecast calls for sunny skies, but I'm not seeing them!!

These are the tomato seeds I planted in the peat pots on April 23rd. Nothing yet.

I planted these tomato seeds the same day but in a plastic pot. These are growing. I'm still going to wait and see if my homemade greenhouse works for the peat pot seedlings, but I'm starting to think the seeds hate those pots!!! Has anyone ever used them? I got them last year at a garage sale. The lady was selling dozens of them in their original packaging for $1 so I bought them. Now I'm thinking, maybe there was a reason why she didn't want them! Anyway, we'll be driving our neighbour to the vet today so I might stop by the garden center for some more of these little plastic pots and do some more experiments. I can't plant outside for another three weeks or so because of frost potential so I have time to try some things out!

For dinner we had the leftovers from Pizza-Ghetti night. We shared some pasta and the last slice of pizza. We are on a pizza kick lately, I think we're having it for dinner tonight again! We'll have to have a big green salad for lunch to make up for it! :)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pizza-Ghetti, More Fog, Seedling Issues

The forecast says 19 Celcius and sunny...I think it's wrong. When I woke up we seemed to be in the clouds, it was so foggy out still. Maybe the sun will break through? Almost all of the snow has melted in the yard!

But there is still a lot of snow in the woods. I did manage to inch a little further in today though. We got to the "big boulder"...which means halfway through the trail. It was wet in there though. So unless things change, I won't be out in the yard today much either. Boo hoo.

I'm having issues with my seedlings. The beets and spinach that I planted, seemed to pop up really fast, but then they stalled and seemed to wilt away. I thought maybe they didn't like the peat pots. But you know, all of the herbs that I planted in the plastic and terra cotta pots are thriving.

I planted thyme four days ago and it's already sprouting up! My conclusion of today is that those peat pots are not holding enough water. It's true that they suck up the water a lot and even watering them daily, they seem bone dry each time I go near them - and not just on sunny days either.

So my poor woman's solution? Makeshift greenhouse. I cut up some freezer bags and draped them over the seedlings. I used push pins to secure one side to the shelf, so all I have to do is lift the bag over the shelf so I can water them without too much hassle. I'm hoping this will help retain some moisture...then again I could be WAY off on my little diagnosis! Time will tell!

Anyone a Jack Benny fan? Amazon sent me two of his biography by mistake and said to just keep it. I don't need two, so if you like Jack Benny and would like this copy, go to my sidebar and use my contact form to send me an email and let me know. I'll likely get to the post office next Tuesday.

I have parsley abundance issues too! Until my plants are harvest-worthy, I'm still buying it at the bulk market. This whole lot cost me a dollar. If I'd bought much less at the grocery store, it would have been triple the price and not so it's a hard decision, knowing it might be wasted. I'd hate for it to go into the compost bin, but I can't see myself using all this parsley in the next few weeks. I could toss it into the woods maybe, when I walk the dogs, I'm sure the critters might like that as a treat?

We love the taste in cooked food, but we're not big fans of it raw. Pesto came to mind, but that would be parsley overload for us. I already have bags in the freezer and a few big Mason jars that I dehydrated last summer...what do you do with your parsley? These will be bagged and refrigerated as is, they should keep well for 2-3 more weeks. I'm going to try to use as much as I can!

Now let's get to the good stuff! Yesterday I made a VERY time-intensive comfort meal: Pizza-Ghetti. Ever had it? It's a classic Quebec diner dish of pizza and spaghetti. That runny-ness from the spaghetti sauce is to sit your pizza in, so the crust gets all that yummy goodness. It's so delicious! I made everything but the pasta from scratch. Alex's spaghetti sauce has beef in it, mine is vegetarian. 

This is mine...I couldn't finish this at all! I ate the pizza, but half the spaghetti went into a Tupperware for leftovers. I went for a thicker pizza crust too, to make it more authentic. We make the pizza with ham, Mozzarella, green olives, tomatoes and green peppers. We have to take the green peppers off though because they make our insides catch fire! But having that green pepper taste makes the pizza so good. On a rainy, foggy day, this meal was so appropriate! A little red wine in a little diner-style glass and it was perfect! I think Alex had seconds for a midnight snack! We're going to have the leftovers for dinner tomorrow night. Tonight it'll be an easy Cesar salad and grilled cheese with bacon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Foggy Morning and App Night

I complain a lot about the winter when it hits about mid-March; but really I do love the seasons and all the weather that comes with it. Of course, I can say that because we are not getting the snow that lots of areas are getting right now! This morning was super foggy and it made for a really nice walk.

Because it was so hard to see more than 30 feet ahead, the dogs were having a great time thinking they could hear all sorts of things without seeing them. It was funny to watch them today. The river looked really nice surrounded by fog.

This is the covered bridge that leads to the "village" side of the river. I park the car just next to it so I don't have to walk that way. It's just a little creepy. If it were nighttime, all I'd be thinking of was the Headless Horseman lol! Today will not be a garden and yard day. It's pouring rain, so I'm going to (try to) catch up on housework before this place is condemned. ;) I think it's a great day for a big comfort meal, I'll likely spend the day in the kitchen!

Last night was appetizer night. I guess a more technology-obsessed person would have seen my title and thought I was speaking in computer "app" means appetizer! :) I wanted to use up my fresh basil so I made a Bruschetta. We also had some pita bread leftover from souvlaki night, so I cut them up, oiled and salted them and baked them for chips.

I also had leftover drumsticks so I made them like I make my Chicken Wings. We had some fries to go along and it was a great dinner. After dinner, we were both so tired again, we went to bed to watch an old Film Noir called Niagara. I love most of the Film Noirs, at least the thrillers and mysteries...I'm not big on romance...I don't have that "girlie" quality about me! This one was great because it was a thriller set in Niagara Falls. I'd been there many years ago, but it was nice to see how it looked in the 50's! When I went in the 80's it was simply a tourist trap with overpriced museums and restaurants. The falls were stunning though.

Hey look! We finally cut up our first Meyer Lemon! The company said we'd find them sweeter than store bought lemons...ummm...sweeter? I wouldn't say that. There's nothing sweet about a lemon lol...but it did taste more like a sour orange. I have it wrapped and I'm going to squeeze the life out of it today and make a shot glass of lemonade for us! :) Maybe by NEXT spring, the 6 green lemons growing on the tree will become a pint of lemonade!!

I got this nice gift in the mail today from my Blogger friend Kymber. I love getting books, it's such a treat! So thanks again to Kymber for the lovely gift! :) (I guess she'll read this once her internet is back up and running!!!)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More Yard Work and Oven-Fried Chicken Basil

In hindsight, I have no clue how I made dinner yesterday's kind of a blur. I was in so much pain that I didn't think I could even peel a carrot. But I somehow found a way to make Oven-Fried Chicken Basil with mashed carrots and our leftover asparagus (I still have enough for another dinner!!)...I love that asparagus is in season and it's so inexpensive!

Whenever I make a stuffed chicken breast, I always feel the herbs get lost in the flavour, but this time, the basil was so fresh! It was so delicious. I whipped up a yogurt/Dijon/chive dipping sauce, but it was just so-so. Plus the chicken didn't need a dipper at all!

Don't laugh at me, but...

I found more seeds in a box in the basement today lol...I guess I'd bought these last summer! I'm going to put them to good use this year in hopes that they're still good! Silly me. :)

Speaking of silly...Charlie now wants to be fed from a "human" plate. Her requirement "du jour".

Even though I have "first day of gardening" soreness...I didn't let it stop me! I spent another 5 hours in the yard again today. This is the state of most of the areas where I would like to plant. Sporadic grass, tons of weeds, dead roots and miscellaneous offshoots of various trees all over the yard. I hate transplanting potential trees, I'm always afraid they'll not make it...but my garden is my priority this year, so I moved this lilac shoot...I hope it grows into a lovely tree one day! Anyway, this is the before shot...and this is the after:

Two hours later... That tiny little spot I surrounded by rocks took me that long to clean up! This might be the spot for my Moon Garden. I have to think about all of this! Behind the lilac tree you can see some blue and white bins. That's where I'll be putting some container veggies, right under my "window" garden. This side of the house gets all the sun. I would have made the little garden bed longer, but there is a tree stump just at the closest right corner in the photo, no uprooting that monster!

Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to wait a little bit to transplant a bed of wild lilies. I didn't wait, I decided to do that today, it was t-shirt weather so I wanted to take advantage of that!! But little did I know I was in for another 2 hours of work in this tiny space. My friends...the roots around here are outrageous! And they lead to's crazy. At least this is now weed and root free, my gosh, I'm sure my hands will be feeling this tonight. All the beds are now covered with cardboard (thanks Nik!) and will wait for 3 weeks or so before I start adding seeds.

The wild lilies are now on the side of the house next to the walkway I did yesterday.

Look at that worm! I came across some really nice worms today. Alex wants to make a worm farm one of these days for our fishing ventures. We certainly have plenty of worms to start with!

Thanks so much to everyone for yesterday's suggestions! I ordered this today and hopefully I'll get this by the end of the week. I'll let you all know how it works. I love this company, Vogel, I order lots of tinctures from them, so I know they have good quality and organic products.

Now I better get up and start dinner prep before I wilt again!

Monday, April 24, 2017

First Day In The Garden!

Not so clean and pretty anymore! :) But that's okay, my new gloves got nearly FIVE hours of use this morning!

I was up at 6:30 this morning and did my new usual routine of driving the dogs to the other side of the river for their 45-minute walk.

I don't know what Marlene sees, but this is the second morning where she just parks herself by the lake and stares. Yesterday the other two looked on but today they lost interest. I had to pull her away!

It was a cold morning though, close to zero and the grass was crunchy to walk on. But the sun is really hot and I was able to spend lots of time in the yard. There are two little plots on either side of the stairs that I cleared of most weeds and junk. The plot on the left has some perennial lilies that I will transplant once I can dig a little deeper into the frozen ground. I already have a little fence around one side, and I pulled out some more lattice from our haul last year to prepare making a fence for the second plot - but I want to wait until the flowers are transplanted before I set it all up.

This photo shows a more realistic view of the size of those two plots. They aren't very big, but they'll do for my container veggies! Plus, this is where I will plan my cold frames for the winter gardening. If I need to, I'll put more containers just behind the wheel barrow. But I'm trying to avoid doing that as well because of so many roots and bushes there, I tried last summer but found it impossible to clean up.

There is a terrible root system here and the landlord could care less about it. We've tripped over the roots too many times so this year, I took out the ax and cut a bunch of them out. There are still a few big ones, and I don't want to hurt the trees attached, so I decided to dig up as much as I could and put some patio stones down as a walkway.  At least this way we won't trip over what's left of the tree roots. That was quite a task.

The last thing I did was clean up the bird feeder and surrounding areas. Oh my gosh the amount of sunflower seed shells!!! There is an old flower box that holds the feeder. It was mostly weeds and grass with some wildflowers. I decided this is where I'm going to scatter my butterfly and bird flower mix next month. I read that once you take all the weeds out, layer your bed with top soil, newspaper and cover it and there should be no more weeds when you're ready to plant. Testing this theory!

My strawberry plant from last summer was under the snow and I dug it out and added some potting soil to the top and watered it. It's now hanging in the sun, I hope I get some strawberries coming back this year! Being a "newb", last year I left the strawberry plant out when it was blossoming and the darn chipmunks and squirrels ate all but 3 of my berries...I'll be more careful this year if I get more fruit!

Hmmm...I wrote that I ordered more seeds yesterday...well, I guess I'd forgotten I'd ALREADY ordered more a few weeks ago! Does that mean something??? ;)

I did admit to my obsession, so let's leave it at that. I actually forgot about these! I got my cukes and radishes. And the cherries were on a whim, I have to look up how to grow them.

I planned ahead for my winter cold frame garden. These will all be planted in late summer.

When we went to pick up the mail, we dropped by my neighbour's place. She had to put her 16 year old Yorkie to sleep last month, poor thing had liver problems. But yesterday she got herself a little puppy she named Patch. He was SO ADORABLE and smelled like a little baby! :) I wanted to walk away with him!!! Speaking of dogs...look at these two photos:

I live in a little village in the Laurentians. Just walking to the mailbox, Alex and I saw TWO LOOSE DOGS!!!  There are two parks and a loose dog per park. By the way, the second photo isn't closed in, there is one side (to the left of the photo) that is completely open and leads to the main road of the village. Two loose dogs...and this is above and beyond FOUR of our direct neighbours who leave their dogs untied. I'm so glad we got photo evidence. Alex sent an email to the "canine inspector" (who brushed us off the last few weeks); the person at town hall who is in charge of the inspector's contract; and the mayor. There is no denying that the residents need a reminder to keep their dogs tied. And this is in the village where I now drive through, go figure. I hate people and society sometimes, why can't they just follow the rules? What is the point? I can't wait to move away from people into the woods. I'll be happy to put up a big fence and let our dogs have the run of OUR property while no other dogs can roam inside their sanctuary...Sorry for the's really a problem here with the residents and it bugs me so much.

So this is my window garden. All of my seedlings and herbs are ready to go and getting sun from the only sunny window in the house! I love this view from my desk.

It's just 5pm...I'm pooped. First day in the garden and my hands are so sore I feel like weeping. Nothing helps...If any blogger pal out there can suggest a home remedy...PLEASE. Kristina maybe? You always have so many ideas and I'd love to hear some of them! I've tried Advil, Tylenol, muscle knuckles and joints ache when I use my hands a lot and I easily drop stuff because I lose my grip. Doctors gave me generic excuses...anyway, I poured a white wine spritzer, lit a candle and wrote my blog post! Now I'm headed up to bed with Alex to watch an Alfred Hitchcock movie, "Rope" with Jimmy Stewart, then we'll have a nice relaxing dinner together, chicken is on the menu!