What to do with all that Squash and Pumpkin?

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I’m not sure why, but this summer I forgot to grow my pumpkins! There are still pumpkins and squash at the local farmer’s markets so I’ll be making these delicious patties again.

In 2013, I grew beautiful winter luxury pumpkins and dumpling squash. I love the flavour of squash, but there’s only so much baked squash a person can eat. And if I turned all the pumpkins into pies…well that’s not a great health move either.

This pumpkin has another month to grow.
This pumpkin had another month to grow.

Because they are the same family, anytime a recipe calls for squash, you can substitute pumpkin.

Which is what I did using this recipe that I found online.

I made a few changes to it. I left out the flour, instead substituting it with ½ cup of corn meal and ½ cup of oat flakes. I added fresh basil leaves too.
I baked the pumpkin first and then scooped out the pulp for this recipe. I used about 2 cups of pumpkin.
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Then, instead of frying it, I baked it in the oven. I put parchment paper on a cookie sheet and then spread a thin layer of olive oil on the paper. I baked it in the oven for 30 min at 350, then turned them and baked another 5 minutes.

The flavor is out of this world. It’s kind of like a potato latke. So, a dab of apple sauce or chili sauce tastes wonderful on top. Tomato sauce works too!
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You can freeze these patties for those evenings when you need to throw together a meal in a hurry.

Meanwhile, here are some photos of the gorgeous hoarfrost that will soon end when the temperatures continue to drop.

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Kale growing out of the old cold frame.
Cabbage waiting to become Borscht soup.
Cabbage waiting to become Borscht soup.

Roasted Tomato Sauce and Zucchini Boats and More Food

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This post from 2010 describes this month and the harvest so well, that I’m reposting it. That summer the harvest was amazing! this summer my yields were way down because of the drought and I couldn’t water as much as I wanted. As it is, our well is half full or empty and it has never been that low. The water table is down and this summer we received 1/3 the rain of average summers.
We don’t have a friend with a cow anymore, but still order lots of bulk food with friends and neighbours. And tomorrow, I’m planting my 100 cloves of garlic for next year.


My life has been reduced to harvesting our organic, homegrown vegetables and cultural immersion! Hey, I’m not complaining, but if anyone had told me 3 years ago that I’d be immersed in more food and visual delights than I could fit into a day, I wouldn’t have believed them.

The third batch of tomato sauce started like this.

I’ll tell you about the food and then bring you a full cultural report in a few days (I promise!)

Before we moved here we knew that we’d want a vegetable garden, but I never dreamed that I’d be baking all our bread, making all our yogurt and soft cheeses, freezing up vegetables galore or lying in bed at night thinking about root cellars.

I make 6 loaves at a time and freeze 5.

We haven’t had a frost yet but the nights are getting very cool and the garden foliage has started to change in the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to see it come to an end…I’ve barely had to go to a grocery store this summer because of the garden and the farmer’s market in Bear River.

Those yellow vegetables are cucumber. “The Greenman” had unusual vegetables ‘just for fun’.

The tomatoes just keep on coming and thanks to a great tip from my friend Cheryl, who grows gorgeous flowers and tasty vegetables, I have roasted the tomatoes whole in a deep pan with slices of zucchini, green peppers, garlic and onion. The flavour is so much better than boiling down the vegetables. The house is filled with cooking smells and I’ve run out of space in our stand-up freezer so now I’m practicing new canning skills too!
Larry and I are vegetarians so this bounty from the garden is really welcomed.

I froze lots of beans. This year I remembered to plant them in succession to keep them coming.

There are other ways to bring down the grocery bill while eating like kings. Bear River has a long tradition of organizing food buying groups and we belong to several different ones. We are members of a cheese co-op and although the cheese is not organic, we are able to buy havarti, cheddar and mozzarella at close to 1/2 the prices in the supermarkets.

Cheese keeps for a long time when it’s purchased fresh.

A couple of times a year another food buying group purchases organic flours and dried beans and rice at reduced prices from Speerville Mills in New Brunswick.

Spearville Mills.

Still another group we’re in buys organic and fair trade nuts and dried fruit from Rancho Vignola in BC.

I’ve also started making my own yogurt, cream cheese, ricotta and butter from the creamy milk of a local cow. It is dead easy to do and if you want the instructions,  just ask and I’ll post the information.

Blue lake runner beans take longer to mature, but the flavour is superior to the bush beans. I save the seed year after year.

And of course, there is the fantastic fair trade coffee that we buy from Sissiboo Coffee here in Bear River. Yum, yum!

All of these ways of food preparation and shopping have reduced our dependency on the 2 big box grocery stores in Digby, who still don’t seem to understand that people want to buy locally grown produce. It means too that our grocery bill is reduced. We wouldn’t be able to eat this much organic food if we couldn’t grow it ourselves or buy it with others. And by eating food from crops that are rotated and without insecticides etc as well as fresh, I know that the nutritional quality of the food is better.

Brocolli is STILL producing. The side shoots are like small heads.

The downside and the upside is that all meals are made from scratch. This is fairly labour intensive and wouldn’t be possible if I still worked full-time in the city.

Roasted tomato, onion, zucchini, garlic, carrots and herbs.
I scooped out some zucchini boats and added a mixture of uncooked rice and roasted tomato sauce with chopped, fresh spinach. Top with feta and mozzarella cheese. Pour in an inch of veg water. Bake, covered at 375 for an hour.

We still didn’t get it together this summer to build a greenhouse to try our hand at winter gardening, but maybe next year. “Fingers crossed”.

I like my dry goods to be visible.

I also went a little crazy last night and ordered some spring flower bulbs to plant out this month when I plant my garlic. The gardening season is drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet.

I’ve saved this year’s biggest bulbs for replanting to harvest next summer.

Paint the Town – Aug 20 & 21, 2016

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I’m looking forward to my 7th year of participation at Paint the Town in Annapolis Royal on August 20 & 21, 2016. This annual weekend event brings 80 artists from all over Nova Scotia to join in an outdoor painting race that will raise thousands for the arts council and artists.

I say ‘race’ because artists have about 6 hours each day to paint as many auction-worthy pieces as possible. The pressure is on and it’s a great exercise, if exhausting. It’s a time for painters to see what each other is doing.  And it’s also quite a bargain for the collectors, with many paintings selling for less than $100.

I am posting some of my favorite paintings that I’ve painting at the event over the years.

I spend most of my time at the Historic Gardens. The flowers are gorgeous, there is shade and the park-like setting helps me to focus and remain calm.😉

Throughout the day, ‘runners’ rush the work to the gallery at The Academy at 590 George Street. Silent bids last all day with the auction ending each day at 5pm. Buyers have the option of purchasing paintings at full price before the auction ends.

This is a fabulous opportunity to start or add to a collection of original art by artists at all levels of their careers.  It’s also fun to watch people creating on the spot. Check out the list of artists here and the links to their websites.

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Here is my packing list for Paint the Town

    • small canvases
    • acrylic paints
    • acrylic markers
    • acrylic inks
    • gel medium
    • Charcoal
    • Inktense crayons
    • water bucket
    • rags
    • French easel
    • stool
    • sketch book
    • marker
    • spray bottle
    • latex gloves
    • colour shaper
    • lunch
    • water
    • sunblock
    • insect repellent
    • hat
    • business cards
    • camera

paint the town poster

Garden, Painting and Summer in Full Swing Flashback

The vegetable garden at the beginning of August

This post from Aug 9, 2013 is about a lush, rain filled summer. This 2016 summer is not. Drought and heat sum it up. What is the same is the insect explosion.😉

—————————-What crazy weather this summer. We had record breaking rainfall in June and July and hot, hot, sticky days alternating with cold. These conditions have  played havoc with the garden and the insect populations have exploded. This is good news for black flies, earwigs, cucumber beetles, potato bugs and snails. Sigh. It is also good news for birds and their numbers seem up.

I’ve painted more flowers than ever before and haven’t even scratched the surface of what I would like to achieve in that theme.

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Lily
Flowers to paint
Flowers to paint

This week the weather has shifted.  The nights are suddenly chilly and the warm daytime sun has allowed full outdoor activity again. Suddenly the vegetable garden is looking lush and strong. I see my favorite pumpkins starting to form – winter luxury pumpkins  that taste out of this world as pies or as vegetables.

The vegetable garden at the beginning of August
The vegetable garden at the beginning of August

The green beans are flowering and the tomatoes are green and growing.  Larry staked them this afternoon as you can see from the photo in the header. The potato plants are like bushes, in spite of those striped potato bugs that I flick into soapy water when I remember to!
The weather is still always the wild card and teaches both flexibility and acceptance to this gardener.

The rain has accelerated the growth and height of all the perennial flowers. Those tiny plants I put in 4 years ago are crowded now and exploded into bloom.

This is an exciting time for me to paint.

Green Willow Studio
Works in progress at Green Willow Studio
The Newest Painting
A hot July painting in the studio.

The summer has been filled with other important cultural details😉 such as:

Visiting Susan Geddes' studio in Annapolis Royal.
Visiting painter Susan Geddes’ studio in Annapolis Royal.
Listening to Caleb Miles after hours in Bear River.
Listening to Caleb Miles after hours in Bear River.
Swimming in Bear River.
Swimming in Bear River.
Watching fireworks at Cherry Carnival.
Watching fireworks at Cherry Carnival.
Harvesting a year's worth of garlic to eat and to plant for next year.
Harvesting a year’s worth of garlic to eat and to plant for next year.

This summer I’ve worked hard at painting and I’ve been blogging that experience. My writing energy is there now…I guess because I am so involved with the act of painting. If you paint too or are interested in the process, please join me at http://floradoehler.ca

And thanks for reading!

Painting the Diamond in the Bay of Fundy

Diamond Island, Five Islands, NS.

I’m excited to be heading back to this painter’s paradise tomorrow. It is an artist retreat on an island in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. You know. The place with the highest tides in the world.
The following post is from 2012 on my first trip to the island with a group of artists.
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When we arrived at Long Island in the Bay of Fundy for our Artist Retreat,  it was an overcast and showery afternoon. The mist and fog shrouded this huge rock of an island that we could see from our cabin. It looked ancient and mysterious as it disappeared and reappeared in the mist and I was anxious to see it at sea level when the low tide allowed it.

Diamond Island, Five Islands, NS.

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The Secret Garden and the Willow Trees

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There is a very special place that I go to when I need to be in nature, or when I need a quiet moment. Behind the vegetable garden we have about 1/2 an acre that we let grow wild and that contains our pond.

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This piece of land has a few intentional plants like lilies, iris and about 7 willow trees. But the rest of it is a chaotic riot of tangled wild flowers (weeds really) that grow about 4 feet high.pond09 pond08

We have a couple of paths cut through it and walking them is like being a child again in my grandmother’s garden. Hidden from view and right in the middle of the natural world. Frogs croak, seagulls and crows soar above. Bees buzz all over the flowers.

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The pond itself has 8 large goldfish that wintered over. Animals wander through and drink from the pond. There are dragonflies, butterflies, birds and a host of insects.  It’s a nice place to decompress and to marvel at the complex beauty of the natural world.

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pond12I planted the willows 4 years ago and they are already taller than me. In a few more years there will be a willow grove at the end of the pond providing magic for us and no doubt for the next caretakers of this land.

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