Eight years ago this week, we moved into our lovely house. Today Larry and a friend are on scaffolding and ladders with electric sanders prepping the outside of the house for its long-overdue paint job. House jobs are really never finished.
We love the sense of history of our 150ish year old house and are glad to caretake it so that it lasts for another century or two.
This is an eight year old blog about moving in.
When I turned 60, that number looked big; but when I listen to my thoughts or look into my heart or look around me I feel much, much younger. But even if I were turning 100 it would still feel insignificant after our journey in 2011 to a magical place in Nova Scotia that is 350 million years old. Continue reading
Even after Larry and I made “the big decision” to quit our ‘good’ jobs and leave the vibrant city of Toronto to move to this tiny village of 800 we both had mixed feelings about what was coming. These feelings swung from elation to stomach-churning anxiety. Usually, we didn’t have them at the same time, so we could give each other support. Continue reading
I wrote this post 5 years ago. We’re very happy with our place in the universe – Bear River. – Flora
I can’t resist picking up a purple cabbage at the grocery store. Oh the colour is so rich and the slicing reveals the most intricate patterns. I noticed that the line from the middle spiral outwards. Is everything in creation a series of spirals?
I came across this totally easy and VERY TASTY recipe called Warm Red Cabbage, Red Onion and Apple Slaw. Even the title is visually appealing.
I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic, but I’m sure both are delicious. I also add a handful of walnuts. AND, I keep it on the stove until the cabbage is soft. That means putting a lid on it at the end.
The book Vegetarian by Joanne Weir is out of print, but here’s a link to it.
It’s snowing outside, the washing machine is washing, and the kitchen is filled with a sweet and sour fragrance. The cat is curled up by the fire. Larry is upstairs creating an ad for this season’s Bear River Artworks Gallery.
Reminder to self: the studio calls.
Snow storms are very OK if you don’t have to drive anywhere. But even better is having a walking destination that leads to:
- a delicious Sissiboo Coffee latte that I could never emulate at home
- a place with wonderful art
- somewhere with just the right music
- friendly folks
So Larry and I bundle up and slip and slide down the hill.
Then over the little bridge from the Digby County to Annapolis County side.
Then into Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery for a treat and to enjoy the art.
See more of Penny’s stitching, dyeing and fibre story-telling at her blog
I’ve left out the conversations about the recent local Herring Deaths, the Trump stories, the agony of aging parents, the state of the world, heating systems, fostering creativity, music concerts and lost cats.
I’ve left out the Bob Dylan, John Prine and similar sounds in the cafe.
I’ve left out the stop at the post office.
And finally, the walk home……
And then a peek into the studio at my newest creation. A need to add some colour to this beautiful, monochromatic world.
And finally for you, dear reader, a little puzzle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.