Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dec 15 Handmade holiday craft/art sale at Little City Farm

One last announcement!

You are invited...

Sat, Dec 15th from 9 am-4 pm
A little bird told me...Handmade Holiday Craft/Art Sale
at Little City Farm, 508 Duke St W, Kitchener

Drop by to find handmade beautiful eco-conscious gifts for everyone on your list.

Our house will be filled to the brim with 9 talented crafters/artists including:
~ ceramic pottery in earthy glazes by Taarini Chopra
~ artful cards by Jenn Lynes
~ clothing reconstructed from natural woolen fibres by Amaryah of Sew Oiseau
~ fine wood turnings and cutting boards from locally reclaimed wood by Trevor of Once Upon a Tree
~ pure beeswax candles by Carol of Your Time Candles
~ candleholders, bottle openers from recycled bicycle parts by Jesse Robertson
~ woolen Waldorf-inspired dolls & toys by Lisa Rollauer
~ woolen toys and raw chocolate truffles by Theresa Hanley
~ natural soaps, herbals tonics & salves by Karin of Homestead Herbals
~ organic baked treats by Karin of Little City Farm
~ local comb honey by Laura Stirling

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Healthy desserts - fruit kanten

Kanten is one of our favourite desserts around here.  A Japanese-macrobiotic food, kanten is so simple to make: 1 cup fruit juice of your choice, with 1 Tbsp agar (a type of seaweed).  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve agar into the juice.  Add fresh or frozen berries or fruit if you like.  Pour into cups or bowls, let firm in the fridge.  No sugar, nutritious, delicious, and very little work to make this treat that kids will love to help prepare.

Our top combinations include apple cider with cherries; pear juice with blueberries; raspberry juice with peach slices...

Love these hens

Can't get enough of our lovely ladies.  They are such great company, and provide gorgeous fresh eggs each day!   Here they are making short work of our left over halloween pumpkins - they are so good at taking care of compost and an important component of our permaculture vision here.  We overwinter them in the coop by stacking strawbales around the outer walls, then heating with a small heat lamp on the coldest nights.  This system seems to have worked well the past 5 years, though we have recently seen some beautiful and innovative designs for strawbale-insulated (and plastered) chicken coops that would provide much more solid permanent insulation.  Add that to our list of future projcects...

Preparing for winter

We've had some very busy weeks around here: cleaning up the garden, last canning projects, taking part in a neighbourhood studio tour, making batches and batches of soap for holiday sales, drying herbs for our tea blends, saving seeds, teaching classes, and preparing the house, chicken coop, greenhouse and yard for the colder weather to come.  The weeks are full not only with homestead tasks, but also our homeschooling journey which is deepening as we get more involved in the local initiatives with other families - for example, taking part in a forest school for 8 weeks (exciting permaculture/nature-based experiential learning facilitated by Jennifer from All Sorts Acre); and organizing a family yoga series to share with our kids.  There is little time for writing about these projects when the days are full with the doing of them.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Great Food Swap!

We held our 2nd annual Great Food Swap today - what a glorious array of homemade and homegrown foods filled the tables.  It was hard to decide what to bid on as everything was so beautiful.  There were salsas and "fireside tomato sauce", jams and chutneys, preserved peaches and pears, lemon and lime butters, hot chili pickle, artisan breads, lacto-fermented beans and root vegetable kraut, pickled beets, "nightshade curry", organic sourdough starter, "first honey" from a new beekeeper, kale chips, raw fruit and nut biscotti, homemade crackers and double chocolate raw truffle balls, dandelion syrup, spelt banana bread, and herbal tinctures, plus garden goodies like the hottest peppers, baskets of tomatillos, fresh stevia, dried herbs, wild grape leaves, heirloom tomatoes, bunches of chard, elderberries, and rhubarb...

The way the food swap works: participants display their items, then place "bids" on items they wish to take home, and finally work out a barter among themselves for what seems a fair value to swap (e.g. my jar of kimchi for your jar of salsa).  A nice way to share foods you love (and may have too much of), and stock your pantry with preserves you did not have time to make.

Thanks to everyone who took part!  We are honoured to share the bounty of this year's harvest with all of you.  Happy harvest season.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This Moment

{This moment} - This moment - an end of week ritual, no words, just a special photo to remember, savour, enjoy. 

Kids and gardens

Oh, what fun opportunities for play the garden offers.  Our daughter has had hours of enjoyment planting and tending her own little plot this year, growing just what she pleased (and what will a 4 year old choose to grow?  Rainbow carrots, dinosaur kale, dragon beans, sunflowers, and many kinds of cherry tomatoes), watering with all manner of containers to hold water...she roams the big garden enjoying the range of flavours available as she strolls by making her own leafy lettuce "sushi" rolls filled with spicy chives, tastes tangy warm tomatoes, picks crunchy beans, juicy cucumbers, sweet fennel seeds.  She chases our hens out of the kale patch and then feeds them comfrey leaves from the herb bed.  Finds a quiet resting place in a special spot under the huge sage plant, or uses the cold frame structure as a climbing bar for gymnastics.  And of course there is the dirt!  Digging, weeding, lifting rocks and logs to find what insect wait underneath.  We know a day is well spent for all of us if there is dirt between the toes and under the fingernails.

Seed saving in the home garden

Last Saturday we hosted our annual workshop on Seed Saving.  We had Bob Wildfong, executive director of Seeds of Diversity (Canada's seed saving non-profit) here again to lead his excellent information-packed workshop.  He discussed the best seeds for home gardeners to save (beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, greens) as these don't cross pollinate and will grow true to the parent plant.  Plants like squashes and zucchinis will cross pollinate and thus produce fruit that is unpredictable.  Participants learned about pollination, how to properly save seeds (e.g. letting seeds dry on the vine for plants such as beans; putting tomato seeds into a jar and letting the pulp rot off, then washing and drying the seeds to be saved), and how to carefully store seeds for maximum longevity.  The key is a cool, dry location - so in a glass jar in the fridge, or in paper envelopes also sealed in a glass jar in the fridge or cool cupboard.  Seeds of Diversity offers members access to a huge array of unique and heirloom seeds through a mail-order seed exchange directory, as well as opportunities to participate in specific seed saving projects such as the heirloom garlic project we took part in last year. 

What's being saved from our garden this year - various heirloom tomatoes (Mennonite Orange, Cherokee Purple being the favourites), lemon cukes, 3 kinds of kale, chard, various lettuces, arugula, several kinds of beans, basil, some annual flowers, and many herbs.  Photos below: scarlet runner beans, red orach (wild mountain spinach), tulsi/sacred basil, lettuce, calendula, lemon cucumbers, tomatillos, dill, echinacea, oregano, fennel, sunflowers, hops.