Home again

After five and a half weeks travelling across Canada – and back – we returned to our beautiful little farm. It was a wonderful trip – so much beauty, diversity and history to discover. We traveled east at the end of spring and watched the lilacs bloom across the country until we reached the Atlantic. … [Read more…]

Spring!

After a cold, wet, gloomy March we entered a cold, wet, gloomy April. However, Mother Nature will only wait so long, so spring has finally arrived on the Far Side. The asparagus is coming up – three weeks later than last year – and the alder trees are leafing out. Self-sown violas are popping up all … [Read more…]

In like a lion…

March arrived with its reputation intact – howling wind and rain ushered in the first day of the month. It has been a long, cold, wet winter on the Far Side. February ended with yet more snow, but it quickly melted away. Despite the low temperatures, the crocus, snowdrops and primulas have popped up. The … [Read more…]

Additions and losses; farm math

A new year often brings change. Some people initiate change through resolutions. Others – like me – just embrace what life brings as things evolve.  Some changes, though, are better than others. We ended last year with the addition of a grandson and a grand-dog. Huey (the dog) is quite a handful. He’s a nice guy with … [Read more…]

Beauty in the dying days

The leaves have fallen, lying in damp clumps. Cooler weather and rain have brought on a bloom of mushrooms and lichen. Plant stalks have withered and tumbled over in the wind. But wherever you look, there is beauty in these dying days. The photo with this story is of a dead holly leaf. Photographed by my … [Read more…]

Preserving the harvest

I grew up eating home-preserved food; Mom spent a lot of time in the kitchen with a pressure cooker and we all learned to pack jars with salmon, crush fruit for jam and blanch tomatoes for canning. We even canned salmon while camping! Some of my friends are spending a lot of time harvesting, canning and … [Read more…]

Seasons

Some people prefer to live somewhere that has obvious seasons; hot summers, dramatic fall foliage, cold and snowy winters, and a clear shift to spring. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, the seasonal shifts are more subtle. I prefer that, because to me it is symbolic of how our human lives change. We are born, … [Read more…]

Some years are like that…

Every year on the farm is an adventure. Some years, the weather is ideal, pests are manageable and the vegetable garden flourishes. Some years, lambs fatten up quickly and our feed costs go down. Some years are like that. Other years, the weather, pests, timing and other issues intervene. This year is one of those. Our … [Read more…]

Off with their heads!

Throughout the growing season, I indulge my inner Red Queen. Deadheading, cutting back, pinching out, thinning; off with their heads! I have many self-sown annuals in the garden, but I don’t want a thousand of them. I regularly deadhead the calendula and cosmos to prevent seed production and to encourage more blossoms. Unless you want … [Read more…]

Why you should grow flowers

I love flowers. My mom always had fresh flowers in the house, and I have continued that tradition throughout my life. Even a single blossom can bring beauty and fragrance into your home. I grow a lot of flowers, but not “just” because they are beautiful. Flowers can bring great benefits to your garden. We … [Read more…]