95. Harvest – A New Approach to Vegetable Storage

With our dry, dry summer, this year we had an excess of tomatoes and peppers. Also a great crop of carrots and beets (yay!)

root cellar box CollageLast year, I bemoaned my lack of foresight in not planning for a root cellar when we built our green home (this post.) My strategy then was to store our root veggies in a burlap-layered box. I’m chagrinned to report that I had to compost about 1/2 of the makeshift root-cellared veggies, because they both dried out and rotted, if that makes sense.

This year, I have decided to leave the carrots and the beets in the ground until we need them. A couple of years ago, we were still harvesting them in February.

I weeded and cleaned up the dried foliage, cut off the carrot tops.Planting garlic between root crops Planted about 175 garlic cloves in between the rows, every 4″.

Then, tucked fallen leaves around them for warmth. Good night, veggies. Stay healthy!leaf mulch on root vegetables

What’s not to love about fall?
tulip leaf on thyme

57. The Hurrieder I Am, the Behinder I Get

wine glass posieIt can probably go without saying that when every day gets eaten up with frenetic activity, I don’t find time to blog.

The last batch of wonderful WWOOFers have gone, leaving real progress in their wake.WWOOFers and painting fabric

And leaving me to play catch-up with garden things, blog things, reading things, relaxing things, art things, writing things, and research things.fisher's shack Sunshine Coast

rcmp musical rideThe rooftop garden has not disappointed. We’re frantically harvesting beans, zucchini, kale, garlic, flowers, lettuce, and medicinal and dye plants.calendula flowers

And there has been a serious case of “Pop-up” vegetable gardens appearing in unplanted spots (mostly from compost that has not been thoroughly cooked!)volunteer food crops

A relaxed walk around the yard reveals that Granny’s rose bush has successfully taken root, to remind us of her whenever we see it. (She graduated to her place in heaven a little over a year ago.)ritas rose

We observe that the mason bee condo has some tenants (the plugged holes).mason bee condo

The berry bushes are lush, lush, lush! We’ve picked 6 batches already – a nice little nest egg in the freezer. And we’ve only begun picking blackberries. berries Delighted to see that gorgeous ferns are taking the place of weeds in the crevices of the boulders and retaining walls.

stone and ferns

Along the sunny wall of the studio, behind a deer fence, I am training the two apple trees and one peach (with only one peach on it this year!) to grow on wires. I’m new at this, but I’m learning quickly. The big trick will be to harvest the fruit one day before the bear does.

apple tree

This year’s new side garden is filling in nicely. Although, what’s up with corn that won’t germinate?? I planted 72 seeds, in two attempts in the tire garden, and have 5 corn plants that look as though they won’t mature before the weather turns too cool.sideyard early august

Relocated the veggie garden’s Johnny Jump-ups to a shady place that matches their colour scheme better, and they’re jumping up even more enthusiastically now.johnny jump-ups

In the yard, Ela and Sami laid most of the remaining flagstones, so I had to go buy some more to finish the courtyard. Ela and flagstone

Haley has been making tiles to commemorate the 31 WWOOFers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) who have moved our organic gardens and xeriscaped yard so far these last 2 summers. Haley forming tiles

Here’s a sneak preview of the tiles, with my promise to write a proper post when they’re finished.

WWOOFer tiles greenware

Tess bucked up part of the grove of Big Leaf Maples that the neighbourhood collaborated on cutting down. We now have our winter supply of firewood in place.

Tess tidies lot

maple woodpile

full wood bins

Regular readers of This Green House will recall the pond algae fiasco last year. This year, the rich roof runoff from the rooftop veggie garden goes into this rain barrel, instead of the pond, where it is sent off to re-water the side garden with gravity-fed drip irrigation.rain barrel


We have not been idle (although I know someone very close to me who wishes we would be more idle! Soon, my dear, very soon.)this green life Collage

It’s lovely to be able to report on progress here at This Green House.

Sharing with: From My Front Porch to Yours, The Brambleberry Cottage, A Delightsome Life, Lamberts Lately’s Create It Thursday, StoneGable, The Vintage Farmhouse, Creative Inspirations, Rooted in Thyme, Diana Rambles’ Pin-me Party, Boogieboard Cottage’s Masterpiece Monday, Nifty Thrifty Things, Little Red House’s Mosaic Monday, Common Ground




For Bloggers: A Tiny Rant

Cottonwood Stand with watermark Fourteen years ago, when online chat groups first formed, I spent up to two hours each morning chatting about art quilting and surface design with people who were passionate about the same subjects as I am. After a year-and-a-half of this routine, it finally dawned on me that I could be spending those hours in the studio, actually DOING what I was passionate about. I missed those virtual friends, but that addiction to “chatting” faded.our home

For three years, I have been blogging about building our new green home, including the costs we have incurred in the process and reviews of trades and products we used. I chose to record our building experiences because there was a dearth of information online about  building green. It was difficult to wade through all the commercial sites promoting their “green” products. I was looking for some objective advice and budget projections for someone in our position. I wondered if there were any other homeowners building a new green home. I built a blog that I wished someone had built for me to read before we started this projectTGH screen shot

stairsIn the past year, I have found only two other bloggers who include some of the technical details that I wanted when we started.

(One, Journal House Project, is an amazing project by Dan Sawatzky about his fanciful home. He is a specialized sign-maker who has elaborate equipment and trained employees in his shop, so many of his techniques are not applicable to most people’s homes. The other, Shannon and Patrick’s A Green Hearth, is about building an affordable green home for two families. Shannon is a gifted writer, and her occasional posts are a joy to read.)

As all bloggers know, it takes a considerable amount of time to prepare a post. On top of actually doing the work (or hobby) that you’re posting about, there’s the writing, the photography, the editing, and figuring out the tags to encourage search engine optimization (SEO). I can spend the better part of a day preparing a post. And then, there are the efforts we put into getting traffic to our sites. I understand that the more hits you get, the higher priority the search engines will put on your site. Success breeds more success.this green life header

When I started blogging, I reasoned that people who needed my information would find me through search engines. To a degree, I think that’s true. But, when we had largely finished building the house, I began a new “daughter” blog (this one you’re reading), started reading more blogs and, on my sister’s advice, joined linky parties to dramatically improve the amount of traffic coming to my blogs. My new blog has the potential to appeal to more people who are interested in green crafts, decor, philosophy and recipes. With the  amount of effort it takes to prepare a post, maybe I want to justify it to myself by having some readers.fall flowers2

This brings me back to my opening sentence.

I’m spending up to two hours a day reading your great blogs and linking to your generous parties. I’m not doing my art or building projects during that time. Obviously, it’s a choice I make to read my favourite blogs in my leisure time. (Quit-cher-whining, Gail.)

But… (and you knew a “but” was coming) here are some observations I have made:

1. Some posts go on and on (like this one, you ask???) Every little detail of a room is photographed from every angle, and then posted. Sometimes the same photograph is included two or three times (acceptable to save us time scrolling up to the “before” photo, but not usually necessary.) Do we really need quite so many words and photographs on the same subject? I do know how difficult to pick just four photos from the 48 that I have taken. (Again, I hear you saying, it’s my choice to read it or not. But, maybe the succulent tidbit I’m seeking in the post is at the very end, so I keep reading.)

2. I think some bloggers feel they need to post every day, whether they have anything to show-and-tell or not. I imagine this is partly an effort to keep their profile and numbers up for their sponsors and advertisers. (I don’t know this for a fact. As you can see, I have not attempted to monetize my sites.) I really don’t think anyone is interested in who my visitors were today, or that my dog, Kitty, had a medical event a couple of days ago, or that we cooked Moroccan stew for dinner last night, or that my New Year’s Resolution was to smile and laugh more this year. I’m not a blog-star like so many of my favourite bloggers are. The public is interested in the tiny details of famous people, and I have to accept that. Wonderful blog relationships are built through your emotionally-wrenching and quotidien details in your posts.  I feel as though I know you as a friend, even though you have not a clue who I am.  Your posts that interest me the most are about original and informative subjects, not yet another copy of something I’ve seen on another blog.

I try not to come across as a self-appointed expert, because I am not very good at doing this building stuff. Rather, I am documenting my journey, including my mistakes. I have watched bad YouTube “tutorials” about laying ceramic tile, wherein the “expert” is making so many mistakes that he’ll have leaks in his shower within a year.

3. I spend a truck-load of time navigating around sites, trying to find something I need or remembered reading before, or reading through ALL the recipes trying to find just the one on Christmas appies, or following a bunch of links to nowhere. My blog hero suggested that it would be easier to navigate my site if I indexed all my posts, directly linking the posts to the index. It took a truck-load of time to do that, but now it saves me truck-load of time, because it’s quicker than going to my dashboard and painstakingly scrolling down all the posts. I would love it if more bloggers would index their posts.point to index

tgh index page

And, although the following pet peeve has nothing to do with saving time while reading blogs, I can’t stop myself. (Maybe I should get therapy for this problem, and then I could blog about it.)

Blogs, by their nature, are written by all sorts of people, not just English literature grads, professional writers and photographers. Most of us just write what we want, and don’t have editors on-staff to fix it before publishing it to the world. Many bloggers, more qualified than I, give plenty of tips about improving your photography. But, from this writer who has been known to carry Wite-Out around in my purse so I can eliminate unnecessary apostrophes on public signs and menus, here’s the rule about apostrophes: It’s is only short for It is. It’s not a possessive (e.g.”Its food is other insects.”) And, when you mean there are more than one of something, i.e. a plural, there is no apostrophe. It’s pizzas, not pizza’s. A teacher friend of mine just banned all apostrophes in her classroom because of their proliferation. (If in doubt, leave it out.)

Whew, thanks, my three readers, for letting me get that off my chest, and for reading to the end. Now, I will go to my favourite, interesting, well-written blogs and spend two hours living off you vicariously. You know who you are, because I join your parties and leave comments. I love you, and am happy to waste time with you.

First, though, I will leave you with a pretty picture, so you will leave this post with a pleasant feeling: summer bouquet

I’m sharing with these most excellent blog parties:

Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Boogieboard Cottage’s Masterpiece Monday, Mockingbird Hill Cottage’s A Favorite Thing, Funky Junk Interiors’ Saturday Night Special, DebbieDoo’s, Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Creating My Way to Success’s A Round Tuit, Alderberry Hill’s Make the Scene Monday

13. Translating the WWOOF Experience

Our WWOOFers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms volunteers) have left us some lovely notes after their experiences here. Belgians Aaron and Sien have taken their comments one step further. They are blogging, in Dutch, about their trip to North America in their 1981 Toyota HiAce camper van.

Here is part of an amusing translation of their WWOOF report:

“We take the next day the ferry to the Sunshine Coast.   As come we Sunday evening closed with Gail, our hostess that we will help by the construction of her organic garden.  We are receive there quite good.  Gail had to keep house previously a teacher in (home economics) and really well can boil.  It its pescotariërs (vegetarians that well fish eat), thus it its especially vegetables and fish (and dessert: pen) on the menu.  At the same time with us, Kove, a 16-birthday American came, also to.  He came here also WWooffen in the same period as ons.  The work started especially with the releasing of the ground.  Hereby am been frightened I (Sien) surely just hard.  I stood passed in the high grass then a snake between my bones.  Just later on I stood to inform by Gail and it its inoffensive animals that single snails eat.  Because they therefore usefully are be named for the garden they gardenerssnakes.

We have in that 2 weeks mainly at the zone worked around their garden house.  With us 3 have we that piece of high grass and weeds transformed to a square of gravel with a stair and a path from wood shred. Furthermore we exported yet other smaller projects/branches round and around the house (firewood pile up, weeds bet, a stair make, flowers plant, gravel move).  We felt really an even time our muscles ‘s evenings.

The house is beautiful lain overlooking the sea, islands and mountains.  The quite tame house dog Kitty held our also company.  We had there our own room and entry till a steam shower what well virtue wanted to do.

Roberts Creek Falls

In our want to have moments we different places visited.  We strolled in the city Gibsons.  Sunday its we will walk in Smugglers Cove, a bay that previously uses became round men and illegal products the country in to smuggle.   For that reason had we once a half day to Porpoise Bay will walk together with Kove. he had its Slackline with (a kind curry that you can opspannen between 2 bombs on to walk and possibly for advanced trucks on to do).  It became an amusing afternoon.  We did swim Wednesday an attempt to go but was the water not deep and hardly.  We have been been also an even time to a pleasant alternative cafe Gumboots.

We boiled a typical Belgian time for our hostess: tomatte crevette with fries and as a dessert Belgian waffles.  Aäron made also yet a vlaai.”

Their subsequent blog post describes a visit to Vancouver Island:

“The next morning we decide to drive toward Tofino, but not after an afternoon lazing on the beach in Parksville. The water temperature is tolerable and we almost lose the time and getijd sight. Just our clothes, we can save from certain death.

We stop at Coombs because the roofs are covered with grass and graze a few goats on the roof. Then we drive to Tofino, an ex-hippie town that looks suspiciously like a resort. We walk around here, but are not really impressed, but then decide to walk on the beach. Fate brings us to a beautiful hidden beach and we can enjoy the sunset and a marriage proposal a little further on the beach. We spend the night in a parking lot behind a school.

The next morning is not directly a moment of glory, because we are awakened by a kind policeman. We could not sleep, because what the children would not say (it was there or holiday). We came away with a warning.

Our cup has the equally difficult when turning on the campsite in the loose sand. Fortunately bakkie hit out on your own strength.

There is an old wooden bridge over the lake and we’re jumping all three of the bridge, the one all that enthusiastic than the other. It is warm and swimming in the lake is refreshing. After a few jumps let us dry in the sun. We are bears, and we taste the meat offered. Aaron and Jorrit keep a ping pong tournament on the smallest ping-pong table wraps Sien while cooking. We had dinner at the bridge to the beautiful views to enjoy. Then cut Sien Aaron’s hair.

At the campsite we are working because they are there to make a wooden structure. The owner wants teepee next week a pilot episode filming his new TV show where the participants as soon as possible to gather mushrooms with a camera on a helmet on their head. Participants can not be voted out or do not fall off. And that’s the genius of it, if someone is lost forever he does just that every episode.”

I love Google translator!