Monthly Archives: September 2009

St. John’s!

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(I realize this could be anywhere, and we always take the same picture but what can you do??)

I have just returned from a visit to see my sister in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Here are a few high points!

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We went for walks. I love  that Signal Hill and a trail along the headland are just a few minutes walk from down town.  Looks especially well on a sunny fall day!

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On Sunday we ended one of our walks at a lovely little book store called The Bookery. Clare immediately drew my attention to a book that she thought was “me”, and it may as well have had my name written all over it! It’s called Lost Crafts: Rediscovering Traditional Skills . I bought it – what else could I do? I have a feeling I will be banging on about it in future posts!

Clare is newly passionate about pottery and made me a little mug! She was not happy with the glaze job (I feel she would want me to say that) but I am charmed by the little squirrel and couldn’t care less about the glaze! I think it will be perfect for a little cup of camomile at bedtime. Hooray for handmade things!

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During all our walking and talking Clare and I began to formulate a plan for a possible collaborative work project when she returns to Halifax in the winter. We had been wanting to work together but hadn’t really developed a vision until this trip. At the moment we are thinking about combining art and creative writing in some workshops/programs. I really think there is some potential here as both would compliment each other so well. Also, though we’ve had different experiences, Clare and I are of like minds and would work together well.  The whole thing is quite exciting!

Thanks, Clare and Jon, for a lovely few days!

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Adventures with Apple Galette

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Peeling apples in my hand-made, wedding shower gift apron. (I think I’m a better cook when I wear this apron.)

I have never made apple pie until this weekend. Strictly speaking it was Apple Galette, a sort of rustic apple pie. The idea was to use up some of the apples we picked on Saturday. I started off with a good deal of confidence but had a few nervous moments when I realized my departure from the recipe (decision to meld a few recipes together) may not have been the best plan. The filling was two juicy and kept leaking out onto the pan, causing the whole pie to sit in a puddle of sticky goo. But in the end, I don’t think it mattered much.  Anyway, I eventually got one large and two medium Apple Galettes baked and after sacrificing the smallest to our immediate pie cravings, got the other two in the freezer. I must do this again. We have enough apples for it, and I somehow feel that pie making is an important skill! (though I reserve the right to recant if I don’t master it!)

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(Sorry it’s not a better photo. Forgot to take more and now it’s too late!)

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Picking Apples

I didn’t expect the smell. It’s the thing that first hit us as we stepped into the sunny orchard; the sweet scent of apples. It was a perfect day for our little apple picking outing at Gates U-pick. This is just the beginning of the season so you should go here too. We had a lovely time.

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We wandered through the rows of trees,  leisurely picking two big bags of Gravenstein apples. And because that was so much fun, we also picked a bag of Clapp pears.

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Can’t beat the price – these were supposedly 10 lb bags (and the owner gave us a deal – just $10 for all three bags!) but when we got home we discovered we’d picked 30 lb of apples and 18 of pears! I’m determined not to waste any so we’ll have to get eating. I also plan to  make  lots of apple and pear sauce and pie filling for the freezer.

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After picking we had a pleasant lunch of olive bread and brie in the peaceful u-pick picnic area and a walk on the dike to complete the day. On our way home  we stopped off at Hennigar’s to load up on local produce for the freezer.

A splendid day!

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Hop Pillow

Today I made a hop pillow! Haven’t done this in a long time, but I remember doing it when I was a kid with the hops growing in our back-yard. And there are still hops in my parents back-yard

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so I stole a few and let them dry for a day or so

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and made a little pillow. (Seen here on “Gammer Gurton’s Needle”- A wonderful children’s book.)

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Hops are meant to help you sleep. I’m not sure if they do, but sometimes even just the suggestion, combined with a pleasant and soothing aroma can do the trick.

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Raging success!

Well, it’s September first and our Month of Local Eating was a raging success! Once again we are pretty happily rolling along the local food track and aren’t desperate to jump of the wagon (if I can employ that metaphor)! September is a a wonderful time for local harvest, so we plan to continue to feast on local produce, and even get some in the freezer. All in all it was a wonderful month, and I highly recommend having a go at your own Local Eating challenge! Here are a few miscellaneous local food related pictures I haven’t already shared.

Last night’s supper: a blended borscht with yogurt, grilled cheese sandwiches and cucumber from our garden. Oh, and some apple cider.

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Tasty blueberry scones for tea. And then again for breakfast.

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Having my parents over for a local meal.

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I was inspired by the incredible rainbow of our market spoils to create a fruit and veggie colour wheel. Guess where I got that idea?100_2816

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