Friday, 18 September 2009


Darn! One day before I was to harvest everything, we had frost. The chard leaves were frozen solid this morning before I went to work, as were the bean leaves, the carrot tops, etc. I got home after dark tonight, so I didn't see the extent of the damage, but I have a feeling it will be a sad sight when I go out there tomorrow. Well, at least the root veggies are ok, and I think the kholrabi and kale should make it. This year's first frost was two weeks later than last year, and it still caught me off guard. Rats!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Lessons from a Neglected Garden

Over the past month or so I have really neglected the garden. We've had a little rain, so I haven't had to water it every day, but I have had to turn on the sprinkler once a week anyway, to keep things from drying out. The weeds are enormous - truly huge! I have never let the weeding get away from me like I did this year, and when I once entertained the idea of doing something about it, the weeds were already so large it would have disturbed the root systems of everything else to yank them out. So there are 3 and 4 foot weeds in there, seriously.

One of the few bonuses of the weeds is that they have certainly shaded the soil well, and kept the rain that does fall from evaporating immediately. It has kept the soil surface cooler as well, which some of the plants have liked a lot (in particular the beans and carrots).

Because of the extent of my neglect, I may be able to collect more seed than I otherwise would have. Many of my radishes went to seed, and the flowers they put out were really quite lovely. And now there are a zillion seed pods ready for picking. My two varieties of bean plants produced much later than last year, so much so that I didn't think they were going to produce at all. But they did, seemingly all of a sudden, and now I have huge bean pods that are probably way past eating as green beans. Fortunately, one of the varieties I grew was dual purpose anyway (the Golden Rocky bean), and so I will just harvest them as dry beans for over the winter (and seed for next year). The other variety (Tanya's Pink Pod) was interesting to look at and very pretty, but I don't think I will grow many of them next year. I will still save some seed though.

I managed to thin the carrots out once in early Summer, but otherwise they are really growing way too close together. Despite this, they have grown quite big and fairly straight, and since I haven't been grazing on them all summer long, there are actually a lot of them left to harvest and store for the Winter.

My neglect also resulted in my harvesting very few new potatoes. The plants have all yellowed and wilted now, and have been that way for a couple weeks, which means the skins will have hardened and they will be better suited to long term storage. That works well for me, since we had new potatoes almost all summer from our CSA farm share (and probably will have many more weeks of these yet).

So, while I wish I was more on the ball this year with my garden, I have been pleasantly surprised at what will grow anyway, despite the weeds and the overall carelessness and inattention. I'm hoping next year will be a bit of a middle path between my gung-ho hypervigilance last year, and my distracted neglect this year.

Now, if the first frost will just hold off for a few more days, I will dig, pick, dry and otherwise harvest my little heart out this weekend!

Radish pod picture courtesy this foraging blog.

Friday, 4 September 2009

"Some people think I'm crazy, but I'm not."

Warning: Rant Ahead.

I am so frustrated I don't even know where to start. Frustrated with myself and the world in general, suprise suprise. Well, how about starting here: two years ago I wrote a post about how I was afraid to look weird, carrying my Green Party reusable grocery bag into the grocery store. I've come a long way from that, and now my Green Party bag is a regular part of my trips to the grocery store, farmer's market and anywhere else a reusable bag is handy.

Fast forward to this year: I am trying to be responsible with my savings and RRSPs and such, while taking into account all the financial mayhem and general unethical crap that goes on in our 'free market' system. Sometimes I think the whole thing is one huge Ponzi scheme. For years since I graduated from grad school and got a 'real job' I've been contributing diligently to RRSPs on a monthly basis, taking advantage of 'dollar cost averaging' and all that stuff, putting it into what seemed like fairly safe 'investments.' But more and more I think the whole thing is a gamble, not an investment - a glorified poker table or slot machine, distinctly favoring 'the house.' So I've been doing things differently over the past year or so, much to the chagrin of the people at my banking/investing institutions. So far I've just shrugged it off, but this week I've been making some inquiries about changing things again - getting all radical with a GIC instead of equities - and the response I got made me really doubt myself. Then it made me mad. Then it made me doubt myself some more. And I thought, here I go again, afraid to look weird. Well forget that noise.

This is my money, that I've worked for and set aside, for years. This is not the bank's money, it's not the investment company's money. It is my money (Gord's and mine, but you get my point). It is up to ME what I do with it. And I resent being told that I am being 'unreasonable' to want to put it in a conservative fund like a GIC, and I really resent the implication that I am acting rashly and irresponsibly to give up my 'opportunity' to get big returns on my 'investments.' What's wrong with just wanting a decent return on my money, without all the anxiety of wondering if today is the day that the sucker rally ends?

And I resent the patronizing implication that all of this is just beyond me and I should leave it to the 'experts' to manage on my behalf. No, I don't have any training in finance, banking or investments, but I do read both mainstream and non-mainstream publications about it so I'm not just operating on auto-pilot when I go into the bank or the investment office. Sometimes I wonder if these things are made super-complicated on purpose, for obfuscation purposes. Really, how complicated should it be? And why should I just hand over my money without question anyway? Especially to someone who has a vested interest in me handing over my money without question.

So on the way home from work I had my car stereo cranked up loud, playing this Oysterband song, which made me cry, just like it did at this year's Folk Festival. Bring on the flood. Bring it. I am so tired of the way things are.

factories in the phillipines,
cutting holes in brand new jeans,
for cutting edge consumers,
rich kids in the west you see,
they have no sense of irony,
and i'm losing my sense of humour,
all across the moonlit sky,
vapour trails multiply, trade winds are getting stronger,
while he says she has to chill,
they bring us apples from brazil,
new diseases from the congo,

i havent prayed since god knows when,
my teeth are un-american,
socialism's orphan child,
unimpressed, unreconciled
some people think im crazy.... but i'm not
here comes the flood

a million tv dishes crown the skyline of shanty town,
everywhere our apsiration,
the word from CNN arives,
we watched the headlines of our lives,
each movement in isolation,
the cool blue line of isolation...


democracy for planet earth,
they roll it out like astroturf,
easy men they're all in a hurry,
so you can wear a stupid grin,
watch 'em roll the bankers in,
only the bad guys amongst us need to worry


here comes the flood x3