I have recently become moderately obsessed with our flower gardens. And Andrew can attest to my unexplained love of lilies. I’ve dragged him outside on more than one occasion to go look at lilies that have recently come into bloom in our garden. For the past few years our flowerbeds have included both yellow and orange day lilies. We also have a couple tiger lilies that were accidentally translated in a hosta plant from my parents.
But I recently discovered Asiatic Lilies and have gone a bit crazy over them. Last year we planted Asiatic lilies and oriental hybrid lilies from bulbs last year so it’s been a bit of a surprise to see what they look like as they start to bloom. I love the colour and the number of blooms that come on a single plant. They also seem to require very minimal maintenance. A definite win in the flowerbeds at Oslicken Acres.
As I mentioned earlier Andrew and I are trying our hands at Square Foot Gardening for the first time this year. When I last wrote we were thrilled with how quickly we were able to plant the garden. It’s now mid summer and our new gardens are thriving. We’ve already been treated to lettuce, radishes, marigolds, and chamomile in abundance and many of the other plants are thriving.
The smaller garden is also making it much easier to stay on top of the weeds. Normally by this point in the gardening season the weeds are out numbering the plants and we’re struggling to keep the traditional style garden under control. Andrew and I have found that the smaller gardens are much easier to stay on top of and that weeding is no longer as time consuming.
We were using this year as a trial of the square foot garden method and built two beds to start. Based on how well things are going we are considering building a couple more beds for next year — more construction projects on Andrew’s never ending list. One thing we will do differently next year is the number of tomato plants per square foot. As you’ll notice by the picture below our tomato plants are huge and are taking over the one bed. We’ll definitely give each plant more space in the future.
Deliciousness from Shabby Motley.
This is the second post in the Living Local Series. The first post in this series featured Outspoken Brewing and can be found here.
Shabby Motley is a yarn shop, cafe, and funky hangout out space on Queen Street. Coincidentally it is located right next door to Outspoken Brewery, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. The store is filled to the brim with every type of fiber and yarn a crafter could ask for. But, given how crazy long it’s taken me to approach completion of my latest knitting project I haven’t indulged in too many of the beautiful yarns offered by Shabby. My goal is to finish using up some of the yarn I already own before I stockpile more.
But, even if you aren’t a knitter or fiber artist Shabby Motley is a pretty neat space. They have delicious baking, locally roasted coffee from St. Joseph Island Coffee Roasters, and delicious sandwiches. The staff are super friendly and helpful. It’s an inviting space that makes me want to knit more every time I visit the shop.
The shop’s facebook account is also pretty awesome and hilarious at times — and they are constantly posting inciting photographs of tasty treats. I am very happy to see a local business like Shabby thriving in Sault Ste Marie’s downtown core. Definitely a local gem.
Nothing beats fresh produce straight from the garden. A lot of the crops Andrew and I plant on a yearly basis seem to take forever before you get to taste them. Carrots, potatoes, onions, parsnips and squash are all ready late in the season and we tend to store these treats for months after they are picked. These veggies are definitely worth the wait but sometimes I’m an impatient garden.
Oslicken Acre Radishes
The short turn around time on radishes and greens are one of the reasons I love growing them. Within a couple of weeks of planting radishes and greens they are on the table and ready to be eaten.
This year I planted Swiss chard for the first time. It seems to be flourishing and we’ve already sampled some. So far I’ve only been using the leaves, but I read somewhere that the crisp rib portion of the chard can be cooked and eaten as well. More experiments will have to be done.
My parents used to grow radishes on a regular basis. For whatever reason it hadn’t occurred to me to add these tasty morsels to the list of things Andrew and I plant. So this year was the first year we’ve grown radishes at Oslicken Acres. I’m enjoying them in salads and as uncooked veggie snacks in my lunch.
Andrew and I are trying our hand at growing garlic for the first time this year. Last fall we dutifully cracked garlic bulbs into cloves and got them into the ground before the last frost. Over the winter snow buried the garden, garlic moved off my radar, and we let nature take its course. In the early spring we were delighted to see that almost all our garlic made it through the winter and was thriving.
Having something come up in the Spring before you’ve even planted the rest of your vegetable garden was a great treat. The early growth of garlic made me get excited for the coming growing season and start planning what else we were planting this year.
This week we started cutting the scapes from our garlic. They are pretty and so far we’ve just used them as decorative items. They also have a lovely subtle garlic smell. I’m hoping experiment with different ways of cooking the scapes — adding them to a stir fry seems like the easiest option and will probably be what I try first.
Now that the scapes are cut we’re entering the homestretch and in a few weeks we’ll find out how our first foray into garlic has gone. Fingers crossed for a bountiful year.
Years ago I helped teach Sunday School at the church my family attended. The lesson plans often included a bible story followed by a short craft. I vividly remember a small child laughing at my attempts to make a craft and pointing out how superior their craft was. Needless to say my confidence in my crafting abilities is pretty low. Despite this I’ve taken on a few small craft projects in recent years – often as presents for Andrew.
I also started learning to knit a few years. My first project was a small scarf. I watched YouTube videos, pulled out lots of stitches, and eventually managed to knit a scarf that included knit and purl stitches. It wasn’t perfect but I learned a lot and felt awesome for knitting something.
Not wanting to get too fancy for my second project I decided I would knit a blanket — blankets are just like huge scarves for your lap right? Two years later I’m finally putting the finishing touches on this seemingly eternal knitting project. I get marks for preserving, right? I think I’ll pick something much smaller for my third knitting project.
I love finding local places that are unique, offer a great product, and owned by friendly people. I think supporting local businesses and your local economy is important. The “Living Local” series is inspired by this affection for local places and local products. The series will highlight some of my favourite haunts, tasty eats, and miscellaneous local goodness.
If you hadn’t already guessed Andrew and I are beer drinkers. We recently sampled two beers from OutSpoken Brewing a microbrewery that recently opened in Sault Ste Marie. Outspoken currently has limited storefront hours and sells by the growler and howler. Your first growler is $20 and refills are $12-13. We picked up two growlers from OutSpoken, one of Anvil Red Ale and one of Rabbit’s Foot IPA.
Surprisingly I enjoyed the Anvil Red Ale more than the IPA. It was subtle, smooth drinking, and a lovely amber colour. Andrew and I are looking forward to trying more selections from Outspoken — especially since they recently introduced expanded hours.
I recently sampled “Revenge of the Ginger: Kickin’ Ginger Red IPA” from Double Trouble Brewing. Admittedly, I have a not so secret love for gingers and IPAs, so the name of the beer is what inspired this purchase. I’ve previously tried and enjoyed Hops & Robbers by Double Trouble. As an added bonus the image on the can of a bearded ginger man appears to be in the likeness of one of the Double Trouble founders.
The Revenge of the Ginger poured with minimal head and had a cloudy amber hue. There was a very subtle hop finish and I would tend to place this more in the amber beer category than an IPA. There was a ginger smell to the beer which was accompanied by a smooth ginger taste. The ginger flavouring in this beer overpowers the hops and makes this more of a spiced ginger beer than an IPA. A great option if you like ginger beer, but might be a disappointment if you were looking for a strong hitting IPA. I still enjoyed it but it was definitely not what I was expecting.
Every year at around this time many of the open spaces at Oslicken Acres become awash in colour. Hieracium aurantiaca more commonly known as orange hawkweeed or devil’s paintbrush come into bloom and green fields become tinged with orange. Part of the daisy family devil’s paintbrush is a perennial plant that is often considered a weed or invasive species.
This bountiful flower grows abundantly in Northern Ontario and can often be found in meadows, ditches, and anywhere with lots of sunshine and grass. The name ‘devil’s paintbrush’ was apparently coined by farmers who see it as being troublesome and aggressive in nature. The plant also emits a substance that chokes out other plants from growing too closely – another strike in the invasive species box.
Despite this I think the devil’s paintbrush is beautiful. I love the look of the back field before the grass is cut and it is overgrown with the tiny orange flowers. We aren’t trying to grow anything other than grass in that area so the flower isn’t really an intrusion or bother. Andrew has often picked devil’s paintbrush, daises, buttercups and other wild flowers to make small flower arrangements. These arrangements are beautiful even if they are made up of what many people consider weeds. One man’s weed is another man’s bouquet.
Little Miss Amongst the Devil’s Paintbrush
I wrote earlier about the beers from Black Creek Historic Brewery in our beer of the month club delivery. The other featured brewery, Kichesippi Beer Co., in this month’s delivery is also from Ontario. Located in Ottawa the name of the brewery means ‘The Great River’ and prior to 1855 the river running through Ottawa was known as the Kichesippi.
We tried two beers from Kichesippi, the cleverly named Heller Highwater beer and the Wuchak Black. Heller Highwater is brewed in the style of a Munich Helles lager and the pun in the name won me over immediately. A pale yellow colour and fairly mild tasting with subtle depth. ‘Hell’ in German means light and ‘helles’ translated as noun means ‘the light one’ the colour and bubbly nature of this beer do it’s name justice. This is a perfect patio or dock sipping beer.
Both Andrew and I were weary about the Wuchak Black – described as a Cascadian Dark Ale or a Black IPA – it boasts a pitch black colour with a hop flavour. I love hops. Andrew loves dark stouts. Rarely have we found a beer that mixes these two components well. But the Wuchak Black seems to have pulled it off. The Wuchak pours a dark black that is slightly opaque and has a lovely hop smell with a hint of malt. It is an excellent balance of hop and stout – not too heavy and the hops aren’t overbearing. For a beer were both apprehensive about this was a pleasant surprise. Kitchesippi is wisely selling this as a seasonal offering. The Wuchak is more suited for a cozy evening next to the fireplace than a sunny day in a lawn chair.