Friday, June 20, 2008

Looky looky!

I got a mention in the Otesha Journal! Thanks Otesha! :) I wasn't the only one mentioned either - my pal Unstuffed was awarded blog of the month. And Hit Pay Dirt (another great Ottawa blog and a fav of mine) got a mention as well.

For those who don't know, Otesha is an awesome Ottawa-based not for profit organization. In their words, Otesha "was created to mobilize youth to create local and global change through their daily consumer choices. We believe that there are alternatives to our culture of overconsumption, and that each one of us has opportunities to have positive impacts every single day."

They do educational outreach with high school kids (actually folks of all ages), publish a book and just generally spread the word.

I think they are great.

This is what has been keeping me busy lately

In this bed amongst the flowers there are:

3 climbing lebanese cucumbers (in container)
1 striped zucchini (to the left of the container)
2 gooseberry bushes (although they are rapidly multiplying. They are to the right of the cucs)
raspberries (along the back of the fence)

Over here we have 2 types of beans (french bush beans, and scarlet runners). And more raspberries. Mmmmm, raspberries.

Herb garden. If you look really closely you might see some fennel, some parsley and some chives. If you look closely you'll see oregano. And if you just look, you'll see some mint, some more mint, and oh yeah, some mint.

And this is the new bed. This was filled with flowers last year which I had to squeeze into other parts of the garden because I couldn't bear to just dig them up. This bed contains:
  • 3 types of tomatoes (2 x yellow cherry, 2 x roma, and one brandywine )

  • basil

  • 3 red pepper plants (red knight)

  • peas

  • sugar snap peas

  • more beans - these were a gift - believe they are a different variety of scarlet runner

  • 4 eggplant plants

Oh garden, I love you.

Oh and in case anyone is wondering what happened about the dirt, we ended up ordering 3 cubic yards. And it was plenty. Thank goodness we didn't order the 30 or so yards that we were originally told we'd need.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Still no fridge

Yep, we are a full 8 months into life without a fridge and are happier than ever.

Here are a few extra benefits we learned this weekend:

  1. Its really easy to pack for the cottage when your fridge is a cooler

  2. Silence - the cottage we stayed at had a fridge and after not hearing it for so long, the hum from the fridge seemed extra loud

I get quite a few questions about how we are doing this. The main question is how we keep food cold.

Now that it is no longer cold outside, we make the ice for the cooler that we use instead of a fridge in the small chest freezer we keep in the basement. For the time being we are able to keep the cooler cold with two 2L pop bottles of ice which we change daily.

I'm also often asked if not having a fridge means we have to buy food every day. Thankfully the answer to that is no. We get most of our produce (food that goes in the cooler) from the organic farmers market which I go to once a week. I found that this spring as things got warmer and the house got too warm to store root veggies outside the cooler, I did have to make 1 or 2 extra shopping trips mid week. I'm hoping though that since we have a pretty decent veg garden this year that mid week shopping will be replaced by garden picking. :)

Also we have found that being restricted in the amount of food we can buy means we waste a lot less. We now only buy the amount of food that will fit in the cooler. Which interestingly is about the amount of food that will last us a week.

As the summer goes on I think we'll have to switch to a smaller cooler because I think the demand for ice will be too great. This also should be easier to do once we are feeding ourselves mostly from the garden.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The last of the 2007 strawberries

This deliciousness was a super easy experiment.

  • 1 apple (local)

  • 1 ish cups of frozen local strawberries

  • 1 cup oats

  • 1/4 cup oat bran

  • handful hazelnuts (chopped)

  • 1/8 cup safflower oil

  • 1/4 ish cup of rice syrup (I'm off sugar and most substitutes at the moment)

  1. Peel and slice the apple and put at the bottom of the baking dish

  2. Cut up strawberries (frozen) and cook in microwave for a few mins

  3. Add berries to dish with apple (will be v. v. juicy)

  4. Drizzle over a little bit of rice syrup

  5. Mix oats, oat bran, hazelnuts, safflower oil, and rice syrup

  6. Add this granola-like mix on top of the fruit and bake at 350 for around 20 mins? (think I did about 10 and then turned the oven off and let it finish cooking with residual heat). Basically cook until bubbling and brown on top.

  7. Eat.

The cool part was that the oat bran soaked up all the strawberry juice so once it cooled I could slice it up like a granola bar.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Free stuff!

Yesterday a rep from Capital Environmental stopped by the house. He told me about the TAPS Program which encourages water conservation and is sponsored by Enbridge Gas. Basically they are providing (per house/apartment) a:
  • showerhead

  • kitchen sink aerator

  • bathroom sink aerator

  • foam pipe insulation for hot water pipes

We got two of everything so that we could also install them in our tenants apartment.

The showerheads look awesome. Lots of settings and all are only 4.7 litres per minute (1.25 gal per minute). This is way better than our existing "low-flow" showerhead which is 9.5 litres per minute (or 2.5 gal per minute)

As part of the riot I'm trying not to buy anything new but I figure new stuff that saves water is ok. Especially since the guy just showed up at my door - how perfect!

If you are interested in finding out more about the program, here's the info from the flyer (I couldn't find a web site).


Captial Environmental Ltd