Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Officially Fall

It was quite an exciting transition to fall this year, with a full Harvest moon on the very day (or the day after, depending on whose calendar you were following). And then, the night before last, we had frost! Quite a coating of ice on the roof of the car at cat-letting-out time. However we had taken old sheets and some fleece and covered the tomatoes, and when I took them off the next day they were fine - and oddly so was everything else. I KNOW that I saw - and even scraped with a fingernail, to no avail - that ice!
I've become a real convert to the Scotland's Gardens podcast (and the TV equivalent, Beechgrove Garden) as they seem to have such sensible advice, and the climate seems a lot like what we have - at least until we get to the sub-zeroes anyway. So they talk about covering with fleece, and I wonder if it's a special gardener's fleece or just the regular stuff? I could have sworn that I had miles of the stuff, but I couldn't find more than a couple of pieces when I went looking on Sunday. I shall have to institute a more thorough search.
It was the 70-mile Yard Sale last weekend and, while I didn't find any wonderful yarn bargains this year, I did get a home-made tortilla press (for $3) that I'll take to Toronto for Emily in mid-October. I also bought a Fru Dagmar Hartrup rose at the greenhouse in Wood Islands (25% off). I think it's going to go to that sluggardly eastern end of the rose mound. The tag promises plenty of suckering (hurrah!).
The Room has most of a floor now, and we're struggling with trimming off the doors - the floor is higher so the doors are too tall - or is that too long? We cut the vertical members of the bathroom door last night on the table saw, and were trying to hand-plane away the bit in the middle. They are 2-panel Douglas fir doors. It's hard to get a proper angle on doors for planing. I plane best on a horizontal surface - floors, for instance. Maybe I have to get the door outside and go up on the roof or something?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fallish weather at last

I'm not complaining, but we had rather a lot of hot muggy weather, including another spate of it at the end of August. I find it quite enervating, and don't get much done at all, including blogging of course. We had a brush with a hurricane (Earl) a couple of weekends ago, though, and things are more like normal now.

On the garden side, we are awash in tomatoes, especially the cherry ones, although, because I grew "Sweet Million" some of them make for - quite - large - cherries. I've been taking them in to work for people to eat, as well as serving them with everything at home, and even roasting them.

I made a kind of bruschetta topping (recipe at Canadian Living) with halved cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, breadcrumbs and feta, roasted in the oven for 45 minutes, then scooped over French bread toast slices. We had the rest with dinner last night. This was more elaborate than the usual roasting - just halved, drizzled with olive oil and in the oven for 15 minutes, then cooled, bagged and into the freezer. I think these will be really easy and tasty, added to pasta sauce or whatever. I have always found them annoying to peel for salsa, as they're so small, so this takes care of that too.

I made a couple of batches of salsa from last year's tomatoes (blush!) which were discovered at the bottom when I cleaned out the freezer to make room for this year's bounty. I'm sure they will be fine.

Everyone agrees that this was a year unlike any other for garden growth, and I have yet to try to harvest all the onions and carrots, although I think all the beans are done and frozen. Potatoes we are eating, and while each plant has only a few, they are huge, knobby yellow ones. Not Yukon Gold, but I can't remember what they are. I made Irish-style roasted potatoes with them yesterday and they were great.

We have been working on an in-the-house project too - we took out a wall and filled in a door, the net result being that, when completed, we will have more space for arranging furniture in the living room (as we don't have to allow a passageway to that former door) and a TV- or guest-room which feels quite a bit more private. It now has its own short passageway and closet, rather than being just off the living room. This has been in the works since we re-did the downstairs bathroom, so as a guest room it will have its own private bath. Now, when we get the dollars together we want to give it its own separate entrance, off a deck and possibly a little sun-room...a granny suite!

Anyway, with the heat and all, it's taken almost all summer to get to the stage where we should be able to paint - and then the floating floor, purchased YEARS ago, will go down - and then I have to decide on the colour to paint the woodwork - and paint and install it - and then it's done! The demolition and the plastering and seam filling are just killers when you don't know what you're doing - which we do not. However, two new things have helped - an inside corner trowel - magic! And I watched Eileen's brother-in-law, a professional painter, fill in little cracks with painters' caulk (it's called ALEX because it's acrylic and latex). I wish I had met him years ago. As a result. the cove moulding in The Room looks super - no dark lines, cracks, or gaps anywhere, and Alex washes off your hands with soap and water. I LOVE Alex!