our acreage: gardens

When we first moved out here, we didn’t have a garden. Geoffrey and I talked about making a large vegetable garden somewhere in our yard, but we couldn’t agree on where. What we did agree on was waiting at least a full year to think about it and get a feeling for where it would work best before we went ahead and dug up the grass. Then the snow began to melt.

What we noticed first was a small square perimeter of wood in our front yard. As the snow melted more, we began to see sand. Once it completely disappeared, we were left with an old 8′ x 8′ sandbox that had clearly been neglected. Not wanting to keep it a sandbox because of all the stray cats and wildlife around here, I eventually chose for it to become my rock garden.

I envisioned a desert-inspired garden with lots of cacti and rocks. I asked many people what I should do to transform this sandbox into a usable, grow-able space and was given lots of ideas. My sister-in-law was the most knowledgeable, so I listened mostly to her. The first thing I did was stain the wood. I chose a darker colour called “Coffee” thinking that it would contrast our light grey house nicely. I went in blind since I had no idea what exterior theme we would eventually go with- modern, western, etc. I therefore aimed for a slightly more modern look.

Next I dug several 1′ x 1′ holes. I think I started with around seventeen. Then I filled them with soil. It was still too cold to plant anything, so for days I just stared out the window at these holes. To me, it looked much too cluttered. I decided to fill those holes back in with sand and dig new ones. This time I ended up with ten. Much better.

Over the next few weeks, I set about getting everything planted in my garden. I started by propagating a few cacti that were growing in our home. Right away it was clear that they weren’t going to survive. (I was too excited and planted them too early.) Then my next door neighbour gave me thyme to put in my garden. I thought, ‘OK, this will be a thyme and cacti rock garden’. A few days later I went to a greenhouse and came back not with cacti but bell peppers, white onions, succulents, and red Canadian roses. Clearly my desert-inspired garden was slowly becoming a vegetable/flower garden. Oh well!

Have you ever tried growing green onion in water from food scraps? It is ridiculously easy, even for a brown thumb like me! After you buy some from the grocery store and consume the dark green part of the vegetable, take the leftover part (the white bulb with roots attached) and put it in a glass of water. Be sure to change the water every day or every second day. Almost instantly you will see new growth occur. I did this for about two weeks before I transplanted them into my garden. That’s when they really took off! They are over 3 feet tall. I have never seen green onion quite like this before. Geoff and I still laugh about how massive they are.

To finish it off, I purchased large river stones to cover the sand. I think that it took around eight bags. Then I bought small smooth pebbles to fill in the gaps. I found the large rocks to line the plant holes along the dirt roads that we walk on everyday.

After filling my rock garden with all of the plants and vegetables that I could think of, I felt like that it began to look a little disorganized. Somewhere along the way I lost my vision of a minimalist cacti haven. Following advice from my mother-in-law and mum to start a garden along the garage, I decided to do just that. I removed the rhubarb from the rock garden, then the sunflower plant, then the white onions, then the peppers, and put them in my new garden that Geoff made for me by rototilling a long and narrow patch. We also added the peonies that we took from our other house. Garden thieves.

I tended to that second garden for a few weeks before I began to notice that every night animals were digging in it. After a lengthy search on Pinterest, I found simple and practical fence options that one could DIY in a matter of a few days. Back I went to Geoffrey, asking him to now build a fence around our spontaneous little garden. He was probably hesitant at first, but once I showed him the pictures, he became very excited and said that he would love to do it.

As an added treat, I took the kids to visit an out-of-town friend for two days. Armed with music, beer, and hot weather, he constructed the cutest darn fence that we have ever had. He used cement, chicken wire, and treated 2′ x 4’s and posts. Then I laid down mulch.

We finished it off by adding hinges and a latch on the gate. Beautiful and practical. Yet, we weren’t done.

Once I saw how lovely the treated lumber looked, I knew that my slightly-modern outdoor theme was now out the window. Rustic was the way to go for our acreage. This meant that I wanted to change the stained wood that housed my rock garden. I sent Geoffrey back to Home Depot for treated 2′ x 6’s. He went and picked them up, then came home and replaced the wood, making it much taller as well. I love the way it turned out. This rock garden will forever remind me of my sister-in-law.

Next year we have plans for raised flower beds in an enclosure along the sunnier side of the garage. Until then, these are our acreage gardens.

Emory

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a healthy breakfast – quick egg sandwich

IMG_1.jpgHappy New Year! I don’t know if you’ve noticed this either, but it seems like almost every blogger or Instagrammer has posted a list of their New Year’s resolutions. Have you also made one? To be honest, I have not made any New Year’s goals in about three years. My reason for this is simply because my lists were so generic (amp up my exercise, eat healthier, clean the house more often), that I could not keep up with them for very long. While they were exciting in the beginning, in the end I would always feel as if I was setting myself up for failure. That was not a good feeling.

When I became a vegetarian three years ago, I chose not to make any other resolutions that year and to only concentrate on my new lifestyle. Months went by, and pretty soon, it became easy not to eat any meat (although my family would have horror stories when it came to accommodating my new diet). I would say that within the first month my whole body felt lighter and cleaner, and by the next month, I knew that becoming a vegetarian was one of the best decisions that I had made in some time. There was no turning back, I was hooked. That is not to say that I did not have days when I would feel completely exhausted. However, that was entirely my fault and over the next week I would make sure to overload on beans, spinach, eggs, etc. to compensate for my laziness. While being a vegetarian is not for everyone, I would highly recommend it for those of you who have food sensitivities, would like to be more health-conscious, have any sort of concern for animal welfare or the environment, or were just always curious about it. There are many different types of vegetarians (some don’t eat white meat or fish, while some do), and you can try whatever works best for you. If it only lasts a day, hey at least you tried! Although, I would say that the first month is probably the hardest, so if you can survive that, you will be golden. :-)))

That being said, I also think that we can all adopt a few minor changes to make eating healthier a life-long goal rather than just a New Year’s goal. This egg sandwich is a wonderful way to start your day. I have been making them for over nine years, and almost daily for the past three. However, what started out as a supermarket egg, cheese, and bagel sandwich, slowly turned into one with farm eggs, organic vegetables, and one slice of brown bread. Do you know what else? It is so much better in every way!

IMG_2-1.jpg10 Minute Egg Sandwich:

1 egg

1-2 slice(s) brown bread

green onion, chopped

tomato, chopped

spinach, shredded

cheese, chopped (optional)

meat, chopped (optional)

1/4 tsp oil

salt + pepper

water

IMG_3.jpgGather your vegetables, meat, and cheese together. Chop into small pieces.

Crack an egg into a microwave-safe bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, meat, cheese, oil, salt, pepper, and a splash of water. Whisk thoroughly. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, put your bread in the toaster. This should finish around the same time as your egg.

IMG_4.jpgRemove egg from microwave. Let cool for 2 minutes. Using a fork, remove it from the bowl and gently place onto your toast. Voila!!

IMG_5 Remember that the key to eating right is all about moderation, and making sure that what you do eat serves a purpose other than to only taste good. Take a look at some of the benefits that these ingredients have:

eggs (a great source of protein and vitamins, including vitamin A, B, and potassium)

brown bread (high in complex carbohydrates, low in saturated fat, a source of protein, and a storehouse of nutrients and fiber)

green onions (good source of vitamins A, C, K, and phytochemicals)

tomatoes (almost too many to mention- vitamins A, B, C, E, K, iron, fiber, potassium, magnesium, protein, and more)

spinach (again, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, iron, fiber, potassium, magnesium, protein, and more)

cheese (vitamins A and B, calcium, phosphorous, protein, and more)

meat (depends on what type, but generally a high source of protein)

olive oil (many health benefits, helps fight viruses and diseases)

IMG_6.jpgSee you all on Monday! Have a wonderful and healthy weekend.

xxoo 

Emory

  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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