The end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

Okay, so this is my last Luxy Farm Blog.

I am writing this after having said goodbye to my parents with whom I had my first official dinner in my new apartment.

So I now sit in my living room, with boxes all around me, but I surprisingly feel at home. I’ve been so busy the last couple of weeks, I really can’t believe I am where I am at the moment.

My internship is over; I have learnt how to grow food on my own. I am excited about starting my new job at Ecollegey-The Real Green Grocer. And I now have my own place; a beautiful, sunny and comfy place that already feels like home. Things have just been rolling, rolling into place it seems, and here’s hoping that they keep on rolling.

This all started April 22, when I first started at Luxy Farm. The first 2 weeks were pretty rainy and cold, but I didn’t mind because everything was new and exciting. I guess it was fitting then that my last week on the farm was also rainy and cold. But even though it wasn’t as new or exciting anymore, it was still enjoyable. I realized (and reminded myself) that although it was rainy and cold, working outside in the fresh air was still better than sitting at a desk all day long.

Being back in the city is definitely going to take some getting used to I think. I am excited about being home with friends and family, starting a new job, having a garden next summer, and getting involved in the green community in Montreal. But I really have been living in a different world for the past 5 1/2 months. Whenever I came home on the weekends I felt like I was travelling from one world to another. I’ve never had the ‘city life’ experience and I do want to experience it. I know I am going to have a blast living downtown, being close to my friends and eating at yummy restaurants. And I will appreciate it for however long I am here, but I know I don’t want to be here forever. I hope to eventually make my way back out to the country, even if it’s just a St-Eustache farm.

And I know this because of what I did this summer. I have learnt a lot of things over the past couple of months and I have grown as a person, but I believe the most important thing I have gotten out of all this is a goal for the future. It may not be perfectly painted out, the specifics may not be laid out straight, but I now know for sure that I want to live a simple and self sufficient life. I hope to eventually have a piece of land, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, a place where I can feel completely alone and yet not alone at all. A place where I can grow food for myself, my family and friends for the whole year. A lifestyle that allows me to be outside in the fresh air most of the day. One in which I wake up with the sun and go to bed with the sun. A life where I am creating things on my own, the master of my fate.

Leaving the farm, I feel like I can take on the world. I am extremely empowered by the idea of being able to grow my own food. Last week I was out in the field jumping/dancing to my music, and the sun was setting over the trees right in front of me. In that moment I felt like I was having a staring contest with life, and I knew I was going to win. I realized then that I can take whatever life throws at me, because no one and nothing can take my spark, my passion or my smile away from me. No matter what happens, I will never lose what makes me me, I will never lose the fire I have for life.

And with that, I pretty much feel like I can end this blog. I was going to write about the songs of the summer: Elmo’s song (thank you Ayla) and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (seemingly the only song Rebecca had on her Ipod). And I was going to jokingly write about my extremely healthy digestive system (poor Rebecca) after a summer of green vegetables but frankly I’m tired and I’m sure you can live without the detailed explanation of the latter.

Before I end this blog though, I would like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the Luxy Crew. Thank you Daizy and Johnny for allowing me to come to the farm this summer and learn from you. Thank you Johnny for teaching me how to grow food, and for putting up with all of us women, I know we aren’t the easiest beings to work with. Thank you Daizy for feeding me delicious meals and wonderful baked goods. Thank you Ayla for being the cutest thing in the world and always putting a smile on my face. Thank you Oma and Chris for being mothers to all of us girls. Thank you Molly, Jango and Marie-Lou (the dog and cats) for being my animal companions and showering me with love. And thank you Chloe and Rebecca, for being the amazing people that you are. I couldn’t have asked for two better companions. I am so happy I was able to share this experience with you guys.

And so, that ends my blog. Fret not however, for although this may be my last Luxy Farm blog, it is not to be my last blog. I will keep blogging that is for sure. I plan to work on my recipes and resources pages. I have read lots of books over the summer and I plan to share them with you. I plan to provide you with notes/summaries on different topics from different books, so that even if you don’t get around to buying or reading them, you can still learn with me. Perhaps I will also start a daily or weekly food blog (it’s bigger than me really).

Therefore I will write again soon. For now I wish you a very good night. And I very much hope you have enjoyed my blogs, for I have enjoyed writing them.

Till next time!

The first week of October: Warm, Yummy and Colorful!

I am entering my last week on the farm! Monday will be the last time I was bins. Wednesday will be the last CSA pick up. Friday will be the last time I harvest for market. And Friday will be the last time my parents have to come pick me up from the farm. We will definitely be making an LCBO pit stop, along with a stop at the St-Albert Cheese Factory (they have jalapeno cheddar), a stop at the local Casselman brewery (for a jug of stout) and a stop at the Thai/Cambodian restaurant for a quick Tom Yum Soup to hold us over until we get home to my new apartment. (If you’d like me to pick you up something from any of these locations send me a msg via txt or fcb)

I could go off and ramble on about my new apartment, the move, my new appliances (that I just bought this morning) and my plans for decorating it but this is a blog for the farm. So let’s stick to that, especially seeing as it will be one of the last.

Last week was beautiful. Every morning was pleasantly warm in comparison to what I was expecting. The days were sunny and fresh. It was a pleasure to be outside each and every day.

We finished harvesting the first batch of carrots that were planted. There are still 6 beds, which will be for storage, Johnny and Rebecca will be harvesting them a bit later on. We’ve also taken out the last of the Kohlrabi. Basically, there’s not much left in the ground, we are slowly but surely harvesting what is left. We will be harvesting our brussel sprouts on Monday, finally! They were one of the first things we planted. I do love brussel sprouts but I think I might leave the growing of them to someone else and use the room in my garden for something else.

Speaking of brussel sprouts, its Thanksgiving next weekend! I get excited just thinking about the menu: butternut squash soup, turkey lurkey, Nicholson/Yale stuffing, homemade gravy and cranberry sauce, bread rolls (hoping to make some homemade ones), baked and buttered acorn squash, caramelized brussel sprouts and carrots, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and the list could go on and on and on. But we must not forget pumpkin pie! My mom makes a pretty awesome pumpkin pie but think I might try my hand on making a pumpkin cheesecake version. The photo of it looks amazing.

And speaking of cooking, it was Daizys birthday last week and so we made her a veggie lasagna without noodles. The first layer was zucchini topped with spinach, then cottage cheese, sage, mozzarella and sauce. The second layer was butternut squash topped with kale, more cheese and sauce. And we finished off the top layer with more zucchini. I even made the sauce from scratch with the cherry tomatoes that I had pureed. I simply cooked them with some garlic and onions and a bunch of oregano and thyme. It turned out pretty good, a bit watery, but flavorful nonetheless.

The lasagna was served with a walnut, goat cheese and pear salad with a honey lemon dressing. I also whipped up, for the first time ever, a homemade chocolate/coffee cake with chocolate cream cheese icing. The icing was to die for and the cake was perfectly moist, if I do say so myself. As I cook more and more, I am definitely getting better. However there are still many a time when I try something new, and although it tastes good, I feel as if it could have been better, as if there is a touch of something missing. But this cake I tell you, I was pretty impressed with myself.

This week I hope to buy a batch of garlic from a farm east of Montreal. I will be buying about 40 heads of garlic, each with about 5 bulbs, so that I have about 200 heads of garlic next summer. If you are interested in planting garlic as well, or even if you would just like to buy some garlic for storage over the winter contact me. I will wait to see who would like some, but would like to place the order as soon as possible. About 20 heads of garlic is 20$. So I’ll be buying 40$ worth and getting 200 heads out of it next summer. Garlic is planted in the fall (late Oct, early Nov) and is harvested the following July. This year seems like it’s going to be a cold one so that is why I would love to buy them soon. Planting late October, instead of waiting until November seems like a good idea.

And I think i’ll leave it at that. Its late afternoon on a cool but sunny Sunday. I’m going to try out the sweet potato casserole tonight but am going to work up my appetite with a little zumba workout. My zumba workout is basically just me with earphones on, in the field, dancing like a madman, and throwing in some “workout” moves. Its going to be fun. I was even thinking that when I get back to Montreal I could start a jogging/zumba/workout group. I’m pretty peppy, I could lead a class, ya?

Anywho, I hope you all had a relaxing weekend. I also hope you have a good week. And I can’t wait to come home and see everyone and have you over to my new apartment where I will feed you delicious meals made from organic food from the grocer I will be working at, and we will sip on some organic wine and beer together.

Tata!

The Final Countdown!

I meant to write this yesterday and post it this morning. Instead I am writing it before I go to bed, and will probably only post it tomorrow morning. So by the time you are reading this, tomorrow morning will really be just morning, and the title will no longer be as accurate, but somewhat accurate nonetheless. Was that sentence long enough for you?

I realized yesterday that I only had 10 days left on the farm (8 1/2 days by the time you read this). I watched the sun set behind the trees earlier today (it was beautiful) and realized how important it is for me to enjoy every second I have left here. It’s amazing to be able to stand out in the field and feel completely alone (in a good way) and take in the beauty all around me. Breath the fresh (yet sometimes pungent) air, listen to the birds, feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Just like when I left South Korea, leaving the farm will be bittersweet. I am very excited to return home to family and friends, a new job, a new home and a different lifestyle, but I will surely miss the life I have been leading here. As I was approaching my trailer the other day, I realized that I had been living in a trailer all summer (if that makes sense to you). The farm and the trailer have been home to me, and I’ve been very comfortable here. Granted I don’t have a bathroom in the trailer, or running water or a bathtub, but really I could have even less. And the lack of these amenities has only increased my appreciation for them.

But to get back to the point, although it has only been 5 1/2 months, this has been a big chapter in my life. One that has shaped me and affected my future in an unbelievable way. It almost feels like the first chapter in a new book (hopefully a long, loving and entertaining book). Which makes me think about how I would describe my earlier books…

Perhaps the first one would be called: “I can do it all by myself” (my parents may be the only ones to get that). The second: “The joys of trying to get Sara to go to School”. The third: “Nun Therapy” (bet that will leave you scratching your head). The fourth: “Sports, Sports, Sports” and the fifth “The Travelling Hobo”. Yes, I think those titles sum up the past 25 years pretty well.

The last title would be in reference to my life as a travelling vagabond. They call me “The Bag Lady”. Travelling from couch to couch, and country to country. However I am no longer a hobo (apparently I am a hippie, or so I’ve been told) but I am now a hippie with a home.

What the next book will be called, I am not too sure, but I know it will be awesome.

I also know that I plan to thoroughly enjoy the last days on the farm. I hope to soak up as much sun as possible. Eat as much fresh food as possible. (And cram in as many episodes of Buffy as possible without turning into a vampire.)

And with that, I bid you a good week and a good night for I am off to bed. The sun went down a long time ago, unfortunately, and it is time for me to follow.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

Sorry for another biweekly blog. I had meant to get back to writing weekly blogs, but have been busy landing a new job and apartment for when I get back. So I am very excited for my return but also enjoying the last few weeks (literally, I only have 3 wks left) on the farm, although the weather has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse.

I am actually writing this on the last day of summer, although as Rebecca just pointed out, it feels more like the first day of fall. Last Friday when we woke up to harvest at 7AM it was only 0.9 degrees outside! My toes were frozen for the first 3 hours. So this weekend I brought back some of my father’s wool socks with me.

The season is slowly coming to an end. We have harvested all of the summer squash, winter squash, onions and shallots from the ground. We ran out of carrots for awhile (which is nice, because they take up time on harvest days), but have another 6 beds growing for storage. The few things left in the ground right now and growing in the cooler weather are: carrots, beets, radishes, kohlrabi and cabbages. We’ve planted kale and spinach in the greenhouse (as they did last year) so that it can grow and then lay dormant over winter, providing an early batch in the spring.

Our garlic has been dry and good for storage for awhile now. Our supply of music (a garlic variety) is quickly dwindling, and I believe the rest of our garlic we will keep for replanting. You should have seen me the other day actually. The garlic is very “dusty”, as all of the dirt has now dried and it seems to like to stick to me face. We cleaned garlic for most of the day at one point and I looked like a miner all day long. Only me however, not Rebecca. I provided everyone with a good laugh and had to wash my face at every break. I seem to be a magnet for garlic dust. Wonderful! It certainly doesn’t help my allergies.

I began this blog at lunch, but am finishing it off before bed. I am lying down, trying not to die. You see, I have this horrible tendency to overeat. And we had cheese fondue for dinner. My first cheese fondue ever. And it was sooo good! And of course, everyone got full, but there was still cheese left in the pot. And well, I couldn’t just leave the cheese in the pot! I told everyone to take it away from me, but alas, they left it there to taunt me. And the cheese pot won. And now I am paying the price. Thank God I am doing physical work outside all summer, or else I would have come home an extra 300 lbs. If we could eat without gaining weight, I would eat all day, literally. What a joy! Maybe that’s what heaven will be like for me… I am drooling already. Did I mention I had ice cream after the cheese fondue…

At least I have Marie-Lou the cat sleeping at my feet. She slept with me last night as well, and I woke up at 4 in the morning to find her right beside my head. What a wonderful companion. I am tempted to bring her home with me.

So that is the recap for now. I can’t think straight, too much cheese. Tomorrow we will be harvesting our sweet potatoes! Here’s hoping they are big!

Permadirt

For those of you unsure of what permadirt stands for, it stands for “permanent dirt”. Permadirt is what I have on my feet, arms, hands and under all of my nails. I swear I shower regularly, and I do a good scrub down on the weekends when I go home, but it is impossible to get off. However, it is the mark of a farmer and so I wear it proudly.

It is presently Sunday morning and the sun is shining. Marie-Lou, the 19 year old grey barn cat, who is still in surprisingly good condition, slept with me last night and kept me company. It was wonderful to have company and I was relieved to wake up this morning and not find any kitty surprises lying on the floor.

I was actually shocked when I woke up to so much sun. When we wake up early, the sun is rising but it’s not very sunny at such an early hour, and yesterday, when I slept in until 830, it was grey and rainy so the amount of sun I woke up to this morning at 730 got me right out of bed.

I made my way to the house for my morning pee (TMI I know), and decided to look up a recipe which my mother had told me about. It’s simple really, no need to look up a recipe, it’s just pancakes made from bananas and eggs. I did look it up in case there was anything more to it, but nope, that’s pretty much it. All you need is one big banana and two eggs. It makes about 4 small pancakes. I did add few things to mine of course. I have read that just the banana and eggs on their own can end up tasting like, well, eggs with bananas. And so to mine I added a touch of baking powder, a couple of tsp of flaxseed meal, a dollop of organic peanut butter, some cinnamon and a touch of vanilla extract. Mash the bananas and throw everything into a blender and pulse just a bit. Pulse it too much and it will become too thin. Then just throw it into the pan.

And you know what? They were delicious!!! I have so much energy at the moment, I’m in a great mood, they were so good and light, and I must tell you all about it. So yes, the next time you are craving pancakes give them a try. You can add whatever you like to them, and they are great for one person. And if you are more than one person, remember: 1 banana and 2 eggs per person.

I was actually lying in bed last night trying to figure out what I was going to make/eat today. I have a tendency of doing that. Food just makes me so excited. Last night I actually made my yummy carrot ginger soup, with a veggie shepherds pie (sweet potatoes, thyme, carrots, onions, tomatoes, lentils), accompanied by some steamed broccoli, for Johnny and Daizy. But yes, I often go to bed thinking/dreaming about food preparations for the next day, especially if I go to bed slightly hungry. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make crepes today, eggs with hashbrowns, or have a try at the banana pancakes. I finally told myself I had to fall asleep and I would let my stomach decide in the morning.

This week and or next I also hope to make a potato soup, or a potato and leek soup, maybe even a beet soup. We have potatoes out of the ying yang at the moment and they do take a while to cook so I haven’t done much with them lately but I really should. Cucumbers and carrots are easy and great to eat raw in a salad or with some hummus. The same goes for zucchini, it’s quick to chop up and quick to throw in the frying pan. Beets can be roasted at the beginning of the week and eaten as a side or thrown into a salad. OR they can be made into delicious beet and chocolate cupcakes with pink beet icing! Daizy is an amazing baker and we had them last night for dessert. (http://sweetandsavourypursuits.com/2014/02/13/chocolate-beet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-icing/) So yummy, I actually think I might run into the house and grab one after I finish writing this.

Yesterday I owed some work hours so I went out and picked beans for 2 and 1/2 hrs after the rain passed. I collected 25lbs of beans, which is quite a lot. Last week we sold out of beans and so we figured we should harvest some more. But with the rain yesterday, there weren’t too many people at the Saturday market. So hoping we sell a lot today at Brewer to make that work worthwhile. And if we don’t, well that means more beans for us, or for the food bank, so it pays off anyway.

And then I made dinner yesterday. But today, I have nothing to do. Or at least nothing too pressing. It is wonderful. After this I plan to do the dishes, start searching for apartments for when I get home, just to get an idea of what is out there. Call some friends and family members, clean a bit more, workout at some point (though I am sore at the moment from yesterdays work out), and continue designing my garden landscape for next summer.

I’ve gotten back into the habit of jogging and am so happy for it. I love to do a quick 5K whenever I can. Jogging at night is the best, especially during the summer. However, what with the only road I have to jog on being a 80KM road, and not having any luminescent gear, I have been jogging at 530/600PM after a day’s work. I was enjoying my jog so much the other day that I had this crazy idea about jogging across Canada to raise awareness about healthy eating/organic foods. Now this is highly unlikely, but hey, it’s always a possibility.

I actually shared this idea with my neighbour, Fran, the other day. She rollerbladed across Canada in her 50s to raise funds for cancer. And she promptly brought up the idea of biking with me across the states for her 72nd birthday. So apparently, I might be biking across the states in a couple years. Exciting yes, but holy moly will I have to train to keep up with Fran. She is a powerhouse. Even if I am in half the shape she’s in when I am that age, I will be happy.

Anywho, these are all just ideas. Just like the idea of doing a yoga/meditation retreat in South America, or volunteering in Bangladesh, Nepal or Africa. I’ve done quite a bit of travelling already, and am looking forward to coming home and settling into a routine for once. But I will always have the travellers bug and it’s great to know that anything is possible.

Ok, but back to the farm. We harvested almost all week. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and even a bit on Thursday. Thursday we harvested all of our shallots and onions. They are curing in the greenhouse at the moment. They will be for storage. We also harvested our potatoes on Thursday for market because we had a long list of things we wanted to bring to market and simply would not have had time to harvest and clean everything on the Friday.

And unfortunately, I will have to take the time to honor another soul that has left us. Farley Mowat, may you rest in peace. For those of you who may have forgotten who he is, he was our beloved rooster. He and the chickens have been roaming free for weeks now. They have been so happy to be let out of their enclosed area and explore the farm. Over time, they have gotten braver and have travelled farther and farther away from the coop (not too far though, I’m talking about maybe 40 yards or so). But it’s no surprise to wake up in the morning and find them scrounging around our trailers. Molly (the dog) gave them a scare once or twice but since then has become their friend and protector.

The other day at lunch they were all making a racket (which they often do, chickens can be quite annoying, definitely not my favorite farm animal) so it wasn’t until I heard Molly barking as well that I knew something was up. Unfortunately, it was too late. It seems a fox got to Farley. Molly chased it off but the damage and already been done. Farley may have shown up on this farm with lice and mites, unaware that he was a rooster. But he left us as a handsome black and green feathered rooster, the boss and protector of his flock. And this is how we will remember him.

I hadn’t planned on ending this blog with that piece of bad news, but I did want to pay my respects. And alas, we do live on a farm, and such things can happen.

So here’s to Farley, the greatest and most peculiar rooster I’ve known!

Green and Blue

I’ve had a lot going on in the past few weeks and so, although my body has been at the farm, my mind and heart have been a million miles away. However, this week I finally feel like they have come back to me.

It’s been a beautiful week and I have regained the appreciation I had at the beginning of the summer. I recently posted pictures on Facebook (it takes forever to upload them to the blog) of the summer so far and I feel so lucky to have green trees and blue skies as my office. Even when the skies are grey and the rain is falling down on us, it is still so peaceful. Even though we are busy harvesting, and don’t have much time to spare, every now and then I take a moment to simply take in my surroundings and be thankful.

We are now harvesting 3 times a week in comparison to 2. We used to only harvest on Wednesday and Friday, but we have begun harvesting on Tuesdays as well, in order to get everything done for the CSA pick up on time. We have been harvesting carrots, beet, potatoes and beans for a while now. But just those 4 items take us a whole day to harvest. The rest of the harvest (cucumbers, zucchinis, onions, lettuce mix and herbs etc) we do Wednesday, as well as washing and bagging.

Unfortunately there will be no tomatoes for our CSA or market this summer because they have caught blight! It is a soil borne disease which has affected other farmers as well. It’s very sad. We all mourn the loss of our tomatoes, but we have been able to rescue a few cherry tomatoes that taste absolutely delicious. Not only is it a huge crop, people love it and it sells well, but it is also a crop that we put a lot of effort into, especially Johnny. We trellised our tomatoes and therefore had to stake into the ground over 200 6 ft stakes. Us girls hammered in about 3 stakes each, but Johnny did the rest. It was tough work. But alas, shit happens (as they say) and you just have to roll with the punches. And so we continue on.

Now that my heads back in the game, I have become very excited about my plans for the future. I have been meaning to mention them for awhile but I always babble on about something else and therefore don’t get around to it. So here it is.

People keep asking me what I’m going to do after the farm. As much as things are always up in the air with me, here’s what I plan on doing.

First: come back and get a job. Either with Equiterre, Lufa Farms or an organic grocery store in Montreal (or any other job related to food and the environment really). I am simply looking for something that will pay the bills and give me time to continue learning about growing food, especially in the urban and suburban setting. I want to read up on backyard gardening (smaller scale than market gardening), hyroponics, aquaponics, growing indoors and making the most of a small space.

Once I get a job nailed down I will be able to move out and really get to experience “city living” for the first time in my life. I plan on making friends with my neighbours by giving them food or inviting them over for dinner. I hope to become part of the community, wherever I am, and take part in a community garden.

My big goal however is to use the piece of land beside our neighbours house in Two-Mountains to build a decent sized garden. I figure I’ll have about 100+ square meters to work with. I hope to be able to provide enough fresh veg for 2 families for the whole summer as well as have extra for storage and canning. And if there’s even more than I’ll be giving it away to whoever wants.

If all goes well and I am confident in my abilities then I look forward to starting up gardens for others as well. Every book I’ve read about gardening emphasizes how important the start up is. Planning and design are key. It just so happens that I love to plan things. I think I spent more time planning and organizing when I was going to do my homework in university than actually doing my homework.

So far I have figured out which fruits and vegetables I would like to grow and about how much of everything I would like to have. With that knowledge, as well as how much space each plant takes up, I can start juggling things around in order to determine how I am going to lay things out.

But yes, I hope that after a summer of gardening on my own I will have gained the confidence to help others start their own indoor and/or outdoor gardens. I could in the future have a larger operation and sell healthy organic food to others, but what I would like even more is to teach others how to grow healthy organic food themselves and we can all become self sufficient together (and live happily ever after).

THE END.

🙂

In Loving Memory

So it seems that this has now become a biweekly blog. Sorry to all those who check in weekly for some SaraTalk.

It’s been a busy and tough month I tell ya. Being one man down on the farm we are getting up a bit earlier, working a little later, but such is the life of a farmer. You make do, and simply don’t get around to doing some things. There is a never ending list of things to do, and you just have to figure out what your priorities are.

Farm life has actually been a breeze in comparison to my social life. I missed most of last week so that I could come home to be with friends and family after the loss of a loved one. And so I would like to take the time to pay tribute to Brenda, a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend and confidant.

I actually began writing this blog yesterday but feel it would have been a very sad blog. And so I am happy I waited and am rewriting it today with a different tone.

With every loss there is a gain, and with every gain there is a loss. There is no bad without good, and no good without bad. I believe it is important to be aware of both, but even more important to choose to focus on the good.

Brenda was (and is) a wonderful, amazing and inspiring person. It amazes me how caring and loving she was. She has touched so many people with her love and taught people how important it is to love others. I can only hope to be as caring and loving as she.

Brenda had the ability to make everyone around her feel special and important. She has taught me so much and I will forever be grateful for that. As I continue forward, every decision I make and action I take will have been influenced in some way by her. And so although she may be gone in the physical sense, she will forever be with me, and with us.

I feel that as our society has become more individualistic, we have become somewhat disconnected from our neighbours, our friends and our family. Many of us (I very much include myself in this) are rushing around following our dreams, doing what we want to do when we want to do it. And as much as this is important, and there is no right or wrong way to live one’s life, it is also important to take the time to care and be compassionate to all those around us. And especially important to nurture the relationships in our lives that matter to us.

I have begun to realize the importance of surrounding myself with people who truly care for me, and for whom I truly care. We sometimes spread ourselves too thin and find ourselves rushing around trying to make plans and see all of our friends and loved ones. I’ve always been one to say “the more the merrier” but there needs to be, as usual, a balance. For sometimes, when we try to do too much, we ultimately end up having less of ourselves to give to each individual. We have less energy, less time. We cannot be everywhere at once, and we cannot be everyone’s best friend and confidant. No one relationship will be the same and I believe it is important to surround yourself with people who make you feel special, who make you laugh, who inspire you and motivate you. People with whom you can sometimes sit in silence, and other times have meaningful conversations.

I’ve also realized that I enjoy spending one on one time with my friends and family. It is wonderful to be able to see lots of friends and family all at once, but in these instances we tend to have shorter, superficial conversations (small talk) and do not get to connect with one another as we would in a more private setting.

And so, although it’s been a pretty shitty week (I’m not going to lie), I realize that I have learnt a lot and grown as a person because of it. They say “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and it is very true. I feel like I have lost some very important people from my life recently, but even though they may no longer be physically by my side, they will always be with me for they have each made me a better person and I am so lucky to have known them.

Life can’t be roses and balloons all the time. Although I do work at being happy and choose to be happy, happiness is always something that has come pretty easy to me, and I’m very thankful for that. But I am human, and I can’t always be smiles. It’s normal to sometimes feel sad, mad, sorrow or guilt but what’s important is to not let these feelings overtake you and bring you down. There would be no happiness, without some type of opposite, and it is part of life to feel all these emotions, but more important to keep moving, keep your head up and have faith (whatever you choose to have faith in).

Although it has been hard to keep moving this week, I know I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other (for soon I’ll be walking out the doo-o-or). If not for myself, then for Brenda because I know she wants the best for all of us and she would want us to follow our dreams and live our life to the fullest.

So Cheers to you Brenda, for being so amazing and for inspiring us all!

I thank you from the bottom of my heart,

All my love,

Sara

A busy two weeks!

So sorry I didn’t get around to blogging last week. This is now blog #14 but it will be covering week #14 and #15 seeing as I didn’t get around to blogging last week. Which means that I will be going into week #16 on the farm, or in other words month 5! In a sense time has flown by, but over the years I have begun to learn how to enjoy each day and each moment. Therefore I do feel as if I have learned a lot over these past 4 months and I also feel as if I have done a lot.

Time has a tendency to fly by when we are doing the same routine over and over, living for the weekend, and planning our weekends ahead of time. When our surroundings don’t change, and our life doesn’t change, it’s easy to feel like 5 years ago was just yesterday. I remember talking about this with my best friend Tina a few years back. Whereas I lived at home during University, worked at the same job and had the same routine and therefore felt like 3 years had flown by, she on the other hand, had changed jobs a few times, had moved out, had several different roommates and had continued to travel and therefore felt like 3 years ago really was 3 years ago.

It’s hard to live in the present when we are always thinking about and planning our future. And I do believe it is important to have goals, and to work towards those goals. But I have been learning, and very recently been forced, to not think about the future. Not idealize about how we would like our future to be, or wonder what might happen. And when we are able to do this, we are able to let go of what we think we want, and are more likely to be in touch with our heart and our gut and go with the flow.

The one thing many people don’t cope well with is change. We all have preconceived ideas about what is going to happen, and when things don’t go our way, that is when we feel upset or let down. However, if we let go of our ideas of the future, you are more likely to be grateful for the moments you have and more accepting of your present situation.

Oh boy, I have just realized that my blog entry has turned into a journal entry and I apologize. I could easily not include this, or rewrite something but I had hoped for my blog to be more than just a recount of my actions, and I do like to share my thoughts and help inspire or provoke thoughts among others as well. And so it stays. I hope you enjoyed. I would actually like to continue such ramblings in the future. But perhaps I will make a rambling page, so that when you want to hear them you can, and when you just want to read about my farm experience you can do that without having to endure such ramblings.

So, about the farm. Bad news first I guess. We are now only 2 interns for the moment. Chloe, our fellow intern and good friend is no longer with us, although she will be coming to visit whenever she can. We all came to Luxy to figure out if “CSA/Market” gardening was something we seriously wanted to pursue in the future. I believe this experience has confirmed for all of us, that yes, we want to be sustainable and grow our own food, but we have also learnt that there are perhaps other ways to do this besides market gardening. “Market” gardening, implies that you will be selling your produce to make money. Jean Martin Fortier’s book about market gardening states right at the beginning, that we should remember that market gardening is a business, one in which the goal is to make money. Make money in an environmentally friendly way, but make money nonetheless. And as idealistic as I can be sometimes, I am aware that there are few places in the world in which money does not come into play. Practically no matter where you are in the world, you will be paying taxes of some sort or another, even if it is just property taxes. And therefore attempting to make money is not a bad thing.

All this to say that I believe the 3 of us have realized that, at least for the moment, we would like to start small. And simply grow food for ourselves and our family. The market gardening lifestyle was simply not the right fit for Chloe and I am happy to know that she followed her heart and was true to herself. We all miss her (you become like family when you work and live together for 3+ months) but we all wish her the very best.

And so Rebecca and I… and Johnny…and Daizy all worked a bit harder this week to make up for the lack of hands, but we got everything done and did it with smiles on to boot. We started our day at 6AM on Wednesday in order to ensure the CSA members got their food on time, but we were rewarded with a late start (9AM) on the Thursday. It felt so good to sleep in. Thank you Johnny!

We also started harvesting our beds of garlic last week, as they are now mature and if we leave them in the ground too much longer, they will start to shrivel/disintegrate/die. And so it is important to get them out as quickly as possible while they still have multiple layers on which will allow them to stay better longer once we have cured (dried) them for storage. So on Saturday, for 8 hours, we forked garlic out of the ground and cleaned it in order to hang it up to dry the following Tuesday.

So, as I said, we were busy this past week, but I was able to look forward to some vacation time with my family. My little cousin is visiting from Saskatchewan and will be joining my parents and I this weekend at our cottage up north, with my aunt, uncle and my other adorable cousin.

I am actually writing this blog as I sit in the living room of my cottage, with my mom asleep on the chair beside me (what a surprise), my dogs asleep on my parents bed (another surprise), and my father at a soccer game (because I have rarely known him to miss any sporting events). And so it is quiet, peacefully quiet. It is wonderful.

I am so lucky that my grandparents own a cottage which I can escape to when needed. Many of my friends who have come up here, are in awe of how relaxing it is. It’s a tiny little shack, which thanks to my uncle is still standing, with a new roof and bathroom, but it is its small size that makes it so quaint and peaceful. There is no cell phone reception for about 30 mins in any direction and so when you come up here, life slows down. No one wears a watch. No one wakes up to an alarm. You eat when you are hungry, you sleep when you are tired. I love it.

And so I end this blog on a happy note. As usual I believe. I’m not one to be a Debbie Downer. Life is too short to choose to stay mad or sad. It’s impossible to be happy all the time, but to choose to be happy is a decision we are all faced with everyday. And the more we practice being happy, the easier it becomes. Here I go on a ramble again. So I will end this blog, as I said I would.

I am going to go look at the moon. Perhaps I will meditate. And then I will read up some more on vegetable gardening. I am all excited about planning and designing a vegetable garden next summer in my neighbours lot. But I will save all those thoughts and ideas for another blog.

I wish you all a very Good night!

(I did write this blog on Sunday, but as I have no internet access at my cottage, it is getting posted today)

From staking vampires to staking tomatoes!

Blog #13 I believe!!! Crazy!

Okay, so normally I try to keep track of what we do all week so that when it comes to blogging by the end of the week I can easily recall what we did. This week I made no such list so I will have to rely on my trusty old noggin. Let me see…

Well you all should know by now that on Wednesdays and Fridays we harvest. Wednesday is CSA day, start at 7AM, get everything done by 3PM, head out to drop off points (I went this week) and finish the day around 7/730. Friday we also start at 7AM and do a whole bunch of harvesting for the markets. This Friday we got everything done pretty early. Johnny and Daizy both had family in town and so we finished early which was very nice and much appreciated!

Rebecca was off Saturday and so it was just Chloe and I in the field. We started off the day sowing some more bok choy! Yay! I love bok choy so much. We had it for a week or two already but it is a cooler weather crop and so we won’t have it again until later on in the season. Then we transplanted the last batch of the cucumbers and melons. They should last most of the summer. This coming week will be the first week we give out cucumbers in the CSA! And then we hoed a bed of beets.

Beets are another veggie which I have discovered this year, along with kale. The only beets we ever have at home are pickled beets with our curry. And pickled beets are delicious but so are roasted beets, and boiled beets. You can eat beets all alone with just a touch of salt, or as a beet salad with goat cheese, or roasted with other veg. AND you can use the beet juice/water (if you boil them) when making rice or quinoa to give it a beautiful purple color. (I am writing all this with much excitement!)

Last but not least we began to weed the carrots…once again…because they still aren’t all done. We shall finish them this week on Thursday though! It will be done! We also finished off the day harvesting some more veg so that we would have enough for Sundays market which both Chloe and I went to. Like I said, Johnny and Daizy had family in from Toronto, and so I went with Chloe to the market.

We had a great day at the market. I got the most amazing chocolate almond croissant from ArtIsIn. So good. My mission is to try all of their pastries by the end of the summer. I’ve already had their raisin scone and raspberry scone, which are both delish. For lunch I had a green mango salad, which was unfortunately not very authentic. I can make a much better one, if I do say so myself. And in the afternoon we cooled down with an Icicool popsicle. Chloe had the lemonade rosemary one, which is very refreshing and I had the lime pie one. I was hot by then and not feeling too well so I was hoping it would simply be limey, but instead it was a creamy lime (no surprise seeing as it is called “lime pie”) but it was soo delicious I devoured it in seconds. Yum Yum Yum. Plus Michael (our jam neighbour) fed us food all day and we got to go home with a BBQ sauce that he just recently came up with. We are going to have pulled pork tomorrow night for dinner and use it then. I am very excited. We also got feta from Joseph, one of which is a garlic feta. And we got some apples and an apple pie for all of us. Plus (sorry it never ends) Chloe and I also got ourselves corn on the cob! We’d actually had out first of the season the night before. It was so delicious, covered in butter and salt. I am going to make myself some tonight as well actually.

Back to farm life though, not that food isn’t part of farm life, it very much is. But enough about what i’ve been eating and more about what i’ve been doing. Tuesday and Thursday are difficult to recall, but by process of elimination…ah yes! Now I remember. Both days were dominated by staking tomatoes and killing potato beetles.

We had 6 beds of tomatoes to stake, each 180ft long with a 6ft stake that we needed to drive 1ft into the ground placed every 5ft or so. Poor Johnny. I’m sure he was pretty sore after those two days. We (the girls) did pound a few into the ground, and I’m speaking literally, we all did about 3 out of the 250 stakes that we had to do. And Johnny did the rest. We got them into the ground but if it had’ve been left to us, it probably would’ve taken all week. And we killed more potato beetles because no matter how hard you try, inevitably, some eggs get left unsquished and more potato beetles pop up. The important thing is to keep their numbers low to prevent excessive damage.

So yes that was the week. And now for some of Sara’s ramblings.

Have any of you seen the movie “Waking Life”? If you have, isn’t it interesting? And if you haven’t, you should definitely check it out.

Granted, it’s an animated film that is done in a way that can be quite “trippy”. It’s a film that can be watched and would be interesting to watch in a different state of mind, however I was very happy to watch it while eating my pizza and drinking a glass of wine. Any other state and I think I might have horked my cookies. Or maybe the imagery would’ve been clearer, I’m not sure.

Anywho, I was very much expecting to like the film but at first was slightly unimpressed (due to my high expectations most likely). It begins with a whole bunch of different characters simply speaking about life, as you would to a friend. Some of them present similar viewpoints, some of them present different viewpoints. Many of the thoughts and ideas, I have had myself or have come across in the past. I had been expecting to be hit with something new/revolutionary but felt like I had heard it all before.

But then you begin to realize what is happening to the main character and the main idea emerges. I won’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to give it away. It’s a topic that I’ve come across before, but never cared much for I guess. But after having watched the film, I think I have begun to take it much more seriously and the repercussions are simply amazing. For if you believe in a sense what is being said, then a whole new world opens up to you. I’m very happy I watched it, and even if you were to not like the film, or not connect to it, I still believe it is a film worth watching.

So that was my ramble. I could ramble some more about a whole bunch of other things but will save them for future blogs so as not to bombard you.

Hope you are all having a wonderful summer. And if you have started a garden, I hope it is treating you to lots of delicious food.

Sayonara!(I had to google the spelling for this, the first attempt was Sianara)

Kimchi!

I know this title might have you thinking that I’ve flown back to Korea, but no, I am simply excited to make kimchi from our big and beautiful Napa Cabbages that we have grown.

I am heading home for the weekend with a bag full of yummy veg, including some Napa Cabbage that I plan to make kimchi out of. It’s quite a simple recipe actually, it doesn’t require any crazy ingredients, and though it you can let it ferment for quite a few months, you can also eat it as soon as your taste buds like. It requires a minimum of 6 hrs to sit in a brine before you add in the rest of the ingredients and then you can taste it every day until you are satisfied with the taste. At least that’s the recipe I have so far, I will test it out and let you know how it is, seeing as I am the Kimchi expert and all.

So what happened this week?

Well on Tuesday we transplanted some more kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower and cucurbits. We washed all our bins to get them clean for the CSA and market this week and we harvested snap peas (that are delish). Snap peas aren’t really an economical crop, because like strawberries and such they take a long time to harvest. But they are delish so I will definitely grow some for myself in the future and if ever I were to get big enough to sell, I think I would invite people to come harvest the snap peas themselves.

Also on Tuesday, Daizy made some super yummy sweet and savoury crepes. Oh my! I’m drooling just thinking about them. Our dinner was crepes with swiss chard, cheese, bacon (and i’m sure scapes, kale and others) which we covered in either siracha sauce or maple syrup, alongside some kimchi. And our dessert, oh me oh my, was more crepes with a whole assortment of jams and organic maple syrup from up near my cottage. So Tuesday was a good day 🙂

Wednesday was, as usual, CSA day. We harvested a bunch of our Napa Cabbages along with kale (I am soo excited to have kale again) and spinach and many others.

I had never eaten kale until this year. I knew it was really good for you and I was up for trying it but I felt like I didn’t know how to use it. I had heard that you needed to massage it, which I didn’t feel like I knew how to do and I didn’t have any good recipes for it. However, Chloe showed me early on when we had it in the greenhouse that you could simply massage it with some avocado (which acts as a dressing) and eat it just like that. So my favorite salad is now kale, massaged with some avocado (it takes 30 secs), with some chopped up avocado and a sprinkle of salt. It is delicious! I know I use the word “delicious” a lot, but it’s true.

On Thursday we cracked down on the weeds in the carrot beds. We’ve been putting it off for awhile, simply because there is always something else that needs to be done it seems, but we needed to save the carrots from the weeds. And so, we got down on our hands and knees for 8 hours, and tackled 3 beds out of 6. We started the 4th but only put a dent in it. I tell you, these carrots are going to be the best carrots you ever tasted based on all the hard work we are putting into them. Weeding them all day wasn’t so bad, the bad part was getting to the end of the bed where there are these horrible, no good, very bad, evil prickly weeds that are simply horrendous to deal with. One must be wearing gloves when attempting to remove them and one must make sure not to accidentally kneel on them afterwards. Trust me I know.

Then Friday was harvest and today (because I am actually getting this blog done on time for once) we killed potato beetles once again. We killed them last week but if you even miss just one little leaf with a bunch of eggs on it, you’re in trouble. So we had to go back over them today. Thankfully, as hard as it is to see the eggs sometimes, potato beetles are very easy to kill. They do not move! At all! I think their only mechanism of defence is to freeze, fall off the leaf and act as if they are dead. Unfortunately though, we didn’t even get through half of the potatoes. Last time we were able to finish in a day, but this time, we were down one man, plus there were more plants to check (as more have grown), the plants themselves are bigger and it was much hotter in comparison to the other day. However, I am no longer very worried about the potatoe beetles, as there are very few, and am more worried about pesky flea beetles which are devouring our potatoes and eating everything else as well. I would kill them all if I could but they jump (as fleas do) and thus are difficult to squish. Just thinking about them makes me angry.

So to change the subject, let’s talk about something that makes me happy. You guessed it, food! On Friday night Oma (Johnny’s mom) came over and made a seafood chowder lasagna. Now, I love seafood, and I love pasta, but I’m not normally a fan of the two together. However, this lasagna was delicious, okay what’s a synonym for delicious, hmm, scrumptious! And afterwards I made a wild berry crumble from a bunch of berries that Chloe had collected from around the house. And we had it alongside some of Rebecca’s vanilla ice cream. It was…delightful! (I’m using Word’s synonyms for delicious).

And last but not least I made homemade basil pesto which turned out great and I used it for pasta, stir fry and sandwiches. I still had some goat cheese left from last week, so I toasted p my Crazy Grain bread from ArtIsIn, smeared some goat cheese on one toast, some pesto on another, and made a sandwich out of cooked spinach and tomatoes. Yummy yum yum.

Okidokes, that’s my farm and food ramblings for this week. Hope you enjoyed!

I will let you know how the kimchi worked out in next week’s blog. Take Care!