Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sunshine, and plenty of it!

It's amazing what a little summer can do for your garden. Everything is growing like mad right now. My favourites so far, from an aesthetic perspective, are the kohlrabi leaves:

So beautiful.

My other most favourite are the little flowers on the bush beans. White beans are a product of white flowers and the purple beans are produced from purple flowers, like these:
We are going to be up to our hips in beans in a few weeks. I can't wait!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July Already?

Things are finally starting to grow up here on the mountain. Thank goodness we have finally received some sun.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oyster Mushrooms

On Tuesday morning, my father and I went for a hike through Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver when only a short while into our fun my eyes caught a glimpse of something white and shiny by a rock wall not far from the path. After a rather glee filled gasp, I slipped through the underbrush, across a rather big log, through a stream and crouched down to the most beautiful patch of oyster mushrooms I've seen in a really long time. 

Oyster mushrooms grow in cool damp climates so this rather dreary spring has been the perfect for them. Growing on dead alder trees year after year, one patch can be harvested many times so be sure to leave some for the slugs, other mushroomers as well as yourself if you hope to see them again next year. As the mushrooms age they become increasingly gray through exposure to the sun so the younger white oysters are the ones to harvest as they keep the best flavor.

Having embarked on our morning not expecting to come across such a find, my father and I were entirely unprepared; no knife, rucksack, Tupperware or anything. Thankfully though my dad had been chatting with friendly dog walker (explaining what his strange daughter was doing in the brush) and the man pitched in his  extra biodegradable doggy bags to the cause. The rain had stopped at this point and after begrudgingly looking at three bags of mushrooms I realized that I could MacGiver a satchel out of my windbreaker (Thank you drawstring waistbands!). After not more than 5 minutes after stopping we were once again on our way.

Preparing wild mushrooms is about the same as for any of the store bought variety. First, trim away the tips (if you pulled them off the log) along with any tips that slugs have nibbled at. 

Second, rinse batches in a big bowl of cool water, draining and refilling after each set, to get rid of any pine needles or dirt. 
Lastly, drain off excess water and place on clean tea towels to air dry for about 15 minutes. 
Once dry they are ready to cook with right away or you can put them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. My favorite recipes for the mushrooms involve pasta sauces but given the size of some of the larger ones, marinading them before BBQ'ing could lead to very tasty mushroom burgers. 

For more information on mushrooming in the lower mainland you may find the Vancouver Mycological Society a great resource.  

String Gardens

(all photos courtesy of String Gardens)

I stumbled upon String Gardens a few months ago, and have since been entranced by their creations. I've had a hard time finding out much about the company, but hopefully that information will come. I'd love to know more about Diego Franssens, who appears to be behind the project. Until then, I'll continue to marvel at the simple beauty of these beautiful flowers.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Phlox by Litill

  Katie Goldman Macdonald (Botany Factory) - Photograph by Drew Kelly for the NY Times

I've always been interested in blowing glass, but until now it seemed like merly some far away dream that would only reach fruition when I was in my 70's. After seeing these terrariums from Litill and Botany Factory I've realized that I should get moving on this a little sooner than previously planned. Perhaps this summer will be more exciting after all.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer might just finally be here...

Hi there! I'm Tammy. Sarah and I used to work together and we've kept in sort of touch through Flickr and our love of things to be created. I'm a knitter, spinner, and more recently I've become a gardener and quilter/sewer.

This year's garden has been a lot of work but it would seem that it's going to pay off, big time. Raised beds and a 5 foot fence to keep the dogs out are definitely the way to go for successful food enjoyment. Last night we finally got to enjoy the first taste of our labours. Easter egg radishes and mixed salad greens.

They were so tasty. Good thing we liked them. I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot of them over the next couple of weeks. LOL.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Squash Babies

Today was the last day of sun before two weeks of rain here in Vancouver. Wanting to soak in the last of the nice weather, I finally got up the nerve to let go of my butternut seedlings and they made their big move out into the real world from my window sill. If I have kids when I grow up I think I'm going to be one of those mom's who has a really hard time on their first day of school.


Friday, May 14, 2010

The Cuuutest Garden Tags Evor

The other day I got together with my elementary and kindergarten friends, Ben and Jill, to make tags for the veggie row in my families garden. Each of us put our own particular skills to use; Jill's colouring, Ben's cutting and my hopefully charming penmanship and doodling.

After making the cards I used packing tape to 'laminate' the back and front to ensure they withstand showers from the hose and then taped on some Popsicle sticks. How I love afternoon craft dates!

Here are some of my favorites;
(Note: I've apparently been saying "Brussels Sprouts" for my whole life when there is no 's' on the end. I suppose it's a good thing that 8 and 5 year olds are too nice to mention it.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Now that spring is inching into summer, I was excited to see that the lilly of the valley is in bloom. The big bouquet I picked for my mom put a big smile on her face. They are her favourites.


Friday, April 9, 2010


I'm very happy to say that yesterday I finally got to work in my garden. Although not of the sod-tearing up variety (which is sorely needed) I transplanted some mint and raspberries, turned some soil and planted some red and fingerling potatoes. My peas, green beans and squash seeds from September have also made their way into their starter trays so I will find out soon if they will germinate.

More than just the blue sky it was a truly amazing day. The cool winds were coming down the mountain through the cedars and one gust the other way carried cherry blossom petals up into the air and over my house. It sprinkled down like the most beautiful and unexpected confetti.

My garden this summer will
hopefully include;
bolero carrots
grape tomatoes
green beans
green peas
potatoes (red and fingerling)
red leaf lettuce
squash (butternut and acorn)
wild strawberries



Sunday, April 4, 2010

a gentle reminder...

best coffee in vancouver

These standards are based on my experiences only, and are judged by the coffee shop's americano soy misto, with no sugar added. This list is subject to change. Have I missed somewhere special? Please let me know.

1. Gene Coffeebar, 2404 Main Street

2. 29th Parallel, 2152 W 4th Avenue

3. Prado Cafe, 1938 Commercial Drive

4. Turks Coffee, 1276 Commercial Drive

5. Re-Entry Espresso, 4363 Main Street

Monday, February 1, 2010

, originally uploaded by sarahkit.

As I'm getting ever closer to my break from Vancouver, I'm in a rather melancholy state about my departure from the city. Sure it's been a rather wet and warm winter but perhaps that's the ideal breeding ground for all of the fun that is about to spark up. For those participating in forums, the warm rooms of dialogue and friendship will perhaps spread out into the city as each person carries their own fire for change. For those who can/choose to make their convictions known in the street, the cooling rains may ground them in the process of a continuous cycle of the varying forms of action.

I know I will see much when I'm away and that upon my return I will be able to learn from the experiences of those who participated and witnessed what may become of 2010. Perhaps I need to take a little more solace in that fact.

When I'm home again the city will be just a little bit warmer and I in turn will know a little bit more about myself. I will be able to take part in change in a different venue, the growing season is fast approaching. Sprouts will soon be birthed on my windowsill and new space for my beds needs to be prepared.

Here's to almost Spring.

Friday, January 22, 2010

January - March is my least favourite time of year in Vancouver. If you're not involved in some kind of winter sport, it's generally miserable here. The sky fades from grey to black, day in and day out, with no stars to brighten the night sky. It's wet. Very, very wet. I usually don't find it hard to see beauty in everything, but these months in this city make it extremely hard sometimes.

But then... the Sun appears. The weather is warm, and people sit outside and drink coffee. There are bikes weaving in between traffic and children can be seen playing in parks. It's days like this that remind me of why I love this city so much.