Monday, August 03, 2009

August Long Weekend

We are celebrating our very first August Long Weekend. This three day weekend has a "civic holiday" on Monday. As best I can figure, Canadians decided that yes, everyone wanted to go to their cottages (or do home repair or enjoy the nice weather) so might as well have a designated 3 day weekend for it. I'm all in favor. Here's what's been happening...

First, we've been synagogue hopping...each Saturday morning, we're trying out a different congregation. This has been a pleasure--since everything is close by and folks seem so welcoming. No photos of that. :)

We went raspberry picking. This involved grabbing some tupperware, wearing older clothes, and driving out to the city limits. It took no time at all to be out on the prairie. We wish we'd remembered the camera (oops) but the end result was something in the range of 12 liters of berries. Think 3-4 of these cardboard trugs. Eventually we ran out of tupperware and used one of these instead.

Many of these berries became strawberry/raspberry and raspberry jam. We're up to something in the range of 32 jars in the basement, so far... We're also freezing some, and eating a lot of berries, too! It may seem ridiculous to be doing this just after moving, but summer is short here and we must take advantage of local produce as it happens! I'll love all that "summer" on the shelves this winter.

In a new house, there seem to be an endless number of house set-up tasks. We discovered a distinct lack of shelves. We had built-in bookshelves (but no shelves, just the framwork for shelves.) Off we went to buy boards, get them cut to the right size, and put them up. We'll stain them later. For now, the book boxes are unloaded. (Note half assembled spinning wheel in foreground; the flyer has now been located and it is set up for use again.)

All of our clothes (aside from, say, winter clothes) have been unpacked and put in the appropriate places. I have my very own cedar lined closet! Now that I've done the legwork, I even have a shelf at the top of the closet. This seems like a small thing until one has made two trips to the hardware store, measured, and installed said shelf...

Also accomplished? Little Gem spinning wheel has been located, set up, and put into use. I am consulting for a sheep farm that is interested in building value into its wool products; as a result, I am spinning with an eye towards future fleece improvement. It's a very fun consulting gig--and, the first wool I've spun on a wheel in our new home! I'll likely have more information on this later, as I learn more about the wool. It's good stuff.

Other new developments? Introducing....our fence! Our home came with a sturdy fence on two sides. The third side was enclosed with an old tiny wire fence, which did nothing in terms of dog containment. We had a fence built this week, and it is a major life improvement! Now we only take the dogs on, say, two walks a day. (instead of 4 or 5.) In order to make the fence level at the top, there were gaps on the bottom...which makes it somewhat useless for dogs. We've blocked these with old railroad ties and will add something more aesthetically pleasing soon. Also note that gravel...we were left with a lot of mud and muck in a shady area of the yard. Now, we've got approximately 550 pounds (250 kilo) of gravel there instead. The professor did that himself, with 55 lb bags. We'll worry about flower beds or gravel patios or whatever later. For now? We have fence. We have mud under control. Dogs are happy.

Our new yard has some small cherry plantings (sort of bush-like rather than trees) that we share with a neighbor. I'm looking forward to tasting those as they ripen. We've also got a young Rosybloom Crabapple tree. It's growing fruit! It's described as ornamental, but we're thinking that if the fruit actually grow to a decent size, I may try canning with it. Anyone know anything about the "rosybloom" variety? All the varieties are new to us here so we're happy to have any input you can offer!

Last, but not least, I've put in a very few rows on one of my "traveling" knitting projects, the Lady of the Lake cardigan. I love how this is turning out, but am having a hard time concentrating on anything by the time I sit down after dinner in the evenings. We're just falling down with exhaustion after a day of unpacking, home fix-it, and summer delights.

Oh, and have I mentioned emphasizing the positive in all things? I'm not going to discuss how see-through those bathroom curtains are. Annmarie's wise test idea suggests that I have a bit of work to do in the "making bathrooms private" department. Please, if you could stop all south-bound walking and driving along Stafford St. in Winnipeg, or avert your eyes for the foreseeable future? That would be great... Thanks!

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Blogger Nancy said...

Just emailed you info about your crabapple. The professor is doing so well, too.
I love your home creation. And, a cedar closet and shelf all of your own!
Scritches to Harry and Sally.

August 3, 2009 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Wow, you guys have been diving in and working hard! Those jars of jam feel like you've created home, right there.

August 3, 2009 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

So nice to finally have the time to catch up with you - the blog is a letter from home, sometimes.

Glad all is settling in - such a nice place for you to be, it seems.

August 4, 2009 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Sarah Jean said...

I lol'd at the image of you and the Professor "synagogue hopping." Like club hopping! Only not. ;)

My first garden is coming along swimmingly this summer, and I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of a good starter tutorial for making jam? I want to use up some of my strawberries and save them for the winter.

August 4, 2009 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

RenaissanceWednesday, the best tutorial I know of is the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. Alternately, check out this site:

I'll post this on your blog, too! I learned to can from these kinds of resources--you can too!

August 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

Hi Joanne, pleased to see your settling in, tried to say good luck on the move before you left the US but I'm still getting the hang of blogging! Love all the raspberries, now there's a fruit I've heard of. We're going to plant some raspberry canes along the fence to our lawn this year.
p.s. I've now got an alpaca blog, just trying to work out how to attach it to the website!

August 5, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

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