Saturday, February 6, 2021

Worms....





Worms...
Worms live underground
Worms tickle me
I laughed so hard I thought I'd die
I did die
They buried me
Worms....

Just a little poem from a friend when we were kids.
Strange how you can remember these kind of things from 35 years ago
yet  I can't remember I put the chicken in the oven!

Anyway, all this as an intro to what I've been doing the last 6 months.

Vermicomposting.

The benefits of working for a radio station is all the cool and interesting people 
you get to meet! One of these people is Anne Leblanc that works
at Wastecheck. Wastecheck is Nova Scotia's program for composting.
It's a cool thing to be involved in.  Well I think so anyway...but
I'm also excited when I get a load of compost as a birthday gift.
So really, what do I know.

Anyway, coming back to Anne. 
Since she's French speaking she has done
alot of shows on our radio station  educating the public 
about composting and  recycling.
One day I asked her about vermicomposting.
She said they actually had some at their office
and would gladly share. 

Anne with a handful of worm poop!

So one day I go pick up a bin with half a pound of worms.
With instructions in my brain, I am now the parent
to many, many worms.  Tiny things called
red wigglers.

Before we started digging in the bin.


The radio station  is in a building owned by our 
municipality.  We are on the top floor with EMO and 
the main floor has other community organizations.
It's a really nice building having just been redone
a few years ago.  The best thing about it is that
it has a large communal kitchen.  Coffee makers,
microwave, stove, full size fridge...you get the point.
So I decided we would put the worms in there.
They're like our mascots.  
So we have a little container in the fridge that is 
for worm scraps.  Because 1/2 pound of worms
don't eat very much.  So we feed them once a
week.  They're also kinda fussy.

No dairy, meat, grease and NO CITRUS! They hate
citrus.  Yup fussy little things. But they
work hard to give us their lovely poop...uh I mean castings.

Half of the worms we ended up with.


So after 6 months I brought the bin home because it was
time to divvy up the worms and get our own new bin. 
Anne and I had a date to separate our worms.

I guess we were good worm parents because we ended up
with 4 pounds of worms!!

It took awhile to separate them from their castings but it was fun. 
So Anne brought back her bin and her part of the worms and I now have 
our own proper bin with worms for the office.
I was just going to bring them home and leave them 
there.  But I guess everyone in the building considers them
their pets!  So I guess that's going to be their home.
I mean how many workers can brag that they
have their own personal composting machine in their office building.

This is our new worm bin.  Ready to start all over again.


Oh and in case you're wondering, they don't smell or bring in 
any other insects if it's done properly.  The only
smell we had was when we opened the lid.  It would
smell like dirt.  And we never had fruit flies or anything like that.

So I hope that maybe one day you can start your own little worm farm.


My Lenten Roses still blooming like crazy in February.  
It's been a crazy winter.

Have a blessed Day!
Lisa

Monday, November 23, 2020

Experience of a lifetime!

 If any of you haven't figured it out yet,
I love the great outdoors and everything that
goes along with it.
Except wood ticks, not sure why God put them on earth. Yuck!

And in all the things I am involved with I meet a lot of 
interesting people.
I think we first met Amelie at one of our garden club meetings and the
next year I met her partner Shawn at a gardening symposium.
He was giving a talk about birds! 
And I guess he would know a thing or two about them since
he is a professor at University Ste. Anne.
He's an ornithologist. (bird specialist to us ordinary folk)

They are always present at our Seedy Saturdays to represent 
the students from the University Ste. Anne with 
all the plants they have grown in the university
greenhouse.

Last year before Covid hit, I asked Shawn if he would
come and talk to the garden club about birds.
Unfortunately he couldn't make it, but he did offer
for the club to come with him on his Saw-whet owl 
research nights.  
Well of course!  Even if nobody from the garden club
would be interested, I know we would be!
Before we could set a date to go, Covid hit.

He could only take 4 people at a time and they had to be 
students.  But if ever a student couldn't make it he would 
let me know.

Last night I got a text from him asking if Dave and I were interested.
I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

I mean, who wouldn't be excited about going out in the cold,
forest at night! Well I was anyway...but I'm a bit
strange...or so I've been told.

So we all met at the lighthouse on the university grounds.
We marched to the woods behind the university while it was still
a bit light out to set up the nets.  
The nets are very lightweight and are specially designed for
this purpose. It's not something you can 
go and buy anywhere.  Only a few specific companies
make them and you have to prove that
you have a permit from the government to study birds.
They also have a speaker that emits
the call of other Saw-whet owls.

Then we went back to the lighthouse and waited...and waited...
after 30 minutes we set back out to the woods.
By this time it's rather dark out and you have to watch
your footing.
Our first foray out was unproductive. Nothing.
So we went back to the lighthouse for another
30 minutes.
While we waited Shawn explained a bit of what
they would do if we caught one. And also about this tiny owl.
-the female is larger than the male
-they only weigh between 54-151grams
-they're approx 6-8 inches high
-they have a certain pigment under their wings that
is detected under UV light and determines their age
-their main diet in this area are voles and mice
-they are cute as buttons and so, so soft! (ok, I added that)

So we went back to the net.  Once again no luck.
But the third time was the charm! We had one!
It took a few minutes to take it out of the netting, but Professor Shawn
was very, very gently taking it out.  The less stress that is 
put on these animals the better. 


We brought it back to the lighthouse to begin taking 
data about this cutie patootie 
(ya, ya, I know not very scientific language but you'd be calling it that also if you'd been there)

It was weighed, measured and it's age determined and then banded.

Showing a proper grip on the owl called the "backpack grip"

The UV light showing the pink pigment that tells
us it's a juvenile




Getting ready to have a band put on


Teeny tiny bands all numbered.


They even record from what direction it came from, the wind speed,
temperature and moon cycle. 
Then after we fawned over it for a few minutes, it was let go. 
It was determined that is was a female from this year.

Another hold they use to make sure it doesn't get hurt.

Honestly, how cute it this!!

After everything was done, they went and took the net down.

We just want to thank Professor Shawn for letting us tag along
with his research last night.  We would do it again in a heartbeat!
We hope after Covid is done that we will be able to bring the garden club
to experience this.

Have a  Blessed evening
Lisa







Monday, November 2, 2020

Man of many talents

 Things are cooling off here in Southwest Nova Scotia.

The time also changed this past weekend.  

Something that drives me nuts!

But anyway, we had one last warm Sunday.

So I cleaned up my strawberry beds to put them to 

sleep for the winter. I also noticed that there was still some parsley, cilantro 




and green onions that had popped up in the warm temps we had.

I even found one last feed of beet greens.



In this neck of the woods, green onions, shallots, scallions
whatever you want to call them are used a bit differently 
than other places. 
We have a few local, ethnic dishes (rappie pie and chicken fricot)
that salted green onions are a staple.


All this is it's shallots and lots and lots of salt.


The shallots are chopped and then added to the bottle 
and salt is added and they keep forever.
It adds a lovely flavour to boiled chicken, stew meat
etc...but obviously don't put too much.

Please excuse this post, for some reason Blogger is adding empty
lines in some places and not in others.

Every year I have a hard time  making carrots germinate.
Well last year I found out  the trick and I had plenty of
carrots.  But I still get paranoid they won't come up
and I wayyyy over plant carrots.

So thanks to my cold cellar, hubby built,  I have plenty of room to
store them.  We are trying the dry method in shavings and Dave
has learned to can!  Oh my.  That's pretty much all I can say.

Well when I was campaigning I was too busy to can, plus the dog attack
left me without the use of my right hand for several weeksv
so Dave took up the slack.  
I think he likes it.  He's  made salsa, spaghetti sauce, 
pickled hot pepper, yellow beans and carrots, carrots and more
carrots!! He's also discovered pressure canning
which I'm too afraid to do.

And some of our carrots grew a bit.  That's Dave's size 12 sexy foot
you're staring at beside the carrot.


We planted regular carrots and rainbow carrots, so it makes 
lovely jars.

Saturday was a bit chilly, but I bundled up and planted tulips
while Dave planted the garlic.
I also made him his favourite.


Butter pecan tarts.
I have to spoil him somehow.

Have a Blessed Day











Monday, October 5, 2020

Birchdale



There is a serene, beautiful place in Nova Scotia called Birchdale.
Amazingly not many people know about it or the stories behind it.
But enough people know about this legendary paradise to want to make the very,
very, very long journey in the woods on dirt roads to get to it.
And don't bother with your GPS cause it has no idea how to get you there.

Birchdale is over 100 years old and was built by a prominent man from the
area.  It was built as a hunting and fishing lodge.  Throughout the years many 
people have visited Birchdale some regular people like myself and Dave...
some not so regular...people like 
Teddy Roosevelt,  Babe Ruth, Danny Kaye, Greta Garbo..ya know
normal people.


When I was younger this place was what dreams and stories are made of
because nobody was permitted here.
A group of Carmelite monks bought the property in 1972 and renamed it 
Nova Nada.

If I'm not mistaken, they would open it to the public once a month
on Sundays, but we never went.  
For one thing it was too hard to find and in those days
you didn't travel like you do now.

The property consists of a main lodge and super quaint
cabins.  There are around 14 or so scattered all along the
lake and property. 

In 1997 the monks disbanded and there was nobody in the buildings for 
four years.  While the monks were there though, they built a beautiful 
round library and chapel overlooking the lake. 

Eventually someone bought the property and returned it to its
original name of Birchdale and kept it till last year. 
She then sold it to two lovely ladies from Toronto.

Tracey Erin Smith and Sarah Garton Stanley


They have a Facebook page that you can check out.

It's not open everyday to the public because it is their home.
I mean would you want people barging onto your property unannounced?
But they do have Afternoons at Birchdale.

We've been there 3 time so far this summer.  Twice to visit and
once to interview them since I will be writing an article on them
in the French newspaper very soon. 

But in the meantime here are some photos I took of both times we 
went there.  Once was earlier this summer and the other was 
just yesterday.



One of my favourite little cabins



Snuggling on the porch of the main lodge


My parents with Dave and I


My mom and I...in case you hadn't guessed


Massive pine trees!!



Just swinging along!


Have a Blessed day.
And I hope you'll someday be able to visit Birchdale.





 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Politics...the good kind

I've been thinking about it for years.

But it was never the right time.

It's now the right time.

This year it's the municipal elections in our neck of the woods.

And I'm running for councilor.

Lisa Doucette running for District 3.

I like helping people and talking to people and my community

is my passion so it's time for me to give it a go.  



I know I can do good for the people.
I want to help the older people, but also 
bring new and younger people to the area.
Both can benefit from each other.

I have a lot of other concerns.
Things like the environment, jobs, preserving our culture
and I could go on and on.
But what I really want is to listen to the people and 
have them tell me what they want. What their concerns
are all about.  Because I mean, it's them I'll be working for...
right!?

Covid is on so it's not the most ideal time to be running for
an election. But it needs to be done. Some of the candidates
are not going door to door.  I wasn't sure what to do.
But after many sleepless nights and speaking with 
the public and following the provincial 
protocol, I have begun going door to door.
I wear a mask, stay a minimum of 6 feet away and I have
my stash of hand sanitizer ready at all times.

So wish me luck!

Have a Blessed Day
Lisa

Monday, August 3, 2020

Harvesting has begun!

It's time to start harvesting.
I just came back from picking blueberries in our garden.
Yum!


Our paprika peppers  are starting  to ripen also.
That means they will be going in the dehydrator soon.


Perennial flowers are still going strong even without the rain.
This phlox smells sooo good and the colour is amazing.



The pink is actually brighter in person.
Wow!

The tomatoes are almost ripe and the regular peppers also.

I've picked some yellow beans  but they are late coming because
I had to replant them since most didn't come up.

But all in all it's been a not bad gardening year considering the lack of rain.

Have a blessed day!
Lisa