le jardin en juin

it’s been a while since my last post…

over the past two years i’ve been working on a new “step” garden down the north side of the drive, it’s not completed, but it has been planted and needs only the caps along the stone wall to finish it.

as you’ll see i was liberal with the poppy seeds that pop up all over my garden, front and back. i’ve spread the poppy and other seeds along forest edge adjacent to our property as well as any plants that need thinning out. june, and maybe july are the best month for colour here in Hope, i’m still trying to find late summer bloomers but not sure which will be best for our changing clime.

a few photos from the front and back flower gardens: https://flic.kr/s/aHskX2QSuH

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mountain highway

the second leg of our journey took us from kaslo to golden, jasper and grande prairie.  our usual habit is to travel up highway 1, the transcanada and head north just before lake louise via the banff-jasper parkway.  it is usually a winter trip and often we feel we have the parkway to ourselves as it ices over in many areas which, no doubt, discourages many drivers. this year however we were travelling in the fall, for the first time, and are glad for it as the leaves are turning to their autumn colours and we often followed a ribbon of gold as we zipped along the road.

this is our 20th or is it 30th trip up the parkway and we never tire of its wonders. here are some random shots taken through the sunroof of the car or side window.

a bit of trivia:

the two segments of our holiday: “kootenay bound” and “mountain highway” totalled 3,300 kilometres and include some of the highest passes in canada:

Mountain Passes    
Bow pass
Sunwapta pass
Kicking Horse pass
Roger’s Pass
Allison Pass
Sunday Summitt
Blueberry-Paulson Summit
Anarchist Summit
Nancy Greene Summit
Surrey Lake Summit
Coquihalla Pass
2.088m
2.035m
1.643m
1327m
1342m
1282m
1535m
1236m
1575m
1444m
1244m
Banff-Jasper Parkway
Banff-Jasper Parkway
Yoho National Park
Glacier National Park
Manning Provincial Park
East of Manning Provincial Park
Christina Lake to Castlegar
East of Osoyoos
Christina Lake to Rossland
North of Merritt
Highway 5, 60 km from Hope

seeing red! …roasted tomato sauce

the beginning of fall and the last of the tomatoes (about 10 kg) from my garden are ready for sauce. this is the second batch we’ve processed in the last couple of weeks, much to my surprise as i only grew 10 plants this year (we bought another 24 kg for canning).

my friend sheila, another avid gardener on vancouver island, shared her sauce recipe with me 2 years back and it’s definitely a keeper in our house!

with small embellishments here is sheila’s recipe for perfect tomato sauce.

“I have used this recipe for years and it never fails. I usually make it in the
summer as we have a vegetable garden and always end up with too many
tomatoes, I then make in batches, for the freezer. I use a lot of garlic in this
recipe but that’s because we love it and the garlic sweetens in the roasting
process. I have strained the sauce at times to remove the seeds. Though most
people don’t mind tomato seeds.

ingredients:

  • 2 lbs large tomatoes (i do a large tray on the bbq, about 4 lbs or 2 kg*)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (i use a tablespoon full*)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (1 for the tray and one to drizzle over the tomatoes*)

putting it together:
Preheat the oven/grill to 400°f. 205°c.
Slice tomatoes in half, set aside. (i give them a squeeze to get out some seeds and juice*)
Pour the olive oil onto a large baking sheet and spread it around the sheet.
Sprinkle evenly the garlic, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper over the oil.
Place the tomatoes cut side down onto the baking sheet (optional: add sliced peppers on top and drizzle with olive oil)  shake the italian herb mixture over the lot*)
Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until the skins start to lift from the tomatoes. (i roast mine for about an hour until they are just getting dark caramelising on top*)
Allow to cool.
Remove the skins and put the sauce into a large bowl and break up the flesh with a fork. (…we invested in an italian tomato mill to process the mixture, it removes the skin and seeds quickly*)

Reheat sauce if using immediately.

sheila’s comments:
I’ve been making this sauce and freezing it sucessfully for several years. (we bag ours in ziploc bags for freezing*) I press it in a mill to remove the seeds and skins once it has cooled. I have discovered that salt takes away the bitterness. I know some suggest sugar but salt works too.

“It’s good if you roast a tray of sweet peppers with a tray of tomatoes and combine them. Roasting reduces the water content so you get a more intense tomato taste.
No stirring. I use parchment paper on the baking sheets.”

* ◊ my variations

home-grownseasoninggoodatxmas onthegrillitaliantomatomill reward

on the edge

a very careful but brisk walk along the frozen edge of the mighty fraser. temperature -4C with a wind chill to -15C.

ice
ice crusting along the edge

today, january 3, 2016 the fraser river is nearing it lowest level, however, come spring and summer it will rise dramatically by about 8 metres,  as measured at the water avenue bridge. the fraser, usually a muddy brown, adopts a more pleasant bluish hue in the winter as the sediment disperses.  here in hope, it varies in width by several hundred metres as the seasons change.

warning buoy placed 50 metres from shore
warning buoy placed 50 metres from shore
drying rack for salmon
drying rack for salmon

near this buoy is a boat launch frequently busy with sturgeon fishers out to catch a monster. the Stó:lō people fish the river for salmon and can occasionally be seen drying them on racks across the river. 

sandbar and max
sandbar and max
frozen love?
frozen love?

max and me were about 300 metres from shore, clambering over boulders when we stumbled on this odd display, which i’ve taken the liberty of titling “frozen love” because deep down i’m pretty corny. how or why they got here will remain an unknown story.

rivers
meeting of the fraser and coquihalla rivers

our destination was the confluence of the fraser and coquihalla rivers, where, for a few short months, they blend unknowingly with each other.

fraser river bridge – hope, b.c.

The attached photo of the “water avenue bridge” was taken january 1, 2016, looking north. The fraser river is at its lowest during the winter months, a steep path on the south entry of the bridge gives access to the river’s edge.

water avenue bridge
water avenue bridge – crosses the fraser river as the trans canada highway entering the fraser canyon.

Source: wikipedia
The Water Avenue Bridge is a highway bridge that carries the Trans Canada Highway across the Fraser river. It was built around 1916 to carry the Kettle Valley Railroad out of The town of Hope to the CPR mainline on the north side of the river.[1] It is a two level bridge with the highway bridge on top. The railway, which was long ago removed, ran on the lower level. If you pull off the highway on the north side, eastbound on the highway, and explore under the bridge, this can be clearly seen. The rail bed can be followed a short way west until you come to private property. Little if anything remains to show that trains ran south and east of the bridge into town.

this morning in the garden…

we’re ahead of schedule with almost everything. the fennel has overgrown and new seedling are planted, beets and greens ready for canning and soon the tomatoes. this morning we picked 5 kilo of tomatoes and figure we’ll have about 35 or 40 kilo by the time we’re done. I’ve pulled all the second batch of onions and all the garlic for drying, also digging up potatoes as needed. a second crop of green and yellow bush bean went in a few days back as we harvest the bounty of the first crop. peppers, cucumbers and zucchini are overflowing….how to get it all dried, canned or frozen in time! my turnips are ready and a second crop planted as is another crop of beets. remarkable what a handful of seeds will produce.

beans garlic onion pot tom5

rhododendron flats

on a short day trip we had the chance to stop at  rhododendron flats in manning park.  the grove of pacific rhododendron is just off highway 3 (the crowsnest) highway.  there is a small parking lot and toilet along with information signs about the grove.  as they are natural/native only one colour grows, however the beauty of them at different phases of development are as diverse as any garden.  it is a pleasant 15 minutes stroll around a well maintained path amongst the pines and cedars.  the grade is gently but not suitable for wheelchairs or someone with difficulty walking.

m1 r1 r2 r4 r5 r7 rh7 rh8 rh9 rh10 rh11 forest floor

the ubiquitous max
the ubiquitous max

may has busted out all over!

…if you know the song…it should be june 😉

the flower gardens are way ahead of themselves and I fear come august or even july the flowers will be spent.  for now the colours are bright and the buds prolific, alas there is lots of deadheading to do and of course there’s weeding, obnoxious weeds that grow as fast if not faster then flowers.

for both the vegetables and flowers the bees and hummingbirds are have a heyday. the veggies are well established with many already in flower.  were presently eating lettuce, radishes, green onions and herbs. the tomatoes and potatoes are in flower and they should start setting fruit soon.

I took a few shots earlier this this afternoon 29/05/15. I hope you enjoy them.

b4 cpallover dora loaded lovely moreplease pclem pinks pop sweet what whclem wl1 wl2

Tie up your staked veggies with….

…painters tape!

having lost or used up all my velcro ties i was desperate to get more, then realized i had rolls of left over painters tape.  (it must have been the colour that clued me to the idea) the adhesive on the tape is not strong enough to stick to the plants but when wrapped around a stake and to itself it holds the plant securely.  a one inch roll would likely be better than the width i had on hand and it will last you several season, depending on the size of your garden.

max2veg tape