Thursday, May 28, 2009

First Fruits

Yes, I understand that rhubarb is technically not a fruit - more like a stalk. But we use it like fruit, and it is wonderful to have fresh "fruit" around to make desserts with. We are so blessed to have an across-the-road neighbour who has a large rhubarb patch, and he is very generous with it. In fact, he encourages us to take as much as we can, because that in turn encourages the rhubarb to send up even more shoots! On Saturday, Pip and I made our way over the road, starting our journey to (Sunday's) pie!

My fellow rhubarb harvester:

Part way through the process:

The finished, beautiful, glorious pie! It tasted wonderful!

The rhubarb is at its prime now - tender, very pink and almost sweet, well, almost! A good excuse to dust the top crust liberally with sugar!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Blank Canvas

We've been working for a few weeks now to prepare the "canvas" of the veggie garden. We moved the compost bin, moved the wood-pile, spread around the fabulous soil that was at the bottom of the composter, enlarged the garden over to the fence, and then added A LOT of triple mix. (David ordered 3 yards, and most of it went here!)

So here are the children where soon (we hope!!) there will be a bounty of tomatoes, zuchinni (ok, not such a bounty of this one please!), lettuce, corn, beans and other good things!! Very exciting!!

We seem to be finally out of the frost warning at night weather, so today we started planting out the tomatoes and peppers we have raised from seed. As with every year, the children were remarking how much work it is to put in a garden. I didn't remind them of the weeding!! But hopefully it will all be worth it as we savour our produce later in the season!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nature Hike in the Shorthills

This week we were able to go on a guided hike in Shorthills Provincial Park. Our guide was Jane, and she provided the children with magnifying glasses and binoculars, as well as a wealth of information about what we were seeing. Highlights were the large (meaning high, not volume) waterfall:

seeing a couple of interesting birds: the Indigo Bunting and the Eastern Bluebird,(The photo at the top of this post is Tim looking at the Eastern Bluebird.) learning some new plants (for me! greater and lesser celandine), and examining all sorts of things up close:

Emmi also enjoyed having a good friend along with us!

It is so neat to see the woodland transforming into spring! We hope to be back in the same place some time this summer to see how it has changed!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Baking Adventures

David is seeking to perfect steak and kidney pie. His first version, unfortunately, was not photographed, and was, well... it was fine. Certainly it was good to eat, but it was not quite perfect. The second version (above) was much better - (beefier) but still could use a little tweak - he's thinking about just what it needs. I did the crust (it was puff pastry, so I really just put it in the pie dish), and I added the blackbird for a touch of whimsy - note from David: whimsy not appreciated, it makes the pie hard to serve! But the blackbird makes a beautiful pie, plus adds that literary note that lovers of nursery rhymes will appreciate. Stay tuned for the next iteration.

Emmi is also getting adventuresome in the kitchen. She has progressed far enough in her baking skills that she is now able to make simple baked goods (muffins, snacking cake) unassisted. It was quite a treat for me to go out in the garden with "the boys" (Pip stayed behind to help line the muffin tin) and return to the smell of freshly baked blueberry muffins. Emmi had even washed up all the dished while they baked! She's welcome to make more any time!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Silver Dart

We took part in a field trip to a replica of the Silver Dart - the first airplane to fly in Canada! This historic flight happened 100 years ago, and so a team of enthusiasts built a half-scale replica and have been touring around to schools to show it to children. Our local homeschool group booked a slot (actually two slots - there were that many of us!) and we were able to see the airplane, watch a DVD, hear a talk from one of the men who worked on the plane:

and the children could sit in it! (Here's Ben while Pip and Tim and a friend look on!) They could use the basic controls to move some of the flaps, and the engine in back was on turning the propellor (slowly!).

The Silver Dart was flown in February 1909 on a frozen lake in the Maritimes. It was built under the direction of Alexander Graham Bell. Part of our Canadian Heritage!!

The children also were able to fly paper airplanes, and examine all sorts of historical information on a huge display board. Here's what Tim thought of the afternoon: