May 28, 2011

Farmers Market Saturdays - Salad Blues

After the farmers market you come home with all kinds of beautiful produce. Now what?  If you are like me, you quickly tire of salads and veggies with dip.  Surely there's more?

Luckily there are some great sites that can help combat the same-old salad blues.

Vegetarian Times puts out a Farmers Market Cookbook magazine yearly.  If you can't find the magazine, be sure to check out their website where they boast "the world's largest collection of vegetarian recipes."

Sunset magazine also has an article about different ways to use your market haul.

And the Crescent City Farmers Market of New Orleans (show below) has it's own website with 14 pages of recipes to choose from. 

Something else to think about is variety.  Don't just pick up the usual suspects.  Find a new vegetable you haven't tried yet.  Test mutiple varieties of fruit.  We have at least 6 different varieties of cherries that come into the market in June in colours ranging from white to bright pink to almost black.  It's great fun to try them all!

Have fun recipe-hunting!

May 24, 2011

Garden Center Excursion

On Sunday, I took my mom to our favourite garden center in the next valley.  Here are some snaps (via iPhone - apologies if they are not perfect!)

Rows of herbs make my heart soar!

Of course I want more of this:

A Heliotrope that came home with me.  It smells amazing!

The garden center also had gorgeous garden stones:


My basket:

And this beauty came home with me too!

May 23, 2011

May Long Weekend Wrap-Up

"The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them."
~ Victoria.  Queen and cool chick.

This weekend has been May Long Weekend or Victoria Day Weekend in Canada.  This is the official kickoff to Summer and the "safe date" for vegetable planting here in Southern British Columbia. 

Victoria Day is the Monday on or before May 24th when we honour Queen Victoria's birthday (and also the celebration of the reigning Queen Elizabeth's birthday.)  Locally, it's more of a first-party weekend of the Summer, and less of a celebration of the monarchy.

On Saturday I went to our local farmers market and then headed out for some shopping.  I didn't get a Farmers Market Saturday post up (my excuse is that I was too busy watching for raptured people floating by) so here is a bit of info I like to post each year about finding a market in your area:

I like to find sites that let people track down a farmers market locally.  This site Farmers Market Online, lists open-air markets found in North America.  It's not complete by any means, but gives a good idea of markets in your Province/State.  You can also search for local markets online by your city, or check with your local tourist bureau.

Yesterday I took my mom to the garden center for her yearly Mother's Day gift of plants.  We had so much fun wandering the greenhouses and garden trails.  I even came home with some lovely plants for myself.  I'll post the pictures tomorrow when I get them downloaded.  The picture at the top of this post is just a teaser!

Today is a nice, mellow holiday Monday.  I need to finish planting my tomatoes and peppers, and then a friend is going to give my insanely long hair a good Summer trim.  I think potato salad is on the menu tonight, with green onions and radishes from the garden, and eggs from my friend's chickens down the road.  Then, I'm off to watch the Hangover 2, for a good laugh to end the day.

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend!

May 19, 2011

In The Gardens This Week

This week in the gardens...

My harvest-themed plate can still be seen.  Soon the perennials will have it completely covered.

The columbines are about to bloom.

The forget-me-nots, which I thought were overcome by the larkspur, have reappeared.  They are hiding beneath the delphinium - probably for fear that the larkspur will return.

The yarrow (a lovely reddy-orange variety) is being shadowed by the lady's mantel.  Perhaps it's time to transplant to a location with more room.

Rhubarb that will soon transform into brown-sugar-topped muffins!

A crazy bed-o-peas, trailing on re-purposed garden fencing.

Lettuce for dinner.  And lunch, and dinner, and lunch... 

Happy chives about to bloom. 

I'm having a wonderful time watching everything return to life in the garden.  I hope you are finding new treasures and much joy (and taste) in your garden too!

May 17, 2011

May Fey Givewaway Winner

The winner of the May giveaway: The Heart of Faerie Oracle is:

Sarah from The Green Foodies Garden!

Thank you all for entering the draw!  There will be another giveaway coming in June for Midsummer, so stay tuned!

May 14, 2011

Farmers Market Saturday - Halloween in May Edition

Strange things were afoot at the farmers market today.

Sideshow vegetables:

People in costume:

Dogs in costume:

A house up the road had an interesting doorman:
(It's a bit hard to see - but he's a lifesize "Uncle Festor" holding a lightpost.)

And I picked up a broom at a shop on the street where the market was being held.  The proprietor had all her seasonal items half off.  Beau approved after a close inspection.

In keeping with the theme of the day, I embraced the oddness and headed to a cemetary above the next town that a friend had told me about.  A tiny thing, surrounded by houses and orchards, the cemetary had some interesting headstones (not to mention plenty of heaving and cracks - I was a little worried about falling under in places!)

If anyone has any insight into the symbols on the stones, I'd be interested to know more.  For example, is Gladys here a Pagan?  Mason?  Who else uses pentagrams?  Underneath her dates, is the word "Mizpah."  I found this page where that word is explained.

How about this one?  Looks like cash to me, but with an extra line thrown in, it starts to look like a cell/prison.  Thoughts of Ebeneezer Scrooge abound.

Three rings.  Lord of the Rings fan?  Mormon with three wives?  Possibly as simple as a trinity.

All in all, not a fruitful farmers market, but a very interesting day nonetheless.  I think I may bundle up on my couch, grab some snacks and watch a creepy movie, just to tie it all together.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

May 10, 2011

You Can Now Find Me On Etsy!

My Etsy shop, Three Cats And A Broom is now open!

I'm very excited to feature my favorite mister "Lime Daiquiri" as my first product. Additional scents coming this week are: Orange Blossom, London Fog (Early Grey, Lavender & Vanilla) and Vanilla Latte.

Also coming in the next week - my organic all-purpose cleaner. I love this product and use it all the time on my counters, sink, stove, floors and bathroom.

There is so much to do in the way of perfecting my labels (not 100% happy with the ones I have at the moment) and production and photography, but I know it's a process. If anyone else has an Etsy store and has any hints, I would appreciate any tips I can get. And let me know your store name, and I'll "favorite" it!

You can also find the shop on Facebook.

Thanks for taking the time to check it out, and don't forget to get your name in for the May Fey Giveaway draw happening one week from today!

May 7, 2011

Farmers Market Saturday - The Season Opens!

Today's market was a small but lovely start to the season.  Not too many people around at 8:30am when the opening bell rang and the weather wasn't too cooperative, but all in all a nice market.

There were plenty of garlic, onions and leeks:

As well as lovely lettuce mixes:

And my favourite treat - lavender shortbread cookies:

Yes, I could get green onions at the grocery store for 89 cents.  I could buy a head of lettuce for $1.  But there is something so incredibly satisfying about talking to the people who were out in their field at 5am this morning, picking lettuce for my salad.  I know where my food comes from when I shop the market.  I know who grows it and that they don't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

I recognize the baker that makes gluten-free treats.  I go see the same lady with the little boy that grows bigger every year to buy my spinach.  I even shop at the refrigerated truck that sells organic sausages (buffalo too!)

Yes, it's more expensive.  But I'd rather cut back on a Starbucks latte and put that $3-$4 toward a trip to the market and know what I'm eating and where it comes from. 

If you have a local farmers market, why not support it and the growers this season?  It's definitely money well-spent!

May 6, 2011

The Season Begins - And A New Project!

Guess what starts tomorrow?

Tomorrow is the season opener of our local farmers market!   I'm ridiculously excited.  The weather promises to be awful just to spite me, but I won't let that deter me from my great re-launch of the third season of "Farmers Market Saturday" posts. 

For those who are new to the blog, each Saturday (or Sunday - let's be honest) I bring you a post featuring a farmers market, pictures of my local market or recipes that I've made with the produce I've purchased at the market.  There are so many amazing markets all over the world - it's always fun to see what everyone else has going on in their area!

In other news, after giving away countless bottles of herbal all-purpose cleaner and organic herbal mists to my family and friends who seem to hover everytime I make a batch, I've decided to start selling some of these yummy items.  I've started a blog to chronicle the project, which will soon feature a link to my Etsy store once I get myself organized.  If you are so inclined, you can check out Three Cats And a Broom.

See you after the market!

May 4, 2011

May Fey Giveaway

I just love May.  The warming of the earth and the re-awakening of the green.  I've been planting optimistically in the raised garden beds and pots (no annuals or perennials yet.)  My peas are nearly a foot high, and the lettuce can be eaten as I thin the rows to make room for larger heads.  I have onion, raddish, carrots and swiss chard coming up.

I finally finished removing the rampant Larkspur from the flower beds (although I notice it has now populated parts of the lawn.)  The flower garden is much happier it can breathe without the choking invaders and although my forget-me-nots didn't survive, the wiggly grass was rescued and moved in the hopes that it will have more room to grow.

A generous offering of milk and honey was left near the foxglove for the Fey.  There is no reason for some of the wonderful plants I have, to grow so well in a 3/4 shade garden so it's them I thank for keeping my "full-sun" perennials coming back so beautifully every year in a small, shady, corner garden.

And as a gift to you, I offer my May giveaway.  A gorgeous deck from Brian Froud, called "The Heart of Faerie Oracle."  This lovely set includes a hardcover book that describes all the cards and their meanings and details how to use them, giving you options for spreads.

As usual, all you have to do is be or become a follower (or indicate that you have subscribed to the RSS feed.)  Please also ensure you have a way for me to contact you via your own blog or email on your profile page.  Leave a comment on this post, and you are set!

I will draw the winner of this lovely deck on the May full moon - Tuesday, May 17th. 

May you be blesssed by the awakening Spring - and by the Fey!

May 1, 2011

Beltane Blessings

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish you a happy day
I'm come to show my garland
Because it's the first of May.

A bunch of May I have brought you
And at your door it stands
It is but a spray, but it's well spread about
Tis the work of the Fey's hands.

And now I've sung my little short song
No longer can I stay
Faeries bless you all, both great and small
And grant you a very happy May!

~old rhyme

Wishing you a wonderful May, a blessed Beltane and all the fairy favours you might wish!