Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ surprise lupin ~
Thanksgiving weekend is upon us once again. My favourite time of year!

The sun is shining & there is still warmth in the air. A great time to be outside in the gardens...

Here is a bit of what I did this weekend:

There are some projects I leave & do in February & cleaning up the berry bushes & canes is usually one of them. This year, I'm trying a few new things...
~ berry bushes ~
Since we've got extra straw that won't be used by the ducks (sigh - still sad about that), I weeded & cleaned up the currant & gooseberry patch & mulched everything with straw. Would have preferred to lay down cardboard underneath, but neglected to save any... Must write that on my 'save' list for next year!

Mulching your berry bushes & canes will keep the weeds down (which compete for nutrients in the soil) & will help in moisture retention & soil temperature moderation. Also prevents accidental lawn mower or weed wacker incidents!

~ winter bed ~
I've sown greens in one of the raised beds & put plastic over top in the hopes that over the winter, they will grow & provide us with some much wanted freshness in the winter. I have the plastic held onto the hoops with some split hose, but I might have to revisit this as the hose is just barely wide enough to go over the edges of the hoops to 'clamp' the plastic down. 
~ kale ~

The kale is loving the sunny days & is putting out new leaves like crazy. It's a good thing that I'm craving kale these days - who wouldn't love kale chips in the cool evenings watching the sun set?

Over the winter, the plants will go dormant & there won't be much available fresh, so if you have lots, I would suggest freezing some for use in stir fries or stews.
~ raspberries ~

 I'm really loving the raspberry harvest this year! As long as we don't get super hard freezes for another month, I'll be harvesting these right up til American Thanksgiving!

~ smoked turkey ~

 I tried something new this year with the turkey. I traditionally brine the bird prior to roasting it - which gives you a moist, flavourful bird. I've just recently brought out our smoker as I plan on smoking all our fish this year instead of sending it away to be done.

Why not smoke the turkey??
So, I brined the bird for 36 hours, rinsed it off & chopped it up as you see here. I then smoked it for 3 1/2 hours & then drizzled some rosemary/marjoram olive oil on top & put a Himalayan salt crust with ground lavender over it. It went into the oven at 275 degrees for 2 hours. Flavour-flavour-flavour!!! Definitely a hit!

~ deck project ~
I came home a bit early on Saturday to find a wonderful surprise! The hubby decided he didn't want to wait til next spring to build the pergola on the upper deck & he hired someone to help him install it. The weather couldn't be better for this - sunshine galore! 

Today they will complete the cross beams & once the deck is all cleaned up, I'll have to take some more photos - from different angles. This structure really completes the house & I've already got plants overwintering in the greenhouse that will make their move up here next spring. Hopefully I'll have wisteria giving us some leafy shade in a couple of years.

Happy Thanksgiving - really, it is a Simple Life that gives me Simple Pleasures.

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