Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Harvest’ Category


August 11, 2010

zora naki

the state of the garden

July 9, 2010

zora naki

what do you want first – the good news or the bad news? I’m usually a bad news kind of person – get it out of the way, and then you know you have something good to look forward to.

So here it is.

The garden this year? Not up to snuff. Between the cold wet spring and poor plant selection/soil issues, some of my plants are positively runty. I have a tomato plant that (bless its little heart) is only about 6 inches tall and is still manfully putting out two cherry tomatoes. Five pepper plants (home depot – boo!) are still the same size as when i planted them about three months ago.

Tried some new veggies out this year – the fava beans grew like stink and then got infested with little black bugs, and the cabbages grew big and also got infested (for some reason i keep writing invested) with green worms and greyish crap. My solution is to repeatedly blast them with water, but i’m thinking there’s room for improvement.

My strawberry bed was decimated by the reno – only 5 strawberries have made it to fruition ūüė¶¬† Also, the plum tree that put out forty-odd plums last year has one single solitary fruit growing. Is it on sabbatical? Am i doing something wrong?

Now for the good news. The potatoes in the front yard are coming along nicely.

the newly planted apple trees are putting out fruit.

bumper crops of raspberries.

Finally, (and unrelated to gardening), we headed off to granville island last saturday to gorge on seafood and admire the houseboats. very chic, no?

stupendous flower baskets.

happy 11th anniversary!

an afternoon at the beach

June 29, 2010

zora naki

with all of the strange (un)summer weather here in vancouver, kits beach was deserted sunday afternoon.

this morning’s harvest: 100 raspberries :0


June 25, 2010

zora naki

the raspberries are coming in! three days of harvest with the help of my small but able assistant (it takes a little prompting to pick just the berry and not the whole branch).

a lovely rose that we were given as a housewarming present – i think the tag says queen elizabeth.
bacopa spilling out of a terracotta pot is always a Good Thing.

i grew apples

September 14, 2009

zora naki

i grew apples

i’m pretty excited about the first apple harvest (of my whole entire life) – i picked three today off of my espalier apple – a braeburn, a golden delicious and a red delicious. two of them were consumed on the spot, hence the lonely apple in the photo above.

also – peppers!

i grew apples (and peppers too)

much better than last year’s failed crop. of course, without anything in the photo to give them scale, the pictures are deceiving – these are decidedly smaller than what you would get at the store. there were a few spiders lurking in the crevices. but i grew everything without sprays or chemicals or anything other than the fresh compost added to the soil back in the spring. i think the raised beds are helping with the pest containment. or maybe it’s the vigorous undergrowth of clover and dandelions around the plants…

relocating from our house to a rental during the reno saga has been seriously detrimental to my urban homesteading efforts. the freezer is unplugged, the canning jars are packed away in storage, and the garden went without water during one of the hotter summers I’ve experienced out here. in our absence, the blackberry canes invaded. it’s a jungle back there. the cauliflower and broccoli heads came in small and very quickly (overnight it seemed) and had already gone to seed by the time i fought my way to the backyard garden (past the old furnace, around the tarp covering the tool cabinet, through the knee-high dandelions).¬† the strawberries performed admirably in the early summer but have taken a real beating from the work done – stucco raining down, roofing tile dropped, building paper left in a pile in the middle of the bed (obviously these people are NOT gardeners).

i still can’t seem to keep a male kiwi vine alive. i may need to relocate them – i now have two suspicious deaths on my hands. my thumbs are turning black. i planted potatoes in random patches around the beds and now (of course) with the plants done, i have no idea where most of them are.

don’t mind me. i’m just moping. i’ve been thinking about the amount of garden work in the back yard that i need to do to catch up for next year – ACCKK!

being even partially self-sufficient is so MUCH WORK.

i love being out in my garden and puttering – a little bit here and there. but apparently, for me at least, proximity is key. i don’t know how all of those allotment gardeners do it.

anyhoo, enough of the pity party. i think i’m feeling discouraged because the reno is being held up (again) – we’re on hold for another few days before they can finish papering the building, so we can stucco/insulate/drywall. the gutter/flashing guy made a brief appearance and hasn’t been seen since. i can’t find a window sill that i like. the budget is having issues. everything is great, but i want it to be DONE.

the middle part is boring

July 28, 2009

zora naki

once the big stuff is done (demo! framing! roof!), the middle stuff is B-O-R-(yawn)¬† let’s talk about my garden for a minute. it’s parched. scorching weather/no rain/water shut-off. and yet…

july plumscherry tomatoesjuly blackberries

how sweet is that? i’m going back this morning to battle the thorns for more blackberries.

house stuff on the inside: the plumbing rough-in has passed inspection and the heating and wiring are underway. sprinkler guy starts next week. i’m still working through the lighting plan in my head. i would suggest not paying an architect to draft one, since it turned out to be mostly useless. so many switches!

ergo sun tunnel

the sun tunnel has made it down to the basement. laundry chute (made from heating ducts) is in place.

house stuff on the outside: the city tree-trimming crew happened by yesterday and hacked the beautiful maple into a shadow of its former self. argh! ‘imagine that you went to a hairdresser with long hair and asked for an inch off the bottom – and then came out with a crewcut. horrible.

a massive trench was dug and then filled in to connect our sump pit to the city’s new water/sewer connection. front and side yards totally trashed – rocks and clay abound.

windows have all been reframed and bad wood replaced with good.

yawn. i’m putting myself to sleep. next post: shopping!

the sun tunnel

July 12, 2009

zora naki

sun tunnel installed in roof

we decided to add a sun tunnel as the roof was being framed. it’s basically a round skylight that sits on the roof and funnels light down through a highly reflective tunnel. i wanted to have one in the basement office because we’ve lost three windows downstairs, leaving it rather gloomy. trooped off to home depot, only to find that the Velux Sun Tunnel (10″ diameter) will only reach about 14′ (manufacturer’s recommended distance). The 14″ version is rated up to 18′, but that still wasn’t going to make it from the roof to the basement.

found another brand (gordon) – also through home depot – that is certified up to 24′ (for the 14″ tube), so it’s up on the roof. if you’re considering doing something similar, be warned that the cost more than doubles when you add in all of the extension tubes to reach 18′ or so. it’s also not exactly unnoticeable from the sidewalk, because the dome sticks up like a mushroom.

the roof has plywood on it now, and the roofer is working away on the shingles. before we started.

back of house, before

and this afternoon.

back of house july 12

and the front/side view 12 days ago:

june 29, 2009

and now:

july 12

the plan is to try and install a small green roof over the front entrance (on the flat portion of the roof). i’ve been keen on the idea for awhile, and this seems the best way to ease into it. i’ll do something low profile – probably sedums or something similar – and open up the office window above to water it as it is getting established.

the city did their portion of the water/sewer excavation this week.


the first pocket door is in!

pocket door #1 is in

record-breaking harvest on the raspberries so far.

july raspberries

and the first sungold tomatoes are ripe. best tomatoes. ever.

sungold tomatoes

everybody has an opinion

June 23, 2009

zora naki

when it comes to doing a reno, everyone going by the house has an opinion. some people are devastated that we’re changing anything, some are just curious, a few (very few) are keen on the changes. i am trying (very hard) not to second-guess myself and my style choices (not traditional! not craftsman!). skin! grow thicker!

the crew is ripping along – in this case, through the roof. the master bedroom has some lovely new ceiling joists and a blue tarp roof.

master bedroom ceiling

from the outside, we have (temporarily) a flat roof.

roof rippage, day 1

i am told that most of the roof should be gone by the end of today, and walls on the second floor will start going up tomorrow.

still having some trouble with decisions over how the windows should be framed. we have a very clean line around the windows and doors (or rather, we did) – stucco/plaster without mouldings. would love to replicate this, but am told it is a lost art. was hoping to use aluminum windows, but the quote for that was more than double the vinyl windows. back to the drawing board.

for the inside framing, i want a very simple box. architect has suggested mdf window sill/frame and mudding/taping right up to the edge. contractor has expressed concern that drywall will shrink/crack and it will look like crap. also, drywall won’t stand up to wear and tear. he has suggested 2″ window trim on top of this, but i’m a bit meh on the idea. maybe the mockup will change my mind. was also hoping to have box drywalled higher than the top of the window frame, so as to have room to install roller blinds. also told that this is $$$ option, given extra j-beads¬† and whatnot (not sure on this term – extra corners anyways). must ponder on this.

my garden is struggling a bit with the lack of rain (in vancouver of all places). having trouble staying on top of the watering/weeding. i usually don’t get to this stage 0f garden neglect until later in july, but things seem to be okay so far.

herb garden (the fennel is taking over again). yellow flowers are the lemon chamomile run rampant. basil is my waterloo – has died again.

herb garden june 22

the first of the purple cauliflowers¬† (graffiti) is emerging in my daughter’s garden. she claims that her singing is the reason for this early success. i am skeptical. perhaps cauliflower is tone deaf?

first graffiti cauli of 2009

the strawberries are finishing up and the raspberries are in full swing.


i’m going to go and do some more unpacking. i should be finished by the time we move out. adios!

demolition days 4, 5, & 6

June 18, 2009

zora naki

i’m not sure that there’s much left to demolish at this point. it’s been totally cleaned out! the contractor tells me that we have the most solid house he’s ever taken apart – no signs of rot or sagging or problems anywhere. one of the reasons the house is holding up so well after 70 years is that (they discovered) a rainscreen made from lathe was built between the stucco and the shiplap boards.

of course, most of the hard work from the builders of yore is being taken apart and chucked in the bin. we have managed to convince the structural engineer to okay keeping the existing douglas fir beam in the basement and some of the fir window headers as well.

here we are looking south into the living room. The fireplace mantel has been taken off the wall temporarily.

living room day 6

looking north – it’s wide open.

looking north after day 6

master bedroom after day 6.

master bedroom after day 6

looking towards the master bedroom closet. The existing basement stairwell next to it will be closed in, and some of the floor space added to the closet – the rest will go to expanding the footprint of the kitchen.

looking towards the master bedroom closet after day 6

beams have been added to replace the load-bearing wall that divided the dining room from the hallway. They’re doubled up because i wanted the beam tucked up into the ceiling instead of hanging below it.

beams after day 6

The back stairs and safety railing around the (outside) basement stairs have come off. The second floor addition will project over this porch, so i think they’re adding a new post to the outside corner somewhere around where the ladder is.

back door after day 6

tearing off the roof has been postponed for a few days until the threat of rain lifts. In the meantime, they’re working on new footings for the existing posts in the basement.

we’ve also had some more back-and-forth conversation about how to maintain the slim corner profile between sets of windows. A steel post in each corner would work, but would cost more and require time for fabrication. I think they’re come up with a way to frame it in wood – we just need the engineer to sign off on it.

strawberries are going gangbusters – picked 300 berries this morning, along with some raspberries and green peas.

Grow Your Own #29

June 17, 2009

zora naki

Wow! Prepare to be awed by the fabulous entries for this edition of GYO.

Cannellini Bean Salad

Cannellini Bean Salad

Andrea Meyers (Virginia, United States) of Andrea’s Recipes came up with her usual yumminess in her recipe for Cannellini Bean Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Artichoke Salad with Sage

Graziana of Erbe in Cucina used sage from her Italian garden to make Artichoke Salad with Sage.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

I never thought that a chicken recipe would appear on my blog, but this one from N√ļria of Spanish Recipes (which makes sense since she is from Barcelona) sounds good – Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Rosemary, Honey and Orange.

Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron

Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron

Jessamyn Tuttle from Mount Vernon, WA used up some of her rhubarb harvest in Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron which you can read all about in her blog Food on the Brain.

Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake

Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake

Bee and Jai from Jugalbandi created a Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake using some home-grown rosemary from their garden in the North-Western U.S.

Quinoa Flake Crisp

Quinoa Flake Crisp

Linda Simon (WI, USA) from Kitchen Therapy created a lovely Q-is-for-Quinoa Flake Fruit Crisp using the last of her rhubarb.


Lemon Thyme Shortbread Hearts

Elissa from the blog 17 and Baking lives in Seattle, WA (USA), and made Lemon-Thyme Shortbread Hearts using lemon-thyme grown in her herb garden. Sounds yummy. I wonder if she’ll have to change the name of her blog when she turns 18?

Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers

Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers

Kim Lewandowski (Portsmouth, VA) of Live, Love, Laugh, Eat came up with a delicious Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers, featuring her spring peas.

Raspberry Tiramisu

Raspberry Tiramisu

And finally, this fabulous-looking Raspberry Tiramisu comes from Dhanggit’s Kitchen in Aix en Provence, France and uses home-grown raspberries.

Bon appetit! If I’ve missed anyone, please fire me an angry email. I hope to have the cojones to contribute to the next round of GYO – #30, hosted by Graziana of Erbe in Cucina.

Grow Your Own 2009

%d bloggers like this: