Long weekend projects and garden shed plans

It’s the start of a long weekend here in Canada, and that means 2 things: visiting (eating) with family and getting yard projects crossed off the list. Yay!

Previous projects have included a fire pit, a chicken coop, compost bins, our raised beds and installing rain barrels. Removing a wind-fallen tree was not a planned project, but we got it crossed off the list nonetheless.

It seems like we’ve gotten all the easy tasks out of the way, and so the next ones are going to require a little more planning: a new back deck or a garden shed.  This weekend, we’re probably going to tackle the planning of the garden shed. [Read more…]

July disaster, regrowth and lessons learned: a homesteading update

Editors note: I asked Danny to share about our July garden disaster in his frank, factual way. I haven’t written about it previously because, well honestly, I was too upset. If you’ve been through a major storm, one that has wreaked havoc on your homestead, then you’ll understand why.

I‘m one of those people who love storms. I guess I’m both awed and impressed by the sheer power that they unleash, whether it be a rain storm, thunderstorm, blizzard or hail.  I’ve never really thought of them as dangerous, because we watch from the comfort of our home, and get candles and stuff like that ready, “just in case” we lose power.

But last month, we had a very intense wind/rain storm that reminded me that there is indeed an element of danger and they are no laughing matter. From Aimee’s various Instagram pics and Facebook updates, regular readers will know that our neighbor’s large tree crashed through the fence and landed pretty much square on our garden.  Here is the story.

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Connecting field to fork at our local strawberry u-pick

As frequent Simple Bites readers will know, we teach our kids about where their food comes from, and try to harvest nature’s bounty through u-picks as often as we can.  Aimee and I were married in an apple orchard, and so apple picking has been an annual tradition.

Strawberry season, however, is much, much shorter, and so this past Monday was the first time our family of five has gone strawberry picking since Clara has joined us.  Four of us absolutely love these seasonal, sweet berries, and the other one tolerated the outing by having races up and down the pathway (he’s not a berry believer).

Strawberry u-pick on www.simplebites.net

It was a deliciously cool and overcast summer morning and we hopped on the trailer for the requisite tractor ride out to the field.  Despite our boys’ need to run, run, run, we were told in no uncertain terms by several of the staff that the field was simply too far to ever imagine walking for adults, let alone children.  Oh well.  It was a nice tractor ride.

Although imported strawberries have been in stores for over a month, the unseasonally cool summer means the local berries are only just starting to ripen, and we were ready for them.

[Read more…]

What we learned about making maple syrup

making maple syrup at home on simplebites.net

Written by Danny.

Every year it seems like we get one step closer to being a modern version of the little house in the big woods. Our first spring here we constructed a compost pile and fire pit, and foraged for wild ramps from the woods.  The next year was chickens (semi-failed attempt). Last year it was raised beds, rain barrels and chickens (successfully).

This year, we tapped the maple trees, and it is the sweetest thing going. Although campfires and homemade marshmallows are hard to beat, I think that the kids are infinitely more excited about making maple syrup. Maybe a little too much so.

Let’s just say that I’m glad they had the sweet/delicious/sticky/awesome syrup AFTER they wielded the power drill and hammer.

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How to make your own waffle mix

 easy homemade waffle mix on simplebites.net

Written by Danny.

Last month, during my winter vacation, Aimee and the kids came up with the sweetest idea: Daddy’s Day.  It was a day that I could use on my vacation to sleep in, read a book, get extra backrubs and the kids were careful to be extra polite and obedient – all with no strings attached.  Basically, the best day of the year.

It has become somewhat of a necessity in our house (due to the kids’ joy in doing so) to have breakfast in bed on any special occasion. On Daddy’s Day, I got to have waffles, eggs and bacon while still in my jammies.  I shared a bit with the boys (they didn’t ask, but those eyes just begged!) and then read a book in silence while lazily polishing off my delicious breakfast.

easy homemade waffle mix on simplebites.net

Last weekend, we served up waffles to Aimee. Thankfully, she is really smart and had prepared some of this Ready Waffle Mix for us to use. It’s pretty handy to keep around, so I thought I’d share the recipe for your next ‘Daddy (or Mommy) Day’.
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