This is the first year I’ve been feeling almost too busy in PEI – like that there are way too many tasks that are the first priority and have to be done right away. Mostly, I’ve just been digging large garden beds. I think this is the first year I have been really serious about growing a substantial amount of food. I have been working on large, boring but sensible rows with proper spacing for what I want to plant.
I figure growing food has to be the very first, first priority, though the cabin and area surrounding the cabin needs some work (though we’ve been chipping away at this bit by bit). So far I have planted tubers of crosnes (a French delicacy that looks like a fat grub) and Jerusalem artichokes, and a bunch of seeds – fava beans, kale, chard, black chickpeas, maybe some other things. I’ve started digging beds for squash and cucumbers. I also planted 8 varieties of hops (one is in the image here). I dug spots for the fruit trees that are supposed to come any day now. When it’s sunny, and there is a breeze to keep away the black flies, the digging is actually really pleasant, especially since I got a battery-powered tape/CD player and radio. I’ve been listening to the live Ramones album and New Flesh from St. John’s, and just digging as much as I can for the past while.
Yesterday Travis and I just sat down in the sun, in the field and hung out for a while, and that was really nice. I guess I need to remember to relax, even when it feels like there is a lot to do. I went to a show at Baba’s the other night as well, which was really great. It’s so good to be on land, but a 40-minute drive away from a place with punk shows.
We started some kim chi, miso and sauerkraut as well. Beer is next.
Here are a bunch of things I want to make someday…
2L bottle greenhouse http://ana-white.com/2011/04/plastic-bottle-green-house-build-guide
Chairs made of luggage: http://www.woohome.com/furniture/antique-luggage-and-rubbish-recycled-into-furniture/5182
Vegetable oil lamp: http://down—to—earth.blogspot.ca/2009/07/how-to-make-oil-lamp.html
An idea that Travis and I have been tossing around is someday offering a scrappy, DIY artist/writer/zines writer/etc. in residency on our land, along the same lines as the Roberts St. one in Halifax. Where, basically, we would offer a small cabin, a typewriter, miscellaneous supplies, maybe a bike, and the space to hang out on our land and work on a project, and then perhaps have a fun little show or opening or something at the end, if it was that sort of a project.
I’m really enthusiastic about this, though it’s not going to happen this year anyway, due to the lack of a guest cabin as well as planning. I think it would be fun to invite people who don’t necessarily know either of us/know us well to come spend some time out there working on their own project.
I am interested to hear other people’s opinions about something like this. Spending a month in a tiny cabin without electricity working on a project sounds good to me, but I wonder if it would appeal to other people, particularly people who might not know us/well. If you have thoughts, let me know. I’m also thinking about parameters, length of time … the Roberts St. one is 2 weeks long, but since we’re out of the city, I imagine 3 or 4 weeks might be more worthwhile for people.
Would you do something like this? Would it change if you knew or didn’t know the people? Would you want to have the option of doing some garden or building work? Let me know if you’ve been a something-in-residence and what your experience was like.
Also let me know if you want to build a guest cabin on the land, ha ha. And start thinking about maritime adventures this summer! Legs, I am talking to you. Also the rest of you reading this. The worst thing about last summer was all the people who wanted to visit PEI while we were in Yukon.
January has sped by, and I am busy making plans for PEI, and counting down until April, when I leave. I’m making an effort not to go overboard with getting too many seeds like I did a couple of years ago, but there are so many awesome things that can grow in the maritimes. And global warming has given us a new zone 6 rating…
So, I am thinking of growing some new things:
- Asian Pears! I love these, and they are apparently easy trees to grow. I’m planning on getting the varieties Xiang (quince flavour), Hayatama (tropical tasting), and Chojuro… which apparently tastes like butterscotch. Even if they just taste like the apple pears at the grocery store, I’d be pretty happy.
- Persimmon (the North American kind is hardy to zone 4/5)
- wine grapes
- sweet potatoes- there are actually some cold-season sweet potatoes from Nova Scotia, which I’m interested in trying.
- Turkish Rocket
- Chinese artichokes
- Egyptian onions
- more asparagus
- hops (I guess beer is a vegetable dish?)
And some other great but regular things like summer and winter squash, beans, kale, lemon cucumbers, etc. See, I totally have a reasonable list of things to plant, and definitely won’t go overboard this year. Honestly. I visited the seed store for the first time in the year last week.
I am planning on building an extension on the cabin as well, and a root cellar, so it will be a busy spring/summer/fall,… etc.
I am really happy about going out there again without having plans to have leave for work (finally).
I just finished a new zine about my trip to Yukon and NWT. The zine is mostly about traveling to ghost towns by canoe. Paper copies will be ready in a few days, but in case anyone likes reading things online, here it is. If you would like a paper copy, let me know and I will send you one (or give it to you if you are nearby).
Also, I am almost halfway done my time away from the island! I am so excited. Yet again, I have plans for next year that are way too ambitious, but that’s fun. A root cellar is at the top of the list, so if anyone has had any experience building one that they would like to share, I would be interested, especially experience building it somewhere where the frost line is 3 feet down (or more).
This is a funny post. I am not in PEI any more; I am getting ready for a trip to Yukon. It is kind of sad because though I am really excited about canoeing and hiking in Yukon for a few weeks, I really didn’t want to leave the island.
Before I left, I completed a giant squid mosaic in the cabin. It’s part of my ongoing project of replacing the natural plaster, which I don’t like (it’s too crumbly and dusty, mainly). I made the squid of old dishes, bottles, crushed shells, and red pebbles.
I also made a scrappy woodshed out of pallets and uh, scraps, and put a half-assed green roof on it. The layers of the green roof are: OSB, layers of overlapping vapour barrier (really this should be a pond liner, but I am too cheap, and it’s just a scrappy, tiny wood shed), gravel for drainage, landscaping fabric to keep soil out of the gravel, homemade wood chips/bark mulch, and soil. The pictures show one layer after another going on, and the finished product with some transplants from around the land. I just chose things with shallow roots that grow in the sun – daisies, plantain, wild strawberries, that sort of thing. We’ll see how it goes.