Garden to Table

Vegetable growing in watering troughs.

Vegetable growing in watering troughs.

Eating local is a hot topic nowadays. Buying organic, buying from Farmer’s Markets, and buying from local producers. However one of the easiest ways is to grow your own food. You know exactly how it has been grown, it couldn’t be fresher and it is conveniently located right out your door.

carrots and beets

carrots and beets

This is our first year growing in watering troughs and it has been a huge success. We have been able to turn an underused sidewalk into a garden. The three troughs are home to beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, onions, chard, and kale.

We have netted off the troughs as we have a healthy deer and squirrel population that have become quite brave.

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kale and chard

Last night we again incorporated the food we have grown into dinner. We were able to use chard, beet greens, onions and garlic (from another bed) all grown at home.

beets

beets

I have been  wanting to try filo wraps so last night we picked some ingredients from the garden, added in some mushrooms, and gave it a try.

blog filo 1The filling was sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic, chard and beet greens seasoned with Worcestershire Sauce. My youngest was a trooper and cleaned a whole pack of mushrooms as I chopped. Our kids love helping in the kitchen.

blog filo 2We rolled up the filo parcels,

blog filo 3used an egg wash on top and sprinkled the filo rolls with sesame seeds.

blog filo 4Into the oven they went for about 20 minutes,

blog filo 5and out they came.

blog filo mushroom roll_5359The rolls were a great success. Everyone loved them and ate them up. Another vegetarian meal to add to our list of family meals, and another great way we can use the veggies we grow.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

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Summer Weekends – Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

The summers of 2015 and 2016 have been interesting for us, after years of spending every weekend at the cabin, we have now been challenged with learning how to reinvent how we “do” summer. Years of being on auto-pilot of going to the cabin Friday night, hanging out or hiking, then back home Sunday afternoon or evening, have been replaced with “What should we do this weekend?”.

We have discovered staying in the city isn’t an option; you can only go to the pool, walk on the city trails, or go shopping so many times…..plus that is what we do during the week, we want weekends to be different. So this summer has been THE summer of weekend road trips.

The weekend road trips are probably part to blame for this blog being so quiet. Half the time we are in areas with no cell phone service, and when we return home the hundreds of pictures taken are too daunting to go through to get a blog post up before we are off on another road trip.

The scale of the road trips has also been elevated, and have even been going into BC for the day (4.5-5 hour drive each way). Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Golden, Field and hiking areas near Calgary and Canmore have become our weekend backyard. That’s a pretty stunning “backyard” of world class scenery!

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

This weekend we opted for Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. We have driven past the entrance to this park dozens of times and have never stopped. In all that time we had never realized how stunning this area was.

The trail, a family friendly 2.3 km loop, spends the first part of the trail skirting alongside creeks and waterfalls. It is literally one fairy tale waterfall after another. Wildflowers dot the sides of the trails at low levels until you start a gentle and short climb up to a lovely view point. The trail then takes the hiker through a treed area rich with mushrooms and fungi until you come to the final descent.

Walking the trail in this direction means that you do not start the hike with a straight uphill, but rather a pleasant and gradual climb.

I have many more images of the hike to share in the future, but for now, a few more waterfalls……..

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Directions to the park can be found by clicking HERE. A great spot to check out if you are in Central or Southern Alberta (Canada).

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Photography by Debra Hunter
http://www.debra-hunter.com

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Busy in the Background

Recently blogging has taken a backseat. It seems the more one has to blog about the less time there is to actually blog.

Today I will share just a few things happening in the background, some of which are on my other blogs.

Photography has been busy recently. Head shots, grads, families and babies. Many an hour past midnight has been spent on the computer editing away. ( http://www.debra-hunter.com or http://www.hunterphotographics.wordpress.com )

With the blooming of wildflowers natural dyeing is a daily event. (www.handmade-canada.com)

 

Plus I have been knitting items for Talisman Books and Gallery on Pender Island and the Bear’s paw Bakery in Jasper. In addition to these two retailers I have been completing custom orders like the hats below…….

blog custom knit hats

and making hats to be posted on the website. ( http://www.handmade-canada.com )

blog child maple leaf hats

With tree pruning there has also been spoon carving. We won’t discuss the scale of this one, it is rather ambitious!

blog spoon

Our land search has taken us to the mountains multiple times, allowing us to enjoy many hikes.

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The thing that keeps us busiest of all are our trips back and forth to the coast. After all, who can resist ocean kayaking? ( http://www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com )

blog kayaking

I do find I am able to keep more up-to-date on Instagram. I can be found at @debramhunter , @handmadeincanada, and at @hunterphotographics ……..social media is almost a full time job!

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Evening Walk at Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage is a great little diversion just off the Trans Canada Highway as you drive the Rogers Pass in British Columbia.

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From a beautiful mountain and river view, you then travel along a path leading to elevated boardwalks.

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You are able to view Skunk Cabbage on many occasions as they grow in the wetlands.

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We also managed to see many slugs (well a lot of slugs to be honest!).

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We have enjoyed this nature walk many times, and each time our family discovers something new.

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Backyard Visitor

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Walking into the backyard this afternoon we encountered a surprise, a little porcupine. Our little visitor was happily feasting on the plants in our flowerbeds. As the weather closed in and it started to rain, he moved in close to the house sheltering out of the rain.  He seemed pretty comfortable in the backyard, perhaps he has been there all spring and summer without us noticing him.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

http://www.htheblog.wordpress.com

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Path Side Wonders – Wapta Falls, BC, Canada

blog mushroom _ 0011

This spring we have spent our fair share of time exploring the mountain parks of Alberta and British Columbia. Our family is finally at the stage where everyone is able to hike, and excited about it too. Last weekend we explored the area around Golden, BC, and on the return trip stopped for an enjoyable hike to Wapta Falls.

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As there had been quite a bit of rain, the sides of the path were lush with flowers and mushrooms. Admittedly, the constant stopping left my family standing and waiting (perhaps arms crossed and toes tapping by our oldest two!), while I crawled around for mushroom pictures.

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The younger three got in the spirit of looking at the wildflowers. This did however lead to a discussion where my eight year old just would not accept that the beautiful flower she had discovered was a dandelion. She was certain it was a rare wildflower (her siblings also chimed in that what she had found was a dandelion which certainly didn’t help matters!).

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Now there is an amusing story from the day we did this hike. My husband and I were certain we had both walked to Wapta Falls a few years ago, we were sure of it. We were so sure of it we described the walk to tourists parked next to us; we had also read the distance, time and elevation gain the night before so we passed on that information. I remembered it being a grey drizzly day. As we walked along the path I thought something was “different”, but I wasn’t about to say anything. We get to the first lookout and at that point my husband and I are saying the hike and falls are different than we remember. By the time we hit the base of the falls we both looked at each other and said “We’ve never been here before!”. And then we twigged. We were thinking Sunwapta Falls……..in Jasper National Park…..we were only a couple of national parks out. Then, we had to come clean with the kids.

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The view from the bottom of the falls was quite lovely. The forest wildflowers gave way to Indian Paintbrush, one of my favorites. We stopped and admired the falls for a while, made a quick sketch, and then returned down the path we had just walked.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

http://www.debra-hunter.com

http://www.htheblog.wordpress.com

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