January 28, 2013

Barred Owl

By Stowel Lake Farm

We have had a few resident Barred Owls around lately. They are often heard at night hooting and screeching, but we have been actually been seeing them in the daylight. There are a few stands of older trees on the farm and these owls seems to spend time near or in these older trees. I have seen them swooping down, talons out and ready for the field mouse. Often, though they are sitting quietly on a branch- often the same branch from day to day.

The other day I was heading to the car from the house and I was almost ‘taken out ‘by a Barred Owl. As I came out to the car it swooped towards me. I felt the wind from its wings. It must be a good sign- being that close to such a mysterious and beautiful creature. I believe it to be so, anyway. Everyday now I look to the branches to see if the owl is there and I listen at night for the calls. It truly is wonderful.

January 24, 2013

Brigid’s Thursday

By Stowel Lake Farm

{Thursday is Community Day on our Farm}
I am grateful for:
my recent travel opportunity and being able to see different parts of the world
*my time away visiting another community and how that increases my appreciation and love of this community
President Obama and his mention of the gay and lesbian community in his last speech
*friendship near and far
*having a clear night and stumbling upon the moon and Jupiter!

We’ve been anticipating the approach of St. Brigid’s Day, Imbolc, Candlemas, Groundhog’s Day, the celebrations that happen at this time of year. We have been particularly interested in the melding of the traditions. The overlay of the Christian on to what was there before. Before the Christian tradition of St. Brigid, Brigid, the Gaelic goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft was celebrated. She has other associations as well such as the keeper of the sacred flame, guardian of home and hearth and she is connected to inspiration and creativity. So this Thursday we collected reeds and made Brigid’s crosses together in preparation for next week.

We also worked. We are fortunate to be enjoying a very mild winter and are able to dig perennials and pot them up for our spring Plant Sale. Here we are potting up the Bergenia. We also did some Inula, Alchemilla and Phlomis.

Harvested some more beautiful carrots.

We also welcomed Alinka, Leifen and Devin back this week and enjoyed a delicious Ceasar  Salad with homemade, gluten-free croutons. Yum!

January 21, 2013

Golden Pear Squash Soup

By Stowel Lake Farm

This is a beautiful, smooth and delicious soup of Haidee’s that we all love in the winter.

Golden Pear Squash Soup
3 ripe pears
2 Tbsp butter
1 large Squash (buttercup, butternut or equivalent)
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup white wine
4-5 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

1. Cut squash in half and bake at 400 F for 45 min. – 1 hour.  Squash should be very soft. Set aside to cool when cooked.
2.While squash is cooking slice and core pears. Melt butter in saucepan. Add pears cinnamon and saute for 3-4 mins.
3. Add wine to pears and simmer on medium for 8-10 mins.
4. Scoop out cooked squash.  Add squash and stock/water to pear mixture. Blend together with a hand blender if you have one. If not a food processor/blender works well.
5. Heat until close to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Finish with a swirl of cream if desired.


January 17, 2013

This (Thursday)day

By Stowel Lake Farm

{Thursday is Community Day on our Farm}
I am grateful for:
seeing the sun today and for the extra light we are getting everyday
*being able to work in the workshop, set-up my projects and have access to all these great tools that make the job so much easier
for my woodshed and having wood for the winter (let the power go out, we’ll be just fine!)
*all the children on the farm and the delight they bring to my life
*being able to come back here after work, living here, surrounded by good people

It was a glorious day, this past Thursday – heavy frost in the morning but sunny and clear all day long. We tackled a few different jobs; a few small ones like pulling the canoe onto higher ground and getting some old wood on the burn pile, and some bigger ones like dividing up perennials and…

…picking up cow and llama manure for some extra compost material. Llamas are incredible creatures who repeatedly defecate in the same spots over and over, making it very convenient to pick up! We were all so happy to be out there doing this work thinking how good all this will be for the garden.

Nicola hard at work.

Frosty grasses

Loading it into the tractor.

Sitting enjoying the sun!

January 15, 2013

Icy Beautiful

By Stowel Lake Farm

Our neighbour and friend, Bly Kaye, who is a photographer and collage artist among many other things, took these photos on the farm the other day.

Ice on the surface of the lake

What we found in the forest


January 04, 2013

Frozen Thursday

By Stowel Lake Farm

{Thursday is Community Day on our Farm}
I am grateful for:
for the simple things in life that bring so much deep happiness
*for my freezer full of food
for the beautiful clear crisp days we have been having
*for all my friends- the ones that are here and the ones that have passed
*for the week after Christmas. It was peaceful, quiet and unscheduled
*for all those that looked after the retreat and made it run smoothly and beautifully

The whole farm was white with a thick layer of frost. These mornings are such a treat and invigorating. Our overwintering carrots were all snug under mulch. We planted them in early July and they were full grown by the fall. When winter weather was near and the risk of a big frost was looming we cut all the tops off and mulched the carrots for the winter.  The ground acts as a perfect cold storage all winter long. Even when we have very cold weather the dirt under the thick layer of mulch is loose and easy to dig in. The carrots were perfect and so delicious.

We harvested enough carrots for each of us to take a generous bag home. The damaged and ugly ones were roasted for our lunch.

The fixing of the greenhouse is almost there! The guys got a huge jump on it yesterday. The logs came from the forest and with a lots of hands went in fairly easily.
There us no way our greenhouse will be collapsing now!

We have been having a lot of mold issues with our garlic over the last number of years. So we have drastically reduced the amount planted (by about 90%). Last year we planted some in the greenhouse to see if it was better. It was- barely any mold. So this year we are doing the same. It is definitely a bit late to be planting, but it is still just OK to plant at this time of year. Now there should be just enough for us to use.  Pretty sad actually not to have the barn full of drying garlic in the summer- we’ll see how it does in the greenhouse this year.

We took some time to walk the property and all learn or get a refresher on some of the big farm systems. Here we are learning about the back up generator. With all the retreats and the community we need to have the ability to get water and some power in the event of an outage.

Fun playing with the ice at the lake.

what happens when you throw ice into the lake?