September 19, 2016

Neighbours

By Stowel Lake Farm

We had our annual trip to Garry & Bly’s last week to pick their Spartan apple tree. We do this every year in exchange for starts in the spring. The kids love it. Even though Garry and Bly live just down the road we don’t get down to their place much. We spend about half the time picking apples and the other half visiting, wandering through their garden, trying grapes and cherry tomatoes, checking out their beautiful fish and generally having a lovely time. We’re so grateful for that tree and all the apples it grows!
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Up in the tree.
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A really good apple.
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Fishy
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Having fun on the “bridge”.

August 28, 2015

Potato time!!!!

By Stowel Lake Farm

Another potato harvest came in yesterday. We had a great yield this year; 1600 lbs approximately. For years we have planted Yukon Gold; they are our faves for storage potatoes.
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First we clear the mulch, load it onto a tarp and haul it off the garden.
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Then we pick the potatoes that are sitting on the surface – often these are green and so we separate these out.
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Sashah does the first pass with the chisels and the kids scramble behind grabbing potatoes before they get buried again. This happens over and over…
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Then we go through each bed picking and digging.
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The pile mounts and the sorting begins – compost, seconds, storage & for sale.
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The (heavy!) sacks are loaded into the truck to be weighed and put away for storage and for sale.
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June 12, 2014

Strawberry Jam and Hay

By Stowel Lake Farm

The farm is buzzing with activity right now. Sometimes it feels like we are all going to buzz right off the farm! We talk a lot about how much we love our lives and also how to balance our home/business/community life. Lately we have caught ourselves saying that we are busy all the time. “Busy’ is our answer to everything. It is mostly good busy, but busy nonetheless. Not wanting to say ‘Busy’ all the time we have been joking about saying we are celebrating all the time. So ask us how we are and we are celebrating!
here are a few pictures of our lives right now in June.
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it is always a pleasure to find a hand written note like this in our office after a weekend retreat.
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Outdoor artist. he actually spent a lot of time flicking the paint- no problem when outside.
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stringing tomatoes- they are growing beautifully and fast now
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IMG_6783Are braiding garlic is ready and so pretty!

November 18, 2013

Haidee’s favourite BEET salad

By Stowel Lake Farm

A Great way to use our HUGE beets!

2 Large beets

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp Maple syrup or Honey

1 Tbsp olive oil

A sprinkle of good sea salt

Wash beets, trim root and stem ends. Cut beet in half, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium, cover partially and cook until tender when pierced with a fork (about 15 minutes). Drain in colander, when cool enough to handle slip skins off. Cut into wedges, cubes or slices, toss in a bowl with balsamic, maple, olive oil and sea salt.

I like to chill the beets for a little while but they are also great served at room temperature. These beets are absolutely delicious on their own, but at this time of year I like to serve them on a bed of our finely chopped kale or autumn salad greens. Topped with a shaving of Montana , Feta or a little creamy Gorgonzola cheese and a handful of local hazelnuts turns this salad into a perfect autumn meal.  Serves 4

November 08, 2013

November Abundance

By Stowel Lake Farm

It’s dark these days. The clocks have gone back and the clouds have been thick and heavy. The gardens are quiet. We had some frost the other week that pretty much put an end to our salad mix for the season. And rain. Lots of rain. In between we’ve been gathering pears off the ground so that they can ripen, bringing in the last of the tomatoes, taking out the plants finally, picking peppers and apples. It feels like a beautiful little burst of abundance at the end of it all.
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Tomatoes in all their subtle colours.
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Some of the last picking of the year.
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Sorting peppers for sale.

September 13, 2013

Preserving

By Stowel Lake Farm

This is the time of year for drying, freezing and canning, for getting the vegetables that are coming out of the garden away for the winter. There are plans to pickle beets and beans, roast peppers and freeze pesto. These days we have all been busy processing tomatoes. Our beautiful paste varieties, Viva Italia, Roma and Maria’s, are so abundant right now, the fruits are just dripping off the vines. We take turns harvesting week to week so that everyone gets their share to put away. At the end of it all, it is so satisfying to have a shelf full of jars of your very own tomato sauce for the winter months ahead.
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The very full pot on the stove.
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Always happy to have helpers!

September 06, 2013

Potato Time

By Stowel Lake Farm

Yesterday was our community potato harvest. We all participate in the planting, growing, weeding and harvesting of this crop. This harvest day is momentous and exciting as we pull all these edible treasures from the earth. We grow Yukon Gold variety as our storage potato and they store beautifully until April! Each family/individual takes home as many as they think they can go through in the winter (this ranges from 50lbs- 300lbs!) There is something very comforting about having abundant beautiful food put away for the winter.
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We harvested about 1500lbs this year! The back of our truck was very full.
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We use the chisels to loosen the potatoes and then dig with our hands. This way there is no damage from the digging forks.
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Definitely a group effort!
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Young barefoot farmers
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A bed of potatoes.

June 14, 2013

It’s June!

By Stowel Lake Farm

We are now officially in the abundance of the summer garden bounty! It is this time of year that I try to take the time to walk the gardens for pure eating pleasure- it’s like a living dining experience. I move from the fresh snap peas to various kinds of lettuce to spinach to carrots and then finish off with a strawberry feast. Inevitably I will harvest other things along the way that need to be cooked like beets and new potatoes.  If I forget a basket I end up trying to juggle it all- today I found a straw hat left in the field from yesterday- it worked perfectly for my new potatoes. Here are a few pictures from todays walk- enjoy.
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These are the first of our peas! We had some pea disasters in early spring so these have been a little long in coming.
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Lettuce perfect for salad mix picking.
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Our tomato plants happily in the ground.
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Salt Spring Early – a soft-neck variety of garlic that we have been growing for years that came from our favourite seed saver Dan Jason. This variety (as its name suggests) is ready to be pulled about a month earlier than other varieties. So great when you’re waiting for fresh garlic!
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Picking chard.
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Poppies in the greenhouse.
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The first heads of broccoli are staring to form.
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After an epic effort to erect our new net, we are now going to enjoy an abundant strawberry season!
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happiness is!

April 19, 2013

Spinach

By Stowel Lake Farm

It is at this time of year that we fall in love with spinach again. The dark, thick leaves are so beautiful and reach upright into the warm spring air.  If I stand quietly in the greenhouse I can almost hear the spinach grow. Our first planting was at the beginning of March. It seems too cold and too wintery at that time to plant a garden, but 5 weeks later spring has truely arrived along with luscious spinach leaves.
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We grow a lot of seed lettuce here each summer inevitably lettuce seedlings pop up all throughout our gardens. You can see here that we were blessed with a little green oak leaf lettuce. We keep these little lettuce volunteers and are happy to see them all over the farm.
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This spinach is heading to our farm stand. It is enjoyed by the greater community as it sells very quickly. It is nice to think about our precious spinach on the table in so many households.

April 12, 2013

Chicken Day

By Stowel Lake Farm

Tuesday is our chicken day. Living in community means that taking care our our 50 chickens (sometimes more, sometimes less) is a shared responsibility. We each have a day where we feed, water, clean and collect the eggs.
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We are really hoping to have some of our own chicks this year so our first step is figuring out if we’ve got hens that will sit. Really sit. Enough to hatch eggs. We definitely have several that are broody but there is one, the one who really sqawks at you when you go to take her eggs, the one who give you the evil eye when you slip your hand under her warm feathers, the one who tries to peck you so that you won’t take them – we’re placing our bets on her.
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So we’ve started by tagging her nest. And then we wait for her nest to fill up. Once she has a clutch and starts to sit on the nest then all the eggs will synchronize and hatch at the same time. (We hope – we’re kinda new to this part….) If it seems like she’s the one we will set her up in her own little “broody house” so that she can sit in peace.
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Here is our rooster. We love this guy and all the ladies. Now that it’s spring again, the chickens are laying more and we are ever so grateful for the beautiful eggs that they lay. As the sun is setting, we walk out to the barn to shut the door for the night. Peeking in on the girls roosting and softly cooing, we know that they are safe for the night and all is well.