Author: Roberta

Tapping for Maple Syrup

Hobby Farm Inspiration: Tapping Maples and Hunting for Truffles

I’ve achieved my adult goal of owning a farm. Now comes the fun part of deciding what to do with five acres of potential. I recently attended the Pacific Agriculture Show. I was so excited and inspired I lost count of the texts I was firing off to Shanna and Nikkey. They must have thought I had gone off the deep end. Suddenly I was going to hunt for truffles, tap Big Leaf Maples for syrup and grow amazing garlic! For a mere $90.00 I had access to three days of the tradeshow and as many of the 100 seminars as I wanted. By the end of the weekend I had to really to rein myself in. I only have five acres. There is no way I am ever going to live long enough to do it all the things, never mind be physically capable!!! Now as I relax by the fire with a warm cup of tea I would love to share with you some of the highlights of what I learned in this first …

Chick

How to Get Started Raising Chickens

Warning: Chickens are addictive and you may soon gain the label of “The Crazy Chicken Lady” There is nothing more adorable than a day old chick especially if you’re the proud new owner. They’re so fluffy, surprisingly aware and the little noises they make are so endearing “cheep-cheep-cheep”. All your supplies should be ready and in good order for the arrival of your new flock. Baby chicks are usually better off raised indoors for the first 4-6 weeks depending on weather and conditions of their future coop. This way the temperature can be monitored and maintained, as well as keeps them away from predators like the family cat or dog. I had a terrible experience with THE CAT. The chicks were kept in one of our bedrooms and he must of heard the door not close tight so while I was in the kitchen I heard the bedroom door open. I went running down the hallway and there he was with one of my baby chicks in his mouth. The noise that came from me …

Arbutus Ridge Farm

Welcome to Arbutus Ridge Farm

If you’re ever in doubt about dreams coming true keep moving forward, you never know what opportunities are waiting! Background My husband Perry and I have embarked on the adventures of owning a 5 acre hobby farm in the making after selling our urban farm in the city, a modest house on 7,100 square foot lot. The real estate market was in our favour which gave us the opportunity of a lifetime to purchase only 40 minutes away but a world apart. Here, the sounds of whispering leaves in the trees, calls of wildlife, and colours of the night sky sooth my soul. I’m in awe of our new home and sometimes pinch myself for a reality check when watching an owl hunt at dusk or the deer graze among the trees. The house was built in 1958 and is one of the original homes in the area. It doesn’t stand straight but it’s pretty amazing and has loads of character. There is an inviting porch with wood screen doors to warm your heart. My …

Growing Sprouts Indoors

How to Grow Sprouts Indoors

We spent our spring renting a basement suite while waiting to move into our farm. I found myself longing for a garden and was suffering terribly from garden withdrawals. Today I’ll share with you how I beat the basement doldrums by growing my own sprouts. No garden, no problem! So much of my time is normally spent outdoors so our new living situation was not agreeing with me at all. It really was more about growing anything not just my own food but anything green. While shopping at an organic food market one day I came across some seeds for sprouts and a solution to my withdrawals. I purchased a bag of sprouting seeds found some random glass jars, cheese cloth and I was back in business. You can find sprouting seeds at organic food stores and larger garden centres or order them online. There are so many varieties to choose from now and some packages even have mixes which take that old green salad to a whole new level. Sprouts are very good for …

Herbs in Upcycles Containers

Getting Started with Herbs

Imagine the flavour that your own home grown herbs will bring to your cooking and Mojitos! These super cute, unique herb planters make the best Hostess Gifts ever! Just the convenience of picking the right amount and not having to run to the grocery store for your herbs is worth a little effort. You’ll be amazed at how easy herbs are to grow. Herbs in containers Live on the edge and do something different, don’t be restricted by the same old plastic pots; herbs are fun and they deserve some fun containers. Do make sure that whatever you use has proper drainage holes to avoid over watering. A beautiful old tea pot is super cute, old ceramic mixing bowls even your old shoes or hats will work for a season or two. Use a good quality potting soil mixed with a little bit of compost or Sea Soil to add some organic matter. Never use soil from your garden or your poor herbs will likely meet a horrible death which we don’t want. Watering and …

The Container Vegetable Garden

You don’t need a yard to grow your own food, you can grow fresh vegetables right on your apartment patio! With a little knowledge, great soil, sunshine and the right container you are well on your way to being a container gardening guru. Finding the right container The bigger the better for vegetables. If you don’t want to be a slave to watering, make sure you are buying larger containers. Vegetables will not work well in anything under 8in across and 8in deep. The larger the vegetable plant the larger the container you will need. Many people can’t believe that the little tiny tomato plant you purchased is going to need a pot no less than 14in across. You can use most types of containers just make sure you are not using treated wood or items like old tires. Glazed ceramic, clay and untreated wood all work very well; you can use plastic too but if all possible try to use a “repurposed” plastic container or pot. The containers must have good drainage holes. If your container …

Chickens in coop

Saying Good-bye to My Urban Farm

We purchased our modest post and beam home almost nine years ago from a sweet elderly couple whose home meant everything to them. They had helped design the house and lived in it from day one. They were only selling because they could no longer look after it and were moving to a care home. We believe our offer was picked because we weren’t builders who would bulldoze the house and build a new one which was the fate of many of the homes in the area. It was so cool to come across the little things they had done like putting a coin from the year they poured cement for the patio. Old banking slips from the 60’s tucked into the rafters of the storage and an old banner from the Pacific National Exhibition that was stapled in the crawl space. I left these jewels hidden in the spots I found them to bring others a smile while they think of the history of the home. I will never forget the day we moved …

Green Gift Wrapping

Gift Wrapping Au Naturel

I need to start off by saying I hate gift bags. It is time to stop relying on those cheesy store purchase bags and start using beautiful compostable, reusable materials. Not only is it eco-friendly but you will look like a gift-giving super star. Step 1 Cut a previously used paper bag to the size you need to wrap the gift. Need a box? Have a look in your pantry and use a cracker box or any box that is almost empty. When using boxes from your pantry make sure the person you’re giving your gift to knows it’s not food. My nephew once put his gift in the pantry because he thought I got him a box of cereal. Wrap the gift in the plain brown paper and tie a piece of used garden twine around it. I save all my used garden twine for this purpose just be careful not to pull on it too hard as it loses strength. Step 2 Go out to the garden and see what you can find. You don’t need much …

Rasberry Stalks

Prepare For Rasberry Season

Not sure what to do with the mess of all those Raspberry canes and shoots jumping up all over the place? It’s easy and important to do the necessary pruning and thinning; this ensures good air circulation, better production and bigger berries. TOOLS NEEDED: PRUNERS  |  LOPPERS  |  CRAFT BEER   Look closely at all the canes just above the soil level; you will notice some are large, others are thin and some will be dead Remove at soil level the largest canes and the dead canes Now remove any canes which are growing in a weird direction, crossing or rubbing on other canes and any that are pencil size or smaller in diameter You should be left with lots of healthy, straight canes ranging in size from the thickness of your baby finger to your thumb as long as your thumb is not gianormus. Now have a good look at the canes that are left and you should see good spacing and a whole lot fewer canes. If you have more than one cane about …

Food Scraps

Quick Tips to Reduce Food Waste

My goal this year is to reduce food waste. Food waste has social, economic and environmental costs associated with it and is a hot topic right now. I compost all food waste that I can but the goal here is to avoid putting it in the compost in the first place. I certainly wouldn’t empty my wallet into the compost bin…… and filling it up with food we don’t use is no different than throwing away my hard earned $$$ These are the following steps we are taking to achieve our goals: Do not do the typical large grocery shop, instead only buy enough fresh food for 3 days If there are leftovers that are getting past human consumption or if there is food past the best before date give it to the dogs to eat. I often cut up left over meats and freeze them to use as dog training treats If the leftovers are not suitable for the dogs give it to the chickens. She eats all fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice and bread …