I’ve had the sourdough blues. It started out well enough: the loaf pictured here was my first leavened entirely by wild starter (as opposed to commercial yeast). By then I’d nurtured the teeming colony of lactic acid bacteria (LABs) and various yeasts for almost two weeks, feeding it once, and then twice a day until the blob settled into a familiar pattern of eating, rising, falling. What magic, our microbial world! Continue reading
Category Archives: Dans Ontario
This morning I went out to the garden, coffee in hand, and was reminded for the umpteenth time that we really need to hack back the comfrey and throw it in the compost before it smothers the strawberry patch. It’s even turned up in the front yard and along the driveway fence; whether seed blew over or it tunneled underneath isn’t clear. Incredulous as it sounds, the latter wouldn’t surprise me. But instead of grabbing the shears, I went back inside…again. Don’t get me wrong, comfrey is a wonderfully important plant if you’re trying to recycle nutrients in your garden, but calling it an ambitious is putting it mildly. Only the raspberries and the mint are comparable opportunists.
“The advantages which are claimed for it over other plants are these:–It affords a cutting earlier, and lasts longer than almost any other. If cultivated upon a good deep soil, it will yield a heavier crop than any other plant; and, when once planted, it will last for ever.”
It sure does.
We’re late starting the garden this year, but since spring took its sweet-ass time we should be okay. The strawberries and garlic are mulched, the raspberry bush has been reprimanded for growing everywhere, and we finally sowed some peas, fava beans, chard, lettuce, radishes, and arugula. Roots tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain again. We even bought an electric rototiller. (If you’re in Hamilton and need a rototiller, you can borrow ours!) Continue reading
Last summer I drove Cheddar the Chariot (my scooter) back and forth along Highway 6 on a regular basis. As any historian of agriculture is wont to do, I’d often converse with things, like the cows at the farm with the big green barn near Morriston. Continue reading
A few folks have mentioned that my occasional Facebook dissertation updates are amusing, though I suspect the amusement is partially at my own expense. Nevertheless, I thought it fitting to start a series of short posts about stuff I come across. Enjoy. Continue reading
The context: I’m working on a couple chapters for my dissertation that focus on the idea of a ‘landscape of co-operation’ in the 19th century dairying countryside and all the ways in which that rational, scientific, spatial, and social ‘plan’ was thwarted by local networks, bad roads, grumpy cows, farmers shopping around for the best deal for their milk, and so on. Continue reading
Over the years I’ve developed a finely tuned tolerance for winter that balances the recognition of seasonality’s importance for southern Ontario with a curmudgeonly bitterness far more intense than the rest of the year. I’ve coped with winters of late by dividing them into the holiday part, followed by the long, escapist part when I think about gardening, pore over seed catalogues, and mastermind brilliant garden plans. (Incidentally, my summers seem to be divided into two parts as well: the part when I try to put those plans in action, followed by the hot, sweaty resignation part when things get out of hand.) Continue reading
I know a number of people with blogs who post on a regular basis. I don’t know how they do it. I’ve let weeks slip by in silence, though I think about writing all the time. Alas, I’ve been busy. (I’m sure they are too, hence my wonderment.) Continue reading
If we, as a society, were justly democratic, the emphasis would be on developing a system where no one would be denied food, water, shelter, clothing, rest, sexuality, leisure, a healthy environment or education on the basis of cost or discrimination. Instead democracy is shackled within the much narrower confines of one’s civic and political right to express opinions–to a point, as Bill 78 suggests–and then only through an elected-representative-as-mouthpiece. Continue reading
It’s spring! It’s spring! Everything is turning bright green and I can commence my balcony garden putter. I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity since I moved into the apartment last fall and lounged in the warm autumn sun like a September tomato thwarting death. Continue reading