Monday, October 28, 2013

Motivation Monday


"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."  Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday morning on the farm

After chatting about apples yesterday, I thought I would try to get a photo of my apple loving goats. In the end, I got a lot of blurry shots of excited creatures. In the picture above, Noah is standing on a ledge in the wall of his stall (treat time was happening just before the goats were let out of the barn to enjoy the day) and I think he is wondering why I am pointing a camera at him instead of giving him a slice of apple! 

There was a cold north wind this morning. After being let out of the hen house the chickens spent a fair amount of time scurrying around looking for bugs and worms. Eventually they took a break from the wind and napped in the shelter at the base of a large thick pine tree.

Have a great weekend, I am off to pick more apples...

Thursday, October 24, 2013


coloured pencil on Stonehenge paper, 5" x 7", copyright Teresa Mallen

The sheer number of apples this year is simply staggering. I have never seen anything like it. Ever tree, from carefully tended orchard varieties to scrappy, unpruned old trees in farm fields and road side ditches are loaded with fruit beyond belief.

Goats love apples. My husband and I pick apples off the old scrappy tree in our backyard and the goats are given apple slices as treats throughout the day. Spoiling goats is an absolute highlight of my day, they so love this special attention and really what's not to like about apples?

the view from underneath one of our old apple trees

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Tomatoes, coloured pencil on Pastelbord, 8" x10" copyright Teresa Mallen

Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes...that is what has been occupying my spare hours these past weeks. Harvest time is busy for me but I love it. One of the reasons I grow food is because I love the connection to the land and the seasons that this work gives me.

In recent years I have been shooting for getting in around 75 to 100 tomato plants (in addition to the other veggies we grow, I don't just plant tomatoes :-) ). This year with the gift of a dozen or so plants from a neighbour and with the self sowing of a few plants from compost seeds, I ended up with 95 plants made up of different varieties. It is a long journey from the planting of seeds in tiny seed pots in the house in late February to now, the end of the harvest.

So what do I do with all of these tomatoes? Well what we don't eat fresh in the fall months, I use to cook with over the winter. These tomatoes turn into homemade pasta sauce as well as a base for sauces in soups, stews and chili. I have also created an annual late autumn tradition of turning lots of green tomatoes that have been patiently waiting in the garage into our year's supply of salsa.

Tomatoes are not only fabulously versatile in the kitchen, they also make great subject matter for art! I loved the look of these just picked tomatoes (still with a bit of stem), as they sat in a basket in the early morning light. I decided to capture the moment. This piece was done on an 8" x 10" board with a sanded surface (made by Ampersand, called Pastelbord).

I have been blogging in fits and starts this year. I would muster up some great intentions and then life would bring surprises. We lost a much beloved goat this summer. Her various health issues were my priority but alas in the end there wasn't anything that could be done, she simply had a heart that was done its job. Losing an older animal, even when they have had a great life is still not easy. Fortunately I was able to spend oodles of quality of time with her last months and that was wonderful.

So the harvest is just about in and I have been really busy in the studio. I have some new things to show you...I just need to snap some pics first.

Finally, here is a use for all of those green tomatoes that are left in our gardens when frosts come and there is no more time for ripening...Green Tomato Salsa. I have included a recipe here, it comes from Farmgirl Fare.


Farmgirl Susan's No Sugar Green Tomato Relish/Salsa 
Please note my recipe changes mentioned at the end of Susan's version.
Makes about 3 pints. Recipe may be doubled; increase cooking time by 10-15 minutes.
 2 lb. green tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 lb. white or yellow onions, chopped
3/4 lb. sweet red peppers, cored and chopped
1/2 lb. tart cooking apples, such as 'Granny Smith', cored and chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup 5% acidic organic raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt
4 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded if desired, and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

Combine the tomatoes, onions, peppers, apples, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a large, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about an hour.
Stir in the jalapenos, cilantro, and cumin and simmer for 5 more minutes. Carefully purée the mixture using a stick blender or in a traditional countertop blender (in batches if necessary) until still somewhat chunky.

If canning, return the puréed relish to a boil, then ladle the hot mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Store in a cool, dark place.
10 calories, 0g fat, 60mg sodium, 0g fiber, per Tablespoon

My changes to the recipe: I chop up the tomatoes, onions etc. using a food processor at the beginning, before putting into the pot. That way I am able to skip the hand blender step or putting it into a blender at that later point. If you don't have any organic raw apple cider vinegar, just use the apple cider vinegar that you find at your grocery store. Also, garlic powder can be used to replace the fresh garlic.
I also don't wait to add the jalapenos, cilantro and cumin. Not sure why you would add these ingredients for just five minutes.The cilantro and cumin add wonderful flavour! I add a lot more than the required amount of cilantro.
I always double the recipe and it does work well that way too.
Finally, I took the recipe and using some conversion charts, I converted the weight measures to cups. I found this easier to relate to.