Monday, September 28, 2015

Another Brush Fire

Hullo again... Yep... a report from another brush fire location. This one happened on July 4 and we are now visiting it three months later... just to check up on things. This one was a super scary fire and came right up to the fences of people's yard. Again... likely caused by a homeless camp.

There is a little pond here, which is beary pretty.

This arbutus tree managed to keep a few leaves up at the top.

 But this poplars look pretty crispy... until...

You look down at the base!!! Do you see that? They are putting out new shoots... and there are all sorts of little green plants coming up.

Even the blackberries are putting out new shoots. It is beary hard to keep a good blackberry plant down!

 The grass here is quite tall already...

And even some of the hawthorne bushes that look pretty dead are putting out new leaves along the branches.

Although... I did find some victims of the fire... R.I.P. little snails.

There are some bigger trees that didn't fare so well...

But everywhere else... I see new greens coming up.

 Even some little oak trees! Nature is a pretty magnificent thing!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Legacy of the Hot Summer

Hullo bears & not-a-bears! You know it was a beary dry summer here? Well.. we also had our fair share of brush fires. There was one that took place on August 21... and I went and had a look at it in early September (yes... dreadfully behind on blog adventures). Sooo... let's get started then, shall we.

Oh... we have an audience over there in the grass! Do you see him?

Heh-heh... a kitty! Looks a bit like Spooky but the white is different on the face.

 This big old vacant lot is a beary good blackberry patch. Everything looks lush and green here... well.... as lush and green as things look after a dry summer... but you get the idea.

A nice sunrise too...

But then, over here... we see the fire damage.

It was a brush fire and beary windy that day, so the firefighters worked beary hard to keep it away from nearby homes.

But already... just two weeks after the fire, you can see new life coming up!

And mobile ones too!

That big old oak tree got a little crisped on the one side..

It was on someone's property, at the back end... they were lucky.

There is lots of grass coming up...

Some of the arbutus trees look like they survived OK... the bark was a bit blackened.

But not too bad.

The leaves are another matter... I'm hoping that next spring it will come back?

This vacant lot had a lot of brush on it... but with all of that burnt away, you can see signs of humans here...

Right here, we have the edge of the burnt area... captured in one branch and even one leaf...

The firefighters said that the fire started in a homeless camp... and I think we've found that spot... an old couch.

Some little propane bottles....

A melted plastic lawn chair and a lighter...

And some more bits and pieces... there was even a shopping cart in there...

All Smokey Bear has to say is... Please don't play with Fire!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sandy makes Plum Chutney

Oh, hello again! Welcome to Sandy's Kitchen... Sandy's Messy Kitchen! We have a few projects on the go.

First up... we harvested some prune plums from the tree in the backyard. They are super yummy to eat but if you eat too many well... they are prune plums and... well... you know. Anyhow, we had way to many to eat so after a bit of research, decided to make plum chutney!

Yum!!! It calls for the most interesting list of ingredients: brown & white sugar, onion, garlic, mustard seed, cider vinegar, crystalline ginger, raisins, cayenne pepper and a few other things. It smells fantastic!
 We are going to have about 12 half-pint jars of this... people say you can use it instead of cranberry sauce. And our Thanksgiving is coming up soon!

Our other project is another harvest of basil. This is our third harvest. It is getting cooler at night and we're not sure we'll get another harvest. Some for some more basil puree for the freezer. Oh, and we're giving some bundles of fresh basil away...

Also a Beet & Potato salad for dinner! Yummers!

I am going to sit here and supervise... since that is what little bears do best.

Yup,.. did a good job of supervising. 12 1/2 jars of plum chutney...

And a bit left over for a jar in the fridge. Have you made any preserves this summer or fall?

Friday, September 18, 2015

The times are a-changin'

Hullo again! Well, it is September, and so we thought we'd take a wander down by the burnt-out farm to check on the apple trees. Somebody's been here before us because the ancient apple tree has been picked over a bit.

Uh-oh!!! That looks like a survey stake!! Oh dear...

 I see some filter cloth up ahead too... and things look different.

Ack!!!! Where's the burnt-out farm???

I am going to investigate... That's the big old apple tree there...

Whew... and the walnut tree is still here!

But the foundation of the old house has been gutted... and there is a big construction project going on in the background. That's where the meadow used to be.

I knew this was coming. Rumour has been swirling that the SPCA was building a new facility. I can't really complain about that... and at least they've built on the meadow part... and left my fruit trees! Hmmm... someone plunked a big boulder on the old concrete stairway.

Hello? There is someone standing on the boulder!

His name is Arborrier - and he says he protected the fruit trees with his magic powers! Wow...

I'd say he did a pretty good job.

And... do you see that tree behind me... well, the bulldozers came right to the edge of it and pushed away all the blackberries...

So now I can see that this one is a pear tree!!

And not just any pear tree... it is a bartlett pear tree!!!

Oh yum! ****munch munch, dribble, drool, munch**** Soooo good!

 Heh-heh... and there are still a few little grapevines around the old house foundation. I wonder if we could take some home?

Hmmm... I just saw that tree in the background. It looks like another pear tree. So we fought our way through the broom and dodged some blackberries...

Only to find it surrounded by blackberries... No way through on this side.

We fought our way back out and only got a bit of blackberry goo - that looks nasty but it wasn't!

Ah-hah!!! The backside of the pear tree is much more accessible...

Yup... pear tree bark... and a bunch of young pear trees around the base.

Definitely a bartlett pear!

Alright... time to call in reinforcements with buckets!

***an hour later***
Heh-heh... we got a big bucket of apples - yummy ones too!

And a mega bucket of pears. Mmmmm....

I think there might be some apple sauce in my future.

Oh... and a quick update on yard projects. We've hard horror stories about Late blight devastating tomato crops so we jury-rigged a plastic sheet over the tomatoes...

And the new garden bed is coming along nicely... That's it for now!