The Change of Seasons: We started our morning rescuing the sweet potatoes from the various little four legged rodent “friends” who also share our food. I used to hold a distasteful opinion of the rats and mice helping themselves to our food. I recall a time when we lived in the trailer while building our home, when we (actually me) spent considerable time live trapping our trailer companions while on route to relocate them while Ann would pet the little guys on the head as I walked by… the mom mouse in the live trap and babies hanging around. Long story, cute story, and in one of our updates about 7 years ago. (Everything becomes a better story with the passing of time.) Today, I look at the rats and mice with more affection, very beautiful and healthy little beings that climb the Arbutus, eat the beets and carrots and this week, the sweet potatoes. Time to encourage them move on and signal us to the next crop that needs to be picked… and something says apples and tomatillos based on the chew marks. Really, the rats are amazing, as they know when something is ready to eat, and by watching their actions in the garden, we can respond in enough time to collect our share of the garden goodies; they won’t drink a fine wine before its time. (Gord might…but the rodents have more sense). And there are the other messengers – the rabbits eating the goji berries, lentils and chickpeas, the robins with the raspberries, and the yellow jackets with the grapes. So today as we also harvest the dried Orca beans, scarlett runners, helda green beans for fermenting, chickpeas, lentils, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and the list goes on, we wonder why our harvest season is a bit different than most. Then it strikes us – we are shifting our production and preservation systems away from the more perishable annuals, as well as shifting from canning and freezing to drying, fermenting, and to foods that don’t require much processing. There is less of the urgent rush that you can not keep up to. It gives us a false feeling that the garden is not productive this year, but the pantry jars are filling with dried foods and the garden keeps producing…yet Ann has been mumbling something about all the winter veggie starts getting eaten by tiny slugs. Sigh…but then we consider that this land is not just here for singular human purpose..the land is primarily here to feed all the others (the ecosystem); and this is exactly how it should be. Nature gives to us and we need to give back…it’s called sharing.
The Zucchini god has visited Eco-Sense this year and the prolific harvest has been dried into cubes and slices, and later this week they’ll be grated, mixed with garlic, apple cider vinegar, tamari soy, sesame seeds and then dried in sheets to make crackers. Imagine… no rush to force zucchini onto the arms of unsuspecting strangers while they are using the composting toilet facilities at the Eagle’s Lake cob bathroom.
The other wonderful surprise this year has been learning that sweet potato leaves are highly edible and nutritious. I (Gord) eat them when in the garden, and Ann has been drying them for tea and for seasoning hearty winter soups. I learned of the immense benefit of these while researching food items for Emily, and WOW are the leaves ever chocked full of nutrients. The dried leaves are an amazing tea, even better than dried nettles in both taste and nutrients.
Fall Sales of Edible Perennial Plants: On a different note, we had our fall order of plants arrive; an exciting time as the plants are beautiful and long awaited additions to all of our regular items. The 2 year old Sweet Fuyu persimmons arrived, and some have fruit on them! I’m also personally excited about the new hop additions of Sterling and Willamete to add to our Cascades. (Gord lives for beer). If anyone has had our home brew… we will have some fun opportunities to play with new flavours. The really exciting thing is the arrival of the Illinois Everbearing Mullberry; we sold out right away on the last order. This time, to place the order, we were told to phone six months in advance. So on July 1st at 7am we ordered 40.
We often get asked, “what plants are we most impressed with since we started our nursery this past spring?” A tough question as some plants have been the biggest sellers, and some we have fallen in love with. The big sellers here are the sea buck thorn (sea berry), walking onion, goumi, crosne, oca, currants, figs, dwarf cherries and a whole shit load of various hardy kiwis. The plants we have fallen in love with have been the tea, mulberry, cornelian cherry, chestnut, autumn olive, yellow horn, the hardy kiwis… and our lemons too! Then you walk down the path and you just can’t stop and think how much you admire the properties of each of he plants. Click here for a complete list of plants, availability, and prices.
Two Perennial Plants Sales This saturday (September 20). For those who live on Southern Vancouver Island there are two options for drooling over perennial plants: the Eco-Sense Nursery from 10am-2 pm, and Hatchet and Seed’s perennial plant sale from 1pm-4pm in North Saanich. What a fabulous place to live with huge local selections.
Our Big News: We are looking for home-steading partners
As the seasons change so do our lives. This is a time of family transition here at Eco-Sense as Ann’s parents are moving back to Vancouver. We are looking for like minded fragrance free friends to embark upon the next co-housing homesteading phase of Eco-Sense with us. This PDF link provides the details of this very unique opportunity to live in a mud house and shit in a bucket.