Master Rain Garden Paperwork..

I have filled out my last needed paperwork, sent in my “Before and After Photo’s” and I am so looking forward to my official paperwork..

Farmgal’s Rain Garden Designs

Having said that, I am jumping the gun! WHOOT! Want a rain garden for your yard? What someone to come walk you though the process? Work with you for the design and the help in choosing plants?  I am your girl!

Live far away.. maybe I can help direct you to someone local to your area or I can work wit you on design from a distance if you want to do so!

Want to be frugal on this?

I will do my very best to help you on that as well, we can talk about man hours,  self-digging, self building, even self starting seeds to grow smaller plants that can be great choices..  or the lowest cost way to order in “plugs”

Want a rain garden for all the good things it can do but know that its not possible to do it yourself..  I would be happy to work with your own choice but if you want it all handled by me locally..

I will be working with Amano Gardens. 

Here are just a few reason’s that I have chosen to work with them!

Why Amano Gardens?

With so many garden and lawn maintenance companies out there, what makes Amano Gardens special?

No Power Tools
No leaf blowers—we believe in rakes.
No power mowers—reel mowers are just as efficient!
No noise—we do the work without causing the disruption and noise of traditional crews.

Reduced Environmental Impact
No power tools means no pollution.
We combat weeds by pulling them out, not by using herbicides.
We build water conservation strategies into our garden designs.

​Knowledgeable Staff
​We know about plants, not just lawn mowers.
We design with plants that suit your property’s environment, not fight against it.
We focus on easy-to-care-for perennials and promote edible landscaping.

​Hands-on Service
​We pay attention to details.
Because we get up close and personal with your lawn and garden, we can see and solve potential issues before they become major problems

I have worked with them on the farm and can recommend them with first hand knowledge. Both in regards to needing more people at the same time and the fact that I have hurt my back this spring, I will not be helping on the installing!

Want to focus on Native plants in your rain garden! We can do that!

Want a butterfly haven in rain garden! We can do that!

Want it to be blend right in.. We can do that as well 🙂

I am also happy to be give group talks (community groups talk to me as I will often wave my speaking fee) and I will be offering “size limited” rain garden talks and tours here on the farm as well.



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Ask me a question – How do you get it all done?

Jill Asked me

How do you get it all done?

The short answer is  I don’t! I am always behind and some thing do not get done.

The longer Answer is Lists..  SO MANY lists!

Line them up.. write it out, set it down so you can see it..  don’t worry to much on the order at the Beginning.  But just like the photo above.. you should end up with the bigger project, the next size down and then the little guys…   You see the photo above.. its perfect.. its all lined up.. HAHA right

At this point.. you can start to sort them in your head so they match up..  See above.. on your lists if after you write it out, you can see that certain things should go together.. so clump them.. just as I clumped the colors here..

Start moving that list around.. so the light blue and green, those are best things done in cool.. so move them to morning or evening..  sometimes in the hard part of heat in the afternoon, move to the house things, but maybe you can do the smaller things outside if they are short and you can get it done.. MIX that list up.. and stack and re-stack as needed..

Now at times you need to split out, clump them up and for those big ones..  Split it again into pieces of your time and your ability..   The key is knowing that you can’t get it all done.. 

Hubby and I are both in general are tidyish people but we are not super clean nor are we outstanding at keeping things in straight and narrow lines..  we are outside the line people lol

We are.. put that there, we might need it later.. tomorrow, next month, next year.. a couple years from now..

In the long run this saves a great deal of money but it sure does not add to the “order or white picket fence” ideal of a small farm..  It works well with a frugal small land holder that does not spend money on powered equipment.

Ok on a more detailed note.. I roll with it, I roll with the seasons and while I love to learn new things I work the same things over and over year after year.

Farmgal Tip:  Learning a new skill is great BUT!! you need to work it into your routine..  Its one of those things I consider important.. work the new skill till you are happy with were you are at.. then find its place and timing..  and make it happen.. pick up the skill again and work it.. monthly, seasonally or yearly depending on the skill but do it every single year..

Till it can be weeks or months between uses but it still becomes muscle memory.. this is one of the biggest keys to getting a good amount done..  You will start to flex that memory.. this is due NOW, I have this many days to make it happen or I miss it this season..

This type of information in your head is what also you to read your lists and clump things down..

Live example, I looked at Dear Hubby and said..  I must do another nine trays of elder flowers, I want to put up another quart jar of flowers for tea making..  and he said, tonight and I went yes.. because I knew that we were pushing the tail end of the flowering season and It was now or never..

Its that kind of knowledge of timing that lets you say.. not today, it can wait and we can do this.. or say.. NO.. Now!

I have had friends say things seem smooth on things but its not true.. its a bumpy ride where we move from this to that and on to there all the time.. but its our norm and so we are calm and steady.

And as there is two of us.. WE TALK.. we have our quiet moments but we always have a chats on.. what are the plans, is this the best use of our time at the moment, should we be doing something else?  Sometimes it very short and we are good to go and other time its longer as we are not on the same spot on what or were that time and energy should be going..

Ok. I hope that helps answer your question on how do we get all done..

We work hard to get ENOUGH done and we let the rest go!

Ps, ya I know I used lunch it from Tupperware to get my point across.. sometimes you need to be create when you are looking for photos to go with your words..

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Ask me a question? What is my Favorite Veggie?

Bubbles1990 Asked me

What is your Favorite Vegetable and ways I preserve and prepare it?

While this seems like a simple question.. the answer is a little more difficult..

My favorite veggie list is wide..

  • climbing plants– beans just a touch over pea’s
  • roots- Beets just a touch over potato’s
  • Plants- o my.. how to pick tomato’s over peppers, over cabbage over.. and so it goes.

but if I really had to knock it down.. my favorite Vegetable would be beets.

*I will say for overall highest produced veggie on the farm.. its potato’s.. they are my calorie powerhouse with beans and other root veggies coming in next and then squashes and pumpkins.

So I love beets, I love tiny round fresh eating beets, I love deep thick slicing beets, I love golden beets, and the red an white beets and I like fodder beets. I like beet greens.. its like getting a 2 for 1.. I love that we can harvest beet seed easily.. its one of those outstanding plants that you can take from seed to seed for years on your own land..  I love how this plant will produce, to wet to plant.. build a swale, raise the ground and plant them and they will go..  really dry.. add some extra peat moss or well done compost and just water that line and they will go..  any kind of average year and your beets are coming up and going!

So I like regular cooked beets, I like roasted beets both by themselves with sea salt and a bit of butter on them at the very end. I like beet soup, I will cook the bigger beets and then slip the skins and when cold grate them and then portion out the grated beets into freezer portions so I can make a fast beet soup lunch!

I like canned beets.. I like tiny canned beets for reheating with a touch of butter or sour cream or honey/salt o my.. so good.

Pickled Beets are a staple.. as other reach for pickles, I reach for Pickled Beets for snacks, for a bowl to go on the table.. to give as gifts..  and I just searched the blog.. how is it that I have never shared my pickled beets recipe..!

Hmmm that will have to change this year lol

I do keep my beets in the root cellar fresh for a good long while and I even put sprouting beets in the spring for greens and to do a push for seed saving!

Beets are a truly healthy and amazing root veg!  Hope that answers your question Bubbles 🙂

Posted in Garden, Garden harvest | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Broccoli Harvest

Now if you were smart enough to stagger your seed starting , you will have planted out every two or three weeks to extend your harvest..

Do consider starting some Broccoli seeds right now! for a fall harvest of this lovely plant! I will be starting new seeds for this today for my fall harvest.

The spring Broccoli is looking amazing, we started harvesting them last week and more are ready this week and I should also get a few more massive heads ready for next week and then the fresh harvest will be done on them till fall..

That’s a standard butcher knife, to till you a scale for the size of the heads at the moment, I am in push between letting them grow and keeping a eye on them twice a day to make sure they do not “bolt” or start to turn yellowish and flower out on me.. its fine balance between..  Grow.. grow! Harvest and darn it.. missed it..

Once in the house, I took the stems off and as they are still very tender, sliced them up and lightly salted and into the freezer in a tub they went for soup later in the season.. a hot bowl of thick broccoli and cheddar soup right now is not good for summer but it will be a delight for a cool fall night!

The leaves are big but edible.. I ribbed out the best leaves and into the dryer they go to then be ground down into my homemade “green powder” for later use.

The heads were taken apart.. in this photo you can see the full head, the first break down and then to the back and left side the finished florets.

At this point.. its very important to put them all into a salt cold water soak for 30 mins I put in one tbsp. of salt to my bowl of cold water..  As these are garden grown, its always a good idea to soak them and make sure if you have any hitchhikers, that you get them off.

The crazy amount of birds in my front yard have been busy hunting for bugs to feed their babies and so I have been so far very lucky and not had a single worm pop up yet to date.. but that is not the norm!

Do not just let them float in there. take a clean round plate that mostly fits your bowl and then weigh it down so that they are all under the water and set your baking timer and just let it go..

Once you are done that, you can check the water to see if you have any extra’s that need to be removed and ideally tossed to the chickens.. protein is protein 🙂 and you are now good to go into the fridge for future use in the kitchen or you are ready to blanch them/cool and then freeze them for later use.

Take the rest of the plant out of the ground and in my case I am feeding it to my sheep and or goats which will make quick work of it or it could be put into compost. I would consider chopping it up some before putting it in the compost and for sure on that if you did not harvest the leaves off of it.

So how has your broccoli been this garden season? did you get a good spring harvest? Will you be starting more seeds now to have a fall harvest?



Posted in 100 mile diet, Gal in the Garden Series, Garden harvest | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Got a Question or Blog Post Idea for me?

Posted in At the kitchen table | 3 Comments

Baby’s Hatching.. New little Wee ones join the farm

Look what hatched by the pond! New baby turtles joined our farm and our new front pond! How exciting! Now we have laying and hatching native turtles in both our back pond and in our front yard pond..

Hubby had called me over as the floating plants where in bloom and as I can over to look at them.. I saw this wee striped head and went.. YES and did a mental bounce in place (I can’t bounce yet) and went.. I need my camera..!!!

It swam over and rested on the stem joining the floating plants.. hubby headed off to find some small peices of wood that he thought such a little turtle could climb and I kept watching and snapping photos.

I just love how much all the difference plants we have put into the pond are growing and thriving! Both myself, the land and the pond was grateful for the rain day taht soaked in and helped fill the pond back up a good solid 10 inches!

Then I saw the second one.. over in a different spot of the pond..  I think I saw a third but it appeared to have dived and then come up in the plants.

One of them found the first peice of wood and slowly and carefully made the climb 🙂

Starting.. and up we go..

Pull little guy.. sink your tiny claws in!

Almost there.. took a rest and just hung out for a bit.. then finished the rest of the climb and enjoyed the sun on his log..

The wind pushed it into the plants and held it there.. but he got company.. lol..

Posted in Critters, homestead | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Friday Rambles around the Table – Keeping Busy!

There are times in my day’s right now that I fell like that hummering bird.. flapping my little wings as fast as I can just to stay in place.

Racing from one thing to the next..  just as she is going flower to flower, I am going from item to item in the house, on the farm, off the farm, spending time creating, spending time learning, listening.. only to crash hard and get up and do it all over again.

There are times I feel as run down and ragged as this little gal!  I am rough around the edges and life is grinding away hard to try and smooth me down just a bit more.. make me softer on the edges.. I am not sure its working.. I feel jagged and torn.. but it says it not done with me at all yet!

On the flip side, I am getting better at being still and just in hold mode.. we broke down and put out the money for a mobile air conditioner for the bedroom so that I can sleep better at night and have a place to go and cool down in the highest heat part of the day.

That has proven to a very good choice (I might not agree with that when the next power bill comes in!)

I got outstanding news this week at Physio, I am allowed to start doing forward movements.. this is a “o yes” thank you.  If you think of a damaged slipped disk and your spine, its bulges and if you are straight and up and even lean back a little, you spine holds itself in a up and down.. this was the way it needed to heal.. but on the other hand, if you bend forward and put pressure outward or you bend forward and put pressure downward, it curves you spine and it put pressure to push the damages area and the bulges outward.. this is very bad for healing at the beginning..


It means that while I still can not do sideways turns, I can start working on gentle careful but still so useful forward motions again!  It might be another month or even two before I get to the point of sideways turns and work.. so be it!  

At least I feel like I can start to move forward instead of going round and round like the bee on the flower did..

Now I feel like I can start climbing up.. moving forward.. growing again in a different way then I have been! The beans on the inner row of the bean teepee are starting to climb as well. the middle row is broad beans and the outside ring is potato’s

I have been enjoying my rain garden here on the farm but I am happy to have been asked to help design a few more this summer and I have been asked by a 4H group in the city to come in and give a talk on them.

Speaking of growing.. just as these tomato’s have outgrown their cages and are now lined with stakes to keep them upright and moving along.. DH after 22 years in the same department is changing to a new one this month..

He is still working for the Federal Government but new building, new province, he is now in the Ontario side and all new folks.. steep learning curve ahead..  Wish him luck if you would be willing to do so!

Change.. everything must grow and everything must change at its own timing and pacing. Just as I need to harvest the row of heads and pull the plants, stripping down the leaves and drying them and grinding them into a super green for later use in winter and both fresh eating and putting away of broccoli making room for the cabbages to grow and fill in that spacing so they can reach their full size.. we must sometimes pull things up and give it a shake and use that space in our own lives.

Doing so often yields very sweet rewards indeed!  Reach for your goals but move with the flow.. never given up.. change if you need to.. but keep moving forward.. keep reaching..


Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged | 3 Comments

Herb Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is a easy dish to make, I used tinfoil to wrap the breasts to keep them together and then used the drippings as the dipping sauce for each plate.

I used homemade cheese which means that it was fresh white farmers cheese but I think Mozza would just fine as a replacement.

Ideally you are going to head out to your garden and harvest fresh green onions, garlic chives, two small hot peppers still in the green stage, a mix of herbs, your choice for flavours you liked..  Clean them and chop them up.. mix with the chopped or grated cheese, add a little salt and pepper.

Take a piece of tinfoil and place your chicken breast on it.

Slice your chicken breast to butterfly them open (this means they open up fully but are still connected as a single piece of meat.. if the top area is a little to thick.. give it a few whacks with either a meat tenderizer or the flat of a rolling pin to thin it down a touch. Then cover with a nice layer of your herbed cheese blend.. once fully covered.. press it down into the meat a touch and then carefully flip the top over..   stuff any bits that get out as much as possible back in.

Wrap up with the top being above the stuffed chicken breast, place in a tray with edges and back approx. 35 to 40 min at 375 pre-heated oven.. the packages can leak a touch so do not just place on their own in the oven.

Remove from oven and let sit for a min or two before serving up.. put the drippings into little bowls from each package as the dipping sauce.

This was served with a lovely mushroom/daylily flower/green onion rice blend..

Posted in Life moves on daily | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

This is a old recipe and something I have made for many years.. back in the day it was made with oil but I have moved that to butter.  I also prefer Golden Raisin’s then the older darker ones.. it gives a softer flavour to me.. but if you like more Raisin flavour, then go the dark ones!

Soft Moist Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Recipe

  • 1 cup of butter (room temp ideally or softened)
  • 3/4th cup Brown Sugar (if you want it less sweet just use half a cup)
  •  2 Large Eggs
  •  1 and half cups of flour
  •  1 cup of oatmeal flakes (small is good but large works just as well)
  •  1 cup of golden Raisin’s
  •  1 tbsp of baking powder
  •  1/2 tsp of salt
  •  1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  •  1/2 tsp of ginger
  •  Pinch or 1/8th tsp of all spice

Put your softened butter and sugar together and mix well, then add both your eggs and blend them all together.  Stop and add all the rest together on top of the blended butter, sugar and eggs.. Turn it all in together till it mixes in a soft ball of a dough

drop by spoon full on your tray’s.. if you want big cookies like in the photo, then use Tablespoons, if you want smaller cookies use Teaspoons.

Bake in a Pre-heated oven of 375 for approx. 8 to 10 min for the smaller cookies or 10 to 12 minutes for the bigger cookies.. check them.. they need to have a good golden brown edge to the cookies.. if needed cook a extra two mins and check again.

Allow to cook for a min or two on the baking tray.. then using your lifter press down between any touching cookies to create a break.. wait another couple min for them to cool and firm up. If you move them to soon, they will fall apart..

Once they are firm enough to move, move to a cooling rack and let them come down fully and then into a cookie jar or tin.

Posted in Baking | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Smudge and Jimmy..

Some of my longer term readers will remember that I was so excited three years ago after many years of looking I finally found my short haired smoke blue solid (no tabby) sweet as can be kitten “Blue”

This little boy hooked my heart the moment I saw him and he came home to me.. great joy indeed.. sadly when he was still pretty young he chased a fly on the back of caleb the horse’s hoof and when caleb lifted and then put his foot down, he stepped on blue..  our free farm kitten because our rush to the vet can we save him kitten.. he did pull though but as he grew the damage to his organs showed up more and more.. sadly Blue never made the age of one before he crossed over.

Thus began my two year search for a solid short hair blue kitten.. I did not want to go buy a purebred Russian blue which would of course been the fastest way to do this..  I wanted to adopt a farm kitten (raised with kids and friendly) or adopt at a rescue. I set a budget of 200 or what I would need to do a kitten for and waited..

I had hoped for a kitten but was open to a younger adult..  I watched and waited.. so many tabbies.. so many wonderful orange kitties.. and I watched and waited..  I looked at a rescue but as soon as I was honest that my kitties are indoor/outdoor.. I was out.

I found the perfect kitten and filled out the paperwork..  nope.. indoor only.. sigh..  I wrote on facebook asking my friends to keep a eye out for me..  a lovely older coming two year old female caught my eye.. but I was declined as I was honest that I already had 6 cats.. she needed a smaller quieter home..

And then I went.. its kitten season! and I flagged some of the local sites and started hunting them.. nothing.. waiting, waiting.. nothing


This was my very first glimpse of her.. look at that face! those eyes..  I wrote within two min of seeing her post and back and forth we sent messages and when I put down the phone. I had a pick up time the next day..

So let me introduce you to Smudge.. a stunning, purry in your face short hair smoke blue short haired female.. she is my new baby and she is a handful already..

I had high hopes that her and Miss Leeloo would become good friends.. but what I had not counted on was this little tike.. stealing my hubbies heart as fast as Smudge did mine..

Coming on the running to us with his tail right in the air as Jimmy.. O my.. hubby had liked him out of the kittens shown and he scooped him up

and they did that male bonding thing that can happen and before you could say.. boo.. Jimmy was coming home with us lol

While having the two of them IS a handful.. its a good one.. they both came litterbox trained and have been outstanding in this regard.. we brought out the kitty tower so they go in three or four times a day to get their “special” kitten food.. growing babies need a different menu then rest of the adult cats.

They will NOT be allowed outside for at least a few weeks min and then only when they come running when called on cue..  So Leeloo came in.. sniffed them.. went huh and asked to go back out and hunt..  Leeloo is a hunting farm cat.. she comes and gets one or two max min of love a few times and day and then she is busy living life.

The others were as I expected.. gentle, welcoming and sniff and done..  Its the two auntie farm dogs that are struggling..  they so want to be these wee tikes “BEST FRIEND” and these two are having nothing of it yet.. Jimmy finally did a nose to nose touch and sniff with Dezbot.. but Smudge still gives the puppies the kitten side eye..

The hounds are being so good.. they lay very still.. they are trying so hard to wait for the kittens to come to them lol..  They do adore their purr kitties so much..

At least they still have leeloo to baby LOL

And that is it! I swear.. there is NO plans to add any more cats to the farm.. these will both be fixed at the six month stage.. no heats, no spraying.. no breeding and certainly no kittens..


Posted in At the kitchen table | 10 Comments