Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting Ready for Seedy Sunday Brandon!

It's a busy, busy day getting ready for Seedy Sunday. Farmer Man is in the root cellar, weighing and bagging seed potatoes. I'm getting seeds ready for tomorrow's big event! We'll have seven different kinds of potatoes and five different kinds of winter squash. This is the first time we're officially selling, so we're not that organized: hand-written tags will be the order of the day! I did have some nice little glassine bags for saving seeds, so the seeds will be safe and sound. With the winter squash, we decided in the fall to let Mother Nature preserve the seeds for us in the original package: the squash. So, early this week, we opened the squash, scooped out the seeds, twirled them briefly in water to loosen the seed from the pulp, then separated them from the pulp as best we could. Then we lay them out on towels to dry for three days. It's worked out quite well! Now, I'm going through them as I package, to make sure it's all nice, plump seeds in every package. We're donating potatoes and eggs for the brunch tomorrow, I believe the Head Chef, Dave Barnes, is coming to pick them up later this afternoon. Brunch at 11:00 AM, seed sale starts at noon. Events go through the evening, ending with a social. Check out the poster here. It's all happening tomorrow, at Park Community Centre - hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homestead Hoopla or Trademark Tiff!

The blogosphere and Twitter are just abuzz. Well, the gardening, sustainable living, small farming areas of the aforementioned media outlets. Seems the Dervaes Institute has quietly trademarked a number of phrases including: urban homesteading, urban homestead and a few more. Now, the Dervaes Institue is a..... well, Google them and form your own opinion. I've read their blog and visited their website occasionally, but not recently. They've certainly caused a storm with this move. I am not a fan of trademarking common things like seeds, words and phrases. Urban homesteading is not a phrase they invented and I'm really surprised they were allowed the trademark. Garden Rant has a link to an announcement on the Dervaes family web site here. The Comment section of that post has been closed because, I suppose, the Dervaes didn't want to hear anymore protests. A new Facebook page has popped up called 'Take Back Urban Home-steading', which has gathered over 1900 members in less than twenty four hours. If nothing else, this is creating an interesting community of people committed to sustainable lifestyles and the freedom to use common words!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is In The Air!

Happy Valentine's Day! The Garage Kitties are discovering love, slowly but surely. A few of them will let me pet them - and they just can't seem to get enough. The top photo is Mama and Big Orange getting some attention. The second photo is Beige, coming to greet me; she used to hide in the rafters when I entered the garage. The third picture is Mama, waiting for dinner! The last photo is the biggest surprise: our Blondie and Grizzly Bear hanging out together! Love can work miracles, and a lot of patience doesn't hurt either!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seedy Sunday Brandon!

I'm copying this directly from an email from Blake Hamilton, the organizer of Seedy Sunday who is doing great work as the co-coordinator of the community gardens at New Era. Everything you need to know, I think!

This is a day devoted to bringing food, culture, community and education into one totally awesome day and night! The brunch, dinner, and social are fundraisers for the New Era Community School Friendship Garden (4th and Louise) and each cost ten dollars. However the Seed swap (12pm- 5pm) and the Food Documentary FRESH (7-8:30pm) are free.

The Seed Swap and sale is an opportunity for people to exchange seeds that they have saved themselves, or from seed packs that they have purchased from some of the seed producers who will be selling seed at the event. Prairie Garden Seeds (Humbolt Sask), Heritage Harvest Seeds (Carmen MB), Aagaard Farms (Brandon), as well as some other local and out of town merchants yet to be confirmed will be in attendance, with a focus on those that supply heritage, heirloom, and organic seeds. Check out for the mission of Seedy Saturday/Sunday's across Canada.

The Brunch Buffet 11am- 1pm will contain some of the most organic and locally available foods possible, the Bison Chili dinner will be of the organic free range Crocus View Farms variety, and a vegetarian option will be available....also, the spicey scale will be yours to decide unlike last years very spicey "mild" Chili option!

The Documentary FRESH is new on the scene and this screening will represent the second screening in Manitoba (I believe). It's a optimistic, realistic and workistic look at how we can take our food security and culture back into our own hands as communities... check out for more info. The screening is free along with the seed swap admittance because it is the organizers belief that education and access to healthy food seed should be available to everyone... donations merrily accepted (we will be making a generous donation to the makers of FRESH).

The Line up for the social is as follows: DJ's Tabernac (locals K. Slimon and A. Vandale), followed by Brandon's new electro dubstep quartet PINK ROBOT. Balanced Records (Winnipeg) DJ's Billy Rockwell, Seed Organization, and Kasm, will get your hips gliding on the dance floor with afro/funk/jazz house/ and dubby braeaks while Redworm from Bass Invaders Wpg will end the night with some heavy beats (dubstep shreddery). Visual effects and interactive wall by Meg Rabbit of POMOPROJECT Wpg. Sound by the Good Vibe Tribe and Bass Invaders. Cash Bar opens up at Five O'Clock.

Throughout the day expect to hear acoustic acts and some smooth dinner music by BU music Dept. friends, and some presentations by local food activists, and seed savers. Come with seeds to trade or with some money to buy. Envelopes will be available so seed packs can be split up and shared!

This is about the future of food, community, and celebration!!!

Tickets to the social (mandatory at 9 o'clock) available at Senate Skates and Marquis Project... no tickets at the door!

If you want to volunteer please contact Blake (573 5314), Ryan L. (724-7960), or mo (573-1940)!!!

Thanks for your support, we hope to see you at Park CC.... Spread the word!!!

Best regards,

Blake Hamilton
New Era Community School Friendship Garden Coordinator

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Westman, Check Your Datebooks!

Lots of interesting events coming up in the next little while! Here's a few I've heard about and thought I'd share! First, this Saturday, February 12, Funds Fur Furry Friends and Pet Valu are getting together. Both Brandon locations of Pet Valu will give you a 10% discount on any bag of food that you buy to donate to the rescue. They really need puppy food right now, but they always need dog and cat food. You may be able to meet a few adoptable puppies, too. If you can help, please do so!! FFFF will also be in Shoppers Mall from, I think, 2 - 4 PM with some adoptable pets you can meet! Go lay-a-little-lovin' on a cat or dog looking for a forever home!

Seedy Sunday is February 20th at Brandon's Park Community Center! If you're looking for seed or have saved seed and want to trade or share, this will be a great event. We're going to be there selling seed potatoes from our collection of twenty five different varieties. I don't have any further details at this time, but I'll share as soon as I know more.

New Era School is having a Market Day on Saturday, March 5 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Tables are $20 and all proceeds go to support New Era! They're looking for sellers of baking, crafts and gently used items. There will be a canteen, with proceeds going to New Era, as well. Great day to shop or sell for a good cause! You've got to register to sell by February 24th, you can email Denise at or Delvina at

Earth Day is April 17th and there will be events in Princess Park again this year. The Green Spot's Spring Garden Fair is April 30 and May 1st this year. Hartney's Hort Day is May 7th and I'll be speaking there. Haven't really settled on a topic yet, but I'm currently rather obsessed with managing soils and garden beds organically. If you'd like to hear about something in particular at Hartney - let me know!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Enjoying A Nice Day!

We've been quite a pair of hermits; with temperatures hovering around -40 C (with the windchill) we've been snuggling up to the wood stove with the seed catalogues. Well, today, we finally got out and about for a while. Temperatures rose steadily to a balmy -2 C, with a windchill of just -12 C (about 8 F). The dogs were well over due for a good walk, and fun was had by all! A nice stroll down our gravel road, a little snow swimming for those little dogs that thought they could run over the fields and snow drifts. Even The Hens and Rocky ventured out for a while!