This month I want to focus on all things local.
I feel like April in Nova Scotia is all about emerging from winter hibernation.
We see our neighbours more, the farmer’s market is buzzing, weekends are full in the very best way. It is such a wonderful month to be part of a tight knit food community.
As usual, my mind is on food and gardening – April brings seed starting and fresh ingredients!
Here are five things that are inspiring me this month.
Grow Organic: A Simple Guide To Nova Scotia Vegetable Gardening by Elizabeth Peirce
I have been gardening in Nova Scotia for seven years, and I still pull this book off my shelf every Spring. I love how simply the information is presented. It is a perfect beginner’s gardening book and specific to Nova Scotia’s climate, gardening conditions and challenges. It is of special interest to those who choose to garden organically, with tips on building soil, natural pest control, and sourcing seeds.
I have been following Sherrie’s writing since I was pregnant with my eldest child. I had recently returned to Nova Scotia and was looking around for other rural families with similar values and stumbled across her first blog, twenty-two pleasant. Sherrie used cloth diapers, was zero-waste before it was a trend, loved cooking comfort food, shared her homestead dreams, and seemed to have the most delightful personality. She just presented her life so beautifully and honestly.
I quickly became a fan and eventually a virtual friend. I’m hoping to visit Yarmouth this summer and invite myself over to her beautiful kitchen. 😉
Sherrie manifested her dream homestead, Wellington Farm, and now blogs about her life there. Last year she embarked on a new passion project, a new blog and podcast! In Nova Scotia Kitchens, she visits friends and neighbours in their kitchens, where they make her a tried and true recipe and share stories.
If you have spent any time in Nova Scotia, you probably know that social visits often gravitate to the kitchen. Hospitality, sharing food and stories – we come by it naturally. Listening to Sherrie’s podcast is like being invited in – time slows down and you can almost hear the kettle whistling for a cup of tea.
My family is experiencing a major shift. Things are happening, life is about to change in a big way and we are excited! Sometimes it scares me. Sometimes I feel drained because I am pouring so much energy into these changes. But, for the most part, I feel energised and happy. I think I may even be changing into a very positive person.
Lately, when someone asks me how I am, I smile and say: “Great!” Maybe its because I’ve been walking through the world in a sleep deprived perpetual state of anxiety for the last five years, but friends and acquaintances seem almost taken aback by my enthusiasm. Which makes me wonder how negative I may have been in the past…
It feels like the law of attraction at work here. I’ve been sending a lot of positive energy out there and it is coming back in spades.
Margaret “the elder”*
Margaret was the first neighbour we met when we moved to our little homestead. In our first few hours here, she and her husband Eddie invited us in for espresso, showed us their world cookbook collection, and sent us home with a basket of their garden vegetables for supper. They were clearly kindred spirits!
Margaret and I became close and she became very special to me and my children. There are so many wonderful stories to share (like the time she taught me to make boiled icing), but they are for another post.
Eddie recently passed away, and we miss him terribly. A few months earlier, they sold their house and moved far enough away for my heart to break a little.
Margaret and Eddie put in the loveliest perennial gardens in their years here. I am so grateful that I get to enjoy their beauty, but my heart is bracing itself for all the feelings as their gardens come alive this Spring without them here.
So, come for a visit soon, okay Margaret?
*Margaret refers to herself as “Margaret the elder” and myself as “Margaret the younger”
I have rhubarb on my mind. In my humble opinion, the rhubarb patch hits peak beauty in April. It isn’t quite time to harvest, but oh the promise of those swelling red rosettes bursting with life as they unfurl from the cold earth.
I shared my story of making rhubarb tart with custard with my friend Jenn on the blog. Stewed rhubarb with yogurt or vanilla ice cream is a favourite from childhood. I also make rhubarb soda and strawberry rhubarb jam.
I would love to try a new rhubarb recipe this Spring – something a little different. Do you have a favourite recipe to share?
What is inspiring you this month?
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