Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saving Dahlia Tubers in Containers

Step 1: Insulate the Dahlia container in bubble wrap.
Two years ago I dug up my dahlia tubers and kept them all winter at the town condo in the guest bathtub.

The tubers were hard to dig, and needed added moisture in their protective sacks ever few weeks. But, most of them did survive for replanting.

Last fall I tried something different. I wrapped my dahlia containers with bubble wrap and covered the soil with a heavy mulch.

In summer, the dahlias gave me lush plants and beautiful flowers. I would call that a huge success with very little effort.

Step 2: Cut the Dahlias back in fall.
This year I decided to repeat the same procedure.

We don't get extreme cold, but do have several stretches of freezing weather.

I left the bubble wrap on the pots, so that step was already done.

Click here to read more about it. Save the small sized bubble wrap from parcel packaging. You'll have a free supply for winterizing projects.

Step 3: Cover the soil with crumpled newspaper.
The air pockets help keep the freezing temperature away from the sides of the pot, much like an insulated water pipe.

When the weather started turning cold and the foliage died, I cut the dahlia plants back to an inch above the soil level.

I crumpled newspaper over the soil to give the tubers an insulation barrier.

Step 4: Cover the newspaper with a piece of cardboard.
Over the top of the newspaper I put a layer of cardboard, and topped it off with soil to keep everything in place on windy days.

I don't have a place to bring the containers indoors at the cabin where temperatures won't get below freezing sometime during the winter.

This has been a good alternative for me, and I've successfully winterized my rhubarb the same way since 2010.

Step 5: Cover the cardboard with soil to hold everything in place.

Have you ever kept dahlias outdoors through the winter? Do you get freezing nights? Was it successful for you? -- Margy

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Patio Baby Eggplant Parmesan Bites

Patio Baby eggplants are about the size of a real egg.
I purchased a Patio Baby Eggplant seedling without really knowing what it was. I wanted a smaller eggplant, and that’s what I got.

The Patio Baby Eggplant was developed for pots and small gardens. It grows into a slender bush about a foot and a half tall.

Mine didn’t start producing fruits until late summer. The plant information says it will continue until the first frost.

Cut, dip, dredge and fry.
The small fruits fit in your hand. In fact, several will. I decided to make individual Eggplant Parmesan Bites due to their diminutive size.

I cut each eggplant into three slices lengthwise.

I beat one egg with milk and prepared a coating out of equal parts flour and cornmeal seasoned to taste with sea salt.

Fry until lightly browned.
Each slice went into the egg mixture, dredged in the cornmeal and flour mixture, back to the egg and finally back to the flour mixture again.

Fry the coated eggplant in olive oil using medium-high heat until they become soft inside and the coating becomes lightly browned. Drain on a paper towel until they are all done.

Arrange the little bites on a baking sheet liberally coated with cooking spray.

Assemble the bites with sauce and cheese.
Top each eggplant bite with a dollop of prepared spaghetti sauce (commercial or homemade), a shake of Parmesan cheese, and a small slice of mozzarella cheese.

Bake the bites at 350°F until  the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.

I served my Eggplant Parmesan Bites as a dinner entree with salad.

The cheese is melted and they are ready to enjoy.

My Patio Baby plant produced enough little eggplants to make this recipe three time over the summer and fall. If you live in a warmer climate, you might even get more for a longer time.

Do you have any favourite eggplant recipes that you would like to share? -- Margy

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rebroadcast of Our Float Cabin on UNIS Television

Wayne and I were honoured to host a film team from Red Letter Films at our Hole in the Wall float cabin home in July 2014. Evelyne and her film crew including camera technician Catherine (Cat), and assistant camera tech Creighton (Crey), spent a whole day with us up the lake getting to know what off the grid float cabin living was like.

The results called Chalets de la Cote Ouest (West Coast Cottages) will be rebroadcasting on UNIS, a Canadian television channel focusing on French-speaking audiences from British Columbia to the Atlantic provinces.

Click below to go the the video link. This is a screen shot.

Our float cabin home is featured in the second segment that is rebroadcasting as follows:

or check your local listing.

It should be available (in French only) on the UNIS website after the first airing date. Click here to go to the video page and click on the arrow next to "Voir la video."

Sharing our lifestyle has been fun. This was our second televison production. The first was for Extreme Houseboats on the Travel Channel. Unfortunately, this video is blocked in Canada. -- Margy

Monday, November 14, 2016

Log Hauling in British Columbia

Skidding logs into the water at the Head of Powell Lake.
Powell River in Coastal British Columbia is a logging community. A large part of the economy is driven by this sustainable industry. All year long, logging goes on in accessible, and some relatively inaccessible, areas.

Once cut, the logs have to be limbed, sized, sorted, bundled and trucked for long-distance transport. Here on the coast, most logs make their way to mills and markets on the South Coast via a water route.

A tug tows a boom of logs through First Narrows on Powell Lake.

On Powell Lake, you see booms of logs heading south to Block Bay where they are extracted with an A-frame.

An A-frame at Block Bay lifts the log bundles from the water to waiting trucks.

The bundled logs are lifted onto trucks and transported a short distance to the ocean. We call it the salt chuck, or chuck for short.

Logging trucks transport logs in big bundles.

Once back in the water, logs are pulled in booms or motored on barges south to Vancouver on our busy BC ocean highway.

A log barge being towed to Vancouver. Most logs travel in large floating booms.

Each load is worth many thousands of dollars, and even more after its transformed into building materials and other value-added products. In bad weather, tug captains sometimes have to save their loads from high winds and crashing waves.

Look around your home. I bet you will find lots of wood in many forms. Just think what would happen if we didn’t have a healthy, sustainable logging industry.

Sawdust returning to the Catalyst paper mill in Powell River, BC.

Then, after milling is done, sawdust returns to Powell River towed in large barges, destined to become high quality paper products in the Catalyst mill. The light coloured sawdust is used in paper making. The dark is hog fuel that is burned to power the boilers. -- Margy

Friday, November 4, 2016

Cinnamon Apple Spiced Spritzer

Spiced canned apples.
Over on the Powell River Books Blog I shared a recipe for making spiced canned apples. I made too much syrup, so I used some to make applesauce. Even then, there was some apple flavoured cinnamon spice syrup left.

I hate to be wasteful, and the syrup was so tasty I saved it in the fridge. After an afternoon of hot canning, I wanted a cool drink. Now what could I have? How about a Cinnamon Apple Spiced Spritzer.

I put ice in a tall glass and filled it one-third with my flavoured syrup. Then I topped it off with cold 7-Up. It made a sweet refreshing drink. Yum-o!

Leftover spiced apple syrup makes a tasty non-alcoholic drink.

I’ve made similar drinks with left over syrup from canned blackberries and blueberries. Of the three, I like the apple best. And I bet it would make a great Appletini. Now if I only had some vodka. -- Margy