Archive for the ‘Local Food’ Category

Planet Bean Goldie Sherman PlanetBeanme

I have been drinking Planet Bean coffee since they opened here in Guelph, many moons ago. I can thank them for the jolt of caffeine when I was dragging my ass while trying to learn how to make pots on the wheel.  They were so conveniently located close to the old studio on Wyndham Street, that I could grab an extra cup or two for the studio mates. That was great, especially when I thought that buying Goldie Sherman an extra cup of Fair Trade Joe would keep her sweet while she patiently shared her wheel wisdom with me. Fortunately, all that apprenticing worked, because I can throw mugs with my eyes closed! Not that I do, I’m just saying I can.

What a great combination of supporting Guelph’s only Fair Trade & Organic coffee roastery AND some of your local potters! All three locations here in Guelph have our mugs until Easter. I was pleasantly surprised by how great the posters turned out (I was only expecting a wee flyer).  A great thing for us ‘downtown creative types’ is that the new folks to Guelph who live South of the ‘Stone Road Border Crossing’ can get an idea of the talents that hide out in other parts of our grand city. Even those folks out in the East end of Guelph can find our work while fueling with caffeine. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to be in three different places all at once! I get all discombobulated!! Love that word! Feel free to drop that in a casual conversation. You can impress your friends! Hell, buy them a mug and impress them even more!

Before I go, can you guess what I am firing in my kiln? More mugs!!!!

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I can’t help it. There they are every spring, tiny spirals of goodness, sprouting up out of the ground. From where I sit in my studio, perched on my potters wheel, I can see them. They wave at me in the breeze. The ferns demand my attention. Look at us! Look how intricate we are. We are fractals!!  We are the boss of you! Oh yeah?  I cooked some up with butter and balsamic.”You are NOT the boss of me” I told my plateful of dark green goodness. ‘We’ll see.’

Every year, there are more and more spreading their fans throughout the garden. I do love them. Ferns are fascinating. Ferns were around when the dinosaurs stomped around. Talk about staying power. The ferns won. I have had dreams about how to decorate my pots with them. Sneaky. Now they adorn mugs, bowls, and a butter dish or two. What next? A teapot perhaps.

Pass the balsamic and the butter, of course.

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Greenhouse Study Two, originally uploaded by BunnySafari.

After the last six days I have had, I thought we were going to have to dig me off of the couch/sick bed. Lucky me gets to be the one who said, “oh yes, I got the flu shot this year and where is my sticker of honor?” Well, have you guessed what you can do with that sticker this year? I haven’t felt aches in my joints like that since I had an overdose of the Typhoid vaccine, twenty odd years ago. While in my delirium I kept thinking what if that was what I had? Hand out the masks, call the guard!! Pass me the ginger ale and the “name your pain killer of choice” please.

Okay, enough whining. I feel much better. Not 85% yet, but I am working on it. Here I am, taking a break from Warehouse 13 to be with you and post a new photograph.

I am actually going to go outside tomorrow and get some much needed fresh air. Anybody know what it is like living with two senior dogs with flatulence issues. Can you lend me a gas mask til Thursday?


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Greenhouse Study, originally uploaded by claygrl.

Waiting for the seed catalogs……they should be dropping into our mail basket any day. Pencils are sharpened, lists are being prepared. No more tomatoes this year. After the blight from two summers ago, I can’t stand the heartbreak from seeing black mottled tomatoes. More basil, as we are still enjoying the pesto from last autumn’s harvest.

My Dad will expect more brussel sprouts. They were spicy last year. More runner beans, cause I do love to eat them right off of the stalks. They attract humming birds. One year while sitting in the garden when my son was three, we heard what I thought was the biggest bumble bee. Trying to remain calm and not run screaming into my studio for fear of killer bees……When I opened my eyes to look, we spotted a lovely lush green humming bird darting about the flowers in the runner beans. They returned all through the summer.

There is a nice thought ~ summer. Wait, we are still waiting for winter. Bring on the snow, lots of it! The garden needs it, heck, we all need it.

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Evan Stranger #14, originally uploaded by claygrl.

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Well?  Why am I pestering you about your compost habits you wonder?  Call it, ‘market research’, yeah, that’s it, ‘research’.  People have asked me to make these, exactly this way and some have sold and some haven’t.  Too many holes? Not enough holes? What about fruit flies?  What about them, other than we had swarms of them in the house this summer.

Handles?  You need handles? Oi vay.  I can make anything you need.  That is what I am supposed to be doing instead of playing with my quickly growing vintage camera collection.  Yes, BUT it is all in the name of research. Perhaps I could take a photo of my compost pile and put it on the pot.  I think not.  What about one of my chickens on the pot? I am so glad that we can bounce ideas off of each other like this.  I wonder if I could get one of the hens to sit in the compost pot while I take another photo.  That way she would be accustomed to sitting in a pot and not find it a difficult transition to sitting in a cooking pot.  Uh oh, am I in trouble again?

There is a rumor floating around the old Urban Farm that this is really the autumn of chicken soup.  We have an ex-chef sharpening his blade for the deed.  However, there is a small voice that can be heard saying, “but I don’t want to eat our chickens”……that would be the mini-chicken-wrangler voicing his opinion.  Quite honestly, I can’t look at Korma, Jerk, Butter or Cacciatore in the eye anymore when I let them out in the morning.  I actually caught myself saying  “Nite-Nite girls” the other night.  Happy chickens make happy soup, right?

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Ice Cream Man, originally uploaded by claygrl.

Every year at the Hillside Festival, there are a few ‘must do’ items always on the list…..eating organic ice-cream from Mapleton’s is one of them. It is one line I never complain about standing in. This year, because I had a booth (selling pottery) I very nearly missed the ice cream – talk about “I scream for ice cream”……. This is our lovely assistant Jan, who made many instant friends while walking through the music crowds holding three cones. We could have made a mint selling those!!!

Notice how great the quality of my photograph is? Colour film baby!

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Green, sweet, organic, local = DELICIOUS!!!!! My son and I are eating these straight from the pods as fast as we can open them.  Yes, it is true.  My son, eating vegetables without being coerced or bribed.  Get them in his body before he figures out that they aren’t candy.  Funny how he doesn’t feel the same for the frozen peas (never in the summer) in the dead of winter.  So I am content just to eat them now and forget heating up the kitchen with pots of boiling water to blanche them before freezing…….nice excuse.

These aren’t our peas from the garden. They are from a lovely couple named Ralph and Janet.  Real down to earth people with a nice vibe to them, laid back and friendly.  They are a fixture at the local Farmers Market (one of the few, true farmers to actually sell there, by the way).  Did I mention their carrots?  I’m salivating thinking about them (who knew?).

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Here I am again, on a coldish June day, procrastinating before I start to trim a load of large bowls.  I realized that I haven’t updated the activities in the “Urban Farm”.  New ideas seeded themselves in the mind of the “farmer” over the very early spring.  Plans for a greenhouse and plotting how to prevent the tomatoes from succumbing to the dreaded blight were at the top of the list.  We also welcomed a new gardener to share the patch.  I love the idea of sharing our small plot of land with others in the community who fancy a bit of soil.

Even though spring crashed into summer this year (technically it isn’t summer yet, BUT) we did have a few chilly nights where seedlings had to be wrapped in blankets, heaters installed and bleary nights spent checking temperatures inside the greenhouse.  Farmer Mark really does have a green thumb and a real talent for hard core vegetable gardening (who knew?).  He has even managed to convince one of our friendly neigbours to give his lawn over to tomato plants!

Now that our son is older he can participate in the gardening experience.  I have fond memories of ‘helping’ my parents in the digging of a garden.  I can still taste the sweet of the peas that I picked early one morning all by myself much to the dismay of my Mum.  That was when I think I grasped the concept of the ‘early bird gets the worm’, err, peas!

Notice the ever helpful hen?  We kept the girls over the winter…..why pop them into the soup pot when they continued to lay eggs all winter?

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Another Saturday at the Guelph Farmer’s Market has come and gone. The weather was beautiful and I think spring is finally on it’s merry way! Should you ever be awake before noon on a Saturday in Guelph, may I suggest a visit to the marche? Come and say Hello and bring me a coffee, two milk, one sugar, please and thank-you!

There is some might fine people watching at the market too. Lots of interesting vendors, lovely products, delicious food and always something interesting to read on the community bulletin boards.

I plan on having some new mugs at the market next weekend…..stay tuned for more exciting pots. I am back in the studio working on the ideas that filled my head since Xmess. I was even working today, while the weather was GORGEOUS!

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