Garden Progress

My first blog post featured a bit of cleaning up I did in the yard in April. I know it’s been a long time since I wrote about our garden, but part of the reason is the bizarre weather in Lethbridge. Here’s an idea of what a fair amount of May looked like. 

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In early June I prepared the garden by manually turning over the soil with a shovel, dumping on manure and black earth and turning it in again. We also used old pallet wood and salvaged stucco wire to create a fence around the garden. Here’s what it looked like pre-planting. 

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Now it’s July 14 and there’s been much progress since. We purchased two planters for our tomatoes and peppers. This was more practical than planting in the garden since the soil was good within about 6 inches but tomatoes and peppers have very deep roots. 

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Orange bell peppers

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Roma tomatoes and Jalapeños

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Yellow tumbling tom tomatoes

Here’s what the garden looks like now! 

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Rainbow swiss charge on the left, beets on the right

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More young beets and parsley

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Basil

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Beets and Marigold

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Calendula flowers, almost ready to bloom!

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Roses, these were already in the garden.

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Monstrous Spearmint bush

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At the back left of the plot. Calendula, basil, struggling tomato plantsDSCN0666
Marigolds in a blue bucket. Forgot to water over the weekend so they look a little sad. 

We made quite a bit of progress on the backyard in general. Here is our clothes line in action.

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We also got a rain barrel. We use the hose for the garden – the barrel doesn’t create enough pressure for the hose, so we fill a pail to water the tomato planters. 

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Here is our girl, Sophie! She’s our backyard guardian. She’s now six months old, part Maremma, part Great Pyrenees. 

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Life in Lethbridge Update

My one hope for this blog is that I do not abandon it. Here I am again after 3 and a half months.

Since arriving in Lethbridge, I landed a job working for the Alberta Government. I am an Aquatic Invasive Species Inspector for Alberta Parks. I am blessed to be able to see many of the parks in southern Alberta, travelling around to inspect watercraft for invasive species, i.e. zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and eurasian water milfoil, before they enter the water. 

We’ve been to most of the major parks already, here’s a few pictures of some of the parks.

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Lundbreck Falls

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Lake Newell @ Kinbrook Island PP

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Lower Kananaskis Lakes @ Peter Lougheed PP

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Cypress Hills PP

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Chain Lakes PP

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Westward drive towards Crowsnest Pass

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Beauvais Lake PP

This job requires me to be out of town a lot and work long hours while I’m at work. Thankfully I get 3 day weekends so I can prepare for the next trip and complete all of my domestic mama duties done! My partner has been unbelievably helpful around the house while I’ve been gone, which I’ve appreciated so much. Things are looking up for us financially since we’re both working great jobs right now. 

In other adventures, I’ve reignited my passion regarding the sunburst granny square blanket I’m working on. I decided on a new pattern to complete the remaining 120 squares, which is much more favourable than the one I was using prior. I have approximately 40 squares right now.

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Since coming to Lethbridge, we’ve been able to find affordable and fantastically ethical and traditional foods. I was able to locate pasture raised pork products. Our eggs are truly free-range from dusting, pecking, bug-eating hens. Our beef is grass fed without the use of antibiotics and hormones. I recently placed an order with Trail’s End Beef for a quarter cow, which will be ready in October. Their standards are outstanding and I am so excited to have found their ranch. The milk we found isn’t grass fed, but it is organic, low-temperature pasteurized and non-homogenized. I started making my own butter from their fabulously silky 52% heavy cream.

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 We’ve been improving steadily on the food budget, finding ways to meet our food goals in terms of nutrition, environment, and ethics – without breaking the bank. Costco is such a blessing and is always improving their options for natural and organic foods. We buy very few things at the traditional grocery store anymore. My garden is growing well and soon we will be harvesting plenty of vegetable fruits and greens. 

 On a final side-note, my partner is officially enrolled in college for the fall and is taking on a new trade. We are both really excited about this. In only 8 months he will embark on a completely new career making better money than before. Our 1 year old son is in a day-home and absolutely loving it. He is a social butterfly full of energy, and it’s a perfect outlet for his sweet, large personality. 

I know this would have been better in 4 separate blog posts between April and July, but here it is. Anyone have any advice on feeding a family a traditional diet on a frugal budget?