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Duluc Detective neon signage in Paris, down the street from the Louvre.

Duluc Detective neon signage in Paris, down the street from the Louvre.

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8 bit Mona Lisa in Paris.

8 bit Mona Lisa in Paris.

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This is our first year at doing a straw bale (actually meadow grass) garden this year. We got the bales free from a local farmer (we buy bales for our pet rabbits and guinea pig) and he delivered to us in early June. This is located in our driveway and we’ll be sure to have at least three rows next year. Everything is doing well except the cabbages (we have cabbage butterfly caterpillars — we pick them off but they are too fast for us).The bales are an excellent way to do raised beds — requires little soil and some manure — but otherwise the straw keeps the roots moist and the decomposing bales also keep plants warm; excellent for our northern climate. We foresee picking tomatoes and cucumbers into the fall.

This is our first year at doing a straw bale (actually meadow grass) garden this year. We got the bales free from a local farmer (we buy bales for our pet rabbits and guinea pig) and he delivered to us in early June.

This is located in our driveway and we’ll be sure to have at least three rows next year. Everything is doing well except the cabbages (we have cabbage butterfly caterpillars — we pick them off but they are too fast for us).

The bales are an excellent way to do raised beds — requires little soil and some manure — but otherwise the straw keeps the roots moist and the decomposing bales also keep plants warm; excellent for our northern climate. We foresee picking tomatoes and cucumbers into the fall.

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Choke cherries are a week or so from ripening.

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Pin cherries are near ready to be picked.

Pin cherries are near ready to be picked.

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Cecropia female who emerged out of her cocoon yesterday morning and spent the day straightening her wings. In the evening she placed pheromone on her cocoon casing and a male came by to mate late last night. Waiting for a bit more light to take some better photos.

Extremely cool to have witnessed this entire cycle and hope she decides to lay eggs on the birch tree she’s currently residing on.

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Happy day! Today a female cecropia moth which I found as a caterpillar late last summer, emerged out of its cocoon and spent ours stretching its wings and now awaiting a mate.

I had placed her caterpillar form on a choke cherry tree and during the winter found its cocoon and late spring moved it to our backyard, so that we would be able to see it emerge.

We’ll be checking in on the moth to see if any males have visited and hope we can see them mate. Wonderful Sunday surprise :)

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So got to doing my first infusion from lilac to make lilac jelly. I have the 6 packed cups of lilacs infusing in hot water over night and will get to making the batch tomorrow evening.

I think I might plan to do as much lilac picking and plucking as possible and freeze the infusions until I can get to them in the next couple weeks. I’m not sure if this will affect their clarity, but that doesn’t totally bother me; I just want to make sure I have enough lilac jelly to spread amongst my friends and family. In our neighbourhood, we must have about 20 or so lilac trees in a block radius, so their scent is heavy in the air.

Will update this post with photos of the jelly at some point tomorrow. I’m using this recipe but I will substitute Pomona’s pectin and delete the butter.

http://www.commonsensehome.com/how-to-make-lilac-jelly/

http://almondcorner.blogspot.ca/2012/04/lilac-jelly.html

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I just bought Marisa McClelland’s “Preserving by the Pint” the other day and the first recipe I made is Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam and I also included slivered organic lemon peel and used raw brown sugar. The sea salt adds an interesting offset to the (not overly) sweet peach and the lemon peel and extra lemon juice gives it another twist. You could have it on toast (which is what I did with the small amount that I didn’t process) or pair it with a good cheese.

I just bought Marisa McClelland’s “Preserving by the Pint” the other day and the first recipe I made is Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam and I also included slivered organic lemon peel and used raw brown sugar. The sea salt adds an interesting offset to the (not overly) sweet peach and the lemon peel and extra lemon juice gives it another twist. You could have it on toast (which is what I did with the small amount that I didn’t process) or pair it with a good cheese.