Habanero Hot Pepper

I honestly thought that I would hate the Habanero pepper and that I would want to die immediately after eating it. Rated 100,000 – 350,000 on the scoville scale, I was frightened. Afterall, I could barely stand to eat the Chinese 5 Color hot pepper that I grew and it was rated far less on the scoville scale than the Habanero. But at the same time, I felt like I needed to at least try it. And I’m so glad that I did. I loved it.


The words seem surreal as I type them – I love the Habanero pepper and it was absolutely my favorite hot pepper this year. Let me explain a bit – the flavor of the habanero is truly unlike any other hot pepper that I grew this year. They have a very sweet flavor with a bit of smokiness and although the heat is fairly intense, it subsides quickly and leaves you feeling very satisfied. Instead of reaching for a glass of milk or shoving popsicles into my mouth, I didn’t need anything to relieve myself from the heat. Now maybe either I’ve burned all of the taste buds off of my tongue or my peppers weren’t actually that hot – I don’t know. I felt like I should have been clutching my stomach in the fetal position while crying. Also, I should mention that I removed all of the seeds from my peppers before eating them which would definitely lessen some of the heat in the peppers. But all in all, they were very hot and pleasantly delicious.

I should mention some of the things I wasn’t thrilled about. This pepper took the longest amount of time to grow and produce ripe peppers. My seeds were started last February in the house and were moved out to the greenhouse in May. The plant didn’t produce flowers until about a month later than all the other peppers and then it seemed to take forever for any peppers to appear. Once they did appear, they grew very slowly and in fact, I ended up having to move the entire potted plant back in to the house a few weeks ago as the peppers were just starting to ripen and the nights were below freezing temperatures – the last thing I wanted to do was to lose my precious peppers to frost. Also, the one plant only produced two peppers – one a decent size and the other quite small. Despite this, I will try growing this pepper again because the flavor was so amazing. I’ve also purchased some Mustard Habanero seeds to try out next year and I have my eye on the Chocolate Habanero pepper as well (who am I kidding, I will order those seeds in a couple of months).

And now for the best part – fish tacos with fresh mango habanero salsa. So good. I’d never made fish tacos before, even though pork tacos are a weekly staple at our house. This recipe was killer – you can find the fish tacos recipe here (I omitted the slaw in place of the salsa) and the salsa recipe here. I will absolutely be making this recipe again, and it was a perfect use for the peppers.


That brings my pepper posts to an end for this growing season. I’m so excited that I finally had some good success with growing peppers (thank you greenhouse!) and I can’t wait until the next season. I’ve already started a few peppers in the house (really, really hot ones!) and I have a list of other peppers I’d like to try – so basically my entire greenhouse will be just peppers next year – I can’t wait!

Habanero hot pepper seeds purchased from Botanical Interests.

A Big Set Back

You know that feeling you get when you start something on your to-do list that has been on it forever? And you think you’re going to finally be able to finish it? That’s how I was feeling Saturday afternoon. Several months ago, I salvaged a little sewing table from the community centre dumpster (it was actually beside the dumpster, so it wasn’t gross). The table was in great condition but had a horrible botched paint job and was missing the sewing machine. I felt like I could easily repaint the table and I wasn’t broken up about the missing machine. I shoved the table in to the corner of my living room with the intention of getting to it in a few weeks. A few weeks turned into a few months and then on Friday I finally declared that I would start and finish the table this weekend. I know this was pretty ambitious as I’d been battling a migraine all week but dammit, that table was getting done! And at the same time, I also declared I would have the powder room drywall primed by the end of the weekend (this also included time for finishing sanding the drywall). Ambitious? Yes I am.

Photo of the dumpster table before I started stripping the paint – it doesn’t look too bad but up close it was a total mess. Cat snuck in the photo as well.

I should have known looking back on the week’s events that I was being delusional. A week ago Sunday our dishwasher decided to stop draining and has been out of commission ever since. Then with the migraine. But no, I chose to ignore all of the signs that I should not attempt projects and went and got ahead of myself. Things started out pretty well – on Saturday I woke up early and was feeling pretty good, so I ran some errands, went out for an early lunch to the ramen noodle place, then came home and got started on stripping the paint from the table. It was much more labor intensive than I expected (I’ll post a full before & after eventually), but I finished the stripping and figured I would finish the table on Sunday. In between that, I also had an opportunity to do some work on the drywall and would be finished that on Sunday too. That is, unless of course something horrible were to happen in the meantime. And it did.

I was sitting down on Saturday night after spending all afternoon scraping and sanding to watch some Gilmore Girls (entire series just added to Netflix Canada!) and do some knitting (I have to finish those Christmas gifts!). My husband went in to the basement to do some organizing – he runs a business selling vintage men’s clothing outside of his day job so we have a lot of inventory in our basement. Shortly after he entered the basement, he reemerged saying something like “I found something disgusting that I think is ______ and I need to remove all of the carpet”. I will not get in to details because you do not need to know. I will say that it was not a pest infestation of any kind but may have been a result of one feline with severe separation anxiety. Enough said. It was disgusting and thank goodness our basement is unfinished (with the exception of one room which had a large piece of carpet and some lovely 70’s faux wood wall paneling). Also, thank goodness none of the inventory was affected. So our Saturday night turned in to moving everything out of the room and ripping out the carpet. Sunday turned in to scrubbing the entire room (walls and floor) several times over. Any chance I had of finishing the table and drywall was out of the question.

So what now? I’ve got several things planned:

– Organize the basement. Currently it looks like a tornado went through. But this week everything will be going into plastic containers and we’re going to be buying some free-standing Ikea wardrobes for additional storage. The good thing about the whole ordeal is that I can finally get things organized and clean down there. The bad news is that I have to clean down there.
– Give the sewing table a sanding and then begin the painting process
– Give the powder room drywall the last sanding and then prime it
– Clean and organize the rest of the house. Because we dedicated all of Saturday night and the whole day Sunday to sanitizing the basement, we had to move a lot of things upstairs in to the kitchen. Then with the dishwasher out of order, several cupboards had to be emptied in order to access the plumbing lines (a dishwasher was a later additional to the house so things are a bit weird), so the insides of those cupboards are on the floor. To sum it all up, the house is a complete disaster and I’m not sure how long I can live with it before I go insane.

Am I getting ahead of myself again? Probably. But I’m hoping that I’ll be able to dedicate a few hours every evening to accomplishing these things. It just means I won’t have any time to dedicate to finishing up the garden to-do list I posted about last week.

Unfortunately this horrible discovery amounted to a few things financially as we’ve had to plan to purchase quite a bit of additional storage including large plastic storage containers, shelving and some big wardrobes. It also means that the money we were planning to spend on other things has needed to be reallocated. First, we had wanted to purchase a new fridge to replace the one that died a couple of months ago (the mini fridge has been fine and will continue to be fine, but we have to do several small grocery runs weekly and can’t buy anything in a larger size in fear that it will not fit in the fridge. I’ve become a master at making things fit in the mini fridge!). Second, if the part we ordered for our dishwasher does not end up working, we will not be able to buy a new dishwasher for several months, which means washing dishes by hand. Not a huge deal as a dishwasher is a luxury but one I have become accustomed to.

I’m hoping that our terrible house luck has come to an end now. I think we’ve had our fair share of mishaps. I am also considering us fairly lucky – for all of the terrible things to happen, at least these are ones with fairly simple solutions. See, I’m being positive about something!

Next time I’ll have a much happier post with pretty pictures to look at! I guess this is a blog about my life so it would make sense to talk about the not-so-fun parts of it as well – not everything can be pretty gardens and delicious recipes all the time.

Autumn To-do List

Autumn has made an appearance, however brief it may be. Although the weather the last few weeks has been ideal, I know it isn’t going to stick around for long. To avoid falling into the depression and negativity trap that often comes with this time of year, I am doing something that gives me a ridiculous amount of joy: making lists. It probably shouldn’t be something that I love as much as I do, but whatever, I am who I am. So with that said, here are some of the things on my to-do list that I feel like I need to accomplish in the next few weeks:

– The wheelbarrow. I’ve been talking about the damn wheelbarrow all summer. It is finally painted! Now I need to put it back together. But somewhere along the line I lost one of the bolts. Luckily this had happened prior to me taking it apart to paint it so I didn’t just lose it because I was being careless with the pieces when I disassembled it. This also explains why it wasn’t working so well when I was using it to haul 5 million yards of mulch around my garden. It does mean that I need to make a trip to Home Depot to attempt to find a match for the missing bolt. Sigh.
– Clean the shed. Again. Things just get thrown in there and eventually everything small falls on the floor but you can’t reach to pick anything up because there are pointy metal rakes and other dangerous gardening tools all over the place (we recently acquired 2 antique saws that could dismember someone if they were to trip and fall onto them that are also being housed in the shed for now). We thought that by building a gigantic shed we would actually solve all of our storage issues. WRONG. Dad if you’re reading this, I think we need another shed. Just kidding. Half kidding.
– Clean the greenhouse. I’ve already half done this. And then I started storing things in it because like I mentioned above, apparently my shed is not big enough to store all my crap.
– Paint the front door. It just needs a fresh coat. It could survive without it because it still looks fine, but I’m borderline OCD and notice all the little imperfections everywhere.
– Empty the rain barrels and put away the hoses for the winter. One of my least favorite jobs – it’s right up there with cleaning the litter box or filing my taxes.
– Finish cleaning up the raised beds and add a layer of compost.
– Cover the big pieces of outdoor furniture. Normally these would go in the shed but read above. So instead I am going to buy some neutral colored tarps and cover them – so much easier!
– Empty and wash all of the ceramic pots and then store them for the winter. I’m almost finished this and I’ve started to store them in the greenhouse but it takes awhile when you have as many pots as I do.
– Make garden maps. I have this on my to-do list every year and it never happens. The point is, I always forget what I have growing in the perennial beds and I’d also like to make note of things that should be moved or divided in the spring. The intention is there but we’ll see if this one happens.


Snapshot of the current garden – not much going on. The chicken wire fence was supposed to be temporary back at the beginning of the growing season to keep the nieghborhood cats and squirrels away but it has stayed up all year – maybe next year we’ll construct something a bit more attractive.

The outdoor list is pretty manageable and I’m confident I will be able to accomplish most, if not all, of it. But when it comes to indoor projects, well… that list is a bit longer but I’m focusing on two major projects. I’ve got months and months of being trapped indoors ahead of me and I want to get started with a plan so I don’t just fall into the couch/Netflix trap (it is so tempting).
– Finish the powder room we started renovating back in May. If in January I haven’t shared the powder room, it means I’m being lazy and you need hassle me in the comments section.
– Major knitting project (a cardigan). I only started knitting for real about a year ago – I knew the very very basics before but it was pretty pathetic. Then last year I started some group lessons and I’ve learned an unbelievable amount and I’m ready for a real challenge. I’ll share the progress on here but if you’re a knitter, I would love to hear some wisdom. Or general cheering me on is also welcome because I’ll probably be very frustrated and/or perfecting my colorful language skills. I’m not sure if the actual project will be that difficult, just time consuming – but actually focusing on one project will be the most difficult thing. Mental note: do not look at Ravelry or knitting magazines, you will become distracted.

And of course, I will begin planning for the next gardening season! My wish-list is already like 50 new varieties long so I’m going to have to make some decisions (or else find more gardening space somewhere)!


Fall 2014 Community Garden

The scene over at the Cedarbrae Community Garden is a bit different from last time I wrote about it. At that time, every plot was exploding with color and fresh produce. Now there isn’t a lot left except a few strawberry plants. Let me back up a bit and talk about what a horrible community gardener I am (which will also be a recurring theme throughout this post). I think I could count the number of times I visited my plot this year on both hands. I didn’t water it, I weeded it maybe twice, and I didn’t volunteer to do anything. Except keep a blog specifically about the community garden, but proof of my delinquency can be found on this blog (I posted once back in July and now I am posting again in the middle of October). And what excuse do I have? None. I live a two minute walk away from this garden. Also, probably the worst thing was that I was actually supposed to have my plot cleaned out nearly a month ago and I did not actually finish cleaning it until about an hour ago. And as you can see in the photo below, I was the last person to clean their plot out. Yes, I am sometimes a terrible, neglectful gardener. Oh well.


Yes that one plot that is full of kale – that was mine.

I learned awhile ago that I should not plant anything in the community garden that is high maintenance or desirable to vegetable thieves and vandals. In September I received notification from our coordinator that there was an incident at the community garden and we should probably start cleaning up what was left of our plots. At this point, the only things I had remaining in my plot were some pathetic beets (so small), the old bean plants that had stopped producing (and that were slightly frost-bitten) and a whole lot of kale. No one wants to steal kale (I keep saying that, but some of my kale actually did disappear – not heart broken, because kale). The incident left our plot mostly untouched while other plots suffered some loss to vandalism – apparently throwing squash and tomatoes at the community centre is really fun. Actually, it does sound kind of fun. Anyway, at that time I pulled out the beets and bean plants and decided the kale could stay for a bit longer. And then it snowed and then I forgot about the garden and neglected to visit it for several weeks.


Skip to when I remembered a few days ago that I had kale left in the garden and that I was supposed to clean my garden weeks ago. We walked over this morning to see what was left and to clean up our plot. As you can see above, the purple kale was well enjoyed by dirty little cabbage loopers. We salvaged what we could and then threw the rest in the garbage bin. Our community garden currently does not have composting. It used to but it was an unmaintained mess – partly due to not being able to handle the capacity of 30+ plots but also because we volunteered one year to maintain it and did a really awful job at that and no one touched it again until it was dismantled this spring. Why do they keep renting to us?


But the curly blue kale did really well so we came home with a whole bunch of that to make into salads and delicious kale chips. You can find the best kale chips recipe ever here.

I’m already starting to think about next year’s community garden. I need to add some good compost first thing in the spring because the soil in this garden is not as good as the soil I have at home – I haven’t had great luck with root vegetables there for a few years so I don’t think those are meant to be – it doesn’t bother me too much since those things are readily available and cheap at our local farmer’s market. I will definitely continue to grow bush beans at this garden, as well as kale, because both do extremely well there with minimal care. I may also try some new things like fava beans and cowpeas which are supposed to be easy to grow.

This is all of course on the assumption that I will be rented a plot again.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Several years ago I decided to take up sewing as a hobby. I borrowed a sewing machine from my mother-in-law, and my husband taught me the basics. It seems a little odd that my husband would be teaching me this skill, but where I grew up, there were not a lot of options in school for “fun classes”. You either took Art, Drama or Forestry (I despised Drama so I went with Art and Forestry). There was no Home Economics. A little weird since I grew up in a rural area, but whatever. The only other time I’d done any machine sewing before my 20’s was for a “small” craft project in 4-H (it was a denim backpack which was horrible to make and that I never finished). So I’m going to say I went in having no sewing skills whatsoever. I started off with a few small projects and then decided I really liked sewing, so I went ahead and bought my own sewing machine. That’s when my obsession with making aprons started. Aprons were my favorite thing to make because they are extremely cute and functional at the same time – and although most people primarily use aprons in the kitchen, mine get worn all around the house and garden. I kept making aprons for myself until I realized that I probably didn’t need any more for myself, but since they were my favorite thing to make, I had to figure out a way that I could continue making them, but not have a million of them in my pantry for myself. Plus you can only give away so many aprons as gifts before friends start faking excitement for yet another apron. So that’s when the idea of becoming a hobby seller was born and Etsy came into the picture. I’d been an Etsy buyer for several years, but only recently expanded into being a seller. I’m sure everyone knows what Etsy is, but for those who may not, it is an online marketplace for artists and sellers offering unique goods from around the world – I’ve purchased many amazing and affordable art prints, vintage wares, and arts and craft supplies over the years from Etsy sellers.

Setting up my shop has been interesting – I’ve made a few side sales outside of Etsy, but I’m still patiently waiting for my first Etsy sale! So with that said, I am currently offering $5.00 off any purchase for the week of October 17th-24th with coupon code 5FALL2014 – visit my shop here. And the other fun part is that my Alberta Etsy Team is also participating in sales for their own shops during this week! More information on the shops and sales can be found here.

Here is a sampling of the aprons that I have available:

Untitled design

Here is a photo of me in my favorite apron.


All aprons are made from start to finish by myself from a pattern designed by myself – I do not currently offer international shipping on my Etsy listings because they vary so wide country-to-country, but if you’re interested in a shipping quote, please contact me directly via Etsy. Thanks for hanging in there, we’ll get back to gardening next week!