Sunday, June 27, 2010

she's a smart one.

My baby sister Caroline graduated from high school this weekend, with honours
She's heading off to Carleton University in the fall to study Architecture, with a scholarship.

Yeah, I'm pretty much filled to the brim with pride and admiration.
She's utterly amazing.


Upon seeing a few cows grazing in a distant field,
Henry said to me, "Mama, cows make milk."
"Yes, they do." I replied.
"But, what do they make for lunch?" he asked.
Ha! This kids got a sense of humour!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

get outside!

Sometimes when Pete and I are up after the kids go to bed, we get to talking about these little human beings we are raising and what the most important things we want to teach them are. Kindness, compassion, patience, gratitude... One thing that we really want to impart is a deep love and respect for Mother Nature.

In a society where most of us live in urban centres and are surrounded by pavement and buildings, it is easy to think that you need to leave the city to really connect with Mother Nature. Yet even in the midst of all this urban sprawl, we can generally find a little green space where the opportunity presents itself to commune with nature in much of her resplendent glory.

Take our back yard for example. There's a whole microcosmos out there where all the laws and mysteries of nature's rule shine through with fierce determination and blinding colour. Insects, plants, animals, earth, weather, man - all interacting and striving to coexist with one another.

So we venture outside as often and as much as we can with the boys, even just into our own back yard. And when we're there, we remind ourselves that we are part of nature, not above it or beyond it and that her laws and mysteries apply as equally to us as to the birds, the flowers and the beetles. We get outside to find our centre, to breath, to relax and to enjoy and celebrate this wondrous life and magical world to its fullest!

Update: My sweet husband always reads and edits everything I write before anyone else sees it, because lets face it - I need an editor. Usually its just a few grammatical errors scattered throughout the piece which need some tweaking. Yet this post, apparently it needed some major TLC, and now when I read the finished product, it feels more like a joint effort. His thoughts and words shine through ever so eloquently (I didn't even know what 'resplendent' meant!) and I just wanted to mention that. Pete is an exceptional writer, yet he never writes. But ask him to talk about living in harmony with nature, and away he goes! So I am just tickled pink to share this space with him :)

Be well,
Shannon and Pete

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


2 1/2 cups rolled oats 
1/2 cup cane sugar or sucanat
1/4 cup ground flax
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten or egg substitute
1/2 cup canola oil (I might try substituting some of the oil with apple sauce next time)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 baking pan.
2. In large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, flax, cinnamon, flourraisins and salt. Make a well in the centre, pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Pat the mixture evenly into the pan.
3. Bake for about 25 minutes, but watch the baking time. You want them to be chewy, not dry.
Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars or squares. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting or they will be too hard to cut.

I have never been keen to purchase granola bars. Mainly because they rarely taste yummy or fresh and the organic ones which we prefer are extremely expensive ($6 for 4 of them??!!). Also, anything individually packaged really peeves me off. So wasteful! So anyways, last Sunday night at around 9pm, when I realized I had to provide snacks for Henry's Montessori class that week, rather than panic and rush to the store - tempting though that response was - I decided to try this recipe.
They turned out to be quick and easy. Plus, they got the approval from all three of my boys, which is rare.
So yeah, make 'em. Then eat 'em.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


On a hot and sweaty day there is nothing quite like going outside, picking some rhubarb right off the plant and making a batch of rhubarb soda.

I love the process almost as much as the finished product.


Rhubarb Soda
3c chopped rhubarb
3c water
1c cane sugar or sucanat
Put it all in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Separate syrup from rhubarb pulp and let cool.
Add 1/4c syrup to 1 cup of sparkling water.
Keep syrup in air tight container in the fridge for up to a week. Makes about 8 cups.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

producer profile

A few weeks ago Tim and Carla Schultz, the farmers we grow for at The Green Ranch decided to start profiling the people they work with for their newsletter. Here is our profile:

A while back this idea came to me about profiling our awesome producers that are a huge part of what makes The Green Ranch what it is!  Every Farmer/Rancher that is growing/raising food, has a story…why they are passionate about agriculture, and working together with the land to produce great wholesome food!  Here is the first in our Producer Profile Series!! 
As our business has grown in the past couple years, it has been necessary to increase garden production.  This could be done a few different ways, we could increase the size of our garden, and hire more employees to increase production and efficiency, or we could make partnerships with likeminded growers that would like to grow produce for The Green Ranch.  We have incorporated a bit of both methods, as we expanded operations on our ranch this year.  Our plan is to specialize in certain products that we feel our land is well suited to, and then have other growers raise the crops that are best suited for them.   

Pete and Shannon MacLaggan, Regina, Sk
This is Pete and Shannon’s first year of growing for The Green Ranch, and we are very excited to be working with them!  What is especially exciting about this partnership is that they are Urban Farmers!  Urban Farming is something that has been gaining momentum for the last few years across Canada, and the United States.  What is more local than food grown right in your city??  The Urban Farming movement gives me hope because what we are seeing is a whole new generation of young people that are interested in Agriculture and have a passion to farm for a living.  What is interesting about this new generation of farmers is that they are often a couple generations removed from farm life.  This means that its not tradition or family heritage that is drawing them to agriculture but a burning desire to have a hand in a new type of food system that’s Local, Sustainable, and of course amazingly flavorful!  I am not suggesting that it is better to be drawn to farming by pure passion than by family heritage….of course the reason I was drawn to agriculture was Family Heritage!  For us that has turned into a deep passion for what we do!  What excites me the most about this is that now with a new generation of farmers raising their families in the farming lifestyle, the next generation may be influenced by their parent’s passion, and consider Farming as a way of life for them also!  Some of you may know about SPIN Farming: Small Plot INtensive Farming This is the system that we use for our market garden.  It is designed for use in city plots, and the inventor of this system lives right here in Saskatoon.  Wally has been very successful with his own urban farm in Saskatoon, and has taken his passion for small scale farming and channeled it into education to help other aspiring gardeners get there feet wet in Farming!  It was through Wally that I got started with Market Gardening, we have taken his principles and applied them to our backyard on the farm.  Wally has been a great mentor to us, and many other aspiring gardeners all over the world!!  It was through the SPIN group that I came in touch with Pete and Shannon. 
Here is their story, 
Before I had children I never gave much thought to where my food came from, but with pregnancy came a deeper awareness of my body and the things I was putting into it.  The closer I looked at our food culture, the more concerned I became.   I started educating myself about the origins and properties of the food I was buying. Did the items on my grocery list line up with my values as a human being? Was the environment being respected? Was there fairness of trade? How were the animals treated? Did my purchases support the local economy? Sadly, I couldn’t answer yes to any of these questions.  My food’s journey from earth to plate became a very important one for me. So my husband Peter and I decided to make some changes. We knew that we had to change our eating habits and it wasn’t going to be a cheap or easy transition, but one that we felt was absolutely worth the effort and expense in the long run. We started buying organic, eating as local as possible, and planted a vegetable garden. Our interest in sustainable agriculture continued to grow as did our family, and this year we decided to take a giant leap and start Urban Farming. After hearing about SPIN farming on CBC Radio a few times, we took a trip up to meet Wally and Gail (SPINs creators) in Saskatoon and ended up coming home feeling incredibly inspired and excited and ready. With Pete working from home, and me teaching yoga and staying home with the boys, this seemed like the perfect business for us. However, we were concerned about taking on more than we could handle from the outset, and I wasn’t sure how it would pan out with two boys under the age of three, so when Tim mentioned he was looking for growers - it was simply meant to be!  Tim has been an incredible resource and friend throughout this journey and his and Carla’s enthusiasm and passion for local food has been utterly contagious. After only a few weeks of Urban Farming under our belts, I can most assuredly say that this is the life for us. When I am out in the garden, so dirty and sweaty, something uplifting and wonderful happens; life slows down. I become more mindful of all of the gifts and moments in my life - ordinary, as well as extraordinary - which normally would have gone by unnoticed. I am awed, humbled, truly and utterly happy and have never felt more connected to Mother Nature in all of my life.  

As the summer progresses you will meet Pete and Shannon and the kids Henry and Myles at the farmers market and CSA pickup days.  They will be a regular fixture of our team!  We are looking forward to a great summer working together!! 

Friday, June 11, 2010


That was a long break.

Sorry for the absence, things have been a bit crazy here.
~We adopted a new dog! His name is Wesley and he is four year old Aussie Shepard. We love him so, and he will have his very own  blog post soon.
~Henry started Montessori and loves it.
~Myles is cutting new teeth left, right and center and Mama is getting no sleep.
~Gardening, gardening, gardening
~Kitchen renovation (no working kitchen for 6 weeks - 'nuff said.)
~Just wrapped up my yoga classes for the summer

Urban farming is going great. Sold out at the market last weekend. I pulled 600 green onions (60 bunches) this morning for market tomorrow. I also transplanted 70 basil plants into my front yard today.
My back is killing me, but I am happy, happy, happy. No matter the weather, no matter what else is going on in my life, when I am out in the garden, I constantly find myself with a big, goofy grin from ear to ear. Life is good.

More pictures to come soon, I promise.
Hope everyone is having a lovely start to their summers and getting a little bit dirty in their gardens as well!

Take care,