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Friday 10 November 2023

Day 1 Back to Pottery - Underglazing

Done Live on twitch

Coaster made with Tucker's 650 Clay. I will betesting the colors of some underglazes i had laying around in some small bottles. I labeled them Albhabets. Tthis defenciate them from the randoms i have at the studio that are labeled Numbers.

Painted in one coat.

Friday 22 September 2017

My Book List

I find myself reading alot of books these days. Here are some of the books I have read and am reading right now. I hope to do a book review on the books I have read.

Currently reading

 Check out a presentation the writer did on youtube
Paul Stamets is a mycologist and I found his presentation on youtube while searching for information on how to help the bees. It made me want to learn more.

I have completed reading
None yet
I so want to read

Permaculture for the rest of us. I love this book. It is written by a Canadian writer and tells her story.

Growing Maple Trees from seeds and making maple syrup

It is crazy how one thing leads to another.

How to grow maple trees from seed

How to make maple syrup.

Recipes I have found

My journey
Parts of the video that has info about your trees
Pictures tree
Pictures  of growingthen from seed
Pictures of caring for the samplings

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Starting an Orchard From Scratch : Greenhouse Allotment

A greenhouse allotment is not needed to start an orchard from scratch. I had signed up for this greenhouse allotment as a present for my mom as she loves plants but often complained that she had no space for them. But now since I have it and I live in an apartment also with no space this is the space i will use. I started all my plants in  my apartment before getting the greenhouse space to rent.

Check out my log on Permies:

Here is my GoFundMe Project:  Starting an Orchard From Scratch
If you liked the information here please visit the project page and show your support by just making a comment. If you make a donation thank you so much for your help it means the world to me.

I am bench 105 and so far it is stocked with

17 Kiwi plants
15 Strawberries
8 Apples
2 Cherries
2 Blueberries
2 Spearmint

New sprouts
1 Cherry
3 Blueberries
4 Purple flowers i found bees and monarch butterflies going crazy for.

Lets Talk Business for a second: Here is a breakdown on what I expect to spend based on my current situation:

Description                                         Budget               Actual Spending
Personal                                              $1,950                        $85             
Donations                                           $1,050                       $600
Greenhouse Fees                                 ($370)                     ($370)
Greenhouse set up:
Pots:                                                      ($10)                           .
Stationary:                                            ($10)                        ($10)
Soil:                                                      ($20)                           .
Compost Set Up:
Fish:                                                      ($20)                           .
Worms:                                                 ($10)                            .
Seeds from Farmers Market Fruit        ($40)                        ($24)
Seeds from Green Barn Quebec         ($150)                           .
Daily Travel
(Rate $10)  (# trips 180B 2A)           ($1800)                      ($115) 
Moving plants to Orchard Site           ($400)                           .
Buffer for other Expenses                   ($170)                           .
Net                                                          $0                          $166

Seeing it in Black and White will keep me focused. It will be updated as I spend.

The Full Story


February 2017
It is waiting list day and I eagerly call in like I was calling a radio station to win a trip to jamaica for a all inclusive holiday. Call after call until the phone rang. I put myself on the waiting list for a city of toronto gargen alottment plot.
I originally wanted to get it for my mom as she loved gardening and she currently lives in a bachelor apartment with no balcony. That hasn't stopped her from keeping plants. The window space I'd filled with plants and so I thought this was a great idea.
I put my name on the list and saved their number in my phone as "Allotment Gardens Present" and waited. But when may 2017 came around and I had not received a call back I gave up hope until next year.
As I waited I started to dream and have a longing to get out of the city. It was not just one thing it was many and it was making my head spin. The wave of terrorist attacks in Europe terrorist always seem to target big cities and crowded places and guess where i live.  The instability of the stock market one day up the next day down the uneasy wait for it to go back up. The fast pace of the city the long hours at work the stressful meetings where nothing gets resolved and it is affecting your world and you cant make the change cause its not your decision and all you can do it wait and watch. It got me thinking of a better way a better life one that I had a little more control.

May 2017
Those dreams put me on a path to purchasing vacant land in the suburbs of ontario. I planted a few things on the land just to see if they would grow and really caught the bug for growing. I planted some plants I had around my apartment there and went to visit to see how they were doing how happy they were and if they were not happy I would love them then recheck their happiness level when I went back. Spider plants, lucky bamboo, a cactus some garlic that started to grow cause I didn't cook with it in time. And I took a leap of faith and planted my little Clementine I grew from seed.
I wanted to see if I could get food growing on the land. So the first thing I bought and planted was a blue berry bush after seeing all the signs on the way there about blue berry picking. I thought oh blue berries do well here. I will plant one and see. $11 home depot
Then another trip I went with my dad I told him my ideas and he was all for planting some trees. So we went Canadian tire and got an apple tree , a small cherry tree, and a strawberry bush. $70 .
Then another trip I had the idea to make a hedge row to line the property with cedar trees for a privacy fence. 2 Small cedar trees end of season Loblaws. $10
Then it hit me. If I was to buy all the plants I wanted to fill all this space about 5 acres I would go broke!
I would try growing my own plants. And so an obsession was born. I tried to grow all the fruits I ate. Most unsuccessfully at first. But with every failure just made me more determined because the guy or girl on YouTube got it to work why couldn't I.

August 2017
By now I have a variety of seeds in the fridge stratifying and seedlings growing in every window space a few maple seedlings here and tropical plants like mango seedlings and a pineapple there. And a husband that is not amused. The other day I bought a pack of kiwis and they were so yummy I couldn't help myself I tried to sprout the seeds and about 20 sprouted. I planted 8 and now I don't know what to do with rest and I can't bring myself the throw them away. I got a crazy look of course when I said that.

September 2017
I was thinking it's time to try and protect the plants on the property from the upcoming winter cold and frost and how I was going to do that.

Then I got the call "Allotment Gardens Present" wow what timing! I jumped at it submitting the paperwork before I could hear sorry we have no more plots! The greenhouse opens October 1 to May 1 8am to 8pm each day. This will be perfect for  getting my seeds started for my orchard. My plan before this was I asked my uncle in Brampton to keep my plants for me until I could transplant them on the property. The allotment is a way better option as I can go there before work and after work to check on my plants. Perfect !!!
My husband's response was Great! The plants are moving out.

I went to Take a look at my allotment when i could meet the supervisor. A really nice man named Griffith that walked me through how this all worked where i could find the things i needed and how much fun it was going to be. I found my bench. I made a periscope video. Find me on twitter @yolybearz
Funny story and this is just to say there are persons that think like me and i love that. There was another newbie like myself there that was checking out his bench. I told him my plans for my bench for starting the fruit trees and raising them up so they could be planted at the end of winter. An he said he had a friend that was growing walnut trees in pots in his back yard and he had like 20 pots of walnut trees. Amazing!

September 2017

So it's planning time!
I will need Pots of various sizes

I will start with these 3 sizes of pots and see how it works out.

A watering can and a spray bottle
Mini gardening tools.

All these are on amazon and the look very nice

But realistically to buy all that now would be too much cost all at once so I an going to space all that out over time.
I will start at my dollar store. I will use the paper cups as the different sized pots. Save your coffee cups for me guys :) I have been using them so far and the seedling outgrow them before the paper cups degrade.
I will also get to work making some custom pots for some of your plants. My creative side can have some fun :)
So for now my bench will be the ameteur

Speaking of benches. Here I am :) Bench number 105 :). I am very happy

The allotment Opens October 1st. I feel like I am at the starting line of a Dragon boat race waiting for the horn to go off.

October 1st 2017 - Milestone Day!
Its Finally here Greenhouse setup day went very well yesterday. Mom came to help. I filled my bench as best i could with the plants that were in my apartment. It looked like so much in the apartment but the bench was not even half full and was hungry for more.  So far I have seedlings of apples , cherry, strawberry, Kiwi, and blueberries.

I planted some new seedlings that spouted in egg shells to start them off. The eggshells make cute tiny little pots and the seedlings will gain some nutrients (every little bit counts). In the eggshells I have.

I noticed some flies in fly traps so I will grow some insect repelling plants like spearmint and marigolds. I have 2 spearmint plants for now and mom is getting the marigolds.
I put the plants in bags for now to help maintain some humidity and help them adjust.

Check out the video on periscope/twitter below

Here is the setup so far. Mom cake to help with the set up and clean up.

Above are little seedling starters - purple flowers , Apples, strawberries

Below are Kiwis and the current setup of the bench so far

When I got home I decided to get to work on the rest of the sour apples. I made my version of apple crumble. This took 3 apples and gave me 23 seeds.

The seed count now stands at 45 apples seeds and 60 pear seeds

Talk soon with updates :) .... See you soon

Monday 18 September 2017

Pottery surface inspiration


Washing: dilute with white or water to make a subtle background.

Remember underclass does not work like paint. I have found that I cannot put a colour over another colour. They will melt together giving you an unexpected colour. Or the layer that you are trying to cover over will show through anyway.

All designs need to have their own space. Be precise on where you are putting your colour and mix your glazes well.

What I found works well is layering precisely. Wiyh thd same  colour Light color first then add darker colours to add the detail.

When I get my wood fire kiln set up I will experiment with wood firing underglaze.
I have looked on the internet for similar but not liking what I see in terms of color definition. I will try with black first.

Farm and Park and Museum Volunteer Life

Volunteered at High Park
My advise: exercise and stretch before you go volunteering so that your muscles are warm when you start your activities.
This was a great experience i will do it again for sure. I live the look of my little forest and I am seeking some education on how to conserve the look as well as do a little subsistence farming and fishing. High Park has a volunteer program that runs twice a month. On my first visit they were clearing invasive plants that were good for somethings but bad for the other species of plants that the park wanted to conserve. Our focus was the tall sweet white clover. Good things: it's nitrogen fixing  and has good tasting polen for bees that makes yummy hunny. Bad stuff: about this plant it's reproduction rate, growth rate and coverage area was faster and wider than the plants High Park wants to keep. I think I will try it out see how I like it read about it some more.
Some of the wild things we planted were Indian grass (sorghastrum nutans)
Big Bluestem (andropogon gerardii)
Wild rose (Rosa blanda)
These were just the ones I got my hands on as we has a great diverse variety and we planted over 1000 plants.
Some of the plants came from St Williams nursery and ecology centre

Riverdale farm :
Watering plants and weeding the vegetable garden.
Sweeping the leaves that fell from the maple tree. It keeps the walkway clear and beautiful and also provides valuable compost.

I got a magazine with simple recipes from the veggies and fruits you can grow. There is a thought. Make recipes with the things I have grown. Can I feed myself? .... lol... not right now

Gardiner Museum

Friday 15 September 2017

Canadian Plant Identification Adventure

I am sitting here in the library without paper and I love writing notes.... Oh well I guess this will be my note pad.... let's see how this goes.
So I have a problem that I want to solve. I have this itch to get to know what every plant on my property is. I can't explain it ... it just happened. You will hear me in my videos wondering what this plant is what this tree is ... and it really nags at me. And so here we are sitting in the library with this book in my hand.

Ok where do I start without a tree in front of me.  Let's do apples cherries and plums. I am trying to propagate those from seed. And now that the Japanese vheerirs at High Park are not flowering I have no idea who they are. This has to change.

Armed with some knowledge my quest today will be to find those Japanese Cherry Trees!.... before all their leaves fall off.

I think i found it :) 
Instructions i followed to identify this Japanese Cherry Tree:

alternate pattern on stems 
Elliptic shape ( usa football shape)
 Sharply toothed leaves
Tip abruptly pointed

grayish brown
Peeling horizontally... I didn't really see this but I would describe this as horizontal scratches.
I also noticed that on this tree there is very rough bark at the base of the tree but as you look up the tree at the other smaller branches they are shiny.

One thing i found exciting and the book explains this. Dwarf shoots that do not extend very far have buds in clusters. Like the one in the picture below. 

Two years ago my dad visited and we went to the park to see the Japanese cherry blossoms. It was so crowded but so worth it.
The book describes the flowers as showy  white or pink and they occur in large clusters. High park has the white variety. I think pink would be equally spectacular.
The book also says that the flowers open as the leaves develop or just before. This is because the tree flowers just as winter ends and spring is emerging. Early March. Then the leaves start to emerge. It is the most beautiful way to start the coming warmer months.

I was searching through youtube and found the video : Introduction to Identification and Ecology of Northeastern Conifers

Ok so Lets Take a look at pine trees. There is one particular one I aim is to figure out what it is called and how I can propagate it. The secondary aim is to name all the Pine on my land. Some of them look very old i wonder how old and in need of some love. I am wondering what i can do for them to help.

So lets look at how our biologist characterize Plants which is called Taxonomy  


Kingdom     - Plantea    = Plants
Subkingdom  - Tracheobionta  = Vascular Plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta  = Seed Plants
Division - Coniferophyta  = Conifers
Class - Pinopsida
Order - Pinales  
Family - Pinaceae   =Pine Family
Genus - Pinus L.   = pine
Species Pinus Strobus L.     = eastern White pine

That was a mouthful just to characterize a White Pine. 

General Feature distinguishing features are:
Foliage (leaves) 
Fruit (Cones)
Growth Form

Eastern white Pine - Pinus Strobus
Foliage : pine leaves are called needles and on this tree they are arranged in clusters called fasicles. Actually a fascicle is the sheath or wrapping that holds the needles together in that cluster. All of the white pine types have 5 needles.

Stomatal cells that allow for the exchange of gasses that is the uptake of carbon dioxide and the release of oxygen and as they have their leaves in winter these cells have a waxy coating that limits the amount of moisture that is lost. (Thats how we humans are able to still breath in the winter when all the other trees have lost their leaves).  The waxy coating is white hence white pine and this waxy coating is deciduous (falls away after winter).  
I would love to see this for real!
The foliage is soft to the touch.
The growth form is a whirl of branches at the same point of the stem. You can age a tree by counting the number of whirls and observing how long it takes the tree to produce a whirl. Observe a tree for a year to see that the growth is like in a year compared to the next.
 (Wow there is my answer to the age question).
The Bark is dark and`blocky` 

Cones: 3 to 6 inches in length with few large scales. Seeds are wind dispersed and are able to establish on a variety of soils. and able to tolerate shade.

Susceptible to the white pine weevil they will hollow out the central leader stem. when this stem is lost the lateral branches bend upwards to replace the loss of the center stem creating a multiple dominance all assuming the role. I can imaging this would make the pine tree look a little disorganized.

Lets compare this to Red Pine. John one of the High Park Steward Volunteer Leaders and he works with the city of Toronto and is very knowledgeable and passionate about plant identification. He pointed out to us the Red Pine Tree. I looked around and it looked the same as the other pine trees and i with my armature eye could not tell the difference between them! We were quickly moving on as we were just passing the tree to get to out final destination. I made a note of the location and will come back to examine it more closely now that I know what to look for and try and figure out what kind of pine trees its neighbors are.
Ok so lets examine the theory of the Red Pine: Pinus Resinosa
Foliage: 2 needles hard brittle pine leaves and will break if you bend them (you cannot stop here because must Pine trees have 2 needles so the only information this is giving you is that it is not a white pine tree but not all pine needles will break. The waxy coating of the fasicle does not fall away after winter

Growth pattern: The look of the tree looks like a bush you would use to scub the inside of a bottle with. It is course and spread out. Intolerant of shade so it needs full sun. grows well in well drained deep soil. Very intolerant of insects.
Cones are egg shaped , round and stout. the projection me be armed or not armed with spikes
Bark is relatively flaky 

So I was walking back home and I walked pass this tree. What a birch wood tree! Nice. I think this is the first one I noticed in High Park. I will keep my eyes peeled for more.

See you soon