Welcome to my archives… the annals of history, starting from the oldest to the newest. Browse away and enjoy!

 

Matthew Crawford’s “Shop Class as Soulcraft”

I'm reading a book called Shop Class as Soulcraft, by a PhD graduate who dropped out of working at a big DC think tank because after all that struggle to attain ...
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Cutting out corn sweeteners

Each year on the homestead, I've made at least one significant change in habit or consumer choice to lower my carbon footprint. It seems that businesses and governments don't feel ...
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Mending and altering clothes

In 2009, I lived in Denmark on savings and a short-term contract. I came back that September and worked through the first half of 2010, when I graduated from my ...
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Finally, the garden grows – badly.

After expecting to blog every week about how my garden grew according to plans, I met with embarrassing failure. Peppers, garlic, dill, mint, pole beans, carrots, chard, beets, and other stuff didn't grow ...
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spider and prey in web

Charlotte has a web in my kitchen!

In my house, I have a rule: All rooms can have a resident spider, but only one per room. It also depends on what kind of spider. A daddy long ...
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How to strain lumps out of paint

(This post has no photos because I didn't think it was as brilliant an idea to blog about before I did it - but my technique worked so well, I ...
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Cooking with cast iron at the original homestead…

I am in Bradford, Ontario now, visiting my parents for a few days. Tonight, they had some lovely Beretta Organic Farms' tenderloin for dinner. Now, I'm almost 100% vegetarian, so ...
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Heritage breed of Shropshire sheep threatened with eradication

Near a little Ontario town, east of Peterborough and north of Cobourg, there is a farm that specializes in a rare heritage breed of sheep called Shropshire. It is being ...
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Big plans for gardening the front yard

This back-of-the-envelope sketch is my ambitious plan for my SPIN (small plot intensive) farm. It needs some explanation. The upper left corner of the sketch is at my front step, where ...
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Back yard plans

Ambitious plans for the backyard SPIN farm

This is a diagram of my backyard. There are two entrances to my backyard: the top left corner (the patio, which is also the roof of the cold cellar), and ...
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Plantcatching, one resource to share garden supplies

Two helpful gardening resources from the Urban Agriculture Expo

Montreal's Urban Agriculture Expo happened this past weekend and I forgot to announce it before going, but it's better to be late than never. I'd like to introduce you to ...
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Soil structure improvement – assisted by rodents

Over the years, the soil underneath my back deck has been a home to ground-dwelling bees, a rat or two, and a skunk. I don’t mind the wildlife, especially the ...
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Wasp hive observations

Yesterday I hosed down a wasp's hive that they built in the corner of my garage door, with its attendant seven or eight nurse wasps. Last year, they'd built hives ...
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Who’s a good neighbour? Skunks are.

Ever since I moved in here six years ago, I've had a skunk living under my deck. Despite that it eats my day lilies when they bloom (it also eats ...
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A sad discovery under my deck

Now that I've posted a happy outcome for animals living under my deck, I now have to post a sad outcome: wildlife poisoned. A rat, but he wasn't hurting anybody ...
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Potted plant

A few garden photos – the harvest slowly begins

Dammit, Janet! I misplaced my good camera, the one I used to take the following photographs. Until I find it, I'm limited to grainy iPhone snaps, or the marginally better ...
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Last week’s roadtrip to Ontario

Last week, I went to Ontario for a little family/business/pleasure roadtrip. I went to volunteer at Gami'ing Nature Centre. So I took a little walk around Fenelon Falls. Here's a pic of ...
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Cottontail rabbit

Wild rabbits in town

I took this photo of a wild rabbit that has made my parents' front lawn and garden hedge part of its territory. She, or he, stayed stock-still, just a few ...
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The garden harvest, pickling, and homemade sauerkraut

My front garden/backyard SPIN farm plans have not panned out this season. Harvesting is underwhelming: I've come to admit that none of my cucurbits will be producing any squash, melon, ...
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Eastern Ontario Autumn colours, pumpkins, and recipes

I took some photos on my trip to Eastern Ontario over Thanksgiving weekend worth sharing, so I'll start and finish the post with two autumn scenes. I brought three pumpkins ...
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These are what I’m up to, this November

It's a good thing I haven't updated in  a month, because the posts would have been obsessed with squirrels. (No squirrels for you! Trust me, I've got pictures.) They are under strict ...
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A day to make red pepper jelly – Gelée de piments rouges

On Monday morning, I had planned out an awesome Homestead day. The weather was beautiful so I was only lacking one person and one tool (a post-pounder, an auger, or ...
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Daylight, the night, and the rhythm of work

Now that it's back to Standard Daylight Time (for a few weeks now), we're confronted by the shortness of days. When it was still dark 7:30, I was more ready ...
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New Year’s Resolutions and getting organized

Come New Year's, I always ask people what their resolutions are. (It's more than just being polite because I want to tell them one of mine.) Most people say "None, ...
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What to do with old bath water? (AKA, grey water)

The other day, I had a delightfully long bath and did not let the water out of the tub at the end of it. There’s gotta be a use for ...
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10 tips for an urban homestead garden in Montreal

"Can an urban homestead work in Montreal?"  This was the query of someone who found my blog last week. "Yes." But. (You know there is always a qualifier!) You must ...
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A new fence made of welded wire and cedar posts

At long last, I finally have a new front fence. I could go digging through my blog posts or photographs to show you its somewhat ugly predecessor - which I ...
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A Point Pelee pictorial

I'm not that much of a birder. I recognize about 50 to maybe 80 species of bird (now, which used to be less than 20) but I do like to ...
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Mason bee

Pollinator Week; building a Mason bee house

We've had a rainy June so far, after a brief warm spell in May. I prefer rain to heat at this time of year, but I'm watching my plants, wondering ...
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A mountain meadow in an urban setting

Across from the Montreal General Hospital on Cedar Avenue, Mont Royal park begins. And it starts with stairs to a meadow. Right away you see Queen Anne's Lace and chicory ...
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raccoons!

Raccoons and other garden visitors

I love having garden visitors of any kind. A few weeks ago, these two young raccoons spent the day in the tree overtop of my backyard. And then, a couple ...
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Labour Day weekend road trip to the Eastern Townships and Brome Fair

I went to the Eastern Townships for Labour Day weekend to get a good hike in at Mont Mégantic (I also visited Lac Mégantic for one of their evening benefit ...
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Hervé the white rabbit.

On the original version of this blog, I posted about my pets from time to time. I still have Hervé, you can sometimes see him in my photos and blog ...
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Conserving energy when doing the laundry

I've long used the clothesline to dry my laundry out in the sun and fresh air. Unlike some other people, I don't give a flip if somebody thinks I'm poor ...
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The environmental and electricity costs of tech gadgets

I really wanted an iPad. I had good reasons to get one, too, but I couldn't afford an iPad for a long time because all my money was going into ...
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Saving electricity in winter

Do this test for your electricity efficiency! http://www.efficaciteenergetique.mrnf.gouv.qc.ca/en/my-home/renoclimat/steps-to-follow/ There's a difficulty with most so-called economic behaviour in the world: it pays attention only to the first price tag, and rarely to ...
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Marmot baby!

Fat, sassy groundhog babies want our money.

I was born on Groundhog Day. I therefore became inordinately fond of rodents. (Even so, my dog used to drag home dead groundhogs, probably killed by the neighbouring farmer or other ...
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Stop producing carbon dioxide!

Hey you. Yes, I mean you. No, I don't mean stop breathing. I mean stop being a net producer of carbon dioxide. This post doesn't say a lot about how; ...
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Seed Starting plan by crop

Late spring seed planting – rhubarb tutorial

This March, I avoided planting my garden seeds until this past weekend. Though I knew I was blowing the schedule for many seeds, I hadn't done any additional homework about ...
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Window-crash survivor! Golden-crowned Kinglet

If you have bird feeders and trees at your home, and a few big windows too, you're likely to have a couple of window crashes per year - but you might ...
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naughty nuisance squirrel

“Nuisance” wildlife control strategies in gardening

We have a lot of strategies to attract the animals and insects we want, and repel the ones we don't. Here I discuss nuisance wildlife that we might want to ...
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A new wildflower lawn when the herbicide stops

My dad, an old farmer in a very conventional Ontario town, must have applied herbicide to the lawn because now that he's gone, the lawn has gone to a heavenly variety ...
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Urban soil and how we handle it, in perpetuity

This post is based on a meeting I had with Eric Duchemin, Associate Professor of Science and the Environment at UQAM, who has taught students working in urban agriculture for ...
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Changing the lighting – a renovation to conserve energy

When I came up with the idea for Green4r | V3rt [now Rewilding], I wanted to learn the business by doing it for myself. I identified a bunch of green projects, put them into ...
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Why we need to consume less electricity

Here in Quebec, our hydro-electricity is so readily available that we have the cheapest rates in North America. Electricity is abundant, the valleys are already flooded, ecosystems lost ages ago (seriously ...
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Sunlight through the roof to light your home

In November I blogged about changing the lighting in my home, removing recessed lighting from a place it shouldn't have been (pot lights should not recess into an attic; it is an ...
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Eco-renovations at the Homestead

As the fall harvest was winding down with frozen vegetables (no pickling this year) and seed preparation, my efforts returned to Green4r, the renovation project consultancy I felt was needed (and I'm ...
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Sugar ants aren’t pests – they’re helpful!

Photo caption: A legion (hah, get it  - not army, but part thereof!) of sugar ants committed mass suicide in my bottle of honey. In honour of those that might ...
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wildlife garden certification

Gardening for Wildlife: Free Backyard Certification

What Rewilding is about is making your architecture and garden hospitable to nature. We want to help you do that - and so we'll offer you a free backyard certification ...
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It’s not too late to start your native, urban garden!

If you've had a frustrating spring with all this rain and insufficient heat, don't despair. You can still have a garden this summer. Here are some resources to help you - especially ...
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Things you didn’t know about wasps

I once wrote about small paper wasp hives at residences. Today's post is because when August sets in, wasps can become rather bothersome. The reason wasps are so pesteriferous! lately is ...
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Ripening your green tomatoes

This is going to be the shortest blog post (aside from link shares) ever. In fact, here in October, I feel some chagrin for not posting this earlier, but if you still ...
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Backyard birds need water in winter

I enjoy looking after the birds out back. Even out front, as the Virginia creeper produced berries that the starlings raided one day. Enough berries remain that the house sparrows ...
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Christmas decorations: a mostly homemade wreath

Here I was wondering "what the heck am I going to write about this week?" and then… the clue comes in: it's Christmas! Time for the decorations. I've hung the ...
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pellet stove insert

Installing an environmentally friendly wood pellet stove insert

Don't you just love curling up by a crackling fire on a cold winter's eve? Lord knows, I do - just as much as in summer, because I love camping! ...
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Why you should make your chimney available to Chimney Swifts

When the winter hearth fires are soon put out until next autumn comes, this article, how to make your chimney a home for chimney swifts, is an inspiration to an urban wildlife lover (click the link ...
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Montreal’s big plant swap & gardening extravaganza, May 28 – 29

If you like gardening, there's always a weekend in May that's our big weekend. There's always a coördinated extravaganza to get people motivated to get their plants into the ground at ...
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How to stop killing birds with your windows – resources for you

Window crashes, also known as strikes, kill millions of birds every migration. While I was in Toronto this week, I saw a newly constructed glass building in the new West Don ...
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Garden certification from Espace pour la vie

Hello, fellow wildlife gardener! Last year, I certified Big City Little Homestead's garden as Wildlife-Friendly with the Canadian Wildlife Federation (you can too, and I'll help!). Here's the certificate I received: The ...
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Link share: 10 Cool Ways To Attract Endless Wildlife To Your Backyard!

This is a very short and sweet post about attracting wildlife.10 Cool Ways To Attract Endless Wildlife To Your Backyard! They have bee hotels, bird houses, bird baths, bat houses, and ...
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Climbing vines on the shady side 

My house is almost famous for the green wall of vines I have growing on it - which you can see in the banner of our Facebook page. Of all the neighbours, the ...
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Parts to a heated water bowl

How to give wildlife fresh, unfrozen water in winter

With the onset of truly cold weather now, with snow on the ground that sticks around, water is pretty much everywhere - in solid or powdered form. That makes it ...
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quilt on rack

My quilting-from-scraps project

In 2011, when I lived at the cottage on Sand Lake,  I started reading up on patchwork and cutting up blocks of cloth to make a queen-sized quilt for my bed. Ever since, usually ...
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How the green driveway conversion is holding up

In 2015, I posted about converting a standard residential parking spot into a green driveway. It's a pictorial, part of our Project portfolio. Three months after completing the job (from ...
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Bird strike victims.

Spring migration is underway – and it’s dangerous

The other day, I watched a documentary by New Hampshire Public Television on bird migration. I learned a few startling facts about habitat loss and other pressures that decimate bird populations ...
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Creating lawn habitat for the endangered Rusty-Patched Bumblebee

Bumblebees are important pollinators of native and fruiting crops, and Rusty-patched Bumblebees have been decimated by 90% of earlier population counts. They have finally been granted Endangered status in the ...
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American Goldfinch

Plants for Birds – a native garden planning resource

Are you getting ready to plan your garden? If so, here's a find! While its integration with local merchants doesn't apply to Canadian gardeners (as we wouldn't be able to shop ...
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NPR’s Freakonomics podcast: How Stupid is Our Obsession with Lawns?

Do you hate mowing the lawn? I used to. We had a lawn that was half the size of a football field, and I spent many hours as a child, ...
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butterflies, Eastern swallowtails

Butterflies to see and links to share for Pollinator Week

It's said that birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammal pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of our food. Pollinating flowers is a serious ...
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You’ll never guess what has been using my green driveway…

Last night I saw something charming enough that I posted it to the Facebook page, and I'm just going to copy it here. Without a direct video or photo (sorry!) I ...
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Rewilding Event – upcoming this weekend

Six weeks before the frost sets in (traditionally, people consider Canadian Thanksgiving the first-frost date, but it comes later), gardeners can get an early start on the next year's garden and ...
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The results of the Rewilding garden session

Early Saturday morning, I got up early to make it up to Pepinière Jasmin – where you can always find some native/indigenous plants, even at the end of the planting season. One ...
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A video of my bunnies outdoors, prior to the garden session

When I got home from the nursery for the Rewilding garden session, I took this video of my bunnies and the butterflies out in the garden, for your enjoyment. (You ...
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Meet my squirrel! Mangey, but adorable.

This little guy or girl comes by my backyard every day and raids my two bird feeders, sometimes with the help of another squirrel. Because it has sarcoptic mange, I've been ...
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A seed library catalog at the Westmount library

Once upon a time when I was at the Westmount Public Library, I saw something to get excited about: they're reusing their old card catalog, situated near the main circulation ...
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Designing the garden in OmniGraffle

A clutter of resources to help you design your garden

Well, here we are, late March! Are you ready to get down to designing the layout of your garden? For those who have space - such as those who've not ...
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Visiting one of the last remaining urban wetlands – the Technoparc

Two weekends ago, I participated in the Good Friday Migration to save the Technoparc Wetlands. Read more about it - and see the French-language Pimento Report on YouTube (embedded) here. With this ...
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Green driveway paver Montreal

How cracks in my asphalt driveway revolutionized my life

If you've been to this blog or my Facebook page at least once before, you've probably seen photos of my green driveway. They're all over the place, like in the ...
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May 26th: Plant giveaway in the Sud-Ouest borough

This is just a quick note to announce that it's tomorrow when the Sud-Ouest, and many other boroughs in Montreal, give away flowers and herbs in their annual Bellissement campaign.  It begins at 9 ...
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Red-winged blackbird

How can you protect birds during nesting season? (Short answer: don’t cut trees). And, BirdFest.

Migration is pretty much over now, and all birds are where they want to be if they're sitting on eggs in a nest, or raising a clutch of nestlings. It ...
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