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

 

cooking with cast iron

Cooking with cast iron at the original homestead…

I'm in Bradford, Ontario now, visiting my parents for a few days. Tonight, they had some lovely Beretta Organic Farms' tenderloin for dinner. I'm almost 100% vegetarian, so I only ...
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Corn and syrup -

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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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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The front yard back-of-the-envelope garden plan

SPIN urban farming – very ambitious plans!

This back-of-the-envelope sketch is my ambitious plan for my SPIN (small plot intensive) urban farm. It needs some explanation. The upper left corner of the sketch is at my front ...
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Soil structure improvement – assisted by rodents

Dirt is a living expanse, it's not supposed to be sterile. Over the years, the soil underneath my back deck has been a home to ground-dwelling bees, a rat or ...
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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. I'm quite fond of the beast, despite that it eats my day lilies ...
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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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Finally, the garden grows – badly.

After expecting to blog every week about how my garden grows according to my ambitious plans, I've met with embarrassing failure. The peppers, garlic, dill, mint, pole beans, carrots, chard, beets, and ...
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spider and 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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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 ...
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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 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, or pumpkins ...
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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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Things 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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chopped peppers, sugar, salt, vinegar

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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Wild 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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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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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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Jeremy-Bruce-Fence

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

It’s Pollinator Week! Let’s build a Mason bee house.

After a brief warm spell in May, we've had a rainy June so far. 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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Two harvest baskets in competition

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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Saving electricity in winter

First, do this test for your electricity efficiency! the reno-climat program There's a difficulty with most so-called economic behaviour in the world: it pays attention only to the first price ...
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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 ...
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Seed Starting plan by crop

How to plant rhubarb seeds

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! A Golden-crowned Kinglet

If you have bird feeders and trees at your home, you're likely to have a couple of window crashes per year - but you might not know it. Architects, builders, ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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June is not too late to start your native urban garden!

If you've had a frustrating spring with all this rain and insufficient heat, or just a lack of inspiration so far, don't despair. You can still have a garden this ...
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wasp observations

Biophilia month: Things to know and observe about wasps

Although the month of July isn't quite over, today's post is because when August really sets in, the wasps come out. It's true you've seen them all year, but in ...
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Ripening your green tomatoes

This is going to be the shortest blog post ever. In fact, here in October, I feel some chagrin for not posting this earlier, but if you still have tomatoes in the ...
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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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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

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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chimney swifts in flight

Why you should make your chimney available to Chimney Swifts

A chimney swift is a bird, an aerial insectivore that consumes more than 1000 insects per day. It roosts in brick-laid chimneys. It's not a dusty child from a Charles ...
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Montreal’s annual Borough Plant Giveaway Day – an extravaganza

If you like gardening, there's always a weekend in May that's our big gardening weekend. It's like a coördinated extravaganza to get people motivated to get their plants into the ground ...
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Bird strike victims.

How to stop killing birds with your windows – bird crash prevention!

Window crashes, also known as bird strikes, kill millions of birds with *every* migration. You might not think it happens to you, but it does. And we can stop it ...
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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 Projects to Attract Wildlife To Your Backyard!

This is a very short and sweet curated list about attracting wildlife: 10 Cool Ways To Attract Endless Wildlife To Your Backyard!  Here's a list of the ideas you can ...
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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 on our Facebook page. Of all the neighbours, the only others ...
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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 ...
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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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American Goldfinch

Plants for Birds – a native garden planning resource

Are you getting ready to plan or plant your garden? If so, Plants for Birds is for you! It's a native-plant database (plants that evolved in local landscapes) cross-referenced with ...
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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’s 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!) ...
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A public Rewilding garden event, with a video of the bunnies exploring

Six weeks before the frost sets in (traditionally, people consider Canadian Thanksgiving the first-frost date, but it comes later), gardeners can often get an early start on the next year's garden ...
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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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Squirrel at window

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 ...
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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 design the layout of your garden? For those who have space, those who've not planted a garden before, or those ...
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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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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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The payoff from my green eco renovation — results you can see

A quick note to readers from outside Quebec: now that the dams are over 40 years old, our hydroelectricity is probably the cleanest in the world (this acknowledges that dams ...
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Like “Rabbits rabbits rabbits,” but “Groundhogs, groundhogs, groundhogs.”

I love marmots sooooo much, and my Fat Sassy Groundhog Babies post is one of my more popular… so here it comes again. My Groundhog Day February 2 Birthday Fundraiser ...
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#ThrowBackThursday: a creative display of random collected objects

Spring is in the air, the first migrating birds (red-winged blackbirds!) have reportedly arrived, and I've been remiss in giving you interesting things to read over the winter months. But ...
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Question: Would you want to countrify your city home?

Folks, you could be anywhere in the world and not have a specific service like mine or local resources to make your urban home have a real, rustic appeal (whether ...
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I found a baby bird in distress. What do I do?

If you've been looking up at the tops of the trees, or watching neighbourhood feeders, you've noticed the flitting of unfamiliar birds, newly arriving on their spring migration. Or if ...
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Sugar ants aren’t pests – they’re harmless and 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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Get your trowels ready! Montréal’s garden giveaway is coming up.

The spring gardening season is upon us with even more speed than it usually assaults us, since winter lingered just a little longer than some people had hoped. So it ...
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New project: build a nest box for bluebirds and chickadees!

It's been on my todo list for a few weeks to build a couple of bird houses with the scrap wood I have leftover from other projects and so finally ...
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Replacing your grass lawn with a meadow, or just allowing one to happen

Do you hate mowing the lawn? Holy cow, I used to. We had a lawn that was half the size of a football field, and I spent many hours doing ...
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Creating lawn habitat for endangered bumblebees

In April 2017, news got around about the first bee to land on the US endangered species list: Bombus affinis, commonly known as the Rusty Patched bumble bee. It has ...
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It’s summer – get your tulips 🌷🌷🌷 ready for replanting!

This quick tutorial on getting your tulips ready for next season is something I first posted on BCLH's Instagram account. Please follow me there! Did you know it helps your ...
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DIY: easy Acopian Bird Savers for apartment dwellers and 2nd floor windows

Acopian Bird Savers are a relatively inconspicuous (visible, but not unsightly) way to prevent bird crashes, guaranteed. They're a light curtain of strings that wave in the wind, in front ...
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