Seven Hardy Fruits for Montreal Gardeners

I just spent a day with a whole team of people putting in a mini-orchard and weeding at St. Brendan’s Parish. We put in several fruits that are hardy in our northern climate and make for great eating.

Crabapple (Malus ‘Lollizam’)—One of the neighbours had planted a Lollipop crabapple and asked if we wanted to move it into our orchard. The 10ft-high tree gets white flowers in spring. Small yellow fruit appears in the fall.

Pear (Pyrus communis ‘Savignac’)—One of the three varieties I planted is a Savignac, a small round easy eating pear named after Brother Armand Savignac, a Joliette priest who got the then un-named cultivar from the Canada Experimental Farm in 1947.

Raspberries—I haven’t put these in yet, but I plan to. Yellow and red ones would be yummy.

Saskatoon Berry (Amelanchier alnifolia)—The tiny blue berries this plant produces in mid-June aren’t quite as sweet as the woodland bush berries they resemble, but the plant is hardier, easier to grow and each one contains thousands of berries. The Saskatchewan city of the same name was named after the native plant. White flowers cover the plant in the spring, right after Magnolias and Forsythias.

Grape (Maréchal Foch)—These red grapes are a hybrid from Alcace and were originally called Kuhlmann 188-2 (one of whose parents was Goldriesling). The grape was subsequently renamed after a General who served in the French army during World War I.

Plum—I don’t remember the cultivar of the plums we planted, but we got the trees from Stefan Sobkowiak, one of Quebec’s permiculture experts and the owner of Miracle Farms in Cazaville. All three trees are doing splendidly.

Strawberries—Who can deny strawberries. These ground-covering plants are so tasty and easy to grow as long as you move the patch every three or four years. I like the traditional June-bearing variety, because I find the berries taste much better.

Lasalle Borough Sets June 21 for Register about Wanklyn Island Zone Changes, If Needed

During the question period at their borough meeting on May 7, LaSalle Borough officials said that the proposed bylaw for three lots won’t change, despite Merlin Immobilier’s decision to lower the height of their buildings in their two projects.

“We aren’t changing the bylaw, but we are changing the heights of these two projects because of a technical issue,” said LaSalle Mayor Manon Barbe, in answer to a citizen question. She said that LaSalle plans to follow the usual legal process for a bylaw revision. “The legal notice will appear in the local newspaper on June 19 and a register, if one is required, will be held Thursday, June 21.”

The zone change affects 47,139 square metres between Cherry Lane, Jean-Milot, Wanklyn and Highway 138 in northwestern LaSalle. Known as Ilot Wanklyn, the current lots—1930409, 1930411 and 1930278—are owned by the FTQ through two companies, Condos Wanklyn-Milot S.E.C. and Wanklyn Milot S.E.C.

Currently, the entire property is covered by one three-storey zone (H08-06). If the bylaw goes through, the property will be divided into five zones. One zone (H08-05) already exists; it includes a portion north of Jean-Milot and extends south to include the current residences on Rue des Oblats west of Cherry Lane. The smallest new zone (proposed H08-49) covers three proposed four-storey buildings next to Cherry Lane and extends north to Jean-Milot. A second new zone (proposed P08-06) covers the proposed park and Cherry Lane. The largest zone (proposed H08-07) covers the property north of Wanklyn and west of Highway 138.*

A fourth new zone (proposed H08-48) is the northeast portion of the property and falls to the west of Highway 138 just south of Jean Milot. This is the one that will be developed in future proposals.*

Some citizens expressed concern that the zone changes, if accepted, will ensure that people living south of Wanklyn have no say over future development north of the proposed park.

“At this point, it’s looking as though citizens will participate in the register for a referendum process,” said Sonia Susnjar after the meeting. Susnjar gathered signatures to block the larger Quartier de la Gare project last October. “Merlin’s decision to lower the heights of their buildings is a movement in the right direction, but we are very far from what the citizens want. From the start, we’ve made it clear that we are concerned with the number of units not just the height. We are hoping that changes can continue to be made in both height and number of units so the project can live harmoniously with its neighbours.”

During the meeting, councillors approved the urban planning committee meeting minutes from April 1 and officially approved the second reading of the four zone modifications included in the project.

 

Corrections:

*Two paragraphs changed to clarify the proposal, thanks to points made by Sonja Susjnar in the comments.

Real Bread at Last

I was so excited to find two loaves of bread still available for sale; I couldn’t help yelling out to my daughter. “There are two loaves left.”

This was my first trip to Louise Sans Gluten Free on Dumont Avenue in Dorval, so I had no idea what I might find. All I knew was what the website http://louisesgft.com/ said.

Wednesday and Saturday as of 11am our fresh baguettes come out of the oven!”

It was almost one o’clock in the afternoon by the time my daughter and I arrived, so I kind of assumed the bread would be gone. No worries though. As soon as we walked in, I was dazzled by the many aisles of groceries from companies we know and others we haven’t tried yet. It was the first time in half a year that I didn’t have to exchange glasses to read labels.

The selection included many products I’d given up eating. Jars of spaghetti sauce, curries, jams. It was so nice to choose freely instead of spending time finding one I can eat. The store is small, but it’s filled with rows of gluten free products from companies that appreciate quality organic ingredients—Endangered Species, King Soba, Edward, Primeal, Maine Root, Vermints, Natural Path….

“Oh look, they have those bars you like in lots of flavours. Mmmm. Can we try Hazelnut?” asked my daughter standing in front of a giant CocoMira display. I’d purchased the pistachio flavoured version of these bars a few weeks earlier. We both found the mix of toffee, chocolate and nuts delicious. We got a large box of the pistachio and a smaller one of the hazelnut.

By the time we made it to the bakery section and I spotted two remaining loaves of bread in a basket, it all seemed too good to be true. So explains my call-out to my daughter.

“Oh, don’t worry, I have lots more ready back here if you need more,” said a women from the kitchen, one of three people on staff during our visit. Yeah. We tossed two into our cart without having to worry about depriving later shoppers.

When we got our baguettes home, even my son said they tasted divine.

I have not yet been successful at baking a gluten free loaf that tastes like real bread. Louse’s success at mastering these loaves gives me courage to keep trying. It’s also nice to know that even if I can’t get it right, I can enjoy hers any Wednesday or Saturday.

Thanks Louise.

The Felse Family Mystery Series by Ellis Peters

Book Cover

And supposing there’s nothing whatever official or approved about this murder?’ demanded Dominic. “Supposing it’s a completely private act, and the police are just as interested in catching the criminal as you are. You think it’ll make no difference to their chances, our keeping back nine-tenths of the facts?”

This statement is made by Dominic Felse part way through The Piper on the Mountain, my favourite Ellis Peters story. Dominic is the youngest character created by Ellis Peters, the woman behind the famous Brother Cadfael series.

Ellis Peters was actually one of several pen names used by British author Edith Mary Pargeter (September 28, 1913-October 14, 1995). Pargeter wrote non-fiction and published her first crime novel, Murder in the Dispensary, in 1938 under the name Jolyon Carr. The author lived in Shrewsbury, and one of the nicest memorials to her work is a stained glass window in the Abbey there. There’s also a webpage devoted to her life, which can be found at http://www.shrewsburyabbey.com/Ellis%20Peters.html.

The Piper on the Mountain focuses on a road trip through Central Europe by four students, Dominic, his buddy Toddy and two girls, Christine and Tossa. The story begins with the death of Tossa’s father in Czechloslovakia, and the group ends up trying to figure out why he died. Most of the action includes Tossa and a detective policeman’s son who frequently solves puzzles.

It reads very much like another favourite Peters’ story, Holiday with Violence, which Pargeter wrote in 1952. That story also features four young people travelling through Europe, although the death takes place on a train and the action occurs in Venice.

There are also several stories in which Dominic’s father George is the main protagonist and one in which his mother, a woman with the unlikely name of Bunty, solves the mystery.

All the Felse family stories are great fun to read, primarily because they include so many details about family life. The stories featuring the son, Dominic Felse appeal to me best because they take place during short trips through exotic locales. It’s fun to combine travel writing with mysteries that get solved. Few stories in life can be readily explained and tidied up within a few hundred pages.

The Felse Family series includes:

  • Fallen into the Pit, 1951 (published under her own name) (George and Dominic)
  • Death And The Joyful Woman, 1961
  • Flight of a Witch, 1964
  • A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs, 1965
  • The Piper on the Mountain, 1966 (Dominic)
  • Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Heart, 1966
  • The Grass Widow’s Tale, 1967
  • Mourning Raga, 1969 (Dominic)
  • The House of Green Turf, 1969
  • The Knocker on Death’s Door, 1970
  • Death to the Landlords, 1972 (Dominic)
  • City of Gold and Shadows, 1973
  • Rainbow’s End, 1978

Blog Review

 

Today is the official guest blog day for the 2012 Blogathon. Rather than share blogs with some of the others today, I decided to highlight a few blogs I’ve been reading as a result of this competition.

I got to explore all these blogs thanks to the efforts of Michelle Rafter, who runs the contest and Jan Udlock who compiled a list of all the people participating this year. Thanks, Michelle and Jan.

To see the entire list for yourself, check out

2012 Blogathon Blog Roll

Here are some of my favourite bloggers so far, under some of the categories I write about.

Community Strength

Laura Tokie writes in a fun way about lots of parenting adventures in her In My Little Town blog, but I fell in love with it when I found a recipe for gluten free bagels. Thanks Laura.

Marijke Vroomen Durning, who writes the Med Health Writer “nurse turned writer” blog inspired me to join this year’s blogathon, but it’s been fun reading her posts regularly.

Cultural Identity

At Catholic Faith and Fitness, Joel Whitaker writes about helping Catholics become spiritual, financially and physically fit. Although we’re both Catholic, I disagree strongly with his political positions, but I like the posts about new health studies, such as the one about diabetes 2 and staying seated all day. I also think it’s important to respectfully read people who disagree with me so that I can remember that the world is full of diversity.

Eco-living

Aundra Weissert blogs about eating locally, fitness and gardening on her Chestertown Fit for Life blog. So far, I’ve enjoyed posts about time distortion, running, using perennials in landscaping and visiting a farm to pick strawberries. Yum.

Hillah Culman writes about cooking and eating. She’s trying to focus on one main ingredient, which is why her blog is called The One Ingredient, but I’ve enjoyed her posts because of her focus on fresh food.

History Worth Remembering

Jane Neff Rollins writes about her family roots at Kitchen Sink Genealogy. I love all the old photographs Jane uses to inspire each post. I hope she keeps developing this site, because it gives a real glimpse at how the past and the present intersect.

Politics That Matter

I like reading the opinions of Katie Morell , a full-time freelance writer who talks about Obama, birdwatching and writing. Like Katie, I plan to use fewer exclamation points in future.

Thanks to everyone for making this contest worthwhile.

Celebrate Notable Nonfiction

Every month, we'll review the best nonfiction we can find, including biographies, business books, genealogy, history, journalism, podcasts and urban renewal. If you write notable nonfiction yourself, you'll get tips about a four-step process to make it fast and easy.