Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ambiance lighting

I love my greenhouse. This is no surprise to anyone who knows me, but what you guys may not know is that my husband has an interest for electronic projects and a ton of great ideas. I am so lucky that my greenhouse inspired him to work on one of his awesome ideas. This resulted in a greenhouse with a personality!

This ambiance lighting is a waterproof strip of LED lights mounted in the highest point of the ceiling. The strip is connected to a battery, which in turn is connected to 2 small solar panels. We can choose the intensity and colour of the light with the help of a small remote control.

Thanks to my wonderful husband for putting together and installing such an awesome lighting in my green atelier. :) Muaah!


Not everything is working out as I would like in the greenhouse and garden, but we still get to enjoy some really yummy things. Here are a few examples:

I have two kinds of chilies. The one shown on the picture is only called "capsicum annuum" on the seed envelope. From what I understand, this is the common name to many sorts of chilies, so I am not sure which one this is. It does look like jalapeno tho, and is also quite strong. I also have smaller chilies (Apache), which are even stronger. So chilies have it good in the greenhouse! Next year, I want more sorts!
Strong chili
I sowed green and yellow beans out in the garden this year as I had last year. In addition, I received from a good friend, early in the season, seeds for 3 other kinds of beans. I unfortunately don't know their names in English. (And Google is a bit confused itself, it seems).  In any case, they are growing great and we have eaten quite a few of them in the past few weeks! Beans are also staying on the plan for next year!

3 kinds of beans, which I don't know name of in English
(Pralbønner, Borlotti bønner, Lilla bønner)

My corn last year didn't give any decent crop. I only had 3 surviving plants and the conditions were not ideal. This year, I started my plants differently and had better success. These are some of the first cobs we harvested. They are not perfect looking, but they tasted good enough! :) Another one going back on the list for next year.
Green and yellow beans. Sweet corn.

I've had some issues with my tomatoes. A lot of them develop a problem known as "blossom-end rot", where the fruit rots at the bottom while still on the plant, and before it even has time to mature. This, I've now learned, is caused by a lack of nutrients. One of the problem is that I have too many plants per soil bag. I also did not feed the plants as I should have through the season. Learning comes with a cost. :(  However, since I started fertilizing my plants, I managed to save some of my crops. Lately, I enjoyed many lunch times with fresh and delicious tomatoes, mini-cucumber and basil from the greenhouse.

A few sorts of tomatoes, mini cucumber, red and green basil. 

Mmmmm now I'm hungry again!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Painting in the greenhouse

One of the many things I was looking forward to with a greenhouse was the possibility to sit outside while still protected from the elements. The summer has been very warm and sunny here in Denmark, so I did not sit out in my greenhouse so often. It was much too warm in there! Today however, we lost some degrees on the thermometer. The sky is covered and the wind blowing. It was the perfect day to enjoy a bit of creative time out in my outdoor, bright - yet protected - workshop.

It had been a very long time since I last painted, so I took my material out, installed a little work area, put on some music and started painting.

Peaceful... inspiring... delightful. 
My singer of choice to listen to while I paint is Yves Duteil, a French singer songwriter. His texts are just so beautifully written. French is such a beautiful language. No matter how many languages I might come to learn in my life,  my mother tongue will always be the most inspiring one to me. Listening to Yves Duteil's music always brings me into a creative mood. It brings me within myself and within my heart. Time disappears as my hands get busy with colours and paintbrushes, and images gradually take shape on the canvas.

Here is what today's adventure resulted in.

Watercolours on canvas - (c) Marie-Eve Cormier

My favorite way to paint is when I start without the slightest idea of what to put on the canvas. I let the music surround my heart, I let my thoughts run free and I let the colours speak to me. I add to the creation until I look at it and decide that it's done. My paintings are often nameless, and the only story they have is what they might evoke in the heart of the one looking at them. Abstract art is so open and free that way.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Clay from my garden

In a recent post, (here) I mentioned the clay I dug up from my garden and how I started to clean it up to make it ready for use. Here is the description of the process from start to finish. 

- Dig up some clay soil. 

Clay from my own backyard

- Put some chunks of clay soil in a container up to about half. Add water to fill the container.

Chunks of clay soil + water

- With your hands, break the chunks down until a homogeneous texture is obtained.

Homogeneous texture / mixture

- Let the mixture settle for a day or two. The heavy sand / rocks will fall to the bottom, the clay will sit over the debris and the water will be on top. In the case of the clay I gathered, there were so little debris that my mixture only seperated into 2 layers.

Settled clay-water mixture
- Get rid of as much of the clear water as possible by very gently pouring it out or scooping it up. When clay starts mixing with the water being removed, stop. The mix can be set to settle another day and the process of removing water can be repeated until no more water sits on top after the settling period. 

- When as much water as possible has been removed, pour the mixture through a sieve. I used a piece of bug net mounted on top of a clean bucket. This will insure that leftoever debris such as small pieces of roots or small stones are removed.

- The filtered liquid clay is ready for the last part of the process. Choose a surface that breathes well. I chose a metal grid shelf so air could also come from under. Cover the chosen area with many layers of newspaper, and finish with a piece of cotton. (an old pillow case, for instance).

- Pour the liquid clay onto the prepared surface. Let it rest for a few days, changing the newspaper daily. The clay will be ready when it can be picked up and shaped into a ball. This step can take several days, all depending on the amount of water in the mixture and how well ventilated the area is. 

Clay "drying" after having been cleaned of debris.
- When the clay has the desired texture, it can be picked up, shaped into a ball and stored in an air-tight plastic container or plastic bag.