In the Garden In The Valley

Cabbage Town

Affinity (Cabbages and Roses)

‘Rickety Kate’ (Minnie Filson) 1937

I wonder if the cabbage knows
He is less lovely than the Rose;
Or does he squat in smug content,
A source of noble nourishment;
Or if he pities for her sins
The Rose who has no vitamins;
Or if the one thing his green heart knows —
That self-same fire that warms the Rose?

Captain Cook’s Sauerkraut

Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy was a renown seamen and explorer. The  innovation of providing sailors with fresh fruit and vegetables when possible and sauerkraut kept the scourge of scurvy at bay.

As described in “Untold Lives‘:  “Lack of vitamin C in the diet of sailors on long voyages resulted in the disease scurvy which could prove fatal.  The symptoms of scurvy are swollen gums that are prone to bleeding, loose teeth, bulging eyes, easy bruising, scaly skin, and very dry hair.  To counter this, James Cook replenished supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables for his crew whenever the ship made a land call.  He also took with him ‘Sour Krout’, that is sauerkraut, cabbage fermented with lactic acid bacteria.  On Cook’s first Pacific voyage in 1768, the Navy wanted to trial the efficacy of sauerkraut in combating scurvy.  The Endeavour was provided with 7,860 pounds of sauerkraut, a ration of 2 pounds per man per week.  Cook reported back to the Victualling Board in July 1771 that no ‘dangerous’ cases of scurvy had occurred and that he, the surgeons and the officers believed that the sauerkraut had played a large part in achieving this.”


Poetry Time

as freedom is a breakfastfood

By E. E. Cummings
as freedom is a breakfastfood
or truth can live with right and wrong
or molehills are from mountains made
—long enough and just so long
will being pay the rent of seem
and genius please the talentgang
and water most encourage flame

as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald men’s hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
—long enough and just so long
will the impure think all things pure
and hornets wail by children stung

or as the seeing are the blind
and robins never welcome spring
nor flatfolk prove their world is round
nor dingsters die at break of dong
and common’s rare and millstones float
—long enough and just so long
tomorrow will not be too late

worms are the words but joy’s the voice
down shall go which and up come who
breasts will be breasts thighs will be thighs
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
—time is a tree(this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough


Poetry Time

why:  no time for poetry.   after facebook, youtube, instagram, snapchat, tik tok, flip flop, linkedin, tuneidn, tunedout, twitter, snatcher, dewy, cheatum and howe, youseewhereI’m going no time for poetry.  And attention span. What?  oh yes, not long enough. To finish a poem, whole poem.

but:  there may be time in the coming moths and months to read a poem.  Print it, read in the bathroom.  In the bath. Put it on a tablet. Save paper.  Read it one parapet  at a time  (a parapet is a “an earthen or stone embankment protecting soldiers from enemy fire.” The enemy is banality, the banality of evil, blandness, newspeak, thought crime). Or read a poem just one line at a time.  Lines of poems may pop into your head in years to come out of nowhere, and you will suddenly see what the poet was saying.

why: poetry speaks at a subconscious level. One that we have replaced with 280 characters of spew-tum.  Poetry is the REM sleep of civilization.  We need it.

bonus: Listen to this poem read by the author.

In The Valley

Newsflash! Summer is Over

Maybe the Echo Valley fall celebration wasn’t the fall fair, but, heck, it was better!

Delicious pies, great music, dancing, prizes, and the greatest Zucchini parade and races west of the Rockies.

Check out Ron’s awesome video of the event.



Our Story Party-Time

Zucchini Parade

A parade of decorated zucchini on wheels – the more unique, bizarre, outrageous, creative – the better! (but remember your creation must be able to roll, don’t forget the wheels!)
Find a zucchini, attach some wheels, or attach a zucchini to wheels, and then decorate anyway you wish. Please attach a rope or string so you can ‘parade’ your zucchini.
It’s absolutely ridiculous and we all need more silliness in our lives to cultivate the collective imagination.
Ideally everyone! The more the merrier 🙂 
2pm on October 4th at the end of McLennan Drive. 
* If you have any questions, please contact: 
* Jim has plenty of gorgeous zucchini so if you need one for your creation, please contact him at :
* for inspiration google ‘zucchini racer’ 
Please remember that this is a social distancing event, we want everyone in our community to feel safe and welcome.

In the Garden In The Valley

Winter Garden

Summer is now officially over as the light and dark share the couch equally on this day.  Soon darkness will be arrogantly sprawled out hogging up more and more space every day until poor light is forced into the corner with its knees tucked under its chin.

The winter garden has sprung to beautiful green life with the hard work of dedicated hands.  A beautiful and comforting sight as summer plants loosen their grasp to the land.  The last of the beautiful tomatoes are turning into delicious concentrated sauces in the heat of ovens and stove-top cauldrons.

Digging the potatoes!


Gala of the Year!!

McLennan Valley Autumn Celebration

**Zucchini Parade, Show, and Race,
**Street Dance, and Pie Eating Autumn Celebration!
Where: End of McLennan Drive in the cul-de-sac
When: Sunday October 4th, 2020 2pm start to 4pm+
All ages, dog friendly, outdoor, protocol safe, FUN event!

Looking forward to celebrating with YOU!
Belinda (Street Dance)
Grace (Street Dance)
Jen (Zucchinis)
Mark (Pies)

More information on the Autumn Celebration

2pm – Welcome – meet at the cult-de-sac at end of McLennan 
2:30 – Zucchini Parade 
3:00 – Pod Street Dance! Be sure to send your favourite dance songs to Belinda before the 1st of October –
3:45 – Pie Contest – ooooooo yum!! 
5:00 – Sharing Food / Fire   
** if you wish, please bring SINGLE SERVING FINGER FOOD, this way we can be FOOD SAFE. 
** please also bring your own dishes, cutlery, and cup. 
If you would like to contribute something to the celebration please let Belinda, Grace, Mark or Jen know. We want to make the event inclusive and fun.

**Some additions so far:**

Jim has offered to grind his stunning colourful corn in his antique corn mill with the kids.

FYI – chairs will be set up around the cult-de-sac for comfort, they will be set up following social distancing protocol. There will also be tables set up if you would like to display something.

Sia’s racer from 2019 – so fun!

Mark Says:

“So I thought I’d Pie(p) in here on the Pie Eating part. Being a pie LOVER ( Who isn’t ) What better way to finish a Zucchini Parade then eating pie. Lots of Pie !! Here’s how it might go. Ron has made this beautiful new wooden table. It’s under their shed roof area. All Pie makers will have their Pies on the Table, and when we are ready to come EAT PIE we’ll walk under the roof and the PEI maker will be standing behind their PIE and serve you onto your own plates. No one touches the PIEs, or the table. You can walk along and taste any PIE you want as long as you’re Socially Distant from the person in front of you. Then take your plate, and pieces of PIE away and ENJOY IT !!! You are welcome to come back for more as long as everyone has had the chance to get in there🍲🍲🍲🍲🍲🍲.
So don’t come thinking that it’s like the Fall Fair where they don’t let you taste all those PIEs. Oh no. You’re going to be eating these beautiful culinary creations.

Until the 4th. Stay healthy. Stay Happy as you can. And dream about PIEs.Ummmmmm…..”

**Check back here for further info!**



Shōjin Ryōri

You might be inspired by this article describing Shōjin ryōri, an approach to food preparation derived from Japanese Buddhism going as far back as the 6th Century.

Literally “devotion cuisine” it is designed to promote alignment of mind, body and soul into careful balance.  It strikes me as an extension to the mindfulness and community that has motivated our collective gardening efforts over the past few months.

Shojin ryōri focuses not only the importance of ingredient selection and balance, but the mindfulness of the chef. “It’s about finding the perfect balance, and this comes from the rule of five,” the article notes, drawing on the five phases of Chinese Philosophy known as wuxing, the number thought to reflect the cyclical balance needed in nature and society. “In shōjin ryōri, this applies to colour, flavour and technique: the goshoku (colour) of white, black, red, green and yellow; the gomi (flavour) of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami; and the goho (technique) of simmered, fried, raw, steamed and grilled are all required elements.”

In addition to nutritional balance, the rules of wuxing apply to the five senses, inspiring the diner to notice and value each ingredient as well as the care taken to prepare it.

Shojin ryōri is also an opportunity for connection with other people. “Passed from chef to diner, the meal forms a bridge.”

Another aspect of Shojin ryōri that I particularly appreciate is “ichimotsu zentai”, which means “to use the whole thing”. “The most important part of shōjin is consideration and appreciation for us to survive, we receive the lives of other things, so we must not waste them.” Nothing should be discarded thoughtlessly.

“Itadakimasu” or “I humbly receive” is a phrase those practicing shojin ryōri use when eating to acknowledge the sanctity of food lovingly grown in community, prepared with awareness and savored as the perfection it is.

Download a pdf copy of the article here:
BBC – Travel – Japan’s ancient vegetarian meal

In the Garden

Tomato Max

As everybody knows, only home grown tomatoes have this flavour, even this monster one (Canada Dry included for size comparison).

We will miss these when they are gone, but for now we should all get as much vitamin T as we can.


Chicken sandwich on sourdough, garden tomatoes and onions, home made pickles and sourkraut.


In the Garden In The Valley

Harvest Time

We will be remembering this warm beautiful time of gorgeous fresh food in the months to come!

See some pics here and send more for posting!

In the Garden

Pickle Time

Mark the fermentation master has been generously sharing his expertise to grateful picklers.  Until you taste a crisp fresh REAL pickle the way Mark does it you haven’t tasted the real thing.  Besides being delicious, fermented products like pickles and sauerkraut have many real health benefits for digestion and more.

Coming soon!  Pickle and Kraut videos with Mark and friend of the valley, herbalist and homeopath Seraphina Capranos