Author: rena (Page 1 of 6)

Some great new music on the Homegrown show

First off, thank you for visiting the Homegrown show’s Website. I have found for you some interesting and unusal songs for the month of January. I am also trying to get more spoken word on the Homegrown show, which means, I will be reviewing submissions of poetry, short stories, essay/talks, or radio plays for future use. I would especially appreciate those created by people on the islands, the west coast of BC, which is the Homegrown area of the Homegrown show.

Some of the highlights from January are

Cold in Canada, a parody recorded by a couple of guys in Manatoba during -45 weather. Uses the song structure of Toto’s Africa.


The Arrogant Worms with Little Leach

The Arrogant Worms with the RCMP song

and Leaving the Lagoon, a song by Glen Foster written about Manson’s Lagoon on Cortes Island, a truly local original written by a visitor from Nanimo.

These are some of the highlights of songs played in January on the Homegrown show. Thanks for listening. Check out the past shows page for full podcasts.

VDay 16

I want to celebrate this Valentines day by planting a tree
that will blossom every year of our lives
feed us sweet fruits when we are older
give us bunches of flowers every spring
providing food for bees
to make into honey every year with which to sweeten our lives

I love it, becoming thoughtful
Giving flowers that are still alive
in a pot of dirt, with the potential to grow
more than those that are cut and imported
and flown around on cargo jets
making home made treats
secretly in the kitchen for one another
handled with care every step of the way
and designed with individual tastes in mind
containing something of you,
your energy, time and effort
That the sentiments of the holiday
Don’t have to be gotten from commercial sources

Its two years since the man I loved all my life
took his last breath on Earth,
casting a shadow on all the romance, hearts and candy
But the romantic glow of candlelight is always full of shadows
that deepen the brilliance of the soft light of love
and I think of him and his fearless heart
and the way he made it count
if a slight tear falls on the celebration
made more intense by whispers from the past
encouraging me to celebrate it with even more abandon,
dance wildly, love deeper, live my dreams in a life shared,
reach out and connect with a deeper passion than ever before

I’d like to celebrate by building another honey super,
maybe another hive
preparing for bees to prosper
with the sweetness of summer feed us,
with the buzz of life in the trees connect us
with brilliance of flowers on the ground and garden entice our eyes,
I missed his funeral in order to honour him in everyday life
Being fully present for the one whom I love
and creating a lasting memorey that reaches for a better future
than the one being created for us by environmental circumstance.

Year of the Moneky Business

From international trade agreements involving dozens of countries
being tricked into signing authority to over ride their sovereign laws
To the gut instinct of an 8 month old kitten
it horrifies me on how many levels
corporations try and seize control
the kitten’s been addicted
by misguided loving hands
to carbs and salts and chemicals he does not need
it would make him sick
to make him switch all at once
to a healthier choice
you’ve got to wean him off of the stuff
and I can just see those pet food CEOs
at their lab tests, cheering when the lab cats choose their manufactured food
over that which nature intended the beast to eat
and I once boycotted all their products as carefully as I could
In a human rights campaign
Because they did the same
to humans, mothers and babies in impoverished countries
receiving a gift basket for their newborns
containing cases of infant formula
in the guise of helping so the mothers milk dries up
and if the family can’t get more the baby starves and dies
insidious diabolical method of creating repeat customers through desperation
manufacturing junk food with child slave labour
food additives like vanillan ending up in the finished product
to make you want more of it as you eat it
immediate craving even as you’re getting full
then they also sell you diet pills and plans
when you can’t get a grip on it
the company’s got you covered
at all stages of addiction except for real recovery
letting the animal or the human make their own choices
with subtle chemical influence exerted behind the scenes
given a conscious choice, a person or an animal
would eat healthy food and never get fat or sick
but day to day we have to think twice
to take the fruit and not the candy every time you want something sweet
to eat the fish and not the chips at home
There’s been rat meat sold as chicken wings for Superbowl Sunday in the USA
and it might be more sustainable that way
If I could find those packages of wings processed in China
I could feed a species appropriate food to my pet
thinking I’m crazy to consider it, it was a scandal, strictly illegal
but it passed the taste test of hundreds of sports watchers
just as good fried with hot sauce for humans
and the natural prey of the cat
almost certifiably insane
when rats are abundant, making themselves a known nuisance in everyone’s yards
and this kind of a food system,
what I’d like to break free from
not subject any living creature in my care to dealing with,
is considered rational and normal.
They’ve just added a new mental illness to the big psychiatric diagnosis book
under the category of eating disorders
when people want organic and healthy food
question the source of where and how its made
make sure its not ever handled with callous disregard
and if the ugliest rodent on earth could help us break free
stop trusting in processed foods and international trade
that sends it all away
by presenting itself as a dubious source of protein
in the hands of manufacturers not yet seen as crooked as they are
on every single level imaginable
and also as a species appropriate food source
for animals nature evolved to be its predators
maybe this year of the monkey business
is actually the year of the rat
thanks to China being allowed to make us processed food
from real chicken
and choosing not to send it back
instead sending rat.

(the corporation referred to is Nestle)

Some Great new Tunes on this weeks Homegrown show

This week was a good one for some new music on the Homegrown show. First of all, Quadra Island musician Cameron Gunn resleased a song off of his new upcoming album, which I was happy to play on the show. Here’s a link to it.

Southern Winds

Also, I found some great new music which is available for free, by New Brunswick musician Sirr, Mark OConner, off of his album liar cake. Here’s a link to their music. Its a new and different sound. The songs played on the Homegrown show were Blue World and Cure for Caner.

Sirr! Liar Cake



Get the most out of your nuts

If you want to get the most out of the nuts you buy for your food

Milk them first

I just made an awesome new discovery in the quest for independence, in things I can do for myself, easily if not inexpensively. But to the cost effective idea, if you are going to make any food recipe that calls for ground nuts, such as hazelnut cake, almond cake, almond resent cookies or mushroom nut loaf, you may want to get the most out of your nuts by milking them first, then grinding and using in your favorite recipe.

Soaked and ground nuts also make a great, high protein, high fiber meat substitute that gives one most of the satisfaction of having eaten heartily of flesh. It is not a quirk of language that the inner flesh of nuts is called “meat” and “flesh”

All you do is this: Soak 1 cup of nuts, or whatever amount your other recipe calls for overnight in water. Rinse twice. Peel the nuts if you so desire. (the peel on almonds and hazelnuts can sometimes add a hint of a bitter flavour)

Then you whip up the nuts in a blender with 1 liter or 4 cups of water until the liquid looks milky. At this point you may want to add any flavours you want, like a bit of maple syrup, honey or vanilla. Or coco if you want chocolate nut milk. A nutritious flavor I recommend is amazake, a sweet and creamy thick substance made from fermented brown rice which is its own delicious drink, that contains no sugar and tastes like a milkshake. (recipe for that to come).
Strain the nuts out with a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl. Mash the nut meal against the screen of the sieve to get all the precious milk out of it and to dry the nut meal as much as possible, since most recopies assume the ground nuts being added will be dry.

You may want to carefully toast the nut crumbs in an oven on lowest heat or in a dry cast iron pan stirring constantly to have dry nut meal, and a toasted flavour. This needs to be done cautiously because it is even easier to burn in this state. Or just use as is. I have with great success.

This easy and straightforward recipe is something I wish I’d known about years ago. Think of all the money I wasted buying nut milk and grinding nuts for baking separate. All the helicopter cargo space wasted on tetra packs of almond milk, all the landfill contributions of blue tetra packs that our local store will not accept as returns for recycling. If only I had known how easy it was to make almond milk. A wise storekeeper from my favorite food store, Yellow Dog on Quadra Island, once tried to tell me, but the knowledge did not sink in…
Almonds and a lot of other tree nuts are becoming more and more expensive as the supply dwindles and the demand stays the same due to severe multi year droughts in places where they are grown. So if you are buying almonds for cooking, get the most out of them by milking them too.

Wheat free Turkey stuffing

So here it is, Canadian Thanksgiving weekend already. Time to become aware of gratitiude for your life, and all within it. Including the land it takes place in. A thoughtful kind of holiday. I spent it at home this year with family. A great many Thanksgivings of my adult life, it has not been so.

In my life, it was often in the middle of Chum salmon fishing, when there was only a few days to get out and make our living, the last chance to make any money before it shut down for the winter. As a deckhand on a troller, cooking was mostly my responsibility. I often made Thanksgiving Day pie in the diesil oven in between pulling 10 – 20 pound chums in, some of which I would keep and smoke. Or we ate it after dark, during the long evenings at anchor, some of which are incredibly stormy at this time of year. Sometimes I would make it, then put my raingear back on, go out and gut a couple of hundred fish while it was cooking, in the dark, under the glow of deck lights.

This year the Thanksgiving weeked was rainy and stormy, reminding me of times when we trolled close to shore in areas that were sheltered from the southeast, and couldn’t have gone home for the holiday even if we wanted to. The one dish meal version of this recipie is authentic fishboat cusine of the inside troller. The basis of it can be used for stuffing a chicken or turkey.


To make the stuffing, you soak millet and oat groats overnight. Dump water and rinse to remove anti nutreints from the grain and eleminate the need for pre boiling. Saute onion and celery in real butter. Add sage leaves and dried cranberries. Add the grains and some home made stock cubes, perferable from chicken or turkey, but meat ones made from boiled bones will also work. If you lack these, add some powdered vegetable stock. As well as add poultry seasoning and hot smoked paprika. I aslo add some wild mushroom powder if I have it or chopped mushrooms, and either some hemp hearts or hazelnut crumbs.

Let simmer in the pan until grains are chewy but soft, then stuff it into your turkey or chicken.

When I lived alone, or when I was out on the fishboat for Thanksgiving weekend catching chum salmon in the Johnstone Straights, I made this when I had chicken or turkey pieces. I called it Thanksgiving Day Pie

I layered some sliced potatoes and yams in the pot, then the chicken or turkey pieces, then a layer of the stuffing, with some sliced carrots and onions for a vegetable, and a little thin layer of either stuffing to get crispy ontop or soft mash potatoes. Then bake in the oven, around 1 hour, but ovens differ, and if you are using a diesil oven on a boat, turn it around once, so both sides bake close to where the fire is.


Hi everyone. Mishka, the writer of the song Homegrown, “Nothing so sweet as your homegrown” is making a new album, which is available for download through his site. Here’s the link to Mishka’s new album “Roots Fidelity” available

Gift of water from the sky



We finally had 2 days of beautiful cooling rain after living for weeks in the scortching smoky shadows of a devistating forest fire season affecting all of western Canada, and a drought which extends all the way down to California. I have been coming up with ways to save and reuse water, keeping the gardens and friut trees watered at the same time. People who live in an area with some of the most generous rainfall in Canada normally do not have to think about such things, but even rainforests have their dry seasons. Even the city of Toffino has water shortages sometimes.

The problem is, when people are used to seeing heavy rainfall regularly, they don’t prepare for times when it dissapears from the sky for months on end.

I grew up in the praries. Most houses had 45 gallon drums at the end of their downspouts. This water was used for watering gardens. Here on the west coast, blue and white plastic barrels regularly wash up on the beaches intact. I am surprised to see how few of them are being used to collect and store rainwater. All you have to do is install a through hull fitting at the bottom of the aproximate size of a garden hose, a short length of hose and a valve at the end to convinently fill your buckets and watering cans. You put a fitted screen over the top of the barrel, and some tight fitting plastic for when its full to stop both mosquitos and evaporation.

In this particularly dry summer, I have not had to skimp too much on bathing, providing I re use the water. Since I use non toxic bathing and cleaning products, this does not add anything nasty to my gardens and plants. I use soap alternitives, such as the coconut oil scrub and epsom salts scrub I make and sell at our local farmers market. Even these are used in small amounts. I clean the tub out after with baking soda, which is also not harmful if some traces of it end up in my garden.

Many old houses in the country that I grew up around had a sink drain straight out the wall from their kitchen to a flower and herb bed that was directly watered with the day’s dishwater. People moved their washing machines outside during the summer months, so the laundry water watered their lawn and shrubs. People also had cisterns to store water when it was plentiful and deep ponds in their yards, called a “dugout” that collected water for irrgiating crops. People involved in growing things on the often dry praries appreciated rain for the gift that it is and did not take it for granted.

Here, our community garden is watered out of a well, and there have been restrictions on its use since the end of May. My action of collecting rainwater in a garbage can half dug into the ground in the center of my plot was once a controverstial action that my neighbors complained about. Now its absolutly essential to the well being of my food plants to supplement the limited watering we are allowed from the hoses every couple of days. I irrigate individual squash and tomato plants with 2liter plastic cider bottles, with a pinhole in the bottom and the lid screwed on loosly. Or I buy plant watering spikes to screw on where the lid goes. 5 gallon buckets with a through hull, hose barb, valve and short lengths of soaker hose can be used to keep raised beds watered and productive using captured reused water from your household. Lush gardens and plant life need not become a thing of the past in a dry summer providing it uses water that was just destined to go down the drain anyway, into septic or sewer pipes.

Smoothies in the Heat

There is a heat wave that has been going on for week, unusual at this time of year, but it happens occasionally

My husband is the one and and only cook most of the time at a busy pub right beside a baking hot ashphalt ferry dock on the island where we live. Sometimes he doesn’t get time to take breaks to eat properly and sustain his energy and rehydrate himself during the summer when the kitchen is busy and tempurtures in the kitchen sometimes reach 120 degrees. To keep him from becoming too depelted during such times when people really love their deep fried food, I make him this clean, cold energizing smoothie chilled in the freezer and brought to him right in the heat of the moment. He says it revives him…


Pomegranite plum and beet smoothie.


1 part canned beets with the juice… one part fermented canned plums. These are sweet Italian plums canned with a little bit of sea salt, before I learned about fermenting for the salt pickled plums I was after, a little bit of Chinese 5 spice, pomegranite molasas and water….

You whip it up in the blender, and put in freezer for 15-20 minutes, until near freezing. The flavors combine sweet, salty and tart. A teaspoon of spirulina adds protien and a green flavour, a teaspoon of honey adds a touch of sweetness to it.

Get Rid of Rodents without Harming their Preditors

 We all want to be rat free in our home life, but we don’t want to harm the most magestic birds of prey that grace our skies with their beautiful presence.

In the Homegrown adventure, sometimes you may have to deal with house guests that are not welcome and not invited. You know the type, the visitor who moves in with you, hoping their presence will go undetected until they start wrecking your belongings, eating your food, waking you up at night, and making a mess. They may even make you sick or kill you, they may accidentally cause fires and floods to your home. I am taking about our little buddies here, the rodents. Like a nemesis pet gone amok, the presence of rodents makes us explore our cruel side, even if we believe in being humane to animals.

The temptation is there to do anything, whatever it takes to get rid of the little bastards. This is where we must think carefully. Rodents exist for a reason, even the really ugly and nasty ones. They exist to provide food to the majestic and culturally iconic birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks and owls. They provide hours of entertainment for cats and dogs, and the occasional snack. There are hundreds of animals who depend on the rodent population for their day to day food supply, and that is why it is unwise to poison them.

However, using a fake poison can rid your home of the unwanted pests without harming them or their predators. I am talking about getting a restaurant supply sized bag of cyanne pepper, the hottest and strongest you can get, and laying down a 2 inch wide strip of it outside of any holes or obvious rodent walkways and trails. Their noses will sting, they will become afraid and perceive that they are being poisoned, which will cause them to leave the area. They will walk through it and lick their paws, and experience cyanne pepper in their mouths, which gives them the idea that this is not a place to live or eat in. Which gets them out of your house, sheds or areas that they are causing problems in. When a rodent becomes sick or suffers averse effects of a substance, the tendancy is for the animal to go outside. It may be less aware of its surroundings, and an easier target for its preditors. This is how commercially avaialble rodent poisons end up killing your beloved pets and helpful preditors who would keep the rodent populations down if warfrin wasn’t also killing them off in a secondary posioning effect.

Next step up is the scaring device. If you have 110 plugs available, get some sonic deterrents, they put out a high pitched sound that humans and pets are not bothered by, but is unbearable to rodents. (unless of course, your pet is one of the small rodents closely related to mice and rats, then the sonic device will tourture your pet. The rats and mice can leave the premisis, in fact, that’s why your doing this, to get them to go.)

You can make a home made live trap with a large garbage can. Put a stick across the top of it, a thin and flimsy little stick. Put a can with peanut butter smeared on it on the stick, and a ramp to the rim of the garbage can. The rat or mouse walks out onto the stick attracted by the peanut butter and then the can tips them into the bucket. In the bottom of the bucket, they will squeak, attracting their buddies to come and see what is happening. The end result is you have a garbage can with all the rats or mice in the place inside it, live. You can do whatever you want with them. Relocate them to uninhabited areas, or to your local politicians office for natures very own file shredder. Should you want a large supply of rats and mice, here’s how to get them. If you don’t want to deal with live rodents, just put 12 inches of water in the bottom of the garbage can.

There are the usual array of live traps and snap traps available that are not poisonous to rodent’s predators as well, but the fake poison of cyanne pepper and the sonic scarers work really well. The garbage can trap does too.




Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén