Friday, July 24, 2015

Free Range Friday ~ Canada

When I first started the Montreal section, I thought I'd leave out the food and do it all on today's post. Then I realized it would be like being run over by a food steamroller. Of course, I have been run over by a food steamroller but it's easier to be here having the experience than getting a week of visuals in one moment. 

All of that to say I'm just going to carry on, like the good overindulged soldier that I am. Somebody's gotta do it and I think, if I share it, somehow I'll vicariously be exercising at the same time. Don't try any logic on me here, I'm beyond it, for at least another two days.

Being in somewhat of a food coma, I didn't photograph breakfast, which was a pick your own from this and that. I picked one piece of bacon, half a hard boiled egg and a few sugar peas from the garden. Minimalist. What a concept!

Then we were off to the Pointe du Moulin. This is a park on the end of Ile Perrot that was once an estate. Not the sort of estate with mansions, more the sort where everyone worked really hard at surviving. You can read about the backstory here. Oh, I'm sure there were some muckety mucks in there somewhere. I tried to think about settling this country, so beautiful here in the summer and so brutal in winter, for such a long span of months. I don't think there's enough money in the world.

Some very pretty country around here

I've seen corn and soy beans, maybe alfalfa growing. 
 And we arrive.

Nothing says welcome to the park like knowing you can bring your dog and shovel.

Yes, my love of fences includes rail fences too

Remember the magazine Highlights for Children? Find the frog.

I think Carroll said these are hackberries. Or some kind of berry. I'm sure on that part.

It's a nice park.

Jonny and of course Carroll, have been here before. I was the newbie. 

When this is open (we were early, as it turned out), I gather they do the history
village sort of thing This was the mller's house, from what I gather.
Obviously, it is all about gathering.
I would have liked to have seen the inside of the house and the mill itself and didn't for two reasons. One, we were all pretty much ready to go before it was quite open. Two, I would have probably wanted to live there and it could have gotten ugly. Rule no. 1 - don't embarrass the cousins on their home turf (other places, that's optional).

This looked, from afar, like a vegetable garden.
 The sign said sunflowers,  wheat and something else.
I think it was a translation for nice weeds.

You guessed it.
The island of Ile Perrot is made of rock. On Culebra, it can be very rocky but we're a loamy grove compared to this place. You literally cannot dig a hole here to plant something without hitting BIG BIG rock. Most of the areas in Carroll and Michael's yard that are planted had to be dug out with a digger machine. Luckily, the resulting rocks are great for decorating the yard. It's pretty crazy.

All fine and well to use this for cooking in summer...

And there is the windmill! One of two out of 18 remaining that is actually functional.
Hooray for historical societies!

Just for relativity to a human who happens to be my brother

The fulcrum at the back can literally turn the whole set up (no, not the 'house') around to best catch the wind. It wasn't windy so I didn't get to see that part. 

Montreal out in the distance. That bump in the mountains is the Oratory.

I kept being drawn back to the windmill

A half ash tree (no, it's a whole ash tree but I couldn't resist)

This was a bird feeder that looked more like a long milk can with handmade cut outs
and perches on it. Maybe it was exactly that, but probably not. 
We left the park and headed around to some other spots on the island. One was this cemetery that is situated in a pretty incredible spot along the St. Lawrence.

I've said it before, I like cemeteries. This one is apparently sold out. There were quit a few stones with NO names on them, and many with only a few names and room for more, along with some that had a list of the still living and no end dates. There were very few old old stones (I found a few lying against the church building - can't retrieve those photos yet). With the long winters and a lot of heaving effect, old fragile stones don't stand much of a chance at lasting over a few hundred years. 

This is Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal Catholic Church, across from the terraced graveyard.
There is some good Canada/Ile Perrot history here concerning the church.
And here too.

There were other stones I liked (in the can't get to yet file) but this was the first that
caught my attention, off in a corner. 
We drove through an old neighborhood edging the water where it was mainly small homes with a few imposers among them. It felt much more like 'I know this kind of place!' than our estate drive, each with their own beauty, this a much more rugged charm. 

Home again, it was time for a garden walk. Carroll weeded and told me the names of things. I photographed them and promptly forgot the names. 

I do remember that these will bud into pansies.
Edited to note: Oops! I didn't remember too well! These are poppies!
Like the Wizard of Oz.

We're trying to figure out the sequence of events on this plant.
Maybe today will clear up the mystery.

The variety of day lilies is pretty outstanding.
One thing I've learned is, the power of the colors isn't just visual.
You could make a good strong dye easily with anyone of these. That would be fun! 
Echinacea (or the less lovely named coneflower) and bumblebee.
Click on the link for how to grow and use them 

How have I missed these before? But I did. Hens and chickens succulents

An iris that was hiding. The rest have already bloomed. 

Crazy mango daylilies

This one is called something about its petticoats. We call it the whore daylily.
Yes, Carroll is my smarter, more attractive mental doppleganger.
But I'm younger. So there.

I'm not sure if this one is called Cherry Cheeks or if that is another one.
Who sits around being paid to think this stuff up? I want to know. Seriously.

NOW we get to the food! Finally! It ended up being a lunch skipping day and I can tell you, my brother and I felt better for it, at least this day. We knew that ahead was a big treat (again). 

Making charmoula. A fish condiment for what else? Fish.

This is Michael's recipe. Think pesto. Think chimichurri. Make charmoula.

Or preserve your own lemons.
It's not difficult, but you can't start now for tonight.
 While we were tripping about through graveyards and parks, Michael had gone foraging, bring home two stripped bass for dinner. We'd been talking the other evening about smoking fish (please get all your smoking fish jokes out of the way right here) and while he's used the smoker for meats and fowl, he'd not tried fish. The game was afoot!

Brining first. 

Seasoning next. And yes, that is bacon and yes, that is going in the fish.

And yes, duck fat was rubbed on the outside of the fish. What could go wrong?


A turn of fish
Meanwhile, inside, Carroll was making a wonderful rice dish with couscous and mushrooms and well, whatever is in that skillet.

The other thing Michael foraged was calamari. The plan was to do a very fast (as in barely 2 minutes), no breading deep fry. Yum.

I kept myself busy. 

This cork screw is a work of art AND it works! 

Yep, they are smokin'

A gorgeous salad with no lettuce. Lots from the garden with some extras too

And then they were done. 

As was the calamari

Michael and Carroll serving. I got no farther than that photographically.
I can only say it was as delicious as the scratch and sniff above would indicate.
Hope that worked for you.
Another raining morning, were at about 60/40 on sun or rain to start the day, more on the sun side. So far, the rain either doesn't last long or only rains when we're under cover anyway. Today's plan is to go and wander Old Montreal. As I tell Culebra visitors, if it is raining? That is why god invented bars. Then it will be onward to have dinner with Aunt Mimi. That is also why god invented bars. Hey! That was a joke!

Have a fish for foraged food Friday. Do something fearlessly in feasting.


  1. Amazing photos! Looks very quaint. Did you go to Chez Suzette? That's where I went to get an amazing seafood crepe! Delicious:)

    1. Quaint and lovely. We didn't go to Chez Suzette, we were pretty much having Chez Carroll and Michael this time around. We did go out to lunch today and it was wonderful, if I could even remember the name of the place...Maybe next time!

  2. It appears to me that the plants you described as budding pansies are in fact budding poppies - but no worries...

  3. Martin, you are exactly right!! I knew it started with a P and it was late. Thanks for the correction. I'll correct it