Potato Surprise

We are home and have totally plugged right back in to domestic vibes. Today was a super domestic day for me: I did yard work. I donned this navy blue 3/4 length pea coat that I used to wear when I was like 21 that I now only use when I have to work outside in the fall. I think I got it at the Salvation Army on St-Antoine and Guy. Anyhow, I put it on and was like: “This coat isn’t actually that bad,” just before handing my work gloves and grabbing a garbage bag. I collected all the trash that accumulates in our yard, cut back the dead iris leaves and tidied up some leaves. In the back yard I put away all Neptune’s outside toys. I also decided to pull the rogue potato plants that will likely die during our next overnight freeze. Point being I was very pleasantly surprised by the haul of new, little cute potatoes:


I mean, it’s November and – according to Jamie Oliver’s Jamie At Home cookbook – way too late for potatoes. In fact, when I followed his instruction for planting potatoes I got nothing except a bunch of rotted, mushy post-potatoes. Canada certainly does have it’s own rule on the agriculture side and no matter how much I’d like to try, I can’t pretend that our growing season resembles that of the UK in any way possible.

Anyhow, Murray’s gonna roast the potatoes today or tomorrow for dinner. On the domestic side I installed a couple light fixtures today, too. Renaissance woman. I also booked flights for the band to get us home from the Metric tour, and next I’m gonna add a bunch of archival images (we’re talking 1999-2002 styles, courtesy of former-Dear Jonathan Cohen) to our tour history on thedears.org. Boom.

Dirt Blog

I went on a little adventure today. Flying solo, I went over to the Complexe environnemental de Saint-Michel for their annual distribution of free compost. I accidentally stumbled upon this when I was in an annoyed rage about a neighbour who is constantly dumping old furniture and garbage behind our garage in the alley. So while scouring the Ville de Montreal website for details on garbage, recycling, spring cleaning and complaining about it, I came upon this event and made a note of it on the calendar.

I never thought I was going go through with it: I assumed I would flake on it and nearly did. I plan to build a raised bed vegetable garden in the backyard and will obviously need a lot of dirt. So I drove over to this massive, landscaped industrial complex, and followed the spray-painted signs marked “COMPOST” into a dusty parking lot. After showing a proof of address I backed up to one of the several aisles of dirt, and started digging.

As I filled my two green recycling bins full of dirt, this wonderfully communal feeling came over me. Dozens of cars were similarly parked, with men and women of all ages filling bags, buckets, bins or whatever they wanted with this damp, dark compost. Where does it come from? How does the city make this stuff? Well, unlike many of Canada’s more progressive cities: “More than 47 per cent of waste produced by Montrealers is organic. At present, only 7 per cent of this waste is recovered and composted.” Which is precisely why I was so surprised that this huge, state-of-the-art recycling complex even existed in the first place.

Lots of homes in Montreal have their own ways of reducing organic waste “off the grid.” I’ve heard of people with trays of earthworms in their kitchens, pet rabbits or compost bins in their backyards. Then there’s us, who presently have a very prison-like backyard, so we reserve the still usable but not totally edible bits of vegetables (tops of leeks, bottoms of chard, flaccid celery, and “last legs” spinach stems) and pop them in the freezer until it’s time to cook up our monthly batch of vegetable stock.

So now the car is full of dirt. Just in the garage, full of bins of dirt and I wonder if that’s bad, as if we’ll go to the car in the morning and it’ll be full of potato bugs or something. Yuck. Hope not. Next weekend the city is giving away free flowers…I wonder if I should go for it?