The plethora of sunshine meant a good haul this summer.
This late surge of warm September weather is really helping our tomato and pepper plants. I was worried none of the green tomatoes would have a chance to ripen, but I picked the first 5 monster tomatoes yesterday and there’s dozens more just starting to turn orange. We even have a few jalapenos making a late push. Which can only mean one thing – it’s fresh salsa time!
I also found this mystery squash in our community garden. I transplanted it in the spring from our compost bin (often seeds from squash, pumpkins, and tomatoes will sprout). One of my neighbours thought it could be chayote (which we used to make pho), but it doesn’t look bumpy enough. After scanning pictures on google, I think it might be Lebanese White Bush Marrow, but I don’t where the seed would have come from, it’s not exactly a grocery store variety of squash.
Our community garden now consists of a mountain of kale, a jungle of tomato plants, one bush of cilantro, and a few beets and carrots. We’re doing our best to keep up with the kale and are preparing for the onslaught tomatoes which are just starting to ripen. I can’t wait to feast on fresh salsa. I found the first red tomato this morning.
It’s been over a year since Emily and I moved into the Olympic Village. For the first 10 months, our home was was just another Vancouver apartment, in a highly politicized neighbourhood lacking retail and people.
But things have really changed in the past few months. The village has new life (with more people and more retail) and we’ve gotten to know many of our neighbours. Instead of living in a beautiful, but isolated area, it now feels like we’re part of a strong community.
Last month, I volunteered to organize a community garden on the rooftop of our building. It’s been hard work, but it’s great to see the results – a prospering garden full of flowers and vegetables, and more importantly (I think), over 20 neighbours who know each other a lot better now. Before the garden took root, I only knew one of our neighbours (and only her name). Now, I’ve lost the anonymity I once had in our building, with neighbours young and old stopping to talk to me in the hallways and on the street. It’s not an experience I’m used to in Vancouver, but it feels good.
In addition to the garden, I’ve gotten to know people living in neighbourhood through online networking. Technology is often criticized for isolating people, but in this case it has connected me to my neighbours. There’s a Facebook page for the area with an active community who’ve organized a potluck and quiz night.
It was great to meet other people in the village, and hear the same praise and complaints about our neighbourhood. The Olympic Village is home to a wide array of people – there are multi-million dollar condos, rental units, a co-op, and subsidized housing. And yet, we are all dealing with a growing neighbourhood, nearby construction, retail that is months behind schedule, and fancy heating systems that don’t work as expected. And yet, most of us feel lucky to live in such a beautiful neighbourhood.
I’ve also got to know some of my neighbours via Street Bank, a website that facilities sharing between neighbours. It’s a great idea. I haven’t borrowed anything yet, but I’ve lent out my drill and hand saw to neighbours.
In other community building news, Emily is in the midst of organizing a composting Food Scraps Drop Spot pickup for the Olympic Village. She’s busy recruiting volunteers and organizing the logistics.
While thousands of people were running the marathon, I through on my Vibrams and ran to the Vancouver Tool Library on Commercial. I picked up some gardening tools and through them in the passenger seat of a nearby car2go. Then, I spent the afternoon digging up grasses and plants in our rooftop garden getting it ready for a new community garden. It was a hard, tiring day, but it was great to be outside in the sun.