birch & maple

I've prepared a little printable with a blueberry jam recipe from Wild Berries and a couple of labels for a jar, in case you want to give a gift to your neighbour, or something. The recipe is in English and in Swampy Cree, also known as n-dialect Cree from the Cross Lake, Norway House area. Illustrations by Julie Flett. Translation by Jennifer Thomas. This printable is here with permission from the author.

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spinach walnut pesto

This is a nice early fall dish — easy. It's really good with a crunchy salad that has a little bitterness, acid or spice (like cucumber salad with lemon and chili oil). Also really good with butternut squash pasta or grilled salmon. I started making this for my son as a break from noodles and cheese, so I've been making it a lot.

This pesto needs a generous hand with the salt and pepper. Course salt on the table is a good idea, it's easy to over- or under-season. Try not to put too in much spinach or it will lose its delicate flavour.

Spinach walnut pesto
serves 4 – 6


Cooked pasta

1 clove garlic (maybe more if serving to cool hippie children or adults)
3/4 cup walnuts
3 oz spinach (about 3 handfuls)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
3 – 4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons cold water
bunch fresh basil, stems removed
1/2 lemon:  juice + zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more for the table


1. Toast the walnuts in a pan or the stove until they smell toasty. Set aside to cool.

2. Boil, drain and set aside pasta, reserving 1/2 cup water before draining.

3. Put everything else in a blender or food processor and let it blend until it is a very creamy paste. If you are serving to a picky little person make sure you give it an extra stir and an extra blend here or they will find a tiny piece of whole spinach and have a breakdown.

4. Toss together pasta, reserved water and pasta.

Unused pesto will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a couple of days.

I like to put this on the table because it's something Auggie will eat and it has protein and vegetables in it. I also like it because it's a fast vegetarian dish which has protein and isn't just cheesy pasta. Leftovers go well with everything.


We spent our family vacation on pretty little Hornby island. The beaches were warm and sheltered and there was nothing to do but act like cavemen. That is, we collected rocks, threw rocks into the water and skipped rocks. Every day we would swim, lie around on hot sand, and draw in the wet sand. The little rocky beach near our cabin was full of crickets, sandpipers, little crabs and rockpools and, as we were in a heatwave, the water was warm even in the evening.

Starfish by the dock.

On our best day we hunted for shells on a wide shallow, sandy beach and found we were walking through a bank of live sea dollars. On our worst day, we all needed a snack.

A sand dollar shell that made it home,

and one that didn't.

Nesting pebble, one of our best rock treasures. One of us also found a rock that looks exactly like a potato and was quite excited about it. We are so happy to be home in the city, though, since we caught summer by the tail.

Blue sky

We shouldn't have gone out for ice cream after dinner because it was almost bedtime, but we did, and it was a happy downtown summer evening. Lots of running and laughing on the way there and (luckily) on the way home. It's a good feeling when you're little to feel you've sneaked into the big outside world that's going on after bedtime. 


^ Blue Sky (marshmallow flavour) and Coconut: "these are my best flavours". Grapefruit and Pistachio for me (they are my best flavours). I love that melon-y grapefruit colour and want it on my nails, linen and around me, generally — it's very soothing and the colour of contentment, to me.


We watched people choosing their flavours and guessed what they were, based on their colour. Generally, for sweet things, Auggie thinks that red is Apple, pink is Rose and green is Mint. As a flavour scheme, I like it much better than Cherry, Strawberry and Lime. 

He used to always ask for green lollipops because he thought they tasted like roses. 

Summer herbs

I found some shiso leaves on sale, and I got to make a true version of my favourite summer dish, which is marinated tofu + ricotta + shiso (usually I use basil and mint instead of shiso), from Harumi Kurihara.  

The sauce is 1/4 cup soy sauce + 2 teaspoons superfine sugar + 1 Tablespoon mirin (or sake with 1 teaspoon sugar) + 1/2 Tablespoon grated ginger. Add in a little chili, lemon or lime if you want. Lightly heat the sauce. Then pour over soft or silken tofu topped with ricotta. Sprinkle on fresh shiso leaves, toasted sesame seeds and a handful of bonito flakes. 

This is so good with spinach and feta salad dressed with olive oil and lemon. I also love it with chili oil on top. The basil and mint option is easily just as nice as the shiso version. 

I think this is a good recipe for children to make, as the ratios are very flexible and there is a lot of pouring and sprinkling and little heating or cutting. Or to make yourself and maybe have some beer with lemon as you work away. Maybe the kids are at camp! Summer!