shop cabinet woodwork

Right alongside my new studio in the lake cottage, there’s a little nook. It’s the sort of space that begs for a bit of custom shelving to fill it and I knew at once it would be my little studio shop, if only I could fit it out nicely. When I spotted a beat up old buffet & hutch going for a song, I bought it.

damaged cabinet

While I may claim some talents, measuring accurately the first time is not one of them. Oh, dear. To fit this particular cabinet, a bit of woodwork was required!

cabinet cornice

I already knew that the top edge of the cabinet was badly damaged – but it wouldn’t be seen once in the nook. I’m not fond of such a generous curve in the top molding, and needed to remove it to fit, so I marked a line and sawed it off.

cabinet sawing

And cleaned up the edge on both sides so the piece would slide in nicely. Sawing with a really good, sharp saw is so pleasing! I studied up in advance, as I’ve not handled a saw in some time.

cabinet marked

I had known when I bought it that the edge of the buffet needed to lose half an inch, though I’d had some crazy idea about planing the thing off. Once I measured (hmm, properly) I could see I needed to cut it.

cabinet - sawn

I was rather impressed with myself for sawing it freehand. Don’t be afraid of this kind of work! It is just as satisfying as splitting wood with an axe.

However. I hadn’t expected to face solidly glued, nailed molding at the base, sticking out far too widely on each side to ever get the cabinet into the nook.

cabinet- corner molding

Don’t despair, as I did. Come back and see how I solved it!

planting garlic

When I choose what food to grow, particularly in a small space, with limited time, I like to choose something that is expensive to buy, keeps a short time, or comes from a long way away. Astonishingly, garlic is one of those foods that seems regularly to be imported to this country! Considering how effortless it is to grow here, and that it does perfectly well along the latitude that I seem to frequent, both in Canada and in England, it is a perfect crop for me. Have you grown your own garlic? It’s easy – let me show you.

garlic-beds.jpg

My mother let me devote one of her raised beds to a bit of garlic. Any pot or sunny-ish spot between plants will do.

garlic-compost.jpg

I topped the bed up with some good compost. No need to dig it in, the worms will have the amusement of that job.

garlic-clovess.jpg

Like other bulbs that you might be planting at this time of year (if the ground around you isn’t yet frozen, nor yet under snow) you’ll want to notice where the roots are, and where the neck is. We’ll separate the cloves and plant the garlic root-side down. It is a bit flat on that end, and pointier at the top, in case you’ve bought garlic specifically for planting and cannot see any roots on the bulb. Buying ‘seed garlic’ may be a good idea, but I’ve never had a problem just using whatever organic garlic I had left in the kitchen.

digging-garlics.jpg

Also like other bulbs, you’re going to be planting garlic at a depth about 2 times its length. Press the earth around it so it is well tucked in. You can mulch over the top if your plants will need that kind of protection. It tends to be far too wet here for that, and mild, at sea level on the coast.

garlic_planteds.jpg

To amend a verse from The Giant Radish: Grow garlic, grow big; Grow garlic grow strong!; Grow garlic, grow huge! I might put some more in another pot or two, as I aspire to grow enough to braid my own garlic. Such satisfaction, a ten minute task done, and in it I’ve won a tiny victory for eating local. I’ve been wondering a little about the true costs of transporting our food a very long way. They aren’t just ecological, and economical, are they? I wonder if these problems are very much about our own connection to our food, attachment to the seasons and the harvest, and a sense of one’s knowledge and self-reliance, too. There’s still time to plant your own garlic.