a peek inside the fishbowl

14 Sep, 2009

fire and potatoes

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|travel talk

We visited my mother’s place on Saturday. The weather was gorgeous – perfect for a drive along twisty highway seven.

My mom has a pretty acre near a lake. It is a very scenic and restful little spot. The girls enjoy poking around and finding stuff:

tiny toad

One of the best features of this place is a great big fire pit. It’s dug deeply into the grass and is surrounded by a ring of rocks.

My mom’s place is pretty woodsy. (Some of you may recall my annual moaning about the Annual Raking of The Forest) and some of the leaves and twigs she cleans up end up in said fire pit.

It’s not time for The Annual Raking just yet, but she had a sizable pile on the go when we arrived. It hadn’t rained in these parts for about a month so the pile was crackling dry, made entirely of leaves and twigs. It needed to be burned down before dinner, so I crumbled up one piece of newspaper, lit one match, and WHOOSH, there goes the fire. Thank god I managed to hold on to my eyebrows. I have never seen a fire burn so high and so hot.

Once our mini-inferno died down we roasted our dinner, which included sausages, veggies, and POTATOES we had grown ourselves.

These babies were planted earlier this year. Potato farming was a first for us. It was very exciting to pull them out of the ground. The girls loved it. There was a lot of “LOOK AT THIS HUUuuuuuge ONE” and “LOOK THIS BABY POTATO!”

It is kind of neat to see, firsthand, where our food comes from, and get our hands dirty doing it:

potato harvest

potato harvest

potato harvest

We wrapped our special organic potatoes in foil and buried them in the hot hot ash to bake for about 90 minutes. They were delish. The irony here is that neither girl actually likes to eat baked potatoes. (I know. I can’t believe it either.)

Afterwards we played with fire. Not exactly safe I know, but it’s fun to poke a burning stick into the fire then and watch smoke rings curling off of it:

smoke means fire

We drove home in the dark. Only stopping at Silver Lake to stretch our legs and gaze at the stars up above.

All in all a very good day.

3 Responses to "fire and potatoes"

1 | porter

September 14th, 2009 at 9:16 am


Great pics as usual.

I would love to live somewhere like that…I think I’m a country girl at heart.

Your potatoes were amazing! Nobody in my family really likes potatoes so we can relate to your girls. Fingerling potatoes go over well and sometimes homemade mashed or homemade fries but often potatoes spoil in this home.

2 | Chantal

September 14th, 2009 at 9:28 am


I planted potatoes as well. I have been digging them out here and there when we need them. We probably have another dozen in the ground. My neighbour commented while watching me dig them up “its like an easter egg hunt! Only with potatoes instead of eggs!”

Can’t wait to hear about your other projects. Sounds like you will be busy!

3 | The Veg Next Door

September 14th, 2009 at 10:11 am


Not a fan of potatoes either, however, sweet potatoes are probably my favorite vegetable.

Your pictures, as always, are wonderful. You are a great photographer. There’s only one other person that I’ve said that too and he’s the guy who takes our family pics.

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  • Sam Mangrum: Hi Andrea, I just finished reading your article "Reno post #25: Tile city" and I wanted to say thanks. I found so much value in what you had to say
  • Nora B.: So nice to see photos of J&D's beautiful cottage. A wonderful place to get away for a little while from our crazy world!
  • Luis: Never buy a Maytag appliance I have had mine for two years now and the washer and dry suck. Washer leaves soap on clothing and dry doesn’t dry.
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Wedding anniversaries and pandemics - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] This is what we did for our anniversary last year, by the […]
  • andrea tomkins: Thank you Sally! It was so peaceful... very restorative. I look forward to our camping trips every year!
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  • Brien Marshall: This post has transported me back to camping on Lake Opinicon in the 70s. Air mattresses were the classic blue-on-one-side/red-on-the-other-side canv

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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