Fort de Chartres Heritage Garden

Un journal d'un Jardin Potager du Pays des Illinois

Tag: events (page 1 of 3)

Neige de printemps

American Bottomland

American Bottomland Late Winter

16 Mars 2014 Dimanche (Sunday)

31 F, Snow

14 mph NNE wind

Snow. Four days until the arrival of spring and winter is reluctant to release its grip in the Illinois country. We continue to endure the temperature extremes with accompanying precipitation and await a steadier course of warm weather truly heralding the change of seasons. Late winter has offered a limited number of days suitable for work in the garden and just as one despairs of the weather, welcome news arrives lifting one’s spirits.

First, the glad tidings. This year marks the fifth season of the Fort de Chartres Heirloom Garden project. I am very thankful for the support of fort staff, Les Amis de Fort de Chartres (The Friends of Fort de Chartres), friends, and visitors who have shared in the eighteenth-century French-colonial garden adventure. leaffork_with_text_580_0KGIIn celebration of this milestone, I applied for a Kitchen Gardeners International grant on behalf of the Fort’s l’habitant jardin potager under the sponsorship of the Save American History organization. Notification has just arrived that the Fort garden project has been awarded a $500 grant from KGI’s nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of their own food and helping others to do the same.  The Sow It Forward grant program received 910 applications from 24 countries and 160 grants were awarded. We are extremely thankful to be chosen for this grant and promise to continue sharing heirloom seeds, education, and enthusiasm with visitors to the Fort de Chartres jardin potager. In addition, Les Amis de Fort de Chartres and Save Illinois History organizations are matching the grant amount which will enable the garden to expand, repair, and further the garden project and its outreach to those interested in history and gardening. These organizations have given wonderful patronage to Fort de Chartres, and we are appreciative to be included in their support. Merci.

Renea, Toni, Nick, and Cecelia

Renea, Toni, Nick, and Cecelia

Returning to the needs of le jardin, work has begun in earnest, despite the uncertain weather.  Late February’s annual garden weekend at Fort de Chartres was spent in great companionship and weather with my husband Nick, mes amis Toni, John, Renea, and Cecelia. Time in the garden involved weeding and clearing beds, pruning fruit trees, and late winter plantings of late heirloom Monstrueux de Viroflay spinach, Long Scarlet radish, and French fields poppies. Sample heirloom seed packets and information were shared with the weekend’s travelers to the fort and a few visitors even chipped in by weeding and clearing beds-wonderful fun and a much needed respite from the sévérité of winter.

And in parting, soon the time will arrive for the annual Fort de Chartres April Colonial Trade Faire Musket and Rifle Frolic -April 4, 5, and 6. Mark it on your calendar and we hope to visit with you then!

Fete de Pierre Menard

7 October, 2012, Demonstration of the

Pierre Menard Home Summer Kitchen

In honor of Pierre Menard

Born, October 7, 1766-Died, June 13, 1844

An invitation is extended to travel to the Illinois country and celebrate Pierre Menard’s birthday at the Pierre Menard Home Historic Site in Ellis Grove, IL. Interpreters will be on hand in the home and in the summer kitchen. A celebratory birthday repast will be prepared featuring: Tourtière, Beef a la Mode,  Cucumbers to Stew, French Chicken Bouillon, Prairie du Rocher Bread, Common Seed Cakes, Lemon Puffs, Colonial Apple Cake, Sponge Cake, Spiced Pecans. Join us for a beautiful fall day and help us remember Illinois’ first lieutenant governor. 10 AM-4 PM, free admission.

Recipes for this event are posted on the Recette page of this blog.

Pierre Menard Home Summer Kitchen

Thank you to the L’Habitants of Fort de Chartres and the Randolph County Historical Society for their participation in this event. We also honor in this event, Linda McDonald, former site staff member.

Now on facebook:

Jardin Potager Weekend, Février 2012

JMA Primitive ToolsAs winter continues its journey, dreams of the upcoming garden season are quickly becoming reality.  Jardin seeds collected throughout the previous growing season are catalogued and set aside, ready for planting as the temperatures begin their steady rise.  New seed varieties to be tried in this year’s garden are ordered and are beginning to arrive in the post.  Winter has been mild and kind, and we anticipate finalizing garden plans and the work preparing and amending the raised beds.  By late February the beds will be turned and the early crops of peas, kale, lettuce, and spinach will be direct sown with beets, cabbage, leeks, radishes, and turnips to follow quickly behind if the temperatures remain constant.

On Saturday, February 25, 10 – 4 PM, come and visit our jardin potager at historic Fort de Chartres.  Join in our historic journey and watch us begin the annual work of gardening in the Illinois Country.  Volunteers as habitants, prepare kitchen garden beds with reproduction tools and plant heirloom seeds of vegetables, herbs, and flowers, all heirloom varieties that might have been grown in Upper Louisiana. We celebrate the approach of spring with the age old activities that bring the promise of future harvests of the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Thank you once again to Silvertree Forge, Jas. Adams, Proprietor, for offering to replace the wooden handles of newly donated period garden hoes and pitch fork.  (Thank you, Shawna Kadlec, for the donation!)  Mr. Adams has been kind enough to create our most excellent reproduction primitive garden tools used in our heritage garden.  If interested in participating or for more information about period garden tools, please visit the Participer page of our garden blog.


Fall Sunset through the Ghostings

Wednesday, 23 November

50  Degrees F

Mist and Clouds, Slight Wind WNW

Time, like the cool wind and rains moving along the valley, marks the swift change from autumn to winter. The jardin has fallen into a slumber, with the final harvest of this past season’s bounty to take place this weekend. In honor of Martinmas and fall feasting celebrations, our humble contingent of la Milice de Ste. Genevieve will be in residence at Fort de Chartres, recreating the experiences of the colonists of the Illinois Country in the 18th century. The Martinmas (St. Martin’s Day) celebration originated in France in the 16th century and spread throughout Europe.

Fall Jardin Potager

Fall Jardin Potager

Traditionally this holiday marks the end of harvest time, accompanying winter preparations, and the final planting of winter wheat. Feasting and bonfires combine with hiring fairs, as workers look to the end of autumn and the natural beginning of winter. Work moves indoors as the winter sits on the doorstep.

Beginning on Friday afternoon, November 25th, a grouping of some four to six families from the Milice will be in residence at the Fort through the holiday weekend.  We will be enjoying a brief sojourn within the comfort and security of the Fort. The stone bake oven and a large hearth will be used throughout the weekend to provide meals and baked goods, while the inhabitants engage in a number of out-door activities including some informal shooting contests.

Turkey Roasting on Hearth

Milice and Schuetzen Target

Traditional regional and 18th century recipes will be prepared throughout our stay and I have posted a few on the Recettes page, with more to follow. The remaining bounty of leeks, lettuces, radishes, turnips, and winter squash in the garden are yet able to provide sustenance and decoration for our comfort throughout the weekend.  Regardless of the weather, one can glimpse life in 18th century Upper Louisiana. Visit with us as we celebrate the bounty and blessings of the past season.

D’Automne Heirloom Produce Saturday

You are invited to the Fort de Chartres Jardin Potager and sample heirloom produce on Saturday, October 22,  10 AM-Noon. Some produce and recipes available.

Welcome to our Jardin Potager outside the walls of Fort de Chartres! Join us in our garden planted in the style of a French l’habitant kitchen garden. This type of jardin was generally tended by the women of the Illinois Country for family sustenance through the seasons.

Heirloom herbs, vegetables currently in season:
Beets, Eggplants, Leeks, Lettuce, Radishes, and Turnips

Please join us and and share in the fall’s bounty. Autumn Jardin produce recipes are listed on the Recettes page in the postings of October Heirloom Jardin Produce Saturday and Haute Louisiane en Automne recipes.

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