Tuesday, February 28, 2006

progress report

Oh. You're so sharp-eyed! You noticed that this picture looks no different really from this picture. But....I have been thinking about it, ok? I really have been thinking about it. This whole basket of seed packets will be sorted soon.

terminator seeds

My friend Mike and I finally watched the documentary "The Corporation"together, as we had been promising we would for some time.

Of all the disturbing things mentioned in that documentary, the idea of seeds genetically modified to be terminator seeds bothered me the most. The idea that research is rarely done by disinterested parties anymore and that irresponsible research has produced a seed that is, as we speak, cross-pollinating with other related species out there to conceivably produce all sorts of plants that will simply terminate. It so goes against nature that it's staggering to think about.

There are so many things that we as humans are capable of doing and creating, but it does not seem to me that we should necessarily go ahead and do them, just because we can, or worse, only because there is a buck to be made. There should be a whole and thorough appraisal of so many other concerns, the good of the biosphere, the community, the soul...

Another thing that I found so shocking was the number of convictions for various criminal acts, one after another, where fines were imposed in $$ figures that seemed astronomical to me, and yet: those same corporations continue their immoral and criminal activities, stroking off the fines as the cost of doing business. Obviously, fines are puny irritations only to some of these corporations.

It seems so irrational to me. The linear thinking with profits as the ultimate goal is hurtling our imbalanced society at breakneck speed toward the precipice of annihilation. Sources of cheap labour will be broken and destroyed, natural resources will be plundered and squandered. What conceivable marketplace will be left to be the stupid, compliant consumers of products we neither need nor can afford?

Although organizations such as the conservative think tank, the Fraser institute, would promote the private ownership of every particle of the natural world, every blade of grass, every flower petal, every pulsing amoeba, every grain of sand, every drop of water, and I would presume even rain & dew & snowflakes, every cell and every gene, there are plenty of people fighting to protect the common good, who are against the piracy of biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

Surely, in every place, at some time or another, someone will realize what is happening to them and the natural world around them and that someone will speak up. The corporations cannot silence everybody. Human nature has a wonderful streak of anarchy in it, afterall. Even the smoothest surface has tiny fissures in which a little bit of moisture will hide away. And in the cold, brutal winter of heartless and immoral fiscal enterprise, that little bit of moisture will freeze and swell and grow. Eventually that tiny fissure will become a crack, and more moisture and more freezing will only make that crack grow wider.

I laughed out loud to hear Michael Moore remark that he is driving his truck of dissent into an opening made by the nature of corporate greed itself. That even though MM is speaking out against the very corporations which disseminate his speech and visual images, they will eagerly seek MM out because the desire for the buck MM can bring them outweighs their objections to whatever MM might say.

Never should we underestimate the power of the little person. If enough little people realize that an artificial legal construct has been given the rights of a living, breathing, individual human being, they will see the problems with that, that this bizarre money-making creation is twisting the life, humanity and joy out of our societies. They must realize that we must put an end to that, turn things around, back to the way they should be, where individual people have rights and responsibilities. The people hiding behind the profit making corporate machines should be brought out into the open to face their fellow human beings as naked and defenseless as their neighbour, the person whom they have labelled "cheap labour", " a captive market", and worse.

When it is so easy for those making the profits to shelter themselves among "their own kind", attending the right schools and churches, living in gated communities, taking holidays in fancy resorts, it easy for them to be so brutally heartless. If they had to look their factory workers in the eye, see the bodies maimed and scarred by horrendous working conditions and environmental toxins, see the skies dark, thick with the acrid smoke of civilization and the whole natural world going up in smoke, would their conscience be tender enough be appalled? Would they recognize themselves in the exhausted mother living in poverty, trying to keep her child alive and thriving, constantly assaulted by inhumane living conditions, the cruelest work places, and insistent, deceptive advertizing that confuses her child and makes out of her child a torment of indiscriminating desire, rather than the hope of a better future? Maybe not.

As individuals we can be more aware, more active, more responsible. Look at what we consume, ask the hard questions, face the truth, make wiser choices. It may seem impossible to wean ourselves from so many of the conveniences we consider a necessary part of our lives, things that make life more livable. But it pays to think about the real price we are paying for some of those conveniences. It pays to look for creative alternatives that are more circular in their goals, more inclusive and more spiritual. It may be that our conveniences are actually complicating our lives and just cost too much. But if we don't examine those issues, we will never know and we will all be like lambs to the slaughter. The bucks will have been made at greater and greater costs to the environment and every living thing on this earth. Then the precipice will come. That is a foregone conclusion if that expressway straight through is what we continue to travel without heed. The world will be exhausted. Terminator seeds and all.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

george bush is a saint

This made me laugh. Thanks to Om-Powered, from landlocked middle-earth, US.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

freedom of expression

Oh, and since I seem to be on a rant, I will take this opportunity to give you my opinion on The Cartoon.

Freedom of expression is paramount. Yes, there will always be lots idiots who say lots silly things. They have that right. Most of the time, the most extreme only get worse if we pay them any mind. The ones that are truly mad and crazy will attract only a few other crazies.

Yes, there will be people who display bad taste, bad judgment, bad ... all sorts of things. So what? Who made me the arbiter of what can/cannot be thought or expressed? Who made me the Judge? God? No, I know God isn't calling me by name lately and telling me I have any right to say: "I think the cartoon was in bad taste, therefore I command you to stop it's publication, " even though I do think the cartoon was in bad taste--but oh god forgive me, funny in a sick way.

(god forbid bad taste should be punishable -- well, ok, there are consequences-- but laws and punishment?? many would consider the way I dress to keep warm--ugly but warm--on my winter walks, or cool in my summer gardening duds-- in bad taste, maybe even offensive!!)

(completely off the track here: I remember reading a fashion writer commenting on how well-dressed she was, even when she was out jogging in Central Park. The proof: a stranger, a distinguished gentleman, commented to her that she must be in fashion or some such field, judging by the tastefulness of even her jogging clothes; and he was a distinguished gentleman as well, therefore probably nearly a saint, and, it goes without saying, extremely wise and intelligent, judging by his clothes ! ok, I paraphrased a lot there, but: Really! of course we always make snap judgements, we have to, but we can take it too far! How utterly silly!!)

There are a lot of things that artists do to make us stretch as a society. Yes, they are often quite offensive and shocking. And that's as it should be. Whether artists shock us to get our attention, or the shock is our recognition of some truth there, it (shock and offense) is one of the tools of artists. Sometimes artists are just shocking and offensive too and that is all they are saying. If we can use our dismay to think about the offending issue, talk with each other, re-evaluate some of our dearly held beliefs (read: silly dogmas), redefine, adjust and grow, we could really benefit from the shocks artists sometimes deliver.

However, freedom of expression is not carte blanche. When anybody is using that freedom to incite hatred, violence or taking actions that hurt other people, we need to respond appropriately. (Right now, in this world climate, I'm so hesitant to give anybody permission to take that action because I'm afraid it will legitimize all the bush-crap out there right now.)

And yet, while there are people or groups who clearly suffer from discrimination, there are also people and groups who take themselves so seriously, that a well-aimed humourous observation, particularly if it hints at unpleasant truth, elicits a response of offense all out of proportion to the observation made. I think all of us should just lighten up a little and learn to laugh at ourselves a bit more. It's not the insult to a holy person here that has caused all the upset--Mohammed would probably be quite upset at all the violent reaction to a little joke -- I really believe he would be wise enough to laugh at himself--it's the sensitivity of many Muslims, I believe, being just a tad too touchy here. I know, I know, there is a history here of unrelenting and undeserved insults made by the Christian world, the West, the US foreign policy (read: US economic interests) against the Muslim world, but insults of this kind are being made everywhere against all kinds of people, groups, religions.

How does one choose the proper response ? Not an easy question. Being a confirmed idealist, I would pray for a non-violent response. Resistance,for instance, among the choices, could be carried out in so many creative ways. But in a macho-world of limited emotional/relational vocabularies, perhaps it's not surprising that after stoicism, the only other choice is the jump to anger and violence.

I have been reading many interesting debates between, for example Hindus and Muslims in India, lately, in connection with the depiction by a Muslim artist of a nude Hindu goddess. Is it insulting, or is it art? The value or importance placed here on the depiction of gods/goddesses/prophets, by the groups affected, is not the same. I understand that the depiction of the human figure in art or decoration is traditionally not done in the Muslim world? Is that correct? In contrast, much Hindu art is quite graphic and shows nudity and sexual acts in many variations. How exactly does it then follow that a modern Muslim artist's depiction of a nude Hindu goddess is insulting or pornographic? Because he is modern and India's modern sensibilities are much more prudish than they might have been centuries ago when that more ancient and sensual art was created? Or because he is Muslim and creating images of a Hindu god (he has no business doing that, whereas a Hindu artist does?)? Or because he is Muslim and should not be creating any images of any human figure?

All these "shoulds"!! I think that is where the problem lies. All these people and groups trying to tell other people what they "should" or "should not" be doing!

I prefer to take the role of bemused observer. (easy way out, right?)

I see a cartoon that makes a point about the violent atmosphere is many Muslim societies today. And that point exactly is worth thinking about. Muslim thinkers need to speak more to the ethical problem of the violence, not only against their very real oppressors/outsiders, but against their own.

I see an image of a naked Hindu goddess, created by a Muslim man in India and the furor of offense in a culture which has been unable to trash and destroy(while so many other people have managed to obliterate the evidence of a previous/conquered culture) its many beautiful temples which glorify the sensuous and sexual goings-on of myriads of fascinating gods and goddesses! To me, quite ignorant as I am about the Hindu religion, it means little except that I admire the richness of an exotic, brilliant culture and wish I knew more about it. Absorbing some of the lush, joyful, colourful art of India into my own life is something that I desire, now that I've been exposed to more of it...

A Christian black, female preacher causes apoplexy within a church community with her sermon on becoming intimate with Christ. My observation is that it says so much more about those making the judgements than it does about the preacher! Being a part of my own roots and background, the debate is absolutely hilarious to me -- someone who has been "led astray" and "fallen away", oh my god, actually "left the church"!! You see what happens to me, the person making judgments here? It's so revealing about me, making judgments about the people making the judgments...!

Rap artists often use a patois of their own to describe events and express ideas that are horrifying to many middle class, middle aged, white North Americans, even as their children listen to the music constantly and even try to emulate the body language, the gestures, the speech and the fashions. We might not want to see it, but it's expressing something that is there, within our own middle class suburbs, not segregated off somewhere in inner city slums!

Ah, we can build walls around our beautifully landscaped homes in gated communities, and fill them people who look and act and talk just like us, but we can't live in isolation from the world. It rubs against us whether we like it or not, irritates us, stimulates us, fascinates us, infuriates us, drives us crazy, invades and insinuates itself into our homes, tempts us and inspires us, all the time.

It's a balancing act, after all. Trying to tell our truth honestly and with compassion. Trying to hear the other person with understanding and an open heart. Being honest and compassionate with ourselves. Not easy to do. I don't have the answers at all. And yet, maybe a little laughter would make it easier? maybe rueful laughter, tinged with bitterness and tears? and yet, give me laughter, just a small chuckle will do!!

religion and torture

Via slacktivist, finally some Christian ethicists are expressing my view that torture is always wrong -- no exceptions. A breath of fresh air? Read on about the "more public and more vigorous lead " religious leaders are working towards in the debate of the issue of torture here. It seems to me that most of the religious leaders in the US, Canada, and Britain have taken far too long to speak out against torture as evil, carefully protecting their backsides again as usual.

Of course, everyone is afraid of terrorism, and it seems as well, that some groups of people are considered...ahem...a little less equal than us? Please!

sorting seeds

See this mess? These are seed packets that I need to sort through before I can decide on my seed orders for this spring. I'm thinking that I will buy seedlings of the brocolli and cabbage.

I'm getting so excited, but our winter, which so late in coming, has now seemingly settled in to stay. An easterly wind this morning brought a lot of snow. Drifts are a foot high in some places.

My afternoon walk today, plowing through the snowdrifts, was quite demanding. I came back so hot that I had to take my mitts off. Not having dressed in appropriate layers -- I didn't think I'd be working so hard in those drifts -- I couldn't even unzip my jacket to cool off a little. It would have been too extreme.

Speaking of hot. Our hot water has been giving us trouble again over the last two days. The plumber finally was called in, and it's the electrical. We're on old-fashioned fuse-boxes instead of having the wiring go through a breaker panel, which I'm told would be safer. The wiring leading from the hotwater heater to the fuses, at the point just outside the box, was to the point of catching on fire, overheated and shorting out! So, the hot-water heater would go on and off....Lovely, isn't it? Old houses are charming, but then, if they are not maintained quite up to date, they are full of hazards too! In a way, maybe I'm glad I don't own this old place! All that stuff is the landlords' responsibility!

beach day

Recently, I met my daughters in town so that we could do a bit more shopping for youngest daughter's new apartment. Granddaughter had been picked up from school, and here she is, all dressed up because the theme of the day had been 'beach day'.

As oldest daughter talked about her week, the tight scheduling and the number of things she had to keep in mind or accomplish, I had an acute memory-attack of the vicious pressure I always felt back when I was at that stage in my life myself: three young children in three different schools, working full time, spouse, parents, the kids' after-school activities. And I remembered to be grateful that that stage of my life is over! I keep wondering if there is not a better way to handle that stage in our lives! It seems that at that stage most people my daughters' ages are trying to balance an awful lot: new home, new marriage/relationships, young child(ren) starting school and other activities, launching careers and/or continuing education. It's madness. Any one of these events would be considered a huge stressor on its own, never mind combined with everything else.

But isn't she cute!!


I've been away and missing the opportunity to update my weblog due to techinical problems re the old computer. Thanks to Mike at Compu-Dynamix in Fenelon Falls, I'm back up and running here again. Wouldn't it be nice to have a computer-geek type person at your elbow whenever you need one? like in the middle of the night when your computer decides to freeze? Ah well, at least CD is very close by in Fenelon Falls and they did a marvelous job for me at reasonable prices! I'm grateful.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

fungi and lichen

some fungi, rather small, each about the size of a loonie (Canadian $1 coin, FYI)

more fungi, rather high off the ground, at about 1.5m; they are the size of a dime or smaller

loved the colour combinations here of different splotches of lichen on a rock

more lichen on cedar rail fence

Ontario Wanderer talked about different words for snow, and I thought that was fascinating. Presumably, these words found here and here would be some Inuit words? (links thanks to Ontario Wanderer)

what's this?

What's this? The acid green in the groove of the cedar rail fencing looked, at first glance, like algae, but dry and exposed to the western sun, and on the highest rail, as I looked closer at it, I decided it might be some sort of lichen. Anyone able to enlighten me here?

Here is a marvelous site full of unbelievable photographs of desert flowers in California. This site will take you to a beautiful meditative place, so make sure you devote lots of time to it. I wish I had the $$ to buy dozens of these photos in huge prints to hang on my walls!

And here is a story that will remind you that even though there is so much evil in the world, heaven can still be "other people".

about dogs

Mmmnnn! Interesting smells!

Ooooh, yum,yum,yum!

We have just enjoyed two spendid days of sunshine yesterday and today. In sheltered spots where a hillside is exposed to the warmest sun for most of the day, the snow has become soft and mushy. In the tracks left by the loggers, dirt is showing and you can see the water running underneath.

In my walks, I notice that where I struggled through huge drifts of snow last winter, I'm walking on relatively firm footing this winter. Where water tends to run off, on creeks or on rivers, the ice cannot be trusted at all. Even standing water has ice that is very thin.

The dogs have their own ideas of what is fun on our walks. They run off into the woods, not following my linear route at all, nose down, huffing in the scents. Misty's tail is always up like a little white flag: here I am! Molly's enthusiasm ebbs and flows with the likelihood of food. Her stamina peters out near the end of our walks and she tends to stick closer to me, unless Misty raises a really excited cry, or Molly notices Misty is intently following a scent at that specia,l very attentive, brisk pace, which means: this is hot, this is really, really hot!

Tasha tends to keep her eye on me, constantly herding the other two, which they try to sidestep when coming back to see how I'm getting on. Tasha keeps an eye on the comings and goings of the other two, crouches down to wait for them to pass, then rushes forward to nip them about the ears and face. They don't like it much and once in a while some growling takes place, but most of the time, they wait her out, (will you quit or will you piss me off?) or dodge around her (forget about your nipping game, I'm too busy right now.) (I notice the dogs communicate very well with body-language.)

Tasha is the only one of the three who consistently rolls around in the snow, rubbing the whole length of her body in it. Is she smelling something in the snow and wants it on herself, or is she leaving her scent there as a message for the next creature who comes along: I was here? Sometimes when Misty sets up the excited yipping, Tasha will get swept up in the enthusiasm and low to the ground, dash off to check it out.

Right now, there is a mysterious attraction about the barn, up in the loft. Misty and Molly return to it again and again. From afar, Misty senses something and she's off, dashing into the barn, yipping and yipping, sometimes almost whining with expectancy. Of course, Molly rushes in, ever hopeful. While Misty gives up after a while and runs out to catch up with me on my walk, it takes Molly a little longer. She seems to take her time more, enjoying the sensory exploration (mostly smell, I think) of whatever it was that attracted Misty's attention. Meanwhile, the coons, or whatever it was, have safely climbed up the timbers in the barn, well out of reach. I will be able to hear Molly snuffling, and snuffling and snuffling, for a long time, after Misty has left the barn and is running around in circles outside.

Friday, February 10, 2006

note to self

Get outside and have some fun! It's milder today and soft, slow, lazy snowflakes are falling. The cloud cover is high and thin, so occasionally even the sun is shining out there.

Yesterday, on my first walk after breakfast (noon to people who are not on my night-owl inner time clock :) ), Tasha dug this (above) up out of the snow. It's the skull of something small, but what? It's about 2 and 1/2 inches long and the lower jaw, etc is missing. I did bring it home to clean it up and have a better look. I do hope it doesn't have gooey and icky stuff inside that might start to smell once the ice & snow melt off.

I'm busy writing as much as I can. I'm holding onto the theory that if I commit to the quantity, God will take care of the quality. Re-reading a little of Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott last night before I went to sleep, I started thinking that I need to find a writing group. Naturally, I'm very sensitive and timid about that because I ...well, I'm sensitive and touchy, ok??. However! I'm committed to this, so be warned: I may be asking you to join in my about-to-be-formed writing group, the next time I see you!

On my second walk at dusk, I lost Molly. No, the f***ing dog just went directly home on her own, but I didn't know that at the time. I retraced my steps and called and waited for her. I thought she had just taken a little detour to explore the porcupine tracks, you know, down by their tree at the edge of the farthest field north of the house. She didn't come when I called.

I walked down to the creek where I had last seen her. I walked into the woods a little way. There it gets marshy and there is also a small river. Everything is covered with ice hidden by lots of snow and I don't trust the ice. We have had too much warm weather lately for the ice to be safe. So my imagination went into overdrive. But the only footprints that I could see were those of Misty and Tasha, who stayed with me, the prints of some deer, rabbits, porcupine, and coyotes--Molly's prints are pretty distinctive in size and gait.

The undergrowth in the woods was just too thick, I couldn't find an easier deer-trail to follow and the snow was too deep. Besides I was getting tired. All this back-tracking had worn me out. I figured she would either get herself home, or I would be losing her under the ice or she would be tangled and caught by her collar into some barbed wire or whatever. I hoped the nonchalant attitude of the other two meant that Molly was fine. The sun was going down fast and it was getting bitterly cold.

So I decided to go home, going back the way I had come, rather than my usual circuitous route. I thought I might see Molly's prints if she had decided to go back home. Sure enough, about 3/4 of the way back home, there I spotted the first print. I wasn't sure, but then I spotted some more...Damn dog! There she was, running out to meet us as we got closer to the house, looking at us as if to say: "Where have you guys been? I've been home for hours wondering if you were lost or something...!"

Oh, speaking of porcupine tracks, I should have photographed them, eh? Well, you know, I was distracted. Maybe I'll catch them today and post them later, ok?

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Something on a soapbox, to make you smile, if you have ever been on the receiving end of that kind of email...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

flooded in glory

The most spectacular part of the day was at sunset! This sunset, which lasted over 30 minutes, was one of the best ever: burning yellow and orange on the horizon, huge crimson clouds above the sun, peach and lime and violet to the north, periwinkle, dove-grey, pink and purple to the south. Underneath all that, the snow was so white and cold-blue, it ached. The contrast was amazing. I felt the tenderness of transience, bathed in the flood of glory, drenched in intense colour! Why are such moments of beauty also exquisitely sad?
(not just because I didn't have my camera with me!)

I got a lot of work done today with my writing, felt quite smug, in fact. I have ideas popping around in my head right now, faster than I can get them down on paper. This is good.

When I took a break to bring our compostables out to the pile at the bottom of the yard, there they were, six or seven deer in the cornfield to the south. They were nibbling on the stubble of the cornstalks. Once they spotted me and the dogs, they left in a hurry.

I have been practicing with a new yoga dvd, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Uniting Movement and Breath, Session One, with Seane Corn. After many run-throughs, I feel like I'm getting the hang of it; my body is starting to remember the sequence and the postures. My body certainly feels happy, buzzing, afterwards. I feel like I'm more aware of my posture, my muscles, my bones, after a yoga-practice. I really enjoy Seane's encouragement to use yoga as a meditation to connect with gratitude to the heart, the Spirit and the connection between all beings.

new blogs

I finally discovered some Finnish bloggers who post stuff on gardening and nature. I'll put them into a section of their own, but don't let the fact that most of them write in Finnish scare you off. Some of them have gorgeous photos. So, have a peek.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

this & that

Progress report on bulbs brought in to force into bloom early. The tulips (in front) will be spotty at best, but I see buds! hurray!

What's this?? Empty bird feeder, with repairs a la RedGreen! I told you it was ugly. But it probably won't last long as the squirrels are trying the best to destroy the whole feeder!

Over at fluffiusmuppetus, the point is made that this time of year is crazy time for gardeners. I agree. I pore over those catalogues, and I'm sure I need purple potatoes, yellow cucumbers, orange striped tomatoes, and endless vegetables which I'm not even sure what they are. Asparagus peas would be a case in point. Although I have made a 'plan', I have not sorted the seeds yet. "Another job to do", as if I'm suffering ;) Oh, and I'm also looking at all sorts ornamental plants which I'm sure I need. Where I might put it all? Oh well, if you have to be practical about it, you're no fun at all!

I just found out that Christopher Lloyd, who has lived at Great Dixter since 1921, died on January 27th 2006, aged 84. Is there any reader of gardening books who hasn't enjoyed Lloyd's flamboyant writing on gardening and the use of colour? He will be missed but never forgotten.

I shoveled a little snow off the drive, then went for a vigorous hike this afternoon. When I returned, I was in a bit of a sweat. I did bundle up, really, really well, because I hate the cold, even though I love being outdoors. So, after I settled down a little, I looked out and thought, you know, those bird feeders have been empty for a couple of days now, I really should give the birds a treat. So I went back outside, but I didn't bundle up again. I mean, I was only going out there to fill the bird feeders. The hands got colder and colder and colder in a matter of mere minutes. It doesn't take long to fill two bird feeders, after all, but yikes: my hands were f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g. Actually, they were red when I came in and unthawed them under tepid water.I guess we are back to seasonal temperatures around here now. Thank goodness for tea!

I tried here to catch Misty in the act of dancing along the fence tops. The other two dogs don't do this at all. Misty has incredible balance and can be seen running along the fence top as often as not!

And here for fun, check out the Bellydancing Librarians. I have enjoyed studying belly-dancing myself in the past and would still love to do it if I didn't have to travel so far to a studio/school. I even considered getting some dvd's and practicing with them. Besides being so good for you, I think most dancers would agree, the best part is the costumes!

Here are my nieces, a year or more ago, dancing with some scarves. See? It's genetic. We're born to enjoy the feel of wonderful fabrics and dance!

Hopping about from blog to blog, I discovered this great site, Freecycle, a group at Yahoo, started in Arizona, it's a grassroots organization that has spread to pretty much any and every part of the world. It's free way to pass on stuff you can no longer use and you can also find out about stuff, locally, in your community that is free for the taking. Check it out. I'm going to keep an eye on my local group because I'm looking for fencing ideas for the vege-garden, paving stones, bricks, rain barrels...that sort of thing.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

planning the garden

I was inspired byGillian (see Gillian's plan for her gardeh here at mytinyplot) , whom I discovered via Jane Perrone at horticultural, to make my own plans (finally) for my vegetable garden. Naturally, it is stuffed with things I'd like to grow and I omitted zillions of things I would also like to grow...It is SO difficult to narrow things down. Generally, I find just the work of digging and putting things in, when physical limitations and the shortage of free time dictate, the garden just ends up being limited naturally -- to whatever I was able to put in before body/daylight gave out.

But planning is half the fun. I go through reams of graph paper, re-arranging beds, visualizing things in my head... I have no doubts that the plan below will be revised again. But for what it's worth, here's my plan for my vege-garden 2006-- for now.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

moving day

There is a gas station near the canal in Fenelon Falls, where the ducks often come out of the water to rest. Here in the rain, notice the one wood duck trying to blend in with the mallards?

Today was a gloomy, dreary day. Yesterday, the temperature climbed to well above freezing and with intermittent rain showers, the snow started to disappear.

I was taken aback last night, returning from the city where I helped my youngest daughter, Alli, with her move into a new apartment, to find that there was black ice on seemingly innocent pavement. I approached a stop-sign at the top of Lake Scugog a bit too fast. As I slid...and slid...and slid...I thought, idly...., it's a good thing that at this time of night there is unlikely to be much traffic in the intersection. Thankfully, I did come to a stop and was able to make my left turn. That's what driving in winter is sometimes like in Canada.

I am usually better at testing the road conditions and keep my vehicle in control. But last night, I was very, very tired.

Alli was very organized. By the time I got to the city, yesterday morning, she had packed everything in boxes, having only a couple of loads in the washer and dryer, last minute things she wanted to clean before packing and moving. Having rented only a room from a friend for the last couple of years, she didn't have a lot of stuff. Four trips across town with my little car loaded with boxes and the smaller pieces of furniture and that part was done.

Then we took a break for a bite to eat. We bought some of the odds and sods that Alli needed to set up housekeeping on her own (garbage can, toilet brush, drain board for dishes, broom and dustpan, vacuum, etc.) and some groceries. Her boyfriend Peter then met us. He had borrowed his father's truck to move the bigger stuff, Alli's bed, dresser, and bookcase. Another friend gave Alli a couch and armchair.

Here we are, Alli's friend Julie, Casper, and Alli, relaxing with well-deserved pizza and wine, after everything, including Alli's cat, Casper, was moved in. Casper has reacted very badly to moves in the past. But Alli had prepared him this time. She said she talked to him several times a day about the move for weeks. She would tell him how great it was going to be. And, sure enough, when released from the cat-carrier into the new apartment, he flattened out for only a few seconds, then started to explore. Being a very talkative cat, we heard his commentary as he went from room to room -- meow, meerrrooww. Meeooow! He couldn't find any furniture to hide out under, so he decided to go to each of us in turn, demanding to be scratched behind the ears. He is funny; his ears get all hot and pink when he's contented and enjoying himself.

At dusk today, it started to snow, big, fat, sticky snow-flakes. It is also windy, so the snow was sticking to the tree-trunks. After it got darker, it turned to freezing rain...I really prefer snow.

I re-did some cuttings of rosemary. Remember how the previous try all rotted?

Fresh rosemary with a bay leaf added to green lentils, with onion, garlic, carrot and celery, cooked into thick stew served over rice makes one of my favorite suppers. Add a salad and you're good to go!

Friday, February 03, 2006

hope springs...

Hope springs eternal....The greenhouse with the setting sun shining through the ice & snow covered glass, almost makes one think it might get warm enough to garden soon. No, it is not warm in the greenhouse because there is no source of heat. We've had mostly cloudy weather for weeks and weeks, and as soon as the sun goes down, any heat from the sun the glass might have trapped, yields to frost very quickly.

The days are getting longer...

I've brought in some willow branches which will provide some tender green leaves soon once the warmth inside encourages the leaf-buds to open...

The rosemary cuttings I tried, rotted. Must try again. The pelargonium is doing better, the African violets are iffy, the Christmas cactus just fine, thanks!

The bulbs I brought inside to force are coming along nicely, the leaves nearly 6" long at this point.

Dibbles wrote about fungus gnats on Jan 22. Why should I not try that remedy again??!! What to do?

I have also had infestations of spider mites and aphids on the plants I've brought in from the great outdoors, but I do think I've been succesful agains the sm and a (oooh! doesn't that sound like I'm waging some sort of puritanical/Victorian war against smut??).

Speaking of smut, I read a very entertaining discussion over at Adventists of Tomorrow about the allegorical meaning of shoes or was it uncovering the feet? Read the silliness here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

sleepy dogs

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

deer & ice & books

One morning last weekend, as I was eating my breakfast, I looked out the dining room window and noticed deer making their way along the far fence line of the nearest field. Of course, I was extremely excited and called for Ann to have a look. She got out the binoculars and we counted three of them. They slowly made their way to the driveway, walked away from the house a bit, then they went into the second field, towards the north-east.

Misty and Tasha were sunning themselves on the back deck, so they were unaware of the deer for a long while. The deer zig-zagged across the second field which rises a bit towards the fence line on the east side. As they reached the fence, Molly, tied to keep her from car-chasing, noticed the deer and started barking. Misty and Tasha came racing around from the back of the house to see what Molly was so excited about. They quickly spotted the deer and their barking caught the attention of the deer. All three deer turned to look back at the house, staring this way for quite some time. Then, the white flag-tails went up, they bounced over the fence and away into the woods.

This afternoon, as I sat in the livingroom, reviewing a new yoga dvd before trying the practice, Misty and Tasha set up the alarm. When I got up to look, a deer stood in the cornfield just to the southwest of the house. It bounced around the field a bit, white flag up. The dogs ran eastward on this side of the fence then out into the field. The deer didn't seem to be in a panic at all, although the tail was raised. It sort of bounced farther out into the field, stopping a couple of times to look back at the dogs. When Misty made a decided pursuit, the deer finally stretched out into a swift bounding stride eastward toward the empty fields and woods. The dogs didn't really pursue it.

When I went out to bring the dogs in for their supper, today, I took a tumble on the ice that is all over the driveway. It was one of those slow-motion falls. I could feel the feet slide away to my left and forward, put out an arm to catch myself, and landed on my right hip. Darn, I think I'm going to have a huge bruize there. Ah well. It could have been worse.

I have been enjoying several novels lately:

Sue Grafton's P is for Peril, a murder mystery solved by a witty, flawed, female detective, Kinsey Millhone.

The Pagoda Tree, by Berkely Mather, is an adventure that takes our hero from England to Australia to Hong Kong to India and back to Hong Kong again. Quite a suspenseful romp!

Iris Murdoch's The Good Apprentice, is a thought provoking story about guilt and forgiveness, good and evil. I kept remembering as I read, the poignant line from the movie Iris about losing her words. The movie is the story of the author's mind, unravelled by alzheimer's, and her husband who loves her and tries to care for her.

La grosse femme d'a cote est enceinte, by Michel Tremblay, is a story about a neighborhood in Montreal, the war on the other side of the Atlantic, and conscription. There is not, strictly speaking a French-language section in my local library, never mind a foreign-language one. There are perhaps a couple dozen French and German classics, donated after being used by someone in high-school or college classes. They aren't even catalogued nor do they have a "due date card"! I do hope that situation improves. The librarian suggested I might have better luck at the main library in Lindsay...

I've also been reading some non-fiction:

Will Ferguson's Hitching Rides With Buddha, a Journey Across Japan. He is often very funny, particularly when he is upset or annoyed. A repeated disturbing note throughout the book is his observations on the blind nationalistic attitude of many of the Japanese. But Ferguson admits he loves Japan and keeps going back for extended stays.

Hope In Hell, Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders, by Dan Bortolotti is a fascinating look at the founder and the organization, with personal stories about the volunteers, and the poor and dangerous places in which they choose to work.

SARK's Make Your Creative Dreams Real, is funny and inspiring. "A plan for procrastinators, perfectionists, busy people, and people who would really rather sleep all day," the book is gentle and serious and enlightening. There are exercises, other resouces and inspirational stories. Unlike some of SARK's other books, large parts of this book are in a more conventional print vs her handwritten-in-coloured-pens style of some of her previous books. It's still very colourful, though, and packed with ideas. It would be a book I could keep beside my bed for months, dipping into it regularly to mull over a chapter or page at a time.

Well, I took a couple teaspoonfulls of Sweden Elixir, in the hopes that the bruizing won't be too ghastly on my hip...Now I'm thinking it's time for a little supper.