Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Odd things, blogs. I want to be known and there is a certain amount of self-exposure required. The ambivalence is certainly one that everybody experiences to some degree, whatever the interaction transacted between human beings. What weak spots, flaws, fragilities must I show in order to be understood the way I want to be understood? Would protecting myself and those I love put me behind such barriers that the human connection is impossible? There's a happy medium there somewhere, but bless me if I know where it exists!

The reason for all this reflection on exposure is that I feel quite raw right now, in anguish over the fact that my beautiful oldest daughter and her husband are splitting up. There is no assigning of blame or anger at all in my heart. I understand how these things came to this point and I can even see some eventual evolution to a better place for everybody concerned.

I guess the most negative feeling I have is fear that all these wonderful, complex, talented, good hearted people involved -- I mean as families we're all invested in the image we had of these two people as a couple/family -- may not have the strength or whatever it is we need, to allow ourselves to love these two unconditionally still: no judgment, gentle support, open-hearted space to work it through, a safe place to be.

It's easy to offer practical support, mostly meaningless advice, to take sides and to conspire in blame and anger, up the drama and escalate the sense of conflict. It's so much harder to just be there. But that is what is most required, I think, to allow these two essentially great-hearted, well-intentioned, intelligent people to work through this with dignity, maintaining the respect they have toward each other, so that they can come up with solutions that will allow each of them to go forward with their lives as best as possible and to continue to be the best parents possible for my grandchild.

If I had any say in it, and I humbly realize I don't, I would ask everybody to keep their hands off these two right now, and offer instead only a hand to hold, lots of hugs, a shoulder to cry on and lots of kleenex -- and when asked, help in getting their house ready for sale and help on moving day!


Monday, July 30, 2007


Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso'

"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." ~~ Franz Kafka


Thursday, July 26, 2007

mmnn...what are you wearing?

It occurred to me again, to wonder what you wear when you are blogging. I saw it mentioned somewhere else and struck me funny then. And knowing the odd & sundry comfortable duds I'm liable to be found in out here in the boonies, you'd be hard put to beat my odd get-ups! So, feel free to jump in and confess or brag, whatever the case may be for you! Just so's you know, I'm an old cynical nurse in my paying profession and I sometimes tell the shy ones that if I see something I haven't seen before I'll just shoot it!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

mixed feelings

A very weedy thing which I'm ambivalent about. Several clumps about the place are putting on a show now, but having struggled to weed them out of a couple of flowerbeds, they don't have my wholehearted affection. They multiply by millions of seeds and creeping white roots, but it's the long, tough rhizome, somewhat like a parsnip, which snaps away easily and stays in the ground that makes the creeping bellflower, Campanula rapunculoides, so difficult to eradicate once it gets a toe hold in your lawns or flowerbeds. This is amongst many campanula which were introduced from Europe and Asia as garden flowers.
Another weedy thing, but I've got to admit the late afternoon sun makes even this thug, the tawny daylily, glowing gorgeous!
Hens-and-chickens living happily on an old stump near my back step.

These flowers are a little peculiar only because I hardly have taken notice of them before. They have, however, redeemed the flowering stalk of the hens-and-chickens which when it first made its appearance, seemed a tad rude! Maybe it's just because my perverted mind keeps going back to a funny photo posted by Melissa aka the Empress.
No idea what the name of this daylily is. This is a new one for me. It's tangled up in a clump of daylilies under a maple and the old hickory or butternut (I'm not sure which), that keeps dropping bits of itself all over the driveway. Most of those daylilies did not bloom last year. But there was one spectacular double orange that I'm watching with great anticipation for it to open up again this year. I think I decided last year that it is Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso' -- a coming attraction.
The hollyhocks are multiplying themselves into the raspberry patch and even the ones I dug up and transplanted closer to the house are doing well. The storm that roared through here on Thursday night knocked the raspberry canes right over, but the berries are ripening still and I think I'll have some for breakfast tomorrow. It's not a tidy picture, but if the hollyhocks and raspberries are happy together, who am I to complain?

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Sunday, July 15, 2007


(edited July 16/07 to correct the name of the grass)

My 'shabby-chic' arrangement on the east porch will hopefully fill out soon.
Fuchsia triphylla 'Thalia'
Miscanthis sinensis 'Variegatus' with Hydrangea arborescens in the background

clematis with the berries of the beauty bush

The upside-down seed-head of the giant allium amuses me, so I keep going back to look at it.

Coleus 'Wizard Pineapple'

'Lucky Pot of Gold' lantana

asiatic lily

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not being sane

Sometimes you catch yourself doing things that you might not have done back when once upon a time you were sane. Now however, I realize that getting older is liberating. But then again, so is living way out in the country where your nearest neighbour is so far away they are not likely to see you doing things that in the city might get you locked away for, at the very least, indecent exposure.

I had been uploading photos to my Ethiopian flora blog yesterday when I got up to make myself a cup of tea (I'm on dial-up internet access, remember?), happened to glance out the window and there she was.

Picture this, a fifty-something year old woman dashing outside in pajamas and slippers (why? what do you wear when you are blogging?) into the pouring rain to try to photograph a deer in the yard. I was a little disappointed to only get one decent shot.

Meanwhile, I did not know that she would come to visit again. I had been just a bit critical with myself for not tidying up the fallen apples in the yard. They are attracting squirrels and wasps. It also makes for uncomfortable walking in that part of the yard under the apple trees, all those apples on the ground. Ever tried to walk on a floor covered with golf-balls? That's a little what it's like.
But it was those neglected apples that brought the deer back to thrill me this afternoon. If that is not a reminder to me to stop judging myself and allow myself to be more spontaneous in every moment, I don't know what is.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

veggies & herbs (& weeds)

santolina with potatoes in the background

Apothecary rose
bee balm, Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet', white Asiatic lily, apothecary rose, lavender by back step under my clothes line

monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet': a candidate for the Red Hat Society!!

lovage in bloom
weeds, weeds and more weeds, broccoli and feverfew

leeks in flower, hollyhocks, fleabane, thistle, lavender, raspberry bushes and more fleabane

Guess what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow??

tomatoes, weeds, lavender, chervil, leeks, feverfew, brussel sprouts, ox-eye daisies
hmmnnn, what's visible: tomato, lavender, bronze fennel, (weeds), brussel sprouts, leeks, beans, feverfew, and way, way in the back, salad burnet and golden rod.

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hide & seek

Look who's hiding in my bookshelves behind my soap-making frame, enjoying the soft life on my soap-making wool blankets! It's wee Gracie. Isn't she cute?

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real food

I had a chuckle at something my friend R. told me yesterday. A young man he knows who is keen to learn how to eat well and cook "real food", told him that he grew up on a farm that actually grew vegetables. But what did they eat? Meat and potatoes.

Not everyone is excited by food. For me, food is one of the most enjoyable sensory experiences there is. I admire good cooks. And I'm always ready to explore new taste sensations. The only exception to that would be the new taste sensations of processed foods.

My parents were nearly fanatical foodies. The best principle I learned at home was that the closer food was to it's natural state when consumed, the better. It doesn't take a genius chemist to make a wonderful meal of the tenderest, fresh string beans, for example. They're fine raw. They're also good just lightly steamed with perhaps a small squirt of olive oil and lemon juice...And most food is like that, best when utterly fresh from the garden/farm and simply prepared.

But it's becoming harder and harder to find fresh, natural, whole foods. Even as organic foods are catching on, the producers of foods are busy concocting heavily processed (they call it value-added) and packaged products for the consumers that they label "natural" "whole" "organic".

The frightening aspect for me is that the additives in processed foods are not only harmful but addictive. For some reason, our kids prefer the taste, no, crave the taste of chicken fingers, frozen pizza, and fries, to carrots pulled out of the ground, fresh peas in the pod, or cherry tomatoes off the vine.

The second thing that makes processed foods attractive to busy young families is that they have a longer shelf life. A bunch of fresh parsley will quickly go black and mushy in the fridge while a tube of parsley paste will seem to last forever.

As for ease of preparation, there's really no truth to that except that habits are hard to break.

I wish the food producers cared more about the actual nutritional quality of food, but their imperative is not to answer consumer demands but to create a consumer demand. Maybe it is high time we turn that paradigm on its head! What do you say??

A simple act is to find your local grocer's comment cards. Tell your grocer that you want organic produce, labels that identify genetically modified ingredients, and labels that clearly tell you where the product came from. If your grocer does have organic products, tell them you appreciate them. And if your grocer's organic produce sometimes has been on the shelf way too long and looks like its spoiling, tell them! If consumers do have a voice, it's at this level, where our dollars enter the marketplace.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

that bloomin' garden!

bee balm, Monarda

Rosa 'Golden Wings'

old-fashioned single shasta daisy

hemerocallis 'Stella D'Oro'

tawny daylily


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