Category Archives: Gardening

Forgotten Carrots, Leek Overdose & Common Man

You plan so long for spring, for the coveted months of April and May to plant, to sew your seeds. And then, voila! They are upon us.

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These are our seedlings that we snafu-ed from Clam Bay to put into our greenhouse. Yes, they are my seedlings planted in March! I’ve got onions, spinach and leeks in there.

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So we mapped out, before we left home, as to where we’d plant what. Upon arriving at the garden, we (we being Marc, haha) promptly forgot the plan and planted unscheduled beets. Love it! Impromptu beets! Who else enjoys this kind of spontanuity? Am I getting too enthusiastic over a row of beets? I think not!

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Ok, so see me planting my leek transplants, that are supposed to be 8 inches high before you transplant? Yeah well, I was a little enthusiastic with my leek seedlings, or I doubted their tenacity. Whatever! I ended up with a bed of leeks, double the size shown in this picture. This evening, I was chatting with my brother and he asked “So what do you use leeks for?” And I said “Oh James, they’re so good, why, I use them all the time for…. soup… and… uh… well…” Well James, I’ll use them for just about everything now! Anyone want a leek? Put your orders in! A bit of an overdose on leeks, declared Marc. What encouraging and realistic men I have in my life.

Then! (yes there’s more- it was an exciting day.) We were tromping around the garden, and I was thinking about where I was going to plant my carrots. When I read about carrots, it says to plant them an inch deep, to not walk near the carrot bed, and to put fine vermiculite on top to allow the carrot seedlings a loose soil to poke their noses through. I’m thinking “Wow, high maintenance carrots!” and vowed to appreciated them more in the grocery store. Then the owner of the farm was saying “Oh yes, and over here, I think I planted some carrots. I don’t think I ever pulled them up!”

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30 carrots later, these “fragile” beauties had neither vermiculite covering or a trodden-free growth. I know I stamped on their heads unknowingly a dozen times! That’s it! It gave me confidence to till my row for carrots and in they went. I’m gung-ho for new adventures as soon as someone shows me that it can be done.

I was reading in my too-often mentioned book “A Circle of Quiet” how the common man plays it safe, but the uncommon man is what moves forward mankind’s evolution. Thomas Edison, the uncommon man, invented the incandescent light bulb and said: “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

Einstein‘s Theory of relativity did not come about because someone showed him how to do it. It came about as an epiphany, a brand-new thought. He said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Stephen Hawking was far from common, and his advancements in quantum gravity and black holes was astounding. He said: “To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.”

-I am going somewhere with this. I appreciate your patience.-

In my commonness, I wait for someone to show me how it is done. This is not a spirit of an adventurer, inventor, or an explorer. I am not a risk taker. I am uncomfortable with this. This is good. I follow in my father’s footsteps. I do not naturally stretch myself. And when life stretches me, I protest but what good it does me! What good indeed.

I had a very dear friend say to me once, “I love being broken. In brokenness, I am naked before all that matters.”

I shudder to think. Naked before what matters, no thank you. Leave me clothed before What Matters. Let me wrap my ragged dignity around me, please. But I need it. We need it!

I took an excerpt a couple posts back about the Foolishness of God. I expressed how we need to be forgiven for what we’ve done to each other and to this Earth. To pair with the foolishness of God, I would venture to say, we need the Brokenness of the Common man.

Then perhaps, we can change the world’s course. This is the whispers of a young revolutionary. Did you make it this far?

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Good,. Come have a fresh garden carrot and I promise no more philosophy tonight!


Dirt Under the Fingernails Kinda’ Gal

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The warmth of the soil, or the black moistness of it, I’m not sure what it is, but just let me get my hands dirty! It is Easter Weekend and my gardening ambitions are in full-tilt.

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It was the first Farmer’s Market of the year yesterday. We went for mini donuts, Ewa’s cakes, Ellen’s goat cheese, Nettle Soup, Grimmer’s seeds, and a talk on pruning.

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After munching, we went back to Theresa’s and munched some more. And built raised beds. If I’ve learned anything from Theresa (And believe me, I’ve learned lots) it’s that she does not know the definition of “cannot.” Often I find it difficult to start because of the Cannot. Should not. Would not. She doesn’t suffer from this moment of doubt which leads me to quit before I’ve even started. She says instead, “Why not?” and then plows forward.

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Behold! Our bed is risen!

‘Tis Easter after all. What other things can we raise?

Lately…Twirling

Lately, these have been my activities:

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-Preparing an asparagus bed, (they take 3 years to be edible, best get started now)

-Planting strawberries

-Visiting farms/gardens to haggle where the bee hives go that are coming in June.

-Reading “A Circle of Quiet” and today, finishing it.

-Writing a story for a children’s competition that is now too long to be entered.

-Walking to and from work

-Unearthing someone else’s old garden

-Beekeeping

-Wearing skirts (the last two days)

But as my husband and I were just discussing, listing the activities of someone’s day without accrediting emotions is really doing no justice to one’s activities. Something taken out of context is not the real picture. I have been thinking that I should learn more about soil PH levels, I should know what to look for in my sprouting asparagus or zucchini, I should be researching what grows where or when. But instead, I am doing the learning through osmosis. Through ontology. (That date with Dictionary is paying off.)

Instead, I celebrate as my black bean braves the wide world and sprouts on my window sill, leaves still pucked behind their bean-shell. I am astonished at my bees because their pollen sacs on their legs, like little luggage sets, are stuffed with bright yellow pollen to the hive, even though I’ve given them a whole patty of pollen at their disposal. I do not only smile, I grin inadvertantly at the glow of the pink flowers on the Japanese Cherry trees popping up in my neighbourhood. The splash of Pink! (Pink is such an incredible word) It makes me feel cheerful and girly.

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I walked to work yesterday morning and as I crested my little hill at the end of the road, the electrical Al drove by. He yelled out his window “It must be Spring!” And I twirled and flounced in my skirt for him. What music do I hear in my ears on Sunny Skirted Days? Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Wailin’ Jennys. Girls! And what do I smell? The intoxicating smell of lilies, orchids, daffodils, tulips, gerbers. Girly Girly Girly! Celebrate!

I am woman, see me twirl!

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Spring Equinox

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Spring is the season for death and resurrection. And I’m not just talking about Easter. In both Christian and Pagan beliefs, there are religious rituals connected with the March Equinox. Don’t you just love that word? Equinox.

The daffodils are my first sign that Spring is here!

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There’s nothing like having fresh cut flowers on my desk at work to remind me of the wider world out there. And giving someone fresh cut flowers always receives a smile. At the brink of every season, I celebrate. I think I’m a sucker for change…

Today we were transplanting tomato seedlings.

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These tomatoes are my seedlings. They are Roma tomatoes (good for drying) and Scarlet Heirloom tomatoes (good for canning.)

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Spring is a season of growth. I intend to take advantage of this seasonal persuasion. Growing and expanding! Yes Please! I am growing not only seedlings, not only a hive of bees, not only a culture of yoghurt, I am growing a list of books! I have a recommended book on gardening, raising sheep, raising chickens, local food, small farming, and of course, bees!

It seems my hobbies could turn HUGE in no time at all, thanks to the season of Growing!

My attempts at Lasagna outside

Anyone know how large 3 cubic yards of earth is? Well I looked at this little pile of soil and thought, Oh no problem. If you are ordering earth- do not be fooled! 3 yards of soil moved in wheelbarrow chunks is a lot of chunks.

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First we had to lay cardboard down to mulch the grass. Getting all your cardboard from the liquor store is a fantastic idea when you want a lot of cardboard fast, but it does make you look a bit like an alcoholic to your new neighbours. Whoops!

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Then we ripped up grass that was growing lusciously then EARTHED over it.

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Kudos and thanks to Theresa and Marc for making all this possible. My dreams are materializing before my very eyes! A veggie garden! Who knew it could be?

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This is our attempt at the famous painting by Grant Wood.

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Modern day twists on farming… Can we get more sacriligious?

Ya know, I’m comfortable with the title “Gardener” and I practically jumped into the “Beekeeper” hat. But Farmer? The negative connotations of being a hay-chewing country yokel. I’m just not there yet. I wonder at what point I will embrace the “Farmer” label as my own. Does it take ducks, chickens, sheep, a cow to slap myself with that title and Own it?

Please just call me the “Bee Lady.”

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And, the bees are doing fine, thank you for asking.