GARDEN WONDERINGS

Watching a garden grow can be an enlightening pastime.  All the lessons of life are available and explained to you if you pay attention.

Life moves at its own pace.  Life in the garden is directed by Mother Nature, assisted by the loving gardener.  Every year is different, the timing, the growth, the harvest and of course the weather.  Some years the tiniest signs of growth show early. Other years, like this year, signs of life don’t appear until late in the calendar season. Last year at this time we were harvesting small pumpkins.  This year they are just starting to swell. The gardener has to be patient and eagerly watch for signs of the garden awakening and enjoy the abundance of Mother Nature in her own time.

July 14 2019 Baby Squash 1 a

Persistence leads to success: If you don’t succeed the first time, keep trying.  Don’t give up through your mistakes you learn the lessons which will springboard you to future successes.

While the cool weather and rain dampened my enthusiasm for being outside digging in the dirt, I waited with anticipation for the tender plants to poke up and greet me with their fresh green leaves and stalks.

I am usually luckless when it comes to starting plants from seed, but this year I pushed through my past frustrations and planted a whole variety of seeds, some favourites, some previously untried and some of the ever frustrating cucumbers. Cucumbers don’t grow for me even when I buy plants from a gardening centre.  However, not only did the seeds sprout, they are struggling to survive. I feel a little extra luck was sprinkled on my seeds.

Patty Pans have been hit and miss for me. I spotted these unusual scalloped squashes at a Farmer’s market a few years ago and the following year planted some. When they matured I enjoyed a few of these small sweet squashes fried in butter. The next year they didn’t fare well, and last year I couldn’t find the seeds, anywhere. Believe me, I looked. I kept looking in every seed display I came across and finally, I stumbled upon on a couple of varieties.  I purchased 5 or 6 packages, planted them in three spots, two are producing lovely little treats. Just in case the seeds are scarce again, I saved a couple packages for next year.

Build on Past Successes:  Every year the Mediterranean garden, which is situated on the south side of the house and is made up of a complement of purchased storage bins, produces more than enough tomatoes and basil for all the tomato sandwiches, sauce and basil vinaigrette dressing to satisfy my family for the whole summer. This year I added onions, cilantro, peppers and summer savoury to the growing garden.

I went on a bean adventure last year and experimented with bush and pole beans.  It was exciting to watch the vines twine, the bright flowers, and the purple, yellow, and green beans grow.

I couldn’t wait to plant more this year. Once the weather warmed up I direct sowed double what I did last year.

Mr. ‘n’ Mrs. Rabbit happily watch over the bean and squash garden.

Be open to inspiration, it can come from unexpected places. A little inspiration can unleash your creativity and expand your repertoire of recipes, spices and favourite plants to grow.  A good friend gifted me a “Herbes de Provence” blend she picked up during a summer holiday in France. The savoury flavour inspired me to add Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary and Sage to the Mediterranean Garden.

July 17 2019 Sage Savory n Cilantro a.jpg

Not all of the herbs planted came up, but I am confident the blend I make will be delicious.

Adventure builds confidence:  One of the planting challenges I accepted this year was to start Echinacea from seed. Over the years my store-bought Purple Cone Flower has diminished, partly due to winter kill and I suspect over-zealous weeding. (oops!).

I have been told that Echinacea is difficult to grow from seed and to transplant.

Hoping to avoid transplant shock to the delicate “plantlings”, I picked up some compostable soup bowls as starter pots.  When the Echinacea was old enough and hardened off I plopped the whole kit-n-caboodle directly into the garden.

They are doing so well I am thinking of starter more perennial flowers from seed next year.

Weed, weed and weed some more. Take stock and clear out what is no longer needed. Cull the weeds that are sucking the life out of your plants, the plants that are overgrown, and the one that no longer serves the garden as a whole.

This may mean splitting and separating some of your favourite perennials and moving them to an open spot that has more space or giving them away.  The harmful or diseased plants and weeds need to be pulled and discarded.  A happy garden needs room to grow and if crowded it will not flourish and thrive.

Reap the Rewards of Helping Out:  Pollinating, trees, plants, and flowers falls under the domain of the Bees but sometimes they can’t get to every flower.

July 14 2019 Squash n Bee 1 a

My husband helps out with a tiny painters brush.  He gently takes the pollen from one flower or from one plant and shares it with the others.  It makes him feel good to know he has helped out the bees and his assistance can mean the difference between enjoying zucchini for dinner

or watching the young fruit turn yellow and wither on the vine.

Have fun:  Remember whimsy and fun can provide solace when the days are dark. For a splash of colour and just plain fun, I planted Nasturtiums and Cosmos. Their colourful flowers will brighten up any rainy day.

Mother Nature can teach us many of life’s lessons if we take the time to sit quietly in our gardens or by a window with our houseplants.  See what you can learn from the cycle of life reflected in the growing garden.

 

Cheryle – July 20, 2019

I Submitted an article and I was accepted

I submitted an article to Elephant Journal, they accepted it and published it!

Check out my article in Elephant Journal on how I changed my life by attending a Willpower Institute meditation course.  Click on the “blue meditation course link” to automatically be taken there.

Elephant Journal is an excellent magazine.   A wonderful person edited my submission.  They made it sing and even added a perfect image to go with the article.   The process was awesome.

If you are asked to sign up or create an account you should be able to close the box and continue reading. I have a free account which allows me to read a certain number of articles a day without having to purchase a subscription.

I hope you enjoy it.

Cheryle August 20 2018

 

STORY CUBE CHALLENGE 11 – MIXED BAG 2 – DUE JUNE 24, 2018   – The Theft

The Theft

Story Cube Dice 11 Misc Cubes 2 due June 24 2018

Snick, the sound barely audible above my hoarse breathing.  I slide the CREDIT CARD between the sticker plate and the faceplate pushing the latch bolt back into the latch unit releasing the door.

Quickly I glance down the corridor, first to the right then to the left.  The view hasn’t changed any, three doors, a kid’s plastic PARACHUTE TOY lying beside a potted plant on a table, and the elevator.

With a gentle push, the door slowly swings open. I step inside, close the door and stare into the darkness.

Kaboom! The thunder-crack shakes the building.  The storm must be right overhead. LIGHTENING illuminates the room, for an instant like a SHOOTING STAR flashing before my eyes.   I freeze and look toward the closed bedroom door, waiting to see a sliver of light shine out from inside telling me that someone is awake and getting up.

Nothing moves.  I release my held breath and relax, a little.

OK, I start silently talking to myself, like I have a SPEECH BUBBLE above my head.  It’s in the carved wooden box, on the 3rd shelf of the bookcase to the left of the living room doorway, straight ahead.

I am so nervous my feet are sweating and I leave moist FOOTPRINTS behind me.

Standing in front of the cabinet I reach out and touch the box.  I feel the carving of the SCARAB with my fingers as I lift the lid. I pat around inside the box exploring for the rounded edges of the HONEY BEE figurine.  I make contact; the gold is smooth and cool to the touch. Ouch!  I prick my finger on the stinger.  Serves me right for taking it this way, I could have just asked for it.  I am sure she would have given it to me gladly.  But no, I want to make her wonder, to think, how long was it been missing, when was the last time she saw it.  Did she lose it or did someone take it?  I wanted to leave her wondering what happened to it.

Resetting the lid I turn around.  Smiling I retrace my footsteps; quietly close the door behind me.  Whoosh. As the elevator doors close, I can practically see the HAPPY FACE floating above my head.

Cheryle – June 25, 2018

My Garden Chronicle from Winter to Spring 2018

MY GARDEN CHRONICLE FROM WINTER TO SPRING 2018

Spring sprung late this year.   The winter was long, harsh and we were inundated by so much snow it reached my mid-thigh reminding me of the cold and snowy winters during the late 60’s.  I guess it is true, the weather is cyclical and we were certainly deep in the cold and wet cycle.   Channel pathways had to be dug so the feral cats wouldn’t have to dig their own tunnels through the snow drifts.

 

20180208_113321      20180208_113421 20180208_113554     SNOW DAY FEB 8 2018_0017     Snow on artwork Feb 8 2018 a     Snow tree Feb 8 2018 a

The garden usually shows signs of awakening early in March, however, as late as spring was, once the sun warmed the earth nature took the fast track to catch up. Since the beginning of April, there have been amazing spurts of growth and splashes of colour appearing daily.

Spring Runoff 2 a  tulips rising 2

sunflower_0001    Garden April 27 2018_0003

Throughout the year, I celebrate the progression of the garden with little festivals.  In the spring it is  Nanking Cherry and Lilac Blossom Festivals and in the fall it is Apple and Pumpkin Harvest Festivals.   Most years the blossom festivals begin in March with the Scillia and Crocus blossoms and finish early in May with the Apple blossoms, but this year the spring festivals happened all in the same week. Or so it seemed.

20180512_172304     Bee Back May 12 2018_0018 b (2)     bee in flight may 16 2018 b            flowers May 27 2018_0002     front tulips may 20 2018 (2) a     May 6 2018 0004 white crocus a

May 6 2018 0009 Silia a   Nanking Blossoms at sunset May 11 2018_000 a5

The Scillia, Crocus, Tulip, Nanking Cherry, Lilac, Apple Crab, Crab Apple, Pear and the Cherry trees broke out into delicate blossoms all at the same time.  It was a stupendous show of petals and a fragrant feast of fruity scents wafting on the breezes, a pageant showing off nature’s gifts of growth and fertility.

garden after cleanup may 8 2018_0035 (7)   Blossoms and buds May 18 2018_0004 a

Garden growth May 21 to 24 2018_0023    Bee Back May 12 2018_0018 b (1)

bleeding heart May 10 2018 (4) b Chives June 5 2018 a

blossom pagent june 5 2018 (14)       blossom pagent june 5 2018 (24)

Peony Bud 1 June 5 2018 a    Garden Grows June 3 2018_0012

Planting began early May and the garden was starting to show signs shortly after the May long weekend.   The Anemones are now in bloom; their pure white faces following the sun as it travels the sky daily.  Little Cherries and Apples are visible on the trees boding an abundant harvest.

Garden Grows June 3 2018_0009 b    Johnny Jump Up May 22 2018 2 b  June 7 2018_0013

From today until I put the garden to bed I look forward to Peonies, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Herbs, Carrots, Beans, Apples,  Pears, Roses, Poppies, Honeysuckle, Dill and Sunflowers.

Beans May 26 2018 (3)   Pumpkins under finger  Garden Grows June 3 2018_0003 a

As the garden treasures blossom from buds to flowers to fruit to harvest I will continue to be amazed at the magic of how the garden springs to life, grows and develops throughout the year from winter sleep to the cornucopia of the fall.

Stay tuned the garden chronicles will continue.

Cheryle June 11, 2018

 

 

 

STORY CUBE CHALLENGE 10 – FANTASIA 2 – DUE MAY 27, 2018 – THE ISLAND LABYRINTH

The Island LabyrinthStory Cube Dice 10 FANTASIA 2 due May 27 2018

The labyrinth wound around the forest, the path twisting and turning in on itself. It is the only one of its kind and size.  Legend has it a Wizard created it with the toss of a single magic sphere while fending off marauders wielding sharply spiked maces who were trying to overtake the island paradise.  Overnight the forest grew and the next morning the labyrinth appeared.

Searchers of the spiritual peace offered by the meditative walk arrive by ship then they are ferried into the small castle that serves as a home to the followers of the Goddess Flidias.  On special occasions, the kitchen roasts a pig and lays out a great feast.  The scent of searing meat enticing the feral cats out of hiding hoping to snag a scrap when the cooks weren’t watching.

With the sun beginning to brighten the morning sky, the meditators make their way onto the pathway to walk in contemplation, slowly pacing toward and away from the guardian trees, each quiet in the solitude of their own mind, alone amoung the many.

Their minds at peace, their hearts centred they return home with renewed spirits emanating a calming influence over the chaos of their daily lives.

 

Cheryle – May 31, 2018

STORY CUBE CHALLENGE #9 – DUE MAY 13, 2018 – Crabs for Lunch

I am so late writing and posting this challenge story.  Not only am I late with this one, I am also late with the challenge story that was due on the 27th.  Oh well, I’m posting here now, however, I won’t be able to link it to the challenge.

CRABS FOR LUNCH

Story Cube Challenge 9 Voyages 3 due May 13 2018

The Crow landed lightly on the flagpole finial.  It’s sleek black feathers glistening in the sunlight, the Jolly Roger snapping smartly in the westerly winds.    “Caw Caw”, it cried “Shiver me timbers the wind is cold up here”.  It’s two dark friends called back, one from the Crow’s Nest atop the Main Mast, the other strutting back and forth on the Foremast, “The seas are choppy, the storm is tracking this way”, “the pirates are going ashore.”

As the pirates lowered the Jolly Boat, the three Crows lifted off and glided to the tents erected just above the high water line on the beach.

Outside the largest brightest tent the King adjusts his crown while bending down to poke at one of the crabs scuttling over the sand.  “Mmmm, these would make a delicious luncheon,” he says looking at Cook stirring the pot on the camp stove.  “Yes, your Highness”, the cook replies, “I will have one of the kitchen pages collect enough for roasted crab for lunch” as he snaps his fingers at one of the apron clad young men pouring oil from a flask over a platter of grilled sliced cactus.

The Captain steps down into the Jolly Boat, removes his glasses and wipes the water splashes away with the tail of his shirt.  “Here we goes boys, Parley”!

 

Cheryle – May 29, 2018

STORY CUBE CHALLENGE #8 – ACTIONS 2 – JORGA AND ME

Story Cube Dice ACTIONS for story No 8 due April 29 2018

My best friend is Jorga, a tall black beauty with dark sparkling eyes and just a bit of tawny surrounding her snout and jowls.  We agree on everything.  At first glance, she appears to be very serious, but one look at her flopped over ears and you will see she is just a silly willy forever trying to herd squirrels.  Me, I’m small, mostly white with a few brown spots and long brown ears.  My hair is longer than Jorga’s.  I’m the serious one, all business when it comes to chasing birds.  I haven’t yet caught one, but boy when I do watch out.  I mostly practice with balls, but I’m very good at spotting and retrieving sticks big as logs.

Jorga’s Dad and my Mom are best friends too. Sometimes they bring us to the park and walk together holding hands while Jorga and I play, steal each other’s toys and chase our tails. Once in a while, they will ask us to speak to them and when we say nice things we get delicious treats.

We weren’t so rewarded last week when the siren music was playing outside. Jorga and I sang along in perfect harmony, however, in our excitement we got carried away, started roughhousing and knocked over a vase.  Voices were raised and fingers were shaken.  Both of us tucked our tails, ran and hid under the bed.  We were in even more trouble when my Mom stepped on a piece of the broken vase leaving the scent of blood all over the entranceway.  Jorga’s Dad wrapped up my Mom’s Owie and carried her to the couch for a rest then wiped away the scent of blood.

We stayed hidden under the bed, snuggled together having a nice sleep until it was time for dinner. I am happy Jorga is my best friend; she makes a nice warm place for me to rest my head and doesn’t eat all the food in my dish.

Cheryle  April 29, 2018

Check out more submissions at  A ‘lil Hoohaa Story Cube Challenge