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

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

 

 

 

PBC – July 2017 – Point of View

PHOTO BLOGGERS CHALLENGE – JULY 2017 – POINT OF VIEW

This month’s challenge is Point of View.  It took me a few days to figure out what that meant for me.  Inspired by    GeoKs June 2017 Photo Blogging Challenge submission of a columbine from behind, I had fun photographing my subjects from underneath, a very different perspective and I believe an interesting “Point of View”.  All but the last photo were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone.

20170710_130712 c

From underneath the rose bush, shooting to the sky, I can see the many shades of rose bush green as blue-sky peeks through the branches.

20170724_105740 a

Since the camera was in “Selfie” mode I had difficulty keeping myself out of the picture.  As is evident with the shot of the Monarda, common name – Bee Balm.

20170710_130807 c

The ripening raspberries happily hang hidden away beneath the prickly canes.

20170724_111634

This year I grew zucchini in what I call “the Mediterranean Garden” located on the south side of the house. With its’ ruffles and veins, the translucent yellow flower looks so much more delicate when seen from underneath.

garden july 12 to 14 2017_0046 a

This “underneath” photo was a bonus of pure luck when I stepped outside and just happened to glance up, I was greeted with the graceful flight of a dozen or more Pelicans enjoying the cloudless day.

I want to thank PJ for hosting these challenges.  I am grateful for the stretch outside my comfort zone and the enjoyment and ideas I get from  checking out the offerings from the other members, which you can check out here:    A ‘lil Hoohaa Photo Blogging Challenge – July 2017 – Point of View

Cheryle July 2017

 

PBC – June 2017 – Use a Different Lens

PHOTOBLOGGERS CHALLENGE – JUNE 2017 – USE A DIFFERENT LENS

Many years ago, I purchased my first SLR camera – A Chinon. I loved it!  I was in heaven snapping pictures in my living room, on the street, in the park, or off my balcony, where ever I was.  I barely learned how to use the ASA, F-stop and Aperture functions before developing the film became too expensive.  The undeveloped rolls languished in my fridge for 20 years or so.  A sad state of affairs.

One day, when I was feeling particularly unhappy, I swept into the camera store and walked out with a Nikon D60,  three lenses, a couple of filters, a charger, an extra battery, a cleaning kit, and a camera bag. I was in heaven.  The one and only time I treated myself to such an extravagant shopping spree.  I smile every time I think of it.

This month’s A lil Hoohaa – Photo Bloggers Challenge is to use a different lens. This technical challenge was the impetus I needed to finally start to figure out how to use my NIKON D60 in a mode other than “Auto” or what I call “Running Man”.  The Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8D lens I opted to use for this project has never been used previously.  It has lain in the camera bag sad and unwanted.  Not unwanted because it was considered inferior, unused because I was intimidated.  After all, it is a manual lens. In my mind, I could only use it if I knew what I was doing.  And I don’t.  So it sat inside its black bag, waiting for me to know what to do.

I enjoyed this challenge, more than any of the others I have participated in.  I learned a few things, I remembered a few things, and I;m anticipating future fun.  The photos look more 3 dimensional, the colours appear to be richer, the textures more touchable, and  f/11 is still my favourite f-stop.  I look forward to using this lens on a regular basis.

Anemone a

Anenome – 1/2000 sec f/14.50 mm ISO 3200

Columbine aColumbine – 1/60 sec. f/20.50 mm ISO 200

columbines spruce texture aTextures – Columbine blossoms, Spruce Tree & Peony leaves – 1/80 sec. f/11.50 mm ISO 1600

Rose bee aRose Bee – 1/400 sec f/5.50 mm ISO 200

 

Velvet Petals aVelvet Rose Petals – 1/30 sec. f/22.50 mm ISO 800

Cheryle – June 2017

Please stop by A ‘lil Hoohaa to see the rest of the entries for the

A ‘lil Hoohaa Photo Bloggers Challenge June 2017

 

 

 

 

COME DRUM WITH ME

Drums on a Blue background   An unusual event took place in the Ogden House auditorium on May 5th, 2016.  For those members sitting in the lounge at the time, they heard and felt a rumbling never before experienced at the club.  What could it be?

a drum circle begins

A drum circle, of course.

As we arrived, each of us looked around the auditorium, skeptically, and wondered what had we gotten ourselves into?  The chairs were arranged in a large circle with a drum sitting in front of each spot.  Jamie Gore,  a Drum Circle Facilitator with Circles of Rhythms, greeted us and invited us to select a seat and a drum.  There were colourful Cuban Tubanos, shapely Djembes, and graceful Frame drums, all waiting to release their voices with just a touch from a drummer.

Each drum style, is unique in the way it looks, the sound it makes and in the way it is played.

A cuban drummer a   The Tubano, a tall floor standing drum, is played by used two beaters to hit the drum skin and by striking the hard straight side of the body with the beater handles.

A couple of djembe drummers   The Djembe, a goblet shaped drum from West Africa, is held between the legs, and is tilted slightly forward to allow the voice of the drum to escape through the bottom of its hollow body.  The drummer beats the drum skin with their open hands or the drum rim with their fingers.

a community drum with two frame drums  The community drum and the frame drums are used to keep the beat and set the pace for all the other drums.  Historically,  the frame drum is believed to have been styled after the original drum, which was developed from the grain sieves used by ancient agricultural communities.

a bunch of percussion

As the short hour flew by, everyone had an opportunity to try out each style of drum, and to play one of the percussion instruments which had been laid out on the floor in the centre of the circle.

a painted drum  We drummed for ourselves, we drummed for each other, and we drummed for those fleeing the fires in the north.  We energized our bodies, our minds, we played with our hearts and our spirits.  The room vibrated and bounced to the sounds we made.  Our faces broke out in smiles, our feet tapped in rhythm while our arms beat in time to each other.

a djembe quartet

 

A flute soars    Karin Foster, a musician and a Circle of Rhythms drum circle volunteer generously treated us to two haunting melodies played on her American Indian Flute.

A mother listens to her daughter play a  We sat quietly and meditated as her energy and love filled the room.

I had a drumming good time and look forward to the next drum circle, but from the looks on the faces of the members sitting in the lounge as we left, the next circle will need more chairs and more drums.

a gourd sound

Cheryle – May 2016

Originally published in the  Ogden House 50+ Seniors Activity Club – June Newsletter

 

 

PHOTO BLOGGERS CHALLENGE NOVEMBER 2015 – MORNING

The Photo Bloggers Challenge – November 2015

Morning

The challenge this month was just outside of my comfort zone.  I like to sleep in, the later the better.   I thought I was going to have to pass on posting something, but I did manage to crawl out from under the comfy covers and capture something of what the world is like in the morning.   In a couple of cases, I didn’t even crawl out but took the pictures where I lay as my eyes opened.  I hope you enjoy.

20151112_082039

The sunlight streaming in from the east as I shake the sleep out of my brain. I grabbed my cell phone and took this picture before I was fully awake.

MORNING 4

The sun shines on the northern wall igniting the mirror and mask with morning light.  The quote by the Dalai Lama reminds me that I do need to do what I need to do in order to complete the challenge.  I kept it in mind as the month progressed with few pictures taken.

Morning Moon Nov 29 2015_0005

Good Morning World.  The night lights are still lit as the sun rises in the east as I decide I must make the effort to rise to the theme of the challenge.

Morning Moon Nov 29 2015 A

The morning moon slow to set in the west.

WAKE UP 5

Coffee, the only reason I am still awake.

A ‘lil Hoohaa Photo Bloggers Challenge November 2015 – Morning

You can find more Photo Bloggers Challenge – Morning posts  here.

 

Cheryle – November 2015

THE 1st MY CIRCLE OF FRIENDS HEALING FAIR & TRADE SHOW

Fair in Full Swing 4

Saturday, November 21st, 2015, was the debut of a new healing fair and trade show “My Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show”.  I believe it was a success.

The event provided my friends an opportunity to “Dip their Toes into the Water” of the healing fairs and trade show experience. Many had never before hosted a table where they promoted themselves as a healing practitioner, an artisan or an entrepreneur. One or two participants, extremely experienced, generously helped out their newly befriended colleagues with advice and gentle support.

Held at Ogden House Seniors 50+ Activity Club the market vendors discovered new friends whose interests complemented their own, met with potential clients and introduced them to the many services and products being offered.

Fair in Full Swing 6 Qi Gong

We had an eclectic group of presenters; Brenda Harll, Senior Move Management Specialist II at Boomers & Zoomers Inc., explained how you too can be a “CLUTTERBUSTER”, Yvette Falconer, a Qi Gong Master and Instructor from Qi Gong Wisdom, led the audience in a series of Qi Gong movements and Heather Driedger, an Angel Empowerment Practitioner of Heathers Health Coaching, gave an inspiring talk on how to invite and Connect with your Angels every day.

The guests who joined us were also treated to:

  • The beautiful and unconventional live pine bough and copper ribbon wreath designs and jewellery fashioned by Jenniefer Milot Pickup of Designs by JMP;
  • The colourful and thoughtful paintings, the nature sourced necklaces and earrings created by native artisan Lee Deranger;
  • the soft tactile Fabric Creations designed and sewn by Brenda Cullum;
  • the gentle touch of Sara Dishke of Libra Wellness Inc., a Certified Bowen Therapy Practitioner and the glint ‘n’ glitter of her pendant jewellery;
  • the Intuitive Spiritual Guidance and Energy Balancing and Steeped Tea offered by Deirdre of Gaia’s Natural Therapies;
  • Food Allergy Testing by Kinesiologist Jackie Hooton of Heavenly Healings; and
  • The insightful artwork of Kim Szuta of inspiredART.

Jackie Hooton

Ogden House, a private members club located in the community of Ogden in southeast Calgary, hosted, “The Fare Café” in which 100% of the revenue will be donated to support Canadian Veterans. The Fare Café served several selections of sandwiches, including the most popular Egg Salad, Veggie and Fruit Plates and of course a plate of sweet shortbreads, Nanaimo bars and Gingerbread men, and coffee and tea. The Ogden House volunteers worked diligently setting up the auditorium, making, serving food and beverages, and cleaning up after the event.  I am sure Canadian Veterans will be grateful for this unexpected donation.

Fair in Full Swing 1a

Over all everyone received what they needed and more.  Some learned lessons in order to grow and others earned and gained new clients.  In general everyone enjoyed the event.

Please keep your eyes open for the next  “Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show.

Circle of Friends Fair 2014 logo small

Cheryle L. Baker – Author, Photography, Creator and Promoter of My Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show

November 23, 2015