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

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

Story Cube Challenge No 5 – Looney Tunes due March 18, 2018

Story Cube Challenge No 5 – Looney Tunes due March 18, 2018

Story Cube Dice LOONEY TUNES for Story No 5 due Mar18 2018

The Acme Crate sitting on my porch was stenciled just like the one on the Road Runner cartoons.  A big wooden box nailed around the statue of Marvin the Martian I ordered off the internet 3 weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to get it inside and pry it open with my cat’s claw.

Reaching for the front door I  heard a slimy squishing sound as I stepped into what looks like contact cement.  The can, knocked over by my cat while chasing after a piece of Swiss cheese as if it were a mouse, lay on its side empty and I was “glued” to the spot.  Thinking quickly, before the glue had time to set; I grabbed the plunger resting against the porch railing and pushed it against the door with all my might until it grabbed hold of the flat wooden surface.  Now reversing my efforts I pulled, and pulled hard.  As expected the plunger released its grip with such force I broke free of the glue, windmilled backwards beyond the top step and fell flat on my back on the sidewalk.  Dazed I watch stars dance above my head.

I guess this settles the ongoing argument I had with my roommate that weird things do happen when an Acme Crate is involved.

Visit A ‘lil HooHaa Story Cube Challenge March 18 2018

Cheryle March 18 2018

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.

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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

 

 

RUBBISH

POETRY REHAB 101

.

RUBBISH

.

Discarded

Put aside

No longer wanted, tossed

Alone

Across a pile of the broken

The outdated, the spoiled

.

Left to mingle and slide

Deep into the stench

Pawed over by claws

Food for the unbidden

The hidden hordes

Spiders, beetles, millipedes and roaches

.

Decay descends

Pieces split away

Slime grows white, green and black

Rain dissolves the remains

Washes away anything

To prove I existed

Cheryle

Poetry 101 Rehab         June 3, 2015

PHOTOBLOGGERS CHALLENGE – MAY 2015 – SPRING

The challenge this month is spring.  Here are my photo interpretations of the month of May.

To begin I will refer you to a previous post a poem:  The Sound of Spring Has Come to My Garden.

https://lightwalker1.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/the-sound-of-spring-has-come-to-my-garden/

Apple blossoms  1  Apple blossoms bloom bring about thoughts of fall fruit and pie

hardening off 2 Hardening off tender plants in preparation for their days in the garden sun

Rhubarb leaves Rhubarb leaves – poisonous, but the fruit is delicious

spring ready for tarts Rhubarb ready for tarts

spring baked fresh The taste of Spring, flavour ready to eat

However you enjoy it,  Spring wakes up our eyes, taste buds and imagination of good things to come.

Cheryle   May 2015

Day 17: Your Personality on the Page – Blogging U – Writing 101

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

Today’s Twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

Monsters

Donny is asleep in bed, tucked in nice and neat.  A few stuffed toys are laying on top of the blanket draped across the bottom of the bed.  The room is dark and quiet, you can hear the gentle breathing of the 4 year old.

A few seconds pass.  Off in the distance a train whistle goes off.  The wind outside has picked up a little, the tree outside the 2nd floor window rubs against the glass, causing a squeaking scratching sound followed by a short tap tap.

Donny begins to whine a little and move about in his bed. His breathing starts to quicken. Over the next 60 seconds he moves more frantically and his breathing becomes erratic.

Donny takes an automatic deep breath as if he is rising out of deep water.  He opens his eyes, which dart around the room until they settle on the open closet.

A rustle is heard, coming from the closet.  Donny gasps, holds his breath, and squeezes his eyes shut.  As his he does so, out of the closet steps a Giraffe, head first followed by the body.

Still holding his breath, Donny opens one eye, the other quickly opens in terror.  In front of him reaching to the roof is the Giraffe. Behind the Giraffe peeks a Gorilla, and out from under the Giraffe’s legs walks a lioness, sniffing the air with caution.

Donny lets out a whimper and pulls the covers over his head. He is shivering and crying quietly, so as not to be heard by the animals.

The Giraffe checks out the light fixture on the ceiling, spinning the fan as he tries to nibble the wooden blades.  The Gorilla picks up a stuffed monkey left on the bottom of the bed and holds it to her chest as if it were her own.  The Lioness leaps up on the bed and pads up to the head where Donny is hiding under the covers.

Crying loudly now, Donny is visibly shaking through the blankets.  The Lioness sniffs around Donny’s head, then gently paws at the blankets. The Giraffe leans over grabs the blankets with his teeth.  He pulls them down exposing Donny’s teary face while the Gorilla lumbers up to the far side of the bed still cradling the stuffed toy.

A brave little boy, he opens his eyes, one at a time. When both are open the Lioness steps closer, gives Donny a big wet lick, lays down beside the startled boy and lets out a quiet gruff. The Gorilla tucks the little stuffed monkey in beside Donny and curls up amoung the other stuffed animals at the end of the bed.  The Giraffe takes a moment, folds his legs, settles down comfortably onto the carpet and rests his long neck and head on the bed.  His face nuzzles Donny’s.

Wary, Donny reaches out from under the blankets, touches each animal in turn.  As he pets them they let out small murmurs of contentment and soon begin to snore.  He takes long looks of disbelief, from the Lioness, to the Gorilla and to the Giraffe.  Little Donny falls asleep with a huge smile covering his face as the tears he shed dry.

Off in the distance a train whistle blows long and slow, the wind dies down and the sun starts to filter through the closed curtains.  Donny begins to rustle himself awake.  As he opens his eyes he looks around in expectation.  He is tucked tightly in his bed, alone.

Cheryle – May 2015

Day 12 – Foreshadowing – Blogging U – Writing 101

Day Twelve: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon

Day Twelve’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

Day Twelve’s Twist: Include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

Sometimes Following the Rules Does Make Life Easier

Trying to navigate the crowds of anonymous people all wandering around in the market was beginning to frustrate me.  Their individual features have begun to blend together.  I am so glad, I am done searching for that last ingredient which will tie together all aspects of my dinner party.

It took me forever to decide what I wanted to serve.  I spoke to all my friends, researched various dishes on the internet and thought long and hard about how each dish would interact with the others.

I followed the recipe list, have all the ingredients now and am standing in the checkout line.  I can relax and enjoy the preparations for the evening.  I daydream about how wonderful the event will be, everyone happy, enjoying the food and refreshments, the company and conversation.

“I can’t believe she made us stand in line!” I’ve been living in this neighbourhood for 6 years, I paid my taxes.” Words spoken above the din of the registers and voices of the customers broke into my quiet thoughts.

“You’d think by now they would know where I live” a rough voice said behind me.

“I never received one of those card thingy’s” interjected another voice tinged with annoyance. “They certainly don’t make it easy to vote!”  “All the rules, the paper work”, “my tax return has all information they need, I don’t understand why I have to register again.” Whined another voice standing further back in the line.

“We stood there wasting our time while all those others were being waved through”. Chimed in the first voice.

Before I knew it I could hear my voice “Excuse me.  Are you talking about the election yesterday?”

“Yes” responded the man closest to me.  “Some people got cards, we didn’t and had to wait around to be registered”.  “It just stupid, they have all my information, they know where I live, at least they do when it comes time for me to pay taxes.”  “They’d find me fast enough if I didn’t pay.” He chuckled.

I looked him in the eyes, I could see he was one of the uncooperative people who don’t help out the census survey workers.  Yes, I saw many people like this as I walked all those miles, all those days, trying to get all the information I was tasked to obtain.  Consider, I was not allowed to turn in my sheets, until I collected information from at least 99% of the households in my area. Meaning I had to return to a non-reporting household 14 or 15 times, even then most likely walking away empty handed.    Yes, I know this person.  I can hear it in his voice and see it in his face.

I smile sweetly, the way only an old woman can. “Your taxes have nothing to do with the election.”  “The reason you were standing in the registration line, most likely, is because you were missed during the last Census.  If you weren’t home when the census collector came by or you misplaced the note with the return phone number they left.”

I switched to my, eat your veggies they are good for you, voice. “There are people who are wary of the census, thinking it is a ploy of big brother.  You must know that the Municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments aren’t that coordinated.  Even though it would serve them well to share the information gathered, they can’t, legally, and don’t have the processes in place to do so.”

I looked from one to the other and gave them my best, I am so disappointed in you, voice. “Can you imagine some people abuse these workers terribly?  Should the worker have the unfortunate opportunity to have one of these people actually answer the door,  they refuse to answer the survey questions, complain in colourful offensive language, attack the worker personally and slam the door in the poor Census takers face, leaving them to feel the wind of the contempt on their confused face.”  “What a shame.”

I continued my quiet tirade, “Unfortunately, when the government can’t collect the most recent information, the old information is used and the people living in these non-reporting households have to go through the registration process to vote.  As you had to do yesterday.”

Every single one of the nameless voices standing behind in the line looked at me as if I had spots. One turned away with guilt written all over his face.  Nevertheless, in my pleasant old lady way, I proceed to explain the ins and outs of the complex election process.   “The information gathered during the census generates the Where to Vote Cards which were issued to the people you saw waived passed you and directed to their designated Polling Station.”

I raised my hands to mime weigh scales,  “MMM,   3 minutes answering questions at your front door, or 6 – 8 minutes standing in a line waiting to provide your ID, answering a bunch of questions then standing in a 2nd line to receive your ballot to vote?”  My eyes twinkled, “for me it’s a no brainer.

Off in the distance I heard “Ma’m that will be $15.40 please.”  Ah, my groceries are ready.  I turn around, leave the voices of the line-up, pay my bill and walk on home, happy with myself for speaking up.”

Cheryle  May 2015

Day 20: The Things We Treasure – BLOGGING U – WRITING 101

My Most Prized Possession

My most prized possession?  I could write about my Cabin – my little RV, my access to heaven on the road to freedom.  I could write about my house, that I have loved for 26 years, built a life within, my sanctuary, my cave from the world when it becomes overwhelming.  It isn’t my collection of books.  Over the years I have learned to let them go and not become attached when I bring home new ones.  It’s not my paintings or the binder full of my poetry that records my progress from childhood to the present.

What do I pull out lovingly every so often, pour over for days when I am in the mood, and would want to take with me if I could only bring one thing? I would have to say my most prized possession, is the broken down cardboard box containing the photographs that tell the story of my life, my family and friends.

I know photographs aren’t really possessions, they are tangible but not possessions.  Photographs are memories brought to life through technology.  A moment in time, stolen for a reminder later in life.

Contained in that torn cardboard box that  I have taped and re-taped over the years ares the lives of my parents, my parents parents, my sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts, friends, colleagues and people I don’t even know.  They tell two stories.  The first one a history of my family.  The second story a history of photography. The earliest photos were taken with little brownie cameras, black and white. Grainy tales of a time long gone. The pictures then graduate from polaroid’s to instamatics then to various 35 mm SLR’s and finally to my lovely digital Nikon D60 and the ever durable waterproof bright red Ricoh.  I have lost three of the Ricoh’s.  If you find them you will know they are mine, they have my pictures on them.

These precious photographs, hidden on the shelf in the basement behind ancient school year books,  show farm life, city life, camping life and just life.  The pixie cut, the bob, the shag, the curly perm, the relaxed perm, the perm set with infrared lights and the dye jobs.  The little white dresses three year olds wore in the 50’s, the mini skirt, the midi- skirt, the maxi coat, bikini, the skort, the tube top, the several Canadian Forces uniforms and a few costumes worn for various stage productions.  They take me on a trip around the world. Well, at least Canada.  Toronto, Alliston, Montreal, cottage country, Ottawa, the Maritimes, Saskatchewan, BC, Vancouver Island, Alberta, many other cities in those provinces and back again.

Some of these little glossy, matte or fingerprint proof squares are, loose sorted in a not sorted order, others are put inside little photo books and albums, many are left inside their envelopes with or without their negatives.

Yes, these photos are the only things that cannot be replaced.  Yes, I can conjure the memories in my mind and reminisce without the tangible reminders, but as long as I can, I will love hauling out that tattered box, and touching every single shot taken of the past.

Cheryle  May 2015