Garden update and taking a break from electronics.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Happy early birthday Joe!

I’ll start with some happy news: I’ve finished the shingles acupuncture/chiro treatment! I’m symptom free and feeling good. There is still a small rash on my back that is quickly fading, but no pain, no itching anywhere! I feel so good that I’ve rebooked my Covid vaccine for next week – so psyched!

It’s been four weeks yesterday since I started on this crazy shingles journey. During my appointment on Tuesday, my Chiropractor and I were discussing my healing progression. She remarked how quickly I healed and was impressed by all the tools I used to help it along, like making a healing cream. Not having anything to compare it to, I wasn’t sure if it was quick or not but she had clients come to her for help after they’ve had it for six to eight weeks! I’m so grateful I went the natural route and it healed as quickly as it did. Once I’m vaccinated for Covid, the singles vaccine is next on my list…don’t want to go down this road again. 😉

On the garden front, I sowed some seeds in my raised bed during my lunch break. I don’t think there’s a finer way to spend a hot spring day, than out in nature, planting seeds for future salads and smoothies! Lettuce, spinach and parsley are in the ground. I wanted to plant kale but for the life of me, couldn’t find the seeds. I’m sure I had a packet. But apparently I don’t.

After my chiro appointment this evening, I stopped at Home Depot to buy a 100′ garden hose. If only that was all… I’m now the proud owner of more seeds (hello kale!), more flowers (welcome home pansies!), and other things! While waiting in the check out line, I asked Mom – more liked begged – please, this is the last time I am allowed to go in or near a garden centre…except for fertilizer. That’s it. She laughed.

I love seeing a plowed field, especially our old field. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents farmed this land.

And the last bit of news for today. I need a break. A real break. I’ve decided to take advantage of this three-day weekend by making it an oasis – spiritual, emotional, mental and physical. I don’t have an off-grid place to go, so I’m making my home that place. I’m turning off my electronics, which means my phone. My phone that I use as a camera, that is glued to my hand and goes EVERYWHERE with me. I’m putting it in a desk drawer and will see it Tuesday morning. If I feel the need to take pictures, that’s what my camera is for. I intend to spend as much time as I can outside, enjoying the garden – but not overdoing it. Maybe I’ll pitch the tent down by the river and sleep there a couple of nights. Maybe I’ll do a little night photography…maybe a bonfire…

So, until Tuesday, have a great rest of the week and weekend!



Let the planting begin!

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Momma and poppa goose dropped by for a visit with their babies. So much cuteness!

When mom says go, we go.

This evening found me building a raised garden bed. The first of many to come. I could hear my dear cousin’s voice in my head while I filled the wheelbarrow with earth…take it easy cuz…it helped me to stop at one bed! Thanks Ger!

Raised garden bed.
This is where the lettuce, spinach and kale will go.
Someone’s ready to climb! Birdhouse gourds. It always amazes me that this grew from a seed put in soil.
Tonight’s sunset

Was anyone else tired today? Maybe it’s the heat, but mom and I were both very tired this afternoon. I went for a walk around the house hoping to get some energy. I stopped to smell the lilacs…so awesome! Then picked a handful of dandelions for a tea. I threw in some lemon balm for extra flavour. It didn’t pick up my energy but it sure tasted good!

Lemon balm dandelion tea

Easing into Monday

Monday, 17 May 2021

(Cover photo – Dukes: do I smell ice cream? Me: slurp…no.)

Spring is a busy time at work. I have a big project coming my way this week which will keep me occupied until the end of the month. All my current projects will be put on hold until this one is out of the way, so June is looking busy too. I’d rather be busy than have nothing to do.

Now comes the time to test what I’ve learned the past three weeks during the Shingles break. Take time for me to: do things I enjoy doing; exercise; spend time in nature; relax; don’t stress; eat well…

I have a habit…strike that. I had a habit of working long hours, skipping breaks and lunch so I can focus on the project. When I get in the creative zone and things are going well, I don’t want to walk away from that moment because it might take me a long time to get it back. So, like the energizer bunny, I would keep going until it’s done or I couldn’t physically continue. I realize it’s not the most healthy way to work and I’m going to find a way to get in the zone and still have time for health breaks. It’s about finding the balance. And baby steps.

During my lunch break today, I got my hands into some garden soil to fill paper pots. It was relaxing and enjoyable and difficult to pull myself away from it to go back to work! After supper I spent some quiet time transplanting Canterbury bells. One peat pot had thirteen seedlings which I transplanted into the paper pots. I had three more peat pots with seedlings and was wondering if there wasn’t a better way.

One of the paper pots ripped open, resulting in a mound of soil on the table. I grabbed a small box to brush the soil into, then would empty it into the bigger bin of soil. As I walked to the bigger bin, I had the thought, if I line the bottom of this box with newspaper, then add soil, I could transplant the seedlings into this box. Each plant would have enough room to grow and, when they reach an ideal height, I can either plant the box in the garden, or carefully remove each plant to sow in the garden. So I did just that and it’s great! I’m looking for another small box to transplant the rest of the Canterbury bells.

I purchased a cucumber plant at a local garden centre last week. There are four plants in the container and I must say, it’s seen better days. I think it got hit with frost, either at the garden centre, or while I had it here. I’m hoping by transplanting each plant to it’s own pot they will perk up. I have been having a hard time getting cucumbers to grow this season. The winter seedlings I started in March did well until the raccoon knocked the shelving unit over. They haven’t come back from that tumble. I’m going to try starting another batch and also try direct sowing. What will be, will be!

My seedlings spent their first night outside last night. They thrived! I was so pleased to see the sunflowers standing straight and tall. All week they’ve been flopping over. Same with the broccoli and cauliflower. They seem to like the fresh air.

What an amazing weekend!

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Sunshine and nature. A sure-fire way to a happy day. I had lots of both this weekend and my soul is overjoyed!

To cap things off, we had an awesome thunderstorm that brought heavy rain, gusty winds and hail. The temperature dropped at least 5 degrees! I am every grateful for bringing my plants in, under the covered portion of the veranda, a half hour before the main event got here. I didn’t even realize it was on the way. We were planning on heading into town and I didn’t want to leave the plants out, in the event a heavy rain came. Phew!

I took a few videos of the storm:

Heavy rain

It was a productive day for me. I decided to take it easy and, in doing so, got crafty! When I ordered my seeds back in the winter, I ordered a package of wood pot labels. At the time I thought they could be reused over and over. But, I was using a sharpie to mark the name of the plant and the date of planting… not so usable now! Not to mention I was going through them pretty quickly. I started cutting up milk cartons and using them as labels. They work well but also are not reusable as they get moist over time and start to breakdown. The good thing with them, though, is they are recyclable.

I saw on YouTube where a woman painted wood sticks with chalkboard paint, then used chalk markers to write on it. The marker didn’t come off in the rain, and it was removable with a “magic” eraser. I decided to give it a try.

Then came the potato containers. I wanted something firmer than the seed bags to grow the potatoes in. I decided to try the cat litter containers. The only litter my cats will use comes in a plastic container. I use them for so many things like storing bird seed and my pine cones! But they’re not food grade so I can’t grow my potatoes in them. But I can put my seed bag, filled with soil, inside. This will make the bag more stable…at least I hope so. I cleaned the containers with vinegar and water, air dried them in the sun, then drilled holes in the bottoms. I then used the chalkboard paint to spruce them up. They look a lot better without the kitty litter label!

I still had lots of energy so decided to get some pots ready for transplanting. I’m running out of pots and have lots of seedlings to transplant.

Seedlings that need to be transplanted

In just one of those little squares, I counted 14 plants… That’s a lot of pots I’m going to need! I started with the beer glasses I picked up at Dollarama. Holes needed to be cut out of the bottoms of each cup. Once that was done, I decided to paint a strip with the chalkboard paint so I can label the cup instead of using a label inside the pot. I finished the red cups, which took up more space that I had, then the wind picked up, blowing them around the veranda. So I left the blue cups as is, but then tried writing on them with the chalk markers and it works fine.

There was a nap and a trip to town in here somewhere which gave me more energy and I was ready to get back to it. My trip to town was a curbside pickup at Canadian Tire. I purchased a Thermacell mosquito repellant and couldn’t wait to try it out. I got it going, put on some tunes and started making paper pots. I wanted small pots so needed a small bottle to roll them with. I found the perfect bottle…a small bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream!

About fifteen paper pots in, I opened the bottle of Baily’s… my sister opened a can of Glutenberg and kept me company via text. It was an enjoyable way to pass a Sunday afternoon. I made 61 paper pots and hardly noticed as I was busy chatting with my sister.

The thing I like best about using paper pots is they go right in the ground, or pot. There’s no more transplanting involved. Some plants, like Bottle House Gourds, like limited contact, so this a great solution. The thing I like least about using paper pots is they get moist when watered and cannot be handled. You’ve got to find a container that will hold them upright and give them support for as long as you have them growing. But, paper pots are free and there’s no waste from them, so for now I’m going to use them.

BTW, I’m very impressed with the mosquito repellant. No mosquitos at all while I had it going!!!

It was a peaceful evening. As the sun set, Robin began it’s nightly serenade. The geese came up from the river with their babies. Looks like there’s six. This is the first time this year they’re showing up with the babies! The turkey’s were visiting too and I saw a bald eagle fly by twice. And the hummingbird is using the new feeder. What a day!