Well Folks It’s That Time Of Year Again…

What a beautiful time to be alive

Here we go again as the Fall leaves begin to drop gently from the trees in their vibrant colors as they do every year. They appear to be doing their own secret dance as they mingle together during this time of year. While, I reflect on this past growing season with all of the plantings of seedlings waiting for them to turn into a magical head of cabbage or a colorful steaming basket of green beans for my dinner table.

This year as with all of the past years of gardening has not gone un-noticed by the birds and chipmunks just waiting to as every year out smart me and give a nibble or two to the fresh vegetables they assume to think I grew just for their pleasure.

I often times find myself giggling like a school girl with a secret that only one other friend of mine knows about. Yes, a secret is only a secret if I tell no one at all. But, to delight in a secret one must tell at least one person, swearing them to not tell another soul on the planet, but of course they shall. As they often do just as the critters come to my container garden on my back deck in search of their morning, afternoon or even evening feast.

Six decades of living tends to give a person a certain insight to the past. Hindsight they say is 20/20. I ponder over that notion wondering if we do ever learn from our own mistakes and live a life as school children without the stress or worries of adulthood. I try to retain the memories of being a child even if some are so dark and distressing that I keep them nicely tucked away into the box labeled past. What’s done is done and there is nothing I can do to change the past, so why should I carry it with me daily?

The simple answer is I don’t. I however use to have said box along for my daily rides through life, often times swearing at it as if it could hear and understand me. I made the past into a sort of human like entity that lived and breathed as I do. Well, that’s just silly wouldn’t you say?

So why do we or some of us do it? I suppose for the singular reason I believe each year on my deck with all of the containers filled with the vegetables that I pray will grace my dinner table a few times, at least. I finally figured out that I am not a quitter, so I continue to do the garden dance with the wildlife.

Just as the Fall leaves every year dance in unison with the other. Soon the snow will be falling and not stop until Spring here in Canada. There are battles worth your time and effort to fight tooth and nail as my grandmother use to say. I actually never understood that saying until I became decades older. Now I smile and say I’ll go to the mattresses and do my best. That’s a boxing reference for those pondering over just what that means.

So I keep the past where it belongs in a box labeled past. I do however validate that it belongs to me and no other. I validate I survived those trials life had to offer and I rose to meet its match. There’s no winning really in it all ~ Just living the best life.

So after I put my lovely garden to rest for its long winters nap I smile and say farewell to the chipmunks I fed so well this past year of 2021 gardening season and I welcomed in the Fall of this same year. Soon I shall welcome in 2022 as I watch the snow doing its wintery dance with the snowflakes and I’ll dream of the excitement that the approaching Spring has to offer me because mid winter I will have already begun sowing seeds for my 2022 deck garden. There is something magical about sowing a seed and seeing it slowly poke it stem above the ground level proclaiming a new life.

That is what spring is for me ~ a new beginning and bringing my garden back to life.

To Set a Goal

I wanted to try my hands at mastering the English Muffin. You might say the mere English Muffin which is more of a bread than a cake muffin that we all love. Bread can and often does become elusive at times. Most times it’s because the yeast has gone over the hill into the land of freedom from the darken jar for which it was kept in a cool place for months on end.

So I set a goal to give the small English Muffin a try, I mean how hard can it be since I’ve mastered as far as I’m concerned the art of loaf bread creating. To say goal is only meant in my own mind to master this as well. All good intentions aside, I was getting way ahead of my self and my own capabilities in the kitchen. In other words my head was bigger than my talents.

I thought this is going to be a fun afternoon since it’s been raining for the whole of June and I’m about ready to go nuts not being able to play outside in my garden. To partake in a mere few minutes amongst rain showers with my rubber shoes on to keep my socks dry was just not enough to keep me sane. Indeed, I ran head on like a deer in a cars headlights full steam ahead, full stop.

The internet is a grand place if you’re looking for anything really…I typed in English Muffins and what popped up to my delight was a mass of different ways at going about the Grand English Muffin. Martha Stewart and her Big Orange Baking Handbook at my side I jotted down a few other recipes with different techniques. I felt the Martha recipe was beyond what I wanted to do this day and all of the internet others made it look so much easier and faster.

Yes, isn’t that what we all want lately, fast, faster, zoom, speed of light, etc., etc. I chose one recipe from the internet and opened Martha’s Big Orange Baking Handbook to the proper page and the jotted down recipe from the internet and happily shuffled off to my tiny Barbie kitchen as I like to name things. My moto is and has always been. ” That will do.” or “Indeed, I can make this work for me.”

Dumbfounded must have been printed across my forehead as I looked like a deer standing perfectly still gazing at the headlights (Me- Martha’s big orange baking handbook ) at the long, seemingly endless paragraphs for the English Muffin instructions. So, I did what any deer would do in this situation, I turned my head quickly and darted off to the internet recipe.

I smiled as I prepared the ingredients for the internet recipe and almost whistled a tune out loud. If you have ever watched the movie Fried Green Tomatoes that was the movie score in my head. Happy go lucky with flour flying in the air causing my eyewear to become cloudy making my eyes water while squinting at the handwritten words I had jotted down. I began to ponder when did my handwriting become so different? I sensed that someone wearing rose colored glasses was not so far from my flour covered glasses at this moment.

But, I carried on with putting the dough together and allowing the time needed for it to rest, and rise to this glorious occasion so I can attain my goal of this rainy day. Keeping in mind that humidity plays a part in bread making. Indeed, my head bigger than my talents.

When working on a new recipe for the first time I do honestly try and follow the instructions to the letter. I struggled cooking that first batch on my new griddle, and debated weather to just pop them in the oven and call it a day. Then the beast rose in me (stubbornness) and I thought, “Naw.” Did I say thought, I actually said it out loud as if the cooking masters could hear me. Martha included…

I gave the muffins there instructed allotted time, and then added more and yet again more, until I smartened up so to speak and I put a tent of foil over the muffins on the griddle. Now, in hindsight if I’d not been so stubborn I could have at first thought had the muffins on the griddle for the 4 minutes each side and popped them in the pre-heated 350 F oven to finish them off.

All would have been well with the world on this blasted rainy day, if I’d listened to the little bird in my head that guides me from time to time when I step off in the wrong direction. No, I’m not nuts by saying that it’s just the thought we all get when standing by the edge of a cliff and our common sense tells us to step back a pace or two. I actually was getting tired just standing there watching my goals for the day disappear into the dark misty fog of the late afternoon.

The tent foil worked, but this adventure did indeed take longer than it should have. I wouldn’t say I mastered this first batch of English Muffins but they tasted alright.

Internet English Muffins

They looked fine and tasted alright, but I was not a happy camper because my goal of mastering the English Muffin didn’t go as planned. I had put together Martha’s big orange baking handbook recipe and after the first rise it needed to go into the fridge for one hour. By this time I needed to get off my feet and sip a cup of tea to make this day appear better.

I’m not saying I failed at this first attempt. But, the lessons I gathered from this experience today was don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Martha would have to wait until tomorrow… Sorry Martha I am not worthy, today that is.

The next day came with more rain and very little time could be spent out in my garden which I truly love and enjoy. Even if the slugs and snails find my garden a delightful table of food that I so graciously prepared for them. But, hey ho that’s another topic for another day.

Martha’s Big Orange Baking Handbook

Perhaps, the reason I’d only looked through the 415 pages of the baking handbook was because she called it a handbook. Nightmares of school raced though my head every time I see a handbook. There will always be a test that will always be graded at the end of the day. I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve always not enjoyed test at school. The learning aspect of school was enjoyable without a doubt but the dreaded test score with a big red ink pen across the right hand top corner always made me quiver with gloom. Sort of like today upon finally reading the entirety of Martha’s instructions for the English Muffins.

Now every thing made sense among the many paragraphs and I got to work with my goals replaced with a certainty that I’d not fail today and I would indeed master the English Muffin that Martha gave instruction for in her heavy big orange baking handbook. Somehow the notion of “Handbook” was not scary any longer and over 6 decades of living on this grand planet I finally don’t fear being graded and having a red pen score at the top right hand of the page. Good things come to those that wait. Now that is a moto I’ll carry with me.

Stepping Into The Un-Known

When I was growing up in the late fifties times were slow and easy down south where the days are humid with sounds from the waves caressing the dock in front of my grandparents home. A few steps across the highway and you’re swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Can you smell the salty air from the ocean where in its depths there are creatures that are un-known to us.

So, yesterday I traveled inside one of my cookbooks that I’ve owned for a long time and spent over $50.00 dollars to purchase. I will say however this is the most I’ve spent on a cookbook or any other book for that matter. But, there comes a time when your heart calls to you softly, ” You know you want it, so go and get it.”

I could hear my late husband saying, “You don’t need yet another cook book, you’re already a great cook.” He’d say shaking his head in disbelief of the cost for a cook book written by Martha Stewart on Baking.

So, I waited for the right time, which came to my surprise when in a book store years ago with my son and he noticed that over a lengthy amount of time and many different trips to the book store that I’d always gravitate to the Baking Book whose author was Martha Stewart. The bright Orange Jacket of the cookbook was like diamonds to my eyes. Since, I never really care about jewelry very much growing up or into adulthood. But, cooking gadgets, or cookbooks and of course woodworking items were the jewels in my eyes.

There’s just something about creating with your own two hands, even if it can fail. The journey was always front and center on my mind. Dreaming of the long humid summer days spent with my grandfather watching him put something together, while I handed him a nail or a tool that he needed. I can’t remember him teaching me what each tool was for, because I’d just always watched and learned, quietly.

Sort of like my son who watched my interest in the big orange Baking Cookbook. Then to my surprise he said, ” Mom you never buy anything for yourself. You’re always buying for me and my sister. Don’t you think it’s time you buy this book you’ve been wanting for a long time?”

It was un-known to me that my son over time had observed me in the book store so closely. I thought he was merely looking for his own books down the other isle of the store. When the un-known comes into the light and we can see clearly it’s a beautiful thing, indeed.

Yesterday, with the big orange baking cookbook open to the English Muffin page I stepped into the un-known task of creating these from scratch. But, there was a step that confused me somewhat. Over these many years of baking from my Betty Crocker cookbook bought back in 1976, I’d always thought I could handle just about any type of bread.

Martha gave directions as I said that confused me so I went online to google research other recipes for English Muffins. Oh my heavens there is an abyss of articles teaching you how to make these English muffins. There’s the prepare the dough which will be sticky but not too sticky that needs to be in the fridge for 12 to 18 hours.

One recipe stated prepare half the dough, mix one minute then sprinkle the rest of the flour on top and cover to let rest in a warm place for 2 hours and then put in the fridge for 1 hour. ~ That’s in Martha’s cookbook. The sprinkling of the 2nd amount of flour on top totally confused me, beyond belief. I stood in my kitchen saying out loud, “What?” over and over because I’d never heard of not mixing in the flour for bread dough. But, I reckoned that Martha knows what she is doing and who the heck am I to question the big orange baking cookbook.

Well, after the one hour in the fridge I removed the bowl to take a look and the 2nd addition of flour was mostly still resting on top of the bubble flour mixture below, where the un-known lives.

I stood in my kitchen feeling like an Ant (You know the crawling bug) who’s never baked in its bug life, scratching my head. What now? I thought… Do I mix the dry flour into the bubbly mixture then cover it back and leave it overnight to form the bubbles that we often see as crevices in the store bought English Muffins?

Well, after cooking one batch from the internet researched recipe which turned out alright. This Martha Stewart big orange cookbook recipe for the English muffins will have to wait overnight, since I totally tired myself out and my feet hurt and I desperately needed to sit and enjoy a cup of tea. To be continued Martha Stewart ~ I hope I don’t fail you in my attempts of following the very first recipe out of your cookbook.

Where the Wild Things Grow – pt. 2

The count down to harvest begins even if the beans have not quite opened their flowers, bush beans are my favorite for the past few years as I mainly grow those in containers on my huge back deck which is 7 feet from my garden ground level.

My yard is somewhat angled downward slightly, but just enough to cause me caution when walking down there. You see back in the seventies during a Girl Scout event at a roller rink we were working on our skating badges to proudly (this is a time where we as young ladies can be very proud of ourselves without worry of the seven deadly sins.) Any who we were attempting the sombrero hat dance where we all form a circle holding hands and skate round and round without breaking the circle.

Well, the young lady to my right tripped over her own skate causing a chain reaction and she made me fall and then she proceeded to fall on my right leg. If you have ever broken a bone you will understand my next statement. I heard two snaps like a twig breaking. No pain until I tried to get up. I called out to my guardian my grandfather to come and get me because as I stated to him, “This CHICK has fallen on my leg breaking it in two places.” He laughed at me and said, “Oh Baby it’s not broken.”

On the car ride to the hospital as I lay in the back seat telling him it’s broken and to please slow down as the bumps were really beginning to hurt like I’d never felt pain before. Later on I realized it was swelling and this is why so much pain. X-ray proved indeed it was broken in two places just as I stated to my grandfather. The complete sad look on his face broke my heart and hurt me much more than the broken leg, because I understood why he couldn’t wrap his brain around it really being broken and me knowing it 100%.. Needless, to say he never once doubted me ever again.

Well, until perhaps once when I was older and driving his car around with friends and I threw a cigarette out the drivers side window and the back window was also open and you can guess what happened. The butt of the cigarette whipped back inside the car and burnt a hole in the backseat. When asked how it got there I said I don’t know. He just stood there and less than 20 seconds I confessed throwing out a cigarette and it must have came back in. Grandpa said I thought something like that must have happened. And that was that. I waited for grandpa to lay down the law (a term back then) But, he let life’s lesson teach me something. From then on I made darn sure the back windows were rolled up….

So this gardener must be very careful when walking on un-even surfaces. I had to wear a cast from my hip to my toes for 12 weeks since it was a very bad break. After the first 6 weeks the doctor needed to take off the cast and give a second cast for the next 6 weeks, I suppose this has something to do with hygiene of the leg as it was summer time and that cast was hot and became itchy. Only savior from the unending itch was a long handle fly swatter to get down in there to itch those spots, meanwhile it was pushing to inside material of the cast into bumps.

This is a cool aspect of breaking ones leg and having to wear such a heavy cast for the first 6 weeks when he cut it off with one of those special circular saws which scared the dickens out of me until he pressed it to his own arm to show it would not cut the skin, but rather only the cast material. I pondered over what type of mystical magic was he working, but let him cut it off just the same. He bent the cast backward and my leg began to float into the air. I yelled what’s happening and the doctor explained to me that having to walk around on crutches for so long with the weight of the cast that this is just a normal result for a few seconds.

He gently cradled my leg as gravity returned and proceeded to put on the warm wrap that was soaked in cast goop. But, before the second cast went on another x-ray was preformed to check on the healing progress. The doctor took my grandfather aside where I couldn’t hear. Next I hear Grandpa loudly say, ” You’re going to have to ask my granddaughter!”

Well the position of the break back into place was not done correctly the first time probably due to the swelling of the leg, so if I wanted to live a life pain free so to speak they would need to re-break the leg and have the 12 weeks begin all over again.

I had forgotten all about the mystical magic the doctor preformed earlier and I promptly said, “NO Thank you.” Let’s just continue and finish the next 6 long weeks in the summertime heat of Florida and be done with it. So, long story aside, I from then on must be very careful about re-breaking the leg if I walk on a rock or un-even surface twisting the leg it may snap in two again. They say anyway.

But fear not and garden out in the wild like a youngster would do I say. Well, sitting down more often than 20 odd years ago. Today I checked over the deck container garden making sure no squash bugs found my plants or cabbage moths laying eggs on the Collard Greens at least yet. I do have netting over these types of plants, but most times they find their way inside of there. So, a daily check list is needed for this wild at heart gardener.

Today for some odd reason I got it into my head to divide and conquer my Asparagus bed. You see around 10 years ago I sowed Asparagus seeds into a container and once they were big enough I planted them outside in the ground. Fully prepared for thinning out to happen as the gemination was 100%. Back then I threw caution to the wind and left them to their own vices and they grew big and strong. I waited 5 years before my first harvest and mercy me was I happy. But, still stupidly didn’t thin out the bed. So spaghetti thin stalks began for the last few years.

I know you leave the plants alone unless it’s Fall or Spring once the ground thaws (End of May here in Canada, Ontario) Each Fall by the time I rake the fall leaves I’m worn out. Each spring my joints take so long to adjust from coming out of the cold winter I wait too long to deal with the plants.

Then the next door neighbor placed a 10 or 12 foot shed structure on the other side of my fence and rested his decoration full size canoe against the side of the monster shed which had shaded that area of my garden. So, I planted divided Hostas plants against my fence where the newly found shade was and they love it there of course. As for the Asparagus bed it really has been suffering as these plants need full sunlight.

So, I pulled up my big girl bloomers and got out my pitch fork and gloves ready for a fight between myself and the 10 years old asparagus roots. The article stated it’s easier to buy more plants than try and move established ones, but I’m stubborn and thought alright I have the tools and my new Hori hori knife and going against all that has been written about Asparagus and moving or dividing the plants the middle of June (2021) I was heading full steam ahead.

I mean what is the worst that can happen, I work up a sweat, perhaps kill the plants or actually have this experience work out for the best. The pitch fork went in on four sides, bricks lay in position as leverage for the pitch fork and away I went. Miracles happen in the strangest places. The asparagus lifted as if it were my leg floating in the air with lack of gravity to hold it down to earth and I divided the plant with ease and moved it to a sunny location in my yard.

Sometimes, you must be Wild at heart and follow what it’s saying to you.

To be continued…..

10 year old Asparagus Plant called Cousin It

Where the Wild Things Grow

I’m a Gardener and a Cook pure and simple. The simple task of sowing a few seeds in the soil which you’ve composted over time has to be one of the purest simple joys of my life. But, gardening where the wild things grow can and usually proves to be a challenge beyond believe, until you find the secret to both and succeed to gain insight into what happiness really means.

I once thought a few years ago that witnessing a hummingbird flying into the stream of water from my gardening hose while I was watering my garden beds was the topper to happiness which I’d never find anything to match that spectacle again. Mercy me was I ever wrong in my simple thinking of what can become picture perfect view of happiness.

My Garden is solely connected to my kitchen. As a cook of many decades I’ve never lost the love and joy of cooking fresh and from scratch. Instant is fine, but cooking from scratch is a definition of happiness to me. When I slow down my mind to a simmer from the fast moving world we live in and forget all about how fast my upload or download with be or if there are any new emails to be read and will time allow all to be enjoyed or will some be deleted into the handy dandy trash bin on my computer screen never to be seen again. The wildness of my fingertips hitting the delete button sometimes makes my head swim with thoughts of me sending those spammers into the darkness of the void which is the trash bin that we all know never really gets deleted.

There are so many books and articles out there proclaiming to answer all of the questions we may have possibly asked ourselves.

  1. How to become an instant Millionaire
  2. How to become rich
  3. How to find this and that which will improve your life.
  4. Etc., etc.

The list is endless so I need not extend the list further. How can they know US? I ask you. Well they can’t really unless they have walked in our shoes, lived our lives up to now and be US.

But, they can and do give the sales pitch all golden and shiny for us to jump on their bandwagon and go for the ride they want to take us on even if you don’t really want to go if given the moments needed to realize what we really want. Which is ~ well for me the happiness I seek.

Happiness is an elusive creature which most time lives in the wild, running free to experience many different adventures with or without us on board. So I went on the safari to find this elusive creature right in my own backyard.

Gardening…..

I’ve always had houseplants in all of the places where I’ve lived and hung up my hat so to speak, but never really gardened outside beyond planting roses along the front of the house or adding bushes for a nice hedge. I grew flowers in planter boxes hanging from the railings of the outside stairs only to be stung by a wasp or two when heading outside to B.B.Q. dinner because I interrupted their sucking out of the flowers pollen to take back to the army of baby wasp also hungry for dinner.

Indeed, I pondered over why do folks garden when there is such danger out there just waiting for you to walk by holding a plate of burgers that just flew out of your hands when you went screaming down the stairs , burgers in the air and your poor neck swelling up before the meat hit the ground.

Because there is Joy, and Happiness in Gardening…..

A few years back in the early 2000’s I put up netting to protect my plants from the critters that were of course hungry from a long winter spent here in Canada. Spring signals for them that the elusive Gardener will soon show their pale white face from lack of sunshine all winter and they will be sowing seeds on their property, yes folks we may own our homes and apartments but the wildlife owns the land and soil where we want to garden.

I laugh each year and say Out loud , ” I will triumph with a harvest that will give me such a bounty of food for my kitchen and soon to be on my table as meals I can grin at and say I grew this.

To be continued….

Why am I feeling invisible these days?

I usually air on a level playing field. Meaning if I can’t say something that brings hope, smiles, or just plain giggles I tend to not air my thoughts out onto the field, meaning yet again out to the world as we know it.

I’m aware that my little tiny spot here on the internet will probably look more like that tree in the forest ~ you all know that tree, right? It’s the one that finally gave up due to age, or insect damage, woodpeckers, etc. It’s that tree that needed to fall onto the forest floor to compost and give back to the earth.

This tree that is no longer living is indeed living and giving life back. Just because this tree became old and needed to make way for the younger, stronger trees in the forest does not in any way make light of its importance to the planet. Or, merely to the forest for which it sprouted as a miniature speck of a seedling with a path to follow for the length of time the tree would be present.

Why then am I feeling invisible these days? as the title states and I’ve gone off talking about trees growing old, and returning to the forest floor to give life back to the soil it took its nourishment from for many years, hopeful decades. At least I hope it was many years ~ life span for that tree.

My thoughts ache due to losing my beloved pet of 19 human years on the 13th of July 2020. She will forever live in a special place among my thoughts ~ A place where only she resides. Just like the many other beloved pups that came into my life, mostly rescue animals in need of human love that goes beyond just walking and feeding them. Each of them have their own special place within my thoughts.

All of my pups spoke to me though their eyes and movements as my silent chatter to them followed the same routes. Of course I spoke with them, often more in conversation than with actual humans. As most of my time was spent with the pups on average ~ given a 24 hour day. I always knew that I was never really alone, or felt invisible. Until, now…

Right now I’m faced with the knowledge that I shall not own another pup. Mia was the last for me. I’ve had to accept many things in this life time so far, which spans like an old oak tree, many decades. I say oak tree because it is a hard wood , yet can be milled and turned into something magical and can last beyond the owners years. A piece of furniture made from Oak wood can be handed down to generations of family members or it can find a truly new home to become cherished.

I wonder if people think about where the wood came from that made that lovely piece of furniture or bowl for cooking, mixing, eating, etc? Probably not…I’m a strange bird some might say. I ponder over these things as they bring me joy, and moments of peaceful, tranquil thoughts. These are the things that I’ve accepted that I need to have so I can continue to live a full and happy life.

Happiness is different for each of us I think. For me it’s trees because ever since I was a seedling (so to speak) child growing up with my grandparents I’ve gazed upward at the tall pines of Florida where I grew up before moving to Canada in aw and wonderment. It appeared to me as a child they each reached for the sky as the warmth of the sun shown down on them. The slightest whiff of a breeze would cause the tops of the pines to sway back and fourth in what through my young eyes was merely the winds being the instruments for the trees musical song just for me. The trees danced with joy and happiness and I was lucky enough to be there to witness the concert.

Those days have long since melted away and became a somewhat mass of who I was to become decades later. Strong like oak, yet bendable like pines when the winds blew. Purposeful, and yet not overbearing to be seen or heard. Reaching for the sky where the fluffy clouds drifted overhead. I use to wonder what the very tops of those tall pines, if they could think ~ what did they think of the fluffy clouds appearing to be enjoying the concert as well as I? Coming from below them.

Over the years those pines growing in Florida have had to weather many storms and brutal hurricanes and if they were destined to survive oh my what a story they could tell, if only they could speak to us. Many of the pines didn’t survive the storms and the brutally of the winds. They bend as much as they can, but over time they become weak in places where the rings of time were once tight and strong.

Sort of like me with bad knees wanting to just give it up, but they continue to carry me and allow me to preform the duties that need to be done out in my little garden of Hope. I will not always feel as invisible as I do right now, while I walk the path through grief of my pup and world events.

I shall rally back with yet again memories of my pup knowing what I am thinking and giving me the puppy shoulder to take solace. I shall become whole again and not feel as if everyone if they looked could see right through me and not see me at all.

If nothing else I shall garden as it gives me hope, and not just for the harvest. I’m tending to life and it will eventually give back to me. Let’s be safe, tend to our lives as best each of us can no matter what belief we have ~ after all each belief belongs to each of us that breaths. You don’t need to believe in the peace I find from the trees around me, to enjoy moments spent here reading my thoughts.

I suppose I’ll continue to respect my life and all others ~ Creations included

Cotton Candy Sunrise

There are mornings when sleep escapes me and the dawn pulls at my heart strings to get up and face the day with perhaps a surprise or two. But, if you’re at all like me all you wish for before sunrise is that hot cup of coffee or freshly brewed and steeped tea from your favorite mug.

My vessel of choice has a tiny cracked edge on the rim, but each time I find myself reaching in the cupboard for this particular mug.  I have to smile as most mornings I feel as worn and chipped as this piece of pottery.

Why don’t I just chuck this damaged mug to the curb you ponder? Well, just because it’s not a perfect specimen of finely crafted clay any longer it still has value. Value for its vast space that is empty, until I fill it with my favorite beverage. Value because it was perhaps a cherished gift at one point in time many decades ago, or perhaps just because it reminds me each and every morning that even though I may feel damaged, chipped, cracked, or just down right worn out to the bone. There is value to be found.

No matter what state this body or mind is in at the time, I still can hold on to my own value and validate myself. I fear too many are waiting for validation from others when all we need is to look in the mirror and see ourselves and the value we all contain in each layer of skin, each cell that makes each of us who we are.

The dawn called to me this morning and would not be ignored. I rose, I brewed that cup of coffee and lovingly poured it into my favorite chipped mug, while dragging my feet inside of my floppy slippers that have aged to the point of barely remaining on my feet.

The curtains came ablaze with pinks and oranges to the point of shocking me into taking flight in those loose slippers with mug, and camera in hand to validate this special dawn that was determined to wake me just before its arrival.

one

Stay safe and happy my readers.

two

laura-closing-blog-sign

One day at a time little bluebird…

DSCF2516

Last Fall was a time for the seasons to change gradually into our long 6 months of winter

Winter LeafThen we must settle into another frame of mind as the days grow shorter in daylight hours and the light of the winter months take on a frigid appearance. Then as if by design one night around 10 p.m it will appear to be daylight as the moon shines brightly upon the fallen white snow that covers everything. It’s quite magical really. Almost as magical as the colors of the Northern Lights. Every time I am blessed to witness the Northern Lights I dream of warm summer days after a rain when the rainbows appear to dance across the sky from left to right or is it right to left ..

Today is April 29, 2020 and Spring has arrived along with uncertain days and long nights of dreaming of carefree moments that went by un-noticed before. Those moments should have been cherished and the delights of just being able to walk outside without forethought of possible danger. Today, we live in un-certain times, but my heart holds on to H O P E, since I was given the middle name Esparanza which is hope in English. I’ve always throughout my life , these 62 years ~ Held on to Hope … Cherished hope, prayed for hope, wished for hope for others and for myself.

One day at a time little bluebird, hold on to the beauty of hope, one day at a time

 

The First Day of Fall ~ 2019

The first day of Fall is upon me now, September 23rd has arrived with a humid and rain soaked day. Time to search out my woolen mits and hats since the days leading to Winter will quickly arrive with the crisp cold air feeling refreshing to the senses.

This brings me to memories of ordeals during last winter as March rolled in with freezing rain and snow causing the garage roof to leak causing me to worry about the ceiling falling onto my 23 year old car. I suppose all of us have issues from time to time where no matter how much you try to see the bright side of our days we many times must pull up the boot straps and muster through what life throws in our path.

Last winter proved to test the harmony of my days with a car battery waning off to the land of the forgotten, and for some odd reason the gas cap needed replacing as well. The sensors in my vehicle were telling me this. Upon reading the book that came with my beloved black beauty. Indeed, given the amount of money spent on my vehicle decades ago I felt the need to give my car a name.

She has guided me though many snow storms and kept me straight away on the road and not off in a ditch somewhere wondering what to do. She has given me cool air in the heat of summertime when the temps rose above 100 F. Black beauty is beginning to show her age with axles and brake pads needing replacing, but she always rallies after being taken care of and never lets me down.

I use to dread the onset of our long six months of winter here in Canada , but no more. I feel alive during the winter months as I do out in my permaculture gardens during the spring and summertime. I suppose the dread was just the mere thought at 61 years young having to fire up the snowblower hoping beyond hope that it yet again fires up with a sound that delights me year after year. This snowblower is also decades old now, same as my black beauty. They both share a space in my garage together and I often wonder from time to time if they could speak to one another what on earth would those conversations consist of. Who knows, perhaps they can and have been best of friends for all of these years.

The maples are beginning to turn from their summer green dress to their more golden attire. The leaves will soon be dancing in the wind, flying around the branches just before flickering down to rest on the lawn. My pup will always without fail tip toe (paw) over them as if they might tickle her if she ever steps on them.

So while I wait on the brisk winds of winter to arrive I look back on the summer as the light of the days fade and become shorter and shorter. This is a time of rest for the trees and the lawns. The compost bins slow down their pace composting the materials I feed it every summer. The chipmunks are speeding through the tree limbs in my back yard eating the seed pods from my cedar trees that are heavy and bending downward. The sway of the remaining plants inside of my containers on my back deck are beginning to show signs that I soon will be storing away my gardening tools until next spring.

The clad of soil on my rubber boots will soon be washed away so as to store them in my garage for another winter as I dig out my winter boots and check the laces. Soon the winter tires will be adorned on black beauty as she steers me into winter with grace as she has always done, providing me with safe travels.

 

The hidden dangers of Wage Increases…

What a difference a year can make. I turned sixty in 2018, realizing that I’d aged out of my life insurance which now only pays out 30% and triples in cost moving forward, which I opted out of. The wage increase to $15 dollars an hour may have appeared like a wonderful thing for the working force, which I’ve long been retired from. But, in reality it isn’t such a grand thing at all. Even before the increase shopping became so expensive with all of the products raising their cost and the items such as macaroni you’d buy getting smaller and smaller. Soon I imagine it will resemble pea size.

Jobs became harder to find, and lay offs were rampant. Folks were let go in droves since the employers couldn’t afford to pay as many people, benefits for those began to disappear at an alarming rate. The homeless numbers began to increase as the cost of living kept going up. Your monthly bills rose as the amount of money left over for food to just survive began to dwindle.

A jar of mayonnaise should not cost almost $8 and the cost of a loaf of bread close to $4 dollars. This past year I’ve made my own bread and recently making my own homemade mayo. Thank heavens for a G O U T condition that happened a few years ago. You may wonder why I’m happy about this?

Well, you first have to find what triggers your gout pain and believe me it’s so painful that I could barely walk. You can’t sleep either because Gout does not sleep when you want too. So, you either suffer or find out what foods are causing you such turmoil.  By elimination of one type of food at a time that often causes gout pain and believe me there are a ton of foods that can cause this condition. First to go was Beef …

This was not so hard as 5 years ago beef began to rise in cost causing me to give up buying the beloved product in the grocery store. Oh how my taste buds missed the beef, even to a point the memory of how good a grilled steak tasted outdoors was in the forefront of the mind.

Gout pain remained, so the next culprit was to give up seafood. Well, at this point in time I might as well told myself to give up the air that I breath. I grew up in Florida and since I could walk as a child I fished, shrimped and ate seafood like it was the life saving air we need to breath.

Asparagus is a major cause of gout pain~ added to the list making them demons to the inner workings of my body. I’d just planted from seed a million ( well, perhaps not that much~ 6 yrs ago) in my back garden eagerly waiting for the 3 years before I could harvest them and enjoy one of my favorite vegetables. Hum… They are still growing out there and looking massively beautiful each new growing season.

Enter 2019

2019 ~ Arrived with hopes for a much better year, given my knees that needed dual knee replacements back when I was in my mid forties ~ as told by my surgeon are still in good repair after I was forced to stop manual labor many years ago. I rested those knees for 7 years , bought a wheelchair and hoped for my body to realize it was time to fix its self.

With the grace of the universe they did just that without having the knee replacement done, no more cracking noises from them as the cartilage breaking off, grinding between the joints of the knee. So, did it repair its self? Only the universe knows that answer. But, I am walking and gardening still to this day as I approach 61 years old. They may blow out at any time I know, but I somehow doubt it… I listen to my body closely and it tells me without a shadow of a doubt when I need to sit or lay down. I’ve grown very good at hearing it scream at me and I just pure and simply listen.

The roof is leaking, the axle on the car (21 yr old vehicle) is cracked. The windows casing are deteriorating and my pup is aging right along with me at an alarming rate. I know her days are numbered and my heart sinks at the thought. I’ve owned dogs since I was a little girl growing up in Florida under the close eye of my guardians ~ My Grandparents….

I know with the rising costs of everything I will not get another pet to raise and love again. I simply can not afford the vet bills that are needed with a puppy, and spading. Oh my deck steps are going down hill too , which leads into the garden I love. I made some handy dandy tricks to shore up the one step to get me through last summer, but have not looked at them yet this spring as the snow has just now this week finally melted up here in Canada. My back yard is a mess that I will soon be attacking with a rake, to remove leaves and the gifts a pup leaves behind all winter long (6 months of winter) Lots and lots of gifts she bestowed to me..

I use to back in the day do it all in one day clearing and cleaning the backyard, but it will take me at least three days to do a job that once took one. I am blessed that I can still walk on these legs, still have a back that can continue to garden in her permaculture beds which I planned out years ago for this time in my life when bending was not an option for the length of time it takes to put in and work a garden. I am so happy I had forethought…..

So, the radishes are sown in my homemade garden trug (built in 2015) and the mustard greens are sown as well. I plan on more for the deck garden, since I can’t eat many of the store bought lettuces or vegetables because of the chemicals they spray on them. I am going to be one of the happiest women around when I get to eat my first salad of the season in a month or two. I found that the store bought greens hurt my 6 Ulcers .. Chemicals my friend are not our friends…..

Being my own body detective has made my quality of life much better, now if only I can find that damn pot of gold hidden I’d be golden…