Summer Arrived and so did the rain, all Spring and into the summer months…

Thank you for watching

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What can I do to transform 2 apples?

Have you ever found just two lonely apples in your pantry and wondered what to do with them? There are days when I don’t want to eat just an apple, so I transform them into something that will alter their form from fresh off the tree to hot out of the oven..

Apple Cinnamon Coconut Coffee Cake

2 apples ~cored, peeled, diced and soak in lemon juice until needed in batter.
2 eggs
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup sour cream
In a mixing bowl beat eggs until frothy. Beat in cooking oil and sugar. Blend in sour cream.
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1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
In another bowl measure flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix well and add to first bowl. Stir until combined. Adding the drained apples to the batter.
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1/2 cup Medium coconut
1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 tsp. Cinnamon
In a small bowl stir coconut, brown sugar and cinnamon. Put 1/2 of the batter in the bottom of a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf or a square pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cinnamon mixture over top. Spread a second half of batter over by putting dabs here and there. Sprinkle second half cinnamon mixture over top,. cut through batter with knife to give swirling, marbled effect. Bake in 350 F. oven for 1 hour. After loaf stands for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool on rack .

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Well…it’s May 21st 2017 ~ Pondering over my garden…

I jumped on sowing seeds like a mad woman facing another joyous season for gardening in Northern Ontario, Canada back in January ~ where the growing season can be short and stall out at a moments notice due to sudden frost or the dreaded first snows of the Fall season.

This year I’m trying my hands at something a tad new for me. Using the shortness of the growing season to my advantage, instead of just growing what I please and hope for the best. Tomatoes are on the long list of planting out this season, except I’ve opted for the cherry indeterminate variety, instead of the jumbo mega tomatoes I kept trying to get to harvest before the season changes on me.

As I approach 60 I’ve grown tired of running out at night covering up plants to protect them against frost, so I’ve implemented grow covers which will protect the plants from the chill at night and protect as well from the critters and birds. Usually, I plant a lot of seeds directly into the ground only to have the chipmunks and birds as well as the squirrels coming in for a feast, since in their minds I’ve rang the dinner bell pronouncing a delightful treat for them.

I love watching these critters and birds around my yard, and don’t really mind sharing as long as they don’t rob me of all the little pea seeds I plant out. Oh how I adore steaming the tender beans and pea pods freshly harvested off the vines.

I’m trying artichoke for the first time, since I found a short growing variety that says if the seedlings are taken outside in 10 c weather this will trick the plants that it’s been already one year and marching into the second year of growth as soon at the temperatures warm back up. I had no idea that these plants take two years in the ground before you can harvest them.. So, wish me luck with these and join in my journey learning new tricks for this old dog, so to speak…

I’ve also been harvesting French Breakfast Radishes for the past two weeks out of my homemade garden trug on my deck. In March I scooped up the soil in there from last year and placed it in a large tote to thaw out… Just like meat from a freezer… wink

It only took a little under a week and I was ready to admin the soil and begin sowing the radish seeds, and a few pea pod seeds I found left from last years garden. I watched a gardening channel on you tube and found out that if I used two layers of plastic to cover the garden trug the temp inside could reach 70 f or 21 c … Well, with the snow still on the ground and many more snow storms to come I gave it a go and sowed the seeds. I still had lots of leaves from last Fall to also use as a nice little blanket.

Magic began to happen, the soil regulated its self to these temps and the seeds began to germinate beautifully.. I am now eating freshly grown radishes from the garden trug one full month ahead of other years. I do believe that I shall add lettuce to the planting schedule next year around March, along with the radish seeds. This variety of radish is absolutely heavenly to eat, not too hot at all as some of the radish varieties can taste a bit spicy and not good for my ulcers.

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Doves ~ A Love Story

Well folks it was snowing again today…The tiny flakes of snow gently fell all afternoon, but fortunately it was warm enough for the snow to melt as soon as it touched the ground. Waiting these last few weeks before I can plant out in my permaculture beds is torture for me.

The beds are all prepped and waiting for me to sow a few seeds. The next two days we still have the chill to the days and evenings. But, after Tuesday the temps will be getting back to the higher single digits.. That might not sound good to you where it may be warmer, but for us here anything higher than minus numbers is springtime.. Just have to be weary about the frost at night.

My radishes and peas are all happy little plants inside of my covered garden trug, and the birds are out in force today after the heavy rain we had yesterday. Below, is a little treat for you .. Thank you for watching my YouTube video.. hugs

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The sun finally made an appearance

My little homemade garden trug was finally able to be un covered from the two layers of plastic that has been protecting my little radish seedlings. The peas were dancing around inside of there and if vegetables could sing they would have been loud and joyous.

Today I made a trip to my local gardening center to purchase 10 bags of soil to top off my permaculture beds that had a topping of cow and sheep manure mixed with the soil, along with the Fall leaves to over winter. Oh I have great plans for this years garden and I just know it will be marvelous.

There is just something magical about being able to get outside and play around in the dirt again, and in a few months harvest the goodness that grows in a garden. That first bite of a happy orange carrot, freshly plucked from the garden and then steamed for dinner is heavenly.

I’ve been growing lettuce inside over the winter and have been eating salads from it as well as using my oregano after I dried it in sauces and stews. When I take the fresh dried oregano and rub it between my fingers just before dropping the herb into a pot of soup or stew and I can smell the goodness of the herbs as the pot simmers on the stove… There is just something special about it.

All my troubles of the day are magically wiped away and I’m smiling inside and out.  But our winter is not fully over yet, they are calling for snow on Sunday ( 5 cm) Oh well, come on May 24th ~ Our last frost date…

Thank you for watching my YouTube video

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This past weekend could have turned out differently……

Spring….is such a delightful word that can contain many different meanings. The time of year is my favorite definition for the word, Spring. Especially coming out of a long and cold winter full of shoveling daily to keep up with all of the white stuff.

But, spring also can mean a spring in your step. For me meaning I’m almost skipping outside to visit my yet to be planted garden for this season. Even, my pup appears to have a spring in each of her tired, old four paws. You see she is aging and it is beginning to show in her movements ~ Almost, mirroring my own hobbles around on those certain rainy cold days of spring.

How about that trusty mattress that you bought years ago, and loved every night breaking it in just to your liking. But, as with breaking in a nice new pair of shoes or pair of jeans, just about the time they are broken in to your will, they will begin to fray or become airy as is my old tennis shoes .. Who have by the way never seen a tennis court, since I’ve bought them just for the comfort…Remember that mattress well springs tend to creak and crackle with age same as my pup and I …

This early spring has been unlike most of the 34 other springs I’ve experienced since immigrating up to Canada from Florida. It’s been really early.. by a month or more!

Mother Nature also must have a spring in her step as well with all the the flooding happening in the United States and in Canada. The rains came and someone forgot to turn off the taps. I wonder what type of water bill good old mother nature will owe?

Please enjoy the short video of Mother Nature showing us here who is boss…

Excuse the shaky parts in the beginning of the video, the winds were thrashing so fierce they were throwing stuff at my face.. oops…But, the rest is pretty smooth…

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Caught between Spring and Summer

I’ve been so busy over the winter time here sowing seeds of all types. I wanted to get ahead of the short growing season we have here in the north. I thought I’d try my gardening hands with some different plants this coming season. Now that Spring has finally arrived here and melted all of the snow away I have daily chores of taking out the seedlings for their first breath of fresh outdoor air and the glorious sights of a real sun ~ instead of just grow lights. These little plants need a weeks worth of hardening off, 30 minutes each day not in direct sunlight so they will be able to handle being outside fully.

Today it has been raining, and they are calling for more of the same tomorrow off and on. This morning I awoke to fog which always signals warmer temps after a chilly overnight. So, with the pending rain I thought I’d drive to the lake here and see if the sun would come out for a picture or two.

As I sat in the car (bad knee day) I thought about what I was going to blog about or what video I was going to make for my YouTube channel ~ BirchtreeGuardianGardener

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I of course had to make little cards over the winter time so I could mail some to my gardening friends all over the world. You see we gardeners and other You Tubers love to exchange items of interest. I’ve found this to be quite enjoyable during a time of struggle this past winter. I’ve experienced some family losses that have taken their toll on me for a year now, but I’m strong and will survive one way or the other.

I tend to find things to keep me very busy, instead of sinking into that hole that so many other people know all about. The sowing of seeds this past winter has saved me in more ways than one. They needed my daily attention and care. I could not refuse to get out of bed each day, since these newly sprouted plants needed me to bring the sunshine to them and water them or just tickle them to stimulate the outside wind so their tender stems would grow strong and healthy.

Well, in doing so these tiny little plants over the wintertime have tended also to me. By, giving me a purpose and a goal.

One was to get the heck outta bed! Keep my mind and my thoughts on bringing these plants up so in the spring they could finally feel the warmth of the sunshine, the breeze of the winds and the love mother nature has to offer them.

The past few days I’ve been feeling low and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why….

The weather is brighter and the warmth is returning along with the longer daylight hours. How I love spending time outside working in my garden or just sitting out there watching my little pup enjoy running around or searching out critters. So, why the long face I asked myself.

I drove to the lake here in search of answers .. This is a place where there are no phones to ring, or door bells to blaze… No, distractions except for the calming feelings I get sitting by the lake. Spring has just begun and yet I’ve felt like someone poked a hole in my balloon, and I was sailing out of control without a True North in sight.

Two hours later I didn’t have my answer, so I fired up the old car and drove to another place that I love .. The video below shows you this special place, where many decades ago my late husband and I sat on the bench that you will see in the video.

This bench is the place where I told him what my doctor has said to me (back in 1993) I would one day become blind.. There were five eye operations that I could have, but after that nothing could be done. It was as black and white as that. Well, many things changed that day by the waters edge, but one thing that didn’t change was my conviction to never say never and no matter what the situation I would remain strong, blind or not!

I found my answer today while sitting on that bench, remembering the past and the memories I retained. I still have my eyesight after just One Operation so far on the left eye. I have 4 more operations to go, if they are needed. The doctor back in 1994 told me the first operation would only last for one year and I’d need another one. I told him, “We’ll see about that…” You see I’m not your normal patient and you’ll see for yourself.

I was the first person to have this special eye operation in Ontario all those years ago, and they brought in 5 other surgeons to watch the procedure as well. This has been written up in the Canadian Medical Journal as well. But, as far as I’m concerned they will not get another chance to do another surgery on my eyes. Sheer will of conviction I say has carried me through… I have faith it shall continue…

So enjoy this short video, witness the bench

where I regained my strength back in 1993

and again in 2017

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Blue Jays stay in the North all Winter

It always amazes me the vast number of birds that remain here in the Northern parts of Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jay for one…

I was so excited to see them in my trees that I hurried inside to the pen tablet and started drawing this delightful bird. Although different from what I witnessed in the trees I wanted to try my hand at creating the beauty of these birds. I used a drawing tool called the Pen Tablet and a program called Sketchbook Pro.

This was back on April 5th 2017. Then on April 18th I heard such a racket happening outside I had to jump away from the computer and see what was causing the noise. Once, outside I noticed one of the trees just full of birds all singing or calling out at once. It was a rather high pierced sound along with the road noise from the highway combined, so I added a bit of music instead to the 50 or more Waxwing birds who came for a short visit.

Nature is a glorious thing to witness and these birds lifted my spirits almost as if I were flying there with them as they took off to show their beauty to someone else in the neighborhood, hopefully they took as much delight in the sight as I did..

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What do you do when your Winter is too long?

Well, folks what did I do you ask? I went nuts and began to ring in the brand New Year with sowing seeds in January. You see I won a seed give a way on YouTube from a gardening friend in the United States. She sent me cotton seeds… Well, I was totally over the moon happy about this and so many other seeds as well.

Being over the moon happy is a state of mind most gardeners have, and it really kicks in as the brand new year of possibilities begin to naw at us, while we page through all of our seed catalogs in the dead of winter, dreaming of a grand garden in the spring. Which for me was 5 months away.

Our last frost day here in Northern Ontario, Canada is the 24th of May, but I’ve seen it snow here in June, too. So, with our short growing season and myself having the neighbors trees to contend with giving me lack of sun it is a real challenge deciding just what I can plant and bring all the way to harvest time in the Fall.

I’ve laid out the foundation of building permaculture beds which worked wonderfully last year during the long drought we experienced, and when it did rain it came down in huge buckets. Which usually beats the living tar right out of my plants in the past. But, last year the way the permaculture beds work is they drain off the water if it rains too much, and it retains the water if we have a long drought.

Our city puts us on water meters last year and now charge for every drop of water, so using my hose was out of the question. I didn’t want to wind up paying more money for homegrown vegetables than I can get at the store , even if homegrown is better for you and taste 100% better. When you have to watch every penny, (Which Canada took out of circulation a few years ago) you have to get creative as a gardener.

As it happened my beloved Birch tree died and needed to be cut down before it took out my neighbors shed or even my own fence. I can’t tell you how sad this occurrence made me for months leading up to the removal of this beautiful tree. It actually was the main reason for buying the home I’m in. Strange but true. I’ve always had a kinship with all trees and this one stole my heart.

Moms beloved Birch Tree

So, when it had to be removed the gentleman who cut it down asked if I wanted it taken away or stacked, I said just leave it where the log sections fell. I’ll take care of it. Well , he looked at my aging face and grey hair and asked again was I sure?

July 16th 2015 - Third Permaculture Bed using logs from Birch Tree

The making of my first Permaculture bed, and my beloved tree is still providing goodness for me.

My beloved tree was now going to be handled for the last time by me and only me. It had given me so much joy in the years I’ve lived here in my home, shortly after my husband passed away from a sudden heart attack at the tender age of 46. I’ve always looked at trees in a certain way, growing up in Florida looking up at all the tall pines that could sway beautifully in the winds and even withstand the gale force winds of a hurricane blowing through.

I knew if I were a tree I’d be as strong as this and be able to weather any storm that blew my way. Thinking in this manner has brought me to the place I am in at the moment, aging but weathering each storm and looking back with hindsight knowing I was correct in becoming fascinated with trees as they would help me along the paths I’d be following …

History lesson of me over, thank you for reading…

I’ve been continually striving to animate and this has also helped me get through the long cold winters here in Canada. I’ve lived up North for over 34 years and never regretted a single moment. So, I’ve animated a little short film here pertaining to cotton, the girl in the video is Wilma, Wilson the coconut ~ Plant manager’s girl friend. If, you’ve seen some of my gardening videos which I also strive to make funny, because we all just need to laugh… Wilson the coconut is my sidekick for my indoor gardening throughout the winter.

Enjoy the animation and the update of my cotton growing inside until we get our spring..

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This little picture is actually snow of course, but doesn’t it look like cotton?

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