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…

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There’s a Snail enjoying my Carrots…

Today was such a nice warm day, but not too hot at all. So, I decided the lawn could use a little mowing with my electric lawnmower. I must say that I love not having to pull on a cord to fire up the mower, or need gas and oil to keep it running.

But, I got side tracked very quickly by the sad state of my storage shed. I noticed I had plastic buckets in there from years ago, piled up almost to the top along with my shovels and spading fork. So, what’s a gal to do? She proceeds to yank out the mower and get down and dirty cleaning out the storage shed. I thought about taking a before and after picture for this post, but no way was anyone else seeing the sad state of affairs it was in.

I mowed the lawn and sat down afterward on the birch stump to rest and look at my permaculture bed for a spell…In need of a cool drink of water I went indoors to fetch my water bottle (The bottle from Hell I call it…) and returned with my camera in tow as well. I clicked a few pictures and returned the camera to the house before continuing.

With everything garden put away in my now newly cleaned storage shed (It’s Rubbermaid and I love it) This shed came with the house I bought in Ohio back in 1999, and it came back with me in February of 2000. Long personal story I’ll not go into….

I went back inside to check out the pictures just in case I needed to make do overs on some. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I noticed one of the carrots in the ground looking odd. Upon, inspection with the zoom in tool in Photo Shop I noticed a small blackish snail just eating away as if there were no tomorrow. Below is a picture of said bandit…

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So, I grabbed my little wicker basket and some gloves to pull out a few carrots and find the snail a new home far from the permaculture bed. Hum…Upon returning the snail had gone or at least I couldn’t see it without a zoom of the camera.. It just all looked like dirt and veggies in there….

I harvested a few carrots and looked at my cherry tomato plants growing in the bed. They have not been affected at all by the drought, massive rains we’ve been getting for two weeks, or the cool down at night into the single digits. I’m amazed at how well this permaculture bed has preformed this year.

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The bed retained enough water during the drought to keep everything growing happily. With the down-pouring of rain as of late it drains off beautifully. The nights have been also getting very cold and the mornings too, but this magical permaculture bed appears to retain the heat from the day to protect the plants roots and stems.

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The warm temps at this time of year is unusual for us here in Northern Ontario, Canada and I’ve never had my tomato plants to last this long into the season with Fall announcing its self today September 22nd…

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I suppose I’ve finally found out how to garden in this climate, and the good thing about the permaculture beds is that they will last 20 years. They are a bit of work in the beginning, but the rewards are so much greater than a day or two of sweating putting it all together, Lasagna Style ~ Layering components…

So, with my carrots in the little basket, I moved on to the other permaculture bed where I have two type of Swiss Chard growing and Green onions.

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I picked some of the Swiss Chard and two huge green onions and went back to the upper level of the deck where the scarlet runner beans climbed like good little beans all the way up to the top railing. (I placed string from the bottom to the top railing hoping to train them up so harvesting would be a breeze..) I harvested a lot of runner beans and placed them into the basket feeling all was well with my day today. I just wish the rest of the world could be at peace too.

I could see Au Gratin in my future, with one sweet potato, a few small white potatoes, Swiss Chard, Green Onions, Cheddar cheese, all layered into a casserole dish. It’s baking right now and it smells amazingly good. I can’t wait for dinner tonight, along with steamed beans and carrots. Life is good, and I am worn out so I bid you all adieu…

 

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Until next time

~Laura~

Lovely Sweet Potatoes ~ When will you be ready?

I planted one sweet potato in a container one-hundred and twelve days ago. From research they should have been withering up and turning very yellow on the leaves (vines) after one hundred days. So, I eagerly awaited the one hundred days to pass through the spring and summer months.

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I must say I did enjoy watching the white potatoes growing on the deck this season. Throw them into dirt, and cover.. as they grow ~ cover again and so fourth. Until you reach the top of the container.

But…these sweet potatoes were a first for me this year and I was amazed at just how beautiful the plant was as it grew bigger. The undersides of the leaves were a hint of purple and the top a glorious shade of deep green. I removed the chicken wire cage after the one hundred days so I could tell if the vines began to droop. I do however see the inner leaves beginning to change to yellow ~ Just like they are suppose to do. A little late, but with the heat we had this summer I can’t blame this beautiful plant who is growing for me underneath the soil ~Yummy Sweet Potatoes ~ Yams ~ Kumara ~

Did you know?

That cuttings of a sweet potato vine, either edible or ornamental varieties, will rapidly form roots in water and will grow in it, indefinitely, in good lighting with a steady supply of nutrients. For this reason sweet potato vine is ideal for use in home aquariums, trailing out of the water with its roots submerged, as its rapid growth is fueled by toxic ammonia and nitrates, a waste product of aquatic life, which it removes from the water. This improves the living conditions for the fish, which also find refuge in the vast root systems….

This makes me almost want to set up a fish tank and watch the sweet potatoes growing in the water while doing its housecleaning chores… Cleaning up that fishy water ~ well you know… wink…

I really don’t think I’ll get too good a harvest from this small container with the growing sweet potatoes, because I read it can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months to fully grow and then you need to harden off in the sun to make them store-able.  Hum.. my growing season will never be that long…But, I’ve had a lot of joy in the attempt just the same and that’s what gardening is all about for me and my pup….

Here’s a short little video I put up on YouTube, yesterday… Enjoy…

 

 

Thank you for visiting my blog and viewing my little YouTube Video.. I promise I’ll get better at it one day.. wink…

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Until next time

~Laura~

Mixed Zinnia ~ Dreaming of Peppermint

I can’t say it enough about how much I’ve loved growing these mixed zinnia’s from the seed package my daughter gave to me. This one looks like a peppermint candy that you see all the time and always at Christmas time. I know my candy bowl is full of these delights around the holiday, just love mint in any shape or form.

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Until next time

~Laura~

It’s Still Alive ~ I haven’t killed it yet !

I am shocked and amazed as the temperatures begin to drop here. This first week trying to grow a pineapple indoors has been a success. I’ve read that the leaves will look poorly in the first two weeks, but I am going to try to succeed with this little project of mine.

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It appears that the center of the pineapple tops was still intact when I purchased these two pineapples at the grocery store. It sounds like from what I’ve watched on YouTube by the other wonderful gardening folks who are doing this #PineappleChallenge that we need the center to be there and not plucked out by the produce manager.

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Last year I grew dill indoors, along with parsley and basil. All three thrived over the long cold winter indoors. I also began a Jalapeno pepper plant from seed last Fall that is still growing with a nice thick stalk. It gave me enough peppers to make jelly and this summer enough peppers for cooking anything spicy. I cut back the pepper plant to give it a little rest and I’m sure it will thrive yet again over this coming winter.

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So, since indoor gardening on a very small scale helped me get through the very long winter last year I’ve decided to step it up a notch..

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I ordered this amazing grow light kit from Veseys Seeds in Prince Edward Island. It arrived in a very sturdy outer box with another box inside containing this grow light kit. This bulb is massive in size and gives off such great light for my plants. I think my two pineapples, Oahu & Maui will just love being underneath this light. Let’s not tell them they are not in Hawaii, but rather heading into 6 months of Canadian Winter soon.

I made a short little video for YouTube ~ Less than one minute…I tried for the first time using my I-Pad to make the video, so take a look and tell me what you think…

Thanking you all kindly for your support with my Pineapple growing challenge…

Hint…

There may be toques

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In the future for Oahu & Maui

Question

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Until next time

~Laura~

The Pineapple Challenge Hosted by: Mick Watson on YouTube

I was surfing the inter webs the other day and ran across a couple of really interesting YouTube video’s on gardening. Mick Watson has a lovely plot for which to garden and he started this Pineapple Challenge. I quickly followed him and ran into another great video by Graham’s Kitchen Garden.  He has lots of interesting video’s and a funny sense of humor to go along with his talents for gardening and helpful tips.

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I quickly became very excited to join in with this Pineapple Challenge because winter is around the corner and I need a new project to keep me sane. My Jalapeno peppers are still growing strong from their beginning last Fall, and now I have two beautiful heads from pineapples plopped in some dirt for another adventure of Gardening In The Winter Time Here In Northern Ontario Canada…

Here’s a link to my YouTube Video for the Pineapple Challenge.

I hope you enjoy and it’s a short one this time folks, so you won’t need that snack to watch it.. wink…

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Until next time

~Laura~

My Garden was Trending and I didn’t even know it !

This year my garden was a bit of a disappointment for me, while I still enjoyed getting outside and playing around in the dirt. But, the problem stemmed (pardon the pun) from last year after finishing up with building my large permaculture bed.

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

 

After all of the Fall leaves fell last year some went into the compost bin and the rest rested atop the newly made permaculture bed. But, I should have added more soil to the top layer before the snow was predicted to arrive. I think I wore myself out lugging the heavy birch logs into the dug out pit for the bed, then the long days of placing the limbs, sticks, and twigs in place. This took me awhile to prepare as I needed a few days off from laboring and then back to it.

I had a lot of leaves atop the permaculture bed and only three sides up with plastic fencing, the fourth side was to go up in the spring, but didn’t go into place until yesterday. So, without using common sense I covered the bed with a tarp for the long winter months. Hum…smacking myself for that lame move all this past growing season.

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My bed needed the snow cover during the winter and the moisture of the melting snow to slowly provide water to each of the layers for the bed to behave properly. These permaculture beds are really a wonderful way to garden, if you prepare them in the correct fashion. Which I did not, as it turns out.

All of the layers completed ~ Check

Letting the snow add the moisture content to the bed ~ Fail

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I thought I was doing a good thing putting the tarp there since I didn’t have the fourth side up and thought the leaves would blow away in the late Fall when it gets pretty windy here. So, in the spring after everything thawed in my compost bin I added the compost to the top mixing in the leaves like a batter to a cake.

When the permaculture bed is properly constructed it can withstand a drought, which is exactly what we experience here this growing season. I realized my mistake in the spring, but ran a test just the same with only watering it 3 times this season. I wanted to see if the melting snow from the winter around the sides of the bed was enough for the bed to operate somewhat well.

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I planted the carrots very close together, expecting to pull out seedlings as they surfaced the top to space them properly and to munch on the tiny micro seedlings for breakfast. They are amazingly tasty, and the flavor is so much better than the proper sized vegetable. Spring time was going to be a joy eating out of my garden, enjoying all of the micro carrots.

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Full Stop

The best laid plans sometimes don’t work out, if you don’t follow through with them….

Since, I was distraught over my blunder by covering the bed all winter I sort of just left the bed alone knowing the growing carrots, beets, multiplying onions, dill, cilantro, lettuce, cucumber (seeds transplanted unknown from the compost bin) and my planted cherry tomatoes from seeds ~ were going to suffer for my lack of common sense this year. But, I do enjoy the journey just the same and it takes skill to mess up gardening this badly.. So, I suppose that’s something to be proud about. How not to garden should be my motto this year….

I’m not beating myself up with a stick over it ~ actually it makes me smile and laugh over these details for this year, because very soon I would find out I was joining a new trend that’s happening all over in restaurants and chefs far and wide are hungry for what I was growing…

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My plan was to just let these things grow and hope for the best. I should have bought extra soil in the spring to top the bed, but I didn’t want to add any more money into it. Why oh why did I plant my red cored Chantenay carrots in there, I pondered.

All of the seeds for those little carrots came up without fail. Many times the carrots fail due to critters chomping away at them or my soil is not loose enough. I added Coconut coir to the compost I added to the top bed, just not enough for the beets to grow large, I have micro beets out there just like I grew micro potatoes this year.

Remember those fingerlings potatoes that I ranted over in the stores, well it appears that they are really, really tasty. I cooked them twice now from my garden and was amazed by the flavor, texture, and the just darn cuteness of them on the plate. The trick is to serve them on small plates along with the other parts of the evening meal.

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Fingerling Potatoes Texture

I have to report that the texture of these micro potatoes is something you must experience. They are similar to a mash potato, but they are a tiny whole spud when going into your mouth for your taste buds to explode with their flavor and somehow a creaminess to them~ I suppose they have not grown into the larger version to become firm in texture.. Alright , I get the price of these little jewels in the grocery stores and at the fancy restaurants.

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So, when I grow potatoes next year I’ll hope for many fingerlings along with the regular sized potatoes when I finally get to harvest them.

There’s a craze happening for Micro Vegetables I didn’t know about and this is why I didn’t show you my carrots, onions, beets, etc after harvesting them. They were the cutest tiny micro vegetables you’ve ever seen, but I thought not worthy of putting up for display unless in a doll house where the dining room table was set for dinner.

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My son asked, “Mom why are they so small?”

I looked up from underneath my straw gardening hat which all gardening folks should wear..

“Because they’re Micro Vegetables…”

I told him, giggling. Even before I actually knew this was a craze in the fancy establishments for dining out.

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Until next time

~Laura~

Grab a Tea or Coffee and settle in for a spell ~ 18 minuets

Along with that coffee or tea you might need a small snack by your side to view this amazing video.. Alright, I can not lie ~ I got long winded with talking all about my Potato trials, but just wait until the Tomato trial comes around the bend.. Wink,

So, if you chose to accept this mission click the link below before it self destructs…

~yes, I love mission impossible~

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You can do it, I have faith in you…. wink….

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Until next time

~Laura~