"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

48 and holding...!

Yesterday I endured celebrated another birthday. Wouldn't it be fun to go back in time to the years when our birthdays were eagerly anticipated? I truly wonder what I'll be thinking two years from now after having passed the big 5-0... I have a number of friends already in their fifties and they seem to have survived the shock!

 Here's my little pity party!

Part of the afternoon was spent in my office drinking coffee, reading, contemplating life and eating chocolate (hehe - it was my birthday afterall). We've been enjoying gorgeous weather, although we are still in desperate need of rain. To answer those who are wondering: yes, rain or shine I wear my rubber boots when I am in the backyard - that way I don't have to worry about something crawling up my leg or biting an ankle lol! 

Last night we went to a Bachman-Turner/Paul Rodgers concert. These rockers are in their 60's - Randy and Fred are actually closer to 70 - so there's a bit of encouragement for us all. 

This pic was in the Edmonton Journal this morning -
they were fantastic - I don't see retirement in their near futures.

Are gifts important as we get older? They aren't to me, but they are appreciated :) Especially when they are the very thing you are drooling over. A dear friend surprised me with this trinket box from a local antique mall - she had been with me when I tore myself away from it a few weekends ago. 

 The fronts of each drawer are slate.

They're quite deep, wonder what I'll end up storing in them?
I'm currently reading through the Harry Potter series;
perhaps some Horehound, Lemon Balm & Hyssop...
one never knows when a spell might come in handy!

Some of my birthday money was spent on two of these, my tastes are simple: rustic and used lol! 
I plan to house seasonal displays in them. 
I don't know about you, but the outside of my place could use something
to help brighten it up during the long winter months.
Here's Emma eagerly inspecting ;)

I stumbled across this new release today in my travels.

Too funny! I happen to be one of the last people in North America who doesn't have a cell phone, so I am definitely not a "texting parent". Perhaps I should get one - how am I going to remain 'hip' as I get older? Realistically though, I recognize it's probably already too late! That's okay; different priorities are now in place. You know, getting older is actually a very liberating experience:


With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickles for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

'Goddess of the Dawn'

This amazing picture of the Northern Lights was taken by Yuichi Takasaka on September 12 at Hidden Lake Territorial Park in Canada's Northwest Territories. It was the NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day yesterday. We used to see the aurora borealis quite often when we lived in Peace River, which is five hours north of Edmonton; and being on an acreage, we were afforded the perfect setting to appreciate them in all their glory. Some nights they were truly dazzling. Tradition was to 'whistle them down' even closer as we sat around a crackling bonfire with friends during the late summer/fall months... and you know sometimes - it almost seemed to work! One of many things I miss about country living.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"She's flat like the pancake!"

There was a young lady named Bright,
Who traveled much faster than light;
She set out one day in a relative way,
And came back on the previous night.

Scientists in Shock After Breaking Speed of Light

This is amazing, if proven true: A fundamental pillar of physics – that nothing can go faster than the speed of light – appears to be smashed by an oddball subatomic particle that has apparently made a giant end run around Albert Einstein’s theories. The full article here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Furry-Foot-Tapping Good Time!


I was reminded first thing this morning by Debra, She Who Seeks, that today is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Don't know how I could have overlooked this very important day in history, but it's early - so there's still plenty of time to celebrate!

Love this compilation of moments from Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday bash 
(and Frodo's 33rd, although he gets kind of forgotten about in all the festivites!) 

I hope you enjoy it :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Out of Spray Starch

Yesterday afternoon and again today, I did an early autumn clean-up. I'd purposely let my hanging baskets and flower boxes dry out over the last two weeks; the plants were spent and the risk of an early winter season always looms in the shadows - there's nothing worse than working with numb fingers in a bitterly cold wind - I expect you've also been there done that yourself! Cut down the shasta daisies, bellflowers and columbines as well. By no means done - but it's a start. I leave the vines which cover our deck up throughout the winter months; love their gnarled, brambly branches set against the snow. 

I rescued a few sprigs :)

Throughout the growing season I throw everything back into the beds as I deadhead and for the most part do the same during fall cleanup. Most of the leaves from our trees are raked onto the beds to blanket plants throughout the winter. Granted it's all a bit messy come spring, but leaves return most of the nutrients crucial to soil health.

A favorite little book of mine is In the Garden, by Canadian author Marjorie Harris. Inspiring musings which look at the role changing seasons play in the life of the gardener. In it she states "you need to think like a forest when you garden. No little elves rush about tidying the forest floor. Fallen leaves lie and slowly break down into the magnificent duff that feeds the trees" I think she makes perfect sense. The same should follow in our own gardens.

Don't you love the wind-swept look daisies have as they dry out? I've noticed the whole world takes on a sort of rumpled elegance in the fall; like the well-worn, yet still chic leather purse or boots you can't quite part with. Everything feels lived-in and comfortable.

Kind of like Meryl Street and Robert Redford in Out of Africa...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Autumn, Allergies and Affaires de Coeur

"I love the fall. I love it because of the smells that you speak of; and also because things are dying, things that you don't have to take care of anymore, and the grass stops growing."- Mark Van Doren

Greetings! I stumbled across this quote in my travels and had to laugh.
Two friends expressed this exact sentiment to me recently; that they are in fact relieved when fall arrives and they get a break from all the watering and yard work ... lol!

Today's post is a bit of this 'n that...

It's a glorious fall day here, 15C and scarcely a cloud in the sky. I can hear numerous lawnmowers rumbling throughout the neighborhood - we just did ours (well, hubby did that is :) and now I'm watering. Fall watering is something a lot of people overlook, but it's crucial to preparing your plants for the long, dry winter months ahead. We are particularly dry right now as we have not seen any real precipitation, save one day of light rain, in close to two months; hard to believe after our very wet spring.

The above pic was taken at the farmer's market this past Wednesday. I took a leisurely stroll through with my daughter, admiring all the lovely fall bounty and then we popped into a local coffee shop where I had a spiced pumpkin latte and she a chai tea. Something in the latte (perhaps an ingredient in the whipped topping?) did not  agree with me and I had a noticeably swollen top lip for the rest of that evening and half of the next day...! It was very tasty, but I think I will pass on the pumpkin next time.

On two separate occasions this week, I spent a number of hours in the local Goodwill. Here are a few of my treasures; one I will save for closer to Halloween...

These are Corningware (2.5 and 4 liters)
and are in mint condition.

First published in 1859,
I look forward to sharing selected (often amusing) tidbits
from this fascinating little book. 

This looks like it will be a very interesting read.
I've already tried (& loved) the following recipe:

Spicy Sardine Salad
(serves 1)

I know sardines are not on everyone's list of favorite foods - but they have been on mine for many 
years based on the simple fact that they are a powerhouse of a food: 
an excellent source of protein, calcium and essential fatty acids. 
Also, cheap and fast!

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (I used less)
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced and cut into half-moon strips
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of chili powder
1 can water-packed sardines, drained
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 bunch of arugula or watercress, coarsely chopped (I used mixed greens)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute with a pinch of salt.
After 2 minutes, mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder. Continue sauteing, stirring
frequently until the onion is tender and translucent, about 5 more minutes. Transfer from the skillet to a serving bowl and let cool. Add the sardines and lemon juice (it says mix well here, but next time I plan
to dice the sardines and very lightly toss with the onions - makes for a more attractive presentation)
Serve over a bed of greens.

I threw a few pieces of lemon in as well.
It was very yummy.

3-volume boxed set, superb condition: $2.99.
I am finally going to read the Harry Potter series, lol!
(This is so typical of me: crazy about Seinfeld, but only watched it in reruns)
I'm already in chapter 4 of the first book and can hardly put the silly thing down, haha.

Anyone for a skiing holiday in the French Alps?
I freely admit to being a sucker for all things 'French'.

I leave you with this lovely painting by Emile Claus entitled, 
The Old Gardener (Le Vieux Jardinier, de Oude Tuinman)

Emile Claus was a Belgian painter, and although not French, (if you've ever read Agatha Christie
or watched a movie featuring her character Hercule Poirot, you will know why I am being so specific!) he was greatly influenced by the French impressionists, like Claude Monet whose works he got to know during his trips to Paris in the 1890's. Claus gradually shifted from naturalistic realism to a very personal style of impressionism called 'luminism', because of the luminous palette he used.

I would love to have this hanging in my home to warm me throughout the coming winter months.

All for now,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me?

I came across this hilarious video on the Huffington Post today.
This couple is so cute!
I can certainly understand their confusion:
I'm much younger and most days I feel like I don't have a clue 
about how to run all the gadgets in my life :)
Love their playful exchanges - he is quite a character.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harvest Moon and Look at Them Apples!

A pic of the lovely full Harvest Moon
It was taken this morning at 4:30. 

The Harvest Moon, also known as the Wine Moon, 
the Singing Moon and the Elk Call Moon, 
is the full moon which occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. 
It is often mistaken for the modern day Hunter's Moon which will occur Oct. 11.

A few fall images from my walk this afternoon...

When did this happen?
Most trees are still green, but not for long.

More apples :)

Days bright as a 'Golden Delicious',
nights crisp as a 'Granny Smith':
Apples make our favourite dishes,
tempt us as the serpent did.
- Old Farmer's Almanac 'September' 2011

This may have been a great shot,
if I'd had an opportunity to move in closer and bring it into focus,
but thankfully I noted the ground beneath my feet was spongy and slightly mounded:
looking down I realized I was standing on an ant hill
and there were already two scouts crawling across my shoe...

Gorgeous color!

When I returned from my walk, I turned on CBC Radio One and 
found out about another walk taking place in Edmonton.

The annual "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" campaign.

Each year, an ever-increasing number of men, women and their families are joining the award-winning Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Event is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to sexualized violence.
Here's another link with some hilarious pictures from today's event in Edmonton.

That's all for now.
I just heard on the radio that we are looking at a low of 4C overnight,
with a risk of frost in low-lying areas.

I leave you with Neil Young's Harvest Moon :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dream a Little Dream with Me :)

 "Gardening imparts an organic perspective on the passage of time."


Yesterday I took stock of the garden; planning which tasks 
I need to complete in the next few weeks and those to tackle come spring.
Upon reflection, I am quite pleased with how much I managed to accomplish this season.
Of course, there are numerous projects I never got to -
but c'est la vie, one never gets it all done!

Above are some of the tags from the shrubs and annuals planted this season - in total twenty-four.
I've been saving them for every planting added to our yard since moving here over ten years ago,
(it's getting to be quite a pile!) and find myself referring back to them quite often.
As well, I was given three Canna Lilies which didn't flower, but did produce beautiful foliage
and so fully expect to be rewarded with blooms come next summer.

The two gardening books above, while actually geared to gardening in
much warmer climates, have proven to be a source of great inspiration.
They were picked up on bargain bins a number of years ago,
and are intently pored over by firelight (lol) during the cold, dark winter months! 

You may recall I added a fountain feature in July - see here.
While not nearly as elaborate as pictured above; this was what first inspired me.
I hope to add plantings and a bench to it in the near future.

Love the private, 'Secret Garden' feel to this garden.

Oh, how I wish!

I adore this and am definitely on the lookout for a metal 'something' 
to tuck in amongst my bellflowers and shasta daisies... 

Isn't this gorgeous?

White in the garden is an elegant look.

I hope these pics have also inspired you to dream big.
Sometimes, it's the only thing that keeps us sane November through April :)

We are enjoying amazing weather - today's high is forecast at 31C!
Here's a fabulous salad you may want to try - sounds totally delish and so easy.
This was forwarded by a faithful reader who loved it - I plan to try it very soon.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Just Wiggled By To Say I Love You!

There was the sweetest surprise waiting for me in my garden yesterday morning!

Kind of hard to tell which end is up... lol!

Simply beautiful :)

After I'd taken these, I spied another little friend in what's left of my shasta daisies.

Today they are nowhere to be seen...

We are having glorious weather. 
Despite the fact that summer is ending, 
I love this time of year and look forward to the bounties of fall...
... the cornucopia of color, woolen sweaters, pumpkins, Thanksgiving...
 and Halloween - my favorite holiday xx

Monday, September 5, 2011