Posts filed under ‘environment’

Warmth for our gardens

A fellow writer spoke of the flowers shivering in the cold temperatures earlier this week. And I replied that the garden veggie plants are likely doing the same thing. Quite a picture when you think of it — a plant shivering.

I was glad to feel more warmth today. It gives me hope for the garden doing well. After all there are blossoms on the tomatoes and the zucchini; they need sunshine and warmth to grow.

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tomatoes have blossoms now too

We need to be mindful of our environment. Global warming is for real. We need to eat, we need to breathe; we need so much for healthy living.

I  won’t say more except to declare that some in government don’t believe in climate change. I shake my head over it. They’re not in tune with what’s going on.

 

If you’ve planted a garden, may it grow well for you and produce good food. And beautiful flowers and shrubs.

 

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June 8, 2018 at 2:40 am Leave a comment

Garden in Bloom and More

After what seemed like a long cold winter, then a late ice storm here in Ontario, our gardens are erupting with colour.  First the narcissus, then the hyacinths. It seemed like they were patiently waiting for the snow and ice to disappear. The stems were up and the blossoms ready to open when the sun warmed the air. Spring has finally arrived.

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My garden stone, made at a women’s retreat, is back in place for the season

My granddaughters wait to set up the fairy garden again. We need to wait for some of the plants to emerge to give the fairies shade when they make their appearance. This year when we plant, we’ll have a new addition to the gardeners when another small one gets to help with planting. She’ll have her own fairy too, of course. Guess she’ll need a shovel as well, for digging holes.

 

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fairy home last year

 

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Our snow shovels still out last week when my husband put up the window box

 

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I love the yellow daffodils in spring. They bring such a burst of colour. Then the little grape hyacinths around them give a purple backdrop.

 

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And now the tulips are opening too. Such a riot of colour

 

These past few weeks, I’ve been busy writing content for my new website. Things are shifting and so is my blog, Storygal, back here at WordPress. The posts at my current site are backed up and may appear at this site from time to time. The new website will be launched soon. I’ll announce when it’s ready.

Meanwhile, I’ve been promoting my picture book, Harry’s Trees, at local plant nurseries. Tomorrow at the St Jacobs Country Gardens and Plant Nursery. I launched the general market version last fall after initially starting the story as a family project after my father died in May 2011, two years ago today, as I write.

 

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout

Harry’s Trees, a children’s picture book dedicated to my father

My garden beds are dug up and raked, ready for the plants. After my book event this weekend, I’ll purchase plants. I have a date with three granddaughters to help me plant. First will come a conversation with the two oldest about what we’ll grow this year. Perhaps there’ll be a request for something new.

Enjoy the spring weather and don’t plant those annuals too soon. They don’t like frost.

 

May 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Harry’s Trees, the picture book

 

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout

 

Nearly two years ago at my  father’s funeral service, I looked around at all the preschoolers in our family and realized, though they’d been here this day, most of them wouldn’t remember their great grandfather and what was important to him. Family was topmost, but there was another significant interest in his life, as an individual, as a father and grandfather and farmer, and that was his care and concern for environment and his respect for what trees mean to us. They provide fruit, shade, they hold the soil together and they put oxygen into the air we breathe.  And they’re beautiful to look at when they’re full of blossoms in spring and as the leaves open. I love to watch that process too.

As a young boy, he’d climbed many of the trees on his parents’ farm—the farm that he would manage one day with our mother. There are more stories than I can share here in one post, but one I will share. When one of our black walnut trees was struck by lightning, it had to be cut down. Using his skills and tools, he used wood from that tree and lined a space in the kitchen wall as a china cabinet for some of Mom’s special plates and dishes and anything else worthy of showing off. That space is still there though the farm has been sold.

Back to the funeral day and my thoughts. That following week, I began to write a story for those small children. I didn’t know how it would evolve, but it did. It went through many versions and I submitted it to my critique groups, both the Revision group online with The Word Guild and my face-to-face group. I received so much helpful guidance for my revision. I named the book after my Dad and called it Harry’s Trees.

When my story neared completion, I got in touch with a young woman I’d met at a writer’s event. She was a trained artist and she was definitely interested in illustrating my book. The process took several months. In early January 2017, I had a book to distribute to my family. Then, of course, several friends who saw it wanted one too, and cousins and people outside that circle too.

With great thought, I decided to put out a general market version. The story and the art are the same, but the dedication is slightly different. and I had some help with the packaging by Angel Hope Publishing in Drayton, Ontario. In this version, my artist and I would be featured on the back cover, as on any picture book.

I had help promoting it by a journalist, Helen Lammers-Helps who wrote about it in Ontario Farmer and Oxford Review. But also the Tavistock Gazette, our hometown weekly editor who got first chance at spreading the news.

In June, when I received that shipment of books, I thought my heart would burst with happiness. (The first order was emotional.) There also rested some recognition of my father and respect for what he had taught us, and many memories. And a bit more grief too. But it was good grief and honouring.

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As of this month, three plant nurseries in Waterloo Region have welcomed my promotional efforts of Harry’s Trees in their location and willing to host a book signing there. I’ll be at Sheridan Nursery, Kitchener location, this Saturday, April 28th, from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Two more events will follow on Saturday, May 5th and Saturday, May 12th and I hope several more. For spring is a time of growth and renewal.

My book was also a feature of Earth Day events at Sheridan Kitchener this past weekend. My friend Judy read the book as part of those events since I was already committed elsewhere.

So, Dad, if you’re checking on us, know that what you taught us has had great effect and  is going out to many other readers beyond your family. In your humble way, you would not have asked for recognition, but it’s there all the same.

 

 

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April 25, 2018 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

The garden produces

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tomato blossoms

The plants are maturing and we’re beginning to reap the rewards. One day I went out and picked a cucumber. I sent a message to my daughter. E. will be happy to see cucumbers. “Can you bring the girls one day soon to see the garden?”

Several days later, they came, ready to see how it looked. Sure enough, there was another cucumber waiting to be picked. E loves cucumbers.

“You need to share that.”

And she agreed.

 

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happy about the cucumber

 

Her sister, A., didn’t want to be in this picture. She wished for one of her own. Industriously, watering the strawberry plants, she got her wish.

 

 

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giving the plants a drink

 

It was a good time of day to water, at early evening. We were having a hot dry spell with no rain so the plants were ready for a drink. We had to fill the small watering bucket again and again. Of course other plants got a drink too while the girls and their Mom were at our place.

The girls might have been surprised to see how the plants had grown. There were even the beginnings of tiny tomatoes. “I saw them, ” E. said. They both love the tiny tomatoes and will be happy to help pick, and eat, them when they’re big enough and ripe.

 

 

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zucchinis starting to grow

We could have quite a lot of zucchinis growing, but no worries. Our family likes zucchini and my daughter, Laura, has one of those spiralizer machines that cuts the vegetable very thin.

 

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mint in a pot

 

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parsley

My parsley plant has seen better days. Here’s hoping I can find another plant to replace it, even this late in the summer. Our granddaughters, even the one with selective taste buds, like to pinch off a piece and eat it right there at the garden

This morning when I went out to take photos of the garden, I saw my neighbour in her yard. After a bit of conversation, I offered her a basil plant and so we got to talking about how to use it.

 

 

 

 

 

July 2, 2016 at 3:00 pm 5 comments

The Garden as a Lesson in Growth

A few days ago I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian about lessons in gardening.

Read the first bit of it here:

I’m teaching my granddaughters who are 4 and 6 about gardening. It’s an ongoing lesson. They enjoy helping me plant and giving the plants a drink. I’m sure they’d be like me, as a child, if it was a large garden, dreading the long rows, but ours are much shorter than the large garden we had on the farm.

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posing by the garden with her own tools

The garden teaches about growing. After sowing seeds, we look forward to seeing those first shoots poke above the ground. The children are gentle with the tender small plants that we set in the ground. They know that water helps the plants grow and so they love to get out the watering can and help it along.

 

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Watering buckets can be heavy, but she’s strong

 

Read more here.

June 14, 2016 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Our Garden Grows

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I had some help again this year in planting our vegetable garden. You might say I’m training the next generation, engaging them while they’re eager to help me, but they’re also enjoying it.

At Easter, I bought both girls their own gardening tools, a set in blue and one in green, a shovel and little rake. The girls were excited about finally using their tools and liked digging the holes for the plants and pressing them in the soil very gently.

We planted tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, a neat specialty lettuce and herbs (basil). And we planted the morning glory seeds too.

 

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Of course we posed after the work was done so we could show the results. And we watered the holes and put the plants in after, because it was such a hot afternoon.

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The watering bucket is heavy when it’s full, but she’s strong.

 

 

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After all that work, we need to sit under the umbrella and have a cold drink.

 

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And we’re happy that all this work has been done.

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Making time for a bit of fun. We love to blow bubbles together.

 

 

A mere few weeks later, with sunshine and rain, our plants and seeds are growing.

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Morning glories need thinning. I think every seed sprouted.

 

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Transplanted mint is doing well.

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Zucchini has blossoms

 

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Cucumber plants are doing well too. One little girl will be very happy about that.

 

 

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And tomatoes are doing well too, growing straight and tall. One little plant needs setting in some pot yet.

 

Let’s see what a few more weeks of sunshine and rain (or watering) take the garden.

 

 

June 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

I love spring

 

When the snow recedes and the flowers come up and bloom, that’s the thing I like best about spring. A couple  of times, I thought spring had finally made it, then we had more snow and  ice in our northern hemisphere. Overall, the plants held up, even if a few blooms  didn’t make it.

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Although I don’t have a crocus bulb or snowdrop in my flower beds, I do have narcissus,  paper white hyacinth and grape hyacinth. The narcissus are done now, but those little grape hyacinths are still blooming, sprinkled all over the garden, wherever they choose to grow. I took a bunch of those out, but left some here and there because I like them.

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And then the flowers really began to bloom—grape hyacinth springing up between the purple phlox

 

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the spring-pink blossoms on the uva ursi arctostaphylus

 

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hyacinth

 

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white phlox

 

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then the multi-hued tulips I love

and for the visual effect of many put together… and some trimming that still had to be done on old growth
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tulips next to the thyme

 

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a bright bunch of those colourful tulips

 

 

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My front garden with a marker where new bulbs will sprout next spring. Bulbs from the pots of flowers given to my father when he was in hospice that he wanted us to plant in our gardens to remember him. And we will, of course.

 

There’s a good part of my garden. It’s a work in progress, and of course there are more beds and they too will change over the seasons. More for another day.

 

 

photos by C. Wilker

 

 

May 17, 2016 at 7:02 pm 2 comments

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