Posts filed under ‘lifestyle’

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

The veggie garden is planted

 

This past weekend three granddaughters came to help plant our vegetable garden. They arrived together and were ready to begin. I could have done it myself or I could use it as time together and teaching moments. I chose the latter. It’s busy, but it’s fun too. And they feel a part of the process.

We talked about setting up the fairy garden before they were all out of the car. That was part of the plan for the time together. The small one said, “I didn’t bring my fairy,” but she didn’t seem upset. The other two chimed in that they’d share their fairy for her to play with.

“You can bring your fairy for a visit another day,” I said. She seemed pleased by that.

While I was getting some things ready, the eight-year-old helped the newest crew member to get her garden gloves on.

The plants were set up in the garden ahead of time, where I wanted them to be. The youngest one, at three, needed help digging the hole. The older girls understood that’s where they were to dig. The 6- and 8-year-old proved that they could dig the hole, put the plant in, and fill it in with soil, then smooth the ground around it.

Everyone had tools to use. The little one loved her new little shovel and fork and the little garden gloves that stuck out farther than her fingers. Eventually the gloves came off and she settled at digging holes, a tool in each hand. You can picture it, a purple shovel in one hand and a green fork, that looked more like a shovel, in the other hand. I helped her dig deeper and helped her fill in the hole with the tool and smooth the ground around a plant. She had a hand at it anyway. That’s good for her first time.

The older two dug holes on their own, put in the new plant, remembering to break up the root ball first.  “I don’t need gloves, Grandma, ” one said. They knew the plants need water. The bigger girls put the cages over the tomato plants. The plants will need it later as they grow heavy with fruit. They remembered that from the previous year, I think. Placing the wire cage was a bit tricky for one, but she got it too.

We set in plants I got at the nursery and some we’d grown ourselves: tomatoes, zucchini, yellow beans, cucumbers and basil plants, and then we put in carrot seeds too. (One of the cucumber plants was started in Brownies and Sparks.) Now we’ll watch them grow. Oh, and we gave the plants a lot of water before we went inside for a bit, to play and have a snack.

 

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Our garden planted and cages around the tomato plants

 

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Time to play. Sidewalk chalk is good.

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“Here’s my picture”

 

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Fairy garden is in process after some controversy over how the house and garden stone were to be placed.

Soon it was time for the girls to go home as parents arrived. They wanted to stay longer, but they’ll come again soon, I’m sure, to check on the garden and to give it a good drink.

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The fairies seem happy to be outdoors again after the winter inside looking out

Later in the day my husband and I placed the netting over the garden beds and secured it  in place, to keep the birds and small critters out of the garden. Now we tend it and watch the garden grow.

May 29, 2018 at 1:15 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

Maplefest, Buckhorn, Ontario

 

Maplefest, Buckhorn, Ontario

On the 24th of March, my husband and I accompanied our daughter and son-in-law and their two daughters to Maplefest that’s held near Buckhorn each year. The location was the McLean Berry Farm. It’s a bit of a drive but the girls entertained themselves pretty well on the way.

 

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When we arrived at the farm, we saw the horse pulling a wagon. We’ll get a ride in too, though Dave says it’s not very far. Still it’s kind of neat.

 

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Big round bales for the children to climb on while waiting for a ride. And someone taking a picture.

 

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You can get your picture taken in this scene.

 

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Watching their Mom and Dad saw a piece off a log

Then we can get a brand on the cut-off piece. I needed one of these for promoting Harry’s Trees. Perfect. It’s a maple leaf. So fitting.

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And another photo opp

 

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The ladies in the maple sugar tent, showing us and telling us how it’s done. We got to taste pure maple sugar taffy, then Dave got some floss to try out too. Thanks, Dave.

 

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Fun for the children

It was too cold to tap maple syrup that day, in fact very chilly, but it didn’t dampen spirits for the rest of the activities.

 

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We heard a quick talk on the evaporator to see where they boil down the sap

 

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Picture opportunity of our family

And the horses get to have a much needed break. Food time and rest for them over the noon hour. The next visitors got the tractor and wagon for their ride. Still pretty neat for a city family or anyone.

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We were glad to get back in the van and warm up a bit on the way to the GrandView Resort. We checked out their trailer, had some lunch that we’d packed, then set off for the trip home. It was a full day, and a good one.

April 12, 2018 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Blog continues…

My blog continues  over at www.carolynwilker.ca. Look for Storygal’s Blog. Come on over and see my posts in my new site. Here’s a few of my recent posts:

http://www.carolynwilker.ca/blog/2016/08/21/rcmp-musical-ride.shtml

http://www.carolynwilker.ca/blog/2016/09/11/going-home-to-the-fair.shtml

 

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September 13, 2016 at 12:28 pm 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

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