Posts filed under ‘seasons’

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

The Great Outdoors

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Beautiful basket of flowers at St. Jacobs Country Gardens

Last Saturday I went to the garden centre to promote, sign and sell my book, Harry’s Trees, and then on Monday, I visited another garden centre closer to home (one that also helped me promote my book) to get plants for my own home,  both veggies and flowers.

There were plenty of flowers left and I found that the food plants (tomato, cucumber, etc) were in limited supply. I managed to get tomato plants and a couple of cucumber and zucchini plants that were outgrowing their starting pots. No worries though, the plants will soon be in my garden, with the help of three granddaughters.

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Garden stone, made at retreat one year. Back in my flower bed

 

 

 

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Raised garden beds ready for planting

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Window box from BAK to Basics, planted

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Veggies and herbs

My parsley needs to be replanted this year. Two of my granddaughters love the taste of parsley. The first time they saw it, they asked, “What is this?”

“Parsley, ” I answered. Seeing their puzzled faces, I said their mom might put it in a salad.

“Can we taste it?” they asked.

I showed them that they could pinch off a small leaf and eat it. And so they did. Every summer they look for the parsley and ask if they can have some. They love the flavour.

 

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Tomato plants, the non negotiable plant in my garden each year

My husband rescued the overgrown yellow beans from the garden last summer and saved the seeds. He planted them in a shallow plant of soil. We have to get those planted because they’re growing.

Today I’ll go and purchase a small shovel for the youngest member of our planting team. New to it this year, the three-year-old must have her own. It seems she wanted some gloves too. She must have seen someone else wearing garden gloves. Perhaps her other grandmother wears them.

 

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And a planter with spikes and other flowers

I like to purchase the flowers and plant them in my own pots so there’s room for them to fill out. And one other thing to do  this evening is to soak the morning glory seeds I’ll plant tomorrow so the shell breaks open and they start germinating sooner.

 

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A small one in my life loves being out of doors, looks at the trees with great interest,  even follows a bird across the lawn, now that he’s walking well.

Hoping to get some good pictures of planting tomorrow then I’ll post some.

Happy planting. Enjoy the beauty around you!

 

May 26, 2018 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Book Promotions

This season I’ve been busy promoting my picture book, Harry’s Trees. When I take those books to places, I’m also taking along several others.

Recognizing the connection between trees and plant nurseries, I decided to contact plant nurseries. Several were glad to be asked and accommodated me and a few other places had already booked sufficient activities to fill their spaces at an extremely busy time of year. Fair enough. I’ll check back in with those later when their pace is a little less harried.

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This little doll will have my book read to her as she grows. And one day she’ll read it herself. At Belgian Nursery, Breslau.

For the nurseries where I did  go, I had a variety of guests come to see me, some I had invited and others who came to the nursery for plants, albeit on a cold May day, and wandered in to see what was happening in the classroom area of the building.

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Invited guests who travelled a distance, and of course my illustrator, Maja, on the left. At Sheridan Nursery, Kitchener.

 

Sheridan Nursery, the first to accept my idea of shared promotion, gave me the space and opportunity to read part of my book to children, including four of my own grandchildren.

It seemed most of the children, if given a preference, liked the spring and summer seasons best, but a few liked the colours of fall as well. Maybe it’s that they could be outdoors then.

All children coming to my table with their parents get a colouring sheet to decorate in their favourite season, but only the first location provided opportunity for hearing part of the story.

 

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I was glad I had brought along markers so these two girls could colour their tree picture while their mom shopped.

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See the birds flying to and from the tree? And the new leaves sprouting on the tree?

 

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Another young reader in the making. For now, it’s the colours in the book and this little one already loves trees and the out of doors.

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And long-time friends (since 4-H days) coming to celebrate with me and taking pictures for me.

Sheridan offered opportunity on Earth Day weekend for advance promotion of my book, Harry’s Trees. As my calendar was already filled, Judy, a friend of mine, was willing to read my book at the event. She reported some interesting conversations, especially one with a girl who was interested in the art in my book.

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And Amanda, my helper at two of my events thus far. Thank you.

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Thank you, Amanda, for taking such a great photo for me. You’ll see this one on my new website very soon.

Belgian Nursery generously provided maze pens that I could give out to people, especially children, coming to my table. There were engaging conversations and people admiring Maja’s art in my book and getting to choose a bookmark, hand stamped or decorative ones created by my illustrator. And a colouring page too. One of the employees told me that the children were delighted with the page to take home.

 

Then there was the turtle pond and the fish pond at St. Jacob’s Country Gardens and Plant Nursery.

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And the fish pond with a small waterfall too, because they also have a pond specialist.

 

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And here I was stationed between the two. It’s a lovely place to sit and chat with people.

Thus goes my book promotion for this spring. I’ve been offered the opportunity to return to this third place as often as I wish, and I will take them up on the offer.

Thank you all who came or helped, and for purchasing a book. I hope you will enjoy reading it to your children or just to share with others who you know.

May the children who hear the story come to understand the value of trees to humans and nature. When they do, I know my father would be smiling because he loved them too.

 

 

 

May 14, 2018 at 1:12 am 2 comments

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

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

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