Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Signs of spring, and getting the garden ready

The daffodils and hyacinth are starting to nose out of the ground. The onions I didn't harvest last year are about four inches tall already. There's still snow in shady patches, but the temperatures are rising. Birdsong has returned to the early morning, and I think the song of robins is the happiest sound of spring.

I think I've been watching too many Youtube videos on gardening, because this year I seem to have this weird fear that I don't know what I'm doing. I've been growing vegetables for 35 years or more, and I've always done pretty well. My harvest varies from year to year, but there's always plenty. So why am I suddenly second-guessing and over-thinking? Is it because, with rising food prices and coming shortages, I am putting too much importance on the results and forgetting to enjoy the process? 

Maybe. All I know is I'm plagued by doubts and questions. Is it too early to remove the mulch from the garlic? Am I amending the soil properly? Do I start the seedlings now and trust that the last frost date will be the same this year? Lately it has been unpredictable. One year I can plant in the third week of May, and the next year it's too cold until June. And at the other end of the season, some years we get frosts in September and sometimes not until December or even January. So how can a person possibly predict and plan?

I'm paralyzed by over-information, I think. It's the same feeling I get when I over-plan my writing and spend all my energy outlining and plotting and never get to the actual writing. I've watched the advice of too many experts. I need to turn off Youtube and use common sense and experience and just do stuff, you know?

In the end the seeds can be trusted to know what to do.

Monday, 20 March 2023

The end of the Life is Good challenge

For the past ten days, I've posted on Facebook photos of things that bring me joy. The point of the exercise was to lighten and brighten social media, but it also lightened and brightened my life. I found myself searching for things to be grateful for, which is, all in all, a good way to approach life. It's easy to get caught up in the gloom of geopolitical events and forget that we still have much to be happy about.

So here are a few more happy things:

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Writing Notebooks

For years now, I've always carried a small notebook with me, where I jot down plot ideas, phrases and titles I like, good quotes, interesting historical notes, and other things that can inform my writing. I've referred to them frequently for inspiration and information.

Three years ago, when we went into lockdown, I no longer really went anywhere, so I kept the notebook on the side table by the couch rather than my backpack, but I still jotted down things that caught my interest or sparked ideas. However, the contents seem to have changed since the pandemic. Thumbing through it this morning, I realize I've written down a scattered mishmash of things (and I've also realized how much Youtube I must be watching). Here's a sample:

  • How to dehydrate and powder squash into flour
  • How to build your own radiant heater with carbon fibre, copper pipes, and fire brick
  • "Desire impoverishes us."
  • A 17th-century recipe for Egg-Pear Pie
  • How to use the sump pump to supply self-watering raised vegetable beds
  • Small Town Businesses that Won't Fail
  • How to buy land anonymously
  • Balcony railings have to be 42" high if over 5'11" from the ground
  • Haskap berry bushes don't have thorns
  • Loons are solitary and mate for life, and they live in pairs in the same general area, but they are rarely seen together.
  • Hope Haven Therapeutic Riding Centre in Markdale is expanding.
  • Things to eat to reverse insulin resistance
  • Which herbaceous plants are nitrogen-fixers
  • Olive oil can apparently boost immunity, fight viruses and bacteria, and reduce respiratory infections
  • Nomad Microhomes have a DIY flatpack house
  • A recipe for Crockpot Butter Chicken
  • A Barbara Kingsolver quote about how attending to tasks can make them "part of a good day, rather than just a rock in the road to someplace else."
  • How to sew dog poop bag holders
  • Clever ways to store Christmas tree ornaments
  • How to deter locusts

How I'm supposed to get writing inspiration from that, I'm not entirely sure... But it tells you how varied and crazy my brain space has become!

Sunday, 12 March 2023

The Life is Good Challenge

A friend told me about the Life is Good Challenge, where you post a photo a day for ten days of things that bring you joy. The idea is to bring a little light and love to social media, but it's also brought a little more light and love into my daily life. Why? Because a) now I'm looking for things that bring me joy instead of focusing on the gloom and doom, and b) because I have taken the time to see how truly blessed I am and what a great life I have had. I'm combing through photos of family, friends, pets, great food, my garden, books, lovely views of nature...and it is difficult to narrow the selection down to ten. Which is a wonderful problem to have!

Today's pick:

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Being realistic about my hobbies

Some time ago, I downsized from three weaving looms to one. Then I gave away two spinning wheels. Finally, after some debate, I've recently sold my wool carders and drop spindle. It's not that these things aren't enjoyable. It's just that I could see I was on the slippery slope to raising alpaca, and I needed to draw the line somewhere.

I have a lot of interests, from doing stained glass to gardening to writing to crocheting to needlepoint to baking to... well. I've been trying lately to decide how I can most beneficially spend my time. And I've tried to determine whether I really enjoy everything I do or if I'm hanging onto it "just in case." Like, as in "What if the Apocalypse happens and we can't get yarn? Should I hold onto my equipment in case I need to spin my dog's hair and knit myself socks with it?" 

There is something to be said for preparing for the future, but it's also possible to live so much in anticipation of the future that you miss the present. Then again, looking at the spinning wheels and drop spindles...maybe I'm really living in the past!

Friday, 24 February 2023

My brilliant dog Brio

I was cutting up vegetables on a cutting board on the counter, with Brio sitting by my feet. At one point I mis-cut something and murmured, "Oops!" 

Brio immediately looked at the floor, expecting me to have dropped something yummy. So apparently he knows what the word "oops" means.

Which tells you how much I must say it. 

Thursday, 23 February 2023

My Favourite Winter Sport

It has been snowing for the past two days, and I know somewhere out there, there are people happily skiing, skating, dogsledding, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and playing hockey. All of those are thrilling, but my personal favourite winter sport is the forward-flip-full-body-tuck-and-roll-when-your-snowshovel-hits-a-crack-in-the-sidewalk event. If they would make it an Olympic sport, I could easily win the gold for my country.