Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Legalizing Cannabis

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada tomorrow. I am anxious and depressed, fearful for my family, and am already dreading encountering that skunk smell at every turn. It's bad enough having to deal with inconsiderate smokers at the bus stop or on the street. They seem to have no clue how their actions impact others. Now this to deal with. I have arranged to work at home for the next two days just to let the "dust settle" and not have to deal with it, because I know the pendulum is going to swing crazily the first little while until people realize it's not a great thing and find some sort of equilibrium. Yeah, I know all the arguments against prohibition and everything, and I know the government is hoping this will be a wonderful cash cow. But all I can see is the health risk, the vulnerability, the safety concerns, the shirking of responsibility, the idiocy. The loss of the potential of our youth.


Meanwhile, I'm seriously going to start looking for real estate far far into the northern bush, where I can live in a bubble away from humans. It's time.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Plummet in temperatures

Yesterday was sweltering at work, 27 celsius, and I wore a skirt with bare feet and sandals. As I came home, the air was fresh and cooling and autumn-feeling. Today it's gray and overcast and there's a cold breeze. And tomorrow they're saying it will be 8 celsius. Whew! That's a sudden shift. I'm suddenly aware of leaves on the ground, crisp under foot, and the urge to curl up in a blanket before a roaring fireplace.

Monday, 8 October 2018


For the past 14 years, I’ve kept a list of the books I’ve read. Upon skimming back over the list, I discovered you can actually write a whole story just using the titles of some of these books:

Julie   (Marshall)
Bold Spirit   (Hunt)
The Outside Man   (Patterson)
The Love Talker   (Peters)
Listening Woman   (Hillerman)
Persuasion   (Austen)
The Sinner   (Gerritsen)
With Child   (King)
The Shunning   (Lewis)
Matilda’s Wedding   (Neels)
A Painted House   (Grisham)
Its Colours They are Fine   (Spence)
Playing House   (Pearson)
I am a Mother   (Johnson)
Cradle to Cradle   (McDonough & Braungart)
All Through the Night   (Clark)
Housekeeping   (Robinson)
Family – The Ties that Bind and Gag  (Bombeck)
At Wit’s End   (Bombeck)
It’s All Too Much   (Walsh)
Season of Storms   (Kearsley)
The Divide   (Evans)
The Judas Kiss   (Holt)
Everything is Illuminated   (Foer)
Enough Already!   (Walsh)
Before I Say Goodbye   (Clark)
The Silent Lady   (Cookson)
Breakup   (Stabenow)
Leaving Home   (Keillor)
The Empty House   (Pilcher)
Running West   (Houston)
Far and Away   (Massie)
A Land More Kind Than Home   (Wolfe)
High Lonesome   (L’Amour)
The Rescue   (Sparks)
Good News for a Change   (Suzuki & Dressel)
I’ll Never Marry a Farmer   (Hole)
Courting Kate   (Rich)
A Sudden Change of Heart   (Bradford)
Where the Heart Leads   (Evans MacCloud)
Farmer Takes a Wife   (Gould)
Replacing Dad   (Mickle)
A Family in the Making   (Froemke)
No Greater Love   (Mother Teresa)
The New Farm   (Preston)
A Life in the Country   (Hutchison)
Fresh Air   (Allen)
Tending the Earth   (Johnson)
The Perfect Summer   (Rice)
The Winds of Change   (Grimes)
A Turn for the Bad   (Connolly)
The Last Good Day   (Bowen)
The Homecoming   (Michaels)
Prodigal Summer   (Kingsolver)
The Party is Over   (Heinberg)
We are Still Married   (Keillor)
You Belong to Me   (Clark)
Not Buying It   (Levine)
Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman   (Buchan)
If I’d Killed Him when I Met Him   (McCrumb)
Unless   (Shields)
A Risk Worth Taking   (Pilcher)
The Things We Do for Love   (Hannah)
On a Hill Far Away   (Snyder)
Still of the Night   (McKinney)
With These Hands   (L’Amour)
Girl Waits with Gun   (Stewart)
A Cold Day for Murder   (Stabenow)
Dead in the Water   (Stabenow)
Buried in a Bog   (Connolly)
A Rule Against Murder   (Penny)
Dark Age Ahead   (Jacobs)
Traveling Light   (Lucado)
Alice in Exile   (Read)
Lost in the Barrens  (Mowat)
Roughing it in the Bush   (Moodie)
Seeking Peace   (Pipher)
High Latitudes   (Mowat)
Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name   (Vida)
Secrets from the Past   (Bradford)
Sleuth   (Bowen)
Mr. Monk on Patrol   (Goldberg)
The Art of Detection   (King)
In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner   (George)
Footsteps in the Snow   (Dear Canada Series)
Prisoners of the North   (Berton)
No Shred of Evidence   (Todd)
Woman Without a Past   (Whitney)
Gallows Thief   (Cornwell)
Leaving Time   (Picoult)
The Convent   (Karnezis)
And Then There Were Nuns   (Christmas)
Seeking Sanctuary   (Fyfield)
The Kindness of Strangers   (Kittle)
The Help   (Stockett)
Nature’s Second Chance   (Apfelbaum)
Remembering the Bones   (Itani)
Private Demons   (Phenix)
The Confession   (Todd)
The Infinite Atonement   (Callister)
Hearing the Voice of the Lord   (Lund)
Believing Christ   (Robinson)
Raising Hope   (Willard)
Grace Works   (Millet)
Benediction   (Haruf)
Weep No More, My Lady   (Clark)
The Lost Art of Gratitude   (McCall Smith)
Longing for Home   (Eden)
The Long Way Home   (Pilcher)
Starting Over   (Pilcher)
The New Good Life   (Robbins)
Peace Like a River   (Enger)
Sweeter than all the World   (Wiebe)
Owls Well that Ends Well   (Andrews)



Saturday, 6 October 2018

Last Wander of the Season

My husband and I go on frequent drives through the countryside, from the minute the roads are passable in spring until the snow starts to fly in fall. We explore quaint villages and check out intriguing place names on the map. We explore waterfalls and walk on distant lake shores and just get to know our amazingly beautiful province a little better.

This weekend we made our---likely---last excursion north. Temperatures have dropped to about 8 celsius, Alberta has had snow already, and it's likely we'll just ramble closer to home now until spring. So this week we went up to Hanover to pick up some band supplies from Ben Bhraggie and stayed overnight in the area. The colours are out---deep red against a clear blue sky, the unearthly tint of a misty sunrise coming through orange and yellow trees. Just heavenly.

There's something so cozy about autumn. The smokey scent of wood stoves rising in the morning. The hollow clinking sound of dwindling rivers flowing over rocks. Crispy leaves underfoot. Children shouting to each other through the still air on their way to school. Snuggling down in my blanket and gloating that I don't have to go to school too. The visible breath of horses. And my favourite foods come on at autumn time--pumpkin pie, egg nog, butternut squash ravioli, hot chocolate...all the creamy, smooth goodness. Comfort foods.

Oooh. Wow, going to cut this short and go make pumpkin cookies, I think!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

A series of storms continues to pummel the Ottawa region here in Ontario. Someone I know in Quebec lost her greenhouse and is currently hunkering down in a berm house. (Three sides of it are underground, and the wind is still shaking it!). She reports that she has decided to move because she just can't take the extreme weather anymore, making her officially the first climate change migrant I'm acquainted with.

Here in Mississauga, the weather was cool and autumny with an occasional shower of rain and some wind, but nothing remotely worrisome. In fact, the air had a deliciousness about it, a cool scent, a clear light that made everything seem sharp-edged and brilliant. Something undefinable that reminded me of autumns of my childhood. Walking along College Street in Toronto on my way to the subway, I was suddenly seized with nostalgia for aspens changing to yellow, the cool air flowing down mountain canyons bringing the scent of damp rock. After-school daylight spent rollerskating on the back deck with Janice Gill. Roasting marshmallows over the backyard fire pit. Watching the sunset turn Mount Timpanogos salmon and crimson. Sitting under the pear tree in the front yard with my guitar until dusk grew so thick I couldn't see the strings anymore. The smooth surface of my desk that sounded hollow when I put pencil to paper. The joy of buying back-to-school zippered binders with section tabs and built-in pencil cases. Walking home from grade school in my winter coat and kicking the horse chestnuts fallen from the Andersons' tree. The fat lines on the off-white paper waiting for my careful cursive. Mom's pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, made with pumpkins from the garden. The magic of waking up to find frost on the window and crunchy leaves on the ground.

Certain scents or a certain quality of the air can send us spinning back forty years in the blink of an eye. I had such a great childhood, and so many of my happy memories are linked to autumn. For a brief moment today I wished so intensely to be that child again, to do it all over again and appreciate it more this time. To walk in my parents' door and smell that pumpkin cake baking.

Well, I'm not sure how I started out this post with tornadoes and ended up with cream cheese frosting...

Sunday, 23 September 2018

The end of summer

Summer went out with a bang here in Canada. We got the tail end of Hurricane Florence -- not nearly what people in the Carolinas have had to deal with, but tornado, microburst, winds up to about 130kms an hour... Several homes and businesses destroyed, power outages, some people injured, but no fatalities. Someone I know of lost her greenhouse and all the plants inside it that she needed for her market garden business. But it could have been much worse.

Where we live, I shuffled home from work in a stiff wet wind, and my husband had to fish a chair out of the pool, but that was all we got in my area! Feeling very lucky.

As I heard of the extreme weather the market gardener has had to deal with in Quebec (15-ft snow drifts, temperatures ranging from -53C to 49C in a year), I am more and more amazed by the tenacity and determination of the early settlers in this region. They came to Ontario (Upper Canada, then) and took on thick forests with axes and managed to turn vast swaths of them into wonderful farmland. I can't imagine what it took to do that. I whine when I have to face weeding a 30x20' garden.

My hypothetical hat goes off to all those who have a dream, pick up their tools, and forge ahead against all odds. And my gratitude especially goes out to the farmers who produce the food I eat every day, because I know what work went into it.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Fallow Fields

Sorry I sort of disappeared for awhile, there. Life got crazy busy. We have two new boarders living with us now, and the piping season wrapped up, and harvest season is upon us and...well, I won't bore you with all of it. Suffice it to say it's been a bit exhausting. But when I take time to lie around with a book and say no to things, I feel guilty. What is it in me that can't sit on the couch and listen to a neighbour mow his lawn without feeling I need to jump up and mow mine too (even though I just mowed it two days ago)?

I got an email from my sister that I found very comforting, though. She reminded me that fields need to lie fallow now and then to remain productive. They can't keep producing at high intensity without a resting period. She's right, of course. I know this, but it helps to be reminded now and then.

Winter is coming and life will slow down, and I look forward to long dark evenings by the fireplace. I have read a lot about how to extend the growing season in your garden, but I think it's wiser not to. The earth and I both need the sleep.