Saturday, 30 September 2017

Farmer's Market

Went to the Farmer's Market this morning, fully intending to buy only green beans, since the rabbits got all of mine this year. But the leeks were bewitching long wands and the beets made my mouth water, thinking of pickles, and I ended up spending a bit more than planned.

What is it about beautiful abundance that makes you want to throw your budget out the window? I don't eat a lot of eggplant, but there were five or six varieties, all of them fantastic colours, and it was all I could do not to buy a bucketful of them. Bins of romano beans my fingers itched to crack open. Piles of peppers like jewels. Peaches you could smell from across the parking lot. Strange mushroom fungus thingies that looked like something scraped off a tree (likely were) and no idea how to cook them. Pumpkins the size of small children. Grapes and blueberries and...well.

I escaped with just one grocery bagful, but all the way home I regretted not buying those chubby purple and lavender eggplants. And the buckets of yellow and orange and red peppers.

Might have to go back next Saturday.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Seed Catalogs Already!

I'm still harvesting cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, cabbage, and kale out of my garden, and today I got the first ad for a new seed catalog. I'm pretty sure it's unusually early -- normally they arrive just as I start craving them in February -- but still I'm ravenous to look. The beautiful heirloom vegetables, the many beans I've never heard of, the tempting Chinese greens, the okra shaped like torpedoes, the poppies that look like peonies...

Every year I tell myself it's time to scale back, to stick to the basics that I know we'll eat. And every year I find myself pawing over the luscious photos and imagining myself selling Chinese greens to the Toronto Asian community and drooling over the plump tomatoes that never do turn out like their pictures. I want to try them all. Brilliant indigo-blue dry beans! Orange watermelon! Purple green beans! Football-sized Jicama! How can we content ourselves with the paltry, limp offerings at the grocery store? Nothing at Food Basics makes me want to rub it against my cheek with pleasure the way these heirlooms do.

It's not even October yet, and I've started plotting for next year.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

It was a five-pudding cup night

I have no excuse other than it was one of the worst days I've ever had at work in 23 years of working there. Just frantic and pressured and having to produce meticulous work while meeting deadlines and getting bawled out by colleagues and trying to deal with it all while nursing a broken tooth...well, anyway, I reached my limit. I came home last night, made supper for everyone else (I couldn't eat it because of my tooth), showered, and flopped on the couch to watch Murdoch's Mysteries and eat five pudding cups in a row. Yup. Total loss of control and utter decadence and I loved every spoonful. (Except for the two that were sugar-free. They weren't so great.) Went to bed at 9 p.m. and accomplished nothing else, not so much as a Sudoku.

Would rather live under a bridge than go back to work this morning, but at least it's a half day -- dentist appointment this afternoon. Then life will go back to normal. When you don't feel well, everything defeats you. When you feel great physically, you can handle anything.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Lost in Space

More and more often lately I see my Shih Tzu Maple fall into what I can only call trances. He's padding along, doing his thing, and then he stops and just stares at nothing and stands stock still for five or ten minutes. Just stands, as if engrossed in whatever's going on in his head. I don't know if it's because he's getting elderly and having a "senior's moment" or if he's seeing something I can't or if he's just momentarily forgotten what he was doing and has to re-calibrate. I read a book once (sorry I can't recall the author) who said that when one of those senior's moments hits you and you can't remember what you were meant to be doing or where you are, you should just let the engine idle, enjoy the view, and eventually what you're meant to remember will come back to you.

I think that's what she said. I can't remember.

I have a private theory that Zen meditation would work well with dementia patients. After all, it's about being fully in the moment, and when you can't remember your past, the present is all you have, really. I'm going to leave instructions that when/if dementia claims me, someone guide me daily through meditation. I think it would be very calming. People get frightened when they don't recall names and faces and history. I'm sure it's frustrating for them. But with meditation, you're not meant to be remembering. You're just in the now.

Maybe that's what my little dog is doing, just being in the now. When he looks like he's lost in space, staring at nothing, maybe he's just meditating.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Kindness of Strangers

A friend heard someone was throwing out an Ashford spinning wheel and rescued it and gave it to me. It's in lovely condition other than the nylon bearings, which I can replace. It's great to me that someone would see something like that and think of me. This is the second time I've been given a free spinning wheel. I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

I belong to a Facebook group called Close to the Earth, an eclectic group from all over the world of farmers, crofters, spinners, artists, blacksmiths, and others. I posted a photo of the wheel and described the broken part, and immediately got back some great replies on how to fix it cheaply and easily. And lots of encouragement that leads me to think someday I may have to take up spinning wool. Meanwhile, I'm going to use it for winding the bobbins for my weaving shuttle. Which works out perfectly, because I don't have a bobbin winder and have been doing it by hand. I'm also thinking of attaching one of those dynamos you affix to the bicycle wheel to power your headlamp. I could create my own light while pedaling.

I love having hobbies that don't require electricity. That make me learn and stretch. That open up whole new horizons for me. That don't cost me anything...but give so much back in return.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


The maple tree on the corner is always the first to go crimson every fall, and this year it's an amazing deep red. I find my head filled with that piano piece "Autumn Leaves" as I shuffle through the crackling fallen leaves...

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Bill and Katherine Hunter's Joke

A man went on vacation to Hawaii and left his cat in his neighbour's care. After a week, he phoned the neighbour to see how things were going. The neighbour said, "I'm sorry to tell you your cat died."

"Well, don't say it so abruptly like that!" the man said. "That's no way to break the news. You need to do it gently. First tell me the cat got loose. Then a day later tell me the cat was hurt. Then a day later tell me the cat died!"

A week or so later, the man thought he'd been too harsh so he phoned his neighbour again. "How are things?" he asked.

"Well," the neighbour said. "I'm sorry to tell you your mother got loose."

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Time is flying

It seems I just sat down to write on this blog, but I look at the date and realize it's been nearly a week! Where did the time go? I know this is a busy time of year, but still, I should at least be aware of days passing.

I'm weaving a new set of tea towels, trying to write another book (though the plot is currently elusive, but thankfully I got an extension on the deadline), putting the vegetable garden to bed, coping with the introduction of a new computer program at work (ick), teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, doing small renovations on the house...well, you get the picture. And yet the only thing I really feel like doing is lying on the couch with a novel and a bowl of popcorn, with my dogs curled on my feet.

We went for a drive yesterday out toward Lake Huron, and I was both happy and alarmed at how colourful the maple trees are turning. Autumn is upon us. There is a sense of time running out.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Autumn on its way and the harvest is almost done

Taking stock of the garden this fall, I fear it hasn't been a wildly successful harvest. The weather has been weird, with fluctuating temperatures, and admittedly I have ignored the weeds this year. Got tons of cherry tomatoes and zucchini, and quite a few white cucumbers, but only a handful of peppers, three spaghetti squash, one (!) melon, about five green beans, and no peas or cooking beans at all, thanks to the rabbits. The asparagus did well as always and so did the rhubarb, but the cauliflower failed to form heads, the spinach never surfaced, the cabbages were all the size of tennis balls, the broccoli hasn't done much all summer, and even the kale was half-hearted and ended up buggy. The green onions shot up to four inches tall and then stayed there. The beets didn't even get large enough to eat their greens, much less their roots. We got maybe five raspberries and a cup of blackberries. And the lettuce saw the rabbits coming and bolted straight away before I could pick a leaf. It's a good thing I'm not truly reliant on the garden to sustain us.

That said, I'm sitting here eating lovely lavender cookies with homegrown lavender, and that's the really important thing. I can't complain.