Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Do not touch

I forget how much I love my sister and brother. It sounds silly, but it's true.
I mean, yeah, of course I love them all the time, of course. Of course.
But put the three of us together in the same room for an hour?
I LOVE those two people in a way I could never explain.
God help you if you hurt them in any way, because I will be coming.
Do not touch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gardening makes you hope

I was just out tending to my tomato plants. After my pathetic pea harvest, I am looking to my beautiful tomatoes to solace me, to provide me with more food than I can possbily eat. Which is why I spent twenty minutes picking off flowers.

It is so hard, you look at each flower and imagine the fruit that could grow from it. But no, some of them have to come off or the fruit will be crowded, you end up with tons of stunted tomatoes instead of a reasonable number that grow to their full potential.

I am still learning, though, and as I removed flowers tonight I realized I had not been as strict about removing side branches as I should have been....getting sunlight in to the centre of my tomatoes seems questionable at best, at this point. Good thing I have made up my mind that this year is purely a Learning Year, I am free to screw up as much as I can, I am free to make major mistakes. Next year I will have a frame of reference, I will have my gardening journal to help me. I will make major mistakes next year, to be sure, but I won't make the ones I made this year. Eventually, according to my plan, I will have made every possible mistake there is to make, and then I will be ready to do this for real.

But still? Gardening makes you hope. I look at the bright green fruit hanging from my plants, and instead I see dark red heavy globes. I look at my bean plants, which are putting out dark green, worm sized beans, and I imagine them heavy in my hand. I let my fingers play over the foliage of my garlic, and imagine them growing stronger, larger, and more pungent below the soil.

I accept freely that every single thing I planted may still be a disaster, that my entire harvest for 2009 could actually be those two cups of shelled peas in the freezer. Don't care. It makes me hope.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oww Oww Oww. Darn it.

Quite a few months ago, I mentioned that I was actually going to vegetable garden seriously this year. I said something like I would start small, and I would start with low expectations, but at least I would actually DO it.

I didn't know my expectations needed to be THIS low.

I just picked the bulk of my first pea crop and then shelled them. Oww oww oww my thumb nails hurt. Me no likey shelling. My harvest? The harvest I looked forward to storing in my freezer and pulling out all winter long?

Two CUPS. They weigh 314 GRAMS, which is what, half a pound? Less? And I planted what, over a hundred pea plants??

After I cried over my tiny pile of peas for a minute, though, I smartened up. What did I do wrong? Was it the soil? Was it the horrid weather? Was it because I went organic and therefore have lower yields? Was it the variety? What can I learn??

I decided to go ahead and prepare the peas for freezing, even though there is only enough there for one meal, because learning to freeze them properly is part of this, too. They are now safely blanched, frozen, and sealed in a vaccum bag. We will try them in a few days, see how cooking time varies from "normal" frozen peas, see how much we enjoy the flavour. All part of the learning curve.

And I just spent two months growing what amounts to $1.00 worth of peas from the grocery store. And my thumbs REALLY hurt, did I mention that?

Not giving up....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Glad THAT'S over

See, a mere twelve hours later and my funk is totally gone, so nobody get too excited over my morbidity. It happens. You wait it out.

Husbandly One has popped in to work for an hour while I sit here and listen to the rain. "Will the sun EVER come out again?", I asked him before he left, totally serious.

"I really don't know, dear," he replied, again totally serious.

To say that summer has been cancelled in my part of the world is putting it mildly. How my poor, struggling garden has survived so far is anyone's guess. Everyone I work with is still winter pale, no suntans to be seen on anyone. And our lawn grows and grows and grows, without enough dry weather for us to actually cut it. Surely August will be better. We deserve it.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Which is not the same thing as being alone.

I love being alone; crave it, actually, as it helps me recharge my own emotional battery. Lonely is totally different, it feels like no one has ever loved you or ever will.

When I feel lonely, it hits me whether I am by myself or surrounded by a dozen people. It is not a good feeling, it makes you feel insignificant and small.

This type of mood hits me very, VERY rarely. And it passes very, VERY quickly.

But it is horrid while it lasts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I love my new neighbours

I do, I do, I DO.

While I was out weeding the vegetables this afternoon, I struck up a conversation with the young family who have recently replaced The Perfect, Victory Garden, Looking Down Their Noses people who used to live across our back fence.

This young family, Justin, his wife Nadine, and baby Evelyn, are so happy to be in our neighbourhood. And are so hopeful about their little vegetable garden.

As I leaned over the fence, aquainting myself with them, possibly forging a friendship, I looked down at their garden. AND REALIZED I KNEW MORE THAN THEY DID. Holy moly, they didn't even pinch any suckers off their tomato plants. They have NO CLUE what they're doing. But at least they are trying.

I love them.

(And once I know them better? I will offer some helpful garden advice, it just didn't seem like the right thing to start telling them what they're doing WRONG, the very first time I talk to them!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


After a spur of the moment decision made at midnight Friday, the next morning saw me, Son, Mum and Sister heading to Halifax for the Paul McCartney concert. (See? Title is punny. Ha ha.) We picked up my Step Dad at his house, and we all hit the concert grounds around 3pm.

Very appreciated for this outdoor festival of 50,000 people was the fact that you could bring folding chairs if you were willing to leave the front of the stage for those who were willing to stand all day, and set up half way down the field. We were willing, believe me.

Son has been exposed to all kinds of cultural situations before, but at 13 has never attended a rock festival, let alone one where there were three times more ticket holders than live in my town. At first he seemed disinterested in attending, it all sounded lame to him. Once we got there, though, he got in to the spirit of it, enjoyed walking around and exploring with my sister, liked the opening acts, and well, by the time the night was over, he kept exclaiming over and over, "I just saw a concert by a Beatle! I just saw a concert by a Beatle!" He says he is going to keep his ticket forever, and made me buy him the Sunday paper this morning so he could pore over all the coverage.

He knew most of the tunes, even if he didn't know the words. He surely must have learned them last night based on how loud his female relatives were singing. He saw his mother jumping around, dancing like a maniac.... and I think that shocked him, in a cute kind of way. I know he thinks I am "cool" in a very unorthodox sense (none of the other moms know how to do the obscure things I do!) but I don't think it ever occurred to him that music could overtake me that way, that I could be youthful and spontaneous in such a setting. Because, after all, I'm just a MOM, right? And Moms don't dance wildly in a field under the stars.

This one does.

(To be fair, I DID also spend most of the day before Paul McCartney finally hit the stage curled up in my chair, reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". That is the Mom he is used to!)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Scenes from your typical dysfunctional family

The scene: around 6:30pm, I realized Husbandly One was only barely awake, and struggling to stay that way. It is a testament to his exhaustion that, when I suggested, "Go lie down for an hour while I make dinner"? HE WENT.

About fifteen minutes later, there's a knock on the front door. Our dog (not so affectionately nicknamed "BarkBark") went ballistic.


For the record, I would like to point out that I have never -- and would never-- raised a hand to any animal. But I would also like credit for all the times I wanted to punch the dog in the head and DIDN'T.

Whatever, I raced downstairs to answer the door before the dog woke Husbandly One. Some young man wanting my 24 year old step son. Step Son came up from the basement to receive this caller, and they both went downstairs. And, for whatever reason, proceeded to yell at each other. No, I don't mean they were angry (they were very glad to see each other),I just mean the visitor flopped down in our family room while StepSon retreated to his bedroom. So they had to yell. A lot.

Just when I had reached the end of my tolerance, and was about to head to the basement to tell them what was what, StepSon bounded up the stairs to grab some of our beer. Harumph.

He looked towards the closed bedroom door, then back at me. "Your father is sleeping, can you two keep it down?"

StepSon: "I haven't seen Joey in a year!"

Me: "Fine, just stop yelling, your father is trying to sleep."

StepSon: "But Joey brought his guitar, he came over to JAM."

Me (not proudest moment): "I don't give a shit if he came over to tell you he has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. KEEP IT DOWN."

StepSon: "FINE. And hey, when you make dinner? Put me two plates aside."

I have never -- and would never-- raised a hand to a human being in my life. But I WOULD like credit for all the times I wanted to, but didn't.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Behold the unbearable cuteness

Look at the one, perfect ground cherry that is forming on one of my plants. I can't wait to eat you, my little darling.

The opposite of cuteness, of course, is the STATE of my ground cherry plants. They are not one iota bigger today than when I planted them weeks ago. Observe my horticultural shame:

Yes, that is the entire plant. It was very root bound when I planted it, so I tried to sort all that out at the time. Apparently I failed.
But wait, there's more cuteness!

Look at my lovely, out of focus, immature pea pod! They are all over my pea plants, and I am so excited to harvest them in a few weeks. Last night I brought a pod in to Husbandly One, and squealed, "Look! Food! I grew it! Eat it! Bask in my glory!"
He ate the pea pod, declared it delicious, and then said, "So, what, that pea pod cost us about $250?"
Shuuuuuuuuuuut uuuuuuuuuuuuup.
In other news, this past weekend Son, my Step Dad and I went to Liverpool NS to the Sherman Hines Museum of Photography. This museum has the largest museum collection of MacAskill photographs in the world, just over thirty images.

(Yeah yeah, out of focus again. I know already.)
Anyway, I really enjoyed their display, and spent a lot of time marvelling at his amazing photography. But I couldn't help but do some basic arithmetic, and I realized that between myself, my brother, and my Mum? We have MORE. Bwah ha ha.
(MacAskill lived next door to my paternal grandparents in the Forties, and gave my grandmother over twenty photographs. We have all expanded our collections since then.)
(And yes, I am bragging about our collections. But this will only impress you if you are in to early 20th century Canadian photographers, ha ha.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh my sweet holy moly what the heck was THAT.

Happy Canada Day, by the way. I love Canada, and I hope you love it too, even if you aren't blessed enough to live within her protective arms.

This morning our water heater crapped out. Guess how many water-heater-related people are willing to come to your house on Canada Day? If you guessed NONE, you win!!

Tonight after dinner, I did the dishes by boiling a pot of water on the stove before dumping it in the sink and adding soap and cold water. I KNEW all those camping trips would pay off in "real life" eventually.

Then I examined my own personal hygiene. I didn't get a shower today, and I have to go to work in the morning. You know, before the water heater man comes.


I figured the easiest thing to do was take my shower tonight, while I have the luxury of enough time to cower in the corner of the bathtub, trying to avoid the liquid darts of ice, as opposed to tomorrow morning when I would just have to take the abuse due to a lack of time.

So, I took the shower. It was not pretty. It does not help that I have very long hair, so after I shampooed, I had to stick my head under the freezing water for a looooooooong time to get all the soap out. I did NOT "condition" it after that. And as a matter of fact, we'll all just have to hope that the shampoo rinsing down my body cleaned all the rest of me, because there was no WAY I was intentionally directing that spray of water on to my girlie bits.

I can't wait for the heater man tomorrow.