as the garden grows

Thursday, July 29, 2010 0 comments
I got a late start to gardening this year because I didn't know if I was going to put one in. I think it was close to the end of June before I put in any seeds or already-started plants. I ended up buying my plants because I'd obviously left it too late to start my own.

I use the square-foot gardening method and have four raised beds which are roughly 4x5 (feet) each and one smaller, roughly 2x4, bed that I put in last year for potatoes. I also always end up using a few planters and pots for overflow. This year I used two pots on the patio, one for a cherry tomato and one for two hot banana pepper plants. The other peppers (four plants each of red and yellow bells and two more hot bananas) went into one of the main raised beds. I have never had much luck growing peppers. I think I managed to get one hot pepper off my plants last year and I probably had the same amount of plants in as I do this year.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my patio-potted peppers were doing so much better than the peppers in the garden (which weren't doing much at all) so I checked on my favourite garden forum and learned that peppers love very warm soil. Apparently warmer than my fairly warm raised beds. So I transplanted them all to pots and now I'm just playing the waiting game. So far they look alright. Or at least they don't look worse. They are small but healthy. My two original patio'd peppers are going strong with at least 12 good-sized peppers and more little ones just beginning.

In the background against the house is a thriving tomato plant, variety unknown, which my mom found growing through one of the cracks between the patio bricks. I have no idea how it got there or why it's doing so well or why its colour is so much deeper and richer than the ones in the garden and patio container. It's under the roof overhang so never gets watered from above, gets only a few hours of sunlight in the morning as noon sees the sun directly over the house and heading towards the front yard, and I haven't been able to figure out how to support it very well. The minimal support it had was a bamboo stake jammed into another crack in the bricks and held in place by an 8x2x12' board. That board along with an 8x2x8' and the lattice in the picture became the new edging in a flower garden in the backyard.

fear revisited

Monday, July 26, 2010 0 comments
I am not a fan of heights. The roof of my own single-story 1952 house is higher than I want to go. Back at the beginning of July, however, I climbed a fire tower.

Standing 100 feet tall on top of Caribou Mountain, the tower rises 400 feet above the town of Temagami  and 1300 feet above sea level. I know there are much higher towers and heights to be scaled but this particular tower was my Mt. Everest. And I did it. Twice.

My son was out east at my brother's house when I first climbed it with my boyfriend, his 9-year-old daughter, and her friend. When I was talking to my son on the phone and told him what I wanted to do (and how nervous I was) he first said, "Don't do it if you don't want to," and then, "I could climb that tower!" So today the four of us climbed it again.

I had been almost pleasantly surprised (apart from the height thing) the first time I did it that it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. It was still high and still very unsettling for me but I noticed that I felt somewhat secure with the stairway so relatively narrow and despite being open, having a feeling of being contained.

It's not something I'd want to do every weekend but maybe now I can remind myself that since I've climbed a fire tower twice, climbing onto a roof might not be so bad. Maybe.

new best friend

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 0 comments
I often ask my 5.5-year-old son, "How do you know you won't like it if you don't try it?" I had to ask myself the same thing the other night as I was getting ready for bed and a short sleep before my alarm rang at 4:45 the next morning. I like oatmeal and I like oatmeal for breakfast. Getting up at 4:45 for a 6 o'clock shift doesn't leave a lot of time for washing my hair (it's very short so I fall victim to bedhead without fail), getting dressed, cooking oatmeal, and driving to work. I also got rid of my microwave many months ago and so I needed another breakfast option for oatmeal.

I've seen overnight oats around the internet before but those overnight oat recipes involved a slow cooker. I had tried that method before a couple of times and never had any success. Then I remembered that I had seen overnight oats and breakfast cookies on Alison's blog, Mama's Weeds, and how she loves them. A quick google search turned up many recipes for uncooked overnight oats (and many amazing blogs) and I decided to take a deep breath and mix up a bowl myself.

Two words. Yum and O.

Twice now I've made them the night before a day shift. The next morning I've eaten what I had time to eat and dumped the rest into a container with a lid and taken it to work to finish off on my morning break. Yesterday afternoon, I made a bowl to take to work on the night shift. I just mixed them up and put it in the fridge while I was napping (I've found that two or three hours of soaking is just as good as a full overnight) and enjoyed them later that evening. I have a bowl going in the fridge right now for tonight's shift.

The rough recipe I've been using is:
  • one rather ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 blob (maybe 1tbsp?) of natural peanut butter
  • 1 blob of honey (mine has solidified)
  • a good dash of cinnamon
  • 1 - 2tbsp of ground flax seed
  • 1/2c rolled oats
  • 1/4c oat bran
  • approx. 2/3c milk (any kind)
I add in raisins or dried cranberries and I've also soaked wheat berries in boiling water in a thermos and added them just before I'm ready to eat. Yesterday I threw in a little bit of milled chia seeds (I would prefer non-milled but I have a bag of milled seeds to use up) and today's bowl has chia as well as hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds).

I had been afraid it would taste like cold, soggy cereal but it doesn't. Not at all. It's tasty, filling, and good for you. Try it. You just might like it. I think I've found my new best friend. Or at least a very good breakfast date.

the year of feeling awesome

Monday, July 19, 2010 0 comments
I'm not new to blogging; I'm just starting over. Again. Most recently my blog (hosted on various sites including my own domain) was "rainberryblue". Over the years I've grown tired of that name (it has no significance, I just liked it) and of trying to write a blog that wasn't about anything in particular but more a jumble of my life.

At the beginning of 2010 I dubbed the new year as my Year of Feeling Awesome and I intend to make it that. I'm not planning huge things, just a bunch of smaller changes that will add up. I don't eat horribly but there is definitely room for improvement so I want to eat better. I want to lose 10 or so pounds. I want to be completely happy every day no matter what is going on in my life. I want to glow from the inside out. I want to find the amazing in every single day. I read the following words once: "Act the way you want to feel". With enough of that, I will see the amazing in every single day, no finding required.