DH is the gardener in the family, it’s in his blood. His grandfather was a gardener at the Royal Palace in Copenhagen before emigrating to Canada. Upon their arrival, his grandfather worked at the Public Gardens next to Lily Lake. My dear husband’s own father was a dairy farmer with a gardener’s heart.
My grandfather had a huge garden, divided evenly between vegetables and flowers, especially dahlias and gladiolus. My Mother has a lovely flower garden surrounding her house. My God-mother could grow any flower she put her mind to. I remember many a road side trip armed with a shovel helping Nene dig up new plants, sometimes very close to people’s actual gardens.
Personally I love a garden but I’m more of the armchair type gardener. I love the research, buying and planning but soon lose interest in the weeding, feeding, sorting and planting. DH loves everything about gardening. Our home is full of gardening catalogs. Many of the page corners are bent back or marked with sticky notes, and pictures circled.
We started a flower garden and a rose hedge last summer. Yesterday DH planted 30 more miniature daffodils to enhance the 100 we planted last year. Today he is planting 30 large daffodils and two dozen iris.
DH also keeps the house stocked with plants. We have Fern and Christmas cactus. Fern is re-potted and divided annually. Christmas Cactus provides the house with a splash of colour, usually around any holiday but Christmas. This year she bloomed on the American Thanksgiving.
Last week DH started two hyacinths in forcing jars. Another six are resting in the bottom of the refrigerator, duly dated. He has them scheduling for blooming through January to March so we can “have a splash of colour through the dark winter.”
We awoke to a blanket of snow this morning. It snowed most of the day, interrupted by the occasional shower. The crows were up early, flying across our bedroom window, reminding us that they were waiting for their breakfast.
I love a stormy Sunday. I spent the entire day in the house puttering, getting ready for the upcoming Christmas season.
With Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong playing in the back ground, I made ginger molasses cookies, addressed my Christmas card and put away the Thanksgiving decorations.
The pumpkins were an easy way to decorate the pantry, I’m not too sure what to do for Christmas decorations. Maybe a mason jar of glass ornaments.
DH spent the morning driving up and down the driveway with the tractor, clearing away the blanket of white.
I only remember a few of my grade 5 classmates. For as long as I live, I will remember Heather Banks. On a bright, unseasonably warm Friday afternoon in November, my classmate Heather was dismissed at lunch for a dentist appointment.
A few hours later when school was let out for the weekend, I met Heather at the bus stop. She was the one who told me the President had been assassinated.
I was 10 years old at the time and John F Kennedy was my hero. Not only was his name John (like my father, and grandfathers) but he was Irish and a Catholic. He was everything a good Catholic girl looked for in a man, strong and handsome. He was an incredible dancer.
But more importantly in my mind, he single handed saved the world from nuclear annihilation. A year earlier he convinced Soviet Premier Khrushchev to dismantle the Russian missile sites in Cuba. In the pre – CNN, internet days I spent many terrifying days glued to the black and white television in my parent’s living-room. At night I would pray to the Virgin Mary to protect the world and the President. On Saturdays my Dad would bring home the previous week’s New York Sunday times, which I would scour for articles about the conflict and the President. I could not read enough about President Kennedy and his Camelot.
I don’t remember much about the days that followed, other than we watched television coverage at school of his funeral. I do though remember thinking the world as I knew it had changed forever that bright November afternoon.
In memory of my great grandfather Private John Daly, died November 13th, 1916 while fighting in France.
This article appeared in the Saint John Globe on December 1916
PTE. John Daly killed in action Sad news comes to Broad Street Wife
“Deeply regret to inform you that Pte. John Daly, infirmary officially reported killed in action November 28″, was the message received from Ottawa announcing to Mrs. Bridget Daly, 80 Broad Street, the death of her husband. Mrs. Daly has received a letter from her husband this week dated November 13th in which he stated that he had just come out of the front line trenches for rest, and that he was in good health. The news now received was therefore unexpected and came as an overwhelming shock to the bereaved wife, a frail woman with two small children. Pte. Daly enlisted in the 69th Battalion at Montreal August 12, 1915 and later came to Saint John with the Battalion. Going over seas with the unit in April, he was transferred to another Battalion, and crossed to France in September.
Private Daly was a veteran of the Boer War; his services there earned him a war medal with four bars. The deceased soldier, who was a native of Lancashire England came to Canada about 5 years ago and located in Valleyfield, Quebec. He found employment with the Canadian Bronze Company which he was employed up to the time of his enlisting He was 37 years of age in November last. And besides his wife and children, he is survived by four sisters and two brothers residing at Valleyfield.
My great grandfather is buried in Plot 4, Row B, Grave 13, Villers Station Cemetery, France. Through the Maple Leaf Project I was able to obtain pictures of his final resting place. We have no photos of our great grandfather.
Along with the abundance of tomatoes, a small crop of squash, the compost garden produced one lonely pepper plant. Just before the first frost my DH transplanted the peppers into a pot suitable for indoor living.
When he first brought the plant indoors it was simply a bunch of bright green leaves. After a few weeks, small peppers appeared. During the past few weeks they grew almost daily.
Two weeks ago they slowly starting changing colour from a deep emerald green to a blotchy yellow.
I think it will soon be time to harvest our beautiful yellow peppers.
If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without alcohol,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!
Handle every Stressful situation like a dog. If you can’t eat it or play with it, Pee on it and walk away
Last week DH picked the last of the compost pile tomatoes. As we could not eat the surplus as quickly as the tomatoes were ripening, I bagged and tossed many straight into the freezer. By my calculations we had at least six varieties, including Roma, beef eaters, cheery tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Capri tomatoes, and Tom Thumbs.
I searched the internet for a different recipe to use the glut ofgreen tomatoes and settled on orange green relish originally published in The Atlantic. If you are not up to canning, this relish can be frozen. It’s very much like chow, just a bit sweeter.
Orange-Green Tomato Relish
Makes 9-10 cups of relish
• 8 medium green tomatoes
• 3 medium vidalia onions
• 12 oz orange marmalade
• 4 cups brown sugar
• 1 cup cider vinegar
• ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Core bottom of green tomato and cut into quarters. Peel onion and cut into quarters.
In food processor, chop green tomato and onion. Do not puree, but chop into “pickle-relish-size” pieces.
In a 4 quart heavy sauce put all ingredients in at once. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring until blended and sugar begins to dissolve.
Turn the heat to medium and cook for 40 minutes. The relish should be thick. If it does not seem “syrupy” then cook 10 minutes more.
Can or put cooled relish in zip-lock and freeze. Orange-green tomato relish will last refrigerated for two weeks.
I often wonder if my grandmother enjoyed my company as much as I enjoy the company of my granddaughters. The three of them are so different in personality but each have the same traits especially kindness, thoughtfulness and intelligence.
Sarah is my shopping buddy. She loves to hunt for a bargain and has a fashion sense all her own. Recently she joined me for shopping weekend in Moncton. Over the March break we got together for a day in Fredericton. We shopped, we dined and we talked. There was no a moments of awkward silence, we gabbed and giggled non stop especially during our trip to La Sensa.
She is so thoughtful when buying for others and all her presents come from the heart. This week she surprised me with felting needles and wool to practice on. She was so very patience while teaching me how to felt.
Meaghan is my email buddy. I try to email each Sunday and she replies with long, interesting emails about her life, her job, her dreams. She hopes to be an author one day and I can see that becoming a reality. Recently Meaghan took two days out of her vacation to spend with us at the Point. In my heart I know Meaghan will be the traveler, bringing back stories to regale me in my old age. Never one to enjoy shopping, she will allow me to tag along on trips to Costco. Like her Mam she loves to cook………..and she is extremely good at it.
My youngest granddaughter Emma is my sleepover buddy. She is the diplomat. She was born with a wise old soul. With braces on her teeth, her arms and legs long and dangly, she is a mere whisper of the beautiful young woman she will become. She is yet her Mam’s baby girl, still giving hugs, asking to help in the kitchen. Emma will either own a Fortune 500 company or become Prime Minister. She has such a sense of fairness and equality. When her parents travel Emma and I get to hang out. Three or four times a year I have her all to myself. We don’t talk a lot, we don’t even do a lot during these times, we just enjoy each other’s company.
I look through photos wondering where the years have gone, counting my blessings in being a grandmother.
It took a bit of planning but my daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren managed to make their way to the Point yesterday to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had to schedule around work, sick babies and deadlines but Sunday won out as the day we could get together to gobble until we wobble.
Challenging my inner Martha, I worked to have everything perfect. After cleaning the house, I asked DH to hang the Welcome autumn flag. This took most of his patience plus a small bungy chord to get just right. The dining room is no longer bigger enough, so we had to extend it with a card table. Neither toddler would sit in the high chair, so stools had to be found. The lace table cloth was too short, so we had to fold the round table cloth. There was only 7 autumn cloth napkins, so we had to combine two sets. The two tables were not the same height, but thanks to a seasonal cloth and a bit of squinting, it did not look that bad. Toddlers don’t care if the cutlery matches as long as the silicone dragon pot holder and the fisher price tea cups are on the table. And who knew that if you add blueberry juice instead of water to a home soda maker in a porcelain sink, everything would soon be a shade of purple. Or that two week old Jade, on her first visit to the Point, would clear the house when passing gas.
So it wasn’t perfect. But the dinner of organic chicken, sweet and spicy meatballs, crock pot stuffing, home grown squash, accordion potatoes, roasted parsnips, french peas, strawberry shortcake and pumpkin cheesecake trifle was enjoyed by all. The older girls cleaned up, I sat and rocked my newest great grand daughter while her sisters ran through the fields, at least 5 conversations were going at anyone time……. all memories captured by the numerous i-pads and cameras in the house.
And who knew that once the horde left, the house would be dirty again………..and a bit lonelier.
de•cant (dɪˈkænt) v.t.1. to pour (a liquid) from one container to another.2. to pour gently so as not to disturb the sediment.
Most people think the wine is ready when they hear the word decanting. In our house it means the soap is ready. That’s right………soap.
This past week end I prepared a batch of homemade laundry soap. Due to my allergies and my frugality, I found an on line recipe which costs pennies to make. I do not add the essential oils. If anyone would like to try it I have a full box of borax and washing soda to share.
Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe
125 ml (1/2 cup) borax
125 ml (1/2 cup) washing soda
250 ml (1 cup) soap granules ( I use a bar of Ivory soap)
7 litres of water
20 drops essential oil (e.g., lavender, sweet orange, tea tree, lemongrass for their anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties)
Fill a large saucepan fill with regular tap water, about 2 litres. Add soap granules and heat until diluted. While your water and soap granule mixture is boiling add borax and washing soda to your pail. Fill your pail half full of hot tap water and stir. When soap mixture is ready add it to your pail and top up pail with more water. Stir. Add essential oils last. Stir. Let cool. I let it sit over night to really gel. You can store the mixture in the pail and scoop out 125 ml (1/2 cup) per load or pour solution into containers — reuse your laundry soap container.
The soap will become a gelatin-like mixture and some liquid will separate. Don’t fret, this is normal. I like this liquid recipe because it works awesome in the cold water cycle.
If your whites need a boost, add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of baking soda to your wash