Category Archives: just because

Is it over?

Is the gardening season over?

IMG_2060I think not!

There is still plenty of colour that belies the end of the gardening year.

This glorious plant is likely Chrysanthemum ‘Red Chimo’, also known as Arctanthemum articum ‘Red Chimo’ or Chrysanthemum articum ‘Red Chimo’.  Poor chrysanthemum.  The powers that be can’t seem to decide what to call you.  First chrysanthemum, then Dendranthemum, and for this species, now Arctanthemum.  Never mind.  This cultivated variety of Arctic chrysanthemum is dead hardy at zone 3 and is the pink/purple/mauve version of the species that appears as pure white.

I favour the singles since the doubles just remind me of the seasonal annual “mums” that we can find at every garden centre in September.

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In contrast, these hardy mums are loose and natural and shrub-like and a perennial that we should all embrace as part of our late season gardens.

Chill.  Don’t cut everything down.

Even this Geranium ‘Rozanne’ wants to shine in the luminous light of September.

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And the wild New England aster is giving its all ….

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There is magic in these seasonal shifts…it is everywhere and doesn’t need our hand.

I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than a fall leaf tapestry…

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…even if it’s poison ivy!

I miss our walks in the autumn woods but Skye isn’t able to walk this far anymore.  Another kind of season….shifts and changes.

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Now we rest … and take a load off….

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That’s okay; we don’t have to be anywhere…

The last days of summer…

The dog days of summer…

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…….

It’s been hot.  Too hot for black dogs.

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So hot that shade is barely shade.

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The snappers wind their way, prehistoric bodies smeared green with algae and lumbering from water to grass, grass to water.

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There are surprises in the woods…..I recall someone who went mushroom hunting and ate those he found on a log, differentiated by those *next* to a log.  Was it these that were poison or the others?  Thinking you are right is not the same as being right.  He could have said this as he recovered from his hospital bed.

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…and more surprises in open spaces.  The straw-coloured grasses sway in the shifting heat that at one moment is thick with moisture and then the next, light with hints of autumn.

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The grasses and lily pads are choking the pond, making the ducks work extra hard to power through, bobbing for food and then relaxing on the logs that have been placed there for that very purpose.

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  The milkweed is ready.  I cannot resist the urge to pull the silken stuffing from their pods and set each seed free by waving them over my head.  Like nature’s bubble machine.

Memories

Christmas is near upon us and I tend to revisit memories of my childhood this time of year.  This is especially true now because memories are hard to come by in our family right now.  Unless they’re distant memories — and by distant I mean before I was born.  Let me explain.

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(Above) My parents, with Skye photo-bombing, about 10 years ago.

My folks are now both in their ‘twilight’ years and with age has come memory loss.

The way dementia (or Alzheimer’s disease) works is it robs you of your most recent memories — what you had for lunch, how that new-fangled toaster works, that you have something on the stove … What remains are the memories of your youth.  As the disease progresses, you may understand that the person who says, “Hi Mom” is your daughter, but you may not recognize them if you pass them in a public place.  You may be quite sure that no one has told you that you had a doctor’s appointment and then become irate if you are reminded that you had in fact been told.

There is much to learn about how best to have a conversation with someone who has lost much of their memory.

You proceed tentatively, for you’re not quite sure where the edges are crisp or already blurred.

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“Do you remember the teepee we built in the backyard and how we would spend hours pretending to be ‘Indians’, living off the land?”

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“Do you remember when you used to take us to look at the autumn colours in Gatineau Park?”

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“Do you remember when I was a toddler?”

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“Do you remember your wedding day?”

The answers might all be ‘no’ and the absence of these memories tragic, but thankfully, that is not all that matters …

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Got any great fall photos?

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My friends at the Glebe Report are holding a photo contest.

It’s a “fall harvest” photography contest — so anything from gardens, flowers, plants, decorations, veggies etc. The contest entry period runs until Friday, October 10, midnight EST. Then, the voting for “best photo” takes place via Twitter on the 11th. The winner will receive an $85 gardening gift basket from Capital Home Hardware.

Go here for more details are at: http://www.glebereport.ca/contest

Good luck everyone!

 

Adieu to winter

The only real reason for winter is for Skye-dog to demonstrate her ability to torture a ball in the snow.

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Teeth and fuzzy feet….

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…or torturing it in a snowbank.

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What?

The melts and succeeding frigid temperatures have made the snow throughout March (and into April) crispy and unyielding.  Not a good combination for ball pouncing and unstable doggie feet.

There is nothing left of winter that still charms me.

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Oh, perhaps I’m wrong.

Skye is pretending to be non-plussed.

All I can say is, she must be cold.

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I think the river is melting.

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The snow can’t be far behind.  Mud is just around the corner.  Oh joy.

Random thoughts: a wretched winter, ‘holiday’ and faith

 

 

It is crazy sometimes how there is so much beauty in such menace.

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The papery sheaths of dog-strangling vine seedpods and their delicate twisting stems strike such a beautiful silhouette against the snow.

But, honestly, it is not even mid-January and the crusty, icy and treacherous trails that Skye and I walk are not fit for human or beast.

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A youthful dog might prance and pounce through this awful mess of a winter, but it is slow going if you’re 11 1/2.  And a dog, that is.

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It is now well past Twelfth Night and we are finally taking down the Christmas tree.  It is funny how Christmas is now a ‘dirty’ word.  When I was in retail, there was little mention of it, only the ‘holidays’.  I remember as a young girl, being sent on my way after a night of baby-sitting at a neighbour’s house.  I said politely upon leaving, “Merry Christmas”, only to hear in reply that they didn’t celebrate Christmas.   Didn’t celebrate Christmas?  How can that be?  Didn’t everyone celebrate Christmas?

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Apparently not if you’re a devout Jew is what I learnt.  And I also learnt much later, as I was a well-insulated WASP child, that Christianity and Judaism aren’t the only faiths.

Out recently with an old (Jewish) friend I said, ‘Really, what makes us so different in terms of faith?’ — that is, if I were a true Christian.  She replied with a laugh, ‘Jesus’.

I have always been curious about my inherited, if not embraced, faith in a historical sense, as well as the figures that take centre stage in it.  In my case, Jesus, his followers as well as those who are said to have written the New Testament.   Did they really exist as we think they did?  How true are the ‘Jesus stories’?  What is symbol and what is historical truth?

It is interesting to me how history has unfolded largely within the rigid structure of religion — with the skills needed for learning and self-awareness not shared beyond the monastery wall.   I thought of that when we visited several plantations on our trip through the southern states two years ago.  The haves and the have-nots.

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The magic of hoarfrost

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The other morning a heavy layer of hoarfrost covered everything.  This name has Old English, more specifically Anglo-Saxon/Germanic/Norse origins, with the word ‘har’, ‘harr’ or ‘haira’ meaning gray, venerable or even gray-haired.

Indeed, there is something ancient and still on mornings when this climactic phenomenon takes place.

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This haunting effect is temporary and a few short hours later, the magic is lost.  But until then, the world remains smudged with frost —

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