Glitches

Did you ever have one of those days when you have the greatest intentions, but….something falls flat. Today. Not the day’s fault; far from it! The air was warm, sun out, lovely. I had every intention of getting on my bike for a ride…the first one of the season…and of making soup…and of uploading some pictures to this blog. Well…you don’t see any pictures so guess what? Nothing I intended happened.

One of the side effects I still have from post concussion is fatigue, and limited tolerance to loud noise. I have, because of the fatigue, added some shape to my body, not in a good way. I am not a big person in stature, so adding width does me no favors whatsoever, however, I know that the only one who can change that is me…I need to move, fatigue or no fatigue. And, having worked in the world of health promotion and mental wellness, I know all too well that moving the body increases the mood…so I would win in two ways…do I sound like I am talking myself into something? I am. And I need to. Today I started a healthy cleanse….healthy meaning I will ensure I get the proper nutrients, protein, etc from what I take in. This is my first step into changing me a bit.

My garden is my therapy…I really wanted to post some pictures, but I recently purchased a Chromebook, and things are not as straight forward when it comes to uploading photos to use. Let me talk you through the garden today. Went outside with Hubby to check our snow level…happily decreasing by the minute as the weather is warming….we looked at some deck furniture that needs attention, and decided to tour through the raised beds that sit on the warmest spot of the property. South facing, slightly sloped, they are always the first to bare off after winter. Imagine my surprise and thrill when I spotted three rows of new garlic tops emerging from the soil, already a couple of inches high!! I was so excited!!! I needed that little bit of hope today, to show me that growth is there, making its way to the surface, slowly….kind of like my winter…slowly my mind is emerging from the slump it gets into…growth, hope, renewed.

Harvest begins!

Ahhhhhh……a moment to sit at my computer!!! Who knew I would miss this? I have to be honest and say that when I started out on the process of writing about gardening, I envisioned all kinds of time to sit…..but, as we all know, life happens. Big time.

So lets talk about summer in Alberta. This year we are lucky: the snow ended in April and by May we had beautifully warm days! June is always temperamental, with warm/cold/rain/cold/warm….and then finally it stays warm. July hits…school is out, family travels, kids arrive for a few days to enjoy the outdoors….and the heat comes…..along with some thunderstorms. And now I am facing August….the last month without frost! Yikes…..September is beautiful here, though, leaves begin to change, and warm days with the ‘smell’ of harvest. I love it! What I don’t love is the impending snow, which can start in October, and we are indoors, planning for next May!!!! That is our summer/fall/spring…..and I love winter, but it truly puts a damper on gardening.

Life: what doesn’t happen when you aren’t looking???? This year has been a tough IMG_3351one. We have lost one brother (in law for me) and now are in the final days of another brother, this one is mine. Neither live close, therefor we travel. My heart is a little heavy. We have just returned from a farewell visit, barring a rather large miracle, which I am open to….today my garden is my therapy.

I harvested some of the herbs prior to our leaving so they are nice and dry…..and now I need to cut more that are ready. The growth is amazing!!!! I have now cut IMG_3304the lemon balm (ready again), oregano, mint, spearmint, lavender (just starting) and will head out to the thyme. I am lucky with the oregano, thyme and lavender. They overwinter beautifully, without additional cover (snow is ample) and year after year we enjoy fresh and dried herbs. The mint also overwinters, but we have having a chat about behavior. It seems to be a tad rebellious this year, wanting to overtake the kids play area, the iris, the day lily…..and I am trying to teach discipline. You can only imagine how well that is going! Sheesh!!! but, I drink a lot of mint tea, so chop chop chop! And a wee bit of digging to try and keep the bugger in check!!!

IMG_3305I purchased a drying rack from Lee Valley. It is actually quite amazing! I have attached it to a main cross beam in my dropped ceiling (these are secured to the floor joists and solid) downstairs, and it is super light weight and airy. Last year, I used newspaper and old towels under a bed……this is so much nicer. And relatively inexpensive! It would not work good for heavier produce, but for herbs, wonderful.

And, as we had just returned home, I spent the day pruning wild tomatoes (no photo, sorry, but now they are good), digging up some potatoes so I could walk past the foliage, and harvesting cucs, zucchini, beans (just starting) peas, and berries!!! We had an awesome meal last evening!

I also had to prune out a lot of broken branches, and flower stalks. Whilst away on family matters, a storm settled into Central Alberta, with hail the size of golf balls and larger! We, thankfully, were on the tail end of that and only got a small amount of the hail. Our neighboring town was a white ground, with broken windows, damaged houses and cars and a mess. I am grateful to have little damage. I did need to do some deadheading on the delphiniums anyway, so now it is done!!

But, I must run…..there are other chores (and they are not really chores to me) that need my attention. Until next time, happy gardening. IMG_3331

Tail Creek Greenhouse: so worth the visit.

IMG_2919I promised earlier that I would showcase a couple of the local greenhouses and today, I am writing about one I have a special place in my heart for. As always, we are drawn to everything for a reason….doesn’t matter if it’s the friends we choose, the places we shop, the clothes we wear, the place we live, the career we have….everything reflects a part of us. And also says something about who we are.

I work (paid work that is) as a Community Facilitator, which means that I spend my employed time working with various communities, bringing together volunteers, organizations, citizens, non-governmental groups, municipal staff/leaders, and health & wellness staff to seek ways to create communities that are happy, engaged, healthy and a place people want to live! It’s a great job. We are looking at ways to assist in decreasing chronic illness by increasing healthy communities….and I do love what I do. It is a part of me in every way. In fact, I also do this as a community volunteer in my home community, because I want it to be the best!

I also have studied Horticulture, and am a Master Gardener….again, something I love! Love! LOVE! I am happily working in my garden, along with the gardens of many others, to create spaces that are enjoyable, sustainable, edible, etc.

I have a partner who shares many of my passions. He is easy going, but challenges me a lot….which can be a good thing, when I chose to see it that way. He loves our children, and our extended family and he came into our lives later in life. He was one of the best choices I made.

I shop in small, home grown places as much as possible, and I try to support local: IMG_2928retail, farmer, restaurants….I believe in that. I have been a small business owner, competing against big names….tough slugging my friend!

So, it was no surprise to me that shortly after moving to our current home, I worked for a few seasons with Tail Creek Greenhouses. I started out just wanting IMG_2913to work in a gardening environment following our house build, but when I met the owner, I knew she was my kind of person! She is a gentle soul, who is passionate about her work, striving for it to be of the best quality at all times. And, she loves animals, sharing her farm with IMG_2914an array of domestic creatures. I am not sure if I have heard her angry…although I am sure she has been….

The Greenhouse is located in a rural setting, as you have no doubt gathered. It is not huge. The owner seeds many of her own plants, and some she purchased as ‘plugs’ ready for planting. The Proven Winner series have to be grown by certified growers, so these and others she purchases.

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I love her veggie selection, and her herbs! I always stock up on these, needed or not….can you really have too much basil??? Trouble is, I also grow my own from seed, but I make and freeze pesto, tomato sauces and other assorted condiments.

Transplanting table
Transplanting table
Babies ready to hit the sales house
Babies ready to hit the sales house

I also really appreciate the cleanliness and care of her operation. She is very careful with this, and it is evident by the plants and also by taking a walk through.

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The Greenhouse is not yet open, as she does not operate year round. She sells only plants, not giftware or seeds, so operates seasonally from May to July. I popped in to have a visit this week, and she allowed me the opportunity of some photos, so I am sharing with you! I will go back after she is open, of course, but this is a little taste of one of my favorite places to be. IMG_2915 I hope you enjoy! But really, so much better in person!!