Turning Over a New Leaf

Hello Followers and Friends!

It is exciting to be back in the saddle of writing once again.

Soon after Christmas/16, my whole world fell apart, and it has taken a couple of months to rebuild strength and will to continue as I did before.

It is August now, and so many projects that I previously talked about have been completed, started, or grown.

I have made my Citronella votive candle batch, it took an entire afternoon, but the candles turned out very pretty!

My front flower bed came up beautifully with both the crocuses and tulips, as well as some other surprise arrivals. My flower bed has since been overgrown with weeds, and I am in the process of cleaning it out once again to give the flowers some breathing room.

I have built ad filled my new raised garden beds behind the house as well. The layout is a little different than originally planned, but it serves me well. Now I have 3 raised plots, 2 reserved for veggies, and a third for herbs and flowers.

My Crafting Center has been moved and shuffled and forgotten since Christmas, but recently I have begun to once again refresh the room where my art supplies live, with plans again to create new and beautiful works of art in that space, when time and energy allow.

I also continue to take weekender trips, to explore, photograph new areas and beautiful scenery, and calm my spirit and refresh myself. The wild mountains hold a big piece of my heart, and the Kootenays and National Parks along BC and Alberta will continue to draw me.

My plan is to restart my writing processes, and continue to post weekly about what is happening in my world.

Please comment, share, and respond to ideas that you like, and we will build each other up together!

Winter Wonderland… At Night

Nothing is better than a delayed winter… nothing except the 3rd significant snowfall of the season being a large flake, no wind, Christmas spirit wonderland.

img_0007

I needed to get some shopping done earlier in the evening, and surprisingly it WASN’T busy in the stores. But I did hear my first Christmas Carol of the season, and it put a smile on my face.

Later, as I was driving and watching the snow fall, I decided I wasn’t ready to go home just yet, so I headed for the park downtown, took my camera and took some night time snowfall shots.

Other than the snowy vortex of doom while highway driving at night in the winter months, along with slippery sidewalks and roads, and the wind that causes chills that make old bones rattle, there is so much to smile about when the snow flies.

I love snow, especially at night. Everything sparkles, and once you get cold, you head inside for some mint hot chocolate, crisp apple cider, and warm hugs.

My Favorite Hideaway

The mountains are calling… I must go to my getaway spot in Canmore. Spring, summer, fall, and winter, it’s beautiful any time of year.

It takes about 4 hours to drive to one of my favorite places in the world… Canmore Alberta

http://canmore.ca/visitors/about-canmore/town-statistics

This is a gateway city: the first stop in the mountains on the Trans Canada Highway, and the last stop before entering the national park string that starts with banff up in that same area. From Canmore, it is an easy day trip into the parks to see banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and everywhere in between. Wildlife viewing opportunities are very common, and breathtaking views are a given.

The tourism, art, and recreational activities in this city also go above and beyond to deliver the best possible experience for the traveller while they stay here.

 

Regardless of when you choose to come, this city, my favorite Canmore is always alive, and will help you to relax, unwind rejuvenate yourself, and promises to bring the best of nature, art, and convenience to you at your pace. It is hard not hard to fall in love with this place, and once hooked, it will be a spot you and I return to again and again.

IMG_0845.JPG

Planting the Bulbs

It is hard to believe that it is already November. It’s only weeks till Christmas, and then a long winter ahead. After winter, spring will come again, and planting season will start once more. But there are some plants that can weather the frost  and cold, and survive in the ground all winter, to show their faces first in the spring.

IMG_0009 (2).JPG

I planted my bulbs this weekend. Looking at the plot I wanted to put them in was a little bit daunting at first, because it was filled with leaves and weeds, was uneven and needed a bit of work to prep for the flowerbulbs.

img_0006

I cleared all the debris, pulled out the weeds, and cleaned up the leaves, and levelled the ground as I went, using a garbage bag to keep mess to a minimum. I used a small rake to loosen the soil and collect the leaves and twigs.

img_0008-2

After I finished clearing the plot portions that I wanted to use, I replaced the stepping stones, and planned my smaller dig spots. I ended up planting in three different areas. One was a mixed bag of tulips, hydrangeas, and other bulbs, another spot was strictly for crocuses (my favorite). The last dig spot was for the yellow tulips, and planting them all didn’t take very long at all after the ground was prepared.

img_0010

Now I will need to wait for spring to come to see the flowers themselves, but the hard work is done. Planting bulbs is one of the last chances in the year to get my hands in the soil outside. I am looking forward to a new growing season, beautiful flowers, and eventually, a brand new harvest to work away once more.

A Photographer’s World, Take 1

I love to take pictures… I like vivid colors and finding new angles on whatever I am taking pictures of. I only have a simple Canon camera, but it is all I need in order to do what I love. I never photoshop any of my pictures, although I do play around with camera settings to catch the best lighting and pull out the colors.

Whether it is here in the house, out in the yard, somewhere in a hidden corner I found here in the city, or somewhere across the western Canadian provinces, I take pride in my work, and love to share my findings with the world.

 

MY FLICKR:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/143967890@N07/albums

 

The Colors of Fall

Fall is a beautiful season… the sunrises and sunsets, the changes in the trees, and the variations in the weather all make for an incredible display of brilliance and color.

img_0010

As the seasons turn around us, we are reminded that change and transition can be beautiful, and is a necessary part of life and growth. The beauty in our world, from the smallest leaf to the biggest sky shows us that we can find something good in everything around us, even if it is not immediately apparent.

img_0014

Sing To Me, Autumn

By Patricia L. Cisco

Sing to me, Autumn, with the rustle of your leaves.
Breathe on me your spicy scents that flow within your breeze.

Dance with me, Autumn, your waltz that bends the boughs of trees.
Now tell me all the secrets you’ve whispered to the seas.

Sleep with me, Autumn, beneath your starlit skies.
Let your yellow harvest moon shimmer in our eyes.

Kiss me, Autumn, with your enchanting spellbound ways
That changes all you touch into crimson golden days.

Love me, Autumn, and behold this love so true
That I’ll be waiting faithfully each year to be with you.

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poems/nature/fall/

img_0013-2

Autumn

By Miteshwar Singh

Thou tomb of summer
Vaulting its great might
Threshold of frosty weather
Into view of end a bite

Painting of nature
Earth’s view enchanted
Thou leaf of Transition
Root of death’s bed

Dilapidated souls- crunchy leaves
Picturesque of thy might
Dancing flames of fire
Singing death even bright

Red, Gold, Orange and green
Rainbow fall foliage
And pumpkins of corn fields
So drowsy a gaze

Thou dirge of the dying year
In whose charm dance scarecrows
Ripe nuts brown shake and fall
Mesmerizing thou pose

Thou leaf bright and dark
Barrier of youth and age
Piercing trumpet of winter
Truly the trick of the mage

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poems/nature/fall/

img_0017

 

To Beet… Or Not To Beet

Today is the day of red-ness… or pink-ness…

Red beets are the most color intense vegetable that I have ever worked with. Once you start processing them, your hands, countertops, floor, and sometimes your dishes will be stained a shade of red for a little while.

I didn’t grow a garden myself this year, but I DID get some things out of Dad’s garden. The last vegetable to work away for me this year is the beets. This morning I started with boiling the beets, with the skins still on, until they are cooked all the way through. This takes a long time, as beets are slower in softening than some other foods. My beets averaged in size from a ping-pong ball to a large baseball, so I simmered them for a good hour.

img_0003-1

After the cooking process was done, I lifted the beets into a bath of cold water in the sink, and let them sit there until they were cool enough to handle. then I slipped the skins off of the beets and cut them into large chunks. I then packaged them into freezer bags, labelled and dated them, and put them into the freezer for meals all winter long.

Herb Drying… Take 2

After about 2 weeks of drying, my lovage leaves are ready for stage 2.

They have been lying in my dad’s greenhouse on a sheet of plastic, slowly drying into their crumbly wonderfulness… now they are ready to be turned into the flaky powder that is a great addition to soups and stirfries.

IMG_0001 (2).JPG

I set up my workspace with 2 pails and a strainer. The leaves would have to fit through the holes in the strainer before I would be happy:

IMG_0002 (2).JPG

I crushed small handfuls into the strainer, and continued to work the leaves between by fingers to produce a fine dust (yes this is dusty work).

img_0003-3

From a 4 liter ice cream pail full of dried leaves, I produced about 2 cups of finished product. I double sifted the herbs, then filled up my spice jars.

img_0004-1

From the plant to the spice rack, it doesn’t take as much effort as one may think to produce your own herb blends. For this year, Lovage (maggi plant) is all I will be doing. Next year, I plan a whole lot more…

img_0007-1
Finished Product

Scented Rose Petals

img_0007

Last week we had our first major snowfall of the year. It was BEAUTIFUL! There were cars sliding everywhere, even I managed to end up in the ditch for a short time. But besides the weather itself, the snow signalled the end of another growing season.

The mini rose bush in front of my house still had about a dozen and a half roses on it, so I picked all of the flower heads off and tossed them into a bowl for a project. Today I finally got to that project.

I cleaned and separated all of the petals, then spread them in an even layer on a cookie sheet. I set my oven to the lowest temperature (170°F) and let them dry for 10 minutes. Then I turned the oven off, and let them sit in the warm oven for another 10 minutes.

img_0003-2
Ready… Set…
img_0005
Finished Baking!

Then I went and found my Doterra™ oils, chose the Citrus Bliss blend, and put a few drops directly onto the petals. then I shook the batch to incorporate the oil with the petals. Next, I collected a few glass containers to put the petals into, and now I have some beautiful air fresheners that have some powerful additional properties.

doterra citrus bliss.png

 

Kathy’s Garden

Kathy owns a piece of heaven…Her property is a thick forested area smack dab in the middle of the Prairie. She lives there with her husband, her kitty cat, and many resident bird friends that frequent her feeders all year round.

I have been at Kathy’s place a lot this fall,both inside and out. Some days are not so fun as cleaning takes priority, but other days – most days are very enjoyable. This is because I often get to work outdoors, and these past 2 weeks specifically in her garden.   

Beets, turnips, tomatoes, squash, sunflowers, corn, herbs, flowers, and a few runaway trees can all be found in this garden. It is a great day when I see vegetables on their way back to the house. As I work, I am sometimes interrupted by kitty, as he loves attention, and I am always willing to pet and talk to him.

   

The latest project I have completed here was pulling the turnips up, and clear cutting the areas that no longer have vegetables in them. Although time consuming, I love being out here in the garden, as it is peaceful, and in feel like I am making a difference.

Kathy is often making things on the kitchen while I work, and I have started to notice her healthy choices. I will see if I can snag a few recipes to share…

Soups and salad, breakfast cereal and more, Tis the season for cooking, and there’s great things in store!