If you were asked to rhyme off the ten commandments, supposed rules of God in Christianity, I am willing to bet “thou shalt not kill” is one of the ones you could quote.
Canadians are heartbroken and disgusted after the sickening discovery of 215 bodies of indigenous children recently at a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. The fear is that this horrific discovery is just the tip of a genocidal iceberg.
Residential schools were created in 1876 as free boarding schools for indigenous children, funded by the Canadian government and run by the Catholic church. In 1894 attendance became mandatory, until 1947, although the last school only closed its doors in 1996, not that long ago. The intention was to enable the children to adjust to Canadian (rather than indigenous) cultures, to convert the children to Christianity, and to civilize them. These schools were intentionally located far away from indigenous communities to limit the children’s contact with their families, fully immersing the children in their adopted (supposedly superior) culture.
Forced to speak English or French, the children were stripped of their ancestral languages and heritage. Rumours of physical and sexual abuse were rampant within the residential schools. Children that ran away were severely punished upon their return, if they returned. Many went missing, never to return, so it was reported. The dead bodies cropping up are telling a different, more sinister tale although poor record keeping and unmarked graves will make it nearly impossible to unearth the whole, ugly truth.
Back to the ten commandments. How can any religion or culture that proclaims to follow the rules of Christianity participate in such heinous acts of abuse, torture and genocide on innocent children? It makes me sick! How could those that did survive those torture-filled years ever lead normal lives afterward?
How and why are the perpetrators not held accountable for their actions? An apology is severely insufficient. This was not a single act of abuse or a simple mistake, but years of racially motivated, discriminatory, criminal acts.
If you are into all things nature, you have heard that bees are endangered around the world. Whether this is due to climate change, the extensive use of pesticides or other reasons, that fact remains.
As usual, education is key to change and preservation.
The Bee Protectors project has been in the works for a while, and it has been finally brought to fruition solely off the funding of our owners.
The Bee Protectors project is run by a small, passionate, group of individuals who have a goal of helping the world to be a better place through spreading the message of the importance of bees on our environment.
Bee the change and check out this website for unique bee related clothing and even jewelry. Shipping is free for orders over $45.
My friends, family and garden clients will be seeing me supporting the bees in this sweatshirt soon! I first have to decide on the yellow or green sweatshirt, maybe one of each…
This story was posted last August…please visit the update at the end.
Gypsy Moth & Catepillar Damage
Gypsy moths, at least the caterpillars that morph into the moths, have completely defoliated many deciduous trees and devoured the tops of evergreens in Eastern Ontario.
The trees at our cottage on Palmerston Lake in Ompah, Ontario have not been spared.
What do Gypsy Moths Look Like?
First we noticed lots (more than usual) of these brown moths flying around our property…
Curious, I googled them to see if they could be responsible for the defoliation of our trees.
Sure enough, the brown moths pictured above are the male gypsy moths.
The males fly around looking for the white, non-flying female versions to inpregnate. The females crawl on the ground, attracting the males with a sex hormone, after which the females crawl onto a tree trunk or any other vertical surface (including our garage wall) to lay their eggs.
The eggs are enclosed in a oval-shaped, soft sac. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars crawl further up the trees to continue the destructive cycle.
Once we discovered what they were, my hubby went around the property scraping (the ones he could reach) the egg sacs off, letting the eggs fall to the ground for the birds and other insects to enjoy.
Perhaps we are tampering with nature, but the damage these caterpillars inflict on.our trees is incredible.
Here’s hoping the trees will recover!
Fast forward to spring 2021…the deciduous trees have leaves and bright green, new growth is visible on the evergreens. Sounds good, except for the webs at the tops of many of the trees housing thousands of tiny caterpillars. Yuk!
Plan of Action
Apparently, simply knocking the egg capsules to the ground last season was ineffective. We should have destroyed them by putting them in a bucket of soapy water…
To try to break the destructive cycle of these gypsy moths, we spent the long weekend spraying the webs with soapy water.
Are the monstrously ugly wind turbines (windmills) dotting the otherwise beautiful countryside efficient? You can probably tell I don’t approve of them. I am reminded how much I don’t believe in their efficiency or practicality every time I drive to my favourite farm.
That’s because there is an enormous north-south swath of them crossing highway 43 near the intersection of county road 11, the last leg of our trip from Ottawa to the farm in Eastern Ontario.
My last venture in that direction that was no exception. My four year old grandson, my travelling partner that day, summed up my feelings pretty well with a loud “whoa, what the heck is that big thing?” When I explained that it was a windmill, there to gather energy from the wind, he was quick to point out “but it’s not even moving!”
Exactly! During my last visit none of the windmills were operational. I mentioned this to my uncle upon arriving at his farm; apparently they were just installed. This time, a month or so later, maybe fifty percent were in motion. Not exactly a great track record.
How do Windmills Generate Electricity?
This YouTube video posted on Good Energy in the UK explains how well the windmills are working, especially within the north-western corner of Europe where it almost always windy:
Are Windmills Efficient?
In reducing carbon footprints, these windmills are efficient, actually one of the smallest footprints in current practices of renewable generators. That’s because they do not release emissions of any sort into the atmosphere. However, their actual physical footprint is enormous, taking up huge amounts of land.
Optimal sites for wind farms are in remote locations due to the amount of space they require. The problem with this is that (expensive) transmission lines must be established to get the electricity from the remote locations to the big cities that use the most electricity. This however can be lucrative in the form of extra income for the owners of remote properties since the owners of wind power plants pay rent to the landowners, often farmers or ranchers, for the use of their land.
A windmill or wind turbine is typically only a maximum of 50% efficient when wind is at a peak level. Wind however, is typically inconsistent; very few global locations would have consistent winds to maximize the efficiency level.
Theoretically wind power is cost effective because the electricity generated can be sold at a fixed price over many years, unlike the price of gas and oil which fluctuates like our Canadian weather. Wind turbines are exorbitantly expensive to make, install, and maintain, then only last on average 25 years. The wind is the inexpensive part, as it is a (free) natural resource.
Esthetics and Dangers of Wind Turbines
Not only are wind turbines hideous to look at, they have proven to be annoyingly noisy (when they work) as well as harmful, often fatal to birds. Hundreds of thousands of birds and bats are killed annually, in collisions with the massive rotating (and sedentary) arms of the wind turbines.
I like to think I am open minded as well as a proponent for green energy. Why then, do these wind turbines bother me so much? Probably because I am also a proponent of sensibility, natural beauty, and efficiency, especially cost efficiency.
Spring is my favourite season. I love the fact that the plants in gardens, roadsides and parks start strutting their stuff, with changes every day. My own gardens don’t disappoint me every spring, in fact I am known to just wander/putter around enjoying the new growth.
If you too love spring blossoms, here are a few plants that bloom in spring for your yard and gardens…
My spring starts off with the star magnolia in my front yard. From afar, the blossoms look like pom poms, brightening up my yard even before the leaves emerge. Up close they are even more spectacular:
Another magnolia blooms a bit later in my backyard. This beauty is the Ann variety, with blossoms that change in shape as they progress…
After my white star magnolia blooms and drops its flowers, forsythia bushes brighten the neighbourhood with their striking yellow blossoms. My neighbour’s is especially pleasing to me as I enjoy this view from my front windows:
I have a forsythia in my backyard too, but it is still small and not as effectively placed as the beauty above.
Next to bloom in my gardens are my plum trees, usually. This year their blossoms were barely therethanks to the birds. This is what they are supposed to look like:
Plum trees are very fragrant when blooming too, another sign of spring. Unfortunately my husband suffers from seasonal allergies, so he does not find them as appealing as I do.
Apple and Crab Apple Trees
Next up to bloom are my McIntosh apple trees. This year they are particularly gorgeous…
…perhaps because the plum trees were not. The apple trees are loaded with bees too; I’m doing my part to keep them thriving!
Around the same time as the apple trees in my backyard, the crab apple tree in my front yard and in yards all across this city are in full bloom, ranging from the palest of pink, to light pink to my own darker almost-wine-coloured version. Whatever the variety, they are all beautifully spring-like.
Lilac Trees and Bushes
While most lilac trees and bushes are in bloom by now, with their distinct and fragrant blossoms, mine does not bloom until early June. After the plum and apples trees have shown off. These lilacs are still spring bloomers by calendar standards, but not quite a harbinger of spring in my yard.
Shrub roses (usually) bloom earlier and for longer than rose bushes, but of course there are exceptions. My favourite shrub rose, with pale yellow five-lobed petals and lemony yellow centers is just starting to bloom now while my crab apple tree is still going strong.
A few other varieties of pink shrub roses throughout my gardens will wait a few weeks before they decide to bloom.
Roses of the climbing or bushes type wait for the hotter days (and nights) of summer to perform.
Spring bulbs, are planted in the fall to provide early spring colour in your gardens. Early tulips and daffodils are currently blooming, with allium still working on their strappy leaves and tall stems. The alliums will be blooming soon too, with the later variety of tulips. With summer still a month away, these later tulips and allium are still considered spring blooming bulbs.
Another spring blooming shrub is the rhododendron, fast becoming one of my favourite for all of my gardens including my own. They too range in colour, including white, pale pink, hot pink, red and a purply pink.
I have a story that I tell anyone who will listen of how I was introduced to rhododendrons. Currently I choose them for most part sun gardens, especially eastern and northeastern facing ones, their preferred exposure. I have two in my own backyard too, ready to burst out in blossoms any time now…
Other Spring Blooming Perennials
A few perennials bloom in spring too. A few examples in my gardens are garden sage with pale purple flowers and Jack Frost brunnera which sports green and white heart-shaped leaves and tiny blue flowers:
There are also several groundcovers that bloom in spring. In my gardens that includes sweet woodruff with delicate leaves and tiny white flowers, as well as lamium with varigated leaves and pearl pink blossoms:
These ferns don’t flower as such, but their fronds are fascinating to watch unfurl. Apparently fiddleheads are delicious to cook and eat, although I have not tried them. This bed is full of ferns, turning into a lush, green focal point in summer:
There are lots of plants to choose from for spring colour in your gardens. Plant bulbs in the fall or perennials and shrubs anytime the ground is warm enough to dig in.
The plum trees in my back yard are usually so full of blossoms this time of year that you can see and smell them from across the street. The scent is heavenly, usually. Sadly, this year there are barely any blossoms.
2020 (left) and 2021 (right) blossoms
Birds Devouring the Flower Buds
About a month ago, a large flock of strange (to us, we had never seen this variety before) birds took over our backyard, devouring the emerging buds on the plum trees. There were at least fifty birds in these two trees at once, all weekend, with no social distancing evident!
I assumed they were migrating, returning from the south, and hoped they didn’t destroy the annual spectacle of fragrant blossoms.
A bit of research taught me that these newcomers were cedar waxwings, as suspected on their way north, stopping in for a nutrition break. Apparently, when their usual meal of seeds and nuts is unavailable, they are known to snack on the flower buds of fruit trees. Cute little guys, but boys do they do some damage.
Mystery solved, but I sure hope this does not become an annual event! The gorgeous blossoms on these plums trees is a harbinger of spring in my gardens.
I may have to resort to twinkling lights and windchimes to deter the marauders in the future.
Today I celebrate my greatest achievement. I’m sure it is apparent how much I adore my three sons. They are all kind, caring and loving, not to mention handsome, intelligent, successful, and definitely more humble than their mother.
I am especially proud of the fathers my two eldest have become with the help of the wonderful mothers of their children.
Raising Boys to Men
When my boys were growing up, people always commented on how difficult it must be to raise three boys. I wondered about that comment as I never had any daughters to compare the boys to and I always thought it was an unfair exaggeration.
These days one would call the comments sexist and all kinds of other descriptive words popular in our vocabulary today.
I have to admit, I loved every minute of it. Ok, maybe not every single minute, but 99.9% of them.
Disputing the Theory
As a mother of three boys and a grandmother to three grandsons, I dispute the opinion that boys are more difficult to raise. They may be busier physically, with different interests, but not harder or more stressful.
My father, who raised three boys and three girls, always said the girls were harder. His theory was based on the fact that he worried more about the girls until they were married. Perhaps another sexist comment, but the norm and and non-offensive back then.
Boys will be Boys
There is something to be said for the saying “boys will be boys.” My experience is that (most) little boys are fascinated with things like bugs, dirt and mud, cars and trucks, dinosaurs and more. I don’t believe these interests are taught and learned, but more instinctive or innate. Encouraged (as they should be) perhaps, but not taught.
And, one of the words my youngest grandson, at just one year old, can say is vroom, vroom. OK, that’s two words, but I’m sure you get the gist.
Tomboys Raising Boys
Perhaps I find boys easy to handle because I was a tomboygrowing up, much to the chagrin of my mother. I preferred playing hockey, football, and other sports with the boys instead of playing dolls with the girls. I don’t recall though, being particularly enamoured with bugs.
You could say I had lots of practice hanging out with the boys, that could be why I have so much patience with my grandsons’ antics and interests.
In closing, bearing and raising happy and healthy children is something to celebrate. Even though mine are now adults, I still consider them to be my greatest achievements in life, bar none!
Happy Mother’s Day to the rest of you celebrating your own achievements!
It occurred to me recently that I needed to make my gardens kid friendly so my grandchildren can enjoy them as much as I do. They love my backyard, but my repeated “don’t step on the flowers” as they explore was starting to sound like a broken record. So, I decided to make the gardens kid friendly.
Pathways of Stepping Stones
The idea for pathways of stepping stones weaving throughout my gardens sprouted in my brain when a gardening client asked if I had the use for several stones she had left over from a patio project.
I also have some bricks that were previously used to edge my backyard gardens. I decided years ago that I prefer a more natural edging as the bricks made it difficult to mow the lawn right up to the garden edge. Grass also (annoyingly and time consuming) grew in between them. The bricks had also shifted over the years so were no longer nice and even, a sore spot with me.
A few seasons in and they had to go. Instead of digging up the bricks at the time, I left them in place and extended my gardens in width. Now I am digging them up to use for the kid-sized stepping stones. These are in their new places, just waiting to be sunk into the ground for stability…
I asked my almost 8 year old granddaughter if I should paint the stepping stones a bright colour so she, her brothers and cousins can see them better. She voted no, telling me it is more fun to discover them.
I added the pathways at the beginning of the season when perennials are small. This way I can visualize the spacing needed to create the meandering effect I desire. For example, in the photo above, you can see the lily of the valley pips poking through the ground. In a few weeks time the plantings will have filled out and the paths will look like they have been there forever.
Along with the pathways of stepping stones, I created landing pads in specific spots. There is one in front of each birdbath for little feet to step on while filling the birdbath.
There are now also several landing pads a foot back from the edge of my pond, so my grandkids know to stop there. At least most of them do. No names will be mentioned, but one little boy likes to push the boundaries and get as close as he can.
Plants Surrounding the Stepping Stones and Landing Pads
To keep the look of the stepping stones and landing pads as natural as possible, I placed them in the middle of low growing, resilient ground cover. The pathways now wind throughout my back gardens, perfect for exploring and wandering. They also create access for me, the chief gardener, to weed, plant, amend soil, mulch etc.
The stepping stones and landing pads are also located well away from any fragile or thorny plantings. For their safety and my stress level. Again, some of the grandchildren care more about avoiding prickly things and treating the plants with a healthy respect, others run through the paths full steam ahead.
Another way to interest your kids (or grandkids) in gardens is to add whimsical touches throughout your gardens. I have several animals/creatures for them to visit; a black bear and heron rescued from a client’s garden (they planned to toss them out) a frog and a rabbit (that has its rear end busted off, but now sits wedged into the soil) are favourites too.
The kids can visit bird houses, bird baths, wind chimes, painted stepping stones, (on my fence like artwork as they were too pretty to walk on) stone pagodas, obelisks, arbours, and more as they wander through my back yard.
I would love to add a large inukshuk and totem pole, somewhere and sometime. And perhaps a small tree fort; I have a spot all picked out in the sprawling branches of an apple tree.
In their own, better than I could describe, words…
Landish grew from our struggle to establish a wellness routine that was sustainable both for us and the environment. On our quest to overcome the ailments of modern life and feel our very best, we began to discover clean, earth-friendly ingredients that carry with them both deep ancestral tradition and support from modern science.
Through a process of research, creation and iteration, we bring to you the very best of these ingredients, curated and combined into delicious, crave-worthy recipes for a daily dose of wellness.
Inspired from a Middle English word:
1. From our land; native.
Products I Have Already Tried (and love)
That pitch, along with the fact that Landish is a Canadian company and these days I am all about buying local, convinced me to give their products a try. So far I have tried their marine collagen…
Although collagen is a protein naturally found within the connective tissue (think ligaments, muscles, tendons and skin) of our bodies, its abundance (like many other things) decreases with age.
I add this marine collagen to my daily smoothies for my arthritis as mentioned, but also for the benefits collagen provides to my aging bones, muscles, skin, hair and nails. This brand is tasteless and blends in smoothly to my morning concoctions.
The second product I have tried is the Turmeric Ginger Latte….
I love this combination of turmeric, ginger, cardamom and coconut milk, especially before bedtime. Do you remember drinking warm milk as a child/teen to help you sleep at night? This is an updated version, as everyone knows (or should know) how good turmeric is for you.
With my last order from Landish I received an assortment of their Superfood Bars as a bonus.
High in protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals, low in cholesterol, carbs (sugar) and sodium, these bars are convenient snacks to have on hand. Flavours such as apple cinnamon, vanilla coconut, vanilla chai and double chocolate make them much more palatable than most other protein bars. I will have to make sure to order some more for summer gardeningsnacks.
Try Next List
I have a few other Landish products on my wish list to try next. They include the various flavours of mushroom (??!!) lattes and hot chocolates. Although I have read about the multiple health benefits of mushrooms, I never would have thought to include them in hot chocolate, lattes or smoothies…
If you are in the market for health supplements in a powder form, easily added to smoothies, coffee, milk or tea, check out Landish. Another page on their website lists recipes using many of their products, making it even easier to try them out.
If you do decide to try Landish products, please use my referral link! That will ensure I try more products sooner and pass on my opinions to you.
Delivery is free if your order is over $50 anywhere in Canada or the continental US. If you live in the US, please use this site to order from.
I have tried the chocolate, mushroom latte mix and love it too. I drink it alone or in a cup of coffee for an interesting and healthy mocha treat. Today I ordered the berry, maca, beet latte mix, can’t wait to try it and received a Mothers Day special of 40% off.
If you want to try any of these delicious superfood options, be sure to use my referral link for 10% off your order and 10% off my next order. Win/Win!
This post is a scathing (but accurate) article from Rex Murphy in the National Post. Not my words, but many of my thoughts and opinions!
The country is in an economic coma. The House of Commons is a movie set. We are shamed in the international community. And the list goes on.
It’s a mess. It’s a shambles. It’s an embarrassment. It is the worst ever by any reasonable measurement.
Judging by their performance on the most important files, the current bunch in Ottawa would need to hire a consultant to figure out how to get wet in a thunderstorm, and set up a task force to study how to tie their own shoes.
Look around you. Canada is in the biggest, most persistent and threatening crisis since — well since ever. The long-term care homes are under a blizzard of mortality. There is heartbreak in every small business in the country. The worry and anxiety level of most everyday citizens — especially those not shielded by uninterrupted cheques from provincial and federal governments, and those not serving as a member of a legislature — is at an all-time high.
On the Covid Nightmare
This government hoards any real details about what vaccines are here, how many are “secured” on paper only, and what they have promised to pay for them, as a miser hoards gold. Every press briefing on this most important of concerns is a dance of evasion, platitude, confused projection and sometimes just pure ignorance of what is actually the case.
They are the most deliberately obfuscatory, opaque, access-of-information-allergic administration under the democratic sun.
One year into COVID our venerated House of Commons is a disemboweled, non-functioning, neglected wreck. The targeted disrespect of the absolute and central symbol and instrument of our democracy has no parallel. No “minority” government has ever operated with the smug insouciance and patented, virtue-perfumed arrogance towards the Commons as the Trudeau government. This is, when we step back, their biggest sin.
Shutdowns and Cabinet Shuffles
Since 1867 no prime minister has abandoned the House of Commons and downgraded its significance for so long a period and for such obviously self-centered and political opportunistic reasons. It is so much easier, so much safer, so much more convenient — to walk from the bedroom to the one-printer office and mail in platitudes and arias of evasion via Zoom
What other government has parted ways with a governor general, and to top it off, a governor general brought in by the world’s No. 1 “male feminist” as a role model for young women and girls? The same male-feminist who conveniently loses all his top-performing female ministers. Someone should do a “gender analytics” study on Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.
Not to worry. It has lost a finance minister over ethics charges during the mightiest spending binge since the Big Bang. An attorney general, the prime guardian of our rule of law, was hounded out because she would not bend the rule of law. The most qualified and respected woman, a doctor of medicine no less (in other words a real doctor) could not abide staying in so carelessly unethical a cabinet. Thus, at the very time Canada would have wished the most competent person to deal with a once-in-a-hundred years medical emergency, Dr. Jane Philpott is not even in the government.
Meantime Seamus O’Regan, the Trudeau cabinet’s favourite nomad — he takes up and puts down portfolios with the “greatest of ease,” leaving no impression behind as he goes — burbles on, during a pandemic, about planting two billion trees. Imagine, two billion. We only have about 300 billion already! Priorities I guess. Repeat after me the holy incantation: climate change, climate change, climate change. It’s better than a vaccine.
Hostages in Chinese Prisons
We have two hostages in the tyrannical torture houses of Chinese prisons. Those poor, suffering and tormented men must truly have been uplifted — if any news ever reaches them — to learn that their government, during a world pandemic, was collaborating with the Chinese government to “jointly develop a COVID-19 vaccine.” Remember the line from Casablanca — “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world …” — and Insert “countries” for gin joints. Of all the countries in all the world why did the Trudeau government pick …. China? Incompetence can’t cover it. We need some term that speaks of dedicated and determined, merciless and staggering wrong-headedness: the purblind leading the purblind.
We have had no budget in two years. (Actually we have one now, this article was penned pre-budget release, but unbelievably irresponsible) We have spent more than any other government, by far, in our history. We have no idea where all the money has gone. The auditor general has been denied the resources to even keep track of a portion of it. There is no coherence, or trust, between the majority of the premiers and the prime minister. We have been offered occasional delights, like the celebrated comic opera of the WE brothers and the (temporary) $43-million gift to them to administer half a billion dollars of your money.
The Liberals have given far more time and dedicated energy to the Derek Sloan affair (whatever that was) than the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the emergent threat of Alberta leaving the Confederation. (Query for serious panel discussion: Is Canada safe from Bidenism?) Alberta groans while the Trudeau government spends over $36 million for “stay-at-home chairs” for its civil service.
This is the worst Canadian government ever. Can there be any question?
The country is in an economic coma. The House of Commons is a movie set. We are shamed in the international community. Contracts on COVID are all Top Secret. There is zero reliability on any projection made by a minister or the prime minister on where we are on vaccines and distribution. Rideau Hall is shortly to be listed on Airbnb. Farmers have been hit by fuel and carbon taxes. Newfoundland teeters on bankruptcy. The West has never felt so far out of things. I could go on.
Is this what was meant when the rosy words were first pronounced: Canada’s back?
To calm yourself, however, there is always this: Climate change.
Climate change. Climate change. Two billion trees. Two billion trees. Home chairs. Home chairs. Derek Sloan.