My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone

“My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone” is a popular line of lyrics in Justin Bieber’s latest hit entitled Love Yourself.  My youngest son pointed out these lyrics to me recently as we were driving somewhere together.  I’m not sure if this was meant to be a compliment or criticism…

I do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, try not to judge, and look for the best in people.  I think that is a good way to be though and find it very unattractive and demoralizing when someone is judgemental, excessively negative or critical.

As a mother of three boys, I confess to not liking all of their previous choices in girlfriends. In truth, I would not say I didn’t like them as individuals but didn’t like them for my son.  I  felt it best not to share my opinion at the time, preferring to let the boys figure it out on their own.  I guess I am a better actor than I thought!

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Digging out from record snowfall in Ottawa

We Canadians do like to talk about our weather, and we certainly have had lots of inspiration in the past 24 hours.  Today in Ottawa we are digging out from the record-breaking snowfall that hit us yesterday.  We got dumped with 50 cm (or 20 inches) of the white stuff, all within 12 hours…

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I live in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, where our sidewalks, crosswalks, and even some roads are not a top priority for snow plows. Cars were buried, buses were stuck and stranded,  sidewalks, crosswalks and even lanes on the major highway through the city just disappeared…

 

Fortunately, the falling snow was light and fluffy, just lots of it. Shoveling was easy work, it just required several attempts over the span of the day.  In our yards and on our decks, fixtures like BBQs, hot tubs, and patio furniture are all buried, probably will be for a while. Even the rabbit that lives under our spruce tree has extra insulation on his home…

 

Well, my driveway is clear, but  guess what?  It’s snowing again!…

 

That darned groundhog that supposedly predicted an early spring is probably hiding  underneath all of the snow, laughing at us.

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Keep an eye on your poop

Although the title of this post is silly, it got your attention, so read on to learn what your bowel movements are trying to tell you.  In a previous post, I told you how when my sons were small and came to me complaining of a tummy ache, the first thing I would ask them was “have you had a good poop today?”  If they said no, I would cut up some apples, sprinkle them with cinnamon and serve up this healthy, nutritious, full of fiber snack with a large glass of water. This trick worked every time (except when one son actually had appendicitis, but that’s another story). More often than not, within an hour or two, they would have a good poop and would then feel much better…

Now that my sons are grown up and rarely tell me about their stomach (or other) ailments, I use the information for myself.  If you look at the chart below that categorizes poop with pictures, you will see shapes and consistency from one extreme (constipation) to the opposite (diarrhea) Stage three or four is ideal; your bowel movements should not cause pain, the poop should come out easily, without straining, and in the shape and firmness of a sausage (their words, not mine) or a snake. Regularity is the key, one of these bowel movements a day or every second day is normal.

If you do not fit into the “normal” category indicated in the chart, try increasing your daily intake of water by the glassful or from eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. Taking a pill or other forms of medication (laxatives) to soften your stools or increase their frequency is only a band-aid fix that can land you in more trouble by causing serious side effects and dependency on the medication. The same thing applies to diarrhea; medication should be a last resort, especially if you suspect the diarrhea is caused by something you have eaten or taken.

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Constipation can and does happen to anyone and everyone, young and old, but some people more readily than others. Too much sugar, too little water, too much fat, too much protein, and too little fiber all can cause problems or irregularity with your bowel movements. Medications, allergies and food sensitivities can also wreak havoc on your body, causing constipation or diarrhea. Constipation and diarrhea are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and a warning that you should change your habits. Of course, if either condition lasts longer than a day or too, you should see your doctor as it could be a sign of more serious problems.

 

If your children automatically look for a snack as soon as they come in the door, consider having cut up fresh fruit or vegetables readily available, with or without a dip. Fresh fruit and vegetables are loaded with fiber and contain a large amount of water, both great for keeping their bowel movements in the healthy zone. Another trick I used when my children were young was to add water to their juice cups. (half and half) They would probably tell you now that it tasted awful, but it worked.  Years later, I still encourage them to drink more water and eat more fiber to maintain their health.

Although I usually eat fairly well, I like everyone else, do like to indulge in things that are not so good for me.  It does not take long for my body to react to things like junk food, excess alcohol, and lack of exercise.  Adding fiber and water back into my diet works wonders in getting me back to the right category of the chart.

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at http://www.gardens4u.ca

Turmeric, Curcumin, Cumin, and Curry powder

Turmeric, Curcumin, Cumin, and Curry powder

If you, like me, are confused about the difference between turmeric, curcumin, cumin, and curry powder, this post should help…

Turmeric

Let’s start with turmeric.  Turmeric, also known as Indian saffron, is a plant in the ginger family, native to southeast Asia and India.  It has a bitter but warm taste and is often used to color and flavor butters, cheeses, mustards, and curry powders.  Although the leaves are used to wrap and cook food in areas where it is grown, it is the rhizomes of the turmeric plant that are ground into a powder used around the world to color and flavor food.

The root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine to treat conditions such as heartburn, gallbladder disorders, diabetes, arthritis, stomach pain, headaches, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel disease, lung infections, menstrual problems, depression, water retention, bronchitis, kidney infections, colds, fibromyalgia, skin inflammations, as well as both fungal and bacterial infections.  Current research is hoping to prove that turmeric is also effective against cancer.

Curcumin

Curcumin is the main component of turmeric rhizomes that imparts the typical bright yellow color.  It stains everything it touches, so be warned!

Cumin

Cumin is the dried seeds of a herb in the parsley family, mainly grown in India as well as other tropical and subtropical, frost-free areas around the world.  The seeds are used ground or whole as a spice to give flavor and aroma to food.

Turmeric, Curcumin, Cumin, and Curry powder

Curry Powder

Curry powder is a spice blend containing primarily turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili pepper.  A similar blend of spices is called garam masala in south Asia.  Some commercial blends of curry powder also contain ginger, garlic, fennel seed, mustard seed, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, and or cinnamon.

Turmeric, Curcumin, Cumin, and Curry powder

 

Well, I learned the difference between turmeric, curcumin, cumin, and curry powder while researching this post.  I hope it was helpful.  Try some of these spices soon to add flavor and color to your cooking while preventing or treating many health issues at the same time.

photo credit

 

Stargazing…there’s an app for that

At a bonfire on the beach in Corpus Christi Texas recently, I discovered there is an app for identifying stars and constellations in the sky.  A friend of my niece showed me how his phone could pick out and label the constellations just by holding his phone up to the star lit sky…

 

I am not sure what app or type of phone he was using that night, but I found this free app SKY VIEW for Iphones, Ipads or Ipods.  Very cool, as I love to stargaze.  For the best viewing, be sure to go somewhere that light pollution does not interfere with viewing of the stars.

This is something we are able to do at our cottage where the night sky is pitch dark and it feels like you can reach up and touch the stars in the velvety sky.

Let me know if you download such an app and how it works for you…

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Give the gift of time this Christmas with GARDENS4U gift certificates

christmas gift certificate 2015-16

 

GARDENS4U is offering gift certificates again this Christmas season.  Perfect for garden lovers with limited time or physical strength, these certificates can be custom made to suit your needs and budget.

Of course, I only work in the west end of Ottawa.  If you, or someone you know, can benefit from my services, please contact me to create a gift certificate for you.

Losing my gardening tools and my mind

As the end of my gardening season approaches here in Ontario, I have begun to clean out my van and perform an inventory on my gardening tools.  This is also the time of the year when I realize just how bad my memory is when the number of gardening tools has dwindled and I have no idea where the missing ones are.  I tend to misplace several pairs of calipers (or hand clippers) a season.  Even though their handles are usually a bright red or orange, I manage to lose them in the gardens I work in.  I’m sure I have accidentally thrown some out in lawn waste bags.  This year I am disappointed to find that I have also managed to misplace my favourite edger and a handy short shovel…

I will have to send out an email to my clients begging them to check their tool sheds and gardens to see if my tools are hanging out with theirs.

What’s better than your own tomato harvest?

What can get better than harvesting your own tomatoes?  Taking home someone else’s tomato harvest!  I was cleaning up a client’s garden recently and came across a few grape tomato plants in amongst the perennial flowers and shrubs. I picked them off the frost-bitten vines and left the tomatoes in the sun to dry while I finished working on the garden.  Sun dried tomatoes must need a whole lot of sun to dry them out as these grape tomatoes were still soggy and soft three hours later.  My client didn’t want to bother collecting and cleaning the tomatoes to use in her kitchen, so I brought them home with me.  I shared my bounty with another client that lives next door to the tomatoes…

I took my share of the grape tomatoes home, washed and strained them, then cooked them up in a pasta sauce for dinner…

I sauteed crushed garlic, onions, olives and turmeric in olive oil for the main ingredients, added cooked and drained pasta (gluten-free for my wheat allergy) then stirred in a beaten egg and parmesan cheese to make the sauce creamy.  I seem to use turmeric in just about everything these days, since I read it is a powerful anti-oxidant.  I would have added roasted red peppers if I had some in my fridge to roast that day.  The pasta dish was reasonably good, although I think I left too many green tomatoes in the sauce as it had a bit of a sweet and sour taste.

The WOW factor in gardening

What is the WOW factor in gardening, and how do you achieve it?   I call the WOW factor a feature that literally makes me stop in my tracks (or my car)  to admire a plant or group of plants, then dash for my camera.  Wow factors are achieved by choosing what I call a specimen plant (unique or different, and planted singly) as opposed to a common plant (one that everyone else has in their garden, planted in multiple spots throughout the garden)  Choose a plant hardy to your garden zone and give it the conditions and space it requires to achieve greatness.  It may take a few years after planting, but patience will reward you!

I have seen two of these WOW factors recently, one driving from a client’s garden and the second in a client’s garden…

joe pye weed

I had to stop my car and take a picture of this first one on my way home one day.  Although it is called Joe Pye weed, it is a spectacular perennial garden plant and not a weed in my opinion.  It measures approximately 7 feet in height here, but can get to 12 feet in ideal conditions and looks best as featured here, in a large clump at the back of a border.  Joe Pye weed likes moist soil of average to rich conditions.  It will tolerate wet soil, but not overly dry soil.  It is hardy in zones 4 through 9 and prefers full sun to part shade.  Joe Pye weed will attract butterflies to your garden too.  Joe Pye weed requires very little maintenance.  It dies to the ground in the late fall and can be divided in the spring if the clump gets too large.  Be sure to give it lots of space in your garden!

This second WOW moment happened this week in a client’s garden.  This ornamental fountain grass peaks this time of year, producing large bottlebrush like pinkish plumes that glisten early in the morning when still coated with dew or after a rain…

I have one of these grasses in my own garden, (third picture) but it is no way near the size of the one I planted in this client’s garden.  Although I thought I gave it plenty of room to spread out when planted three years ago, it is crowding a magnolia tree on the left and a shrub rose on the right, both of which can be pruned to accommodate the grass.  This plant is a fountain grass, preferring hot dry sunny locations, hardy from zones 4 through 9.  It should be cut down to the ground after the ground freezes or first thing in the spring before new growth appears.

Create your own WOW factor in your garden and send me some pictures!