Did we pay a tariff on this heat?

If you haven’t noticed, Ottawa is in the middle of a heat wave, as are many places throughout Canada.  I wonder if we payed a tariff on the heat coming from the US of A.  Perhaps Donald Trump hasn’t thought of that yet.  If he did, we would have to retaliate and charge Americans a tariff on the cold fronts we send you every winter (currently) for free.

Seriously, the heat and humidity are so high that it’s just too hot for me to spend more than a few minutes in anyone’s gardens this week.  So, what else can a gardener do in this heat?  Well, I met a friend for coffee this morning and power washed my front veranda this afternoon.  Even though there was cool water involved, the power washing was a hot and dangerous job. As I was reaching into the back of my van to remove my power washer, I heard a hissing noise just before the back trunk slammed down on my head.  Just what I needed, a concussion to go with the possible heat stroke.

I guess that gives me something to work on tomorrow…getting the struts (that’s what my mechanic told me they are called) on the trunk repaired.  Then I will spend some time with my baby granddaughter.  After that I can continue working on the quilt I am making for my almost five year old granddaughter.  Although quilting is usually a winter passion of mine, this heat wave will give me some time to work on the project that is (still) spread out on my dining room table.

That’s Canada for you.  Heat waves and cold snaps alike tend to make us retreat to the comfort of our air conditioned or heated homes.  Just forget I mentioned the word tariff, I wouldn’t want to put ideas in anyone’s head!

photo from Unsplash

 

 

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Heat waves and air conditioning

The worst part about heat waves is the air conditioning you need to keep your home cool.  I hate air conditioning, at least my body does, because it does not like to be cold.  I hate feeling like its cold outside too, reminds me too much of the winter months where we can’t wait for the weather to warm up.

Every year at this time we (my family members and I) have the same argument on whether to open the windows to cool the house or turn on the air conditioner.  I favour open windows, they favour the air conditioning.  I usually win until the heat wave arrives.  If the temperature does not cool off at night, I cave in and the air conditioner has to come on to keep our upstairs bedrooms cool for sleeping.

Me, I sleep with lots of blankets regardless of the temperature.  When the air conditioner is on I really need the blankets, even to sit around watching TV.  Even though we keep the setting to 22 degrees, (a concession to me as they would prefer 18) I still get chilled.

We are expecting a heat wave here in Ottawa over the next week or so.  Brrrrrrr.

What is a hospice?

Unfortunately, most people are not aware of what a hospice is until they have the need for one.  If you looked it up in a dictionary, a hospice would be described as a home for the terminally ill.  While hospitals are known for their goals of restoring health,  hospices are geared toward supporting (both psychologically and spiritually) a dying patient and their family.

Years ago I first learned about hospices when my friend was losing her fight with cancer.  A few times per week she attended a day hospice where she met with others in similar situations.  These outings offered her great comfort.  At that time there were no live in hospices in our community.  Today we are fortunate to have the newly expanded Ruddy Shenkman Hospice that currently has the capacity for ten live in patients as well as day services.

I volunteer at this hospice on the gardening team.  It gives me great satisfaction to help provide a beautiful setting for patients and their families living and visiting there. The gardens that were planted immediately after the construction were pretty boring, not to mention depressing, with rows of shrubs of which many were dead...

I spent a few days removing the dead sticks and replacing them with recycled perennials, then added mulch.  Much better…

hospice

These beds will look even  better in a few weeks when the recycled plants have a chance to get established.

How not to plant shrubs

One of the garden projects I have been working on lately reminded me how not to plant shrubs. These shrubs were not planted deep enough so the root balls heaved out of the soil this past winter.  As a result, the row of shrubs were all dead, and very unsightly. When I dug them up (didn’t even require a shovel, they came out quite easily) the root balls were still in the shape of the pots.  So were the holes.

 

 

 

The correct way to plant a shrub (and most perennials and trees too) is to:

  • dig a hole twice as wide as the pot the shrub came in and the same depth
  • remove the shrub from the pot and loosen the root ball
  • if the shrub is very root bound, use a sharp knife or trowel to scarify (gently scrape/loosen) the roots
  • add water to the hole before and after planting the shrub
  • water daily until shrub is established, (one week) preferably in the morning
  • ensure plant crown is neither too deep or too far above ground.  Roses do prefer their crown just below soil level

 

 

On being a Grandma, part three

A few months ago (four to be exact) I shared the joyous news that we had welcomed another grandchild into our family.  After spending a lovely Father’s Day dinner with my family tonight, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have my three precious grandchildren nearby.

#51 @ 3months

They are all growing up so fast!  This picture was taken a month ago already, on Mother’s Day, just as the gang was leaving our home, exhausted from their busy weekend.  That’s one happy Grandma!

It’s all about the (farmland) smell

Recently I drove through a portion of the eastern Ontario countryside from Ottawa to the Cornwall area. I purposely took the back roads to enjoy the beautiful greenery of the local farms along the way. As well as the scenery, believe it or not, I love the smell associated with the farmland. I attribute this to my heritage.

farmland
Beaudette family farmhouse

My maternal grandparents were farmers.  They are long gone from this world, but never from my memories.  The farmhouse they lived in has since been renovated and just a portion part of their land still worked by family members.  Down the road from the farmhouse is the cemetery where these grandparents, as well as both of my own parents, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins are buried.

The main purpose of this recent (road) trip down memory lane was to clean up the memorial garden in this cemetery.  It was overgrown with weeds and other invasive plants.  Thanks to the help of a friend, an aunt and a cousin, we managed to rid the garden of unwanted greenery.  With a few new perennials added as well as the soil and mulch replenished, it looks much better.  I wish I had thought to take a “before” picture;  this is the “after”…

farmland
Pleasant Valley Cemetery

In between the sweltering hot jobs of weeding and adding the new plants, soil and mulch I took a “cool off” break in the form of an opportunity to meet up with a childhood friend with whom I had recently reconnected with on Facebook.  Isn’t it amazing how you can catch up on 30+ years in an hour?

The scenery and yes, the smell of the farmland too, were added bonuses.

Spring beauties

Wandering through my gardens this past weekend, I found these spring beauties…

Spring is my favourite time of year.  It has arrived a bit late here in Ottawa this year, but has finally arrived. You can see the exciting changes in the gardens daily as the bulbs burst into bloom and the perennials poke through the soil.

 

What’s with Carrie Underwood?

Is anyone else tired of hearing Carrie Underwood apologizing for “not looking the same?”  Her accident (falling off a step breaking her wrist and cutting up her face) sounds horrible, but is it just me or is she putting far too much emphasis on what her face looks like? She was quick to post a picture of an xray of her wrist, but her face was not even mentioned until weeks later.

I understand that her looks are an important part of her career, but does she really believe that her fans will think less of her if her face is not perfect?  Refusing to post pictures of her face throughout the whole healing process, she has just returned to the camera.  She looks exactly the same to me.  In my opinion, this whole incident makes her look ridiculously insecure and vain, nothing to do with any (invisible) scars on her face.

Sad, sad, sad that someone so talented feels this way.  I guess she didn’t read my last post about real beauty!

Carrie Underwood

 

That’s what makes you beautiful

What makes someone beautiful?  In the modelling world, beauty means perfect facial features and a tall, lean body.  By perfect, they mean a perfectly symmetrical face.  The eyes cannot be too close together or too wide apart, the mouth cannot be too big or too small, the eyebrows have to be just so.  And don’t forget the nose; a big or crooked nose is just not acceptable.

This reminds me of the old Jennifer Aniston vs Angelina Jolie debate.  Which one is more beautiful?  If you asked Ms. Aniston, she would probably say Ms. Jolie is.  Technically, according to the criteria above, Angelina is probably more beautiful.  On the outside.  What the Jennifer fans know though is that external beauty is not always the most attractive quality one can possess.

In my opinion, beauty lies within regardless of what the outside looks like.  Beauty is not just skin deep.  I remember my mother offering the advice “looks will only get you the first five minutes, after that you’re on your own.”  At the time I was a teenager, getting ready for a dance, so that advice fell on deaf ears.  It did sink in eventually though.

Those who spend all their time preening for a camera and need constant reassurance of how beautiful they are appear too shallow for my liking and are not so beautiful.  The song “You don’t know you’re beautiful” followed by “That’s what makes you beautiful!” by One Direction proves I’m not the only one that thinks so.

beautiful

Why do eggs bother my stomach sometimes but not all the time?

eggs

In addition to wheat, asparagus and cream (high fat), eggs bother my stomach, suggesting I am intolerant of them.  But only sometimes.  I have tried to figure out if it is the way they are cooked (over easy, omelets, scrambled etc), or what they are cooked in (butter, olive oil etc) but have not come up with a definitive answer.  Because I am intolerant of wheat, I have even wondered if I am reacting to eggs from grain fed chickens.

I have done some research to see if I could find the answer; here are a few suggestions I came across:

  • don’t eat eggs on an empty stomach
  • eat other things with the eggs like toast, home fries etc
  • cook them well (over easy used to be my favourite)
  • drink something carbonated with them
  • don’t cook them in butter

I have not tried the carbonated trick yet, but carbonation is not my friend either so I probably won’t.  My last attempt at consuming eggs was in an omelette, with just a bit of olive oil to coat the pan, but a few hours later the omelette went right through me with accompanying stomach cramps and diarrhea.

I ate it by itself though, with no toast on the side, and on an empty stomach, so I may have my answer.

Anyone else have this problem?

food-breakfast-egg-milk