June 18, 2015

  • Late Spring Night

    Just finished my work shift and here it is 11 PM an still somehow light in the sky! A glass of wine..Shiraz sitting on front deck! aha the glories of late spring and approaching an summer!

June 16, 2015

  • Long days

    Spring is my favourite seasonDSCN9328 and soon we approach the longest day where it is still even light at 10:30 pm. in northern Alberta.

    Since returning home from BC, my schedule has been full.DSCN9363 In the time off from work spent much of it in the yard, nurturing the tomato and marigold seedlings, most of which survived surprisingly. DSCN9272Lots of time in my own and other's gardens, from planting our urban fruit orchard DSCN9331to bedding plant sales.

    This gent put his tomato plants on his bike.DSCN9317

    Pansies are some of my favorites.DSCN9370It has been an exceedingly dry spring, apparently the driest in About 50 years so coming rains would be welcome!

    DSCN9262We did have snow though at the beginning of May! DSCN9259

    The left wrist is healing well with physio and a wrist guard..thankful was not my writing hand! images

    Surgery was n April 27 and returned to work on May 19th.

    My pets much missed are easing into summer with new hair cuts DSCN9271and trying a leash on the kitten Shiloh!


    Just a quick up date as much of my daily posts are on Facebook.

April 29, 2015

  • Early spring thoughts...

    It certainly has been awhile since  I have posted. The following was written on April 24, 2015 on a return train trip through the Rockies.


    An early morning sitting in the top of the dome car of the VIA trainDSCN9056 heading from Vancouver to Edmonton, somewhere east of Kamloops along the North Thompson River close to Clearwater.BC. image Rain spatters the windows and the  new green leaves of spring poplars and birch delicately contrast with the darker boughs of the tall spruce. imageOvercast the clouds and white mist reach low over the Kootenay Mountains. Telephone wooden poles, no longer in use, with three or four cross ties and glass insulators tumble at various angles overgrown with vines or drooping wires next to the rail line.

    Travel by rail if one has the time is certainly enjoyable. Coach seats can be rather cramped for sleeping but dining car service is exquisite.DSCN9061

    On trip out on March 31, with a grand daughter DSCN9067we stopped in Jasper where she found this shop....note the name!

    Here we are together later in the trip.

    This trip taken two weeks later than originally planned due to a broken wristimage and subsequent surgery, serves as a quiet interlude between my two worlds.
    On the west coast of British Columbia,Vancouver and Victoria were, as I usually call it, " my first touch of spring " after what seemed like a long Alberta winter.
    The colourful blooms of red and yellow striated tulips, DSCN9134DSCN9077
    yellow and  white daffodils, DSCN9085
    blue  lobelias,
    and pink magnolia trees image
    brightened the pre-Easter days.
    Catching up with a life long friend, Fran. as we sipped wine exchanging family stories, DSCN9086
    and browsed Sidney nurseries for additions to her yard.image
    The Saturday outdoor family wedding at a small  winery image was blessed with clear sunny skies DSCN9090and image
    gathering of cousins,
    friends and family
    from elderly aunts to preschoolers and month old babies.
    Whether a walk on the beach or cool winds on the Tsawassen ferry
    through the Gulf Islandsimage refreshed me and reminded me of too short a planned trip. DSCN9143
    A trip on an unseen curb heading into the Telus Science Museum ( it was that yellow curb ) on April first ( my April Fools )imagebraced by my left hand resulted in the broken wrist with an ER visit, out patient clinic and day surgery in Vancouver over the next few weeks.Toting a soft cast, sling and under the watchful eye of my daughter Amelia, with her nursing background. I developed the skills of operating one handedly.
    Exploring  Vancouver's Stanley Park,image
    the Aquarium imageand gardens at UBC allowed me to take many photos.
    Shared times with my daughter and her husband and dog Ilala, a two year old Rhodesian Ridgeback who liked to share a " spot in the afternoon sun."image
    which might not have occurred otherwise included neighbourhood dog.walks,
    stops at small coffee shops,
    a few micro breweriesDSCN9162image and drives up to Whistler and Squamish where they are relocating.
    But it's not also without regrets that it will be awhile before I will  be able to cycle or garden again soon. Worried about my newly planted seedlings left behind in Edmonton, my pets at the house and return date to work.
    All questions to be left until the end of this journey!
    BTW..this is my Edmonton backyard perennial bed just completed in last few days....DSCN9170

December 24, 2014

  • Christmas Greetings...from my household to yours!



    As we approach the celebration for Christians of the birth of the Christ Child, I am reminded of this Advent thought:

    In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1: 4,5 




    No matter your faith background,imgres may we work together in global, national and personal realms,towards peace and NOT let the darkness  overcome it! images

    Thus on this December 24, 2014 DSCN8598

    Wishing all my friends here a Blessed Christmas Eve...


    "'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
    not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"  


    .....except perhaps DSCN8693

    except my new cat Shiloh who is exploring the Christmas tree..



    Or my grand niece, Evie, DSCN8663who was born on December 8, and here is 6 days old!



October 25, 2014

  • GLEANING THE FIELDS by Maureen Elhatton

    Due to work I was not able to get out this year but am reposting an article and photos by another OFRE member who did....

    The term gleaning refers to the gathering of leftover produce from farmers’ fields. IMG_0339-1In the late 1800’s this was an essential part of the harvest for farm workers who relied on it for their winter food.

    The practice in Edmonton has been revived by Operation Fruit Rescue (OFRE) as a way to fight hunger locally and save produce that would be tilled under. IMG_0331

    Riverbend Gardens grows a lot of produce to supply local markets but there comes a time when there is just too much and gleaning can prevent food wastage and support local charities.

    As a member of OFRE I was invited to glean the fields at Riverbend Gardens in North Edmonton. IMG_0364

    On a sunny October day, I found myself looking at huge field of cabbage surrounded by more varieties of vegetables than I had ever seen.  The basketball size cabbage heads had grown just too large on the rich soil down by the North Saskatchewan River. Some cabbage heads were split but with a little trimming would be perfectly usable.  Consumers today are very fussy and want their produce a certain size and shape.  After a demo on the use of cabbage knives off we went to the cabbage patch. The process for harvesting cabbage involves tipping the plant over to expose the base, slicing away from you with the wickedly sharp cabbage knives, lifting the cabbage head and cleaning the excess leaves from the head. Another gleaner deposits the heads in large plastic bags. Once full, the bags will weigh 50-75 lb. Another team member takes the bags to the road side collecting area. This process is repeated many, many times.

    Our next stop was in the potato fields IMG_0314where we had help in the form of a tractor that dug and spun the potatoes out to the top of the row. Our work involved picking potatoes in 5 gallon pails which were then transferred to the infamous large plastic bags then taken to a collecting area. The expression " Many hands make light work! " certainly applies to a gleaning.  IMG_0320There were families young and old helping out. A real sense of comradery developed, new friends were made and old acquaintances were renewed and childrenIMG_0317 were trying out new vegetable picking skills.

    Our last field to harvest was the carrot patch.IMG_0346The rows went to the horizon and there was no helpful machine, it was all digging fork and hand separating. Again we worked in teams. One person would take the tops off the carrots still in the ground, the next person would loosen the soil and dig the carrots up, IMG_0351 and the next group would loosen the soil from the carrots and bag them again in the large plastic bags. This time we filled the bags half full and another person would take them to the collecting area.
    At the end of the day the Salvation Army truck was piled high with local produce. IMG_0357The gleaners also got to share in the harvest and were talking about what they would make with their veggies. IMG_0325As we walked to our cars plans for making sauerkraut, cabbage rolls and even kimchee were discussed. Recipes were shared as we helped each other lift our share of potatoes, cabbage and carrots into our cars.

    Calls of " See you again!" reverberated in the now empty fields.

    I would like to thank, Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton http://operationfruitrescue.org/ 1001525_655123437867158_74843239_n

    and Riverbend Gardens.... http://www.riverbendgardens.ca/IMG_0312


October 12, 2014

  • The trees are golden!



    Toting the camera caught some moments from my day,.DSCN8338.. biking to and from work in colourful autumn weather.


    About a 30 minute ride have especially enjoyed these last few weeksDSCN8342


    as they will not last much longer.DSCN8346


    Here is a view of downtown Edmonton from across the North Saaskatchewan River.DSCN8337


September 15, 2014

  • Finger in too many pies...


    This past weekend found myself saying  " I have my finger in too many pies..' an expression meaning to have too many projects on the go or multi-tasking but did remind me it is pie making season.

    Thus I share some previously given favourite recipes...

    Granny's “No Fail” Pastry

    Put one egg, 3T lemon juice and enough water to make one cup...mix and set aside in fridge. Sift together 1/2 t. baking soda, 5 cups flour, 2T sugar, 2 t. salt. slowly add 1 lb. of Tender Leaf lard, cutting into a consistency of oatmeal.  Add egg mixture, mix lightly, form into a ball.  Chill and use as needed. Makes 3 double pie crusts and extra dough can be frozen.


    Apple season has begun!

    Apple season has begun!


    Classic Apple Pie


    Prep Time: 10 Minutes             Cook Time: 50 Minutes             Total Time: 60 Minutes


    * 6 Jonathan or Macintosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced

    * 3/4 cup sugar

    * 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    * 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

    * 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour

    * 2 ready-made pie crusts

    * 1-1/2 Tbsps. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


    Preheat oven to temperature 450°F. Combine apples, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and flour in a mixing bowl. Toss to coat apples. Place one pie crust in the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Gently arrange dough in pan, pressing lightly along the sides so that 1 inch hangs over edge of pan. Fill with apples and dot with butter. Cut a 3 inch slit in center of remaining pie crust and center on top of pie. Pinch overhanging dough together, roll under and crimp with thumb and forefinger to seal dough around the edge. Place pie on a pie ring or small baking sheet to catch dripping juices. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to temperature 400°F. Bake 40 minutes longer or until filling is bubbly. Let cool before serving.

    (Serves 8)

June 27, 2014

  • Moving on into summer...

    Did you know that Edmonton is a zone 3A gardening zone with an average of 140 frost free days a year between May long weekend and September labour day weekend and in June we have up to 17 hours of sunlight being a northern Canadian city?

    Personally spending as much time outdoors as possible as per my favourite plaque! DSCN6876

    Potted pansies add colour to my deck for a morning coffee.  DSCN7678 - Version 2The kitten is over three months enjoying his spots as well. DSCN7699

    Alberta wild rose bush from my back yard Alberta's official flower.DSCN7698

May 24, 2014

  • Spring has sprung FINALLY in Alberta

    Yesterday for the first time in the season rode my bike to my work at one of the local hospitals. Winding through neighbourhoods, the new green and scented blossoms…DSCN7569


    My wish to readers is to Enjoy these spring days and take some time to inhale the scents...


    What I love about these days is that they are as long as those in August…still light at 9:30 PM!


    DSCN7575 This past month has been much time spent on yard preparation. including late night finishing of projects like this little bed near the front gate. DSCN7574

    North facing and not a lot of sun, decided to add some color.DSCN7576


    A couple passing by said small but beautiful! DSCN7573


    Do try a create small corners as this one here in the back yard  for a morning coffee. DSCN7570



    As well love  DSCN7572 the colours of the tulips!  DSCN7571

May 11, 2014

  • Dog and kitten dance...Happy Mother's Day!

    The only parenting I am doing these days is the introduction of a new kitten into the household! Shiloh, born on March 9 is now about 9 weeks with the typical activity of a young curious animal..DSCN7518.in fact even trying to type as he is near the keyboard! Nanuq is a husky lab cross femaie who lost her friend, Dysis, my other husky last january. So there have been many adjustments!

    Tacitly ignoring the kitten at first and  Nanuq wanting more affection from me, they now are interacting more1!

    BUT The Nanuq  dog and Shiloh  kitten dance continues..

    Through the study door..

    Through the study door..


    Just a cautious sniff!

    Just a cautious sniff!


    Abit closer!

    Abit closer!


    Still figuring it out!

    Still figuring it out!


    Safety in my cat condo!

    Safety in my cat condo!

      and then the dog retreats to a spot as I garden! 

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow? Apparently with a dog in the middle!

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow? Apparently with a dog in the middle!

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About me...

An Albertan & Canadian, definitely a northern gal. Social worker by profession, this blog has included some of my work over 10 years in Nunavut from 2002 on. Passionate about slowing down & taking time to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors or kindness in relationships as gifts & blessings; injustices against children in situations beyond their control; my faith; Nature, experiencing the outdoors whether cycling, walking. x-c skiing or gardening, my dogs, capturing on film God's beauty, experiencing life intensely & with the senses, richness of late afternoon light, wind in my hair cycling with my dog on a beach road, couching inches from an arctic flower or alpine lichen to capture it with my camera, insight of a student's new learning, a good conversation over a coffee.

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