Monthly Archives: October 2009

The View from Here

Today, I would like to introduce you to Window Tree.

Window Tree is a largish Norway Maple in our neighbour’s front yard, which conveniently leans in front of our house thus providing a lovely leafy vista through our front windows.

Over the winter, we see a silvery-skinned skeleton, outlined in dramatic silhouette against the clear cold blue sky.

In the spring, Window Tree gradually unfolds its newborn leaves, reassuring evidence every day that winter is indeed over and the world around me is indeed coming back to life after long hibernation.

Over the summer months, it’s draped in a lush leafy cloak, filtering the hot sunlight and bestowing a calming green glow on the workroom and living room.

When fall rolls around, we’re treated to this:
WTUp from the workroom window
WTDown and downstairs.

Over the next week or two the golden yellows will deepen to reds and orangey browns, and the leaves will be shed from top down, eventually revealing the winter version of Window Tree once again.

So much of our daily lives has become independent of the seasons. Many people work the same hours all year, often doing the same job in the same locations. We can get any food in any month (though we do have to pay a premium for cherries in January and they probably won’t be very good) and travel with little restriction. For those of us who don’t put much into observances of holidays or other special occasions, it sometimes feels as though one day is much like the next, with very little of note to differentiate one month from another. (The intense commercialism surrounding otherwise enjoyable festivities only serves to accentuate this effect in my mind, by making me want to actively avoid many things associated with them.)

But for me, Window Tree is a marker. An indefatigable indicator that the natural world is moving inexorably through its stages. That no matter how how flattened our days become, the trees and birds and flowers and bugs will continue to follow the rhythms of nature and distinguish the seasons.

I just can’t believe that there are people out there that don’t see how important these parts of our world are, and are willing to sacrifice it’s integrity in massive, irreversible ways, solely for their personal comfort and financial profit.

Oh yeah, that reminds me; we need a new, conscientious government, with real, compelling leadership. Anyone got a Canadobama hiding up their sleeves?

Sigh. Oh well, at least I have a big tree to look at.


Fall

I know, stating the bloody obvious.
Nonetheless…

I cleaned up the community garden plot on the weekend, so now it looks like this:
End of season
That’s a little patch of garlic at the end under the straw. It should sprout up in the spring and deliver one head for each of 8 buried cloves next August or so. And just so I don’t get impatient, I should even get scapes in June to satisfy the fresh garlic need.

That little bit of remaining green at the other end is the sage, which should die down and rest over the winter, but come back as a nice little bush next year.

I’ve been making some headway on the knitting front, but this is the only picture I have so far:
Spirogyra

Being a gift, I won’t go into details yet, but it’s pretty fun knitting and nearly done now.

I’ve been spending the rest of my time finding maternity clothes at thrift stores and trying to wrap my head around the inevitability of the whole deal. But apparently I’m glowing, so I suppose it’s all OK.


Conservatoriness

Yesterday, after the ultrasound, between hot lemonade at Jet Fuel and Departures at the Carlton cinema (great movie, BTW; a bit of a tear-jerker, but in a genuine rather than manipulative Hollywood way, and quite moving and charming), I stopped in at Allan Gardens Conservatory to kill a few minutes and enjoy the plant life. I hadn’t been there but once, and that about 15 years ago, and was quite pleasantly surprised by the experience.

It’s in a kind of crappy spot, in the middle of what was a century ago a lovely park in a classy neighbourhood, now frequented by individuals unfettered by the chains of middle class lifestyle conventions. Although it’s got a nice off-leash doggie run too. But the conservatory itself is great, and even though absolutely free and open to the public had only a few people wandering around or sitting chatting, none of them apparently of the above genre.

Here are some of the things I saw (oh, and go easy on the shoddy photography – it was a spontaneous visit with only the cell phone camera so little accounting for things like focus and exposure).

First, there’s an entire wing filled with all kinds of chrysanthemums, and others scattered in other spots too. I don’t care what people say about mums (the basic ones are certainly ubiquitous on porches around here come October); I love them. And they do come in all sorts of lovely forms:
Pink Mums with Digit
Spider Mums
Snowball Mum

Then there’s the tropical/jungly wing (somewhat cool for the tropics, but pleasant when it’s only 7ยบ C outside). Mmmm… swampy:
Swampy

I missed getting pictures of the orchids in the epiphyte house, since they were in their own little glass-partitioned room. Don’t want people stealing them, maybe?
Speaking of stealing, I scavenged a couple of fallen leaves from some nifty jade plants in the succulent house, where I also so these beauties:
This agave: Agave
These round cacti which sport a nice combination of fuzzy and spiky:Fuzzy/Spikey
This wobbly cactus with curious floral (ahem) appendage: appendage cactus
And this is a particularly crappy picture, but I had to share it nonetheless because I was completely charmed by the cactus with polka dots (!!):Blurry Polka Dot Cactus
I mean really, it’s covered in little round dots of tiny bristles. Like Roy Lichtenstein in the desert.

I’ll definitely try to go back whenever I’m in the area (which of course is practically never) and have a half hour or so free (which is shamefully frequently).

Oh, and since I know you’re wondering; no, we didn’t get a printout from the ultrasound. I mean, they all look the same at this point anyways and I’d rather wait until it’s all pink and touchable to take a gazillion pictures.


It should be sinful

pl1PLUSpl2PLUScubesPLUSmmmmm, cheesePLUSyeasty goodness
EQUALS
Potato Leek Soup Delight!

Yup, good ole potato leek soup. Easy, fast, cheap and oh-so-tasty. Not quite steamed broccoli and broiled chicken breast in the nutrition department, but not bad. Add some chunks of white fish near the end for more protein and you’ve got a chowder! And hey, you could probably even add some broccoli without ruining it, if you’re going to be that way…


i can has fungus?

This afternoon saw the launching of Phase I of Operation Winter Deck Preparation.

Alternatively known as Ripping up Soggy Dead Plants and Trying to Tidy up all the Loose Soil and Decaying Botanical Bits. So now my deck looks like this:
Deck Winter Prep I

As you can see, I still have to take care of the tomato & tomatillo plants. And the yucca needs to be repotted (looks like an Expotition to Canadian Tire will be required to find a decent inexpensive lightweight pot as Fiesta Gardens only has the fancy-schmancy sort). But that’ll pretty much take care of it. It’s so satisfying getting the deck all tidied up at the end of the season. (Of course what you can’t see in that picture is the corner containing the bag of dead stuff and the pile of detritus that’s accumulated since last fall… I’ll get to it, I swear.)

It’s also fun bringing in the houseplants, especially since it leads to cute photo ops like this one:
Licorice & Jade - together again.

And I had a charming little surprise while moving things about, some evidence of just how wet this year has been (excepting the 20-day dry spell we had in September). My very own little fungus!
George?
Isn’t it darling? Here, a close up:
Flashy Fungus

Not being any kind of expert on fungi, I have no idea what sort it is, and I quickly realized that googling “common fungus” results in too many pictures that I just don’t want to see this close to dinner time. Or ever, really. (Interestingly, adding “wood” to the search eliminated all the anatomicals, but brought up quite a variety of recipes!)

This weekend I’ll be tackling the community garden plot, which will mostly mean harvesting (and then freezing in nice meal-sized batches) the remaining plentiful kale, planting some garlic bulbs, and I suppose ripping out the lovely little alyssum flowers. I will try to provide pictures of the carnage, cause I know that’s what sells on the internets.


Knitterlings

The chill of fall has slunk in upon us like a damp sheep, the scent of woodsmoke wafts teasingly through the air, and I find myself frequently awake in the wee hours with nothing to do: it must be time for holiday knitting!

To that effect, I have rounded up a nice little stashling of wool and other fibres. Witness:
What will it be???

What’s that you say? Plastic in the way? Yes yes, I know. One does prefer to see a sumptuous pile of yarn in its bare-bunned beauty, but I was too impatient to sort it into tidily Ziploc-ed projects, forgetting to take the yarn pron picture first, and I sure as heck wasn’t gonna desort it all just for that. So we’ll all just have to wait until it’s assembled into lovely mitts and hats and scarves and other mysterious objets de tricotage.

Then, my pretties, then we’ll see the full glory of the Misti Merino and Drops Alpaca and Noro Silk Garden Chunky Oh My!!

Assuming of course that my wrists aren’t too shot by then to hold the camera upright. But that’s what the Xena cuffs are for…