Monday, May 4, 2015

Jean Glennie née Nickerson ❥ Mother

❥ 

That's Jean, my mom—rarely without a child in her arms, as befits a mother of seven. She died when I was in my early 30s. Baby in the middle photo… me, scowling, as usual. (Or howling, and her response would be to fix yet another bottle of evaporated milk sweetened with corn syrup.)  I remember being sent to the kitchen to mix up batches of the same… elixer? poison? for my younger siblings. I probably would have been 8 or 9, handmaiden to my mom. One of my favorite surprises for her with was a late-night kitchen floor scrub. She'd come down in the morning and smile her thanks.
We all teased her when her sister sent her copies of the small town newspaper from her home town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. "Oh, Mom, look—Mrs. Tisdale hosted ladies' lunch!" She'd sit there on her little kitchen stool with her instant coffee—so strong it was verging on sludge, cigarette in hand. Silent but listening, watching.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Packing and baking

If there is a honeymoon-phase with packing— I'm still in it.  Assembling boxes, wrapping things in fresh crinkly paper, sticky labels… what's not to like?
The other nice thing about moving is a bit of getting-rid-of… and I will be getting rid of all gluten-free related nonsense from my baking cupboard. Goodbye, xanthan gum, sorghum and coconut flours, I've no room in my life for cookies that taste like cardboard. I figure that if you bake only every now and then, you're allowed to use whatever damn ingredients you want.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring things…

…blooming in the cottage garden this week. Those sweet little bell-shaped blooms are Enkianthus, and the bottom pic needs no caption, you can almost smell them from there.
And beautiful rhubarb… some people call it pie plant. ♥ I have many recipe cards printed in meticulous tiny handwriting for rhubarb/pineapple this and that… my Aunt Rita had a thing for rhubarb.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Apropos of nothing Vancouver Island style

Just what today looked like. Bluebells in the meadow on the airport lands at Pat Bay. Dusk. Barnacles and oysters. You know, the usual.
And, oh internet… I remember when you were born. I remember how I recoiled at how unattractive the yahoo interface was, and how great google's was. And I remember my delight at discovering commercial-free internet radio. Introducing me to new music, music like this. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Elizabeth

Happily wandering a field-tree nursery last week; and was stopped in my tracks by the vision of an allée of magnolias. The variety Elizabeth is a particularly beautiful creamy yellow. The urge to buy one is tempered, though, by reading Fine Gardening's list of woeful pests and diseases that afflict these beautiful trees.
Problems:  Bacterial leaf spot, spot anthracnose, canker, dieback, butt rot, powdery mildew, anthracnose, fungal spots, weevils, snails, scale insects, thrips, planthoppers.
Yikes. 


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Firsts and last

It occurs to me that even though this garden we just bought (which also came with buildings)…is a harbinger of firsts and lasts. 
First garden with mature roses. First garden with rivers of anemones. Pulsatillas. Birch trees. Fritillaria.
And, after gardening at five previous homes; I know, that, at 60 years of age—this will probably be my last labour-intensive garden. It's stewardship, really. I'm taking it on and working it forward for whomever comes next. I just hope they like anemones.






Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Contrasts

It's been a week of strong contrasts: crazy clouds, lamp-black shadows, bright light.
The new place has an established spring garden: the likes of which I've never gardened before. As a young member at Horticultural Society meetings in Victoria, I was always a tad envious of the white haired veterans and their lush, mature gardens… so densely planted that in order to make room, they would regularly spade up chunks of plants to share. I guess that'll be me now.