Thursday, June 21, 2012


So, I was on the phone the other day and was quite rudely interrupted by the sudden appearance of new growth in the garden.

As I spoke, I was looking out my bedroom window towards my favourite view of the front garden.

 "Scapes!  I think I have scapes!  I've gotta go!"  I was pretty excited, although my friend didn't even know what a scape was. 

One of the reasons I grew garlic last year was for the scape harvest.  But the scapes never came.  I'd been reading about the heads that garlic produce and seen recipes for using them.  I really wanted to try them, but they didn't appear last year.  I love the idea of eating from the garlic plants before harvesting the bulbs. 

Unfortunately, there were no scapes the other day.  What I had noticed were seed heads developing on my shallots, the ones I planted and forgot to harvest last year.  Humph.  Disappointing, but I snapped them off and added them to our supper. 

But today I really did find scapes!  On my garlic just where they belong and tasting exactly as I expected them to taste. 

They are firm and smooth and tasty and delicious.  I chopped one into our potato salad and nibbled on another one.  Mmmm, garlic-y.

The other thing I noticed being produced was the awesome smell of peonies.  

I may like the smell of peonies even better than lilacs.  I planted a little peony corner this year to increase the lovely smell, but like the garlic, I may to wait a couple of years before I see any results.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I woke at 4:30 this morning to the sound of a rooster crowing.  Not loudly.  I don't think neighbours hear it yet.  It reminds me of how a mother can hear her baby cry earlier than anyone else.

I hope.

In any case, I think we have to take some action right away.  This is is surprisingly soon because I thought we'd get to enjoy them for 4 months before the crowing would start. 


This is Sukie, who is definitely crowing.  S/he's beautiful and small, so I'd like to make an appeal to my country friend.  Are you interested in a rooster?  He's' a mixed breed, but looks predominantly like his Lakenvelder side.  Not much for the stewpot, no value in terms of eggs, but pretty to look at and maybe to breed.  Any takers?  I do have to act in the next few days.  I still have the option to sequester him in the garage coop to muffle the sound a bit. 

Laura cries quietly everytime she hears him crow because he's her favourite. 

Sukie and Calendula

In contrast to Sukie, this is him with Calendula, his sibling.  I'm hoping that the smaller comb means we'll see eggs instead of crowing. 

But then again, here's Calendula with another sibling, showing more of the Amauracana lineage. The white Laurelai is a more definite keeper.  She has hardly any comb right now. 

Calendula and Laurelai

The black guy (below) is the real reason I woke up this morning.  Crow (named because we rightly suspected very early on) is an Amauracana chicken and big enough to eat.  I suspect we'll be doing that this week.

Crow and Velvet

With him is his sister, Velvet.  She's actually my favourite in terms of colouring.  She looks like an eagle and a definite keeper.


Donald is also an Amauracana, although not purebred.  I'm expecting a crow out of him/her soon too because s/he's got a pretty developed comb and wattle, especially compared to Velvet.

Donald (or Donalda)

And this is Spitzy.  We have no idea what's hiding under that mop of feathers, but there's no wattle to speak of yet.  Hopefully that means s/he's an egg layer. 


On the whole, that looks like the odds were against us.  7 chickens and maybe only three hens.  We knew the risks with getting non-sexed chicks though and thought that the heritage breeds were worth it.  We'll have to introduce some ready-layers later in the summer to make up the 5-6 we'd like to have. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I talked to my mom last week.  Apparently her phone calls to friends often contain a lot of "knibbles" and she was grateful that ours was not.  I'm not sure if that's a Dutch word, a slang Dutch word or a terribly spelt English version of a slang Dutch word, but I knew what it meant by the way she said it.  Complaints about aches and pains and life's troubles. 

Well, I didn't have any knibbles that day.  Now I do and you're about to hear about them.

4 days until our Easter Seals walk in Rundle Park.  It's not a terribly long walk, 2 hours of walking at whatever speed you normally do.  We walk instead of run, and this year I might be shuffling.  I don't know what I did to myself, but I'm feeling like this.

Whatever your normal is...

It's been three days of back pain so far and I'd better get over it fast because I can't imagine carrying a tent and sleeping bags around the park.  And I really can't imagine being of any help whatsoever setting it all up. 

And all of the lovely rain we've had makes the garden grow as I watch.  And the weeds too, but I can't lean over to pull them up.  Poo. 

I guess I should be thankful that I haven't had this problem for a year and a half.  It's just so dang  hard to be thankful when I can't sleep properly, can't sit without pain, or walk upright or pick things up off the floor.  Swimming yesterday was the only comfort I've had since Saturday night.  I've been watching a lot of House this year and I can totally relate to some of his behaviour brought on by pain.  I'll try to beware and not become a permanent grump!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tears of a Mother

Being a mother can be very emotional and it's tiring. 

On Friday I had two events to attend. The first was a track meet that Beth was running in. She's been training for the last month to run the 400 m, before and after school three times a week.  She has loved the practices in a way that I can't imagine.  Just imagining myself run makes my knees twist.  And I must say, Beth has never been all that graceful when she runs.  I used to watch her during recess through my kitchen window and her long flailing limbs did not look like they had a future in track.

However, with training and growth, she's awesome!  All the flailing is gone, and been replaced with strength and coordination.

I had to drive half an hour for an event that lasted 1 minute and 16 seconds, but it was worth it.  It was so exciting and seeing her with her new friends, all supporting each other with encouragement and practice, made me get all tear-y.  

She came in 2nd, and then replaced a sick member of the relay team, getting a 2nd there as well.  This week she goes to the city track meet for Catholic schools.

Other people's kids had me crying too.  One boy in a button-down shirt and jean shorts, totally unprepared and untrained (and un-entered in the event), was fooling around in the triple-jump pits and I think would have easily placed if he'd actually been entered.  The schools had varying degrees of coaching available and I cried while watching a girl continuously stumble over the triple-jump steps just minutes before the event started.  She looked so sad and didn't have the supportive friends that Beth had, but she didn't give up.  I just kept praying that she'd make herself proud in the final moments.  She didn't. 

After Beth's events were done, I rushed to Laura's DARE graduation.  DARE is an educational program put on by the police service to teach grade 6 kids about drug and alcohol abuse and how to make wise choices.

Laura's friend Ella (who has been part of our household for 7 years now) read her essay on drugs and alcohol, pledging to steer clear of all of it and shared her strategies for decisions.  She was totally afraid to read her well-written essay, but did it beautifully.  More tears for me. 

I'm not sure why Alice rarely causes tears for me.  I try not to treat her as the "baby", but there's just something about her character, even when she makes me proud, that makes me smile instead of tear up. 

Her piano recital (including this duet with Beth) was just joyful.  No tears required.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Besides gardening, spring brings other things to our lives.

Today it brings a very welcome light rain. After all of the gardening, I'm more than happy to be indoors today with my sewing machine. One day I'll deplete my stash by making clothing for myself, but not today. Alice has gotten 5 orders for crayon rolls from girls in her class. If they were close friends I'd do it for free, but I don't really know these girls and it does take a bit of time to sew.

Spring also makes Grade 6'ers act older.  Like they are done with elementary school and ready to move on.  Laura is showing some independence lately. Last week, she and her best friend wanted to go the zoo. Not necessarily without me, but somehow I didn't feel exactly wanted. I dropped them off with their cameras, snacks and books (to read in the sun and hang out), and they had a great time.

Today she is spending a day shadowing another Grade 6 girl in the french immersion school she will attend next year. Although shy and worried, I'm hoping she'll meet some friends and gain a bit of confidence so that she won't worry over the summer about the change. It certainly helps that Beth loves it there and is doing so well.

My kids amaze me with their ability to deal with public speaking and performance. Beth was chosen earlier in the year as one of three out of 70 kids to represent her school grade at a French Oral Gala for Edmonton's Catholic Schools and did just great. She'd never really spoken French before September, yet her pronounciation was selected as being among the best. She wasn't nervous in front of hundreds of people and did really well. I may have said this before, and it's okay to show a bit of pride, but I'm just so surprised how quickly she's caught on, how the new language hasn't really set her grades back, how it all seems so natural and easy to Beth.

This weekend both Alice and Beth had their piano recitals and looked like they actually had fun. When I was a kid (and still now) getting up in front of others to play or speak freaked me out. I'm so glad they don't have that fear. When Youtube finally loads the short clip, you can hear them play a short duet together.

We also went to another funeral this weekend. Yvon's aunts and uncles, although showing longevity, are getting older for sure and the funerals are getting more frequent. This time it was a favourite aunt and we were able to spend time with his sister from the coast and sister-in-law as well. Funerals aren't all about sadness. It was good to see them.

I think I have to go for a short walk before the rain stops totally and it still smells fresh and lilac-y out there.