Monday, June 29, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow? (Edited)

As you can tell, I just read The Secret Garden. I have still yet to find out if the Nursery Rhyme was written before the book or if the book inspired the Nursery rhyme.

Mistress Mary
Quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells and
Pretty maids all in a row.
Like many nursery rhymes, it has acquired various historical explanations. These include:
That it is a religious allegory of Catholicism, with bells representing the sanctus bells, the cockleshells the badges of the pilgrims to the shrine of
Saint James in Spain (Santiago de Compostela) and pretty maids are nuns, but even within this strand of thought there are differences of opinion as to whether it is lament for the reinstatement of Catholicism or for its persecution.[1]
Another theory sees the rhyme as connected to Mary I of Scotland, with "how does your garden grow" referring to her reign over her realm, "silver bells" referring to (Catholic) cathedral bells, "cockle shells" insinuating that her husband was not faithful to her, and "pretty maids all in a row" referring to her ladies-in-waiting - "The four Maries".[1]

My garden has been growing well. Finally. More pictures to follow.
The flowers are blooming. The vegetables are getting taller by the day.

And today, oh joy, the first Morning Glory bloomed.

Moon flowers are sure to follow soon.

But to me, summer is not summer until I smell the fragrance of Stock, evening scented and otherwise, wafting on the evening breeze.
Ah, sweet summer.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Of Gardens and Secret Things

I just finished reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Although this book was written for children it is decidedly not only for children to read.
I loved this book. The images were so captivating. You could almost feel the garden come to life as the words spilled out over the pages.

I want to share with you a few excerpts that I found very profound.

"Give her simple, healthy food. Let her run wild in the garden. Don't look after her too much. She needs liberty and fresh air and romping about." This is what makes a child happy and healthy.

And my favorite:

"One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one's head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes on cry out and one's heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun- which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and a gain something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes on sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someones eyes."

And lastly, although I am not a believer in Christianity, I do believe in Spirit. In something greater than us. Something that lives and breathes and is in all things. When the children in the book saw the Magic that was in and around the garden all they could do was sing this song:

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below,

Praise Him above ye Heavenly Host,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen."

And THAT is just exactly how I feel.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I love Yoga. I have been practicing yoga for 8 years now. I taught yoga for 3 years. I knew from the very first class I took that this was something special.

I was drawn to both the physical and spiritual aspects of it right from the start. Something just clicked from that very first class. It just made sense. As I pursued the study of yoga and then on to my teacher training I learned more and more about this ancient form of mind/body/spirit union and I was hooked.

I began an intense home practice. Rodney Yee was my guru. I learned the most minute adjustments that made a huge difference in asana. I felt healthy, happy and dare I say... free.
I looked forward to the time each day that the house was empty and I would roll out my mat.
It was difficult as I was learning new poses. It was sweaty as I ventured into vinyasa. It was liberating and so peaceful when I started out with meditation.
I was more ME then than I ever was.

So why, then, is it that every day I say to myself "Go get your mat and practice" and then seldom do.
Why is it that every time I do follow through I feel wonderful. Light, uplifted, flexible and more in tune with Spirit. And then it is days, even weeks before I unroll it again.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Favorite Things

As I mentioned on a previous post, I want to show you some of my favorite earth friendly products. There are many more but these you just have to try.

All natural soaps. Different herbal infusions for different needs. We have some eczema around here so these are nice.

Now speaking of eczema, this Body Butter by Rocky Mountain Soap Factory is fantastic. I mean it. The foot butter is great too. No greasy bed sheets at night with this stuff.

Miessence Ancient Spice Deodorant. Yeah, no more chemicals. Nice smell.
Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Body Wash. Athena and I both use this. So mild and sweet smelling.
The Body Souffle and Milk and Honey moisturizer are both handmade. One from Etsy and one right outside of Saskatoon.
Last, natural progesterone cream from EBay. Nice for women "of a certain age". Can't get this in Canada.Burt's Bee's again. Love their products. The sunscreen has only 15SPF but it is good for early spring or later summer.
MiEnviron bug spray. Works well. Can be used on the littlest toddler too. No chemicals only essential oils. Not sticky either.Valerian. Sweet Valerian. All natural non habit forming sleep aid.

Coffee. Mmm. I just recently began drinking coffee again after a 6 year hiatus. This is so good. The beans smell so great and are shiny and oily. The coffee is superb.

Pink Solution. Cleans EVERYTHING. So mild to skin. No odor. Thanks Jen.

Last but not least, Ecos Laundry Product. 210 HE loads for $15 . Works well, nice fresh light scent. Again, great for sensitive skin.

I would endorse any of the above products and encourage you to try them if you are seeking natural alternatives to every day products.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Keith Urban

Here is a little funny interchange for your friday pleasure.

Athena: When I grow up, I am going to marry Keith Urban.

Mommy: You can't marry Keith Urban. He is already married.

Athena: Then I am going to marry a farmer.

Mommy: Well, we live in Delisle so you will meet a lot of farmers.

Athena: And you can come an visit me. I will have chickens and cows and pigs and goats and little lambs.

Mommy: Oh, that will be nice.

Athena: But... I am NOT going to cook them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


When Paul is out of town, as he often is, supper is pretty casual around here.

Last night this was our dinner.

Yum! Toasted tomato sandwich with bacon. Grilled perfection.

Day in the Kitchen

Whew! What a day. Productive too.
We went from this:

To this:

And this:

And to add just a bit more work, I also did this:

Excellent outcome!
Athena added "I feel almost like a grown up when I do things like this."

She helped adding ingredients. She kneaded dough, rolled pie crusts.
She was pleased with the results too.
Her little jammy smile told the story well.
Fresh buns are awesome with butter and crab apple jelly.

PS I don't like unsalted butter.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


If you don't know me well, you may not know that I am a "green" person. I even vote for political parties that have the "greenest" campaign. I use reusable shopping bags, cloth napkins (thanks Jen), earth friendly body and cleaning products. I reduce, reuse, recycle.

There are, however, some eco-friendly things that I DO NOT LIKE. Not one bit. The list may surprise you.

#1 I do not like low flow shower heads. In fact we have a booster pump on our water system

because the teeny tiny town we live in doesn't give us the pressure we need.

#2 I do not like my front load High Efficiency washing machine. Yes it uses one third less water,

but I don't think it gets my clothes as clean as my old machine. No, it decidedly does not.

#3 I do not like the new 'low flow' toilets. The water doesn't swirl around and rinse the bowl

and one ends up peeing right on the porcelain. True.

#4 I don't really even like recycling, but I do it anyway. I don't like peeling the label off of the

canned tomatoes, rinsing, flattening, sorting and most of all going to the recycle depot.

I do really like my new windows(no cracks or steam and I can see right outside). I like my High Efficiency furnace with the humidifier. I like burning wood for heat in the winter and in the spring and fall too. I like my garburator (food waste disposal for you American readers), although the jury is still out on whether that is good or not. Last but not least I love my eco friendly cleaning, laundry and body products. In fact, that is an idea for another post.

So there you have it. The secret is out. Miss nature loving, outdoorsy, back to basics, "green" girl confesses. Now I think I'll go sort the recycle.

The Gift

Over the years Paul has given me some wonderful gifts. The ones that stand out to me are not what you would think.

I have received jewellery, fancy schmancy kitchen stuff, flowers, chocolates. All the usual suspects.

Some of my best gifts have been binoculars, organic wheat flour, (way back when it wasn't in vogue) a handmade bird house from a second hand shop from far far away and a old farmhouse radio.

This gift he just gave me was right up there with the others. He stopped on his way back from a business trip, dressed in business attire, alongside a farmer's field and collected the necessary ingredients. He came home, assembled it and led me to the front yard to see it. I couldn't be happier with the result.

It turned out just perfect, don't you think?