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Showing posts from February, 2009

Getting it all organized!

So here's what I have left, seed-wise, after giving a few things away at Seedy Saturday today. Not enough, apparently, because the BOX is still bursting with seeds. I love this box! So elegant, so pretty. It's sturdy and actually has a magnetic closure, but good luck getting the thing actually shut with all these packets in it. We got it with the Bais Yaakov shalach manos a couple of years ago (last year?), and I appropriated it for seeds the second it came through the door. I've divided up the seeds into big plastic bags: Perennials, Annuals, Herbs, Tomatoes, Beans and Peas, Leafies, Other Veggies, and one for "Already In 2009" - seeds that have been wintersown or started indoors already. (peas and beans are bulky and I don't even try to fit them in the box - that's the swollen-full baggie off to the left side...) Please! If anybody is reading this and lives in the Toronto area, do not buy seeds without asking me first. I have everything, too

Garden Plan 2009

Too small to see, but here's a shot of my ultra-geeky spreadsheet with the top-secret plans for Square Foot Gardening: 2009! Though I think if you click on the image it may become bigger, and thus, less top-secret. What am I doing for my sister's birthday tomorrow??? Yawn... walked to Seedy Saturday tomorrow. Yes, NOT the most Shabbos-dik thing in the world. But it wasn't the end of the world, either. I had a good time, nice walk in the chilly sunshine. Elisheva came with me and chastised me the whole way back for going in the first place ... she's like a little demon on my shoulder.

So I wonder

I have been speculating inappropriately about the nature of the neighbours' marriage. Can't help it, maybe... or maybe I can but choose not to. He's 80-something, Jewish, Canadian. She's 60-something, Vietnamese, claims to "looooove Jewishpeople" (all one word). She says "Love" in a way I have never heard it said without the words "you longtime." (see, I told you this was all pretty inappropriate) So I wonder and then I think there is almost no way they could have met in the natural course of things. So I wonder if he sent away for her, which is a phrase my father always used - JOKINGLY, please! - when saying he'd made a mistake choosing my mother and would have done better for himself with an obliging mail-order Asian bride. He also occasionally - again, JOKINGLY! - had the endearing habit of referring to my mother as his "first wife." Guess she had the last laugh. So I wonder if they met through some kind of serv

Vote, vote, vote!

We're actually moving up the ranks! Probably because it's such a $#!% to log in and vote at the site, but do it anyway... HERE ! Thank you.

How to dress a wilful toddler

Gosh, that word looks wrong . Shouldn't it have more L's??? Anyway, the truth is, if your toddler is not going to get dressed, oh, well... you have to take over sometimes. But one technique that has been working for me lately is: taking turns. The truth is, some kinds of clothes she's good at, others she isn't yet. So I lay out all the clothes we will need for the day (thank God she hasn't started wanting to actually choose clothes yet!!!), and let her pick something to start with - usually she picks her undershirt, and puts it on pretty quickly. Then I let her pick something that I will put on her. No participation needed, no coaxing her to get involved; I will do it completely by myself. She usually picks the super-hard stuff for me - dresses with buttons, socks. She hates putting on socks, even though to me it seems easy, and she does it well enough. {Actually, Naomi Rivka is a bit strange about getting dressed, in that she hates for any part of hers

Nanny's mother's prayer...

Elisheva's fantasy vacation world

Just a little doodle Elisheva came up with: I love having a daughter this smart and funny and strange. Make that two daughters... I suspect the little one will follow in her footsteps.

Drat, that is NOT all, after all...

Two other "growing" projects tonight in our house:   ~ Sprouting wheat berries for Shabbos to mix into the challah - yum! ~ Sprouting alfalfa in my EasySprout for Shabbos salad   I kind of picture this as some sort of weird NewAge Shabbos ritual.   Y ou are actually supposed to do one thing each day, I think, to prepare for Shabbos.  Wouldn't it be cool if every Jewish family, early in the week, started something sprouting to get it ready for Shabbos?    We'd all be a lot healthier, anyway... without even going overboard-crazy about the health benefits of sprouts.   You know, when I was little, I spent a lot of time wishing, wishing, wishing, that my parents would split up... I would dream about the wonderful quality time I could spend with my mother or my father without the other one in the way.     I always assumed, for some reason, that their personalities would be better separately than apart... I sort of figured they deserved each oth

Envelope-Corner Seeding How-To

This is an extremely short instructional video I created to demonstrate the art of envelope-corner seed sowing. I have a set of seedspoons, which I love (http://www.brianseye.com/spoons/) , but this is super-cheap and easy for seeds so small and wispy that even the spoons can't handle them. I had read about using the corner of a piece of paper, which worked just fine, but this method is almost foolproof, by which I mean even I can do it. I made a video because I had a hard time visualizing the exact process by which the seeds would march out of the envelope corner in an orderly fashion... but sure enough, it works pretty well! These Astilbe (arendsii, mixed colour) seeds look pretty big in the video, but in real life they were just teensy specks, more like chaff than nice rounded seeds. To make an envelope-corner seeder, just cut off the corner of any nice, crisp, new, white envelope. Doesn't matter what size, really. I insist on crisp, new and white because if it

Getting growing...!

So I finally got off my tushie and started some seeds tonight! At left, Portulaca x 10, Red Rubin Basil x 5, Parsley x 10. The portulaca - if you've been reading carefully, you'll see I just ordered some on eBay and then today discovered a packet in the basement bought a few weeks ago in Home Depot (whoops!) - is for my mother, as I said before. She bought some in an annuals flat last year and just enjoyed them so much. They thrived (throve?) around the base of her doomed old oak tree, along with some lamium and a couple of stubborn hostas. And they flowered and flowered despite heat, damp, drought... everything. So I am growing them despite the fact that I really can't stand the way they look. And I can't stand mixed colours, for what that's worth. I hope she's grateful when I surprise her with them! The basil will look nice if it does well, but the packet description does focus mostly on its distinctive look and calls the flavour "muted" or "

Meet the Coleus!

Here they all are! Since I talk about them so bloody often it sounds like an obsession... here are the basic SIX designs of coleus that I am maintining this year - hereinafter referred to as "models": 1) Basic red "pointsettia" model (my 2nd year wintering this one; from Fall 2007 cutting) 2) Lime with red veins model (1st year; from Fall 2008 cutting) - this one's just a baby, a very recent graduate of which I'm quite proud! 3) Orangey-pinky model (2nd year wintering; this one is fussy and doesn't do well in cool temps, ie my basement... but it looks great in the garden!) 4) Ruffley red model (dragon?) (2nd year) - a little showy, even though I hate the word showy! Last year it didn't do well in the cold basement, and I actually lost a few... I guess the hardiest ones survived, because it's having no problem this year. 5) "Basic" pink-cored model - I bought a super-cheap dozen of coleus annuals last summer to fill in gaps in the b

I'm fweeky bwilliant!

Yay! I have the BEST, best idea for shalach manos this year. I decided already that the theme would be "FOREVER SUMMERTIME". Dumb, if you remember that last year's theme was "SPRING AT LAST"... but who's going to remember? Okay, most people will probably remember the poor, doomed sunflowers we left on their doorstep... and maybe the poem as well: "It’s a great time of year to get outside & growing! With raking and hoeing, with seeds we are sowing. This Purim we’ve chosen a “gardening” theme: Spring’s taken so long that it felt like a dream. But soon we’ll see buds and branches and shoots, Soon little veggies will spread out their roots. May your flowers grow strong, may they cling to the soil, Like the Jews cling to Torah in times of turmoil. May your spring grow so bright & so easy and sweet… And may the seeds of redemption soon “grow” complete!" Yes, a little heavy at the end for such a lightweight ditty, but anyway... th

Just the supper

~ Chicken-based Pea soup reheated from last Wednesday's post . Just asked Ted and he says it's less than a week so it's fine. ~ Cabbage Rolls - my mother made and brought these for Shabbos dinner ~ Plain Basmati Rice, for the picky eating crowd ~ Leftover from Shabbos Pumpkin-Barley Risotto* ~ Corn, some leftover some fresh from frozen That should keep starvation away for another day. * I was looking for a grain / side dish for Shabbos and happened on the most wonderful combination! GARLICKY PUMPKIN-BARLEY RISOTTO A bit of white wine... half a tin of pumpkin... (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just plain packed pumpkin!) Turned out moist and flavourful and delicious. More of an inspiration than a recipe, but I hope it will inspire others if I put it out here! Blah. Paid over $2100 today to fix somebody else's car . They must be shellacking it with diamonds while it's in the shop. The repair-shop guy says he'd estimate about 75% of collision repairs are p

I have been avoiding eating there

Because it's not the same, of course, without Daddy. It's not the same and it's not even an acceptable kind of different. But I think it makes my mother happy to open her home, and it makes me happy that my home stays relatively neat for a few hours. So everybody wins. I should have let her reimburse us for supper, but I ummed and whatever about the price because honestly, $30-40 for some slicey meats is a drop in the bucket compared to what I'll need to fix these people's car tomorrow. I am so sad and frightened.

Sunday Supper @ Mommy's

We ate at my mother's house tonight, which I still call "Bubby-Zeidy house" to the kids.   Picked up slicey meats, po salad and coleslaw at Toronto Kosher, Rye Bread and Rugelach at Grodzinski:  SUPPER.   That's it, folks.   Oh, and some reheated chicken soup from Shabbos.

Know what I just realized???

Crashing a car sure beats the bejeepers out of washing a library book in terms of ditziness, confusion and distractedness! Not to mention how bloody much it will end up costing our world. Like my mother quotes quite a lot these days... "I was feeling pretty blue when along came a little bird who sat on my shoulder and told me, 'cheer up, things could always be worse.' So I cheered up - and sure enough, things got worse."

My Moron Reward

To reward my stupidity for hitting the car on Friday, (oh - did I mention our phone was cut off on Thursday night because I was too dumb and put off paying it?) yes... so. To reward my stupidity for getting the phone cut off. And my stupidity for hitting the car on Friday. For not at all deserving the love of the good people who are no longer here to see me mess up my life. And also because today I was a good friend, a decent mother, and paid some bills. And paid back YM for some of the money we swiped from his bank account. And paid back EC for some of the money I swiped from her bank account last week. I splurged and spent $10 U.S. on eBay seeds... having been too dumb to learn my lesson about eBay seed sellers. Anyway, I had a smallish credit for the petunias, so it was about $8 and free shipping because I ordered ten packets. These are their pictures: I am such a sucker for flower pictures now. I promised Elisheva Chaya this hobby would pass quickly, in a year or two... but

I hit a car

We had a lovely time at the ball pool and met up with Charlene and her husband and twinnies there - they're 19 months old already! :-o I also had coffee with friend this morning. Such a nice thing! I picked her up at about 10:15, and then we talked for literally 2 hours. Amazing! But yes, on Friday morning, after dropping Ted at work, I went to Superstore and in the parking lot I have no idea what I was doing, pulling forward to a better parking space, looking literally nowhere, I guess - the world was kind of out of focus and I did hear a distant beep beeping sound. And then my car was in the middle of someone else's car and I was rushing out the door and telling them how sorry I was. Nice older Israeli couple with a brown Buick that I have solemnly vowed to repair on their solemn promise that they'd call me with the estimate without notifying the insurance. I'm dead if it goes to the insurance. Gaah. We have no money to repair our own car, let alone someone

Roundup: Must-have RAVE products o' th' Week!!!

A few items I have discovered in my frequent raids on health-food stores recently... and now can't live without. First up, because Sara started me on a decent-chocolate kick, is the White with Nibs 100g bar from Coco Camino . It's fair trade and goodness knows what else... but it's probably not that good for you. :-) 100% yummy-licious. Though purists would probably have you understand that there really is no such thing as "white" chocolate. Because they take out the chocolate and it's just made with the cocoa butter (from what I understand). Here's the manufacturer's description, which is luscious and accurate enough to make me forgive the lousy tiny picture on their website: "We’ve invented an ice cream that won’t drip all over your shirt! Incredibly creamy white chocolate with delectable cocoa nibs." Anyway, continuing on the "coco" theme... (I'm sure my teeth are full of nibs now from the bits I've consumed wh

Ah, the bitter, bitter ironies...

...Of my distracted life! I found this old library book in Naomi & Gavriel Zev's room so I set it outside the room to remember to bring it out. OK, when I say "outside the room," I didn't want it getting lost and put away on the kiddie bookshelf, so I tossed it in the laundry hamper, knowing I was doing laundry in a few minutes so it would for sure get taken out. Stop me if you've heard this one before, folks. Or if you know where I'm going with this. I had no clue, and was, in fact, feeling pretty proud of myself for finally getting this Chanukah title out the door. ( decent book, by the way! ) Now, normally, when I take the laundry downstairs, I presort it really carefully upstairs and only take down one basketfull at a time, whites or dark colours or brights or whatever, just the load I'm about to do. I don't like having a ton of laundry lurking for me in the basement. But somehow, this week, I have managed to keep the laundry more or less

Hesperis / Phlox "Milkweed" Dilemma - the exciting conclusion!

The amazing things I learn every day! In person, these two flowers look very similar, trust me: Hesperis matronalis - aka Sweet Rocket, Dame's Rocket, etc vs Phlox aka ... umm... Phlox. I guess it gets enough puns about "flocks and flocks" of them without making things worse by giving it a nickname. Anyway, they look nothing alike here, but here's a quick answer to my question from a poster on YouGrowGirl forums : it's not a phlox. there's an easy way to tell: hesperis flowers have four petals (crucifer family) phlox flowers have five petals (polemonia family) So there it is. It's a Hesperis. Kind of anticlimactic, actually...

Or is it...

Hesperis matronalis (aka Dame's Rocket) , as seen here ??? Oh, argh, I'm so confused! Now I'm convinced that it's the Hesperis, because the "tubes" at the centre of phlox are empty, and this site says the Hesperis "tubes" are actually a "mock tube around petal claws." Plus, it's branchier than a phlox. Whatever it is, I like it... hope it comes back this year! If it does, I'll take lots of close-ups and figure out once and for all what it is. I also had no memory of the peony (right rear of the picture, and another one to the left) being so large last year. They kind of shrivelled up a LOT and I moved them. Hope they come back, too. After all this icky icky snow is done... If anybody actually reads this who has plant knowledge, feel free to weigh in on this controversial PHLOX vs HESPERIS topic!

HOW could I have been so deluded?!?

For the last two years, I have greatly appreciated the happy milkweed volunteers that pop up in my garden and bring a few butterflies along with them to nibble. And I just assumed this was another kind of milkweed until this evening when, scrolling through milkweed pictures in Picasa (yes, just dying to get growing already!) this picture jumped out at me. It's not a milkweed. It's nothing like a milkweed. It's PHLOX. I have no idea how I could not have known that from the start, but to just go on assuming it's a milkweed when it looks nothing like milkweed. Well... you can see how it's turned my whole world topsy-turvy. Its Latin name is Phlox divaricata , and if you click the link, you'll see dozens of other pictures of the exact same plant in the exact same colour. I think this page says it best when it describes the flowers as "Corolla lavender to purple, with tube to 2cm long, glabrous. Corolla lobes 5, spreading, spatulate to obovate, to 2cm lo