Did you know there are many varieties of lilies? A friend brought this lily to my garden last year just before it was about to bloom. Somehow the conditions weren’t right for the bloom to last very long so I have been waiting anxiously for it to bloom again this year, so I could take its picture for posterity. The long-hoped-for rain arrived the day the lily tried to bloom. Would I be lucky enough to see the flowers this year?Not only did it bloom, but it graced my garden with three blossoms. I see that the first to bloom is already a little “rough around the edges” but the other two are still fresh. Notice the dark pollen on the stamens? Then please read the poem below the photo and tell me if this has ever happened to you.
Spring didn’t really happen this year. It was winter right up until nearly summer. I’m way behind in my weeding, but the poppies are telling me, “Don’t worry. We’ll put on a show to distract any critical eyes.”
On Protection Island, near Nanaimo, BC, my visit continued with my friend acting as tour guide. Here is a community garden where residents can maintain a raised bed or contribute in other ways to the island’s garden project.
Can you see the glimpse of ocean through the trees? Now imagine that fresh sea air warmed by the sun. The garden is surrounded by trees that keep the humidity hovering over the fruit and vegetables grown here.
Two special things got my attention:
The potato plants in the two boxes at the front of the picture. In the ample loose soil in those boxes, the roots of the plants are able to produce more potatoes.
The huge cage to the left is like a bird cage in reverse. It it meant to keep the birds out and the raspberries and strawberries in. What a great idea! So much better than netting that can tangle the birds’ feet.
The garden is well looked after and is producing abundantly already. Outside the garden is a “Help Yourself” table where gardeners can share produce. Sometimes a person can only eat so many tomatoes or whatever vegetable has suddenly become prolific. It’s great to share.
When the Captain and I were on one of our trips to Baja California, we stopped to do some shopping in Ensenada. I found a puppet-style doll that I couldn’t live without. She was the Mexican version of Annie Oakley. What made me even happier, was buying the doll that had to be her partner. He is pictured in the photo below Annie.
The store proprietor told me that this doll represents the hen-pecked husband, the Honeydew man (Honey, do this and Honey, do that), but in Spanish they called this fellow a “mandelon,” because he is ordered about. What woman would not want a mandelon to do things for her? I had to have this doll!
In my novel Orion’s Gift, Sylvia is all alone in the world and has more than her share of problems. She really needs someone, so I gave her a mascot to lend her strength. Below is a short excerpt from Orion’s Gift, telling about how Sylvia came to adopt Annie.
In one shop, handmade puppets on strings hung from the ceiling. Each doll had a unique character and, like orphans hoping to be adopted, seemed to call, “Take me with you.” I fell in love with a Mexican Annie Oakley. She held a mini six-gun in each hand and radiated confidence and self-reliance. I paid for her and happily carried her home to my van. I rigged up a spot on the curtain rod behind the seat for Annie to watch over me at night. She’d be my mascot, a reminder that I was strong and could take care of myself.
If you would like to read about Sylvia, you can purchase the e-book for less than the price of a hamburger. Just click on the link to amazon.com.
Last year I couldn’t wait to plant the seeds I had saved from squash given to us by a friend in Montana. I should have waited a few weeks. The seedlings were ready to transplant into the garden way before it was warm enough. I managed to baby them until I dared to plant them outside and luck was on my side. I ended up with a great crop of squashes.
This year, I thought I’d be smarter. I waited until it was closer to spring and warmer weather. I planted the seeds of the crop from last year and so many popped up I was quite pleased with myself. Until … they grew so well they started stretching for the light too much and were getting gangly.
It was supposed to be getting much warmer by now! Where was that warm April weather? I was STILL too early. Now I’ll put these eager plants into individual little pots, give them a pat, and tell them, “Slow down. It’s not as warm as it should be. You’ll have to rein in your enthusiasm.”
Here is one of last year’s squashes. I hope to have many happy plants this year too.
When I look at this young beauty, I’m encouraged to work at getting a good crop of these buttercup squashes growing again this year. They are one of the tastiest, sweet squashes I know. Great keepers and delicious to eat. If I remember, I’ll share a recipe later this summer.
When the herring roe fishery happens each spring on the BC Coast, the seine boats and herring skiffs congregate close to shore because that is where the herring can be intercepted as they rush the beach to spawn. At night when the boats have their anchor lights on, it looks like a floating city just offshore.
Sea lions and seagulls and eagles patrol the area in hope of some tasty bites.
Photo courtesy of P. Knettig
It’s a bluebird day. Hard to believe it was rough and windy just a couple of days ago. Still it was fishable and the herring filled the seine nets. Then disaster struck as an extra heavy net caused a boat to list and not recover. The fishing community lost a fellow fisherman. His brother is quoted on CTV News:
“They had a really big set. The boat was listing and Mel went down into the engine room to turn the pumps on, and while he was down there the boat rolled over.”
It brings home to all of us once again, how dangerous fishing is. While the fleet mourns the loss of one of their own, the fishery goes on, as it must. The pretty night lights, and the bluebird daytime sky and sea belie the sombre mood and the heavy hearts of the fishing fleet.