Tag Archives: seeds

The Confession

I think I have a problem. I love my garden, but I love poppies even more. So, in my raised beds meant to grow vegetables, most poppies popping up are allowed to stay.

I’ve had to remove a few of the common red ones that want to take over the whole yard, but when I come to a pure white one, I just can’t yank it out. It would be sacrilege,

especially when the whole family of puritans lies down in submission.

Here is my confession:

A few years ago, when I was sitting in the truck one day waiting for the Captain to do some business in a shop, I noticed some pretty poppies in a flowerbox under the store window. Some of them had gone to seed, so I snapped off a couple of the seed pods and put them in my pocket. I felt a stab of guilt, but the seeds would have fallen, mostly on the driveway, and been lost anyway.

I planted those seeds at home and here is one of the progeny of the flowerbox poppies. The wild hairdo is unmistakable.

But wait! The story isn’t over.

In the grocery store one day, I saw the lady who owned the shop with the flowerbox window. She’s a lovely lady in her 80s, and I felt a twinge of guilt about having snapped up some of her poppy seeds. I approached her and told her that I had admired her poppies by her shop window last year.

“Oh you can take some of the seeds, if you like. Help yourself!” she said.

My face went a deeper shade of red as I cleared my throat. “Well, that’s just it. I did … last year … and the babies are growing in my yard right now. I just wanted to thank you and tell you how much they mean to me.”

“You’re very welcome,” she said. “They’re nice aren’t they? Take all the seeds you want.”

The lady has since retired and the flowerbox is neglected, but I always think of her when her pink poppies with the wild hairdo bloom.

Seedy Saturday

I have been saving seeds for over 35 years. I always looked forward to seeing the descendants of my plants growing. The long line of repeated generations became like old friends. Recently I found out that there is a whole cult of seed saving going on out there.

What a great discovery! Besides planting my own saved seeds this year, I will plant seeds from other seed saving gardeners.

Just look at the crowd of gardeners looking for something special at Seedy Saturday in Qualicum on Vancouver Island.

Seed companies offer their time-proven seeds each at their tables set up in the big hall, but off in a smaller room are the seeds that other seed savers (local gardeners) have packaged up for sale. At 50 cents a package, it is a bargain.

On my wish list, were two plants that I wanted to find seeds for, but I really didn’t get my hopes up too high. I knew the chances were slim. I was looking for seeds of poblano peppers. These dark green medium hot peppers are  popular in Mexico but outrageously expensive to buy here.

I was also looking for seeds of a dark-skinned (black) tomato like the ones I had eaten for the first time last summer after a friend gave me some as a gift.


I was thrilled to see that the first two packages of seeds I came across were poblano peppers and black-skinned tomatoes. What are the chances?!

Then a local gardener gave a talk, and although I had been gardening for many years, I was happy to learn several new gardening tips.

I also learned of a new (to me) type of potato (Sieglinde) that I will try this year, along with my tried and true Norgolds, Kennebecs, and red Pontiacs.

Here is my happy stash of purchases all for a grand total of $10. I’m a cheap date!

Now where is that warm weather?

Easy Healthy Granola

Porridge is good for you. I’m sorry. Too slimy for me. So I thought, why not eat it baked instead of boiled? Granola was the perfect solution. Trouble is, the store-bought granola is all so sweet, and who needs that when you’re already sweet enough, right?

Solution? Make my own granola. You can do it too. It’s EASY! Big flakes of rolled oats go into the bowl, about 8 cups makes it worthwhile. After that, you add whatever you happen to have on hand or like to eat, in the way of nuts and seeds.

I like to use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whatever kind of nuts I have on hand – today it’s almonds and hazelnuts. A cup of each is plenty. Chop the nuts. By the way, the reason you don’t see any sunflower seeds on the table is because the ones I tried to buy yesterday from the bulk bins in the store were rancid. I usually get the salted seeds for that reason but in this case, even the salt couldn’t save the natural oil in the seeds from going rancid. At home I always keep nuts and seeds in the freezer.

So we’re doing without sunflower seeds.

You can use whatever you want in the granola, but keep in mind that fruit and berries or raisins will not turn out well if you toast them. Better to add those later when you are making your breakfast.

Mix the chopped nuts and seeds with the rolled oats in a big bowl. Spread the mixture onto baking sheets, not too thick, but just so the sheets are covered.

Drizzle liquid honey over the granola mix. I had one hand on the wiggling camera and the other hand trying to drizzle the honey. The photo came out pretty bad. Still, I didn’t want you to miss out on that step, so here is the blurry reminder to sweeten the granola a little bit.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 6 to 8 minutes. The granola at the edges of the baking sheet will turn brown. Take it out of the oven before it burns (which can happen quickly).

Important tip***** When it’s done, scrape the granola off the sheet and into a bowl right away, or the melted, baked honey will glue the granola onto the sheet.

Now take out whatever fruit or berries you have on hand (or not), put some granola into a small bowl, add milk (some prefer yogurt), and top it with your berries.

Place the bowl on a lovely mat knitted for you by your friend and enjoy a healthy, tasty breakfast.


A Moment in Time

Sometimes just a moment of sheer bliss is enough to give us happiness over and over again when we remember it later on. I captured one of those moments with my camera about nine years ago. It’s not a great photo as quality goes, but every time I look at it I feel that happiness again and I can’t help but smile.

About two miles from our house is a marshy area that has been designated as a bird sanctuary. A friend had taken me there for a walk one morning. She brought along some birdseed in a plastic bag. Partway along the path that does a loop through the park she stopped and poured birdseed into each of my hands and into her own. Then she said to stand still with our arms out. In a very short time, chickadees and nuthatches flew down from the trees and landed on our hands, shoulders, and head, checking out the birdseed in our hands. They took bits and bites of the seeds and flew away to crack them open against the bark of a nearby fir tree. Sunflower seeds seemed to be their favourites. I was so tickled by this experience; literally tickled by the tiny bird feet on my palms, but also tickled with happiness.

Some days later, my in-laws came to visit and I thought this might be a wonderful experience to share with them. It was a raw morning when we drove to the sanctuary and parked the truck at the trailhead. My father-in-law was 86 that year and couldn’t walk very fast, so he told my mother-in-law and me to go on ahead.  I gave him some birdseed and said we wouldn’t be long. I didn’t hear or see a single bird and was disappointed that we might not be able to feed any birds.

It was quiet in the woods as we two women walked along the trail. Not a bird in sight. I kept saying, “I feel so bad that we haven’t seen any birds. I really wanted you to feel them landing on your hands to eat the seeds.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” my mother-in-law said. “It’s nice just to get out for a walk.”

We stood in the same spot as my friend and I had done a few days earlier, but no luck. Then we heard a shout cut through the cold misty air.

“ANNELI!”  My father-in-law sounded panicked. I told my mother-in-law to take her time walking back. I would run and see what was wrong. And did I run! I was sure he had fallen and broken a leg or his hip.

I pounded down the path, and all out of breath, arrived back at the trailhead. My father-in-law was standing, so I was relieved to see that he hadn’t fallen and hurt himself. “What’s wrong? What happened?” I panted.

“They’re right here!” he said. And his face glowed as if he’d seen angels.


My father-in-law died five years later and when I see this photo, I’m always happy that my little outing that morning gave him so much joy, if only for a moment.