Friday, July 29, 2011

Perfect Fridays

Today has been a pretty perfect Friday. I awoke to the sunshine mid-morning so refreshed after ten hours of sleep. Summer in Alberta this year has been a pattern of warm and sunny days, punctuated by rain storms most afternoons and/or evenings. Knowing this, I took advantage of the sunshine at hand, and spent a few hours in my garden this afternoon.

It is so exciting to see the garden actually producing vegetables! I don't know why this catches me by surprise. I have watched gardens grow since I was a small child. I know how photosynthesis works. Of course my garden's growing vegetables. Still--probably because it's my garden--and my first real garden--every time I go out there and see growth, my reaction has been, "hey, look at that!"

I have harvested snap peas a couple of times. They go really well with lunch.

The rhubarb continues to explode. I have consulted the Rhubarb Compendium, because I feel that endless pans of rhubarb crisp will start to get redundant for both myself and those to whom I serve it.

The zucchini caught me by surprise last week. A couple weeks ago, I had noticed several small zucchs sprouting from the plant, all about 5-7 inches long. I took mental note that a couple weeks from that point (about now), there would be some sizable enough to harvest. But it was last week as I went out to the garden to check on something else, that I happened to glance at the zucchinis and cry, "holy crap!" Most were still only several inches long. One, however, had found himself some steroids or something, because he was ginormous. I should have measured him. Roughly 15-16" long, and at his widest, about 5-6" in diameter. Now, I've seen large zucchinis come out of gardens. Larger than that, actually. Still, I was taken aback by how fast he grew to the size he did. I was not expecting him, and promptly pulled him from the garden before he became unmanageable!

But now I digress, because I'm supposed to be talking about this perfect Friday. Today I pulled a zucchini, too. He's about a foot long. Sizable enough for cookies or cake here in the next couple days. But it was the yellow beans I went out for. Their first harvest. I also pulled one carrot. Overall, the carrots have not come up very well--I think a lot of the seeds got blown before they got a chance to settle. I had pulled a large-looking one last week to see how they were progressing, and decided to pull another one today. The rest are no where close to even baby carrot-sized.

With baby-sized vegetables on the brain, I pulled up one hill of potatoes. While most were already past the true baby potato stage (thin, smooth skin, golf ball size), it was nice to see how well they were coming along. One mutant came out of the hill. Arms and a belly button (and a nubby tail, though you can't see it in the picture)! I think he's looking for a hug!

After I had pulled everything that needed pulling, I gave the garden a good weeding, and thinned out stems and leaves that were shriveled or otherwise not growing well. Looking forward to what comes out of the dirt in the next few weeks!

The clouds were starting to roll in fast by this point. I had two small plant shoots from a friend that needed potting. I got them into pots and transferred a philodendron into a new pot for work before quickly wrapping things up and bringing all necessary plant life inside.

While it rained, I tackled several necessary chores and tasks inside the house which aren't all that exciting. But such a sense of satisfaction at the level of productivity! It's amazing what one can do when well-rested and not out of the house for 8-12 hours of the day.

This evening, I officially became the owner of a new-to-me 27" TV (my other TV is only 21"). Ultimately, I would like to own a flat-screen television. Right now, though, for the amount of TV I actually watch, I have other financial priorities. So when I was scouting around Freecycle, and stumbled upon someone giving away their TV, I thought, "seriously?" and inquired. Turns out this 6-or-so-year-old TV is in perfect working condition; she just had no buyers on Kijiji and needed to get rid of it before she moved. Sweet deal for me! To add to the perfection, I successfully reprogrammed my Telus TV remote from the old TV to the new one without having to actually call Telus. I'm pretty tech-savvy, but Telus can be complex sometimes. So that felt good.

So after a day of that caliber, what is there left to do but make supper with my harvest and watch some TV? I ended up enjoying a rerun of The Cosby Show over a plate of chicken with rhubarb sauce, beans and carrots, and mashed potatoes. It was great. So was the ice cream sundae afterwards. :)

The sun is now pretty much gone for the evening. The Spa Channel (Galaxie Radio) plays in the background on my TV. Soon, I will shut the computer down for the night, and finish off today with a good book before bed.

"Thank you, Father, for the beautiful surprises you are planning for me today." -- Robert Schuller

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Art in the Works; Works of Art

When it comes to my photography, I have no ambition to be a professional. I want the photography to always be enjoyable. I want to remain caught up in the moment of the photo and NOT get too caught up in the technicalities of making a perfect business shot. 

Still, in the last year or so, I have been wanting to make more out of my photography.

Last week, I stumbled upon a website called ViewBug. It's a site that allows photographers to upload their work and have it displayed in ViewBug's online gallery; or entered into one of any number of photo contests the site has running; or made available for purchase and print. The concept of the site seemed quite intriguing, and basic membership is free, so I thought, "why not?"

I'm not sure of the publicity of ViewBug outside of its registered members, so perhaps I will never sell a single image. I may not even be recognized in a single contest. Still, I am excited even about the potential.

...Need some new art for your walls?

Friday, July 15, 2011

30 1/2

In the summer time, my schedule is not as packed with things to do. Often I find that each day kind of runs into the next, and my sense of time tends to disappear a little bit. So it was the other evening, as I was climbing into bed, that I thought of the fact that it was July 13.

When I was a kid, this was an important day in my mind. It marked the half way point between my previous birthday and my next birthday. It meant that I could officially refer to myself as whatever-and-a-half years old when asked my age. Somewhere in my early teens, I stopped referring to my age in terms of halves. And if someone asked, and we were well into fall or winter, I would just say, "well, I'm almost..." whatever age was coming up. But every July 13--in my head--I would quietly think, "I'm officially #-and-a-half." Every year. Including this one.

I am 30 1/2.

Doesn't even really roll off the tongue.

I wasn't sure about turning 30. I'm still not sure about being 30. Half way through the year already, and I feel like it's mostly been an uphill adventure. Tight budgets, long winter, challenging work, change and transition. Summer has arrived, and while the pace of things has slowed dramatically, the joy in things continues to be something I must make more of a conscious effort to find and embrace than usual.

It is there. In the taste of snap peas from my garden. In the warmth of the sunshine. In brisk walks and good talks with friends. ...I am ridiculously blessed, and I am thankful for that--otherwise, this would be a really long year! The Fruit of the Spirit nourishes when we are in a season of drought. The Armor of God protects when we are attacked by challenges and doubts. I just need to maintain perspective.

Still, I think I'm also a little bit thankful that I am now closer to 31 than 30. Not that I'm thankful to be getting older. But thankful of the reminder that time keeps moving forward. I know from past experience that the desert place is only temporary. And God can make a path for me through desert sand just as well as anywhere else.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world." -- Ada Louise Huxtable