Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It's been just over 3 weeks since I blogged about my little vegetable plot at the community garden near home and things have really changed since then...

We've had a good amount of rain so I haven't had to water the garden very much and it's really taken off! I decided to try the Square Foot Gardening method and this tiny raised bed, which is only 3 x 8 feet, is overflowing with vegetable goodness.  Apart from a nice section of carrots I've also got...

Green Peppers

Cherry Tomatoes

Lettuce...which we've been enjoying for weeks now

Beans...which should be ready very soon

And beets...which I'll be pulling and pickling this week.

Matthew also has a plot (actually he was asked to forfeit one of his two plots to me when I requested one and they'd run out due to overwhelming demand) and he's growing carrots, beans, onions and cucumbers. Between the two of us we'll be eating lots of fresh-picked vegetables for the next while. If only it was possible to garden year round!  It's such a good feeling to eat food that you've grown yourself and know that it's healthy and hasn't been treated with chemicals. I am enjoying having this garden so much and plan on doing this every year from now on. What's growing in your garden?

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An eReader Knitting Project

I've always loved to read and visit the public library. We lived in a predominantly French city in Quebec. The local library had a dreadfully small selection of English books and the ladies working in the library only spoke French so communicating with them was difficult for me. The library was not a fun place to be.  I dreamed of living in a place where the public library would be filled with English books and I could easily ask for help if I needed it or just chat with the ladies at the counter as I checked out my books. Then we moved to Edmonton!

I quickly registered for a library card but the irony of how the library system works here still makes me chuckle when I think about it. They have this great online system where you can choose your books from the comfort of your own home. The books are put on hold for you and an email is sent to let you know that they are ready for pickup. When you go to the library the books are waiting on the "Reserved" shelf where you grab them and then use the automated machines to do your own checkout! Very convenient but also very different from what I imagined my library experience would be in this English city. This is when I started thinking about getting an eReader since I wasn't interacting with anybody at the library anyway.

I put a lot of thought into whether or not to buy one and did a lot of research before deciding which was the right reader for me and when I saw it go on sale I couldn't resist buying it.  I wasn't sure I would like using an eReader but I wouldn't trade it in now for anything! I love that I can download books from my library whenever I need them and don't have to worry about physically returning them when they're due back. My reader is lightweight and comfortable to hold and I can adjust the font size if needed.

The only thing that has been missing is a cover to protect the unit when I bring it with me to appointments.  I really couldn't justify spending almost half of what I paid for the reader itself on a brand name cover that would only be used occasionally so I decided to make one myself.

I found a free pattern on Ravelry, got out my knitting needles and some sock yarn, and got to work.  Now I have a nice case to protect my reader that didn't cost anything to make since the yarn had been given to me. It doesn't get better than that and there's something nice about owning an item that is a true original.  :-)

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summertime Photo Scavenger Hunt

I'm still having a lot of fun working on collecting photos for Rinda's scavenger hunt.  After a couple of failed attempts, I was finally able to capture a photo of a cloud that looks like something.  The first time, I saw a cloud that looked just like the alien from the "Aliens" movies but unfortunately didn't have my camera with me.

Then just yesterday while we were out geocaching I saw one that looked like a cute bunny with long ears and a fluffy tail.  You don't realize how fast clouds shift and change in the sky until you're trying to take a picture of one.  By the time I'd taken out my camera that bunny was already starting to lose its definition but I pointed my camera toward the sky, pressed the shutter release button and saw a message on the screen that said "Out of Memory".  Huh?  Oh great, I'd left the memory card back at home in my computer!  So much for the rabbit.

But today, as Richard was barbequeing supper I sat out in the back armed and ready with my camera, and looked up at the sky to see what I could see.  Lo and behold I found the perfect cloud!  I give you The Pear...

#12 A Cloud in the Shape of Something - A Pear

A sideways pear but a pear nevertheless.  This cloud is so obviously a pear to me, from the stem to the two leaves to that great pear shape.  Richard is French and his last name, translated to English, means "peartree" so we have this thing for pears and this was the perfect cloud to see! 

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Storytelling Sunday - The Dishcloth

It's the first Sunday of the month and I'm joining in once again with Sian's Storytelling Sunday where the focus this year is on telling the stories behind some of our most precious things.  When I think of precious things what first comes to mind are items that have been passed down to me from somebody in the family or things that I've had for a very long time which hold some memory of the past for me.  But this really isn't always the case and a brand new something can be very precious too.  And that precious thing can be something as simple as a dishcloth.

What makes this dishcloth special is that it was knit by my mother for me after she had her stroke and was placed in a long-term care facility.  I can remember standing in the hospital corridor a few days after the stroke had happened, talking with the nurse-practitioner who was in charge of my mother's case, trying to get a sense of what the future might hold.  I told her how much my mother loved to knit and that I couldn't imagine what it would be like for her if she lost the ability to do that.  It made me cry, and she hugged me, and then said that nobody could really know what would happen but it was very unlikely that my mother would ever be able to knit again.  Happily, that didn't turn out to be right at all.

After her stroke, my mother never expressed an interest in knitting to us, and we never thought to offer her yarn and needles so that she could try, but one day at the home one of the other residents was knitting and my mother was offered a turn at working on the item.  It was such a shock to us that she could still knit! Since then she's been knitting dishcloths which are the perfect project since they're small and easy to complete.  She keeps her knitting with her all the time, in a cloth bag that hangs from the arm of her wheelchair. She gives the dishcloths that she makes to the nurses and caregivers at the home, and keeps Jen and I supplied too. She may not be able to knit the same way she used to and sometimes the dishcloths are a bit lopsided and wonky-looking but my mother is knitting!  And that's a precious thing indeed.

There are lots more stories about people's precious things linked up on Sian's blog, so go and have a look...

Until next time...
Susan :-)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summertime Photo Scavenger Hunt

I've captured my second photo for the scavenger hunt challenge that I'm doing from Rinda's blog.

#8  A Tower

This is the water tower in the small town of Wetaskiwin, Alberta where my parents live.  Actually, Wetaskiwin is a city and boasts the motto, "City in Motion", which always makes us laugh because there's not a whole heck of a lot going on over there.

According to the city's website, the tower, which was built in 1909, stands 42 meters high and holds 454,609 litres of water.  In 2004, Wetaskiwin City Council considered demolishing the water tower but concerned citizens convinced them that the tower was worth saving as it represents a link to the city's past. Work to refurbish the tower began in 2005 and was completed in 2006 and the tower now stands as a historic landmark of the city.

Contrary to what I thought, water towers are still in use today and serve the function of creating water pressure in a municipal water system.  Who knew?!  I thought they were merely relics from the past and a good place to paint a city's name so all would see it.  I've actually learned something by doing this photo challenge and that's always a good thing!

Until next time...
Susan :-)