Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Am Cheating Today. . .

I was up until three in the morning, looking at web template after web template and trying out template after template, as I try to get my Growing Wisdom site to where I want it to be. I started again this morning and just kept going until I finally felt I was at least getting close to what I wanted.

I am tired!

 I tried to nap this afternoon but every time I closed my eyes, all I saw behind my eyelids was a kaleidoscope  of flowered patterns, stripes, checks and a myriad of template layouts.


Can't sleep with my eyes open, can't sleep with my eyes closed.

Ah well, Morgan bought us pizza for dinner and we had movie night early, thoroughly enjoying the new Johnny English movie.

However, I wanted to post something that would inspire, so I am cheating a bit and sharing the beautiful work of one of my nieces. . .
She both wrote and sang this song (it's not quite done) and had the able help of her sister with the filming. (plus, her advice on learning new programs is what kept me trying long after I wanted to just call it quits!)


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Look What's Blooming At My House!

Now if this isn't a good reason to force bulbs I don't know what is!

Considering they are calling for another 5 to 10 centimeters of snow to add to the 20 that fell over the weekend I'm thinking these are probably going to be the only daffodils I see for quite some time!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Changes Are Coming. . . I Think. . .

I haven't been particularly happy with my {growing} wisdom website and have been looking around for alternatives.

Building a good website requires know how and money, both of which are in short supply.
The trick with a website is to have a short, memorable address and the ability to find the information you are looking for quickly and easily.
My current website isn't particularly expensive but Ev tells me it is very slow and I can't seem to get a look that I like (thus, if you have visited  it more than once lately, you will have seen more than a few new looks, none of which I have been happy with.) and it's not the greatest to work with either.
I have, however, come to a fairly simple solution.

 I think. 

My blog address is Not exactly short and memorable.
 It turns out that for $10 a year I can change it to (for example) and anyone with a link or bookmark to my original address will still come here and so will anyone using my new address!
I have also figured out how to make tabs across the top of the page for specific subjects like Classes, About {growing} wisdom and what have you!

Who Hoo! 

This place would become both my blog and my website!
I love simple. . .

I am thinking about changing the look and possibly the name of my blog though.
The name change wouldn't be difficult technically (although I am mighty attached to it after all this time, so that makes it harder) but the look and function of the blog is harder to change.

And scarier.

If you don't do it right you could lose all the cool features like followers, post list, favorites and what have you.
Plus, because the look (template) I have now stretches across the screen,  if I change it the wrong way, my blog post and pictures might run into my sidebar.

We'll have to see how brave I am . . . 

So. . .
If you drop by and things seem to change from one day to the next. . .
Well . . . I got brave.
Feel free to put your two cents in.
I love collaboration!

*Isn't it funny how quickly you can change your mind about things you believed you would love forever? 
When I made up my logo, I had the ability to customize the name as well, so I choose {growing} wisdom and I loved how it looked with the fancy brackets. I still like the look on my business cards, but I have to admit I have begun to find it rather annoying when I am just writing about the business. What I really want to do, for everything but the marketing stuff (cards brochures etc.), is just to write it in capital letters! 
Man am I ever fickle!
Just ask Ev. . .
She's the one I call for a second opinion when I change my mind about things. 
She's on speed dial, the poor thing. . .

Friday, February 24, 2012

There's Always Something New To Learn

Two seasons ago I harvested leeks from the garden as late as I dared and left a few in the ground to see just how long they would last once we started getting serious frost. I also put a bunch down in the cold room in a pile on bubble wrap and then covered the top of the pile with bubble wrap as well.
I harvested leeks from the garden until November some time and the leeks in the cold room lasted until early January. (more or less. I still had to peel quite a few layers from the leeks before I could use them .)
This past season I didn't bother leaving any in the ground but rather dug them all up and 'planted' them in a pot of dampened potting soil and stored them in the cold room.
They held on much better than they had on the plastic and I was thrilled as we entered February and they still looked great.
Until. . .
One day about a week and a half ago and discovered the leeks just covered in a fuzzy mold!


Of course the big problem with that, was the fact that mold is one of my big asthma triggers.
I took a deep breath, grabbed the pot and rushed it upstairs and out the door.
As I let my breath out and put the pot on the driveway I took a closer look at the leeks and was astonished to see this. . .

It never fails to amaze me how quickly bugs can multiply.
A week before I had seen nothing and now. . .
An infestation!

Well, they still lasted nearly a month longer than the year before and I have learned something new again.
Even in storage you have to keep a close eye on your produce. 
Nothing lasts forever.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And We Have. . . .


Whoo Hoo!
Another excellent cure for the winter blues.
And considering the estimated 10 centimeters of snow headed our way this weekend, a desperately needed one!
(Still working on the book pile though.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Cure For The Winter Blues. . .

The book pile is finally starting to shrink.

I'm down to one smallish pile rather than two largish ones.

I tend to get the winter blues at this time of year and because this winter was so mild I was sure it would pass me by this time.
No such luck. It's still winter and I still can't get into the garden.


Mind you, while Jada and I were out walking by the river valley today I noticed some of the tree buds have started to break.
Of course it is also supposed to go down to - 25 degrees at night later this week so I'm pretty sure we have a while to wait yet.
Ah well. . . I'll just have to keep snuggling under my blanket with hot chocolate and a good book!
It's as good a cure for the winter blues as any and a whole lot cheaper than the other popular remedy. . .

Retail therapy.

I was out and about shopping for a few last things to finish off the bedroom and my hallway and the crowds of people in the store just boggled my mind.

Give me a good book any day!

What do you do to cure a case of the blues?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


My first batch of seeds is doing well and will soon be ready to prick out into their own pots.
The time had come to start a new batch of seed and that brought with it a new sense of anticipation!
This time around I have done things a little differently, planting the basil seeds straight into the clay pots they will be sold in. Normally when I grow basil I space each plant a good distance from the other, allowing it to reach it's full growth potential. That can take quite some time however and what I have noticed when I've seen the basil pots in the grocery store, is that there are many seedlings in one pot allowing you to harvest the herbs much more quickly.
So I am giving that a try, hoping to have lush, lovely herb pots ready to sell at  April's Spring Sale . I love to try something new.
Gardening is such fun!
I have eight of these pots on the go

Nothing yet. Which, considering I planted them around midnight on Saturday is not too surprising!
But I can't help checking a few times a day anyway. . .

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Love My Kids. . . And I'm Proud Of Them

There were times during the teen years when I questioned what life would look like on the other side.
Would Morgan and Jesse ever get along?! (Yes!)

They would do things that would annoy me. . . frustrate me. . . puzzle me. . . flabbergast me. . .!!
Their hearts were broken and then my heart would be broken.
There were many, many days I wondered just who these kids were? What had happened to my sweet elementary kids who had to listen to me?
 Because, if I said it was bed time, it was bedtime! Or if I said they couldn't watch Power Rangers or Teen aged Mutant Ninja Turtles, they couldn't watch Teen aged Mutant Ninja Turtles!

The teen years are all about change.
  About hormones.
About slowly letting them go.
And that can be scary.

This summer, Jesse, the youngest of my four, will be twenty and we will have left the teen years behind.

And do you know what?

It looks good here on the other side!

My kids may not be normal kids (and I can say that because they tell me I am not like normal moms. . .)
But. . .

They each march to their own beat and do so with conviction, knowing that the Lord made each of them with their special talents and personalities for a reason.

I admire the way they have struggled with  the difficulties in their lives and persevered. Become stronger for the effort but softer towards the struggles of others.

I love that Morgan has been bounding up the stairs on a Friday evening saying " So what are ya doing tonight mom? Want to have a movie night?"

I love that Crystal appreciates the little things I do and never fails to thank me.

I love that Holly texts me and calls me momma and tells me she loves me.

I love that Jesse stills hugs me and likes to pick me up and whirl me around just because he gets such a kick of how little I am.

Are they perfect?


Neither am I.

We are all works in progress, hopefully, making the journey on the narrow road that leads to Glory.

 I love it when they do something unexpected. . .

Jesse made me stop at the flower shop down the street.
(taking his cue from Holly, who used to stop at the same flower shop, bringing me home something pretty. . .)

I picked a small arrangement

Jesse didn't think that was good enough. . .

This little bit of heather is on my desk just to the left of me as I type

I am so proud of my kids who, despite numerous mistakes on my part, have become lovely young men and women.
Love you guys. . .

Friday, February 17, 2012

And The Silliness Continues. . .

There was a big envelope in the mailbox yesterday. It was rather exciting. I mean who knows what it might have been?!!

A gift from a secret admirer, a garden magazine I didn't remember ordering, exotic goods from a far away land. . .

The possibilities were endless. . .

I went inside, put the rest of the mail on the counter and eagerly checked out the envelope.

Right away there was a bit of a setback.

It wasn't for me!

Well that was disappointing.

But hey, I'm always game to enjoy someone's else's good fortune so I eagerly started squeezing the envelope trying to figure out what might be inside. It felt a little squishy but not bulky.

Hmmmm. . .

I checked the return address.  Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Nothing from exotic places then. . .

What in the world was in that envelope and who sent it?

Not knowing was making me a little crazy and Morgan had to work late!

Time passed, as it always does and he finally came home.

"This is for you. Open it, quick. What is in there? It almost feels like a shirt."

At that he began laughing as he ripped open the package.

"It's the free shirt I sent away for. The one from the cereal box."

Of course the only size they had left was a child's medium. . .

Want a quick way to look buff?

Wear a shirt several sizes too small. You'll never have to go to the gym again!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gardening. . . On Pintrest

My sister-in-law Andrea left a message on Facebook for me this morning, asking if I was on Pinterest as there were so many great gardening ideas there.

Now I found Pinterest back when it first started up. It was pretty cool, all kinds of beautiful pictures of food, crafts, weddings, floral arrangements, clothes, diy. . .

It was great!

If you have never been on Pinterest,  it's a virtual bulletin board. You can look at the main board, specialty boards or even create your own boards.

Back in the beginning though, the page could take a while to load new additions and as you got closer to the bottom of the page it would freeze which was rather frustrating.
I have been on a bit since then and the site seems to work very well now, although I spend very little time there.

What I didn't realize however, was that there were boards just for gardening !

Or that I could make my own! 

Well now. . . that was something to to check out. . .

via pinterest

via pinterest

via pinterest

via pinterest

via pinterest

via pinterest

via pinterest 

via pinterest

via pinterest

vis pinterest

via pinterest

via pinterest. . . And I am SO going to make these peony cages come spring!

Via pintreest   This has always been my dream front garden. White picket fence, pink roses, purpley blue sage and chartreuse ladies mantle. Sigh. . . .
 I will also add the warning that should be at the top of every Pinterest board. . .

Warning: Pinning can become addictive!

* update. Yes indeed, Pinterest can be addictive . . . I spend a whole lot more time there these days. :D

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dog Tales

Every so often things descend into the truly silly around here.
Now you might think I would be the cause but in reality. . .

It's Jada!
Jesse is a close second, as you might well imagine. . .
It's never boring around here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Lack Of Self Control. . .

So I have been testing out recipes, looking for the very best cakes, cookies and squares to serve at my upcoming  Garden Parties .

Last week I made a delicious applesauce cake.

I used applesauce made with apples from my own tree, cinnamon brought back from the markets in  Vietnam by my sister Tamara, who brought it for my sister Lisa, who was sweet enough to share with me. The eggs are from free run chickens (as long as the coyotes are behaving themselves!) that I get from a lovely lady in our church and the nutmeg freshly grated. I could grind grain for fresh whole wheat flour the way I do for my bread but. . .  somehow. . .  my European baker's heritage (both my dad and his dad were bakers) makes that seem wrong somehow.

At least. . .that's what I like to tell myself.

The truth is I really just love baked things made with white flour. Somehow a cake made with flour that's good for you just doesn't have the same appeal!

I make this cake in a spring-form pan rather than a 9x13 because I think it looks prettier when it's iced. And pretty is very important to me. I think pretty things taste better.

A pretty cake stand helps too.
Any one who has ever baked a cake knows that the cake has to cool completely before you frost it or the warmth of the cake will melt the icing.

A turntable makes frosting a cake a breeze.
I have baked many a cake. .  . but, sometimes. . . I just can't wait!

When this cake is warm  you can sneakily cut a piece and dust it with a sprinkling of icing sugar.  Then you can cool it and frost the rest of it with icing!
Sigh. . .

I have such a lack of self control sometimes. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Beginning Of A New Gardening Season

Yes indeed! It may only be February, but, at my house at least, this year's gardening season has begun once again.
 I'm not talking about house plants mind you, although they seem to have multiplied in the last few months, the poor souls. They have no idea how hard it is for a house plant to get a drink around here! They might well come to regret joining our happy little home.
I am hoping that their sheer numbers will keep watering needs in the forefront of my mind rather than the casual  "Oh dear. . . You really are gasping for water aren't you?!" that tends be the norm around here.

A desperate, dehydrated primula.
To me  a new garden season begins when my first seedling comes up.

Under lights in my cool basement
Starting plants from seed is sheer joy for me. Each time a new seedling emerges I marvel once again at the astonishing evidence of God's creation. It never becomes boring or ho hum. Every new batch of seeds are scrutinized daily (regardless of the fact that they will need, at the very least, a few days to begin germination. . . ) Each and every seedling gives me a thrill.

This year is even more exciting as I am not only growing plants for myself, I am also growing a plethora of plants for this spring's plant sale here at {growing} wisedom !

You might well think that it's a bit early to be starting plants, considering that here in Edmonton, we generally don't plant things outside until the May long week end, or, if you are the cautious type, the first week in June.
The thing is, our growing season is pretty short, so I like to start things early and have them at a good size by the time they are ready to be planted out. It's more work and takes up a fair bit of space in the greenhouse but the end result is worth the extra effort.

Of course these days when you by plants from garden centers, big box stores and the like, you will find the majority of plants sold are in much larger pots than they used to be.  While you can still find the smaller six packs,  four and six inch pots are much more common. Gorgeous, instant, expensive beauty. As I love lush plantings but have a rather small planting budget, I try to get the best 'bang for my buck' by shopping smart and growing as much as possible myself.

I rarely buy things in four or six inch pots unless they are perennials and even then you would be amazed at how fast a smaller plant will catch up with it's larger sister (or brother. . .). Smaller plants tend to settle in much more quickly and so end up being a  better deal for those with a little more patience.

If I am honest though, I always drool over the six inch geraniums. If I didn't use them so liberally in my garden I would spring for them over seed grown plants. (They may be cliche, but for plants that perform through out the entire season under varied conditions, they can't be beat.)

The first plants I start are perennials and a few  annuals that take longer to grow, like geraniums, impatiens and petunias.

Next up. . .  clay pots of basil which I hope to sell at an upcoming spring craft sale.
Which, if I want them to be large enough, I had better get to right now!

What do you hope to do in your garden this year?

© A Life of Whimsey