MMIW: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

MMIW: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Information and knowledge about and support for the MMIW database is spreading.  If you are unaware (as I was) what this is, please check it out and add your support.  The number of indigenous or native women and girls that are missing and/or have been murdered is staggering.  Help to spread the word and bring about justice for these women and their families.

MMIW

This database, created by Annita…

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Posted 5 weeks ago

Governor General Expenses are How Much?

Governor General Expenses are How Much?

Here in Canada we have a (some say redundant) Governor General position.  The person to fill this position is chosen by the Queen (or current monarch) of England, with advisement from the prime minister, as their representative of the monarchy in Canada.

Predominantly ceremonial in nature, the necessity of the role has been debated for years.  Tax payers dole out an annual salary of $288K for a…

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Posted 5 weeks ago

This time of year blooms are pretty scarce in my gardens.  As I prepare my clients’ garden beds for the fast approaching winter, I take note (mentally) which perennials are essentially maintenance free.  That feature is in great demand for busy gardeners.

Heucheras are one of these.  They look great all year, even after the first few frosts have turned most other perennial stalks and leaves to mush.  They are absolutely maintenance free in the fall and require next to nothing in the spring.  Remove any crispy leaves and they are good to go.  I particularly love the dark burgundy colored varieties, but there are many others, including rusty orange and chartreuse. More and more I am using them as edging plants in my gardens…

maintenance free

Other (almost) maintenance free perennials include the ornamental grasses that are so popular today.  One of the reasons they are so popular is the fact that cutting them back to the ground first thing in the spring before new growth appears is the only maintenance required.  Another reason for their popularity is the growing number of gorgeous varieties available.  Remember though to check tags for their hardiness before purchasing. Here are just a few…

Although sedges look like they belong in the ornamental grass family, they don’t.  They are grass-like in appearance and grow in tufts, especially well in wet marshy areas.  Unlike the ornamental grasses, they don’t do well in the hot dry conditions of full sun spots in your garden.  They do however look great in shadier spots and tolerate part sun conditions.  Remaining green all year, they are maintenance free.  Another bonus is that they are very easy (unlike the ornamental grasses) to divide and move around.  So easy in fact that I have even used them in winter containers with evergreen boughs.

maintenance free

Although roses are not completely maintenance free, the newest varieties are pretty close.  Some don’t need any pruning (shrub roses) and others need only minor pruning after the last frost date in spring.  Many of the newest varieties bloom all summer long too.  Shrub roses do not need winter protection and many are hardy to zone 2!  To protect other hardy roses I mound soil around the base/crown of the plant after the ground freezes.  This prevents damage from freeze and thaw cycles through the winter.

Take your pick.  Most of these perennials pictured here are relatively maintenance free.  Just what busy garden lovers want.

Maintenance Free Garden Favourites This time of year blooms are pretty scarce in my gardens.  As I prepare my clients’
Posted 5 weeks ago

Reverse Advent Calendar

This idea of a reverse advent calendar is wonderful and a great way to teach your children to think of the less fortunate instead of themselves. Skip the routine chocolate/candy advent calendar and try this instead.

reverse advent calendar

When my sons were young we helped deliver Christmas food baskets that their schools had filled.  I will always remember the proud moment when one of my sons (I cannot remember which…

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Posted 6 weeks ago

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to the Windy City, AKA Chicago Illinois.  My son was to be a member of a good friend’s wedding party in Chicago.  The problem was, my daughter in law wanted to go too, but did not want to leave their eight month old daughter at home.  That’s were I came in, Grandma to the rescue.  Of course I was thrilled with the chance to spend five full days with my baby granddaughter, (and her parents).  As a bonus, a few extra days of sightseeing in Chicago was included too.

We arrived in Chicago from Ottawa (via Toronto) Wednesday evening. As the wedding festivities did not begin (officially) until Friday evening, the four of us had all day Thursday and Friday morning to tour the city.  We walked and took the train for hours each day, learning all about the city.  When my son and daughter-in-law spent time with their friends Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, my granddaughter and I spent quality time together at our airbnb home.

A boat cruise, #ShorelineBoatTour aptly named an architectural tour, taught us everything we need to know about Chicago.  On this guided tour along the branches and canals of the Chicago river system, one cannot help but be amazed and impressed by the artistic beauty of the skyscrapers, old and new.  The background of a strikingly blue sky on a beautiful sunny day added to the majestic scenery.

 

Here are a few facts I learned:

  • Believe it or not, Chicago is not named the Windy City because of the wickedly cold winds coming in from Lake Michigan.  Instead it picked up the nickname years ago (1892) when Chicago was awarded the right to host the World’s Columbian Exposition to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World.  Other contenders like NYC, Washington DC, and St Louis were envious as the event was sure to be a huge cultural and social success.  So envious in fact, that a popular NYC editor dubbed Chicago politicians and architectural leaders “windy” in their 8 year pursuit of the prestigious award.
  • The Chicago River was once so disgustingly polluted that the city was sued by other states and even Canadian provinces because of its adverse affect on connecting waterways.  Linking Lake Michigan (one of the Great Lakes) to the mighty Mississippi River system and eventually the Gulf of Mexico, it’s restoration was vital to millions.  To do so,  civil engineers designed and created a new series of canals around the turn of the century into the 1900s,  then reversed the flow of the river by increasing the volume of water available from Lake Michigan.
  • “The Loop” refers to Chicago’s downtown business section, the second largest in the USA, second only to Manhattan in NYC.  The Loop also refers to the hub of the  elevated railway system where eight separate train lines intersect downtown.  This train system appears to run as efficiently as the subway system in NYC.
  • A massive fire destroyed a huge chunk of Chicago in 1871.  Igniting on the southwest side of the city, the abundance of wooden streets, sidewalks and buildings fueled the fire for two days, killing an estimated 300 people and costing close to 200 million (1871) dollars in damages.  However, there are people that believe the fire turned Chicago into the successful, thriving city it is today, the second largest in the USA.  The fire established new building standards so wood was replaced with brick, stone and metal.  Innovation thrived as the economy and population soared to new heights and never looked back.
  • The Chicago Outfit refers to (Italian/American) members of organised crime (AKA the mob or mafia) dating back to the early 1900s.  Do you remember the 1974 song “The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace?”  It was reportedly based on a shootout between police and Al Capone’s gangsters.
  • My granddaughter travelled like a pro, I’m sure her passport will be well used.
  • And last, but not least, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville at the Navy Pier makes awesome watermelon margaritas!

Windy City

Well, you can see I learned a lot in five days, did you learn anything?

Windy City (AKA Chicago) Adventures Recently I had the opportunity to travel to the Windy City, AKA Chicago Illinois.  My son was to be a member of a good friend’s wedding party in Chicago. 
Posted 6 weeks ago

If you read one of my previous posts you will know how angry and disgusted I was with the idiot that trashed our car at Queen’s University Home Coming celebrations in Kingston, Ontario recently.  Well, thanks to social media his actions were captured and displayed for all to see, including the Kingston Police Department.  Their investigation is pending.

This video shows him on the roof and stepping off onto the front hood.  Listen for the “holy F***, he dented the hood!” at the end.

These are the pictures my son’s friends were able to provide us with when we asked for help finding this guy…

Damages have been estimated at $7200.  Our insurance has said the damages will cost more to repair than what the car is worth.  In other words, it is a write off.  If we pay the $500 deductible, we will end up with a pittance in compensation and no car.  Here are a few pictures of the damage.

We can only assume he broke the brake light on the back spoiler while climbing onto the hood. We also don’t have (visible) proof for the dent in the door, the gouged out rust spot, or the Toyota emblem missing off the front of the car.  We can only hope now that the police prosecute this idiotic (drunk) vandal to the fullest extent possible. I realize we will probably not recover more than the current value of the car, but it sure would be nice to see the police (or other authorities) make an example of this idiot. Too bad Judge Judy doesn’t practice in Canada, she would be all over this guy!

judge judy

I believe (and judging by the response I have received) it’s the principle of the matter that should rule here.  We are not asking for a new car.  I do think though that this guy should pay to fix the car to the condition it was in before he trashed it, regardless of what it’s blue book value is.  Am I wrong? You be the judge!

Social media busts vandal! If you read one of my previous posts you will know how angry and disgusted I was with the idiot that trashed our car at Queen’s University Home Coming celebrations in Kingston, Ontario recently. 
Posted 6 weeks ago

Vandalism rampant at Queen's Home Coming

Vandalism rampant at Queen’s Home Coming

Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario celebrated home coming this past weekend.  The problem is the celebrations get out of hand each year when idiots resort to vandalizing anything they get their hands on.  This year our car was one of the unfortunate targets of the rampant vandalism.

Our son had taken the car to Kingston for the weekend to spend time with some of his high school buddies that…

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Posted 7 weeks ago

Canada going to pot today

Canada going to pot today

Canada is going to pot, literally.  Personally, I have thought so since our last (2016) federal election, but that’s another story.

Today, October 17th 2018, Canada is legalizing marijuana, much to the chagrin of many citizens.  This was an election promise our prime minister made to win votes from the younger age group.  He’s now making good on that promise with as much thought and preparation…

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Posted 8 weeks ago

Mentoring for Solopreneurs by Virginia McGowan

Mentoring for Solopreneurs by Virginia McGowan

Recently I reconnected with an old friend from high school.  Catching up, we chatted (along with many other things) about what our respective siblings are doing and have accomplished.  Having retired early (at 52) myself to become a solopreneur (sole owner/operator) of a gardening business, I was fascinated by one particular achievement.  One of this friend’s sisters, to quote from her website,…

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Posted 8 weeks ago

Fall is not my favourite time of year, in fact it is probably my least favourite season here in Canada.  (Almost) everything in my gardens is dying off and there is a distinct chill in the air hinting at the winter weather that is lurking around the corner.  There are a (measly) few things however that I do like about the season.  On my list of the best things about fall are…

  • warm, fuzzy sweaters
  • boots, especially the little, lightweight ones (booties) that go with every outfit
  • glorious splashes of orange, yellow and red provided by the leaves in the otherwise drab landscape
  • the roses in the gardens that just don’t want to give it up

 

What’s on your list?

The best things about fall Fall is not my favourite time of year, in fact it is probably my least favourite season here in Canada. 
Posted 8 weeks ago

PANDAS/PANS Awareness day today, October 9th

PANDAS/PANS Awareness day today, October 9th

Today, October 9th is PANDAS/PANS awareness day.  This is very interesting to me as autoimmune disorders appear to run through my extended family.  One of the strengths of social media (thanks Facebook!)) is that we can now keep in touch much easier to learn about and offer support as these disorders are diagnosed.

If it has caught your attention too, please read this post by Brenda Muellerfor…

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Posted 9 weeks ago

FROST, isn't it too early for that?

FROST, isn’t it too early for that?

We have frost in the forecast for the Ottawa area tonight.  Isn’t it a bit early for that?  To me, it’s a nasty “f” word…

3:24 PM EDT Thursday 04 October 2018
Frost advisory in effect for:
Ottawa North – Kanata – Orléans
Ottawa South – Richmond – Metcalfe
Frost may damage some crops in frost-prone areas.

To us gardeners,that means our annuals will be dead tomorrow morning.  Fortunately, I have…

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Posted 10 weeks ago

As an experiment this winter, I am planning to leave some (very) hardy perennials in their big pots on my back deck to see if any survive the winter.  I have planted perennials in containers before but never had much success with leaving them in their pots for the winter.  I have tried rose bushes and ornamental grasses but apparently they are not hardy enough.  The general rule of thumb is they should be at least two zones hardier than your area to survive in pots instead of in the garden.

So, this season I am trying shrub roses, (much hardier than bushes) false spirea, forsythia and lilac bushes, as well as a plum and a maple tree, all of which grow prolifically in my gardens.  With the exception of the plum tree that might be a bust, the others are reliably hardy for this area (zone 2).  The two mature plums trees in my gardens send up shoots all over the yard so I won’t feel so bad if the one in the pot does not survive.  These subjects of my experiment have all been grown from cuttings in my ICU...

Anything else currently in pots that I wish to save must be brought in for the winter.  This year that will include a beautiful non-hardy ornamental grass that was extremely expensive, too much so to replace each year…

I will keep you posted on their survival rate!

Perennials in pots As an experiment this winter, I am planning to leave some (very) hardy perennials in their big pots on my back deck to see if any survive the winter. 
Posted 10 weeks ago

One of the best things about fall (autumn) is the glorious sunflowers that seem to sprout up so quickly this time of year.  This year I planted a few variety of sunflower seeds with my grandchildren.  Some in pots on the back deck and a few in my front garden…

Sunflower season One of the best things about fall (autumn) is the glorious sunflowers that seem to sprout up so quickly this time of year. 
Posted 10 weeks ago