Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Garden Report #18

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

• It is one of those fall days that exist in our memories. The sun is warm and cuddly, the remaining leaves are intensely golden, and the wind is gentle and kind. Murphy wanders in and out of the remaining plants, occasionally chasing a rogue leaf. I sit on the swing with my trusted coffee at my side, writing this report. Maureen is across the garden at the table, paying household bills. The Dolgo Crab that graces my back garden is loaded with unharvested fruit. The hail of July 18th damaged the crop. The robins do not care about such cosmetic things. They are here in great numbers, feasting on the sweetness of my miniature apples. They are getting fattened up for the migration. I do not migrate. I hibernate. I fill up on cinnamon buns from The Farmers’ Market.

Garden Tip: This autumn has seen an incredible display of fall colors. The elms have hung onto their golden leaves much longer than most years and there is a simple reason. While we as humans have not enjoyed the cool, wet fall, the trees have. In most years, with harvest in full swing, there is a good amount of heat and wind available. This causes the trees to finish with their leaves quickly and dispose of them. But this year, they linger. Gently turning, gently falling. Easily, one of the prettiest autumns in memory.

Joe Pettick: I mentioned two reports ago that Joe had passed away. Recently, in The Leader Post, a group of contractors and suppliers purchased a full page of the paper to honor Joe’s life. The reason? Whether you were the president of the company or the guy pushing the wheelbarrow filled with concrete, Joe treated you with respect. That was his legacy. Kindness and respect.

• Two of our readers were left out of the list of writers/artists in last week’s Garden Report. Roberta Nichol is the grand dame of the local folk music scene and Maureen Hawley is a very talented Chinese brush artist. Anyone else left out? Let me know.

• One of our readers forwarded the opinion that by listing all of the writers who read The Garden Report, that I was engaging in a bit of name dropping. I was perplexed by this assertion so I asked my good friend, Mayor Pat Fiacco for his opinion and he did not agree with that writer. Neither did Gordon Lightfoot when I spoke with him.

Fish and Chips: Several readers suggested I give a try to Brewster’s as a good place for this treat. Will do. In #17, I referenced the old Chinese Kitchen at the corner of Pasqua and Dewdney Avenue. Two readers, Jean Freeman and Wanda Bellamy responded with memories of the tasty fish and chips served up at this neighborhood dive.

• Margaret Hryniuk wrote in to say that she had an incredible roasted turkey Panini at The Fireside Bistro which is located at Smith and 15th. I have not been there for years but it is on my list as well.

• The price of democracy: I was logged onto one of the boxing bulletin boards in the Vancouver area. Someone posted that a local boxing club should be avoided because they are involved in cocaine trafficking. No name was signed to the entry. If the statement is true, then the police should be contacted and the club should be shut down. If it is not true, then the blogger got to slander and attack someone with impunity. This freedom to post without identifying yourself is definitely not in anyone’s best interest. It is disgusting. And the greater tragedy is that the blogger could be spreading gossip for any number of reasons. Perhaps he is a competitor.

Garden Tip: The tomato blight that swept across our gardens a few weeks ago, destroyed all but the heirloom tomato varieties. Both Margaret Hryniuk and Susan Rollins reported their heirlooms were just fine. Most of our garden tomatoes are hybrids, the result of crosses. Heirlooms are old fashioned tomatoes and you are able to save the seed from year to year. They are not crosses. I spoke with Rick, the organic farmer at The Market and he confirmed that his heirlooms were just fine. As this tomato blight will be around for a few more years, I would strongly suggest that we all plant heirlooms next year to avoid another crop failure.

• I was out and about and had a need to stop into Manulife on Scarth Street. The ladies of that company Karen, Glenda and Shelley, are all readers of the blog and really enjoy it. They really appreciated the story about my friend the priest, Ed Heidt.

In the news: A couple of Grade Twelve boys were charged and plead guilty to assaulting two Grade Nine boys by paddling them. This happened close to Campbell Collegiate. Paddling has gone on for many years and it is often called hazing or initiation. The courts got it right. It is an assault. When I was in Grade Nine, there was a senior boy who assaulted many younger students. He thought it was great fun. We were all terrified of him. He was never disciplined by the school. Sadly, he went on to become a City Police Officer.

Garden Tip: Hate to sound like a broken record but with the decent weather, it is the perfect time to plant your tulips and other fall bulbs. Fall bulbs equal spring flowers!

• A recent university study found that the higher a man’s testosterone level, the less ability he has to construct a sentence. Now I understand why my writing career took off about ten years ago. I am now able to finish a paragraph, because that gorgeous redhead no longer dominates my frontal lobe.

• Lies, damned lies and then there are statistics: I asked my buddy what was new and he responded: “I made passionate love to my wife five times last night!” I was impressed, very impressed. So I said to him “if I ask your wife, will she verify that number?” “No,” he said, “sadly, her memory is starting to go.”

• Universal themes: We were walking along Denman Street in Vancouver. Pulled over to the curb was a minivan. In the driver’s seat was a Chinese husband. His wife was outside the vehicle, just reefing on him. Now, I fully admit I do not speak Cantonese or Mandarin, but I do recognize specific intonations, and he had his head hung appropriately low, not wanting to make eye contact with his missus. Her finger was wagging and I am willing to bet dollars to donuts that she was saying “you don’t know how mad I am right now! You don’t know how you embarrass me when you do stupid stuff! What were you thinking or were you even thinking?” As we passed this couple, I said to Maureen “poor guy” and her response was “I wonder what he did wrong.” Two sides to every situation.

A simpler solution: Perhaps it is because of my age or maybe because I have spent so many years touring with The Fringe Festival, but I have really come to appreciate the simple over the complicated. Within The Fringe Tour, performers learn quickly to keep their technical requirements to a minimum and often their sets are nothing more than a chair. Fringe Theater is above all else, dedicated to simplicity. The essence of The Fringe is writing and acting, not the flying squirrels and dancing penguins. Having written that, I am tiring of the everyday celebrations being turned into major, Hollywood style extravaganzas. Specifically, Grade Twelve Graduations. Gowns now are custom made, costing thousands of dollars. Tuxes are mandatory. Limousines line up at the hotel. Everything has to be bigger and better. The show grows in size and complexity every year. For God’s sakes, it is Grade Twelve Grad! It is supposed to be a celebration not an exercise in overindulgence. And while some parents don’t mind maxing out their credit cards to ensure the ‘perfect’ dress is worn by their precious, it begs the question to be asked: Where does it leave the lower income kids? Apparently, this grandiosity is filtering down to the Grade Eight Grads. Don’t get me started on today’s weddings.

A simpler time: It was 1942. My mom and dad met. The war was on. They fell in love. My dad proposed. They bought a five dollar ring. They got married at seven p.m. at Knox Met on Victoria Avenue. They had two friends ‘stand up’ for them.. My dad was working the midnight shift at the anti-aircraft factory. He went to work. My mom went to sleep. In the morning, my dad came home from work. My mom got up to go to work. My dad thanked my mom for keeping the bed warm and he went to sleep. It was his turn. The war was on.

$2,515.00: That is the amount the readers of this blog donated to The Walk for Life – Kidney Transplant Awareness last Sunday. Thank you.

• Enjoy the sunshine…Rod McDonald in Regina

No comments:

Post a Comment