Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Garden Report #21

The Garden Report #21

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

• Garden Time: I was on the Angus Street side of my garden wall this Thursday. I was planting the last of my tulip bulbs. One of the neighborhood squirrels was on the ground, no more than fifteen feet away from my planting bed. He watched me with great interest. Do squirrels understand English? I gave him very clear instructions not to return later in the day and dig up my newly planted bulbs. Of course, I am also the same man who instructed my boys when they were teenagers, to behave themselves. Somehow, I think I have a better chance with the squirrel.

• Poison Profits: Kentucky Fried Chicken is suffering lower sales and reduced profits. To improve their bottom line, they have introduced a bun less sandwich called ‘The Double Down’, which contains somewhere around 1700 mg. of sodium! Add in the fat content and the calories and you have everything you need for a stroke, a heart attack, high blood pressure and kidney failure in one meal. According to KFC’s spokesperson, the sandwich is not meant to be eaten regularly, only as a rare treat. Yes, and the heroin dealer does not want his clients to become addicted. He suggests that they only inject the drug on holidays and other special occasions.

Acidanthera 'Bicolor'

Linden Tree-Fall Color
• Attachment Photos: People have been emailing me some really wonderful photos, appropriate to The Garden Report. June Blau from across the street sent in the Regina Avenue autumn canopy. For our out of town readers, Regina Avenue is the main street to the airport and the trees are American Elms, planted in the 1920’s. I actually have an old photograph of this street when the elms were only five feet tall. The other three photos were submitted by Heather Lowe. I have often recommended that people plant a linden tree. As you can see in the photo, it is a truly, outstanding specimen.

• Readers Write: Richard Gustin wrote “I have been sharing The Garden Report with a neighbor who greatly enjoys it and wants to know if she can be added to the distribution list.” Yes she can. Roberta Nichol wrote “I like the way it deals with every day experiences…”. Cheryl Hutton from Calgary writes “…I feel like I am given a little piece of civilization every time I sit down to read. Keep it coming, Rod.” Joan Kortje wrote “I too, love getting your Garden Report every Monday morning when I arrive at work. Have saved every one…”. Joanne Terry wrote “…those photos of the legislature are ‘prize winning’…”. They were submitted by regular reader Jan Pederson of Winnipeg.

• Hill Avenue Drugs: Stopped in there to pick up a prescription. They told me that they enjoy reading The Garden Report. They said they enjoy the humor. Now I feel under pressure to be funny.

• Scot’s Man Report: People who are not from my clan ask on a regular basis, if it is true that we do not wear underwear beneath our kilts and tartans. Now stop and think about that for a moment. How would you react if I were to walk around asking about the status of your underwear?

• Added underwear thoughts: You know how your mother always insisted that you put on clean underwear when you were going to the doctor? Well, in all my years of visiting different doctors, none have ever inspected my underwear. They know the condition of my liver and my appendix and my tonsils, but none have ever taken the time to ensure I was wearing clean gotch. One day, a nurse will file an inspection report and forward it to my mother. “Dear Mrs. McDonald. Rodney attended our clinic today and his underwear was very clean. You should be proud as this reflects upon your ability to raise children properly.” Signed…The Nurse.

• Dutch thoughts: I am often mistaken as being German or Dutch. It happens all the time, especially being in the greenhouse business. About twenty years ago, I was visiting Casey Grootendorst at his greenhouse in Vancouver. His mother was there and she decided I must be Dutch. Once a Dutch person has made up their mind, there is very little one can do to change it. She spoke Dutch to me. I told her “I don’t speak Dutch”. She continued for some time with our conversation, as if I would learn the language. I again told her “I don’t speak Dutch.” Didn’t slow her down one bit at all. She had a story to tell and I was going to listen.

• Peking House: This restaurant on Rose Street charges a bit more than most Chinese places, but they give you some good eating. Their veggies are fresh and crisp, never overcooked. They make a killer Hot and Sour Soup which is one of my favorites. Almost a meal in itself. Maureen loves their Singapore Noodles which is a lightly curried plate of thin pasta.

• Farmers’ Market: The market has moved indoors until December. They are at The Cathedral Community Center on 13th and are open Saturday mornings. Had some dynamite young carrots last week from the market.

• Why?: Why do some performers take fifteen minutes to introduce a song? Where they were when they wrote it, how they felt about it at the time, how it changed their views…and then it only takes them five minutes to sing it? There is a concept from the theater world that applies here: No matter how many classes you took, no matter how many directors have influenced your work, no matter how talented you think you are, your job is to deliver the next line!

• Garden Tip: As we move indoors for the winter, so do the ants and a few other creepy crawly insects. The best way to control them is with the organic powder ‘Insectigon’. This powder is made from diatomaceous earth and it is not a poison. It works through the mechanical process. You can apply the powder behind the fridge and stove or along insect pathways.

• Fish and Chips: Always a popular topic here at The Garden Report. I finally made it to Brewster’s on south Albert Street to check out their version. On the positive side, their chips were crisp and clean and I asked that mine not be salted in the kitchen and they accommodated my request. They use halibut as their fish at Brewster’s and in my opinion, halibut is the best fish to use. Cod and haddock are also good. Pollock and Tilapia are not recommended. Cooked fish should be either golden or golden brown. Mine arrived dark brown which means that it was in the fryer a minute or two too long. The batter was not very tasty having been overcooked. I should have sent it back but being a good Canadian, I am really reluctant to do that. So I simply peeled the batter off to one side and ate the halibut which was very tasty. I would give them another chance but the next time I order, I will be very up front with the wait staff and ask them to ensure the kitchen does not overcook my order.

• Fresh and homemade: Michelle Jackson who is a regular reader and leads an alternate existence as my niece (Bonnie’s girl), finally made it over to my house with the long awaited apple crisp. It was the finest one I have ever tasted! It was made with apples from her back yard. And one of the things I love about homemade desserts is that I can pronounce all of the ingredients and there never is a caveat proclaiming “may contain…”.

• Garden Tip: It is time to plant your amaryllis. Mine arrived this week. Plant the bulb in a pot that is slightly larger than the bulb. More often than not, a five inch or six inch pot is more than adequate. Rookies often make the mistake of planting their amaryllis in a pot that is too large such as an eight inch container. Best to water your amaryllis from the bottom rather than the top. I take a dish with a bit of water in the bottom and place my amaryllis pot into this dish for about twenty minutes. The bulb will pull up the amount of water it needs. The easiest way to kill an amaryllis is to overwater it. Now, as to when it will bloom? Experienced growers can time tulips to bloom with one or two days of when they want them. Tulips can be programmed. Amaryllis cannot. They have a mind of their own. If you plant ten, they will all bloom at different times. Just the nature of the bulb. If you have a slow bulb, do not give up on it. In all my years of growing this plant, I have never had a failure. I have had the odd one that would not bloom until February or even March, but they eventually bloomed.

• Selective listening: When I was a young boy, I would mishear songs that were playing on the radio. The classic ‘Return to Sender’ was interpreted by me as ‘Return December’ and I assumed it was someone looking forward to Christmas. Some things never change. Maureen now says “take out the garbage” and I hear “why don’t you watch the football game and I’ll make you a chocolate cake.”

• Symphony: Love the symphony. Had season tickets for years. Last night, the guest artist performed a classic, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. It was fantastic. I never tire of the piece.

• Football fans only: Don’t get me started. I rarely yell at my television set. Now I do.

• Enjoy the lovely autumn…Rod McDonald in Regina

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