Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Garden Report #91

Sunday, July29th, 2012

Murphy watching a robin
• Writers write: Writing The Garden Report is an interesting experience. What started out with a hundred readers, all known to me, has expanded. I do not know most of our readers today, yet we share this bit of time every Sunday. When I was out for a quick bite on Friday night, I was introduced to someone I have not met. His name is Steve. “Pleased to meet you, Steve” I said. He responded: “Your write The Garden Report.” Cool.

• Readers write:

     • Noelle Chorney, our writer/reader from Saskatoon had this to say: “Thoughts on your ‘What Would You Do?’ question. It seems that the best thing to do is to look after your own karma and let her worry about hers.”

     • One of our readers did not wish her name published, lest people think she is a religious zealot, which she is not. But, she did send along a Bible quotation regarding ‘What would you do?’. Here is the quote: “Matthew 18:15 to 17:“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

     • Frank Flegel also had an opinion on the above issue. Here is his take: “The friend? I would tell her. Somewhere in the Bible, I believe it says, "be kind to your enemies. It will be like putting burning coals upon their heads" or something like that.”

     • Sandra Rayson tossed a compliment our way. “Thanks for The Garden Report despite your schedule. You are a wonderful inspiration. Keep up the great work.”

     • Roberta Nichol is symbiotic (fancy word, eh?) with Gail Bowen on our neighborhood. “I do agree with Gail Bowen. Lakeview is a fabulous community. That is why I bought my home here. My first home as an independent adult was also in Lakeview.”

'Northern Dazzle' Lily
     • Jackie Arnason liked the pictures in #90. “ So glad you are back, Rod. I was worried. I love the picture of the girls in the peat moss. Children are so involved in whatever they are doing , something for us to emulate!”

     • Gary Drummond only writes in once a year. Kind of a quite gent. Here is this year’s take. “Morning Rod. Thanks for another good Report. As you mentioned the crops are amazing.”

     • Sherrie Tutt shares about native plants. “Hi Rod: A few years ago, I helped plant Western Red Lilies in front of the Lifelong Learning Center (the old McKenzie Art Gallery beside Darke Hall). It was part of a special project to re-establish these rare plants. After several years of fussing and praying over them, they have finally bloomed. A magnificent display and much taller than I expected. I encourage anyone nostalgic for Prairie Lilies to go take a look. Sadly, some show cut marks where people have helped themselves. Please tell your readers that they are rare and they are protected by law. They are not to be tampered with in any way.” Rod says: It is illegal to dig out Western Red Lilies in the wild as well as in a planted bed.

     • Cheryl Geiger-Paul is a member of The Good Eaters Club. Read on: “We are in Budapest, and our children are supposed to be looking after the garden. I have eaten my way through Budapest! I am going to need more than a yoga class when I get home. I have eaten the best goulash, palacinta, letcho, and suteme. We are off to relatives today, so more eating. Be well my friend and looking forward to my garden when I get home.”

     • Lyn Goldman (note the one ‘n’) enjoys the photos published here. “The photos are terrific, Rod! CJ's butterfly is spectacular, and the two little girls in the wheelbarrow are delightful. What a treat it is to read your Report, gossip and all!”

     • Mark Dyck is a first time responder and he begins with a thank you. He owns Orange Boot Bakery. “Thanks for yet another mention in your Garden Report newsletter. We always appreciate the kind words. Almost as much as the gardening advice and community news!”

     • Liz Calam tells us that the photo of Billy’s kids playing in the peat most brought back this memory: “I loved the picture of the little girls in the barrow of peat. It brought back memories of school ‘spring half-term break’ when a child in England. Our gardener, Mr. Smith, would have all four of us in the greenhouse and our job was to break up the large bale of compressed peat moss so it could be used for planting. We loved it!”

Left bunch @2.99/right bunch @4.99
• Two sides to every story: Last week in #90, I mentioned that several people at The Farmers’ Market voiced their concern over the price of produce this year. Our friends at Corn Maiden/Lincoln Gardens are regular readers and they took exception to those comments. Now, I don’t have a dog in this fight, so presenting both sides is not a problem. From the produce vendors point of view, they say you have to compare apples with apples. Factor in the organic nature, the freshness and the quality. Kim from Lincoln sent along a photo comparing a bunch of beets she purchased at a local store, on the left, for $2.99 versus her bunch which sells for $4.99, on the right. Clearly, her bunch is much bigger so comparing prices based on the word ‘bunch’ is not fair. Again, I never mind presenting both sides. If you have an opinion, send it along.

• Farmers’ Market: It was packed with people out enjoying the morning and the market. The produce stands are filling up with green goods and there was a Saskatoon pie festival happening. One of my rules for going to the market is never to be in a rush. It is as much a social outing for me as it is a shopping expedition. I managed to have a short visit with readers Ken and Michelle McCaw. Michelle was the producer of the noon show on CBC One for many years. Ken was is known as having been a high school teacher.

• Garden Tip: On the prairies, we are taught from the time we are knee high to a grasshopper, to never complain about rain. Never, never, is there too much of it. If you do complain, Grandma will tell you about the time it did not rain from ’34 ‘til ’37. But it did rain again, this week, and lots of it. My garden tip? Grow rice.

• Calories in Saskatoon: We made a day trip to Saskatoon. There is a lot of road construction and the housing boom is incredible in that city. We had lunch at Calories on Broadway, one of our favorite cafes. We met up with long time friend and reader, Darryl Peterson, of Ninth Street B and B fame. I had their version of a California Club, served on an incredible baguette. It had turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce and a house made mayo with lime. Very, very good. Maureen had a veggie sandwich on their wild rice bread, which is her favorite carb. Along with that, she had a cup of soup. Calories’ soups are legendary for their tastiness. We finished off the meal with a lemon square, sweet and sour, that was divine. Ask me if I am a fan of Calories? Go ahead.

• Calories cultural relations: We were joined at our table by Chef and owner, Remy Cousyn. Remy is originally from Marseille, in the south of France. I spoke to him in French and he responded in English, which is what happens every time I try to engage people in their native language. Is there something wrong with my accent? I did take French in both Grade Nine and in Grade Ten at Scott Collegiate, so I must be really good at it by now, right?

Daylilies in our backyard
• Broadway Roastery: To finish off our perfect lunch, we had the best latté in Canada at The Broadway Roastery. This cappuccino joint is a block and a half north of Calories at Five Corners and near the bridge into downtown. I don’t know how they do it, but their latté is as good or better than any espresso based coffee in Vancouver or anywhere else. Ask me if I am a fan of The Broadway? Go ahead.

• Garden Tip: Blooming right now are hydrangeas. The best two varieties to plant in our area are ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Pee Gee’. Other varieties must be covered and treated as if they are tender, tea roses.

• Hot and Sour: Local readers will remember Tan Hoa, the hole in the wall joint on Dewdney, near Angus Street. It was a Vietnamese place that introduced us to Hot and Sour soup. Throngs of people flowed into that place, just to get their fix. Today, Hot and Sour soup is available at many places including Chinese restaurants. Tan Hoa is long gone, as the RCMP had a problem with their organic farming of a cash crop, but one can still find first rate soup at Peking House on Rose, near 11th Avenue. If you have a favorite place for Hot and Sour soup, let us know and we will share it here. My nickname for Hot and Sour soup is Kitchen Sink Soup cause everything is in it.

• Garden Tip: Do not prune elms, of any variety or size, until the end of August has passed. Pruning elm trees now, can encourage the beetle that transmits Dutch Elm Disease, something now of us want.

• Rehab, soon: A fellow was telling me that he had gotten very drunk last Saturday and had a tremendous hangover. He was also complaining that “the stupid neighbor decided to mow his lawn with his noisy lawnmower at seven a.m., Sunday morning. It was so loud and irritating I was tempted to call the cops. I just lay there, refusing to move, and he had to mow around me.”

• The crop report: I am not much of a farmer. In fact, I don’t farm at all but I do like talking with our local farmers. Right now, the winter wheat is turning an absolutely ripe brown/gold. Incredibly thick. I found out that our winter wheat, which will be harvested around August 10th south of town, is sold to the ethanol plant at Belle Plaine. Canola has replaced wheat as our number one cash crop. There are literally seas and oceans of the yellow blooms in the countryside this year. There are fields of peas but not as many as last year. When I asked one of our lads why, he explained “peas aren’t paying squat.” Got you. Also, I noticed that there is not as much flax growing this year. I only saw one or two quarters of it on the way to Saskatoon. Perhaps one of our rural readers can enlighten us. Perhaps, flax is not paying a good price either.

• Opa: This is a chain featuring fast food, Greek style. I was at their franchise in Edmonton, off of 82nd a few years ago and now there is one in Harbor Landing. We checked it out on Friday, for a quick bite before The Red Sox game. Maureen had a wild salmon skewer with a Greek salad. She said the salmon was slightly overcooked. I had a souvlaki plate with a chicken and a pork skewer, salad, taziki sauce and pita bread. The pork was better than the chicken, the salad was fresh and crisp, the taziki sauce was mild with not a lot of zip and the pita bread was not really pita bread. So, it has some good things going on but not great. The price for the two of us was eighteen bucks.

• Farmers’ Market must haves: Here is a list of my must haves at our local market. They include Howland’s honey, Laurel’s poppy seed Danish, maple nut or chocolate nut fudge, Darlene Lipinski’s whole wheat, cinnamon buns, Sharon’s pies and Linda’s pickles. I purchase many other items, but those are the items I never leave without.

An inground fountain
• Sadly: Judy Burlock was my friend since the late 1960’s. We met through my high school girlfriend who babysat for Judy’s children. She also worked at the garden center, when we were on Albert Street, in 1983 and ’84. Many of our female readers would have known Judy from The La Leche League which promotes natural breast feeding. Judy founded The La Leche League in Regina to assist new mothers, back in the seventies. She was a great lady. She helped hundreds of young moms. She passed away a few weeks ago. I got to say my goodbyes to her not too long before she died.

One of my fondest memories of Judy is this one. We were planting flowers in 1984 for Mr. Reimer from Avenue Florists, at his house. Mr. Reimer was up in years and could no longer plant the flowerbeds, himself. When we were finished and he was paying me, Mr. Reimer said “Where do you get such young and sexy helpers from?” He was referring to Judy. Being young at the time, I responded: “Mr. Reimer. She’s not sexy. She’s a mom, with three kids.” I am now older, and hopefully wiser. I now can state, without hesitation, that mom’s, with three kids, are sexy. Very sexy.

Thanks for reading…Rod McDonald in the sunshine of Regina!

No comments:

Post a Comment