Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Garden Report #116

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Clematis growing in Regina
• Writers write: Several years ago, I was watching a documentary on CBC. It was about this Russian Orthodox sect that lives in Northern Alberta. They cross themselves in opposite fashion from other Catholics. Their hands move right to left instead of left to right. No problem. This woman explained to the camera that when you cross yourself from left to right, “each time, you drive yourself deeper into hell”. I try to be empathetic to all religions but if I were to have one criticism it would be towards those religious people who practice such a narrow form of worship that all others are wrong. I don’t get it. If God is indeed an all loving God, then why would he condemn those who cross themselves in an opposite manner?

I grew up in a Christian church that inflicted (I use that word correctly) the belief that our membership would be the only ones in Heaven. We were the chosen ones, God’s people and none others. Even as a little boy, I wondered “won’t Heaven be a lonely place if we are the only ones there?”

To me, Heaven is a lot like Canada. There is every religion and all are respected and tolerated – or at least they are supposed to be. There is room on this earth and in Heaven for all, as each of us is one of God’s chosen people. The zealots of any religion are not true believers, rather they are intolerants, inflicting their own brand of misery wherever they gather.

• Readers write:

• A mea culpa on my part, and no one picked up on it. Shame. Last week, I should have framed the television show, ‘Seinfeld’, with a set of single quotes because it is a title. You readers are really starting to slip.

• Lyn Goldman enjoyed the photo of the Crassweller girls. “Those are three sweet beauties! Thanks for sharing. The snow has overwhelmed me!”

• Jean Freeman is a fan of Downton Abbey. “And thank you for your suspicion about Thomas on Downton Abbey! It hadn't occurred to me, but of course it makes perfect sense.”

• Wanda Bellamy also gets into the act, regarding our British soap. “I too am hooked on Downton Abbey and I never thought about Thomas killing Bates wife.... interesting theory.”

• Sherri Tutt loves fresh tasting tomatoes. “Thanks for the tip about coffee at Lakeview Fine Foods. It is my go-to place for fresh tomatoes. Grown in a Saskatchewan green house, they have lush tomato flavour, even in the dead of winter when every other tomato on the market has little or no taste at all.”

• Mike Liske, along with his dad Richard, looks after the snow removal from fifty-five homes. This winter has been very hard on him. He writes “Rod - I have to agree, no more snow. The past couple of days have been incredibly long, constant complaints of either not clearing said driveway fast enough or too early in the morning and waking up the neighbours. To top it off three out of four snow blowers broke down on us. What are the chances after two months with no issues, the day when you really need that equipment, they break?”

• Neil Slater has a suggestion for Mother Nature. “I would never complain about too much snow, but could we please save some and have it fall next month?”

Now that is one big snow drift!
• Katherine Livingston sent along the photo of a snow drift in her yard. “Your lament about snow touched upon our experience here behind Douglas Park and St. Andrew’s schools. The fact that they are adjacent and face Douglas Park Ave., leaves a lot of open playground space behind these schools for winds to whip up even a minor snowfall. The attached photo shows the view out our south facing window. A little bit more drifting and we would not be able to see out of the window at all.”

• You know that you have arrived as a writer when your Mrs. sends you an email regarding your blog. “Well done dear. Maybe people should try growing poinsettias as a nice big, bushy plant as I did. It was so green and fresh looking for such a long time.”

• Roberta Nichol grew her amaryllis bulb outside last year, as per the instructions from The Garden Report. She had wonderful success. “As for my amaryllis, I experienced some outstanding blooms on it this summer, as it sat planted underneath the large lilac bush. It was more orange than ever, a much more intense colour than when it had bloomed inside. However, it didn't bloom this winter. That's okay. It's a three year old bulb. We'll see this spring. If nothing happens, maybe it's time for a new one next fall. It's also nice to change colours once in a while, too.”

• Doug Gummeson reviews The Garden Report from the metropolis of Moose Jaw. “Thanks Rod. Really appreciate it. Love the read.”

Kerr Castle-my clan home
• Heather Lowe (who used to be a McLean in an earlier life) was in Scotland and took the photo of my clan’s ancestral home. I am having my solicitor make inquiries into any back rent due to me.

Rob Van Zanten grows lots of hostas!
• Rob Van Zanten, one of our many Dutch readers, has planted up a few hostas. Rob sent along a photo. As soon as spring arrives, they will begin to fill out their pots. By the way, this photo was not touched up. He really does grow that many hostas.

• Ever the Scot: Bob Anderson sent in this bit of humour regarding my clansmen. “My wife and I walked past a swanky new restaurant last night. "Did you smell that food?" she asked. "Incredible!" I responded. Being the kind hearted Scot that I am, I thought, "What the heck, I'll treat her." So we walked past it again.”

• Enough: Stop picking on the Scots people! Time to go after the Dutch. Did you know that copper wire was invented by two Dutchmen fighting over a penny? Did you know that Dutch greenhouse operators work seven days a week because if they take Sunday off, they have to be retrained on Monday morning? And the list goes on. My apologies, not really, to all of our Dutch readers as we do have many.

• Funny and true: I have an elderly friend. She is not a techie. Even less so than myself. She had to go to a care home after an injury in November. I phoned to wish her a merry Christmas. She was surprised by my call. “How did you know I was in this care home?” she asked. So where is the humour? I called her cell phone.

• Writing Tip: Now and again, people will use two verbs in one sentence. Example: We went and saw the movie. In order to see the movie, it is implied that you went, so it is better to write we saw the movie.

• ‘Life of Pi’: I have not been getting out to the movies this winter. ‘Life of Pi’ was my first one. It is written by a master story teller, Yan Martell, who lives in Saskatoon. At the end of the narrative, there are two choices. The storyteller asks the question, which one is the more enjoyable to believe? That has always been the storytellers dilemma. Which version of the truth is told? The one closest to reality or the one that satisfies.

• Winter tip: After not having winter tires and driving on ‘all season radials’ for close to forty years, this is the second year I have had my winter tires. To the point: Love them! Stop better. Start better. Not an excuse to drive fast on the ice but safely. The kids had my car for Christmas and they said that they saw drivers slipping and sliding all over the road but not them.

• No more dating: I took in a lecture, many years ago. The speaker maintained that men marry, not because of love but, because they don’t want to date any more. He said that women invent the floating rules of dating and they are too complicated for most men, so the men give up and choose to marry, rather than to play the game any longer. When he said that, the men in the room began to nod their heads at the same time their wives turned to glare at the husbands, asking “is that true?” Everywhere in the room, men were whispering to their wives, “for most men it is true, but not for us dear.”

'Emily Carr' grew very well for me
'• Ngoc Anh: I have reviewed this Vietnamese place on Smith Street before and I was not impressed. Last Sunday, we wanted a bowl of soup and being a little ticked with Peking House, we gave this restaurant another try. CJ Katz raves about their won-ton soup and that is what we ordered. Filled with flavour, we gulped it down, deciding it was the best won-ton soup we have had. We ordered two more dishes to turn it into a Sunday supper. One was a chicken dish and the other was a curried noodle. Both were excellent. So much better than the last time we were there. It rated as being one of the best oriental meals we have eaten.

• Garden Tip: Once again, there will be a seed exchange and sale at St. Mary’s Anglican at 15th and Montague. When they have a poster ready, I will have more details available for gardeners. By the way, this is the 100th Anniversary for St. Mary’s. There are photos of the church building with no houses around it.

• Leonard Cohen: He will be performing in Regina this March. Tickets are on sale. We took in his show in Saskatoon three years ago and it was the best concert of any performer. The old boy really gives you your money’s worth and no attitude. “She feeds you tea and oranges, that come all the way from China…”

• Still my favourite: We have not been to Siam on Hamilton Street for several months but that was rectified on Tuesday. It is still Number One in my books for big flavour. Watch your choice of heat levels or else your ‘tears of joy’ will be plentiful.

• Always grateful: My friend John C. (everyone calls him that) has been over several times this winter to dig me out of the snow drifts. I can handle the snow blower in the open areas but the shoveling is a tad onerous for this body.

• Garden Tip: At this time of year, a pot or two of spring bulbs is always a breath of fresh air. Showing up in the market place are pans of tulips, daffodils, crocus and hyacinths. If purchased at a tight stage, spring bulbs can last for up to two weeks in a home. The cooler the room, the longer they last.

• Does anyone know: I need new glasses and my optometrist has retired. Is there one out there that you would recommend as being excellent? Let me know. If not, I will have to increase the font size of this blog.

'Campfire' is being released this spring
• Writing tip #2: Adjectives and adverbs do not take the place of well chosen nouns and verbs. Spend more time on the nouns and verbs and restrict your use of adjectives and adverbs.

• Ancient history: In the 1960s, I was a paper boy for The Leader Post for four years. My route was the down town  morning route and I had 140 papers to deliver, six days a week. There were two days that I remember, as would any paper boy. The first was June 30th, 1967. It was the centennial of Canada as a country and the newspaper published a ‘Commemorative Edition’. Usually, I carried fifty or sixty papers in my bag but that day, I could only fit six as the paper was so heavy. Many people ordered extra copies to give to friends or to save. Joe Dojack over at National Music on Hamilton Street ordered a half dozen copies and I had to make a special delivery, just for his store. It was a good thing there was no school that day as I did not finish my deliveries until ten a.m. instead of the normal time of 7:30 a.m.

The second day that I remember was the December 27th edition of either ’66 or ’67. In those days, there were no Boxing Day sales. The paper was only twenty-four pages and it was the lightest that my carrier bag ever felt. I kept my route until the first month of Grade Eleven. Some of the kids at school found out that I still had a paper route and they made fun of me for keeping that job. I quit the next week.

Thanks for reading….Rod McDonald in Regina-the snow capital!

No comments:

Post a Comment