Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Garden Report #125
Sunday, March 31st, 2013

The spring melt is just now starting at our house
• Writers write: I don’t get it. Hockey is Canada’s game or so we say. It defines who we are, contributing to the fabric of the nation. When I was a kid, you took your stick, hung your skates across the blade and off to the rink you went. All of us thought we were great. Most of us were not. Not the point. We had fun, dreaming of being called up to play for one of the six NHL teams. There were very, few parents at our games. I don’t know why. They just didn’t attend. Those who did, rarely caused problems. Did I mention there was never any charge to play? Hockey was Canada’s game and it was free!

Hockey has changed. Last week, there was a brawl, another one, involving parents at a hockey game in Ontario. It made ‘The National’. There is as much violence and vulgarity in the stands as there ever is on the ice. Parents swearing at seventeen year old referees during games played by seven year olds. Go figure. And it’s not limited to the dads. Nope. The moms are getting in on it as well, sometimes being the instigators. That is equality, in the saddest of ways. Some leagues are now banning parents from attending. Another one is requiring parents to attend classes on how to be a good sport at games. I can’t make this stuff up. Why? This game is supposed to be fun. It is supposed to be about the kids. When do we get our game back or is it too late?

• Readers write:

• Margo Soriano enjoys good food. She writes “If you haven’t tried the tasting menu (offered every Monday night – always different) at La Bodega, you are missing a treat. We’ve enjoyed it several times now and have never been disappointed. Hats off to Adam and his team for offering something unique.”
Pink peonies bloom in June in Regina

• Dough Gummeson takes exception with my view of people trying to order coffee at The Victorian Tea. “I have been to many teas that served tea and coffee including church functions, community functions and fund raisers. All labeled with the name tea. In fact a tea that serves only tea might perhaps be in the minority.” Rod’s note: The Victorian Tea is a very, strict tea. You will sit up straight, you will not complain and you will drink your tea. No coffee! People who complain, must stand with their nose in the corner for one hour. No laughing!

• CJ Katz, our resident foodie, sent this info along. “Hi Rod – a fun Report as always. You’re sowing seeds of laughter and wisdom. I just thought you might like to know that quinoa is a fruit, not a grain. It’s related to beets actually. I’ve had interesting and sometimes vigorous arguments with people over the years. People call it an ancient grain, but it’s really a fruit. I’ve now started eating quinoa for breakfast most mornings. I cook up a batch (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water with the barest pinch of salt) early in the week and then microwave as needed. I like mine with a teaspoon of maple syrup, blueberries and almond milk. Now that’s a power breakfast.”
Red Feather Grass is a good choice for a sunny planter

• Chris Dodd likes to yank chains, even though she is not a tow truck driver. “Has everyone missed the critical point about your gotch question? I wanted to believe, as a Scotsman, you didn’t wear any. Were you just testing us?” Rod’s note: Shhh…don’t let everyone else know. I tell them that they are really smart.

• Dianne Palmer enjoys live theater. “Good morning Rod. I went to Globe on Friday night. I thoroughly enjoyed their production of 'Pride and Prejudice'. I was impressed with the actors’ skill at remembering and delivering the large amount of amount of dialog and narration that were the fabric of the production. I appreciated the portrayal of all of the characters - they were right on. I found Mr. Collins to be particularly repulsive - which was perfect. I love the story... it is a favourite of mine, and this play is my favourite of this season. I look forward to reading The Garden Report on Sunday morning . Keep up the good work.”

• Don Nasheim writes this: “Just thought I would clarify something. You mentioned the ban on smoking in public places as 13 years ago when in fact it was 8 years ago January 1st 2005. It was the last day I smoked as I felt exactly as you, I will be a prisoner to no one! And the lift off my shoulders was enormous, the mind is a powerful thing! Have a good week.”

• Marsha Kennedy has this for you to read. “I had a good chuckle, reading about your little performance with the television reporters. Yup, that was the Rod I remember, with fondness mixed with a little hesitation. Even if you say you will be sandbagging with no interviews this year, I am sure those working around you will enjoy many moments of comic relief to help pass the time. I am worried sick about my basement this spring. Have a wonderful week.”

• Neil Slater is wondering as are most of us. “How are we supposed to prune our elm trees? They're still buried in snow! Starting to recognize the signs of cabin fever in myself.”

Courtney admired these tulips from last week

• Courtney Siebring is one heck of a fine actor. Sadly for us, she has resided in Halifax these last few years. That is a long way to go to see her perform. Nonetheless, she stays in touch with The Garden Report. Here is her take on last week’s photo of the white tulips. “After this latest Garden Report, I just had to send you this picture of these white tulips that I took earlier this week. I was in the grocery store on Tuesday and stopped at the flowers to take a look. A beautifully, eccentric woman with wildly curly, bleached hair came by and said "a touch of spring...a little touch of spring...that's what I need." She reached over and picked up a bouquet of hot pink tulips, the same color as her lipstick and put it in her cart. I looked at her and said, "it's what I need, too." Maureen and I are on the same wave length... and the pink lipped lady from the store. Happy Spring!”

• Job opportunity: There is a summer job available, starting around the middle of April and running until the end of September. It is as a gardener for two properties that I have built. It is full time, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with half an hour for lunch. I am looking for someone who is quite experienced in gardening, as there will be weeding, fertilizing, watering and planting annuals involved. You have to be able follow my instructions to a ‘t’ and you will need a vehicle to get to the two job sites. You have to be able to work on your own. If you need me to hold your hand, you’re not the right person for the job. There is very little shade at either job site. This job is a wonderful learning opportunity. Many of those who have worked under my supervision have gone on to careers in this trade. A dozen or so own their own businesses. This job is not suited for students.

Garden Tip: If not already done so, start your begonia tubers now. Remember that the key to growing them is not to bury the tuber deep into the pot. A ‘shallow grave’ works just fine for growing begonia tubers. Do not overwater the soil. Wet soil destroys more tubers and seedlings than any other cause of death.

• Garden Tip: This one ties into the one above. At the garden center, we would get telephone orders to deliver a plant, as a way of thanks, to a nursing station at one of the hospitals. We would shudder when those sales came in. We would deliver a perfectly fine plant, that would sit on top of the counter and each shift that arrived, would assume that the last shift had been too busy to water and they would carry out the task. That was three water applications a day. After three of those days, the plant would be drooping and we would get a call that said “your plant is not doing very well.” Always the same tone when using the word your.

• Sad to see him go: Thursday was Costa Maragos last day as the news anchor at CBC Television. Costa is a decent man, who had a loyal audience for his broadcast. When he was out and about in the community, he was always approachable, engaging, never stand offish. He says that his plans are to remain in Regina.

Rayanna's first grocery store trip

• Grampa’s Report: We have Rayanna with us until Wednesday. Her eyes now focus and I spend much of my time playing the clapping game. I am pretty well, a full time, performing monkey for my granddaughter. My speciality is ‘peek a boo’. So far, so good. And you thought those acting classes were a waste of money.

• The Dad’s Report: Patrick and Lisa, the former party animals are home, from Edmonton. It’s wonderful to have them. Patrick especially, used to hoot with the owls, staying out ‘til five a.m. Now they are parents and headed off to bed on Friday night at nine p.m., claiming exhaustion. I can relate. In the 1970s, I spent every Friday and Saturday night, dancing, partying and kissing the occasional pretty girl (when circumstance permitted a kiss). Yeah! In the 1980s, I found myself playing ‘Inky, Dinky Spider’ and attempting to answer the question “where does the light go when it goes out, Dad?” I also went to a lot of school concerts instead of rock and roll extravaganzas. From Joe Cocker singing “I get high with a little help from my friends” to the grade four class warbling ‘O Holy Night’. That’s life.

• And the damage continues: I was talking with Robbie Barlow over at Barlow Lang Insurance. Robbie was one of my high school, student employees, many years ago. Nice to have those connections. He told me that with all the ice dams on local roofs this spring, he is getting a record number of damage claims. When I am out getting groceries, the common greeting this month has been “so, any water damage?”
Can’t wait for our common greeting to change to the regular “how about those Riders?”

Lemon cake for Sunday supper dessert-yum/yum

• Good eats: For Easter Sunday this year, we are doing something different. No turkey or cabbage rolls. This year, it is sauerkraut and spare ribs. I layer an inch of sauerkraut in the bottom of a large pan. Then lay down the spare ribs, no seasoning. Then another inch of sauerkraut, a layer of apple and onion slices and the spices, which are nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. No salt needed as there is more than enough in the kraut. Then one more layer of sauerkraut and a drizzle, be gentle please, of Canadian maple syrup. I like to bake my pan slowly for several hours. A slow cooker works fine for smaller amounts but for a large gathering, it is into the oven at 250 for six or seven hours. No need to mix anything as it will blend just fine. The ribs will be so juicy and tender.

• Harassing calls: I have been receiving multiple phone calls this week, from a California number, 1 707 723-4478. They are trying to sell medical alert systems. I asked them to quit calling and was met with an incredibly rude, American response, saying that I had signed up for these calls on the internet (which I did not). Sask Tel has a call blocking feature but all a caller needs to do to get around this blockage is to use another line and usually, they do have multiple numbers. I really wish that Sask Tel would shut down these numbers or is it that they are making too much money off of the long distance charges and are by default, a partner in these scams?  I am filing a complaint with The RCMP if it happens again and they can ask The FBI to investigate. 

• Three signs the kids are home: First, my car seat has been pushed back all the way to accommodate longer legs. Second, the radio is no longer tuned to CBC Two. Third, the gas light is flashing empty and will do so, until I fill it up. Until I fill it up, they drive their mother’s car.
• Garden Tip: With all of this snow, expect two things to do as soon as you can. First, there will probably be a higher amount of snow mould this year. Lightly rake it up and get it into a garbage bag where possible. Be careful of allergies. Snow mould is a tough one on me and many others. Second, get your lawn power aerated when it is dry enough to do so. Power aerators can be rented but always brush the parts that come in contact with your lawn with a solution of bleach, to kill off lawn disease. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can book Drew Millard at Mr. Caretaker to do it for you. I use Drew’s service every year. His number is 306 586-0828.

Keep your lawn clean of snow mould as soon as you can!
• Farmers’ Market: This Saturday’s market was packed with patrons but not with vendors. We need a few more booths to keep it interesting. I would love to see it expand to the size of the ones in Calgary and Edmonton. There were some dill pickles back at the market, courtesy of Golden Orchards. One of the enjoyable aspects of The Farmers’ Market is running into friends. Jennifer Cohen and I had a lovely visit and she remarked “this is worthy of a mention in The Garden Report”. She’s right. It is worthy.

• Thanks for reading and have a most enjoyable Easter...Rod McDonald in Regina

No comments:

Post a Comment