Aug 3, 2021

Harvest Time? Already?

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.
—Gertrude Stein

Holy moly, just what kind of super beans did my neighbor plant in my garden? The picture above is the fourth time I’ve picked beans and they’re still coming. In fact, the plants are still blossoming. And the beans growing through the chain link fence are just starting. You can’t just let them go to waste, right? It won’t be long before I’m buried in beans!

We’ve been having them steamed with dinner several times a week, but I gotta say I’m starting to lose my affection for them. I don’t care for beans that have been frozen and I’m running out of people to palm them off on give them to. Anyone ever try pickling beans before?

While I still greatly appreciate my neighbor planting my vegetable garden, I should have paid more attention to what she was doing. Because of the over-abundance of beans last year I’d planned on scaling them back to just one row – I’ve got three rows out there this year. No wonder I’m overwhelmed with beans.

And let’s talk tomatoes. I like tomatoes…cooked in stuff. The hubby likes cherry tomatoes in his salad. Me? Not so much. I like big tomatoes that can be sliced for sandwiches or used in spaghetti sauce, which is why we normally just have a few cherry tomato plants on the deck.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the tomato plants in the first of my two gardens, the plants that have grown almost as tall as me, turned out to be cherry and grape tomatoes. And the plants are covered with little green tomatoes. The stalks are weighted down with them. Anyone know what else you can do with cherry tomatoes besides put them in a salad?


Next year I’ll be able to take control of my vegetable gardens again and you can bet I’ll be doing some careful planning over the winter. That’s half the fun, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, if anyone has any recipes that use both string beans and cherry tomatoes, please send them to me!

Jul 20, 2021

Fire and Water

One of the pitfalls of having central air conditioning . . . it’s grey and dismal outside, and it’s nice and cool inside, so it’s easy to assume that it’s cool outside. So when you set foot out the front door the humidity hits you like a fist in the gut.

And here’s something new . . . I was sitting in my office yesterday and thought I smelled smoke. It was a little early, but probably one of the neighbours was burning garden detritus. But no, it was not. It was hazy all day and I later learned the haze was smoke from the fires in northern Ontario. Seriously?

It kind of boggles the mind that we could be so divided, weather-wise. The west (and apparently the north) is on fire and here in the southeast we’re drowning. We’ve had so much rain the hubby has had to take water out of both the pond and the pool a couple of times.

But while I might not be enjoying all this wet weather, the gardens sure have. Every gardener I know is amazed at how well their gardens are doing – how prolific the blossoms, how big and bushy the vegetables. This is the snow pea fence, the snow peas my neighbour plants along the fence so we can pick what comes through on our side.

The picture was taken last week, and already the snow peas are done. Because of the rain I wasn’t able to get out and pick them, and now they’re too big. All we can do is let them go to seed for next year.

This picture of my vegetable garden was taken last week as well.

Everything is even bigger now and I’ve already picked enough beans to last us a couple of weeks. Not only are the tomato plants covered in blossoms, I’ve got tomatoes forming. Who knew my neighbour (who generously planted the garden for me while I was in the hospital) gave me roma tomatoes as well as several other kinds? And tucked under the tomato plants are peppers, with actual peppers on them!

The valiant little cherry tomatoes the hubby likes to plant on the deck are starting to show fruit as well.

So if nothing else, we’ll be eating well on beans, peas (the kind you shell that are also growing on the fence), tomatoes, and peppers. That is provided I don’t mind harvesting in the rain.

How is your garden growing?

Jul 5, 2021

Double Happy Holiday!

Okay, so I’m a little late with Canada Day, which was Thursday, but Independence Day was only yesterday. There were a few fireworks Thursday night, not a lot, just a few, which was okay. But Saturday night the idiots behind us were setting off very loud, very bright fireworks at 1 a.m.! This is a quiet neighbourhood, and there are a lot of retired people and people with small children. There’s also a by-law making it illegal to set off fireworks after 11 p.m. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was annoyed by it.

I’ve been trying to get out at least once a day, but it’s not easy with the weather. While western Canada is so hot it caught fire, we’ve been pretty much grey and damp. On Friday we had a thunderstorm that lasted for hours – very unusual for us. The last couple of years our thunderstorms would be a couple of claps of thunder and that would be it.

The grandbaby graduated from senior kindergarten and in the fall she’ll be starting grade 1. Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was changing her diapers.

At least I get to see her a bit more now. Things are opening up a bit in Ontario. We got together for a barbeque on Father’s Day, and she and Grappy had a swim in the pool. And I got to babysit her while her mother waiting in line at a pop-up clinic for her second COVID shot – the hubby and I got ours the day before at a different pop-up clinic.

And even if things get locked down again, the grandbaby won’t be too bored. Is it only a week ago? her parents took her for a drive to see a litter of kittens and let her pick one for her very own. Meet Spectre, or as he’s usually called, Spec:

That last picture is taken through the door to the daughter’s home office, where he stayed the first couple of days to keep him apart from the other animals until the vet can check him out. He’s a really mellow little guy, and really sociable. And really LOUD. He’s got the run of the house now.

I give it a week before he’s running the house. LOL

Jun 22, 2021

The Good ‘Ole Summer Time

Yesterday was the first official day of Summer. Apparently I missed Spring altogether. Whoops! How did that happen?

It’s harder than I thought it would be to get back into the swing of things. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have such high expectations. Two major surgeries in a relatively short time, and I’m not exactly a spring chicken any more. ;-)

I seem to be more mentally “with it” this time though. After my first surgery I seemed to be in a bit of a mental haze. This time I’m more alert to what’s going on around me. I’m getting more reading done and I’ve been able to keep up with my email (for the most part).

I was surprised, and a little troubled, when I discovered that my incision had no staples or stitches , it was just there. What did they use? Krazy Glue? That took some getting used to, but I’m getting over my fear of sneezing or stretching and having the incision pop open and my intestines spilling out. LOL

I’m learning to pace myself and I’m managing to get more done around the house. I’ve gone back to making most of the meals. And now that Ontario has started to open up again, I’ve even done a couple of solo shopping trips – not far, just local, but it’s a start.

My last doctor’s appointment my surgeon was pleased with my progress. I have another one in about three weeks so we’ll see what’s what then.

In the meantime, let’s all enjoy the summer, while it lasts.

FYI, the flowers pictured above are courtesy of my other sister, who wanted me to have something pretty to look at when I’m sitting on the deck. Thanks, sis!

Jun 5, 2021

June Is Busting Out All Over

Good news first. The second surgery went well, and I’m no longer attached to that leaky bag of goo.

The bad news is, I have to go through the whole recovery process again, which so far has been a whole different ball game.

This surgery didn’t take as long, which is probably why they only kept me in the hospital for two days. But I was not impressed with the lack of support/information I’ve been given since they booted me out – no phone calls, no VON visits, a lot more discomfort. *sigh*

Still, I’m getting better every day and I’m even able to sit at the computer for short periods of time. The rest of the time you’ll find me under the beautiful blanket (pictured above) my sister Nancy made me.

Enjoy the sunshine!

May 25, 2021

Merry, Merry Month of May

I don’t know which month is the official month for cancer awareness – I think the daffodils get sold in April – but for me it’s the month of May.

My mother died of cancer in May.
My father died of cancer in May.
Three years ago my husband underwent emergency surgery for cancer in May.
This year it was my turn.

Back in February I was feeling a little off and despite the fact I’d had a colonoscopy two years before that came out clear, I wanted another one. And it was a good thing I did. They found a tumour and arrangements were made for me to have it removed.

It was a small tumour, and despite the fact it was in an awkward place the surgeon was pretty confident they could take care of it laparoscopically. Basically, by making 4 or 5 small holes in my abdomen and using special tools to take care of everything with a minimum of fuss.

I felt confident I’d have my four days in the hospital, take a week or two to recover, and then I’d be back to blogging.

But this is me we’re talking about, and things just never seem to go that easily for me. Bottom line, the laparoscopy didn’t work out and I woke up with an incision down the center of my belly (held together with an impressive row of titanium staples) and an ileostomy – also known as a colostomy bag.

It was a bit of a shock, but the doctor told me that it would only take an extra couple of days in the hospital for things to heal up and then they could do the colostomy reversal. So after about five days I had a CT scan that showed everything was healed up the way it should be and I was good for the reversal. However, due to circumstances beyond my surgeon’s control, it was not to be.

Having the surgery to remove the tumour and give me a colostomy was considered essential.

Having surgery to reverse the colostomy was not considered essential (except to me) under Ontario’s lockdown rules.

So they sent me home to wait for a new surgery date, which (thankfully) is May 27.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about the mechanics of having a colostomy bag – it’s gross at the best of times and for the first couple of weeks I had to wear a mask every time I had to empty it. It’s supposed to get replaced every 5 to 7 days, but mine didn’t last more than a day or two before they started leaking. Not moving helped, so did taking Imodium 4 times a day, and thank God for the VON – they make house calls and they are amazing.

Anyway, I meant to post this update on my condition a while ago, but I haven’t felt up to sitting at my desk. I probably could have waited until after my second surgery, but I don’t know how long I’m going to be in the hospital for nor how I’m going to feel afterwards.

The moral of this story is, pay attention to your body and if you think something is off get it checked out. It may save your life.

Apr 19, 2021

Macular Monday

macular ~ spotted; patchy

Hey everyone.

We’ve had a lot of rain lately and the lawns are looking good. The temperature has been consistently above freezing so it won’t be long before the trees start getting their leaves. Of course this being Ontario and all they’re calling for snow Wednesday, but the weather is supposed to get steadily better after that.

Anyway, I know I haven’t been exactly consistent when it comes to blogging lately, but I figured those of you who visit here regularly deserve a head’s up that it’ll be a while before I’m back on track again.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m unplugging for a couple of weeks – no social media (Facebook) and no blogging. When I come back I’ll give you an explanation of what’s going on, but for now I’m really not prepared to go into any details.

Don’t you hate when people do that? Like when a writer posts on Facebook that they have a “super secret project” in the works?

Sorry about that.

No, I don’t have COVID – I know that’s where most people’s minds go these days.

Like I said, I’ll give you a better explanation when I’m back.

And at least when I come back I’ll have something to talk about. :-D

Peace out, people.