Full of gratitude for my son who helps out with the forever never ending lawn work.
Thankful my children and mother-in-law are safe and sound home from their short excursion to our family’s mountain cabin.
I took a few pictures in my garden this weekend – my pictures really do my garden justice because I’m only focusing on the beauty, I’m not showing you the overgrown weeds that I’ve not had the time to pull. My honeysuckle vine is now growing over my fence and blooming flowers like crazy – I love the smell of honeysuckle but I’m always disappointed that the flowers are gone way too soon. The fern might not look like a big deal to you but the little fern you see pictured in the collage is a big deal to me. The fern is a Japanese painted fern and eventually the fronds will shade silver in colour. Apparently the Japanese painted fern can take 2 – 3 years to reach mature colorization. Mine will take more like 10 years as I planted this fern three years ago and I did not get one single frond. As a matter of fact I pulled out the root by accident while weeding and couldn’t figure out what plant it was because nothing had ever grown from it. I stubbornly put the root back in the ground hoping it would grow. I love ferns, they are a simple basic plant that looks so great in any garden. There is a Japanese Maple above that fern and this year half the Japanese Maple has died – opening the area to more illumination from the sun. The Japanese painted fern is supposed to do well in shade. I guess the one I bought needs sun because for the very first time in three seasons I have fronds coming from my fern. My mother use to say, “where there is death, there is birth.” I thought of her when taking pics of this fern. I’m adding a recipe to this phlog and it’s an appropriate recipe. The first time I saw fiddleheads was in an issue of Martha Stewart a few years back. Pictured were these beautiful green strange-looking things that had a familiarity to me. I couldn’t place where I had seen them before and I had no idea where they came from or how to grow them. Never have I seen a fiddlehead in the flesh until last weekend. While shopping at the superstore for a few things I came across a package in the produce department. They were not cheap – $6.00 for a small package. I bought them because I was curious and I have to admit Martha’s display still held my curiosity. I had to do a little research when I got home because I had no idea how to cook fiddleheads. While researching how to cook them I realized why they looked so familiar to me; fiddleheads are the furled fronds of a young fern harvested for use as a vegetable. I see young furled fronds in my garden every spring – I never made the connection because the fiddleheads just looked strange to me. I grew up in Quebec and fiddleheads are well known in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. Obviously not popular with my family because I never saw them on our dinner table. Very simple to cook and delicious.
RECIPE FOR FIDDLEHEADS
Rinse fiddleheads well with cold water.
Boil on a high boil for at least 10 minutes until tender.
Throw into a frying pan preferably cast iron and sauté with butter, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper.
Heat thoroughly and serve – delicious and fiddleheads melt in your mouth.
Fiddleheads contain various vitamins, minerals as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are a source of antioxidants, dietary fibre and rich in potassium but on the downside – fiddleheads may harbour microbes so washing and boiling for at least 10 minutes is a must..
As she walked down the trail through
the lush green canopy,
she wasn’t sure where her feet would take her,
she gasped at the enormous width of
the tree trunks as she looked up to see,
green as high as the sky,
down a narrow hill and across
a rickety bridge,
she found herself stepping out of
the trees into the most glorious light.
My mother use to say it, I thought she was just rambling, but it is true, the older we get the faster time flies. It seems like yesterday my boys were babies, they’ve grown so fast. They are becoming young men before my eyes. With all this fast-moving life I find myself shifting; shifting ideas and priorities. Talking to my neighbour the other day, he was telling me that he can’t keep up with the weeds in his backyard. He has a huge backyard and the weeds have gotten away on him. We have kept up with the weeds in our yard only because I hired a landscaping company to take care of that for me. We do mow the lawn and keep the property neat, however, I don’t even want to do that any more. I told my neighbour I want to sell the house and pack it all in for something smaller with no property. As much as I love this house and the flowers in my garden, I want simple, I want just what I need in space and in stuff. No clutter, no property, I want less so I can live more. One small glitch with my plans, I am the only one in the family who wants to simplify by moving, no one wants to move. I’m working on it and I plan to keep working on it as time goes by, I’m in for the long haul and I’m not a quitter.
I have to start somewhere, so I’m starting by getting rid of excess stuff. Stuff we don’t use, stuff we will never use, stuff that is in my home because the boys and my husband like to buy stuff. Ok I admit – I’ve got some stuff too but it’s all going, slowly but surely it’s going. I recently read an article entitled “simplify your life in 25 minutes.” This lady never spends more than 25 minutes daily simplifying her life. If she decides her pantry needs organizing, she only spends 25 minutes. She says “I have too much living to do to spend more than 25 minutes on a chore like organizing my pantry.” Smart lady, I like the way she thinks. Debts or rather no debt is part of simplifying your life. Society encourages us to have everything now and not to wait, if something breaks down we must replace it immediately.
Several months ago I heard all this racket coming from upstairs and when I ventured up the stairs to check where all the noise was coming from, I found my youngest standing in the middle of his room looking stunned. He said “my bed is broken mom and I don’t know why.” “Well I know why, it sounded like someone was going to fall through the top floor, you guys were jumping on your bed.” We really needed to replace his bed as it was a cheap Ikea bed frame I bought at a garage sale and the frame was really on its last legs. I was mad of course and then my son says “we can just go buy another one.” Really annoyed me because kids think money grows on trees. I said “no I’m not running out to buy you a new bed, I don’t have the money right now and I’m not purchasing a new bed with my credit card.” “Well what am I supposed to do for a bed?” “I see you still have a mattress, the mattress can go on the floor and you can sleep there until I have enough cashto buy you a new bed.” He wasn’t happy with me but we got rid of the broken bed frame and laid his mattress on the floor. He really needs to understand that wecan’t go running out to purchase big-ticket items at the drop of a hat. The whole idea of teaching him a lesson kind of backfired on me because the other day I told him that we needed to look at new beds and he informed me that he likes his mattress on the ground and doesn’t want a new bed.
His bed pictured below ties in with my quest for the simple life – just what you need, no more, no less. My quest for smaller digs is going to take some work, convincing, conniving and manipulating. I’m going to have to be ruthless in order to get rid of all of the “stuff” we have. The problem with “stuff” is my three boys love “stuff.” I put stuff in the garbage and it’s like my children have “mommy is throwing stuff out sensors” and they quickly become dumpster divers running and diving into the garbage to get their stuff back. Lying and cheat
ing is the only way I’m going to achieve my goal of simpler living and I’m ready for the job. They’ll thank me, once they realize they have more time for play. At least that is the scene running through my head. A simple organized life where everyone co-operates… My mother use to tell me I was a dreamer!
“The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body” George Sheehan
I happened to glance over at the line next to us, just in time to see an elderly lady’s jaw drop and then she covered her mouth. I realized she was looking over in the boys’ direction and then I heard it – “Elf, Elf, Baby.”
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always felt that society puts way too much emphasis on the naked body. A naked body is just that, a naked body. I’ve never been one to be self-conscious of my body, in fact I’ve always been fairly comfortable. I drove my mother mad because she was a cover-upper. My mother was uncomfortable with her body and I can remember when I was a child walking into her room while she was changing; she would quickly grab something to cover up. I was the opposite, I couldn’t understand why I just couldn’t play outside naked. I use to slip outdoor without a shirt on and my mother would always fly out of the house chasing me with a shirt, giving me a “talking too” for going outside naked. Added to my confusion because I was wearing shorts, as far as I was concerned I was dressed! Interesting how my mother was so shy and modest with her body and her daughter didn’t give nakedness a second thought. When I think back I took after my father because I can still hear my mother telling him to close the door while he showered, not to walk around the house in his underwear “for God’s sake, the curtains are open.” He wore boxer style underwear and he looked dressed to me. As time moves on history repeats itself because my husband is far more reserved than I am, always telling me to close doors and window blinds. After my children were born I was determined to teach them to be comfortable with their bodies. I never made a big deal out of nakedness and I never used fake words like wiener to describe their penis; identifying their body parts by proper names.
Once while visiting a friend with the boys, a naked lady suddenly appeared on the tv. The scene wasn’t sexual, just a naked woman walking through a room. The boys were toddlers and my friend grabbed the remote and changed the channel, apologizing over and over that the boys saw a naked woman. I told him it wasn’t a big deal as I was more comfortable with the boys seeing a naked woman than watching a show full of violence. A girlfriend introduced me to a computer game called “Elf Bowling.” The premise of the game was that the elves were the bowling pins and Santa was taking revenge on the elves by bowling against them. When Santa messed up, the elves would turn around and pull their pants down, moon Santa and yell “elf, elf, baby”. The boys were about four and six at the time and they both thought it was so funny. My husband warned me, “you might not want the boys to play this.” “oh come on, it’s just bums” I said to him.
Never really thinking much of what I said until one day I took the boys to a grocery store to pick up a few things. The boys were particularly rambunctious that day and when we got to the cash it was lined up. As we were waiting in the line-up the boys were being fairly loud and driving me crazy. To distract myself I scanned the headlines of the gossip magazines, located by the cashier, to keep my sanity. I happened to glance over at the line next to us, just in time to see an elderly lady’s jaw drop and then she covered her mouth. I realized she was looking over in the boys’ direction and then I heard it – “Elf, Elf, Baby.” I looked in the direction of the boys and they were bent over with their pants around their ankles mooning their bare asses toward the lineup behind me. As they chanted “Elf, Elf, Baby” my oldest took his hand and slapped his butt while moving in a dance motion. I was stunned and it was a rare moment where I considered walking out of the store and pretending I didn’t know them. I looked back at the lady in the neighbouring lineup and she still had her hand over her mouth. Instead of making a big deal out of the situation I casually said to the boys, “hey guys pull your pants up, nobody needs to see that.” Giggling like madmen, they pulled up their pants but continued to chant “Elf, Elf, Baby at the top of their lungs.
Wanting to crawl under the nearest rock, I acted cool as a cucumber taking on the “don’t let them see you sweat” motto. Finally I made it to the cashier, paid for my goods and walked out of the store with my head held high. The woman in the next lineup was still staring at me in disbelief, so I flashed her a huge smile. I was met with a judgmental look and then she shook her head from side to side. She didn’t say it but her body language was saying “tsk-tsk shame on you mom.” After I got the car packed and the boys buckled in I told them that we needed to have a little talk. I said ” you can’t go around showing your bums in public places,” My oldest pops up laughing and says “why not mommy, it’s just bums.” He said it, the exact same thing I said to his father. Wouldn’t be the first time something I said came back to nip me in the butt.
Ironically, as time goes on I have one child who is very comfortable with his body and the other one is a cover-upper! Both brought up the same and both have different attitudes toward their bodies. A couple of years ago we were all heading to the beach and I came out of my room ready to go wearing my bathing suit. I was wearing boxer style bottoms with a halter style top. The halter top had risen a little and I was showing a bit of skin. My oldest son didn’t even notice what I was wearing. My youngest stops in his tracks and says “is that what you’re wearing mom?” “Yeah, why?” He walks over and pulls my top down covering my midriff and says “you might want to start wearing a one-piece bathing suit.” For the very first time in my life, I felt self-conscious of my body!