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Janice DePeel

June 2019 Garden Update

It’s been nearly a month since I planted on May long weekend and I thought I’d show you the success I’m having with container gardening.  This is a small selection of what I have growing in the back yard right now and I’ll show you more next month as the garden continues to progress.  

So far, I have to say my most victorious success has been actually keeping plants alive past the two leaf stage.  For whatever reasons, over the past few years my plants shrivelled up and died once the second leaf opened on the stem which led to me buying from greenhouses rather than being able to grow from seed to harvest.  This year, things are quite different, as you will see.  First though, let me tell you about the fantastic finds I purchased from Obsession Greenhouse in St. Louis.  By the way, if you haven’t finished buying plants yet, take a drive out to St. Louis and I think you will see why I’m gushing.  You won’t be disappointed with the selection and variety of plants.  Unfortunately I waited too long to visit this year so I am not proudly growing Cucumelons.  I DID find a black tomato though.  A huge black tomato that stands taller than my five foot three inches.  When the tomatoes are ripe, they turn red.  My boy had already had his first taste of the season and, when he was done, he came to me with his hand extended. “Here, Momma.”  In his hand, one tomato seed, which made me laugh.  If I haven’t already taught him to love growing his own food, at least I’ve taught him to harvest seeds for next year!  He’s five and he tells me his favourite part of gardening is “the watering” and I can’t say I blame him for that.  Although, in a month, ask him again and he’ll say it’s the eating that he most enjoys.  

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Genealogy Satisfies Detective Hobby

It’s no secret I enjoy history.  My earliest memories include my second eldest brother returning home from school (while I was still too young to attend myself) and we would each select one of the alphabet from our complete set of World Book of Encyclopaedia to read for the rest of the afternoon.  I always found the information in the books so fascinating, especially since I also had an incredible imagination that transported me directly to the topic I was learning about.  This likely became the foundation of my interest in genealogy when, at the age of 14, I learned my Mother and siblings are Métis.  At the time the World Wide Web was just being introduced to North America and when CBC news reported about computers, a room full of a machine far too complicated for my mind to wrap itself around exemplified what our future technology would look like.  Before too long, small machines that sat on a desk replaced the room full of computer we’d initially seen.  Still, my interest in genealogy began before computers and the internet.  Back in my “old days” research involved books, page turning, copying down resources, photocopying, interviewing people face-to-face and using the telephone (the one with rotary dials, party lines and a cord) as well as lots of incredible days spent at the library, pouring through even more books, and if I was lucky, micro fiche film.  Is it any wonder this became one of my passions and, when I graduated from University, my major was in Native Studies?  History is a balm to my soul and helps me calm the question that always seems to plague me, no matter where I go… why?

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Stories Are the Heart of the Family

My father was a true story teller who could entertain an audience for hours on end without repeating a story twice.  A huge part of his ability to capture the attention of his audience was the way he expressed himself through voice modulation, body language and animated facial features.  It made people believe he was reliving the experience with them.  He had the ability to transport people through their imagination and they believed they had been right there with him … he’d recount seeing a bull moose as his palms slammed together in a mighty clap and his voice emphasized the “whoomp!” the angry moose made before it charged.  People sat on the edge of their seat, firmly engrossed with every word.  It was incredible to watch, and even more amazing to see how people responded to the stories he told.  It occurred to me, after one family reunion, how these stories would be lost unless someone sat down and actually recorded them.  By the time the thought came to me, my Dad was really sick and those stories were no longer with him.  He had regressed to a time when he thought he should be with his parents and siblings living at Candle Lake.  In his mind, he lived in a time before he contracted and beat Polio.  His siblings were young and still in school and his parents were alive, living in their original homestead.  My Dad never left that place in his mind, so when his heart finally gave out, he had been gone for a long time.  The day of his funeral, my cousins and Uncle played a video recording of my father from a time when he was still healthy – I had forgotten what his voice sounded like.  It was a rush of emotions to hear him so full of life and laughing as he became the storyteller for the evening.  I imagine that is how he and his family spent a lot of their time growing up without cell phones, lap top computers and television to occupy their time; there were far more entertaining ways to fill the leisure time that included spending quality time with family and friends.

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Cooking Challenge Steps Up My Cooking A-Game

This week I decided I wanted to try a meatless Monday challenge and then take it one step further and focus on just six ingredients to make a complete meal.  As much as I'd like to say my grocery list doesn't exceed my budget, the truth is there never seems to be enough in my budget to buy everything I'd like to stock my pantry with.  And I am one of those cooks who prefers to meal plan for the month and have staples on hand to avoid shopping weekly.  I don't mind stopping for a quick jug of milk but I'd prefer to stay out of the grocery store until it's time for me to stock up the pantry again.  Once every two weeks is good and helps me stick to my menu and my diet.

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The Power of Flowers

For many of us, a flower given in a bouquet or grown in a flower bed is the quintessential gift from Mother Nature to us.  Not only do we delight in the beauty of the flower, but we enjoy the scent and the way the greenery of the plant can flourish and spread as we tend it and nurture it.  This has always been what draws me to plant flowers in my garden… whether it be annuals, bi-annuals or perennials, flowers are sure to be a focal point of my front, back and side yard.  And since I do spend so much time outside in the warm months, I often feel like my home IS the outside.  However, with that being said, I guess I have standards when it comes to flowers and there is a line I’ve drawn in the soil that I will never cross.  Unless someone sneaks one in as a joke (that could have our relationship irrevocably severed, should it occur!), there will never be a carnation growing in my garden.

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