Monday, 11 July 2011

Adventures in Container Gardening

There is something so exciting about the idea of growing my own food. So after moving to our current home, I was disappointed to discover that there was no spot in our yard suitable for a traditional garden. After a really wet year and a new baby, last year's container garden (using pots) was a failure except for a few heads of lettuce. This year I vowed to do it right. So I did my homework and built and planted raised garden beds using the “square foot gardening” method, where seeds are planted in a grid rather than in rows to save space. Here is a peek at my journey:

Materials I used:

  • Utility grade cedar (you can use the fancy stuff but it costs at least twice as much)
    I used 2x6's for the sides and ends (stacked 2 high) and 12” 4x4's for the corners. They can be cut to whatever length or height you need for your garden. My raised beds each measure 2x5' and are 12” deep.
  • 4” Stainless steel screws (these are meant specifically for cedar as they don't react with the wood and turn black)
  • Top soil mixed with manure, peat, and compost. There are some pretty fancy formulas out there as to the perfect mix. I did not follow a specific formula (I'll let you know how it turns out!)

Things I've learned:

  • Carrots and beets are not meant to be transplanted as seedlings. Same goes for peas and beans Just plant the seeds straight into your garden!
  • With raised beds, the plants are in much closer quarters than in a traditional garden so remember to sow the seeds for the taller plants on the north side of the garden so they don't shade the smaller ones as they grow. This means potatoes, tomatoes, beans & peas on the north side of the garden but not necessarily right beside each other as they are not all companion plants (they don't all get along!)
  • Tomatoes don't like potatoes. Or peas. Or beets. Come to think of it, maybe next year tomatoes will get their own separate box or planter.
  • Peas, beans and other tall vine-type plants are good along the back of your garden (if it's against a wall or fence) as they need to be staked and will also create a nice backdrop. Just make sure they aren't going to shade neighboring plants.
  • Choose a sunny location for your garden.
  • A chicken wire fence is no match for a 100lb labrador!

Now, since this is a work in progress, I can't tell you the end result just yet. But so far I've harvested some lettuce and it is delish! Stay tuned for more updates as we approach the great harvest!

This is a great project if you are trying to eat local (it really doesn't get any more local that this) and to teach your kids about growing their own food. It is really quite exciting to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor! When those tiny little seedlings break through the soil, and grow into plants that will nourish you and your family, it really does nourish your soul too.

Happy gardening, friends.

With gratitude,

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Turquoise: History & Meaning

I'm just drawn to it. I can't describe it. Turquoise is just a perfect gift from nature and is, hands down, my favorite semi-precious gemstone. 

Sometimes referred to as the "bones of Mother Earth", gemstones have undeniably played a part in the history of mankind. For centuries, people have admired them for their beauty as well as their symbolic meanings and healing properties. It is thought that the reason they contain so much energy and power is because they come from deep within the earth and hold the earth's incredible energy within themselves.

Turquoise, in particular, is a stone of wisdom and power and is said to bring the wearer increased health, and immune function as well as spiritual healing. It is also said to attract wealth, happiness, and love. Turquoise is one of the official birthstones for the month of December and comes in varying colors, from teal green to sky blue and everything in between. Because it is such a porous and fragile stone, many turquoise stones are dyed and/or stabilized to create a harder, more vibrant stone. 

Turquoise is found in numerous sites around the world, most commonly in China, Africa and the United States. It is thought that it's name comes from the fact that it was introduced to North Americans by the "Turks". 

Howlite is a semi-precious stone often dyed turquoise to imitate genuine turquoise. While it is not the real thing, it is still a semi-precious stone with it's own unique properties. Howlite is "the calming stone" and can helping reduce stress and negativity of the wearer.

Weather you like turquoise for it's potential healing properties or just its rich beautiful color, this is a timeless stone that is always fashionable in my mind! 

With Gratitude,


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Life's Storms Build Character

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” ~John Ruskin 

I suppose this kind of philosophy can be applied to life too. The stormy times aren't always easy to handle, but they help to build our character, remind us how strong we really are and how kind others can be when they reach out to help us.
Here are some crazy stormy skies I captured this week. I am choosing to take this particular stormy day to stay inside in my sweats, get caught up on some bookkeeping and snuggling up with my little guy and perhaps a good book.

A little sprinkle of rain to water the grass and garden, and fill the rain barrel would be great too:)

With gratitude,

Friday, 8 July 2011

Empowerment: The Birth of a Blog

The day I became a mother something changed within me. I had a beautiful perfect new baby and a new role in life. But something else happened too. I became empowered. My mother had always told me how empowering childbirth was for her and I never understood what she meant until I became a mother myself. While I was giving birth I let my primal instincts take over and was astounded by the power and focus of my mind and my body. When it was all over I felt like I could do anything!

Since then, like with any new mom, there have more than a few bumps along the road; some have felt like potholes, and others more like giant sink holes; but each time I overcome a challenge, my confidence grows. The empowerment I felt giving birth has stuck with me and has carried me through the hard times.


The empowerment that I feel is something I want to share and spread. I am so grateful for freedom of speech and for this avenue to put out what I want to share for the betterment of your life and mine. I have a fire burning within me; a creative fire and a fire and passion for change that must now be released (I just can't hold it in anymore!!). Our world is ever-changing, and we have the power to make those changes ones that will make us all happier and healthier now and will extend to the generations to come.

We are all teachers (whether we realize it or not) and we are all students too. I learn so much from all of the people sharing my journey with me, even those who do not share my viewpoints and opinions. They are my teachers as well, however frustrating it may be to disagree.


Today I give birth to a fresh new blog – my first blog – to talk about anything and everything. I want to use this blog as an avenue for sharing; sharing ideas, information, inspiration, tools for life and of course, empowerment!

I have things I want to say, feelings I want to convey and love to spread around. And lucky for me, I can.

So join me, won't you?

With gratitude,
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