Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Weeks 2, 3 & 4

Quick tip: don't start projects days before you are expecting all your family for their first visit to your new home and country! this post was in draft form for 3 weeks! :(

So weeks 2 & 3 are a bit of a happy blur with my whole family descending on Toronto for the very first time. I had just about managed to get all the weeding done before they landed, but that was about it.

In week 3, mom and Eva came and helped me put in the edging to mark my plot out. By week 4, we were just the 5 of us left and things are slowly going back to normal. We managed to do some planting and get the seedlings in the ground. We put in:
- 6 Beefsteak tomatoes
- 1 Cayenne pepper (seed saved from my plant last year)
- 6 Red bell peppers
- 4 Jalapeno peppers
- 8-10 Pole bean seeds
- 2 Marianne's peace tomatoes

Next to do is the fence and we should be good to weed, water and watch them grow. Let's hope things settle down soon and I'm able to post more often when the flowers and produce start rolling in.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Another Beginning

Here it is! My own little experiment into real farming. 30 square feet of compost rich land loaned to me for the season by the Backyard Farm and Market, to do with what I please.
The intention is to write a weekly blog post to chronical this experiment and figure out if this is something that makes sense to do on a larger scale (maybe 60 sqft next year).

Over the summer, if I'm successful with this exercise, I should post at least once a week with pictures and updates. Considering, I have less than a handful of super loyal readers (Thank you akka and Susheel!!!), this is more of a journal just to track this project and make it more tangible with better record keeping and progress reports. So wish me luck. Here goes nothing...

Stage 1: Weed Removal.

It's way harder than I expected, taking me 3 days to clear. That's probably cause I get to go in only one hour a day during the week. I hope the weekends will be more productive.

By Saturday, I hope to be able to plant the seedlings I've been nurturing at home. Cherry tomatoes, cayenne, jalapeno and bell peppers and heirloom tomatoes. I still have some pole beans and summer squash I have to direct seed on the bed along with Es watermelon.

My expenses so far:

- community garden plot: $25
- seed packets: $20 (squash, corn, flower seeds, watermelon, pole beans, salad mix, tomato)
- fertilizer: $20
- fencing: $50
- jiffy starter kit - $15
- soil bag for seed starting and a few pots at home: $ 10
Total: $140

Learning for the week:

- bend with your knees not your back
- take breaks and hydrate
- use proper equipment, especially work boots and gloves

Tasks for next week:

- finish weeding and composting plot
- plant first batch of seedlings
- put up fencing

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Why do we need to save the world anyway?

It's been around for 4.5 billion years and it will probably be around for a billion more. So what's the big hue and cry about healing the world and saving the planet for? Species have been evolving and dying off for ages, long before man walked the earth and will, long after. All of them have done all they can to preserve and propagate themselves.

Mankind is the only one we know of that has the arrogance to think that our "thinking mind" has made us superior and given us insights into the planets and the stars. How do we know that for sure? Maybe we are the village idiots that don't understand. Maybe every other living creature on earth has far more wisdom than us and has realized the higher purpose. Maybe THAT is why no other species has lofty aspirations to "save the world". Instead they calmly go on with their own little circle of life, relishing every wonder this earth has to offer, quietly laughing at the silly humans trying so hard to cling to something that was never meant to stop changing or evolving.

These might sound like strange words coming from me, considering how many people I've guilt tripped into not using plastic or planting native in their gardens. I guess I'm no different from everyone else; trying hard to cling to these precious gifts, save them to show my baby before it's all gone. It's just such a shame that we can't appreciate our own insignificance in the vast scheme of things.

I guess when all is said and done, it makes sense not to take life too seriously; it is, after all, impossible to get out alive!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Two weeks of Walking the Talk

So, it's been a little over 2 weeks since my decision to quite makeup cold turkey.
Nothing has changed... no weird looks from strangers who are getting to see my real face; no sudden decline in the number of people who are my friends or acquaintances; not a single inquiry into whether I'm suddenly feeling ill.

It seems to me that all the reasons I thought I needed makeup were just delusions in my head to make me feel better about myself. All along, I didn't really need it for anyone but me! I suddenly am no longer some splotchy, ugly creature that needs to hide behind foundation and mascara and a whole bunch of other war paint.

It's funny that this whole exercise, that started out as a teaching moment for my daughter to find confidence and beauty in herself, just the way she is, has ended up liberating me and making me realize that I needed to find all those things for myself first!

My mornings have suddenly become so much less hectic. I actually get to pay more attention to more important things like breakfast and getting everything ready for the day; even cleaning up a little... just a tiny little bit ;). I come home and don't have to go through a three step process cleaning all the layers off my face before falling asleep. So much time, not to mention effort and money, wasted on delusions.

Now I have the time to go hang in the library with said daughter on a weekday evening; go for a run after supper! I even got complimented by a colleague on how well turned out I was this morning. Parenthood really does make one grow in ways never imagined.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Walking the Talk

Today as we were getting ready to go to a birthday party, Eva was watching me put on three different kinds of product just on my eyes. Suddenly she says, "I wish there was makeup for kids too." So I cautiously (and with a sinking feeling) reply, "Why darling? Kids don't need makeup." "But we want be pretty too!" came the innocent reply that haunted me all day as a big parenting FAIL!

In the four short years of my daughter's life, I've tried hard to teach her what I think are the important things in life. To be a good person; to be respectful, kind and generous; to value and respect herself as a person. But now she's old enough to learn from what she sees and, without really realizing it, I am showing her that you can only be and feel beautiful by painting your face and nails with expensive colours and dressing in fancy clothes and shoes.

So, now it's time for me to walk the talk and show her that being beautiful and respecting yourself doesn't mean covering up with 5 layers of colours and trying out 3 different outfits and shoes every time one leaves the house! I hope the time I save everyday from not having to deal with all that will not just ease my day but, more importantly, show my daughter that looking and feeling pretty has nothing to do with the things we put on our face or bodies everyday. Instead it is in the joy of loving yourself - perfection, imperfections and all!

PS: Hubby, I should have listened all those years ago when you kept telling me I looked better without any makeup! :)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Price We Pay for Cheap Food

Everywhere I go these days I am assaulted by advertisements for cheap food at prices that “won’t be beat!” But as I pick up garlic from China at a dollar a dozen and strawberries from Mexico in December, I wonder what this is really costing me, my children and their children. As I spot a whole chicken for $4, I wonder if it has ever seen the meadows or pastures that were probably just outside its cage, somewhere far away (and judging from the amount of fat that had to be drained when it was cooked, I’m gonna say it never learned to walk at all!). As I go past the seafood counters, I think of all the dead Olive Ridley turtles I saw washed up on the beaches in Madras, drowned and then thrown out by the fishing trawlers clearing the sea beds of all living things.

Disturbing images and thoughts that make me think hard about the price we pay for our “cheap food.” The long term cost of these foods is being conveniently ignored to make us feel good about having to takeout fewer bills from our wallets at the supermarket. The impact of consuming this, not particularly nutritious, produce on our health and our environment seems of little concern to anyone. No one seems to want to mention the fact that paying two or three dollars less for my produce every week here in Toronto is probably adding to the food crisis in Africa and Asia. The pennies I’m saving on prices that “won’t be beat” may have something to do with the huge gym and medical bills my kids and grand-kids will probably have to foot years from now.

I don’t understand why a farmer has to harvest his produce before it is ready and sell it for less than it cost him to grow, so that it can be shipped off to some faraway place, when there is a need for that same produce in his local market! Maybe I’ll do another blog post when I finally figure that out. But for now, I’m going to spend an extra couple of dollars and buy from my local farmers’ market as much as I can and hope that, starting with the woman in the mirror, will help change the world. If you would like to as well, you can find a market closest to you thanks to the Toronto Farmers’ Market Network at http://tfmn.ca/?page_id=2

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Human Spirit

As much peace as I find in the soul stirring stillness of the Silent Valley, and bask on the warm beaches of the marina, marvelling at my own insignificance before the Bay of Bengal, I can't help but stand on Yonge Street in Toronto and be amazed by the amazing transformation that has been brought about, not by some supreme being that is dressed in purple robes, but mere humans!

As much as the pristine Himalayas soothed my soul and made me feel one with the universe, the CN tower and magnificent city lights energize my mind and renew my spirit. I am constantly astounded by the sheer force of will and nimbleness of mind that has allowed the human race to build, generation upon generation, some of the most awe inspiring structures ever.

Sure we probably destroyed the planet along the way and future generations are probably doomed to living in oxygen free, concrete jungles. But, why do we under estimate our kids so much? If we could build these majestic cities, that were probably inconceivable to people 80 or 100 years ago, why are we so sure that our kids, and theirs, won’t find a way to make things better? After all, the human spirit is the only thing that has endured through all these generations.