IMG_4300Happy Valentines Day!  There’s nothing like the feeling of falling head over heels in love the very first time – with myself.  It comes quietly in the early morning darkness over my cup of tea.  It is my favourite time of day in this month of the heart.  I sit with my tea, Sharon Salzberg and all my sisters on Instagram, feeling the love and connection. What better day to practice compassion and nourishment than on this day and month of the heart.  It all starts with the self.

The title of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic pops into my head.  Why am I always looking out to others for answers?  I breathed and looked within.  Why can’t I be my own magic?  I went further within to where I had been, feeling and experiencing it all.  It’s as if my whole life flashed before my eyes.  I was/am always going out of myself, being there for everyone, assuming all faults and responsibility. I saw my want to fix everything for everyone, wanting to take on the suffering even if it’s not my own.  I was never home for myself.

IMG_4302My Big Magic came this morning slowly and quietly with the breath and sip of tea.  It is in the knowing and accepting that I am not perfect nor all that powerful. Not everything is my fault.  I can’t fix everything.  I don’t need to fix myself.  I just have to be my own valentine.



It would do me well to heed some of these wise age-old sayings:

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting. ~Dr. Seuss

Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. ~Charles Richards

Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think. ~Chinese Proverb

IMG_3376Simply put, why wait for spring.  Do it NOW.  My now should have been in the fall, after harvesting and putting the garden to sleep.  I should have/could have made notes about what worked, what didn’t.  But I DIDN’T.  I’m relying on my faulty memory now to recall.  How did my garden grow?  No use crying over spilt milk.  Let me move on as best as I.  I am going to make my seed list today.

What worked for sure were the potatoes.  They were big and plentiful, lasting us into January.  The carrots did well, too.  We still have quite a few and storing fairly well in a cooler in our insulated garage.  They might do better in a cold storage area in the house next year.  My tomatoes have always done well.  No need to change anything except plant fewer and less dense in the beds.  They started out small and far apart. They grew and grew and became an almost Little Shop of Horrors.

IMG_2956The beans and broccoli did astoundingly well.  They produced well into the frost season.  However the cabbage was not as successful as I had hoped but I will try again.  You win some.  You lose sum.  I’ve never had much luck with peas, getting a few pods at a picking.  I might plant more snow peas this year for the pods and leaves – double the return.  They’re both easy to stir fry. Snow pea tips are very flavourful and a pricey dish in a restaurant.

What else did well?  Let me see now.  The kohlrabi, chilli peppers, lettuce, kale, onions, cucumbers, squash…

What didn’t do well?  Beets were small.  Spinach too small and bolted.  Maybe too crowded and needed to be thinned aggressively.  Radishes were not as good as the year before.  We forgot to harvest frequently.  They got old and wooden.

This recalling from memory is labour intensive!  I will have to give it a rest and dig out my seed order from last year.  It would be best if I can learn from this exercise to keep notes of things as they progress – like a garden journal.  You know what they say about a stitch in time.  I know how I am – slow to learn. Ah, but I am doing the best I can.


IMG_4038The thing that I want to get out is that while I may have a green thumb (largely due to luck), I’m not a plant nor garden expert.  You can plainly see that if you ever saw my Christmas cactus.  Sure, it’s alive and blooms once or twice a year. BUT it’s not exactly thriving.  Most of its leaves have a pinkish tinge to them. They’ve been like that many years.  It’s only recently I really took notice and wondered why.

My investigation led me to several websites.  They all agree that the Christmas cactus need more water than the ordinary run of the mill succulent.  It does not like exposure to direct sunlight.  I was guilty on both accounts.  I seldom water it to a point where the soil was cracked and separating from the edges of the pot. It sitting  in the west window through all the seasons.  No wonder it was sunburnt! Being root bound didn’t help either.  How was it suppose to get its proper nutrients?  Not that I ever fertilize it.  It’s a wonder how it survived all these years.

Finally knowing all this, it still took a couple of months before I gave it some TLC. I’m a slow and cautious mover.  However careful I was, I discovered that there is no way you can repot a plant without making a bit of mess.  What’s a little bit of dirt, eh?  It matters quite a bit when you don’t like it here, there and on the floor and hate cleaning it up. I’m a bit of a whiner and lazy bone.  I hate picking up after myself.

Now that it’s all done, I wonder why it was so hard to do.  Starting was the hardest thing.  But once you got the cactus out of the pot, you can’t just leave it. You have to do the proper thing – loosen up the root ball, trim off the excess and plant it proper like in a new pot of rich soil, water it with the right mix of fertilizer.  So here it is, right after and then a few days after.  The leaves are a bit greener, or is that me wishful thinking?

Anyhow, it is a positive experience overcoming my inertia.  Make a move, any move.  Works for writing, too.  One, two, three.  GO!