Good news. My tomatoes and peppers survived the minus temperatures overnight. It went down to -5℃ and was -4℃ at 7 am when I got out of bed. The temperature didn’t get above freezing till 10. I waited till noon before uncovering. I was pleased to find the tomatoes and peppers alive and well. They were inside kosy coats with additional covers over the top. I had some eggplants in kosy coats but did not bother throwing extra covers over them as they had no fruit. Or so I thought. Much to my surprise, when I reach inside to check them, I found one white egg in one. The top leaves were a little wilted but the rest was ok. Moral of the story is keep trying even though it looks less likely. I got thoroughly surprised. There were no fruit on any of the eggplants when I put their kosy coats on a few weeks ago.

It is still fairly green elsewhere in the garden. Some things did better than others. I am surprised that the basil in front of the garage survived while the ones in the herb spiral and raised bed did not. The celery and kale are still going strong as well as the petunias on the deck. The sweetpeas are still sweet. Their companion vine, the slipper gourds bit the dust. The marigolds are still colourful amid strawberries. And the New England Aster is more vibrant after the frost. The bees are not so happy with the cold. There’s less buzzing. I hope the grapes are sweeter now. I will pick them soon.


February 3. It is another cold day but quite sunny. It’s been around -25℃ most of the day. The greenhouse got up to 4.7℃ today. It is -3.3℃ now at 5:37. I should start thinking about preparing the beds for seeding some spinach soon. Last spring it was almost too warm for them by late March. I’ve started some pepper and eggplant seeds in wet paper towel. They’re starting to germinate. I can’t remember if it’s a week or more ago that I started them. I have to remember to write these things down.

I was feeling tired and listless but after tapping a paragraph, I’m feeling better. I think I am working too hard on my watercolour class this week. I’m a bit sick of working on the little monk. It’s mostly finished and overworked. I’ve packed it away. I hope I can leave it packed. Sometimes I get obsessed and can’t leave things alone. I shall see what Alison have to say about it on Saturday. I tried to relax by watching Inspector Wexford. I couldn’t find a new episode so it’s not a rest for me. It’s better if I just mutter here. The tapping is unwinding me and helps me problem solve.

Everything looks better in the morning and in summer.

The two cucumber plants I’ve started in the fall are still alive. They are not exactly thriving. I should trot my butt downstairs and transplant them and give them a bit of fertilizer. Who knows. They might thrive and I can plant them in the greenhouse in March. Last year I had cucumbers and tomatoes planted March 9th. Most of them survived without supplement heat but with lots of covers. Last fall we’ve added a little electric heater for those frosty nights. Things should work out much better with less manual labour. The Black Krim tomato I started from a cutting last fall is doing well. It could use a transplant and a feed, too.

February 4. Another cold day at 31℃ this morning. It is almost 9. The greenhouse is sitting at -18.3℃. I don’t expect it to get above 0 as no sun in the forecast. I am feeling fine. My bum ankle and leg are better after I started taking a calcium/magnesium supplement. It could be coincidental or a placebo effect. Whatever the reason, I’m glad for it. Everything does look better in the morning. Sleeping through most of the night also helps . I’ve curbed my fluid intake after supper. Getting up every couple of hours was disturbing my sleep. Last night I only got up once at 5 am. Six hours of uninterrupted zzz is wonderful, even though I couldn’t get more. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Nothing cooking in the greenhouse yet.

I did get my cucumbers and tomato repotted yesterday. Now I wait for them to thrive. I will have to start some early tomatoes for the greenhouse. We finished all our longkeeper tomatoes in mid January. It was pretty fantastic to have fresh fried tomatoes with our eggs every morning till then. The goal now is to get some early spring tomatoes. Is May/June too ambitious? We will have to wait and see. Meanwhile I have to dig out my saved Red Alert tomato seeds and get them going. They’re supposed to take 50-55 days to mature from transplanting.



It is late afternoon, the day after the storm. Happy to have some sun off and on during the day. It’s playing peek-a-boo. I’ll take what we can get. I’m feeling a bit deflated and despondent. I’m feeling with the weather. What is out there is in here. We had quite a storm yesterday with wind and snow. I thought the greenhouse held up well considering we had no sun at all yesterday. The sensor showed that we had above 0 temperature till after 2:30 and the lowest temperature was -1.2℃ at 6:48 am. We had survived -6℃ before. So I was surprised to find the scarlet runner beans looking poorly but not the cucumbers. I was sure the tomatoes would be ok. They were under heavier covers. Not so. I lost 3 of the first 4 planted and 3 or 4 of the others. 10 or 11 survived.

On second inspection later in the afternoon, the cucumbers are not looking good any more. It’s a good thing I had moved my 2 trays of seedling into the house. I still have one Gateway cucumber and lots of Long Keeper and Black Krim tomatoes left. Alas I only started 3 Red Alerts, the early variety. Never put all your eggs in one basket.

This was a good learning experience. It showed the ‘cold’ spots in the greenhouse. The sensor was placed under the covers yesterday. It probably didn’t show the true temperature. The buckets of water had thick layer ice in each except the ones that had covers over them. Next spring I will not plant tomatoes, beans and cucumbers till 2nd week of April. The greens were just fine overnight, even the newly seeded and germinated. They just had a crop cover over them. They are a sure bet for early spring along with other cool loving crops like radishes, daikons, carrots, kohlrabi…

It’s a learning experience this year with the greenhouse. It’s trial and error. It is the time to have fun and be daring and try new things. I think you have to fail a little to get wisdom. I’m not at all discouraged. I’m just feeling the end of the day sag. I’m experimenting with making paper pots for transplanting tomatoes. It’s fun and the paper is free. The pots are deep for the roots to grow and they will hold the pot together. You have to give them time to develope before handling them or else they will fall apart.


A beautiful sunny morning. We slept in till almost 8 am. We have no jobs or appointments to rush to. No big deal. It was -1℃ in the greenhouse and -4or 5℃ outside. These days the weather and temperatures are unpredictable. That is the pattern. I’m learning that I have to play it by ear day by day with the greenhouse. It is almost noon and 3℃ outside and 15.2℃ in the greenhouse. It is suppose to be sunny all day. I shall be planting more tomatoes, cucumbers and scarlet beans after lunch. We are almost into April but there are still snow and minus temperatures predicted ahead. Night time coverings are still wise and necessary.

It is afternoon, 4:30 to be exact. How time flies. I’ve planted more cucumbers, scarlet runners and tomatoes in the greenhouse. I always forget to put some crushed egg shells at the bottom before I put the tomatoes in. It helps to prevent bottom rot. I have to be satisfied with scratching them in around each plant. All in all, I’ve planted 8 Long Keeper Tomatoes, 6 Black Krim and 3 Red Alert. Both the Long Keeper and Black Krim are indeterminates which means they will climb like a vine. They will keep growing and produce fruit until frost arrives. They mature in 70-80 days. The Red Alert is a determinate/bush. They mature in 50-55 days. The determinate stop their shoot production once the blossoms form on the ends.

I have 3 cucumbers and 3 scarlet runners in one corner along the wall. I hope they grow and climb up and over the ceiling to provide shade to cool the greenhouse in the heat of summer. How to do that is still in the works. Meanwhile I have germinated 2 bitter melon seeds by soaking them in water overnight. I then clipped a tiny bit off the rounded end of each seed, wrapped them in a wet paper towel and put into a plastic bag. Next I put them into the oven with the light on. They sprouted in two days. Amazing! They are now potted up. I’m waiting for them to burst through the soil. They are also climbers and work as the cukes and runner beans. Exciting times ahead.

Now it is almost 5:30. Time to close shop. The sun is still shining bright. I have closed the vents in the greenhouse to save the heat for the night. It is sitting at 20.5℃. The outside temperature 7℃. The low forecast tonight is -2℃. It is all good.


I’m having my second cup of tea and waiting for the sun to rise high and bright. I woke at 6 am to a temperature of -16 ℃ outside and -5.1 ℃ in the greenhouse. It is 7:50 am and the temperatures have climbed to -17 ℃ and -5.9 ℃. It will start to get warmer in another hour. Will my 4 tomatoes survive the test? They each are under layers of 2 pots and at least 5 layers of different cloth. They had survived minus temperatures up to -5 ℃ in the greenhouse before but I think it was a shorter period. I guess we will know in a few hours. The sun is bright and full above the horizon now.

Spring holds so much promise but it can be wearing also. I do not like this in between phase, the bouncing temperatures and the melting snow. I will miss the cross country skiing. It was not a great ski yesterday afternoon. The tracks more messed up, the snow sinking beneath my skis. One round around the park and I called it quits. The sun was out when we started for the park. Then just like that it disappeared. The clouds came and the sky darkened. I could feel a storm in the air. I would have welcomed more snow. None came.

The sun is quite bright now, coming in the east windows of my sunroom. It has always been a very bright room. Since we took the spruce trees down in August it is that much brighter and warmer when there is sunlight. Sometimes it is almost too warm even in March. How powerful the sun! In these few minutes the temperature has risen to -5.5 ℃ in the greenhouse. I am hopeful for my tomatoes.

It is 9:30 am. The greenhouse is warming up nicely at -3 ℃. Meanwhile it is -14 ℃ outside. The sun is bright. It looks warmer than it actually is. Stepping out onto the deck, the sun does not look or feels so warm. It has that grey cold of tepid dish water. I feel livelier than yesterday but I still would like to sink into a chair and stay there. Self talk was effective yesterday so I talked myself through sweeping the kitchen floor. Without Sheba, it is full of crumbs of all sorts. It is surprising how crummy a crumby floor can make me. Now if I can extend my self talk….

Ah, it is 0 ℃ in the greenhouse at 10 am. Pretty soon I can do the unveiling and see what happened to the tomatoes.


I’ve never really understood what is meant by spring fever. By the sound of fever, I think of frenzy and therefore energy. It makes sense that after a long winter, one longs for and is ready for some action. I wonder what happened to me. It’s contrary to how I actually feel. I thought maybe it is another one of my anomalies but apparently there are others who suffer the same. There are explanations and remedies if one is interested. If all fails, I would just sink into my lethargy and have a nap. What is the point of fighting heavy eyelids?

The days are warming up. We do our cross country skiing mornings before the snow get too mushy. There was a bit of fresh snow this morning. My skis likes to hang on to it causing more traction. I wasn’t able to double pole down the slope and across to the other side. It was a bit of work but I got a workout. Some unhappy camper has been messing up our trails each day by walking right on the track. You could see that it was quite deliberate. We’ll see tomorrow if the new track we made is walked on.

The greenhouse is heating up. 2 days now the temperature overnight has been above 0. The days and nights have been warmer. Maybe the pails of water inside act as a thermal mass helping in keeping the heat in during the night. Some of my tomato seedlings are a fair size. I decided I would plant 4 of them right in the bed. I have enough to spare if they come to a mishap. Meanwhile there’s some action in the planters I had seeded with greens in the fall. I was hoping back then that they would sprout and grow and we would have fresh lettuce in December. That was wishing for too much. I revise that wish to fresh greens in May and tomatoes in June. It’s good to have high hopes.

I’m somewhat more awake now. I’m not fighting Mr. Sandman. I’m glad to have made an early start with some of the seeding. To be honest, I’m really not feeling so keen now. But I seeded a couple more things today – Chinese fuzzy gourd and leeks. I’m a little late with the leeks. Should have done them in February but oh well. I’ve been successful with most things except the Chinese bitter melon and the heirloom cucumber. Maybe I should have soaked the seeds overnight first. They do have a hard shell. Darn! I just dug into the bitter melon pot to investigate. One have just broken out of the shell and I broke it in half. I hope the other 3 are ok. I’m quite awake now. I should have been more patient. I could order more seeds. There’s time.


It is after lunch time in Saskatoon. I want to just walk away from the dishes and sink into reading the Jonathan Kellerman mystery book, Heartbreak Hotel and sip my cuppa cardamom tea. The tea is 3-in-one (tea,sugar,cream) given to me by a friend. It’s most delicious and full of good stuff. I have a large jar of the spice to make the tea once the 3-in-one is gone. Now I have another use for it besides cooking and baking. Looking at the pile of messy dishes made me feel squirrely. They look and feel like my messy brain. So I did my 4-7-8 breathing and started scraping dirty plates and putting things back in the fridge. And voila, dishes done!

Now I’m sitting pretty in front of my keyboard. The book still beckons me but I want to start this conversation. I need a hook to get into writing this post on this 7th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It’s a warm day. I had such a wonderful experience writing on the deck yesterday. I wanted a repeat and rushed out with my laptop after breakfast of one fried egg with a sprinkle of hemp seeds and a cantaloupe slice. I’m still on track with my meal plans. For lunch I had small portions of brown rice with coconut oil, roast beef and stir fried zucchini, mushrooms and celery and a bit of ferments. I’m feeling some progress – slimmer and less bloating. Or is it wishful thinking?

Once outside, I did my qigong moves to loosen up. Then I got distracted by my garden. The laptop and writing were abandoned on the deck. It was a good thing because the tomatoes have sprung up and out in the last couple of days. I struggled to get them hooped. I am Pretty pleased with their growth. They seem healthier and sturdier than my other years’ tomatoes. I’m looking forward to replenish my tomato sauce supply in the fall.


Once in the garden, it is hard to do just one thing. Everything begs for attention – just like Sheba. She lays content in her hollowed out spot in the yard, watching as I prune and pinch the tomatoes, weed the rows of peas and beans and hoe around the squash and goji berries. She’s like a benevolent supervisor. No criticism! Now that we’ve had rain, our water barrels are full again. It took a few trips with the watering can before everything was watered.

Now it is time to tend to my words. I’m committed to walking them. After all, what good are they if I can’t live up to them? I’m taking care not to say any falsehoods or things that need not be said. Why waste my time and words. They are both precious. Till tomorrow.


IMG_3116It’s another day.  I still have a million and one things to do.  For now, let me rest in this space if I can, but difficult neighbours seem to be my cross to bear – especially the obsessive compulsive type.  Right now I can hear the constant whine of her leaf blower. It’s like hearing fingernails scratching on a blackboard over and over.  I don’t mean to be unkind but I wish she would disappear. It’s my evil twin speaking.

It stops and starts again, this never ending stream of irritation.  I will breathe and sip my cuppa and tap away on my keyboard.  There!  It has stopped.  Praise the Lord!  I close my eyes, unfurl my eyebrows and let my shoulders drop.  I am tired but it is a good day. The car is back from the shop with a set of brand new Michlin tires.  Have tread, will travel far.  No worries.  I am ready, set and can almost go.  It feels heady not to procrastinate.

IMG_3120Now if I can get to my tomatoes.  There’s no end to them.  Seems like I pick bushels of tomatoes and sunberries every day.  I’m complaining a little now.  Come winter I will be happy to have tomatoes for soups and spaghetti sauce.  And those little berries will be delicious in muffins.  Suffer now.  Enjoy later.  Oh, that whine has started again. It’s like being at the dentist’s.