Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Will Remember

I'd gotten to thinking about this day we call Remembrance Day, for which we wear a red poppy to symbolize the occasion. There will be services at the cenotaphs this morning and, depending on how they are feeling, I want to take the boys. Even if we only stay for a short time and stand at the back so we can leave with them. If we can't go (it might rain and they are sick still) then we'll watch a little bit on tv and I'll tell my sons why this day is important. It's a tough thing to explain to a small child, wanting to keep them innocent yet start that glimmer of understanding.

It suddenly occured to me while driving home last night, that it's a very different kind of day from what I'd thought. For me, it's always been about the end of Great War, the war to end all wars (WWI) and it then embraced those who fell in WWII and then onward. But in my mind, it was always about the veterans - the old men I saw at the cenotaphs while I watched on TV. As the years pass, their ranks become smaller and I wondered what will happen when they are gone.

 Last night I realized that no matter what our opinions on the world today - this day is about young men and women, too. That families with babies and small children will be there to remember their loved ones. That young men and women will be there to remember their comrades in arms, their best friends, their brothers and sisters. It's not just about old men, is it? It's about so much more. I am sad whenever I see the name of another who has become a casualty of war, and it was more real when I saw the young man from my town in our paper. I didn't know him, but I know a family here grieves again today and I ache for them.

So today, I have a new appreciation of what this day means. So to all that serve their country - no matter where you're needed - you are there and I am thankful. And I will remember. And I'll be sure that my small children will remember, too.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Books books books! Sharing the love of reading

It's September and that means books!   While I was investigating something else, I came across a program in my school district called the Little Readers Preschool Book Club.  It's a fantastic idea!  In a nutshell, they take donated books for preschoolers, and then send them to every preschool age child in the district that is registered with them.  I'm sure it's a very time consuming job for the volunteers who sort, clean, package and send out the books.  They can be sent in the mail, brought home by older siblings, shared at a local preschool or at the Strong Start (another great program) locations in the district. 

I encourage you to take a look and see what this program has to offer!

AND... if you live in the district and have preschool appropriate books in good condition, consider sharing them.  I know that at the swapmeets you can get a wee bit of money for them, but for the sake of a few dollars, you could really make the difference in a child's life as some kids just don't have books of their own.

If your children are young, think about joining the club for them - what a wonderful surprise it is when they get a new book!

For those of you in other places - check with your school board to see what they have to offer.  Maybe this is something you might consider starting where you live?  Books are for everyone, and a love of reading starts young. And sharing, well that's a lesson we can all learn.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunshine on a stick

As you can see by my new picture, the sunflowers are out!   I had 4 giant sunflowers - the kind that give you seeds, but one tipped over and broke, one withered and I'm left with 2.  I have to try to get a picture of them when the sky clears.  They are my only sunshine in this rainy time.  Of course, just as I'm typing this - the sun is coming out!  The perfect time to go gather some veggies!

Our veggie garden was a hit and miss proposition this year.  The berries weren't so great and I have to go still and dig up the old strawberry plants and ensure the shoots take, and cut the old raspberry canes out.

We got lots of peas but someone, a slug I think, got more of them. I'd be waiting for them to pop full and go out and all of the ones I wanted were eaten overnight.. hmmmm

We got lots and lots of beans.  Apparently we grow good beans here! Carrots and radishes?  not so much.  The parsnips are small but look good. I'm leaving those for a while as I read a light frost sweetens them.  we have some cabbages to bring in, and of all the kohlrabi plants, i think we actually have one that grew to the right size. 

Our tomatoes look good, but are not ripening.  We need a week of sun!  The early ones, a lovely orange whose name escapes me, are good, though.  And peppers.  We have chilis, jalapenos, hungarian wax and something that was labelled the same but is a different pepper and I have no idea what kind.  Much much bigger, that's all I know.  I'll let my husband taste test. (It's ok - he loves the hot ones!)

We ended up with - are you ready? 3 ears of corn!  Not quite done, but that's it.  The kids are thrilled, so that's ok.  And potatoes - hmm.. as they are underground I have no idea.  I'll go dig up some this weekend and see what we have.  It's going to be potatoes this fall if they grew.

Next will be the clearing of the veggie patch, and we'll be digging in some compost and I plan to mulch over top with the leaves when they fall.  We don't have a mulcher, so I'll just run the lawnmower over them a bunch of times to cut them into bits.  It's a great way to stop the weeds.  i might do a layer of newspaper with this over top.  That will save me a ton of cleanup in the spring.

That's my update today!  Stay tuned for a quick product review...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Missed it by One!!

Ack!  I knew I would be close, but I just didn't squeak over the line.   I'd been working on the BC Hydro Team Powersmart challenge to reduce my usage by 10% over the last year.  My year ended on August 31st, and even with a 47.3% reduction in power usage in August, I came in at 9%.   I do have to say, though, that my bills haven't gone down any.   Usage went down, rates went up.  I really do think Murphy's Law might be in effect here. 

However, 9% over the course of a year, and one where we did spend a fair amount of time at home, isn't anything to sneeze over.   We can continue to do this, and each time we go a little lower, it's definately something to be proud of.  Hopefully it will save us money as well as save energy this time around.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Packing Kudos!

I think it's a first.   A kid's toy that came with acceptable packaging.  I didn't gouge myself on the wires, grit my teeth over the plastic overlays I can't recycle, or groan about all the tape.  My son was given a set of Cars (the movie) bowling pins and ball.   While the set itself is plastic, I think with good care it will last.  The packaging - a box, cardboard only with a small plastic handle on the top that pops off.  I pulled the box apart, the pins and ball came out and voila, instant play.  The box went into the recycling bin.

In fact, I'm so impressed, I'm going to write the company (at to tell them I'm happy.  Now that's a pleasant change, isn't it?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rain, Rain, come again...

It's raining outside which, surprisingly, is a good thing.   It's been hot and dry here for weeks and weeks with the only rain being the odd extremely light shower.  I can hear the grass and trees sighing in relief.  I've watered my veggies, flowers and pots as they need it, but unless the grass was near the paddling pool, or got some overspray, it was on it's own.  I'm actually fortunate - the only grass we have is in the back yard, and even though we face south, we don't the hot sun on it all day due to the mature trees at the back of the yard.  Our deck stays sunny, but the yard gets filtered light at the hottest points of the day,which is lovely.

I just received my hydro bill.  I've been working to reach a 10% reduction in usage to receive a rebate.  Let's just say I was shocked to see that I'm 75% over last year's month and now only at 6% for the year.  Sigh.  Not sure I'm going to get that rebate now as I only have until September 1st.  I think I'll have to turn it all off and live somewhere else to do it!   I can't figure out why so much more, other than I've put less on the line to dry this summer than last.  But surely that's not the only reason.  Now to figure it out.  Even if I don't reach the rebate, it's good to find out where I'm 'leaking' out the energy as that's money in my pocket either way if I stop it.

I've recently redone my bedroom and a few other spots.  When I have time, I'll share what I did.  I've reused a few things by redoing them and they look marvelous!   Since I'd had the old bedroom suite for somewhere close to 20 years, I didn't feel bad about getting a new one.   I'd say I'd gotten my use out of it, and then sold it to someone else so it will continue to be used.  I plan on hanging onto this one for some time as I really like it.   Being pine, and from IKEA, it's not an endangered wood, and it comes flat packed, which means it saves energy in shipping since they can pack more into a container.  Granted, it used WAY more of my personal energy to put it together, but I suppose we can say that's a good thing.  :-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Does being green mean itchy rough towels?

Ah, now that's a question for the masses!   I've been trying to take advantage of the summer weather and my clothesline all at the same time.   Washing everything in cold water and hanging it to dry is sure to help me in my pursuit of 'greenness', right? 

But this leaves me with one question.  If I'm not using fabric softener (can't as my son's eczema is too bad) then how do I get nice soft towels?  Am I doomed to itchy scratchiness every morning?  Will my houseguests be rubbed raw?   Enquiring minds want to know!

I have heard adding vinegar as a softener works, but I've not tried it  yet.  I'm hoping to remember with the next load of towels. 

Here's where you come in... If you have an idea of something to help, let me know.  I'm game to try it if i can.