Time Passes Quickly

Hi blogger friends,

I hope this post finds you well. In most parts of the world restrictions are being lifted and countries are trying to restart their economies. Where I live is no exception.

Now that the nicer weather is here it means the streets are much bigger and things like public transportation, restaurants and so on are back in swing albeit with different rules.  I won't go into the various restrictions as they currently exist.  Suffice to say, in my province the leadership and medical officials are being very cautious about lifting restrictions and I am fully on board with that.

I say the nicer weather is here but truth be told it has been raining where I live for much of the past 5 weeks.  We've had a bit of sunshine and dry weather after every week or so of rain.  Personally I think all that rain killed half of my vegetable garden because several of the seeds planted are not sprouting at all. These are the ones that require warmer temperatures, like peppers). The radishes and potatoes seem to be doing all right though maybe growing a bit slower than otherwise. The petunias and pansies are blooming though the geraniums are getting a bit too much rainfall.



 

This morning just before sunrise I was pleased to see the sky was full of pink colours though I see in the photos they are pinkish orange.




I haven't been baking anything lately but I did prepare some apples for use in pie filling, apple crumble or simply to eat with ice cream.  I like to eat Fuji apples but I haven't been eating that many lately. I had 8 of them that were going soft and wrinkled so I peeled, cored and chopped them. I cooked them up on the stove with a bit of coconut sugar, lemon juice and raisins and a tiny bit of water just so the apples didn't stick to the pot. I added just a bit more water to make a bit of juice and mixed up the whole thing with a bit of cornstarch and water mixture. It was very delicious over vanilla ice cream. I should  make a pie before the weather gets too hot.


Since my last post, I planned to read the book on Artificial Intelligence which I posted about last time. Instead I read a book called Nobody Cries at Bingo. The latter was written by Dawn Dumont, a First Nations comedienne from the province of Saskatchewan.  The novel was about a young girl growing up on a First Nations reserve in Saskatchewan and is quite humorous.


Last but certainly not least, I have added an About Africa page (see link at side bar) to this blog. The needs in Kenya continue to be great  for a variety of ongoing needs and during the pandemic the needs for nutritious food is greater than ever.  Needs include food and hygiene, medical and dental, farming needs, hospital needs and so on. Many thanks for your prayers also for these people.

Update: I know the needs are great everywhere but in some countries, such as Kenya people more people are literally starving than ever before. There is no such thing as stimulus cheques or social programs for the many who have lost their jobs.  There are no nationwide programs to help the general public in the best of times.  A few years ago though the the government thankfully did implement a pension program for the elderly and disabled.  Only a fraction of the elderly and disabled are enrolled and actually receiving funds. Many others who are qualified do not receive a shilling.  I personally know many who are qualified yet have never received a shilling from the government and I'm not entirely sure why.

During this pandemic, the only government assistance that has been distributed was to those elderly and disabled who are already receiving a pension. I believe they received a top up at end of April to their delayed pensions which were payable at the end of March.  The government added an amount equivalent to 2 months pension or roughly equal to $51 Canadian ($37 US Funds, € 33 Euros, ¥ 4000 Japanese Yen, £ 30 GBP, $56 Australian).  Others who live in the slums have received distribution of food from non profit organizations and individuals who have a heart to help others who are starving.  The aid has not reached all the slums or all the the very poor.


Linking up with Skywatch Friday.
Have a glorious and safe weekend.

A Little of Everything

Hello friends,

I hope you are all doing well.

I am basically fine and have been keeping myself busy.  I've been gainfully occupied with homely things like cooking, cleaning, gardening, a bit of knitting and reading.  I'm sure most of you are all doing much the same.  Some people are probably exercising of which I am only doing a bit of indoor exercise.  Unless you count a little bit of outdoor gardening though most of the strenuous work is finished.


Fern on May 19/20. I'm really pleased with how lush it looks after how it looked at the beginning of May.
Same fern on May 1/20.  After the winter I removed most leaves which were dead.  It has really come back to life and more fronds are unfurling (the round knobs you see near the soil).

Cosmos. I wish I had some dirt in the ground to plant these in rather than in the container.

Catmint. This plant has several medicinal benefits and is easy to grow.

Hostas. I am going to transplant some of these are they are too crowded in the cedar box.

Red petunias. I need some new terracotta planters but it will have to wait for another time.
Red petunias. I love how petunias spread out and take up space with their luscious blossoms.

I recently started knitting some cloths again. I'm using up my yarn stash and replenishing the cloths I made in the Fall to give as gifts
 ~~~~

I haven't been using the time of quarantine for much reading except for Bible reading.
It's mainly because I enjoy reading paper books and our library is closed except for digital books.
Recently I took the plunge to borrow some digital books and read Sapiens and The Colour Purple.
 It started well but I ended up only giving it 3/5 stars.

I gave this classic 4/5 stars.

This will be my next read.

I still enjoy taking photos of the sky, especially if there is colour in it when I am still up at dawn. It's been raining for going on 3 of the past 4 weeks but there are dry periods in each day and I believe the photos below were taken in our dry week.
Early morning, May 11, 2020

Early morning May 11, 2020

Early morning May 8, 2020

Joining in with Skywatch Friday.
Have a wonderful and safe weekend ahead.

Mission Accomplished

It was 8 long years before I got the call that a plot in my preferred community garden site was available.  I was in Kenya at the time and the phone I was using wasn't very reliable for checking email on a regular basis.  Fortunately I  borrowed a laptop from a young Kenyan friend of mine and it helped me check on and respond to my messages.

The summer of 2019 was my first year at the community plot. I wasn't quick enough to take advantage of the compost and additional soil purchased by the garden committee as I've discovered that most people at the community plots are real keen gardeners. Their gardens are already growing by the time I'm thinking about cleaning the debris and preparing the soil.  Thankfully my garden grew nicely without all the additional amendments.

This year I stayed away from preparing the garden even longer than last year due to Covid 19 and I missed out completely on the soil and compost.  It seems like I wasn't the only one to miss out so I'm not sure who used it all.  I  heard we have a number of new gardeners this year as many of last year's gardeners waited years like I did for a plot.  In the years they were waiting several had moved out of the neighbourhood and they found it simply too hard to visit and work on their gardens on a regular basis so their gardens became quite overgrown.  I bought some manure if I need it but I don't have additional top soil this year. Somehow I seem to have ended up with a lot of potting soil of which I still have lots.
The path leading to the garden shed where all the tools are stored for use by the community gardeners.

We have a nicely kept and well organized gardening tool shed. In the summer of Covid 19-2020, the tools are off limits so as to avoid the potential spread of viruses. We can bring our own tools and we still have access to the two water hoses at either end of the gardens.

I spent a few days last week cleaning out the weeds and also some plants from the garden plot I rent. While the plot isn't really that big it still requires a lot of work to pluck out weeds and plants seeded by the wind, rake all the wood, debris and green debris then dump it all in the garbage containers, and finally, to break up the hardened dirt and plant the seeds.

I'm a very slow worker and take frequent breaks to rest my back.  The plot is a raised bed.  I don't know why they call it raised bed because it is only a few inches above the ground.  Given it's so low and very close to the neighboring plot, a bit of gymnastics are required to hoe, rake and plant.  It is also not a good idea to squat in the garden because then you tamp down the soil and it quickly gets compacted.  If i was younger it would surely be a lot easier but I don't let that deter me.

I felt terrific after finally getting the garden in for another year.   I went back  later in the week to clean up some of the green debris I left on the outer edges. We are supposed to ensure the pathways are kept free of such things.  Fortuitously I finished the planting on Saturday and it rained on Monday and Tuesday.  I  prefer when it rains a few times a month because it really does a garden good.  Much better than watering by hand.

Back at home, my little balcony garden is sprouting various things and I'm looking forward to seeing what grows.



I captured this park view just beyond the garden.
The sun was setting and most people had left for the day. 
The swirly clouds in the sky are rather peaceful and lovely.
Can you make out any shapes in the clouds?

~~~~

It's been raining quite heavily again so when that happens I usually crave banana bread or muffins.  This week I was craving banana bread and a friend gave me a recipe to try.  Instead I ended up trying a recipe developed by pastry chef Anna Olson who I've watched on Canadian television for years.


 
Here is her recipe.

 Ingredients

1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups (375-400 g) mashed ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
6 Tbsp (90 g) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
½ cup (100 g) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 g) baking soda
¼ tsp (0.75 g) salt
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips or toasted walnut pieces (optional)

Directions 

  Preheat the oven to 325 ºF (160 ºC) and grease a 9-x-5-inch (2L) loaf pan.
2. Whisk the banana, melted butter, granulated and brown sugar together until well-blended. Whisk in the egg and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the banana mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips or walnut pieces (if using). Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the top with a little sugar. Bake for about 75 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the tin, then turn it out to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Makes one 9 x 5 loaf.

It was a fairly dense, yet moist loaf, which I liked.

♥♥♥
If you were here with me I'd offer you a slice and a hot tea or coffee out on the patio as long as it wasn't raining :-)

When I did my first taste test I thought it was a bit sweet however it contains far less sugar and fewer eggs than  many other banana bread recipes I've looked at. The bread was even better the next day.
I think I've found a keeper. I believe I have another keeper on my blog somewhere which I will have to search for and try again to compare.
Once I try my friend's recipe, I may actually have 3 great recipes and that will likely be enough.
I've been searching for a great recipe for a long time.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday this week.
Thank you for stopping by.

Neon Lights in the Night

 


 

I love the way this neon vintage light looks against the night sky.

They also have a beautiful painted mural on the side of the building where the seated patio is located.


Enjoy your week ahead. 

Stay safe and thank you for visiting.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday

The Park Was Busy



It was a beautiful sunny day today. One of the first in weeks. I went to the park to visit my community garden plot which I haven't seen since late last summer.  In the meantime, someone plucked some of the weeds in my plot but left them in the garden. Someone also stole my trellises. I believe it was my neighbour who likely volunteered to weed my garden. I know she cannot stand the sunflowers and mine had grown rather tall.  The mess left over the winter was probably bugging her because she and her husband seem very fussy about their garden and anything encroaching on it.   I saw some weather worn trellises in her garden that weren't there last year.  No one else has the same trellises and I can only speculate.  The trellises were not expensive but it is the idea that someone else helped themselves. Not only do I not have trellises but I have to spend time to go to the store and look for more at a time when it is not so easy to get into stores or to find what you want there.



People were sprawled everywhere on the lawn at the park. I've never seen so many people in this small park and my photos don't do justice to the numbers that were there. I also saw signs about the appropriate distance to keep from others and I believe people were following the instructions.  It was early evening and people had seemingly been at the park for the better part of the day with their lunch buckets and their blankets.  Some were just beginning to leave for home.


We have been told we can work in our gardens but we must bring our own tools during the Covid 19 restrictions. I agree with the rule but in truth it inhibited me from getting to the plot sooner.  It means I have to carry everything with me to do the gardening and it can be awkward and heavy. 

While I was there I did see one older gent enter the community garden shed and use the garden tools.  Either he didn't get the memo or he doesn't care. I  also saw him interacting with others in the park who clearly were not his family.  Why the mother let her little girl interact with a stranger who might be picking up the virus and spreading it, is beyond me.  Maybe she  doesn't buy into all the public awareness about social distancing. I know many fall into that category.

I for one do believe there is a virus and though I don't agree with everything that's being said, I am doing my best to avoid direct contact with others. I am also minimizing the things that I touch that have been touched by many other people.  Today I took my own rake. Next time I'll take some other tools and some seeds.


My garden had a number of thing growing in it that I didn't recognize, probably growth as a result of  wind blown seeds. I did my best to clear up a few patches of soil and I hope to return soon and plant a few seeds, including sunflowers.  Last year I was told that I could plant sunflowers as long as they were not super tall.  More than half of the plots had sunflowers growing last year and I do so love the look of them. I've also planted a few sunflowers at my home garden and they are sprouting nicely. A few other things are sprouting but it is too early and probably too cold for some of the seeds (cucumber, peppers) and I planted the tomatoes too early. I'll figure out what to do about it soon.


Some restrictions will be lifted in my province just in time for Mother's Day gatherings. It doesn't make any difference to me but I'm sure it does to many others.

Happy Mother's Day to those of you who are mothers or those of you who have a mother with whom to celebrate. 


Joining in with Skywatch Friday

Mind Blowing Interview

I'm starting to question developments in terms of how political and medical officials are strategizing around Covid 19. I'm wondering how many others have been questioning too?

Some very interesting and compelling information is presented in the video about Covid 19 and also other coronaviruses and about flu vaccinations too. Like many of you I get a flu shot every year as that is what I'm told to do by my doctor.  Every year there is a concerted education campaign telling people to get a flu shot for one reason or another and I've been getting mine for well over 10 years.  Now I'm learning about the ingredients of these vaccinations and what they are potentially doing to me over time.

I'm wondering if this might explain why I suffer every year and with increasing severity, from a cold and to a lesser extent, a flu that just never seems to go away?  If it goes away it comes right back and this happens over and over until the spring when the weather warms up.



The only way I can deal with this issue is to pray until I have peace. I also hope and pray that any new coronavirus vaccine once developed will not become mandatory.  Messaging from our political and medical leadership from the very beginning of the pandemic is that clearly, life will not revert to 'normal' until there is a vaccine. Sounds to me like they want to make sure we are prepared for mandatory vaccination.  I'm not so sure I support that given the information that is in the public domain now about vaccinations, viruses and so on.

This video just sets everything out so clearly. If you take the time to watch the video I'd really be interested in your comments, thoughts and analysis pro or con concerning Covid 19 vaccine.  It will help me and any readers here to think through the issues more clearly.  Let me end by stating that I am NOT against vaccines in general. I believe that childhood vaccinations have saved many lives. I am however very concerned about the issues related to CV 19 vaccinations and pandemic management as well as the conflicts of interest all presented in the video.

Thanks so much and stay safe.
Update: Sorry to those of you who might have tried to see the video and couldn't. You Tube removed it in less then 12 hours of my posting it. I believe it had been on line for just over 24 hours total.

Raindrops






 

One of my very favourite things to do in the garden is to take macro photos of leaves when they have rain drops or dew on them. I captured these the other day.  The last one was taken with a flash as the day had drawn to a close. That's why it's a bit bright.

The excessive rain of the past week and a half is more or less finished.
I'm looking forward to some sun to dry out my container pots and give some nourishment to the sprouts that are emerging in the garden.
Linking with Our World Tuesday.

Happy May 🌱🌱🌱
Have an awesome week ahead.

How the Garden Grows

Hi friends,

If you are here from Skywatch Friday you can find that post here. Otherwise welcome. I'm always glad you have paid a visit and even happier if you are able to leave a comment.

It's been a wet, cold week. I was expecting rain but it turns out to have rained more than I was expecting. Consequently I didn't get out to the community plot. I am so very late this year and I already know there is no more soil or compost left for me from what the garden club orders each year. I haven't been that successful in finding appropriate starter plants either so not only am I a bit late to plant, I will be sowing seeds directly into the ground. I've decided to keep it simple and plant only a few things anyway so it should all work out.


In my little patio garden I've planted some vegetables and some flowers. I've got fewer containers this year and many of my terracotta pots are cracked broken.  I couldn't find replacements pots in the correct size when I looked last week.

We haven't started summer yet and the city has already announced water restrictions which will last until mid-October.  The month April was very dry compared to the norm although we managed to make some of shortfall up in the last week with heavy rains.  Watering can be done 2 days a week from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. Even numbered homes can water on Wednesday and Saturday and odd numbered homes on Thursday and Sunday.  I remember I checked last year about whether the restrictions applied to condos or only to homes with lawns and the answer was the latter. This year it looks like vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees can be watered anytime if done by hand or with a spring loaded nozzle.  This is how I do my watering so it means I will have the flexible to water when I want.

I took the first set of photos in mid-April and the second set  of photos on May 1, 2020.

April 14, 2020

Solomon's Seal

Black Eyed Susan
Unidentified Tree

Two Weeks Later

Black Eyed Susan
 
Solomon's Seal in bloom


The tree is unfolding new green leaves every day.

The shoots coming up in the photo below were planted about 1 week ago and are now coming up. They are wildflowers and I've never planted them before so we'll see what comes up.  I planted them for the butterflies and birds.

The vegetables are not yet showing any signs of life but hopefully they will spring up soon.


The next photo is of some sunflower shoots. They have taken 1 week to get to this point.


I bought the potted fern last year and it was quite lovely. I let it stay out over the winter and most of the leaves died.
I cleaned it up a few days ago and already there are many new shoots coming up.  If you can the knobby "balls" in the center of the plant those are the new shoots that will unfurl into nice leaves.




I found 4  or 5 very small pots of pansies. I've mixed them in with the petunias.
I do have some pansy seeds and hopefully I might yet start some. Pansies seem to be a hardy little flower and have a long growing season compared to some flowers.


The next two photos just show the sky for the past week or so. Just because I never get tired of sky photos.

Sunrise
Sunrise and a seagull flies overhead
Where I live we are still under strict restrictions until May 15th. At that time or possibly just before we will learn what comes next. We expect some lifting of restrictions as we've been given hints but there will be no larger scale gatherings.
I believe different countries are already seeing restrictions lifted in various ways and means.
We should all remember that the virus is still out there. So please continue to be careful.
Stay safe and stay happy.
This too will pass.

Prayers Needed & Update Regarding Pay Pal

 Hi friends,   This is just a quick update to let you know about the missions needs in Kenya and to ask for prayers. Livingstone's crutc...