Category Archives: Gardening

Film: Only lovers left alive

I am going to declare the 30×30 challenge a success. Sure, you can nitpick my definition of nature, but I counted any outdoors time that did not involve a parking lot or March Road. I counted March Road if it rained.

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Some days getting the 30 minutes was a struggle. Chris and I dealt with it by making it a habit to go into the yard to sit for a few minutes before going to bed. I hope to keep this habit now that the challenge is over.

Even though our garden is a weedy neglected mess, it always surprises me how beautiful plants can be.

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Irises and Heucheras are some of my favourites. I look forward to their beautiful flowers every year,.

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Film: Snowpiercer

My previous spring challenges include “May – Bike to Work Month” and “April – 30 Days of Biking”. Since I started biking daily in mid March this year, neither of these appealed. But here comes David Suzuki with the 30×30 Challenge.

Can I be in nature for thirty minutes every day for thirty consecutive days? Let’s find out!

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Resolutions for 2015

Though usually stoic on the subject, this year I am bubbling with New Year’s resolutions. This is not surprising, birthing and taking care of small children was exhausting and somehow I feel 2014 was the bridge year for us. I think I am ready to stop merely making do. The kids are now big enough for me to be thoughtfully proactive in most aspects of life.

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Vacations
Over the last few years I heavily relied on “sanity days”. These are the vacation days that I set aside about once a month to catch up on sleep, chores and appointments. These were also a great time for Chris and me to go out for lunch in lieu of hiring babysitter and going out on dinner dates. Alas, this meant that I was not able to use those vacation days during the school holidays or PD days. Markus will no longer be in full time daycare as of next Septmber so the cost of Chris or me working on days the kids are not in school is adding up. For 2015 I have not set aside any sanity days and will stay home during the school holidays instead.

Diet
I am quite enamoured with our CSA and will continue to get veggies and meat from the farm in the next year. The downside is that once the CSA season is over we fall into a dietary slump. There are only so many pasta/meat/veggie disshes I can eat. When I was a kid I used to love stews, particularly bean and/or barley stews but I have no idea how to make them! Whenver I’ve make a bean stew it inevitably ends up in the freezer to be thrown out a year or two later. This has got to change as I will endeavour to perfect at least one good bean recipe. I am also going to look into stocking up on root vegetables at the end of season and finding a good way to keep us in good supply over the winter.

Gardening
While I don’t keep track of how much money we spend on fruit, I am convinced that at least 1/3 of our grocery bills cover berries. I am not the least bit interested in removing or reducing berries form our table, but I would like to find a more economical way to do so. We have planted our first berry shrub in the back yard last year and are hoping to expand the berry farm and make good harvests within a few years. The challenge will come with finding an approproate way to store the berries for the winter (freeze or dry???) and to incorperate them in our diet in this form.

Movies
I really miss seeing movies at the Bytowne. Particularly at this time of year when newspapers publish lists of noteable movies of the year, I am sad to have missed some films that I might have enjoyed. However, going to Bytowne on a regular baisis I did half a decade ago is just not an option for me. For a number of Good Reasons, on weekdays from 5:45AM to 5:45PM I am on strict work/designated patent duty. To maintain this lifestyle I really need to call day a day by 10PM. Weekends are likewise booked. While there is not much I can do to support lovely establishements like Bytowne, I can at least see some movies that are out on iTunes or Netflix. My goal this year is to select a film each month and set some time aside to watch it.

Some numbers

I need to get back into taking regular pictures. This is the best I can come up with for the last few weeks:

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Our garden is doing really well but so is our CSA farm so we’re overrun with veggies!!!

Anyhoo, I have been keeping track of my biking in order to analyse trends and determine whether it was worth getting a cargo bike.

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My biking is split between transport and sport biking. My sport biking has dropped in late June and was almost non-existent during July due to being sick, bad weather (heat wave, forest fires in Quebec, almost daily thunderstorms etc…). I was also undergoing conversion to the new bike which made me reluctant to go on long rides before I knew that the bike has been properly adjusted and I used to it. The bike is set up now and I have already put 200km on it. Another problem with getting the sports rides in is that I was relying on Ottawa Bicycle Club Tuesday Night Rides which alternate starting points making them sometimes super-convenient and sometimes too far to bother making the trip. To this I have since added Local Bike Store club rides and shorter rides with a neighbour so now I am almost guaranteed at least 10km of “training” per week.

Since the weather and road conditions allowed it I have been transporting at least 100km per month which I will consider as very good. Not all of my commuting is on the cargo bike, but a lot of it is and I am certainly happy to have it.