Friday, June 15, 2012

Plant & Rake without the Ache

It's rather embarrassing but I'm absolutely giddy in anticipation of a delivery of garden soil that is scheduled to arrive today.  Now you probably have to be somewhat of a gardener, or perhaps a full-fledged dreamer, to fully appreciate the potential that lurks within a pile of good earth.  Seeing that I'm both, just thinking of all the beauty that this foundation will support makes me happy.

My husband, on the other hand, regards it as "just more dirt".  After all, don't we already have a yard full of the stuff?  He's anticipating the time & energy that will have to be expended as we haul from point A to point B.  Then there's all the bending, twisting, pulling & prodding that goes into getting everything arranged just right. Hmmm ... perhaps he does have a bit of a point since all of these activities are actually much more physically demanding than the dreaming & planning that has launched us on this adventure.

In fact, according to a recent survey, 88% of Ontario chiropractors said gardening is among most common causes of back and neck pain during the warm weather season. No wonder part of my planning included stocking up on Advil and placing my chiropractor's phone number on speed dial!

Fortunately (in a case of perfect timing for which I truly thank the gardening gods) before the soil arrived I stumbled across the Ontario Chiropractic Association's Plant and Rake Without the Ache public education program which is chock full of good advice.

OCA's sensible tips include:

Warm up & stretch before you start

Stretch frequently throughout the time in the garden

Bend your knees to lift with ease

Use the right moves

Use the right tools

Alternate your tasks between heavy & light

Take frequent breaks, a brief rest or stretch 3 times per hour

I've printed off the posters & the brochure that are part of their education package and I'm determined to follow through with this advice, hopefully saving myself the pain that unbridled enthusiasm in the garden can bring. 

That bottle of Advil is just going to have to wait for another day!

Plant & Rake without the Ache by  on 2012-06-15 I'm determined to follow through with this advice, hopefully saving myself the pain that unbridled enthusiasm in the garden can bring.

Images: Fotolia via Ottawa Citizen The A-Z of gardeningOntario Chiropractic Association's Plant and Rake Without the Ache

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Friday, June 8, 2012

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honor of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor—and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.
The cook toils over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses, which the hungry band of visitors is not invited to taste. But nothing, it seems, will go according to plan. As the passengers wearily search for rest, the house undergoes a strange transformation. One of their number (who is most definitely not a gentleman) makes it his business to join the birthday revels.
Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant parlor game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking.
The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surprises—where social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps propriety—and all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.

I was delightfully deceived by The Uninvited Guests, though I guess that it's more precise to say that I somehow managed to deceived myself while reading the description & early reviews for this new novel by Sadie Jones.
For some reason the equation that I originally came up with was: 
Edwardian England + Mansion + Dead First Spouse + Party + Paranormal + Dodgy Housekeeper = Rebecca the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier.

Therefore, I was expecting to proceed at a rather leisurely pace wandering dream-like through the story from "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" to "And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind of the sea".  Instead I ended up blasting through this page-turner, anxious to see how things developed & surprised that the characters weren't behaving at all as I assumed they would.

Florence Trieves, the housekeeper, is no evil Mrs Danvers though she has quirks and secrets enough.  Charlotte Torrington, the matriarch, is certainly not "to the manor born" and her daughter Emerald may or may not be as beautiful inside as she is out.  Smudge, the youngest Torrington child, is free-spirit whose safety I fear for while Charlie Traversham-Beechers, party crasher extraordinaire, should never have been let into the house in the first place.

Shades of Rebecca, Maxim de Winter or the second Mrs de Winter are nowhere to be found but as with Rebecca this book does have a strangeness & charm unique to itself.

Published on May 1, 2012 (exactly 100 years after the story ends, how cool is that!), it's apparent that some special May Day magic has found its way onto the pages of The Uninvited Guests.  I'm looking forward to reading it again, sometime in the not-too-distant future, at which time I will be able to slow down and fully savour the wonderful prose of Sadie Jones.

For those of you that have already read The Uninvited Guests what did you think of it?  Was it what you expected?  Did you enjoy it?  Were you also thinking it was going to be more of a gothic romance?

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Splash of Pink

♥.·:*¨¨*:· ♥ A Splash of Pink ♥.·:*¨¨*:· ♥

♥.·:*¨¨*:· ♥ A Mass of White ♥.·:*¨¨*:· ♥

♥.·:*¨¨*:· ♥ A Dash of Blue ♥.·:*¨¨*:· ♥
"Me Not Forget You" as my Grandmother would say

Some beautiful blooms from the gardens in my Ottawa neighbourhood.

Photos: Tatiana Dokuchic

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Friday, June 1, 2012

South March Highlands: Celebration!

There's going to be a party and you're invited!!

As I've  previously mentioned  (The South March Highlands: Truly a Great Place in Canada) the South March Highlands was recently recognized as one of the Great Places in Canada by the Canadian Institute of Planners.  Time for a celebration!

As you can see from the poster, a full day of activities has been organized by the South March Coalition making for a great day for the whole family.
For those who haven’t yet discovered Ottawa’s Highlands this will be a fun-filled opportunity to do so. Activities include music, children’s workshops, and guided walking and bike tours through the forest, highlighting the spectacular natural features of the area. Participants can learn about the irreplaceable value of this urban forest, considered sacred to the Algonquin First Nations. They’ll also learn about the animals and plants that live here, some of which are species at risk.

The celebration will be held at the trailhead for the South March Highlands Conservation Forest, known as K2, because it is at the intersection of Second Line Road and Klondike Road.  See How To Get To The June 2nd South March Highlands Celebration for a map and detailed directions.

On a side note, I'm delighted that my Trout lily photo from South March Highlands: Little Gems was used in the poster.  I like to imagine all those little flowers speaking up to promote and protect their beautiful home!

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