The Start of Gardening Season

Last night was the start of gardening season. It may be -22C with windchill outside, and snow deep on the ground, but it is time to get ready for the spring and summer growing season.

This year we are starting quite a range inside, even vegetables you traditionally directly seed into the garden, in an attempt to get some vegetables early.

The list of what we planted is as follows: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage, lettuce, cilantro, basil, spinach, chard and kale. We also planted seeds for marigolds and calendula. Little bits of a large range of vegetables to hopefully get a head start on our 2017 garden.


“Winter” Gardening

Today, shortly after noon, flakes of snow started falling from the sky. At first it was intermittent, but within a half hour it was pretty clear that the snow was increasing and beginning to lay. 

I had held off as long as possible with harvesting the garden. The weather had been fairly nice, and I like the convenience of just popping out to the yard to get the vegetables for supper. By 12:30 pm it was clear that I needed to go out and dig up the garden.

Sometimes “not” getting around to doing something works in your favour. This is exactly what had happened in the potato patch. At some point during our very wet summer I had laid down boards to be able to walk in the garden, and for some reason I had never removed them. Luckily under the boards the ground was still soft and completely unfrozen making for easy digging of the potatoes.

The next bed was a little frostier, frozen about an inch or two deep. With snow laying it was a guessing game as to what was left in the bed.

The garlic had been harvested weeks ago from this bed, and the sunflowers at the end were “volunteers”, however I still managed to dig up several onions and carrots from this spot.

As I dug up this bed and the potato patch I realized that it might be a good idea to change the vegetable garden location next year. The question is whether to garden in the ground or garden in raised troughs. Our raised troughs have been amazing this year for growing, so it may be the way to go. 

The troughs also had to be harvested. Beets and carrots were still waiting to be picked. The chard and cabbage have been left, with hopes that the chard may survive a few days of cold. The cabbage has been feasted upon by cabbage worms in the last couple of days so it wasn’t in the best shape.

The final task was to plant the garlic for next year. This time trying a new spot at the front of the house. Again this bed was frozen a few inches deep. After working the soil I managed to plant a small area of garlic. If the weather warms up next week ( as the forecast says it will), I will plant more garlic, but at least I have a bit in the ground just in case winter is here to stay.

Two and a half hours later, soaking wet, frozen, and covered with mud, the veggies were all safe inside. Where the veggies were grown is now completely covered in snow. Gardening season has come to an abrupt end. Hard to believe this is the beginning of October.




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June Garden

I thought it was time for a lighthearted post, and with the garden growing beautifully, I thought it was the perfect subject matter.

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Much of our flower garden consists of perennials. Each year, in our back garden, we are treated to the returning blooms of columbine, lupine,chives, poppies, peonies, daisies and lily of the valley.

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We have expanded our growing of vegetables this year with four wooden raised beds, three galvanized troughs and multiple pots for growing strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes ( we also have potatoes in the ground).

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Vegetables being grown include kale, chard, lettuce, cabbage, beets, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, peas, beans, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini.

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The front garden and beds grow naturally and only need the odd weeding and very little water. Here we have hardy roses, fern, peonies, lily of the valley, and delphinium.

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And last but not least we have a few planters filled with flowers for a splash of color.

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So far everything is looking great. It will be interesting to do a similar post in July to see what is blooming then. Perhaps by then we will have some vegetables to eat.






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Happy Earth Day – eco-printing …fashion from the earth

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I thought sharing a post on eco-printing was a suitable post on Earth Day. A lot of the textile work I do focuses on natural and plant based processes rather than chemicals.

The scarf pictured above has been eco printed. This is a process where the silk has been dyed with the natural occurring pigments of leaves through a lengthy process of bundling the item tightly to achieve the best contact with the leaves. Results can vary depending on the time of year the leaf is picked, the length of time of the bundling, the type of fabric , and the mordants used.

The leaves on this scarf are peony and maple, picked from the garden. Results are always very random with a combination of leaf prints and abstract shapes and lines.

If you are interested in seeing more images of this scarf, and how it looks while being worn, there is a gallery on my other site , or click here for the link .

Eco-printing and slow cloth by Debra Hunter







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Red Deer Westerner Days Parade – Realm of Thieving White Trash

Three of our children pointing to dirt left behind from the theft of our planter that was stolen by an attendee of the Red Deer Westerner Parade.

Three of our children pointing to dirt left behind from the theft of our planter that was stolen by an attendee of the Red Deer Westerner Parade.

The Red Deer Westerner Parade is the dreaded event of the year in our neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood, yes the area where people actually live, is infested each year by disrespectful parade goers. People park in our driveways, across our driveways, and on our lawns. They box us in so we cannot get out of our parking spots. They leave their garbage behind and walk all over our yards. The traffic jam leaving our neighbourhood this year took 30-45 minutes to clear. Our neighbourhood is used as a parking lot, yet has very few exit routes; if there had been an emergency it would be an absolute disaster. This is a yearly occurrence that I have witnessed for over two decades. It is truly awful.

What is even worse is that our whole neighbourhood is subjected to this horror all in the name of commercialism. The Red Deer Westerner Parade is nothing but a walking billboard and a way to push the people of Red Deer to attend the Westerner so that the Westerner can of course make a lot of money . Three years ago was the last time we went. We lasted 15 minutes. All the parade consisted of were ads. Junk mail on wheels…..mixed with an atmosphere of gagging smoke and f-bombs in the crowd. Classy. Well actually pretty reflective of present day Red Deer if we are to be honest.

This is the crowd that is dropped on our Woodlea neighbourhood , a place where people actually LIVE, each year. But our neighbourhood doesn’t count, it never counts, the City, or the Westerner organization would never dream of running a parade adjacent to the heavenly blessed areas known as suburbia, but destroying our neighbourhood is fine.They simply don’t care about how this parade impacts our properties and our lives.

Our children standing in front of the mate to the planter that was stolen during the Red Deer Westerner Parade by a parade goer.

Our children standing in front of the mate to the planter that was stolen during the Red Deer Westerner Parade by a parade goer.

For years theĀ  Red Deer Westerner Parade has made no sense. The Westerner grounds moved from the center of downtown in 1982, 33 years ago, but they did not move the Westerner parade. Prior to the 1980’s the parade used to form at the old fair grounds located in Parkvale (an area in the downtown area), snake through downtown, then return to the fairgrounds. At that time it somewhat made sense. 33 years later the Westerner is miles and miles away, there is NO connection to the downtown area, and they are still forming the parade in the same spot….well kind of… is now in front of the arena, skateboard park and tennis bubble, and behind a seniors housing complex that was built on the old fairgrounds (three decades ago). The parade route, we noticed, has shrunk over the years, probably to accommodate traffic and downtown businesses. Clearly the concept of the parade no longer fits current day downtown Red Deer. Traffic and businesses count, they can’t be inconvenienced. They are special. Neighbourhoods where people live DON’T count. The parade route has been altered for these reasons, yet they continue to leave the route impacting our neighbourhood and our home.

How pathetic of a human being do you have to be to steal a planter of vegetables? Scum human being or typical resident of Red Deer, Alberta?

How pathetic of a human being do you have to be to steal a planter of vegetables? Scum human being or typical resident of Red Deer, Alberta?

This year, however, has topped other years. This year we actually had property STOLEN by parade goers. The planter was there before the parade, the planter was gone after the parade. We had a planter stolen. A planter that measured 16 inches across, 14 inches high and full of soaking wet soil. This was a planter at the side of our house. The dirt from moving the planter is still on the sidewalk. This was a planter that would have taken considerable strength to move and take space in a vehicle as well. This is a deliberate theft. The parade goer trespassed and stole.

This was an ordinary planter, but was full of a tomato and lettuce that we started from seed back in February. Our children watched it grow. Watered it. Cared for it. Hoped to eat it. Now it is gone. Stolen.

The Westerner doesn’t care.

The City of Red Deer doesn’t care.

They don’t care what happens to our neighbourhood, our home or our property. As long as the Westerner and the City of Red Deer can financially capitalize on events such as the Westerner Parade they simply don’t care what happens in our neighbourhood.

They are greedy, selfish and don’t care.

Why is is ALWAYS the historic neighbourhoods that are horribly disrespected? Why don’t we count? They would NEVER dream of doing this to suburbia. Inflicting situations like this on our RESIDENTIAL neighbourhood is simply unfair. Inflicting situations on a neighbourhood that encourage thefts is unfair. It is time things change. Our neighbourhood IS a neighbourhood. This is where we LIVE. It is time we get the same respect that other areas of the city receive. It is time to change the parade route and keep the thieving white trash out of our neighbourhood. After all, nowhere else in the city is expected to endure this level of invasion and disrespect.


Apple Blossoms

Our neighbourhood is in bloom with pink and white blossoms everywhere. This selection of images were all taken on a short stroll of about 200 feet. As you can imagine our neighbourhood is pretty picturesque this time of year.

(please click on the above images to view full size)

Into the Garden

Spring is finally here. The snow is finally gone. Here is a peek at what is growing and blooming at our garden at home.

(Please click on the images above to view pictures from the gallery full size.)

Water Drops

water dropsSpring is finally here which means working in the garden. I was out weeding the other day and happened to notice that drops from the rain the previous night were still sitting on the plants in the flower bed. Judging from the location the drops might be on one of the Columbines, but I am not 100% sure.

plant, water drop and bugThis water drop had a visitor. There is so much happening in the flower beds when you get up close.

plant, water drop and bugEven the tiny plants were sparkling with droplets.

water drops on plantsSpring may have been a long time coming this year but perhaps it makes us appreciate the new growth more.


On a side note, for readers that follow all my blogs, last night I made the decision to deactivate the most recent blog, . To quote my three year old it was “not working”. It is a good move that will free up time to paint, stitch, shoot and garden more plus eliminate being involved in neighbourhood politics. Perhaps this will allow me to get more interesting blog posts up on this blog, on Island Home, and on Debra Hunter .

Something Dirty Going On


It is always a good day if dirt is involved. After all if there is dirt there probably isn’t snow….or at least as much snow!


One end of our backyard looked like this, which is fine, because the flowerbeds near the house have finally started to melt off. Finally!

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As I looked around the flowerbeds I found a lot of new growth had popped through the ground. This is quite remarkable as we have only had three or four days of warm weather.

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Even more remarkable was the fact that I was cleaning up the flowerbeds as my daughter did snow angels next to me. That is just a little surreal.

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I am never quite sure of what is coming up. Some plants and bulbs date back way before we had the house. Some of the bulbs are leftovers that my mom donated to me. It will all be a great surprise when they actually bloom……..well that is if the deer, moose and rabbits don’t get to them first.

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One thing that is for certain is that the beds were MUD. Sloshy and sticky, the sort of mud you sink into if you accidentally step off the grass. By the time we were done everyone had mud on them…..and was soaked through as well.

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I did notice the chives are up this is good news as chives out of the gardens are wonderful for cooking.

Watching the ladybugs.

Watching the ladybugs.

By the end of the afternoon we did have some excitement, exciting enough to even stop making snow angels. We found ladybugs.

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That is a sure sign that spring is here!