Saturday, May 9

A Tribute to Mother

This is a photograph of my mother. It would have been taken in approximately 1959. The dress she's wearing was made by her own hands. The pearls were a gift from Dad one year for her birthday and the shoes were some that she would have bought when they were on sale. They may even have been dyed to match her dress.

Mom always made her own clothes and those of her children. She made dresses for my sister and I and shirts for my brother. She was handy with a needle and had an old electric Singer sewing machine. On rare occassions we would get store bought clothes, but it wasn't something that we expected.

Mom worked hard all of her life. She and Dad always grew a huge garden. Corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, watermelons, beans, squash, pumpkins and so much more was planted in that garden. When we kids were young, she tended it daily throughout the summer months and then, when harvest time came, it was all preserved to supplement our table through the long winter months.

Mom didn't work outside the home when we were young, except for during the corn harvest when she worked in the canning factory. Her job was to cut the corn off the cob. She worked a shift that ended at 2am, so she could be home with us through the day. She also grew cucumbers for the cannery. We kids would help her pick them. They had to be sorted for size and put into burlap sacks and placed at the end of our driveway on the days that the cannery picked them up.

In the winter, Dad worked longer hours and Mom would always be sure there was a hot meal on the table for him every night when he got home from work. She didn't own a dryer and all clothes washed in the old wringer washer were hung on the line year 'round. During the winter, they would be brought into the house frozen stiff, thawed and ironed while still damp.

When Dad was hurt in a workplace accident, he was hospitalized for weeks. At that time, Mom got a job at Woolco, a division of F.W. Woolworth's. She worked for very little. I remember when she got her first pay check...she cried because she didn't make enough to buy socks for us kids.

There were many times that Mom struggled to make ends meet. She never let us know that there wasn't enough money to go around. I enjoyed pickle sandwiches for my school lunch and we often had leftover roast beef ground with the hand grinder with pickle and mayonnaise added to make the meat go further. We had sausage or fried bologna for supper many nights because it was cheap and because that's all that she could afford.

Mom was pretty much isolated on the farm. She didn't get her driver's license until she went to work. Once a month, Dad would drive us to town on Saturday morning when he went to work. We would go to a relatives to wait for the stores to open and then Dad would pick us up at noon when he was finished working. Sometimes on Sunday afternoon, if there was enough gas, Dad would take us for a drive or to visit his parents, or Uncle Hardy and Aunt Lil. Mom never got to go to a movie or out to dinner. The money just wasn't there for such luxuries. The only time I remember going to the show with Mom & Dad was when Snow White and the Seven Dwarves came to town. That was a real treat and the first time we kids had ever been to an inside theater. Sometimes Grandma and Grandpa would take us to the drive-in to see Ma & Pa Kettle.

When I look back at those times, I never remember a word of complaint coming from my mother. She was always grateful for what she had and though I'm sure she would have liked things to be different, she never dwelled on the things she didn't have.

Today, I pay tribute to Mom. She worked hard, loved her family and did her best to give us things that she never had. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I wish you many more.

Do you have memories of your mother that you'd like to share. I'd love to hear them.

Friday, May 8

Spring Blooms

Last week, the boys and I planted a few vegetables. I couldn't believe it when this morning I saw that the leaf lettuce is already poking up through the ground. There is also one green onion sprouting, so it looks like we will have a few things to eat from that garden unless it is stolen by the wildlife that lives nearby.

I also bought a few viola plants last week for a brass pot that I purchased at an auction sale a couple of years ago.
They look very nice on the porch railing with the Canada flag in the background. The blue is a piece of glass that was in our aquarium. Hubby was going to throw it out and I rescued it. I think it's so pretty.
I was also delighted when I opened the door this morning and found this beautiful iris was in bloom. I've been watching it for a few days. There are going to be three more that bloom on this plant and my Black Knight looks like it is going to have a bloom this year as well. When it comes out, I will get a photo. This one, which I forget the name of, and the Black Knight are my favorites. I do have heirloom iris that's been passed down from my great-grandmother, but not sure they are going to bloom this year. All of my iris need to be transplanted and I'm hoping to get that done late this summer. I'd like to have them all in one bed.

Sunday is Mother's Day and I'd like to wish all mothers and grandmothers a very special day with their loved ones.

Wednesday, May 6

61*: A Great Movie

I'm not much for TV, but since I can't sit at the computer too long these days, I was channel surfing tonight and came across the 2001 movie 61* and I can tell you, it was a delight to watch.

Billy Crystal's (2001) movie 61* tells the story of the 1961 baseball season when both Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) and Roger Maris (Berry Pepper) were in line to break Babe Ruth's record of 60 runs in one season. When the baseball commissioner thinks that one of them might just accomplish that feat, he changes the rules and determines that if the record isn't beaten in so many games that it will have an asternik follow the number.

The public is rooting for Mantle, who starts the season off well. Maris sees to be the underdog throughout the film. He receives hate mail and his wife receives a phone call from someone threatening to kidnap their children.

Then, Maris hears rumors that he may be traded during his first season. He digs in and begins hitting homeruns. Mantle's game begins to slow because of his wild lifestyle.

The media favors outspoken Mantle over the quiet Maris. They hound Maris, a person who dislikes being in the limelight and just wants to play baseball. He seems not to care about beating the record.

61* brought back many memories of baseball during my childhood. Though the focus was on Mantle and Maris, other baseball greats, such as Yogi Berra and Joe Dimaggio were mentioned. Those were the days when baseball greats were our heroes...their names were household words and baseball was the game of America.

If you haven't seen 61*, I highly recommend it. It captures the essence of baseball as a legacy, is entertaining and brings to light what the baseball greats went through as they lived their dream.

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, May 5

Spring Birds

Our yard has been alive with bird song and splashes of color this spring. A pair of robins fought off the starlings that were trying to nest under our eaves. The female made their nest and laid the eggs. I had no idea how long it would take them to hatch, but did a bit of research and found that it is usually 12 to 14 days and that most often they lay three or four eggs, but can lay up to seven.
Monday, Jordan was off school because of his allergies. I went and picked him up and brought him home with me. When we got out of the van, we saw half a robin's egg laying on the lawn. We watched and sure enough, the robins was feeding her babies. Yes, both parents help take care of the young.
This is not my photo, but looks exactly like the young cardinal that was sitting in the large tree at the end of our driveway early this morning. His mother was in a tree across the street and they were calling to each other. I continued to watch and he went to her and then another fledgling flew to our tree. This continued for quite a while. I believe there were three fledglings.

It was a beautiful day today with a cool breeze. It was pleasant spending some time early this morning watching these beautiful birds. I'm definitely going to be putting out more birdseed to attract these birds to our yard.

What birds visit your yard?

Have a great day and be sure to take time to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Monday, May 4

A Few Canadian Facts

Here are a few facts about Canada.

* United Nations consistently lists Canada as one of the best places to live in the world. Four years in a row, the United Nations chose Canada as the best country in the world in which to live based on their evaluation of the quality of life in 174 countries using various indicators such as education, medical care and safety.

*2nd largest country in the world with approximately 32 million people.

* There are ten provinces and three territories within the boundaries of Canada. Here is a list of the provinces and territories and their capitals.

Provinces :
Alberta (Edmonton), British Columbia (Victoria), Manitoba (Winnipeg), New Brunswick (Fredericton), Newfoundland and Labrador(St. John's), Nova Scotia (Halifax), Ontario (Toronto), Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown), Quebec (Quebec City), Saskatchewan (Regina)Territories : Yukon (Whitehorse), Nunavut (Iqaluit), Northwest Territories (Yellowknife.)

* According to the 2006 Canadian Census, there are over a million Aboriginal people living in Canada. They include:

Three Aboriginal groups : First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit

Eastern Canada : the Maliseet, Algonquin, Iroquois, Micmac, Huron and Ojibwa
The Plains : Blackfoot, Cree and Assiniboine
Pacific Coast : Kwakiutl, Bella Coola, and Haida
Northern regions : Dene, Tsimshian and Slavey peoples
Arctic region : the Inuit

Canada is the home of many great inventions, including: basketball, the electric light bulb, the electric range, the electron microscope, standard time, the television, the telephone, and the zipper.

Although it’s the second-largest country in the world, Canada is one of the least densely populated. According to Statistics Canada, the population in 2006 was about 32,623,500 people — an average 3.5 inhabitants per square kilometre. Most of Canada’s population — 80% — lives less than 250 kilometres from the U.S. border.

I'm very lucky to live in Canada. It is one of the best countries in the world in which to live, according to the United Nations. Though it is a young country, it has much to offer the people who live here as well as visitors from other countries.

Have a great week.

Sunday, May 3

Vegetable Garden

Today the boys came over and we planted a little vegetable garden in the bed that we cleaned completely out except for the Oriental poppies and a few Iris.

First on the agenda was asparagus. Now we won't harvest anything from it this year because it takes two to three years to become established. Next year we should get a light crop and then the following year we should get quite a bit. This will be a nice treat as I love asparagus and it's very expensive to buy at the grocery store or roadside stands. Growing my own, I also know it won't be sprayed with a lot of chemicals.

Then we planted some beefsteak tomato plants. These always do well here and each year since the boys were little we've planted them. The plants we have are nice, healthy looking plants. As they grow, we will have to stake them to keep the plants standing and healthy.

Green onions were next on the agenda. The boys dug the holes and planted the bulbs. We should have lot of green onions this year. I love chives and this will give us our own.

Then we planted a row of leaf lettuce. I'm hoping that it grows. I don't have a lot of luck with seeds, but we will know within a couple weeks if any of it's going to grow. I love leaf lettuce and we planted a row about five feet long. That should give us enough for our own personal use.

The boys aren't big on tomatoes, but will eat the ones that they help grow. I'm hoping that planting this small garden will ease the cost of groceries a little and provide some homegrown produce for us to enjoy.

I wish we had more space. I'm thinking of going to the farm store and buying some galvanized watering troughs (the ones they use to water cattle) in which to grow vegetables. Many city people are using them to plant a small garden. I just have to figure out if we have a place to put them where the plants will get enough sun.

Do you grow a vegetable garden? If so, what type of vegetables do you plant for your family to enjoy?

Have a great week. We have perfect weather here for outdoor chores. We really need to get some things done before Wednesday when the rain is to move in once more.