Category Archives: Nature

Dave’s Tomatoes- A New Plan

You may remember that last year my husband Dave in an attempt to relive his childhood on a tomato farm in Leamington Ontario planted tomatoes in an outdoor garden box near our home. His plants were lush and fruitful but he didn’t get to eat any of its products because our neighbors, workers in nearby offices, and Exchange District visitors kept picking them before he could. This year he came up with a new idea. He would plant two plants outside and have two plants in pots in our condo just in front of our sunny livingroom window. Both his outside and inside plants are loaded with lovely tomatoes and we have been eating the ones on the indoor plants. Dave has already spotted a few of the tomatoes from his outdoor plants ripening on the window ledges in offices nearby.  It seems Dave’s new plan is a winner! We get tomatoes and so do other tomato lovers in our neighborhood. 

Other posts……..

Checking Up on the  Guerilla Gardener

I’m Married to a Guerilla

Finally a Ripe Tomato


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Filed under Food, Nature, Winnipeg

Discovering Peanut Park

Last Friday my friend Esther told me she was going to take me to what she thought was the most beautiful park in Winnipeg.  It’s called Peanut Park and true to Esther’s word it was a lovely little green space. There are nice benches to sit in all around the park. Many of them have been donated in the memory of loved ones. The park is also filled with special flowerbeds.  Each is unique. There is a rose garden, a ‘white’ garden, a butterfly garden and herb garden, two blended gardens and a deep shade garden.

Most of the gardens are dedicated to people as well.  We met a man out walking his Yorkshire Terriers in Peanut Park and my friend Esther who used to have two Yorkies herself just had to pet them. As she engaged in friendly conversation with their owner we discovered he lived nearby and was one of an organized group of citizens called Friends of Peanut Park who had helped make the park into such a beautiful space. He told us that although initially, the citizens themselves did lots of work to care for the park, now they have two fundraising events every year which allows them to pay for a professional gardener to look after things. Their neighborhood group has planted dozens of maple, crabapple and lilac trees to replace trees that have died and dead grassy areas have been restored with new sod. Many local residents have made private donations that have helped to create the six raised flower beds and install the winding limestone path through the park.  A sign in one of the flower beds led me to a website that told me more about the park’s history and what the Friends of Peanut Park organization has accomplished since they formed in 2007.  The park which originally was named for Charles Enderton,  a real estate agent and land developer, is over a hundred years old but by 2005 had become an eyesore, full of weeds, dying trees, overgrown paths, broken benches, and a dilapidated playground. People who lived near the park got together and asked a landscape architect to come up with a vision for the park. At their request and supplemented by some of the money the group had raised, the City of Winnipeg installed proper drainage, added picnic tables, built a new playground and readied the flower beds for planting.

Peanut Park is bordered by Harvard and Yale Avenues, Ruskin Row and Avonherst Street. My friend Esther and I walked up and down some neighboring streets admiring all the stately heritage homes that surround the park. I’d love to go back to the park sometime for a picnic and I am wondering how the park got the nickname Peanut Park.  Have you been to Peanut Park?  What did you think of it?  How do you think it got its name? 

Other posts………..

A Quick Visit to Assiniboine Park

The Park at the End of the Bridge

Welcome to Our Amazing Neighborhood


Filed under Nature, Winnipeg

My Annual Moose Lake Fix

Once a year at least I like to go out to Moose Lake, to the cottage my grandparents bought in the early 1960s. After spending many wonderful years at the cottage with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins my parents took ownership and worked hard to maintain the cottage for several decades. It was an important place in the lives of my sons. My sister and I spent time there every summer with our four boys and often a gang of their friends. Now my brother and his wife have poured love and time and resources into keeping it a beautiful place that remains a touchstone in my life. We visited last weekend. Not a single year has passed since I first went there at age seven that I have not been to the cottage. I have lived in twenty-one different homes but Moose Lake has been a constant place in my life.It was there I learned to recognize the call of the loon and the slap of a beaver’s tail. It’s where I saw deer and bear up close and sometimes a little too personal and watched an eagle teaching its young to fly. It was there I felt the sun set my browned body aglow as I skimmed the lake on skis. It’s where I had to pull slimy eels off my skin. It’s a place where I learned to appreciate the smoky smell of a wood fire stove on a cold morning and the odor of the kerosene lamp that lit up the table where my uncle taught me and my cousins to play gin rummy. It’s the place I learned what a smore was and where I ate my cereal on the dock as the sun rose.
It’s a place where I can always breathe and relax and just be. I am so grateful to my brother and sister-in-law who have kept this special place in our family and provide me with my annual Moose Lake fix.purple flowers
Other posts………

Where I’m From – Moose Lake

Lord You Have Come to the Lakeshore

Early Morning Walk At Moose Lake

Wildflowers- Moose Lake

Moose Lake


Filed under Family, Nature

Dad’s Treasures (Well Really Mom’s) – Part 3

One of the things my Dad and I found on his bookshelf during our downsizing efforts in his apartment was this old Mennonite Hymnal that belonged to my mother. My mother was a talented pianist and I don’t think I am exaggerating to say that in her lifetime she played for literally hundreds of funerals, weddings, church services and music performances starting when she was a young girl and she would accompany her parents when they sang duets in church. The cover and spine of my Mom’s hymnal were tattered and threadbare, a testament to its frequent use. On the flyleafs of the hymnal were long lists of hymns. Mom referred to these lists while playing a succession of pieces during preludes and postludes before and after weddings, funerals and church services and during the serving of communion.  Mom had an amazing musical ear and will have played most of these from memory. One of the hymns she has listed is In the Bulb There is A Flower. It was one of Mom’s very favorite hymns and we sang it at her funeral.  It talks about how nature teaches us there is new life just waiting to burst forth from seeds, cocoons, and bulbs and how in our own lives there is always the opportunity to explore, to hope, to believe in new and better things to come.   I used Mom’s hymnal this week as I was picking the songs for the worship service I will lead this coming Sunday morning and at the page, for In the Bulb There is a Flower I found a leaf with a beautiful pattern of veins, that Mom must have placed there to press at some point. It was a lovely reminder of my mother’s appreciation for the lessons nature has to teach us.  

In the bulb, there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree

In cocoons a hidden promise, butterflies will soon be free

In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see. – by Natalie Sleeth

Other posts……..

Dad’s Treasures- Part 1

Dad’s Treasures- Part 2

God of Eve and God of Mary


Filed under Family, Music, Nature, Religion

Flowers Appear on the Earth

I spent the first two official days of summer at a beautiful cottage at Brereton Lake. As I wandered in the yard where my friend has all kinds of lovely wild and cultivated flowers growing I was reminded of a verse from the Song of Songs.  “Flowers appear on the earth.  The season of singing has come.” 

Flowers are the music of the earth. – Marty Rubin

Other posts………

Wild Flower Inspiration- Moose Lake

Linda’s Garden

A Walk Down Selkirk in Lilac Time

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Filed under Nature

Wrestling Farmers

At the Three Gorges Dam. I am furthest to the left.

When I visited the Three Gorges Dam site in China I discovered this sculpture showing farmers wrestling. It was meant to depict how for thousands of years farmers have had to fight the flooding waters of the Yangtze. I immediately thought of that art piece in China when I saw….. this artwork at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is called Farmer is A Wrestler. It was created by Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. It is part of the current Vision Exchange exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The artists wanted to show the struggle it is to farm in India today. In an interview, they talk about the crippling debt of many farmers in the Punjab region in northern India and how their financial crisis has sometimes led to the farmers’ committing suicide. 

The sculpture I saw in China was related to the Yangtze River.  In their installation, Thukral and Tagra have included light fixtures that echo the shape of the River Beas which flows through the state of Punjab. 

I’ve written before about how new texts become meaningful when we can connect them to previous texts we have experienced. The installation Farmer is a Wrestler took on new meaning for me when I thought about the similar artwork I had seen in another Asian country. 

Other posts……..

Now We’ve Been to Sister Cities

Three Gorges Yangtze River Project

Hyphenated Lives

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Filed under Art, China, India, Nature

Sweets For A Hundred Flowery Springs

wayne and justina's apple treeWhat plant we in this apple tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs
To load the May wind’s restless wings
When from the orchard row she pours
Her fragrance through our open doors
– from The Planting of the Apple Tree by William Cullen Bryant

apple tree wayne and justinasLast Sunday friends invited us over for lunch. The apple tree in their back yard was in spectacular bloom.  We had our delicious naan pizza in their sunroom right next to that glorious tree. I couldn’t get enough of it and neither could the cadre of bees that were enjoying the tree’s sweetness.  

public domain apple-trees-in-bloom-at-giverny-1901(1).jpg!Large

Apple Trees in Bloom at Giverny 1900-1901 Claude Monet

 Other posts…….
At the Apple Orchard in Leamington
A Kiwi A Day
Without Him We Might Not Even Recognize the Name Monet

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Filed under Nature, Poetry