Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hiking Naked

Hiking Naked, A Quaker Woman's Search for Balance
Iris Graville

The title, Hiking Naked, in my opinion, is a bit of a misnomer because although there is hiking, even a bit of skinny-hiking, in this non-fiction book and it is set in an outstanding area for hiking, the flavour of the book is much more contemplative. The stress should fall on A Quaker Woman's Search for Balance. Having this book sitting around the house definitely attracts attention, so I wonder if the book publishing nobs thought the provocative title would help sell books. 

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Knocked off her feet after twenty years in public health nursing, Iris Graville quit her job and convinced her husband and their thirteen-year-old twin son and daughter to move to Stehekin, a remote mountain village in Washington State's North Cascades. They sought adventure; she yearned for the quiet and respite of this community of eighty-five residents accessible only by boat, float plane or hiking. Hiking Naked chronicles Graville's journey through questions about work and calling as well as how she coped with ordering groceries by mail, black bears outside her kitchen window, a forest fire that threatened the valley, and a flood that left her and her family stranded for three days.

I'd like to observe that the family did not just move and live. They participated in the new community, working hard to "make it work". Even the kids worked hard - at school, with chores and at part-time jobs. Life itself is a job, requiring our best effort.

I have to say that I enjoyed this book a lot. Contemplative writing is a genre that I often return to, finding myself in others' journeys. Graville has a no-nonsense writing style that is clear and that moves along briskly, not succumbing to an over-abundance of introspection. I felt truly caught up in this adventure that her family undertook so long ago and can fully understand how it helped to shape their lives that followed. 

What an undertaking it is, and possibly a privilege too, to pare down the trappings of a modern life and move to a simpler lifestyle, even if for a short time. Not everyone could or would even want to do this, so to read about it feels like a wonderful gift that the author has shared with us. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day!

Happy p Day!!

In honour of this fabulous day, let's celebrate the joy and synchronicity of Math while we enjoy some delicious pie.

I recently discovered Lauren Ko on Instagram. She's a pie baker specializing in fabulous pie crusts. Precise and perfect. Here are some photos I borrowed from her website: Loko Kitchen.

Here's one of my pathetic attempts at a lattice-topped cherry pie:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Canada Blooms 2018

Here are a few photos from this year's visit to Canada Blooms. We went on the opening day when plant material was fresh and abundant. The 2018 theme was "Let's Go to the Movies".

I started out in the Toronto Gardening Club section where entries in the various classes had been judged. 

First, houseplants. Some of them were quite familiar. 😊



Hobbit Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)

 This magnificent coleus

This row of dressed mannequins was a competition class of Disney classics.



Window Boxes


Door Decorations




Suspended staghorn fern



One of the interesting features of Canada Blooms is that you get to see flowers and shrubs blooming at the same time when normally they can be an entire season apart. Sunflowers bloom here in Ontario in late summer whereas daffodils and tulips bloom in April/May and roses start in June. It's just amazing what the growers are able to do to provide these plants in full bloom in March.


There was an interesting display of Proven Winners plants that we can look for in garden centres this spring.



Watch this video for inspiration.

The next photo of a slightly bedraggled container garden is a garden kit called Earthbox by The Growing Connection, ideal for people who only have small spaces to grow vegetables. 

One of the feature gardens was a wonderful tribute to our veterans present and past.

It featured a meandering pathway under this arch with flower beds and trees to encourage donations to the project to plant a tree for each fallen Canadian in history along the 401 corridor between Trenton and Toronto.


With daffodils and waterfalls


This interesting wall was on the pathway out of the exhibit.

The main aisle of the show was decorated in the "Let's Go to the Movies" theme


The abundance of healthy plants and the creative designs are just a treat. Especially on a cold blustery day in March.



There are many booths selling plants, some of which are very exotic and quite expensive. I (just barely) managed to resist reaching for my credit card.

At this point in the day, my phone ran out of storage. This last photo I took with Don's phone. Time to call it a day. 

Pitcher Plant