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It’s been a while since my last post so I thought it was high time to provide an update on my garden. 🙂 BTW, I’m in zone 6b, southwest Ontario.

As the weather warmed up, I started planting and moving my seedlings outside. Everything survived except 2 tomato plants, which I replaced with 2 nursery-bought tomato plants. I love looking back to see how much things have grown over the past few months. Super satisfying. So far, we’ve eaten tons of lettuce, green peas, yellow beans, basil, mint, garlic scapes and blueberries. Soon we’ll have tomatoes. I’m in the middle of dehydrating chamomile and mint to make tea – first time so we’ll see how that goes.

Here are some pics in chronological order from mid-May up until to last weekend:

Seedlings – tomatoes, basil and parsley:

I tried something different with the two tomato plants in the front – I planted them in a trench/sideways (back to front in the pic) just to see if they would grow any different from the others (dug a hole, planted straight:

More tomatoes and some carrots

First time growing green peas (patio pride/bush) as well as zucchini:

I bought blueberry bushes from the nursery but was worried about birds. I found this amazing contraption on Amazon – it’s been amazing. I haven’t lost one blueberry to birds yet!

Mint (aka mojitos in training):

First time planting garlic (last October) and the leaves have grown huge so far – these are the scapes that I harvested (and sautĂ©ed with pasta and mushrooms) – yummy:

Peas are truly a beautiful plant:

Peas, yellow beans and zucchini up near the fence:

Buttercrunch lettuce and cucumber plant at the top near the fence:

Mint teenagers:

First harvest of lettuce and peas:

Chamomile is flowering!

Everyone looks so happy 🙂

Beans are flowering!

Couldn’t believe my eyes – my very own blueberries 🙂

Mint young adults:

Zucchini flowers!

Tomatoes taking off

Yellow bean harvest with some thai basil

We have zucchini babies 🙂

And cucumber babies:

Chamomile and marigolds (and a garlic photobomber):

This was a few days ago – lots of green tomatoes, should ripen soon 🙂

Thai basil:

Can’t wait for the first taste of home-grown tomatoes 🙂

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Spring has finally arrived (more or less) which means we can start prepping the garden and starting cool-weather crops, and start/continue the indoor seeds and seedlings. In my neck of the woods, the May long weekend is planting weekend. BUT – because mild weather typically starts in April, I can get started on preparing my garden beds and sow some seeds. Exciting!

Ever since I put my garden plan together early in the year, I’ve been closely watching important dates in my calendar.

  • On Feb 10th I started mint seeds indoors
  • On Mar 18th, I started marigolds indoors
  • On March 30th, I transplanted my marigolds and mint into cups
  • On Mar 31st, I started cherry tomato seeds indoors
  • On April 21st, I (with the help of hubby) installed a new raised bed and filled it with triple mix and compost. I also added compost to my other 2 existing beds.
  • On April 22nd I sowed seeds outside for peas, carrots, lettuce (2 types) and lemon balm. I also started seeds for basil and parsley indoors.

The next key dates will be 2 weekends in May once all risk of frost has passed, usually around the May long weekend and the one prior.

That’s when I’ll get everything outside and go buy some blueberry plants for my other new bed this year. I decided to dedicate a whole bed just for blueberries because of the different soil requirements (acidic) and the likelihood of needing to cover them with netting.

Meanwhile, the garlic I planted last fall is looking great!

Progress so far:

Cherry tomato seedlings

Marigold and mint seedlings

Growing…

Growing…  marigolds / mint on the left. Tomatoes (near window) on the right) and basil/parsley on the right / front)

My garlic is doing well (planted last fall). There are also seeds for lemon balm (above the garlic) and carrots (whole 3rd row) in here. Tomatoes will be along the fence. Chamomile will be the bottom/right 4 squares. This was taken 1 week ago:

This was taken today:

This bed already has seeds for lettuce (one variety in the bottom 3 squares on the left, with another column of another variety next to it, then beans (to be planted in May), and seeds for peas. Tomatoes will be along the top row along the fence. I tried lining this box with cardboard this time. For the other two I used weed fabric – just want to see how well the cardboard would work.

This one will have tomatoes along the back row and basil (genovese and thai) and parsley in the front.

Beds are ready for more planting in May. 🙂 The new bed will go the right of the one against the fence at the top of the photo.

I’m considering putting down cardboard/mulch between the beds and in the far corner to get rid of the grass and avoid complicated mowing.

So excited to be spending time out in the garden! 🙂

Ok. Here they are people – after a ton of movie-watching and flip-flopping back and forth, I finally put my picks together for the Oscars tonight (in red below). And I’m still not 100% on the Best Picture (torn between Three Billboard and Shape of Water), but time has run out so here we are.

3Billboards

BEST PICTURE
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST DIRECTOR
Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”)
Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”)
Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)
Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”)
Jordan Peele (“Get Out”)

BEST ACTOR
Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”)
Daniel Day-Lewis(“Phantom Thread”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”)
Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”)
Denzel Washington (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

BEST ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”)
Meryl Streep (“The Post”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Christopher Plummer (“All the Money in the World”)
Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”)
Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”)
Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)
Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mubdound
The Shape of Water

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria and Abdul

BEST FILM EDITING
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Darkest Hour
Victoria and Abdul
Wonder

BEST SOUND MIXING
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST SOUND EDITING
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Call Me by Your Name (“The Mystery of Love”)
Coco (“Remember Me”)
The Greatest Showman (“This Is Me”)
Marshall (“Stand Up for Something”)
Mudbound (“Mighty River”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“A Fantastic Woman” (CHILE)
“The Insult” (LEBANON)
“Loveless” (RUSSIA)
“On Body and Soul” (HUNGARY)
“The Square” (SWEDEN)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Dear Basketball
Garden City
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Edith+Eddie
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Herion(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Deklab Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

Update: New Kitten

We finally picked up our new kitten. His name is Dante and he’s an Abyssinian, the same breed as our late pet Gizmo who passed last November. After several days without a little furry life in the house, we decided we wanted another cat, and we found this little guy. We picked him up this past weekend and had an uneventful (thankfully) 6 hour drive back to the GTA. We had brought everything (food, water, litter, etc) and it went well. We were eager to get him settled in and the last couple of days have been super fun.

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We closed off the door to the basement until he gets settled with the main floor and the upstairs. He already knows where everything is (his litter, food, water, etc.). He already knew how to navigate stairs and is pretty gung ho when running up/down them. He loves food, playing, his kitty condo and is curious about everything. He has bursts of energy then conks out and basks in the sun. 🙂 He is still a wee thing (2.5 pounds) and cuteness overload is rampant in our house at the moment.

He slept with us both nights we’ve had him so far and didn’t wake up in the night to get into mischief (that we know of). Maybe we’ve been lucky so far. lol

We’re looking forward to more adventures with our new addition. 🙂

 

Like every year, as soon as the Golden Globe nominees are announced, I start watching the potential Oscar Best Picture nominees (since they often align with the Globes). I’ve managed to watch all but one but since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to watch the last straggler (Phantom Thread), I figured I’d share my impressions for the big categories.

Best Picture – Nominees

  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Summary: You know how a movie can stay with you for weeks after you’ve watched it? Those are usually the ones that grab my attention and make my top picks. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is staying with me. I love Frances McDormand – she often plays a badass and this movie is no different.  The story was engrossing and the cast was great. Sam Rockwell’s transformation in the movie was very compelling. Woody Harrelson was also very good (he is everywhere there days – good for him!) It was an all around solid movie.

My second pick, believe it or not, is The Shape of Water. I know many people found it weird. And it was. But there was something really beautiful about it from Sally Hawkins’ powerful performance as a mute to the relationship between her and the critter, to the friendship between her and Richard Jenkins’ character, to Octavia Spencer. Another, all around solid movie.

I’m still torn about who I’d vote for between the two. I have a feeling the two lead acting categories will go to Three Billboards, and Best Picture will go to The Shape of Water for the ensemble to avoid a sweep of the top three.

The others were OK but in my opinion not Oscar worthy, although there were some stand out performances. There were many “middling” movies that seemed to make the cut because they ran out of great ones to choose from. It’s been like this ever since they increased the number of nominated films up from 5 so I guess it’s to be expected.

Actor in a Leading Role – Nominees

  • Timothee Chalamet
  • Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Daniel Kaluuya
  • Gary Oldman
  • Denzel Washington

Summary: Gary Oldman who played Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour is a shoe in for this category. Enough said.

Actress in a Leading Role – Nominees

  • Sally Hawkins
  • Frances McDormand
  • Margot Robbie
  • Saorise Ronan
  • Meryl Streep

Summary: I’m torn here too between Frances McDormand and Sally Hawkins. So tough. I think I’m leaning slightly towards Frances because of the emotion of the role. But Sally, as a mute, was able to convey so much power and emotion too, which could be considered a greater achievement than a speaking role. Very tough.

KSpacMemoriam.jpg

Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Willem Dafoe
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Richard Jenkins
  • Christopher Plummer
  • Sam Rockwell

Summary: I think Sam Rockwell has it. Although – it would be a hoot for Christopher Plummer to win, especially after stepping to replace Kevin Spacey and reshooting all his scenes.

Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Mary J. Blige
  • Allison Janney
  • Lesley Manville
  • Laurie Metcalf
  • Octavia Spencer

Summary: Allison Janney hands down as Tonya Harding’s mom.

I’ll post my full ballot closer to the Oscars – which is on March 4th this year. Set your PVRs. 🙂

I was recently tagged by fellow blogger Abbey over at Three Cats and a Girl. *waves at Abbey* If you haven’t done so yet, go check out her blog! This tag is typically answered by avid readers but have questions that are a little bit all over the place and have nothing to do with books (hence the name of the Tag). Clever! 🙂

QUESTIONS

Name a cartoon that you love.

Hmmm. Haven’t watched cartoons in ages… BUT Bugs Bunny has some pretty funny lines that went right over my head as a child but looking back now make me crack up with laughter.

What is your favorite song right now?

I’m still liking Havana by Camila Cabello – it’s so fun to sing along to.

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Planning stuff whether it’s my garden, travel, my bucket list items… I am a Planner with a capital P and love lists of all kinds.

What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

This is another tough one because I blab about just about everything I love doing on here. BUT – perhaps gaming is something I don’t blog about much. I’ve been a World of Warcraft fan for about 12-13 years. I’ve played all kinds of games (PC and console, even in arcades back in the day) – during the early days it was Super Mario, Sim City, Civilization, Castle Wolfenstein, Gauntlet. Then I went through a micro-management phase with Caesar, Pharaoh, Age of Empires, the Sims. Then my husband started playing WoW, I joined him soon after and the rest is history. I’m also currently a big fan of Scrabble on Facebook. I like words. 🙂

What is your favorite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

EVERYTHING. I have a habit of making lists of things that come up in casual conversations that I don’t know the answer to but want to look up later. It could be about anything. It’s become much easier to find answers to things that arise in the course of every day life with access to the internet from a SmartPhone. One of my pet peeves is saying/hearing “I don’t know” and not making the effort to find out.

What is something unusual you know how to do?

Name all the countries in the world (196 independent nations!). I have always enjoyed memory games and when I was small it was reciting simple lists like Santa’s reindeer and the seven dwarves. I worked my way up to Canadian provinces, then with capitals, then the 50 states, then state capitals. I’ve now got the countries down (and can do them in about 10 minutes) and am now working on world capitals. 🙂 Crazy, I know.

Name something that you’ve made in the last year.

I like making things and am pretty crafty . One of the nicest things I made last fall were lavender sachets from the lavender that we grow in our garden/yard. They smell so good and last a really long time. Can’t wait to make more!

What is your most recent personal project?

I’d say this is more of an ongoing one that I continuously work on and have been for years. Most of you already know about my Life List (or bucket list). It’s years in the making and no end in sight. 🙂 Life truly is a journey, not a destination.

Tell us something that you think of often.

Oh boy – this is tough because my mind never shuts off. Let’s say the top 5 recurring topics these days are travel, retirement planning/investments, gardening, work and food/cooking.

Tell us something that’s your favorite, but make it oddly specific.

Slippers – I love slippers, and my favorite is the pair I happen to be wearing. I always have a pair of slippers in the house, usually more than one (at least one for warm weather and one for cold). Right now, I have a pair of real moose hide moccasins that I received as a Christmas gift last year that I live in when at home. Love them. 🙂

Tagging

I think I’m a little late to this tag and many have already done it…but if you’re reading this and feel like participating, consider yourself tagged! 🙂

Garden Plan 2018

It’s been cold and snowy in my neck of the woods lately. BUT – since it’s time to plan for my spring/summer garden, I’ve been having fun buying seeds and planning out what I’ll be growing and where, focusing on when the temps will be warm again. It’ll come quickly and I want to be prepared. 🙂

Without further ado, below is my square foot garden plan layout for this year – click on it to make it larger.

I will still do my usual plantings (albeit different kinds) of cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, lettuce, beans and carrots. Oh, and french marigolds to repel the bugs. I’ll be trying some new crops this year: cucumbers, zucchini, garlic (already planted this past fall), snap peas and blueberries. Plus, to assist with my life list item to make my own tea, I’ll be planting chamomile, lemon balm and mint (the mint in its own pot because it can be invasive). I’ll be getting a dehydrator to help with that task as well.

I did all my research and bought all the seeds this morning. I’ll be picking up blueberry plants closer to planting time and I think I’ll plant a couple of other types of basil in 2 of the squares for variety. The purple basils have caught my eye – imagine what a pesto made with purple basil would look like – stunning!

My plan is to cover the entire blueberry 4×4 bed with netting to protect them from the birds. For the basil, I’ll keep some for pesto and dry the rest for cooking. Same for the parsley – I’ll use some fresh and dry the rest. I’ll dry the chamomile, lemon balm and some of the mint to make tea (my favorite tea has all of those elements in it :)). Plus, gotta save some mint for the mojitos.

I love growing my own food and walking out into the yard to pick ingredients for meals – nothing tastes better than tomatoes warmed by the sun or a fresh picked carrot – it’s incredible how different (and better!) things taste compared to the store. I also enjoy babysitting my plants and keeping an eye out for them, trimming here, watering there, picking off pests (Japanese beetles, I’m looking at you). It’s incredibly relaxing, fulfilling and the bigger jobs provide a good workout too. Weeds are few with the square foot garden method because the “good” plants take up all the space and don’t leave any room for the weeds. It’s fabulous.

Here is my list of seeds so far:

  • Red small tomato: Stupice (stoo-pee-chay)
  • Red cherry tomato: Matt’s Wild Red Cherry
  • Yellow cherry tomato: Lemon Drop
  • Yellow cherry tomato: Champagne (Loved these last year – so much sweet flavor in such a tiny package – they’re like a half inch in diameter)
  • Black cherry tomato: Black Cherry
  • Basil: Genovese  (gold standard in basil – amazing for pesto)
  • Basil: TBD – One of the purple varieties
  • Cucumbers: Muncher
  • Zucchini: Green Zucchini
  • Garlic: Red Russian
  • Beans: Yellow Golden Wax (Bush)
  • Peas: Patio Pride
  • Carrots: Nantes
  • Lettuce: Red Salad Bowl
  • Lettuce: Buttercrunch
  • Chamomile: Bodegold
  • Marigolds: French
  • Mint:: Menthol
  • Lemon Balm

 

I am doing my happy dance!!! 🙂

2016 Garden flashback: