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mosquito garden

It’s so cold out today. I tried to start clearing my garden and didn’t get very far. The cold, how I loathe the cold. We had a cold summer, too. It’s no wonder things didn’t grow well.


I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a successful garden this year. Or, maybe I’ll call it 50% successful. My tomatoes and cucumbers flopped, aside from one plant each. My kale got eaten up by bugs. My peas produced no more than 10 pods. My pumpkin plant is teeny tiny with no pumpkins on it because my seedling died and I had to replant, which happened too late.

My garden did produce some things though. Beets, of which I pickled and got four jars; beans, which I pickled and got 8 jars; carrots I have yet to pick (though two of the four rows produced barely anything); lettuce that produced about 75% of what I planted; onions that about 1/5th of which will be big enough to harvest; green peppers that are producing like mad; and tomatillos I hope to harvest and make into salsa soon.

I can't wait to turn these pretty tomatillos into salsa!

A friend gave me a bunch of pickling cucumbers so I was able to make a couple jars. I did some sandwich pickles and I had enough little ones from my garden to make almost two jars. Why are two of them upside down? Only because I forgot to add the dill and garlic till after the cucumbers were already in the jar. I don’t know if that’s bad for the jar or not, to have it upside down, but it is what it is.

My major annoyance in my garden this year? Mosquitoes. There are so many mosquitoes here. I hate them so, so much. They make being outside not at all enjoyable. They make me want to move to Kelowna where there are no mosquitoes. There’s great weather for gardening there, too, a longer growing season and more heat and I’ll just quit now because it’s just not happening for another couple years at least, if ever.

Another thing is that I’m taking the mulch off the garden. I’m pretty sure it’s hindering the growth of the plants under it, so it is going away. Slowly.

I’d say, though, that my garden boxes were mostly a success. I really need to write a tutorial on them. They were hell to build, but turned out quite nicely.

I really enjoy growing things. I love watching seeds grow into tiny two-leaf plants, and I love watching those tiny green things grow into harvestable fruits. The garden boxes were very low maintenance, and weeding was easy because the composted manure was so light and fluffy. I’m sure it’ll be a bit different next year as the dirt settles, but overall they’ll remain easy to weed.

I have left to harvest some pickling cucumbers, a couple cherry tomatoes, the few yellow onions that have made it more than an inch in diameter, carrots, and tomatillos. Like I said, I’m really looking forward to making salsa. I got a recipe from a Mexican friend, so I’m sure it’ll be delicious.

And that’s it for The Garden Project, 2016 edition.

Over and out.

Categories: the garden project
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church in wine country

Two and a half years ago I accepted the role of Technical Director at the church my family and I attend. Among other things, the job involves sitting in the tech booth every Sunday morning. This means that I do not get to sit with my family.

This is particularly frustrating in times like Christmas and Easter and when our family visits. That’s the time families sit together, right?

We’re on holidays in BC right now and this morning we attended the church my in-laws go to. I didn’t worry about the words on the screens being correct or behind, I didn’t worry about the electric guitar overpowering the rest of the band, and I didn’t worry about whether or not the older crowd could hear the speaker.

What I did get to do was sit with the people I love, listen to the music without picking it apart, and hear the speaker without making sure the screens reflected his notes. It was quite wonderful.

I (usually) enjoy my job, I like the people I work with, but it was so nice to have a break from it all, besides a few text messages I needed to answer in the middle of the service. That’s what a holiday is supposed to be, right? A break? 

I like breaks.

Categories: uncategorized


Dear Kaylie,

Today you turn fifteen years old. Do you know what this means? Your dad and I have only three more years to mould you into a responsible adult, a functional member of society. So far so good, I think, but three years should be just enough time to finish the process, right?

You have dreams and ambitions for after you graduate high school. I love your drive and determination to get where you want to be. You say you want to go to college/university away from Saskatoon and I respect that decision, but I know already that we’re going to miss you. Enough about that, though, let’s focus on the right now, shall we?

The very best gift you kids can give me is to be kind to each other. I know it’s hard sometimes, but I love it so much when you play with or hang out with Liliana. She looks up to you so much. She absolutely adores any attention you give her.

I love that we have so much in common. The older you get, the more similarities I see, both in us now and me at your age. The latter scares me because I hope you make better choices than I did. I hope you stand up for yourself and take pride in who you are. I hope that you never let anyone else determine your worth. You already have a lot of self-confidence and I hope that continues, because nobody can take that away from you.

I love that you feel the same way about Star Wars and Harry Potter that I do. That they are the best things about this life we live. Even though we’re in opposing Hogwarts houses (you in Gryffindor, me in Ravenclaw), I’m ok with it. Jedi and wizards and witches are real. Accio Hogwarts letter via the Millennium Falcon!

You and your dad share a love of video games. I’m so glad that the two of you have something in common that you can share. I can’t even think of the names of any games you two play together because I pay so little attention. I know that he very much enjoys spending time with you beating bosses or whatever it is you two do. You guys have been playing Magic the Gathering lately too, which is hilarious because he once wrote me a poem about how he didn’t play Magic the Gathering. Apparently things change when one is the father of a teenage girl.

You love art. You love to draw and paint and create things. Your room walls are full of your creations. We got you a gift card for an art supply store for your birthday because there were just too many options to choose from so we let you choose yourself. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create.

You enjoy writing. You are constantly writing stories and making sure we read them.

I know we told you that when you’re 15 you’re allowed to have a boyfriend, but listen. This doesn’t mean you need one. Teenage boys are overrated. And if one hurts you in any way, I will hurt him. I already know one boy who is scared of me, and it brings me great joy. I’m hoping that that fear means respect, because if a boy does not respect you or your parents, he is not worth it. Trust me.

Right this moment, you are at camp. You love camp. You thrive there. You get to be there two weeks this year rather than one and you couldn’t be happier about it. I’d be sad that you’re not at all homesick, but I know that your lack of homesickness is because your dad and I have brought you up to be independent, that you can go out into the world without us, without fear. We’re so glad we can give you this experience, though we wish we could be with you on your birthday.

You are unique, my dear Kaylie. You are confident and courageous and beautiful and funny and impressing us all the time. Your dad and I are so proud of the woman you’re becoming. Keep being you, ok?


Categories: Birthday Letters

The Garden Project: 2016


This year’s garden didn’t start out so great. I sent seeds to my friend Kathy, who grew them to a beautiful stage. Then I left them outside too long to harden and I killed most of them. A few peppers survived, as well as a couple tomato plants and a couple cucumbers and a couple tomatillos. I re-planted a bunch of cucumber seeds so I hope they actually grow and catch up to the others, which are barely hanging on as it is. I also bought a bunch of tomato plants.

Another hurdle was the garden itself. I made a huge mistake when I put all the mulch on the garden. I regret it immensely. But there’s nothing I can do about it now. Well, I could, but it would take many loads in the garbage bin to do so. So, I decided to build raised beds. Out of old pallets. I’m going to write a post about this soon, but oh my word it was so much work. If you want to build raised beds, and if you’re able to afford it, build them out of new, untreated wood. Because the pallet way will break you.

I didn’t have time to build all the beds I wanted to in time for planting so I built four 4-foot by 4-foot beds. Then I needed the dirt. Kathy has cows and therefore manure, so I got some composted manure from her. It’s basically just dirt; it doesn’t stink at all. When all was said and done it was already June. My garden was finally planted on June 2. But then, last year at this time we got a frost just after May long weekend so maybe June isn’t so bad to finally plant.

beets & beans


Besides cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos, I planted beets, beans, lettuce, yellow onions, green onions, and carrots. I was ecstatic when the first green popped up. The beets, followed by the beans, green onions, and peas.

green onions


The lettuce and carrots have just started coming up, but sparingly. Re-planting is so depressing. I’ve already had to re-plant some beets and beans because either they didn’t come up or the second leaves disappeared or never developed. Also some peas and onions. Basically half of everything that did come up, didn’t come up. I just finished the carrots.

I get discouraged too easily.

Our weather has also not been the greatest. It’s been cooler and we haven’t had much sun. I long for 25+ and cloudless skies! I want to see things grow past second leaves! Also, our neighbour’s tree shades the garden after 3pm which is super frustrating.

I have hope, though. I’m excited for what this gardening season will bring. And I can’t wait for the first harvest.

Categories: the garden project

David vs Bowser

Read the story of David and Goliath tonight. Or, Dave and the Giant Pickle. At the end, Preston told me that just as God helped David beat Goliath, he could help him defeat Bowser.

Categories: uncategorized