I haven’t been able to do as much in my garden as I would like this spring. It’s too cold and wet. The ground is cold for the plants and the wind is cold for me. So, to cheer myself up I went to the nursery.
This might sound like backwards behaviour but I felt better as soon as I got there. I could smell the fresh cut flowers. I chuckled at the whimsical garden statues (who wouldn’t love to have a smirking dragon lying in their grass?). It was drizzling as I headed to the tables of plants under tarps; not many souls except me and a few foul weather friends.
In the end I splurged on a few plants I needed to replace – lemon verbena, globe basil and an heirloom beefsteak tomato. They were ones that are hard to find and they should be happy in my greenhouse for the next week or so. Just for fun I decided to include a few geraniums that will be my salute to Canada’s sesquicentennial.
On Wednesdays, I get to bring out my alter ego. For most Wednesdays over the past eleven years, I get to be a big kid. I have been known for most of that time amongst the other kids as “Poppy”, a name that I love not just because the flower is one of my favourites (bright, a bit unruly, and one of the first to happily signal summer is coming), It was also the name of one of the coolest grown-ups I knew when I was a kid. My Poppy had long red hair and she was a sort of princess in my mind – the peasant skirts, the hippie music that seemed to follow her and the magical smile and twinkle in her eye were all part of that persona. I don’t get to be that much of a free spirit, but the blue vest adorned with crests and pins all around a gigantic trefoil on my back do give me some renown. You see, I am a Girl Guide leader.
Currently, I am working with Sparks, the tiniest of girls allowed into the organization. We have 22 little sprites in our unit, run with wonderful humour and an incredible sense of organization by my fellow leader, mentor and friend of those eleven years, “Sparkle” (aptly named, don’t you think?).
It’s a wonderful experience to share in the adventures of young girls, and ones this small are especially enthusiastic – about everything. It’s contagious.
This week we are learning about Canada, and so I bamboozled my fantastic husband to help me represent Quebec at one of our activity stations. We only have ten minutes out of an hour’s meeting to wow them with something memorable, so what to do?? Well, it’s not that tough – we will tell them about Bonhomme and the Quebec Carnival, and we will feed them maple taffy on fresh snow, called “tire sur neige” in Quebec. How cool is that?! We are going on a tobogganing camp in a couple of weeks, so this is sure to put them right in the spirit of winter. Thankfully, at this age, they don’t seem to feel the cold and so being out in the minus twenty or so weather will just be an adventure. Meanwhile, I’m digging out all my woollies to take to camp!
You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I could post historic photos of sap being gathered. I wish my hubby had pictures of when he was young and on the horse-drawn wagons at his uncle’s sugar shack. But we’ll have to make do with the sticky fingers and gooey taffy to give you the general idea of the fun we had. Some may say it’s bad to give kids sugar so close to bedtime, sending them home all hyped up to their weary parents. Sorry folks, I will selfishly say that I enjoy every minute and don’t intend to stop having fun with my little Spark pals anytime soon. I hope they will remember me with the same kind of mischievous twinkle as I do the Poppy of my childhood.
Today is the day we celebrate being Canadians. For 146 years we have existed as our own country, having come into our own from our British roots as a colony. We love to gather with friends and loved ones and enjoy the bounty we are privileged to have. We have BBQ’s and beach parties, we attend parades and fireworks shows and we might even wave a flag, in a polite manner, being Canadian.
As Canadians we enjoy a New World identity – we are a first world country with many rights and freedoms. But we don’t like to stand out or seem in any way aggressive; we are known more for apologizing than speaking out. Blowing our own horn is not something we do and so a day that is all about doing just that can be a bit awkward at times.
The good thing is that Canada Day encourages us to get just a little more
enthusiastic about flag waving and horn blowing. We deserve it; our forefathers earned us that right. We can navel gaze the rest of the year.
So, get out here and cheer for your country. Sing the anthem, wave your flag and applaud the fireworks and the parade. If you don’t know where to go to so these things, visit the ever-so polite website that has such info.
Happy CANADA Day!!
I’d like to link you to a post I wrote for the Slow Food Canada newsletter, about my time as a delegate at the Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre 2012 – the international conference held every 2 years by Slow Food International. We are hosting the national Canadian conference here in the Thompson Okanagan in April 2013, and our delegate team was so excited by what we experienced that we are preparing a mini-Terra Madre to share the stories of our region.
This is a cause I believe in strongly – food is at the heart of our existence and community is what keeps all of us going as individuals. Having a strong food community means being in touch with what’s on your plate. If you share my passion, feel free to check and see if there is a convivium (local chapter) in your area. If you live in my region and are keen to be involved, you can contact me directly. I’d love to hear your comments on this topic too!