Category Archives: Uncategorized

Random Musing: The Plant Artist

I only know his name through others who have mentioned it in passing. However, in the 12 years I’ve lived here, I have often seen him wandering  the numerous trails surrounding our community (although increasingly less so as the area is developed and green space replaced with housing). His presence is  most often announced through the plume of sweet tobacco smoke that always accompanies him on his walks. Often you see him sitting in amongst the trees and plants, head set on, legs crossed, thin, quiet. He acknowledges you but I rarely got the sense he wanted to chat. So I would nod and move on.   Sometimes I would see him early in the morning  sitting on a log, lost in thought, headset on, taking in the view from the top of the hill that overlooks Indian Arm.  Wherever I found  him, either deep in the forest, often in  the company of a neighbour’s dog, or out front, sitting surrounded by the tall summer weeds, it felt to me that nature was necessary for him. That he needed to be a part of it.

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His property stood out from others for the extraordinary beauty of his garden. Large, wild, exotic, beautiful plants flourished under his care. I imagined that he spoke to them, urging them forward. Be bold, he would say to them. And they were.  His garden was so beautiful it was almost outrageous. How could that much wild beauty exist in one small place.  I often walked by his place feeling as though I was looking at a painting or a piece of art work.  And I imagined that all the time he spent meditating in the forests he was gathering strength and inspiration to images.jpegbreathe life into his own family of plants and flowers, his own creation.

I heard through the grapevine that he was sick. Already thin, he seemed to get thinner, smoke with a bit more fury. Still I would see him in all his favourite places and then I heard he had passed away.

I never really spoke with him, I barely knew him. I only benefited from his unique gifts as I think many of us here did.

I often think about how we all live in these neighbourhoods passing each other every day like ships in the night. And then suddenly you realize someone is gone. They’ve left.  I was inexplicably sad to hear that Randy had died. We had gone through multiple rotations of spring, summer, winter and fall together, cells mutating, bodies changing, anonymously passing each other.images-1.jpeg

I like to shout out the names of people who have died when I’m driving, or walking or thinking. To me it’s the only tangible thing we have of those who leave. Their names, out loud connect me to what they offered in beauty, laughs or love. Randy was an artist. That’s how I think of him. And when I say his name I’ll conjure the natural beauty he ushered forth year after year in the little space that he called home.

Thanks Randy.

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Creamy Curry Lime Cauliflower Soup

I found this recipe on 101 Cooks and it is FANTASTIC. Not only that, it’s every bit as easy as it claims to be. I didn’t have yellow curry paste so I used a good heaping tablespoon of curry powder. It gives you the option of coconut milk or cashew milk. I used coconut and squeezed two limes into after it was done with salt to taste. My topping was crushed raw cashews and finely chopped green onions and it was deeeeeeee-licious. There are some great recipes on 101 Cooks so hurry over and check them out. I’m definitely going to be going back for more!

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101 COOKS PHOTO CREDIT

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons yellow curry paste, or more to taste
3 small new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large head of cauliflower florets (~1 1/2 lb)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
, plus more to taste
1/2 – 1 cup cashew milk or coconut milk
1 lime

to serve: croutons, or (as pictured) toasted pine nuts, fried shallots, hemp seeds, and more of the yellow curry paste whisked with a bit of shallot oil

Pour the olive oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, stir in the onion, and garlic. Sauté for a couple minutes, just long enough for things to soften up. Stir in the curry paste, potatoes, cauliflower, and salt, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add 4 1/2 cups of water, and bring just to a boil. Dial back the heat and simmer just long enough for the cauliflower and potatoes to get tender throughout, another 5-10 minutes. Immediately remove the soup from heat, and transfer to a high-speed blender (in batches, if necessary). Alternately, you can use a hand blender directly in the pot. Stir in the cashew milk. And here’s the make or break step – add more salt if needed, and a good amount of fresh lime juice. Adjust until the seasoning is balanced and just right. It should taste bright and sharp, and delicious. Serve sprinkled with any/all of the suggested toppings.

Serves 8.

PREP TIME: 10 MIN – COOK TIME: 15 MIN

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Let’s make canada #ivoryfreecanada Minister McKenna

On March 14th Elephanatics sent a letter to Minister McKenna asking the federal government to close the legal trade of ivory in Canada. The letter was signed by members of the BC Legislature, Honourable Mike Farnworth, Jane Thornthwaite) and Parliament of Canada Don Davies, Fin Donnelly and Nathan Erskine-Smith), scientists and environmentalists asking the government for a ban on the import, export, re-export and domestic trade of all elephant ivory.

Some of the signatories include BC SPCA, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, Big Life Foundation, Born Free, World Elephant Day, Stop Ivory and African Wildlife Foundation. Noted elephant research scientists Dr Richard Leakey, Dr Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, Dr Joyce Poole, Ron Orenstein and Dr Cynthia Moss also put their name to the letter.

A petition with the signatures of over 130,000 private citizens was included with the letter.

Elephanatics has asked for a meeting with the Minister to discuss first steps in making Canada a leader in the protection of elephants. The overwhelming response to the petition, the incredible support by national and international wildlife advocacy organizations, including world re-known scientists and conservationists, suggests that Canadians are ready for Canada to do the right thing for the protection of this magnificent keystone species.

Please write your member of parliament or the Minister (Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca ) in support of our efforts to end the legal trade of ivory in Canada.

Please read and share this letter.

Canadian Domestic Ivory Ban Letter – Mar 14 Final Version Sig

Please share and sign this petition.

Change doesn’t happen without the support of remarkable individuals and organizations. Thanks to everyone who has supported our efforts.

Thanks also to Mia Rabson, Evan Solomon and the many outlets who have published this story including the Globe and Mail, The National Post, Vancouver Sun, Metro News, 24 Hours, USA Today.

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group

https://usa-today-news.com/news/animal-rights-group-says-canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-as-125k-sign-petition

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-animal-rights-organization-says-canada-should-ban-sale-of-elephant/

http://www.news1130.com/2018/03/18/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group/

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-1.3847959

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-477204103.html

 

http://www.capebretonpost.com/news/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-194545/

 

https://www.thetelegram.com/news/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-194545/

 

http://www.battlefordsnow.com/article/599957/canada-should-ban-trade-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group

 

http://meadowlakenow.com/article/595038/canada-should-ban-trade-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group

 

https://24-hours-news.com/2018/03/18/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group/

 

http://www.newslocker.com/en-ca/news/general-news-canada/animal-rights-group-says-canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-as-125k-sign-petition/

 

https://awionline.org/press-releases/awi-joins-95-organizations-urging-canada-close-domestic-elephant-ivory-trade

 

https://www.gpdnmain.com/GPDN2015/en/content/awi-joins-95-organizations-urging-canada-close-domestic-elephant-ivory-trade

 

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2017/11/28/elephant-conservationists-call-on-canada-to-step-up-to-protect-iconic-beasts-3/#.Wq65w2rwbcs

 

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/03/15/help-stop-the-wanton-slaughter-of-elephants-sign-a-petition-to-the-canadian-government-here/

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-animal-rights-organization-says-canada-should-ban-sale-of-elephant/

http://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/03/18/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group/

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Glory Bowl

Last summer we visited our friends in Calgary and they made a version of the Glory Bowl for dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add different proteins and veggies as you see fit. The sauce is so darn good that you could put it on a turd (as my lovely mother used to say) and it would taste good.

I often add feta, avocado and green onions. When I had it last summer my friend served it with fish. Either way it’s a great base for a yummy, easy meal.

This recipe comes from the Whitewater Cookbook which you can find here.

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The Bowl

8 cups cooked brown rice – I made enough for the two of us and measure a cup per person.

2 cups beets, grated

2 cups carrots, grated

2 cups almonds, toasted

2 cups spinach leaves

2 cups tofu, cubed – I add tempeh cooked in a little oil and cubed.

Glory Bowl Dressing

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes*

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil – I just used 1/3 and it was fantastic

2 tbsp tahini paste – I used 1/3 of a cup. I have also used peanut butter.

Prepare your favorite brown rice and set aside.

Saute tofu cubes in a skillet.

Combine nutritional yeast flakes, water, tamari or soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, tahini and crushed garlic in blender to prepare the dressing.

Add oil in a steady stream. You will have leftover dressing to use again.

Assemble the bowls by placing cooked brown rice into 8 bowls, top with beets, carrots, spinach leaves, almonds and sauteed tofu cubes.

Drizzle bowls with dressing.

*Nutritional yeast flakes can be found at the Kootenay Co-op, or most natural food stores.

So good on any kind of salad greens, spinach, rice, or grains.

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Random Musing: Chance Encounters

One night after work this week I was going to meet my husband and mother-in-law for dinner. I was early and I decided to wander around my old neighbourhood to see how things had changed. I was happy to see that the old Cedar Cottage pub that Dave and I used to meet at when we first started dating was still there so I decided to pop in, say “hello” to the old girl and have a glass of wine by the fireplace. I was happy that the pub hadn’t changed much so I settled in by the fireplace thrilled to be listening to Lynerd Skynerd’s Free Bird  playing in the background.

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I was sitting next to the table where over 14 years before Dave and I sat exchanging stories about who we were, our lives, our old loves and heartbreaks. I loved how easy our conversation flowed and how he made me laugh. I remember being shocked at how he asked me questions and actually listened for the answer.

I sipped my wine and was happy to see a community of  pub travellers either sitting alone or with friends at tables, sipping beer, watching the game, chatting, and settling into the groove of  pub life, a place where people gather to feel at home away from their own four walls.

I paid my bill and left thinking how much I would love to come back to this place of almost feeling like home. I put on my woolly mittens and hat, and pulled my jacket close around me as I wandered back outside into the cold winter night to meet my family.

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I stopped at the crosswalk and waited for the light to change to green. When it changed I stepped into the intersection. Lost in thought I didn’t notice the speeding SUV as he careened down the road, his rear fishtailing against the icy the road. He managed to stop just before hitting me and the woman who had been standing right behind me.  My heart raced. My adrenalin started to run. This is how it all happens I thought. One second your life is one thing and the next it’s this and you never see it coming.

“He almost killed us.” she said crossing the road beside me.

“Ya I know. I guess it’s our lucky night.” I said. We walked together for a minute in communion, happy that fate was allowing us to continue on as planned and not have our  lives inextricably linked by tragedy.

“Have a good night.” I said.

” You too.” and off she wandered into the chilly night.

In my head I heard Free Bird…humming it as I walked along to the restaurant.  I was off to meet my family, and Dave the same guy from the pub all those years ago, who still makes me laugh, who still listens.

 

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Poem of the Week: Poem to My Child, If Ever You Shall Be, by Ross Gay via Alison McGhee

The way the universe sat waiting to become,
quietly, in the nether of space and time,

you too remain some cellular snuggle
dangling between my legs, curled in the warm

swim of my mostly quietest self. If you come to be—
And who knows?—I wonder, little bubble

of unbudded capillaries, little one ever aswirl
in my vascular galaxies, what would you think

of this world which turns itself steadily
into an oblivion that hurts, and hurts bad?

Would you curse me my careless caressing you
into this world or would you rise up

and, mustering all your strength into that tiny throat
which one day, no doubt, would grow big and strong,

scream and scream and scream until you break the back of one injustice,
or at least get to your knees to kiss back to life

some roadkill? I have so many questions for you,
for you are closer to me than anyone

has ever been, tumbling, as you are, this second,
through my heart’s every chamber, your teeny mouth

singing along with the half-broke workhorse’s steady boom and gasp.
And since we’re talking today I should tell you,

though I know you sneak a peek sometimes
through your father’s eyes, it’s a glorious day,

and there are millions of leaves collecting against the curbs,
and they’re the most delicate shade of gold

we’ve ever seen and must favor the transparent
wings of the angels you’re swimming with, little angel.

And as to your mother—well, I don’t know—
but my guess is that lilac bursts from her throat

and she is both honeybee and wasp and some kind of moan to boot
and probably she dances in the morning—

but who knows? You’ll swim beneath that bridge if it comes.
For now let me tell you about the bush called honeysuckle

that the sad call a weed, and how you could push your little
sun-licked face into the throngs and breathe and breathe.

Sweetness would be your name, and you would wonder why
four of your teeth are so sharp, and the tiny mountain range

of your knuckles so hard. And you would throw back your head
and open your mouth at the cows lowing their human songs

in the field, and the pigs swimming in shit and clover,
and everything on this earth, little dreamer, little dreamer

of the new world, holy, every rain drop and sand grain and blade
of grass worthy of gasp and joy and love, tiny shaman,

tiny blood thrust, tiny trillion cells trilling and trilling,
little dreamer, little hard hat, little heartbeat,

little best of me.

 

For more information on Ross Gay, please click here.

Thanks Alison for sharing this poem.

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Tree Stump o’ Deep Thought You’re Not Usually Capable Of, by Stephan Pastis via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Tree Stump o’ Deep Thought You’re Not Usually Capable Of, by Stephan Pastis

No one knows what we’re doing here.
Some have faith that they do, but no one knows.

So we are scared.
We are alone.
We end.
And we don’t know where we go.

So we cling to money for comfort.
And we chase awards for immortality.
And we hide in the routine of our days.

But then the night.
Always the night.

Which, when it has you alone, whispers that
maybe none of this has any significance.

So love everyone you’re with.
Because comforting each other
on this journey we neither asked for
nor understand
is the best we can do.

And laugh as much as you can.

 

Thank you Alison for these beautiful poems.
​For more information on Stephan Pastis, please click here.​

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