About Me

My name is Christine. I'm a visual artist, musician, traditional storyteller, DV survivor, and have been a fulltime caregiver for an individual living with various diagnoses. After my marriage, I learned how to play various instruments, started exploring various means of creative expression, worked with at-risk teens/families, volunteered with the local crisis lines, participated in starting up a family resource center, completed my BA, furthered my studies towards becoming an art therapist, managed homes for adults living with disabilities, and facilitated therapeutic music/art sessions. I was doing everything I could so my children and I could have a brighter life, present and future. My physical health, however, continued to show evidence of too many chronic stressors over many decades. This blog is about my journey in discovering peace and better health by meeting life in the most basic and, in my opinion, the most rewarding of ways - by focusing on the riches of simplicity. If you're a new visitor to my blog, you might be interested in starting here: Finding the Riches.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Gardening, Volunteering, and Drinking

June 9, 2011

Small-Space Urban Gardening

My squash plants are up!

"How are you going to grow squash plants on a deck?" you might be thinking.

Well, the original plan was to start them from seed then transfer the seedlings into the community garden. But now I've decided I'm also going to experiment a bit. Two plants are going to be transplanted into two separate containers. The containers will be set on the floor of the deck and I'll be carefully training the vines to run along the deck floor. The containers will be fairly shallow, less than 6 inches in depth, but will be long and will only have one plant each. That will be Experiment #1.

The second experiment is to see how well dandelions grow in various containers. I'm going to dedicate two containers to the gentle green and see if we can have fresh produce all summer. Part B of Experiment #2 will be to see how long dandelions will grow inside once their main growing season is over.

What else...oh yes - the tomato plants I seeded into melon rinds. There are four seedlings that came up in one rind and zero in the other. While I'm obviously happy to see the four that have come up, the resulting data leaves much to be desired for scientific purposes ;-)   I also started two tomato plants by seed in separate corners of a rectangular container and put varying amounts of "pre-compost produce-waste" in an around the seeded sites. One plant came up. Unfortunately, in my carelessness one day, I accidentally pulled the teeny plant out when moving an orange rind.


There are so many financially-free ways to be involved in one's community. Here are some of the ways we've been community-minded over the years:
-Many local festivals offer some free activities in addition to those with a price tag
-Attend different levels of sports games, from peewee to adult, for free afternoons/evenings of entertainment and community-connection
-Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer! Oh, and then Volunteer some more! I've been on various committees in our community. I've volunteered as a crisis counsellor and with our local arts center and with our local teen drop-in center.  My son and I have volunteered with programs for newcomers to our city, with programs for adults who live with disabilities, at our local library, in our local parade, and with seniors. We're presently working on organizing an afternoon in the park for local families of children with disabilities. Once in awhile, we've done some secret volunteering as well - secretly dropping off a bag of groceries for someone in need, organizing a Mother's Day basket for women at the local shelter, etc. In addition to all the community-building benefits, it's also good for my son to be involved in giving to his community to develop his sense of becoming a positively-participating member of his community and all the personal good that goes along with that. A meaningful life really is possible for all.

In Our Kitchen: Healthy Alternatives to Soda and Juice

We don't buy bottled water. I boil the water from our tap and generally just drink from that throughout the day/evening. On a cool evening or rainy day, however, I enjoy brewing up a bunch of homemade drinks to stock our fridge. Here are some favourites:

-Bruise/break mint leaves and toss into bottom of drink container
-Add boiled, cooled water

Parsley or Basil
-Boil a pot of water
-Add parsley (dried or fresh) or basil (fresh)
-Remove from heat and let steep
-Strain and cool
-Pour into container and refrigerate

Ginger (my favourite thus far!)
-Boil a pot of water
-While waiting for water to boil, use a metal spoon to scrape the skin from a piece of fresh ginger (how much you use depends on how much water and personal taste - enjoy experimenting!)
-Slice your ginger and add to the boiling water, then simmer til desired taste
-Strain if desired
-Add honey to taste
-Cool, pour into container and refrigerate

Honey (use the good stuff so you get all the health benefits!)
-Boil water. Add honey. Cool. Pour into container and refrigerate.


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