Wednesday, April 27, 2016


That's kind of a weird word, I agree. But when I was eating my breakfast this morning, I started to think about what parts of it might not be there if it weren't for the bees -- in today's case, the 'bee' in breakfast.

The berries probably wouldn't have been there -- at least not in the proliferation I am spoiled by -- unless perhaps I had taken lessons from the Chinese who now hire people to act as pollinators in many of their orchards. I suppose peacock feathers could be useful for such a task.

And most certainly, the honey I used as sweetener wouldn't be there. The same is clearly true for the sprinkling of bee pollen I like to take in the morning.

But then I thought, wait a minute. What about my cereal? Ingredients on the box are simple enough: Wheat. Period.

Are bees required in the fertilization of wheat? As it turns out, this is one of the grasses that doesn't require bees, as wheat is one of the grasses that's wind-pollinated. Apparently, if you try growing it indoors (sounds ambitious and requiring a fairly huge home), you need to rustle it around now and then to accomplish this.

So then I considered the milk I'd poured on the cereal. If wheat doesn't require bees, do those other grasses consumed by cows need them? Again, if those cows are content with a diet of straight-up grass, I guess so. But if they rely on alfalfa or flax or several varieties of clover, they'd be out of luck without the bees.

After I ate, I went outside to say hello my berry canes -- not just the raspberry ones, even the less civilized-looking blackberries, which at the best of times, can only be called vines.

They've begun budding, so I'm keeping my eyes open, looking to their being visited (not by just the ladybugs, who were busy out there today), but by some hard-working bees.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A day for many celebrations

These flowers arrived yesterday, from an as-yet-undetermined person whom I can only think of as a 'secret pal' for now. Still, they look great on the table as I go forward in this day for so many celebrations.

The first, already starting to happen, is the annual observance of 4/20. This year Vancouver will see two such celebrations. One, the 'official' one at the always-beautiful Sunset Beach. The other, traditional but not sanctioned this year, outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.

It seems most appropriate (and yet another cause for celebration) that our Health Minister, Jane Philpott, spoke to the United Nations today, offering Canada's plans to legalize marijuana with legislation to be presented in spring of 2017. And yes, Philpott is her real name, as is Jane. And who knows, maybe her actual first name is Mary? Joking aside, the sound-bite they pulled for the news was powerful -- a promise that the law would keep "...marijuana out of the hands of children..." and even more importantly, "and profits out of the hands out criminals." Exactly. To which I can only say 'about time' and yes, time to rejoice.

A celebration that's going on locally tonight is the Finale event for the Double Exposure photography exhibit, a show that's been on all month. To complement the exhibition, there's been a poetry 'challenge' -- one where poets took inspiration from an image in the show and wrote something based on it. Winners will be announced tonight, with presentations (and a reading) by Surrey's Poet Laureate, Renee Sarojini Saklikar. This, a National Poetry Month event, is her first official event down here in Surrey's south end, so I am very much looking forward to it.

Not to be forgotten is my dear little Honda Fit, who got her first car wash for the spring. She was soooo covered in pollen (and likely will be again by later this afternoon), parts of her were starting to turn green. While this may have been just in time for Earth Day, green is not a particularly good colour for a car to wear, unless that's the colour of its original paint -- and in my car's case, that's a not. Happy car, one that's at least for now, shiny.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Happy Buddha day!

Today is one of the dates observed as the birthday of Siddhartha Gautama whom we now know as the Buddha, or the 'Awakened One'.

What I have always understood about Buddhism is that it seems based in compassion. That's clearly not all there is to it, but that's the part I try to be mindful of, as a guide on my own crooked path.

Followers in Japan celebrate his birth today, while those in other countries observe it on other dates, depending for the most part on which calendar they follow.

With the bluebells in bloom, this looks like a very good day to celebrate -- and really, I think this Buddha looks pretty darn happy. His messages were ones that, if people actually followed them, everyone on the planet would likely be happy too.

For starters, a small (paraphrased) birthday gift from the Buddha for today: "a generous heart and kind speech will go a long way towards making the world a better place."


Friday, April 01, 2016

Time to celebrate!

Today is the first day of National Poetry Month. And as far as I'm concerned, that's reason to celebrate. It isn't all that often that people sit up and pay attention to poetry, so having it get its very own month seems special.

There's plenty going on in our area, with a few highlights posted in the events on the right. If you check the League of Canadian Poets' website, you'll find lists of events taking place all across the country. Since nearly all of them are free, who knows, you might find it worthwhile to stop in at one or two in your area.

It's also National Poetry Month for our neighbours to the South. Lots going on there too, as click on their posting reveals -- plenty of links to books, poems, and readings.

Poetry contests abound -- the 2-Day Poem Contest, which is for everyone -- to the Double Exposure Poetry Challenge for poets who live in and around Surrey and White Rock. The reason for this local focus isn't about being exclusive. It's just that poems need to be inspired by a photograph in the current exhibit at the nearby Turnbull Gallery.

And if you'd like to join in the celebration without having to go anywhere at all, click here to find yourself at a site where you'll find new poems every day of the month.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Silent Spring?

Not meaning to reference Rachel Carson's prescient book, Silent Spring, just offering a comment on how 'silent' this blog has been. No particular reason (other than 'life' getting in the way), though I am a bit sad over all the days for special events/observances that I've missed.

There was World Poetry Day on March 21st, International Water Day on the 22nd, and of course, one of our earliest ever dates for the Vernal Equinox, March 19th. Oddly, spring's arrival in this part of the world coincided with the end of this year's Earth Hour observance -- an observance that I managed to miss doing properly this year. I turned down a few lights, but didn't do it right. Just another of many observances I haven't properly heeded this spring.

But today is Easter. As you'll see from the green pot above, I accidentally 'pre-dyed' this year's dozen eggs. I like to use cloth in the pot, as I've found it keeps the eggs from bumping into each other (and cracking). Only this year's tea towel seems to have still had too much of its own colouring in it, as the eggs (which were brown, farm ones to start with) came out bearing a lovely green tinge.

As a result, the ones from the 'Bunny' all turned out in their own new muted shades for the celebration.

If you observe Easter, I hope it is happy. If you're more into celebrating the season with its many changes, enjoy that. By the way, I understand that any sweet treats you happen to eat today are calorie-free -- or so my pal the Bunny told me.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Life on the coast

Coasting. Sometimes that's how it feels, especially on days when the rain seems to be winning. Days like today, when it's on and off blustery-wet and the most you want to do is read and think.

We've been away, visiting places with lots of fresh fish and seafood -- even conch.
Yet although we had a wonderfully relaxing time on holiday, it's hard to beat being home. Especially when one of first nights back found us sharing a scrumptious meal with friends. The first course felt especially like a welcome home: fresh Dungeness crab from nearby Saturna Island.

I usually don't serve fresh crab unless we can eat outside (hint: it gets messy). But my smarty-pants girlfriend just covered the kitchen table in newspaper and we tossed shells helter-skelter, then wrapped it all up and off it went to the 'green' garbage bin. Not only delectable, but tidy.

While tonight's meal isn't anywhere near as exotic, it was fun to be able to dash outside between squalls to pick some fresh chives and parsley for the pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove, as well as fresh oregano and rosemary for the slices of eggplant cozying in the oven.

All in all, it's good to be home.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

A special person

I know, I can be a bit silly when it comes to remembering all these birthdays. But this one is for one of the most special people in my life -- the one I believe actually loved me unconditionally.

That would be my gramma, the one I called Mayme.

In truth, I don't think she would want to be around, considering she'd be turning 117.

Still, it might be time for me to light that candle and make a toast to her.