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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oak Tree

I didn't write this... but it's beautiful, and describes why I like big trees so much!

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree's leaves away,
Then snapped its boughs
and pulled its bark
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
while other trees fell all around...

The weary wind gave up and spoke,
"How can you still be standing, Oak?"
The oak tree said, "I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn't sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found, with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew.

Taken from a Hallmark card.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I am almost embarassed to be blogging about this because, as you can see, there really isn't much to blog about... but there they are... my little chamomiles. For these few days, I am completely fascinated with them. There is so little space in my garden now that I have resorted to hanging pots on the back support of my trellis. Therefore, these pots of chamomile are actually above where I can comfortably reach with my eyes even when on tiptoe. Nonetheless, I am not deterred from making like a monkey twice a day, hanging from one arm and with one leg perched precariously atop a shaky pot, to examine my chamomile seedlings. And yes, I do understand that at this stage, they have a demeanour that only a mother can love. In a sense, I am their mother, and I find them absolutely adorable. If you don't share my sentiments, I quite understand. But if you think instead of what these skinny seedlings might come to be, you will understand my bubbling excitement. When a tiny leaf reared its minuscule head, I fell off the pot!

The chamomile flower has both of my favourite colours. The bright and sunny yellow. The pure and joyful white. If God had a cheeky smile, I imagine it would look like the chamomile. I read somewhere too, that one chamomile flower in a mug of hot water is far more fragrant than a whole teabag of commercial offerings.

Chamomile tea is most often recommended for relaxing the mind. Few people know though, that chamomile also soothes the walls of the intestines and is an anti-spasmodic, i.e., it prevents muscle spasms, whether in the legs or the intestines. For this reason, chamomile is also great for irritable bowel syndrome and a whole host of digestive discomforts such as diarrheoa and gas. Its ability to ease both mental and physical tension makes it one of the most popular herbal teas at breakfast parlours. Mostly though, I drink it for its taste. It tastes the way it looks - cheerful and smiley.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cooking Oil + Dishwash + Water = Lethal Spray

You wouldn't think that 3 harmless things put together could make a spray that would kill all sorts of tiny insect pests.... even those you can't see with your naked eye. But it does, and very well too!

But as with anything in my life, I believe in abundance. Love abundantly. Eat voraciously. Garden with gusto. When life appears in bright colours and life's softest bird song sounds like the clearest love ballad, then every day is filled with drama and action.

And so it was with my Lethal Spray. I sprayed here and I sprayed there. Then I sprayed here and then I sprayed there. Then I sprayed there again before I sprayed here again. The chilli plant was sprayed every 3 days for 3 weeks. All manner of insects seen or unseen gave up the ghost. So too did numerous chilli plant leaves, which turned brown and then black and then fell off. The rosemary was sprayed every 5 days. The more fragile ones also turned brownish black and ended up looking like an Addams' Family favourite plant lifting its branches like black claws into the air with one accusing finger pointing at me wherever I may be standing in the garden. "Murderer!" the finger said. The dill plants could take no more than 2 sprays. Its soft downy leaves began looking like yesterday's salad leaf bits floating in leftover vinaigrette. And then, my dill bid me a sad, sad farewell, flopped over and died. And I will not relive the tragic experience of my beloved marjoram. Sweet marjoram with its soft leaves that make a pizza taste like paradise. It... it... it... sigh... I cannot say.

For you see, I believe so much in abundance that I doubled the proportion of oil in the spray and so, there goes my beautiful Mediterranean herb collection... the unfortunate and innocent victims of the ALL OUT WAR I waged on the enemy - the Red Spider Mites, whose ignominious existence I henceforth refuse to glorify with capital letters. So, for me, they shall ever be despicable red spider mites.

Moral of the Story: Do not put 2 tablespoons of cooking oil when 1 will do.