Saturday, April 22, 2017

Healthy Mind

I just read this book by a well-known Canadian neurologist.  Dr. Hakim originally worked at the Montreal Neurological Institute and then went on to work at the Ottawa Hospital becoming the Director of Neuroscience Research. His special area of interest is strokes and vascular disease.
In this book, he puts forward in easy- to- read layman terms the serious effects of vascular disease on our brains. It was thought that Alzheimer's disease accounted for most dementia but now it is becoming known that a lot of dementia is precipitated by strokes.

The strokes can be slight and not associated with significant physical changes and so they are often not noticed.  However, their damage is visible on MRIs  and over time can lead to significant cognitive deficits. As well, the strokes appear to interfere with our bodies ability to get rid of the plaques and tangles that can lead to Alzheimer's disease. A combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's is pretty common.

Dr. Hakim has suggestions for building brain resilience and what to avoid to reduce the likelihood of
vascular disease (high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, loneliness, inactivity, insufficient sleep).
In some ways, I found the book encouraging as it puts brain health in the same package as overall health and made Alzheimer's seem less arbitrary (although he did say that early onset Alzheimer's has a strong genetic aspect ). But it also made me realize that I probably need to work harder at keeping my brain fit.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Crocus and Snowdrops and HAPPY EASTER!

 The squirrels/chipmunks have definitely been redistributing and eating the crocuses, so here are pictures of singletons and a pair.

 The pollinators are happy to have the early blooms to snack on.

 Snowdrops have beautiful markings.

Some ornamental onions growing around the cyclamen.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring has arrived

Snowdrops with bird songs in the backround. Spring has arrived. Sorry the video is sideways.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bloomin' Runner

 The runner bean is blooming! I checked back and I posted a photo of it sprouting on March 16th.  This is one fast bean.  No wonder they call it a runner.    I brushed the two open blossoms with a soft paintbrush and maybe that will pollinate them.  I've never pollinated beans by hand before.   
It's a funny looking plant but I think it is going to give me lots of beans . I just can't get over how quickly it has matured. Regular scarlet runners take ages. And I am so surprised that it bloomed on a chilly windowsill. Maybe I'll have beans in April!
The Mind of Watercolour Youtube guy suggested Lesleythebirdnerd on Youtube.  She is from Newfoundland and has great videos of birds in her area. I watched one on bluejays and found out they eat tent caterpillars  as well as lots of other bugs.  She also has an Etsy shop with beautiful prints of birds, animals and landscapes.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Surprise Lettuce

I had a bit of a surprise when I took my recently purchased lettuce out of its plastic packaging.  In the past, I have bought greenhouse lettuce from Quebec that is sold as a bare-root plant.  I like it because it is local, and also because it stays nice and fresh.  This most recent time I thought I was buying a similar product with the only difference being that I got two plants instead of one.  But when I opened it up, it was actually 6 plants. There were two little 1 1/2" pots with soil and each pot had three different kinds of lettuce in it. Who knew you could grow so much lettuce in such a tiny pot. I decided to put the lettuce on the windowsill and give it a good water. The plants drooped quite a bit so I've moved them away from the window and they are slowly perking up.  Next time, I will keep them away from the window at first and put a clear plastic bag loosely over them to preserve moisture.  Then I should have some growing lettuce on my counter. And I'm thinking about how much lettuce can be grown in a small amount of soil if you fertilize the heck out of it. That will be worth experimenting with this summer.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Local Tomatoes

These tomatoes are organic Canadian greenhouse tomatoes, probably grown in either Quebec or Ontario.  They are more expensive than the ones shipped from Mexico, but I like to support Canadian growers. I think it's really important that we grow as much food as possible in our own country. We have no control over what happens in other countries and how it could affect our food supply.  We need to keep our knowledge of how to grow food because it is not a skill learned overnight.
I'm always happy to hear of schools that are growing some veggies.  It is so easy to give kids the confidence that they can grow a few beans and tomatoes, and perhaps at some point grow a sizable garden. I was blessed to have a mother who gardened. She didn't have a big garden or even a very successful one (she had to deal with very poor soil), but I felt gardening was something anybody could do - and so it is.
And as to the tomatoes in the photo, they not only look great, they taste great, too.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sweet Potato Vine

I noticed that a sweet potato that I bought a couple of weeks ago had sprouted so I decided to let it sprout so that I can use it as a viney accent to a planter this summer.  I've never done this before but hopefully it will work.  I cut the sweet potato in half because it is pretty large. I turned a small yogurt container upside down in the cup to keep the potato raised up and put enough water in the cup that the bottom inch or so of the tuber is covered. The leaves will likely be a nice bright green, although some varieties are more purpley. If I had full all-day sun in the garden, it would probably produce some new sweet potato tubers but I am only expecting some nice foliage.

I am starting another blog called My Morning Moment. I am hoping to do a short daily post based on a passage of the Bible.  The posts will look at a particular theme over a period of time and then go on to another topic.  The first theme is fear. I'm just jumping in where I am at and hopefully some people will feel they can connect there as well. It's at