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


video
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.