Category Archives: Uncategorized

Extreme Images of A Storm

thekitchensgarden

Late yesterday morning I saw this great broody cloud coming over the horizon like a huge intergalactic mother ship, I dropped what I was doing and sprinting past the long list of work I should have been doing, I collected my camera, jumped in the truck and went storm chasing. I love these images. The skies here fill me with awe.

Here are the best of the images in the order that I shot them. storm coming

extreme storms

storm clouds

storm clouds

And then I looked back to the house.

astorm

And said Oh my God. There is no way you can look at that image and not think that all hell will soon be rained down upon my little farm.  But this storm did not bring much rain or wind -just an ordinary storm with dramatic clothing.  Those of you on Instagram with me  (cecilia_bwg) will have seen this shot in real time. Thank fully this time I had…

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How My Town in southwestern Ontario Canada became THE site for German Prisoners of War Graves.

My hometown, Kitchener, lies in southwest Ontario, surrounded by three of the great lakes, Ontario, Erie, and Huron. Its location makes it easy to traverse to Toronto, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Detroit, and lies just south of the beautiful north vacation lands of Algonquin, Muskoka and the Kawarthas.

All in all we are pretty lucky that whatever life style you choose to pursue it is available somewhere nearby. Big city, camp ground, fishing. We got it.

Kitchener at about 233,000 is a twin joined geographically with Waterloo with a population of approximately 133,000.

But Kitchener was not always so named. On June 28, 1916, 346 people voted to change from the name Berlin to Kitchener. We were two years into the First World War and the change was to prove loyalty and ‘stem backlash against a city with deep German roots.) *The Waterloo Region Record June 27, 2016.

I have never had much interest in cemeteries until recently when my quest for ten thousand steps a day took me to one nearby here in Waterloo where I currently abide (the city that is not the cemetery). That stirred enough interest to visit Woodland in Kitchener where most of my family and friends have final resting places. I’ll tell you about Woodland some other day, but for now I must relate my surprise on day when I came across this:

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Somewhere in the past I remembered hearing about people being interned during the war. I knew the Americans had interned Japenese after Pearl Harbour but I did not think beyond that horror.  In researching the above sign I discovered:

  1. Canada operated prison camps for interned civilians during the First and Second World War.
  2. Canada operated camps for 34,000 German Prisoners of War
  3. The camps at Lethbridge and Medicine Hat Alberta were the largest in North America
  4. There was a camp for Japanese Canadians in British Columbia
  5. The British Government did not want so many German prisoners in Britain as they posed a threat should hand to hand fighting take place in Britain itself, and would provide added support for the enemy if freed.
  6. In each of the Great Wars Canada hosted about two dozen camps across the country
  7. The CBC did a number of articles at the time that can be found in their archives.
  8. While it was generally felt POWs were treated better in Canada there are still some horror stories and some mysteries.
  9. I found out that people who had escaped Nazi Germany in the year before ‘the troubles’ and found their way to Britain considered themselves safe.  However upon declaration of war many of these people found themselves interned as a precaution in case they were spies. Many of them were sent to Canadian camps
  10. The scariest I think was a camp in New Brunswick which housed Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany.  They had been deemed by the British as ‘dangerous enemy aliens, and ended up in a camp with Nazi soldiers, the very enemy they were trying to escape. A wall was finally built to keep the Jews safe.

The 187 dead were brought together in 1970 from thirty-six sites across Canada. Kitchener was chosen since it had largely been a German city and located where family from Europe could easily travel to visit the graves.

I read that many died of ‘natural causes’ such as cancer but that just didn’t sound right. As I walked among the stark white stones I notice that most were between nineteen and twenty-five years old.  Then one day I found an article that said many of those in northern camps were put to work logging and that an unusually large number of ‘accidental’ deaths occurred. No one seems to have questioned this.

As I walk through this little garden of foreign death I consider that it does not matter that they were the ‘enemy’, but just young boys that died way too young and my heart breaks a little for our history.

And when I think of today and all the countries crying out that they will not accept Syrian refugees because there could be a spy or terrorist among them, my heart breaks for our current times.  Have we learned nothing?  I wonder.

 

World Access in Isolation

World Access in Isolation

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I should start by saying this is not a complaint. Merely an observation.

It seems almost paradoxical. The way of things today I mean. Everywhere you look people are focused only on the device in their hands. Out on the streets heads are bent as fingers fly across small keyboards. Are they even called keyboards anymore? No one makes eye contact anymore. Okay there are some.

I used to comment it was only the young people ( meaning anyone younger than I), but I notice on the streets, in stores, in cars (a no no) eyes are cast down and some of them belong to pretty old people. If you speak or otherwise engage and the head comes up, the eyes seem out of focus if they meet yours at all.

What I find strange is that at the very same time we have personal access to people across the world. Which in my mind makes this little planet that much smaller. Each week I come face to face in real time with my cousin in Scotland, my BFF in Winnipeg or Mexico or the west coast or the east coast or points between, wherever this Gypsy Road Warrior chooses to be, and then halfway around the world to my friend freshly recovered from an accident and still brave and back as good as new Judith Baxter whom you know as growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com who lives in New Zealand.

I am pretty sure the outcome of this will be a world of folk unable to engage in proximal reality, physically close together. Even with skyping or messaging our reality becomes that face on the screen. Social skills lost.

How will next generations be able to interact? Will they be able to tolerate another human in close proximity? Will they be aware of trees, skies, breezes, natural beauty at all?

Will they lose their humanness? I read a prediction from a very science type on Quora that ultimately that is exactly what will happen. I am also sure that if someone from the nineteenth century were to glimpse our world as it has become they might also deduce we had lost our humanness already.

Times they are changing, as the saying goes.

Having said all that, I am most grateful that those I love around the world are as close as ‘this’ and we can look in each other’s eyes and raise a glass of red wine as we chat about any old mundane thing that crosses our minds.

My Near Perfect Day which was not a day at all but a morning, and, far from perfect, unless you are the really really optimistic sort.

 

I love the neighborhood I moved into almost a year ago. It is a lovely subdivision with wide lawns and large mature trees, and has a peacefulness about it that makes going for a walk pleasant indeed.

I have been considering finding a church to attend for some time now, although I am not sure why, but the thought persists often enough that I first considered what church it should be. You see I have attended and joined many churches in my lifetime; christened in United after birth, baptized in water at age thirteen in the Baptist Church, converted to Roman Catholicism through RCIA at the age of fortyish, and joined the Salvation Army at my last unfortunate attempt at marriage. The Church remained, husband did not. I was happy and active in each of my churches, largely I believe, because I am comfortable in my faith, and I will not argue ideological differences that some cling to in attempts to say their church, their God is right and no one else is.

Anyway, I decided to look for a church that was within walking distance. Yes, I drive, but the thought of walking to church has a certain appeal. There is a lovely little United Church just down the hill a little over two kilometers away, so about one and a half miles each way. I watched for signs each time I passed it to see what time service started. Last week I noticed it was a ten o’clock  service.

So this morning I awoke, put on my Sunday best and headed off twenty minutes before ten, enjoying the walk on a lovely not too warm sunny day. I came to the parking lot first and noticed only one vehicle, which I thought strange. A few more steps took me to the front doors where a sign read, ‘Closed July and August.’

Maintaining my Sunday Best Approach I decided to head back up the hill intending to stop at a Timmies, A Tim Hortons (Canada’s addiction) and treat myself to breakfast and a latte. The day I figured was not completely lost.

Now Tim’s has booths, all of which were full, and tables and hard on your butt chairs, and two delightful faux leather stuffed chairs by a delight faux fire. I take my breakfast, latte and napkins to the comfy stuffed chairs, pull out my tablet (free wifi), notebook and pen, prepared to continue research in my present endeavor. Ah. Perfect.

Balancing my tablet on my lap, holding my coffee, I reach for my pen. In the blink of an eye, or in the more modern phrase, in a nanosecond, my latte is spread down the entire left leg of my virginal white pants and in a wide arc around my reading chair.

You all hear about how nice Canadians are so while I kneel to start clean up a young couple come over and help with the mop up. Then a young worker shows up with mop and pail. I head off to the ladies room to try and wash some of the coffee from my pants as another worker calls out, ‘don’t worry I will have another free latte here for you when you come out.’  You see there is still a certain perfection to the day. Unfortunately the washroom has an automatic tap and only an air hand dryer.

So I throw handfuls of water on my once white now brown pants then use thin bits of bathroom tissue to mop up the floor. When I return back to the counter the young lady has my new latte ready.

I decide to sit at a proper table and chairs to work, but find the urgency to get my pants into a good soak a soon as possible is, well urgent. So I gather all up and walk the remaining one thousand steps home, still savoring the beautiful day and gardens and parks.

My clothes are now clean and wearable again and now I head off to see my Auntie, and while the Nursing Home insists I brighten her day, I have to say she brightens mine. So I guess all in all, this is still a pretty perfect Sunday.

 

This is my Job

This is a life. Thank you Celi!

thekitchensgarden

Farming these acres is my job.  A job I chose. A job I chose and grew to love. Being a woman farmer is what I am all about. A woman who farms not a farmers wife. I am the farmer.  The grower of food. cows

And I am still a relatively young woman.  In the peak of her working life. This is not my retirement or anything, I am not old enough for that – not by a long shot – this is my job. This is not a hobby or just something to pass the time. This is my job of work. It is a small enterprise on purpose. I like to fly under the radar. My food revolution is spreading by word of mouth. My job has impact.  I feed people.  I invite people to come and experience farming. This is my job. sow

It is not 9 – 5. It is…

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make sure …

Sometimes the first line of a book, a chapter, or a blog resonates and remains. Such is this.

thekitchensgarden

.. this life you have arranged for yourself is how you want your life to be. Because if what you are doing is not what you want to do -there will be troubles. Though to be fair there is tons of stuff we don’t want to do that we HAVE to do, dishes, and dusting for instance.  But these are a means to an end. zip line

Lucky for me – I am doing what I want to do. Of course I always wanted to fly over the creek that is really a ditch to test the tension again and again and again – so I am good!  The tension of the wire is a work in progress so John attached a piece of clothesline string to me so he could pull me back if necessary. (And it was)  The work in progress continues.  But to tell you the truth, I could have…

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Emotional Bankruptcy

Emotional Bankruptcy

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This is a difficult subject for me to address for one main reason. I fear I do not have the words to adequately address it and worry that I may trivialize it.

Now this is NOT earth shaking life changing. It is merely an observation and was triggered by something I saw in passing the other day.

I was reading on line about the celebrity deaths publicized in headlines in the last couple of weeks. You know, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Rene Angelil, Kitty Kallen. Some names more familiar than others. Any way I glimpsed a quote from some actor – no I don’t know who, it all happened as I was clicking to another page, a quote that said something about our displaying emotion or something like that. I cannot remember the quote but it did trigger a remembrance of back thoughts. Those thoughts that pass through our brain, not staying, but not going so far away that they cannot be recalled in an instant.

I have always been impressed by the British, and not because fifty percent of my heritage hails from Scotland. I have always viewed them as being strong in character. I remember watching a film when I was a child. In the scene were three men, one of whom left the room suddenly. The second fellow looked at the other who said, “Personal problems.”

“Oh, I see.”

Nothing more needed to be said. There was just an understanding. No further explanation needed. No sobbing dragging out of the innards for all the world to see.

You see, a few decades ago, when it became acceptable, nay, desirable, to give expression to personal feelings something changed forever in our society.

There is something strong about the whole ‘stiff upper lip’ thing. There is strength of character.

Now please do not get me wrong and assume I mean that we should never discuss that which is very personal. What I mean is that the discussion takes place between two people. The object of our sharing is very selective. I guess a lot has to do with media – this very public sharing of every aspect of every emotion.

Secretly I have this fear that by baring it all to everyone that we are creating emotional bankruptcy although how is very difficult to explain. There is, I think, an inner secret part of us that is strengthened when we stiffen that upper lip.

VERY IMPORTANT! I am in no way suggesting that everyone does this. I personally know a lot of folk that share a bit with us and carry on. And I would never suggest keeping it all in when it would be detrimental to our health.

Not at all, but I think society as a whole is poorer. As I write this I think I may appear way off base on this. Maybe this is one of those times when I should suck it up and stiffen that upper lip. Which by the way I think many still do.

But I have to ask: is it necessary to bare all to have some understanding or kindness for another? Is it possible to support someone, with personal problems without knowing every painful iota of that person’s suffering?

I like to think it is. I fear I have missed the point I wanted to make.

Heads up! two important topics for discussion.

  1. COMING ATTRACTIONS  TWO ISSUES
  2. Are we sharing too much emotion, angst, or thoughts with everyone? Have we become too sloppy in our emotions and personal sharing?
  3. who knew reverting to ‘the nee’, you know your birth name a female is born with, could possibly result in confusion and the fear of illicit activity?

Friday Toppers 12/366

Above is a photo of my last two hats and one pair of mittens.  I made them for my grandsons, both of whom love them. (I wasn’t sure but yes they loved them.)

Before I start my next project I thought I would use the rest of my blue yarn and make a few more hats.  Generally I do these kind of things in the summer to have them ready to donate to charity in the fall.  For some reason I feel the need to make more so will continue on.  Following my feelings always pays off.

I saw Auntie this morning and we talked about what it was like sailing across the ocean on a liner.  I am not much for boats so am in awe of those folk who traverse the water to reach a destination.    Her mind comes and goes, wandering off now and then, so conversation is patient and interesting.  She did talk about the joys of having a wonderful partner for over thirty years but the pain of the big goodbye.

It is hard to believe it is finally the middle of the month.  The first week seemed to drag on endlessly until the second week found it’s roller skates and sped up.

I finished a few books; Clive Cussler’s Ghost Ship, Sue Grafton’s Undertow ( a reread), an Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot short story.  Books and stories are my comfort blanket.  Lost a dear friend of the family this past week, my age, so have a funeral to attend Monday morning.

It is important I think to find joy and humor is each day.  It is there.

OH almost forgot! Judith at growingyoungereachday and Donna at Scatter Kindness and I are starting a fiction writing course on Monday.  The course is from Future Learn at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/

The course is  FREE! Check it out and hopefully join us!

Have a good weekend all!