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So you figure you don’t have a “Green Thumb”? Then this short tutorial just might be what you are looking for. 

Thanks to Minde Wagner for sharing “How to Plant Outdoor Potted Flowers” with our readers. 

Time to play in the dirt.

Introduction

Flowers planted in June

Pot 1 latest pictureThe flowers planted in June – photographed on July 4th.

Potted flowers July 2013 2

This article will guide you through the process of creating an outdoor potted flower arrangement. It will instruct on how to plant “partial-sun” flowers in a plastic pot.

This project should be done in spring in order to experience the full blooms in summer. Be prepared to use gentle hands throughout the entire process, and consider the idea that you may get a little dirty.

Before you begin, there are four basic things you need to think about:

1. The location of your flower pot

The location of your flower pot is categorized into 3 different types of sun exposure:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.

2. The type of flower pot.

The two main types of flower pots available are:

  • Clay (ceramic) pots – for herbs and flowers that like dry soil.
  • Plastic pots – for most flowers.

3. The types of flowers you should buy

The types of flowers you buy should match the sun exposure of the flower pot location. You should find similar exposure symbols on each of the plants when you purchase them:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight.

4. Your ability to maintain and care for the flowers

You should be prepared to water the flowers each day and remove the dead flowers and leaves regularly. Removing dead flowers promotes new blooms.

List of Materials and Equipment

All of the following materials can be found at Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Superstore, or any local garden shop. The flowers and equipment may vary in type and style. Some items are seasonal and only available in spring and early summer. Most items are available all year.

  1. Small Garden Shovel
  2. Water Hose with Shower Nozzle (or Watering Can)
  3. Small-Medium Rocks (approximately 2 liters)
  4. Flowers.

Minimum requirement for this project:

  1. 1 x 5” Saratoga
  2. 3 x 2” Petunias
  3. 4 x 1” Lobelia
  4. Potting Soil Mix – minimum 60 liters.
  5. Scissors
  6. Garden Gloves
  7. Sheet of Plastic or Garbage Bag (size: 3ft x 2ft)
  8. Plastic Pot with drainage holes (size:16”top with 10” bottom).

Materials and Equipment Needed to Plant the Flowers

Materials and equipment

Steps to Planting Flowers in the Pot

Make sure to follow each of the steps and sub-directions in sequential order. The main steps include: (Step 1) set up materials and equipment, (Step 2) prepare the pot, (Step 3) prepare the flowers, (Step 4) plant the flowers, and (Step 5) water and care for the potted flowers.

Step 1: Set Up Materials and Equipment

  1. Purchase and have all materials and equipment ready.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Place the plastic on the ground to keep the area from getting dirty.
  4. Place the pot on the plastic to one side.

Plastic and Pot Set Up

Plastic and pot set up

Step 2: Prepare the Pot

  1. Put the rocks in the bottom of the pot
  2. Fill the pot with potting soil until just over ¾ full.
  3. Make sure you have enough soil reserved to fill the remainder ¼ of the pot.
  4. Dig 6 shallow holes in the soil.

Shallow Holes in the Soil

shallow holes in the soil

Step 3: Prepare the Flowers

Be gentle and take your time when handling the flowers. Try not to crush or break stems and leaves. Some breakage may happen by accident; this is usually OK. Most plants will recover from damage if cared for properly.

  1. Water the flowers using a gentle stream until the soil and roots are moist.
  2. Cut the plastic flower containers into individual pieces with the scissors.
  3. Arrange the flowers in the pot to visualize how you would like them while they are still in the plastic containers.

Cut the Plastic Flower Containers

Cut the containers

Arrange Flowers in the Pot

All plants in the pot

Step 4: Plant the Flowers

When handling the flowers, grasp gently near the base of the stems where they are strongest. Take your time and be careful with the stems and leaves.

  1. Hold the first container by the flower base, turn it upside down and look at the bottom.
  2. Remove any roots sticking out of the bottom container by pulling or cutting them.
  3. Hold the flower base with one hand and squeeze the bottom of the plastic container with your other hand.
  4. Keep squeezing the container and pushing the roots upward until the flowers and roots are out of the container.
  5. Gently break up the bottom of the roots so they are hanging loosely. (This will help the flower plant to grow quickly, and to its full potential, in the new soil.)
  6. Place the flowers and roots in one of the shallow holes in the pot.

***Repeat these steps 1-6 with each flower container you wish to plant***

Squeeze the Container and Push Roots Out

Squeeze container

Break up the Bottom Roots

Break up the bottom roots

 

Once you have all the flowers out of the plastic containers, the bottoms of the roots are gently broken up, and each plant is placed in the pot arranged as you like; you may proceed with the following steps.

  1. Scoop soil using the shovel, from the ¼ reserved potting soil, and put it around the base of the flower plant.
  2. Repeat step 7 for each flower plant in the pot.
  3. Fill the area around each flower plant from the remaining ¼ reserved soil until there are no roots showing.
  4. Gently press the soil around the base of each flower plant with your hands.

Scoop Soil and Fill the Area around Each Plant

Scoop soil and fill in

Step 5: Water and Care for the Plants

  1. Water the base of each flower plant in the pot, using a gentle stream of water.
  2. Wait for the water to soak in, and water again.
  3. Gently wash any soil off the leaves and flowers.
  4. Let the water fully drain out of the pot. (This may take 5-10 minutes.)
  5. Place the pot of planted flowers in the location you chose. (The flowers in this example will require a “Part Shade” location.)
  6. Water every second day, or keep soil moist.
  7. Pick off dead flowers and leaves every day, throw them away.

Water the Base of Each Flower Plant

Water the base of each flower plant

Finished Outdoor Potted Flowers

pots latest picture 2

Once you have completed Steps 1-5, the flower pot should look similar to this.

This photo taken July 4th, 2013,  about 3 weeks after planting

Flowers are now in full bloom

Potted flowers July 2013

More Information:

The flowers used in the above instructions can be found on these websites:

The flowers used in the above instructions can be found on these websites:

Here are some websites to help plan and care for your outdoor potted flowers:

Trouble Shooting and Problems

Below are some potential issues that you may encounter during this project and a list of suggested solutions.

Water does not drain from the soil.

  • The pot needs to have drainage holes.
  • Check to make sure the pot has drainage holes.
  • Check to see if the drainage holes are blocked.

The flowers are limp and the leaves are wilted.

  • Most flowers need to have moist soil.
  • Do not buy wilted, dried-out flowers.
  • Do not let the soil dry out.
  • Water the flowers before you begin planting.
  • Water the flowers after you finished planting.
  • Do not let the flowers sit exposed and out of the container without water for more than 1 hour.
  • Once you have finished planting the flowers and watering them, and the water has drained out of the pot; wait 24 hours for the flower plants to recover and leaves to strengthen.

There are many broken stems and leaves.

  • There may be flowers, stems, or leaves that break off in this process.
  • Be careful while handling the flower plants.
  • Remove any broken leaves or stems.
  • As long as there is a plant fully attached to the roots, the plant should grow and recover with continued care.

The soil dries out quickly.

  • Small pots dry out faster than large pots.
  • Small pots will need more frequent watering than larger pots.
  • Use water gel from your local flower shop to decrease watering times.

Warnings

The finished outdoor potted flowers in this project will be quite heavy and weigh approximately 50-60lbs.

  • Bring the materials and equipment near the location you chose for your flower pot.
  • Follow these directions near the location you choose for your flower pot.

Some flower plants may be poisonous, and should not be eaten.

  • Read the labels before purchasing flowers.

Copy Right

All photos by Minde Wagner.

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From the moment I first sipped Red Rooibos tea, I was hooked. On the lookout for a tea with interest, I had found one. Rich in taste, full of flavor, and loaded with antioxidants, this tea has a lot to offer.  That was several years ago.

While taking in the many sights, sounds and tastes of the 2012 West Coast Women’s Show, I made a point of paying a visit to Liz Bandelin’s Tega Tea booth. A welcome stop after spending the last few hours enjoying the endless displays of just about everything a woman could want – jewels, clothing, cosmetics, skincare, food, drink, entertainment and adult beverages.

The world slowed down as I enjoyed the tea tasting, along with a little flavorful chat. I treasured the moment.

I was pleased to see new additions to Liz’s already rich combinations and varieties – Chocolate Mint, Chai, Orange Spice, Lemon Hibiscus, Wild Berry and Green Rooibos teas to name a few. Based on my tasting, I decided to purchase the Winter Berry Blend and the Tropical Sunrise. I was already looking forward to a cup before retiring later that evening.

Tega Teas are the #1 ranked fair trade teas in Canada.  To learn why and to learn more about Rooibos and its many health benefits, go to    http://www.nu-tea.com

My next stop of interest –

Epic Cosmetics and their Clear 60 Minute Skin Care line.

We “mature” women are always on the look out for that special something – the miracle in a bottle that will fix it all. Well, maybe not all, but if it erased even a few years of lines and wrinkles (oh, it almost hurts to say that word) we are all over it.

Now, having said that, this “miracle in a bottle” must pass several very stringent tests. Having educated ourselves in the fine art of healthy living, we “mature” women, have become very discerning.

Not only does this miracle in a bottle have to be effective, it must be natural and toxin-free. No more sacrificing inner body health for outer body beauty. Those days are long gone.

Mladen and Tanya, a local scientist and his beautiful wife, work tirelessly to bring us this “miracle in a bottle”. Clear Skin Care is 100% natural, safe and toxin free, highly effective and loaded with anti-oxidants. Clear Skin Care is making its mark and flying off the shelves of local stores.

Did I mention it is effective? You see, I discovered this skin rejuvenating serum a year ago.

I haven’t even touched on the skin clearing capability this remarkable product has. Chronic problems like psoriasis, eczema, hives and various unknown skin conditions are erased or eliminated within hours or days.

Here’s a little secret. It’s not just for woman, nor is it just for the “mature” woman. Check out their website at  http://www.epic-cosmetics.com/

The treasures one can find at the West Coast Women’s Show are endless. If you missed this year’s show, be sure to make it a priority next year.

What do Tega Tea and Clear 60 Minute Skin Care have in common?

Me for one.

 

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A friend and I met for tea this morning and she reminded me that today was the last day of January!

2012 Carrie ©

The comment caught me off guard for a moment. 1/12th of the year is already behind us!

“Where have the last 31 days gone?” I asked myself. Before I could answer, my friend said, “the next thing you know, it’ll be Christmas.”

I gasped, and then quickly recovered, realizing we really do have almost 11 more months to prepare.

Every year many of us declare that December suddenly just “appeared” on our doorstep. How stupid is that? It comes around every year, exactly once every 12 months, or every 365 days; accept for this year which will be 366 days. There are no surprises here.

So this year, I am making a decision. No more surprises.

This year I am putting in my calender that I will start to organize myself today, so that I’m ready for December.

What will that look like?

Does that mean I will do more busy stuff to prepare for Christmas?

Here’s what that might look like, and NO, I do not intend to do more. It merely means that I intend to get the most out of the season, and I will not be caught off guard for the umpteenth time.

More questions come to mind…

Does that mean that I won’t still get the most out of the other months and seasons of the year, because I’m preoccupied with that one month of the year?

Enjoying the beauty of the moment - Jan 2012 Carrie ©

On the contrary, this will be a reminder  to enjoy the moment and season that comes with it.

Does that mean I will spend more money on Christmas?

Most certainly not. I intend to have the time to thoughtfully decide what it is I want to spend on Christmas, and, what I don’t want to spend on Christmas.

Another way to make the most of this wonderful month of the year is by intentionally thinking about who I want to spend it with.

Umm, not sure where aunt Susan fits in… but we’ve got almost 11 months to figure that out.

What about the preoccupation with gifts?

Throughout the year, many fabulous craft fairs and trade shows pop up  just about everywhere in the county. If I’m thinking creatively and ahead, gift giving can actually be fun to do.  I still believe that it’s the thought that counts, not the “how much did it cost?”.

So, that’s my decision.

2012 Carrie ©

January, you’ve done well. As you can see, I’ve had plenty of time to enjoy this season.

February, I have a very good reason to look forward to your extra day.

Yes, I’m ready for the rest of the 11 months.

December, 2012 is starting to look pretty inviting.

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Harvest time is a time to be thankful

After the storm that dismantled much of my garden a few weeks ago, with a little cleanup and tender loving care, the garden took on another form of beauty.

On Canadian Thanksgiving (October 9) we  had a family and friends dinner/ party at the garden farm ‘Red Barn’.

Everyone brought something, (we brought a turkey). We didn’t spare the sweet and the savory.

A warm fire in the fire pit nearby invited us to come and sit, share stories and enjoy the art of roasting marshmallows.

This is what the day was like…

Mother and daughter, gardening companions – Thanksgiving day harvest 2011 Carrie ©
Towards the end of the day we harvested beets, carrots, cucumbers, kale,  lettuce, and a few last hour green beans.
Birdhouse ready for rent in spring  – 2011 Carrie ©
We share our Sunflower seeds with the birds – 2011 Carrie ©
Alyssum, Sedum, Calendula – 2011 Carrie ©
Leek among the Nasturiums – 2011 Carrie ©
Leeks can be harvested up until February. We’re looking forward to leek soup this winter. 
Me in my garden Thanksgiving day – 2011 Carrie ©

Am I thankful for my garden or what? 

Next post – vote for your favorite vintage apron design. 

Sneak preview – I’m wearing one of them.

Thank you for visiting.


					

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A floral feast found in my garden

A few days after I took these flower photographs,  a wet and wild storm lasting the night, dismantled much of the garden.

But... this flower photographing day I had a great day. The garden amazed me with it’s wonders.

Photo Gallery of flowers 

Bee in a Sunflower 2011 Carrie ©

Rustic Sunflower variety - 2011 Carrie ©

Teddy Bear Sunflower 2011 Carrie ©

I don’t remember planting him… it appears he is one of the garden volunteers.

Bumble Bee and Honey Bee on Sedum 2011 Carrie ©

Chair in the Crocosmia Red Star - 2011 Carrie ©

Hummingbirds love this flower. We had many visits from them this summer.

Love Lies Bleeding 2011 Carrie ©

These flowers make a stunning addition to an already stunning flower arrangement.

Yellow Daisies 2011 Carrie ©

Red Nasturium 2011 Carrie ©

As well as helping to keep the garden free from bad bugs, Nasturiums are edible, and very healthy.

 Herbsarespecial.com article states that scientific research has found the plant has:

  • a natural antibiotic action that is fast-working in the body 
  • The antibiotic agent, tromalyt, has been found in the urine within one hour of digesting the herb
  • This antibiotic does not interfere with intestinal flora
  • It has been found to be effective against some microorganisms that have built up resistance to common antibiotic drugs

I enjoy a few whenever I’m in the garden. They have a peppery taste that goes great with a fresh salad.

Smiling faces - Pansies 2011 Carrie ©

A little nibbled around the edges, but still smiling.

Yellow Nasturiums 2011 Carrie ©

Virginia Spiderwort 2011 Carrie ©

Echinacea 2011 Carrie ©

Hyacinth - 2011 Carrie ©

Another volunteer blooming somewhat late in the season.

Rose Champion (Lychnis) 2011 Carrie ©

Nasturiums among the Sunflowers & cucumbers - 2011 Carrie ©

A bee enjoying the California Poppies 2011 Carrie ©

I can hardly wait until next spring to see what floral surprises are awaiting.

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation

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Sweet red beets.  This year my organic garden has a perfect crop of red Beets.  I am so happy!


Red Beets in my garden - Carrie ©

Why do I love my beets so?

Because red beets:

  1. are sweet and juicy ( I never realized how delicious raw beets are)
  2. are anti-carcinogenic
  3. are high in antioxidants
  4. increases oxygen-carrying ability of the blood by up to 400%
  5. were traditionally used to battle leukemia
  6. have been shown to inhibit colon and stomach cancer
  7. help reduce serum cholesterol
  8. help to normalize blood pressure
  9. are a powerful cleanser and blood purifier
  10. help to keep your arteries elastic
  11. help to prevent varicose veins
  12. are high in folic acid
  13. stimulate the function of liver cells
  14. protect the liver and bile ducts
  15. are highly alkaline
  16. help to relieve constipation
  17. are anti-inflammatory
  18. help in detoxification

If you are not use to consuming beets, give your body time to get accustomed to it. This is a powerful food.

(Warning: you may experience red stool!)

Beet juice is so powerful that it you may feel dizzy during cleansing. This discomfort is normal as toxins are being eliminated. It is advised to drink plenty of water to help in the elimination of toxins.”

Harvesting my Red Beets - Carrie ©

Ways we enjoy our sweet red beets:

  • Washed, peeled and sliced into thin slices (served with home-made dip)
  • Grated fresh or diced and added to one of our many varieties of fresh salads
  • Juiced
  • Washed and steamed for no longer than 15 minutes
  • Beet leaves are filled with nutrients as well. Washed and steamed or added to  juicing

2011 Carrie ©

Beets prepared for steaming - Carrie ©

Red beet and carrot juice recipe

  • 1 whole Red Beet (leaves included if desired)
  • 2 medium sized Carrots (green tops included if desired)
  • 1 Apple

Juice and drink immediately.

This is one of my favorite “get started” in the morning juice recipes.

You’re sure to enjoy this next recipe…

Beet and cucumber salad recipe

1 whole raw beet, peel and diced

1 small/medium cucumber diced

1 small sweet onion diced

add dried or fresh dill

add 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

Sea Salt to taste

a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash

mix

Let sit in the fridge for a day

Serve with a meal or enjoy alone

Drink plenty of water.

For more detailed information about the benefits of red Beets,

http://bit.ly/oSo3bV

http://bit.ly/qg0VN

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation


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Rocky at Cascade Falls - Carrie ©

Rocky, Rocket Budwiser was a happy dog who lived a long, happy life.

On August 24, 2011, Rocky our 13 year old Golden Retriever, had a mishap.

Our Sweet (Sr.) Rocky April 16, 1998 - August 24, 2011 - Carrie ©

Somehow he partly slipped down the steep embankment at the back of our home while reaching for some tasty blades of grass. At least that’s what we think happened.

A neighbor (for whom we are so thankful) saw him struggling to get back up, and helped him, but… the effort was too much for Rocky’s heart.

He passed away within the next 15 minutes as we held him in our arms and told him how much we loved him.

Rocky had arthritis in his rear knees which left him with little strength in his back end.

A visit to the garden taken this spring - Carrie ©

Other than that, he was in “good shape for an old dog”, our friend the vet told us just last week.

We buried him in the field at the farm where we have our garden. It seemed appropriate.

Rocky RIP - Carrie ©

Horses at the farm - Carrie ©

He loved the farm, the horses, the sheep and the chickens.

We remember him as alert and engaging, loving and gentle, sweet and smart.

Checking out his Christmas present - Carrie ©

A very handsome dog, Rocket Budwiser - Carrie ©

Rocky inviting us to join him for a walk in the fresh snow - Carrie ©

For those of you who left him treats when dropping off courier packages, or newspapers…he felt special and watched for you.  Thank you.

Friends - a man and his dog - Carrie ©

Rocky loved much and was much loved.

We miss you Rockster.

Water sports at Cascade Falls - Carrie ©

Rocky was included in many of my paintings.

Sewing Circle - Carrie ©

Rocky sketch for Sewing Circle - Carrie ©

Rocky and lady 3 for Sewing Circle - Carrie ©

Fishing with a Friend - Carrie ©


					

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Finally, the lazy, crazy, ‘dog days” of summer are here.

Where did that term ‘dog days’ originate?

Answer: ancient times.

In the summer, Sirius, the ‘dog star’, rose and set with the sun.

During late July, Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather.

They named this period of time… ‘dog days’ after the dog star.”

Lazy, crazy, dog days of summer – Carrie ©

Looking at Fido here, lazing in the hot mid afternoon sun,  ‘dog days’ of summer doesn’t need a star to originate the term.

This adorable puppy merely raised an eyebrow while being photographed.

Too hot to move, but happy for it, it’s a dog’s day for sure.

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Apparently the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has merit.

Why does “an apple a day keep the doctor away?”

Organic Gala apples - Carrie ©

  • Apples are a good source of both insoluble fiber, roughage, and soluble fiber, pectin.
  • Pectin lowers cholesterol, helps digestion, and helps maintain steady blood sugar levels.
  • Fiber keeps the bowels working and healthy.
  • Apples are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Apple skin contains quercetin, an antioxidant that is very good for your heart and lungs
  • and lowers the risk of heart disease and fights cancer.
  • Apples can help control weight  – apples are effective in suppressing  the appetite.

So when you eat your organic apple, eat the skin as well.

Apples are perfect for juicing along with vegetables.

Every morning, I juice some vegetables and add an apple for taste.

An apple also makes a great mid morning or afternoon snack.

So if you’re on the run…why not grab an apple, feed your heart lungs, and keep that doctor away.

My favorite morning juice blend

1 large carrot

1 small to medium beet

a handful of spinach

1 apple

Juice, pour into a wine glass,  and drink to your health.

For more on the benefits of apples visit essortment.com

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation


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There are many good reasons to use Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar is:

  • known as the wonder vinegar
  • an effective natural bacteria-fighting agent
  • loaded with vitamins, trace minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and dietary fiber (pectin

In my latest Healthy Living article for Examiner.com I list

11 good  reasons why I use Apple Cider Vinegar.

I’ve also included my recipe for, Apple Cider Vinegar and sun dried tomato salad dressing.

Apple Cider Vinegar and sundried tomato salad dressing

So easy to make, so delicious, great for salads and more.

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Light therapy and how it helps fight SAD

In my previous post, we learned how vitamin D is an effective solution to (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Today we will look at another treatment for SAD light therapy.

According to Mayo Clinic light therapy is proven to help persons suffering from SAD.

 

Carrie outside office - getting light therapy

Carrie © - Getting a good dose of light therapy

If you live in the West – Vancouver and the lower mainland, you’ve probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Perhaps you are one of those persons who struggles with this condition during the gray, gloomy winter months.

Some of the symptoms may include fatigue, depression, lack of sleep, moodiness, and weight gain.

I for one am one of  ‘those persons’ who needed to kick up her vitamin D intake and have some sunlight around me.

This is the second winter that I have a lamp in my office and natural lighting in my kitchen.  I take 5 – 7,000 units of vitamin D per day.

I needed that!

So how does light therapy help?

Light therapy mimics sunlight.

It helps to regulate both melatonin and serotonin, bringing the body back into balance.

For details on the relationship between light and hormones please read my article on Examiner.com titled,  “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and light therapy”.

Light therapy works best when used on a daily basis, starting in fall and ending in springtime.

Also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy, light therapy is widely recommended by doctors and naturopaths.

A note of caution:

Persons affected by SAD may also be suffering from other conditions. Talk to your doctor, naturopath or mental health provider to find out if light therapy is right for you.

Suggested sites:

Seasonal Affective Disorder-The SAD season

Seasonal depression need not ruin the holidays

Light therapy for the low-light months

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation

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Snow.  There’s nothing more inviting than a fresh snow fall. I love to walk in it, play in it, look at it and take pictures of it. A walk around the neighborhood is all it takes for a few good photo memories.

 

Santa Bird House

Bird House Basket

Snow Perfect

Checking it out

Fallen Tree in the Park

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Breakfast in my garden - Carrie ©

I took this Month’s Theme photo very early one hot July morning. Chairs that were meant for the garbage dump, now nestle invitingly among  the Sunflowers, Cukes and Nasturtiums.


Cukes and Nasturtiums are two great Companion Plants.

How do Nasturtiums make good companion plants?

Their job in the garden is to excrete a strong essence into the air and soil.  This will help you in your fight against aphids, white fly and also root pests. This essence is secreted into the soil where it works for you to deter plant pests.

You can also plant Nasturtiums between all cabbage family plants, fruit trees, melons, pumpkins, potatoes.

Nasturtiums are very healthy to eat.

These flowers are high in vitamin C, iron and other minerals, and are a powerful antibiotic, antimicrobial, antioxidant .

Try adding them to a fresh green salad – you’ll discover a peppery, juicy taste which is quite delightful.You can eat the hot pungent seeds as well.

I enjoy munching on a few Nasturtium flowers along with some Sugar Snap Peas and a juicy carrot, while working in my garden.

Blue chairs under an umbrella- Carrie ©

Natures flower arrangement in an old chair - Carrie ©

I love this chair. The brilliant orange/red flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. They are sure to visit me, when I visit the garden in the early hours of the morning.

Blue chair amongst wild flowers- Carrie ©


Some things I learned this summer:

  • the garlic and onions I planted throughout the garden worked amazingly well. Very few bad bugs and worms to speak of.
  • plant rosemary by the beans
  • don’t plant garlic around the beans
  • the cabbage family likes dill and vice versa
  • watermelon is hard to grow in this climate
  • pumpkins take a lot of food and nurturing – big takers
  • beans and peas are givers, giving back nitrogen to the soil so move them around in the garden each year.

Extravagant poppies - Carrie ©

Love Lies Bleeding - Carrie ©

Rustic sunflower - Carrie ©

Brilliant pinks - Carrie ©

Broccoli bunch - Carrie ©

Just picked and perfect - Carrie ©

Baskets of blessings – Carrie ©

Romaine and strawberries- Carrie ©

Zucchini - Carrie ©

Dill amongst the peas - Carrie ©

Garden Path - taken in July - Carrie ©

This 100 ft. by 20 ft. organic garden turned out to be one of the best things that could ever happen to me .

I’ve been planning to get back into some sort of  ‘get back into shape’ program for the past year or so…well, I found it. Not only do I have the most amazing, bountiful, beautiful garden,  (Thank you God – you are the amazing master gardener), but I also am on an exercise program that I actually enjoy.

What to do for my exercise program during the winter months?…that’s another blog.

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For the past few weeks I’ve been digging deep and getting my roots into organic gardening.

First things First...My husband planting a few raspberry bushes

After  putting stakes around our garden section, my husband (far right) promptly dug up a spot in the middle of the garden for his favorite fruit, raspberries.

Our garden spot, approximately 20 feet wide by 100 feet deep.

Pretty ambitious I know…but I grew up with BIG gardens, and had my own little (almost organic) garden for years… so am well aware of what I am committing to.

What’s the story behind this

Organic Gardening Community?


A friend with a farm, and a 6 acre  field, is the impetus for this inviting Organic Gardening Community. This year will be the first of organic gardening for most of us.

A lot of Googling, along with wise advice and teaching from organic garden specialists, is making this experience not only interesting but also quite invigorating.

Let’s just say I am having a lot of fun getting into shape in more ways than one.

Course I’ve had to take several Epsom salt/ lavender baths and drink my Xango Mangosteen juice and Black Cherry juice faithfully…all great detox, high anti-oxidant solutions,  for those achy sore joints and muscles…

A week or so later…and with a lot of good old get down dirty digging, here’s what we accomplished.

Herb Garden in progress

Then our daughter got in on the action. We took her Chevy 1/2 ton up to the top of the field and gleaned some rocks for my herb garden.

A few days later…The Herb Garden is almost complete

Now things are beginning to take shape.

I promised you a Community Organic Garden with a TWISTit’s coming…

To my herb garden, I added some high quality organic mushroom compost and began to plant. I planted strawberries right at the top. I also gleaned some thyme and sage from my home herb garden and transplanted them among the rocks.

I couldn’t resist picking up some pansies to remind me of what’s yet to come…
Now back to the real work.

May 1st - Gardeners 'making hay' while the sun shines

Can you picture a more beautiful garden setting???…I am really beginning to feel like a farmer now.

So far I’ve got the beans and peas planted, pickling cukes, a variety of lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and garlic ( garlic I planted all over the garden to ward off the vampires and other such nasty garden pests), rosemary along with carrots, and leek, onions and chives.

The poles with chicken wire are for the beans, peas and pickling cukes.

I transplanted some flowers into my flower garden  just in front of  the herb garden.  I can’t imagine a garden without Lavender…so I added some of that as well.

Laughing Bunnies - Carrie ©


One bright morning, I found bunny tracks on one of the beds… so immediately a gardening friend researched how to discourage rabbits from loving our gardens… a few plants they don’t like are lavender, garlic and catnip.

So I planted all three.

I do hope the laugh won’t be on me.

Also I discovered, you can sprinkle garlic powder around the plants – this is supposed to work quite well.  I might give that a try if the other doesn’t do the job.

As much as I love bunnies, you don’t need my lettuce… there’s no shortage of clover and healthy non-sprayed dandelions out there for you little critters.

And here is a site with a long list of plants rabbits don’t eat.

So What’s the TWIST ??

Every Tuesday evening, about 25 (and growing) of us community gardeners meet in the loft of the barn for dinner and digging.  We eat, get the updates and training, share our knowledge, and go dig in the dirt.

As a community, separate from our individual gardens, we will be planting potatoes and corn of which we’ll share the fruits.

We all take turns bringing the soup, buns and dessert. The loft has been transformed into an inviting and unique meeting place… or just a place to hang out and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea and tasty torte, after gardening for a few hours. With hot running water, a sink, oven, tables, chairs, and couches, we are well pampered farmers.

You don’t find all this in your everyday garden community.

Our  friend and owner of Little Farm Products has a very creative imagination and generous heart. The opportunities are endless.

That’s the TWIST.

Next time…all about Complementary Gardening and Gardening with the MOON.





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Panda Bear, pencil sketch - Carrie ©

True to my word, I searched my closet for photos of my Newfoundland dogs.

Our two  Newfies, Panda Bear and Dandie Lion,  are called Landseers (Black and White). The Landseer was named after an English painter, sir Edwin Henry Landseer.

For more of Edwin Henry Landseer’s paintings check out the Encore Editions site where I found this painting. Delightful artwork. Encore Editions

Called “Newfoundland and Woodchuck”

“Their big head and kind, gentle expression makes them very adorable and dignified”, as my daughter put it.

Beautiful, dignified, and true to their nature, these dogs were every bit a Newfoundland at heart. How we loved our Newfies.

Panda Bear and Dandie Lion playing soccer - Carrie ©

Panda Bear and Dandie Lion, Someone has a ball! - Carrie ©

Playing in the Back Yard with our son - Carrie ©

I’ve decided to dedicate a page to Panda and Dandie.

A  page where I get to tell stories about all my furry and feathered friends.

I’ll be sure to sneak in a bit of informative stuff as well.

You’ll find these animal stories here: Panda and Dandie’s page

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I am proud to be a Canadian. I love the spirit of that prevails over this Winter Olympics here in our beautiful country.

Check out this site for some of the most beautiful, amazing photos of the Opening Ceremoniesreally… this is worth your time.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/02/opening_ceremonies_for_vancouv.html

My husband and son got to hang out with the crowd at the waterfront when Gretzky lit the cauldron. This was their experience…

Olympics 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada

Olympics 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada - photo taken by our daughter - Minde W. ©

The streets of downtown Vancouver were almost empty only minutes before the cauldron was lit.

As the news spread that Wayne Gretzky was carrying the torch to the waterfront,  thousands of patriotic Olympic enthusiasts flooded the plaza.

When Wayne Gretzky arrived, it looked like the crowd was going to swarm him, but instead they opened a path for him to head toward the cauldron.

When he lit the cauldron and the flames lit up the sky, thousands of young Canadians spontaneously began to sing the national anthem, OH CANADA.

What impressed us most was this…the youth boldly wearing their patriotism.

It was our youth that lead the crowd in singing “Oh Canada”.

Keep it up Canada.

And keep it up Olympian Athletes – You are doing us proud.

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Is it just me or does Christmas seem to come around much quicker these years?

A couple of weeks ago, when the reality hit me that the Christmas season was fast approaching, I had a momentary feeling of wanting to just skip it ALL this year…that overwhelming feeling many of us are familiar with…I have so much to do in so little time, with so little money.

Then I did a little reminiscing and thankfully the Christmas spirit came upon me once again.

For those of you who need a little encouragement I invite you to come and reminisce with me.  I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Scenes from Christmas past spending time with family….

Come inside where it's warm - Win ©

Building a Snow Church

Building chapels in the snow - Carrie ©

A morning of family cross country skiing - Carrie ©

Scenes along the way - Bench by a temporarily abandoned campfire - Carrie ©

10 acres of cross country trails to explore - Carrie ©

The sleigh ride - Driving Diamond and Silver - Carrie ©

6 month old St. Bernard - came along for the ride - Carrie ©

Diamond and Silver enjoying every bit of their workout - Carrie ©

Antiques hidden in the snow - Carrie ©

I think - a manure spreader from days of yore - Carrie ©

A classic I'm sure - Carrie ©

Where are those sugar cubes? Carrie ©

Pencil Crayon by Carrie © - Rescued Percherons

It may be cold outside, but the fire of friendship is warm and inviting - Carrie ©

Christmas is about relationships and building memories that will carry you through the tough times – sure to come to everyone at some time or another.

Our homemade nativity scene - Carrie ©

This nativity scene the kids and I made when they were little. They’re all grown up now, but we still haul these little characters made from spools and cloth out every Christmas.

Our tradition – on Christmas eve our family tells and acts out the Christmas story of Jesus birth. We each take a part and the characters to go with that part.

The parts about Mary soon to deliver her first child,  and Joseph having to travel by donkey to Bethlehem for taxation. Caesar had ordered it and they must go… we tell of how there was no room in any inn because of this, but then they find the stable where they will be warm and safe. That night Jesus was born.

Then comes the part about the shepherds watching their sheep by night, and then the angel of the Lord showing up – suddenly in a brilliant flash of light, and how he tells them not to be afraid but to go and see the baby that was born, the son of God come to bring peace to all men – to save them from themselves and their own destructions…and the angel is joined by a host of angels singing and praising God. All of heaven is in a state of rejoicing.

We move to the Wise men and tell how they followed the star which led them many many miles, all the way to the stable where Jesus was born. They brought him most precious valuable gifts of Gold and Frankincense and Myrrh…

We light the final candle in the advent wreath…

And then… we open the gifts…

Christmas is complete once again. I sit silently in my comfy chair, alone now among the lights and the glow of the flickering candles, and I am thankful. My heart is calm and full of gratitude…for my family, my friends, and most of all my God who did the unthinkable – sent his only son Jesus to earth so that I, you, everyone, could have a relationship with Him. Now that is what it’s all about. And that is why I celebrate Christmas.

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This is the time for berry picking in British Columbia. Our personal favorite berries are Cherries, Blueberries, and Raspberries.

This year was an exceptional season for  berries. In no time we filled our buckets to the brim with the berries – picking has never been such a pleasure.

This year topped it off with an abundance of cherries from just one tree, unlike any other year I can remember.

Cherry picking1 09

Up the Cherry tree

Eatin' and Pickin' them sweet cherries

What are some of the health benefits that these berries provide?

Blueberries…

…contain antioxidants that are thought to help our bodies fight free radicals.  They also contain vitamins and a significant amount of  fiber.

Studies on rats have found that blueberries slowed age-related loss in their mental capacity. The studies also showed blueberries to improved learning and memory.

Japanese researchers demonstrated the usefulness of blueberries in improving weak eyesight and lessening eye fatigue.

Bowl of Blueberries

Cherries…

…are an effective and fast-acting for eliminating swelling and pain. Not to mention they are delicious to eat. Eating just a few cherries a day helps to the body to deal with uric acid levels, keeping them in check. Cherry juice is just as effective. (Note my previous blog on cherries –  What do Exercise and Black Cherries have in common?)
Cherry picking 2

Raspberries…

…are a good source of antioxidants and may even have 10 times more antioxidants than tomatoes or broccoli. Raspberries contain some very specific antioxidants that are found in few other sources.

Raspberries

So enjoy those rich nutrient filled, tasty berries while you can.  You can always freeze some for those harsh winter months. We’ve got plenty in our freezer to hold us until spring.

You can find more information on these berries at:

http://www.naturalnews.com/blueberries.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/019978.html

http://bit.ly/37sl6m

Crab apples anyone? No, they are not a berry but since they are one of my husband’s favorite fruits, I’ll mention them. They are a good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C –  good for jellies and Jams, and for those who like a tart treat, they’re all yours.

Crabapples from our very own tree

Crab apples from our very own tree

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Hi everyone

I’m enjoying some holiday time while the sun shines.

I’ll be back.
A few snapshots of my garden before I run off to Mill Lake park to do some sketching with a friend.

Daisies growing in my garden - Carrie  ©

Daisies growing in my garden - Carrie ©

 Stargazer Lilies and Coriopsis - Carrie  ©

My Stargazer Lilies and Coreopsis - Carrie ©

Purple Voluneers - Carrie  ©

Purple Voluneers - Carrie ©

Does anybody know the name of these volunteers?

Herbs and Lettuce - Carrie  ©

Herbs and Lettuce - Carrie ©

Fountain and Fish Pond - Carrie ©

Fountain and Fish Pond - Carrie ©

Someone stole the fish!!! We think it might be a Kingfisher.

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Chuzzle’s Incredible Journey is written for ages pre-school to Grade Two. A Mother and daughter effort – written by Minde Wachsmann, illustrated  by Carrie Wachsmann (myself).

Chuzzle cover blog

Chuzzle, a young adventurous porcupine with many endearing qualities, embarks on a journey to find his dear friend Whuzzle. Chuzzle and Whuzzle used to play together everyday when they were neighbors.

Then Whuzzles and her family moved far away, past the Little Stream, through the Deep Forest, beyond the Green Blue Pond, and up the Giant Big Hill.

Chuzzle missed her very much. One day he decided he was now old enough to venture out on his own. Saying goodbye to his parents, Chuzzle packed his lunch and bravely embarked on his incredible journey to find his friend Whuzzle.

You can read the complete story at:

http://bit.ly/BxBbk

My daughter  and I have cooperated in writing and illustrating several short stories.

Illustrating this story was exceptional fun. I got another opportunity to use my  Wacom Tablet – a Christmas gift from my husband. Thank you dear.

Minde created the visuals for the characters – then I developed her  concepts into the images used in the story book.

Chuzzles leaves homeChuzzle leaves home – Carrie  ©

I sketched, then pencil crayoned the sketches. I scanned the sketches and detailed them using Photoshop and Wacom Tablet. Using my digital Nikon camera, I took photographs and used them to create backgrounds.

Chuzzle leaves home - Carrie  ©

Chuzzle leaves home - Carrie ©

I’ve been studying some tutorials on http://deviantart.com which I’m finding very fascinating as well as helpful.

Here’s the photo I took of a burned out tree stump. I used it to develop the night scene in the forest.

I’ve learned to always have my camera ready cause I never know what treasures I’m going to find. (my moto: treasures are hidden in simple things)

Burned out tree stump

Burned out tree stump - Carrie ©

Chuzzles arrives at his destination after his incredible journey - Carrie  ©

Chuzzles arrives at his destination after his incredible journey - Carrie ©

You can read Chuzzle Incredible Journey at:

http://bit.ly/BxBbk

Available in Ebook form.

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Summer has definitely  arrived. This past week we’ve enjoyed 30-35 degree weather. (85 – 95 degrees F) I say it’s too hot to be serious about working. Sitting in my little office with merely my fan for air conditioning, I’m thinking of everything but computer stuff.

Some of you may be having images  of a nice cold beer right about now.

Actually, I’m still thinking about last weekend and our weekend retreat at beautiful Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre.

Ferns in the woods - Carrie

Ferns in the woods - Carrie ©

The forest was  filled with inspiring images.

No, I’m not talking about me… I just happen to be in the picture… surrounded by inspiration.

 Where oh where will it lead? ©

Where oh where will it lead? Carrie ©

An Amphitheater! Do I hear Shakespear?  - Carrie ©

An Amphitheater! Do I hear Shakespeare? - Carrie ©

Nothing like a little suspense-sion to test your fitness

Nothing like a little suspense-sion to test your fitness Carrie ©

These ladders are not as easy to climb as it may appear - ©

Me Jane, you Tarzan? A swinging ladder is not as easy to climb as I make it appear - Carrie ©

Steps that lead to the river - Carrie ©

Steps that lead down, down, down to the river - Carrie ©

It’s days like these that remind me why I love British Columbia.

Tuck shop in the centre of Stillwood Camp - Carrie ©

Tuck shop in the centre of Stillwood Camp - Carrie ©

Conference Centre 1 - Carrie ©

Conference Centre - Carrie ©

Conference Centre 2 - Carrie ©

The multi-purpose gym and meeting room. The silo houses a rock climbing wall. Carrie ©

A fine dinning hall & with a lot of fine dinning - Carrie ©

A fine dining hall & a lot of fine dinning here - Carrie ©

OOPS… I forgot to get a picture of the pool.

Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre  is located in Cultus Lake, British Columbia. You can visit it online at: http://www.stillwood.ca

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My husband and I spent last week in Washington DC. This was our first visit to the District of Columbia and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The reason for our trip – our TV pilot “Military Miracles”, was one of 48 documentary and feature films screened at the Third Annual GI Film Festival.

Camp Pendleton   Carrie ©

Taken while filming Military Miracles at Camp Pendleton - Carrie ©

You can view Military Miracles trailer here: http://bit.ly/GvG1X

The GI Film Festival was held at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Carnegie Institution of Washington - image taken from http://www.gifilmfestival.com/location

Carnegie Institution of Washington - image taken from http://www.gifilmfestival.com/location

http://gifilmfestival.com

The GI Film Festival is a celebration of the

American Armed Forces.

Here,  visual artists have the opportunity to tell the heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories of  the American warrior.

Our experience began with a Red Carpet private screening of the MGM/UA major motion picture Valkyrie, staring Tom Cruise – the beginning of 4 days and evenings of fascinating and captivating story-telling.

Information about the film Valkyrie read here:

http://bit.ly/14mED2

The Red Carpet Receptions provided great food and great networking opportunities.

Red Carpet Reception  ©

The Red Carpet takes us into the Carnegie Institution Rotunda ©

Guests of honor included Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals.

Hollywood insiders presented a workshop on tips and strategies for success in the film industry.

I even got to rub shoulders with actor Steven Baldwin. Here’s proof.

Win Carrie Steven BaldwinSteven Baldwin is promoting his soon to come movie called “Now More Than Ever”.

Check out the “Now More Than Ever” teaser here:

http://www.NowMoreThanEverMovie.com

Baldwin’s movie is about our American Troops  in Iraq, their stories and their need for our support.

Sunday we took the opportunity to tour DC for several hours.

White House  Carrie ©

The White House - Carrie ©

National Museum Marine Corp.  Carrie ©

National Museum Marine Corps. - Carrie ©

Scene in the National Museum Military Corp  - Carrie ©

One of many scenes in the National Museum Marine Corps - Carrie ©

Military Memorial  Carrie ©

Arlington National Cemetery - Carrie ©

Street scene 1  Carrie ©

Street scene 1 - Carrie ©

Street scene 2   Carrie ©

Street scene 2 - Carrie ©

Garden   Carrie ©

Our Hyatt Garden - Carrie ©

The event culminated in an Awards Night. Then back to the hotel for a quick 3 hours of sleep, and off to the airport to catch the plane home.

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For the last three years, we, my husband Win and I, have been working on creating and producing a TV pilot for the History Channel in the US.

Called Military Miracles, this story chronicles the amazing adventures of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in their battle for Baghdad in the first 21 days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

The stories of how the Marines were protected are amazing. Of the 1300 Marines in the Battalion, they only lost 2 during the  advance into Iraq in April 2003.

Here’s the 3 minute trailer:

Here’s a link to the trailer if you have trouble seeing this screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5VMdi76wvs

Here’s a link to the websitewww.militarymiracles.com

Win and I created the show. Win was the Writer and Executive Producer.

The show was produced by Digital Ranch in Sherman Oaks, CA. Our thanks to Rob Kirk and Rob Lihani, Executive Producers.

Right now we are waiting for an air date from the History Channel.

Feel free to comment on this trailer.

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