Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Morning in Mary's Garden ~ May 27th

Mary and the Holy Trinity
Yesterday was Trinity Sunday, so this week's featured Marian flower is also know as a Trinity Flower. The simple and oh so pretty wild pansy or johnny-jump-up, viola tricolor has three main petals and usually consists of three colors with one or two being more dominant colors.

The commonly bred pansies generally have a dominant color of yellow, purple or white with the other colors are colors are secondary or preserved for the middle. The yellow dominance is symbolic of the glory of our Father in heaven; the purple represent the sorrows and passion of the incarnate Son; and the white is the light of the Holy Spirit. One color is dominant, but the others are also present, reminding us that whenever one of the three Persons of the Trinity is present, so to are the other two members present in unity as one God.

The Marian name for the pansy is 'Our Lady's Delight'. It is reminiscent of the moment where Mary conceived  Our Lord and proclaimed: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." This is the first part of Mary's Hymn of praise to the Lord as seen in Luke's Gospel (1:46-55). She was delighted to serve the Lord and this little flower is so delightful to look at.

Pansies grown in our garden in the summer of 2011.

Pansies are hardy cold weather perennials and can be grown in areas up to Zone 7. They require little attention and are very easy to grow. They can be planted in the garden or in pots and flower baskets. If you dead head them regularly, you can enjoy them throughout the entire growing season. They like rich soil and can be grown in full sun to partial shade.

One activity that is particularly nice for young girls to do is to press pansy flowers and use them to adorn their letters or diaries. Just take the head of a few pansy flowers and place them in between two small sheets of wax paper and place it in a book. Stack some heavy books on top of the book and wait for a week or two until the flowers are dry.




Friday, May 24, 2013

Seven Quick Takes


-1-

We finally decided that we are going to try camping. This retro catholic family has never been camping. EVER. This summer we are going to try it out. We don't have money to do vacation, so the campground will have to do. We dug out some of the gear we already owned, bought a few of the essentials and even booked a campground for next weekend. Everyone is excited to try this new adventure as a family. I even took up the art of making a great percolator coffee. The stove-top version using the percolator below passed the daddy test for sure. He is really pick about his cup of Joe tasting just right. (that's why he usually makes his own and wasn't sure how the percolator would measure up to his normal coffee). Update on our camping adventures to follow for sure.
Coleman® 9-Cup Coffee Percolator

-2-

The baby slept through ONCE this week. It was weird. I mean he is 9 months old and should be able to sleep through by now, but he doesn't. I can live with that and don't worry about it too much. He is a generally happy and content baby and that is all that matters, right. But, if the baby decided to start sleeping through the night more often, I wouldn't complain. Maybe then I would get my fertility back if you know what I mean.

-3-

We had our facilitator visit yesterday and it went well. I realized that our more-or-less unschooling this year has paid off. The facilitator was really impressed with the kids' reading and comprehension skills. Their writing samples impressed her as well. That being said, we are behind in math and will be working a little on it all summer until it is finished. 

-4-

The home schoolers in our area had a year end Mass yesterday. It was nice to get out and see old friends and meet some new people. It is nice to share our faith and fellowship. I really need to get out to more home school events. I am not the type of person that needs a lot of social activity. The kids are a lot like Sascha and I in that we prefer to meet more one on one with other families or friends and aren't huge fans of crowds. 

-5-

I sewed this week for the first time since KCW back a few weeks ago. I made a granny square quilt top. I am not sure if it will be a table runner or a wall hanging. What do you think? 


-6-

This weekend is the Festival of Quilts at Heritage Park. I am really excited. I haven't gone to the Festival of Quilts for a few years now. We splurged and bought a season pass for Heritage Park (an open air museum) this year and plan on spending lots of time there. There is so much to learn about our country and how it was once. The Festival of Quilts features quilts from mostly local quilters and guild members. I am always amazed at all of the beautiful quilts. If you live in or near Calgary, you should definitely come take a look. Please pray that the weather clears up. It has been raining for a few days now and they are calling for rain tomorrow as well. I don't like dragging the kids out in the cold rain if it is possible.
Festival Of Quilts
photo courtesy of Heritage Park

-7-

I have plans. Plans to make Maria her own quilt. She has a rag quilt that I made her before I knew what I was doing. Now it is time to make her a real quilt. She picked out the material and the free pattern by cluckclucksew based on this finished quilt. Maria chose very girly pastel colored fabrics from my stash and some that we purchased on sale 50% off a while ago. I just have so many projects half done that I really need to finish a few first, don't I? We'll see. Until then, here are her chosen fabrics...



Thursday, May 23, 2013

{pretty, happy, funnny, real}

round button chicken
~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, here at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

{pretty}

This was the sky early yesterday morning. Can you believe that it was raining when I took this picture?

{happy}


Adam is such a happy baby even while giving him his first buzz-cut. I loved his hair, but it gets full of food, sweaty and gross. So, he got in line to get his hair buzzed. Cheap and easy hair cuts for all my boys and daddy.

{funny}

We found him like this. We are not sure if he fell out of bed and just decided to stay on the floor or he fell asleep playing on the floor. Either way, it was cute.

{real}

Photo: My poor little guy took a nose dive onto the concrete. Life with boys sure can get messy. I will never get used to this.

This still makes me cringe when I see it. He was in the parked wagon and I turned around to talk to the nice neighbor when his brother decided to take him for a ride. What his big brother didn't realize is that he was trying to climb out of the wagon and it tipped. He is looking a lot better today. Life with boys sure does keep you on your toes.

Hope your week has been pretty, happy, funny, real. God Bless.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Successfully Grow Roses

Our Lady of Lourdes, Feast DayI must confess that I am trying to raise a bunch of gardeners. My ten year old daughter has been given the responsibility of caring for the Mary Garden this year. In lieu of this, she is researching about the different Marian flowers, in particular the rose. We ordered a bundle of books from the local library to learn more  bout growing roses. It is truly an art. We have three rose bushes in our garden. Two of them were planted in 2011. They happen to be very hardy and can stand our -30C deep freeze winter weather. Unfortunately, the rose that we bought Mia last spring died. We were so busy with our little newborn that we neglected the rose and ended up buying her a new rose this spring. It too is a hardy variety and should survive some neglect. 

For 'home' school, I asked Mia to do a little research report on something to do with growing roses. She chose to write about how to grow roses successfully, since we had both success and failure with our roses. She did such a great job that I wanted to share it with you. So in case you are curious about growing roses, here is a little help from my sweetie.
Les roses de C. Klein

How to Successfully Grow Roses
by Maria Christina

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of the Little Prince once said, “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” If you want to be a successful rose grower, you are going to have to waste some time. You should spend time to ponder about the right rose variety to grow in your garden. It also is important to know your rose and squander some time researching about it. Thirdly, a successful rose grower should pray, hope and not worry. If you are hard working person who likes to get their hands dirty and doesn’t mind getting pricked, then listen up and I will teach you how to successfully grow beautiful roses.
RosesThe key to growing bountiful roses is to choose the right rose variety for you and your gardening zone. Different places in the world and even within your own country have different gardening zones, so it is important to know your zone. There are zone maps available on the internet or in good quality gardening books. The plant’s zone is usually marked on a tag attached to your plant or on the flower pot that you get your plant in. If you plant a rose that isn’t meant for your gardening zone you could be disappointed when it dies. So remember to know your zone.
The next most important factor in growing roses successfully is choosing the right variety. How do you know what rose variety is the best for you? If you ask this question, then I might be able to help you. Picking the right rose variety depends upon your personality. Some roses need more care and love than others. Climbing roses for example are quick growing and grow 7-8 feet tall and sometimes even taller. Climbing roses need rich soil that retains moisture, but still drains freely. They are thirsty plants. Climbers are vulnerable to insects and require staking. If you prefer not to be out and in the garden and wasting too much time and want a low maintenance rose, then the climber might not be the rose for you. There are plenty of varieties of bush type roses that are hardy and disease resistant. You can find out which rose is the best for you by getting books out of the library or simply asking the neighbor with the ‘green thumb’ about roses that he is growing. If you do your research, you too can be a successful rose grower.
Finally, a successful rose grower is one that learns from their mistakes. I killed a tea rose by forgetting to cover it up for the winter. This rose was not for our zone, but with a little more care, it might have survived the cold winter. Don’t worry if you make mistakes. It happens. Just don’t give up. Pray about it, waste some more time researching and pondering and you will eventually be a successful rose grower. Look at me, I am just 10 and I can grow roses in a tiny zone 3b garden. If I can do it, so can you.



Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Morning in Mary's Garden

Alabaster White SnowdropI am very excited to share with you my love of flowers, gardening and especially everything that I am learning about Mary Gardens. I mentioned last week, that I want to feature a Marian flower once a week in a special blog post. I am excited to begin this journey with you. Please feel free to request a flower that you would like me to feature.

In choosing this week's flower, I considered the fact that Canadians are celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday (May 24, 1819) this first long weekend of the season. It wasn't that difficult in finding flowers that connect the two Queens. Queen Victoria had beautiful gardens. But I chose this particular flower, the snowdrop, because it is one of the flowers that Queen Victoria carried in her wedding bouquet. It was said to have been Prince Albert's favorite flower.

The snowdrop (galanthus nivalus) is also known as the purification flower. These flowers are said to have bloomed when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to be presented at the Temple.  Still today they are used on Candlemas, (February 2nd) on the Feast of the Presentation at the Temple. Their symbolic name is Mary's bells and represent her purity and innocence. The traditional Catholic calendar refers also on Candlemas as the Purification of the Virgin. Mary was purified according to Jewish customs on Candelmas according to the Law of Moses. She did not need to be purified since she was conceived without sin and remained sinless and a virgin. Isn't it beautiful that these symbolic flowers would bloom that day.

Growing snowdrops is fairly easy. You plant them as bulbs in the fall and they are one of the earliest flowers to bloom in spring. They can grow to be about 15cm tall. They prefer full sun and a rich soil that has been fed with compost. From what I have read, you should plant them in small groupings and not individual bulbs. Make sure that they are not being crowded by other plants' leaves or roots because they will fail to flower. They are hardy and can be grown in zones 2 to 9, but do best in zones 2 to 4 making them perfect for the Canadian garden.

Mary Queen of the Flowers,
Pray for us.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gardening With Mary

Master from the Upper Rhine
The Garden of Paradise
 (Detail)
c. 1420
Stadelsches Kunstinstitut, 
Frankfurt a.M., Germany
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I grew up on a farm. My kids love to hear stories about my days on the farm. I remember them fondly. I remember hilling row after row of potatoes and picking green beans every second day until they gave no more. I also remember taking every bowl and empty ice cream bucket we own, packing it in the car and driving to the U-Pick strawberry farm. I love to dig in the dirt, plant, water and watch things grow.

When we lived in Germany, we only had a balcony. We planted lots of flowers in containers. I fondly remember planting sunflowers with our oldest who was not even two. The memories that I have made getting dirty and planting flowers are endless.

It comes as no surprise then, that I ripped out the sod from a large part of our suburban backyard in the spring of 2011 to plant a garden. I just wanted a small garden with a few veggies and a few flowers. In 2012, we expanded this little garden and grew a few more things. It is not surprising that this spring, we have plans to expand a little more. We did some spring clean up, moved a few things around and already used some of our bank points to trade in for gift cards for local nurseries. We don't have a lot of money to buy flowers, so the gift cards are great. I also got a great deal from an online catalogue to purchase flowers that are common to the area, but not usually available to purchase locally. I can hardly wait for them to arrive.

Virgin with a Rose Trellis
French School
c. 1470-72
Museé de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame
Strasbourg, France 
In choosing flowers, we (my daughter and I) selected ones with a distinct purpose, ones that were considered Marian flowers. A few years ago we learned of the idea of growing a Mary Garden. We were intrigued, but didn't exactly know how or where we would plant one. There is a lot of information to be found over the internet about Mary Gardens. I wanted our Mary Garden to honor Our Blessed Mother as well as honor God's beautiful creation.

We bought a statue last spring and gave it a place of honor. We planted a few flowers from seed and purchased a few with gift cards. We learned the meanings of some of the more popular Marian flowers and made a home school worksheet for Maria. Then the baby came in August. We didn't plant any spring bulbs, nor cover our precious tea rose (which died on us as a result). We let nature do it's thing and decided to worry about it in the spring.

Morden Ruby Rose
Spring came and we didn't get any seeds planted until really, really late. When the weather cleared up, we began cleaning up the yard. As we cleaned, I prayed for divine inspiration. I had no idea where to put what and how to plant everything we wanted to and still give Mary a beautiful garden. Somehow as we worked, we found answers. We pruned and hoed, raked and dug. Mother's day weekend was spent in our garden. We planted some flowers around Mary. We bought her a new rose, a hardy rose (Morden Ruby Rose) that will hopefully endure our harsh winters without much extra attention.

Unfortunately, I haven't taken any pictures of the garden since we planted anything. Here is a picture from our garden in July of 2012. It was very fruitful and lush. I am toying with the idea of doing a weekly Marian garden flower post. I would highlight one of Mary's flowers each week and share pictures. I just need to squeeze it in somehow. I am not a very good blogger in that regard. Life happens and I blog less.


I am going to leave you with a really beautiful quote that I found. It is written my Rev. James J. Galvin,
"Gardens should pray! Gardens should remind children of their mother. Gardens should be holy places that keep minds as fresh and unsullied as Madonna lilies. Gardens should chime with names that ring like the Litany of Loreto. And gardens, if they are truly Mary Gardens, will naturally lead to Christ."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring is Finally Here

Bluebirds in a pink parasol.When I am not posting, we are either sick or the weather is great. Well, my hiatus from the Blog-land is due to the phenomenal weather we have been having. Our winter here dragged on forever and now that it is nice, we are enjoying it. Schoolwork is finished quicker and recesses are a little longer nowadays. Even the dinner meal is on the table a little earlier so that we can go for walks in the evening. We have learned to bask in the sunlight as much as possible because our springs and summers are very short. Our snow-free season (as we like to call it) is about three, sometimes four months long.

The garden is showing signs of life. We have been busy getting it ready for the summer. We pruned the roses and moved the raspberry bushes. We transplanted some plants and moved the Mary Garden. We do something in the garden every day. We have some special plants ordered from the gardening catalogue and can hardly wait to get them in the beds. Daddy fixed up the kids' fort. I can't believe that I don't have any pictures of him using his power tools.

Here are some pictures of what we have been up to. Have you been getting great weather? Have you been out enjoying it? What do you like to do when the weather is nice?

The hacksap berry bushes.
Rhubarb!!! We love rhubarb!
Patrick's apple tree. The promise of apples...
Adam loves the baby swing.
Where we love to go for walks.
The kiddos in front of a big tree. 
This is the back of the tree.
 
Walking with the kids through Fish Creek Provincial Park.
Hubby didn't even change after work. We ate and grabbed coffee and headed for nature. 
Patrick wanted to see the river, so we went and saw the river and not the creek.
Thankful that my almost teenager still lets me take his picture.
 My sweetie.
My cross-dresser. He dresses for winter in summer and summer in winter.
Patrick, my silly three year old.
Me. I love spring.
Do you see the starling? This guy and the flock were so loud.
The prairie dog that let me get really close to take his picture.
The two white-tailed deer that we drove by and took pictures of. 
We saw a really beautiful pheasant that looked like this. (picture courtesy of Wikipedia) We drove by him and then backed up to take a picture. But as our luck would have it, one of the kiddos squealed (windows were down) and scared him away before we got a snap-shot.
Yesterday a baby squirrel jumped in the window well. He was so darn cute.
Here he is again under the hacksap berry bush.
Playing catch with a ball hockey ball. Really need to clean the shed and get out a "real" ball.
These two are always ready to pose for the camera. 

Happy Spring Everyone!!!



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