Gratitude

July 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

Opening the door to a brighter day takes recognition of the gifts we freely receive as part of our life experience. Practicing gratitude is how we can accept these gifts.

What we give thanks for is often what uniquely impacts us in our day. The result is a struggle to find events and experience to give thanks for. Our eyes must take in a careful view of the world, one that looks beyond our lives and into the lives of others. Once we lift our sight away from ourselves we can begin to notice the gestures and acts that have little to do with us except we are witness to them.

Seeing and appreciating starts small moving us to being present in the moment. Observe in detail, pause for a moment as short as a breath to appreciate the details of the day. See the light of the morning sun that brings unlimited possibility, taste the roasted notes as you savour that first sip of coffee and be thankful for this perfect moment.

Moving through the day witness the random acts of kindness, the polite greetings of strangers, the sun and the sounds of children’s voices as they play in its warmth. Be thankful that all that surrounds you is alive and you will see a new world filled with joy.

Happy Friday.

Monday

July 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Heritage Park in Calgary. Photograph © Tracy Crape

Today is the beginning of another week and a day full of memories of the past two. This most recent weekend was complete with backyard events ranging from bocci to Shakespeare, accompanied by good friends and paired with elixirs from Scotland to polish lawn sports and Bordeaux to enhance the arts. Despite a reluctance to break from our routine of ‘us’ and ‘garden’ time in these summer months we enjoyed the change.

Paying the price with time normally spent relaxing in our backyard sanctuary bought the opportunity to catch up with friends, meet some wonderful people and experience something new. Thinking about the fun we had I am now considering future offerings of City events in the parks, gardens and centres for community that surround us. Many need just a little planning and trading time to other devotions (such as social media or drifting through the interwebs).

I found playing games in the early evening and watching a condensed and modern version of a Midsummer Night’s Dream provides more than entertainment, but a chance for discovery.  It begins as a hand shake with a friend or stranger that leads to sharing and listening about a unique view of the world as as told by our stories.

It is difficult to break routine but the benefits of connection and growing in this City and beyond certainly tip in favour of getting out and exploring even if it does take a few hours away from what is comfortable.

What will your next adventure be?

Into the Light

July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

It is late. Too early to call it morning and hours later than I usually find sleep. My mind is busy in every direction leaving little choice but to pursue the keys to words.

A good day. The start, a tough morning, then movement to an answer remaining grateful it is moving. I feel fortunate in a world struggling for basic needs.

Life gives blessings and I have many. A loving family, supportive and close. A city and home give safety and warmth. A dog named Juno, loyal to me and always close.

I think that says enough, perhaps now I will find sleep.

Goodnight.

Forever

July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

Find places of challenge to grow. Find places of comfort to rest.

Sleep as darkness falls and wake at the first light of the day. Move throughout the day, mind and body.

Remove the middleman from what you eat, keep close to its source. Food is beautiful in its simplicity, enjoy it that way.

Find comfort in being alone, cherish the time to be in thought without distraction. Life will not always be so peaceful.

Avoid compromise for the sake of fitting in. It takes courage and in time this is what others aspire to.

Friends won’t tell, they will ask. Collect the rare ones and cherish them as a favourite place, safe and secluded.

Family matters, always. No bond is as strong as the one to a child, having one teaches this.

What is done is past and cannot be undone. Make amends and move forward, free of regret.

In this moment is the only time that life is certain. Stay present in Life, tomorrow is always a day away.

Quiet the inner critic, be kind to others and self. Celebrate every day the Living You.

Urban Farmers (Gardeners)

July 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Early June – Photograph © Tracy Crape

With my hands in the soil since a young age, at times against my will weeding the rows of vegetables grown by my parents, gardening and its bigger cousin farming offer a wonderful calm to my day. It is a part of life now that is either in planning or in progress. The challenge in our northern climate is extending the season by weeks or, if we are fortunate, months.

Yesterday was the third day harvesting raspberries that border two sides of our main garden. The yield from the first two days was a four pounds and after a day away my return yesterday resulting in six pounds. There will be many more days and many more pounds of fruit to harvest judging by the number of berries still white and green.

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The garden began providing early this year. Since June we are enjoying greens that include various types of kale, lettuce, spinach, chard and herbs. Replanting is already complete for some and will be soon for others. Root vegetables of all colours and kinds being enjoyed fresh from the earth with some being prepared with pickling to give us summer memories through the winter months when we will plan again with new knowledge for greater yields.

Of significance this year in contributing to our increasing bounty is a good start with some plants in the greenhouse and constructing raised beds complete with poly tunnels to protect early plants from frost and growing plants from hail. Soils improved with more compost and peat to break up our clay heavy soil. Every bit helps and seeing success from the few changes gives us motivation to make even more with less.

Already this year we are planning for more beds in place of lawn, new fruit trees to replace the aging ones with decreasing crops and allowing them to be sculpted into living habitat for birds in the area. Composting from this year will enhance our soil sustainably. The biggest change for next year will be the introduction of wildlife, or more precisely insects of the honey making kind. An effort to ensure pollination and support a troubled global bee population, not to mention something sweet and sticky to make mead.

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Urban farming this year has also had us focus on being local. Making connection with a local beef producer that practices sustainable farming practices in raising grass-fed beef will support part of our meat supply for the year while we continue to support other local farmers that pasture pork, poultry and sheep.

We eat what is described as paleo, that is we eat meat and vegetables and do not eat grains, sugar, dairy or legumes. This lifestyle choice does not create much limitation and contributes greatly to us feeling better and being healthier by eliminating many foods considered inflammatory or raw foods that require processing to eat.

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Being paleo also means we rely on food that is grown locally that we do not grow or cannot grow enough of for the year. To support local producers we buy food when in season and preserve foods either by freezing or canning. This lessons on our reliance on imported foods and ensures that we are getting money into the pockets of those that are nearest us so they may be able to sustain their operations and provide us quality food for years ahead.

Taking this approach to putting food on table has many advantages but most importantly we know where are food is grown, how it is grown and the people that we are supporting. For what we grow ourselves we also have the benefit of putting our hands in the same soil that grows what we eat, watching as the rain falls and sun shines to turn seeds to plants.

As farmers at heart, Liz and I will continue to support ourselves and those around us in any capacity we can.

Rainy Day

July 17, 2015 § 2 Comments

Photograph © Tracy Crape

The smell of cool air and the patterned sound of drops fill the room from an open window, a tell of the day outside before eyes open. If only it was Sunday the morning would drift further away holding the one I love. It is Friday and the day needs to begin so I get myself up and open the blind.

The air flows as water drops from the eave to the flower bed, beyond the flowers the grass and garden are basking in gentle rain. Everything is its greenest in a way that plants show how happy they are.

Dressing myself enough to get out in the garden and picking greens, berries and roots to blend into morning nourishment with the taste of things as fresh as this day. A second cup of coffee as I ready myself, clean, shaven and dressed, then into the world beyond this fenced paradise.

The roads quieter, a result of summer holidays, Friday and rain. Downtown for coffee and writing surrounded by a wonderful warmth and buzz that is rain softened. The beauty of days like this found in seeing all that is and isn’t.

Happy Friday.

Mid Summer’s Days

July 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

As visitors usher themselves to the mountains the last of the cowboy hats go to storage and sneakers replace boots to soothe aching feet. With Cowtown turning back to Calgary the streets early in the week are more akin to Sunday mornings.

I tend to avoid the hustle of Stampede and crave what comes after. The warm weather coupled with a lull the busyness as business, education and family life regroup. While most flee to mountain lakes or family far away I find Calgary at its most enjoyable with so many offerings.

Whether just enjoying time in the many green spaces, taking in (and gathering up) at one of the many farmer’s markets or exploring the art, history and heritage of the western frontier, there is more offerings than there are summer days. A short drive from Calgary provides day trips that range from ancient history to flexing palaeontology muscles to exploring nature in mountains scoured by the last ice age.

My preference in this time is a mix of all plus coffee street side at a favourite café, toiling on my urban farm and walk or cycling on city pathways. It is the best time to stay put and a choice I easily make.

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