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It has been a very hard week, and now I'm happy again.

This post would be so different had I written it this morning; I'd thought to do so. This journal has never sought to be a dispassionate recounting of external facts, not even close, and any story I tell here would be told differently a week later, and then different again a year later, or five years. I'm glad to be telling the story now and not earlier.

I haven't been sleeping well, and I have just started bleeding. These are maybe the root of everything, especially the former. Josh hasn't lived with a partner before; I didn't really come up here with the energy or intention of settling into permanent patterns nor really thought about making patterns with him. Our sleep logistics have not worked themselves out well, and I have been spending time on James as well, and work has been running longer than I expected many days. Sleep, food, and time to think to myself are the three things I should never be without. I've been without too much sleep, and it has felt terrible. A little more of it and soon everything would feel like the end of the world.

I had a nap this afternoon, and maybe I can put these things in a way where they are not the end of the world.

Work is the first and biggest thing. The people I worked with last summer, my first forestry job, were first intriguing and then important to me. I'm having a harder time finding my way into this set of people; the summer students are diverse in personality but not so much in age, they are (we are?) very much thrown together without other people's involvement, and although I can get along with everyone ok, more-or-less, I'm having trouble finding my way into really liking or caring about them. You know me, you've been reading what I write for so long, so you know what a strange statement that is for me. I can usually like people I spend time with.

The whole office is a little bit like that, and maybe if I spent a bunch of time with the individuals it would help a bit, but there's this sense of group othering that I'm never very comfortable with. Conversations can centre around "can you believe this group of people did or said this thing?" without seeking to understand the ins and outs of why or how. I don't like those. I miss the folks from last summer. I both hope I find a way to like this place where I am now, and am giving serious thought to going back there next summer even though it is very far away from Vancouver. And from both Josh and James.

I was going to end this post with him, leave you on a beautiful note, and talk about the garden and the rabbits in the middle, but here we are and he's come up in the same way he came into my life in the last little while: abruptly, surprisingly, but at the right time. I've been embracing that.

Here's the story: over a year ago I went to a friend's... birthday party? It was near Dave's apartment, I'd just moved in for a month before moving up to Fort St James, and a handful of us ended up going for drinks and then back to Dave and my place to hang out. The apartment was all boxes halfway between being unpacked and put in storage, it's a wonder we invited people back, but there we were and it was a lovely evening. There was a person I didn't know who ended up back at the apartment with us, no doubt participating in the discussion: eye-catching long tawny-gold hair and compact assurance, quiet but expressive in face and gesture, some combination of elegant movement and solid sensibility, a little well of gravity in the corner of the apartment I spent most of the evening either looking at or looking away from. Honestly I did more of the latter: Dave and I hadn't discussed how we'd handle flirting or dating while we were both living in that one-bedroom apartment or really in small party situations like that, so I kept myself under wraps. The closer you get to a source of gravity, after all, the harder it pulls, and I was leaving the city's orbit.

I went so far as to get him on facebook and that was a month of job-seeking, packing, exams, rough times with Dave, little energy, and then I was out of town. The next year I was mostly absent; away in Fort, and also emotionally absent when I came back to school. The source of gravity was still there, a tiny trickle of awareness across facebook when I looked at it, a little temptation which I had no energy to meet. When my exams were almost done I suddenly came alive again and there he was, as apparently eager for a date as I was, less than a week before I left town. The whole thing moved at... I was going to say 'my speed' but it was remarkably mutual, and so here I am up in Williams Lake living delightedly with Josh and putting in a garden but with, again, a long distance relationship. A joyful, loving, competent-with-the-internet, visiting-soon, who knows what will happen next? long distance relationship.

I am very pleased. I am (when I don't get enough sleep) drowned in poly guilt but sometimes clear-headedly ok. I am putting in work when I can. I am happy. He is wonderful in every way I could want.

So that's James.

Josh and I are putting in the garden still; it's slow and we have less time and energy than expected, but the plastic is going up on the greenhouse today. We haven't had our last frost yet and so many plants get hauled into the garage when the temperature is forecast low; we may finally be able to move just to floating row cover for the tender things until we get the beds in the greenhouse built. We have been enabling each other buying things that grow; lately iris and daylily and roses in addition to the veggies we've started from seed. We have fruit trees to plant. My soul feels good.

Mella has bonded to the baby rabbits, and they don't fight at all. They lie around snuggled all up together sometimes, or groom each other, and when I'm petting Mella, Odin will come up to be petted and Juniper will come up to lick her in the spots my petting has missed. The little ones have un-litter-trained Mella, but that can be dealt with. It's good to have them with me.

Next weekend Josh and I are going camping at Chilko Lake, which is "out west." From Williams Lake everything is "out west," "out east," "down south," or rarely "up north". The coast doesn't really exist in this dry land except as a mythic place. It is sort of its own centre for the surrounding smaller towns; neither Prince George nor Vancouver really has a pull, though Kelowna is perhaps the metropolitan centre it orbits.

It's dinner time now, grilled hamburgers and salad and contemplating the garden-to-be. I'm ok. I will try to sleep more; I will keep switching strategies until I find one that works. I like being happy, and my afternoon nap gave that back to me after a week without.

I can get through this summer.

Talk to you soon.
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I'm alive. I can't even tell you. Here I am. I'm finally shedding my winter skin. I'm becoming human, I'm alive, there's a beating flashing core to my soul, the world pulls me into it, I can love things, I can want things, I'm alive. I'm remembering how to feel the kind of joy that I swear is visible in an aura around me, pouring out of my skin. I'm remembering who I am. This is who I am. I had almost forgotten there.

It's been a bad four months. School is bad. It's autodepression, flick the switch on with the first contact in the semester and then off again when it finishes. What does this to me? Sitting all day? Accepting someone else's absolute authority? Having no freedom to plan my time? Anyways, school is done for four months, and basically with my last exam I came alive, I came awake, I felt like I turned on a light and unfamiliar nothingness suddenly gave way to my very favourite room. I am my very favourite room. I love living here. So many years making myself, that partnership where all the bits of me shape each other until they fit, and it's for nothing when I'm in school, but it is Very Good in just living.

I was in a car accident that I could well have not walked away from in February. My car rolled; Taoshi was lost. I could have died there, and I would have died unhappy and not-me, but I didn't die. Thank goodness, thank every blessed thing, that I still have the chance to die properly, as myself, at some future date.

I don't want that date to be soon. Words are failing me. I'm sitting in bed listening to music for the first time in four months and it's filling the house, the air is vibrating with it, and my skin and the music are one continuous physical sensation, much as my... happiness, I suppose? is one single continuous piece with Devendra Banhart's voice. In the room next door to me my rabbits -- Mella with whom I have developed a close relationship since we lost Taoshi, and the two babies I need to bond her to named Juniper and Odin -- and they actively enjoy my presence, they are happier when we engage, and they are mine for their lives and I love them very much. When I think a little further outwards I can see, in my mind's eye, the beginnings of my garden. We've started tomatoes (stupice, cherokee chocolate, green zebra, sungold, Siberian, San Marzano, black plum, and silvery fir tree) and four kinds of peppers, and the two cold-weather lettuces (warm weather varieties to follow) and herbs (summer savory, thyme, thai basil and romano basil and sweet basil, curled and flat parsley, lovage that refuses to come up, sweet ciciley) and so many greens (including sorrel and good king henry and lamb's quarters and purslane and strawberry blite) and several kinds of melons and two zucchinis and three new kinds of scented geraniums and three kinds of carrots and chard and kale and ground cherries (two kinds!) and tomatillos and celeriac and and and and... It's still freezing out at night up here in Williams Lake (this was my first night in Williams Lake) and today the sky is bright and clear and beautiful and I will vacuum with the windows wide open and sing and alarm the rabbits with my noise and scandalize the neighbors.

I'm alive. I'm inhabiting my personality. I want to say it again and again and again because it is such a strong combination of relief and joy. When I was in school this semester I was actively afraid that I wouldn't be able to come back to myself, but here I am. What's the best gift you could ever be given? Double it, triple it. That's the feeling.

There's a bunch of great relationship stuff happening in my life right now. I start my summer job with a new company on Monday, and I'm terrified but very optimistic about that. My place in Vancouver will be there for me when I return in the fall so I won't need to house hunt. I have excellent friends and I got to see some of them before I left. I have a future that I can enjoy anticipating. I have so many blessings. But... everything is overshadowed by the simple fact that I can appreciate, notice, and think about these things. I'd lost that.

And here I am, even enjoying words again, enjoying the sensation of spinning pieces of myself out into the void. I have enough of myself to fill a page now.

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Almost forgot: planted lettuce (Plato) and shinguku this morning.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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Some days feel like a rollercoaster. Some days are blissful, some are floaty, some are dragging and leaden. This day is that animal that got hit by a car and won't die but just lies there convulsing in the road.

It started innocently enough, it was one of those mornings where you wake up tired and don't have enough time for enough sex before work and people are in the shower in your building when you are so the water goes too cold and too hot. It was one of those mornings where it takes forever to find matching socks and all your smoothie ingredients are gone so you need to buy a crappy breakfast and there's no seat on the skytrain and your ipod is wrecked and it's awfully hard to make out the words in podcasts over the morning commute noises. These things happen.

It was one of those days where my plants started to show chlorosis-- they need to be fed a nitrogen-heavy plant food --but I had just put predatory nematodes on and chemical fertilizer would surely kill the nematodes and there isn't much of an organic option indoors, and I can't just cut back their water and so send them into dormancy because the nematodes need moisture in the soil. The scale had just popped so there were bugs everywhere, and I've been neglecting my indoor pruning because I don't want to sink the time into it so everything looks terrible.

It was one of those days where someone is giving spanish lessons in the boardroom so you can't get in to water, and where some guy turns around without warning in the hallway and bumps your watering can, drenching you, himself, and the floor-- and then looks blankly at you for several minutes. It was one of those days where the hotel keycard demagnetizes itself halfway through so you need to get another one and wait on the elevator yet again.

It was one of those days when you realise someone you really really wanted to get together with is going to PAX when you'd just decided not to.

It was one of those days where you get off work at rush hour and decide to brave transit instead of working longer because your boyfriend is leaving tonight instead of tomorrow for his week-long trip and you'd kinda like to see him before he goes even if you won't have a long comfortable evening together as anticipated.

It was one of those days, though, where you meet a friend you haven't talked with in awhile for lunch and it feels great, you lie on the grass, you convince your bosses to use descented fish fertilizer (fish fertilizer is not really much better for the environment, but at least it helps with your cutesy little contained designer ecosystem you're trying to build), you have a fun twitter exchange with someone you don't talk to half enough, one of the office guys successfully flirts with you (this may never have happened before), and you half-laugh at everything because hey, who doesn't have these days?

It was one of those days.

Then I came home and finally ventured into my garden. I go into my garden for comfort and solace. I go there for joy. I go there because it's full of my children, because it nourishes me, because I love it. I never buy flowers for my garden but this year on a whim I got a flat of begonias from work and they were so beautiful and huge and glowing and perfect that people kept asking me if they were fake-- over the years I have learned to consider this a compliment. My tomatoes, so late this year, were little and green and the bloom had given way to fruit on more varieties than I'd hoped for. I had bought wolfberries in tiny little pots and was nursing them along-- that would be several years of investment before I'd see any return, but that's the nature of gardening; to trust the future to exist and to be as hungry for interesting and beautiful things as now. My nasturtiums, the first seeds to come up this year, were blooming their fool heads off and my good king henry which is still tiny was bolting like crazy. My curry plant, which I was a little dubious about getting because I didn't want the smell to clash with my mints and oreganos and basils and lemon thymes and verbenas, has spiked up like summer icicles to flank the rusty blood reds of my coleus. I was hoping my jasmine would flower despite the shade. My horehound was tall and silver-furred and thriving. My mahoganies had got over their sunburn and were starting to put on leaves. My kale--

I write eulogies. When things end I come here and pour it out as if words could anchor something I desperately want to keep, as if they could hold it close to me in even a tattered and fragmentary way. My garden is not dead, it will never die; I am my garden and as long as I'm living I'll have plants that are my own in some fashion. My plants have not even all died. The painters and the roofers came by my garden last week, though, and I hadn't been out until today. I had to water; I couldn't put it off any longer, and--

it breaks my heart to write this. you're not a gardener, it may mean nothing to you. i want you to imagine a tomato stem snapped, though-- and the leaves are slightly wilted above the snap, curling around tiny green marbles that are the world's promise to you. i want you to imagine that a dozen times over. can you see it? do you know the smell of tomato leaves? it was such a late year, and you weren't sure the tomatoes would make it, but they did their best for you, and now this.

i want you to imagine a deep footprint-- all your soft soil in pots had never been trampled, and so when the boot sunk into it it must have sunk ankle deep, and there at the bottom of the pit of the footprint is your good king henry, still alive, leaves snapped off but still valiantly sending a seed stalk up out of the shadow of the foot-shaped pit it now calls home.

i want you to imagine three tiny pots of wolfberry, miniscule shrubs with little straplike leaves, that you had prepared yourself to nurture for years just to see what happened-- broken, black, tossed over sideways, no green left on them.

...or the horehound, silver fur on black snapped twigs.

...or the curry plant, broken over to the root.

...or your begonias, your luminous huge useless beauties that used to catch your eyes when you were typing and just hold you entranced for half an hour at a time, flowers shaken off, branches broken here and there, leaves hanging by strips of skin.




Things will return. Even after the one good watering I gave and a few nights things will start to perk up, to regrow. Some plants are just dead though; others, like the tomatoes, have lost most of the crop for the year because there's no time to regrow that fruit before frost. Some are just bereft of their innocence and will take time to recover their dignity.

Still, I'm not laughing philosophically anymore. And I'm not looking forward to the evening anymore. So much for my home.

It's one of those days.

Deep Waters

Jul. 5th, 2010 08:25 pm
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I enjoy my life best when I feel it's a little out of my control, a little over my head, like I don't know what's going to jump out at me and like there's more happening than I can quite grasp or keep up with. It prevents me from seeking out more trouble to get into.

That's where I'm at right now. (Since my last trip to Iowa I have been in love with that turn of phrase- not 'that's where I am' but 'that's where I'm at.' Every single time I use it it makes me happy)

So, I have a lot going on. There are friends rushing into my life, most of whom I don't have time for because work is also rushing into my life, as is Angus and the Writer. Most days I beeline straight to my garden after work and after fifteen minutes there the world is singing.

Finally we have a day of sun-- they say it should be a week at least, which will double the number of sunny days we've had --and I think I might make it through this year despite the lack of sleep and free time. I am in some ways appalled at how much my mood is controlled by the weather -- where is room for my personality in that?-- but this is nothing you haven't heard before and so I've no need to go on at great length about it again.

My paper journalling is going marvellously well. I have written one pen dry and am working on the next. It feels good to be writing, and when I sit down here the words come out fluidly and easily. The reason I don't write everything here? Half privacy-- that's the lesser half, and I'd ignore it, but the greater half is some bastard hybrid of not wanting to spam everyone who reads this off the planet (we are talking several pages a day here) and not having a keyboard for my phone yet. I've been writing on paper, with a pen, and it brings back memories.

My garden is also gorgeous, though sadly behind-- it's been so cold, and it still is. If the sun doesn't pick up there will be no flowers.

I've been remembering to cook-- that's good. And I've been kissing rat bellies.

I've forgotten how to end an entry, because I haven't been ending them lately, merely blending one into the next. So, be well.


Jun. 5th, 2010 09:45 am
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Last night was KMM, or rather, KMN- Korean movie night at CrazyChris' place. The movie was 'I'm a Cyborg and that's Ok' and it was a lovely surrealist romp. Surrealism always makes me happy, movies that leave other people asking afterwards, 'but what actually happened? What was real there and what wasn't?' always sort of prove their own point to my mind; also my life *feels* like that, so there's a lot of validation I get there that I don't get from linear-chronological literally 'real' movies.

There were also a ton of people there, and it was cool. Beforehand CrazyChris was playing a game called 'God of War,' (the latest incarnation, can't remember which number it was) which, on his projector screen especially, was pretty epic. I don't know about the gameplay -- not my thing -- but I loved the way they successfully conveyed the scale of the, um, 'bad guys'. The PC was climbing up some of these gods, there were panning shots and pieces of him jumping from one limb to the other-- I was pleasantly impressed. Didn't see enough to be able to slag the story, the dialogue was painful but what's new, and I didn't touch a controller, so it was all good. Had a bit of a conversation the other night with the Writer while we were painting over video games as a story-telling medium-- always, in my mind, with a (vs roleplaying or vs timefiller/risk-reward-button-pusher) hanging onto some level of consciousness and so I'm watching this stuff with an eye to that.

Where was I going with this, though? Last night was nice. This morning was an honest-to-goodness morning off, nothing I need to do by noon or 4 or anything, so it was lovely to wake up and go straight to, well, to setting up my altar, to be honest. Somewhere in the last couple of years I've caved, gone from calling it a focal space to an altar, but it has accumulated a weight of holiness in that time too. Yeah, I'm throwing these big words around, and I'm comfortable with that, but you can rest assured that whatever you think I mean, it's probably wrong. In any case, my house feels homier now.

Then I went out into the garden and used up the last of my potting soil getting the tomatoes into big permanent homes. I'm eying a weedy corner of the yard for a couple of extra tomato plants and a couple of extra zucchini plants, and maybe even some okra-- don't want to disturb the chickweed completely there but I can plant through it I think. Better set out transplants rather than direct seeding though.

Now: breakfast. Whee!


Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:40 pm
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These things will join my garden shortly. Can you say experimental margarita and tea season? It will increase the varieties of thyme I have to 4, as well. I have two existing types of mint. I have two other types of oregano.

S1277 basil, anise - $2.5
P2950 good king henry - $3
P4005-500 mint, banana - $4
P4015 mint, ginger - $3
P4018 mint, grapefruit - $4
P4019-480 mint, marshmallow - $4
P4019-900 mint, wintergreen - $4
P4025 mint, mojito - $6
P4030-800 mint, veriegated peppermint - $4
P4019-800 mint, pear $4
P4019-370 mint, cotton candy - $4
P4019-450 mint, margarita - $4
P4019-400 mint, sweet citrus - $4
P6465-800 thyme, orange spice - $6
P6465 (perhaps something is missing in the number) thyme, nutmeg - $4
P3340 horehound - $3
P4315-300 italian oregano - $4
S1283-300 mrs burns lemon basil - $2.5
P7003 yarrow, mongolian - $4
P6925 chinese wolfberry - $9/3

From Space

Apr. 27th, 2010 08:25 am
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Oh look, a keyboard. It feels so good to have this blank page in front of me. In my teens, when I wrote on paper, there was an electric sort of feeling to an empty page when I sat down to it; if I hadn't written in awhile it was especially compelling. Now I have that same feeling with my old laptop brick and notepad open; this'll end up on lj through a momentary tether, but right now there's no internet on this thing and that makes it somehow as desireable as blank paper, and my fingers remember how to write this way more easily than on paper nowadays.

It's been a long time. It's been a long time since I had a whole day which, though there are things in it (returning rats from quarantine, breakfast with a friend, maybe taking Angus to Kick-Ass the movie) had many white spaces in which I could pour myself out into words.

You often read that an ecologist, or a permaculturalist, is interested more in the relationships between things than in the things themselves. That's me, alright. That was my relationship to writing. I want to go into some detail on my relationship to people, especially when it involves kink and sex, and then my relationship to relationships. The word 'poly' has been popping up more and more often in my life again, and that can take some exploring.

You know, really the thing about caring about people is that your loyalties are by definition divided. I never did get the hang of that. I'm a perfectionist. It's only in the last two or three years that I realised that not only is it not possible for one person to be there for someone absolutely all the time, but that it's okay. I
've also learned, more and more, that I'm very good at being there for myself. I know what I want more than most people most of the time, I'm good at delivering, I generally am a good and sympathetic listener, and I know when I want to problem-solve or when I just want to hold myself and have a good cry.

In the last three years, since I got together with Angus initially, I've become more and more self-reliant. I don't know why I chose this time for it; maybe after Bob taught me that it was okay for someone to love me without divided loyalties, without being a jerk or unreliable, I figured out that I was worth it. Then Angus came along, and although it's not the only factor his illness is a big contributor to finding my own feet. Sometimes you just can't lean on someone, and if the choice is to find someone to lean on or to stand on your own, well-- look, here's a choice I've made in favour of my own feet for once.

I've been spending time with people again-- it's been awhile since my social calendar has been this dense, ditching my commute to North Van was a very good idea and leaves me with a lot more freedom. More to the point, I've been liking people again. They're no longer something I do because I'm supposed to, instead they're something I enjoy. I've done all this stuff lately-- rat show, spring mysteries, movie nights and imprompteau get-togethers and even, god forbid, dating and playing a little. And maybe it's because I have the time, maybe it's because I'm not completely burnt out and run down to the end of my energy, but these people are beautiful again, and many for the first time to my eyes.

I don't know what to do with it, because it's been so long. I'm sure if I Walked around saying, 'you know, you're completely awesome' I'd get slapped or something, and it wouldn't convey the point anyhow. It may be that, like any other kind of love, this is one of those inexpressible things, and I have to get used to that. It may be that, like any other kind of love, it wears itself a comfy groove and only rises up in sharp waves sometimes. It may be only a temporary feeling for me.

It's a good feeling, though. You know, I like liking people.

And that leads me into peril, a little bit. I've been sex goddessing lately (ovulation has not helped). I haven't been sleeping enough and I want to sleep less. I have things I need to maintain in my life that don't involve people. I have things I like to do that don't involve people. I don't want these things to fall by the wayside.

Oh, divided loyalties, you of all things I had not missed.

Last night I was at a table, and I used the word poly, and suddenly I was in a storm of questions. The night before I was at a movie, and I was doing some very light play with a guy, and I realised I was not in a poly context but his girlfriend was right there and it seemed to be okay so I was just running with it. Both situations are a little weird for me. I have definitely left the poly primary/secondary/tertiary jargon-thick world behind. I don't want to spend much time with people whose major hobby is poly, and that's basically the thing that takes up all their free time. I adore spending time with people who love something so much that they get off their asses and do it. At the same time I'm very verbal and analytical and I want a check-in in that direction most of the time.

All complicated, of course, by still loving the seduction, and by having my dance card overflowing at the moment.

Speaking of dance cards, and of people, and situations and of loving, I have a situation on my hands. I'm a little hesitant to write about it, it's a situation I walked into with open eyes, and it's pretty stable-seeming just at the moment. It's completely a contributing factor to my emotional peaks and troughs lately, in some shape or another it was inevitable, you're just gonna laugh and say 'well, duh' when I finally come out with it.

Which I won't do just now. Soon, but not now.

Suddenly I'm in less of a mood to write about my plant-sale booty (Eva, I have an Eva's Purple Ball tomato plant for you this year!) (oh wait, did I mention the PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS I got?) (okay, maybe plants really can take my mind off anything) or about how much I'm looking forward to Gavin getting here for good finally, or about watching Angus getting his feet wet in this area, or how wonderful it feels to have a home with my bed in it again, or how I'm getting back to sewing a bit, or how I have some good rats right about now. Well, okay, the plant thing really did lift my mood.

I'm gonna find some breakfast and a shower. I may well write more later today. The page is full now, and it felt good. Then again, maybe I'll go down to the stanley park swings and wade in the ocean in the rain.

Possibilities are opening up in my life. It is delicious.


Sep. 27th, 2009 07:03 pm
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One of my brothers is in bad trouble. In London. In a psychiatric ward.

I got to the bookstore at 5:01 to pick up my reserved books, they had closed at 5.

I work tomorrow, it won't rain much.

I have some kickass brothers.

My mom's garden, which I helped her plan some, looks kickass, especially my evergreen purple kale hedge (now 2 1/2' tall) seperating the "ornamental" part from the "veggie" part. I was obviously a little ahead of the design curve cause this fall nurseries are selling the exact same kale at maybe a foot and a half high for six or seven dollars each, as ornamentals. Go Greenie edible landscaping powers!

There may be rat babies soon.

I bought a bunch of pots for Angus' deck today at the nursery. I spent a bunch of hours there, wandering and compaaring, and this is gonna look really good. Resume quality. Looking forward to getting them home and planting them up. I love fall nursery sales. LOVE.

Angus feels nice and smells nice. I mean, he generally does, but I've been noticing it a lot lately. Snuggly.

I am quite happy with my garden.

I love my rats lots.

Lady Luck, the traumatically-produced baby of Corn Pops' difficult litter, won best in show marked kitten.

I am almost out of good books to read, but have a bunch under my belt.
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My spinach is up. My radishes are up. My arugula, mustard greens, and kohlrabi is up. Some of my salad mixes are up. Waiting mostly on chard and lettuce. It's supposed to be hot this week, which should help make up for the late start.

I need to do the back garden.

I'm not sure if I'm being discussed with or baited on the lj vancouver community. Be interesting to see shortly.

Now for housecleaning!


Sep. 19th, 2009 05:54 am
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100-Meter Diets, Gardens, and Food Security in the West End

A creative evening with Robin Wheeler (Edible Landscapes) for apartment dwellers on Vancouver’s downtown peninsula


7 to 8:45 pm, September 28, 2009


Gordon Neighborhood House, 1019 Broughton Street
(Between Nelson and Comox. Venue tel. 604-683-2554)


Robin Wheeler teaches traditional skills, sustenance gardening and medicinals at Edible Landscapes (, a nursery and teaching garden in Roberts Creek, British Columbia. She is the author of “Food Security for the Faint of Heart” and “Gardening for the Faint of Heart.”


Think about the 100-mile diet, farmers’ markets, community gardens, high food prices, sustainability, food safety, emergency preparedness…and you will understand why more and more people are interested in having healthy food grown close to home. Now there’s a buzz about the “100-meter diet.” But how much food can we grow for ourselves here in the West End of Vancouver?

In the first half, Robin Wheeler will cover various concepts from her book and experience—edible landscapes; food growing on apartment balconies and patios; ideas for sharing land, food, space, and time; food preservation/storage in apartments; and so on. In the second half, an open discussion will share information about issues in the West End. What’s already being done and who’s doing it? How can apartment dwellers get more space to grow food? What frameworks and support systems exist? Can these ideas somehow help low-income families? What problems and opportunities exist? Entrance by donation ($5 recommended). A report will be prepared afterwards, so please contact us if you can’t attend but would like to know the outcomes.


Green Millennium Foundation (

West End Residents Association (

greenstorm: (Default) that I'm actually a dad. A 50's dad.

I mean, aside from body-and-sex stuff, think about it. I love working outdoors, with my hands, and to be honest I'm not sure I could stand the... prissiness? PCness? Gingerliness? ...of an office work environment. I like to cook... when I feel like it... and the rest of the time I want someone to have something waiting for me. For recreation I putter in the garden and mow the grass. I want kids, but I don't want to stay home with them for multiple years. I love the feeling of being the breadwinner. When I come home from work, I want space and decompression time for a bit, then I want attention.

Come to think of it, who wouldn't want to be a 50s dad?

I spent some time yesterday and a bit of time today in the front yard. It's tolerable now. I hadn't touched it since I moved in. There were box hedges that needed clipping, buttercups everywhere, and a vacant veggie bed that a roommate had put in but not planted. Everything is planted now, some evergreens are shifted to the front ornamental bit, most of the weeding is done. I'm hoping we have a good warm indian summer so my greens get a good start on the winter.

Backyard is still a mess. Bleh. I'll deal with that some other day.

My rats love me. Knight keeps hurting himself, first the broken foot and now I think a bite/abcess. Vet time for that boy.

Got some more pairs of rats on the go. Seriously, who thought it would be so hard to make rats get pregnant? We must have put twenty pairs together this summer and got a total of seven babies from two litters. I mean, what?

Oh well. Updated the website, always good. Feeling a bit better; this weekend was all about throwing up for an unknown reason. Did some pickaxing today, which made me feel better emotionally, but my body could use some rest.
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Garden additions:
-3 pawpaws: PA Golden, NC-1, and Sunflower.
-1 camellia sinensis (tea) that I didn't have before-- not a teabreeze, but with larger leaves
-1 rhododendron decorum from VanDusen gardens, huge and leggy. I am a sucker for fragrant rhodos.
-1 rhododendron 'cotton candy'. Did I mention that I'm a sucker for fragrant rhodos?
-Several leggy/interestingly shaped rhododendron intricatum for a bonsai birdbath installation I'm considering
-2 kaffir lime plants
-5 varieties of scented geranium: attar of roses, orange, fingerbowl lemon, peppermint lace, and Aardwick cinnamon
-1 viola odorata (cause why not?)
-2 'orchid cactus'
1 tattoo
1 day lost to sleep
1 brain, MIA after tattoo
I must buy myself some scented daylilies too. Also my garden is organised and I'm most of the way through Things Fall Apart which I highly recommend to anyone living.

Now to get lunch together for tomorrow's work. Sitting down is still kinda iffy.

Nice solid day spent napping while Angus played computer games. You know, I used to do that sort of thing all the itme; now it makes me feel vaguely guilty the whole time.
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Yesterday was seedy saturday at VanDusen. As per the event, I spent more money on seeds and plants than I had, but less than I would have liked to. I really need to save up for this a month or three in advance next time. I keep telling myself that, then something comes up--- spring mysteries, a snowstorm, a rat show.

I've got seeds for ten varieties of tomatoes, pawpaw seeds, black elderberry cuttings, an american chestnut tree, a hops vine, some peas, some golden purslane seeds, a new variety of ground cherry (called Cossack Pineapple!) and that's about it. Everything else I already have from last year-- and in the ground they will go soon. Yay!

I should see if I can track down a grant for starting a small business and get myself a light table. The tomato plants already have buyers (fingers crossed as to their quality).

Internet continues to feel like a waste of time and be kind of annoying to get to, but I have updated my rat website, so that's good. Babies, in two or three weeks, we're hoping.

Mood swings held in check by biking lots and eating right. When I fall off the wagon, it all goes to hell-- until I next need to bike commute somewhere. Angus is patient with me thus far, which is good.

It's been the driest winter ever. This is totally ridiculous. This summer the lower mainland is going to be a desert unless we get a lot of water coming down over those mountains in the next two months or so. I'vw worn my raingear twice in the last two months-- in winter. I work nearly every day. Go figure.

There are pigeons nesting on my deck. I don't know what to do about that one-- except hope theyll be fledged by the time I need the space for tomatoes.
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Designing the Potager Garden looks awfully cool, plus it overlaps with the ID course I wanna take by only two days, and never on the same day. Hrm.

I went out and bought houseplants today. This was officially the first day of the new year as far as I'm concerned. We're lucky in Vancouver-- we're given spring days in the middle of winter to remind us that spring is really honestly coming. We get them by exchanging them for snowy days in march, but hey, it's better to have a couple of these days in winter when you really need them anyhow.

Chinese New Year parade coming up on Feb 1st. Who else is coming?


Nov. 2nd, 2008 09:04 am
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Looks like I'll be working for Grant Watson of Gourmet Gardens. Not sure how many days per week, etc. You know a job interview goes well when it ends with a hug. I may well end up a mostly-bike edible gardener. W00t!


Oct. 26th, 2008 10:34 am
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Well, that kept me busy.

School, work, school, a shift bussing tables at the Blarney Stone, farmer's market, making a worm bin, making food, and back here. Want me to tell you a not-so-secret? I like mothering people, and although there are really sucky things about Angus being sick and about him being gone Sundays, I kinda got off (to use the figurative) on making him a day's worth of food for his trip this weekend. Every time he eats in the states, no matter what it is, he gets sick-- and he's already had a long bad run. So...

And that done, I can make a bacon-chard-kale fry-up in peace, catch up on teh internetz0rz, and then head off to make mom a compost bin for her guerilla community garden for a class project this afternoon.

I spent every cent of my bussing money on either the worm bin or the farmer's market: caught the last of the grapes, shrivelled a little from frost and so so tasty; salmon, smoked and sashimi grade coho; sushi tuna; greens; goat gouda; apple-pears; pears; quince for thanksgiving; purple potatoes for mashing; hugs from Tillie; happy.

There's a farmer's market on the 8th and 22 of November, so I'll get my huge-ass blue Hubbard squash and whatever else I need for thanksgiving then; I'm thinking a box of apples for eating and apple-cranberry sauce, a box of pears for cooking with (poached pears make me quiver), a pumpkin or two for soup and pie, and whatever else looks good (mashed potatoes, roasted root veggies...) This will be a very local thanksgiving. There'll be some orange peel, some rice (maybe wild rice from Canada if I can swing it) but it'll be more-or-less all BC produce. That is exciting.

Gaia has surprise cancer. It's all through her abdomen and chest. She just wound down over the course of a couple of days, and now she's having some trouble breathing and very little energy; she won't last long. Meanwhile Sunday is doing great. Both are eating, though, and nearly took my finger off when I offered avocado last night. Um, obviously I mean Gaia the rat rather than the mystical/ecological concept?

Also: I cannot for the life of me remember the name of this one Cowboy Junkies song, and it's driving me crazy. Can't remember any lyrics from it to look it up. Hate that.

Oh well, off to life.
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I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I think you'd really like it, [ profile] _greenwitch_ and [ profile] cz_unit. Both of you are going through something of that type right now. It's not as hokey and whatever as the title suggests.

I'm also taking my organic master gardener class. The demographic is incredibly diverse. There are lifetime landscapers, hippies, and IT people and accountants and wedding photographers. People are taking it for professional reasons or because they want to grow a bit of food at home. The teacher says, looking a bit worried, "everyone seems to be interested in food gardening. That isn't the focus of this course, though we may be developing one for next semester..."

The course meets a couple or a few times a week, but a huge amount of work is done online. There are no paper handpouts; they're all online. The slideshows that go with her lectures: all online. I am relatively amazed.

So far there is some preaching (a fair bit in the text, none by the teacher, some by one particular voluble student), some things I know, and some things I (!!!!) don't know already (!!!!). This means I get to (!!!!) learn things about gardening (!!!!) and sometimes hang out with gardeners, including the crew of landscaper kids taking the residential landscaper course next door. They're actually all about my age next door, with a wide range in my own course where there are a bunch of people in their 40s and some in their 50s. Some are white people. Some speak english okay, with two people of evident Korean descent and a bunch of random other "asians" (to those that don't live in Vancouver: my city is about 50% Asian). There's one student and everyone else, um, works for a living. Some know things abotu gardening. Some have no idea. One of the Koreans is beautifully spoken.


It will work better when I finally get my laptop. I'm thinking of going miminalist, with one of the little mini-things like the Asus eees -- anyone got any advice on those?

I don't have time to talk about people, but I am very happy. I <3 Angus, and that's that. My coworker is awesome, my mom is awesome, my family is awesome, and Angus' dad makes me feel like a very shy 3-year-old.

Whew. Off to class.


Sep. 17th, 2008 08:20 am
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Things go well. Potentially taking the organic master gardener course in Burnaby ( Crush on a boy. Smooth happy sailing with Angus with the occasional healing angst-day that doesn't get in the way. Biking to work many days a week. Soul-destroying maintenance at work gave way to a fun cleanup with chainsaws this week. My life is working well. Lots of baby rats. Mouse on the deck ate all my green tomatoes. Sorta solitudinous. Friends one-by-one. Making T'ej (ethiopian honey wine) and sauerkraut and ginger beer. The wine is bubbling away, the beer bottles pressurizing nicely. One head of cabbage shrinks down tiny when you make sauerkraut, you know?


greenstorm: (Default)

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