Sunday, September 25, 2011

Balcony Garden: Rookie Season Wrap Up

Even though it's toasty warm in Edmonton right now, with all the leaves changing colour and falling, it's hard to deny it's Fall. That means it was time to 'clean up' most of my balcony garden for the season.

There were tons of ladybugs on my balcony - keeping my aphids in check!

Here's a run down of what I planted, and how it turned out:

Swiss Chard - Of everything I planted this year, the swiss chard was the winner. It grew. And grew. And grew. And is still growing! I ate swiss chard four times a week for almost three months! Now there's return on investment! I'm darn sick of it though, and am trying to give away the rest of it. I can't bear to eat it anymore. I will definitely plant it again, though this time I'll plant half as much. I haven't tossed it yet, and expect to have chard for another couple weeks at least.

Strawberries - What a waste of effort. Out of the five little plants I had, I only got a handful of strawberries. I guess I need a yard to get a good bounty of strawberries. I wont plant these again.

Scarlet Runner Beans - My beans grew tall, wound their way around my balcony railing, and generally looked lovely with their green leaves and bright red blossoms. Likely due to planting them in too shallow a pot, I didn't get any beans. Or so I thought. As I was pulling down the wilted and dried vines I found three beans that had grown in the back, out of sight! They were too big and tough to eat, but look what I found when I opened the pods:


What lovely coloured beans! I should've left them in the pod to dry, but since there wasn't really enough to bother eating, I tossed them on a shelf to dry for no purpose but to look at their lovely colour. I've got left over seeds, so I'll plant these again next year just for railing cover, but doubt I'll buy more seeds to continue planting after next season.

Garlic Chives - These ended up growing out of control! I did spend some time drying a ton after cutting down the plant, but ended up tossing them in the end due to probable mold. Oh well, I wouldn't have used them anyways. My plant survived it's hair cut and is still growing more chives. Which I probably wont eat. It looks nice, but since I didn't really end up eating too many I doubt I'll plant this next year. I might try winter the plant though, just for funnsies.

Zucchini - The second place winner after the chard, I really enjoyed eating mini zucchinis on my pizzas this summer. My plant grew large, but then succumbed to powdery mildew. I'm not sure if it was the mildew, but half my zucchinis were uneatable because they shrivelled up before I could pick them. This might be due to the soil, or poor fertilization? Regardless, I still definitely got my moneys worth. I'll miss the zucchini too. I will definitely plant zucchini next year, maybe even two plants!

Blueberry - My blueberry bush didn't really do much. I never got more blueberries, though there are still some left from whatever was on the plant in the first place. It did grow one new branch. And that's it. I'm going to try winter the bush, and if it survives great, and if not I wont bother with blueberries again.

Lavender - Finally my lavender was growing, and actually producing a flower, and then I brought it in due to frost warning, and it got caught up in my latest condo crisis, and now is dying. Oh well, I wanted to try winter it but will probably toss it unless it bounces back. I probably wont grow this next year; I'm not sure why I did in the first place. Probably because I wanted it to smell nice, but in the end, well, whatever. It looked nice while it lasted.

Basil - The third place winner of the season, I will certainly miss putting fresh basil on everything. I brought it in due to frost warning and intended to make pesto with what was left, but it also got caught up in my condo crisis which rendered it inedible, so I'm going to have to toss the plant. Before though, I think I'll cut it back and see if I can get anything to grow. I will definitely plant this next year, maybe two varieties, or at least another herb plant or two also.

Peppermint - Another pointless plant, my peppermint ended up surprising me with how pretty it grew. I was going to dry it to make tea, but again it got caught in the condo crisis and now is not edible. I'm going to cut it back and dry what's left for nice smelling drawer inserts or something, and maybe it'll grow back. I'm going to try winter it. If it doesn't survive I probably wont plant it next year, though I will plant other herbs.

Flowers - Surprisingly, I enjoyed having the flowers around on my balcony. I might plant some next year, but want to fit a chair and table out on the balcony next year, so we'll have to see if the flowers will fit next year.

Right now I've still got a few plants that I've cut back on my balcony, plus the swiss chard. I am going to try winter the blueberry bush, peppermint, and probably chives. Other than that all that's left for me to do is wash out all my containers and plan for next year!! Who knew I'd enjoy gardening so much! I am already looking forward to growing more food next summer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

#Curling Team Shake Up

Often considered the first event of the curling season, The Shoot-Out started today at the Saville Centre here in Edmonton. I might try take in a game Saturday or Sunday, but if I do I'll be seeing a few new faces, and a few new teams because over the summer there was quite the curling team shake up!

Here's a recap:

  • Mark Nichols left team Gushue (to become a PC candidate). Team Gushue now consists of Brad back at skip (no more Ferbey!), Ryan Fry at third. Geoff Walker (from AB) at second and Adam Casey (from PEI) at lead. It'll be interesting to see what happens for NFLD playdowns.
  • Blake McDonald left team Koe. Pat Simmons is in at third. Again, we'll see what happens for AB playdowns.
  • Richard Hart retired, and Wayne Middaugh will replace him on team Howard.
  • Ferbey has a new team. Nedohin is back at 3rd, and Ted Appelman and Brendan Melnyk round out the team.
  • Jill Officer is pregnant!! She'll be taking some time off while Jennifer Clark-Roure and Joelle Sabourin fill in.
  • Cheryl Bernard has a new(ish) team. She'll be curling with Susan O'Connor, Lori Olson-Johns and Jennifer Sadler.
  • Jason Gunnlaugson is back! And Ferbey is NOT going to Russia as a coach.
  • Annie Lemay retired. I'm not sure what's up with team Larouche. There was something about Eve Belisle too, but I can't remember nor can I find the source.
  • Pierre Charette is joining team Reid.
  • Cathy O, Braden Moskowy, Steve Laycock and John Epping all have new teams, as does my favourite accent, David Murdoch from Scotland (which includes Eve Muirhead's brother and some very tight shirts!).

What/who did I miss? Did I get anything wrong? And why don't I ever hear about what's going on with the BC teams??

I also went through a curling team shake up. Team Sunday (open, me and 3 older guys) disbanded as our 3rd/skip went up to a competitive league, and our 2nd (who I'd curled with for awhile and quite enjoyed chatting to) moved to Calgary. I was on the club board, but since I lost my team and moved farther away, I resigned.

So I'm only at one club now, Jasper Place Curling Club (I'll be updating the website and Facebook page too!). My Team Tuesday (mixed) is getting back together - which I'm excited about because I enjoyed curling with and getting to know them better. It was always fun times.

And I'll be on a new team - Team Wednesday! And this will be my first time (except I spared one game last year) to ever play in a ladies league. I'm actually a bit scared. They use stop watches (which I kinda don't believe in) and I think I'm getting promoted to second (Yikes! There are reasons I always play lead!). But I'm excited about curling with my teammates and am probably most looking forward to joining this team and learning how to improve my game.

I'm also considering sparing for some Team Sundays. I'm not sure I'm skilled enough to spare, but it might be fun once in awhile.

Lot's of news - now let's start curling!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Music Monday: Kaleido Festival + Delhi 2 Dublin 2011

Last year I attended the Kaleido Family Arts Festival here in Edmonton specifically to see Delhi 2 Dublin. All the music was fantastic and it was a great night.

So I did it all again this past Saturday.

Kaleido is one of my favourite festivals. I'll admit I've only attended the main stage concerts, but I know there's more to it than that: art, theatre, and family fun. The best thing about Kaleido is it's about family, community, and good clean fun. In that respect it's quite unpretentious and I love that. It's for everyone, come as you are, have fun, leave happy. I hope that doesn't change as the festival grows.

Much to my surprise, Delhi 2 Dublin was headlining again this year! They had just played folk fest and it was awesome so I was really really looking forward to seeing them again at Kaleido.

As usual all the (mostly local) musicians were (mostly) fantastic and it turned out to be a wonder dancing-fool evening full of great tunes and excellent company. Take a look at the highlights:

Joel Lavoie - Francophone singer songwriter. I quite enjoyed his short set and would gladly see him live again.

The Secretaries - rockin' indie including Colleen Brown and Brassholes. It took me awhile to warm up to them, but in the end they were quite enjoyable. Just watching the brass guys do backup dancing was entertaining enough!

Cam Neufeld and Bali Panasar - celtic fusiony something or other. I enjoyed the music, but have no use for Vibe Tribe and their fire dancing.

Namori - jazzy drums. Their sound was different than what I thought and in the end quite repetitive.

Kita No Taiko - taiko drummers. They're always at Heritage Days too and I always enjoy their set. Unfortunately they weren't on the stage so were hard to see, but still put on a good show.

Delhi 2 Dublin - bhangra celtic dance party! They had the large crowd all on their feet dancing. What a good time! I always love letting out my hidden dancing fool!

Here's a sample of Delhi 2 Dublin's concert:

Kinda sad I couldn't figure out how to zoom in on my iphone video mode, but I'm quite happy at how the audio came out. And though you can't really see the band, it's quite fun to watch the crowd. We had so much fun.

I'm already looking forward to Kaleido next year. I hope Delhi 2 Dublin headlines again, but if not I'm sure it'll still be a fantastic night!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Photo Walk: Edmonton Corn Maze

One of my favourite must-dos of the summer is visiting the Edmonton Corn Maze. I love it. It's fun. It's exercise. It's fresh air. It's family friendly. It's the prairies. It's fun under the warm blue skies of summer when the corn is tall and green. It's fun in the fall when the corn is brown and crunchy underfoot. It's fun a night when it's all dark and spooky. It's just good times fun!

I love that it's not just a corn maze anymore. They've got pedal cars, a jumping pillow (think trampoline sort of thingy), haybale mountain, farm animals, sunflowers, a corn cob mini train, and a picnic area. There's also a food cart that serves the usual hotdogs/icecream/spudz/drinks but also fresh popcorn and yummy roasted ears of corn. All this is only 10mins. out of the city. Seriously, if I knew enough people who would go with me I would buy a season pass, but as it is I visit once a year.

Today some friends and I got lost in the corn maze. Here's some highlights: