New year ramblings.

I hope you’re enjoying the first week of 2014!  For me, it’s been a whirlwind of activity while I try to catch up on projects that should have been completed in 2013 (I truly put the “pro” in “procrastination”!).   I don’t understand how I can know about a writing deadline for weeks in advance and yet still scramble a day or even hours before the submission deadline to get the piece in on time.  I once read that panic begets creative spark…but I’m starting to think it just begets more panic.  If I made New Year’s resolutions (and I don’t, because someone would be sure to hold me to them and therefore suffer certain disappointment), I would resolve to tackle my projects in a less pressured atmosphere.

Ahem.  Who am I kidding?  Writing should be an extreme sport, filled with dangerous pitfalls (arrgghh, she’s out of caffeine!), ticking clocks (aka Deadlines of Doom), and immense struggle against overwhelming odds (restrictive word counts).

Or something like that.

I suspect my REAL resolutions for 2014 will be to practice more Shinrin-yoku, take up meditation, and make a few regular trips to the spa.  😉

While procrastinating taking a break on New Year’s Day, my hubby and I headed out to Paskapoo Slopes for a walk.  We really ought to have brought our snowshoes for the outing, as the snow was fresh and powdery and downright perfect.  We followed coyote tracks in the wooded areas, and even heard the yips of one somewhere out on the west ridge, near the ski hill.  It was one of those bright blue sky-vitamin D days, and once again I wondered why we humans don’t come with a built-in solar panel to trap and conserve sunshine for later use.




When we got back to the apartment after our walk, there was an e-mail waiting for me from a fellow community gardener.  She was bursting with excitement, having just placed her veggie seed order for the year.  I can’t think of a better way to spend January 1st, can you?  It made me think that I’m slow to the punch, though, and so I’ve since cracked all those seed catalogues of mine and gotten myself worked up about a few things I simply MUST HAVE even though I’m not sure I have any space for them.  Because we have shares in an excellent CSA program throughout the year, I’m going to focus less on greens and root veggies such as carrots and beets – we truly get them in abundance from the farm and there’s no need for me to grow more.  That leaves the door open for more herbs, I think…and Brussels sprouts.

Yeah, well, I opened up my trap in the middle of Christmas dinner this year and announced I was going to try to grow Brussels sprouts.  (My Mum had served them with her amazing rouladen and it got all of us to talking about our love/hate relationships with the little green brassicas).  My hubby, the Meatatarian, hates them with a passion usually reserved for…well…cabbages and beets, but I’m a huge fan.  They’re one veggie we never get enough of from the CSA share, so why not grow them myself?

Except…I don’t know if I have room.  They’re a big space-stealer, and I’ve already planted nearly half my plot with garlic (we won’t talk about how I got carried away with the garlic last fall).  Still, I feel committed and eager about giving them a go, so where there’s a will….

Plus, my plotmate at the community garden has some extra seed for ‘Jade Cross’ that she wants to share with me.  I think my fate is sealed.

What are your must-have seeds and plants for 2014?  Are you planning to try anything new?


  1. Love that blue sky. 😀 Planning in winter is so much fun. I’m giving up on most veggies, as I have found container gardening in a drought too much work with too little success. So more herbs and more flowers! ( I bought most of my seeds in the autumn sales! 😉 )

  2. Beautiful snow; I love looking at it on your blog, but prefer we don’t have any here! Brussel’s sprouts do take a lot of space and are best staked as they don’t like ‘rocking’. Cooked very quickly, less than 5 minutes and they’re perfect.

    • Thank you very much for the tips about Brussels sprouts, Christina – I’m looking forward to trying my hand at growing them! And you’re right, they should never be overcooked, they taste best that way.

  3. I’m with the Meatatarian – bleech. But I do like beets. Don’t worry, R, when we get together for the comic expo, you and I can sneak away and quietly arrange a little accident for all but one plant. Death to Brussels Sprouts!!

    • Okay, now that’s something I didn’t know about you – you won’t even eat them when they’re prepared straight from the garden, when they’re really, really, REALLY tasty? I can understand the grocery store ones…they’re bland and gross.

      Too funny – I have this image of you and the Meatatarian in the garden, laying waste to all the Brussels sprouts with swords or battleaxes or something…. 😉

  4. I’m looking forward to placing my seed orders, too, but haven’t even started getting that organized. I want to grow tomatillos this year. I’ve been successful in the past, but two years ago they were just duds. So I avoided them last season, and want to try again. They are just wonderful in a variety of southwestern recipes. Your snowy landscape is just beautiful. I think if I lived in that much snow i would be pouring over the seed catalogues and dreaming of spring. 🙂

  5. I LOVE brussel sprouts! I planted the red ones one year and I did not get them in the ground soon enough, so I ate the red leaves like cabbage-yum! I think sometimes when you do not have a lot of property you have to grow what you find hard to get from the Market/CSA…so you are correct about that! I grow a lot of kale because every time I would go to the farmer market they were sold out! I think that is why I started to grow more food on our city lot:-) What lovely pictures from a beautiful winter walk:-)
    ‘I wondered why we humans don’t come with a built-in solar panel to trap and conserve sunshine for later use” -lol…that would be GREAT!

    • Yay – someone who likes Brussels sprouts! Everyone definitely seems divided on the taste, but I think they’re amazing right out of the garden! 🙂 What are your favourite ways to eat them? Do you just steam them and add a little salt and pepper and butter? YUM!

  6. Hard to beat a winter stroll on Paskapoo Slopes. Have a great 2014 growing season. Your husband and I share the same view on Brussel Sprouts 🙂 Thanks for sharing your vast horticultural knowledge. Mine is only half vast.

    • I love heading out to Paskapoo, we’re always finding new parts to explore. It’s so beautiful there, it’s a shame they plan to develop more of it. Hopefully they won’t take too much of the area away from walkers and cyclists.

  7. Gorgeous photos, especially the first, looks like a beautiful place to walk. We rarely get snow of that magnitude in Tennessee – would be nice to have sometimes!

    • Thanks so much!

      LOL it’s nice to have all the snow for the first couple of months or so, but when it drags into Month Five or Six, it loses its lustre a bit! Luckily, we’re only in Month Three right now… 😉

  8. Great photos, great post, I laughed out loud and when it comes to New Years resolutions…well I think you make those again and again…I find that very helpful;0) I do not know what to do garden wise yet…since I am going back to school I probably have to keep it low key.
    And yes…stick to the garlic! Brussels Sprout really do not deserve any attention at all! xoxox Johanna

    • LOL oh you’re a Brussels sprouts hater! They’re definitely not a veggie that people sit on the fence with – you either love them or not! 🙂 I’m really hoping all my garlic comes up, even if I did get carried away…I use it all the time so the more, the merrier!

      You’re going back to school – that’s exciting! What are you planning to study?

  9. One of the wonderful things about seed ordering this time of year is the ability to dream big 🙂 Take on those brussel sprouts and who knows what can come next! I’m branching out into beans this year, I received some interesting heritage varieties that I’m going to test.

  10. Put the Pro in procrastination! hahaha – I’m going to steal that line for myself! 🙂 Good luck on your brussels sprouts. I grew them once – I love them – but the aphids took over before I realized it (should have kept a better eye on them), so I ended up just burning them. 😦 I hope yours do better. Yum, yum. I may have to try growing them again!

  11. Pretty post! Rock on with the Sprout Love them in my scrambled eggs yum what a yummy way to start the day!!!! I can not wait to open my first package of seed and watch them grow in the living room 🙂

      • I have tons of frozen ones just for my breakfasts 🙂 I thaw 5 or 6 out and slice in half add a egg and a splash of water 45 sec. in microwave then stir add a slice of cheese and another 20 sec and a protein filled breakfast is ready I switch it up with yogurt mornings and oatmeal starts on WW I learned to think out of the box 🙂 must get my 5 to seven servings of veggies and fruits in 🙂

  12. First of all, I love your header. Ah yes, winter landscapes are gloriously beautiful to photograph. It has been so snowy and icy here in Michigan, I have been indoors more than usual. I miss being outside. And, when you live in wintery spots, we may as well embrace its beauty. It makes spring all the more special and anticipated. Cheers, Margie

  13. Brussel Sprouts have a bad reputation – because no-one ever cooks them properly! And more importantly most people don’t harvest them quite right!. Brussel sprouts are a cool weather loving plant – leave ’em in your garden for as long as possible in the fall. Wait until a light frost hits them and enjoy the best tasting sprouts ever! Best is tossed in oil, salt and pepper and oven roasted. Oh that is autumnal heaven!

    Love your blog! Thanks for the visit to my blog and showing me the way back here to enjoy a good browse!

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