Tulip Surprise


I’m a sucker for those value packages of fall planting bulbs, especially when they are sold by colour, being of course – purple.  I bought two packages last fall.  With those packages you never know what you are going to get, they are just a mix.  A pleasant surprise this spring, beautiful two toned tulips in the front yard.

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Admirael van der Eijck from the 1637 catalog of P.Cos., sold for 1045 guilders on February 5, 1637

The introduction of the tulip to Europe in the late 1500’s created quite a stir and within a few decades the tulip became a coveted luxury item.  At one point the price of certain tulip bulb in a much sought after variety cost 10 times the yearly wage of a skilled labourer.   Developed mainly in the United Provinces (The Netherlands) it became a status symbol which resulted in Tulip Mania.

The Canadian Tulip Festival occurs every May in Ottawa, a display of millions of tulips blooming in brilliant colour.  It was initiated in response to the birth of a baby girl during World War II.  In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in the Second World War.

The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of international territory, so that she would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother. To commemorate the birth, the Canadian Parliament flew the Dutch flag over Peace Tower. This is the only time a foreign flag has flown over the Canadian Parliament Building.  In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.  While the Netherlands continues to send 20,000 bulbs to Canada each year (10,000 from the Royal Family and 10,000 from the Dutch Bulb Growers Association), by 1963 the festival featured more than 2 million, and today sees nearly 3 million tulips purchased from Dutch and Canadian distributors.

Tulips are the only flower that continues to grow in the vase after being cut. They can continue to grow up to another 3 inches. They also conform to the shape of the container, straight up if in a tall container, twisting to fit into a flat or irregular shaped vase.

The ancient Turks used to brew a love potion from tulips and many cultures consider tulips to be the symbol of perfect love.

In the early 1700s, A Turk by the name of Sultan Ahmed III was the first to begin importing bulbs from Holland. But it proved a fatal attraction. When Sultan Ahmed was brought to trial, his crimes included “having spent too much money on the traditional annual tulip festivals”. The sentence: He was beheaded.

In Japan, certain flour is made from tulips.

In times of famine the Dutch have eaten tulip bulbs when no other food was available.

Hans Gillisz. Bollongier, Flower Piece, Frans Hals Museum, 1644. The top flower was always the most expensive one and in this bouquet it is the tulip Semper Augustus.

William Morris 1875 design printed on cotton

Of course, a nod to my favourite arts and crafts artist, William Morris.

The tulip and the butterfly
Appear in gayer coats than I:
Let me be dressed fine as I will,
Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still.
~Isaac Watts

Tulips


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Lamott is an unstoppable storyteller, whether writing about church-going with a sullen adolescent or reconciling with her late mother. She rages against the Iraq war but takes comfort from her sage-like Presbyterian minister, who says faith is not about how we feel it is about how we live. … Rule 1 We are all family. Rule 2 You reap exactly what you sow, that is, you cannot grow tulips from zucchini seeds. Rule 3 Try to breathe every few minutes or so. Rule 4 It helps beyond words to plant bulbs in the dark of winter. Rule 5 It is immoral to hit first.
Anne Lamott

Garden Firsts


We have lived in this house for four cycles through spring now.  I love this house, and the beautiful flower garden has been an added blessing.  There has been a little apple tree in the back yard since we moved it, this is the first spring it has bloomed, and bloomed beautifully.

DSC_0113Three falls ago I planted alium bulbs.  I suspect the area is too dry for them, the leaves have turned brown before the buds have developed.  This is the first spring there has been an almost bloom.

DSC_0106One of my earliest memories of cultivated flowers at the farm is of the beautiful common irises my great-grandmother planted.  A member of the congregation graciously gave me some rhyzomes last spring.  I love their deep purple colour.DSC_0105

Finally, and this is not actually a first, but a surprise.  The first spring we were here the tulips that greeted the warmth were yellow and orange (not my favourite colour palette).  I dug them all up and gave them away to who ever wanted them.  Gradually I replaced them with purple and white.  This spring, three years later, this is what I get, volunteers, or maybe I should say escape artists.  Surprise!

DSC_0114Isaiah 61:11   For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

 

Purple, Purple and really Purple


Last fall I planted over fifty tulip bulbs.  I was rather disappointed with how they displayed the spring before.  It must have been a good winter for them because even the bulbs from the previous year bloomed this.  My favourite are the Queen of the Night.

DSC_0075 DSC_0081 DSC_0086I spent most of the morning in the garden, planting potatoes, peas, onions and garlic.  We are not going over board this year.  I might add some carrots tomorrow.  That will be determined by the amount of rain we receive overnight.  We are currently under a severe rain warning.  Last time one was issued, all the low areas were flooded.  It was a laugh to see the flag on the ninth hole of the local Golf and Country club waving bravely from the middle of a lake.

I hope you are all enjoying your Victoria Day.

The Liberal Arts: An Education in Cattle Raiding


So grateful for my liberal arts education. More history please!

Reflection and Choice

Cuchulain in Battle

A few days ago, I was trying to convince the freshmen and sophomores in my Western-Civilization survey to sign up for my upper-level class in the fall. The upper-level class will cover the history of Late Antiquity, roughly the years 250 to 750. We’ll talk about the fall of Rome, the rise of the church, and the formation of the medieval kingdoms of Europe. It’s going to be awesome.

In order to pique their interest, I told the class that we would be reading the Táin Bó Cúailnge. The book recounts an epic cattle raid in Ireland. That’s right, a cattle raid. I like to think of the Táin as the Iliad of the north. The queen of Connacht steals the Brown Bull of Cooley (he’s an exceptionally fine bull), and the men of Ulster have to get him back. It’s epic; it’s heroic, it’s awesome.

I was passionately…

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Springtime Traditions


DSC_0967Treasured childhood memories for spring is the burning of grass around the edges of the fields and out buildings.  It was an event that we looked forward to with high anticipation.  Dad taught us all the ‘safety’ procedures for burning – starting a line of fire downwind, carrying a shovel, waiting until the wind died down and knowing there would be a heavy dew that night.  We would put on our oldest spring jackets, our Ukrainian ballet slippersindex and out we headed with dad in the lead.  He would start the fire and we would pull up hanks of long grass, twist it, touch it to the fire and then drag it long the edges of the fields to extend the burn line.  If the fire got too close to buildings or ran the risk of escaping, we would stomp out the fire.  That was much more exciting than using our shovels.  Just after dark we would return to the house, covered in soot and smelling of smoke, circles of fire on fields of black imprinted in our vision.  It was great.

April 26th was my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary.  Dad is 18 years older than my mom, and turned 91 this last December.  He had a minor stroke a year ago and has slowed down quite a bit.  My sister got the burning permit for spring refuse.  After dinner she walked the saluki and made the comment that the wind had died down and she was going to burn the ridge along the old garden.  I haven’t seen my father move that fast in over a year!  He was in his glory.  Ribs for dinner and grass burning after, the perfect anniversary.

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WIP Wednesday – Weekend


DSC_0910Holidays!  It’s an event packed weekend.  My parents are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.  My brother is turning 47 on the same day.  And Sunday my first grandbaby-daughter is being baptised into the family of God.

Today my two sisters, my parents and I traveled to visit my brother who lives 2 hours away from the Farm.  The day was filled with laughter, strange movie references “These are not the ‘droids you are looking for!”, stories that might have sounded like a kidnapping to someone evesdropping, “You are not listening to me.  I have the pizza.”, and twenty questions on the trip home that started conversations about food, bucket lists, places we’d been and a few tales out of school about school.  Nana, sisters M and N played Wii Dance Off 4 with nephews GR and Y. Even dad had a pretty good day.  Naturally we had to stop at Morden’s Chocolates for Russian Mints, Mixed Nut Brittle, bags of ‘seconds’ and Almond Crunch Clusters (I should have bought some of the latter…).

Pictured above is the quilt I am racing to finish by Sunday for my grand-daughter.  I am half done the binding as I type.  Cute, isn’t it?  Just like my A.A.E.P!

When it Rains, it Pours


It’s not raining at the moment, it’s snowing.  Grrrrr.  It is not pouring in a meteorological sense but a time management one.

It has been a crazy buzy week!  Three services in three days; a funeral on Friday, Holy Communion at the Presbytery Meeting on Saturday, and Sunday worship today.  The overwhelming workload of Lent/Easter is now behind me and hopefully things can get back to some sort of normalcy.  And holidays are scheduled for the end of the month!  Yahoo.

In the midst of it all, an unexpected honour came my way.  Esther, from ipatch, Made with bits of love! nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I actually had to consider, postpone it for a couple days, tickled by the honour, but realizing I really had no spare moment to attend to it properly.  The thought, “Big deal, you’re to busy to accept an internet award?!” is probably crossing your mind’s electrical impulses at this point.  A bit of explanation, the Liebster award comes with some strings attached, basically it is something of a blogger chain letter without a top of the pyramid, except that it can increase visits to your blog.  It also has a personal revelations component through answering questions asked by the nominator and provide some random facts about myself so that you, dear reader, might know me better.  Then, I’m to nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers, and similarly, ask them to answer my questions upon their acceptance.  I’ve had my liturgical nap, The Amazing Race is on, time to do some multi-tasking!

Esther’s questions

1. What music do you put on when driving?     I rarely listen to music when I drive, usually I listen to CBC radio

2. What colour clothes do you always buy?     I rarely buy clothes.  My sister has a clothing allowance and every six months she purges her closet and hands them up to me.  (I’m tickled over Esther’s proper spelling of ‘colour’) 😉

3.  What sound just “makes your day”?     When my darling say, “Good morning !”

4.  What trip would you like to make whenever you had the chance?     I long to go back to Scotland, baring that I’d settle for the east coast of Canada.

5.  Which artist inspires you?     I am in awe of the work of Quinton Hoover. I would love to try an art quilt in a similar technique.

Here are my nominees, in no particular order.  Well it is in an almost particular order, alphabetical!

JoTokla – an beautiful quilt block journey, some funny picts, and interesting historical posts

A Photographer’s Garden – amazing pictures, one can almost smell the fragrances

basildonkitchens – delicious, in a variety of ways

Blocks: 365 – a year’s journey in beautifully constructed quilt blocks

bloomingreverend – thought provoking theological insights along with great advice on another of my favourite things to do – Gardening

down to earth digs – another of my favourite gardening eplaces (I wish it were spring

lalinsocal – funny and creative

Novascotialocal’s Blog – remember how I answered the 4th question?

The Arts and Crafts Bungalow – because I would like to live in one

thegoodsmeller – because I need someone to live vicariously through

thrumyrunninglens – running and pictures, great combination since it offers someone I exercise vicariously through

My Questions for the Nominees

1.  How many jobs have you had and which did you like the most?

2.  What was your favourite school subject?

3.  What is number 1 on your bucket list?

4.  What do you wish you had more time for?

5.  Do you collect anything and if you do what?

Some Random Facts About Me

I love my husband with all my heart. Magic: The Gathering Elder Land Wurm (Quinton Hoover)  http://www.cardkingdom.com/catalog/item/10103

In case you didn’t figure it out, I’m Canadian.  I used to play Magic the Gathering: with my sons and their friends for entire weekends.  I owned a horse when I was in highschool and would ride with a girlfriend from a neighbouring farm every night after dinner when the weather was fine.  I have been a registered member of Where’s Willy, a Canadian currency tracking site since 2006.  I own hundreds of books and I have read most of them, some more than once (I’m not quite reconciled to my e-reader).  My first pet was a Cocker Spaniel.  Quilting is a new obsession, I had no intentions of it being the main topic of this blog, my first was cross-stitching – started about 30 years ago.  My favourite Canadian author is Thomas King, Green Grass, Running Water is hilarious.

WIP Wednesday – Aunt Nancy’s Favourite


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I mentioned some time ago that I bought some Morris Apprentice fabrics intended for a quilt for my sister.  I was browsing through my pattern books and came across ‘Aunt Nancy’s Favourite’ in The Big Book of Patchwork – 50 Fabulous Quilts by Judy Hopkins.  Last night I finished the blocks.  It was truly satisfying working on these, each one unique.  I love the fabrics, 90% of them William Morris Inspired from three or four different series, and I think they lend themselves really well  to this design.  If my sibling is not as pleased, I’ll keep this one.

March Milestone


The day has been approaching gradually.  Today I Am with you always received its one hundredth follower

I am humbled and honoured that this little place of mine interests somebody at all.  In the beginning this was intended as a photo and ramblings e-diary.  For the most part it is fulfilling that role.  It continues to be a compilation of my favourite things and activities.  I am grateful for the opportunity, grateful to all of you for stopping in now and then to brush up against my life and draw me closer to yours.  God’s blessings upon you all, the peace of Christ be in your lives, and may a Spirit of holiness guide your steps.