Today I read an article titled “Why I won’t be Wearing a Remembrance Day Poppy.” It made me a think a little and it made me a little sad. I realize that some people will be angry with it as well. As a semi-rebuttal, I would like to state why I WILL be wearing my Remembrance Day Poppy.
Unlike the author, none of my family has a history in the Canadian military until the generation after mine (my niece). I have no direct ties to those we are intended to remember on November 11. My family does have a direct link to the WWII, however, as they were interned during a large chunk of it.
You might then ask, why would I want to wear a poppy essentially commemorating those that interned my family. This is NOT the reason for the poppy. The author of the article goes on to say:
“I’ve been wondering, though, why we need to wear a poppy at all. The line that I most often hear from friends and family is Lest We Forget, but honestly, who’s in danger of forgetting? In the wake of the First World War, which was supposed to be “The War To End All Wars”, it made sense to have a symbol to remember the bloodshed and violence. I mean, sure, if you’re not going to have wars anymore, then you definitely need something to remind of how awful and destructive they are; you need a shorthand to explain to yourself why you don’t ever want to go to war again, right?”
The line that bothers me is the “…honestly, who’s in danger of forgetting?” There are very few veterans of the great wars remaining. The movies, books and all the dramatizations are all that we do have left, as their memories will literally not be here any longer. As well, she states that she’s beginning to feel like the poppy has become a ‘tacit agreement’ to all of our military’s activities (Afghanistan etc.).
Despite what she may think, the members of our military do not go anywhere our government doesn’t send them. They are there because our government believes there is some reason for fighting, defending or aiding someone. If you disagree with the government, so be it, but do not forget that those men and women are there as our representatives and doing their jobs. Something admittedly few, including the author, are willing to perform. I don’t want to participate in harming anyone either.
To say, “I’m shocked by its (the military culture’s) enthusiasm for tactics and weapons that seem frightening beyond comprehension.” is naive. If they weren’t enthusiastic about tactics or weapons, how would they perform their jobs? Even the least violent would agree that sending troops into any situation without knowing their equipment or that of their opponents as well as their strategies is fatal and grossly incompetent.
Next, she is tired of seeing the memes about refraining from hanging Christmas decorations, selling Christmas stuff before Remembrance Day because it is not dishonouring veterans, it is the Legion trying to ‘shame’ and manipulate folk about what they put up at their private residences. To those who would refute this by saying, ‘you have the freedom to have Christmas due to veterans,’ she says that if the Nazis had won, it would be the other cultural holidays that we would miss. Sure, but only on their terms and for all you know, no decorations at all. It is about a simple thing like respect – not overwhelming a solemn date with frivolity for two weeks. And there would certainly be a whole host of things you’d miss before Christmas decorations.
In all actuality, I agree with some of her points about the military – its unfair treatment of women, protection of high-ranking officers and the operations it participates in. But truly, this is not what the poppy is intended to represent. If that is how it is being seen, I would say that we need to educate the populace versus not wearing it or changing it (white poppy as she suggests). But to her final point – we do have the freedom to wear or not wear the poppy, and it is to the veterans that we owe this freedom.
I’m actually going to start this rather mixed up post with the beets. If you’ve read any of my summer posts, you’ll know that I tried growing beets this year. While I started late, I did hope for a small crop of the tasty roots and/or greens.
Unfortunately, starting late did me (and the beets) in. I spent weeks battling the local creatures whilst trying to get my beets established and once I did get them going, it was a fight against time. Even with a very long and fairly mild fall, there just wasn’t enough warmth/sun to get my little ones to grow.
I moved them (having planted them in a washtub) into the sunniest spaces I could find and protected them with chicken wire, but more or less to no avail. I finally had to harvest them as we started to get to frost time. This is the size they got to. If there were more than three this side, I might have been happier. Out of 30-40 seedlings, not a great return. I’ll start earlier next year.
Having just finished Thanksgiving and Halloween, we’ve seen multitudes of pumpkins. This year, I learnt that sugar or pie pumpkins are one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ squashes. They are quite small, in terms of pumpkins. But you can roast the entire pumpkin and turn the ‘meat’ into a pumpkin puree which can be frozen for later in the year or turned directly into soups, pumpkin pie, cookies etc.
It doesn’t end there though. My favourite part of the pumpkin is the seeds. Clean them up, season and roast them and you have a crunchy, healthy snack. One head-sized pie pumpkin is about 5 cups and then a little over a cup of seeds. That turned into a pumpkin pie, a nice pot of pumpkin/carrot soup and a cup of roasted seeds. For around $3 CAD, not so bad. I’m on the lookout for another (our 3rd) while they’re still in the markets. I’m also going to investigate growing my own.
Last but not least, sweet potatoes. I’ve been trying off and on over the past two years to cook up a nice batch of sweet potato chips. I’ve run into a few different problems: thickness of the slices, amount of oil, duration of the bake. This was the best batch yet. I sliced them very thinly with a mandoline, seasoned (tossed them in sesame oil and seasoning salt) them lightly and watched them very carefully. The result wasn’t perfect, but still a tasty, crunchy snack.
So ends the first weekend of November. Chilly, but sunny and with a suitable amount of healthy, tasty snacks. Success!
Just a short blurb to get back into the hockey swing of things. I do still love my hockey, after all and the season is starting soon! The Leafs have been fairly busy this off-season, adding a solid goalie in Jonathan Bernier and an effective, if somewhat overpaid feisty forward in David Clarkson. The additions aren’t bad, but I’m just not sure they were needed.
They bought out a bad contract in Mike Komisarek and punted a good foot-soldier in Mikhail Grabovski. Just because the coach doesn’t know how to make use of a good player, is no reason to humiliate the guy. Thanks for nothing, Randy. Good luck, Grabo – we loved your heart here.
Mr. Nonis managed to give our top-scorer’s best pal a ridiculous contract (that would be Tyler Bozak if you didn’t know) and retained a defenceman that barely played during our first playoff run in years (Liles). While both are serviceable players, not sure either earned the contracts they received.
Now to the problems – the receding salary cap. With those lovely contracts that MLSE has happily doled out – the Leafs are now in cap hell. With two key young players, skilled sharpshooter Nazem Kadri and solid, heavy-shooting Cody Franson, still to sign, the Leafs started today with just under 5M in cap space. Not too much, considering they just recently tendered a PTO to Mason Raymond .
The good news is that Kadri has signed a two-year bridge deal worth just under 3M / yr. Now we turn our eyes to Franson. Will he be content with leavings? Leftovers? While there are quite a few d-men in the Leafs prospect pipeline, I think Franson has shown the necessary qualities at the top level. Maybe a bridge contract will work with him because it would be a shame to have developed him and then let him go because management was unable to juggle the salary cap correctly.
If you’ve read my blog this summer, you know I have been griping about critters attacking my veggies, specifically my beets. My first attempt was to spray the leaves with a mild soap and water solution in the evenings. This seemed to work well, but given the amount of rain we received – it was difficult to continue and it didn’t always work (just ask my now-deceased sorrel and the now-thriving basil).
The basil was definitely a victim of the caterpillar stage of our friendly pale yellow butterflies. My second solution was actually a solution of soapy water and cayenne pepper. I’m not sure it worked, but the basil began to thrive after a lot of good sun and rain and a little relaxation on my part, where I found inspiration from a fellow blogger to “let the bugs have a few leaves.” It worked, I have loads of basil.
I suspected the insects with respect to the sorrel as well, but now I’m not sure. I had ravaged the sorrel because it had grown into a tall (over 4′) mess. I was a little over-zealous and cut it to the ground, but tiny little leaves had just begun to poke their way through the mulch when they were munched off. What an ignominious end – survived a stomping on from a dog, only to be mangled by its owner and struggle to sprout again, then thoroughly eliminated by …?
I was determined to bring my final crop (beets) to fruition. Excited that they germinated so quickly, I prepared the washtub to receive the seedlings. I happily planted them at about 2″ tall, only to find myself replacing seedlings every morning as they were nibbled on. I suspected everything four-footed from squirrels to bunnies.
I decided to become over-protective. I sprinkled mass amounts of cayenne pepper (wonder what that will do to their flavour?) , my final seedlings were going to become beets, dammit! Still the nibbles. I covered the entire tub with chicken wire. Success! However, I managed to leave the top up after checking up and weeding the tub this morning and of course, more nibbling. Aarrgh.
But this time, having frightened an audacious chipmunk off the porch, I was pretty sure of the culprit. The evidence is clear. note the obvious bite marks on the leaf in the middle. I haven’t caught him, but I’ve battened down the hatches on the beets. Chippy can just find some other leafy green to munch on!
The best thing about growing your own veggies? Finding things to make with them!
So, dinner tonight was pasta, but not a boring dish of plain spaghetti – a dish combining home-grown cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil. Add grated parmesan cheese and substitute gluten-free rice pasta and corn meal and you have:
Simple and yummy.
I have now bought chicken wire to protect my beets in the bed, but in the meantime I decided to plant some of the seedlings in the newly obtained galvanized water tub. In the space of just over one week, I have transplanted over 30 seedlings because SOMETHING IS EATING THEM! Tuesday I happily put in a couple (one row of four) and mulched them with shredded coir from their seed flat. Not so bad.
Wednesday I finished filling the rest of the tub for a total of 21 (ok so I don’t do math well when it comes to planting in rows). Thursday, although a crappy day in the work world, I was able to come home and be cheered that my tub of beets was looking like they were going to be quite happy in their tub. I had been a bit worried as much of the literature I’d read stated that beets did not transplant well and were better off with direct-seeding.
Saturday was market day - I was up bright and cheery and trundled out to check out the seedlings and … GONE! 3 of them were gone and a hole had been dug in the tub. With insufficient time before I had to get going, I grumbled out the door and spent a great deal of the day wishing I were home to replace the missing seedlings. I swear it was the work of the scrawny little grey squirrel that had scampered off the porch when I opened the door.
Back home and even more were gone. Leaves were munched right off, leaving forlorn little stems. This has continued throughout the week. I go to bed with a nicely mulched and watered tub of beetlings and wake to missing beetlings. Once there was a total of 10 missing – that’s half my tub! One or two were even pulled right out! Last night I resorted to shaking cayenne pepper over them to deter at least the furry critters (possibly the skunk who wandered by whilst I was planting the second or third batch, or the bunny that walked by me into the backyard or the squirrel) if not the insect-types.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the beetlings are waiting patiently in their flat, not three feet away – untouched. It seems that I may never get them into the bed if I keep having to replace the ones in the tub… Is it worth it? Well some of them seem to be thriving! I am going to continue with the cayenne (it rained today so I had to not only replace the 4 missing seedlings, but re-sprinkle) and re-planting. I think I only have another month / month-and-a-half of growing weather. Hoping that I’ll have SOME beets to eat. Even if they’re small.
Aside: My transplanted rhubarb has sent up a few new leaves and is looking quite happy in its semi-shady spot on the edge of the patio, despite the inevitable little holes dug by unknown critter. Based on the bird poop, it appears the bird population doesn’t mind another place to hang out either.
It is so satisfying to eat stuff you’ve grown yourself. And to share as possible. I mention sharing because I have hopefully found someone to supply me with genuine (ie. it grows red for her) red shiso seed from her garden and someone at work has made many co-workers happy by sharing several grocery bags full of home-grown pears! I grabbed a couple to go with my lunch and for afternoon snack, but they are still sitting on my desk as I had neither on Friday… I was cheered to see a note taped to the coffee room table thanking the ‘mystery farmer’ for their donated pears.
I will be bringing my mom a bulb of my home-grown garlic and hopefully giving a tub of cherry tomatoes to a friend (if I can get my girl to stop eating them all!) I will also be sharing any of the herbs that we grow, because we have tons more than we can possibly use, even with drying/freezing. I have been fortunate in the free plants/herb department, courtesy of friends and family, so it is only fair to pass it on.
That said, a little more gardening was accomplished this weekend as well. I toted home a couple of large bags of coloured mulch to cover up the mess some creature has been making in the front bed. It seems that something is living right under where a daffodil used to be and whatever it is, is worth moving the heap of rocks I piled over the hole as well. Sigh. Oh well, a little mulch never hurt a garden, the gardener’s back, on the other hand…
I’ve had the beet sprouts outside on the porch for the past few days, acclimatizing until I get the bed finished and some chicken wire ready. Today the bed received a new layer of black earth and tomorrow (hopefully) a load of compost will get mixed in and then all I need is to install some chicken wire and bed the sprouts! Sounds easy… The sprouts are recovering from last weekend’s debacle under the cloche and since they are also multiple seedlings from one seed, I may still get a decent crop of baby beets.
Slowly attacking my ‘list,’ I finally transplanted my little rhubarb plants – sad little guys were waiting and waiting for a space of their own. Sitting in small pot on the porch was supposed to be a temporary situation since I’d already figured out where I was going to plant them in order for them to not spread insanely throughout the jungle that is the back yard. The previous owners had left a large concrete planter about 3ft in diameter and I figured that it would do just fine for the rhubarb as long as I was careful to amend the soil. It took me until now to get them into the planter, so I’ll see if they are happy in a day or two.
Last but not least – I picked up a galvanized wash tub at a garage sale and was thinking of planting directly in it, but my gf thought this would destroy the tub and we should put containers in it. Any thoughts?