Tag Archives: Juniper tree

Only Child deals with multiple snafus

Only Child down from running in circles

Only Child rests after running in circles

I’ve been running in circles today. Not only too much to do, but too many snafus to deal with at the same time. The worst part may be they are caused by others. Bad enough dealing with your own mistakes. And that’s why I’m late with this blog post. At least I made the day in posting.

Not going into a big long rundown of them all – but just for a taste here’s the really stupid one. There ought to be a string of jokes about bad banking deeds. Or maybe there is. The latest one to happen is on Friday I withdrew $30 from the bank – my bank, but not my branch. The teller gave me $30 cash but took it off my account twice. Sorting it out isn’t simple. When I caught it early Friday evening online back home, the bank branch was closed, so I had to call the main bank line for all branches. Nothing could be done because that branch is closed weekends but I got the Customer Services supervisor’s name and phone number plus the person from the main bank line said she was sending the info to that person now.

Yeah right. Not according to the Customer Service Super when I called her Monday morning. The latter might just be covering her ass because she hadn’t checked yet. So, once more I launched into my spiel and she said she would investigate and get back to me no later than Wednesday morning.

Today it was telephone tag. Her first call to me went into voice mail because I was outside dealing with a more serious snafu. “Snafu” may be a misnomer as this was some of the damage caused by God’s winter weather. Mike, my handyman and I were outside looking at and talking about the downspout and rain barrel damage and what he needs to do and cost. “One snafu at a time,” I said to Mike when I heard the phone inside ring.

Outcome (after several telephone tags with me stating when I was going out and not being listened to) was an apology from the bank’s customer service manager and the money has been credited to my account. Of course when I asked how the double posting could happen I got the loop answer. Maybe it was only $30 but going into May I have multi-bills to pay – all the utilities (some aren’t monthly) AND property taxes. At least Mike is understanding – I think he kept his work cost down and he agreed to let me come to the hardware store(s) with him so I can pay for the supplies with a credit card. The latter won’t need paying until June when the two extra utilities and property taxes don’t have bills.

The scary thing here is the cost for this property repair will probably be within ten or twenty dollars of the two utility bills and property taxes combined.

But the damage outside can’t wait until June. I hope all the stuff that needs repairs inside can wait until June.

I know. I need to go sit outside in my garden to relax. Wait a minute. Out front is the damaged juniper thanks to God’s extreme weather the past two winters. Out back is the rain barrel etc. stuff.

But Mike is coming Monday morning to fix the damage in the back – if it doesn’t rain then. I won’t be holding my breath.

I’m still going to sit outside and do some gardening. Maybe not this evening. Because this evening…

Nancy Bullis is interviewing me on Howl about my new mystery novel Beyond Blood at 10 p.m. this evening (April 28) on the University of Toronto radio station CIUT 89.5 FM. Don’t know if it is live-streamed online but you can check their website at http://www.ciut.fm/listen-now/

Howl is right. That’s what I feel like doing over all the snafus.

And I’ve only covered the surface of them.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Bank service, Banking, Beyond Blood, Garden Destruction, God, Life demands, Money, Problems, Snafus

Only Child finds nothing pretty about winter

Winter's misery has landed

Winter’s misery has landed

Bah humbug. Winter is here way too early. Again. Some of the maple trees still have leaves. If I sound like the Grinch that’s how I feel about winter. I don’t ski, snowshoe, snowboard, skido or skate. And I hate the cold. Looking at all that white stuff out there does nothing for my soul. Snow requires shovelling.

The other thing I see when I look out my front window is my poor juniper tree, still showing some of its damage from the bitter cruel winter of last year. God gave us this “wonderful” weather which damaged many trees and other garden shrubs. I’m still waiting for him to do the right thing and fix the damage he caused/let happen.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that some of my juniper came back. But it wasn’t two thirds of it like I asked God. More like one third.

So, we now have at least six months of winter misery to worry about all the variety of nasty weather we can get – you know, not just old-fashioned snow in moderate amounts, but blizzards, rain-snow mixes that aren’t only snow flurries and rain, heavy blustery winds, sleet and the most dreaded – ice storms.

We don’t want any of the latter in particular. But because it happened last winter here in southern, south western and eastern Ontario, it can happen again.

It better not.

So, I will focus on writing, cooking, indoor gardening, friends, family, book promo and the like. And venture out when I have to, including trying to get in some walking on a near-daily basis.

But I worry about our trees, homes, etc.

No matter where you live in this world it is not safe from God’s weather destruction.

No wonder I want to go back in time – even to the late 1990s when all was not lost in our world – yet.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Home and Garden, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Ice storm Toronto, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Trees and Shrubs, Uncategorized, Weather, winter falls, Winter Weather

Only Child Prepares for winter

Magnificent juniper as it once was - slowly coming back some

Magnificent juniper as it once was – slowly some came back

The big bad winter is approaching too fast and I still have too many issues with house and garden. They must get done before the ground freezes and the snow comes.

First, what is done and getting there. The air conditioner is covered. It might as well have stayed covered with our almost non-summer. Most of the leaves from the neighbour’s two walnut trees have been cleaned from the eavestroughs. That’s two cleanings and one more to go. One of the two handy guys I “employ” is looking after this. I’m out there whenever I can (read not working, promoting my book, doing house chores, sleeping, etc.) to rake the leaves from the lawn, garden, patio and walkway on one side of the house. This is a continuous job. But that is the price I pay for having much needed shade in the summer, so I accept that.

What I don’t accept is winter – all five to six months of it (as last year’s was). I don’t think winters were that long when I was growing up. I remember Mom and Dad out digging in the garden in April. For fall, Mom and Dad were kept busy. Dad had to literally take down the screens and put up the windows. Mom had to clear out the garden and finish up the canning – she made some green tomato sauce which I wouldn’t eat because the tomatoes were green. Not sure if she made red tomato sauce but she made a mean pickled mustard beans, rhubarb jam (sometimes with strawberries), black and red current jams and jellies, and huckleberry apple, which was for pies. That’s what I remember. She would put them all in the root cellar in the basement and bring the jar(s) up when needed.

I don’t can anything. I’m afraid of food poisoning. And sometimes home canned foods can go bad. As I write in my memoir, Mom could open the canned jam, etc., sniff it and just know it was bad. We never got food poisoning.

Instead I dry herbs and blanch and freeze excess vegetables = when the garden produces them. This year when the carrots grew large for a change I didn’t plant enough to freeze. I had some beans for a change but only enough for a few meals. I did get some from the farmer’s market and froze them; same for corn-on-the-cob which I don’t grow – partly because of space and partly because the racoons stole the good crop of corn my ex-husband and I grew in our Aurora, Ontario garden in the mid-1970s. There are enough racoons in this area that even the meanest-looking scarecrow wouldn’t frighten. It isn’t called “scarecrow” for nothing.

The main outside issue is the big juniper tree in front – the one destroyed by God’s horrible winter weather. The juniper has come back somewhat and is still continuing to do so but not fast enough for next winter. God didn’t listen here so now I need to find someone knowledgeable to do something to protect this juniper so it will survive and next spring continue to comeback. I know what has to be done – burlap wrap, not against the tree but on high stakes around it, plus spray something (I don’t know what) on the tree to prevent winter burn on the green parts. The so-called arborist (retired) who promised to help me with tree damage kept putting it off. Yours truly had to do some trimming back of the boxwood and silverlace, with some help from Alex next door on the dead silverlace on his side of the fence. Some of the silverlace on another fence and the gate to my garden from the driveway came back somewhat and was looking nice with its white flowers as it twined through the part of the dead tree (from years ago – it was a silverlace prop) that I hadn’t cut back.

Finally a couple of weeks ago this fellow who I had called the Good Samaritan (GS)came and trimmed off the dead boxwood which I hadn’t been able to do – he did a good job of that, but really messed up the silverlace and took down most of the dead tree under it, except for the main stem (narrow) and two branches. He left it leaning over into the bushes (more juniper) nearby. I had to tie it with bungie rope to the fence. It will act as part of the stakes for that low-lying juniper – and that is something I can do, but not the big juniper.

The GS also left a mess of branches by the boxwood and at the back of my driveway. I had to pay one of my handyman to collect it and tie it all up.

The GS’s actions has taught me another lesson. Trust few people in your life. Be wary; be suspicious. I usually am (except for those close to me I know I should be able to trust), but this time I was so thankful that God had sent someone to help. Obviously the wrong person. Now God has to make it right for the winter with my trees, especially the big juniper in front – without me having to fork out a lot of money.

Then there is all the stuff inside but I won’t go into that now. I would like to go to the last weekly Farmer’s Market near me before it closes today for the season.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child memoir, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child mulls over fall and winter weather forecasts

Only Child's front garden -  the way it should be with the beautiful juniper in front

Only Child’s front garden – the way it should be with the beautiful juniper (before winter damage) in front

Summer, such as it is, still continues but the hype for fall and winter weather is on. Do we believe it or hope for something better?

The bible of weather reporting, The Weather Network, announced its forecast for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. See http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/2014-fall-outlook-and-winter-preview-greater-toronto-area/35515/ They hedge around whether the weather will be another unusually cold one this winter basing it on if El Nino hits North America or not.

Another source, Accuweather, is predicting much the same with a worse forecast of a cold fall and snow in November. See http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/08/20/canada-fall-weather-forecast_n_5696285.html

Just what we need after last winter’s ice storm, polar vortex and all that nonsense. I’m still waiting for the powers that be (you know who that is) fixes the damage from last winter in my garden. My big juniper tree in front is coming back too slowly and I think after all the cold, ice, etc. of last winter I deserve to have that tree make at least an 80 per cent comeback – preferably before winter sets in.

And I’m not looking forward to another cold, icy, snowy winter. I’m not looking forward to winter at all. I loathe winter with a passion just as much as I love spring, summer and early fall (before the cold hits) with a passion. Although I try to go for a daily walk year-round, I don’t ski, skate anymore, snowshoe or do any other winter sports, and HATE the cold, snow, ice etc. The only thing about winter that I do like are the fashions, but I don’t like bundling up.

Going into my garden is a mixed pleasure and I do a lot of that, savouring its goodness – the flowers, tomatoes, carrots, onions and herbs. Even mowing the lawn with my push mower is pure joy. It is that time of the year when I wish it were July 1 again and we could do it all over.

Instead I’ll just spend a lot of time in my garden.

And shake my fist up at the sky with a “don’t you dare” warning.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Garden Destruction, Gardening, God, Only child, Weather forecasts fall and winter 2014, Winter Weather

Only Child’s Canada Day thanks and no thanks

Only Child's magnificent juniper tree as it once was. Slowly coming back some.

Only Child’s magnificent juniper tree as it once was. Slowly coming back some.

Canada Day, July 1, is one of the few statutory holidays I like to celebrate. Christmas is another. However, we all know why last Christmas was a write-off – the ice storm – except for one thing, my son’s wonderful help here – getting my boarder, her cat, and me into a hotel downtown and paying for it when we had no hydro power and no heat here. And driving us back here Christmas Day (when we had power – but not everybody in Ontario did) and making dinner.

On Canada Day I have a ritual – I don’t usually make it on time for the parade but I go to the nearby community area where there are booths for gardening, crafts, City of Toronto information, community groups, food, entertainment and a lovely garden maintained by the East York Garden Club. I like to sit by the latter and eat a lunch I have brought along as I no longer eat burgers and hot dogs, let alone the buns that go with them (gluten). After that I like to go for a long walk in the neighbourhood just south of this community park area and end up back on a main street and take the bus home.

Today it doesn’t look like that will be possible, thanks to God and his weather. I mean the parade just started 20 minutes ago and then the rain. But more on that later. First, what am I thankful for on this July 1?

1. My son, Martin, for all his help and support, not just with dealing with the ramifications of weather, but for helping me with computer stuff and well just being there. I will do a separate post on this in future.

2. The miracle of the trees and shrubs damaged by the cruel extreme winter and early spring weather (the latter was actually winter weather going to late April/early May). As mentioned in a previous post, two of my evergreens suffered extensive damage – that damage from winter burn from extreme cold when the sun gets lower in the sky (late April and into early May). Half the boxwood turned rusty brown and most of the big beautiful juniper. I gave God you know-what for that and it looks like he is making some amends. The juniper is slowly coming back – not sure if it will be 100 per cent. Despite my next door neighbour and the arborist saying “no it’s not,” I do not want it removed. “Over my dead body” is what I say to them. I’m not losing hope here…yet. I’ve watered the Juniper in between rainfalls (which works out to not often for the watering), added bone meal plus and those fertilizer sticks you put in the ground around the drip line of the tree. I also weeded around the tree as much as possible. One of my two patches of silverlace over by Tanya’s and Alex’s fence is dead. Alex removed the deadwood from his side and I’ve removed some from my side. The other silverlace on the fence and gate to the backyard is slowly coming back. Still lots of deadwood there but that will get removed in time. Which brings me to miracle no. 3.

3. My Good Samaritan. This retired gentleman who took it upon himself to just show up and shovel my snow (and other seniors – older than I – in the neighbourhood) again just showed up and offered to cut down and prune the deadwood. Turns out he is a certified arborist, now retired from the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation. This was almost a month ago. Still nothing done. But it is not his fault. We have had too much rain, too much of it heavy and with thunder and lightning, the area can’t get dry enough for him to do his work. We have also had a few too humid days to do tree work. I do not want him getting heat stroke or worse. So, God sent me a Good Samaritan but makes it impossible for him to do his work. Something is wrong here.
4. The miracle of the lost leather bracelet. I love leather bracelets, especially the wide one I wear all the time in the summer. Never wear more than my watch on my arms in winter when it is long-sleeved sweaters. A weekend ago I was gardening, removing a lot of dead rosebush (I can do most of that myself), weeding and finally getting the replacement lavender plant, and a few others, planted. When done I discovered I was no longer wearing the bracelet. Usually I remove it for gardening, but I decided I had forgotten this time. A thorough search of the garden areas worked in and the bin and yard waste bags (I emptied the latter three onto my driveway and rummaged through them three times) brought out no bracelet. I did find a sort-of replacement in Chinatown but it isn’t the same. It is smaller but has dome fasteners – not that that ever stopped my bracelets from getting lost. Yesterday morning while sitting on the veranda drinking my coffee I saw the bracelet sitting on its side on the other side of the veranda just past the other chair. I grabbed it and washed it. And also thanked God and a few saints for this miracle (Well, with this and the trees I had pestered God a lot – for blame and he had to make amends. Looks like he did).

Not so for the weather. This is what I am not thankful for. And I am referring to the weather Canada-wide, not just in my neck of the woods.

For the most part Canada used to be a good place to live weather-wise. Oh sure, we had the cold Arctic and cold winters and lots of snow in various areas. But only the odd severe weather storm in any season.

That all changed eight/10 years ago. Some people might say before that and I won’t argue here. Suffice to say Canada has joined the US for tornado alley and eastern Asia for monsoon-like weather. You can’t live anywhere in Canada without experiencing severe weather of some sort. If you don’t believe me check out The Weather Network on TV or online. The station now has a regular segment every 10 minutes (right after the local weather forecast) called The Force of Nature – highlighting the extreme weather all over. (It should be called The Force of God).

As mentioned in previous posts I know there is global warming and the theories behind that. Some of it is true, but even very religious people can’t eliminate the God factor. You know the will of God. God gave us humans free will and maybe, just maybe he doesn’t like what we are doing with it. The weather? He is either making it happen or letting it happen. Take your pick.

For now the brief heavy rainfall has stopped. But who knows what will happen weather-wise for the rest of the Canada Day celebrations.

Happy Canada Day.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Canada Day, Extreme Weather, God, Good Samaritan, Lost Bracelet, Trees and Shrubs

Only Child has too many worries

Only Child contemplating her too stressful life .

Only Child contemplating her too stressful life

I have hit worry overload – many new worries popping up and some ongoing chronic ones.

In last week’s post I mentioned the garden-related problems from the extremely severe winter and late start to spring (is spring here finally?).  I have been closely watching the large juniper tree on my front lawn, the boxwood shrub in the front and the two silver lace shrubs winding on the back fences. And carrying on a heated dialogue with God. As you know I put the responsibility for this weather squarely on God. The silver lace will have to be cut down – one has signs of life near the bottom so may come back. The juniper is slowly showing more signs of green but still has quite a ways to go. The boxwood is coming along slowly, but still has a long way to go. If necessary I can trim it back.

But I don’t want to lose the big juniper. Getting it cut down will be over my dead body. God owes me to get it back at least to 95 per cent recovery. And God will have to send me the money from somewhere to pay for an arborist to cut down (and in one place remove) the silver lace. I have bills to pay for the home repairs already planned and scheduled and so far have the money for them. It’s the extra unplanned stuff I can’t deal with – financially or emotionally.

Unplanned like computer problems – both computers and both with security in one way or the other. Not surprising as that is a reflection of my life currently –  very unsettled and very little seems to be in my control. I choose to have more control of my life and to have less problems to deal with. I won’t go into more details but right now I have more crosses than I can bear.

Are you listening God?

My health – emotional, mental and physical depends on it. I have three auto-immune diseases (if you count allergies as one of them) and to manage them I need less stress and more sleep. Both those are wavering in the opposite to health direction.

When I do sleep I have weird sometimes frightening dreams and I know they reflect what I am going through and what I need. Would be good if my dreams gave me some answers.

Is it too much to ask to have only a few problems, what you can take? And not a lot of horrific unexpected ones popping up all the time.

The grass is green, so are the plants and the flowers are actually showing up in my garden. My garden is supposed to be my sanctuary but when I look at the juniper, the boxwood and silver lace I wonder about that. I can’t help wanting to go back to my mother’s garden when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s  and helping mom in the garden, picking berries, and sitting out in the backyard and reading an Agatha Christie or other novel borrowed from the library.

I didn’t know how good I really had it then. Life really sucks right now.

Cheers (I think)

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

 

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Filed under 1950s, Anxiety, Healing through gardening, Health, Mother and Child, Only child, Overwhelm, Problems

Only Child’s perspective on gardens this spring

Only Child's front garden -  the way it should be with the beautiful juniper in front

Only Child’s front garden – the way it should be with the beautiful juniper in front

The terrible winter and early too cold spring wreaked havoc on my garden and the gardens of so many others. In my daily garden tours (excluding days of all rain), I keep finding more damage and I am sad and angry.

Saddened for the trees damaged and angry at a God who brought us all this weather mess – the ice storm, extreme cold so that almost everything in spring is a month or more late starting and damaged. The city of Toronto alone lost 20 per cent or more of its tree canopy – up to 2 million trees. And we can’t blame insect invasions for this one.

I can almost feel the pain my large juniper tree on my front lawn is feeling. Many of its branches and needle leaves are beige and a few are rusty. The rusty ones are dead – the beige – only time will tell. There is some green growing through and as long as that continues. I will not have that beautiful tree cut down. I do not like God’s damage here.

My silverlace may not come back. Only a few branches are starting to sprout leaves. If the silverlace by the fence into the backyard has to be cut down, at least there are large (and growing) bushy junipers there (the shrub kind). These junipers have a minute amount of beige and rust so they will grow taller and provide some privacy from people walking by on the street. What also irks me here is I might have to pay an arborist to cut the silverlace down. This would not have happened if not for the weather. And don’t give me the business about Mother Nature. No such person.

I don’t know about the other bushier silverlace that straddles the fence dividing Tanya’s and my property. It is always later to spring to life than the one by the driveway. If it goes there it will be somewhat bare unless the honeysuckle in front of it comes back. So far no signs.
Then there is my precious boxwood in front. The south part of it is all brown but there are signs of green leaves growing in from the back of the branches. This south and west winter burn, gardening expert Mark Cullen wrote in one of his columns, is from the powerful spring sun (from west and south) burning down on snow-covered evergreens. And we all know that snow rested on the branches way too late this year. (See http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2014/04/17/damage_control_in_your_garden_begins_now.htm. And yes, boxwoods are evergreens.

Mr. Cullen gives us some hope. He says to do nothing about this situation because in late May/early June “for the most part your evergreens will look fresh as daisies come late May/early June when new growth pushes past the dead, brown foliage.” He also adds that if we had applied Wiltpruf last fall the burn would have been avoided – sort of a sunscreen for evergreens. He didn’t apply it either. I didn’t know about Wiltpruf, but I will apply it this fall – if my evergreens all come back. Surprisingly, my two yews have very little damage – other years there has been more.

In my daily garden tours I look for new buds and more green. The grass is growing and is a bright green. Tulips and other bulb-flowers are blooming, albeit a month late. The raspberry branches are on time getting their leaves – probably my clearing out the dead branches and weeds a few weeks ago helped. The walnut tree hanging over from Tanya’s onto my patio finally started showing leaves yesterday morning. I can see it from my bedroom window.

One thing is on time – the rosebushes that flower early and flower only once per season are getting their leaves. And maybe planting vegetables – the ones that can take colder weather – is also on time. Sunday I planted the first batch of peas, radish, lettuce (the seeds) and onion sets. I have brought in some tulips and hyacinths for flower arrangements.

I continue gardening. Gardening will help me heal. In order to heal in my garden, I need the trees, the plants to grow, to be healthy and to be alive.

God owes it to us to make that happen.

More articles at http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2014/01/16/we_must_rebuild_the_canopy.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/12/30/ice_storm_damage_to_trees_may_take_years_to_heal.html

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4340352-toronto-tree-canopy-suffers-huge-loss-during-ice-storm-deputy-mayor-calling-on-millions-for-restora/

 

And another photo of the way it should be now in my garden.

Blue sea of Forget-me-Nots which usually pop up in May by my drivesay finished for this season.

Blue sea of Forget-me-Nots which usually pop up in May by my driveway.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Garden Destruction, Gardening, Ice storm Toronto, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto, Uncategorized, Weather, Winter Weather