Tag Archives: Trees

Only Child’s good, bad and ugly 2014 list

Only Child's damaged evergreens and new growth

Only Child’s damaged evergreens and new growth

As 2014 soon ends, many people are making resolutions for 2015. Before I do that, I have to let go of 2014 with my summary of what I thought was good, bad and ugly. Here is a partial list. Some individuals/organizations/ things are on both because they behaved both well and badly. The ugly are the worst offenders – what I never want to see again.

The Good:

  1. My son Martin – he is at the top – for helping his old mom out so much, not just helping with computer stuff, but helping with house stuff, including offering to pay for a much-needed living room chesterfield when I get one this coming spring. Hot on his heels is his girlfriend, Juni, for helping me sort out my digital camera usage and photos. More on Martin’s goodness in last week’s post (for what he did in December 2013). See https://onlychildwrites.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/only-childs-meaning-of-christmas-2/
  2. My garden (spring, summer and fall) for providing a sanctuary of colour, fragrance and creativity.
  3. My health – what is good about it. I can still walk most days and garden and still am able to live in my home.
  4. My home, especially now that the boarder has moved out and I have my home back.
  5. God, for when he does listen to me – on a few big things such as getting the boarder out and making my new novel publication and book launch, etc. happen.
  6. My city councillor, Janet Davis and her staff for helping me out when city departments don’t do their job and/or are rude.
  7. The incredible Grace in Bell Canada’s resolution department for straightening out bad service issues including incompetent, unfriendly and rude technicians and call centre and billing department staff. And for taking $50 off on my Bell bill for the company’s screw-up and bad service.
  8. My bank branch for being so helpful, especially when one of their tellers screwed up when I paid a bill and took it from Utility (water and waste) instead of Property Taxes. The manager went out of her way to get the funds transferred back to me, including the interest charges for “late payment” and wrote a letter to the City of Toronto Property Tax Department about teller error not any non-payment on my part. So I still have my stellar paying-on-time status here.
  9. Mike, the handyman, for being top-notch and quick in repairing/upgrading in plumbing, electrical and also painting, etc.
  10. My friends who help me, especially Bob (who recommended Mike), Tanya and Alex, Marlene, Kathy, Carol and Al, and the librarians at the Toronto Public Library branches who are supportive of my books, doing readings and teaching workshops at library branches.

The Bad:

  1. God, for the too many times when he doesn’t listen, for the horrible weather he brought us worldwide in 2014 (and December 2013 too) and not repairing all the damage he caused to all our trees and gardens from the December 2013 ice storm in southern Ontario, Canada .
  2. The boarder for turning into a pain in the ass, taking over rooms in the house she wasn’t entitled to, leaving a dirty mess when she moved out – she was a boarder, not a renter.  Note here: I did take her in when she had nowhere else affordable to go. She overstayed her “welcome.”
  3. Any of the six utilities and their staff who screwed up with service.
  4. Toronto 311 call centre for one person’s rudeness and patronization and at first not even going to put in a complaint and request. I sicced Janet Davis’ staff on him.
  5. Toronto’s garbage collectors – or two from the garbage truck that picks up the green bin (veggie and the like scraps, used facial tissues) who missed one bag (not the same bag each time) three times in October and even after my complaint, did it again in December. Don’t have these problems with the actual garbage bins and recycling bins as they are handled by machine from the garbage truck.
  6. Telemarketers and their comrades in email. The pox on them.
  7. The weather itself – it is extreme all over. Nowhere on earth is good and safe to live.
  8. Time for running off at more than the mouth with the result we are running around in circles.
  9. Any stressors who interfere with people’s health.
  10. Health again – not just mine but many of my female friends between 50 and 70 have so many health problems, some big, some not. But all interfere with our quality of life. I don’t believe this is just from getting old.

The Ugly:

(the worst from the Bad list): the extreme weather, God (the bad parts), the former boarder, health issues and time-stealers.

So, what will 2015 bring? We shall see. I’m planning on tackling the time issue and will be deleting and delaying as much as I can. And focusing on what is important.

Happy, prosperous and healthy 2015 to all.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Bank service, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Garden Destruction, God, Health, Health Seniors, Home and Garden, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Ice storm Toronto, Martin Crawford, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Stress, Time, Time management, Toronto

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 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 contemplates trees

That juniper tree in front when it was just a child.

That juniper tree in front when it was just a child.

Do we cut down too many trees? I don’t mean dead, dying  or diseased trees, but trees that just “get in our way,” whether “our way” is big developer coming in and building condos, city removal, or homeowner removal. Lately I’ve been noticing that Toronto is not as tree-lined as it used to be back in the 1970s when I could see trees forever to the lake (and the lake too) from my apartment in mid-Toronto. Newspaper articles have been written that Toronto is too much concrete. My walks through different city areas prove this. Don’t get me wrong – there are still many trees in parks and ravines, but downtown Toronto has turned into concrete towered city.

Back even further – in the 1950s and 1960s, my parents did their bit for trees. They got a little maple from the city and it was planted on the front lawn. On their own, my parents planted a snowball tree in back and lots of shrubs – back and front and of course, mother’s rose bushes. We kids used to hide under the big snowball tree; its branches hung so low nobody could find us there. No trees big enough to swing from. I did that up at my godmother’s farm. My uncle had set up a swing – heavy rope holding a wooden seat – for my cousins to swing on. One of my favourite spots. I also did a lot of swinging from swings in the nearby park in east Toronto where my friends and I went to play. Guess I was a swinger of a different sort then. .

On the Only Child front, the two black walnut trees between my house and Tanya’s next door have already started shedding their leaves. Leaves are blowing and landing all over the place on her side of the fence and mine. The trees are actually on her property and there were once four. Two came down when they added the upper extension to their house.

These trees provide the shade I needed in the patio corner of my garden and arrived serendipitously (read probably squirrels “planting” the seeds) when I cried for shade and privacy. I even had landscapers giving me quotes on lattice dividers but somehow that seemed too ugly and expensive. I did plant the silver lace that now entwines throughout our mutual fence and it grew and grew.

In the front yard I had a landscaper (starting out on his own so cheaper rates) plant two juniper trees in 1999. I have one now – the other one died as a result of the city doing some digging to upgrade sewer pipes in 2000. That upset me at first, but looking at the size of the tree now (see photo at bottom), serendipity again stepped in and fixed the situation. I have some privacy but not a complete block of the big picture window in my living room. And I don’t have to rake any leaves here.

Serendipity has worked a lot in my garden, including the tall red-leaved plant that just grew in the corner by my veranda this year – I’ve had this plant elsewhere other years; it is an annual but the seeds spread.

The city of Toronto now has a bylaw regulating injury or removal of privately-owned large trees with diameters of 30 cm or more. I have seen on some front lawns – the city part –loose orange fencing around big old trees so some tree-cutting nut (any pun intended) doesn’t come along and whack them down. A bylaw also exists for protection of some trees in ravines. And there is a Toronto-based program called LEAF  which promotes trees, gives out info about them, and has a tree-planting program for homeowners.

We’re coming along with the trees in Toronto – just don’t look downtown, especially all those condos by the waterfront.

That juniper tree today standing tall in Only Child's front lawn. Neighbours' walnut trees peak from side back.

That juniper tree today standing tall in Only Child’s front lawn. Neighbours’ walnut trees peak from side back.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Gardening, Home and Garden, Only child, Roses, Sharon A. Crawford