Well, I’m not getting as much vigorous exercise as I should be, but I am getting outside every day. And today (Day 11) was no exception. This fine Mother’s Day was spent mostly outdoors, starting with breakfast on the deck, laundry on the line, brunch (mmmm… waffles and strawberries and cream!) on the deck, and a family walk in Don Mills:

Day 5: I started the day with yoga on the deck, which was pretty divine, despite the construction 5 doors down (more gargantuan town homes) that starts at 7 am sharp every weekday and slightly later on Saturdays. I also spent a little time cleaning up, pruning and watering the garden, which is showing great signs of life! Raspberries, gooseberries, and tarragon are below, but also the blackberries, blueberries, chives (of course) and English lavender are back!

I also encouraged my eldest to bring his work outside and we learned a little about electricity:

Day 6: Tuesday the boys and I made a last minute plan to meet with friends at the beach so we rode our bikes down and spent several hours soaking in the gorgeous weather.

Day 7: Wednesday I woke up early and went down to the deck to sit and listen to the birds for about 20 minutes before the construction noise began. Later my eldest and I rode our bikes to his morning class and later the library. It’s so nice to be back on our bicycles!

Day 8: Even though the construction was up before I was, I went out and did some meditation on the deck in the morning. In the afternoon we went to a friend’s to celebrate a 10th birthday and the 18 kids from 6 families had a ball playing outdoors and in while the mamas all relaxed and chatted on the deck. That never happens and was such a treat (we usually meet to go hiking or field trips).

Day 9: We all enjoyed lunch on the deck. The boys wanted to muck about with water out front (happily emptying the rain barrel for me and watering the garden and the sidewalk before the hatching begins) so I sat and worked on the front porch. Later I had to do a grocery run, so I did it by bike.

Day 10: Saturday mornings I drive my eldest and a friend to their Shakespeare class. It was such a lovely day that I wanted to ride, but we didn’t get to it early enough (we’d have to leave 30 minutes earlier than usual) so maybe next week. Instead I drove them as usual and took a walk to the local library. We ate outside again for lunch and dinner.

I have to admit, so far it’s been extremely easy because the weather has been fantastic. Once the rain begins (it’s spring – it has to rain!) it will get more difficult to get out. And I need to get a bit more exercise, but I keep re-injuring myself when I step up to the next level. Blurgh.

It’s that time of year again! And I felt so great last year at the end of May that I signed up to do the 30×30 Nature Challenge from the David Suzuki Foundation once again.

Day 1 (Thursday, May 1): We met up with 2 other families just after lunch down at the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park. I had a great time taking photos of our kids and of the older guys skating, like this one:

There’s more at http://lynnslids.com/skate/ – I posted them just in case the guys I talked to wanted to take a look. They were pretty sick out there, and a total joy to watch.

Day 2: I had some errands to run, to which I took the bus and subway, but on my way home instead of hopping right back on the TTC, despite the light rain, I decided to take an hour’s walk through the neighbourhood I was in, including Kensington Market, which is always fun. I spotted the well organized gardening neighbours taking advantage of the free compost pile:

 Toronto Ward 20 free compost 1 Toronto Ward 20 free compost 2

Day 3: Not much outside time, but the required 30 minutes walking around the ‘hood with the family doing errands and shopping local. A quick note on that: we went to the new Pantry, which is a cheese shop in our hood and they have the most amazing Canadian cheeses. I highly recommend it if you’re in for a cow/sheep/goat treat. They also sell other local treats like Kozlik’s mustards, local soup mixes and other great stuff.

Day 4: Today we made up for lost time. I meant to get outside for my morning physiotherapy routine, but I never got to it, so late morning I hung the laundry out on the line and we decided to have brunch out on the deck (first time this year!) and didn’t go back in until around 4:45pm. It was excellent. Reading, playing, gardening, working on my other blog and my feedback page, all outside. And we needed this day. All of us. It was perfect.

Just a quick post to pass on a few things on this lovely Earth Day.

I started my day on public transit, and later saw this on Facebook. It’s a good point:

A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it's where the rich rice public transportation. - Mayor of Bogota

Post by Conscious Consumers.

Later I went for a bike ride with my youngest (he’s moved up to gears and hand brakes, which is exciting for him!) and saw the newest local community garden, with folks in it prepping for growing season!

Last year, as you may know, I partook in the David Suzuki Foundation 30×30 nature challenge. They are on it again this year! Check it out. I highly recommend being a part of it. It made me feel spectacular. It’s geared for Canadians, but really, just join. Their daily tips are great and you will feel so much better for it!

Join Canada's 30x30 Nature Challenge

As much of my life revolves around Etsy these days, I thought I’d pass on their Earth Day workplace initiative:

http://blog.etsy.com/news/2014/etsy-cup-exchange-for-earth-day/

Cup exchange at Etsy HQ

Cup exchange at Etsy HQ

Happy Earth Day, folks!

A friend (who keeps a lovely blog here) had a tie-dye gathering yesterday, as she was inspired by a beautiful Tie-Dye book. I had a couple of white t-shirts I bought at my local second hand shop, plus some old stained t-shirts and leggings, and when we found we had some dye left, the bag I brought and a hankie.

It was a great morning spent with some really lovely women and we had a blast tying and later generally making a mess.

In case you’re curious about the methods and results, I took before and after photos of most. These are my favourites, but I loved all the results.

What I learned from this experience was that the thick elastics create more dramatic ties. I’d like to try the accordion style again, but folding on a diagonal next time.

tie-dye stripes

This was folded accordion-style and then rolled.

tie-dye stripes

The shirt was grey to start. I love this one but I think I thought the yellow was orange when I dipped it… Oops!

tie-dye: marbles

There were marbles wrapped in plastic and secured with elastic. The dye was randomly sprayed.

tie-dye: marbles

Fun marble spots

tie-dye: cone roll

I rolled this as a cone starting from one shoulder. I sprayed the 3 colours of dye in lines.

tie-dye: cone roll

I think this is my favourite.

tie-dye cone roll from centre

My youngest designed this: He pulled the middle and and rolled it in a cone.

tie-dye cone roll from centre

How fun!

I went for an early morning walk one day last month and noticed a plum tree around the corner. Then I saw an apple tree across the road. I remembered my neighbour’s crabapple tree. So I decided to make it a walk in search of front garden foods. Here’s what I found in various front yards within a block of my house:

neighbourhood edibles: apples

apples

neighbourhood edibles: tomatoes

tomatoes

neighbourhood edibles: strawberries

strawberries (these are ours!)

neighbourhood edibles: plums

plums

neighbourhood edibles: mulberries

mulberries

neighbourhood edibles: mint

mint

neighbourhood edibles: herb garden

our herb garden!

neighbourhood edibles: grapes

grapes

neighbourhood edibles: echinacea

echinacea

neighbourhood edibles: cranberries

cranberries

neighbourhood edibles: unripe blackberries

(unripe) blackberries

… And crabapples (the photo didn’t turn out). It’s an amazing edible neighbourhood we have around us, and I never noticed it! Thanks to Not Far From The Tree for helping open my eyes to it!

So the strawberries were so good that we went back a week later and got another 8 litres. I made freezer jam (“spread”) since I’m not sure it had enough sweetness (I just used apple juice) for canning.

My eldest and I have also been on 2 more Not Far From The Tree (NFFTT) picks. They were both sour cherry picks: one in the pouring rain (which makes tree climbing difficult) and they were so good that we signed up for another one yesterday (mostly because it was around the corner from our house).

Sour Cherries - picked with Not Far From The Tree

Sour Cherries – picked with Not Far From The Tree

We did a little foraging in the city last week as well. We dropped by the nearby civic centre and gathered a bunch of serviceberries (also known as Saskatoon berries, among other things), which were yummy.

serviceberries at the civic centre

Serviceberries at the civic centre

My own garden is coming along. We have gooseberries this year! And I know now that they are ripe because we had to come and get a ladder for the NFFTT pick around the corner and Dan, the very knowledgeable guy helping me carry the ladder, was telling me about gooseberries so I had him try one and he said they were ripe! And there are some raspberries coming along as well. The squirrels aren’t interested in the gooseberries (hurrah!) and hopefully we will get to the raspberries before they do. We have also had a few strawberries from our Alpine Strawberry plant which are unique and delicious.

gooseberries in the backyard

Ripe gooseberries in the backyard

raspberries in the backyard

Not yet ripe raspberries in the backyard

We’ve had a lot of rain this year so everything is growing well, and if it goes a few days without rain, the rain barrel (with water from the eaves troughs) is always full so I can water them with recycled water. I also read that tomatoes like acid and a good way to use up whey (we drain our homemade yogurt and make it Greek style) is to dilute it with some water and water your tomatoes with it. My cherry tomato plants seem to like it.

On Saturday we went out for a family walk out at the Scarborough Bluffs and saw lots of birds, some people fishing for large mouth bass, turtles, but the big sighting was an otter! It was too quick for me to get a good shot, but I did catch it:

otter in Lake Ontario at Bluffers Park

Otter spotting in Lake Ontario at Bluffers Park!

We also stopped by the beach and took a quick look at the American Toad tadpoles which still have their tails but most now have legs! (If you recall, we saw the toads mating nearly 2 months ago).

nearly 2 month old American Toad tadpoles

Nearly 2 month old American Toad tadpoles at Bluffers beach

Today we went for a walk at Highland Creek and saw several mulberry trees, which I never would have recognized if we hadn’t gone on that mulberry pick with NFFTT. Yet another reason to love our experiences with that great organization. Later in the walk we saw people on the side collecting leaves from vines. Bags full of leaves. Since they were vines, and since I went on a NFFTT pick last year that was grapes, I guessed that they were grapes, and confirmed it by asking them when we passed them on the way back. It was good to see other foragers out in the green spaces of the city. Somebody’s having dolmades soon!

grape leaves wild in the city

grape leaves wild in the city

And, last but certainly not least, we have gotten rid of our old gas guzzler. We used it about once a week, and it turns out that’s actually not great because stuff gets caked underneath and sits there. It was rusting out from the bottom. So although it only had 150,000 km/93,200 miles on it, that 16 year old car was barely keeping together. Things were falling off the bottom.

We weren’t sure what to do with it, but my husband (how awesome is he?) found an organization that takes your car and either auctions it off or sells off the parts and gives the money to the charity of your choice. We have chosen Rethink Breast Cancer, who have been a great help during my treatment and recovery from breast cancer. The organization is charitycar.ca (they are also in the US). It was picked up on Saturday:

car donated via charitycar.ca

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