Sheltering- Gardening for the Pandemic

Gardening is not for the faint of heart or the weak, This morning (and I apologize to those who know me) my buttocks were stiff and sore. Yes, even though, according to my kids, my butt fell off about 20 years ago, the Gluteus Maximus (or is it Maximi) hurt. My saggy old arms are stiff and a little sore. And I have to be careful not to pull my back, a family weak spot. This litany of aches and pains is not to complain; it’s to report.

What garden activities have I taken part in? Let me count the ways-taking soil out of planters so I can put in fresh, loading bags of manure and potting soil into the truck, digging up a flower bed and working in some fertilizer, raking the garden, planting kale, beets, carrots, beans, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. I have bought and loaded my bedding plants (everything in one trip, I hope. The most dangerous place I’ve been? The greenhouse. Old gals like me get quite excited.) I have watered haskaps and a few perennials that I hope come back. And there are sweet peas along a fence that has never seen planting.

Waiting for the weather…

The containers are yet to be filled with soil and flowers but the weather in the next week doesn’t look nice. I have one more flower bed to dig up and fertilize and the window box under the front room window to get ready. Then there will be hoeing, weeding and watering. The garden and flowers suffer most summers when we go camping. A great neighbour waters, but we can hardly expect him to weed and fuss like we might ourselves. This year we’ve decided camping is out. There are a lot of restrictions and we can’t travel to Gary’s favourite spots in Saskatchewan.

Then there is the supply chain. Perhaps if, instead of being lazy, I can preserve more produce. It’s healthier and you know exactly where it came from. So not camping, canning? I sent a picture to my granddaughter of the little lake where we usually camp together.

“Ah,” she said, “It makes me sad. We can’t camp this year.”

I said, “We will visit eventually and we’ll camp next year.”

She said, “CURSE THE PANDEMIC!”

Gardening is something to occupy time outside and there is the reward of the produce. My garden this year should be “spectacular.” Still I’d rather be camping.

Echoing my granddaughter, I cry, “CURSE THE PANDEMIC.”

It Shouldn’t Be That Hard

Every year, kids go back to school  in September and every year, the dietitian/nutritionist guest appears on morning tv to help moms and dads with the onerous task of packing lunches for kids. And to create even more angst they turn it into a search for the new super foods that boost the immune system, that kids, gasp, like and most importantly are convenient. Before anyone clicks this off in disgust, I did work full-time and I did pack school lunches; that is, I packed them until the special orders got too “special.” The kind where ‘I want mustard, no lettuce. I want a little mustard and lettuce and mayo. Don’t cut the meat too thick. I don’t want an apple (insert fruit).’

In one of my many parenting fails, I said, “Fine. You pack your own lunches. THEN you positively will get exactly the food you want.”

My son was in grade two but turned out to be great at making a lunch and does it for his own kids now. My daughter was older and although she didn’t like making her lunch, she liked eating. Her lunches were pretty good, too.

The thing is lunches included a sandwich, a fruit, a snack of some kind (maybe another fruit), a cookie, etc. Nothing fancy. Every Sunday we had a “nice” meal of some kind, a roast beef, a pork roast, a roasted chicken. Then there was a healthy protein for sandwich filling. I confess to allowing little pudding cups and some other packaged “treats.” But the main course was the sandwich.

sandwich
This sandwich is pretty upscale for what hit our school lunches but you get the idea…

Another closely related parenting fail. I sent roasted or fried chicken drumsticks to be eaten with nicely buttered bread. NO. The rule was that sandwiches were eaten first and so my poor kids had to eat the bread before they got to the chicken. I mention this so that no one thinks I’m preaching.

 

But lunches do not have to have dragon fruit, yogurt squishy tubes, or so many of the prepackaged things kids get. Some of the packaging is a challenge for me to open when a child asks for help. I’m encouraged when I see  some lunches that feature tupperware containers  packed with grapes, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices.

fruuit (1)
Just a sample of fruits readily available- nature’s fast food.

I cringe when I see that the choices are gummies, packaged cookies, Lunchables (or their copy-cats.) The “pizza” you make yourself is horrifying. Once the package is opened, a grim, red sauce can be spread over a cracker-like bottom and cheese swept from the factory floor can be sprinkled on top. Kids like them ’cause they’re doing it themselves. Kids like doing stuff. Make them responsible for their own lunches. Let them learn to make a sandwich, wash and apple or some grapes. Let them take milk in a thermos and forget the chocolate choice.