By | December 27, 2015

Below is an article from Michelle Rickaby
Just over a year and a half ago Darren and I moved from a townhouse to a house. This has changed our lives in so many ways. We were so lucky in our townhouse that it had a yard that backed onto a path that followed a creek. This creek was home to many birds and wildlife. In the spring and summer I would sit on the patio and watch geese parents raise their babies. People would sit on the bench and feed the geese bird seeds and watch the goslings eat. The goslings would peck away at the seed and waddle along just outside our fence.   I would listen to the sounds of the birds in my backyard even though we lived very close to the freeway. When the thought of moving came I was afraid we’d never find something I love as much as this peaceful part of my life. But, we did. We moved into a house that is next to the river. We are surrounded by trees and I sit on my patio listening and watching all types of birds. I don’t have far to go to see many other types of animals. This brings me to gardening. As I talk about in the book, I grew up with my grandparents’ gardens. When I was small each set of grandparents lived in houses and had beautiful gardens. By the time I was a teenager both sets of grandparents had moved into apartments. Then I had the opportunity to learn more about gardening in my early 20’s from my (ex) mother-in-law, Julie. Julie was a master gardener. That included vegetables and flowers. At that time people gardened more as a carry- over from the depression. Each of these families had lived through hard times in the depression and knew how to produce their own food and preserve it, out of necessity. Money was almost nonexistent so in order to eat they could only rely on themselves. Running to the grocery store wasn’t an option. Then came convenience foods. Lives were changing, more people went to work and time got more precious. I’m sure that’s where fast and convenient foods like Kraft dinner came from. Whoever thought this was a good idea? Anyways, we seem to have reverted to a more conscious state of mind.  We seem to be trying to reverse some of the bad habits we’ve become accustomed to by going back to organics and trying to relearn how to eat healthy. This is where my new garden comes in. This new/old house had an existing garden and was in sad need of TLC. All my gardening instincts that had been lying dormant sprung to life. It was late fall that we moved into the house so I didn’t waste any time relocating the garden for the following spring. This has been a great success and we all are enjoying, literally, the fruits of this labour. I find myself taking my daughters, and anyone else who will listen, on a garden tour. This summer I’m even going a step further freezing and drying fruit and vegetables that I can use in recipes in the winter. As an added bonus all my food is totally organic using compost that we created. Recently Julie was having problems with her digestion and low blood (due to chemo) so I asked if she could eat swiss chard. I remembered being introduced to swiss chard by my mother-in-law 30 years ago so I grew some in my garden this year. It is beautiful and a treat to share. Julie eats it in her salads and had an improvement in her blood count! Too bad I can’t get Glenda to enjoy fresh raspberries from the garden. Now we’re waiting for Darren’s corn to form ears.

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