© OLD SAGE HANDS

Willful Weigela

In In the Garden on June 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm

When we bought our home, more than 20 years ago, we also inherited a large garden. Planted by the original owner, this once-magnificent pride of the neighbourhood had long been neglected and was now so overgrown and filled with weeds it took weeks of hard labour to regain a semblance of order. In our excavations, we discovered this old Weigela in our backyard. It was my aunt who recognized it for what it was – as it had grown to become more stringy tree than beautiful bush.

Our restoration and redesign of the space included annual and aggressive pruning of the Weigela, which yielded more growth and fragrant pink blossoms than you can imagine. So much so, that during a recent storm, the weight of the blooms caused one of the larger branches to snap right off. It had fallen and lay sadly blocking the back access to the path. The unfortunate task fell to my husband, who was forced to take saw in hand to the broken limb with high hopes it would continue on after the carnage.

Well, lo and behold – just the other day, as we strolled past the sight of former glory, we spotted a fresh, new sprout – right on top of the old branch!

Weigela

You can’t imagine the feelings of jubilance and rejoice upon seeing such a simple shoot! We should all have such vigour and will to live. You just can’t keep a good shrub down!

 

Best Baba-ghanouj By Far

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on June 7, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Move over hummus. If you eat a lot of dips, like we do, then I highly recommend Sunflower Kitchen’s classic eggplant dip. Fresh, non-GMO, kosher – this company makes some of the best-quality dips you’ll ever taste. This all-time favourite makes a perfect appetizer or snack with veggies and crackers. Try it as a spread on wraps or in sandwiches. We also love it as part of a meal with flatbread or naan.

babaghanouj

Sunflower Kitchen Baba-Ghanouj (www.sunflowerkitchen.com). However you spell it: baba ghanoush, baba ganoush, or Sunflower’s preferred baba-ghanouj  – this is one delicious dip. Almost as good as homemade, perhaps even better since there’s no prep time or cleanup – it’s already made and ready to serve! PRODUCT NOTES Wonderful, smooth texture with real eggplant pieces, skin and all. Has just the right flavouring that comes from roasting the eggplant. BOTTOM LINE Look for the large container, as the small one won’t last! I normally buy two large containers each time I’m out shopping, as it seems to disappear overnight in my house. Plus, I’ve noticed it sells out fast, so clearly I’m not the only one who has discovered it. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to any other brand. (And if you do find a better one, I’d like to know about it!)

 

Fur-rific Fable is Fetching Fun!

In Book Reviews, Recently Reviewed on May 3, 2017 at 9:25 pm

MissMoonCoverIf you’re a cat person, the mere mention of dogs may conjure up images of simple, scruffy ruffians. But before you go and get your hackles raised, fear not – Miss Moon is here to lead the pack on raising well-mannered dogs (and their people, too). Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess by Janet Hill (Tundra Books, 2016) is a beautifully illustrated picture book filled with valuable life lessons. Perhaps even a cat, or two, might learn some new tricks. Readers with a keen eye, no doubt, will be certain to spot the few cat cameos.

Based in Stratford, Ont., author Janet Hill is also the book illustrator and known for her elegant and whimsical artwork, which has been featured in various magazines as well as both private and corporate collections.

The story begins on an island off the coast of France, where Miss Moon began her career minding 67 dogs. Instead of running for the hills, she realized her lifelong calling was to become a dog governess. Refined dog owners everywhere will certainly agree that there is a terrible shortage, as it is extremely difficult to find anyone who specializes in imparting good manners to pampered pooches – let alone someone as experienced and dedicated as Miss Moon. Now before you go barking up the wrong tree, a simple visit to your neighbourhood park will prove how sorely these services are needed. Be sure to watch where you step, and don’t be surprised to find yourself overrun with common dog walkers and their motley crew of wild, canine charges.

Easy to read and broken into 20 life lessons, Miss Moon’s terrific tips and gorgeous artwork will have you grinning like a Cheshire cat. Lesson Eighteen, for example, will appeal to eco-warriors and homesteaders alike – “Nurture the environment and you’ll never be hungry.” A delightful tale for young and old.