Sunday, March 30, 2014

Zombie-Like Stirrings At Dunsmuir Gardens

ONE BRIGHT DAFFODIL offered a glimmer of hope for flourishing growth at Dunsmuir Gardens where my husband and I recently walked. The community spaces at Blackie Spit Park in Crescent Beach can be rented from the City of Surrey for a low yearly fee.

Communal gardening is ideal for people who love to dig in the dirt but live in apartments with little or no yards. The resulting fresh fruit and vegetables are mostly for personal use. But some might be slated for local Food Banks.

The scarecrow (below) survived winter looking like a zombie that is about to get up and drag its feet the way spring has done.

Perennials under cover of earth slept quietly like the buried undead.

The garden at Blackie Spit Park is named after Dr. Dunsmuir who in the 1940s purchased a portion of land to farm that (in the late 1800s) belonged to Walter Blackie. Blackie was the first pioneer to settle in the seaside area now worth millions.

According to historians, he bought 150 acres (much of it sandspit) for fifty dollars. The subsequent park (in fact all of Crescent Beach) was once called Blackie's Spit.

Over the years Surrey acquired greater portions of the heritage land and in 1975 garden plots were created within a larger sanctuary preserved for wildlife.

Species that float, fly, buzz, creep or crawl are just starting to stir. Painted butterflies bring color to the scene until the fluttering kind come around.

Honey bees and wasps that can really sting will soon reappear.

Painted sunrays beam while waiting for brighter days.

There will be more creepy crawlers to bug everyone in the weeks ahead.

Shovels are decorative until the hard work of digging begins in earnest.

This adorable pony is not seasonal. I have seen two of them munching on hay year-round at the heritage farm alongside the road to the gardens.

At the end of the road there is a Drainage Pump Station working in conjunction with Dunsmuir Channel that is the storm water outlet for Crescent Beach. Plants love getting wet but there can be too much of a good thing when groundwater levels rise too high.

My husband and I were merely voyeurs enjoying a glimpse of a garden that is still an empty canvas with bare patches of soil. From tiny seeds and seedlings, strawberries, peas, beans and more will appear thanks to the tenders. We look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor as the growing season unfolds.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Marquee In Ocean Park

SPRING EXCITEMENT and humor were evident at the entranceway of a local nursery that reopened its doors after a long winter's nap.

I could not help but smile when I saw the marquee that read, "Spring is here! We are so excited we wet our plants."

The signage expresses what many feel by the end of the season that holds so many more dark hours than bright.

With most provinces experiencing unusual snowfalls, the only white shades that people want to see now are the first blossoms of spring.

Fresh showy petals make plant lovers giddy when they sprout as if out of nowhere on dormant stems and trees.

They are not exactly the same blooms that gave us joy last year but their beginnings are a sign that life, even when out of sight, is still stirring and backstage waiting until called upon to reappear.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Literary Yarn Told With Old Lace

A FANCIFUL FABLE about a talented, but too trusting, lace-maker is a cautionary tale by English travel writer and blogger Jenny Woolf to illustrate how the creative endeavors of the ill-informed can be snatched away when ownership issues are buried in the complex details of a contract.

Jenny's literary yarn unfolded strand by strand and readers were invited to compose their own ending to The Story of Poor Little Red Shoes. I participated and to my utter amazement (because I never win anything) my name was randomly drawn and I won a prize.

The mystery gift that arrived in the mail was antique lace that I learned was likely over a century old and possibly belonged to Jenny's fondly regarded relative, Mabel, born in the very late 1800s.

I can easily envision the dainty detachable collar prettily embellishing her dresses like an elegant necklace. Perhaps each snowflake, petal and jewel shape was created by hand with hooked needles and silken thread but no one knows for sure. Machines were invented during the Industrial Revolution in Britain and mass production of lace was well underway by the mid 1800s.

The love of lace spread throughout the world and it became highly valued.

Although it is impossible to tell if the making and distribution of lace began in any particular place, it is often connected with the once thriving trading center of Venice.

When holidaying in Venice in 2010, I visited the Island of Burano where lace, historically coveted by the royal and wealthy, had in former times been intricately fashioned by local women who might have gotten the idea when patching up fishing nets.

It is a joy to have this treasure in my care. I first planned on an ornate frame with a plain background to feature the work. But an ornate design reminiscent of Mabel's era caught my eye and I liked how the multiple patterns integrated. Ghostly reflections in the glass made it difficult to photograph my prize that now sits snugly on the bookshelf alongside a doily crocheted by my mother.

Read Unfair-y Tale Concluded to find the true ending of Poor Little Red Shoes.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Old Tweets & New In Our World

EARLY BIRDS have the best tweets I discovered during a stroll through Elgin Heritage Park. Their morning songs clearly signaled spring is coming and they sounded as excited about it as the rest of us.

I thought about our feathery friends when I opened my first ever Twitter Account the other day. No early bird when it comes to technology, I am late to the Twitter universe.

I hoped to reserve @penelopepuddle (my character's name) for the future but it was taken so @PennyPuddlisms is my pick for now.

It will be a long time between tweets and, since I am not on any lists yet, my first cheep fell on deaf ears. Nonetheless, in less than 140 characters I eked out a message that said: "Except something good to break through." This optimistic attitude that is a Puddlist phrase on one of my cards rang hollow recently when, (despite the positive thinking and prayers of many), a bright young man I wish I had known better succumbed to an illness. It is not easy to expect good things when bad things are happening. When the casualties of winter are impossible to forget, even the fresh blooms of spring can seem odorless and colorless.

Perhaps that is when expectations change and the good things that break through are the qualities that sustain us. Anne Morrow Lindbergh who lost her son once wrote, "Don't wish me happiness - I don't expect to be happy it's gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor - I will need them all."

This post is dedicated to Rick who is now free as a bird.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms