Inner Child Visits Disney

Success at last!

 

 

After years of hearing, “When can we go to Disney, Mom?” and months of planning the dream finally became a reality. This was the only thing my kids had ever really asked me for and I was determined to make their dreams come true. I persevered through setbacks over the years while keeping the prize of Disney in my sights. It became about more than a child’s request. It morphed into a personal feat of determination to accomplish something that was slapped out of the air whenever the words were spoken by negative thinkers. Those that didn’t personally enjoy Disney, had already been there and lost their Inner Child somewhere along life’s path, or were hell-bent on being a dream crusher. I ignored them all…even though their words and actions hurt me and my kids I stayed focused. I reiterated over and over to my children that I was taking them to Disney. Then I went one step further and committed – I gave them a time period. I was now tapped into the reality and was not going back on my promise. It was happening.

“Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.”

– Denis Waitley

I am thrilled that it came together the way it did. My children are no longer tiny Beings that need to be toted or pushed in strollers, thank goodness, which made everything more enjoyable all around. I thanked my lucky stars whenever I witnessed parents struggling with over-tired and cranky wee ones, juggling diaper bags and strollers, and having to pretend they were enjoying all the kiddie rides when I know they were secretly longing for the Tower of Terror.  There is something to be thankful for in each stage of parenting and at present I am reaping the rewards of kooky teenagers. They are like aliens sometimes but they are so much more enjoyable to travel with than little ones. That said, last week my sister and I accompanied  my two kids on this magical journey and let our Inner Children run wild!

 

 

This vacation was more than just time away for me and my kids. This was about taking time to connect outside of the regular realm of our existence.  I have always had a wonderful relationship with my kids and this was another aspect to explore – travelling together for more than a few hours in the car. It was a fabulous experience! I am a Spirit that hungers for travel, adventure and fun so  who better to share this with? This excursion was also about strength and determination to accomplish a goal. To teach perseverance and to take part in making someone else’s dream come true. To share a joyful experience that they would hold in their memories for a lifetime. Time spent with my sister is always a blessing as well.  My parents gave my sisters and I the love of travel early on and we all feel grateful to them for sharing such a wonderful gift with us. I am thankful I can do the same for my children.

 

 

I have been asked a few times what my favourite part of going to Disney was. Honestly, I think the unspoken energy shift in my kids was the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. I tear up with love for them as I type now. When a person lets their walls down and just lives for pure joy and laughter it is the most amazing thing to witness.

 

 

I must admit that I was a bit distracted at times with the beautiful plant life. So many gorgeous specimens that we don’t have here in southern Ontario. I was forever taking pictures of vegetation and spouting off Latin names as my kids just rolled their eyes at me and tuned out. Except when I said Monstera…that caught their attention. Go figure.

 

 

 

garden at resort

tree person

As we walked by a stand of trees in the Animal Kingdom Park this leafy figure stepped out of the gardens. They were on stilts and moved slowly and fluidly along the edge of the greenery.

These are just a few of the photos I took of the plant life – I wouldn’t want to bore you by sharing all of them. The gardens at Disney were spectacular and the amount of lush foliage and trees surrounding all the resorts, hotels and parks was a sight to behold. Disney certainly does it up right.

highway signs

Disney, here we come!

disney arch

It was all I could do not to squeal as we went under the arch. Seriously! I’m a big kid.

I think we were more excited than the kids!

I think we were more excited than the kids!

 

We have arrived!

Join me again next post when we get off the bus and get crack-a-lackin’ at having some serious fun!

 

“You’re dead if you only aim for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

– Walt Disney

 

 

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Riotous Explosion

Burning Bush - Euonymus alatus

Burning Bush – Euonymus alatus

 

 

 

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”  – Albert Camus 

 

 

 

As the garden season is winding down and Mother Nature is tucking many types of flora and fauna in for a long nap, the last burst appears. A riotous explosion of colour that delights the senses.

I Dream of Gardens

 

 

I am in a gardening frame of mind at present. I eat, breathe and sleep gardens during the summer months. Yes, I even dream of plants in my slumber. I am always grateful to get dirty and breathe fresh air.

 

 

Last weekend I felt the urge to get out into a garden that I could savor its beauty with no strings attached. To walk among the greenery, stop to smell whatever flower caught my eye, and sit still and let my senses lap up all that was on offer.  I figured that the best location to do this was at the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden that is about a fifteen minute drive on the highway from my house. I hadn’t been in this particular garden for a few years so I thought it was high time I check it out again. I am never disappointed by the gorgeous planters and urns that dot the walkways. They are a symphony of colour and textures that are pleasing to behold. Despite the plethora of planters, my timing was not great since many of the show gardens, the rose garden in particular, had just finished blooming and had been recently dead-headed. The Parks had planned well and planted adjacent flower beds with eye-popping colour in hopes of detracting away from the blah vista of non-blooming rose bushes. Candy-coloured annuals distracted me from disappointment.

 

 

There is one area in particular in this 100 acre property that calls to me through the treetops and beckons me to make a beeline directly into its inner sanctum – the herb garden. This garden is walled by cedar hedges that were planted in the 1940’s and still stand, perfectly manicured to create not only a mini micro-climate but also creates the feel of an outdoor room that quite honestly, I would be more than happy to stay in for hours.

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

 

 

 

After the herb garden, a nice stroll through the arboretum was in order. Don’t you just love the cool shade beneath the trees? My inner child wants to run from one shady spot to the next by the feel of the shades’ coolness alone while the sun shines in my eyes.

 

 

arboretum

arboretum

 

If you plan on visiting the Niagara Region, I highly recommend both the Butterfly Conservatory and the Botanical Gardens on your list of places to see.  Who knows, you may even bump into me taking in the gardens in every season!

For more info on the botanical gardens, visit this link.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

 

 

I bid you farewell and many enjoyable hours in the sunshine!

“When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.”
– Minnie Aumonier 

Arbor Day

Arbor Day has never been a day that I personally associated with…until now. I’ve always loved the notion of Earth Day, even though I try to live each and every day in a manner of caring for our planet. Arbor Day seemed too one-dimensional, too all-about-trees. I wouldn’t feel all aglow at the thought of Soil Day even though healthy soil is essential. Why the sudden desire to adore a day for trees? My heart just feels in tune with trees recently. I have become more observant of the trees around me and have gained appreciation of each one’s individual uniqueness. As a Horticulture Technician, gardener and environmental tree-hugger I have always understood the value and beauty of trees but something in me has shifted to feel the presence of trees like never before.

In Ontario (Canada) we observe Arbor Week from the last Friday in April until the first Sunday in May.   J. Sterling Morton founded the idea of having a special day in honour of planting trees over 135 years ago. Isn’t it reassuring that we still note this day to plant trees? I feel optimistic when a tree is planted with the intent of it enjoying its growth for many years. On the wings of optimism I planted a tree this morning in my back yard. My little tree has a special place in my heart. When my son was just a wee little guy, he brought me home a sapling from school one day. It was so tiny that it was almost unrecognizable as a Spruce. It was potted in a Dixie cup and sat on our windowsill for a month or so before it graduated to a pot on the patio. Since this tree exited the school in my son’s tiny hand it has been contained in a pot until today.  I couldn’t decide where the perfect spot in our garden would be to plant this tree until today. I went out into the back yard to enjoy the bright clear sky when I noticed a sunbeam in the back corner of our garden. It was like a stage light directed at the perfect location!

Spruce- Picea Abies

One day this small tree will become tall and stately, just like the little boy who presented it to me with great pride and a toothy grin.

Although I love my Picea abies (Norway Spruce), my favorite tree in my garden is the majestic Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra). To me it is reminiscent of the Group of Seven paintings I  adore and is a signal to me that I am home as I come around the corner.

Pinus nigra - Austrian Pine

Pinus nigra – Austrian Pine

Pinus nigra - Austrian Pine

Pinus nigra – Austrian Pine

Pinus nigra - Austrian Pine

“There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”  ~Minnie Aumonier

Welcoming Winter

Finally! We have snow…and lots of it! I think we have had more snow in the last four days than we did all last winter.

 

 

snowy porch light

snowy porch light

 

I love the look of snow. The crisp whiteness that makes everything look clean and pure. The way animal tracks show up so perfectly. Most of all I love the look of snow heavy on tree branches. The crisp white against the greens and browns of the trees. I could reflect on this for hours. The temperature is cold but wonderfully fresh and the air feels cleaner for some reason. There is a certain scent to snow that is so incredible. You may think I sound a bit nutty, but seriously, breathe deep the next time the snow falls (if you are in an area that receives snow) and smell for yourself. Lovely…ahhhh…

 

I have to admit though that I am not a winter sport kind of gal. I don’t like having cold fingers, toes or nose for any length of time. The thought of skiing gracefully downhill is appealing, than I remember that I am a total klutz. I think I am better suited to sitting by the fire in the chalet. I love the thrill of tobogganing, though. Bumping and flying down a hill at top speed totally out of control! I always find myself screaming and laughing until I cry. I instantly turn into a kid again. Not much skill needed. Just strong legs and stamina to get myself back up the hill repeatedly. Note to Self: get my butt out to the sledding hill. I usually end up as a giant snowball at least once, but it is so worth it. This would make a great Girls’ Night activity. I must put the word out. Sledding, then wine and snacks…who’s in?

 

It has been snowing beautiful, fluffy snowflakes all day. I went out into my backyard to look at the trees and quickly found my jeans soaking wet and heavy. I stayed out for only a few minutes to fill my lungs with the wonderfully crisp air and listen to the stillness that winter always brings.

 

snow pressed up against the door

snow pressed up against the door

 

 

 

 

snow accumulated on the outdoor chandelier

snow accumulated on the outdoor chandelier

snow-covered tree

snow-covered tree

” Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She
withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and
stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them
for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” ~Hugh Macmillan,
“Rejuvenescence,” The Ministry of Nature, 1871

 

 

Clearing the Cobwebs

creek

In my last blog post, I mentioned heading out for a walk to clear the cobwebs before getting busy with my holiday baking. Along the way I stopped often to enjoy my surroundings, the fabulous weather, and to take a few photos. Join me on my walk, won’t you?

The water in the creek was very clear. It was wonderful to just stand on the bridge and watch  the water as it gently made its way through the rocks.

burr

There is something so incredible about burrs. They are nature’s little hitchhiker. Most of us were first introduced to them as children when they were stuck in our hair and clothes. Although I have spent countless hours plucking them from my children’s and my own clothes I still find them fascinating. The natural world is so full of wondrous specimens.

pear tree

There are a grouping of old gnarly pear trees along my route. I am always drawn to these trees. They have so much character. Over the last few years a few of them have died off and been removed by city workers. This is one of the few left standing. I stood under this tree for a few minutes to enjoy the visual contrast between the rough, dark texture of the bark against the velvety blue sky as the clouds drifted past.

path

Occasionally while I am walking I tear my eyes from the plant-life around me long enough to look up ahead to where my feet are leading me.

up we go

Almost to the top of the hill! There was a refreshing breeze here that made my hair dance around me. Such a great feeling to have the wind in my hair – so rejuvenating.

looking ahead

I love the way the sun was creating pockets of warmth…the temptation makes me step a bit quicker.

fallen tree

The cycle of Life always amazes me.

oddity

Surprisingly, I have never noticed this particular tree before.

dry docks

I had no set destination in mind. The warm, fresh air was so welcoming I wasn’t ready to turn for home yet. So I kept walking…and walking…and walking. I stopped for a few minutes to check out the happenings at the dry docks.

Canadian Coast Guard at the dry docks

At the moment there is a Canadian Coast Guard ship docked here.

canal and reservoir

On this day the reservoir beside the canal is full. During the summer months it was as dry as a bone. The sun was shining so bright that I couldn’t see to take this pic. I was squinting like crazy at this exact moment while a man walking his dog stood behind me watching while I took pictures. No idea why but, oh well.

anchor

While leaning on the fence, I noticed the anchors built into the design. A nice touch, in my opinion.

the road ahead

With the sun beating brightly down, warming my Soul and my face, I head for home.

” Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” 

– John Lubbock

Breaking of the Storm

The sun is finally starting to show its beautiful face again. We are getting small fleeting smiles from the sky before clouds drift in front again to continue the dismal grayness that colours today. Here in the Niagara region of southern Ontario we were very fortunate to have escaped the wrath of Sandy (A.K.A. Frankenstorm.) We had our fair share of rain, definitely, and high winds that whipped trees around as though they were licorice. I haven’t seen much in the way of damage or downed trees today while doing a few errands. I wonder if this is due to the last nasty windstorm we had in April 2011 that seemed to uproot and rid this area of weak or vulnerable trees. The region lost many trees in a day and schools were evacuated due to high winds. We even had a tree fall on our house almost directly above where I was sitting at the time. It was frightening…but I am getting off track.

Last night we were as prepared as we could have been under the circumstances. Most of the prep went unused, thankfully. The only thing used was the chilled beer and sadly, the submersible pump. The pump is still being used as I type. Nothing drastic, just a bit of water coming up through the drain in the laundry room floor from  supersaturation  of the ground due to how quickly and heavily the rain came. Nothing was damaged since the laundry room is a simple concrete floor and the water only surrounded the drain. The amount of rainfall in the time span was unusual so really, no surprise that water backed up. Thankfully it was a minute amount compared to what many others have experienced over the past few days.

This morning I took a few pictures through the windows of our house. You don’t think I was going to go stand out in the pouring rain and wind, did you? The photos, although not top-notch, give an idea of how the rain was pounding on the house. The colour of the sky is accurate and the pictures were taken mid to late morning. It felt as though it was evening it was so dark and dreary.

Sandy

Sandy/Frankenstorm

Frankenstorm

My favorite tree toughing it out.

My favorite tree toughing it out.

Driving rain on the walkway

Rain on the Front Walkway – I think I can put the garden hose away now.

Winter-ready Back Garden Being Hammered by Rain and Wind

I am very grateful that we made it through Sandy/Frankenstorm relatively unscathed as did friends and family. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those that were not as fortunate to escape the wrath of this storm.

I am sure many of you have seen some of these photos already. I included them to show the severity of this storm. See photos here: Affects of Sandy captured by others can be seen in these few photos.

This was yet another example of the power of Nature.

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”     Aristotle

The Stuff of Nightmares

I think I am being just a tad dramatic, but just try for a moment to put yourself in my shoes.

 

Let me first say that I absolutely love my job as a gardener. This is in no way meant to complain about the tasks that are needed to be done. However, there is one part of this job that makes me groan. Yup, I think I’ve even groaned audibly for my co-workers to hear. I imagine they all inwardly groan as well. Perhaps this is the reason I always seem to find myself alone doing this chore. They are all too smart from previous years. They usually come to my rescue  just as I am  about to break and curl up into fetal position though. The task I refer to is hand-picking Maple keys out of garden stones. Ugh. I guess this evil task is simply a matter of geography in a way, since Maple trees only grow in certain countries. Here in Canada we glorify the Maple, our national tree. Heck, even our flag has the Maple leaf emblazoned on it. I secretly curse the samaras that fall into the rocky gardens. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that they aimed to wedge themselves in between the rocks simply to inconvenience humans. It seems as though there are never any maple keys on the grass, only crammed deep within the rocks making the need to pluck them the only form of removal. Within minutes, my hands transform into claws that loose the ability to grip more than a couple of samaras at a time, making the job even less enjoyable. I never knew human hands could do this until “the keys” were a regular part of my life. Very interesting phenomena. It is not painful, just annoying.

 

Maple keys. or samaras, are an ingenious form of self-propagation. Nature is brilliant in so many ways, carrying forth a species by dropping seeds is only one of many miracles. Although, the miracle of the birth of a Maple is rather lost on me while picking keys out of stone. After a few weeks of this task, I have come to the conclusion that I will never put rocks instead of mulch in my own gardens. I have always dreamed of installing a Japanese-inspired garden with river rock throughout but I have been sent a clear sign by Reality that this is not going to work for me. Not right now, anyway. Perhaps when I reach a point in my life where Maple key collection rates high on my fun scale. Hmmm…not going to happen.

 

Collecting keys has become the stuff of my nightmares lately. In my slumber I see rocks with dried and sprouting samara that need to be collected. Just like in “real life” I shift the stones to pluck the keys out only to look around where I’m working to see millions more. I stir from sleep with my hands immobile, fingers in a gripping position and my jaw sore from clenching. Thank goodness the Maples are almost finished dropping their keys. I could really use a Maple-free rest.

 

If I enjoyed tinkering and inventing things, I would definitely try to come up with a vacuum that could identify and suck up only Maple keys. Just strong enough to pull them free of their moorings among the rocks while leaving the rocks in place. I’m sure this invention would be a gold mine. If anyone figures out how to construct one of these miracle machines, I  want one!

 

 

“Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.”
– George Bernard Shaw