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Time is a river

Time is a river, but once one is over 60, it feels like a waterfall. At least I experience time like that. Maybe it’s because everything takes longer to get done, maybe it’s because the flow of time has accelerated over the last years, but I’m very sure it feels as if the week consists of just a few hours. It was Monday, and all of a sudden – it’s already weekend. I was absent from this blog for quite a while.

Love the leaves and blooms!

I’m simply too busy catching up. The world has also changed with all major events rushing over us. The seasons have changed. We have fall season here in Ontario already, and I jumped over the summer completely. Half of the summer I was suffering from bad pain due to an accident and so I couldn’t do anything else, but read. As you know, I read only real books since I would love to spend no time online and no time staring at screens. I’m not addicted to devices and I use them only if absolutely necessary.

Cucumber blooms, delicate shape, beautiful color!

Nothing much has happened also during the last 3 months. I’m still just at home here, haven’t seen anybody, haven’t been anywhere. The garden I started in spring was doing ok, but we basically had no rain, none whatsoever all summer. Well, there were too many cucumbers and I have too many tomatoes at the moment. I don’t feel like making preserves this year and I also don’t have jars.

Summer colors

The internet and everything being online has made life extremely complicated. Dealing with paperwork isn’t easy and I plain and simple hate paperwork, just like many other people. However, I don’t think there are many people who didn’t get married because of paperwork. I managed that, back in Europe, and I was actually very happy later that I didn’t get married. It’s because the distance of time revealed the true face of that person.

Black-eyed beauties

The other thing I absolutely cannot take is meetings. It’s supposed to be great attending meetings, but I just dislike them so much that if you want to never see me again, just invite me to some meeting. This is because during the soviet times, up to 1991 while Latvia was in the USSR, we were always in meetings, preparing pointless and useless reports, plans and schedules. The paperwork was overwhelming and, I have to admit I have missed probably a lot of good opportunities since they required plenty of paperwork. I simply do not apply to shows, art associations, exhibitions and so on.

Middle of summer

Living is tight for most people nowadays. My ability to do numerous things on my own helps. Being a good cook helps, too. However, it’s been so much cooking while staying only at home that I’ve lost the spark for doing that. Thankfully, I’ve never changed my size or weight after 21, therefore, I have a wide choice of outfits. I am wearing pants I had sewn in 2004 when I just arrived in Canada, jackets and skirts from 90-s. I have sewn them myself, therefore, the fabric is excellent and doesn’t wear out or lose color like the readymade clothes.

More of flowers, more color

While I am on some social media sites, I really cannot stand them. Facebook is a necessity for art classes and other art events, but the most I can spend there is about 5 minutes a week. I just look at Facebook, and it takes no time at all to become nauseated. I think I was already too old when social media became a must for whatever we want to promote and put out there, so I never felt social media as an organic part of me. I lack that chatty style and I’m way too realistic and honest to spread lies shamelessly. I never engage in small talk either, also in real life. Or give out fake compliments. Or watch weird videos.

Hibiscus bloom

Nothing of that makes my life better, therefore, as I mentioned before, I rather read real books. Or some blogs, or my own blogs. The problem is that most people don’t have time to even look at the actual post. They click on “like” from Reader and then leave a comment – please, visit my site. While I have quite many followers, I know well those few who read my posts. I hope I will stay in touch and be more present during the upcoming months, but my art site and art blog definitely take priority since art is what I do, and I want it to stay that way. Making income with art is very tricky. It’s also time- and resource-consuming business. Well, time will show how I survive doing what most people would say is a futile effort.

Start and finish in bright yellow, it sure is going to brighten somebody’s day!

Meanwhile, I’d like to remind that time is a river, and it never gives us back anything. Float, swim or fight the flow – that’s up to each one of us. As long as we are above the water, we can do lots. Have a decent fall season!

June, the Midsummer thoughts

Nothing can stop flowers from blooming! Not pandemic, not wars, fights, struggles and bad economic times; not even people who are not fine with where they are and what they are. The symphony of colors flows over the backyard making the adorable petal shapes the best artful creation there ever was. To hold one’s breath and to simply adore something which is way better, more complete than humans. The nature.

Midsummer and June: the fantastic time of the year. Although, flowers were rushing, the rich and lush green is embroidered with bright colors of scattered blooms under the pure and clean sky where white and happy clouds sail towards the sun. Standing in the middle of it, my heart says to just stop doing whatever I am busy with, and look around.

So many summers have blossomed away! Latvia is always in my memories when June comes around. It would be great to spend this time over there, more than 8 thousand miles away, across the ocean.

We went a few times to the Canadian Latvian community place called Sidrabene which translated would be like “silver lined spot” on this earth. We wanted to see what Midsummer celebration looked like there, and it was interesting, but not the same what people can experience in Latvia. Singing, dancing, beer and the special caraway seed cheese were included. Singing in the second part was mostly in English, and the Latvian accents of those who at least tried to say something in Latvian had a strong English note, too. Well, obviously, many of these Latvians have lived in Canada since early childhood or are even born here.

Latvians have numerous folksongs which have travelled to nowadays mostly verbally without writing them down. In the 18th century, enthusiasts started to categorize and collect them and eventually compile in enormous volumes. It is said that every Latvian has his or her own folksong. As I have explained in previous years, Midsummer celebration in Latvia is probably the most fantastic event with traditions going back for many thousands of years, so are the folksongs. We can sometimes wonder what does one or another thing actually mean, so unusual it sounds.

Wherever I would live, whatever I would do, I remain in my heart a Latvian. Part of this tiny (all Latvians, scattered around on the globe, would not fill even a third of city of Toronto), tough, hard-working, wise nation which stays very close to nature, opening its ancient soul to song, dance, arts and everything that is beautiful.

Our roots go deep, and in this technologically advanced century we still are admirers of ancient traditions, handmade outfits, jewelry, herbal medicine and help of the Universe as we walk through the life. The knowledge which comes to us from people who lived many thousands of years ago and whose names remain unknown, makes Latvians very specific, very charismatic and talented people. If one comes from a tiny nation, they simply have to master many languages, many skills, and to stay determined, or otherwise the big global forces will smash us.

I will attach a few links from the most unique event which will celebrate 150 years in 2023: the Latvian Song and Dance Festival where tens of thousands of people from kids to very old ladies and senior citizens join in songs and dance. Every region has its own colors, costumes and they all shine during this festival.

The famous Latvian song and dance festival, a few glimpses
To my native land, watch at piano, the best Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls, lyrics by Janis Peters, a very much loved Latvian poet

Enjoy the midsummer and stay close to nature!

Featured golden fall photos

All the gold of the fall

The only fair, honest and true thing that we have left at our disposal is the nature. That is why I am turning to it.

The only place where the true and real justice manifests is also the nature. I highly respect the nature for that. For being natural.

The only true value can be still found in the nature: natural food, natural remedies, natural breathing space … Well, they are taking it away step by step, but it is still available so far.

Everything else is valued nowadays by what it seems and looks or by what it sells for.

It will vanish with natural disasters which we are causing by creating the sale value.

I cannot travel a lot, therefore, I have become more attentive and observant and I notice wonderful and incredible things happening or surprising me straight at my doorstep.

That is not that little.

All the gold of the fall. Almost like all the gold of the world. Right here.

I am sharing it with you since I am a generous person.

The best of the golden fall.

Maple at my entrance

photos of golden fall trees

More gold in my yard

Photos of fall trees
Red gold of maple leaves

and

So much of it

golden trees at fall
Lots and lots of fall gold

Enjoy!

Some backyard ideas and my most favorite herbs: the first post of my new blog

It took me a while:  I was planning to write this life school blog for some 2 years, and I finally got written and published the first post of my new blog. I hope you’ll like it! I hope you enjoy all posts and all my observations, stories, poems and life lessons which I have experienced during many decades living in Europe, Latvia, as well as later in Ontario, Canada.

I was just cropping photos and thinking: it was such a blessing to grow up without any internet and without any mobile devices. I suppose, childhood is the perfect time to learn about our surroundings and nature. That is a great time to find out what each herb, grass and flower can do for us, how they can help and what they can cure. I had a grandmother who taught me everything she knew about plants, flowers and herbs when I was about 5-6 years old. We moved to a small town afterwards, we had a garden, just like everybody in Latvia did, but meadows and forests belong to my early childhood.

I also remember when I arrived in Canada, I saw lots of lawns, every house had it, and most backyards were lawns, too. That was when I thought: what a waste of land and soil! I think, it’s wrong to kill all dandelions, white and red clover, other small blossoming weeds, even nettles, because bees desperately need them. The flawless lawn is boring. If every house had flowers and blossoming weeds, we would not need to worry about losing bees. secondly, every plant and herb helps maintaining or improving our health.

It is, thankfully, summer, and summer means planting, weeding, growing and watering plants. I am very happy to have a huge backyard this time. I haven‘t turned it entirely in a garden yet, but if we stay here long enough, I probably will. We rent, and that means moving often and starting a new garden again.

Here are the main reasons why even very busy people should grow some herbs and some basic vegetables in their backyard. It’s not about money and financial gains because starting up a small garden is not that cheap. It is about the huge health benefits. That also means that kids learn nature directly and take part in growing their own meals.

We obviously can buy everything at the grocery store and farmers market. The latter is a better choice because of a shorter shelf life. However, the soil has been depleted so terribly during the last decades that vegetables and fruits we are consuming at the present moment have only 30% of the mineral, vitamin and nutrition content compared to what they had in 70-s. When we add to this processing time, packaging time, time of transportation and sitting on a shelf, we cannot even dream that this fruit or vegetable compares to some extent with the vegetable or fruit which we picked in the backyard or garden.

Strawberries grow anywhere

There are plants which grow themselves. As soon as we have put them in the ground, they’ll only require watering and a few – also minimum amount of a fertilizer.

Easy to grow berries strawberries

I love strawberries because they grow wildly and require attention only two times a year: in the fall when we need to detach the new shoots, and in early spring when we should sort out the entire strawberry field or bed. After that, they just bloom and grow, and all one has to do is pick them when red. Isn’t that fantastic? Secondly, you get twice as many plants in the next year, 4 times more in the third year, and so until your backyard is a strawberry field. Just kidding, but still, it’s an easy plant to grow in mild climate.

backyard simple parsley

The simple or Italian parsley

backyard the beautiful and healthy lemon balm

Lemon balm: so beautiful, so good for us, especially for people who suffer from high blood pressure and anxiety or similar disorders

The other plants which grow absolutely effortlessly are herbs: basil, dill, parsley, mint, sage, rosemary, lemon balm and thyme. They have extreme contents of healthy stuff inside, yet, they don’t require practically any work. Dill can be sown every month as a sub-plant for other taller plants. It is a really friendly neighbor to cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, radish and similar. Dill grows very fast, and just 1 teaspoon of chopped dill with any salads, soups or potatoes, etc. provides us with a large dose of live!!! vitamin C. I will review in other posts all possible uses of dill, parsley, lemon balm and other backyard plants.

backyard Dill: huge health benefits

The insanely healthy plant: dill for every condition

There is still time to plant and sow many summer herbs and vegetables. Radish and lettuce are ready in a very short time, so eat and put new seeds in the soil.

backyard crisp radish

Crisp and red: eat right away

The biggest advantage of growing herbs and vegetables is that we really can be sure how clean they are and what we have used when growing them. Only tomatoes and cucumbers will need a bit of fertilizer (2 times a season is enough), everything else grows practically on its own.

backyard flowers

Flowers: endless source of pleasure

backyard more flowers

More flowers

backyard first strawberries

More strawberries, these are the first ones this year

backyard strawberries

I have strawberries in pots and everywhere else, we used them for sketching

Enjoy the pictures from my backyard! I appreciate your comments!