The very hungry caterpillar
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The very hungry caterpillar

Most people think of gardening as a nurturing sort of activity, forgetting that gardeners must also ruthlessly defend their crops from creeping green invaders. My bloodthirsty gardener instincts are in full force when invasive weeds (such as creeping bellflower) or creepy-crawly pests (like the caterpillar of the white cabbage butterfly) threaten to devour my brussels…

Let it be
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Let it be

When I was a child in Wisconsin, we could see the snow swirling like waves over the bare surface of Harvey Prinsen’s field. It had a certain beauty but it also meant cold. Drifting snow is a common part of almost any Canadian winter. Things are different in the Bulkley Valley of B.C. We have…

Dishabille
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Dishabille

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons (the others are winter, spring and summer). In autumn one can harvest potatoes, carrots, late cabbages, painted corn, hemp, beets, winter squash and more. Summer is a fading memory for me. And autumn has its times of glory, to be sure: when the aspen leaves resemble gold coins….

Roses over the wall

Roses over the wall

This is a good month for roses in my neighbourhood. On our walks, we seem to be continually surprised by the masses of heavy velvet heads framing doorways and gateways, and the lush greenery reaching high against brick walls. The breeze shifts and the fragrance reaches us, sweet, almost nostalgic but fresh and alive, too,…

Drab beauty
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Drab beauty

If you have never lived with bluebirds, you don’t know what you’re missing. Bluebird restoration projects – mostly involving the creation of nesting boxes – are very popular, and for good reason. The bluebird – eastern, western and mountain species – are the hobbits of the songbird nation. When my father “got” a pair of…

‘Efficient’ Eden?
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‘Efficient’ Eden?

It’s tempting to follow the utilitarian ideal – “designed to be useful or practical rather than attractive” – when thinking about the population of this world. We need, say some, to use every square inch of space to feed a rapidly increasing population. Combine this concern with mechanization and extensive agriculture, and all sorts of…