Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wheat grass

At the Lotus island market every weekend, wheatgrass is sold as a healthful food when prepared as a juice, with nutritional and restorative powers. It's virtues seemed to me to be something of a more modern and innovative discovery though it was investigated in the 30's and 40's and the art of juicing and marketing the drink occurred in the 50's. Remarkable claims have been made as to it's benefits. Fancy then, that Rabelais (1494 to 1553), physician, author and theolog, in his book Gargantua and Pantagruel,(1534), described the benefits of "wheat in the blade". There is truly nothing new under the sun. I'm not sure Rabelais is everyone's cup of tea but here goes. He writes, "From wheat in the blade you make a fine green sauce, simple to mix and easy to digest, which rejoices the brain, exhilarates the animal spirits, delights the sight, induces the appetite, pleases the taste, fortifies the heart, tickles the tongue, clarifies the complexion, strengthens the muscles, tempers the blood, eases the diaphagm, refreshes the liver, unblocks the spleen, comforts the kidneys, relaxes the vertebrae, empties the ureters, dilates the spermatic glands, tautens the testicle strings, purges the bladder, swells the genitals, straightens the foreskin,hardens the ballock, and rectifies the member: giving you a good belly, and good belching, farting-both noisy and silent- shitting, pissing, sneezing, crying, coughing, spitting, vomiting, yawning, snotting, breathing, inhaling, exhaling, snoring, sweating, and erections of the john-thomas: also countless other rare advantages." The observations of Rabelais render the modern pitch a bit pallid, wouldn't you agree?

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I was reading one of my pieces, now published, where I can't grab and change it! Damn! The conclusion I wrote doesn't make sense and is stupid. I got carried away by my own rhetoric and stuck in a pretty, but shallow conclusion! We can't revise the dumb things we did in the past either. All we can do with the published book is improve the next chapter in the next book. Revise and revise and revise but eventually you have to let it go. Then you look at this later and say,"How could I have said that, missed that, and didn't delete all that?" In point of fact, most people will not judge you as harshly as you do yourself. Years ago the CEO of a college I was a member of, had a painting by Jack Shadbolt in his office that had been donated to the college by a fellow doctor. The painter often retrieved paintings from owners; paintings that he was not pleased with, and would repaint the parts he didn't like! The painting I recall was the old wooden Marpole bridge with people looking at the water. He painted the people out and returned the revised work. It would be tough to collect all the books one sold to change the lines that offend. It's tough to alter the past in your life where the lines were troubling. You just have to forgive yourself and crank up every morning, with the new knowledge and the new humility you have been blessed with. Then you can go and make a whole set of new mistakes. Humble pie has enough calories to help one grow bigger!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I was weeding yesterday in primarily perennial beds, including open interspaces that we fill with summer annuals. There were the Mid-July beginnings of re-seeded annuals and biennials that Mother Nature provided from the compost we spread in the late spring.I took a certain amount of care to identify and avoid pulling these little offerings out. They get there courtesy of my laziness and Mother Nature's Locum Tenens. (On second thought I am the locum, she is Mistress Of All) I usually can't be bothered clipping spent bloom on the annuals,I suppose due to laziness, so they often go to seed if the deer don't do the job of heading for me! The Lotus Island deer and the bunnies don't seem to like Snapdragons, Poppies,Sweet William or Forget-me-not, so the seed heads are usually left on and then either disappear and hide in the compost, or rest in the flower bed over winter. There is nothing like free and in old flower beds one should weed cautiously to anticipate the new surprises.If you garden for yourself, my view is never give the weeding job to the ill-informed! These small treasures are easily rooted up. I suppose a sensible person would say, "To hell with all this diddling around, just clean up the mess of weeds and replant some robust plants from the nursery and be done with it! For goodness sake, you must have a lot of time to waste!" On what?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grass is a plant

It's hard to recall that, when you see the beautifully cut carpet lawn of the North American golf course! The so-called lawn of the bucolic Lotus Island set is often the meadow grasses, cut to a higher measured level to read, "uniformity"! Taming the meadow grasses into a simulated lawn does not allow one to discard the recognition that one's grasses are a plant. As I have previously mentioned, we have 200 varieties of grasses on The Pacific Coast and they vary greatly in growth habit! They are not, on the whole, genetically engineered to flourish at half an inch or less. Neatness doesn't count, but sensitivity does if the free spirits of Mother Nature are allowed to flourish! I'm not suggesting for one minute that the fairway be cut to impede the ball from rolling. I'm not even suggesting the lawn proud urbanite change his ways if the genetics of the turf is such that a half inch set is a healthy thing! It's just that the heterogeneous grasses of Mother Nature will live together in perfect accord if you raise the bar a bit as you cut your so-called lawn. The grasses have been living together for centuries on Lotus Island without a lot of outside help. The composition varies from time to time depending on the changes in the climate. Celebrate that! Monoculture is less adaptable. Mother Nature is wise! Celebrate that too!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Promotion

The book promotion module I have stresses the need to rely on your family and friends to give the initial impetus to one's book. The idea being there needs to be a seed snowball formed that can pick up size as it rolls down the hill. Ultimately, of course, it will have to stand or fall on its own. As Paul McCartney says, or almost says," I'll need a little help from my friends."

In the meantime, I hope I am not singing out of key.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tent caterpillars

The massive hatch of tent caterpillar moths has happened this week on Lotus Island. They are everywhere, resting on the house siding and windows in hordes. Invading every cranny and nook where a little warmth can be found. This spring was a moderately bad year for the tents on the apples, and other soft leaf trees so the moth invasion portends a much bigger year next year. Interestingly I had made a search the past winter for egg cases and found few, so concluded that I didn't need to dormant spray. Big mistake! The trouble with Lotus Island is the "green movement" is so driven that even dormant spray is considered by many as dirty pool. This spring I spent a long time cutting off all the tents and drowning the tenters in the harbour but I can't spare the time to drown the whole island population of webworms. Now we have to await the natural control mechanism by parasitic wasps. The tent caterpillars this spring, when observed did not have that telltale white spot, dorsally, just behind their head. I should say the satisfying white spot. The parasitic wasp lays its egg there and on hatching the wasp larvae feeds on the caterpillar. The rise of the worm population provokes a rise in the wasp population. Isn't Mother Nature grand? In the meantime look next year for denuded spring time trees on the island due to the massive egg cases that will come this fall and winter over. Fortunately Mother Nature provides a secondary leaf recovery. If you have apples, plums and cherries, prepare for the worst!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


If you write a book, the most serious critics are those that love you most and are afraid you may stumble. With the book AN ELDERLY ECLECTIC GENTLEMAN the observations were, "Is it still as preachy as the draft was?" Or, "Are you going to leave all the dirty bits in?" And, "Have you verified all these facts you think you know?" Now, I don't pretend to be the Will Rogers of the bucolic island set, but I and anyone else who sticks his neck out and writes a book may get a pitch on the head and fall in the tub with a splash. It's the risk! Worse than getting conked on the head from the critic, is getting ignored. "You might get sued if some recognize themselves", they said,"For heavens sake don't mention any names!" Much of this is good advice but to scramble the adage; perspective is of the eye of the beholder! I have to be truthful without being foolhardy. If you haven't irritated someone in your life from time to time you have to ask yourself "Why?" I was always sought after as a golfing companion when I worked in Lotus City! I served a useful purpose to my companions as I was a cheerful fellow,never kept score, and was a bad golfer. It reinforced to my companions how good their game was in comparison. This useful role may be the service I provide to other budding authors as well. I can no longer, like the leopard, change my spots! I can only curl up and lick them clean!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Book Sale

My book is based on the blog; the work entailed in production is why I have neglected blogging for 2011. The editing process has been extremely time consuming and has really diverted my muse. The book will be launched about August 01 and is called AN ELDERLY ECLECTIC GENTLEMAN. It is available through and can be viewed as an upcoming publication. This is all very exciting for me. Having reedited it so many times one ends up having a love-hate relationship with it and barf bag jitters but the Friesen Press people have been super to deal with and very supportive. I wouldn't have had the guts to do this without my family and my literature group and then the self publishing company. Hopefully now I can get back to writing the new stuff that needs to have the pump primed.