cough

Don’t think Jim will be walking home from work downtown for the next few days until this clears out. Smoke from forest fires up north has arrived in the city. Some before and afters of the downtown Saskatoon skyline; befores were taken Sunday around noon. Afters today, Monday, about the same time, roughly the same location. We all smell like we’ve been sitting around a campfire. Can’t imagine how it must be north of La Ronge.

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Willies

We love the Forestry Farm. Just renewed our membership for the year. A great place for a walk and a bit of a commune with the animals; note to self: don’t try to feed the turkey out of your hand. He bites. Hard. And if there was an image to give any responsible parent (who likes camping) the willies and heebie-jeebies, here’s one. Luckily, there’s that pane of glass. And security fence… This little guy was happily singing, “Hi, Teddy Bear!” and hoping his dad would let him give that grizzly a big ol’ hug.

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Dear Future Mom

My dear friend Lisa Bendall featured this on her 50 Good Deeds blog and it’s worth sharing far and wide. When a woman contacts her Down syndrome support organization to say her unborn child has Down syndrome, that she is scared, and wonders what his life will be like, they didn’t send a brochure about chromosomes. They did this instead. Brilliant. When I worked as the communications coordinator for the Saskatchewan Association for Community LIivng, I remember getting a call from a woman in a similar position. She had just given birth and learned her baby had Down syndrome. I congratulated her, asked what name she’d chosen. I asked about weight, length, oooed and awed. I said the same things as I would about any newborn. She started to cry, and said I was the first person to congratulate her on the birth of her little girl. I wish I had been able to send this video to that mom. I hope they make one for Future Dads, too!

As for our son, here he is volunteering with our local permaculture club, transforming a backyard into an eco-friendly sustainable fruit orchard. I don’t think that would have been in the brochure about chromosomes either.

IMG_4025Jim, the rocker mover.IMG_4166Jim, the cardboard sorter.

The best part of the day? “Lunch.”

A perma what?

Last weekend, Rick, Jim and I threw our shoulders – and backs, arms and legs – into a permablitz. Never heard of one? Neither had we. All we know is that with some planning, a bunch of volunteers and good cheer, a big barren backyard can be transformed into a self-sustaining fruit orchard (or whatever you’d like) in only a few hours. And it’s fun!

From Permaculture Saskatchewan’s website:

A Permablitz is an organized gathering of community members with the intention of transforming space (usually an urban backyard) into a productive ecosystem through Permaculture design. The host and permaculture designer will have the design ready and now everyone pitches in to help make this vision a reality. Many hands make light work! Permablitzes are free to attend and organized on a voluntary basis. A little permablitz history:  Dan Palmer and Adam Grub from the Melbourne Permaculture community group created the original permablitz network as a way of encouraging Melbourne to embrace edible landscaping while building community at the same time.

IMG_3938  The beginning…IMG_3064  The plan.IMG_3998  That’s me!

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That’s Jim organizing cardboard to put down as a weed barrier mulch. There’s Rick with the first of the fruit trees going in.

IMG_3156 My fellow Saskatoon HOME writer Ashleigh Mattern, who wrote about permaculture in a recent issue (check out the story on page 79), is combing a hands-on workout with another freelance article.

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In just a few sweaty hours, it’s a completely different eco-system.