What is the point of gardening?

Self-tutoring: the tutor delves into the philosophy behind urban gardening.

In the late ’80s I talked to a farmer, and survivalist, who lived way up north. He didn’t have a garden. His wife did; he snickered at its mention.

“You’re a survivalist…why don’t you believe in gardening?” he was sometimes asked.

“It’s much cheaper to buy produce at the grocery store,” he would smile. “If you think of the money you could earn for the time spent tending a garden, you come out way behind, gardening.”

He didn’t talk much, that man, and he was almost always right when he did. Back then, he could make $20/hour for working…why would he garden?

My father had a garden in the 80s in a region where agriculture is favourable. Yet, our home sat on a sand hill; our soil wasn’t so good as that of our neighbours across the street, who lived on the flat.

I came to learn that my father loved gardening. Evenings from late spring to early fall, he’d spend out in the back yard. Sometimes he tended the garden, while other times he’d stand there, smoking a cigarette, surveying it. He was proud of the garden. No-one else could see it; our garden lay behind a bluff that backed onto woods. He took personal pride in it, regardless.

About a third of his time out there, he spent planning what he’d do next year. If I went out to talk to him, he’d discuss the crop, but soon begin about how the soil was better than last year, and what he’d yet do to improve it. We were surrounded by deciduous trees whose leaves he collected each autumn, then tilled into the garden. He loved talking about compost.

During our three years there, he improved the soil a great deal, from almost pure sand to darker stuff more like loam. However, he was a military man; we had to move. All that progress was lost to him when we moved away to live on a base.

My father had known, when we arrived there, that we were destined only to move away in a few years. Yet, his compass, first to last, was improving the soil. We ate delicious produce from the garden – I still remember the first tomato we picked from it and how good it tasted. However, he didn’t mainly talk about that. Rather, he talked about how good the soil would be next spring or how much it could improve after ten years of composting.

My only conclusion is that Dad’s point to gardening was to improve the soil. Whatever produce we ate from it – and we certainly did – was a bonus.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Baking: the scones I made this morning

Self-tutoring about lifestyle: the tutor shares an easy recipe everyone seems to love.

I like scones, especially hot from the oven. They’re surprisingly easy to make: here’s the recipe I used this morning, from allrecipes.com.

I substitute margarine for butter, and find it works best if the margarine is cold from the fridge.

Best of luck with your breakfast cooking:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Yard work, exercise and fitness: the unintended work-out

Self-tutoring: the tutor shares about yard chores.

Yesterday, I thought perhaps I wouldn’t get enough exercise. I thought wrong.

For the seeds I found in our shelves, I decided to open up more garden space from a rectangle of the lawn. It was a spontaneous decision that meant using the shovel and pick-axe.

Turning over the sod took me about 45 minutes. A pick-axe is handy to have for such jobs.

When I was a kid, my Dad had a roto-tiller that would’ve done the job in under 10 minutes, no sweat. We lived in a farming place, then. Now we don’t, so I till by hand:)

I’ll keep you updated on what I plant; I hope to start today.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Gardening: planting a rose cutting inside a potato

Gardening self-tutoring: the tutor tries a trick he saw on YouTube about starting some rose cuttings.

I’ve been trying to spiff up the yard with new plants lately, including some rose cuttings. I started them in potatoes – an idea I saw in this video from Fast Remedy.

The potato stabilizes the cutting, making it much easier to plant. I’ve done the trick with two roses, and hope for the best.

I will let you know how they turn out.

Best of luck with your gardening:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, yard work: watering reflections, part 0

Self-tutoring about watering: the tutor reflects….

I can’t remember when summer 2018 started (see my post here about when summer starts); irrigation is in full swing. (I began about this year’s watering efforts in the post here.)

I’m no pro at watering, but I’ve observed a few helpful hints:

  1. When working with several sprinklers, turn off the one in a sensitive area (eg, near the sidewalk) first. If you turn off another one instead, the one near the sidewalk may then receive more water, and spill beyond the yard.
  2. I typically water one spot for, at most, around 30 minutes. I suspect once it’s soaked, the rest of the water probably doesn’t help; rather, it may just leach out nutrients to runoff.
  3. Single plants or bushes that need water but are outside of the main sprinkling areas, I do with a watering can. I don’t sprinkle the whole yard, just main areas.

Best of luck with your yard:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: baking: can you line a baking pan with wax paper?

Self-tutoring: the tutor inquires whether wax paper can be used to line a pan for baking.

Two sources indicate that wax paper can be used for baking, but only under the following two conditions:

  1. The batter must completely cover the wax paper.
  2. The wax paper does not come in direct contact with the oven’s heat.




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Food: banana: a good source of fibre?

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor mentions the fibre content of a banana.

A typical banana has around 100 calories, with 2.6g of fibre.

Suggested fibre intake might be 14g per 1000 calories, or 1.4g per 100 calories. The banana offers nearly twice that amount of fibre: I’d call it a good source fibre.





Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Food: dark raisins vs golden

More self-tutoring: a question crystallizes in the tutor’s mind, so he looks up the difference between dark raisins and golden ones.

Talking about raisins produced in California, dark raisins and golden ones commonly begin as green grapes (typically, Thompson Seedless).

If the grapes are dried in the sun, they brown – hence, dark raisins.

If the grapes are dehydrated out of the sun, in managed humidity, golden raisins can result.




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, health: sleep: do hours before midnight count for double?

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor begins research about the question of sleep quality before midnight vs after.

I first heard the adage “hours of sleep before midnight count for double” from a judo coach. I trust he’s probably right, though I’ve no specific idea why.

Today I started looking for a reason and encountered organicolivia.com, where I read interesting logic that supports the claim of hours slept before midnight counting for double those after.

Olivia’s point is that the functions of sleep – starting with falling into proper sleep – are energy-expensive. Hence, the reason that when overtired, actually falling asleep can be difficult.

Olivia observes, then, that during the hours before midnight, you still have energy “left over” from the day. If you spend that energy in a productive, wakeful activity between 9pm and midnight, your body won’t have it to invest in sleep past midnight.

Olivia’s claim sounds logical to me. I know that going to bed an hour earlier, then waking an hour earlier, seems easier than staying up another hour when I’m tired.

I hope to pursue the sleep-before-midnight concept in future posts:)



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: listening to YouTube

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor reflects on a habit he’s “rediscovered.”

Nowadays, I cook a lot, do a lot of dishes, and so on, usually alone. In my experience, reading isn’t feasible while moving around the kitchen. Listening, however, is.

My kids brought me the habit of listening to YouTube. I’ve noticed them “watching” it, sometimes with only a static image on the screen while a narrator talks. Then, they’re not “watching” YouTube; rather, they’re listening to the narrator tell a story.

In retirement, my mother’s father had the radio on often. My mother, when I was a kid, listened to it for hours a day, while she was cooking, doing dishes, etc. I heard many stories narrated over the radio. As I recall, some were weekly serials that extended over months or longer.

On a blustery winter Saturday or Sunday, I’d hear the radio story from the next room. Not meaning to, I’d get caught up in it. I might even have looked forward, sometimes, to the next installment. On Canada’s Atlantic, winters are long: many weekends might be spent indoors.

Today, YouTube has many channels that focus on storytelling, with just a static picture on the screen, or even an altogether blank screen: the radio habit lives on.

There is much more to say about the premise of story listening. I hope to continue this thread in coming posts:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.