Friday, April 27, 2012

Justice, Love and Human Dignity ( Only a Dream)



(In solidarity with my folks in the Philippines, to my adoptive cousins in Guatemala, and to my African community)

 A mother's view of progress: in relation to  human dignity, respect to nature, and maybe economics and politics?

I was born in a farming community, and as a young kid, I have always respected nature because it provides food in the form of natural resources (trees and shrubs that I foraged food) and nature tantrums like typhoons which had wiped out many of our crops and our homes, which we always rebuild using scrap materials.

Some people think I am political, some people think I am passionate,  and I simply think I love too much; to live where there is justice and equality. And you can think now, that world does not exist, and I am a dreamer.  To me, I am just a wanderer, and simple human specie trying to enjoy what my eyes can see, and what my other senses felt. I want the next generation to see what I see, and feel the joy of nature, and if that is political, then so be it. 

I belong to the organization Development and Peace (, because I believe in the organization. I could have chosen another organization, but this specific organization reflects my own principles of life, love and human dignity. Maybe, there are other principles that I do not agree with,  pertaining to how the organization is run, but then again...that is true to any organization. Same logic applies to my government, as I do not agree how my government spend "our taxes", but I still accept my government rules, and pay my taxes.

Over the years, I have come to see and understand how stuff works, but I am still learning more each day. I had many travel adventures, all of which in my own desire to fly, and sometimes with organizations that I particularly get myself involved.

In 2006, I toured Guatemala among with 12 other Canadians to see the countryside. " I came, I saw, I cried". See Anna's article below.

San Marcos Sipakapa, Guatemala - an open pit mine, operated by local GCN, under contract with a Canadian Mining Company.  (Photo credits: Angelina Singson)

That's me and what would I change? A greenery in the background, but you already know I cannot. 

Mining companies dug hole in the ground, cut trees, poisoned the land, and left many villages in dis-array after mining operations have closed. Rivers, streams and lakes are struggling to keep its natural habitat restored due to pollution and toxic waste. Of course, mining companies always have a Sustainability department to clean up after their waste, but it is all short term. A tree planting here and there, a weekly clean up of the river does not cut it. Regeneration of a scarred slope does not happen in one year, it will take longer than that.
Climbing Pyramids built by the Lords of Tikal - Human Progress. Note that the people below me look like little dots. Lords of Tikal is a book written by Peter D. Harrision, I bought it at the bookstore in Guatemala and it very good historical, architectural and profound writings ever written on these pyramids.

 Let it be known that I am not against progress, I would not be typing in this very computer if I am. I will still be hunting in the woods and foraging when I can. I am with progress, and I love it. I love traveling and without progress, I have to sail on a boat for ages, to get to the other end of the world, instead of boarding a fancy B-747.  Thus, these progress has its cost. Companies will extract raw materials to create my computer parts, and so to provide metals for the plane I rode. So, why am I upset at mining companies who provided me with this very important resources, so my engineering buddies can build me this fancy plane?  Maybe, I am one of those hypocrites, or maybe there is an explanation to that.

Mining companies have bigger footprint and bigger mess to clean up. And I firmly believe that none of them are cleaning up their mess, simply because there is no nagging mother trying to yell at them to clean up. Every country that they have mining operations and and closed are left with bigger mess to clean up. They would only have small projects to do the clean up and it does very little repair the environmental  and cultural damage. For example, maybe a little patch of grass for a big scarred slope, few batches of seedlings for farmers misplace, and perhaps odd janitorial jobs offered to local folks.

This is where I am outrage, I personally think that they have a long term responsibility to repair the land, and they are not doing it. I WANT THEM RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO CLEAN IT UP, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES. And this is what angers me, they never did. Most clean ups are done in a very short period of time and rehabilitation project are very minimal. Now, tell me I am political and I'd say you are right. That is called freedom of speech!
The Canadian Team at Guatemela City Canadian Embassy.  With then/now former  Canadian Ambassador to Guatemala-Kenneth Cook (Photo Credits: Jared Hagel)

Here is a news release at Carleton University at one of my release interviews. I originally have the printed version of the paper Charlatan, and I saw the online version from the authors blog: Anna Maria Konewka

A look at Canadian mining in Guatemala


Coming back to Canada, we as a group,  toured churches, the group organized echo seminars at Carleton University and talk to anyone that would listen - from a grocery store clerk to our Members of the Parliament. We believe that it is a Canadian duty to clean up/restore lands and nature which were damage by Canadian Mining Companies. One of them who listened is Peter McKay and he authored Bill C-300. The bill hold a Mining company responsible for its clean up and land rehabilitation and the Canadian government/ or its department should be monitoring this.
For complete viewing of the document, both in English and French, here is the link:
Bill C-300, Mining Corporate Social Responsibility

We supported the Bill C-300 with all our heart. In fact, we went to the Parliament to express our support. I think my daughter was the youngest activist. Barely 3 months in a stroller? Or maybe the mother was an activist who cannot be stopped by motherhood duties.
May 2009. Development and Peace supporting Bill-C300 with Peter McKay. (Photo credits: Development and Peace)

The bill passed 2nd reading. We are all just hyper and excited. See MP John McKay's homepage below:
John McKay’s Bill C-300 on Corporate Accountability Passes 2nd Reading, Moves to Committee Stage

Of course, holding mining companies accountable to their actions is too much to ask. Canada is a mining country, and setting  a standard of Corporate Social Responsibility  seems too big of a task. A motion to make it Global CSR, so every country operating mines in the Philippines, Latin America and Africa is suggested to make it even uniform sounds a better alternative, yet also beyond Canadian politics. And of course, we have very huge profits on the mining industry. Just ask Mining Watch ( about the figures, and you will be blown away. And we cannot afford to be against the very industry that makes Canada a progressive county.

So, the Bill was defeated 140-134! Imagine that? Here are some writing about the defeat. (October 2010)

Defeat of responsible mining bill is missed opportunity - Globe and Mail 

Bill C-300: Narrow Defeat despite Widespread Support for Mining Accountability and Human Rights - Canadian Newswire
So, there it is, a simple concern of great Canadian Citizens calling for responsible mining and respect for human rights - went to Parliament Hill, supported, defeated, and never forgotten. Am I political for supporting such bill? Was Development and Peace as an organization political by supporting such bill?

Let us pretend that after the defeat, that  I hibernated for 2 years, and I wake up in 2012.
And I saw CIDA funding cuts recently. Why?

Here are some explanations why and various articles were compiled by McLeans Magazines.

'To the benefit of large corporations’

By  Aaron Wherry on Friday, January 20, 2012 11:55am
Source : Liberals are unimpressed with the Conservatives’ use of foreign aid funds.
“The Liberal Party supports the efforts of Canadian companies working abroad to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities. We also support those who have chosen to work with Canadian NGOs in meeting these responsibilities effectively. However, it is inappropriate for the Conservative government to use taxpayers’ money to fund these projects when the companies should be paying for these projects themselves. The Conservative government should be putting Canada’s precious foreign aid dollars to help alleviate poverty and not to the benefit of large corporations.”

There are more articles, like Bev Oda's explanations here:
Source: Oda defends CIDA’s partnerships with the private sector.
“I think if we can increase the capacity of any country to become a global trading partner, if they’ve got products Canadians need, we can import them and, if Canada has products they would like, Canada can export them.”
And Oda says she wants to see more partnerships between aid agencies and companies to help deliver Canadian aid around the world. “Our government is very much looking to increase its relationships with the private sector,” she said, adding that she would like to see such relationships between NGOs and corporations in manufacturing, agriculture and tourism, in addition to the extractive industry.

I am no political analyst, I am no economic analyst either and not a journalist by any chance. I am well educated enough to read, understand engineering equations and I understand how money works.

Money itself and the desire for more profits, undermines the value of natural resources, making it the first victim of such acts. The second victim is you and me, and third victim is  the future - maybe the species that will become extinct or human race in general.

And along my long rambling of stuff, maybe it is political statement to simply request for justice,  love and respect  for  human rights. Maybe? What do you think?

(All opinions written here are base on my own perspective: a mother, student, gardener, and community leader)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Red Spider Zinnia, Marigold, Bush Beans

April 27, 2012

Today, I realized that the first batch of marigolds I sown  4 days ago germinated. And I did not even put a record of its sowing date, except pencil date on the pot.

I started 3 pots today. Red Spider Zinnia, Marigold 2 pots and Bush Beans-Tendergreen. I'd say 2 weeks would make my bean happy. Hope they make it, as the Scarlet runner bean overtake our bedrooms.

Will update soon once they germinated.

May 12, 2012 - They are germinated and very happy. Red spider zinnia and marigold 2 pots. The bush beans outside tends to delay, i won't blame them, it is still very cold.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sowing More Seeds

Last night, I was looking at my seed packets and added more pots to my germination rack

Here are the list of seeds:
1. Zucchini "black beauty"
2. chives
3. brocoli 'munchkin'
4. beet 'early wonder'
5. english marigold
6. basil -'purple dark opal

well, i hope they all germinate. picture soon. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Plants for Sale

Goldfish plant - she is about 6 inches tall. Pot size - round 4 inches.

crassula - spp.

christmas cactus - pink

From time to time, I will recognize that I was way too much plants, so I sell them to someone who might love to have them.

It is of bargain price, so I post it here, so people can check it out, if they are in the mood for plant shopping.
LOCAL PICK UP ONLY, some exceptions apply, like cuttings can be mailed.

Fitonia - about 5 inches long - Pot size 4 inch round $2.00

Leek (Allium ampeloprasum)

June 12. 2012 Raining here in the capital city. 

Update on the Leek. Few have rotten, there are few that develop leaves and I manage to plant them in the ground. Here is the picture of a Leek that survive, this is in a 3 gallon spot.

June 12 2012, Leek in a 3 gallon pot.

April 23, 2012 MON. Snowing in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Leek - starting to root or rot in water? What is your prediction?

This is a picture of a Leek - I cooked the stems. And the roots, I just don't like to throw it, so maybe this will root or rot in water? Time will tell.

If it does root, then here is a smart way of starting your leeks, aside from seeds.

April 23-30. In 7 days, this is the growth of the Leek roots. It looks promising.

Looks like it is rooting. Maybe I will pot one up and see what happens?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Organic Mini White Cucumber, Bunching Onions Sprouting

May 14, 2012 - I moved the peat pellets into the Tim Hortons cup, they have outgrown the small peat pellets.
Cucumber Mini White - picture taken April 23, 2012.
Bunching Onions - started April 16th. Picture taken April 23.

April 22, 2012 SUNDAY

Its been super hectic now in my arena since I started gardening for work again. I spent the day cleaning up a clients garden and weeds are starting to grow faster than me. 

I got a bunos of coneflowers, scattered volunteers all over a neat garden, so I am excited to bring her home. 

Plus my friend Nancy drove us to Loblaws to pick up composted manure. My husband stared at the bag " you are bringing home - cow sh*t?" . Well, I just laugh. 
He might not eat the squash or bean this summer because it grows on cow poop!

I said to myself I won't make a post, until I got pictures. Well........that's too much to ask for now, so I will just put the pictures later. 

My SSE mini white cucumbers germinated in tray of 25 pellets - if only i can recall when i put it down. Maybe 3 days ago? 

The Bunching Onions sprouted too - still covered in a 2 little pot dome. 

The Zucchini is hesitant, there was 3 to 4 of them that stand out. 

The butternut squash tend to be strong, all of them just sprouted, even if I don' t want them to sprout yet. 

Now, I started another batch of tropicals as well. I have given away my elephant ears, since it was too big and cannot take it outside yet. 
At my best estimate, it will take two weeks before some leaves come out. I am using the bucket method of propagating tropicals. NO NO NO, I do not poke my sweet potato with toothpick nor hang it on the cross!. See my post of Colocasia esculenta. 

4 Colocasia Esculenta - 1 bucket
4 small reddish sweet potato - 1 bucket
3 Lila malanga (Xantosa violaceum) - 1 bucket
1 Big sweet potato - 1 bucket

Also, I started the french marigold. This weekend my neighbor ask if I germinated already...and I just said...oh crap, its about time. This one is a square pot.

Anyhow, I am sleepy goodnite folks.  
Pictures might follow soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Okra Burgundy, Okra Clemson Spineless, Swiss Chard Bright lights

April 19 (THURSDAY) - I got very good germination, about 8/10 on clemson spineless, and 10/10 on burgundy, and still germinating. Maybe this tray will germinate 100% of all 25 peat pellets. 

okra-clemson spineless, swiss chard bright lights, okra burgundy

april 15, 2012

today is kenny first communion and it was a happy family event and we have early dinner get together after that.

dad and sher was present, mom and kieth, auntie sharon and uncle moe grace us

we went to kelseys and have a blast. kenny and I went to chapters to spend his gift money on lego ninjago.

now, im tired.

speaking of which, i tend to get restless when i'm tired. so many things i do lately, and i said i will write it down, but forgotten. for example, i germinated butternut squash, and said will write the date and estimated germination date. however, i see them all germinating and for the life of me, i cannot recall when i put it down.

so, today i am writing down my seeds, okra burgundy and okra clemson spineless, donated by Ottawa Gardener. I used peat pellets, since the seeds are good enough to hold. in between the two rows, I put 5 peat pellets of swiss chard.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Coleus Ulrich, Coleus Rattlesnake, Coleus Stormy Weather

introduce by color farm's Vern Ogren

(Notes from Ray Rogers Book: Coleus Rainbow Foliage for Container Gardens)

Coleus is an edible plant, and also herb to cure anything types of scrapes and bruise. Here is North America, it is a popular annual for landscaping. Victorians love it too, manicured in their rich homes.

I found this pot of coleus at the grocery store. I go groceries, and plant comes home with me. It is my treat and there is no arguement to it.
While coleus is a shade plant, I put this one under the grow light, because I find it too frail. There was barely any yellow edgings and I thought - this might be a sport of Ulrich. However, after one week under lights of 12 hour exposure, the yellow spots show up, more uniform and awesome!

So my take on this coleus is that - this is a sun coleus, if you like it with the yellow edgings.

If you prefer this one with speckles, random splash of green and red, then put it in the shade. I only have one plant, and started another cutting. So, wish me luck.

What is your experience on this coleus? Got any to share?

Sweet William(Dianthus barbatus)

April 8, 2012 - Sweet William(Dianthus barbatus)

Maybe I got this seed from Ebay or the St. Patty's Seed Swap that we hosted. But since it is in my stash, why not germinate it?

It is labeled biennial or short live perennial, but i saw it live longer than that. Why? Because it self seed. If you don't take the plant out in the garden, leave it to over winter, the seeds fall down in the ground, and germinate itself, and there goes another batch of Sweet William on your garden. Pretty neat, huh?

From the looks of it, these pretty flowers are destined for greatness. What do you think?

From Wiki:

Here is the flower:)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) is a species of Dianthus native to southern Europe and parts of Asia which has become a popular ornamental garden plant. It is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant growing to 30–75 cm tall, with flowers in a dense cluster of up to 30 at the top of the stems. Each flower is 2–3 cm diameter with five petals displaying serrated edges. Wild plants produce red flowers with a white base, but colours in cultivars range from white, pink, red, and purple or with variegated patterns. The exact origin of its English common name is unknown, but first appears in 1596 in botanist John Gerard's garden catalog. The flowers are edible and may have medicinal properties. Sweet William attracts bees, birds, and butterflies, and was included in Catherine Middleton's 2011 bridal bouquet.

Sweet Marjoram(Origanum majorana)

SWEET MARJORAM ( Origanum majorana) April 8, 2012

I like to grow all seeds in peat pots, but these tiny seeds cannot be handled by me and put in peat pots. Instead, I put these seeds in a decent potting mix, with Vermaculite dustings on top.

This pot is put outside in my growing shelf, and I hope she germinates.
Will update soon with pictures of the germinated marjoram.

From Seed Savers Exchange: My favorite seed store.

Catalog # 465
(Origanum majorana) Highly esteemed for a variety of seasoning needs. Similar to oregano, but noticeably sweeter. Attractive 12-24" plants with small white flowers. Perennial in zones 6-8, grown as an annual in the North.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage (Salvia officinalis) April 8, 2012

May 22, 2012 - finally she decided to wake up.  My baby sage seedlings!

I just love to grow anything from seeds, and my basement is bursting of green life right now.
I started my SAGE, which unfortunately is sitting outdoors for germination.
I hope she germinates well, despite this cold.

From Seed Savers Exchange: Below is the picture of Sage from Seeds Savers Exchange catalog.
Catalog # 1252 
(Salvia officinalis) Classic culinary herb for flavoring meat, cheese, and bean dishes. Good for laying on the grill and flavoring meat with its smoke. Attractive grey-green shrubby plant with beautiful mauve flowers. Perennial in zones 5-10.

Red Salvia (Annual)

Red Salvia(annual)

Last year, I have many Red Salvia around the house. They were nice in pots, and I happened to save some seeds, so I am trying to germinate them, if any luck. Even in these cold nights, I have no choice but to put the pot outside, because my basement is crammed.

Just hope she germinates, and spread around.


my youngest son kieren will turn 2 in June 9th.

he learned very quick. He know his please and thank you.

he also think that if he ask, he is given.
and if he ask louder, he will be given right away.

he has his way around things.

he loves Zumba - well, he calls it Viva. And his favorite track is 5 Letras. He will stare you tube, then start making few steps back and forth.

He sleeps with a pink Elephant, we call it Elphie but the elephant suddenly become Alfie - as in Alfredson of Ottawa Senators.

He does not like pacifier, he never used one.

He likes his sippy cup of water to go to sleep.

he loves his bath with Karlina.

he will eat avocado for breakfast with me.

his favorite food is grapes and so as Karlina.

He poops a lot, maybe 2 times a day, maybe even 3. But then again, he eats a lot too.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Organic Zuchinni - Black Beauty

Fri - April 7, 2012

Zucchini - variety "black beauty"

I got this organic seed packet yesterday and i said, "hey, why not?" Zuchinni on stir fries, yummy!

So, I got one board again, I expanded few peat pellets and stucked in some Zucchini seeds.
I was wondering if this is a mis-label or is this real zucchini? I find the seeds too big for a Zuchinni. My neighbor complained last year, that she planted a seed called Zuchinni and what she harvested were pumpkin for Halloween.

Time will tell and i hope this one will give me lots of fruits. Now, where to plant this one? Bucket in my frontyard?

Spearmint Seeds, Thyme Seeds

April 13, 2012. Can you guess how many seeds sprouted?
That is a lot of thyme from one seed packet.Challenge is transplanting it later,without killing it all.

Fri - April 7, 2012

Germinating Spearmint Seeds and Thyme Seeds

I like using peat pellet, less messy than soil. However, with tiny seeds such as thyme and spearmint, I have to be creative.

First, I expand one pellet, pour water to the coir, sit for two minutes or so.

Then I opened that mesh covering and make the peat pellet lose, then drop it in a mug.
Don't tell me there is not drainage here, does not have one. However, I won't let this herb grow in the mug either. Once it germinated, I have to transplant it to several flats. This is the lazy method of germination.

Then, i dusted thin layer of Vermaculite to cover the seeds, little spray of water.
I created humidity by putting plastic on top of the mug, and put a rubber band on it. I cannot decide yet where to put it, but for now it is on my kitchen shelf.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sweet Potato Vines

Sweet Potato - Ipomoea batatas.

I know, you do not eat sweet potato vines here in North America, it is an ornamental hanging basket filler.

In the Philippines, we cooked sweet potato vines in soups, and stir fries. Oh recipe? I'm not the cook - sorry! Ask Mr. Google.

Propagation trick: Put in a sealed bucket, then open after two weeks, roots and small leaves formed. Then leave it open for another two weeks - this is the 4th week pixie.

I know, it is sexy to poke that sweet potato tuber with a toothpick, put in a glass of water and watch the roots formed. Ah, your cruel people? Do you like to be poked all over, and be put on water, just to see if you root? Cruelty to plants..Cruelty to plants....I screamed!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chick Advisor Prize Pack

I review products all the time, and I am a reviewer at Chick Advisor.

It is a very fun friendly social place for neat ideas, and of course, weekly prizes. I am never lucky in any draw, raffles, but the Queen of Luck just dazzle me today.

Awhile back, I won on those weekly :comment to win, and the prize is here..........

Kate Lipstick - Rimmel
Loreal Color Infalliable
and Purple Zone - is this eye shadow?

Anyhow, good weather, surprise gift from

What a happy cherry spring!

Chickadvisor, this is awesome!