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A cold remedy that uses ingredients grown in Alberta gardens

This past couple of weeks, I have been making a traditional cold remedy called fire cider with people who are looking for alternatives to over-the-counter cold medicine.

Fire cider is a remedy one makes in the fall, during harvest. All the ingredients but two (and if need be, these can be eliminated from the remedy) are grown in Alberta gardens. READ

Stop fungi, viruses and pests in autumn

In late spring, summer and early fall, deciduous trees and shrubs are covered in leaves. During this time, yellow leaves, dead leaves and dead branches are tell-tale signs that the plant is not healthy. READ

Environmental collision course

Twenty-two years ago, Darryl Smith, dentist, outdoorsman and environmental activist from Valleyview, in Northern Alberta, took me on a fishing tour of his Little Smoky River; “his” because the doctor was the father of the Little Smoky becoming the first designated catch and release grayling fishery in North America. READ

A work in progress

I once worked with a disagreeable fellow named Doug. Colleagues sometimes referring to him as Old Thunder Head as he seemed to walk beneath a small, dark thunder cloud. We worked in a large building and my department had little interaction with Doug’s. It wasn’t until the company did some renovating that I began to encounter him in the hallways. For a couple weeks, he was kept busy transporting items from his old office to the new one. READ

Dealing with my daughter the drama queen

There Sophie was insistently slamming her hand down over and over on the Hideout Hut. You may be asking yourself what in fact a Hideout Hut is and why was I allowing my daughter to beat it. Have patience and read on! READ

Arm wrestling with telemarketers

They got me good today. Twice in fact. I can usually figure it out when the phone rings and the ID thingy on the phone reads a weird number with lots of zeros or says “Ontario” or “Nigeria” or “Answer this, you fool” — I can usually realize that I’m being had. READ

What it takes to stay committed to your health

Real commitment doesn’t always have to be about sacrifice — or does it? When it comes to your health, where do we draw the line between having our cake and eating it, too, to avoid the self-defeating behaviour of not allowing ourselves certain indulgences? And when should we hold true to a commitment to our health and our well-being and ensure our bodies are getting the best treatment possible — no sugar, no alcohol, no processed foods? READ

Fairy gardens are fun and meant to catch the eye

Fairy gardens are miniature gardens developed with small plants and accessories. They can be located outside or in. Outside, they are located in nocks and crannies; inside, in a large shallow container. READ

Albertans’ access to public lands decreasing

It has been written of our neighbours to the south, Montanans, that they will obey any law or policy with which they personally agree. Albertans are different: they will quietly obey any policy or law with which they personally disagree, provided you let them say so before you ignore them and cram it down their throats. That is why we elect bad governments, over and over; just so long as they do not increase taxes or otherwise affect our creature comforts. READ

Learning to live with beater cars

From the time the kids were wee babes, Jamie and I have drove older vehicles. Some may refer to them as beaters, beasts or even pieces of crap (whilst booting the wheel well over and over again because the damn thing broke down for the fifth time that month). But who’s keeping track, right? READ

Being an encourager

“I can’t hit the broad side of a barn,” I lamented. “I’ll look like a fool.” I was chatting with my cousin, Lloyd. He had come out to the farm for his usual summer visit. I had been expressing anxiety about playing slow-pitch with a group of guys at my new job. READ

Stories to help deal with the season of sickness

This week I launch my book, The Herbal Apprentice: Plant Medicine and The Human Being. Because it is the season of coughs, sore throats and colds, I thought three plant stories from the book might be of interest. READ

Important to do your research on soil

Thinking of purchasing soil or compost for the garden? As with any long-lasting purchase, it pays to take time to do research and ask questions. Once soil is delivered, it is just about impossible to return. READ

Missing pheasant season

If only I was able to do the rough-ground walking involved in hunting wild pheasants, I’d be sleepless at the prospects of a vintage pheasant season starting Oct. 15 in the best of Alberta’s upland bird country. Rick Martin, wildlife projects manager for the Eastern Irrigation District at Brooks, tells me that brood counts on key upland species are the best since 2008: pheasants up 25 per cent from last year, Hungarian partridge, up 46 per cent, and sharp tail grouse up an amazing and unexplainable 145 per cent. READ

Preserving vegetables, finding new friends

There I was in the canning department of Walmart pondering over what the optimum size of mason jar would be to really get the most bang for my buck. Recently I’ve been exploring the art of canning. Yes I’ve become a canner (and I’m not referring to the dance). I’ve been canning peppers to make spicy pepper jam. I’ve been canning sunberries and rhubarb to make jellies. I’ve even tried my hand at pickles as of late. READ

Moments can be cause for reflection

“Life is a journey, not a destination,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. The phrase came up in conversation a couple weeks ago. Another birthday had come and gone, and with it the obligatory reflecting back over the past year. READ

You wanna have a catch?

So the Better Half and I were digging around in what we call the “mouse house” on account of this year there seems to be a wee bit too much evidence that there have been numerous unwelcome tell-tale rodent visits to the shed. READ

How to eat less and feel more satisfied

Do you struggle with overeating? Most of society does. How could you not? Sandwiches with greasy meat patties, cheese with egg and bacon drizzled with gravy is not helping anyone reach their health goals, but continuously feeding our so easily tantalized taste buds. On a recent poll on doctoroz.com, people admitted to overeating mostly later in the day (between 6 and 10 p.m.). READ

Cougar management needed

Nothing demonstrates Alberta’s city-country divide quite like peoples’ attitudes to cougars. A cougar was recently shot and killed in a busy Calgary location because the conservation officers considered tranquilizing the big cat could pose a serious threat to public safety. READ

Making the best of the remaining warm days

Warm days in fall are made for gardening and doing all those last-minute chores before winter sets in, including transplanting plants, watering in and in general tidying up the yard. Perennials divide and/or transplant well in the fall. READ

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