I step gingerly into 2017—emerging from the remains of a brief flu and a tentative reorientation of my priorities. In the chaos of inner shifts and a deepening realization of the immediate rehab needs of one of our puppies (after kneecap realignment surgery)–and acceptance of the time involved—I have been contemplating changes in my posting habits. I may post less frequently. I also may decrease my reliance on prompts…though they will definitely continue to be in the mix as I highly value the community and learning aspects of prompt challenges.
I put some words down recently in an attempt to extricate myself from Tomorrow, a song lodged in my mind after watching the 1982 version of the musical, Annie. In this movie clip Annie sings for Eleanor Roosevelt and President Franklin Roosevelt.
On June 11 last year I posted ‘How does my garden grow?’, my first Ontheland post since May 2011. This last year of blogging has been an amazing journey. Without too much fanfare I would like to mark Ontheland’s first blog birthday with appreciation and thanks. Thank you to everyone who has read, liked, followed and commented here over the past year. I have also enjoyed reading and being inspired by other blogs. Witnessing the thoughts, creativity, and talents of others has been invaluable.
Some history: technically, Ontheland was born in September 2010–for 8 months I wrote and posted articles, but had no understanding of the interactive aspect of blogging. No wonder my energy petered out! Last summer, four years later, with my mind protesting ‘I don’t have time’, I registered for Blogging 101. That’s when the penny dropped…after interacting in a course community I emerged ready to read and be read. That’s why June 11, 2015 will be Ontheland’s official ‘date of birth’.
The flowers I have chosen to mark this day are wild daisies. Why? Wildflowers come and go over the course of spring and summer. Daisies are currently in bloom around my house–I took these photos yesterday. Getting to know and appreciate the natural cycles of growth around me is one of my many interests.
Daisies are thought of as a simple, unsophisticated flower. According to a few internet sources they symbolize values such as innocence, gentleness, purity and beauty. Purity and simplicity are themes of this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge. I have met many compatible bloggers through this weekly challenge and other blogging community events–particularly Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge and Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge.
Blogging can be a community event at my house. We live with four furry friends and when I sit in the reclining armchair to read or blog, at least two, and sometimes three, will try to squeeze beside and on me. In these photos I am leaning back to photograph my armchair visitors.
Last year we travelled from southeastern Ontario to Thunder Bay on the shore of Lake Superior to see the Thunder Bay Blues Festival. The trip took two days each way (about 19 hours)–well worth it to get a glimpse of northern landscapes and to hear great music at an outdoors summer festival. This Mesh slideshow gives a taste of the scenery and features my favourite performers.
The most literal meaning of ‘Ontheland’ is where I am–out in the country–but taking it a bit further, it’s about enjoying and preserving our home, the natural world.
I named this blog in the Fall of 2010, after I had moved to a rural house on a dirt road, “in the middle of nowhere”. Actually, we are only 20 minutes away from a small city, but having grown up in Canada’s capital, and having lived for decades in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, this was a major change.
For me a dirt or gravel road was a summer experience… the final stretch on a trip to a cottage or campground. Now I was going to be living all year round on an acre of land with a well in front, cows grazing in a pasture across the road, frogs chirping in a nearby marsh, and rabbits galore nibbling in an abundance of wild greenery. I had arrived where I wanted to be.
Looking a little deeper, Ontheland tied into my interests and personality back then, and probably even more so, now, five years later. I like eating and cooking and have been a vegetarian since I was twenty. Having a patch of land for growing my own vegetables and herbs, free of pesticides, was an attractive opportunity. A major source of inspiration came up roughly 10 years ago when a friend moved into a city house and turned her backyard into a vegetable and herb garden. It was from her efforts that I first tasted fresh arugula and basil…introducing a new yearning.
Blogging and tweeting as Ontheland expresses my awareness of where we all stand, even if we have layers of concrete under our feet–we are all living on the land, on the earth.
For more information about Ontheland, please take a look at the sidebar blurb under my picture and at the Page called “About” .
I’ve called myself a vegetarian for over 30 years–and yes, I’m still alive and well. If I look back over the years, there were times that I folded to family pressures and had meat. More recently, I decided to eat fish occasionally, because I feel I need some of the oils and protein fish has to offer–but I’m beginning to question this.
At this point I would say that not eating meat is as embedded into my habits as eating meat is for many other people. Before I answer the question: “Why are you a vegetarian?” or “Why don’t you eat meat?”, I would like to mention a pet peeve. It annoys me that at social events, I often can’t peacefully eat without being asked to justify why I don’t eat meat.
There is nothing sacred about eating meat—in fact, there are many cultures that are vegetarian. My decision to “convert” was not out of lofty morals or a detailed reasoned philosophy. I decided to eat vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, seeds and dairy products because I liked how I felt after a meal. Instead of feeling weighed down, I felt energized. The vegetarian food I encountered was delicious and on top of that, I was turned off by the process of preparing meat for cooking. Aware that some people choose not to eat the flesh of animals I decided to choose that path myself.
Since my original decision many years ago, I have learned about and adopted other reasons to reduce or eliminate meat:
A vegetarian or almost vegetarian diet is healthier;
Animals are raised for slaughter in cramped, cruel conditions;
Disease and drugs are found in meat due to mass production methods;
Raising animals depletes more natural resources than crops;
Some fish species and marine animals are in danger of extinction due to overfishing; and
Some fish and seafood are contaminated by toxins.
So there it is, this is why I continue to be a vegetarian (who occasionally eats fish). I plan to continue exploring the environmental impact of meat and fish consumption and researching nutritional questions.
I am launching Ontheland from a parking lot near a public wireless network in Kingston, Ontario, Canada–on the land, but not in the sense intended for this blog. I am inspired to write about my life and in particular my experiences moving from city to country. It’s quite a change moving from an apartment in Toronto to a house on over one acre of land in Loyalist Township. I’ll be writing as I begin to live my new life in the country.
Ontheland will be about house, garden, country living, food, recycling, composting, wildlife, energy conservation..all heightened concerns and interests in my natural environment. Other interests such as music, radio, cats, movies, technology and the like may crop up as well.
Though I am writing from a parking lot today, on an average day I’ll be at home looking out on a lawn, well, gravel road, and a cow pasture dotted with cedar and limestone. I’ll be sharing personal discoveries and research and look forward to hearing from you.