Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for April 2010


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Early the other morning I went to Macs to pick up my usual paper.  High on their pillar just below their big logo was a sign that caught my eye – Worms & Spawn 24 Hours – it said.

Now Macs has just recently decided to stay open 24/7. And I guessed, given that it is the favourite stop for local fishermen, that they were well in tune with their market and decided to stock bait somewhere inside the store as an added revenue souce. Perhaps in a cooler next to the coffee machine. Thats where most of the guys head when they pop in at 6:00 AM before they hit the water.

But as I stepped out of my car I discovered otherwise. There, just beside the door, was a new vending machine. The words – LIVE BAIT – closely followed by a smiling worm doffing his Top Hat beside the line – Guaranteed Fresh -immediately got my attention.

Now, I know that vending machines or ‘automatic retailing’ is capable of putting just about anything up for sale anyhere that’s convenient. These machines run the gamut from simple to surreal. You can get anything – french fries, ramen noodles, Buddist prayer beads, condoms, snacks, drinks, and anything in between. The Japanese lead the world in this area. They even have vending machines that will wash and blow-dry your dog. Google tells me that the very first recorded reference of a vending machine was in an Alexandrian Egyptian Temple. It accepted a coin and dispensed a small amount of holy water.

How far we’ve come.

Today we have dew worms living in a steel rectangle. And with the right coin it will dispense 8 of them…or 8 bags of spawn…or 1 Mr. Twister Jig Head plus 9 assorted heads. I stood looking at this thing and smiled. Only in a small town I thought.

And why not.

The boats are meandering at trolling speed up and down the Saugeen right now. Fishermen at Denys Dam are standing in their waders knee deep casting into the slower water. Cars are line up at Fisherman’s Park. Others fish from the shore on either side of the bridge. The big white trawlers are lined up in the harbour.

Spring is here. It is time.

What could be more right than a vending machine for live bait in our little town. And full credit goes to the folks at Macs for thinking of it!

My Poor But Resilient Rosemary

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It is said that a Rosemary plant can suffer from too much attention rather than too little. It is also said that Rosmarinus officinalis doesn’t need endless sunshine and a Mediterranean climate to grow successfully. All you need, it is said, is sun, good drainage and good air circulation.

Mind you none of this takes into consideration the fact that some of us live in a four season climate. And come the dead days of November, when the temperature starts to dip below 30 degrees F., a lot of folk just give up and let the frost do what it will with Rosemary.

But, not I. I try, year after year, to save her from the cold. And not always with any great success.

When I lived in temperate Toronto there were a couple of times when I managed to keep her alive through winter, only to watch her wither and die indoors the following year. They say, when you bring Rosemary indoors, she needs 6 to 8 hours of full sun…if you can’t provide, then artificial lights may be necessary. Heat apparently, is not as important as sunlight. Then with the threat of powdery mildew, aphids and spider mites, it can be a little tricky to keep Rosemary happy inside…to say the least. It is a challenge…always.

Last year I tried and failed again.

This winter, N suggested Rosemary spend time beside Hibiscus in the afternoon light of the patio doors. We watered sparingly and sprayed faithfully. We watched it flower. N clipped for a constant supply of fresh culinary seasoning. I loved to run my hands through her branches and breath in her refreshing, fragrant, almost minty odor.

Happily April arrived with a welcome warmth. And she is back outside where she belongs. Rosemary made it through.

She is a little worse for the experience. Not as full and lush as when we took her in from the cold. If fact she is half of what she was. Nonetheless she has a full summer ahead of her to recover and grow strong for next winter’s indoor season.

Those who delve into this sort of thing claim Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory. It has been used as a symbol for remembrance as well. Ophelia in Hamlet, iv. 5. says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”

Here’s hoping our Rosemary remembers how much she was cared for this past winter and keeps that memory alive next time we bring her in from the cold.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

April 7, 2010 at 3:33 PM