Fall's warm days, cool nights and frequent rainfall make conditions perfect for planting trees, shrubs and most perennials. It's also a good time to improve your soil.
So before hanging up your gardening gear for the winter, try these tried-and-true tips to ensure next spring's garden is vibrant, lush and healthy.
Flowers, trees and shrubs 1. Remove dead or dying annuals. Cut back soft-foliage perennials such as bleeding hearts and place in compost. Dispose of diseased leaves and stems. 2. Amend soil by tilling in a three- to six-inch layer of manure, triple mix or loam. Edge flowerbeds. 3. Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocuses. 4. Prepare trees and flowering shrubs for winter by pruning diseased or damaged stems and weak branches that could snap under heavy snow. Winter-wrap pyramidal evergreens with twine. Spray broad-leaved evergreens such as rhododendrons with an antitranspirant (such as Wilt Pruf) to protect against winter burn, and surround with a burlap screen. 5. Make notes about your garden -- likes and dislikes, successes and failures – to use as a guide when planning next year's garden.
Vegetables 6. Harvest root crops, including carrots, onions and beets. Before frost, harvest unripened green tomatoes and ripen indoors. 7. Clean up and dispose of dead, decaying or diseased vegetable crops. 8.Improve soil by tilling in manure, triple mix or loam. 9. Sow green manure (that is, winter wheat) to be tilled in during early spring months to reduce erosion and improve soil nutrients. 10. Note successes and failures, what was used and what was wasted, to guide you when planting next season's crops.
Lawn 11. Rake and remove fallen leaves. Compost or place clean leaves in garden beds as a natural mulch and soil amendment, to be tilled in the following spring. 12. Aerate with a garden fork or rented aerator to improve the flow of moisture and nutrients. 13. Top dress with a light layer of good-quality topsoil and reseed with grass seed suited for your light requirements. 14. Use fertilizer such as CIL's Golf Green Fall Lawn Fertilizer 12-3-18. 15. Give your lawn a final cut before the risk of snow, to a height of 2 to 2-1/2 inches.
Top 5 birdseeds 1. Black oil sunflower seed: Preferred by the widest range of birds, black oil sunflower seeds offer more nutrients than any other type of seed and have a higher ratio of nutmeat to shell.
2. Niger (nyger): Sometimes called thistle seed, it's preferred by smaller birds such as goldfinches, siskins and redpolls.
3. Peanuts: If you love to see blue jays and cardinals, these are a great choice. Word of warning: Peanuts are also enjoyed by squirrels and chipmunks.
4. Non-germinating mixes: Sometimes called "garden friendly," these seed mixes are preshelled, minimizing the chance that they'll germinate in your garden and making them easier for birds to eat. 5. Cracked corn: An inexpensive bird food for those seeking to attract blackbirds, finches and sparrows.
Breathe new life into this wardrobe staple with a bit of style inspiration.
There's a reason why we love the white button-down. Whether it's oversized, fitted, short sleeve, cropped, silk or cotton, it's always a chic—but unfussy—way to embrace classic style. But, like even the most stylish women, we sometimes get stuck in a fashion rut. Which is why we pulled together some great white button-down shirt looks from some seriously stylish women. Discover new and fresh ways to wear a white button-down below.
There's nothing chicer than a casual white button-down shirt under a blazer. Keep the look modern with boyfriend jeans and patent brogues—extra points for embracing metallic.
You can make this borrowed-from-the-boys piece feminine in an old school way by pairing it with a pleated midi skirt and sharp kitten heels.
If you're worried about a white on white look, just remember to play with texture. The silk shirt paired with crisp denim and leather shoes makes this look a winner.
Embrace the menswear vibe of this piece by pairing it with a classic black blazer and trousers—though we might recommend ditching the tie to avoid any waiter confusion.
Keep this piece cozy by topping it with an oversized knit. We especially love the addition of a statement piece of jewellery.
Pair your button-down with tailored separated for the office. A pencil skirt (in a fun print or colour) plus chic heels is a no-brainer when it comes to professional dressing.
This look is for the bold. Pair statement pants and shoes with a white button-down and a classic blazer. Think of this as business on top and party on the bottom.
Put a little prep in your step with trousers, loafers and fun socks. For the extra preppy, add a fisherman knit and drape it over your shoulders. Very refined gentleman, no?
We polled family doctors from across the country, and they laid down the law on eight things they wish we'd do—or stop doing.
According to our panel of general practitioners, Canadians aren't always doing what they should to make the most of doctor visits—and skipping out on these crucial tactics could lead to a delay in diagnosing serious conditions. Here's what our experts say you should add to your patient checklist.
1. Stop feeling shy
Many of us hesitate to talk to our physicians about sensitive issues (think substance abuse or sexual health—or even gender identity). But honesty and openness are important, both for fostering a good doctor-patient relationship and for ensuring that you get the best care, says Dr. Laura Pripstein, medical director of the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto and a staff physician on the family health team. That's why it's OK to try out a doc before committing. Dr. Pripstein recommends booking an initial visit to see if your potential doctor is a good fit. "You want to see if this person seems like someone you can talk to, someone you feel comfortable with," she says. And if you don't think your doctor understands or respects your concerns, don't be afraid to find someone new. "If you feel you can't ask questions that might be embarrassing, you don't have the right provider," says Dr. Pripstein.
2. Don't come to your appointments unprepared
Get the most out of your time—and your doc's—by arriving at your appointment with a clear plan for what you want to discuss, says Dr. David Ross, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "It's good to have patients think about their problems from when the issue began, then look at it chronologically to the present," says Dr. Ross. Making a prioritized point-form list in advance helps ensure that you don't forget anything or mix up the order of events, he says. Then, work with your doctor to address the most serious issues first.
3. Choose your family doc over the walk-in clinic whenever you can
Yes, a clinic is convenient, but what we gain in easy access, we lose in familiarity. "I think it's really valuable if people can connect with a family physician who they'll be able to see long term, rather than just looking for the quickest way to access care," says Dr. Maurianne Reade, a physician with the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team in Mindemoya and M'Chigeeng First Nation, Ont. A family doctor will know your medical history and will keep it in mind when suggesting treatment—so, for example, if you've recently taken several courses of antibiotics for a UTI, your physician will likely look for a different course of action if you come in with another infection. According to the most recent statistics, about 4.5 million Canadians don't have a regular family doctor. If that's you, contact your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, or check to see if your region has an online registry (Ontario has Health Care Connect, while Quebec launched a web-based family doctor finder last year). "It's important to know that we doctors are privileged to share in your stories and to help you through difficult times," says Dr. Reade.
4. Share what's happening in your life
There's a reason your doctor wants to know where you're working, if you're dating and how the kids are—and it's not just because she likes you. (Though she does, we're sure.) Physicians need a picture of their patients' lives beyond their specific health symptoms and conditions, especially when they're first getting to know you, says Dr. Stephen Wetmore, the family medicine chair at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ont. "Doctors need to know these things to understand how your lifestyle and habits may be influencing your health," he says. So when you're talking about your exercise habits, your health history and whether you smoke, drink or use drugs, mention your employment status, family obligations and intimate relationships, too, says Dr. Wetmore.
5. Be a better googler
Doctors know you do it (hello, late-night web searches), but they would prefer you to ask about good sources of information, rather than going rogue online. They also want you to be honest about your fears if you've read something particularly upsetting. Physicians can't address your concerns or point you in the right direction if they don't know what your fingertips have been up to. "The thing we want our patients to do is ask us for the most reliable Canadian websites to go to as resources," says Dr. Heather Waters, an assistant professor of family medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.
6. Don't think your symptoms are "no big deal"
If you've noticed you are having more headaches than usual or are sleeping more or are eating less, you might not think to tell your doctor—but you should. There's no set of rules for determining which symptoms are worthy of investigation or discussion, says Dr. Wetmore, but make a note to mention anything that is new or has changed since your last appointment. "You should bring up things like sudden weight loss or fatigue that seems excessive," he says. "It could be a sign of a larger problem, or the cause of a developing problem." Evenif it doesn't end up being serious, seeing your doctor will help ease any anxiety you might be feeling, and that's worth the visit, too.
7. Talk about what you're taking
Tell your physician about any herbal medications and alternative treatments you take, says Dr. Mel Borins, a University of Toronto associate professor and author of A Doctor's Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why. It's important for patients to share what's working for them and for doctors to be open-minded about therapies outside their own practice or traditions, he says. This is also a concern when it comes to conventional meds, especially if you're pregnant; there are only 23 medications specifically approved for use during pregnancy— yes, out of every available drug—which can leave women feeling anxious about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs when they're expecting, says Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Bridgewater, N.S. But don't stop taking your meds as soon as your pregnancy test comes back positive. "It's really important to talk to your doctor instead of stopping cold turkey," says Dr. MacQuarrie. Physicians can help you determine the risks and benefits of using different drugs, and they can let you know when the effects of not taking a medication while pregnant may be worse than taking it— which is the case with some antidepressants.
8. Avoid diagnosing yourself
You know doctors don't like it when you come in prepared with a diagnosis you've made thanks to the aforementioned Dr. Google. But do you know why? It's not because they think you're encroaching on their territory! Rather, they worry that a serious medical problem might get missed or you'll cause yourself unnecessary anxiety over something not serious. That's because not everyone has the most common symptoms of a particular condition. Plus, men, women and different ethnicities can have varying symptoms for the same problem. For instance, Dr. Reade's community has a large proportion of people with diabetes, which can affect the warning signs of cardiac disease, a major killer in Canada. Instead of the usual pain or pressure on the left side of the chest or arm, men and women with diabetes may instead have spells of profuse sweating with weakness. And, of course, women who don't have diabetes can have differing symptoms, too; sometimes, a heart attack can feel like acid reflux or come with sudden nausea, vomiting and lightheadedness. So always tell your physician if your symptoms are surprising or strange—like a headache that feels different than usual, for example. And if you're worried about a specific diagnosis, be sure to bring that up, too.
While every Canadian faces his or her own unique set of health hurdles, there are a number of ailments that have become pervasive in Canada. Though medicine has advanced over the years, our modern lifestyles have introduced a new set of health challenges. Here are some of the top health problems that Canadians face today.
Guest post by Jamie Anderson Tired of your kitchen towels falling on the floor? These crocheted towel toppers keep towels firmly in place on your oven door handle. And the bonus is that they’re also easy to make! If you’re new to crocheting, this is a great project to start with. Or, if you do crochet, but find yourself constantly miscounting stitches (like me), this pattern is very forgiving.
Here’s what you’ll need: A tea towel, cut in half across the width (The other half will make a second crochet topped hand towel if desired) Any worsted yarn, any colour A yarn needle 4.5mm crochet hook A large button
To prepare the hand towel for crocheting, follow these steps: Step 1: Fold the outside edges of the tea towel to the back so that the two sides meet in the centre. Step 2: Cut about an arm’s length of yarn. Tie a knot at one end and then thread the yarn needle. Step 3: Pull the needle through the left fold of the tea towel from the back side—this will hide your knot. Step 4: Now stitch across the top of the towel. Pull the needle through the layers, back to front, insert the needle into the loop you’ve created and pull taut. Continue stitching across the towel to the right fold. There is no correct number of stitches. I used 25 in my design, but more importantly, the stitches should be evenly spaced. Step 6: When the end of the towel is reached, tie on your ball of yarn to the piece of yarn you’ve been working with.
Now you’re ready to start crocheting: Rnd 1: Single crochet (sc) across towel, turn. (For tips on how to complete a single crochet, click
here.) Rnd 2: sc across, turn. Rnd 3: sc across, turn. Rnd 4: Crochet 2 sc, then do a single crochet decrease (dec)—this reduces two stitches to one. (To learn how to do a single crochet decrease, click
here.) Repeat sc, sc, dec, until you reach the end of the row. Turn. Rnd 5: sc across, turn. Rnd 6: sc, sc, dec, to the end of the row, turn. Rnd 7: sc across, turn. Rnd 8-12: Once you reach your desired thickness of the front flap (6 or 7 stitches across), continue to do 5 rnds of sc. Rnd 13 (Part 1): To create the buttonhole, crochet three sc, turn. Rnd 14-16 (Part 1): Crochet 3 sc on top of previous row, turning after each rnd. Tie off yarn when finished. Rnd 13 (Part 2): Reattach yarn on the other end of rnd 12, opposite the sc from rnds 13-16. Crochet 3 sc, turn. Rnd 14-16 (Part 2): Continue to crochet 3 sc on top of previous row, turning after each rnd. Rnd 17: sc all the way across, attaching the two sides in the middle with a
slip stitch (ss) to finish the buttonhole. Test to ensure the button fits. Rnd 18-19: Crochet two rnds of sc, turning after each row. Rnd 20: sc across and tie off at the end.
Using the yarn needle, attach the button where it looks best. (I placed mine between the third and fourth round.) Also make sure the strap is big enough to loop around the handle of your oven door.
While we don't need a holiday to enjoy our favourite Chinese-inspired dishes, we can't wait to join in the celebrations with these delicious recipes.
The Year of the Rooster begins on Saturday, January 28, and lasts until February 15, 2018. This holiday is also called the Lunar New Year, and is celebrated not only in China, but across Asia and around the world in countries like Canada, where Chinese Canadians number more than a million — one of the most common ethnic origins in our multicultural mix.
There are a number of traditional dishes served during the celebration that are meant to be auspicious. Noodle dishes are especially important, as long noodles are a symbol of longevity. Dishes that cook a whole animal (such as a fish) signify the beginning and ending of the year, and the head and tail are usually displayed intact on the serving dish. Dumplings can signify prosperity, and oranges, representing luck and wealth, are a great way to round out a meal.
Here are some of our favourite traditional and reinvented recipes that we'll be cooking up this year to join in the festivities. Gung Hei Fat Choi!
Traditionally served during the holidays and Chinese New Year, these crumbly melt-in-your-mouth cookies have three layers of almond flavour. Ground almonds add a hint of crunch, almond extract lends a sweet aroma and whole almonds make for a pretty garnish.
This Chinese classic gets a wholesome makeover by replacing the meat with loads of fresh vegetables. Korean hot pepper paste isn't traditionally found in ma po tofu, but it adds a nice kick. Look for it in the Asian section of your grocery store, or substitute with one teaspoon of sriracha.
“This is my take on a wintertime favourite that's served in my childhood home,” says Food specialist Irene Fong. “My dad loves this braised beef with noodles, but it's just as good served over rice.” We've used brisket here because it's unbelievably tender when braised.
The thick meat sauce on these noodles is a bit like an Asian-style Bolognese. The cooked noodles tend to stick together if they stand for a while, so mix the sauce into them and eat right away for the best texture. For a twist, serve the sauce over rice with a side of steamed bok choy.