Striking A Balance – Getting ready for Spring takes a lot of work

Susan Swan's weekly column of community news and events in Clinton.

Shrove (or Pancake) Tuesday

Tuesday, March 4 is known to those of the Christian faith as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday. It is the last day before the beginning of Lent.

The members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church held a Pancake Brunch on that day in Clinton. Unfortunately I was committed to attending several meetings (Council) that day so was not able to attend.

Since Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving up things, Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself. Traditionally it was a day to use up the food items in your house that you would be giving up for Lent. Pancakes contain sugar, butter and eggs, which were traditionally given up during the 40 days of Lent.

Lent

This year the period known as Lent began on March 5. During that time many Christians try to follow the example of Jesus in the desert by giving up luxuries and practising self-discipline.

Although Lent is known as 40 days (to commemorate the 40 days Christ spent in the desert) if you count the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter you will find there are actually 47 days. This is because Sundays are a day of celebration in the Christian Church (commemorating the Resurrection) so they are not included in the 40 fasting days of Lent.

If you made a New Year’s Resolution that has gone by the wayside, this is a perfect time to get back on track. I once had a Pastor who said it was not just about giving up things but could also be a time of taking on or starting something new. This could be a healthier diet, and exercise program or any other way to improve our lives.

So now we all know why Lent is commemorated.

Daylight Saving Time

Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead one hour on March 9 as Day Light Saving Time begins. It may be darker when you get up in the morning but that extra hour of daylight in the late afternoon will be welcome.

Some areas of Canada not using Daylight Saving Time include Fort St. John, Charlie Lake, Taylor and Dawson Creek in the Peace Country, Creston in the East Kootenays, and most of Saskatchewan (except Denare Beach and Creighton).

Previously, Canada had observed Daylight Saving Time from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October. However, through legislation passed in 2006, Daylight Saving Time now begins three weeks earlier on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

This change in Daylight Saving Time kept Canada’s Daylight Saving Time pattern consistent with the United States, which enacted into law a broad energy bill that extended Daylight Saving Time in the same manner.

Enjoy that extra daylight.

Planting Time

For me the switch to daylight saving time also signals that it is time to start my seeds. For years I have practised planting by the moon phases, much as my dad did when I was growing up.

If you plant by the moon then it is time to get planting those plants that need lots of time to grow. The first two quarters of the moon from the New Moon to the Full Moon (waxing) is a time for optimal growth. This means planting my seeds for the numerous plants that I start from seed before the full moon on March 16.

There are some gardeners that are very strict about planting times by the moon. They advocate planting leafy vegetables and plants with external seeds during the first quarter. Fruits and vegetables with internal seeds (peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, curcubits, etc.) are planted during the second quarter. Of course it is much too early to plant anything outdoors yet. I have grow lights where I start my plants and then move them to my greenhouse when it warms up (or when I run out of space under the lights).

I am not that strict about what to plant in what quarter. I will feel lucky if I get my tomatoes (all 12 varieties) and annual flower seeds planted before the full moon.

Or maybe I am just tired of winter and anxious to get my hands into the soil!

Susan Swan

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