Thursday, 20 July 2017

Walk Around Wednesday- Blooms, Cat, Rain and more

Yes, I realize it is Thursday, but I planned on posting this yesterday, using photos I took on Tuesday. Come for a walk around the property with me.


-close up of spiderwort bloom

-daylilies are in bloom - beautiful sunny yellow, so eye catching across the yard

-a soft, peachy orange

-a gorgeous, hot reddish orange daylily

-one of my favourites, these are big, sturdy blooms

-I like the colour combination of the "hot" daylilies with purple sandcherry

I only have two roses. This Hansa is normally quite healthy and prolific, but it didn't get cut back properly, so it has had to move forward from a severe cutting back too late this spring and is only now showing a couple of blooms. I'm not much of a rose officiando.

-taller cranesbill are now blooming and fill in spaces in most of my beds

-best year yet!

-purple coneflowers (Echinacea)

-one of my most favourite - crocosmia         -didn't realize how blurry this photo was until I uploaded it :( 

I am quite happy I took pictures of the current blooms, because naturally this morning began with thunder and torrential downpours. These pictures do not capture the intensity of the rain...

Scooter-the-cat-with-no-tail managed to make his way home through the rain and picked up quite a few sticky seeds in his fur on the way.

He's looking a bit bedraggled. I brushed the seeds out of his fur after he was done eating. I can hear him meowing from the windowsill again, as I am typing this.

How are your gardens growing? For those of you in hot, dry places, I would gladly send you some of our rain if I could!

Oh yes, one final addition: we now seem to be the proud "owners" of a skunk. It crawled under a little low porch (the one I stand on to hang laundry - on the two days it didn't rain), it rummages through my compost container (no I don't put meat scraps in it), and it digs around looking for grubs in the lawn. So far, smell is not a problem, and Scooter has not decided it is his long lost mommy, so we are o.k.  I'm just a little concerned about accidentally surprising it with dire results. Anyone have experience with a resident skunk?

Sunday, 16 July 2017


Yesterday I turned 51 on the 15th which I thought was a neat twist on the numbers. Both of our kids were working yesterday, so husband and I went for a drive. It was the first nice day in I don't know how long. Husband has recently acquired a little new-to-him convertible, so I pulled my hair back and secured it on my head and away we went.

We were on a bit of a quest for something to put on our den wall. Since I had painted the den a few months back, this one main wall has remained pretty much bare. We had some ideas. I love William Morris designs and we thought maybe a tapestry hung on the wall would be great. I also like botanicals or maybe a nice pastural scene. I don't even mind animals (sheep, a stylized rabbit, maybe some cows?) We travelled about an hour or two from our home, to the east to a few small towns along the lake. Oh my, there were some amazingly beautiful homes. (Who lives in these??? What do they do for a living?) The sun was beating down and there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was just so nice to be out.

We didn't find anything that really suited us. In fact, most of the art and prints and other wall d├ęcor in the shops had nautical/ cottage / wilderness themes to them, due to where we were and that's not really what we were after. However, it was nice to poke around and see what was available.

We stopped for a drink and a bite to eat. Yes, I took pictures of our food and felt a bit foolish because that's not really what I do. ("Here's a picture of my lunch! Allow me to bore you with other details about my life!") The reason I took a picture was that I was thinking of soon to be retired John Gray at Going Gently as my husband ordered a Scotch Egg for the first time. It's not really a common food here, but of course I knew what it was from reading John's blog.

Do not be alarmed by the pink colour of the food. The umbrella over our outdoor table was red and it cast a rosy glow over our food and drinks. Husband declared the Scotch Egg to be "awesome". He was especially pleased that he was able to substitute the side of smoked cheddar with a chunk of blue cheese.

My Caesar salad was excellent. (Real bacon, thank you very much)

My ice cold Stella was perfect on a hot day. Husband had a cider. I really despise cider, but he loves it.

I love the sign for the restaurant. You can't get more Canadian than that!

The drive home was equally nice and I took some pictures on the way. The views are gorgeous.

Ha! Expert photographer that I am, I managed to get myself in the shot!

Back home, the kids got home from their respective work places and we ordered Chinese food (husband went to pick it up, we are too far away from town for delivery) and we sat down by the pool and had supper together. Then, of course, it began to rain, so we went in the house for dessert. I normally bake a cake for everyone's birthdays, but I really didn't expect husband or the kids to attempt a cake from scratch and homemade icing (they did one year with memorable results), so we had picked up not one, but two small cakes (I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so got them both). Here are my kids ready to bring the cakes to the table and sing Happy Birthday after having a little fun with the barbecue lighter.

Not sure what son is doing, maybe he already started singing.

It was all very fun and just the way I like it: low key and just husband and my kids. I'm not one for big celebrations. I don't even like birthday phone calls. In fact, I don't even like talking on the phone. I can't do small talk. In my regular life, I am a true introvert.

As I was reading blogs recently, I discovered that many people have the same birthday as me. So, if I missed out on some of you, happy birthday to all those July 15th babies, or any July babies for that matter. Most of us are probably Cancers, an unfortunate horoscope sign by association, but real lovers of home, security, honesty, and fairness.

So, yesterday was lovely. Ahhh, but Mother Nature didn't want us getting too smug, so here was this morning.

More rain. I took the hanging plants down so they could get a drink, too.

The bird bath stays filled. Birds don't even use it. Those are metal birds that are attached to the bird bath. The cat sat in it once, though, when it had no water in it.

In fact, the power flickered on and off a couple of times this morning. I gave up on writing my blog until now, this evening. It cleared a bit later in the morning but the day stayed cloudy and not nearly as warm as yesterday. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

I'm not really a binge watcher. There are only a small amount of tv shows that I regularly watch and I'm not a big movie person. However, I recently discovered a crime drama on Netflix that I absolutely couldn't tear myself away from. What else are you going to do on a rainy day after you throw in a load of laundry? I am now finished two seasons of "The Killing". It is so good. There are two more seasons and I'm looking forward to watching the rest of it! Has anyone else watched it? Don't tell me what happens, please!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Not as Happy about it as Gene Kelly

I was going to post "It's raining Again" by Supertramp, but there isn't a whole lot of rain in it and it's rather whiney. "It's Raining Men" doesn't really project my meaning either. So here goes:

I am less enthusiastic about the rain than good ol' Gene Kelly, but the quantity of rain is just about accurate. UGHHHHHHH.

This is getting a little ridiculous.

Monday, 10 July 2017

It's Bloomin' Lovely!

After whipper snipping until I ran out of battery power, I cleaned up grass and weeds I had cut down. Then I went around and actually had a look at what is in bloom. Many flowers have faded including peonies, lupins, and centaura, but here is what is in full bloom at the moment. Take a walk around my yard:

delphinium - I think it might be Pagen Purple

Annabelle hydrangea

another sweet little hydrangea that I've forgotten the name of

yarrow (achillea)

limelight hydrangea (I'm pretty sure)

close up of the hydrangea above


I'm not sure what it is, but it's tall and hardy. (maybe some sort of tall coreopsis?)

close up

some spirea, bellflowers, and plants that aren't ready yet (autumn joy sedum, daylilies)

the arbour with trumpet vine (not yet blooming) and hanging pots of gernanium with smoke bush in the background
It's amazing to me sometimes, when I realize how many plants and shrubs I have. I used to read gardening books for fun and knew the latin name for most things. I've not put the same kind of time and passion into it lately, but it is still nice to see results of my efforts.

And for those of you in Ontario, yes, it rained last night.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

July 8th - life

Yesterday, the husband and I went "down to the city" because we needed to renew our membership to Costco. We haven't been members for perhaps a couple of years and we want to order a solar blanket for the pool through Costco's online orders. Our old solar blanket was done for, depositing little blue circles in the water on a pretty regular basis.

Unfortunately, our timing was a bit bad because their machine that takes the photos and produces the cards was not working, so we got a membership on paper, but in order to receive our cards, we will have to go to a Costco again.

Now, I realize many people shop at Costco once a week, which is mind boggling to me. I don't know how they control themselves. They must have closets filled with multiple bottles of sauces and giant boxes of cereal and a couple of extra televisions or solar lights. We managed to control ourselves (mostly due to the fact that we had a small car and could only purchase what would fit in the trunk).

While in the city, we ate at an Indian restaurant which is something we enjoy doing. We have no ethnic restaurants around where we live, apart from the obligatory Chinese food restaurants found in most towns. I had the butter chicken (I know, not very adventuresome, but very good) and husband had curried goat. We each tried the other's and liked both, especially with naan bread.

We were travelling home around dusk and the day had been warm so I knew we would likely see many animals out and about. Certain parts of our route are on what I would describe as back roads, bordered by bush land and fields. First, a small raccoon ran across the road and husband was able to stop in time, only to have to stop again quickly because another raccoon (little brother?) ran after the first one. On the same road, we encountered another raccoon, bigger than the first two, and it crossed the road unscathed. Still on the same road, I could see something ahead of us, and it was a deer. We were able to stop in time and the deer took a few moments to decide which way it wanted to go.

I always worry about my own kids who sometimes have to drive at night. I'm not really ever concerned about their driving abilities, but I do worry about other drivers they may encounter, or animals that dart out in front of them. We witnessed two separate idiot drivers who passed on a hill yesterday. They blindly pull out and, I guess, hope nobody is coming over the hill on the opposite side. Not only are they putting their lives in danger, but lives of those in oncoming cars and other drivers on the road in the general vicinity.

Today, I went around and watered all planted pots, urns, window boxes, and hanging flowers. I finished more weeding in my small vegetable garden and realized that with all of our heavy rains, the ground dried hard like concrete. The water would now have a bit of difficulty soaking in, so I tried to chop up the ground as I was weeding. All I've had from the garden so far has been lettuce, but it is still early days.

I spent a bit of time reading on the porch. I got the most recent Janet Evanovich book called Turbo Twenty-three. Her books are purely fun and I love the whole series. They are a quick read and I enjoy all the different characters who are part of each one of her books. Anyone else out there a fan?

As I am typing this, husband is watching a programme on tv about Bruce Lee's life and career. He has seen every Bruce Lee movie and has watched many other programmes about him. I've never really been the type to have a "hero" or absolute favourite actor / athlete / musician etc. I think I'm too varied. But husband has loved Bruce Lee and his discipline and philosophy since he was young.

As I think about it, even as a child, I never had a favourite toy or doll or blanket. I know children tend to have their one toy they take to bed with them or they can't sleep without a certain blanket. That was never me. In fact, weird little kid that I was, I remember trying to play equally with many toys, so as to be fair and not show favouritism (good lord, did I need therapy?).

Favourite books? How could I possible choose? Favourite movie? Maybe if it was narrowed down by category, but even then... Favourite colour? It's not about the colour, it's the combination of certain colours. Favourite food? C'mon!! Maybe I just have trouble making decisions or choices. Or maybe it's not a big deal and it's fine to have lots of things that I like.

Anyway, to continue with my stream of consciousness here, now that I am on my holidays, I find I have a never ending list of things that need doing: hair appointment, dentist appointments (for all of us!), renew all of our passports, house cleaning duties, organizational duties, yard work. All I really want to do is read a little, relax a little, realize that I have time off - and make sure I don't spend it substituting one kind of work for another.

To go back to a previous thought in a previous post, I still find I am contented. I am contented to look at my flowers, and see the many chipmunks on the property, and enjoy the warmth of the sun on me when I'm in the garden, and knowing my family is safe and sound. I am contented to know I have food in the pantry and the freezer. I am contented living in my small rural spot, especially after being slowed down to almost no movement on the 401 yesterday, even if we don't have the choices in shopping. I am contented to have my time in the morning when I have a cup of coffee sitting on the right hand side of the computer desk, reading through "my blogs" where I get to laugh, enjoy, commiserate, and share. It is a little ritual that I enjoy most mornings, but now I have even more time. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, all.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The New Bed

After about sixteen years or so (this is embarrassing), we have treated ourselves to a new mattress and box spring. Our first one was good and perhaps that's why it has lasted so long, although we have flipped it and turned it pretty regularly. But we are both over fifty and each have our own list of aches and pains that husband thought might be remedied by a new bed (personally, I just think we both need to get back in much better shape).

So, off we went to a furniture store in a nearby town and tried out several different mattresses. It was quite the Goldilocks moment with , "This one is too hard" and "This one is too soft" and so on. We both agreed on a Kingsdown Prestige something-or-other which was naturally one of the most expensive ones (do you really get what you pay for when it comes to mattresses?) and proceeded to order it. It would not be able to be delivered until we had vacation time off work because we don't have one of those jobs where we can just not come in, but instead wait around the house until a delivery is made in the middle of the day. Nor do we have a grandmother figure who can hang out in our house and wait until a delivery is made in the middle of the day.

We have a queen sized bed. We would love a king sized bed, but our century plus old home was not constructed to allow for huge pieces of furniture to be moved up and down stairs. Nor is our bedroom the size of a small apartment, like I see in pictures of gorgeous McMansion bedrooms. We do not have a seating area in our bedroom. We do not have a fireplace in our bedroom. We do not have an ensuite (I just roll my eyes when I was decorating / makeover / house hunter type shows where someone says. "I have  to have an ensuite."). What we do have is a small bedroom with two big old long windows and a small closet that make furniture arrangement darn near impossible.

Then the grand shuffle is about to occur. Our "old" bed will be moved into tall skinny son's even smaller room to replace the double he sleeps on (he could really use the extra length), then his bed gets moved to 21-year-old's room which was the room it was originally stolen from because she is away most of the year, so she got the "crappy" mattress. Then "crappy" mattress will be advertised as "perfect for the cottage" and someone will come and gleefully give us a little money and take away what we don't want, nor have room to store.

So, here is what we shall recline upon this evening:

Cue soprano choir.

Of course, we'll cover it with the obligatory you-need-to-buy-it-or-your-warranty-is-null-and-void mattress cover and freshly washed linens.

So, do you treat yourselves to new mattresses a lot more often than we do? Have you found the perfect bed? Are you lucky enough to have a stadium sized bedroom so you can do that whole decorator perfection look? Do your kids get stuck on the less than perfect mattresses because they weigh less than you? Do you get your forty winks, or do you slowly pry yourselves out of bed in the morning feeling less than rested? Go ahead, and share your bedroom secrets!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Canada Day and Old Friends

Yesterday, I managed to get a few tasks done outside in between the raindrops. We were invited to have supper with old and dear friends at their cottage and dined on barbecued chicken skewers and smoked sausage, new potatoes, asparagus, and deviled eggs. I brought a strawberry rhubarb crisp (of course). The rain stopped, but the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. We put on some extra layers and went to a lakeside town close by to watch an incredible fireworks display.

Here, in Canada, we tend to have fireworks on two separate occasions: Victoria Day (the May two-four holiday nicknamed that because it falls on or around May the 24th and generally a case of 24 beer is involved) and Canada Day (July 1). Our fireworks are regulated and people generally purchase packs of fireworks from stores or pop up fireworks sales locations. There is also a "sketchy" guy in a nearby town who trucks into the states and sells fireworks from his front lawn that we normally can't buy here.

For Canada's 150th birthday, town councils purchase fireworks for big displays and donations are collected to help offset the cost. The display we went to was held on a beautiful beach along Lake Huron with hundreds of people in attendance. We put our lawn chairs on the beach and sat under blankets (yes, blankets on July 1st - gotta love Canada) with the water as our backdrop. It was magical. Kids were running around beforehand with glowsticks and light up toy laser swords. People were spread out on blankets and chairs, and babies slept in strollers. When the fireworks started, everyone watched them exploding over the water. The night ended up clear, but a little chilly.

The evening began with a lovely sunset over the water. Some people brought their boats out to watch.

This giant Canada flag flies here all the time. You can see a small light house at the end of the point.

The finale was spectacular!

I love this country of mine with its vast and varied geography, much of which I have yet to see. I'm proud to be Canadian and wouldn't want to call anywhere else home.