Sunday, 26 June 2022

Sunday, June 26, 2022

 We've been experiencing a lovely stretch of nice hot weather. Perhaps some rain today which is fine by me for my gardens could use it. It was so hot yesterday that we spent a nice chunk of the afternoon in the pool. Our pool is heated only by some husband-made solar heating system so it takes some good heat to get it to a temperature that suits me. It was 83 degrees yesterday, so that's good!

The school year is wrapping up. Students attend until Wednesday the 29th. Teachers have one P.D. day, the 30th, to clean and re-organize their classrooms. I've been surprisingly busy with supply teaching this past week, and am booked for Monday and Tuesday. I've been part of two playdays (fun outdoor activities throughout the day, usually run by the older grades).  Then Friday is Canada Day, July 1st. I'd like to go somewhere to watch fireworks, as the last two years, of course, have been cancelled. 

The gardens are lovely right now. Many peonies were beaten down by previous rains, but the beautiful pink ones are still showing their colour. The delphiniums are on the cusp of blooming. This year, I have taken to bringing in a very tiny bouquet of blooms to put in a sweet little vase on the bathroom counter. I generally like an uncluttered counter top in the bathroom, but realized how just a small bit of my flowers made me happy each time I looked at them. Here are some dianthus that I cut last night. (I'm pretty sure they are dianthus, correct me if I'm wrong).

Previously I've had three peony blooms, mock orange, lilac, and siberian iris. The scent of the peonies filled the room. Do you bring flowers into the house from your garden?

This morning I brewed up some fresh hummingbird syrup. I have intentions of planting out two new hanging pots for the front porch, as the ones from Mother's Day have an unfortunate case of tiny aphids and are almost beyond saving. Two doses of insecticidal soap haven't made a difference. I shall cut them back to the extreme and dose them again, setting them away from other plants and hope for the best. Maybe I can bring them back to life. 

I continue to try my best to not spend, time gas fill-ups to the "cheapest" price (it is now $1.98 a litre, but I had to put gas in when it was well over $2.00), and look at the grocery store flyers for the best sales. It is beyond me how some people are managing right now (and I know many are not). 

Later I will have a zen hour or so, sitting on my little stool, weeding in my vegetable garden. I have now realized that my carrots have been nibbled off and I shall have to replant and sufficiently cover them. (Rabbits!!!). I am currently sitting at the computer in the kitchen and looking at my many lists I have made of things that need doing, but not stressing about them because it will all get done (or not) eventually. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Ode to the Triangle Fly


Ode to the Triangle Fly

Triangle fly,  I despise thee.

Your presence is felt

in late June and July,

Your evil bite shall be dealt.

Some call you deer fly, 

Horse fly by others.

Your kind could be called

Truly evil mother futhers.

You literally follow me

As I work the homestead.

Alighting occasionally

Upon my hot head.

I try and I try 

Unsuccessfully to swat you.

Your persistence is commendable, 

'Tis your only virtue.

When at last you do bite

And I feel your impaction,

With my hand I do smash you

With great satisfaction.

Alas it is too late

The damage is felt

As my skin raises up

In a great itchy welt.

They say everything

Is on Earth for a reason.

Yet I see no benefit 

Of you in this season.

And so triangle fly,

What I am asking of you,

Is to leave me alone. 

I bid you adieu.

God, how I hate them. -Jenn

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Amish Auction

 This morning we went just a couple of minutes drive down the road to the twenty-second annual Amish auction that raises money for their schools. The place was hopping when we got there at about 9:20 in the morning and was twice as full when we left an hour or so later!

It’s a consignment sale for tools, horse equipment, and furniture. As well there were plants, baked goods, and many quilts. The quilts get auctioned off as well. 

There are horses for auction, everything from wee little ponies ( and two little donkeys) to sleek ex- race horses for buggy use. 

We were hoping for Apple fritters, but settled for donuts and cinnamons buns!

Breakfast of champions!

There was also a big food tent for hamburgers, sausage on a bun, or slices of pie if you wished. Kettle corn was being cooked up in big vats. Rows of picnic tables, porta-potties, and hand washing stations provided comfort if necessary. There was a schedule for what was being auctioned and when. We weren't interested in buying anything, (but if I had a little barn, that donkey would have come home with me!) apart from baked goods. 

Car parking was provided in a cut hay field, complete with little guys in their straw hats directing traffic. Buggy parking was closer to the actual sale area. This is what it looked like when we came in the morning. 

These two pictures, above, were taken as we were leaving. There was also "horse parking" in a barn. We joked about, what if you took the wrong horse? I mean, I've walked up to the wrong Toyota Rav 4 in a parking lot before, there are so many that look just like mine! 

The quilts were displayed in a large tent. There were also many benches for people to sit on when the quilt auctions started. 

I loved looking at the horses. This mother and foal pair caught my eye. They were for sale. I wonder how much they will end up selling for?

Some of the buggy horses were gorgeous, all shined up for the event with their Showsheen. Did you know that the young Amish men like to purchase race horses as their buggy horses? It's similar to a young men wanting a sports car or muscle car. 

I'm always drawn to the draft horses. 

I don't think this pair was for sale as they had no numbers on them. They were gentle giants. 

This one obliged by turning and looking at me for a picture! I so enjoyed going to the sale. I was in my happy place with the smell of horses and fried onions wafting around me. 

We're home now and after another cup of coffee, I'm changing into shorts as the temperature is heating up and I've a good day of yard work ahead of me. Tons of rain mean lots of whipper-snipping and weeding. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Coronation Street Detour

 For any other Coronation Street watchers, are you also fast- forwarding through great chunks of your recorded episodes? Ughh! Give me the old episodes. Is it new writers? Is it what they think what the public wants? Just curious.

Sunday, 5 June 2022


 Today, as I was sitting on my porch, bird song in the air, the faint hum of a lawnmower in the distance, the air not too cool, but not too hot moving the leaves around, I realized I was in a state of pure contentment. I was just "being" and it felt wonderful. 

This is not a usual state for me. I'm usually not in the moment, often thinking of what I should be doing, or planning on what to do later, going over something in my head, bugged about something, or chastising myself for something I should have done differently. But today, in that moment, I was content. It would be nice to be in that state more frequently. I'll have to work on that (yes, I realize the irony).

June is just nice. I've always liked June. From a work perspective, June was that last month of school, things were wrapping up, the weather was nicer, kids were excited at the prospect of summer holidays, colleagues were hanging in there, some by the skin of their teeth. 

But a June flower garden just can't be ignored. It is a garden of gorgeous colours, soft textures, emerging texture and scent. June vegetable gardens in my area aren't all that exciting. Seeds are in the ground, just a few are germinating, small garden centre plants have been put in the soil in the hopes that "last frost dates for your area" are accurate. 

This year I decided to plant in plots, or rectangles like I did last year. I seem to be able to cram more in a small space and if planned properly, I can reach beds from different sides while staying on the path(s), thereby not compressing the soil too much and using space wisely. I planned it out with string and my wooden tomato stakes. 

As you can see, it is mostly "ground" right now. The plants you can see are those which I started from seed, or purchased from a garden centre. There are tiny cages over and around my zucchini (trying to Murphy-proof them). The rectangular wooden things you see are bunny protection. There is chicken wire on top. I lay these on top of things I plant from seed which take a little longer to grow and which are enticing to the MANY rabbits in the area. I try to keep the covers on until the plants are big enough so they wouldn't be completely decimated if a wascally wabbit tried to have a midnight snack. 

We have had this engraved rock for more than twenty-five years from days long ago when we actually had a store that featured garden accessories. This year I decided to make it true. 

In one section of my vegetable garden, I have decided I wanted a little herb garden. I bought a couple of individual herbs from a garden centre, and then when I was walking up to a Giant Tiger (a store here in Canada), I saw they had collections of herbs planted in one large round pot. They was on sale, so I bought one, then pried everything apart individually and ended up with a nice collection of herbs. I have basil, chives, parsley, oregano, and thyme. 

Yesterday I planted all of my containers (pots, urns, and window boxes). In an effort to be more economical in these times of absolutely ridiculous prices, I purchased three cheap hanging plants from Food Basics: ivy geraniums, standard geraniums and licorice plant. They looked a little sad and unkempt, but I knew I could bring them back to life. I then took the hangers off, took the plants out of their pots and divided them, putting them in a variety of my containers. I also bought some wave petunias and "spikes" from Walmart, as well as some impatiens and coleus for shady spots. I dug out some creeping jenny vine that had starting growing where I used to pile cuttings and spent plants by the chicken coop to use for trailing plants.

This is what we refer to as "the shed" but it's more like a garage. I spent a lot of time edging and digging out grass and weeds underneath the window boxes. I think it looks much neater that way.

I'm looking forward to when everything fills in and trails nicely. 

A June flower garden just can't be ignored. It is a garden of gorgeous colours, soft textures, emerging texture and scent. Next, I'll show you some of the same perennials and flowering shrubs I've no doubt shown you every other June since I started this blog, but they always make me contented, so hopefully they'll do the same for you.

Enjoy your upcoming week, everyone.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Taking an Idea from Diana - Answering some Questions just in case There are Enquiring Minds!

I see that Nana Diana is taking a well-deserved summer break. In her second last blog post, she did a fun activity, answering some questions about herself and invited others to do the same. So I shall give it a go. 

 1.  Where do you like to vacation? 

My favourite places (and I haven't been to a lot of different places in the world) have been Prince Edward Island, here in Canada, and the Cotswolds area of England. Both are beyond quaint and beautiful in their own ways. 

2.  Do you have pets?
Yes, we currently have two cats: Scooter-the-cat-with-no-tail who is a black and white long haired cat, and Murphy the crazy decision during yet another Covid lockdown in Canada kitten/ now cat who is a tabby with white feet. We have never had a dog because we knew it wouldn't be fair to have it be on its own so much when we were at work. Both son and daughter have had a fish or two when they were little (Goldie and Army, I seem to recall).

3.  What is your favorite color?
See now, this one is pretty much impossible because it isn't about individual colour, it's about combinations of colours. For example, the iridescent combination of red and green in a stem of rhubarb is without comparison. Gold and green or gold and deep red makes me heart swoon at Christmas time. Spring green and pink makes me want to have poofy upholstered furniture in a feminine bedroom setting. The list goes on and on...

4.  How many are in your family?
In our own family, we have my husband and I, our daughter and our son who are now 26 and 22. In my own family growing up, there was my father, mother, two older brothers and an older sister. 

5.  What is your least favorite thing to do?
Mmmm, again, how to narrow this down? Waiting at an airport, shopping for presents (I'm terrible at it!), having to drive in a city with crazy traffic and not knowing where I'm going, dusting the house, dealing with confrontation...

6.  What is your most favorite thing to do?
Gardening without back ache, being around furry animals or seeing interesting birds at the bird feeder, having solitude in the house to read, watch what I want, eat what I want..., seeing beautiful sights, beautiful nature... I'm pretty low maintenance and a home body.

7.  If money were no object what would you like to do when you retire?
I have a hard time imagining a life in which money was no object, honestly. I suppose I would want to have enough things to do or see to keep me occupied. I'm not good with down  time. I would mostly love to have a life where my children can visit and be comfortable and happy, or be able to take wonderful  hassle-free trips to beautiful places and take family with me.

8.   What is your favorite season?
I always said it was Fall because I loved the "feel" in the air and the colours. But I'm thinking summer is now a close second.

9.   What book are you currently reading?
Believe it or not, I'm not currently reading anything! My library card ran out at the library in a town close by and I'm just ticked off enough about having to pay for a library card (it should be free according to the township I live in) that I decided not to renew. There is another library system I can go to in a different town, but I just haven't made the time to go investigate yet. If I was reading, it would likely be a murder mystery, probably set in England.

10. What time do you go to bed, get up in the morning?
If I am scheduled to teach at a school, I get up somewhere in the vacinity of 6:20 in the morning. If I'm not teaching, I sleep until I feel like getting up, but I don't like when I sleep in too late. It feels like wasting the day. I go to bed by 11:00 but often stay up reading or watching things on the computer. 

11. How long have you been blogging?
I had to go view my blog to get the answer for this one, but apparently I've been blogging since 2014 which feels like last week for me, but is in fact now about eight years! Holy cow! When did that happen??

At the end of Diana's Q and A, she included fun facts about herself. I don't think I have any fun facts, but I'll try for a few.

- I drove "half way across" Canada in a tiny three cylinder car to attend teacher's college by myself.
-I like brussel sprouts and hate salmon.
-I am extremely scent sensitive and no longer wear perfume or have anything scented in my house and have been known to breath through my hair as a filter when having to be close to students whose clothing smelled of strong fabric softener.
-My super power was being able to find things. I think it has faded a bit these last few years. I wish my super power was being able to teleport to anywhere.
-I would love to have a little hobby farm (oh, maybe that's what I should have said about the retirement / money no object question).
-I was morbidly embarrassed by my parents growing up and just wanted "normal" fun parents like other people's.
-I can't drive a standard (stick shift).
-The rules surrounding spelling, grammar, and punctuation are not too difficult for me and seeing errors in news articles drives me nuts.
-I'm often afraid of dogs I don't know.
-I love Dairy Queen Smarties Blizzards!

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Oh To Be Five Again - The Best of Both Worlds in Kindergarten

 When I accept occasional teaching jobs (substitute teaching), I often choose kindergarten classes. Here in Ontario, if it is a JK/SK (junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten in one class), there is an ECE person (early childhood education) who is basically like a second teacher, who knows the routine and is a great partner to work with in a class you are not familiar with. There are also SK / 1 classes (senior kindergarten and grade one in one class), but they don't qualify for an ECE. 

One class that I go to fairly often is at my previous school and it is a JK / SK class. Often it is only for a half day (a teacher may have an appointment, for example and only requires part of a day off). I am familiar with the students in that room and I have experienced it when I was masked and they had to sit in separate desks and play individually, rather than together (a wholly unnatural thing for little ones), to how it is now, where they can be seated in little groups and can interact with each other. 

Students in JK must be four years old by the end of December of their school year (which means some are only three years old when they begin in September), so at this time of the year the students in that class would be four, or five, or even six, depending on when their birthdays are. 

When I say that this class is the best of both worlds, they have traditional in class learning combined with "play" where they learn those all important social skills and fine motor skills, but they also have a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in nature for part of every day. 

 The school used to be a high school, then morphed into an elementary school. It is located in a small town, but in a very rural setting. In fact, the high school had a wonderful programme where grade 11 or 12 students could learn about agriculture combined with science. There is a small barn (which would have animals like cattle, pigs, chickens, and rabbits starting in the spring), a greenhouse, and a garden, and a small "forest" where they tapped maple trees and made syrup. In addition to the "maple forest", there is also a mixed small woodlot that can be accessed via a gate from the main playground. The kindergarten classes, as well as the grade one class, use both of these wooded areas. Wonderful rough trails have been created, bird feeders are hung, logs are strategically placed, picnic tables have been set in clearings, water runs through in a small stream, and it is a most wonderful programme. The parents are requested to provide good outdoor clothing and rubber boots for their children, as they go out to the "forest" in all kinds of weather. In the winter time, they have even managed to get to the point where students hold very still and quiet with bird feed in their hands and chickadees land to feed on their hands!

I had the chance to be with this class for the afternoon, just the other day and we spent some time in the maple "forest". The students are good bunch, who know the rules, know where they can and cannot go (for example, beyond the trees to a parking area), and play and create and use their imaginations freely. They take basic toys with them like plastic rakes, big tin cans, some little toy vehicles, etc., things that won't be damaged by water or dirt or snow. They mix up pretend soup in their cans using wood chips, water from the stream and a stick for stirring. They play tag in amongst the trees. They play the regular imaginary games that all children play, but in a wonderful setting. There are paths laid with wood chips, logs and boards to sit on, slopes to climb up and down. 

I took some pictures to give you an idea of what it looks like. It was a little tough making sure none of the students were captured in the shots.

I know that I would have loved something like this when I was that age. I spent a lot of time outside anyway, sitting in a willow tree, watching animals, collecting chestnuts, or just playing. I think absolutely every child would benefit from an outdoor classroom, but I know it's simply not possible everywhere. When I attended it was only one year of kindergarten, no junior and senior business. My older sister, who is five years older than me didn't even have the option of kindergarten. School began at grade one. What was your kindergarten like, if indeed you even had kindergarten?