Tuesday 31 May 2016

Scooter gets Neutered

There's nothing quite so annoying as having to keep an outdoor-loving cat inside and foodless from 8:00 p.m. onward until the next morning. Wait, there is. It's having to keep the other cat, Samson, in at the same time. They meowed, scratched at the door, picked at the rug, made total pains out of themselves all evening. They both got put out in the mudroom last night so we wouldn't have to hear them. All food has been taken away. This morning when I let them out of the mudroom into the rest of the house, I put Samson in the living room and shut the door, giving him a chance to eat something.

Samson is going in for his round of shots today, so he can eat all he wants. Scooter, on the other hand, has to have an empty stomach in preparation for his surgery. I will be taking both cats (in separate cages!) to the vet's this morning by 8:15. Then I go to work, as usual. Right after work, I go back to the vet and pay about a million dollars for all the procedures and take both cats home. Scooter will no doubt look a little odd with some of his tremendously fluffy hair shaved off and a little less spring in his step.

Why put myself through this feline torture, having everything done at once? My vet, my fabulous, convenient vet, is going out of the small animal business. Just big animals now, as of tomorrow. I am so sad. It was so great having the vet 10 minutes away. Now we will have to find a new vet. We loved this one. They didn't press for extra procedures. They didn't say, "We will keep him in for observations." The didn't say, "We think she needs dental work." My sister's city vet gouges her for every possible thing they can think of. She has a "designer" cat. It sometimes incurs designer costs. It is a loveable, but weird munchkin Scottish fold. Seriously.

Anyway, just so you know, as I am typing the cats are having a tag team meow fest right behind me at the door. They think I am stupid, that I don't know how much they want to go outside. They are jumping up on every windowsill they can get to. They also think that if they meow louder and more insistently that I will finally come to my senses and let them out. I cannot tell you how much I wish it was 8:15.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Hot and sunny ... love it!!

You will not hear me complain about the heat we are having at the end of May. I absolutely love the fact that I could go outside this morning in shorts and a sleeveless top. I was also wearing a very old pair of red "holey sole" slip on shoes (like butt-ugly crocks) which are apparently very scary because Scooter kept running away from me when I was trying to take pictures. I used my little Samsung tablet to take these pictures but realize that the quality is definitely lacking. Even our little cheap point and shoot Canon camera is better than this, but here you go...

This is the bed I totally cleaned out of shrubs and perennials last weekend. I'm planning on putting hydrangeas  and hostas in.
Sweet smelling viburnum bush  

The rhubarb is doing well. Time soon for a strawberry rhubarb crisp!

This is my shameful vegetable garden that is not yet completely weeded and rototilled. The strawberries are trying to take over the world and of course I let them without leaving a space here and there to walk, picking strawberries is going to involve some pretty amazing yoga poses or gymnastics.

I have window boxes and urns to plant in front of the shed. I haven't decided on a colour theme yet.

Stay still so I can take your picture, Sammy!

I cut this purple lilac way back last year and now I have some blooms. They smell like heaven.

White lilacs that were on the property when we bought it

There are many planting and weeding projects to keep me busy this weekend. I can't wait to finish that front bed and all of my pots and planters!

Sunday 22 May 2016


There is much awareness about being environmentally conscious and recycling, composting, repurposing. It is not acceptable to throw garbage out your window as you drive down the road from the fast food joint. It is imperative that you follow the blue box guidelines and schedule for your municipality. We are (on an individual citizen basis) more aware of how we treat our earth.

Today, as I was trying to finish a task on my to do list, I discovered that not everyone has cared as much about "garbage" pick up. I was doing the last round of clean up on a flower bed up against the east wall of our house, digging out remaining lily of the valley roots, cranes bill roots, and tiny bulbs of what I call grape hyacinths but may be mistaken. For every couple shovel fulls  of soil that I turned over and hunted through, I easily found a couple of nails, screws, pieces of broken glass, or plastic.

Here is a sample of what I unearthed.

Some nails are recent, others are square nails of a much older vintage. It was rather shocking to find the head! Of course it is from a Fisher Price little person (part of my childhood)! I was excited about the coin, but alas, it was a 1993 penny.

In all the years that I have been digging in the dirt, I have found many things. I often find pieces of plates, cups, or crockery. I almost always find square headed nails. I have wanted to find native arrow heads made from chipped stone, but I have never been that lucky. There was a collection at the farm that I presume were found in the fields, but that was in a different part of Ontario.

I could never understand the pieces of plates and such. Why were they just tossed outside? It's not like they would break down and become part of the earth again.

I know some gardeners read my blog, so please share some of the unusual things you have unearthed.

Friday 20 May 2016

weekend to do list

This weekend is a big one for Canadians. It is the Victoria Day weekend, or more informally, the May 2-4 (two, four) which refers to both the date and a case of 24 beer. Of course the weekend doesn't necessarily fall right on the 24th of May, but it is still called that. For many  Canadians, this weekend, which includes a statutory holiday Monday, marks the opening of a cottage or perhaps the first camping event. When I was a teenager, we would go camping and do all sorts of things we didn't tell our parents about. People often have a barbecue or party which may also include fireworks. And drinking.

For other Canadians, this weekend is when plants are purchased, pots are hung on porches, vegetable gardens are seeded (with the exception of tomatoes and peppers and perhaps cucumbers). Garden centers are allowed to be open even though it is a holiday Monday because so much business is done that day.

For my husband, it means the opening of the pool. We have an in ground pool which he built and there is a process involved in getting it ready for another summer season. Up until this weekend, it has been tucked in under the winter pool cover with a decreased amount of water in it. I just noticed that pool salt is on sale this weekend at Canadian Tire!! Yay!

My to do list includes mostly outdoor pursuits: (in no particular order)
-whipper snip the property
-clean up front bed (again) and amend soil
-cut back and clean up rest of perennial beds
-scrub and power wash back porch
-weed/till vegetable garden
-weed front walkway
-put in screen in door
-hydrangeas, hostas for the front bed

I don't think I will be completely successful in crossing  everything off my list, but I'm a big list maker. I like setting goals. Sometimes I even put things on my list that I've already done just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off😊.

My toe (see previous post if you care) gave me grief the first couple of mornings, but I wore my Birkinstocks and I think it's going to be o.k. I shouldn't be slowed down by a damaged toe  so hopefully I can post again with proof of a productive weekend. What are your plans?

Tuesday 17 May 2016


I've been thinking about toes. Normally you don't even give your toes a second thought. Most of the time (here in Canada, anyway) they stayed covered up, ensconced in socks and shoes, slippers, or boots. I am not a big fan of feet, anyway. The only ones I truly like are little baby feet that you can hold onto because they are so sweet and tiny. My husband used to put our babies' feet in his mouth when they were wee little.
I abhor old gnarly feet with their various afflictions. Being a chiropodist or podiatrist is included on my list of jobs I would never want. My grandmother always had bits of moleskin plastered to an outside toe, or had pads of bandaids attached to parts of her shoes. She always wore sandal type shoes and a dress. No doubt her feet gave her problems.
My friend K. says she has Fred Flintstone feet. Indeed, her feet are rather short and stubby and her toes are thick and rounded, but she often wears a toe ring in the summer and a groovy beachy type of ankle "bracelet" to jazz up her funny little feet.
I worked with a woman who had the strangest feet I have ever seen. Her second toe extended way beyond the length of her big toe. She was a tall woman with large features and her feet were very long. With that extra long second toe they looked very odd indeed.
My own mother had quite narrow feet and often had a hard time finding shoes to fit her well. She was not one for dress shoes and her casual lifestyle of rural living and good, hard work on the property usually found her in running shoes or slip on sandals. As she aged, and eventually ended up in a wheelchair, unable to really stand up for long on her own two feet, she remained in running shoes, a bit too big so they were easy to slip on and off.

But why am I thinking about toes? I am thinking about toes because I smashed the living hell out of one of mine last night when I was about to finish up my night and get ready for bed. I somehow managed to hit my third toe on the edge of the cat scratching post in the hall outside the bathroom. My husband was right there, maybe I was trying to get around him, and he me, I don't know, but I do know that when it happened I was doubled over gasping for air and crying and saying very bad words. What is it with toes that hurts so much??

While I was bending over, hanging onto my husband with one hand and a piece of furniture with the other, all I kept thinking was, "Please don't let it be broken." I have broken  a toe once and it took weeks and weeks to heal until I didn't feel the pain anymore. I'm pretty sure this is the same toe, or maybe it was its neighbour. That break happened in the most innocuous way. I was outside on wet grass in a pair of flip flops (the kind that go between your toes) with a bit of a heel. I had picked up a bag of topsoil, or maybe it was composted cattle manure (ahh the glamour) and started to slip a little on a slight slope, caught myself, over compensated and then felt a rather sickening twinge. It was a twinge that kind of came with a colour. It was a moment of uh-oh, pain, tinged a pale Frankenstein's monster green. Over the next couple of days I watched my toe turn colour. I could barely put weight on it, and the normal gripping motion of walking was almost impossibly painful. I then "googled" the issue and learned to buddy tape that toe to its neighbour which did help me to manage the pain. Putting a shoe on it was out of the question and thankfully it was summer time, so there were a couple of ugly sandals that I could resort to. As I said, it took WEEKS until it no longer hurt and I could properly wear a shoe.

So, all of this was recalled in that split second last night when I smashed my toe. (again?) I  put ice on it for a little bit, but was wanting to go to bed, so took some pain killers and laid down, feeling a throbbing in my toe which I willed to go away as I tried to fall asleep. Eventually I did sleep and this morning, my first trepidatious steps were filled with dread. It wasn't too bad, but that "grip" motion did not feel right. As I look down at my toe right now, it seems to be the same colour as the others, so maybe I came out of this unscathed. I shall see what the day brings. Unfortunately, I am scheduled to take part in a special commemorative walk on Thursday of this week (it is currently Tuesday), so I really hope that this all feels fine by then.

My daughter, a dancer and a runner, had a purple toenail for ages until it eventually grew out. My uncle, a dairy farmer, would occasionally have a black big toenail from when he was stepped on by one of his herd while working between the cows during milking time. A colleague's son had to have a toe amputated after a botched standard procedure ingrown toenail operation went very wrong. The cat my roommate in university owned had extra toes on her front paws and was named Thumbs as a result. (That cat was insane!).

Toes. You don't think about them until you are made aware of them. For something so small, they are so significant.

Sunday 15 May 2016

this is depressing

O.K. I know we have had snow in May before. My daughter's birthday is May 3rd and there has been a light dusting on  her birthday once. Also, I recall one Mother's Day weekend when I wanted to buy plants at a garden centre but didn't because it was snowing.

Today is Sunday, May 15, 2016 and here are some images of my Ontario morning.
My newly scrubbed and power washed porch is no longer visible.
My poor tulips.
I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but this is seriously depressing here. I hope it melts soon.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Time to Spruce up the Porch

It occurred  to  me  that  for  someone  who has a blog named Coffee on the Porch With Me, I have a pretty sorry looking porch. I guess technically it's a deck. In fact, I have two, one that faces east and one that faces west. Both porches are partially covered  by the roof and partially exposed. Both porches are also directly in the line of fire of very large spruce trees. Those are, of course, the ones with the small  needles, just the perfect size for collecting in the spaces between the boards

Two weekends ago I took all the furniture off the back porch, swept it off, and used the garden  hose to shoot all of the pine needles and other detritus  between the boards.

Today I started to do the same thing to the other porch which is much bigger. There was so much stuff stuck between the boards  that I had to retrieve  my handy dandy hooked blade  tool that I use to dig weeds out from between the stones of the front walk. I managed to pull out a ridiculous amount of needles and maple keys  (bleh, cat fur, bird feathers, unidentifiable items) and then finished up with the hose. It had  begun to rain during all of this  but I was determined to get that part of the job done.
Interrupted  by the rain
Furniture set off the porch
Mother's day flowers, the picture doesn't  really capture the colour

This will be the next step.

I will then use a deck cleaner and a stiff brush to scrub the boards and make both porches presentable again. When you live in an old house in the country, the jobs are never ending.
There are also three cans of paint and five more perennial beds with my name on them! However there is also a nice Mother's Day supper in my future as well.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

twenty Tuesday

Today my baby turned twenty. It was a lovely day with lots of laughs. We went out for supper and then came back home for cake. I put together a "grab bag" kind of gift for her, a soft sided container with this and that in it. Her more substantial present will be chosen online. She is thinking either a new pair of running shoes (specific customized colours on the Nike Web site), or a little Kate Spade bag.

She is living at home through the summer and getting good hours at work. We are all looking forward to nicer, warmer weather. The sixteen year old has track and field day tomorrow. Scooter is now going outside and can't get  enough  of  it .  He  has  even climbed a tree and successfully gotten down  again.

My somewhat nerdy husband and daughter are happy that May the 4th is tomorrow (May the fourth be with you!) Right now they are settling in to watch the first Indiana Jones movie, I remember this movie from when I was in high school. At that time you could rent a vcr from a video rental place and my friend Susan ' s father  rented one for the weekend and she, I, and her twin red-haired brothers (think Weasleys) watched it over and over and over.
Isn't  it funny that we had to rent a vcr and now people can watch a movie on their phone!

I wonder what kinds of developments my twenty year old daughter will see in her life time?