Sunday 28 May 2017

A Good Tired

I am currently sitting on the porch, my hair still wet after a well needed shower. I've spent the day weeding and digging out unwanted plants and trimming along the fence line. It turned out to be a lovely warm day. It actually felt a bit like summer. Everything is lush and green (and growing!). I continued my quest to rid the world of black eyed Susan and during which I discovered my second most loathed invasive plant: lily of the valley.

I never planted it. It came with the house. It managed to get into this particular flower bed by travelling through darkness under the deck and out the other side. Tenacious.

The birds are singing. I have two new hanging pots of flowers on my deck. I went with fuschias in gorgeous pink colours. Even in the few minutes that I have been out here blogging, a hummingbird has come to feed. I sat very still. It wasn't the least bit bothered by me. I do love hummingbirds.

Fuschia  (poor lighting, sorry)

We do indeed have a raccoon. As I was bent over digging out plants, attracting a nice sunburn on the slice of lower back, upper rear end that was pointed south, my husband came out to talk to me, then declared there was a raccoon on our lawn. It was in the corner which borders with an unused yard beside us. He made big sounds and chased it away. Yes, I am definitely going to have to tell the tale of our summer of raccoons some day soon.

In my gardens, some tulips are still in bloom while others have lost their petals. The centura (bachelor buttons?) are a beautiful glowy periwinkle. In a  short while my irises will be unfurling. I have purple and pale yellow and they seem to dimish a little bit more every year. I used to have some really big, dark burgundy irises but they, too, have gone by the wayside.

Regardless, I love a feeling of being tired after putting in a productive day. I'm not very good at scheduling fun. I never have been. I suppose it's because the weekend has always been the time I / we have to get things done. So I'm great at crossing things off to-do lists. And I'm enjoying sitting on the porch, listening to the robins, feeling a good kind of tired.

So, this is what I am currently looking at.

This shot reminds me a bit of Linda, another Canadian gal, over at Woke Up, Got out of Bed. She often gets her toes in her pictures too. Mind you, she seems to have pretty, delicate feet, always nicely pedicured. You can see my neighbour's lawn in the picture. Not a weed in sight. He sprays it and walks around looking for rogue weeds. I don't spray, preferring to just mow all green things short and pretend it is all lawn. Lord only knows what's in that spray! He's not a fan of flowers. He literally has no flowers on his property. I don't think I could live on a property without flowers. Winter is so long and so hard, flowers are a reward for surviving!

Sunday evenings are bitter sweet, for tomorrow it is back to work, and gardening must be put on the back burner. But for now, I am soaking in my surroundings, happy with what I have accomplished, and having a nice glass of red. Enjoy what is left of your weekend, all!

Saturday 27 May 2017

Little Critter

A few days ago, after I came home from work, I decided I should fill up the bird feeder. I've not been consistent with putting out bird seed, and I do enjoy watching to see which birds show up. So I went out the back door from the mudroom and proceeded to retrieve the empty bird feeder and take off the top. I heard a scritchy- scratchy sound behind me and turned to look.

I spotted this little fellow clinging, spread-eagle, to one of the battens on the house.

He was clinging by his tiny toes and would move just a little at a time. He was quite high up, as maybe this next photo will show.

He is up close to the roof line, way above the height of windows and my clothesline. I thought maybe he had scurried up there to get away from one of the cats and was now a bit stuck about how to come down. My son was already home and I called him out to have a look. (He indulges his mother's fascination with all things furry or feathery). We decided to help him out. As son is taller than me, he extended a large push broom above the chipmunk which caused the little guy to shimmy down a bit. He continued to move the broom downwards a little at a time so that the chipmunk kept skittering down. Eventually he was low enough to the ground that he pushed himself off the wall and ran away.

Could he have done this himself? Likely, but he was so little, I thought perhaps he was too young to make a huge leap without injury.

The bird feeder, incidentally, was filled and promptly ripped down that night and emptied of its contents. I am quite certain we are dealing with raccoons again. Lord, I despise raccoons on my property. Those nimble toes are so very good at being destructive.

It is the weekend, and I am hoping for a little more warmth and a little less rain. I have a growing list of outdoor chores that need doing and I'd rather not be wet or bundled up to do them. My vegetable garden is currently empty and I should really have potatoes in by now. How goes your outdoor to-do list?

Sunday 21 May 2017

White Petals

Yard work continues, anti-inflammatories are taken.  We had some lovely rain last night and the flower bed that I weeded and rid of Rudbekia looks very nice with its dark, wet soil. I dug out an insipid shrub (don't even know that it actually was) that always grew spindly and boring. I told myself I would go to the garden centre and find something beautiful and plant it there, instead. So I bought a hydrangea that will be luscious and lovely with white blooms that turn pink.

I find that I can be much more ruthless with my gardening now. I used to save things that I dug out. I would create rows of perennials in my vegetable garden that I called "nursery beds" where little slips grew, divided irises flourished, and small clusters of daylilies became larger clusters. I realize I am NOT going to create new flower beds (I can barely keep ahead of the ones I have now), and most people do not want extra plants (I work with mostly younger people now and they are consumed with childcare, not gardening). So now, they get tossed into the cart to be dumped on the "half acre" of scrub land that borders us. Yesterday I tipped out Rudbedkia and creeping phlox without a backward glance.

Years ago when I was still foolish enough to have yard sales, one of my best selling items was irises which I had dug out and divided and stuck into plastic shopping bags. Now I don't bother with having yard sales (the money I make is not even close to the hassle it is to drag items out of the house, price them, then put them back when nobody buys them at the end of the day), nor do I bag up irises. The only plants I have given away recently were strawberry plants to a coworker who was expressing the desire to have more strawberry plants, and I, of course, have more than I need, so I potted up 8 or 9 and happily gave them to her.

This is the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada. It is traditionally the weekend to either go to garden centres, or go camping. People often book months in advance for camping sites. It almost always rains at some point over the long weekend and this one is no exception. Tomorrow (Monday) is a holiday, so people don't have to rush to get home on Sunday night so they can get to work the next day. We are most definitely not campers. I am happy to garden and husband spent a lot of time yesterday doing pool chores to get it ready for the season.

These are some pictures I took a couple of days ago. White petals are prominent right now.

These are promises of strawberries to come!

My love/hate relationship with our ancient old apple tree continues. It is covered with white blossoms and is beautiful right now. I saw an oriole feeding in it yesterday which fills me with joy because I love orioles so much. However, these blossoms will become little green apples that are no good for eating and no good for baking and end up falling on the ground for weeks and weeks. Guess who cleans them up?

Currently, I do love it. In the wind and the rain of last night and this morning, petals have fluttered down, which still look pretty on the ground.

Lastly, no white petals here, but much promise of rhubarb custard pie and strawberry / rhubarb crisp. My rhubarb is lush and full this year. I still have many frozen bags of rhubarb, so some stalks may be taken to work, in case co-workers want to do some baking.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday 18 May 2017

gardens, blackflies, and new jobs

I've been remiss in my post writing recently. I've been trying to get out every evening after work and supper to tackle something, anything, outside. Our weather has been mild, warm, even sometimes hot and I already losing ground (so to speak) in the gardening department. I really do think that Rudbekia (black eyed Susan) could take over the world, if given the chance. I've been mercilessly ripping it out of a perennial / shrub bed. I've been edging and cleaning up perennial stems and such that I didn't do in the fall. I have barely put a dent in things.

I used my trusty rototiller on the vegetable garden. The area that is available for vegetables is quite small because now I have fully established strawberries in about 2/3 of the space. This year I created some paths (sacrificed some strawberry plants) which is a good thing because last June I was playing a game of Twister every time I went out to pick berries. Now with paths, I won't be stepping on plants or missing out on berries that I didn't even know were there because it was just too dense.

I will rototill again before planting. I am hoping to put in potatoes and lettuce very soon. I'll wait a bit on beans and tomatoes and whatever else I can squeeze into the small space.

Mother's Day was nice. We had my husband's mom over for a lunch (she has dementia, but is physically fit as a fiddle). She loves watching The Crown on Netflix with us, as she lived in England for a few years. Both of my kids were working on Mother's Day (grocery store), but met us at a restaurant when they were done after 6:00. My treat was the wonderful sticky toffee pudding that the restaurant makes. Soooo good and decadent! My gift was a fitbit, which is what I specifically asked for. My daughter also framed a nice photo of the four of us, something I never think to do anymore.

To get back to the great outdoors, I actually had to abandon my rototilling last night before I was done due to the blackflies. I truly have about six bites on one arm, as well as a very scary one on the back of my hand. I swell up terribly from blackfly bites and the itching is ridiculous. I took a benadryl just so I wouldn't scratch my arm off in bed. It amazes me how something so small can be so mighty. They fly at my eyes, nose, any exposed skin... Thank goodness they don't last all summer.

Lastly, our daughter just began a new job today (while off university for the summer). In addition to her job at a grocery store where she has worked part time for about four or five years now, she is part of the "fun squad" for a radio station. She gets to drive around our area of Ontario to attend events and hand out free loot, make draws, promote the events by making recordings which then air on the radio, and just generally be a bubbly, interested human. She is studying Communications in university, so this is right up her ally. She has also enjoyed doing customer relations at the grocery store, always competed in public speaking, and even M.C.ed a school concert by the seat of her pants. Talking with people and being friendly is easy for her. We are very proud of her and she's really excited to be doing this.

And if you care, when you reach 10,000 steps, the fitbit celebrates for you and buzzes against your wrist. If only it could chase away blackflies.

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Hello Tulips!

Today was a little sunnier, and a little warmer. I went out right after supper and took some pictures. Then I photoshopped (see how I turned that into a verb?) them into a collage.

I really don't have many tulips, like some people do. Some of them came from gifts of potted tulips that I then transplanted after they had died down (the pink ones and orange ones). I don't fuss much with tulips (no extra fertilizer or dividing them) because they actually sort of get in the way when perennials start to get bigger around them. They do add some nice early colour, however.

Side note: I've been smugly proud of myself with my increase in exercise. I've gone from being way too sedentary to just sucking it up and doing weights, or walking briskly on the treadmill. I have even started doing Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" video. I have done 6 days so far. Well, nothing squashes your pride quite like your 21 year old daughter offering to work out with you, first time doing this video and sailing through it without swearing or anything!

Saturday 6 May 2017

Happy Birthday and the Week that Was

On Wednesday of this past week, we celebrated our daughter's 21st birthday. We went out for supper at a place we had not tried before and it turned out to be very good! The owner was moving around the restaurant, taking part in bussing the tables and checking that everything was good. He sat and talked with us for a while and was really passionate about his restaurant and the quality of what he was serving. We all enjoyed what we had ordered and the energy of the place was pretty great, considering it was just a Wednesday in a small town.

When asked earlier in the week what she wanted to do for a cake, if she wanted to order dessert at the restaurant, if she wanted my usual chocolate layer birthday cake, or if she wanted to try something new, daughter was adamant that it be the "usual". So I baked the cake Tuesday night and on Wednesday when I got home from work, I made the icing and assembled the cake, with daughter and her boyfriend assisting in licking the beaters and scraping out the bowl!

I'm not really one to post pictures of us online, but thought I'd make an exception. Here's daughter and her boyfriend at the restaurant.

She took this picture of her ol' ma and pa.

This is all of us back at the house for cake. Yes, 17 year old son is doing bunny ears behind her head. And yes, that is a lot of facial hair (when did my baby grow a beard???).

This past week was not the most stellar week in terms of the weather. The days have been cool, verging on down right cold, grey, and rainy. The rain continues to fall and we are all getting a little tired of it. I still have much yard work to be done, but the rain is making all of my perennials and bulbs grow very well, so tearing out and cutting back last year's growth is going to be a bit more difficult. I know many parts of Ontario are getting more rain and flooding than we are, so I'm at least grateful for that. Today's plans involve throwing a hunk of beef in the magical cooking pot, and doing a thorough house cleaning. Who says I don't have an exciting life?