Monday 31 May 2021

A Reintroduction

 Remember when I introduced you to our new kitten, Molly?

Let me reintroduce you.

This is now Murphy, formerly known as Molly.

Today I loaded up the kitten in the carrier cage and took it to the vet for its first round of shots. A vet tech came out to my vehicle, handed me a clipboard with a paper to fill out, and took the carrier cage inside. I was to wait until someone brought the kitten back out to me, then I could go to a side window where I would pay and set up an appointment for the next round of shots. 

The vet tech brought out the cage and said there was a little surprise. I thought maybe there was something wrong, fleas, perhaps, but no, she said we have a little boy kitten! She laughed and said it's quite common and it's hard to tell when they are very little. 

So, I brought the kitten back home and let the family know. They all laughed and we had to then decide what to call Molly. We settled on Murphy, which I think suits him. 

Friday 28 May 2021

Friday, May 28, 2021

 It is almost the weekend, and I realize I haven't posted in a while. I spent a good portion of this last week getting my vegetable garden ready. I do not have raised beds or separate beds, but just one big open space with a compost "container" in one corner and a big rhubarb plant in another. I had previously dug out the many weeds and grasses that had come with the warmth of spring, and then it was rototilled, first in one direction, then the other. Raking smooth and picking up big-enough-to-bother-with rocks came next. 

I decided this year, don't know why, to lay things out differently. I've always been a row person, but I played around with "blocks" instead. My method of making straight rows involves using cut-offs of rebar from an old construction project with garden string tied to them, and a small hand sledge hammer to pound them in. I am TERRIBLE at straight, so I need guidance otherwise my rows would weave to and fro. 

I used a very precise way of measuring, which is pacing heel to toe in my Birkenstocks and counting my steps to figure out how I could divide up the garden into blocks with paths that would be big enough. Perhaps tomorrow I will take a picture so you can see the criss-cross pattern I made. I've already planted some things: onions, beets, lettuce, beans, potatoes, and peas. I am waiting to put in my tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. Alas, I do not have room for my pumpkins. I'm not sure what to do, or what alternative I have because I started a couple off little pumpkin plants and it would feel like murder to not use them. 

Husband opened up the pool. Of course, something needed dealing with: the T-cell which has something to do with chlorinating, I don't really know, wasn't working. Instead of throwing several hundred dollars toward a new one (or more!), he managed to MacGyver a solution to the problem and it seems to be working - fingers crossed. It will be quite some time before the pool is ready to take a dip in, as the weather is C-C-C-C-Cold!!!! Yesterday after supper, daughter and I went for a usual walk, and we both wore gloves. We almost grabbed winter hats, too, but just couldn't bear the thought in late May. 

Something exciting, and humbling, happened. I did my second Supply Teaching job yesterday. My first one was at my old school and the teacher made things very easy for me (keep in mind this is all online, done from computer involving Zoom-like interactions, although our Board does not use Zoom). However, yesterday I went to a different school and did a job for a teacher who had a grade 1,2 split class. I thought I would take the job because how hard could a 1,2 split be online?? It can't be too "techy" if it is only a 1,2. Ha ha, old girl!! Think again! The teacher kindly emailed me his plans (VERY detailed and thought out) and informed me how he does things. Thank heavens for a 25 year old daughter in the house who gave me a crash course in screen sharing, accessing videos from Teams and sharing those, and accessing and using a virtual white board and sharing that. I still managed to mess up and of course a couple of the little darlings in the class informed me (kindly) that that's not how Mr. A. does it, they usually do this, and then this, and then that. It was a humbling experience for someone who has spent 31 years in the profession, only to be corrected by a seven year old. HOLY COW, was that ever a stressful day. But I proved that old dogs can learn new tricks, but would do well to practise those new tricks in order to really perfect them.

I've agreed to do two more days of supply work (and yes, all online unless the Ontario government finally lets kids come back into class region by region instead of painting the whole humungous province with the same Corona-coloured brush), but both of those jobs are at my old school for classes and teachers that I know, so I feel a bit more comfortable. 

If you recall, we got a kitten. Yup. She is very cute and cuddly...when she is almost ready to fall asleep. However, if you look at her in the eyes too long at other times, I'm pretty sure you can see the demon that lies inside!! She is a holy terror when trying to burn off her kitten energy - scaling furniture, grabbing ankles, arching her back and dancing sideways, playing with ANYTHING (I can no longer hang tea towels on my fridge handle, as they get pulled down immediately). I know this "adorable" stage will only last for the first few months and hopefully get replaced by a more subdued purring soft kitty, warm kitty. Our other cat, Scooter, is a good boy and only gives her a good low growl or hiss, and what I imagine to be an exasperated cat eye roll, and then retreats back outside. He's pretty much an outdoor cat anyway and we are NOT letting Molly out unsupervised, nor are we showing her the cat door. She's too little at this point, but later, like every other cat we've ever owned, she will be allowed to be an indoor / outdoor pet. This Monday she goes for her first set of shots. 

I got the book The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman from the library a while ago (again, curbside, like a drug pick up in a paper bag) and haven't really given it a good go yet. So far, it seems enjoyable, fun, nothing too deep or intellectual. Maybe with this unseasonable weather I can settle in for a longer read. Bye for now, all!

Sunday 16 May 2021

Lovely Spring!

 Spring has finally sprung here in my part of Ontario. The birds are singing, the trees are blossoming, the blackflies are biting. We had a very busy day yesterday. Husband rented the "Beast 2000" and we spent the better part of yesterday chipping the previously cut down Manitoba maple regrowth saplings and some small walnuts and a dying tree from the neighbour's yard. The neighbour lives in a city a few hours away, but agreed to chip in (ha ha, "get it" as my daughter used to say when she was little and tried telling jokes) on the price of the machine if we could take care of those trees for him (we keep the firewood). 

This chipper is not a large as the one we rented a couple of years ago, but it did the job. I used the wood chips in a couple of beds, as the original chips were pretty much gone (where do they go?) It's not the best looking mulch, as there are also twigs mixed in, but it does the job. 

Underneath that pile of wood chips is a tarp. This is at the edge of the "field" that is right next to our property. Nothing is planted in it, it's just "scrub" land. It might not look like a big pile, but it really is. I have lots to use.

Here are the results of mulching one flower bed so far. From a distance it looks pretty good. My next bed is a BIG project. It is the shrub border that runs along the pool fence. It needs lots of weeding and there are hydrangeas popping up where they shouldn't be. I had originally used landscape fabric around the shrubs, but plenty of weeds have poked right through, and again, the original woodchips are pretty much gone. It's so hard weeding up against the concrete edge, under the fence. I'm hoping I can just choke everything to death with a thick enough covering of mulch. 

Last fall, I did some serious cutting back of the dappled willow behind Gerald. I should have listened when someone said it would get big. 

There is plenty of new growth, so I'm not worried about it. You can see the winter pool cover and tarp still on the pool. It will be a long while before the pool is opened up and ready to swim in!

This is a picture of Gerald from a couple of years back, so you can see the willow in its normal state. That is a wigilia beside it. The willow got to be about twice that size and was crowding out other shrubs, as well as poor Gerald!

Our old apple tree is blooming right now, and right on cue, I spotted an oriole in it this morning. There is no oriole in this picture. Try as I might, I've never been able to get a good picture (I don't have a fancy camera with special lenses - just my phone!) 

Here is a closer look. It literally makes a humming sound, with all the bees enjoying the blossoms.

On the kitten home front, things are going well. She has two states of being: perpetual motion, or sleep.

We have taken our time introducing Molly to our other cat, Scooter. There has been the odd hiss, and I'm not letting her get too close to him (she's the one who would likely exhibit poor behaviour), and I'm feeling a bit bad for Scooter in that he just comes in to eat and then leaves again, but I think in time, they'll come to an understanding. He is pretty passive and I don't think he'd hurt her, but I don't want him to think he has to keep running away. 

Tomorrow morning, son is moving back to the city where he attends college for his summer term. I imagine most of his classes will still be online, but he does have a lab for which he will have to be onsite. It's been so nice having both of our "kids" living with us, but time moves on. Hopefully our lockdown (which has been extended) will end in early June and he'll have a bit more freedom, as will we. 

The chickens, and I, are very happy for the nice weather. I have much weeding to do. Have a great rest of your weekend, everyone.

Thursday 13 May 2021

Lockdown / Retirement Addition to the Family

 Along with asking, "Should I get bangs?", I also revealed, "I've kind of been thinking about getting a kitten.". This is as a result of Ontario's lockdown, and the fact that I am not busy every day from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Also, the weather has been cruddy and I haven't been gardening. So... a sweet family (who we knew) had posted some pictures of two little kittens that their mama cat had, and daughter and son showed them to me. We went to see the kittens (all masked up, and within our local area) and decided which one we wanted, but let them stay an extra two weeks to hang out with their mama and learn a few more things. 

Last night, we picked her up. Introducing Molly. Full name is Molly McShoes - long story.

Scooter has yet to meet her. We are trying to do things properly, introducing her smell first by rubbing her with a towel and letting his sniff that. She is quite adorable and has a good purr. Let's see how this decision all pans out, who knows, I might cut my own bangs as well!

Wednesday 5 May 2021

May 5, 2021


This is the second lockdown birthday for my daughter. She turned twenty-five. Covid birthdays are sucky. 

Still, there were balloons and happy birthday signs, and a banner, because in this house, that's what happens, regardless of how old you are. There was the standard baked-by-mom chocolate layer cake. I always ask if they want something different, and they don't.

I think I would be less annoyed with the world if the weather would stop being less March / April and become a bit more May / June. It is so wet and icky and cold that I can't even spend time weeding and edging (because that could occupy my time every single day for weeks). 

Heaven help me, I started another jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles were what I did when lockdowns first happened A YEAR AGO. I feel like I'm reverting rather than moving forward because of this puzzle. Well actually, it is a puzzle that I had started last year but it was so hard and my heart wasn't in it, so I packed it up (but I did keep all the outside pieces together in chunks and put them in a ziplock bag, and another chunk that I had put together as well). Now it's back out and I reassembled the outside pieces, and the chunk, and now I'm trying to put together about a million pieces that are green and yellow and form a bunch of flowers. I kind of hate it, but I'm committed to the task.

Supper. Everyday I think about what to make for supper. I had a frozen pie crust (not my own, a "cheater" one).

Quiche was in order. I fried up some onions and boiled a little bit of broccoli. 

Voila! Eggs, milk, cheese, broccoli, onions, salt and pepper. (Do you notice the little folded up piece of tin foil under the front of the pie tin? When you have an old house and your kitchen floor is not quite level, and you can't exactly level your stove because it will fit weird in the cut out space on your counter top, you have to rig up your pies so they don't flow more to one side).

At the moment, you can go to grocery stores, pharmacies, and some garden centres. Will the excitement never end? I went to the grocery store to buy milk and picked up a plant to be dropped off at M.I.L.'s nursing home for her mother's day present. She'll get it two days after we drop it off.

Some good news, however, husband and I both have booked times at the "hockey hub" in the nearby town later this month to receive our first vaccines - either Moderna or Pfizer. 

As well, I am now in the system to be available for supply teaching. Unfortunately, it will only be online supply teaching which actually makes me more nervous than face to face, in the classroom supply teaching. I know what I used when I was teaching online, but I'm a bit concerned that I might have to take over for someone super tech savy who is using much different programmes in their online classroom and I won't have a clue what to do. For comfort sake, I want my first experience to be in my "home school", the one I recently retired from.

So there you have it. I'm going a bit stir crazy and want to get out and do things. I am eagerly awaiting 
an end to our provincial lockdown. I have watched with daughter on Netflix, a trivia gameshow called "The Chase". I enjoy it and feel like a star when I'm able to answer one of the questions before the contestant (it doesn't happen often, as they go very fast!). I'm not reading anything right now, just not in the mood. And I now admit that I ate the rest of the "hint of jalapeno" tostitos while watching "The Masked Singer". I don't even know half of the people they guess on that show, but I get a kick out of the costumes and the reveal (again, sometimes I don't even know who they are without their masks!). We are down to one more episode of "The Curse of Oak Island" before they pack it in for the winter. I figure somebody's going to find the Templar treasure on that flipping island before heard immunity is reached! We are also watching the new season of "Island of Bryan". I do enjoy that show and think he's a hoot! They couldn't have picked a worse time to open a resort. But they just got chickens, so that's good! If you don't get any of those shows, just ignore this paragraph.

Keeping my fingers crossed for sunshine sometime this week.