Friday, May 26, 2017

A STONE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS!

The "Shed" garden... new garden created last year.  Sweet Peas for the trellis are just popping out of the ground!

Vegetable Garden planted.


What was I doing before all this garden stuff happened?  I feel like I am going on vacation now that so much of the spring yard work is done.  I still will spend as much time outside as I can every day, but it's time to think about all the other things I was doing before spring hit.

Crafting comes to mind.  Even when I was out in the yard, crafting was never far from my mind.  Because I had never tilled my garden myself, I never realized how many stones were in that big garden.  As I tilled up pebbles, stones and yes even some rocks I started to pick them up and put them in a pail.  It took minutes for the pail to be full to the top.  I also found bits of glass - the prairie version  of sea glass - SOIL GLASS.  All this went into a pile.

I started making a stone border around the garden thinking maybe it would deter good old quack from creeping into the garden, and I finished one side of the garden in just hours.  And still I pick stones.

Do you ever wonder where they all come from?  I do.

Most of the stones I have picked are smooth, lots of different shapes and some pretty interesting colours... and of course when you wet them - better colours yet.  I feel the need to do something creative with them, just as I used to do with the stones I collected from the beach at the lake.  I made families of ducks, people, even a dog... I would fashion my figures together with epoxy, then put a shiny coat of sealant on top of it all.  My Mom had those little figures all over the house.  I don't know whatever became of them, but they were something I loved to do about 50 yrs ago.

Imagine my surprise, when I wandered onto Pinterest one evening and found hundreds of just such figures being made and sold  - some for over 100.00 !

I guess the saying holds - "Everything old becomes new again".

I find that a lot on Pinterest.  People claiming they created something new - when really the same craft was done in the 1970's by people long gone.

I am waiting to see someone create flowers out of fun fur and say they thought the idea up themselves, then I will laugh myself right off my rocking chair.  ( My Mom made fun fur flowers for just about everyone she knew in the 1970's).

So back to the stones - no I am not going to make figures - well maybe I will make a dog in the likeness of my Molly - to sit on my desk, just for me.

But I am going to go back out there and sift through those stones again, and really look at them with my creative eye this time... maybe something will hit me.


Have a Happy weekend

Till next time....




Thursday, May 25, 2017

A TREAT FOR A DAYS HARD WORK!

The vegetable garden is in.  It took me two fairly solid days to get it planted, but I managed to finish it and a still had some energy left to plant some bedding plants around the flowerbeds as well, before last night's rain fell.

I am pleased with myself this year as I took the time to really plan out everything I wanted to plant in the vegetable garden - not like last year where I just kind of thew a bunch of things in the garden and hoped for the best.

Vegetable gardening is all about eating.  My parents always had big vegetable gardens and I grew up eating fresh vegetables all summer long and then as good as fresh for the remainder of the year.  I had forgotten the difference in real fresh from the garden and fresh from the grocery store.  Believe me, there is a difference.

I froze a lot of vegetables last fall and even those were better - more flavourful than any you could buy in the store, and I am sure loaded with much more food value than those processed in big plants across the country.

We are just now finishing up the vegetables I froze last fall.  If this years garden produces as good as last year, I will be more than happy.

As a reward for a good couple of days work completed, we had our first "fresh from the garden" treat of this season last night for dessert.... Rhubarb Crisp.







It was so refreshing, so tasty that I can't wait for dessert tonight!

Rhubarb is loaded with nutrients and vitamins, the best being Iron.  Some just don't like it, but I would wager even if you don't like rhubarb, you would love this dessert.  It is sweet but still has enough tang to make it refreshing.  If you can get your hands on some fresh rhubarb, give it a try.


Rhubarb Crisp

4 cups fresh rhubarb
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix these ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a glass baking dish

Topping:

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup rolled oats (oatmeal)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

mix together and sprinkle over the rhubarb mixture.

Place in a heated  375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until topping starts to turn brown.


Bon Appetite!



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I FINALLY DID IT!

Canada's 150th birthday is July 1st.  To  commemorate her birthday, a special tulip was designed and created that when open resembles a flame, or a maple leaf - ( there are two versions of the description for this flower).

Last fall, thanks to my cousin Debbie, I managed to snag a box of bulbs.  There were supposed to be 25 in the box, but all I could salvage was 16 bulbs, and none of them were that good.

 A lot of the bulbs were powder, but I planted them anyway, hoping for the best.

I have never had good luck growing tulips.  My former neighbour Elaine is the tulip growing queen of Canada I am sure, I wish you could see her yard at this time of the year.  Over the years she has given me really good advice and lots of encouragement , but even so, my tulips either never had a bloom, or didn't show up at all!

So when I planted these rather sad bulbs, I was kind of thinking that really I wouldn't be too surprised or disappointed if they didn't grow.

But low and behold leaves popped out the ground this spring, and soon after I could see the flower buds in the center of every plant.  They stayed that way for a long time, and slowly the stem started pushing the bud up, but the stem remained very short short, so I was still skeptical.

I got out the picture from the advertisement of the bulbs and noticed a couple of things.  First the leaves in the ad had a white stripe down them.  Mine did not.  Secondly the flowers in the add were white and red... mine looked like they were going to be yellow and burgundy.

So I waited and watched some more.

Yesterday I was walking past the bed they are in and I had to stop and stare.   Overnight the stems seemed to have stretched, and almost every one of the tulips were open.  A few of the flowers appear as if they are looking around a corner... but they are there.

So back in the house for the camera I went.

This is the image on the box that I bought.


and here are my tulips.


I was prepared not to like them, but turns out that I do love them.  Maybe they are different than the picture on the box, but I can see the flame, or the maple leaf ( which ever version of the description you want to believe) and I am happy with them.  I hope in the years to come that they get stronger, multiply and get more beautiful with each year.

But for now, I can look at them with a smile and a certain amount of pride, that finally I seem to have been successful in growing some tulips.

Happy Birthday Canada!

So Proud to call you home!






Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY WISH!

Today is a very special person's birthday.  Happy Birthday Colleen!

Colleen is one of the sweetest people I know, and lucky for me she is also my cousin -  our Dad's were brothers.  We didn't grow up close, like I did with some of my other cousins -  we really only saw each other a handful of times over our childhood years, and then not much at all until just a few years ago.  We connected with each other at a family reunion and have kept in touch ever since.  I am always amazed at how very much alike we are.

Colleen and her husband Cam live about 40 minutes away from us, up in the Riding Mountains.  They have a beautiful place off the beaten path where one can really appreciate all that mother nature has to offer.

They invited us up to spend a day with them at their farm just before Easter, and it was an experience like non other.  It was a mild end of March day, the snow was melting, but the scenery on the way up the mountain was so beautiful.  I kept telling Gary over and over again how I couldn't imagine how beautiful the drive would be when everything was green, because even with snow, the images were wonderful.

We found their place and turned up a long plank fence lined drive to the most charming country home, complete with two woolly horses watching our approach from their paddock near the lane.



We had a wonderful lunch with Colleen's Rouladen as the main course, and Bee Sting Cake for dessert - talk about feeling like we were dining at a 5 star restaurant - it was all so delicious!   And then we put our winter coats and boots on and went for a long walk on their country roads.

I had my camera along and got some nice photo's.

                                                                an old farmstead....


Chickadee's eating out of Gary's hand...


Gary and the horses...
Eagles...


After our walk we hopped in the truck and went for a long drive around the area.  We saw where last year's tornado went through - not far from their home.  We drove past lakes that I never knew existed and everywhere we looked - white tailed deer - in the fields, on the roads - everywhere.

I almost felt like crying when we had to leave for home.  It had been the perfect day, with the most perfect family hosts.

I am so happy that Colleen and I live closer to one another now - I know we will have many many more such days with her and Cam in the years to come.

Another reason to love living in the country!

Happy Birthday Colleen - I relive that day over and over - Thank You both for making our memories so special.









Monday, May 22, 2017

A PLANTING WE WILL GO!

It's time to plant the vegetable garden - and I am ready to get to it!


Seeds   - Check

Markers - Check

Why markers? - well the garden is so big and I am planting so many different vegetables, and I am rotating my plants like a good gardener is supposed to do - so how else will I know where I planted what... where?

I know you can buy fancy garden markers at the garden centers, but I am just too cheap so I went to Walmart and bought myself a wood burning tool ( which I will be able to use on other projects as well ) and I found some very large "say ahhhh" sticks in the craft section and so I made my own...


These should last for a few years and if they don't I have a lot more sticks to make new ones.


Map - Check!

I really am not crazy - I know you are all thinking I'm over the top - but I need some sort of plan so I have a general idea where I am planting each vegetable.  So I made a map...


It in no way accurately tells me how many rows of each vegetable I will be able to plant - but it does tell me where in the garden each vegetable will grow.  Did you know that like people - not every plant gets along with it's neighbour?  Apparently it is true.  So I have done the plan with companion planting in mind.  I am placing plants that get along close to each other... so yes - I need the map.

The garden is staked out so today I am starting to plant.  The temps are warm enough and more importantly the over night lows are now warm enough - hopefully we won't get anymore frosty nights but you just never know in this corner of the world.    I will cross my fingers and hope for the best.


It's cloudy and a bit windy, but we are not supposed to get any rain today so off  I go to play in the dirt.  It will probably take me a couple of days to get this done, but done it will be before the rains come at the end of the week.

Come back tomorrow - even though I will be planting I will have a very special post for you to read.










Tuesday, May 16, 2017

AN EVENING STROLL !

This evening, I decided to take my camera for a stroll around my property.  It was a cloudy day all day but just at suppertime the sun began to come out.

The song birds were tuning  up for their evening concert series, so I sat on my park bench, turned the camera on  - and waited.

First came a Robin - I think it's Baby from last year as whenever I am in the yard this young Robin is less than a yard away from me.

A pair of bright yellow canaries swooped over my head, one lit on the telephone wire above my head but by the time I raised the camera and focused - he or she was gone... 

And then there were these little fellows.  There was much activity in and out of this old birdhouse at the back of my garden...  but this little bird must have been on watch because he pretty much stayed on top of the house as long as I was outside watching.
The yard is really greening up nicely now, quite a difference from last weeks picture, isn't it?


And I have a plant blooming in one of my flower beds (don't know the name of it)


But the best pictures this evening were the fruit trees in bloom.  Once again they are giving quite the show...




What a great way to finish off the day, and I didn't have to leave my own yard.  How very lucky I am indeed.

Thanks for coming along with me for my evening stroll...







Monday, May 15, 2017

ON MOTHER'S DAY!

Happy Monday, everyone.  I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, and that Mother's everywhere enjoyed their special day.

Mother's Day is an honour for those of us who have children,  and everyone one alive has or has had a mother, so we all should celebrate Mother's Day to some extent.

Is that being completely fair?

For some, Mother's Day is painful.  What about the people who have lost their mother, or those who never knew their Mother, or those who's Mother's mistreated them, or how about the women who lost every child she carried, or the ones who never got the chance to carry a child at all...

I saw something this year, that I am not sure I noticed before.  I use social media to connect with family and friends just like so many other people.  Yesterday social media exploded with Mother's Day tributes, pictures, and that is nice - but right along with the major explosion was a sentiment of quiet despair.  I saw it, I read it and to be perfectly honest - I felt it a bit myself.

At times I wasn't sure if I was seeing Mother's Day - or Christmas!

I am not saying I am against Mother's Day being celebrated - I most certainly am not - but is this in-your face - look how I treated my Mother today- truly celebrating Mother's Day?

Growing up we celebrated Mother's Day with a hand made card, maybe a handmade gift, breakfast in bed, and lots of love and appreciation throughout the day.  As we got older perhaps the card was bought, maybe we added flowers instead of a gift,  if we were still living at home, maybe we made breakfast - lots of love and appreciation - not just on Mother's Day - but every day of the week, month and year.

Were we neglectful compared to the celebrations of present day Mother's Day?  Not at all.

Most Mother's I know only want one thing - to be loved by their children - not just on one day, but every day of the year.  We work so hard and do so much for our children as they grow into adulthood, its nice to know they appreciate everything we do and have done for them.  Do we need to be shrined in gifts, flowers and pictures?

One comment I did like on social media about Mother's Day was from a cousin of mine who is a bit older than I.  She told of a tradition long past where it was customary for people to wear a carnation on Mother's Day to honour one's mother.  If your Mother was alive you wore a pink one, if she was deceased - a white one.  In her case growing up in a small town where there was no florist the carnations were made of crepe paper, but Gary tells me his family practiced this tradition, and they wore real carnations.

A silent tribute to your Mother worn over your heart - all day long.  It brings tears to my eyes.   How very special.

I have a Mother's Day card taped to my wall above my computer from my son.  It's from a few years back.  I have it there because it tells me how much my son does love me.  The sentiment inside the card is simple... "Happy Mother's Day, with love and thanks for all you do."  He has signed it from himself, the dog and the bird.  

But it's the front of the card that tells me how much he cares... he took the time to find the special card for his Mom.  He knew that I would appreciate the "crafty" look of the card over one with a picture of real flowers.  That alone, makes this card so very special to me, and is why it hangs on my wall as a reminder of just how much my son loves me.    I know his love will be the same today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my days.   That's all I really need to make every day  -   Mother's Day!