Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Doings

They say Canadians talk an awful lot about the weather. We certainly have done so since Saturday. Oh, the rain. And the wind. The Great Wet has begun (as my daughter wrote.) But I ventured out, undeterred because ....

 One of these things is not like the others. The Mennonite Girls Who Cook were in town for a book signing at Ten Thousand Villages. What fun to meet 6 of them in person. Here's a photo of yours truly with Lovella, Judy, and Anneliese. Such a gracious group of ladies. I wish we could have visited longer. 

I met up with an aunt and uncle at the signing. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my aunt (by marriage) is a cousin of Judy's. We're practically related. Judy also taught Sunday School to my nephews.

We spent two cozy evenings by the fire - the first of the season. I'm looking forward to more. There's nothing like a wood fire for ambiance.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last of the Summer Flowers

The brightness of this collage belies what's outside my window today. Rain, rain, rain. Such downpours. Apparently the systems currently beleaguering our island are pulling moisture from the typhoons/monsoons in the Far East. It's certainly wet!

Most of the photos in the collage were taken at Butchart Gardens this month; a few are from my own garden. 

Linking with Mary at the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Friday, September 27, 2013

At the End of the Week

At the end of the week I take a mental note of what I've done. It's nothing very elaborate, but I like to think I've accomplished SOMETHING between Monday and Friday. Our weather has ranged from merely cloudy to gorgeous sunshine to socked in rain. Soup was on the menu - a Ginger Chicken Soup that I've made many times.

Our youngest daughter had a birthday yesterday, and although we celebrated together a couple of weeks ago, I sent over a little parcel for her to open "on-the-day." Another needlebook. I do enjoy working with felt and having something to stitch on in the evenings. Ashley's in her second year of fashion design school and is learning couture sewing techniques these days. A needlebook just might come in handy.

I completed (almost - eagle eyes will notice the last bit of binding at the top needs stitching down) this quilt for Little Miss S. I made an activity quilt when she was born, but wanted to make another, a little larger one. I've decided I love choosing the fabrics and piecing them together but the quilting is not so enjoyable. I do love stitching the binding on by hand. Perhaps if I ever make a really elaborate quilt I'll get it professionally quilted. This one is just machine quilted on the diagonal. I expect these quilts I make for the little ones to be used, dragged around and loved. I'd be pleased if they wore them out.

So that's been my week - along with working in the library yesterday. I covered new books, one kind of covering for paperbacks, another for hardcovers. It's like arts and crafts day at work. I'd rather teach, but since no one is getting sick over there, I'll take what I can.

We're in for a rainy weekend so coziness is in order. But I'll put on my boots and raincoat to go down to Ten Thousand Villages tomorrow to meet some of the Mennonite Girls from MGCC

What's your week been like?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Tea Cup Full of Autumn

If only I could distill autumn days like this - the arching blue sky, the sun's warmth on my back, the softening colours in the landscape - if only.

I'd bottle it up and seal it tightly, an elixir to be brought out on the darker, wetter days to come.

Instead, like a magpie, I collect a piece of arbutus bark, a few leaves, a soft feather, hawthorn berries (now that I know what they are), some acorns and pinecones and tumble them into a tea cup - a still life to enjoy now and later.

Are there collections from nature in your home? I like a bit in each room - a plant, a glass dish of shells, a vase of stones. What do you do with yours?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Little of This and Some of That

It's Cyclamen season! I frequently walk by this yard that's been allowed to naturalize. In the spring tiny crocuses are followed by daffodils, then bluebells. In summer it's mostly brown grass, but once the rains begin in fall, these beauties pop up. 

Here's a closer look. While looking on line to see what kind of cyclamen they might be, I ran across a blog entitled "Stupid Garden Plants." Hmmm. But he has a great post on cyclamen, if you're interested. 

There's starting to be a whole lot more of these on the ground. 

Dinner with friends on Saturday night included the warm glow of candlelight. So cozy. Summer left in a big hurry this year, and left nothing behind. Rainy days, misty mornings, with the hope of sunshine in the afternoons. That's early fall around here.

What coziness is there in your world these days?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumn Begins

Summer walked away with nary a backward glance and autumn swept in with rain and wind that drove yellowed leaves onto the ground.

A short halt in the raindrops beguiled us into a walk around Rithet's Bog. Water depths are building and the ducks have returned. 

Tall yellow grasses, fat round rose hips, and the above berries color the landscape. Would any reader know the name of the above tree/shrub? I've been looking on line without success.

edited to add: Thanks to Karen, a friend and reader from Washington State for emailing me yesterday with the suggestion of Hawthorn - yep, that's what they are! Shane from New Zealand also knew what they were. Thanks!

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary of the Little Red House.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Garden Visit

August sped by without a visit to Butchart Gardens, and I wasn't going to let September go the same. This morning, clouds covered the sky. Rain is in the forecast for the weekend. I decided to make the most of the moment and go.

There was a lot of summer colour left, and the vanilla scent of heliotrope wafted upwards. The Rose Garden, not as lush as in June, still had blossoms a-plenty. 

But the move to autumn has begun. Leaves are sparse on some trees, others are coloured.

Some borders have been planted with warm-toned mums and others blooms, like the orange above.


The structure of the garden is beginning to show through the thinning foliage. Even a flower's seed head has an elegant beauty.

But my favourite flower of the visit - this pretty pink rose dangling down from an archway. Carefree, she seems to say, "Autumn's coming and that's just fine!"

To make up for my outing this morning, I'll be finishing up the laundry, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming and making soup. And I think there will be a little autumn decor inserted here and there. Happy Friday to you.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


There`s not much time left in summer. The cosmos on my kitchen windowsill are dropping pollen everywhere and it`s time to pitch them. We're in that in-between stage when summer has a hard time leaving and autumn is impatiently waiting. Summer, you've been so lovely. Have a good rest. We'll see you next year.

Did you know that brass and other warm metals are coming back into fashion in home decor. That's a good thing, although my brass-toned lamps have graced the living room all through the silver-colored nickel stage. Sometimes I think interior decorators are in cahoots with retailers to insist that we all need to have the latest decor or we risk looking "dated" - oh horrors! 
Today I brought out the brass bowl from Ecuador and placed in it the fabric apples I made last year (see the sidebar for the tutorial.) I'm tentatively putting out a few autumn themed items, although I never go overboard. But I'll give a nod to the season.

Speaking of between, have you read this book? Dear. Me. I loved it, but you'll notice the box beside the book. Make sure you have one handy. I cried and cried. In fact, I hardly slept that night for thinking about the book. Which is quite ridiculous because it's "just a story."

Beautifully written, but tragic. For me, it brought to the forefront the agony and desperation of infertility, the stories we tell ourselves to justify our actions, and finally, the quiet redemption that does not bring restoration. Would I recommend it? Yes, but keep that box of tissues handy. Have you read it? I'd love to know your thoughts.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vee's Note Card Party - September

It's time for Vee's Note Card Party - held once a month. Lots of great photos there and lovely people to visit with. 

This month I'm featuring dahlias. They are such great flowers to have in a garden because they bloom and bloom - for several months - dying off only with the first frost. Hopefully that's a month or more away for us.

When we moved into this house 11 years ago, Pat and Wendy lived across the back fence. That first day, they handed over a plate of lemon bars, which led to many more conversations. And they grew dahlias. Rows and rows of them. They supplied several florists in town, and often handed bouquets of them over the fence. It was because of them that I because interested in growing dahlias.

During the two years we lived up Island, Pat and Wendy moved away because of Pat's health. He later passed away. I don't know where Wendy is living now, but I never look at a dahlia without thinking of them and their kindness.

The photo above is the only one previously posted on my blog, and sadly, it's the one dahlia that I lost last winter. I'm going to look for a replacement because I love the watercolor effect on the petals plus that gorgeous deep color.

Thanks once again to Vee for hosting this linky party.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Listening to Nature

Yesterday afternoon, thunder rumbled a warning, "Hurry."

So I did. But I still arrived home from my walk drenched and in need of a change of clothing.

This morning, the clouds whispered, "Soon."

So I went into the garden and picked two bowls of tomatoes, 8 squash (butternut and delicata), a huge basket of basil, a few carrots, and a cup or so of raspberries. I tore vines from the ground to place in the compost bin, closed one side of the tomato house, and ate a few small blueberries.

"It's coming," drowsed the bees sleeping soundly in the dahlia. 

So I clipped a bouquet of cosmos, 

and one of dahlias. Ready or not, Autumn is coming soon. Are you ready?


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Doors and Windows

Donna, who hosts the monthly Personal Photo Challenge, suggested doors and windows as this month's theme. I took these photos at a national park, Fort Rodd Hill, with its gun batteries and lighthouse. The photo above is of a small equipment locker up on the hill beside the range-finder.

A view from the lighthouse over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains of Washington State beyond. I was a little miffed to see the edge of the stroller (yellow) in the photo. Not very good composition.

Catches today are often prosaic and boring. I love the graceful lines of this window catch in the lighthouse.

This door and handle has patina from years of use and weathering. I believe it was taken at the munitions storage room.

Lastly, windows in the Lighthouse. I like the symmetry of the pair of matching windows and the contrast with the tiny arched window in the lighthouse itself.

The photos were taken with my Nikon Coolpix 7100 on the outdoor scene setting. It was a bright day and I compensated for that by going down a couple of notches on the exposure compensation dial. 



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Check the Calendar!

I'm going to rant a little in this post. All over blog land (and in stores) I see a rush to decorate for fall, cook for fall, dress for fall. Um, has anyone checked the calendar? Autumn begins officially after the Equinox on September 22. It's not fall yet! Not while we can blow bubbles on the lawn.

Not while we can dress in our little tops and wander down a pathway enthralled with stones, acorns, and yellow lines.

Not while we pick late-crop raspberries in the mornings for our yogurt and granola.

Not while summer light casts evening shadows across the water and pots of geraniums stand brightly on decks. No, it's not autumn yet. It's the in-between season. We had one of the warmest, if not THE warmest day of the summer yesterday. Autumn is coming. The signs are there. But I'm clinging to summer's last beauty. No autumn decor for me yet. 

There. I feel better. 
How do you feel about rushing the seasons?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Post of Little Consequence

The garden is still yielding. Lots of "baby 'matoes" as Little Miss A calls them. Next year I'm going to plant less of the small fruits and more of the big ones. I'll be making a batch of pasta sauce in the next day or two, with tomatoes from my garden and that of my daughter's.

While in Banff in early August, I took the above photo with my phone. I like the way the slabs of rock are set in the bed, some leaning, some straight. No exact placements and the plants growing up nilly-willy between them. Casual and interesting.

The new and the old. The Oster was bought in 1977. It's served us well and faithfully, but alas, it's time to go. Just not enough oomph. I hate getting rid of old things, don't you? I wish the things that work well and I'm used to would just keep going and going, like the Energizer Bunny.

The Cuisinart blender, fresh from the box, made short work of frozen strawberries, milk and ice cream. Delicious! A great way to assuage the mild grief of retiring the Oster.

A nod to the coming season - a pot of mums on the front porch. This was an odd plant. Apparently it was squished in the growing and so the back half is flat. A half-moon plant. It works perfectly against the porch railing since our porch is quite small.

Time to move on. Do you have anything of little consequence to share today?

Monday, September 09, 2013

September Celebration

After the grey days of late it was a delight to see cheerful sunlight on Sunday. Brunch was on the calendar - Sausage Egg Casserole with a Mexican flavor, Scalloped Tomatoes, Chocolate Bread, Fruit Platter, and a Strawberry Mousse Cake for dessert. Everyone contributed so the preparation was easy on all of us.

I don't know what we talked about before the little misses entered our lives. Things are much livelier now with one non-stop chatter and activity. So much fun. We are blessed.

Three September birthdays were celebrated with singing led by Little Miss A, cake and candles.

September's golden days are here. Time to embrace the season. How are you feeling about September so far?

Of Spare Rooms and House Guests

  If you've ever read L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables , you'll remember the importance of the spare room. It was a long-...