Showing posts from June, 2014

Gathering the Moments - June

This year, 2014, is half over. On the other hand, there are still 6 months remaining in this year. Do you find, like I do, that when looking back the days blur into chunks and only moments are retained in clear focus? I suppose my brain would explode if every moment of every day remained as sharp as the next. 

In June the irises and peonies came and went. We picked the first strawberries, the first radishes,and  the first raspberries. Last night we picked over a quart of blueberries.

In June we celebrated a birthday and honored fathers. Lavender and roses bloomed. There were cuddles and giggles with little ones.  Other highlights: dinner on the patio, a visit to Butchart Gardens, tea and chocolate, the first popsicles, some rain and some tears, but mostly sunny skies and a light heart. For all these I am thankful. 

Joining Cheryl with Gathering the Moments.

These Days: Five on Friday

1.  Cherry time! We planted trees last spring (2013) and there are enough ripening this year for a generous bowlful for the two of us in a week or so. I covered the tree with a net to prevent birds from getting them all. The net goes right to the ground so that birds cannot get underneath and perhaps get caught. We wouldn't want that. 

2. Baby beets (thinnings) and greens were on the menu this week. Is there anything more luxurious than going out to the garden to choose part of one's dinner? I've been watching the BBC series Land Girls and marvel at how hard people work on farms. Other BBC programs such as Wartime Farm highlight the intensive nature of reliance upon one's physical strength and working the land, too. Gardening used to be a necessity, not a pastime. I'm glad to have the options of gardening and of shopping for my food.

3. One glowing raspberry. There are many more of them and we're picking some every couple of days. Our growing season is several w…


A happy convergence of wanting to sew a quick project and noticing some dust on the shoulders of a couple of special occasion dresses in my closet had me rummaging through my scraps and fabric stash.

I took the photo this morning on the glass-topped patio table. You can see the cloudy sky and the reflection of the buddleia bush that is beginning to bloom. We ate outside last night accompanied by a pair of hummingbirds busy with the flowers. 

The linen came from one very long pieced strip that used to be one of those swoopy window treatments in my living room. I took it down a couple of months ago, washed it, and put it away, wondering if it was destined for rags. Shoulder covers for dresses is a much better idea. I didn't use a pattern for these covers, just traced the outline of a hanger (they fit padded hangers, too) and then cut 2.5 inch squares, pieced them and stitched them to the cover, then trimmed them with ribbon. What took longest was cutting and stitching the squares. Th…

Summer and the Sea

We've named our boat Solitude, as in "a place apart." Here she is on a clear Saturday morning just after launching. There is nothing like being out on the water for the sense of getting away from it all. The cares and worries of life slip away and relaxation unlike anything I've experienced before sets in. 

On this morning, Tim had a co-pilot, complete with life jacket and sunglasses. She was so excited. Out on the water a police boat came alongside and asked us to slow down. I thought maybe they would board and check for licences and safety equipment, but no, they just wanted to compliment Little Miss A for wearing her life jacket and gave her some stickers, an activity book and other little items. Kudos to the RCMP!

After anchoring in Princess Bay, Tim took A out for a ride in the little dinghy. I love the way she rests her arm on his leg, watching every move he makes. He took her along the shore and pointed out various features. She had a hard time staying seated an…

Five on Friday

1. Regarding blogging woes: Here's one little fix that might work if you find that people cannot comment on your posts. Jenny of Elefantz  (a beautiful site with lovely embroidery designs) did some research and she said to spread the information around. Apparently the "embedded" option is the one giving problems.

1. Go to the top right of your blog page and click on 'design'.
2. In the left hand sidebar, click on 'settings'.
3. From the list shown, click on 'posts and comments'.
4. Go to 'comment location'...
5. ...and choose either'pop-up window' or 'full page', but not'embedded'.

I changed my comment option so if you've had trouble leaving a comment before and notice a difference, I'd like to know if this fix really does work.

2.  Summer means salad. Crisp Vegetable Slaw is currently a favorite in spite of my love/hate relationship with cabbage. You can read about it over on my recipe blog. The we…

Strawberries Make Life Sweeter

It seems like there's a lot of frustration with Blogger and Google these days from the comments received on my last post. It seems that some internet places won't play nicely with others (aol and yahoo), and Google Plus is just plain confusing. Comments lost, comments disabled, comments hard to post, comments impossible. Thanks for all your input. It's nice to know I'm not alone in the blogging maze.

I'm so grateful for the free blogging platform that Google provides with Blogger, but I'm not interested in having my entire life connected to my Google plus profile, which seems to be their goal. An ad for Google plus says "connect with friends and family, explore your interests and see how all of Google gets better." Um. I don't think it's working. Exclusivity is not connection. But that's another discussion. Let's move on to something sweeter!

It's summer! Sort of. Cooler temperatures around here lately, but still very pleasant with a…

Secrets and Blogger Woes

The title is more provocative than the post - but isn't that frequently the way with many news/magazine titles?

Secret is the name of the rose. Sweet fragrance that reminds me faintly of apples, showy blooms and watercolour-stained petals. Beautiful. 

As for the other - blogger woes - I have a question for you. But first an explanation. The comments for my blog go to an email account that I set up especially for blogging (a yahoo account). I read comments there. However, I've been checking my blog for comments lately and quite a number of comments are not making it to my email. So I've missed replying and visiting several blogs. Comments from Ann, Podso, Kitty, Snap, and Mrs. Rabe were the ones that didn't show up from my last post. Weird, eh? (said in my best Canadian accent)

I checked my Yahoo spam and other folders and the comments are nowhere to be found. Has anyone else noticed this issue? Do you read the comments on the blog, or through a forwarded email address?�…

Tea Time

Morning tea is fine from a mug, preferably china. But afternoon tea calls for something a little more civilized. I have two of these hostess sets, handed down to me from my mother-in-law. I'll have to ask her if she remembers where they came from. They were made in Japan. Don't you think they are such a practical design, with room for a little treat alongside the cup?

Roses are a favorite adornment for tea cups. I like the softness of these and the gold edging on the handle, base and plate. 

After a rather windy, chilly weekend, the sun has returned and it was warm enough to enjoy afternoon tea in the garden, with fresh raspberries (they are very early this year) and a bit of dark chocolate. The tea is Red Rose orange pekoe, fairly weak. 

Joining Tea Time at Rose Chintz Cottage.

At the Beach

For one reason or another the boat trip planned for Sunday was cancelled. Plans were adapted to a picnic at the beach. A rain shower on the drive out had us all wondering if the picnic would be moved to Nana and Grandpa's house. However, as hardy Canadians (cough), we persevered and enjoyed ourselves in spite of cloudy skies, chilly breezes and the occasional spatter of rain.

A kite left at the beach provided fun entertainment for Miss A and her father. 

Can you guess the theme of these three photos? Fathers and daughters. One daughter (and her husband) was missed.  And it would have been nice if my own father could have been there, too, but he lives on the mainland. I'm so grateful for the men in my life who respect me, love me, and encourage me - and make me laugh.

Little Mister F spent most of the picnic sleeping against his mother. I managed one decent photo, although his eyes are mostly closed. The Little Misses didn't mind the weather at all. They dug, they poured, the…

Stormy Weather Photo Challenge

Taking the photos wasn't the challenge this time around - finding stormy weather was. We've been enjoying sunny days with little variation. I thought I might have to fake some photos with a spray bottle of water, as Donna suggested. This week, though, dark clouds rolled through once or twice for a bit of drama, but usually passed through without any precipitation. Then, early one morning, I heard rain spattering against the roof and windows and, very briefly considered getting up decided that I'd rather stay in bed. 

I did go out before breakfast to capture the effects. Raindrops running a course down oregano leaves, each drop elongating before slipping to the next position to finally hang, tremulous, and then fall.

You can see how little rain we actually got - just the bottom petals of the delphinium hold a few droplets.

All photos were taken with my Nikon Coolpix P7100, cropped as needed and a bit of contrast enhancing accomplished with Picasa. 

Joining in with Donna's …

Five on Friday

1.  A recent project - linen coasters with hexagons for a gift. These were fun to make. Hexies can be addicting. I have a growing basket of them that will one day, I hope, turn into a quilt or coverlet. The handwork is good for evenings, and I thought that they would be good to take on the boat, should I feel like doing something other than gazing at the scenery. 

2. Little Miss S celebrated her second birthday last weekend. Grandpa had fun blowing bubbles with her. Eagles eyes might note the life jacket sitting on the chair behind her. 

3. In preparation for future boat trips, Grandpa wanted the Little Misses to try on their life jackets. Miss A agreed with alacrity and then wouldn't take it off. She wore it throughout the party. Miss S on the other hand, wouldn't hear of trying it on. Perhaps she didn't want to cover up her party dress. 

4.  My last post referred to school and hospital. On Thursday I assisted other teachers in chaperoning Grade 10 students to the P.A.R.T.Y.…

Rosy Days

My floribunda rosebush is blooming. I wondered if it would. Last fall I moved it to a new place, from the front garden, to make room for an expanded driveway, to the back garden. I'm so happy it survived the move. These blooms were at the center of the plant and I just poked my camera in, snapped, and hoped for the best.

I'm in no way a rose expert, but the author of Hostess of the Humble Bungalow has written a wonderful little primer post on the care of roses. Hers are stunning.

A couple of weeks ago, Heather of Inspire Me Heather held a garden party. Just look at the her beautiful yard! She set up a very cozy party space under a tree. Pondside was there, and Sheila from Sheila Zeller Interiors, as well as Janice from Real Food Made Easy.It was fun to meet some new bloggers (and visit again with Pondside). Heather served some delicious nibbles and provided the recipes for all of them. She even had prizes at the end and I came home with the paper globe lanterns you see in the p…

Delight in the Familiar

Feverfew (tancetum parthenium)self-seeds in my garden. I like its airy growth and find it a good filler for gaps. It seeds itself here and there and where I prefer it not to grow, I yank it out. It's pretty and friendly, familiar.

The other day I took Miss A to Butchart Gardens, a place she's visited many times. As we drove I talked about the adventure we were going to have.

"No, Nana," she said, "this isn't an adventure."
"Why not?"
"Well, because you have to walk to an adventure, not drive. Adventures are for the woods, not Butchart Gardens."

Interesting words from a 3.5-year-old. But I had to disagree with her and told her that Nana looks for adventure everywhere, even if she has to drive.

When I was much younger, although older than Miss A, I thought that adventure required new experiences. Revisiting a place couldn't possibly be an adventure. Where was the delight in climbing the same mountain, visiting the same museum, or re-re…

Slow Saturday

A bouquet of radishes for you. From the second planting. A quick rinse and they are ready to eat, crunchy and peppery. Do you eat the green tops? Last year I added them to soups and salads. 

It's not that I don't have things to do. But this Bolero Rose, the first of the season, called out for a photo. So I answered, and then did a quick little tour of the garden. Isn't this just a wonderful time of the year when everything is green, green, green, reaching toward the sun, stretching, growing to beat the band? It fills me with energy.

Ashley and Owen gave us a fig tree in a pot almost four years ago (as a wedding thank you). Last summer I found space for it in the garden and I'm being rewarded with a half-dozen figs. I'll have to research when to pick them because I don't have a clue. The tree is still small, but growing quickly. 

Farewell to the peonies until next spring. But delphiniums and rosesand lavender and anemones and, and, and... will undertake to provide …

Five on Friday

These Friday posts are a good way for me to gather a few of the threads that float through my brain during the week. Thank you for coming by to read and comment. I always enjoy hearing what you have to say.

1.  Some time ago I mentioned a yogurt cake and promised the recipe. Click on the link to take you there. Just writing about it now makes me want to make another one. 

2. The roses are getting ready to burst into flower. I can hardly wait. I thought, at first, that this red bug was a ladybug, something beneficial. But it didn't have any spots. Then someone on a blog somewhere mentioned a lily beetle. I did an internet search and it's not one of those either. Maybe she's just a ladybug who left her spots at home for the day. She didn't seem to be eating the roses.

3. On Thursday Little Miss A and I strolled around Butchart Gardens. One sees things differently with another person. "What that flower, Nana?" "What's that?" "Why?" "Ho…

An Evening Walk

We walk together many evenings, after dinner, after dishes. What is cold and dark in winter is full of soft summer's light in June. Last night I walked alone; he had other things that needed doing. I took with me my IPhone. The light beguiled me into taking photos. Gold-flecked grasses drooped with grace.

Thoreau says, "Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." 

I find that setting out on a walk with the purpose of mentally solving a problem often results in a solution within 30 minutes. An essay or article to write? A relationship issue to ponder? Walking might not fix the problem, but it gives me perspective and often a way to move forward.

8:30 PM. The sun drifts down, slowly falling behind the hills. I look beyond the asphalt, beyond the houses, beyond the city, to the sloping layers of the Sooke Hills.

A sweet citrus scent floats on the air in the schoolyard. The glossy-leaved Mock Orange (Philadelphus virginalus) glows white in the fad…