Showing posts from May, 2016

Five on Friday: Four Flowers and a Recipe

A climbing rose against the deck, name unknown. Weathered boards add texture to a photo, but I'm embarrassed to say these are ours. They are almost past the point of scraping and painting - I fear they might crumble into nothing. We're not quite ready to replace the railing, so I'll enjoy the shabbiness patina and texture.

Pale pink peonies about to burst into bloom. I prefer this delicate shade to the darker pink, although they are both beautiful.

Hydrangeas, paler than normal, but perhaps they will darken as the season wears on. 

Rhubarb leaves as big as umbrellas had me whacking them back and finding tough stalks that I discarded. There were lots of tender stalks and I brought some in to make these Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars. Oh, but they are good. 

I found the recipe here, and adapted it not a whit. The cream cheese mellows out the tartness of rhubarb and the oats add a bit of bite to the creaminess.  

And the lavender is blooming. Everything (as I keep on saying) is so very…

Every Weekend Should Be Long

Monday evening. This Victoria Day weekend has passed by in a satisfying melange of family, friends, garden, reading and puttering.

Radishes are ready for eating: crunchy, with a mild peppery bite. Delicious just rinsed and eaten whole, but yummy added to salads, too.

The pink peonies are at their peak and the fat buds on the white bush will burst any day. I picked a bunch for the house, along with silvery soft lamb's ears and perky lemon balm. They make me smile when I catch glimpses of them on the dining room table. Another vase full sits on the mantel. 

Saturday was spent in the garden - the pots on the porch and deck are filled with gerbera daisies, lobelia, heliotrope and something silvery whose name escapes me. I weeded and trimmed, planted a new rose bush (Winchester Cathedral - a David Austin rose), and didn't really want to come indoors. But tummies growled and I wondered what to make for dinner. A vegetable souffle tickled my fancy so that's what I made.

I forgot how …

Five on Friday

As soon as possible in the spring/summer, I cease wearing socks. I go barefoot in the house and slip into my shoes when going out. I think this habit is leftover from my years in the jungle when I barely owned socks. 

Barefoot season came early this year, but it seems to be retracting a little. Wind blew a bit of welcome rain and less welcome cooler temperatures over night. The garden is delighted.

I'm terrible at remembering the names of my plants. I know this rose is a floribunda, but have no recollection of the name. Still, "what's in a name?" 

I do remember the name of the rosebud in the top photo and this open one - Secret. It's very fragrant and blooms throughout the summer.

A raindrop clings to a stalk of lavender about to burst into bloom. I think it's my potting bench in the reflection.

This evening I picked about a pint of strawberries. So early. So sweet and delicious.

Five things from my garden for this week. I'm looking forward to a long weekend wi…

From the Garden to the Beach

Saturday morning. While eating breakfast (bacon, egg, tomato) I glanced outside to see that the clematis, having wound itself around the deck railing, had opened its first bud.

I had never noticed that the petals open one by one. 

Unfurling. Opening wide to the light. 

There will be many more pretty blooms from this General Sikorski clematis. Some searching on the internet reveals that the name is to honour a Polish general who "rendered great service to his country." Personally, the name makes me think of a helicopter.

After breakfast (and photography), we threw our bags into the car and drove up Island (as we say) to the beachside town of Parksville, along with some friends. This was the view from our room. In the evening, we ate a late (and delicious) dinner on the patio and watched the tide creep across the sand. In the distance, over time, three brightly lit cruise ships sailed by, en route to Alaska.

Beach art. Found art.

Wild roses bloom along the path down to the beach. I …

Five on Friday

Five blueberry bushes are in a new location. A couple were moved from overcrowding and others are brand new to us. Green berries are forming and growing - I think it's going to be another very early season. I'm hoping they will ripen before we leave for Europe. If not, I know that those looking after our home will be thrilled with them.

The fifth issue of 2016 - May's Country Living. I could look at the colours in this cover all day long. Blue, turquoise, and white against a palette of fresh greens. It's just about perfect. 

A five-minute task last Saturday turned into much longer. While placing a sweater into a drawer, I noticed that the merino wool sweater already there had a hole in it. Oh no! Earlier this year my husband lost a sweater to a moth hole as well. Investigation (courtesy of Google) suggested putting the sweaters into sealed bags and freezing them, then bring them to room temperature, then freeze them again. 

So I spent some time collecting all the wool swe…


How to swallow a starfish? I wish we'd hung around to see how the seagull accomplished the feat, or if he gave up after awhile. I can't help but feel sorry for the starfish. 

Inspiration is low here this evening. Mother's Day was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm so thankful for my family and was happy to see or talk with all of my children, and my own dear mother and mother-in-law.

On Saturday morning, however, a friend left this life for heaven, at far too young an age, because of ovarian cancer. I've been reminded, again, of how fleeting this life is, and how important it is to live the gift of life to the full. My friend Sue certainly did. 

In English classes recently, I've been exposing my students to a bit of poetry. Today we studied Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" which ends with the question "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Alas, it seems that few young teens appreciate poetry, and I was left feeling a little…

Five on Friday: The Flower Edition

Over the past couple of weeks I've managed to crochet some cotton flower coasters. There will be more of these in the future as they are quick to make and full of colour. The pattern is free, from Coats and Clark. I used a variegated cotton yarn. With the summer-like weather we're enjoying, sitting outdoors on the patio with a cool drink is in the near future.

Flowers number two are not quite blooming, but just look at those fat peony buds getting ready to burst into ruffled beauties.

A few native cornflowers are in bloom. These reseed themselves throughout my garden in the summer, but they are well behaved and don't make a nuisance of themselves. This one settled in the midst of a silvery grass growing in a dry corner.

The no-name rosebush in the front garden is loaded with blooms. There will definitely be dead-heading in my weekend plans. This rose has a sweet, hint-of-apple scent that is most pleasant. 

And for the last flower - a raspberry bloom being pollinated by a very …

At the Intersection of Nature and Industry

We humans have not done very well at taking care of our earth. I'm glad that we're more conscious of the effects of our industry and living habits, but we have such a long ways to go.

I'm always encouraged by creation's resilience, and how, left alone, will slowly and inexorably reclaim mankind's harsh bootprints. You have only to let a garden go for a year or two - for blackberries and weeds will encroach - to see this effect.

Tod Inlet is such a place. Once a busy industrial port that shipped Portland cement all over the world, it's now a peaceful, quiet parkland. Remnants of the past remain, and will be evident for a long time, but in less than one hundred years their mark is already fading. 

This photo, from the Butchart Garden archives, shows the area as it once was. The two tall chimney stacks, the wharf, houses for workers, and other buildings are mostly gone now. We enter Tod Inlet, by boat, from the top right of the photo and anchor on the left, out of vi…

May begins

The guys left very early in the morning for their fishing trip. The rest of us fell fast asleep for another few hours. I think the guys had more fun - they caught two halibut during their 6 hour trip. Divided four ways, that means that each family has about 12 pounds of halibut fillets in their freezers. We had some last night for dinner - simply pan roasted, with salad on the side. Delicious!

The girls (and Mister F) gathered at our place for a relaxing morning. I set up the little shade tent. The little girls made all kinds of "stew" using leaves and blossoms from the plants Nana allowed them to pillage. Mint, feverfew, lilacs (they are almost done) made up most of the "stew," said to have medicinal properties.

In the woods and wild meadows, the camas lilies (camassia quamash) are in bloom. Native to North America, the bulbs of these plants were a staple in the First Peoples' diet. They are harvested only when the plant is in bloom, for the leaves and bulbs are…