Friday, June 28, 2019

Summer Begins

The first day of summer break. School is behind me for two months and summer adventures lie ahead. I didn't sleep well last night, as usual on the first day of break. My mind has no place to settle without the structure of teaching the next day, and so many activities want to crowd in and say, "me, first!" It takes a few days to find a summer rhythm.

Yesterday we awoke to welcome drenching rain and a day that remained cool and cloudy. The thirsty ground drank it in and the hydrangeas curved low to the ground with the weight of water. They've bounced back and are ever so pretty. I have several bushes of them in my garden and each blooms a different colour although they are from the same stock. Varying soil conditions, I suppose. 

My sister-in-law from Alberta was out for a visit and the two of us went for lunch at Cary Castle Mews on the grounds of Government House. The setting is lovely, but the lunch was just so-so. After finishing our cups of tea we took a stroll through the gardens. White roses flourish against a stone retaining wall.

I've always loved the idea of a walled garden, ever since reading The Secret Garden many years ago. The idea of a private place, tucked away from public view appealed to me then, and now, but I'll also add the appeal of creating a warm and windless micro-environment to my grownup wishes. 

A few late Irises bloomed in the garden and I couldn't resist snapping a photo in honour of our newest little granddaughter of the same name. Three weeks old today. I was there for four days last week and hated to leave. She is utterly precious. 

Back in my own garden the first dahlia opened after the rain. Petunias bloom in profusion. The first flush of roses is almost ended, but there will be more. We're picking raspberries and enjoying them for breakfast, as well as putting 2-cup portions in the freezer. Unfortunately, we have a stink bug problem and picking them is rather tedious as each berry needs to be inspected. The nymph stage of the stink bug is rampant. I've been looking up solutions and will be attempting something soon. Fortunately, the bugs fall off easily when I shake the berries, but what a nuisance. 

It's a good year for lettuce - do you want some? The first tomatoes are formed, tight green orbs that will ripen into delicious soft redness, and we've eaten a few early blueberries. Oh, what a delicious time summer is. 

One Sunday afternoon Tim and I went out to East Sooke Park and walked the Coast Trail. It's such a beautiful place. I was especially struck by the fields of daisies blowing in the wind, a white undulating wave among the green.

More and more, it seems that bloggers are abandoning the format. I've contemplated leaving, but I enjoy words more than photos, and the slower pace that blogging seems to enforce upon me, and probably upon the few readers I have left. I've been so occupied with other things recently and am looking forward to having more time to write blogs and to read and interact with others. 

Today I'm looking forward to a visit from my eldest daughter and her daughter, followed by getting ready for a short boating expedition this afternoon. 

Tell me, what are your thoughts on summer? On blogging versus other social media platforms? On life in general?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Happenings Around Here

Not quite two weeks ago there was a baby shower. The mother-to-be is our youngest daughter. Her elder sister and sister-in-law and I hosted the shower. What a fun event, with good company, good food, lots of laughter, and a sunny day.

Here's the mama-to-be with the cake Katie made. We went with a loose bear-bee-honey theme.

The next day, Sunday, the parents-to-be asked me to take a few photos that they would use to announce the impending birth on social media. We had a lot of fun in our back garden.

I promised to do some simple editing and send the photos that week, but it was Thursday morning before I sent anything. The announcement was never made. 

Instead, Iris Ruth decided to make an early appearance. Three weeks early, but still a healthy 7 lbs 4 oz. I, along with the other grandmother, dashed to the ferry and arrived not too long after she was born. Oh my, what a darling she is. She's had a bit of a rough start with a prolonged hospital stay due to jaundice and losing weight. Things are on an even keel now, though, and the new little family is settling in.

You can tell that this Nana is utterly thrilled with Miss Iris. Her aunts, uncles, and cousins have yet to meet her. We're all thinking that the ferry ride is just too long!

Father, Daughter, and sweet little baby girl. Our hearts are full. 

Monday, June 03, 2019

Exploring Close to Home

On a windy, but sunny afternoon, we took our Vancouver children to the ferry and planned on a hike on the way back home. After consulting our local hiking guide, we chose to visit Butterfield Park. The guide says, "Your trip to the park takes you through a lovely pastoral landscape of rolling fields and hedgerows reminiscent of an English countryside." 

Wild daisies lined the pathways and the woods were alive with birdsong, but otherwise very quiet. I didn't see any hedgerows, though.

After exiting the woods, we walked along a roadside path and down a lane to find St. Stephen's Anglican Church - believed to be B.C.'s oldest church in continual use on its 1862 site. 

Surrounded by fields and set above the landscape that slopes gently to fields and the ocean beyond, it was a truly lovely find. We had no idea of its existence prior to reading about it in the guide. The door was open and we entered quietly, absorbing the peace of this place of worship. One stained glass window lit up the wall behind the altar. Plaques on the other walls commemorated soldiers lost in the wars that ravaged Europe in the 20th century. 

The graveyard surrounding the church contains the graves of many whose names are now remembered as streets and parks in our city. The marker above had me doing some research when I arrived home. Ted Harrison was born in England and immigrated to Canada where he lived in the Yukon for many years before spending his last decades in Victoria. He is a well-known author and illustrator. One of his children's books is on our bookshelves.

Do you see the little sparrow in front of the white cross, perched on the peak of the roof over the entrance to the church? He is singing his heart out. 

So many of the gravestones mentioned birthplaces far away - Cheshire, England, Scotland, South Africa, and more. These settlers left their homelands forever in search of a better life for themselves and their families. The graves date from the early years (1870s) to present day. 

As we walked out of the churchyard, I glanced down at a stone and was surprised to recognize the names there - names of a couple with whom Tim collaborated on a charity project in Africa for several years. We knew they had passed, but didn't know that they were buried here in this peaceful spot. 

A pair of stray poppies bloomed alongside a gate we passed on our return to the car. Are they not a bright and cheerful sight? 
It was so interesting for us to learn more about our local history. This walk and the church are a place we will likely return to in the future. 

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf.  

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