Saturday, June 24, 2023

Summer, Summer, Summer


It's hard to choose a favourite season, but summer is right up there in the top four! Maybe the top two - with summer and autumn teetering for the most favoured. I love the flowers, the fresh produce, the warmer temperatures (rarely too warm here), and all the lovely light. 

Last evening the light poured through the kitchen window onto the vase of double peony poppies, lady's mantle, and wine red poppies on the counter. How rich it looked. 

On Midsummer's Eve we took a later-than-usual drive down to the breakwater and watched the light slowly fade in the west. A cruise ship passed by, festive with lights, and I imagined the passengers lingering over their after-dinner tea, or leaning on the railing watching the glowing city on their starboard side. 

From my kitchen window on a rainy day I watched a Rufous Hummingbird (I think) preening in the shelter of the lilac tree. She sat for the longest time, combing her tail with her long beak, fluffing herself, then smoothing everything down. 

The raspberries are ripening and the bushes are loaded. I've frozen several containers for winter eating, and we're enjoying the fresh berries in smoothies, with granola and yogurt, and with a bit of cream. Last night we had family over and dessert was bowls of vanilla ice cream with a few late strawberries, lots of raspberries, and a few early blueberries, topped with a caramel sauce and chocolate sprinkles for those who wanted. 
Nothing easier!

I pick a fresh posy of sweet peas every few days. Happily I can smell them faintly now. This particular posy is for Connie Lou in Florida, a reader who emailed me to say that they are her favourite flower. I wish there was a scratch and sniff option in blogger. 

School ended on Friday and I finished report cards. Three weeks of teaching was plenty and I'll happily enjoy retirement once more. My daughter is doing very well in her recovery from surgery, and I thank you for your prayers and kind thoughts. 

Summer days, how I love them!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Poppies among the Potatoes


Fluffy double poppies self-seed freely in my garden. I move them around or let them be, as I choose. There are a number in my small potato patch of 10 plants and they all chose to bloom at the same time. How pretty those pops of pink are among the greenery. 

Sweet peas just began blooming, along with Bachelor Buttons grown from seed. A little posy of them grace my new kitchen windowsill. 

The roses continue to delight me. Above is Lichfield Angel, my newest rose. I love how it lights the dark foliage of phlox behind it. 

It's been a busy week with dinner guests on Tuesday followed by house guests Wednesday through Friday morning. I made a Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie, something I enjoy making every year when rhubarb stalks shoot up and out. This year I had quite a few strawberries ripe at the same time, so I added a cupful of them to the rhubarb mixture. Delicious! I'm a bit weary with all the company and getting students to finish up their work for the end of the year. Tonight (Friday) there are plenty of leftovers in the fridge, so we'll be having Refrigerator Review for dinner. 

The kitchen is finished. Tim did the ceramic tile backsplash this week, and the hanging light fixtures arrived. They were backordered since February. I'm so pleased with it. The footprint is the same as before, a U-shape in front of the window, but we extended the peninsula three feet into the adjacent open space where we have our breakfast table and a small sofa. I want to put a piece of art on the blank wall above the peninsula and I'm on the hunt for just the right piece. 

The oak flooring will continue throughout the main floor, along with other renovations, but we're taking a break from tearing up the house for awhile, and just enjoying what's been done. 

There are so many decisions to make when renovating or building, and one never really knows what it will look like until everything is installed. I'm pleased as punch that I like all of the elements we've chosen. What a relief!

This weekend will be fairly quiet although all the children and grandchildren will be over for a barbecue on Sunday afternoon. What plans do you have for the weekend? Or the week?

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Basking in June


When company comes from landlocked Alberta, we enjoy taking our guests to walk on the beach. The evening air is soft and still. Long clouds streak across the sky. Seals surface and sink, cormorants dry their wings on driftwood or rocks, and the sound of songbirds putting themselves to sleep drifts in from the vegetation alongside the sand. 

I love the twisted sculptures of driftwood lying on the beach, and I shiver at the thought of the power of the waves that tossed them there. 

We are enjoying such beautiful, sun-filled days. I'm trying to walk to school several days each week and it's simply delightful. I get to see what's blooming in the neighbourhood gardens, now awash with colour. 

Strawberries fresh from the garden are such tasty morsels, soft and sweet and juicy. I've frozen some and we're enjoying them sliced with yogurt or ice cream. 

The sun and warmth are so very lovely, but the dark side of the pleasure is revealed by all the forest fires currently burning in Canada. How dreadful that acres and acres (or hectares and hectares) of beautiful forest are being destroyed by fire. And how dreadful for those living with the drifting smoke in the air. I saw photos yesterday of New York City covered in smoke from the fires in Quebec. 
Here on Vancouver Island one fire burns out of control. We've not seen the smoke from it yet. 
And I think of the flooding and further devastation in Ukraine and my heart aches for the Ukrainian people at the mercy of a despot.
There is little I can do besides pray and give funds. I was in the passport office a month or two ago and noticed two young boys with little English filling out papers. They carried Ukrainian passports. I smiled at them and was glad to see that everyone behind a desk was very kind to them, and welcomed them to Canada. 

I like having things prepared ahead when we have guests. So before Tim's brother and his wife arrived last weekend, I made a Frozen Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake and tucked it away. Easy and delicious!

It was June, and the world smelled of roses.

The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.

Maud Hart Lovelace

The roses are glorious just now. I wish you all could see them. Falstaff is the dark red, Lichfield Angel is the creamy rose, and the pinks are Gertrude Jekyll and Boscobel. Regrettably, my nose has not recovered from Covid and my sense of smell is greatly diminished. I mourn not being able to smell these roses, as others tell me they are very fragrant. 

What is June like in your corner? 

Friday, June 02, 2023

Visiting the Roses


As the light fades a band of pale yellow streaked with dark wispy clouds stretches across the horizon. The trees in my neighbour's garden are black silhouettes. It's 9:45 and the longest day of the year is soon approaching. Earlier in the evening, I go out to visit my roses and compliment them on their beauty. My neighbours would think me daft to be talking to them, but oh, how beautiful they are just now. Gertrude Jekyll above bloomed early this year. 

In early spring I prune my roses, taking down their height to 1/2 or 1/3. This year, my Secret rose, above, has shot up to about seven feet, and is full of blooms. I can't think why she decided to grow so very tall. She is very fragrant.

Last summer we transplanted Boscobel to another site where she, along with Falstaff, are much happier. Tim was in the front garden when one of our new neighbours walked by and told him she stops there while walking her dog because she can smell the fragrance from the street. 

In the evening, indoors, slanting light creates strong shadows in the southwest facing rooms. I am a summer person, loving the long days filled with light and the warmth that coaxes plants to grow. 

Our daughter's major surgery went very well and she is already recovering at home. I took some meals over this afternoon and was surprised to see her sitting on the couch (feet up), with good colour and energy. Her recovery will be about six weeks, during which time she is not to lift anything "heavier than a dinner plate." I didn't think to ask if the dinner plate was full or empty. 

Tim's brother and his wife will be staying with us for a few days. I've planned the meals and will do a quick grocery shop tomorrow and some final tidying up. 

What does your weekend hold?

Days at Home

  Last night after dinner the sunshine illuminating the bouquet of peonies prompted me to grab my camera. I love the frilly elegance of the ...