Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rain from the East

Rain from the East
Three Days at Least!
Do you have this saying where you live?  Today we're getting pummeled with a high east wind and rain.  East winds usually bring rain, and it's almost always true that we have three days of bad weather when it's driven in from the east.  I prefer our warm westerly winds which we had throughout the weekend. 
My mother used to quote these weather warnings with each change in the weather.  I always liked "Winter's thunder is the world's wonder".  I've heard thunder during a snowstorm once, and it made such a strange combination.  Surprisingly, most of the sayings come to pass.  My grandfather was a farmer and he worked with a close eye on the weather each day.  If you see birds flying in rain, the rain will last all day.  The birds are trying to fly out there today, but in this wind I don't know how they're not getting their wings snapped!  They're eating some seeds I put in the feeder for the goldfinches on the weekend.  Now I'm out of seeds, but I want to get some more to encourage more birds to my backyard this spring and summer.
I'm thankful that we're not in a tornado zone such as the folks who have suffered in the southern States these past two days.  Tragic news of the tornadoes tearing apart homes and families there.  My neighbour is losing his tented gazebo on his deck (he's out there taking it apart in this awful wind as I write this).  He won't be happy as it's the second tented gazebo he has lost to winds.  I'm keeping my eye on our pine tree which is being battered pretty heavily ... so far, so good ... but its days are numbered I'm afraid.  We're already thinking of what we can plant as a replacement.
I just came from outside to bring up my son's bundle of newspapers for delivery, and heard the wind moaning ominously through the bare branches of a large red maple overhanging our driveway.  It sits right on the edge of the hill that lines our driveway, so I hope its roots are good and deep and hold it tight in the ground.
Now that my taxes are filed, I've got free time in the evenings again.  I read on Sue's blog that she crocheted some little treat baskets at Easter (scroll down to her third photo mosaic).  I thought they were really cute, and tried my hand at making a knitted version.  It's not finished yet, but this is what I came up with ...
I wanted to have a little 'cuff' around the top.  The above photo has the cuff turned up, and below is with it turned inside and stitched down.  I thought it would make it sturdier, but I'm not sure I like it.  Maybe the cuff would look better turned to the outside.  Hmm ... what do you think?
It still needs a little handle.  When I make something and it's not turning out as I envisioned it, I loose interest in it and don't even want to complete it.  Maybe I could frog it and try again.  It just looks too chunky for my liking, and doesn't have that sweetness I was aiming for.
I haven't been very creative this spring and find I can't decide what to make now.  The thought of starting anything makes me sort of cringe, so I thought this little basket would help.  I tried making some other little novelty items, but I couldn't get into them and I have about three unfinished little bits lying forgotten in a box somewhere.  blah  It gets worse when every blog I read is full of creative endeavours that look so beautiful!
I did get out to do some gardening on the weekend, however, and pulled the rest of the garden furniture into the yard.  We have yard waste collection this week, so I wanted to be sure to have a boastful number of full garden bags at the curb to show I've been getting things in shape like my neighbours.  Keeping up with the Jones'!  At this point it's just raking leaves and pine needles that sifted into my yard over the fence this winter.
I hope you're all having a nice week, and that the weather is better, not worse, than what we're experiencing.  This coming weekend my little family of four is off to visit my in-laws in the southern-most tip of Ontario.  I'll share more on that later.  Truthfully ... I'm not looking forward to any of this weekend except for the fact that it's a road trip, and I like road trips.  The town where we're headed does have a very nice provincial park on the outskirts, but I'm not sure time will allow a visit there.  I'll take my camera just in case.  Thanks for stopping by today my friends!  I'm now off to make a little snack to eat while I watch the water pouring over the clogged(!) eaves troughs :[
Red-winged Blackbird ... my favourite bird song of spring :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fun with the Pup ... Updated

**Note:  I accidentally hit "publish" somewhere along the writing of this post before I had finished it, and didn't realize till I went to publish it properly and only saw the "update" button.  The post is complete now  ... sorry if you read the unfinished version  ;) 
When I came home this afternoon my dog Cody, as usual, was right there at the door ready to greet me.  "Where've you been?!"

I'd been visiting my dad and had thought about taking Cody with me, but he's so full of energy that he just whines and cries to get out and do something rather than sit quietly with an old man.  Life can be a bit dull for him some days ... he just wants to play!!

 He loves chasing a tennis ball, and has collected a large bucketful over the years from all over the neighbourhood.  He keeps a couple handy in the backyard, and no sooner do you step out that back door, then you hear the pat, pat, pat of a tennis ball dropping at your feet.
He'll patiently wait for you to decide whether or not to amuse him.
 But once that ball has been sent soaring, you've committed yourself and have to throw it until your arm is about falling off ...
Because Cody will never get tired ..
This dog can happily chase a ball all . day . long .
And he loves to show off all his fancy moves ...
Which are quite entertaining for us to watch ... he's so quick and agile ... and he's now a senior dog at 9 years old!
The best fun is to throw the ball high above him and he poses, ready and waiting for it to return ...

They're so easy for him, and he catches them every time ...
It's the grounders that he goes crazy with ... chasing hard for the ball and then hammering on the brakes ...
He gets all snarly and angry when he just misses it ... it's hilarious to watch!
Such a goof!
He hurriedly returns the ball and drops it down in front of you before you decide to stop the fun ...
And then it's off again ... sometimes our aim isn't too great ... Ooooo! watch out Cody!
He's so intent on this game ... he's a real professional ...
Like I say, he could do this all day, but I just wanted to take some photos and then I came back inside (such a party pooper).  A couple of years ago we actually wore Cody out when we were camping.  We'd been swimming (he loves swimming!), hiking and bike riding all in one day, and he couldn't even bring himself to stand up to eat his supper ... just lay on his mat and ate it up then fell right to sleep.  That was the one and only time we had more energy than he did.
I hope you're all having a nice weekend.  My dad was in good spirits (and mind) today and I took him down to the lake to play 20 questions.  As in he asks the same question 20 times before he's satisfied.  It was ok though, and it was a nice change to take him out for a little even though he can barely walk these days.  I wish he would agree to sit in a wheelchair, but I think he feels that's beneath him, but he covers it up by telling me "You've done enough, I don't want you to have to push me along when you visit me".  Oh well ... just go with the flow Wendy.
Thanks for stopping by today!
& her spotted dog Cody
Linking up with Viewing Nature with Eileen's...
Saturday's Critters

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where We're At

Well I hope you've all had a good Easter weekend, and were able to get together with family or friends.  My family had a nice gathering on Sunday at my sister's place, but it involved a lot of highway driving to collect my father and return him home again before heading home ourselves in the opposite direction.  We also moved our daughter back home on Saturday from university town, and she has quickly settled back into her room and has even got her photos and horse ribbons hung up on the wall again.  I was ready for a break from the driving to and fro by the time yesterday rolled around. 
The gardening work has finally begun in my little corner of the world.  On Thursday (garbage collection day), there were big paper garden waste bags set at the curb of every house along my street ... except mine.  Obviously, I've not been utilizing the good sunny weather as well as my neighbours, but I've been unable to get out there until yesterday.  It was mostly sweeping the patio of birdseed shells and then raking up one section of the yard and gardens.  I packed up four bags of garden debris ready for the next collection day.  Most of it is maple leaves blown in from my neighbours' trees.  My own little maple doesn't produce enough leaves to bother raking (yet!).  I'm taking it easy with the heavy gardening chores as I destroyed my shoulder last year with snow shoveling and it gives me grief if I overdo it now ... a sad sign of ageing I guess.
After viewing everyone's blogs from warmer climes, I almost feel like the spring flowers are close to finishing!  But here in southern Ontario the spring growing season has only just begun.  Here's a little glimpse of what's coming up outside. 
This is the only blooming flower outside at the moment ....
... my mom's snowdrops.  I can understand why this little white flower gave my mom such joy after a long winter.  It's too bad the flowers all hang down as they're quite pretty and rose-like in the centres.
L-R  Lilac, Black Currant, Butterfly Bush
The shrubs I have around are finally breaking out in buds.  I pruned the butterfly bush back, although it scares me to do this.  I read last year that they only produce blooms on new growth, and it was suggested that they be cut back hard in early spring.  Each branch I cut seemed brittle as bones, so I hope there's some life left in there somewhere and that it will survive because I really love this bush.
L-R  Iris, Iris (bunny's fav), Columbine
Lower to the ground my iris are all sprouting up.  The only one the rabbit touched is the only one I paid money for (of course).  The rest I rescued from my mom's garden.
L-R top: bleeding heart, snowdrops, bleeding heart
bottom: rock (formerly with hens & chicks)
The bleeding hearts always do well, and are often the first things I notice coming up.  I have quite a few of them and now when I see tiny new shoots sprouting around, I just throw them out.  The little "hens & chicks" plant I had growing on the rock last summer seems to have disappeared.  It was the first time I tried this little plant and was really happy with the way it was filling in this dirt filled gap in the rock.  I think R.R. (Resident Rabbit) may have had something to do with it.  I'll get the dog to interrogate him later.
L-R Logs from pine, My Son's Pond, Tree Clean-Up
 Everyone in this area has had to clean up damaged trees from the ice storm back in December.  It's rather sad to see many of the town's trees in parks and along the roadways chopped right down.  I hope they eventually replace them, but the cost to do so must be horrendous. 
 In my own backyard we lost a large limb in my pine tree, and the remains of that got chopped up on the weekend too.  We'll burn our logs in the fireplace, but the small stuff will go to the dump.  My pine is not doing well at all now and is turning brown on one side.  To lose this tree will be like losing a piece of my heart.  I love watching it out there, branches swaying in the breeze and the needles twinkling in the sun.  We lost a huge locust tree a few years ago, which used to cast beautiful lacy shadows over our patio and lawn.  The pine tree is the last mature tree on our small plot.  The space it will leave will open my yard to our backyard neighbour's house ... our privacy will be severely impaired! 
The trees are still bare here, but yesterday the temperatures peaked at 18C and my kids and I enjoyed a late & leisurely breakfast out here on the patio (just picture it with comfy chair cushions, umbrella up and the glorious sun shining down ... it really was like that!  Today is drizzly rain, but not too cold, and I have the patio door open to air the house a bit.  Don't you just crave fresh air in the springtime after being closed indoors for such a long winter?
One of my neighbours had this water feature set out for "collection" a few weeks ago, and I decided to have a closer look after walking the dog.  I figured if it was still at the curb when I got home, I would drag it to my house.  It's so heavy!  There are three pieces to it, and my husband said he'd get the necessary tubing and we could set it up with a small pond pump my son no longer uses for his pond.  It's not something I would buy if I saw it in the gardening centre, but since it was free I like the idea of having the sound of trickling water right here on my patio. 
 And of course a little thrift store find ... a cute china owl couple which I put in my bookcase.  My husband made a bookcase for my birthday last year, and I'm still fussing with it to give it that right combination of books and small curios that I admire in others bookcases.  I have so many books though, that the curio side of things isn't coming together quite like I'd hoped.  I'll show it all sometime soon.
Well, that's it for me.  I've been immersed in other things this April, and wasn't able to set aside much time for writing up posts ... although I've been trying to keep up to date with all of your blogs.  Life gets tedious at times as you know, and I try my best to do a bit here and there.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting Ready for Spring!

I was so happy to get out the patio furniture on the weekend.  And best of all we purchased a new table as well ... our original table was much larger, but a strong wind lifted up the umbrella and table last summer and the glass top smashed to smithereens on the patio.  Here's the new table ...
Well, once the snow melts away!!!! you'll be able to see it better :)
This morning I spied this poor little soggy mess hiding out in my compost bin ...
Can you see him in there?
My Resident Rabbit who has been chewing everything this winter and I guess he's had a pretty tough time out there in the very worst of it.  I've noticed a few trees in our neighbourhood with the tell-tale signs of winter nibbling around their trunks from rabbits.
Inside, where we still have the furnace chugging away, despite warm temperatures yesterday of almost 20C, I have my mom's amaryllis blooming ...
Such a gorgeous bloom.  She really loved these flowers and this is one of many that she had that I brought home with me after she passed away.
This beauty broke out in bloom on the anniversary of her death (April 8), and I can just hear her saying her favourite exclamation when something amazing like this happens, "Praise the Lord!". 
Not a lot happening here, and therefore not many posts ... plus it's tax time and I'm immersed in that during all my spare time.  So if I'm not back before the weekend, I hope you all have a wonderful Easter.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Night Table

As I mentioned in my last post, I had gone into the thrift store last week with an actual purpose.  I've been on the lookout for quite a while now for a little night table for my daughter's bedroom.  Since she moved to university town, she took most of her bedroom furniture with her.  That's all good and fine, but when she does come home for an occasional weekend or holiday, I needed to outfit her bedroom a bit so she's not living out of a suitcase.
I still had her original dresser, so I brought it back into her room.  We bought her a bed to take to her other room, and she left her old bed here at home.  It used to be mine and has quite the 60s look.

The set of plastic drawers to the right was what she was using for a night table before.
I've come across about three or four candidates for a night table at the thrift store.  But every time I find one, I can't make up my mind quick enough, and by the time I go back, they're always gone.  Last week I finally found one that is in excellent shape, the right size, a complimentary style to the existing bedroom furniture, and at only $12, a bargain to boot!  I like the deep shelf and the drawer is a good size too.
I know this furniture style is very dated, and I'm sure a lot of you would be tempted to update it with a coat of paint, but I like it the way it is.  It's clean, in good shape and it's solid wood.  I painted a few furniture pieces last year, and it was fun to change it up, but my house is full of natural wood furniture, and I find the painted pieces look out of place if I try to incorporate the two.  I find wooden furniture to be very comforting, and I much prefer the feel of it over painted surfaces. 
I think my daughter will be happy to have a place to put her book and a drink at nighttime now.  The little chalkware dog was given to her by Santa one year.  Santa left a note to say that this little dog had sat amongst his bookshelves for years, but since my daughter was so anxious for a dog, he was sending him to her.  His name is "Booky". 
The walls were painted a while ago too, when my daughter was home at Christmas.  Although these photos are far from the actual colour, it's a very calming aqua/robin's egg blue sort of colour.  I'm really happy to get this room back together again.  I know it won't be long before my daughter is out of the house completely, so I really wanted to make it feel like an inviting room again, and not just a temporary unfinished stopover spot.
Thanks for stopping by!
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