Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Final she-shed update

This is likely the final she-shed update, though I suspect I'll share a few more photos when I finally get a chance to visit.  Everything is complete with the exception of the roof shingles and I expect R will finish that in the next week or so.  That's not very exciting so I doubt I'll see photos.

Loft and desk were set up - I suspect the loft was lowered to allow for my niece to be able to sit....she's nearly 6 feet tall!

She plans to use this space as a place to read. She was checking the view from the window - just enough head room for her. 

Nice view from the side desk!

Then it was time to start decorating the space.  

R built her a ladder, from what else, salvaged wood.  Much nicer than the step ladder.


They even built in a bench for seating (photo taken from the loft).  An old microwave stand provides some storage too.

One of my favorite photos of all is this one.  All lit up in the evening, using battery operated lighting.  I can envision L working on her art projects in the quiet of the day.

I was asked about the distance of the building from the rest of the property.  It is about 30 yards into the bush on a clearing.  R did send me a photo taken from up closer to their home that same evening.
L spent her first night sleeping out in the she-shed recently.  It was one of our colder nights with temperatures falling to 5C (40F), which she noticed along with how early the sun rises these days.  That gives me ideas for a she-shed warming gift.  Perhaps a warm blanket or some curtains are in order.

What a transition!  From a garden shed to keep the lawn mower, tools, and garden supplies in, to a lovely art studio or a hang-out space in just a few weeks.  I'm pretty impressed with my brother and his carpentry skills.  Especially knowing the craptastic job he and my cousin B did in renovating my mom's bathroom years ago.  It was bad!  Like the shed he's come a long way. 

Take care and stay well everyone!


Sunday, 28 June 2020

Retired and just tired

Another busy week almost in the books, thank goodness.  As I start this post, Friday evening, I'm tired.  It's been a busy one!

It all started on late afternoon last Sunday, when I got a panicked call from my daughter.  Eli had run out of the house, she ran out after him, and managed to lock the two of them out of the house.  A call to the locksmith in the next town (none local) would have been expensive as it was after hours on a Sunday.  She had given me a set of keys when I was there earlier in the week, so asked if I would please drive out so they could get back in the house.  Sigh...I quickly packed a bag for an overnight stay and headed out the door.  

While waiting for me, D and Eli went for a walk to the park and happened to meet up with some friends.  F asked them back to her house for a visit while they waited.  I had stopped on my way out of town for fuel, and arrived at the house about 2 hours after her call.  Guess what?  The keys she had given me didn't work. 

She and Eli arrived back at the house while I was trying out the keys, over and over again, with the misplaced hope that maybe this time they'd work.  Nope.  The front sun room was open, so we tried removing the storm window from the living room window and tried to pry the inner window opened but it was painted shut.  All of the others are brand new and there was no way I wanted to break one to try to get it.  It was time to call the locksmith.

He promised to come out shortly, which meant another hour or so wait.  While Eli and I played in G'ma's car...he drives us to Tim Horton's for a cold drink...it's all make believe but he has fun, D was sitting on the step upset with herself.  She was rooting around in her purse to find something to amuse herself with, and guess what?  She found the set of keys she had meant to give me.  She quickly called the locksmith, who told her wouldn't call her a charge-out, he'd catch her the next time (positive thinker that guy), and we were in the house a few minutes later.  What a relief.

It did mean an unnecessary trip for me, but I got to spend some time with Eli, much sooner than I had anticipated, so I'll take it as a win.  D was able to run a couple of errands the next morning, while he and I went to the park. One of those errands was to have more keys re-cut!  I now have a proper set, as does her friend F, and the next door neighbour has allowed her to hide a set in her car-port.  Hopefully she shouldn't need to call that locksmith again.

I returned home on Monday afternoon, and can't say what I did for the rest of the day.  I know I did spend much of Tuesday and Wednesday doing yard work.  My front yard is xeriscaped, but those darn weeds don't care, especially along the edge of the driveway, sidewalk and patio.  There is also a crack in the front sidewalk and the weeds take hold in it as well.  I've no before photos to show you, I'd rather share photos of the the containers of flowers, and front flower bed.  Everything is growing well!

After weeding, I sprayed with a herbicide to keep the weeds down
The front flower bed is filling in nicely, though since the left side of the bed doesn't get a lot of sun, it takes longer.  In the back near the pot of impatience are columbines which are just starting to flower.  The tall plant in front is white Jacob's ladder, it has several flowers on it.  The other plants showing some color are annuals.


The containers are filling in nicely, though the ivy in the hanging pot hasn't done a lot yet.  I was hoping it would trail down the container.  There's lot of summer left yet so I remain hopeful.

I moved around to the back yard which needed lots of work. Definitely more than I intend to do this year. The edges of the gravelled area where the shed once stood where being taken over by weeds and I can envision were I not to take some action, would fill it in. The area behind it next to fence was chock full too, as well as near the fence line under the trees.  There is this one weed that is, for lack of a better word, sticky.  It has short roots so pulls out easily, but sticks to my gloves.  Very annoying.  Between the front and back yard, I filled five plastic shopping backs full of plant material, bits and pieces of chipboard, roofing material, and one more screw from that shed.  
It's not the prettiest back yard, but try to imagine it as I do in a year or so.  The grass and gravel area will be filled with new sod, there will be a proper path along the fence line, and the deck edge will be finished with something...I'm not sure what just yet.  

As well, I harvested a bunch of lettuce, enough for three salads or more, plus 15-20 radishes.  There is still at least that much lettuce, plus another dozen radishes still in the containers.  I'll plant more of both after I bring in the rest.

I also got out for some groceries this week, did a few loads of laundry, washed floors, cleaned cat litter...all the normal chores. Certainly nothing exciting.

Thursday got a little more exciting because D and Eli came for a short visit.  Yes, I know I saw them earlier in the week, but I do so enjoy spending time with this special boy and his mom.  We took Eli for a walk to the nearby park where the two of them played for a bit on the slide. He hollers "cheese" when he's ready for a photo.  

Back at the house, Eli stayed with me and his Uncle C while his mom ran some errands without his assistance, and then spent some time with a friend L.  We all had fun!  D picked up several pairs of shorts and a t-shirt for Eli, as well as two onesies (for F who is having twins in a few weeks), plus two premie sleepers (for her friend expecting triplets) for just $28 at a local thrift store.  The onesies were brand new!  She and L went for another walk while they chatted.  D said she really enjoyed the break.

After dinner, and lots of running and chasing his uncle, bedtime arrived for little Eli.  Usually he insists on having his mom at bedtime but he was quite content with me.  He's really growing up, listening and behaving well.  We're working up to a time when he might overnight with me so she can have some time to herself.

Friday morning, we went for an early walk as the day promised to be a hot one (16C/60F at 8 a.m., 31C/88F by mid-afternoon). We walked down to the creek to see the baby ducks, then over to Riverbend to see more ducks and some geese, with a stop at the park to play on the way back.  Later in the morning, I set up the sprinkler to water the back lawn  and Eli had some fun running through it and splashing in the puddles. (He has an appointment to get his haircut later this upcoming week...he looks a little Beatle'ish right now).

We came indoors, and he watched a couple of cartoons while he ate some lunch.  Then he sat beside his mom on the couch and fell fast asleep.  She had to wake him about 30 minutes later because they had doctor's appointments.  Dr. J checked him out, Eli is at the 85th percentile for weight and 50th for height, and pronounced him perfect.  We agree!  Then it was into the car and they were headed home.  I talked her after they arrived, and Eli had slept the entire way.  I guess hanging out with Uncle C and G'ma is tiring.  I sure know the feeling as being with him is tiring for me too.

While they were driving, I had my own appointment for a hair cut.  Since there are no active (reported) cases here, I decided I'd take the risk.  I used hand sanitizer before I left home, wore my mask (now that was fun), and showered immediately when I got home.  We had to do some fancy maneuvering with the mask but the stylist got it done.  She must have cut off three inches off the back!  It's now a reasonable chin length bob, and once I get around to coloring it, I may even share a photo. 

Saturday was forecast to be another hot day, so I spent the morning in the back yard.  First, enjoying my breakfast and coffee, then I did a bit more yard work.  I spread some more soil on the bare spots, spread some seed and fertilizer before raking and tamping it down, and then watering again.  I understand that germination requires the appropriate levels of moisture, heat and oxygen.  I haven't quite figured out the blend as yet, but it is looking better than when I started.

I used the pruning shears to cut back some branches on the large spruce tree, as it was overhanging the deck and pathway on that side of the house.  It sure opened it up, and I expect my containers on that side of the house will get more light as a result too.  Bonus!  By then I was ready for a break, so sat and read a book until the back neighbours announced to their small child that they were having company.  I decided the front patio would be a better place to be, to allow them privacy and ensure my peace and quiet as well. The novel I finished reading is a story about a character from the Sherlock Holmes story, fictionalized by another author, Carole Nelson Douglas. It was an interesting story so I may look for other books in the series. 

By noon, I was back in the house, as it was hot and humid outside (26C/79F).  I would note that probably doesn't seem very hot to those who are more accustomed to temps in the 90's and 100's F, but it seems that way to me.  We also tend to be quite dry, but the humidity this day was over 70%.  The rest of the day was spent puttering around the house, doing a few chores but mostly relaxing watching television and/or video chatting with Eli.  He knows exactly what buttons he needs to push on the I-Pad to reach Grandma 'leen or Grandma Dar or Daddy.  D had to set time limits on the app, so that he cannot call before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.  When that happens, the little stinker finds his mom's I-Pad and calls from it!  He called today to tell me about the spray pad at the park, and to watch cartoons with me while eating chocolate chips.  

Sunday I was awake just before 6:30, and my phone chirped to tell me I had a video call coming in.  I answered to "Hi Grandma, it's a morning!" from Eli. Apparently, D didn't set it properly last night.  

We had rain overnight, about a half inch if the mini bird bath is any indication. I was happy to see this, as it means I shouldn't have to water my containers today.  It does mean I won't get outside, at least until later in the day.  Oh well, there is lots to do indoors too.

I've started making up potato salad for dinner and pulled some chicken from the freezer.  Once it's thawed I'll toss it in some marinade and grill it.  I also need to wash the kitchen and living room floor.  After that I think I'll pull out some yarn from the stash to start another baby blanket.  Or maybe I'll do some sewing.  My life in retirement may not be exciting but it's never dull.  

Take care and stay well everyone! 





Saturday, 20 June 2020

Complaints, memories, and the backyard visitor

I'm starting this post earlier in the week so I can recall what I did.  Am I getting older or is it simply that the days run together? If it weren't for my FitBit, which displays both time and day/date I'd have a hard time differentiating one day from the next. 

Monday started with the arrival of a new crew to finish the touch-ups on the interior painting.  Today's pairing included two young men named Mark.  Made it easy for me to remember, :p.  Even more interesting though is the Mark 1 lives just a few doors down from me.  We've been here for ten years so I've seen him grow up.  He is a twin and I recall seeing he and his brother playing basketball on the driveway, and a few years ago, watching them learning to drive.  Both young men are planning to go into policing. Mark 1 is just a year into his program while Mark 2 is done and will be looking to join the RCMP.

It could be a difficult time to enter policing, but I anticipate there will be retirements in both the local police department and the RCMP.  With the focus on racism within the forces there will be those who will decide to leave, rather than face potential sanctions.  For those who aren't aware my brother R is a police officer, and I worked for a few months at the RCMP depot many years ago.  Based on our experiences and observances, racism and misogyny are part of the culture of these organizations.  As my brother has said, while the number of officers displaying these attitudes are a minority unfortunately management tends to protect them.  Police departments tend to be old boy's clubs, you either play by their rules or pay the price.  R has not always done so, and has faced discrimination and harassment as a result.  I won't say more than that, because the cases are with the human rights commission...and besides it is his story to tell not mine. (I know not everyone reading this will agree with me.  That's okay.  I agree that not all police officers are bad apples. But as I've read, would anyone want to fly knowing that there could be a bad pilot at the controls?)

Back to my less than exciting life - the guys were here for a few hours finding more areas that needed touch-ups than I or Maria had noticed.  They fixed the railing on the stair as well as the first crew hadn't done it quite properly. After they left, I started painting the trim. Here's a shake of the head moment for you.  I have lived in this house for nearly 10 years.  While I was standing in the living room looking into the kitchen I noticed that the baseboards on one side of the room were different than the other side.  First time I've ever noticed it.  The baseboards on the dining area side are three inch white MDF baseboards, while the kitchen side were 1 1/2 inch stained oak.  Well, shoot!  I'm not about to start changing out baseboards so I went ahead and pulled the oak trim off and painted it white before replacing it.  There were only a few short pieces and it isn't nearly as noticeable now.  

Tuesday ought to have been grocery shopping day, but of course, I'd forgotten my wallet at my daughter's last weekend.  So I took a drive there and back, spending a couple of hours with her and Eli.  We walked to the park with her friend A, and A's children, Eli and Brinn.  Yes, Eli...two of them, both three years old and energetic as all get out.  Brinn is just six weeks old and slept through most of it.  On our way back from the park the boys insisted on holding hands.  We had used hand sanitizer both before and after, I'm sure they were fine.  

Wednesday was a frustrating shopping day, as I wanted to pick up some bird seed, a dutch hoe, a micro SD card, and cat litter in addition to the groceries.  Neither Peavey Mart or Canadian Tire had the first two items, so my next store was Walmart where you can get everything, right?  Nope!  I did get the SD card and some groceries there.  Next up was  Co-op which had Nabob coffee for $10 a can and bread for $2.50, both almost 50% off.  I was frustrated when I reached the car because I realized the bread didn't ring up properly at the sale price.  I could have returned to the store but I was so annoyed at that point, I wanted nothing more than to go home.  However, I had to make one more stop at Safeway as I was looking for ground beef since the Co-op was too pricey.  I shouldn't have bothered...the meat in the cooler was gray!  I know it's simply oxidized but it looked so unappetizing I gave up.  On the way home I made one more stop at the PetSmart to pick up some Nature's Miracle.  I definitely left the store happier, not only was it on sale, but I had $7.50 in Treat rewards!  It's the best cleaner I've found for reducing and eliminating pet odors.

At home, I put the groceries away and did a load of laundry.  That was it for me, I was done for the day. The weather was cool and damp so no time outdoors.  In fact, it was so cool the sunroom was closed up too.  Thursday, was much the same.  I went out early to Home Depot to pick up some paint supplies, and then to PetValu to pick up the cat litter I hadn't purchased the day before. It is the only place that carries the brand I prefer.  At home, I started more laundry and painted the inside of the exterior doors.  I thought I'd need two coats but with just one they look good.  Finally I prepped the bedroom so I could finish painting those walls. (After several weeks of living with them, I could see roller lines on the one wall, and the places where I'd run low on pain on the other).

I went to bed with grand plans for Friday, painting in the bedroom in the morning and weeding in the afternoon since it was supposed to warm up.  Ha!  Best laid plans and all that.  I woke up with a wicked headache.  I tried extra strength Tylenol, coffee, ate a banana, and finally gave in and tried going back to bed. By 11 a.m. I started feeling a little better but still not up to par. At this point, I threw in the towel and spent the afternoon dozing on the couch, watching a bit of television, and hoping for an end to the pain. Later in the evening, I felt hungry enough to get up and make a bit of supper, an omelet with peppers, green onion, and cheese with bacon, toast and tomatoes on the side.  It tasted good after a day of not wanting to eat or drink anything.  

Thankfully Saturday I woke up feeling much more normal. (or at least as normal as I ever get). Despite having napped much of the day before away, I slept nearly 7 hours!  I guess my body needed to recuperate.  No painting was accomplished but I did get the floors washed in the kitchen, living room, and hall.  I worked on my knitting - I'm back to working on my tank top.  It was another gray day until the evening when the sun finally made an appearance. We've got one more day of cool weather forecast before we start seeing some warmer weather.  

I watched the 2001 Roar of the Rings (Olympic curling trials) women's final on Youtube.  I was actually at the event as it was held here. On the first day of the event I had written my final to complete my designation as an accountant in the morning so missed the first draw.  But I'd bought a ticket for all 17 draws as well as the championship weekend.  It was my reward for having made it through my program, pass or fail.  Watching the final today brought some really great memories...and yes I passed the exam though I wouldn't get the results for nearly 8 weeks.  That year, though the results were to be posted on-line there was a glitch so I actually received a phone call from the association with the news.  I was such an emotional mess after the call, my boss actually sent me home early that day.  Isn't amazing how our memories work?

That pretty much wraps up the week.  No rain is expected tomorrow so I'm hoping to get outdoors and mow the lawn, do some weeding, and pick lettuce and thin out the radish. If the morning is too cool, I'll try to get that painting out the way.  I'll be so happy when it's all finished and I can put all the tools away.

To end the post, I'll share some of the photos of the bunny who has taken up residence in my yard.  All the photos were taken with my cellphone from inside the sunroom so the quality is meh but you get the picture.



These first three photos are of the bunny having a wash. They remind me of the cats bathing techniques...except the brushing of the long ear. :)
In this photo, it had finished it's bath and settled down for a break on the lawn. 
This last photo is my favorite, as the bunny is stretched out and fast asleep.  It was taken a day or two later while the sun was shining.  It's pretty clear that this bunny feels safe in my backyard.  And I enjoy seeing it so relaxed.  

Have a great week everyone!  Take care and stay well.



Sunday, 14 June 2020

Losing my mind?

Another week is nearly in the books.  I didn't start this post earlier in the week, so you're left with what I can remember happened...Monday is a total write-off.  

I know I got out to do a bit of shopping on Tuesday, just for a few groceries and puttered in the yard.  Wednesday and Thursday I spent most of both days in the sun room with the cats.  The painters were here to complete the living room, kitchen, front foyer and basement stairwell. The evening prior to their arrival, I had moved all the furniture in the living room to the center of the space and removed the face plates for the light switches and plug-ins.  It saved them a few minutes of time...not much but a little.

They were here by 8:30 in the morning and left about 6 p.m. the first day.  The second day was shorter, from 8:30-2:30.  I was grateful they finished early as the outdoor temperature was about 24C and the sunroom a few degrees warmer than that.  The cats don't seem to mind...I'm a little more sensitive to it.  I was able to keep myself well entertained, with my laptop, crocheting, a book, and the radio.  You-tube videos of past Olympic curling trial matches were enjoyed while I worked on the blanket.  The radio provided background music (or news) while I read.  

Since the painters left before their boss arrived to do an inspection there were a few spots that need to be touched up.  Most I could do myself, but one of the two got paint on the beam that runs across the vaulted ceiling.  That's way beyond my reach.  She was going to have them come back on Friday, but I had planned to drive out to visit D and Eli that day so we postponed the return visit until this upcoming week.

The shade of gray is a couple of degrees lighter than the original and it looks very fresh and clean now.  They've left me with one part can and one full of paint so if any damage occurs in the next while I'll be able to take care of them.  I used a company called Students Works Painting.  The crew changes frequently as the students graduate but I've used the company before and been happy with both the results and the price.  It was no different this time, and while there were a few spots to touch up I am not surprised.  As any one who has painted a wall or two knows it happens.  I did learn how to use the roller to eliminate the marks that sometimes show up - it's because I try to get every bit of paint out it and press too hard.  I'll get a chance to test my ability as I need to repaint one wall in my bedroom - since I ran out of paint when I was almost finished.

Mid-morning on Friday I drove out to visit with D and Eli.  We had a busy afternoon, while she did a bit of shopping without us, Eli and I played in the yard, took a walk around the neighbourhood, and then walked the street to check out the construction of corner sidewalks.  Eli is very fascinated by the holes but was very good at listening when I asked him to stay behind the orange cones.  When D returned, I did some raking for her, while she pulled some weeds in the flower bed.  Eli did what he did best, running around the yard.

Saturday morning we took him for a walk over to one of the newly opened parks.  Initially he was the only child there, but was joined by a five year old who is spending a week with his grandparents nearby.  
At first the other little guy seemed a bit annoyed with Eli but soon they were running and playing.  We spent about 45 minutes there before heading home for lunch.  (Note: hand sanitizer was used by all of us prior and subsequent to playing).

After lunch we did some yard work before walking over to another park a few blocks in the other direction.  Here he the space all to himself.
He played on the slide for a bit, and in the sand for longer still and then had a short time on the swing.

His dad called while we were at the park, but the winds were gusting at this point so they couldn't hear one another.  We headed back to the house so Eli could video chat with J.  

It was going on 2:30 p.m. and the winds were continuing to pick up so I decided to head on home.  For the first 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) I followed a semi.  I'm thinking his trailer was empty or held only a light load because the trailer was blown sideways quite frequently.  I finally had a spot I felt safe to get by so took the opportunity to pass.  On the other side of the valley there are passing lanes every 16 km. (10 mi.) so it is easier to get by but not on the first part of the journey.  When I got home and saw the news I learned that winds were gusting 50-80 kph (30-50 mph).  Yikes, no wonder that trailer was being blown around.

This morning, I discovered the lid of my bird feeder had been lifted off by the winds.  There were lots of evergreen bits on deck and in the grass too, and the deck chairs had moved a bit.  The neighbour pointed out that a board on the fence had come loose on my side too, so I took my hammer and pounded in a couple of nails in.  It should be good for until the next big wind.

We're expecting rain and possible thunderstorms this afternoon.  The winds seems to have died down and it's overcast.  I'm watching another final from the Olympic curling trials (the second for today) on TSN.  Beyond that I don't expect I'll be doing much today.  I know I've got a busy week ahead, besides expecting to see the painters, doing some painting myself, I have to make the drive back to D's.  I left my wallet on her kitchen counter!  While they're coming for doctor's appointments on the 25th that's a little too long to wait to get it back.  

I'll end this with a photo of my regular visitor, little bunny. It doesn't see to be very worried about me and has so far, been well behaved leaving the vegetable containers alone.  The photo was taken through the screen window from the sunroom.
Take care everyone and stay well!

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

She's almost done - a she-shed update

I think it is nearly time for a visit to the farm to visit the old shed.  In the meantime R has been good enough to send more photos of the progress.

While his wife and daughter were in the city one day, he put in the flooring.  This is wood that was salvaged from their kitchen ceiling in the old stone house.  I'd love to have this quality of hardwood in my own home!

The siding is nearly complete, and again he's using salvaged wood on the addition. This wood is from an old barn.


There is still some work to be done on the front, trimming out the windows and a stoop.  He's also planning to build a deck on the back side (north facing) so there is a place to sit in the shade when the temperatures rise.


This is the view of the east side, in the late afternoon, looking towards the valley and the hills beyond.

Still left to be completed is the loft where L plans to use as a reading space, a desk area for art work and writing, and whatever else she decides to decorate it with.  

Although I wasn't happy about having to get rid of the shed, I'm so grateful to R to finding a place for it on the farm.  I know he's enjoying it too - he called the other evening, when he was out at the shed after clearing some of the growth from the path leading to it.  And with L graduating in a year and going to school in another city, I suspect it may become more of man-cave.  

In any event, I know it is being put to good use!



Friday, 5 June 2020

The wind blows and blows and blows

I just turned around and poof it was Friday!  I generally start my post mid-week and post on Saturday but this week, and I'm not sure why,  time got away from me so.

This week our weather turned to warm temps but with wicked winds.  When the weatherman describes the winds in terms of how far your garbage bin will blow you know there will be no gentle breezes.  Actually we had a calm day on Friday, thankfully but the wind and rain are forecast for Saturday.  

Despite the winds I spent as much time outdoors as I could.  It was cool-ish in the mornings with temps ranging from 8-10C (46-50F) so I would get my housework and food prep out of the way before heading outdoors.  Monday, was laundry, vacuuming and grocery day.  Tuesday I put together potato and fruit salads to go with grilled burgers that evening. I had cleaned some extra potatoes so baked these in the microwave.  The following morning, I used those to make up a small batch of loaded potato soup, with sour cream, cheese, and bacon, oh my!  I also made up another batch of homemade burgers for the freezer, baked a banana loaf, and marinated chicken for dinner.  Thursday was leftover night, and on Friday since it wasn't terribly warm in the house, I prepared a homemade pizza.  I don't know if I've mentioned this, but being retired and with the pandemic on top of it, I've sure done a lot more cooking.  Putting meals together used to be a weekend chore and we'd simply manage on leftovers or sandwiches the rest of the week.  

I only managed one decent walk this week, though somehow I still managed to get in 7-10K steps most days.  On Friday, I headed out around 10 and got in just over 2 miles in 45 minutes, even with a few stops to take photos with my phone. I was pleased with my efforts, though it pales in comparison to my brother R.  He ran 43 miles in support of Scleroderma research on behalf of a friend and co-worker's wife who is dealing with this disease right now.  He finished the run just around 6:30 p.m. - after nearly 12 hours or running/walking.  I love the guy but he's nuts.
I still haven't made it as far as I've walked in past years but my stamina is increasing.
I'm not certain what this bird is, perhaps some sort of heron or egret maybe.  It had it's wings extended when I first saw it, but it wouldn't budge while I was watching it.  I'll send the photo off to my brother as I'm sure he'll be able to identify it.

Best of all this week, I had a visit with my friend K.  A real face-to-face visit, while we social distanced on the deck.  Phone calls are good, but a real visit is better!  I've not visited in person with anyone beyond my family in several weeks.  It was so nice, though windy, to sit out on the deck and chat about all sorts of topics.  One of our topics was travel, and the likelihood that there won't be any trips for either of us until at least 2022. At this point in time, I'm okay with that as I'm enjoying spending time in my back yard while the weather is nice.  I know darn well, come winter weather I'll be anxious to get away but until there is a vaccine it makes better sense to stay put.

Outside I got busy cleaning up the pine cones and pine needles under the large tree in back.  By the time I finished on Wednesday, I'd picked up two large black garbage bags, and four small white bags.  On Friday, I started digging up some of the gravel and moving it over under the tree.  I'm using a screen to sieve out the smaller stuff to leave where it is for now.  This is a project that will take me several weeks to finish (if I ever do).  I know that when the landscapers come in next year, they'll dig it up so perhaps I get some of it out of the way before then.  I also spent an hour or so washing the exterior windows.  I'm not particularly good at this, as I almost always end up with some streaks...but the rain today should help with those, right?  No matter, the windows are much cleaner now.

I woke up this morning to overcast skies and by mid-morning the rain was coming down hard. The radar showed a half dozen thunderstorms within 100 km. (60 miles) and I heard lots of rumbles for an hour or so.  I'd take it as we need the rain, it's been very dry this spring. Unfortunately it didn't last and all we got was a lot more wind.  It was a quiet day, I had a bit of headache in the morning, so decided to curl up in bed and watch a couple of old curling games (pun not intended).  I watched the Gold medal final from 2010 and the semi-final of the 1997 Olympic curling trials.  Both games featured Kevin Martin, though with different teams.  They won the gold and the semi-final - which I already knew. What made it more interesting was the difference in the quality of the video - no HD in 1997!  And the advertisements, oh my.  

Tomorrow we're supposed to get more rain and possibly some sun. I'll probably just putter around the house, maybe bake a batch of buns.  Funny, how the week flew by but the weekend is not.  Hope you're all well.  Have a good week ahead!




Saturday, 30 May 2020

Changes

Okay, I'm going to start with a complaint.  Why is it necessary for every application I use to need to make changes?  My FitBit app was the first - now when I sign in, I'm no longer directed to my dashboard, but rather I have to click on the same icon I used to sign in to select the dashboard.  I don't see what benefit that adds at all as it simply adds another keystroke.  Twitter has recently added some new features, though thus far I haven't noticed any real difference except...they are now fact checking certain posts.  A certain President is quite upset at that - I'm hearing conflicting messages as to what his Executive order will mean.  Now Blogger - today is my first try and I'm reading that it is creating issues in adding photos and formatting.  I'll give it go and see how things work.  One thing I am noticing and it's probably the way I key, is that the cursor keeps jumping to the middle of a prior sentence.  Oh yippee, I already make enough typing errors!  The one thing I really don't like about it is accessing blogs from my reading list.  I keep getting asked if I want to be re-directed.  Um, yes I do, otherwise I wouldn't have clicked!  I'll be sure to provide feedback on that aspect.

The week started with welcome company on Monday.  D and Eli arrived early, just around 8 a.m.  D said Eli was awake at 5:30 a.m. and immediately starting talking about going to the Grandma house, so they left earlier than originally planned.  We had a busy day (about 13,500 steps according to my FitBit), with lots of outside time, a walk to the pond to see the geese and goslings, and fun with Uncle C too.  D had several errands to run in the morning, so Eli stayed with G'ma (C was sleeping).  It was beautiful morning to be outdoors.  Eli explored the back yard and though I thought the lock on the gate would keep him contained, he very quickly demonstrated that it was no match for him.  We went back and forth between the front and back yard several times before he decided I should push the buttons on the garage entry pad.  He puttered around in the garage for a bit, before we went back outdoors.  And the game continued, back and forth, front and back, into the garage for a bit and on and on it went until his mom returned.


We decided to go for a walk to see the geese before she had her virtual doctor's appointment.  Last year, Eli called these 'deese', this year he can clearly say geese.  He was quite interested in all of the birds though he didn't want them to get too close to the stroller.

This photo doesn't show the babies very well but they were there.  They are well camouflaged in the grass.

A bit further along we came across this trio.  They're getting past that downy stage and starting to grow into the adult feathers. 
This group are even older than the others, they looked a bit like gawky teenagers.  Watching Eli watch the birds was fun, he was so excited as we saw each group.

The rest of the afternoon was spent following Eli around the yard, and enjoying the sun.  I set up the sprinkler while his mom stripped him down to his boxers so he could run through the spray.  I BBQ'ed "mom" burgers (homemade) for dinner and with the potato and pasta salads I'd made yesterday we all had a nice meal.  Eli tends to bounce off his chair frequently but he sat nicely for a little bit.  Before bedtime he played with his Uncle C in the basement running off some energy.  Those two adore each other.  So fun to see!

Tuesday morning, D and Eli left about 8 a.m. stopping at the Superstore to pick up a grocery order on the way out of the city.  I spent some time tidying up the house, putting away toys.  I left the fingerprints on the windows and mirrors off for another day.  I hadn't slept well the night prior so it was a relatively quiet day; I ran out and picked up a few groceries, did a load of laundry, emptied the dishwasher, swept floors, and tried to take an afternoon nap.  I was thwarted as the phone wouldn't stop ringing.  The contractor who will be finishing the interior painting was first, the work will proceed later in June.  Next up was my daughter and then a friend called.  By the time I was off the phone any thought of a nap was out of my head.  

The evening was quite a bit noisier!  We had a thunderstorm roll through bringing rain and winds.  My sun room shook from the gusts of wind, more than I've ever felt before.  No damage though, thankfully.  I think my neighbour's above ground pool cover was torn off at some point though it didn't go far, as it got caught up in their trampoline.  After the storm, I noticed neighbours out on the street so I went out to see what they were looking at. 
A double rainbow!!!  The colors were so bright against the dark clouds to the east.  The sun was bright in the west, and when I turned around I found mammatus clouds too. There weren't many but I love the look of them. These are often seen after extreme weather.

Wednesday and Thursday were overcast, windy, and cool.  I did get out for a walk on Wednesday (no camera this time) and spotted a mama duck and her ducklings.  They were in the park nearby far from the water, and made a beeline for the trees when they realized I was watching them.  I puttered around the house both days, and hung out in the sunroom when it warmed up enough.  There may have even been a nap in the recliner one day.  

I've started another baby blanket for something to do while I watch television.  D has a friend who is expecting and asked if I could make blankets (she's having triplets) for her.  D will pay for the materials and while she was here we went through my stash of yarn.  However, I didn't have any yellow, which she wanted, so I picked up a few skeins at Walmart on Monday.  Each blanket will be a different color, the other two will be green and either pink or blue depending on the ultrasound results.  However I've decided I'll use the same pattern for all of the blankets so there will be some consistency.  

I woke to the sun on Friday morning, but a chilly temperature of only 3C (37F), but at least it did not freeze overnight.  I'd have been some annoyed had it done so!  We're expected much higher temperatures next week.  More indoor chores were completed, before it warmed up enough to get outdoors.  I spent a couple of hours doing a bit of yard work and then relaxing in the sun.  I filled a garbage bag with pine needles and cones from under the tree in the back yard, watered the containers, and put down some more grass seed.  The bald spots are starting some signs of new growth but it's slow.  In the front yard I cleaned the edge between my driveway and the neighbour's lawn, and swept up a pile of pine needles.  It's a never ending battle.  There was very little wind so it was so nice to be outside, lovely and warm in the sun.  I found myself nodding off in my chair so moved into the sunroom, stretched out in my recliner and dozed off...for almost 2 hours!  I guess I need it.

Today started off a little warmer and promises to be an even warmer day than yesterday.  Once I'd completed a few of my household chores I headed out for a walk.  I had my cellphone with me, and I found baby ducks!  
There were actually two batches of babies, this one and another group with, if I counted correctly, 11 babies!  I couldn't get close I was up on a hill above the creek so this was zoomed in a bit.  They are so darn cute!  

I'll wrap this up now, as I'm heading back out to the deck to enjoy my lunch in the sunshine.  If I decide I'm ambitious enough I may clean up some more pine cones.  Or I'll just read...it's so nice to have options. :)

Take care everyone and stay well!