Saturday, 16 October 2021

Puttering, plays, and solving problems

Before I forget, Kathy asked last week how I was planning to overwinter the geraniums.  This is the first time I've attempted it, so am relying on information I found in a FB gardening group.  When I lifted the plants I removed most of the soil, and laid them out in the garage to dry.  After a couple of days (or in my case a week because I forgot), I've removed the dead foliage and placed them in a plastic bags.  They need to be stored in a cool, dry place, and for me that's my garage.  I'll have to let you know how it all works out in 7 months or so. :)

This week flew by in a flash!  Of course, I posted on Monday so the week was shorter than normal, but even so, it seemed it was nearly the weekend again before I turned around.

The curling kept me busy on Sunday, and started up again on Thursday. I suspect this will continue at least until the end of November when the Olympic curling trials take place.  I've also been watching the major league baseball playoffs - I got hooked at the end of the season when the Toronto Blue Jays made a bit of a run though they came up short, and have been watching the games since.  It amazes me how one game a team will be able to get hits and runs, seemingly at will, and the next game be unable to score. I guess the pitching has a lot to do with it.  Add in Canadian football and I've been in sports heaven this week.  Hockey also started up on Wednesday but other than a few minutes of a couple of games I haven't watched a lot.

I haven't always been a baseball fan.  When I was at school as a youngster, when teams were picked for a game, my team always sent me to the outfield....way, way, way outfield. In fact, there was more than once that the teacher sent someone out to find me after recess.  I'd get fascinated by an ant hill or wander over into the bush next to the ball diamonds, or simply sit and day dream.  However, a few years ago, while on a cruise, I met a couple from New Jersey.  Their names escape me now - I remember he sold ice cream and she was a huge baseball fan.  She and their son had visited numerous stadiums across the United States.  The world series was on that week and she and I would make our way to the lounge where the games were being shown from the satellite.  I don't recall who won the series but I got a new appreciation for the game.    

I did get most of the housework caught up this week, much of it on Tuesday morning before the baseball started.  I had to run out too, to pick up a doctor's note for my daughter, so made a couple of extra stops at the dollar store, Value Village, and Walmart.  Nothing exciting at the dollar store, and though it was senior's day I found one item at VV.  It is a small lantern meant to hold a small candle.  I've already started re-doing it - it was metal with glass panels - the metal has been painted white and I intend to fill it with some Christmas decor and a set of battery operated lights. 

My daughter had asked if I would get pillows for her for Christmas, but "could she get them before Christmas, please?".  I found Serta pillows on sale at Walmart so we all got new pillows.  I also picked up a new laundry basket as my old one had fallen apart.  I loaded them all into the back seat of the car, and it was full.  If I'd had an accident on the way home, I would be well cushioned. :)

On the project side, I'm getting lots done while I'm watching the various sporting events.  I had done dishes a number of times at D's last weekend and the dishcloth she was using was falling apart.  I pulled out my cotton yarn and knit up three dishcloths for her.  Since I had it out, I found a pattern for a crocheted kitchen hand towel and started that as well.  I also did some puttering in my craft room and have a couple of other things on the go.  

I did switch out the display on the top of my china cabinet.  Most of the items are ones I made or revamped. This is the initial display - I'd meant to make a sign using thankful or grateful but never got around to doing so, thus it's pretty barren.  The next photo is my display for Halloween. I'm sure my son thinks I'm nuts, but I'm having fun with it. I sent a photo to D and Eli said it was spooky. 

Thursday morning started out cold and wet.  It was below zero when I woke up, and it never made it to more than 3C (37F) that afternoon.  There was even a skiff of snow on the top of the garbage and recycling bins when I went to move the garbage bin to the street for pick-up.  I'm so not ready for this type of weather, but thankfully we've got better weather for the near future.  The containers of flowers are still out!

I did have to run out as I had a flu shot booked for that morning.  I got the shot at the Safeway pharmacy so did a some grocery shopping before I left the store.  I may or may not have left before the 15-20 minutes I was supposed to stay was up.  In fact, I think I arrived home about 20 minutes after the shot.  I've yet to have any kind of reaction to the flu shots.  This year is no different.  My arm was a wee bit sore on Friday morning, but I did some arm circles and the pain dissipated quickly.

This morning was cold too, -2C (28F), but is expected to warm up to 16 (61F) this afternoon.  There are four curling games and two football games being streamed or televised, and sometime between or before all that I've got to get outside to start pulling the plants from the containers.  Sunday is supposed to be quite warm too, so I'll finish then.

Oh, the other momentous occasion this week was finally getting on of the fence gates repaired.  I've been sending e-mails to the company for four weeks about problems with the gate.  The post attached to the house was loose and the locking mechanism wasn't working properly.  The owner kept promising to send someone out and then either forgot or got too busy (whatever!), and finally I'd had enough.  I informed him, if someone wasn't there within the week I would be hiring someone else to make the repairs and sending him the invoice.  It still took an extra day (the worker had a funeral to attend - maybe?) but he did show up this week and the necessary repairs made.  I don't expect they'll ever ask me for a reference.  

You may note that the layout of the blog is slightly different.  I messed up when I went to change the photo, (I need to remember to scroll down!), and ended up deleting the header gadget.  So then, I had to change the theme in order to get one back.  When the photo I originally posted was too large I clicked the button to shrink it and I ended with what's there now.  I give up...blogger is certainly not an intuitive application and the help section is pretty much a mire of closed questions.  I couldn't even figure out how to submit a question of my own.  

Enough of my ramblings, time to make another cup of tea and settle in with my crocheting to watch the first curling game of the day.  Take care everyone, stay well and have a good week.

Monday, 11 October 2021

A week that was and a Thanksgiving visit

 Who knows what happened the first few days of the now past week?  I can't recall and I don't have anything much written down on my calendar beyond cleaning cat litter and a few chores.  I note I did get out to Costco on Tuesday - there were a few items on sale that I wanted.  I follow a blog that posts photos and pricing of sale items (or other items that catch the writer's fancy).  One of the items I wanted was a CO detector for the basement.  It's a plug-in version with a lithium battery back-up.  I did the test and it is loud!  I hope I never hear it in real-life.

I also picked up a couple of gifts for my son and daughter for Christmas.  I'm very close to finishing my shopping.  I know it's early but with concerns about the supply chain I'm happy to get it over and done with.  My favorite Pinty's buffalo chicken "flings" (basically a chicken nugget) were also on sale. The regular price has gone up by a dollar, so the sale price isn't as good as it once was but for now I'll buy them every so often.  

Wednesday was an absolutely beautiful day weather wise.  I spent some time outdoors, cleaning up the front containers as the plants were looking pretty straggly.  A neighbour stopped as I was working and we chatted for a bit.  They had planted some lilies this summer in containers and were hoping they'd make it over the winter.  I suspect they won't and mentioned they might want to put them in the ground...he thought the dirt in the containers was the ground.  They are new to gardening so just a rookie mistake.  I pulled my geraniums and a piece of ivy from each container.  The ivies are potted up and sitting in my kitchen window, while the geraniums are drying out in the garage.  I'll put them in a bag and store them in the garage (it doesn't ever freeze since it is well insulated) and hopefully I'll be able to use them again next year.

Thursday was grocery day.  Nothing exciting to report there.  Prices just keep increasing but I really didn't need much and bought some sale items to put into the pantry.  Friday the curling started so I was lazy and spent the day watching several games and knitting.  I've finished four scarves and over the weekend used some of the remaining yarn to make up two headbands.

On Saturday I drove out to D's for an overnight visit.  She made a lovely meal that evening of ham, roasted veg and homemade buns.  I got to see the finished bathroom - it is lovely! and spend time with my favorite guy.  Stanley (the black cat on my lap had come to cuddle, so Eli piled on too.)

While I was there I cleared out D's flowers from the containers, while she scrubbed the downstairs bathroom and Eli ran around the yard.  She was taking care of a friend's dog while they were away from the weekend, so Eli and I hung out when she went over to their house.  She took advantage of the opportunity to run to the store without her little helper while she was out.  

Before I left on Sunday, Eli and I spent some time outdoors.  It was cool in the early morning but warmed up nicely.  He is getting so tall! 

I left about 3 p.m. and was home by 4:30, just in time to feed the cats. :)  C went out for dinner with friends so I had the house to myself for a bit.  I had one curling match up on You-tube on my smart television, while the other match was playing on FB.  Both of the teams I was pulling for won, and are into the playoffs.  Today is playoff day with three draws.  I've currently got the same setup as last night, but one of my teams is not shooting well today.  

Our weather has cooled off significantly, with frost forecast for tonight.  Between draws I've got to get out and clean out some containers.  But first, I have to head to the local Walmart to see if they have a charging cable for my Samsung phone.  I forgot mine at D's and she won't be able to mail it until tomorrow morning - the earliest I'll have it with our mail delivery is Wednesday afternoon.  For now, the phone is shut off and if I can't find a charging cable it will stay that way except if I need to use it briefly.

Take care everyone, stay well. Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Ending the week on a high note

I started this post Friday evening, managed one paragraph before I gave in to the need to go to sleep. It was only 7 p.m., but I'd got under 5 hours of sleep the night before, and with just a couple of brief moments of wakefulness through the night I slept until 7 a.m.  I was definitely tired. I scrubbed my original paragraph as it didn't make a whole lot of sense. 

So back to regularly scheduled programming.  This week was pretty quiet as I remained under my self-imposed, just to be cautious, isolation until Thursday. I spent most of my time doing housework, knitting/crocheting while watching television, along with a bit of reading out on the front patio, and listening to podcasts while doing my walks indoors. 

Since the weather is still lovely, I haven't yet cleared out the containers.  One morning I went out and took some photos of the various flowers.

The impatiens is my bellwether - when we have a frost that causes it to die back, I'll do my yard clean-up.

In the backyard, my trees have shed most of their leaves.  The hanging basket of petunias is looking straggly, even after it's recent haircut.

The dahlia, that I rescued half-dead from the garden center, started blooming about two weeks ago.  I'm hopeful, I'll be able to over-winter it this year and enjoy it again next year.

The marigolds are showing their sunny faces, now that the tomato plants have been pulled from the containers. 

Lastly, these petunias are interesting to me.  The splashes of white differ so much and the only bloom doesn't have any.  I wonder if that has something to do with the weather or simply a natural progression as the plant ages.

On the creative side of things, I've finished knitting the market bag I started last week, though it still needs to be sewn up. I also finished knitting my first scarf - I'm using up remnants or balls of yarn I got on deep discount. I've started crocheting a second, but based on the amount of yarn, it will likely be a cowl rather than a scarf.  From last week, I made a little troll to sit on my tiered tray.  Again, I used a small dollar store wood block sign as the base.  The little hat is a piece of a felt scarf, the beard are pieces from a mop head, with a wooden bead for the nose.  

The little gift packages are made from dollar store tumbling blocks and small wooden blocks. I glued the blocks together, painted, and tied and glued on the ribbons.  They'll be added to the wheelbarrow that currently holds fall flowers and mini-pumpkins.  

Set free on Thursday, I did my grocery shopping and made a stop at Value Village.  I found more yarn for scarves (I think enough to make two), a set of knitting needles, a pair of photo mats, and a bag of Jenga blocks, all for less than $11 including the taxes.  At this rate, I'll never use up all the yarn in my stash but the color and amount of yarn was too good to pass up.  

Friday, despite the lack of sleep, was a very good day.  I did some housework, caught up on some television programs, and then spent the afternoon with my friend K.  It's been a very long time since we've spent time together, though we've talked on the phone occasionally, so there was lots to catch up on and lots to discuss.  She returned the container I filled with goodies last Christmas, and a book I'd lent her, and she left with a box of books.  There were several she hasn't yet read, and they'll all be added to the two boxes of her own for the book sale she and J volunteer at each year (the last sale was in 2019). We solved many of the world's problems, though I suspect no one is listening to us, and enjoyed the sun and warmth on the back deck. 

Today is another busy sports day.  I had the replay of the football game from last night (not our home team) this morning, and there two more games later today including the Riders.  There are also several curling events going on, and I may be able to fit in a live stream or two. :)

I'm going to head out for a walk shortly, the temperature is sitting around 9C (48F) so it will be fresh and lovely out there. There are several fires north of us, and the smoke seems to be headed this way.  I was chatting with Eli this morning on video chat and D took us outdoors to show the haze.  She says it smells like a campfire. I hope it passes us by.

Take care everyone, stay well.  And thank you again for the expressions of concern for D and Eli.  

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Great news!

 I probably don't need to post anything further, but will confirm that D and Eli are both negative for Covid.  The text came in late on Tuesday evening for the little guy, while D got her results this morning.

I'm happy and relieved. 

*comments off

Monday, 27 September 2021

Quick update

Thank you to all who have expressed concern for D and Eli.  I just wanted to let you know that they had their tests this morning.  Apparently, the few testing sites nearby, and certainly the one in their small town, is not available over the weekend.  The nurse indicated that the results will not be available until Saturday or Sunday of these week.  I'll let you know more then.  

In the meantime both are feeling somewhat better, though Eli still has a definite phlegmy cough that seems to be worse at night.  Regardless, D will be keeping him home this week, since he cannot return to school without a negative test result.  (He doesn't mind at all.)

Take care and stay well everyone! *comments off

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Much ado, hopefully about nothing

 Another week is nearly in the books.  AND I actually finished reading another book this week. 

My reading has really decreased in the last year and when I do pick one up, I remember how much I enjoy reading. Of course, then I finish one and don't immediately start another. 

This was a James Patterson book I picked up at the thrift store, titled "Mistress".  I'm not certain I've read many of his books before, but I do know that his books are quite popular.

I must admit, I almost didn't read it because it started out rather oddly.  The description of the protagonist, Ben "isn't like most people. Unable to control his racing thoughts" was an understatement.  It took me a couple of chapters to get into the story because his thoughts take him down some strange paths.  After a bit of reading, that quirk didn't seem quite so strange.  My daughter often talks about her thoughts spinning out in different directions, and I suspect I was given some insight into how her brain works too.

The story of a death of a woman Ben loves/loved in the heart of Washington, D.C. takes the reader on a race with him to identify the killer(s) before he suffers the same fate. As you might imagine, by the title, there is far more to this book than a simple murder.  There are scenes in the book that seem almost improbable, but also possible, based on what we see playing out on television.  I won't give away more of the plot, but will say I did enjoy the book and would definitely read another novel by this author again.

Back to my daughter, she called today (as she does every morning) to let me know she and Eli will be tested for Covid today.  He woke up ill yesterday, she isn't feeling well herself today, so she called the Healthline this morning first thing.  Both are coughing, Eli is a bit lethargic, but neither have a temperature so I have my fingers crossed the tests will be negative.  I haven't had any symptoms but will stay home until their results come in.  Our province is backed up due to the significant number of tests being performed so I suspect that won't be for three to five days.  Our province is second only to Alberta in the cases per 100,000 people, our hospitalization rates are higher than ever before and we've lost sixty two people to Covid in the month of September alone. That's almost 10% of the total deaths to Covid since this all started and the month isn't over yet. (Since I've posted, she hasn't yet heard back so is expecting they may have to wait until Monday to get their tests.)

Back at home, and I truly mean that - I'm not venturing far these days - I had a quiet week.  I stocked up on groceries on Thursday and shouldn't need anything until late this upcoming week or hopefully into the next.  The weather has been up and down all week, hot one day, cool the next, and in fact we had frost on Friday morning, though everything is still looking fine today.  I went out to water since we're not expecting any really cool weather until next week sometime now.  I must admit I'm a bit tired of it, and was thinking I'd pull the plants this weekend but everything is looking so good I hate to do it.  At least, I'm only having to water every three days or so as they're not quite as thirsty as they once were. 

Besides housework, I've been spending a lot of time watching curling. There have been at four draws a day, starting early in the morning, though I've missed most of those draws.  The number of teams eligible for entry to the curling trials for determining our Canadian representative for the Olympics is quite large this year with over 60 teams (both men and women) in contention.  Normally they would have earned their way into the trials by winning points at various events over the past year and a few did so winning the Brier and the Scotties.  But since many of the qualifying events were not held because of the pandemic, Curling Canada are now holding several pre-trial events.  This week the are two events being held at the the same time, the Pre-Trial Direct Entry and the Direct Entry.  I believe the Direct Entry winners will go onto the trials (that seems to make most sense to me), the losers of the Direct Entry event and the winners of the Pre-trial Direct Entry will participate in October for the last of the spots available - I think there will be two men's and two women's out of that spiel.  In total nine men's and nine women's team will vie for the Olympic berth.  The Roar (the curling trials) are being held in Saskatoon at the end of November.  I'd love to attend because this event brings the best teams to the event, but I suspect I'll be parked on my couch watching every draw. In the meantime the Curling Zone has been live streaming the events on You-tube.  So I can keep track of the baseball and football on television, while watching the curling on my laptop.  Can you tell I'm a happy girl?    

In between draws I've been getting my housework done, and playing in my craft room.  I haven't any finishes just yet...lots of things are nearing completion so I'll share them next week.  While I'm sitting I'm continuing to work on the crocheted flower hexagons and have started knitting another market bag.  I ran out of one the colors of yarn I need for the flowers, and when I stopped at Michaels this week, they are out of that particular color but expecting a new order this week or next.  I'll keep an eye out on-line and will order for pick-up.  I am using up a lot of leftover skeins of yarn so a couple more will ensure those bits and bobs get used up.

Today, my friend S is on my mind.  Her mother passed away a week ago in a for-profit long term care home in Alberta. The funeral will be held today in her hometown in Saskatchewan.  S lives about 90 minutes from her mom's care home, and she would often call as she was making the drive and we would chat for part of her drive.  I'll miss those calls, though I'm sure we'll find other times and reasons to chat.  I won't get into the details of her mom's death, but S and I have come to the conclusion we wouldn't want to live out our days in a for-profit LTC...suffice to say that the lack of care was evident.  

Well, I hate to end this post on such a negative point.  So, I'll share a silly story from earlier this week.  I wash the supper dishes in the evening, and as mom would have said, I let God dry them overnight.  While I chat with D, I put them away in the cupboard and clean the sinks.  One morning, as I was cleaning the drain I noticed a dead spider in the sink.  First off, I hate spiders worse than any other bug.  They totally scare the daylights out of me, dead or alive.  So after a minor melt down I gathered up the spider in a paper towel and put in the garbage.  Then, because I didn't know whether it had touched anything in the sink I re-washed everything I'd washed the night before.  Serves me right for not using the drain board, but there weren't that many items since I'd done them earlier in the day.  I do have a dishwasher, but it would take a couple of weekdays to fill it, so only use it about once every two weeks to keep the seals from drying out and to eliminate any smell from the drain. I may have to re-think that decision should any more critters come crawling into the sink.  Ewwwww!

It's an absolutely beautiful fall day here, the sun is shining, with a light breeze.  I have an hour or so before the next draw, so I think I'll head outdoors and read on the patio.  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Monday, 20 September 2021

Wasp trap recipe

 I had forgotten I had a question about the recipe for the wasp trap to answer.  Sorry!

I should mention I purchased a wasp trap, which is basically a plastic container that has small openings that the wasps can find their way into, but cannot get out.  There are DIY options that can be found on-line as well.

The base of the trap is filled with a mixture of something sweet (which attracts the wasps) and red wine vinegar (which supposedly keeps bees away), and a piece of meat, or wet cat or dog food.  I used a mixture of water, red wine vinegar and sugar.  No specific ratios seem to be needed.  I'm sure one could use fruit juice and plain vinegar too with some sugar.  

My brother tells me that what kills the wasps is not the mixture but the heat that builds up in the trap.  It doesn't sound very humane but I suspect the insecticide I use isn't any more so.  

If you can find the nest, my research suggests two tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle of water can be used to spray on the nest.  This mixture clogs the wasp's pores and kills them instantly. I have to wonder if I were to add the dish soap to the mixture in the trap would be a good idea.  

And of course, one can wait until freeze-up as the majority of the colony will die while the queen hibernates.