Sunday 27 May 2018

Simple moments

I'm starting to feel like I'm on repeat...another week nearly over, with great weather for the weekend. 

The work week was particularly short with Monday as a holiday, I was in the office on Tuesday, then flew out to Calgary for a meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, and had scheduled Friday as a vacation day.  The meeting went well as my presentations were generally well received.  I say, generally, as my first presentation was on time management.  Many of the participants were quite adamant that they were far too busy to use the suggestions I provided.  Hmmm...perhaps there was a lesson to be learned that was missed.  On the other hand I had some of the participants tell me they will definitely use some of the suggestions and a couple asked if they could job shadow me for a month.  (Of course, that won't be happening but it was a lovely compliment).

On the way home, I was upgraded to Plus (that's never happened before) so I was seated right at the front of the plane.  My seat mate got on just before we took off, and when the air was turned before the engines were started, she had a bit of a panic attack.  The attendant checked with her, and she shared that as a teenager, she had been trapped in a car wreck and the confined space and heat was troubling to her.  As we took off, I noted the tears falling.  Not knowing what to do, I did what I know best.  I asked her if she was from Regina.  Through her tears she told me she was.  I waited a minute or two, and asked if she was in Calgary for business or pleasure.  She told me she'd been in Phoenix with her daughter.  I kept this up for several minutes, asking a question that led from the answer she had given.  

After we'd reached altitude, the attendants came by and she ordered a glass of wine and a snack.  We chatted while she ate, and drank, and by the time we were starting our descent into Regina, she was relaxed, and told me I must be a good mother, as I had managed to keep her distracted through most of the flight.  I definitely thought that was a nice compliment!  

Friday morning, I did a little housework before meeting my friend K for lunch.  Who knew there were two Applebees' in Regina?  Apparently, neither of us.  K thought it was odd that I wasn't there at 11:45 (our agreed time) and asked the waiter.  She then hopped in her car and drove across the city to the east end Applebees.  I had thought she was at line dancing so hadn't worried when she didn't arrive on time.  

We ended up having a very leisurely lunch, not leaving the restaurant until 2:30.  We chatted about their most recent cruise, a TransPacific from Japan to Vancouver, their upcoming cruise to the Baltics in September, and our New Orleans cruise in December.  She's looked into renting a car for at least a day so we can visit a plantation.  I want to visit one of the cemeteries; she wasn't certain what her partner J wants to do.  

I had my nail appointment at 3, while K dashed off to bar tend (volunteer) at a nearby senior's complex. My esthetitian L, told me about a tomato/herb container she had purchased at Lowe's.  I hadn't planned to have any vegetables this year, but the price, $26.99, was too good.  I headed up to Lowe's and picked one up.  It contains a cherry tomato, a marigold, basil, oregano, parsley and thyme.  The tomato has several fruit already on it, and the herbs are quite large and definitely healthy.  If I had purchased the items separately, I'm certain the cost would have been much higher.

Dinner was with the regular crew at the regular spot.  The service was so-so, the food about the same, as usual.  It is the company that keeps me coming back.  C and I made arrangements to get together for coffee on Saturday morning when her husband N was off gliding at the base in Moose Jaw.  I've missed her at work, and it was lovely to get together and have a gab.  Their yard is so lovely, too.  C has the green thumb and an artistic flair, while N provides the muscle.  This year they have replaced the base for their new gazebo, enlarging it to 10 X 14 (from 10 X 10).  C has planted most of the containers, of which there are approximately 40, as well as the two flower beds out front.  She is holding off on the beds in the back yard until the gazebo is finished.  The only thing I don't care for in their yard, is the fact they back onto a busy roadway, but she says they don't notice the traffic noise.

Last evening we had a thunder storm roll through the area.  Eli was still awake, so we took him outside.  D and I took the chairs from the front patio and moved them onto the sidewalk.  Eli ran between us until Uncle C came out and sat on the step.  That child loves his uncle!  He wasn't the least bit frightened by the thunder, though I don't believe he noticed the lightening.  However, when the rain started and Eli wandered off the sidewalk onto the patio, we learned he didn't like being rained on. I think it was a shock as it was too dark to see the rain drops.  It started coming down hard then, so we all moved into the house. 

Today, I got more housework done in the early morning before heading out to relax and read on the deck.  I grilled some chicken for lunch, made myself a Caesar salad, and ate my lunch outside as well.  By 2 it was getting quite warm, so I came back indoors.  D and Eli came back from running errands, he had a brief nap while she ate lunch.  We're currently watching the pre-season football between the Saskatchewan Riders and the Edmonton Eskimos.  Sad to say, the game isn't going well for our team.  Later we'll watch the Memorial Cup Junior Hockey final as the local team, the Regina Pats are playing.  D is responsible for dinner tonight; she'll be grilling a rack of ribs and asparagus, while I'll do potatoes in the microwave. 

No garden photos this week, but I do have a couple of shots of the rainbow from a week ago.  

The first shot was taken on my deck looking to the north east.  I've enlarged it because of the double rainbow.  The second shot is from the street out front, looking east.  We didn't get much rain that evening, and I only just happened to walk out the back and spotted the rainbow. 

It's back to work tomorrow. I doubt the week will pass quite as quickly as the last... but I'm sure there will be simple moments to look back on too.  Have a great week everyone!

Sunday 20 May 2018

Spring, glorious spring!

When the weather is as beautiful as it has been the last few days, I think perhaps I should just stay here after retirement.  Of course, I realize that in six months or so I'll be cursing the weather gods and wishing I were elsewhere.  Come to think of it, I will least for a few weeks.

I've been spending a lot of time outside, enjoying the front patio or the back deck, depending on the position of the sun.  The cats are enjoying the sun room too!  I've been leaving the door open between the kitchen and sun room at night; it has gotten quite cool (66F/18C) overnight.  I enjoy it but I know my daughter won't, but as she's away for the weekend I'll keep it up.  I'm writing this about 5:30 and the house has only now warmed up to 72F/22C.  It seems to warm up more in the evening with the sun from the west, although there are no windows on that side of the house.  I do so appreciate not having the a/c running, and it isn't set to kick in until 76F/24C.  Yes, I still have my thermostat set at Fahrenheit rather than Celsius.  I have no idea why, it was this way when we moved in and I left it be.

My son C spent the night at a friend's on Friday.  I heard him leave about 10:30 p.m. and knew I'd have several hours to myself in the morning.  I was up by 6 and had the vacuuming done, a potato salad made, sorted through all the stuff on my kitchen table (more on that later), and the laundry started by 8 a.m.!  I could manage all that when he is home as he can sleep through anything but I probably wouldn't have gotten started as early.

After a quick bite to eat, and a couple of cups of coffee, I headed over to Winners to pick up a couple of items.  One is a mail holder - my daughter D receives a lot of mail, C and I less so, but it tends to get piled up on the kitchen table.  I try to take care of it as it comes in, but the other two not so much.  I was also looking for a new table cloth to replace the one D (and two cats) had ruined.  She likes to paint but didn't take care to clean up spills; Saku and Sheldon like to tear at the backing.  It was a cheap plastic one so it was more a nuisance than anything else.  I didn't find a new one but had another in the closet that I pulled out.  I also found another scented candle, this one citrus, and a little picture book of words for Eli.  I know he'll enjoy it as much as I'll enjoying reading it with him.

Then it was out to the front yard.  I had made a plan for the plants that I had bought - good thing, as I had to pull out the book to remember what I was going to do.  

I started with the pots out front.  I used a container of petunia, calibrocha, and verbena for the two tall ones, cutting it in half - something another gardener had suggested.  I'm a little worried as the plants didn't look good this morning, but I'll give it a day or two.  I also tucked in a curly grass and a lime sweet potato vine, the first for height and the second to cascade down the pot....eventually!

The front pot has a mix of petunias, pink and pink striped with a pink dahlia in the centre.  D received the plant when she went shopping on Mother's Day.  I've never had much luck with dahlias but perhaps this one will be the exception. There is a large evergreen between the front yard and the patio, so this area gets sun in the morning and again in the late afternoon evening.  I know the dahlia prefers sun so I'm taking a chance.

These three pots sit just off the patio between the two houses.  I had thought to divide the geraniums, but had a couple of extra petunias, so those went into the middle pot.  Each container also got a white calibrocha and a lysimachia (creeping jenny).  Both will trail over the edge of the pot.

This spot gets the sun during in late morning and early afternoon, basically the hottest part of the day.  The pot on the right also gets the evening sun.  I've never had geraniums in this spot but the petunias seem to thrive anywhere I put them so I'll see.

Finally I moved onto the front flower bed.  This is the shadiest part of my yard, as it sits on the north side of the house and is shaded by the evergreen in front, the garage to the east and the neighbour's house to the west.  Despite this, I've managed to fill it in with several perennials and a few annuals. 

This photo was taken shortly after I'd got the plants in but before the mulching was put on top. 

Behind the sunflower temperature gauge is a container of impatience.  This spot tucked in beside the bay window has been the bane of my gardening existence.  Nothing grows there, not even weeds!  The impatience do well in the pot and add a pop of color.  

On another note, isn't the bergenia looking good? I'd seen it growing in a nearby yard and thought it was lovely.  I put it in about 7 years ago and it has probably quadrupled in size.  

I probably should divide it, but I like it as is, and since I'm not planning to be here much longer, I'll leave it be.

Besides the perennials already in the bed, I added nicotiana, a dianthus, and bugleweed.  The dianthus is supposed to be hardy to -30C so hopefully will over winter, the bugleweed should but likely won't, and the nicotiana are annuals.  

The patio is one of my favorite spots to read and relax, especially when it is hot as it is shaded and tends to get a nice breeze.  That reminds me, I have cushions for those chairs that I need to find and put out.  Otherwise the chairs aren't particularly comfortable.

My ferns are coming up nicely...though it seems never in the same spot as the year previous.  I love the curl of the frond before it opens, it makes me think of a sea creature.

This one is growing up in the midst of the spirea bush and there is another on the opposite side.  The bush has only started to leaf out so the ferns are well ahead.  By mid-summer though these will be barely visible.  The ferns only do well in the bed in the spring, I don't keep the bed very wet and find the heat gets them by mid-July.  

After finishing the front yard, I took the remaining plants to the back, put my tools away, and settled in on the deck to read and relax before supper.  Supper was simple, just a frozen pizza that I popped in the oven, as I was tired from all the bending and digging.  I watched a bit of television and was in bed by 8 p.m.   All that fresh air made for a good night's sleep.

Today I spent a good of part of the day cleaning up and planting in the back yard.  I've no photos yet, and will save that for another post.  

Tomorrow, being Victoria Day, is a stat holiday. I think I'll spend most of the day outdoors again with a book in hand, and a cold drink at the ready.  Sounds like a great way to enjoy the gorgeous weather.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!

Saturday 12 May 2018

The season of change

Spring, glorious spring!  Out my living room window I see that the neighbour's tree is beginning to leaf out, their awn is mostly green, and next door to them, the ducks are back.  I'm not sure why, but there is a pair of mallards who like to hang out in the front yard.  I often see them as I'm pulling out of the driveway on my way to work in the morning.  The other day, the female was perched up on the roof of another house.  

The robins are back, the bunnies are mostly brown (and spend a lot of time chasing one another), and the garden centers are full of lovely green plants.  It is still too cool at night here for any planting, but of course I couldn't resist.  Besides I like to pick plants when they first hit the store...the staff aren't generally gardeners and watering seems to be forgotten within days.

This year, as I have in the past, selected mostly pinks and purples.  I know my house has brick and oranges and yellows would likely match but I go with what I like.

For flowers I'm sticking with petunias and geraniums, and a few impatience, this year.  I've tried dahlias, osteospermum, and begonias in the past with mixed results.  This year, it's the KISS principle.  

To complete the containers I've got several trailers, including ivy and sweet potato vine, plus calibrochoa (million bells).  I haven't found any trailing verbena so might be doing a little more shopping.  

I also picked up a couple of perennials for the front flower bed including a dianthus and some pink aruga bugleweed.  I planted purple aruga last year - it didn't spread much so I'll add this for another variety.  Also for the front bed, are nicotiana.  While they prefer sun, my mom had great luck with them in a north bed so I try every year to replicate her success.  It hasn't happened yet, but I keep trying.  

I also brought home a lovely fuschia.  It was the only one that had white, purple, and pink blooms so I couldn't resist.  (It doesn't look that off against the brick, does it?)

The plant is already huge and makes a real impact in the garden.  At this point, there is very little green in the flower bed, just the remains of the perennials that I cut back a week ago.

I can't recall what this is, as I've lost the tag - it's the first bit of green I've seen in the flower bed (so hopefully it isn't a weed!)  The hostas are yet to make any kind of appearance, but the heart leaf bergenia is beginning to put out new leaves.  I was reading through my garden journal and I note the aruga died over winter from 2016.  Hmmm...wonder if I'll have better luck this year?  Probably not.

The last basket I picked up is this Sun patience.  I had these in my containers last year, but I don't recall they did very well.  I'll try again this year with the hanging basket, though this particular spot doesn't get a whole lot of sun.  

Frankly I do that a lot - I grow plants that are prefer part shade in the sun, and those that want full sun in part shade. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes it's just meh.  But I've never lost an annual because of the where it was placed.  

Our weather has been a bit cool this week, but warmer temperatures are on their way.  Plus 28C by Monday!  Of course, I'll be at work, but still.  I plan to plant everything on the long weekend as it's unlikely we'll have frost after that.  Though it has happened, I'll take my chances.

The patio furniture is out in both the front and back yards.  It's a sunny day, so I plan to take the opportunity this afternoon to sit outside with a cold soft drink and my book.  I'm currently reading a Karin Slaughter novel, about two sisters who witness their mother's murder as young teens.  I've never read any of her books before and I have to force myself to put it down as the story line is very interesting and the story definitely doesn't follow a predictable script.  

Oh, I learned yesterday that I'll likely have new neighbours by the fall.  The young couple next door are moving to the States for work.  The wife works for an American company and has been working from home since they moved here, I think about 6 years or so.  She came out of the house yesterday carrying one of her cats.  We got talking as she put the cat in the truck.  Apparently they will be driving and they've started training the cats for the drive.  She brought the other two out and put them in the truck as well, but didn't actually go for a drive.  I guess sitting in the truck will get them accustomed to the vehicle, though I suspect once it starts moving they won't be very happy.  

The house will be put up for sale at the end of the month.  The listing price should help me determine what I might get for my home next year.  Their house was listed at a lower price than mine when they bought a year or so after I did.  They did re-do the driveway and basement floor but other than that I'm not aware of any renovations.  

Speaking of renovations, my main and en-suite bathrooms will have the cabinets refaced in June.  I've arranged for the tile to be removed, and the drywall skim coated for painting next week.  I've got in touch with the plumber to unhook the current sinks, and ordered sinks and faucets on-line with delivery expected within 3 weeks.  This was the hardest part as finding grey sinks is nearly impossible; they certainly are not available in local stores.   I'll admit I've gone with the cheapest options - I'll only be here for another year or so, and the new owners may decide to totally renovate. I don't see the point in spending a bunch of money only to have someone else tear it out.  Now, if I were staying here another 10 years I might reconsider...but probably not.

AND then there is this:

This was taken at my brother's house on the farm.  Eli took his first steps two weeks ago tomorrow and every day his abilities have improved.  D calls it muscle memory...I call it amazing.  He rarely crawls now, can stand up from a seated position, and the only that stops him are stairs.  His vocabulary is increasing as well, from mom, dad, Sasha, and his favorite uncle's name, he has added juice, done (well, actually un but I accept it), nana for banana,  and Chase (a paw patrol puppy for the uninitiated).  He has yet to settle on a name for Grandma but it is clear he loves me.  He brings me books to read and loves a good cuddle.  

Well, enough babble from me.  Eli is busily destroying my living room and his mother is still sleeping.  

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend everyone!