Saturday 30 May 2020


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's so nice to have options. :)

Take care everyone and stay well!

Thursday 28 May 2020

Another she-shed update

My brother has forwarded a few more photos as he's put in more windows in the shed.  

Originally the shed had only two windows, one on either end.  Adding the two feet to the top of the shed allowed for more windows, plus he's added windows to both the front and back of the shed.

He's also started siding the building again.

Looking out the front (south facing) toward the hills of the valley.

The view is even better from this point.  He actually sat down and took a break!  I think I need to go for another visit to check on the progress.

He also sent this photo - he'd been out looking for the porcupine that Kola had tangled with earlier that evening.  He didn't find the porcupine...but the sunset was spectacular.  

Saturday 23 May 2020

Week 10 - Babies!

You'll never guess what I did on Thursday.  Really, you won't.  I finally had the tires changed over on the car from winter to summer tires.  I certainly haven't needed the winter tires for quite some time, but it just never seemed convenient to make the appointment.  No, I lie, I kept forgetting to make the phone call.  Is that pandemic brain or just getting old?  I finally had to set a reminder on my phone to get the call made.

It was absolutely gorgeous morning, 14C (57F) by 6:30 a.m - I was grateful for a good day for walking!  After loading the tires in the car and driving to the shop I arrived just shortly before my appointment of 9 a.m.  Things were quite different from previous appointments.  I called into the store to let them know I was there.  They asked me to leave the keys in the car and they would be out to move into the shop shortly.  There was no request that I pre-approve the work order, basically just drop and go.  

I walked home, about 15-20 minute walk, taking the opportunity to walk by the pond.  And look what I found, babies!!  These were the only goslings I saw, though there were a number of pairs of geese on and near the pond.  I'm thinking the population will explode in the next few days.  Sorry for the quality of the photo, I didn't want to get too close, and I zoomed in with my cell phone.

Later I walked back to the shop to pick up the car, and again noticed a big difference.  I phoned the store, and a few minutes later, the attendant came to the door which was blocked by a large cart.  He opened the door, standing on the other side of the cart and handed me my invoice, my car keys, and the credit card machine.  I wasn't asked to sign to acknowledge the completion of the work.  I did notice too, that the business had put out two chairs for customers on the side walk - spaced two meters apart.  There were a couple waiting - despite the nice weather I'm glad I live close enough to walk and didn't have to wait outside the store.

After a stop at the Co-op for a few groceries that I hadn't been able to find earlier this week, I headed home to relax and enjoy the day.  Of course, I did find other things to do.  I did some pruning on a couple of trees and put out some solar lights.  A friend called and we had a nice chat.  Oh, that reminds me, my cruise was finally cancelled!  Not that this was unexpected, but the fact that the cruise line waited so long before doing so was a bit of a head shaker.  I would have been flying out to London in just over two weeks.  I've chatted with my travel agent and decided to go with the future cruise credit (125% of the original cost) for the time being.  This option allows me to re-book by the end of December 2021 for cruises up to the end of April 2022.  In addition, I have the option of requesting a full refund of what I paid, no later than December 2020.  My plan is to wait until the fall, see how things are looking, and I expect I'll probably request the refund then.  But, if by some miracle it appears a vaccine is going to available earlier than anticipated, I may book a cruse in late 2021 or early 2022.  My only other option was called "lift and shift", basically the same cruise next year, though a few weeks earlier (May 28, 2021). I'm pretty certain I won't be wanting to cruise by then so discarded that option immediately.

Friday was a quiet day, nothing really to write about.  I spent a fair amount of time out on the deck or in the sun room, reading or knitting.  It wasn't a particularly sunny day, and the skies kept threatening rain, although we actually didn't get any. While watching old football (CFL) games in the evening I  finished the back of the tank top I've been knitting.

On Saturday I woke up feeling energetic.  By 7:30 I had cleaned off the top of my cabinets and put down newspaper.  I saw this on Cheapchick's blog and thought, what a great idea. The next time I go to clean, I'll just bundles up the paper and start with fresh.  After my morning coffee, I decided I needed a walk.  The sun was shining, the temperature was a lovely 14C (57F) so off I went, camera in hand.

I knew I wanted to walk down by the pond, but decided I'd take the long way around heading west and then south to the park and the bridge before turning back north to Riverbend.  Most of the trees along the path were not there a couple of weeks ago.  Once they mature I'm sure they'll provide shade on the path.

I stopped to take a photo on the bridge.  I know it's only temporary but it's sad to see the lack of reeds and even more so, the lack of water in the creek.  I'm not sure why the water level is so low. Further up the pathway it was even worse.  

I stayed off the footpath and walked alongside the creek watching for black birds.  Although I saw a few flying there were none near the water, nor in the trees nearby.  Or at least, not that I could see though I heard their song.

 I walked over to the pond and was rewarded with a multitude of goslings and their parents.  The first group were obviously the oldest as they're already starting to lose their baby feathers!  There was woman with two dogs walking towards us, so the whole family took off towards the water.  They didn't go in though, just settled down in the grass by the pond.

I believe this is a pair of wigeons - they were feeding in the reeds.

This little guy was just so cute. It came marching across the grass towards me as if on a mission.  "Get out here lady with that darned camera!"  Or maybe it spotted something good to eat!
Here, the parent seemed to be hustling the little ones along.  If only I spoke goose...though I sure understand when they hiss!

At the end of the pond, there were a number of geese...but no babies!  Maybe later.

I'm off to the "out" as Eli calls it, to spend some time in the sun, water the containers, fill the bird bath, and generally enjoy the day.

Hope everyone is doing well.  Have a great week!

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Week 10,5 - Digging the dirt

Sunday brought wicked winds our way, so I spent much of the day indoors.  I wasn't unhappy to do so as every Sunday TSN replays past curling matches.  Some of them I remember well, others I've forgotten who won or lost.  There were three draws televised, one mid-morning and the other two starting late afternoon.  It meant I could do a few things between the draws, so I took care of cleaning and tidying the sun room.
I removed the towels I use to cover the cushions, and along with the rug in front of the door (not shown), I threw a load of laundry in the machine.  While these were being washed, I swept the floors, and vacuumed the rugs, and wiped down the tables and the radio stand (behind the recliner).  It was dusty out there!  I do keep the windows open for the breeze on nice days - apparently I need to dust more often.  When I went to take the load out of the dryer, I showed my son the lint that was was thick and I'd pretty sure most of it was cat hair!

On days when the weather outside isn't conducive to sitting outdoors this room is a blessing.  Not only do the cats love to nap out there, I enjoy sitting in my chair or (if Sasha is napping on it) the love seat.  With a book, and cup of coffee or water, and the radio softly playing in the background, I can enjoy watching the birds out the window and just simply relax.

Despite the continued winds, I did not relax on Monday.  There were bedding plants to be potted up.
I have a routine, I start out front where the planters will be seen from the street, then the front patio and front flower bed, before heading around to the back yard to take of the deck planters.  Generally the few leftover plants (I always seem to buy more than I need) end up in a small bed on the west side of the yard near the fence.

For my benefit, more than yours, here are a few photos. 
I have two tall planters out in front of the big spruce tree, and a shorter round one.  As I've mentioned, instead of filling the planter with several bedding plants I buy a 10" container, and just plop them in.  There is a small ivy in the one corner, which will trail over the edge.  Depending on the year I sometimes end up with a mass of ivy, others not so much.  The round container has yellow wave petunias in it. These are quite small right now but by the end of summer will have filled in the container.  

In this patio container (I have two) is a new to me plant, a Kalanchoe or Widow's Thrill.   It's actually a succulent and usually a houseplant so we'll see how it does out in the container.  It has dark green waxy leaves.  The lime green sedum is to it's left, and I've added a white bacopa and a purple calibrachoa (million bells).  I expect the calibrachoa will spread and flow over the edge of the container, as will the bacopa, though to a lesser degree.  This area gets several hours of sunshine but is sheltered from the winds.

In a sheltered spot that gets little sun, I hung this container.  I've planted it with two fuschias, a bacopa and a shade loving ivy.  I'm not sure how the ivy will do - isn't that part of the joy of gardening, waiting to see how things turn out?  Normally, I'd purchase a larger pot of fuschia, well established, but this year I wasn't going to go to several garden centres to find it.  Again it is a bit of an experiment but if these thrive I'm sure I'll do the same next year.
My front flower bed is just beginning to show signs of life.  I had cut back the Bergenia quite agressively and it is beginning to bloom.  There is a Jacob's ladder that is up about three inches, but most of the green you see are the annuals and perennials I planted this spring.

This container is one of three that sit on my back deck.  I went with seed geraniums as no one had larger ones for some odd reason.  The geranium is supposed to be pale pink, and I've added in a variegated calibrachoa (purple with yellow centers) and the lime creeping jenny.  These containers get sun from mid-morning to late afternoon.  The deck is on the east side of sun room so by that time the sun is in the west.  In July and August it is nice to have that shade!

I quite enjoy sitting out here on a sunny day with a book and cold drink. On rainy days I sit up on the upper tier as it has an overhang. Once I had finished planting what I could (more on that later), I sat out for an hour or so.  The sun kept disappearing behind the clouds but peeked out enough so that it was lovely and warm.

I pulled these deck planters out of storage this year as without the shed I wanted something of interest on the lower deck.  There are two of them, planted with four multi-colored stock, and a verbena, one pink and one purple. These will get full day sun so I expect I'll be watering them frequently.  I'm going to keep an eye out for an inexpensive plant stand or even a shoe rack to lift these off the deck.

In the gravel patch, I put out these clay pots with gazanias (African daisies).  I'm not sure what color they'll be, I'm assuming yellows and reds.  These don't actually fit my theme of pinks and purples but I love the flowers and this year could not find the pink ones.  This area gets the full day sun too, and I expect they'll do well in the heat.  I'm not sure what I've done with all my garden critters - I could only find one (a duck), so I brought these birds that normally I keep on top of my china cabinet.  In addition, I moved the bird bath to this side of the trees.  I'll be able to see it from both the sun room and the deck.  The robins have been enjoying it immensely but not since I've moved it.  We'll see if they figure out where it went to (about 3 feet away).

On Tuesday, I woke to sunny skies and 12C. We were in for a beautiful day.  It was also grocery and laundry day.  I headed out early so I could get home to spend time in the yard.  I stopped first at Home Depot to pick up some grass seed and fertilizer.  A few more plants may have found their way into my cart. :)  I picked up two variegated lamium and a sweet Woodruff, perennials for my front flower bed.  Next up was our local Co-op for groceries.  I asked the clerk as I was checking out, if the store was busier now than before the pandemic?  She agreed - it used to be that I'd find a half dozen vehicles in the lot, these days it's at least 3 to 4 times that many.  I wasn't able to find the containers I wanted at HD, so I ran into the garden centre at Walmart, where I found what I needed.  Last stop was Pet Valu for cat litter.  I use a brand Fresh for Life that is only available there.  It's the best I've found for keeping odor at bay and clumps well.  

At home I got the groceries put away and started the laundry, cleaned the cat litter, did a few dishes and then it was time to head outdoors.  My first task was to finish potting up the remaining bedding plants and to plant the perennials.  I have two hanging baskets, each with a calibrachoa, a verbena, and a bacopa.  One is hanging in the back yard, the other out front.

I pretty much spent the rest of the day relaxing on the deck, occasionally going in to change the load of laundry or get a cup of water.  It is this time of year, that makes me wonder if I truly want to move away from here.  

Today, I was up early, it was overcast and already 15C (60F).  The forecast is a high of 27C (80F) and isolated thundershowers later today so I decided I'd spend as much time as I could outdoors.  After I chatted with D, as I do every morning, I headed outdoors.  The spruce tree in back is shedding needles and the coverings from what I believe will be the new batch of cones.  My deck was covered with these, so I got busy with the broom.  I kept going and swept up the sidewalk around the house and the patio.  I had a bag of debris so took my grabber and picked up the cones that had fallen as well.  I certainly didn't get them all but made a good start.

I was so excited this morning to find that my radish are starting to come up! I've got a shoot of an onion too.  The peas and lettuce in the other containers are yet to show.  
I spent a bit more time puttering, spreading some more grass seed and fertilizer, and raking before watering the lawn. Then it was time to relax! The sun has made an appearance, so I grabbed my water, my book, and sunscreen before I settled in to my chair.  

I've just popped in the house as the clouds are back. The weather radar would suggest that rain is on the way, but it appears to be a couple of hours out. I decided I'd take a few minutes to finish this post, as it's already far too long. If you've made it this far, I'm impressed!  I'm heading back outdoors to read and relax.  Besides the bird song, I made this little fountain from a pump from an old cat fountain, a glass bowl that was chipped, and couple of handful of rocks from the gravel patch.  While it doesn't block the sounds from the neighbouring yards, it does provide something else to hear in the background.

Take care everyone, stay well, and I hope the weather has brought spring to your homes as well!

Saturday 16 May 2020

Week 9 - Spring fever

Our weather started off cool this week, but by Friday the warmer temperatures arrived. Just in time for the long weekend.  I don't know about you, but the term long weekend has sort of lost it's meaning.  No matter, I'll still enjoy the warm weather that is forecast for the next few days.
My Mother's Day gift for D

So I left off last week with my anticipated trip to visit my daughter D and grandson Eli.  I didn't take any photos while I was there... I was far too busy responding to Eli's "c'mon grandma!".  We read books, went to the "out" which to him is the backyard, and hid from his momma.  I'll admit it, there wasn't a whole lot of social distancing between he and I.  We ate our lunch together at the table and he told me a multitude of stories, some of which I understood.  And THAT moment happened when he turned to me and said, "I love you Grandma".  My heart just melted. 

My Mother's Day gift from Eli
Later in the afternoon (no nap) he was sitting quietly on the couch with his I-Pad playing one of his language games.  All of a sudden, he jumped up and said to us, "run".  We both looked at him, I'm sure in a funny way, when D noticed that the letters on the screen were n, r, u.  He knew what that spelled!  Later he was working with numbers and put the odd numbers 1-13 in order without any help and in about 5 seconds.  He's is a smart kid and I love him to the moon and back.

Monday was grocery day, and I masked and gloved up to pick up a few items at Sobey's.  They made me remove my gloves to wash my hands and without thinking I put my gloves back on.  Oops!  From there I headed over to Home Depot to pick up a quart of paint.  They have a cattle corral set up, as one enters the store they ask you to take a cart, which helps them to know how many people are in the store at one time.  I had to wait some time at the paint counter and by the time I headed back out there were at least a dozen in line waiting to get into the store.  I'm glad I got there early.  My last stop was Canadian Tire for potting and garden soil.  I went to the yard where a young gave me the codes, then went into the store to pay, before heading back out where he loaded the bags into my trunk for me.  I was the only customer.  

The next three days were pretty relaxed.  I did the regular laundry, vacuumed, washed floors, cleaned bathrooms, did dishes, cleaned cat litter...yada yada yada.  C worked a few hours each day so I did get out to the garage on Wednesday and swept out the winter debris.  

Friday was the busiest day by far.  First I went over to Home Depot and filled up the back seat of my car.  (There are more plants beyond the box.)  I couldn't find everything I wanted there so ended up picking a few more plants at both Superstore and Walmart.  None of the greenhouses were terribly busy and trucks had just come in so everything was lush and social distancing was pretty easy.

I picked up two of these baskets at Home Depot for $25. I'm pretty certain I wouldn't have been able to purchase the separate plants to make up the containers for that price.  These will go out in front of the yard near the street.  I've done this for a few years now as it provides a fuller look than the start of small plants and adds instant color.  I bought an ivy for each container as well.

I had a visitor, actually two, a pair of mourning doves.
Once home, and having unloaded the plants on the patio, I got busy indoors for a bit with a little more housework and then I headed out to the backyard.  I spent some time raking up the dead grass, adding soil and grass seed.  I tamped down the soil and gave it a soaking before taking my first break.  That's pretty much how it went for the rest of the afternoon.  I'd work for 20 minutes or so, then take a 15-20 minute break for a drink and to read a chapter of my book.

I raked the gravel where the shed once sat, and picked up as much of the pink shale or stones that were part of it as I could.  I moved that over to a corner of the yard for now, though I plan to put it in a pail, mark it free and put it out by the driveway. Perhaps someone else will like it better than I do.  I also got my three containers planted with my vegetables.  Peas and lettuce in two and radish and onions in a third.  Whether I'll get any produce or not is yet to be seen but I'm giving it a try.  

Saturday was another outside day.  It was about 4C (40F) when I got up at 6 a.m. but the forecast indicated a high temp of 24C (75F).  I wanted to get as much done before it got very warm out there.  More raking, more picking of pink shale, clearing up pine cones and pine needles under the spruce tree out back, and a good cleaning of the small shed.  I tidied up my tool box, and used some nails to hang up tools in the shed.  

As I'd done on Friday, this was done in spurts, with breaks every half hour or so to read and have something to drink.  It was such a nice day that most of the neighbours were out as well and at one point, I moved around to the front patio when someone started up a noisy machine.  Too noisy for me to read.  That didn't last long because other neighbours were out front.  So back to the back yard I went.  I filled four more containers with soil in preparation for planting on Monday.  

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the deck with my book.  The clouds rolled in but it was still lovely and warm.  What a beautiful day!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful long weekend.  It seems spring has finally arrived in Canada!  

A white crested sparrow - he has a beautiful song
I think purple finches are such attractive birds, the colors and markings are striking.
Take care all and stay well!

Wednesday 13 May 2020

A She-shed update

In the comments to the last post, there were several requests for photos of the she-shed's progress.  R and L, with some assistance from K this past weekend finished a lot of the outside.  Since then he's worked on putting the windows in every evening after work.  Have I said this guy never stops moving?  He's so much like our Dad, both in looks and in energy level!

Here are some of the photos he's sent to me over the past several days.
My niece L seems to be taking a short break.  

L wanted lots of windows in the shed and her wish was granted.  They had their front porch rebuilt last year and had lots of windows in storage.
K and L appear to be celebrating having raised the roof.  R said that was the hardest part because the roof pieces were heavy and the walls were 2 feet higher.  
This is where they ended the evening on Sunday.

Monday evening he was able to fit in the old windows.
He also got in one more window and the doors.

On Tuesday he finished putting in the rest of the windows.  He was mentioning that L will now need to be patient because completing the trim and finishing things off inside will take some time.  I know they are planning to put wood from the old kitchen ceiling in as flooring.  But for now, the she-shed is closed in and (hopefully) critter proof.  

I'll be sure to share photos of the interior work in future posts.