Friday 27 August 2021

A hodgepodge of a week

 We've had several days of light rain this week, adding up to about 2 inches overall.  It's been needed and I haven't had to water my containers for several days.  It's been cool though too, with temperatures struggling to reach 20C (68F).  I was ready to see the heat break but not so thrilled with these cooler days.  I'm not nearly ready for summer to end.  Sadly, the forecast shows two nice days (Sunday and Monday) and then we're back into the cooler weather for the next ten days or so.  

I did get out one day, in between rain showers to harvest a few of my veggies. It may not look like much (and it isn't) but for the few plants that I have I'm happy.  I started the tomatoes and larger green peppers from seed in late April, while the jalapeno and small red pepper plants were picked up in July when the garden centre was selling off the last of their plants.  I picked another green pepper and several more tomatoes this morning.  I'm hoping to let the rest continue to ripen on the plants but the nights have been getting cool.  5C (41F) has been the lowest thus far. 

Oh well, with the cooler weather, it certainly has given me time (and perhaps a push) to get some deep cleaning done around here.  I'm almost finished the main floor but am starting to lose momentum. Hence starting this blog post on Friday rather than tackling the spare room.  I'm working on doing some decluttering at the same time and have started another box for donations and a bag for clothing.  Neither have much in them yet.  

When I haven't been cleaning, I've been watching the IHHF women's hockey. Our Canadian team started out slowly but have been gelling as a team as the week has progressed. I'm disappointed that the networks are showing so little of the ParaOlympics.  There are two hours scheduled this afternoon on one of our major networks so I'll catch up on the news before the football this evening.  I've been working on a crochet project at the same time.  It's a hexagon African daisy and I'm using up a few partial balls of various colored yarn along with a huge ball of white yarn I'd picked up at Value Village. When I run out of purple, I have two balls of pink but will need a third. If that runs out before I have enough pieces, I'll use some yellow yarn for the flowers, though again, I only have two shades.  Oh darn, I will have to buy more yarn. :p  

I did go shopping again this week, for groceries, cat food and litter, with stops at the local thrift and dollar stores as well.  For less than $25 at the thrift stores, this is my haul.  Three t-shirts for Eli, a blue cake pan for D, the basket to hold my pumpkins, more fabric for pumpkins or napkins, two good sized balls of cotton yarn, a crochet craft kit and a Morris Design candy jar.  The crochet craft had an original price of $25 - which I never would have paid - so I think I did well.  There is enough cotton yarn to make two more shopping bags, and I couldn't resist the candy jar.  It appears it was a promotional item as the company sells candies.  I did find a cookie jar listed at $33C, so I expect is has some value.  I've no intention of selling it, instead it will have a place in my kitchen.

I've been reorganizing a bit in my craft room, taking stock of what I have, with a plan to use as much as possible in the next few months.  I've started on a few Christmas crafts, as well as Halloween.  Here are some finishes:

The larger "Boo sign" will be hung on my front door in place of the wreath. I have a set of battery operated miniature lights that I'll add to the sign to make it more visible.

The smaller Boo sign is for my tier tray. I  want to add some fake cobwebs to the Happy Halloween frame and will display it on the china cabinet.  (Any real cobwebs have been dispensed of this week). 

The last is a wooden pumpkin which I sanded, painted and covered with paper napkins.  This side I like the best because it almost looks like a face.  

The winter/Christmas item is this board that will be leaned against the wall on top of the china cabinet.  I used a sheet of scrap book paper for the base but I wanted it to have more of a 3D effect so added the trees and stars. 

In other news, D is getting Eli ready for school.  They had their last meeting with the occupational therapist on Wednesday.  K will be writing a report with several recommendations for the school and plans to visit the classroom in a month or so.  D has had a call with the principal too, to go over a few things that came up last spring.  One of them, which I just learned of, was he was called Elias at school even though D and Eli both requested he be called Eli.  The only time any of us call him Elias is when he is being naughty.  I wonder if the use of that name had some negative effect on him in the classroom.  The new preschool teacher started work this week and is planning to meet with a small groups of parents and children over the next few weeks.  Eli and two other children are the only ones returning from last year,  everyone else has moved on to kindergarten. I'm hoping they'll be able to make him a "helper" for the younger children as a way to keep him engaged.

On a pessimistic note, we're seeing an increase of Covid-19 cases here, especially among children and young adults.  The small town that D lives in had six children attending the ER just this week. (She has a friend who is a nurse). So she's quite concerned about the risk to Eli.  Most of the city school boards are mandating masks for elementary school children and recommending masks in high school.  But the smaller towns have yet to make announcements even though school starts on September 1.  D is planning to send Eli to school in a mask regardless, but knows that it will be difficult for him to wear it if others are not.  

Our provincial government has basically given up.  There will be no more health orders, they're leaving it up to the personal responsibility of individuals.  I guess they're unaware of how that's gone in other jurisdictions.  Of course, they were re-elected last fall so they've got three years or so before the electorate can hold them accountable if/when things go badly.  I'm tired, so very tired, of personal freedom (a term used by our health minister) overriding the welfare of the collective.  If that's the case, let's do away with seat belts and bike helmets, bring back lawn darts, smoking in vehicles, and permit drunk driving.  On the latter aspect at least two of our current provincial politicians have some experience - one resulting in the death of a woman.  

Too, we're in the midst of the federal election campaign.  The leaders are promising anything and everything to secure the votes - even when the promises appear to be contrary to the values held by the party.  To be honest, I don't think anything they are saying will swing votes.  Many people are so entrenched in partisanship that listening with an open mind is damned near impossible.  (I'll admit even though I try I get easily frustrated.) Thankfully it's a short campaign, just 36 days, with the election to be held on September 20. 

On a far happier note, I'm off to visit a friend tomorrow in a nearby city.  I've been feeling a bit claustrophobic, only getting out to shop and am starting to crave contact with others that aren't family.  We're planning to visit the Farmer's market and take a walk in the park, with a stop for coffee or tea at a patio.  It's been nearly two years since I've seen C in person - it will be wonderful to see her again.

Since I've covered the week's happenings, I'll wrap this up and publish it today.  I may be back with a post on Sunday as I'm planning to take my camera with me.  I haven't been outdoors for a walk for some time, getting my steps and activity indoors instead.

Take care everyone and have a good weekend!

Saturday 21 August 2021

Here comes the rain

I recall, when I was still working, it seemed every summer weekend would bring the rain.  The weather we're getting today seems more normal than the heat.  It is Friday morning as I start writing up this post and I'm looking out a rain streaked window.  It's quite cool, just 12C (54F), so it's a good day to be indoors while the much needed moisture falls.

Since the house has cooled off, I've been baking this morning, using up some frozen fruit from the freezer,  with a blueberry crumble and some banana bread.  The latter was almost a failure, as I realized once I had the batter in the tins and licked the spoon that I'd forgotten to add the sugar!  I put the batter back in the bowl, added the sugar, and re-filled the tins. Not sure what I was thinking. I also made up a small jar of refrigerator pickles, with cucumber, red pepper, and red onion.  I had thought I'd use Jackie's recipe, but realized I didn't have the necessary spices. is a handy site because the search function provides for both inclusions and exclusions.

I've been doing a bit of decluttering around the house this week, and took two bags of clothing and two boxes of kitchen and other items to Value Village on Tuesday.  The store provides a coupon for 20% off purchases for donating, but it was also senior's day, and there was another sale - if you purchased a certain dollar amount there was a 30%.  The discounts couldn't be combined.  I found some real deals: for less than $15, I purchased a long-sleeved blouse, a t-shirt, and a hoodie jacket.  In addition, I found two pieces of material, one I plan to use for the backing for pillows, and another is enough to make another top for me.  I did find a pattern - unfortunately the pieces I needed were missing.  I also found several picture frames in various sizes, plus a large ball of yarn, and I paid less than $30 total for everything I bought (including the clothing).  

But I can't say I did as well with grocery shopping.  Everything has gone up in price, especially meat.  I bought a large package of ground beef to make up a meat loaf and some type of casserole, at $5.49 a pound. Shredded cheese was on sale, buy two packages, get one free so I took advantage of that offer.  I use the shredded cheese on pizzas, omelettes, chili bowls, and soup so it never goes to waste.

After my visit to VV, I made a quick stop at a couple of dollar stores to pick up some seasonal items.  I've been spending some time every evening in my craft room. The items I make are simple and don't a lot of time (or creativity - thank you to FB videos) but I enjoy making them.

This little gnome is one of the items.  It is made from a small wooden block, a pair of children's Halloween socks, a piece of black fabric, black yarn, and a small bead for the nose.

The creator in the video had used fun fur, but I had none and really didn't think I'd want more than one gnome.  So I used up some old yarn from a UFO.  I'd started to crochet a reindeer a few years ago, but when I went to finish it this year I discovered I'd lost the pattern.  The black yarn was used for the reindeer's hoof - I simply unravelled it, cut the strands and glued them to the black fabric for the beard.  I think it worked well, and I love the curls.

The second piece is a small 10 inch wreath form, a few flowers leftover from my cart project, some fabric leaves, a roll of wired ribbon in green for the wreath, and another piece of wired ribbon for hanging it.  I'll hang it on the back of the front door - the wreath I made last year from items purchased at Michael's is on the front.  Quite a difference in price, it was nearly $40 for the Michael's materials and only $5 or $6 for the dollar store version.  

I often listen to podcasts while I putter in the craft room.  I've just finished the series, "Finding Cleo", the story of a young First Nations girl who was taken from her mother, along with her siblings, in the Sixties Scoop.  The practice of taking children from their parent or parents and placing them up for adoption happened until the early 1980's here in Saskatchewan.  My daughter's friend and her brother are two of those children.  In Cleo's case, she was taken from a reserve near North Battleford, and adopted in the United States.  The reporter who wrote about and told Cleo's story, is also First Nations and she provides a lot of history and background information.  The series is a number of episodes, and I found it hard not to go onto the next episode as one ended.  If you have any interest in hearing the stories of our First Nations people, this is a good series to listen to.

Earlier this week I finished my latest knitting project. I used up four small balls (50 g) of cotton yarn to make it up.  The way I have it pictured, it doesn't show there are actually two handles, so it's much like the plastic grocery bags we get at the store.  The pattern was a simple four row repeat so I found it easy to knit while I watched football or other television programs.  

I've pulled some more yarn, this time for a crocheting project.  I've found a pattern for granny squares that I want to try.  I started on this project on Friday evening, and it is one I can work on while I watch television.  Good thing, as there are two football games, including our Riders, to be played today. (It's now Saturday).

The sun has come out today and it has warmed up to a respectable 19C (66F). My neighbours to the back are having a birthday party for their two year old in their yard. I'm sure they are happy to have the nicer weather as there are a number of folks visiting. I did go out to check on the tomatoes and peppers but didn't stay out as I'm sure they'll appreciate their privacy.

We've got more rain in the forecast for next week. It is sorely needed so I won't complain.  I'm sure I'll find something to keep me occupied.  :) On that note, it's time for me to finish this for the week and get a bit of housework done before the first football game starts.  Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 14 August 2021

Back into the heat, a visit, and finishes

What a difference a few days can make! We had a few days of cooler weather, and then the heat found its way back to us.  We desperately needed the rain so even though my day trip was cut short on Tuesday, I was quite happy for the rain.  It rained again Wednesday morning too.  By Friday though, the heat was on and this weekend's forecast is for 35C (95F) on both Saturday and Sunday.  But this heat wave will be short-lived (at least that's the current forecast) and we'll have cooler weather arriving by mid-week.  

A follow-up from my last post; the mechanic at my local garage determined the rattling I was hearing was from a loose bracket on the skid plate that covers the transmission and gas tank under my car.  He added a couple of screws to repair it, at least temporarily, and the cost was a mere $30.  I will need to replace the bracket at some point, but this garage doesn't carry such parts so I will likely have to take it into the dealership garage for a replacement.  

D and Eli spent some time with us, arriving Thursday and heading home on Friday after a couple of doctor's appointments for the little guy.  First up was an optometrist appointment - no significant issues as yet, though Eli does have astigmatism.  Not a surprise as it is a family trait.  The next appointment was with their family doctor.  Eli has some tendencies that may be signs of autism or attention deficit disorders: tip-toe walking, occasionally flapping his hands when stressed, and covering his ears because of noise levels.  Dr. J. has made a referral for Eli to be assessed though that won't likely happen for several months.

I saw evidence of this behaviour when we visited the museum on Thursday morning.  Eli was quite excited to meet Scotty, the tyrannosaurus rex whose bones were found near Eastend, Saskatchewan.  But when someone pushed the button to make the dinosaur roar, he covered his ears and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. We did manage to make the tour of the displays but it was a rush in an out of the museum in just a half hour.  Throughout our visit, his stress increased as he couldn't tolerate the sounds of birds and other animals in several displays and the number of other people in the space seemed to be overwhelming to him.  Once in the car, he settled down and was the loveable little boy I know so well. I think I understand why pre-K was difficult for him this past year with the chaos that occurs when a number of small people are in the same room.

An occupational therapist, K, has been visiting Eli and D on a weekly basis.  She's been working with Eli to help him transition from various tasks (desirable to less desirable) and helping D determine and set appropriate goals.  He can now put on his shoes without assistance, though they are often on the wrong foot.  (Doesn't seem to bother him in the least.)

K will work with the school too, to make Eli's time in school easier. Last year, when things got to be too much, he was sent to sit (alone) on a bench outside the classroom door.  He knew he was being punished and it certainly didn't help him integrate or learn.  This fall, we are anticipating he will have an assigned educational assistant to help direct his focus and divert his attention when needed, and K will be making recommendations for other options for dealing with his behaviour.  I'm hopeful he'll have a better experience this year too, because the teacher who basically gave up on him, has moved to another school. 

I share all this because I think it that mental health disorders are often stigmatized.  Children, like Eli, are branded as difficult, bratty, and their parents lazy or unable to control their children.  In reality, these children are often undiagnosed and without supports.  And I know personally, as a parent of a child who wasn't diagnosed until she was an adult, that finding help can be frustrating.  When D was young, I visited the school psychologist on an annual basis during her elementary years, seeking assistance.  On every occasion, I was informed I wasn't consistent enough as a parent, and all of her issues would be resolved if my parenting skills were improved.  Sadly, I assumed they were right and didn't fight further for my girl. Eli is fortunate because his mother is an incredible advocate for him.

One on one you couldn't meet a sweeter child.  Eli is incredibly smart, inquisitive and loving.  D has worked with him so that he can identify his own feelings and he demonstrates empathy for the feelings of others.  When I asked him not to do something, he asked me if it would make me angry or sad if I did it.  That he understands the nuances of those feelings at the age of four amazes me.  Unfortunately, when he is in a group setting, especially one that is busy or noisy, he is easily distracted and overwhelmed, and has a difficult time regulating his behaviour.  He needs, and deserves, the assistance of all the adults in his life to help him learn coping skills.  D has ordered noise cancelling headphones for him as well as a weighted stuffed animal.  The latter is meant to help him feel calm - as though he is being hugged or held.  

On a happier note, we visited the nearby park both days. The city put in new retaining walls last year and Eli has decided they are castles. Here he is sitting on the wall of his castle, fishing.  He found sticks for both of us so we could fish together.  Later he and his Princess mom "shot cannons" at each other across the walls.  He has such an imagination!

Before we leave the park, summer or winter, one of his favorite things to do is roll down the hill. With his stick of course!

Back to the regular scheduled programming - with the cooler and rainy weather early in the week, I spent some time playing in my craft room.  And I finally finished Eli's sweater.  I know I made it a bit large, but we couldn't convince him to try it on for G'ma so I'm not certain just how big it truly is.  He wasn't particularly excited about it.

He did however, like his new Christmas stocking.

I won't call it my best work, because I made the mistake of gluing the first tier of green felt down before ensuring where the other pieces would end the tree is off balance, and a little too low on the stocking.  I'm thinking I may add a few small snowflakes at the top above the star.  On the reverse is my very rustic rendition of Santa's photo, I'll let you use your own imagination.  

This little cart was a purchase from the dollar store.  I stained it, added some floral foam, a bit of moss, several small pumpkins and a few floral stems.  Everything can be removed and I can switch it out for the seasons. I'm already envisioning a pile of small wrapped presents and ribbons for Christmas.  

The last finish are these painted pumpkins (not the orange one).  The dollar store sells foam pumpkins.  I simply painted them with white chalk paint, dipped the stems in brown paint, used gold paint for the stripes, added a few leaves and popped the stem back in.  

I've been eyeing up the sheer volume of yarn in my stash.  It's time to start working my way through some of it.  I've started knitting a new market bag with some cotton yarn.  But that's just the first of many projects - I just have to decide what's next. There are several small bits of yarn for making scarves again this year, and I also have a couple of small wreath forms to make up.  The list never truly ends!

Sigh, just like housework.  Time for me to close off this post and get some vacuuming done.  In the 90 minutes or so I took to write this post, the temperature went from 15C (59F) to 31C (88F), so I won't be spending much time outdoors.  Good thing there are two footballs games being broadcast this evening. I'll plant my butt on the couch and knit.  Go Riders!

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Not quite as planned

I hadn't planned to post this until tomorrow, as I had anticipated I'd be gone for most of the day today.  However, best laid plans of mice and men and all that, here I am.

A little background on the place I went to visit today.  Nicolle Flats Nature area is situated in the Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, in the Qu'Appelle Valley, about 90 kilometers or so from the city of Regina, and about 30 kilometers from the city of Moose Jaw.  The nature preserve is named after an early settler, Charles Nicolle.  The family homestead is accessible along the trail from the far end, which is where I started my adventure.

And an adventure it was, in more ways than one. I should mention that I often get lost when I first go to a new place.  That happened again today.  Before I left this morning, I checked online to be sure I knew where I was going.  I didn't print off the map, certain I would be able to find my way.  There would be signs, right?  Well, there were some but not enough to get me where I thought I was going.  Finally giving up on my spotty memory, I turned to Google maps.  With spotty internet service in the valley, I managed to drive a little bit further than I originally planned.  Since I didn't specify I wanted to go to the provincial park entry, Google maps sent me to the far end of the trail.  As it turned out this was a good thing.

There are several trails that one can take - the one I started on took me to the homestead.  From there I looped down along the Dyke trail and cut across to the Valley trail to get back to the car.  It was about 3.5 kilometers in total.  I hadn't planned to do such a short loop but could not locate signage to direct me to the Nicolle Flats trail that would have led to the start of the trails off the homestead property.  Again, this was proven a good thing.

The first trail took me up a decent incline, where there were a couple of benches to overlook the marsh.  From there I headed further down into the valley to the homestead. 

The information below indicates the homestead was settled on in 1903 and has had no human inhabitants since 1959.  The house is built of fieldstone, with each stone gathered by hand, then loaded onto wagons to be brought to the building site.  Another article I read revealed the stones were loaded into wheelbarrows and pushed up slanted boards to reach the higher floors.  That would have taken some brute strength!

Also still standing is the foundation for the barn.  

I wandered around the yard site for a bit looking for the path that would take me to the marsh and would eventually lead to the observation deck, but if there was a sign I could not locate it.  Instead I headed back on a different trail that went off in a similar direction as I had come.  I finished my shortened walk in about 45 minutes, which included the time I took to stop for photos and wander the homestead.  

It looks wet in this photo, but it wasn't coming down hard at this point.  In fact, I quite enjoyed the mist.

I realized I had to get to the provincial park's entry site, but until I got to the top of the valley I had no internet access.  With the directions provided to "Buffalo Pound park entry", I discovered I had been a mere 1.5 kilometers from my destination when my first request for "Nicolle Flats" resulted in a cross country tour.  Oh well, as I mentioned it was for the best anyway.

At the park I paid my entry fee, and got additional directions from the young man at the gate.  The road to the flats runs along Buffalo Pound lake for about 15 miles or so, before one reaches the dam and lake's end. Beyond that is the Nicolle Flats area.  I arrived with one more short detour - I went up a hill instead of straight ahead.  I blame that on the signage being hidden behind some bush.  

Just off the parking lot, there are a couple of open air buildings.  One is used as an educational spot - I assume the park staff offer guided tours at some point in the summer months.  One is a gazebo like structure that overlooks the marsh.
This it the view looking out over the marsh from the observation platform.  The white spot in the middle is a sign at the end of the marsh boardwalk.

From the same vantage point, this is the start of the marsh boardwalk.
As I looked down towards the boardwalk, I initially thought it might be underwater.  It wasn't. 
The reeds and cat tails grow tall along the edge, far taller than I am!
At one point there was an opening in the reeds with some shorter plants.  
In places it appears that the boardwalk is being impacted by the shifting ground of the marsh.  These boards seemed a bit soft to me, but still sturdy enough to walk on, if a little bouncy.

I walked out to the end of the boardwalk, hoping to see some wildlife.  But with the rain I suspect most of the birds and other critters were staying out of it as best they could.  I should note I saw several hawks and one pelican but these while I was driving so there is no photo evidence.  

When I got back to the educational building, the rain was starting to fall quite heavily.  I stayed there for about 20 minutes waiting for it to lessen or, better still, stop but it did not.  I abandoned my plan to walk the trail that would take me back to the homestead. 

I had company while I tried to outwait the rain.  This little swallow seems to be looking skyward, saying "enough" or may it is simply enjoying it's shower.

After I left the park, I had the option to go left to return to Regina or take the road to the right to go to Moose Jaw.  I chose the latter, which was another good choice.  On my drive, I spotted a small rural church, St. Columba Anglican Church, built and consecrated in 1898.  As I drew closer I saw there was a small graveyard attached and decided both were worth a visit.

I did walk to the door of the church but did not try to open it.  I have since learned, the church is still used for the occasional wedding and baptism, but has otherwise been unused since 1959. It may very well have been open, as vandals would simply break in anyway. The church and graveyard are maintained by the direct descendants of the early congregants.

There were two markers that caught my attention.  They looked older than the others, and are those of Charles and Catherine Nicolle, the original owners the Nicolle homestead.
The first is the resting place of Catherine, born 1840 and died in 1924.  The information on her grave stone is still legible.
Not so, this headstone for Charles, born 1849 and died in 1918.  I was able to find more information from a photo in the Findagrave website.  

I'd been fortunate in this brief stop off as the rain had lessened while I wandered about.  But shortly after I started driving the rain came down even heavier than before.  Another change in plans, as I had thought I might take a walk in the Wakamow Valley park in Moose Jaw, an urban park I visited many years ago when D was just a toddler.  That's a long time ago.  So when I reached the highway I took the exit to head for home instead of heading into the city.

It literally poured rain for the next 70 kilometers or so.  The highway is divided, thankfully, but even so the splash from other vehicles lowered the visibility at times.  I was glad to reach the city limits.  But then as I pulled onto the exit towards my house, I heard a strange noise coming from under my vehicle.  Since it didn't seem to be impacting my drive, I continued the several blocks to the house and pulled into the garage.  My son C is working from home this week, so I asked him to check for me.  It turns out that the skid plate (that covers the manual transmission) had come loose in one place and that is what I heard rattling under the car.  I've since called the garage and have an appointment to have it taken care of on Friday. 

Despite the rain and the car troubles, I had a wonderful time.  The trails at Nicolle Flats are well maintained and though the signage could use some improvement, I could use a lesson in map reading too.  Had I not gotten lost/mis-directed I would have not have made it to the homestead, and had I not taken the road to the right, I wouldn't have found the church either. So things that didn't go quite as planned worked out for the best.  Besides I definitely have a reason to return to continue my walk on the trails along the marsh to find my way back to the homestead from that direction...then I'll find the path I might have taken.  I'm thinking mid-September when the leaves are starting to change!

Sunday 8 August 2021

Blinked and I missed it

 Again, this week, time has gotten away from me.  On Thursday I thought it was Wednesday and only realized the actual day when I noticed the neighbours had their garbage bins out for pick-up.  I still haven't figured out where I lost a day.  My daughter thought it might have been Monday since it was a long weekend but as I told her, for me every weekend is a long weekend.  

So what did I get up to this week? The regular stuff like housework, grocery shopping, walking (all indoors this week due to the smoke outside except for today), and some crafting.  I'm getting so tired of the haze from the forest fires and I have a perpetual sore throat when I'm outdoors for any length of time. I did some yard work on Friday morning and spent two full hours deadheading and trimming back plants.  I try to deadhead every second day but obviously I haven't been doing a great job of it.

My tomatoes are ripening on the vine and so far I've picked four from the plants.  There's probably close to 60 tomatoes yet to ripen, and my peppers are doing great.  I have a couple of unknown peppers, one looks like a jalapeno, the others I know are a variety of long red ones, and then there are a half dozen greens, one that is a good size while the others are still tiny.  I have high hopes they'll be ready by the end of August.

On Tuesday I headed out to Value Village as it was senior's discount day.  I didn't find what I went looking for, a pillow, but did pick up a housedress (with pockets!), a tee shirt, both for me, and a fitted sheet for my daughter for around $12.  Score! At Salvation Army I found another pillow for $1.99.  I had taken the little pillow I made, that was meant for Eli's dad, to Eli last weekend.  He loved it so much he has refused to give it up.  So D sent me home with a bunch of sleepers Eli wore when he was a babe, and I'll make another pillow out of those for J.  At some point, I'm not at any rush.

I managed a couple of "this close" to finishes this week too. The first is this tank top for my daughter.  I know it looks a little uneven in the photo but I've counted the stitches on both sides numerous times, so it's simply the way it is hanging on the hanger.  The straps are not yet sewn on to the top, as I'm waiting for my daughter to visit (later this week) to get the proper fit.  I had taken it with me last weekend for her to try on before I finished the mesh top and straps and it fit nicely.  I also added the band at the bottom as she prefers a longer top. I think it will look good with another tank top underneath too.

My other almost finish is this top for me.  It's difficult to tell, but the panel in front is attached to a peplum on the sides and back, so it's very flowy...which I appreciate.  The back needs to be taken in, as it's just too large - I've got that figured out and will finish sometime this week. I learned some things as I worked through this pattern.  First, it takes me much longer to sew a project than I realized.  I thought I'd be able to finish it in a couple of days, and it actually took me closer to three days.  Second, I need more practice sewing with knit material.  The stretch got to me a few times - I found myself stretching the material as I sewed, not a good thing. Lastly, I learned that sewing requires much patience, which I haven't much of, but I do enjoy it nonetheless. 

I still haven't worked on Eli's sweater but I did get up to Fabricland on Tuesday to pick up buttons for it.  The buttons are on my end table by my chair.  This week, right?  We'll see.  Instead I've started pulling out the indoor carpet in the unfinished area of the basement. It's old and dirty so it needs to go.  The rug was glued down, making it somewhat difficult to remove in one piece so I'm pulling the top layer and then will scape the foam backing off the floor later.  I've got an area about 10 x 10 and have half the top layer pulled.  I wish it would just peel off easily but it's taking some major effort on my part. I only do about 10-15 minutes at a time because I'm old and out of shape and get winded. 

I'm also working on decorating a Christmas stocking for Eli.  I purchased the stocking at Dollarama last year after Christmas and it's been sitting in my craft room since then.  I needed some felt for the project, and had stopped at Michaels as the selection at the $ store was limited, and of course, some sale yarn may have jumped into my cart.  So now I have more projects for this winter. Not that I didn't already have more than enough things on the go.  I really should take the example of a couple of bloggers that I follow and sit down and make a list and remind myself not to take on any more.  Even when the price is right.

Oh, and I thought I'd mention the cat litter cleaning.  One of the comments last week was I must have a lot of cat litter.  For those who haven't been a reader for a long time, I have two cats; Sasha who reached the age of 21 in May and continues to be quite healthy if not a little deaf*, and Saku who had his 13th birthday in March and continues to be a loveable pest.  Unless you are Eli, who calls him, "Saku, that mean kitty".  It's true Saku doesn't much like the kid and the two tend to steer clear of one another.  There are three litter boxes in the basement for the two cats and I clean these daily.  Let's just say the output is quite impressive. I probably should clean twice a day, but TBH, it's not one of my favorite chores.  *Sometimes I think Sasha feigns deafness, as he can hear the cat food can being opened from a fair distance.  

Beyond that, I've been watching a lot of the Olympics.  I stayed up late Thursday night into the wee hours to watch the bronze medal baseball game between the Dominican Republic and Korean teams.  I watched several of the games over the week and was quite impressed with DR, and thrilled when they won the game in a dramatic fashion, scoring 5 runs in the 8th inning.  Korea had been ahead by one run and got two more back in the 8th but DR shut them out in the 9th.  At the same time I kept an eye on the Brazil/Argentina volleyball bronze medal game.  It came down to the wire with Argentina on top.  The coach was overwhelmed.

Speaking of overwhelmed, did you see any of the gold medal soccer/football game that our Canadian women won over Sweden.  Phew, what a game!  It came down to penalty kicks after regulation time ended in a tie.  (And it might not have, had a video review overturned the ref's decision not to call a penalty on Sweden.  One of the young Canadian players got the tying point on that penalty kick).  After the first round of five kicks, the teams were tied again, and it was down to sudden death.  The first team to score would win.  Again, one of the younger players came through and scored for the Canadian team!  I'm surprised some of you didn't hear me screaming from here.  

This week the Canadian football league was back in action too.  Our province's team won their first game of the season, but they tried very hard not to.  The first half they were leading by 31 points, the other team scored 29 in the next two quarters while we only managed two additional points.  Thank goodness for our punter...he really made the difference for us.  Ryan used to play for the Seattle Seahawks and he certainly has the ability to kick.  He was born and raised here and I believe he plans to finish his football career here in Canada.  

Well, this certainly turned into a rambling post.  Sort of like the rest of the week.  I'm planning a day trip this week out to a nearby nature reserve - we're supposed to have a couple of cooler days and my son is working from home; getting out of the house for a day will be nice. We may even get rain on Monday, fingers crossed!  It's been over two weeks since the last rainfall and it's sorely needed.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Sunday 1 August 2021

One week, two visits

 I'm not certain where this week went but the time certainly flew by  The first few days were not particularly memorable.  A little shopping, housework, yard work, and several walks - one with the camera in hand.  Oh, and lots of Olympic games watching.  Maybe I do know where the time went. :) 

On Friday, I had a visit with a former co-worker who continues to be a good friend.  She was coming to the city to spend the weekend with her daughter M, and since M had to work, D came to my house to visit for a few hours before they met up.  It was wonderful and strange all at the same time.  We've had pretty regular phone calls over the past couple of years, but this was the first face-to-face meeting with a friend in my home for many months.  Since we've both been fully vaccinated we decided it was safe to do so, and we even hugged!  We talked, we laughed, and shared stories of when we were working, about our grandkids, and life as we've known it since retirement.  I cannot explain how much those few hours meant to me.  She's invited me to drive up to visit her and I may just decide to do that one day. 

Back to the normal, here are a few of the photos from my walk earlier this week.

You likely won't recall but I mentioned sometime ago that there was a family of Hungarian partridges living in the nearby park.  This is one of the parents, the little ones were far too speedy for me to capture them with the camera.  

Sadly, the water level in the creek has dropped again. There were only a few ducks on the creek, and I didn't see the killdeer nor any blackbirds either.

These next two photos make me laugh.  There is a path that leads from the creek to a yard where I assume the family are providing feed for the ducks.  I spotted this duck trotting along the path heading back to the creek.  The grass is a fair height so all I could initially see was the single duck.

But she wasn't alone at all.  As they came out of the grass and crossed the path into next portion of grass on the side of the creek, I enjoyed the march of the ducklings.  

The city was busy planting more trees in the park.  There were three or four news ones already in the ground and the water truck was giving them a good soaking in.  I hope they make it through this heat. Two years ago, they planted a number of evergreens, most of which have since died.

Over at the pond there were many ducks, several geese and two pelicans.  Okay, don't laugh, but my eyesight isn't the best so I wasn't sure what I was looking at. If you've ever wondered what a pelican looked like from the rear...this is it.

Speaking of rears, this photo was another that made me laugh. Those little white butts look so darn cute!

This next series of the second pelican illustrate it's feeding technique.  It looked to me as it crouched low in the water to be listening for somthing.

When it finds it's prey, it quickly spears the water with that long beak.

Then the head came and the bird swallowed what it had captured. I assuming it would be a frog or something similar as there are no fish in the pond that I know of.  

I've walked in the evening a few times this week, without the camera.  The rabbits/hares have been out in the force at that time of day.  I've counted twenty or more in the large open areas of the park.  There is clover growing there and it must be very tasty.

On Saturday morning, I headed out for a short visit with D and Eli.  She had her telephone appointment with her doctor earlier in the week; he ordered a medication change for her and I picked up the order on Friday.  Had I mailed them she wouldn't have received them until mid-next week due to the long weekend.  I haven't been there for a month so I was quite happy to make the drive.  However, there is no a/c in their house so one night's stay is plenty in the continuing heat.  (It been around the 30C/86F range for what seems like weeks now.)

After a bit of housecleaning and laundry was accomplished or underway, we headed over to the park.  One of Eli's pre-K friends was there and he had a great time playing in the water with W and one of his little cousins. 
He and I returned to the park after lunch.  He didn't want to play in the water, but rather wanted G'ma to push him higher and higher on the swing. 

Back at home we puttered around in the yard.  D mowed the back lawn, while I deadheaded and watered her containers.  I had a bit of water left in the watering can so I poured it over Eli.  He thought that was a great game. Then he pulled his plastic sled from the garage and insisted G'ma pull him around the yard on it.  Three times around the yard was the best I could do.  He was kind enough to let me sit and read a book while he played for a bit, then he brought his tablet out and sat quietly in a chair playing his games.

I planned to leave early this morning to avoid the heat but stuck around until D had mowed the side yard.  I did a little weeding, while Eli played. He requested and I agreed to three more times around the yard with the sled by which time I was worn out. He's heavy and pulling a sled on the grass is not nearly as easy as on the snow. I'm looking forward to their next visit in mid-August.  I don't own a sled. (Yes, he has his sunglasses upside down - he prefers to wear them this way.)

And here we are, at the start of August. The heat is forecast to continue, at least until mid-month.  Even so, the nights will get cooler and summer will start to wind down.  I noticed this morning my tomatoes are beginning to ripen on the vine.  I've got one small green pepper and a half dozen red peppers (still green) growing quickly.  The petunias are starting to look leggy so they'll need a haircut soon. The yard work won't end for some time yet.  Nor does the housework, which reminds me....

Have a good week everyone!