Saturday 27 May 2023

Wreaking havoc

The photos of the three hares on Wednesday where taken from my front driveway, across the street to the neighbour's yard. He had a large spruce tree removed last year, and hasn't dealt with the lawn as yet. Kim, I haven't seen a hare roll in the dirt before either, and was lucky to be at the right place at the right time. Initially I was taking the photo because the one hare has still not turned entirely brown. In the last of the series, the neighbour had come out of the front door with his daughter (she's learning to drive). None of the hares bolted, but the one did pay attention. When I called across the street, "did you get some new pets", he responded, "did you want some". My answer was no thanks!

It's been a very busy week, starting with grocery shopping on Monday, several errands, including a visit to Value Village* on Tuesday, and some packing and clearing of spaces upstairs ahead of the contractors arriving Wednesday afternoon to start the demolition process. I also heard from the landscaper, and the quote was much less than I had thought it might be. I asked him to hold off until the flooring guys are finished. At the rate demolition has occurred, I thought perhaps they'd be finished by mid to end of next week.

And then, like most construction projects, things ground to a halt. The flooring, which was expected to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday, did not. It did come in on Friday, but the contractor advised he didn't have time to deliver that day, so I'm expecting it on Monday with work to begin again on Tuesday.  In the meantime, my living room looks like this:

The two spare bedrooms are also stripped, however my bedroom hasn't been touched. We decided it will be left until the flooring in one or both of the spare rooms is complete, then the furniture can be moved out to provide more space for the guys to work. 

They did, however, get the new baseboards installed in the front foyer, the kitchen, and the bathrooms. I've left the original vinyl - it's very good quality and as my mom would say, "hides the dirt". I'm sure the next owners will want to replace it at some point. I said to Carter, one of the workers - I have to leave something for them to do. :)

Saku and I spent Thursday in the sunroom, and with limited distractions, I finished the toddler sweater. I've also been working on the flower afghan and have half of it sewn together, and the edges completed on about half of the remaining flowers. At this rate, I might even finish it while the construction is on-going. The cat and I will spend mornings in the sunroom, and then afternoons in the craft room downstairs. We're expecting July temperatures next week, (28-29C/82-84F) each day. As it is constructed of metal and glass, the sunroom gets far too hot on those days to be tolerable in the afternoons.  

Friday, I vaccumed the entire main floor to get up bits and pieces of the leveling compound and dried pieces of drywall mud, as well as cat hair. I used my vacuum hose in the open cold air returns and found mounds of the latter. I told my son C, before the house is listed I'll have to have the ducts cleaned. It's been a couple of years so it's definitely time. 

We had a lovely rain on Friday; my gauge registered nearly a 1/2 inch. Yay, no watering required. My onion sets are up, as is the lettuce, and my tomatoes seem to have sprouted a couple more inches in the last week. The cucumber has several blooms on it but remains rather squat. I've pinched the bottom ones off of it, hoping to encourage it to stretch out to reach the trellis. The perennial is doing well too, with the hostas starting to emerge, and the plants already tall. My bleeding heart is blooming. The other annual containers look good too. I do love this time of year.

More rain is expected today, along with thunderstorms starting sometime this afternoon. In the meantime, it's relatively nice, 14C (57F) and overcast. Since I've little housework to do, I'm planning to head down to the pond for a walk. I drove past the other day and saw no baby geese. I do hope someone hasn't tampered with nests, as they have in the past. Other than that, I've nothing much planned for the next two days. There will be Blue Jays baseball to watch, along with some PVR'ed television. I'll continue to work on the afghan and likely start my cardigan. Pretty boring, but with the chaos of construction, I'm okay with that.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

*more yarn was purchased, enough for a crocheted cardigan! I paid less than $10 for the 12 skeins.

Saturday 20 May 2023

Getting dirty

When I returned home on Monday from my daughter's I was anxious to start planting my annuals. I probably ought not to have, as the weather cooled on Wednesday and Thursday but the hankering to get my hands in the dirt was too strong. I had left the bedding plants, including my starts, outside overnight Saturday and Sunday; thus I figured they were sufficiently hardened off. 

This will be a bit of a boring post, as I'm documenting the containers and their contents, for my own reference next year. Feel free to skip to the end, if you so choose. 

I first sat down at the patio table, and made decisions as to where everything I'd purchased would be planted. I quickly realized I'd purchased one too many of the osteospermum for the front containers. I was thinking five, when in fact, there were only four needed. I do have five containers in the front yard, three in front of the evergreen and two on the patio. But the round planter out front is always filled with wave petunias. (Apparently, I'm a creature of habit). Oh well, it meant I'd need to find a pot to add the other osteospermum, along with any other extras I found.

The tall containers in back, have the aforementioned osteospermum, an ivy, a calibrachoa (million bells), and finally a dusty miller. Normally I would purchase a basket and split it between the two containers. But wow, are baskets ever expensive this year. I did split a container of the caibrachoa between the four containers. It was a smaller basket, a 10", but I couldn't find the four inch pots when I originally shopped.

Off the patio are two more large containers, containing Osteospermum, creeping jenny, calabrocha and dusty miller. The creeping jenny is a perennial, however I've never managed to overwinter it successfully. 

Besides the five containers I've mentioned, I also planted two hanging baskets, and another container that sits on the front step. The latter is filled with impatiens as it is always in the shade.  

This hanging basket has a couple of marigolds that I started, and a bronze coleous. Normally I tend to plant coleus where it gets less sun, but this particular plant tag said it like full sun. I'll give it a go and see how it does.

I don't think I've told you the story of the cat hanger. One morning, shortly after I'd spent some time with my friend C, I happened to look out the front window and noticed this ornament hanging from the shepherd hook. At the time, there was no hanging plant. I quickly sent a message to C, because I thought perhaps she'd dropped it by without letting me know. Her license plate reads something along the lines of CtCrzy - she collects all of sort cat items, and has two cats of her own. She said she hadn't done it but it was cute - I agreed and it's still a mystery, now with a basket containing couple of marigolds and a dusty miller.

I took a break for lunch and headed back out to play some more. The vegetables were planted first along with marigolds, and then I turned my attention again to the annuals. The three large containers on the deck were planted with a persimmon supertunia. Unlike waves these will stay more compact, and are supposed to require less dead heading (removal of spent flowers). In the same container are bacopa and sweet potato vine, both of which will eventually spill over the edge of the containers. 

I had a few marigolds remaining, a single wave petunia, and that lone osteospermum. The wave petunia was added to a hanging basket, along with the sole ivy I was able to overwinter. To be honest, it isn't looking particularly healthy now that it has been outdoors so it may eventually be overtaken by the petunia. The osteospermum and marigolds found their way into three additional containers, along with one of my seedlings that was marked marigold but looks to me, a lot like a tomato. I guess I'll find out some day.

Tuesday was another outdoor day as I pulled out the old pavers that were left behind by the previous owner. I know, I know, I've been here almost 13 years... I moved them out to the driveway and posted a photo on the Free Regina FB group, as first come, first serve. When I checked later in the evening they were gone. 

The following day we woke to heavy smoke in the air from the forest fires in Northern Saskatchewan and Alberta. I took this photo about 8 a.m. It was almost eerie out there, and smelled as though we were downwind of a campfire. The winds did pick up and blow most of it away by afternoon, when I went to Stitch and chat. 

Then it got downright chilly. The temperature dropped to 5C (41F) on Wednesday night, and Thursday was worse at -1C (30F). I did not cover my containers the first night as we had cloud cover, but I made certain I got out and covered the tender annuals the following evening because the forecast was for clear skies overnight. Everything came through just fine, and it warmed up nicely throughout the day. The forecast is looking good, with no chance of frost. Now it is grow time!

Since I was kept indoors two days, I did some regular housework (washing floors, vacuuming, laundry, etc.) and got back to working on my flower blanket. It isn't going together as easily as I had hoped. I'm rethinking my strategy, and hopefully it will be finished in the next couple of weeks. I'm also at the point of sewing the toddler sweater together, as the knitting is complete. Once these two projects are complete, it will be time to pull more yarn. I've no idea what I'll make next but I do want to use up more of my stash.

Despite the very cool start to the day, Friday turned into a lovely weather day. I puttered around the house in the morning, and headed outdoors in the afternoon. Other than placing some garden ornaments and the solar lights, I spent my time relaxing and reading in the sun. I finished Greg Iles "Bloody Memory" - I've read several of his novels and like the others, this was a thriller to the end. I'd returned the book club novel earlier this week as I'd finished it when I was at D's on the weekend.

The forecast for today is a high of 27C (80F), but for the moment we're looking at a thunderstorm with rain. I've had to turn on the lights as it's getting very dark outside. I had hoped to spend the morning, cleaning and tidying the shed, but with the impending rain, I've decided to stay indoors and catch up on a bit of PVR'ed televison and the everlasting flower afghan. The outdoor tasks will have to wait until later in the day, and tomorrow.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Mother's Day weekend update

This won't be a wordless Wednesday!

The weekend at D's was wonderful. We did some gardening, a bit of garage sale shopping, a few trips to the nearby park, and G'ma got lots of hugs and cuddles from her favorite grandson. The weather was perfect, in the mid 20's celsius (mid-70's fahrenheit), which meant lots of time outdoors. While D worked on the area out front, I tackled the large bed in the back yard, that can be seen from her neighbour's living room. It has several perennials, including rose bushes, day lilies, a cedar, and variety of lamium. Those were kept, but all the little trees and weeds were cleared, and I cut back the branches on a couple of larger bushes that have been allowed to grow. It will take a stronger person than I to dig these out. There was also a patch of thistles that had me saying blue words. The prickles found their way through my gloves!

I took a water break mid-way through on the front deck. D's neighbour K, returned from a garage sale, and after seeing what she had found, we decided we'd clean up a bit and head over. It was the most amazing garage sale I've ever seen. K told us, the husband had recently passed away, and his current spouse (he had been a widower when they met), was attempting to clear out some outbuildings. There were four buildings attached to one another, one of which was originally a garage. The first building we entered wasn't packed with items, but each of the following buildings were. There were walls covered in shelves full of salt and pepper shakers, mugs, cookie jars, teapots, and other glassware of all sorts. There were collectibles too, magnets, toys, and so forth. In the second building, there were a multitude of windchimes hanging from the ceiling, and every room was a maze of shelving from floor to ceiling. In some spaces one had to sidle down the aisles. Eli picked a most practical item, a ruler, while his mother and I found items we couldn't live without. :)  

The set is marked Ineke Canada and the pottery set includes the salt and pepper, a oil/vinegar cruet and a small container for mustard as well as the tray. Information from the web suggests it was manufactured in the 1980's or early 1990's. I just liked it!

I also purchased a tumble up teapot that I left at D's. The tumble up refers to the cup that fits over the lid of the teapot. I didn't use it while I was there, but it will be nice to have on future visits. Total cost $4!

D found several pieces of blue glass, and made another visit on Monday, while Eli was at school to pick up more. I had purchased a blue glass candle holder for Eli to give her on Mother's Day and she has now increased her collection significantly. 

We made one more stop at a garage sale across from Eli's school. There I found a small wooden bookcase on wheels. While it had a little damage, it was still in decent condition so I grabbed it for $15. This garage sale was different too, as it was primarily items the owner had picked up at various auctions. The bookcase was actually being used as a display...we had to clear things off of it so I could take it away. It's now set up in the craft room with a few supplies tucked away. 

I can't forget the visits to the park. We visited after our garage sale foray, and then again later that afternoon with a followup visit on Sunday. The spray park was open, and Eli had a lot of fun running through the water. He watched some older boys playing basketball and eventually joined in briefly. He doesn't know how to dribble the ball but he had fun running back and forth on the court.

As usual he and I slept in his big boy bed - which isn't big at all, and especially when Sheldon (one of the cats) joins us. At one point, I slept on the floor beside the bed for an hour or so. So apparently, I can sleep on the ground and get back to my feet. :p  We read several books each night, and told scary stories. I learned that Eli is as much afraid of spiders as I am, so no more scary spider stories for either of us. 

I'm also no longer the scary stranger for Spencer, D's recent rescue cat.  Although she was cautious around me for the first day she did let me touch her, by Sunday she was coming to me for pets an even jumped up on my lap while I was sitting with Eli on the couch. She's definitely my daughter's cat, and comes when she's called. Spencer gets along with the two older cats, and gives as good as she gets in the tussles. 

The drive to and from were good, with light traffic and the weather cooperated throughout. I'll be heading back again in a few weeks for Eli's birthday party. While his birthday is in March, his mother has his party in the park so it has to wait until the weather is decent. It's a great place to hold a party with a covered area with picnic tables, the spray park, lots of playground equipment, as well as outdoor washrooms. 

I'll keep the remainder of the update from this week to Saturday's post. It's been busy and productive, and today...very smoky!

Saturday 13 May 2023

Here comes the sun

The beautiful weather (with a wee bit of much needed rain) has certainly improved my mood and got me off the couch. I wish I could say I spent a good amount of time outdoors but that wasn't the case. However, having the windows open while I did some more spring cleaning definitely helped clear the everlasting winter blahs. The basement took me a good part of one day to sweep, dust, and scrub despite the fact there only one room was currently in use (the laundry room with attached storage.) 

I wanted to prepare the new room for use as my craft room. While there are no windows, the new lighting is very bright and there is way more space available. It also has a large closet. However, that closet does not have shelves, as it did the one on the main floor. The following day I moved various pieces of furniture, along with the storage drawers and tubs. I truly had no idea how much crap stuff was crammed in the closet. (They're sneaky like doesn't look bad until you pull it all out.) I did a sort and rid myself of more items but even so, I'm going to need a bookshelf or some other storage in the new room. Once everything was out of the upstair room, it got a good cleaning too. 

The closet

The following morning, I sure felt all the stair steps I'd climbed in my calves. So I took the day off, right? Of course not...if nothing else I'm a glutton for punishment. I spent the morning vacuuming the main floor, dusting (opening windows was great for fresh air but it also brought in more dust), washing floors, and doing a general pick-up of the miscellaneous stuff that seems to gather on end tables and the kitchen island. Stitch and chat that afternoon was a bust, as I was the only person who showed up. I decided to go for a drive and enjoy the sunshine. It wasn't as pleasant as I'd hoped as we are well into construction season.

My friend C turned 50 that day, and popped over in the evening. She'd had a good "me" day, with a bit of shopping, booking an appointment for a tattoo, and was on her way to meet another friend for dinner and a movie. But first, she needed a hug. The anniversary of her father's passing was just a couple of weeks ago (he died in a farming accident about 15 years ago), and her mom passed in late December. I know how much she's missing them and both my son and I gave her big hugs. We also made plans to get together the next day for a "play date". In our world, that means going to garage sales. We've yet to buy a garage but we always have fun. 

We managed to stop at a few sales, but only one - the first - provided anything of real interest. She found a canister with a scoop (for coffee). C has a similar one that I gave her years ago - something I don't remember - but it had no scoop. I suggested she could put tea bags in this one and use the scoop in the older one. Sold! I found a campfire popcorn popper for $1. A similar one sells at Home Depot for nearly $60! I also found a pretty purse for my daughter, and if she doesn't like it, I'll keep it for myself.

Have I mentioned that D, Eli and I are going camping this July? She took Eli last year to a nearby lake, and he decided he loves sleeping in the tent. I wanted to make a trip up to my hometown, mostly to photograph some headstones of various relatives, and since there is a nice Regional park close by, we decided to combine the trip. We booked our site a couple of weeks ago, not far from the playground and the bathhouse. My brother is lending us Thermarest camping pads but I suspect I'll be feeling some discomfort sleeping on the ground overnight.  Anything for my grandson, right?  

I'm off to visit them today, returning on Monday. While we had rain on Friday, the weekend is forecast to be absolutely beautiful with highs ranging from 20-24C (68-75F). I do hope to spend some time out in her yard cleaning up the flower beds. We might even head to a garden center to pick up a few petunias for her containers. 

Visitors on the roof. They aren't nesting; Saku spotted them and made a dash for the window. It was enough to frighten them away.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday 6 May 2023

Making plans, some finishes, and sunshine too!

I keep a calendar on the my kitchen counter and make notes of things to be done, check off those that are done, and to keep track of appointments and the like. I've realized that if I didn't, I couldn't write my blog. Or rather, I'd have to write about different things unrelated to my daily life because I'd never remember what I did most days.

Of course some events are more memorable than others. For one, I still want to sell this house and am hoping to have it listed by fall. I had the contractor that I used last year for the basement renos at the house on Monday to give me a quote on doing flooring and baseboards, as well as couple of minor changes/repairs. The quote came in on Thursday and is slightly more than I hoped but still very reasonable. I picked up samples of the flooring yesterday and will be making a choice in the next day or so.

My friend C picked me up in her new-to-her truck on Tuesday morning and we headed to the thrift stores. The duck from the photo on Wednesday was one of my purchases. When I was hesitant about the price, C reminded me it was senior's Tuesday, with a 30% discount; sold! It will find its way out into the front flower bed among the hostas in a couple of weeks. I also found a jacket for Eli that he won't be able to wear for a couple of years, but it was in such good condition, and at only $3.69 (after discount), I couldn't resist. 

Speaking of articles of clothing for Eli, I picked up the sweater at the tailors on the weekend. She did a nice job (though pricey) of inserting the zipper. Meanwhile I finished the oversized sweater for my daughter. Here's a tale of two sweaters:

Eli's sweater was made with yarn purchased on sale at Michaels. I paid about $6/skein and used 5 skeins for the sweater and toque, the zipper was $8, and the tailor cost me $27. Grand total $65. The ladies at stitch and chat on Wednesday informed me they would teach me how to put in a zipper on my own next time. That is, of course, should there be a next time.

D's sweater was made with thrift store yarn which cost me about $15 in total. Since I didn't have enough of one color, I did a sort of color block pattern. The blue and wine are on the front panels as well as the sleeves, while the teal is the back and fills in the rest of front and sleeves. 

I modified the pattern somewhat, adding to the length, adding pockets and a belt at my daughter's request. I also did the trim in double crochet rows, as I knew I didn't have sufficient yarn to create the ribbing effect (see bottom of the sweater and the cuffs).  This was the first time I used crochet stitches rather than knitting for ribbing, and while I liked the effect on the bottom, I wasn't happy with the sleeves. They were made top-down. If I were to use this pattern again, I'd make the cuffs separately and stitch them to the sleeves instead. (The photo to the right is what yarn was leftover when I finished. That's pretty good use of stash yarn!)

I'm continuing to work...slowly...on the African flowers afghan. Twenty of the flowers have been blocked (of thirty), I've added green single crochet to the outside of some of the blocked pieces, and started the process of stitching five flowers in a row. Besides blocking this is the slowest and most tedious part of the process. When I'm not in the mood, I've been working on the knitted toddler sweater. One more sleeve to complete and then I'll put it together.

Our weather has been great this week with temperatures in the mid-20's Celsius (72-77F). I'm itching to get out in the yard but will leave the raking for another week for the pollinators. The trees in the back yard are just beginning to leaf out. I've been avoiding the garden centers, so far, but I'm not sure how much longer I can resist. I do remind myself, that I'll be dragging plants in and out of the garage if I start buying now.

I did manage to finish a project that should have been completed months ago. On Thursday morning I headed down to the basement, finished sanding the door frames and got them painted. The closet paint was touched up as well. I did not, and will not, paint the baseboards. Unless one gets down on the floor and looks at them closely, no one will know. How would I know, you ask? Well, I lived in this house for nearly 10 years before I realized the baseboards on the main floor had never been painted. I did paint them before I listed the house in 2019 and the thought of crawling around on the floor to paint just doesn't appeal to me. Hence, I'll have the contractor do the painting when he installs the new ones on the main floor.

Yesterday, I did a few errands, a bit of housework, and met with a landscaper. I've been having issues with drainage in the back yard for some time, and this year, have noticed some significant heaving of the lower deck and the shed. I had already planned to replace the sod, including where the other shed once stood. If you want to read the story of the potting shed removal, you can read it here). My goal is to make the back yard look as big as it can possibly be, since the sun room and decks take up a good portion of it. It was a sticking point for potential buyers the last time I had the house listed. As I said to the landscaper, they forget they have the use of the sun room for 7 months of the year, while the back yard is only available for about 4 months. Enough of my ranting....

I've not much planned for today, though there are several sports programs to watch so I know I'll be parked on the couch for a good part of the day. The final curling event of the season is finishing up this weekend. There is baseball and hockey too. I guess I'd best get moving now, and get a walk in before I laze about for the rest of the day. The sun is shining, it's a lovely 9C (48F) and I need the exercise.

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone.