Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Garden Blooms and Rhubarb Custard Pie

It's an exciting time in the garden with the trees taking turns showing off their pretty blooms. With all the rain we got in April, the display has been awesome. 
These pink tulips were sold as a fundraiser for the Ontario Horticultural Association a few years ago and I'm glad they're still coming back.
A small raised bed in the front, not hard to tell I favour pink tulips, is it? 
Now the red and white ones lining the front walkway were planted last fall so they'd bloom for Canada's 2017, 150th celebration.
For over a week viburnum 'Judii' on the left has been perfuming the backyard while the Virginia bluebells have been lighting up a corner of the rock garden.
Here's an interesting planter I just picked up, a concrete log. I've put 'Red Dragon' hens and chicks in it for now but any number of succulents would work well. There isn't a drainage hole so I may have to ask hubby drill one. 
It didn't take long for the cardinals to figure out there was wriggling meal worms in the aqua dish and they perch on the side and eat them all in one sitting. The poor chickadees aren't getting any now.
At our daughter's home she hung a small bird feeder on the wall and it immediately became a nest for  a mourning dove. When we saw her fly off I quickly took a photo of the eggs. 
I had been seeing comments by blogging sister Vee about rhubarb custard pie and when asked, she kindly pointed me to the recipe she uses. I compared it to the one in my Ms American Pie book and decided to go with it as there was less sugar used and a somewhat different method of preparation. I'm sure both of our pies tasted the same in the end. Vee made an inspiring lattice top for hers but I seldom use a crust on top of my pies and made the usual crumble topping which we like.  It was delicious and one I'll be sure to make again soon as more rhubarb is about ready to be pulled.
Is rhubarb custard pie one you've made before? 
Take time for tea

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Catching Up Over Tea

Thank you to all who read my previous post product review and agreed that a bucket has many uses!
Make yourself a cup of tea and we can catch up for a few minutes.
The weather has been perfect for doing outside work and our biggest project was fixing and rearranging the deck after selling our hot tub.
 The view through the kitchen grandma door with the hot tub.
The same area, opened up with the wooden privacy panels removed and glass like the rest of the deck added. I'm still working on setting things up.
It was even warm enough to  have afternoon tea outside one day.
Looking out the big window at the back of the kitchen I was taken by the tranquil scene of the pond and serviceberry in bloom, which will soon be followed by the crabapple. I'm still putting out mealworms and there is one chickadee who is not afraid to complain when the dish is empty. He looks in the dish, then in the window - back to the dish, window, and chatters the whole time. 
A couple of entries from my garden in the garden club spring flower show and tea, both award winners. It was nice that the weather this spring was accommodating so I could enter quite a few tulips and daffodils.
I am grateful for the tea and flower themed Mother's Day gifts I received. I hope everyone was able to spend time with family to celebrate. 
Speaking of family ... above is our SIL's windshield after a wild turkey flew into it on the highway. During mating season there are a number of vehicle collisions with them and luckily no-one was injured other that some glass spray here.
Granddaughter Emma prettied up for an outing with hair and makeup done by her older sister. With technology I erased the boo boo on her right knee because that's what Grandmas can do. :-)
Take time for tea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Bucket List

This isn't one of those "before I kick the bucket I want to..." posts, but rather a review of products for my local Home Hardware in Alcona that begins with a bucket. Home Hardware Stores are Canadian and independently owned.
Here's my bucket, already dirty as you can see with a 19L capacity which is about 5 US gallons.  
 I was to have 'live' product to review as well but when I visited the local Alcona Home Hardware store the only plants that had come in so far was this rack of Ontario native plants. No problem for me, I was excited! A certified wildlife habitat property means I use quite a few native plants and being offered more made me happy.
Into my bucket they went, keeping them upright and avoiding a spill of soil in my car.
Here they are to see better: a pink and white trillium, and a pale coneflower. 
The trilliums joined a primrose in a shady corner under a dwarf crabapple tree in the backyard.
A stainless steel mini backhoe came home with me hanging on the side of my new bucket. If you subscribe to Mark Cullen's newsletter you've read how much he likes this tool.  I agree, the design made it perfect for cultivating a small veggie patch and it will be good for weeds between them in the summer. I found the weight of the stainless steel head an advantage when working the soil as it added power to my digging.
I'm not finished with the bucket yet.
Here's our backyard pond as it looked until this spring. You see we experienced a leak last summer and after taking the waterfall apart, hubby found a few places where the liner had slipped and was allowing water to escape. Home to over 40 goldfish, and overwintering frogs was a concern for draining the pond and working in it. Through a fate of nature a mink discovered our pond during the late winter months and ate everything except...we found 2 surviving goldfish and a baby frog. The goldfish buried themselves in the silt in the deep section but when scooping out leaves and muck is when I found the frog. They can jump really high! I was thankful to have the tall Home Hardware bucket that it couldn't get out of nor be taken by a predator. It stayed in the bucket with a few inches of pond water for two days. A photo would have been nice but most of the time the frog was hiding under all the snails I'd salvaged.  
The bucket has since been hauling plant divisions, compost and tools around the garden. Buckets are a neat thing that can be turned over and become a seat too. I recommend a folded towel for cushioning and you're at the right height for pruning shrubs, roses and doing other odd jobs. If you have a kneeling pad for those jobs where you must be on your knees, keep the bucket upside down beside you to use for leverage to get back to a standing position. 
One of the products I was given was a bag of lawn fertilizer.
CIL Golfgreen is a good brand, one we used when we had grass but anyone who knows our property... well, we don't have any. I could have turned down the bag but knew I could ask a friend to use it on their grass for me, and trust their findings. Well, the bag did go to a trustworthy friend, our Pastor and with all the downpours of rain we've had over the past couple of weeks, there hasn't been an opportunity to spread it without the fertilizer being washed away.
CIL plus Iron has an exclusive slow release formula and with ten times more iron produces thicker and greener grass in as little as three days so I know I'll be hearing results in the near future.
These are the products I received for review but I'll be going back to the Home Hardware Centre to check out what's been added this gardening season. Who can resist a whirligig or two to add some whimsy to the garden? 
With Mother's Day this weekend, I'm sure the Alcona Home Hardware will be hopping.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Birds, Bugs and Blooms

After buying freeze dried meal worms a couple of years ago that didn't go over very well except for the frogs in the pond, I got brave and bought the live ones recently. They were barely in the special hanging dish seen above when a chickadee zoomed in to start devouring them.
I'm not sure if this little one was territorial but he was the only one eating the worms until a few days later I noticed others were snacking on them too.
I fell in love with the Nordic pan of bugs so ordered it from Amazon.ca and they are perfect little cakes to have with friends for tea. There are 8 bugs, 2 each of butterflies, dragonflies, bees and ladybugs. 
Before I forget, I want to share the lamb cake our daughter made for Easter dinner. The cake was a delicious homemade white and the cute face is fondant. 
With the gardening season getting into full swing, seminars and workshops fill weekend days.
 A few of the gorgeous arrangements made by flower show competitors at our district garden club meeting of 19 societies .
 From the Canada Day section.
Did you know there is a floral competition class for tea settings? Although it didn't place, I was fond of the pink themed entry.
The Ontario Hosta Society met this past weekend and I was thrilled to have my name drawn for the first door prize. A gift certificate to shop online from Hosta Choice!
'Mighty Mouse' will join my mouse collection of small hostas and will bring along some new friends for my garden when the mail arrives. 
In My Garden
'In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.
My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.
The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers,
and the dreams as beautiful.'
~Abram L. Urban~
Take time for tea

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Teacup Exchange Reveal

There's excitement in the air as women all over the world gather to reveal the contents of their parcels of love received through Stephanie's teacup/mug exchange. The link up party is at her blog The Enchanting Rose.
The exchange is a great opportunity to make new friends and I have found Jennifer at My Cubby Crafts whom I sent to and is a fellow Canadian, a delight in getting to know better.
A first timer to Stephanie's exchange, above is what I sent to northern Canada and hope Jennifer will become a regular to the party.
 My parcel came all the way from England, sent with love from Debbie at Fairy Bluebell's Craft Adventure. Other than a quick email between us and my thank you card sent to her, we've not communicated much because Debbie has been busy with preparations for her wedding this Friday!
Congratulations Debbie. 💒
I'm hoping we can connect and chat a bit more once she's settled in and has more time.
 As you can see, I was spoiled with a number of treats, writing materials and a gorgeous teacup with white roses.
 I received some lavender to plant, Earl Grey lavender tea and an embroidered doily with lavender.
It didn't take me long to brew a pot of the new tea and have a shortbread finger or two while sipping from my new teacup. 
A heartfelt thank you to Stephanie for organizing and bringing so many wonderful women together for her exchange. Friendships are made and renewed, and there is always a sense of ardent fellowship amongst the participants. 
Please do visit the other participants here and if you've never joined the exchange, I hope you'll be enticed to do so!
I'm behind on visiting fellow blogging sisters for when the weather warms enough I'm in the garden for hours. We're expecting a few days of rain so I can play catch up and visit the ladies from the exchange too.
Take time for tea 
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