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 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 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Joy in our Lives

The tea to honour with thanks the Seedy Saturday volunteers was a fun gathering of five and we relived the success of the event over tea with scones and sweets.
Held at my place, it was a simple cream tea with sweets as well that my cohost brought. She's Italian and is rather liking the introduction to afternoon tea. 
I set up two pots on my teacart - Yorkshire Gold, a plain black and Canada 150; a blend of black, green, and oolong with a hint of maple.
I had received a hyacinth in my favourite colour as a thank you from the local Master Gardener group  and it added a heady scent in the kitchen until I planted it outside. 
Friend and cohost Bridget made me a sweet bird's nest wreath which is hanging from the shutters of one of the kitchen windows.
 On the south side of the house there is some growth happening...
as well as the front where the alliums and tulips are preparing to put on a spectacular display. See the little brown patch near the middle? That's a spirea shrub that can be cut right back in early spring. They flower on new wood and tend to get spindly so this helps keep it compact and vigorous.
The small bible study group I attend studied Psalm 66 yesterday which was all about joy. Every day with more plants emerging from the soil, some preparing to flower...these bring me great joy.
We ended our class with this definition of joy: "Joy is the act of relating to God with vulnerable, unselfconscious gratitude for the good gifts He gives. Joy comes when we experience and acknowledge God's love and care for us, when we allow ourselves to express our gratitude for his love with emotional and physical energy. Joy is the celebration of God's love."
I hope you have many joys in your life.
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Showers and a Butterfly Magic Moment

Hello everyone. For once this old saying is true for us and I couldn't be happier!
Photo credit: friend Elaine at Woods Country Cove
April Rain 
The April rain, the April rain, 
Comes slanting down in fitful showers, 
Then from the furrow shoots the grain, 
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers; 
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers 
The cuckoo through the April rain 
Calls once again. 

The April sun, the April sun, 
Glints through the rain in fitful splendour, 
And in grey shaw and woodland dun 
The little leaves spring forth and tender 
Their infant hands, yet weak and slender, 
For warmth towards the April sun, 
One after one. 

And between shower and shine hath birth 
The rainbow's evanescent glory; 
Heaven's light that breaks on mists of earth! 
Frail symbol of our human story, 
It flowers through showers where, looming hoary, 
The rain-clouds flash with April mirth, 
Like Life on earth.       
~ by M. Blind~
I have been busy over the last week as co-host of our community Seedy Saturday held on April 1 at the library.
We had seed and plant vendors as well as others related to gardening, presentations and hands on workshops.  It was a day of inspiration and very successful much to our satisfaction.  We sat down yesterday and made a batch of thank you cards and are hosting a thank-you tea on Sunday at my place for the garden club volunteers. 
In the know, the one with no fish, were a pair of mallard ducks this week. They stayed a few hours and moved on.
I have several butterfly mirrors and one sunny day there was an intriguing display on the wall from one of them. Don't you love these surprising magic moments? 
The fairy gardens are starting to reappear in the house and by next month the outdoor ones will be assembled. I missed a chip on this lavender teacup when I purchased it so it became a small fairy cup.
From the icicle lights and faux pine branches for winter, the back window has become a display of cherry blossoms with couple of cute Easter ornaments from the dollar store. 
The lights are spring colours and I recently added a couple of heron window clings to keep the birds from flying into the window.
By next week I hope to be out in the garden doing what I love best - getting my hands dirty!
Take time for tea.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Spring Tea and Garden Surprises

I seem to have more energy these days and I've started baking again. What's afternoon tea without a little treat on the side?
A new pink teapot in the Royale design by Easy Life and purchased at Bowrings is the perfect size for sharing with a friend. With only hubby and I at home, I've mastered a few six inch cake recipes, above is carrot with cream cheese frosting. The inset circle shows the spring coloured sprinkles on top.
 I was surprised to see the garlic starting to poke through the leaves and fencing I laid across the bed. The previous year squirrels dug up a few of the newly planted garlic cloves so I put an end to that.
 Speaking of squirrels, not many crocuses left but here's a lone purple one about to open.
 I know many gardeners have a love/hate relationship with moss but I love it! The texture alone is enough to let it be and this is something new. Hollow metal rods hold the 4x4's in the ground around the small veggie garden and this one had popped up a bit from frost and knitted itself a mossy neck warmer. 
I hope spring is bringing you nice surprises in your garden!
Take time for tea.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

"Improvise, adapt and overcome", a fetching quote which I've always admired.  Clint Eastwood made it popular in the movie Heartbreak Ridge and it speaks of possibilities, particularly how we can apply it to our own lives.
A few readers are friends on FaceBook; the social media platform that can be helpful to learn of family, friends and church news. It can also be a frustrating exercise in exasperation.
It's happened before - someone replicating my FB account but the grandchildren took care of that and I never saw the 'fake' page. Last week a couple of people messaged me to say it had happened (again) and so this time I searched for my replication and was disappointed that someone would go to the trouble of impersonating me, a grandmother.
After reporting said person's impersonation to FB, I have to admit they were on the ball and had the page removed within an hour or so. This is when I decided to improvise and replace a profile photo of myself with my Avatar from Bitmoji. If you haven't tried this app, it's a lot of fun as you make an Avatar to look like yourself. Haha, mine even has wrinkles. (note: only for ios systems)
Before the whole thing was cleared up though, the impersonator contacted a few friends with political  or other  ulterior motives, one being my pastor. He knew it wasn't me right away as I would never address him by his first name. Pastor C asked the fake me pertinent questions and received dodgy answers after which he typed HACKER! I was shown the conversation at church on his phone. A tad embarrassing but that concern has been adapted and overcome.
Here is the second issue that required my attention. I was walking past the large kitchen window that faces the backyard and saw something disappearing into the pond. 

Yikes.... this is where FB comes in handy with knowledgeable gardening associates and wildlife enthusiasts. Identified as a mink which are known to inhabit the areas around our inland lake but obviously travel within subdivisions in search of food. Google helped with their diet of fish, frogs, squirrels and birds so we assume all 40 plus of our goldfish are now gone. Maybe the frogs that hibernate in the mud at the bottom of the pond too. What action should we take?
Lets go back to last summer when I realized there were too many goldfish in our size of pond (like rabbits they multiply quickly) and would have to remove some - but what to do with them? I didn't to anything and now...problem overcome. However, a note to self.... be careful what you wish for and perhaps improvise something to discourage the return of the mink?
Sometimes it is hard to honour the commitment to have a certified wildlife habitat which means ALL wildlife and to let nature take its course. By eating our pond inhabitants maybe the babies of this mink will have a chance at life...  Previously a blue heron and kingfisher have also eaten from our pond.
Life hasn't been all challenges, above I went for high tea with a friend. I didn't realize my glasses had picked up the sunlight from the window and were dark but I had asked a fellow if he would take a shot with my phone and I wasn't about to ask for a retake.  There's something special about having dainty sandwiches, scones, petite sweets and drinking tea from a teacup while having good conversation.
Spring is in the air and a pair of cardinals have been in the backyard every day, staking out their territory and eating from the feeders. Imagine the improvising and adaptation birds and wildlife have to make to overcome losing their natural habitat. With the return of quite a few foxes to our area members of the community have said they've taken to building dens in backyards, having learned to coexist with humans. I hope the backyard habitat we've created will be found suitable as it would be fun to see little foxes scampering about.
I'll leave you with a small countertop spring display I put together which now sits on the windowsill over the sink. The hyacinth has opened to perfume the air, the weather has warmed and it feels like spring has finally arrived.
Take time for tea!
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