Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Square Dancing Tractors

Today hubby and I went to the International Plowing Match where good old days meet modern new ways. Our county is host this year and it takes a whole day to see everything and enjoy the events.
Jennifer Jones, curling gold Medalist from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was Parade Marshall.
Dancing Tractors? A fabulous demonstration of antique Farmall tractors and drivers doing square dancing to a caller. The group is based out of Teeswater Ontario and have been dancing all over the province. The photo is from their website http://teamfarmall.com if you care to watch a YouTube of the unimagineable. As you can see, the 'women' wear skirts and wigs.
Lots of tractors, from those pulling wagonloads of spectators to the event grounds to an array of new and old machinery.
Autumn displays of flowers, vegetables and old implements could be found everywhere.
An old barrel washing machine and a funeral coach from 1914 that was pulled by horses. There was a hidden compartment under the casket shelf for ice.
Clydesdales, the workhorses of yesterday's farm were part of the plowing match and on display in corrals. The 2014 Plowing Match is dedicated to Keith Robinson who has competed for 65 consecutive years. 
A team of ladies, the Canadian Cowgirls that we can be proud of. They've been part of the Calgary Stampede parade, Rosebowl parade and more. A precision team of musical riders, they've won many awards and were a delight to watch. Search Canadian Cowgirls for information about them.
On the top, one of the people movers from the parking acreage. We sat and watched the fiddlers that were several groups playing together. Good toe tapping music!
I ended my day with a cinnamon sugar Beaver Tail and a coffee. Canadian eh?


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mosaic Monday #6 From New Zealand

Shane that blogs at Roses Lace and Brocante has been admiring the Victoria and Tea Time magazines myself and others share for the weekly tea gathering. The only problem is, Shane lives in New Zealand and they aren't available to her. So, we decided to have a magazine exchange.
My parcel arrived with Paris themed wrapping paper, Shane's grandchildren live in France which means she doesn't get to see them that often. The magazines I received are NZ Life and Leisure and the New Zealand Gardener. Both offered good reading and I learned about plants and food not familiar to me.
The sweet little card gave a nod to my love for tea and to my surprise there was also a lovely notebook, doily, package of nail files and a tin of Harney and Son's Mother's Bouquet tea.
As we head into fall in the northern hemisphere, New Zealand is entering spring. The tea in the tin is a blend of chamomile flowers with orange flavours, a bouquet to honour all mothers and the euphoric essence of spring.
I think Victoriana Rose from Paragon will be the perfect teacup to drink my new tea from.
Thank you Shane for exchanging magazines and tucking in the other generous gifts as well.
I'll be linking with these tea gatherings:
Tea Time Tuesday
Antiques and Teacups
Tea in the Garden



Friday, September 12, 2014

September Photo Challenge - Movement

Donna at Cottage Days and Journeys puts our photography skills to the test each month with a photo challenge. I decided to share some birds in flight for my selections as this is the hardest thing for me to do and something I want to get better at.
One of my best efforts as I knew what time the hummer came to the feeder and had the camera on the tripod. ISO 640 f7.1 and 300mm
Osprey babies stretching their wings and taking flight. The tripod was in use again but being so far away so as not to stress the birds, not all that crisp.  ISO 100 f/8 and lens at 300m
A coopers hawk that I pulled over to the side of the road to capture. Wouldn't you know it would take flight on me and it's not so clear because I was holding the camera and shaking from excitement. (grannies do this you know) ISO 100 f/8 and lens extended to 300mm
All of the above were taken with my Canon 40D.
Visit the Photo Challenge for more shots of movement.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Gingerbread Tea and Autumn Decor


I've finished putting out my autumn decor and always liked this rustic wreath I made one year. With a bit of primping here and there with the glue gun and tightening of a few wires, it has stayed together quite well.  It has replaced the summer wreath outside on the wall by the front door. A couple of golden textures from Kim Klassen were added to the original photo. 
The hall table has a faux bouquet and the scarecrow (his face is hidden) was another craft I assembled. I like the Sentsy burners, much safer than the tea lights I used to burn and there is a nice scent of apples and caramel drifting in the air.
I even changed up the top of the tea cart and exchanged a lone crystal creamer for my spooner. It was a silver one before but it needs cleaning every couple of months. Yup, off to the left is a vase of dried lavender that never moves. Well, except when I dust.
The dining room table looks about the same every year with the candle holder pumpkin gifted from our daughter and family. I've never burned the candle though and our s-i-l says this is bad luck - is it?
Just a little touch of autumn on the kitchen counter as I need all the space I have for baking.
I bought two of these plates from Marshalls for $3.99 each which sit on the tea cart curate when not in use. No matter the season, there's always an odd plate in the middle but it compliments the other two. 
I set the tea things on the counter for a change using one of the new plates for the gingerbread cake. The teacup is one I've shared before that says Bavaria Germany on the bottom.
 What better to have with gingerbread cake than a cup of gingerbread tea!  It's a delicious rooibos blend from Davids Tea. The recipe for the gingerbread cake is on my recipe page at the top.
I know some bloggers haven't even entertained the idea of autumn yet but our Canadian Thanksgiving is on October 13 and it's nice to have the decor out a month before to enjoy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mosaic Monday #5 Annual Beauties for 2015

I am grateful to Proven Winners for sending me new annual plant varieties to trial each year and I find evaluation time exciting. Some members of the Garden Writers Association opt to do this, and I also trial shrubs for them. By growing the plants in a variety of climate zones, garden site locations and soil conditions it gives Proven Winners a true idea of how they'll perform.
I am not a big fan of orange flowers but the Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' is one that could change my mind. Drought and heat tolerant, this little trouper has been flowering continuously since being planted in early summer and the flower shape attracts hummingbirds.
Every year I plant a few purple salvias but I've never seen one perform like 'Playin' the Blues'. Great height and constant branching spikes on a plant that does well in the garden or a container. In the container on the right is a new Supertunia called 'Black Cherry' which filled out nicely and complimented the purple salvia.
Bacopa 'Blue Bubbles' was planted in my fairy garden as the tiny double blue flowers were the perfect size for a backdrop of cascading blooms. Having one plant left over I decided to put it in a bare spot right in the ground and it has made a pretty everblooming ground cover.
I must confess after hearing at a gardening seminar about a new begonia called 'Pegasus' it was a plant I was lusting after. Be still my heart, didn't a little family of them arrive in my trial plants! The large photo shows 'Pegasus' in a planter along the north wall and the other two are in shady spots of different gardens. The potted begonia was watered regularly along with other containers and grew to a large size. The other two were only watered in when planted and although smaller, are healthy.
The star of my 2014 trial plants is definitely the begonia 'Pegasus'. The deeply etched green and silver leaves make a gorgeous display and you can't see it, but there's a big silver pot under there. This plant could be paired with a spiller such as Grape-O-Licious Torenia as suggested by Proven Winners but to me, it's nice all by itself.
Watch for these annual beauties for sale in 2015.
I'm glad the colour palettes from last week were fun for everyone and I was happy to help those who gave this template a try on their own.
Today it is interesting to see the colour swatches as I touched the paintbrush to various parts of the leaves on 'Pegasus'. The pink was a surprise, but when you look in the centre of the leaves, there it is! 



Thursday, September 4, 2014

September's First Tea

With September comes golden roadside wildflowers. I stopped the car and cut a bouquet to have on the table for afternoon tea. A couple of stems of rudbeckia from the garden were tucked in as well.
Goldenrod, black-eyed susans and a few Queen Anne's lace to which I added a golden tint and a butterfly. It is not goldenrod that causes hay fever, the pollen of ragweed is the culprit.
The teacup is a Staffordshire called 'Elizabethan', and has been shared before.
Autumn issues of Victoria and Tea Time magazines to pursue while sipping tea.
The last of the blueberries I picked and dark chocolate Delacre biscuits. With cooler days I'm craving Pumpkin Chai again from David's Teas.
We have to make the most of nice days for afternoon tea on the deck as this is what I wait for all winter long. In the background is hydrangea 'Limelight' which has returned with vigour after being eaten back to half its size by hungry bunnies over winter.
Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' adds a golden glow to my late summer garden.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Coffee Klatsch

Klatsch - a social gathering over coffee. A number of women come together on their blogs from around the globe for tea on Tuesday, usually afternoon tea. However, I like a piping hot mug of coffee in the morning and sometimes after dinner with a piece of cake or slice of pie. (decaf at this time)
Autumn decor already? Well, it's felt like autumn for most of August so on the Labour Day weekend I brought out my boxes from the basement. A piece of carrot cake with the coffee yet to come. The leaf napkins were found at Bed, Bath and Beyond on sale for $5 for a package of 4. 
This year I met two tea bloggers; one on the way to Florida, and one on the way back. Recently I met another woman whom I got to know through her blog and we hit it off right away. We're both Master Gardeners, Tea Grannies and have much in common. When Beth from Beyond the Garden Gate said she and her husband were coming to Ontario to see Niagara Falls, they were invited to stay with us for a couple of days. And they did. We had a great visit and it was so nice to finally meet in person.
Beth and Ron in our tea house
Beth and I discussed various aspects of blogging, particularly how many people are finding it too time consuming and are either cutting way back or quitting altogether. 
It has become a challenge for me as the new host of Mosaic Monday to participate the next day in the tea parties. Blog etiquette varies from person to person but as the host of a party I feel obligated to visit each participant and leave a comment. I do not understand people that link to a party and never comment on any of the blogs, including the host's. Perhaps I have misunderstood the relevance of comments?
Still wanting to participate in the tea parties I finally came up with a plan. After today I will be posting Tea with Friends on Thursdays and linking the following Tuesday to the tea gatherings.
I'll do my visiting and commenting with a relaxing cup of tea each Thursday which will make me a couple of days behind everyone else. Hopefully this will work as I do enjoy the company of my blogging tea sisters.

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