Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Carefree Sunny Days

Life sure slows down in a sunny climate when one is taking leisurely walks, swimming, reading on a lounge chair in the lanai and eating when the whim strikes.
At this point I don't think I could spend 6 months in Florida as is customary to Canadian snowbirds but do enjoy a month of this type of rest and relaxation.
It's kind of like floating around in a big hot air ballon without a care in the world. This one drifted over the house on the weekend.
Saturday mornings mean a trip to the farmers market to buy homemade guacamole and salsa as well as fresh fruit picked the previous day.
 A female anhinga visited a couple of times, sitting on the rail of the boat launch and then diving into the canal in search of a meal.
In the pool our grandson Sam stopped long enough to pose for me while the sunbeams danced on the water in crazy patterns.
My daughter who bakes extraordinary cakes made this one for a fellow police officer before coming down to Florida. 
We're going out for afternoon tea for my birthday on the 15th as she and the kiddies will be gone for my actual birthday next week.
Take time for tea on Valentine's Day and invite a friend.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Flower Therapy

 Sharing some flower therapy with you from our morning walks in Florida.
My day starts around 6:30 am with half an hour of yoga and then the donning of my purple gear, sunglasses and off for another half hour of walking. With the weather in the high 70s to low 80s every day I also spend time in the pool exercising. 
 Yup, daily exercise is necessary for the treats I've been eating like this scrumptious key lime pie surrounded by pretty lines of lime gel.
 A lobster roll at a farmers market.
 Getting in the mood for the Valentine's Day party we'll have with the grands next week. They arrive Saturday with their mother.
Chocolates from Noela, a chocolatier I like in Cape Coral. Everything hand made and I was able to get in on a program last February where I bring my box in for a discounted refill and a free fill on my birthday. (chocolate therapy)
 We haven't seen the huge iguanas that were around the last couple of years but this baby has been sunning itself on a metal beam of our pool birdcage.
The burrowing owl family that lives two lots over is still there.
I discovered a palm tree with a heart in the bark on our walk one day and although it could have had some human help, a perfect find for the month of February.
To my friends at home, stay warm and I hope the expected ice storm is not too sever.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sunshine and Blue Skies

We've arrived at our rental house in Florida and both hubby and I love the drive through the mountains. The scenery is breathtaking and I can only imagine the colours in autumn.
 Here's a pair from the welcoming crew, part of a big flock of ibis that hangs around our neighbourhood.
Sunshine, blue skies and palm trees that are a welcome sight for two from wintry Ontario. We back along a canal which is brownish murky water but that's not obvious in this photo.
A couple of days before we headed south I went out for dinner with 18 other members of my garden club. Teapot, teacup and creme brûlée belong to yours truly, as well as the tasty vegetarian pasta dish I had.
 For everyday use my iPhone is a handy camera but when I charged up my Canon DSLR I found some pretty summer flowers still on it. Above the stunning baptisia 'Lemon Merengue',
 peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'
and Itoh peony 'Bartzella.'
From these photos and flowers in Florida I'm photographing, I'm really wanting spring to arrive soon. 
Happy February everyone! Afternoon tea by the pool this afternoon. 💜

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Living the Dream

Recently I was intrigued by a couple of posts I read prompted by someone overhearing a person who when asked how they were, replied "living the dream." Now doesn't that give you pause and possibility?
Let me tell you my perspective on this uplifting phrase. I live in a country where I'm free to go to church and bible study classes, always have enough to eat and drink and feel safe in our community.
It's a young country, full of diversity and this year Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary.
CWF photo
I love gardening, bird watching and all wildlife. Acquiring certification of a wildlife habit for our property from the Canadian and National Federations was important to me. It took time and knowledge to create a good ecosystem but not long to realize that the food chain was out of whack from the building of subdivisions in our pocket village. Our neighbourhood has been overrun with rabbits for quite a few years because they have no natural predators. Coyotes slink around the sheep and dairy farms yet foxes that used to live among us disappeared. That is, until last fall and now there are sightings on many streets. Yes, some cats have disappeared despite the warnings to keep them safe but the good news is, the rabbits have been brought back in check through that wonder of a food chain balance, and this makes me happy.
The babies I posted about last spring that were born in a depression of soil in the middle of my tea garden. I protected those babies from our dog, the crows and visiting hawks like they were my own but once they were old enough and scattered, my wildlife habitat responsibility was over.
Having a pet is remarkable on several accounts and for women it gives an opportunity for mothering and nurturing. By the way, I get this same satisfaction from gardening when nurturing my plants with home made compost and watering during drought conditions.  A daily walkabout creates interaction by being vigilant for pests or disease and overall it's a therapeutic exercise.
 Flowers inside or out bring me pleasure,  particularly throughout winter when the days are grey and the ground is covered with snow.  I'm blessed to be able to purchase fresh flowers from the grocer or floral shop and then have fun displaying them in creative ways.

Since retiring hubby and I fortunate to spend the month of February in Florida most years.
Here we are at a butterfly conservatory two years ago, and yes he will accompany me to a tea room if I ask.
I'd say I'm living the dream.....💜 How about you, care to share if you are?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Taking Healthy Back and Self Control with the Cheesecake

It's been a laid back kind of week for me; reading, making a couple of birthday cards and coffee and lunch dates with friends.
One friend lives around the corner from us and her dog Rocky and Topaz are BFFs. She came for tea and the boys had a play date.
Rocky was determined to have a piece of my tea bread and kept giving me this toothy smile to show how irresistible he is. Mom says it's a trait with his breed and it cracks me up because he's so cute. 
The backyard has a new visitor and the red squirrel is much smaller than the big black ones that frequent our yard. He was busy eating apples left on the ornamental tree. 
I joined a community FB group called 'Take Healthy Back' and above are the guidelines although I don't know what juice plus is yet. Lots of motivation, recipes and support so although I won't be doing their exercise plan I'm having fun. The majority of women belonging to the group are doing Jillian Michael's workouts which I know of because daughter #2 followed her and then moved on to cross fit. (in other words - intense!)  I'm afraid to ask if they have any granny exercises...reminds me of when I was taking yoga classes at the 'Y'. Our regular instructor who was aware of our capabilities was ill and a young gal stepped in and immediately started bending into pretzel shapes. Our group of age 60+ just sat and watched her until she stopped and asked why we weren't doing the poses with her. Seriously? lol
My exercise routine starts before 7 every morning on the treadmill and then progresses to the yoga mat where most poses are stretches to keep my back and other body parts flexible. I am longing for warmer weather when I can do my 2 miles outside, check out the neighbourhood gardens and then work in my own.
A handy chart that was shared with the group.
Today I'm off to a pot luck lunch, held over from before Christmas and I decided to make a cherry cheesecake. Low fat cream cheese means less calories, right? A small piece is every bit as good as a large one, it just takes self control.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Snow Day with Sparkle

Hello everyone, thank you for your comments after my previous post and sharing more about about yourselves. How interesting that there are so many introverts in blogland, a platform which fills the need for friendship at our own pace.
As a true Canadian, I like to talk about the weather and we've had snow for many days in a row with accumulations of up to a foot at a time. There's probably been more this winter so far than all of last year but...we're back to normal which means ice thick enough for ice fishing, the snowmobile trails groomed and happy skiers.
Backyard winter wonderland sparkle. (taken another year but looks the same)
My winter participation comes from inside birdwatching and shovelling the back deck for our dog and to get at the bird feeders. Look at these happy faces; a male American goldfinch on the left in winter plumage and a male purple finch on the right. 
Topaz doesn't like to go in the snow at all except for necessary business, he prefers to curl up in his bed with lamby wrapped around his neck. The poor old guy will be 14 this summer and is struggling with sight and hearing issues. It's a good thing he's small enough to be a lap dog for that's where he wants to be most of the time and there are days when he's following so close I'm tripping over him.
With the purging of unwanted or plain old not needed items continuing throughout the house I looked at the kitchen Lang calendar holder and tried to justify buying a new one for 2017. Since hubby and I use our phones for appointments and such and there is a plain paper monthly calendar on the side of the fridge for quick looks, (can't give up paper completely) I couldn't see the point in having another.
I've been tearing off favourite pictures when a calendar was completed and they look pretty good stacked for enjoyment. 
We bought a new faux tabletop Christmas tree for 2015 and not wanting to give up the twinkle lights, I decorated it for Valente's Day then continued for Easter and autumn. It doesn't take up a lot of room and adds some sparkle to our day.
 After colouring this page in my journalling Bible I realized the spent roses from hubby matched and there was also a coordinating teacup which all became distressed with photo editing. I used Distress FX on my iPad.
Last summer I purchased the lavender teacup and came upon a matching mug the other day at the same floral shop. It will be fun to have a lavender tea when the plants are in bloom using the various patterned mugs I've collected. Of course you're all invited!
We cancelled our bible study meeting this morning due to the weather. It seems to me if all the school busses are cancelled it makes sense that a group of grannies can stay home for a snow day. 

Having the day free to myself, from somewhere came a burst of energy and I made butternut squash soup for lunch, tuna casserole for dinner and a Queen Elizabeth cake for dessert. If you like a date based cake with a brown sugar coconut/almond topping, this cake is worth making. The recipe is from the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog and I've added it to my recipe page at the top.
For blogging sisters experiencing the beauty of winter snow stay warm, and for those in the warmer regions,  enjoy your days of sunlight and balmy breezes.
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