Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Life in the Fast Lane

I've been absent from the blogging world; busy gardening and living life to the fullest. 
Baptisia 'Lemon Merengue'
Therefore, posts will be sporadic throughout summer and winding down by year end. Yes, I've decided this is it for me. The blog was an enhancement to my writing days of a newspaper column and magazine articles but I retired from all that, including teaching gardening seminars at the end of 2016. 
I've become a lazy blogger, reading, often not commenting and find the communication through FB and IG are quicker to fulfil my needs these days. (and both have a like buttonđź’™)
My woodland garden, woodland phlox, 'Lemon Lace' elderberry and a vibrant purple Siberian iris.
I've set in motion the cancellation of my extra Google storage and by December will terminate my .com address. My blog designer said I can still post periodically if I  do these things: "All your links in the navigation bar should be changed to reflect the blogspot address or they won't work anymore. The .com domain should be removed from the blog as well. Once that is done everything will function as as always, but with the old blogspot address, and if you should ever want to do a periodic post your followers will still be able to find you."
I've figured out how to remove the .com domain from the blog but does anyone know how to change the links in the navigation bar for when I need to do this? Never say never - just in case.
We attended a wonderful outdoor wedding last weekend at a country inn with background music supplied by the above harpist. Her music was on an iPad with a special pedal to turn the page - such is technology! 
Dinner was inside this huge tent with lots of twinkling lights strung above and heaters to take out the night air chill. The weather was perfect, food and company as well.
I made a lemon merengue pie from scratch this week, labour intensive but so delicious. The recipe came from a Canadian born woman now living in England who posts her recipes on The English Kitchen FB page.
Many of the bloggers I follow I'm already friends with on FB or IG and although there is a corresponding FB page to this blog, it will likely go at year end as well.  I'm now hosting a community gardening FB group and am one of the admins for our garden club page. I can't believe how much information and sharing is done in the community FB groups, including my church. 
I'll be back soon with a book review on gardening for butterflies and until then...
Take Time for Tea

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

With spring blossoms comes pink snow. Not really, but it sure looked like it had snowed on the ground and plants when a strong wind began to blow the petals from the dwarf crabapple tree.

Rather pretty at this stage until they turn brown and start to decompose but I won't show you that when it happens. Pretty things, happy thoughts...
New red maple leaves backlit by the sun caught my attention one morning - one of life's magic moments.
I took these photos with my phone while at our garden club plant sale at the arboretum.  I told hubby I wouldn't mind some of the wild lilacs from the bushes growing in the upper meadow. 
What a sweet guy, he brought home enough to fill two vases. Above is the one that ended up on the kitchen table.

You can imagine the fragrance throughout the house.
While parking my car for a class I busted this little beast, a pileated woodpecker, digging a huge hole in a beautifully carved tree. 
 We've had enough rain this spring that the backyard is starting to look like a jungle. This peony is about four feet tall, double what it was last year! My, it will be June 1 tomorrow already.
Happy Gardening everyone and...
Take time for tea

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.
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