Thursday, 31 July 2008

Oopsie Daisy

Well, there I was deadheading my daisies and so pleased that I was actually keeping up with them for a change. (my lawn and many garden beds - including my veg. beds - are littered with daisy plants because I don't usually get around to deadheading before they go to seed)I was chattering with the boys and heard a sort of loud *snip*, the kind that seemed louder than a thin daisy stem would make, when I noticed that I had inadvertently cut right through that single lovely day lily I had just posted about. Oopsie daisy is right. Oh well, there must be some sort of garden lesson in even that...something along the lines of enjoy the beauty each day offers...because some silly woman might come along and snip it off just when it is at the peak of its bloom??? Or something like that.Be afraid my very afraid. ;-)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Day lily and tiger lily

Most of my day lilies are this colour. I keep dividing them each year and spreading out the clumps so that I have them in several different spots. This year they seem to have come and mostly gone so quickly.I have just one of this colour, it's a little different and a bit larger bloom than the other kind.

Yesterday I noticed that the tiger lily was blooming. I just love the way it looks, what a cool plant.
And this one was in bloom a few weeks ago right beside our back patio - so pretty.

I love being surrounded by such loveliness and colour all through the Spring, Summer and Fall in the garden. My garden has many lessons to teach me about living in the moment and enjoying what is. Those are some important life lessons.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Lots of flowers and a mystery flower

Just a few years ago I added Rudbeckia to my gardens with some seeds from my mom. I now have loads (and I mean loads, do these ever spread) of them in a few different colours. They are so cheery that I can't bear to cut the ones down that are growing right across the entrance to our home.
Cosmos and calendula growing by the bush beans.There are lots of Hollyhocks coming up in a few different colours. But what I really want to know is - what is this? It is quite pretty but no one I ask seems to know what it is. This picture is the flower...and the leaf looks like this. I'd love to know what it is.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Behind the leaves...

yummy surprises are hiding. My strawberry patch has been a little neglected for the past week. I've been concentrating on painting walls, clearing weeds out of the garden and other mundane household chores. The strawberries are taking over the garden bed and I figured they were taking a bit of a summer break from producing berries when I saw a few little glimmers of red. Pushing aside the leaves I found this:

What a beauty! This is the biggest strawberry I have found in our patch this year. I brought it in to show my son and he admired it briefly before eating it. Oh well. I grabbed a bucket and headed back to see what else I could find.
Well, hello there... Seems the strawberries have been hiding on me. After snacking to my fill on blueberries and strawberries, I still had a few treats to bring into the house to share.

It's hard to get an idea of how many blueberries there are from the photo, but I would guess there is over 1 cup and still lots more to come on the bushes. Not bad for their first year! I think I could get used to this.
In my meager bits of free time, I've been absorbing the most wonderful book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. This book was just the kick in the pants I needed to bring my focus back to a diet of local eating, especially at this time of year when there is so much local goodness available. I'm disappointed I missed out on asparagus season but I look forward to trying out other recipes from her book (which are also available in the above link - I can't recommend her zucchini orzo enough). I'm seeing a bigger veggie garden... I'm seeing more grass removed... I'm seeing my husband leaving town again...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


I love sunflowers. Loads of them sprout each year all around the yard and I have such a hard time pulling any out. This year I gave lots away so that we wouldn't be overrun with them as they tend to shade other things in the garden. Somehow though I still ended up with lots.
I can forgive them for shading other things(although not my tomatoes) when I see things like this though.

Poor puppy

Just in case you were thinking of asking us to dog-sit....
you might want to reconsider.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

All thanks to Mr. Henley

Bread is a staple breakfast food in our house. We ran out yesterday morning and I must have thought bread would magically appear because I did not make or buy any. Sadly, this did not happen. This morning there was a slight panic in the search for an acceptable first breakfast but after we were fed, I realized I had two options: make some bread, or drive to the store to buy bread. And since I'm in gas saving mode, my only real option was to bake some bread. And here it is:

Nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread. I'm so sorry that I can't post the smell.

But where does Mr. Henley fit into this?

Well, I find music can make almost any chore that you are not really into at the moment much more fun. It usually makes the process a little longer (although I'm not going to share exactly why this is) but more fun. And this morning, I chose Don Henley.

Is is really summer without listening to a little Don Henley? (While watching that video, I realized that Don Henley was kinda cute. He's no longer just the old guy who sang some good songs. Of course, this opinion was generated when I was 13 and I like to think I have matured a little since then.) Looking back, I can't help thinking how tame my summers have become in the last 10 years. I no longer have the 'brown skin shining in the sun', my convertible has long since been sold, and my 'boys of summer' are limited to two. (That would be my husband and my son of course :-) But his songs still bring back memories of those carefree summer days, when the sunny days and warm nights seemed to last forever.

And this got me curious... is there any songs or bands or singers that transport you back to summers of the past? Let me know in the comments :-)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Importance of Being E

E has certain things in his life that are very important to him. Dogs, big brother, biking and fresh food from the backyard are some of his main pleasures. Everytime I spot him in the yard these days he is picking something to pop in his mouth.
I love watching him enjoying all these goodies and am so proud of the gardener that he is. These carrots are from some heirloom seeds he ordered to plant in his garden bed. He picked these two yesterday to taste test the different colours. He says he also has some red ones growing. He has one going to seed and has decided to collect the seeds in hopes that some friends might want to trade seeds with him.I have to remember to show him this Jamie Oliver clip about carrots and gardening.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

yard progress and summer pictures

Ever since we put in our garden, I have had a constant battle against the weeds and grass trying to work their way up to, around and into my garden beds. My walking on them just wasn't enough to keep them at bay, and since I like things to be neat and tidy, this project was an important one for me to get done this year. Here is a photo of the work at the beginning:

I'd started the edging of my path, and clearing out the weeds and the grass that seem to flourish right where I don't want them.

And here is where I am at now:
So lovely that I could sit and stare at it all day (hence my chair set up for sitting and admiring the hard work). It's not done yet - we still have down the side of the house and we are thinking of adding a top layer of some sort of small rocks but for now, this will keep the weeds away and less weeding means more playing in the garden.
And the garden is blooming and buzzing.

The amount of bees feeding in our yard is beautiful. The flowers are literally alive with them and their buzzing songs make great background music as I'm weeding.
An incredible about of blackberries on our 3 year old bushes.

If you click on the photo, it will become bigger and you can see the insane amount of blackberries coming our way. I'm visualizing blackberry jam...

Friday, 4 July 2008

Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure

We saw this film awhile back at Science World in Vancouver on the big Omnimax screen. It was quite something to watch. I ordered it from our library and we enjoyed watching it again this weekend at home. One thing that was really nice about the DVD was that we were able to see how it was filmed as well. The film is shot in Borneo and you get a chance to see some pretty fantastic bugs.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Start small

That was the advice given to me by many when I mentioned I wanted to make a quilt. Start small. Start with a wall hanging, a place mat or even a tiny lap quilt. It was great advice, but you know when you have a vision of exactly what you want and can't imagine making anything else? Well, my vision was a big quilt. A simple pattern, with large squares, but full size nonetheless. I picked out my fabric, cut some big squares and my son helped me lay them out. It was very important to him that all three of us be able to fit under it and how could I say no to such a sweet request?

My quilt grew and grew, and even when I sewed all the squares together, I didn't realize how big it really was. All went well and all went quickly until I got to the quilting part. It was there I learned that, apparently, I can't sew a straight line. When I finally admitted to myself that the quilting did not look good, I had already quilted half of it. And as I ripped it out, I had to laugh at myself because it looked so bad, yet I kept quilting away and thinking to myself that the finished product would somehow look better.

After coming to terms that I would not be sewing a straight line on my quilt, I decided to make the quilting lines purposefully wavy. This worked beautifully, and it quilted up quickly (for such a very large quilt). A few days to do the binding and here it is:

See how big it is? 87 inches by 70 inches to be precise. But I am so thrilled that we have a cozy blanket (which I just happened to finish in the hottest month of the year but oh well :-) I love the way it looks, I love it's weight and I love it's colours!
Here is a shot of the backing and my first attempt at binding. I have to admit, the whole project could have been very overwhelming, but by breaking it down into steps it seemed so easy. I had the help of Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Quilting (which is loaded with tons of photos) and of course, the expertise of my dear friend, Katherine, who not only showed me how to do the hand stitching on the binding, but picked up a needle and thread to help me sew it. When I got home, I looked at my binding (where I completed 1/2 of one of the sides) and Katherine's (who completed almost 2 full sides) and was incredibly thankful to her, not only for showing me how to finish my quilt, but for helping me to complete it that much quicker.

I'm so pleased with my first quilt! And no part of it put me off quilting - as I was sewing up the binding, I was already planning future quilts. Hmm... maybe I will become 'Quilt Girl' and quilt all the time and make quilts for everyone...

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Hot Weather Eating

What do you eat when the temperature goes past 30 degrees Celsius? I know I don't feel like standing in front of the stove cooking. So when it got super hot this week, I knew the only thing that I would be serving for dinner would be sandwiches and pasta salad.

The trick is to get up early enough (before it's too hot) to cook the noodles. After they cool, you can throw in any veggies you have in the fridge (here I used carrots, peppers, broccoli, cucumber, and peas). Other things I've had in my pasta salad are tomatoes, green onions, cauliflower, green beans and even chickpeas. The nice thing is you can add whatever you like. Add a bit of feta or other type of cheese, throw on your favourite salad dressing and let it all marinate until you are ready to eat. I did a huge bowlful here and it lasted for 3 days. And to really cool down, finish the meal with:

homemade ice cream! My husband has been on an ice cream making kick and here is a shot of chocolate chip mint ready to be scooped into a container for the freezer. It's the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer evening.