Photo Journal: September 2015

September was a month of watching and waiting…Watching tomatoes and peppers grow, tomatoes starting to ripen, building a barricade to keep the deer from that plants at the back of the house, coming home from work and watering everything…And also waiting to get on with our bathroom renovations, which did not end up happening.

I had to prop up some plants – using weighted pots for a couple of the containers, and bits of old cat fencing for a couple of the tomatoes that came up from seed. Cory was very confused when I came into the living room asking for wire cutters. I told him I was doing arts and crafts.

Pepper plants refused to grow last year, this year they grew beautifully when I could keep the deer away from them.

I moved the feeders this year, and we don’t have the best view, but it’s a little easier to keep them full inside the fence. Though the deer still visit. I actually watched one jump effortlessly over the fence one morning. I admire the skill, not so much the application.

Actually getting ripe cherry tomatoes off of the plants that grew from seed in the gravel.

And the rest of the cherry and grape tomatoes doing well and ripening.

Lunar Eclipse, September 27 – Bundled up and watched the first phase from our deck. Then it was after 11, and I had to go bed.

9:07 pm

10:11 pm

10:50 pm

11:10 pm

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Photo Journal: August 25, 2015

It has been such a good garden year. I started almost everything from seed, the exception being cucumbers because I just never got around to it. I got a late start, due to the weather, followed by my slow pace for getting things done. But the weather seems to have been perfect, my little seedlings grew big and beautiful and green.

And now I am watching it slowly disappear.

The weekend was actually rainy, so I didn’t get out much, and our bathroom renovations started this week so I am exhausted from getting ready for that, plus all the other stuff I try to get done on the weekends. Since last night I have been suffering from serious sneezing and sniffling and my nose is sore from blowing.

But when I went out to water my plants tonight, I decided I’d better take some photos before the deer eat everything.

I started 24 tomato plants, 12 pepper plants this year. Everything survived to be transplanted, and has been flourishing. When I was transferring everything, trying to find enough containers, tomato cages and potting soil, I wondered if it was too many, but now I’m glad I have a lot.

Most of the tomatoes and peppers are in the area behind the house, along the fence. I have an alley of tomatoes and I like it!

This plant is taller than me! Yeah, yeah…No great accomplishment, I know.

Heirloom Pruden Purple

Along the side of the house, I have pepper plants in amongst the tomatoes, along with some tomato plants that came up from seed left by fallen tomatoes last year. The little seedlings were there when I was putting out my containers, so I arranged the pots around them and fertilized them along with all the rest and they are looking like they might actually produce fruit.

Peppers and Volunteer Tomato Plant

I have a promising number of green tomatoes so far.

Chocolate Cherry
Heirloom Pruden Purple
Sugary Grape

Unfortunately, I can tell you first hand that deer enjoy green tomatoes. Two of my Pruden Purple were in the garden bed, and four of the Bobcat were in the containers by the Tardis, and they are now deer food.

So far the deer have not ventured too far into my little alley, hoping maybe they don’t like how enclosed that space is.

While the deer ate almost everything else in the yard – sunflowers, blueberry and strawberry bushes, bean, cucumber and tomato plants, they had been leaving my sugar snap peas alone which I found surprising.

Shortly after the deer first started visiting I picked a bunch of peas, because I was afraid they’d be eaten next. But when I tried them I realized they weren’t really ready yet, so I’ve been leaving the rest alone. I picked some last night that were nice and fat, and we had them with dinner. I was afraid I’d left them too long, bu they were just right.

Apparently that’s what the deer were waiting for because I noticed today that they finally started nibbling on them.

Guess it’s time to pick the rest of them.

Also, we really need to look into deer-proofing this fence.

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Crime Scene Photo: Morning of Friday, August 21

Either the raccoon got himself a microchip, or Frank & Zappa are aiding and abetting.

Adding insult to injury: On a morning when I could have slept in, Cory woke me 45 minutes early and informed me that I left the basement window open (I didn’t) and there were peanuts from one end of the kitchen to the other (there were not).

Amazingly, no husbands were harmed in the making of this post.

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Photo Journal: April 2015

Let’s catch up, shall we?

A lot of April was spent waiting for the snow to melt. Watching and waiting. It has to happen eventually, right?

April 11 - On sunny days, Frank thought we should be sitting by the patio door, soaking it up. I won't say it was a bad idea.

April 13 - Watching and waiting...

April 13 - Frank

April 13 - Zappa

April 15

April 15

April 18

April 18 - Firefly Crocus

April 18 - Snowdrop

April 18 - Frank does not exactly look thrilled, does he?

April 18 - Zappa

April 22

April 22

April 22 - Zappa

April 25 - Balloons in the snow at Rockwood Park for the CACI Walk for Autism

April 25 - Icy lakes at Rockwood Park; it was a cold, cold morning.

April 26 - Next batch of crocuses

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It’s All Jamie Oliver’s Fault

Jamie Oliver has a Facebook page now and he posted an article giving tips on making Hot Cross Buns.

Ah! I have fond memories of the Hot Cross Buns from my elementary school cafeteria (I have an awful lot of food related memories; is this just me? Anyone else?). I have purchased Hot Cross Buns from grocery store bakeries, and am almost always disappointed. I think I tried making them once, years ago, and was also disappointed. But Jamie Oliver made me think that it was a good idea to try again.

That and the fact that I took a couple of vacation days to give me an extra long weekend. I have mostly been  goofing off. The upside of that being that I feel all rested and relaxed; I am not stressed or feeling any time pressure to get things done.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I actually like to cook. During the week the last thing I really want to do when I get home from work is make a mess in the kitchen that I then have to clean up. Of course we have to eat, but I try very hard to come up with quick, easy meals that will hopefully give us leftovers. I find I don’t even want to be bothered on weekends these days. Five whole days off in a row? Yeah, I can scrape up some energy and enjoy the process.

Friday was a seriously beautiful, warm, sunny day. I said to Cory that it made me want to go outside, but there was nowhere to go; our yard is still buried in 2 or 3 feet of snow. It’s shrinking, but slowly. Friday was nice enough to keep that patio door and bedroom window open though, and we enjoyed the fresh air.

Look at the patches of bare ground on the hill!

I can even see the bottom of the TARDIS!

No longer buried in snow, a nice sunny spot for Zappa!

The cats spent lots of time lounging on the deck, or just inside the patio door watching the birds. Frank, eccentric fellow that he is, likes for me to sit on the floor with him, just inside the patio door which gave me some good photo opportunities.

Strangely unconcerned that a large feline is sitting just inside the patio door.

Sadly, it was a short interlude of nice weather. Saturday it rained most of the day, until it cooled off and turned into snow flurries – with some very blizzard-like flurries in the late afternoon and evening.

Sunday was sunny, but with more flurries. It turned into a kitchen day. Jamie Oliver, with a little help from Anna Olsen (I used her recipe), convinced me it was a good idea to make Hot Cross Buns. I substituted raisins and chopped dried apricots for currants and peel, because that’s what I had. Then I read the flour measurement wrong, but I caught that and added the missing half cup. I had to get stern and tell myself to pay attention to what I was doing.

With a tip from Jamie Oliver in mind, I put the dough in the oven to rise, with a large bowl of hot water on the rack beneath. The dough rose beautifully, and Cory came into the kitchen sniffing the air, just like the cats do when we bring home a rotisserie chicken. When I took the dough out to roll it into buns, I immediately thought that it smelled right. Maybe I can do this after all.

It was pretty much a day long project, and while I was at it, I made Indian Spiced Haddock for dinner.

Dinner! Indian Spiced Haddock

Dessert! Hot Cross Buns

They may not be pretty – I need to work on uniform bun size for one thing – but they turned out just right. The thing I often forget when I decide I need to do something like this is that there are only two of us…Two of us to eat 12 buns. We have been bravely working our way through the batch. I was feeling a little full on Sunday night, to be honest.

Monday was sunny but cold. It feels like the snow is never going to melt. Hard to believe it is April.

Level of snow slowly going down

Windy day, ruffling the feathers

We found the bird feeder that was under all that snow

Waiting patiently for spring...

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March and More Snow

At the beginning of March, we actually had a brief interlude of warmer weather and no appreciable snow fall. I started tracking the level of snow in our yard based on the drift under our bedroom window and how much I could see of the TARDIS.

March 8

For the last half of February, the top of this snow drift was level with our bedroom window. I was impressed, but at the same time it was nice to see it shrinking a bit.

Sometimes I do stop to look at something other than the piles of snow.

March 14

It’s shrinking!

We have a deck under all that snow!

March 16

Well, it was nice while it lasted…

March 19

The reason I bother to keep shoveling the deck.

March 20

Zappa is thinking hard about climbing over that mountain of snow.

They both did climb the drift eventually, and from the bedroom window I can see the trail of paw prints going down the other side. I don’t think they went far though, they were back at the door  pretty quickly. Not much to see, other than more snow I guess.

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The Snowiest February

It was a snowy, snowy month. Saint John got six feet of snow, which is apparently a record. Yay?

Another weekend, another snow shoveling session…

Poor TARDIS, buried in the snow.

At least we are getting some warm, sunny weather. It feels good!

I love this shot…Feeling the sun and sniffing the air..I hope he is catching a whiff of spring.

The light is bravely shining through the snow…If I could get through the snow, and knock on the door, do you think The Doctor would take us away to someplace tropical?

We plan our weekends around the snow storms now; when do we grocery shop so that we don’t have to go out in the stormy weather?

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A Little Fresh Air

I broke down and shoveled a path on the deck this afternoon. The cats are a bit stir-crazy from being  cooped up in the house, and I felt like I could use a little fresh air myself.

It actually was a pretty nice day; warm, no wind or precipitation (for a change). Up until now, any time I have opened the door, the cats have run in the opposite direction. Once I started shoveling, they seemed to think they should check it out.

That was about as far as they got, then they went in and left me to do the shoveling. Lazy little rascals. :)

I cleared a path to the bottom of the steps, and that is about as far as they will get because I don’t feel the need to dig my way through that snow drift. At least they can get out and scratch their deck post now.

Zappa, watching the proceedings from a perch on the kitchen counter, was not convinced.

Frank went out and gave it a try though.

I think we both felt a little better!

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Another Day, Another Storm…

Every few months we have a weekend deploy, which means I have to work on Sunday morning. I have the option to work at home, which is what I always choose, but there are those who go to the office. Since the forecast was calling for a Sunday storm, the deploy was moved to Saturday.

I stayed at home with my laptop, and my coffee pot, as usual. When I went for my second cup, I noticed a woodpecker munching away on sunflower seeds out front.

I haven’t see a lot of birds around this winter; a few chickadees at the patio feeders, and that’s about it. I’m not sure if I’ve just been missing them, or if they haven’t been around. I was  happy to see this guy though. He was all fluffed up like  a little puffball, and that red cap made him stand out in what is very much a black and white back drop at the moment.

Once work was done with, we had some lunch and decided we should head out for groceries, since it sounded like today would not be a good shopping day.

I got up once during the night, and looked out the window, and nothing was happening. But that’s been the way of it this winter; zero to storm!

By the time I got up this morning, it was well underway. It was drifted across the driveway, and the snow on the deck was as high as my shoulders already. I took some garbage down to the garage, and found we even have drifts inside.

Tomorrow we dig our way out of the garage, but for today we are enjoying another lazy storm day.

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Snowpocalypse 2015

We may have had a late start, but it has turned out to be a snowy winter, most of it coming down within a one week period.

We got 130 cm of snow in 10 days. Three of those snow falls (Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday again) rated blizzard warnings and kept us at home. I don’t mind all that much; I like being at home, and can work from home when necessary, so I have not felt all that inconvenienced. But it is a lot of snow!

Winter scenes all around. Taken February 1.

Including city Bambi

The city of Saint John actually declared a state of emergency for a while. The streets have been getting narrower, entire lanes disappearing in some places; parking lots and driveways are shrinking.

Driving to work after the last storm, I remarked to Cory that I’m glad I am no longer living in my old apartment on Sydney Street, where the tiny parking lot was accessed by a narrow alley way; I suspect my car would stay buried until spring at this point!

Frank and Zappa have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Sure, there is the lounging and snoozing that is obligatory for any self-respecting feline…

But they are getting a bit stir crazy. They don’t like being  cooped up, but they don’t want to subject their dainty paws to snow either. I’m actually surprised they are still holding out.

Why won't these humans open the door!?!? Taken February 1.

Never mind.

I give up. Taken February 5.

I did, however, have to take some measures to stop them from hunting in the kitchen. After several occasions of  finding cat food packets with holes clawed in them, leaking all over the floor, I had to start storing their food in a plastic bin.

There is supposed to be cat food here!

This is not how this was supposed to go.

We’ve actually had a whole week now without snow. Except we are supposed to get another 30 cm tonight.

I don't think we need any more, do you? Taken February 3.

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