Autumn Update

Why don’t I blog much these days? Well…There hasn’t been much gardening going on; since the demise of the deer fence it is really hard to grow anything.

Aside from that, I don’t know. I can’t seem to motivate myself to sit down and do it lately; not much to say I guess?

The one thing that I managed to grow successfully this year is Cayenne peppers, in pots on my deck. So we’ve been cooking things to use hot peppers, which is okay by me!



I’ve been playing around with some painting on my own. It was actually a year ago this month that I went to my first Van Vino Sip & Paint event. Painting is one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t know how to get started.

After half a dozen Van Vino nights, I decided to give it a go. The nice thing about painting on my own at home is that I can take my time. I’m finding it’s easier to work in stages, to let the paint dry in between, to come back and look at the work in progress after taking a break.





20161022_170024 20161023_120648



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Late July

I haven’t spent as much time in the garden this year, probably because I didn’t plant as much. But we’ve been having a beautiful summer – a good balance of sun and rain so far – and things are growing well.

I have a small herb garden, including catnip for Zappa of course!

July 3

July 3

And a few tomatoes and peppers, which I have surrounded with bamboo trellises.

July 3

July 3

I was going to cover over that with some netting, but decided to hold off a bit. I went out this morning and it looks like the deer have been visiting, so after weeding I put netting over the top. I need to do the sides too, but ran out of time today. Will have to get to it soon.

Yesterday was a bit of a weird day – mostly sunny, but it tried to rain a bit which ended up not amounting to much.

July 23

July 23

After a promising start, we are down to two surviving rose bushes of the ones that Dad planted along the fence.

July 23

July 23

July 23

July 23

However, I had a nice surprise waiting for me when I went to check on the one planted on the side of the hill.

July 23

July 23 

July 23

July 23

So that looks promising!

The flower bed by the drive way has turned out okay.

June 12 - After planting

June 12 – After planting

July 24 - Coming along nicely!

July 24 – Coming along nicely!

We really should have put down new mulch, but the plants have survived and started to fill out. I seem to have been successful in planting things that the deer don’t want to eat.

I put in I think 4 different types of lavender. This is the nicest one I think – it has the nicest flowers so far:

July 24 - Lavance Lavender

July 24 – Lavance Lavender

Irises are done (sad, they are my favourite), but the day lilies are blooming so I still have some colour in the yard.

July 24

July 24


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The Green Time of Year

I love this time of year, when everything turns green. I always feel like I wait and wait and wait for spring, and then things start to happen so fast.




My poor rhododendron is doing it’s best to survive the deer.



I’m getting a late start, but I got out yesterday to start on the gardens. I won’t be doing as much this year, since we still need to figure out how to keep the deer out of the yard with the new[er] fence. But, I’ll do what I can.

To get started, I finally headed out yesterday to pick up some plants.



My garden buddy was hanging out with me…sort of…Mostly he just sat in the tall grass  looking for rodents.


For out front, I have lots of lavender and thyme; not because those are particular favorites, but so far the deer seem to leave those alone. There is some catmint there also – which the deer have stayed away from so far – which is destined to go to the big garden bed on the hill beside the road.


I started with this…


And ended up with this…


It may get a bit more, but it’s a good start and hopefully things will fill out and survive the deer.

Still more to do though…



Tomatoes and a few pepper plants will need to stay on the deck. I have a bunch of herbs to plant out, and a lupin; they grow on the side of the road around here so hopefully will be safe?

I also had a look at the rose bushes and lilacs that Dad & Mom brought over when they visited the last weekend in May. So far things are looking good.

Most of these roses that were planted along the outside of the fence seem like they are going to make it:



This climbing rose was planted in the big garden beside the road. I may be imagining things, but it sort of looks like someone tried nibbling on it?


But they didn’t get far, so hopefully they decided it didn’t taste good.

We’ve had lots of rainy weather, which has been good for the plants growing out in gardens already, but it’s been hard to get out and do much. Today was another rainy one, and it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow, but hopefully there will be some decent evenings this week to pick away at things.

Until next time!


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In Memory of Frank


Frank was a large cat with soft paws and a tiny meow. He had the thickest, softest, silvery fur that felt lovely to bury your hands in. He was a solid armful of cat.


He liked me to follow him around the house while he rubbed his face on corners and door frames. He liked to find out of the way places to take a nap. He wasn’t a lap cat, but he liked to be close by and and enjoyed cuddles. He liked me to walk with him outside, or just hang out with him.


He was a staunch defender of his territory.


He kept me company when Cory was travelling.



He was adored.

One or both cats will usually wake me up at least once in the night and first thing in the morning – or try to wake me anyway. Often by the time I manage to wake up, they are both relaxing on the bed, just waiting for me to move.

There is the odd morning where I don’t see one of them first thing – I tend to think of those as mornings after a night when they had too good a time running around out in the yard. I always look for them before I leave the house though, because I like to know for sure where they are.


So this morning when I didn’t see Frank, I thought he was probably in Cory’s computer room. I’ve been setting up in there on Fridays when I work from home, so I went in to pack up my stuff and, sure enough, Frank was stretched out on the floor. Not an unusual pose- cats do like to sprawl – and I thought he was asleep.



I’m sure I said something like “Good morning Frank!” I stepped over him and picked up my bag to start packing up my laptop and Frank did not move, not even a twitch of a paw, and it seemed to me that he was too still. Checked to see if he was breathing; not the first time I have done this because cats can sleep pretty hard, but this time I was not reassured. Cory had come into the room by now and was asking me “What’s wrong?” I asked “Is he moving at all?” And Cory said “Oh no…”


Frank was coming up on 14 years of age. I have been cognizant of the fact that time was winding down, and doing my best to appreciate the moments. Neither cat has shown any sign of slowing down though, so I thought we still had some time.

My heart is breaking a little bit right now.

Thanks for the cuddles and purrs Frank, and for the times you made me laugh. Thank you for being a comforting presence when I needed one.  You will be missed.


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Ever have one of those days?

Have to say, after an easy winter we’ve been having a pretty decent spring. Thursday and yesterday were beautiful sunny days that almost felt like summer! I can see things starting to turn green. We’re coming up on my favourite time of year!

Yesterday (Friday) was a work from home day for me. It was a little more…eventful than I like my days to be…

Get up and head to kitchen to feed cats. Turn around from getting cat food out of cupboard to find Frank lying directly in my path. Attempt course correction, flailing wildly while trying to regain balance without stepping on cat and wondering if I’ve left anything breakable on the counter, where my flailing might lead to broken glass on our porcelain tile floor.

Manage to survive this without mishap, and continue on with my day. As I’m moving around the kitchen, tidying up, knock over broom, step on handle which slides forward causing me to come down hard on my knee. For the record? I do not recommend banging your knee down on porcelain tile.

And finally, my cleaning lady comes and, while cleaning the kitchen, knocks the glass cruet that we use for sesame oil onto the floor. She has never broken anything before at my house and she felt really bad. I felt a little bad, I did like that cruet, but at that point it almost felt inevitable.

The bright spot in my day – literally – was the fact that it was a beautiful sunny day that almost felt like summer; being at home I was able to eat my lunch out on the deck and enjoy some sun. Frank kept me company.

Looking forward to many more sunny days!

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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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