Sunday, September 25, 2011

View From My Swing

Serveral years ago, I received a garden swing for Mother's Day.  It has been one of my favourite features in the yard ever since.
In our Cold Lake yard, it moved around constantly, but out here, I put it under a maple in the northeast corner, and it must be the perfect spot, for it hasn't moved in 3 months.   
The canopy, weakened by the sun and damaged by the wind, is better left off anyway.   It is very natural to just lay back and look upward into the branches of this beautiful, old maple.
My kids, especially my son, love the swing.  He loves to lay it out flat and lie down on his tummy with his nose aimed toward the ground.  He then swings himself while watching the ground move back and forth, back and forth, for what seems an impossible amount of time.  It must be very hypnotizing, because he is always in a very relaxed state after he has treated himself with a bit of motion from the swing. 
I might move myself back and forth a little, the equivalent of being on a rocking chair.  But to be honest, I get motion sickness easily, so doing what he does would just make me feel ill.
Usually there is an argument as to who gets to sit beside Mama on the swing.  So I will move from my favourite corner to the middle so that each child has a side to lean on.  This is an absolutely awesome way to pass an hour.

Friday, September 23, 2011

View From The Front Yard

The majority of our yard spans in front of the house, south, and to the west.  We have a lot of trees, most of which are very young.  The ones you are seeing in the foreground are Giant Leaf Poplar, (whose leaves sound like rain), and Lilac.   I'm not sure what the variety is, but they bloom a light pink.  There are also Green Ash, Willow, Larch and some little Spruce trees, all planted in neat rows to eventually shelter the yard from the main grid.  In the background, the trees are mature and with exception of the large spruce to the east of the house, are growing in the wild.  There are mostly maples, poplar, and warrior caragana.  But there are some wild roses, chokecherry and saskatoon bushes as well.  So far, it looks as though everyone has yellow folliage for the season.  I would really like to see more reds, so I'm going to find a way to work in some different specimens to break it up a bit.  There are cherry trees in the garden, but I have yet to find out what colour they will turn.  Their leaves are still a deep, shiny green.
So far, we are having a lot of fun planning and dreaming up ideas for our newfound space.  We are currently working on a garden shed, which well be completed when my Husband gets home next week.  I love outbuildings and the character they add to a yard.  This particular building is just the start of a large garden plan/idea/dream I have going in my head.  It is a lot of fun seeing it come to reality!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mommy - I Can Fly!

"I can fly!', are not  words any Mother wants to hear from her young child.  But when they've spent 3 days working on a flight suit that they hope will make them airborne, one hopes that they will achieve at least a slight lift off.
My 8, almost 9 year old daughter, Kaitlynn has always had a strong, vivid imagination and a drive to create.  She is constantly coming up with new ideas, and actually, a lot of them have worked.  So when she came to me with her paper feather suit and asked me, "Mommy, tell me honestly.  Do you think I'll be able to fly with this suit?"  I have to admit, I was a bit stumped as to what my answer should be.  Should I be honest and tell her exactly what was going to happen?  Or should I falsely encourage her and tell her to jump off the roof?  I decided to walk the middle ground and said something to the effect of, "I think you might need a few more feathers and a stronger support for those feathers, but go play it safe and give it a try."
So off she went on a good, windy day and turning herself full into the breeze, started running as fast as she could down the driveway, arms outstretched so her feathers could catch the air.  Before she left she said, "Mommy, in twenty minutes, come outside and look to the sky." 
My heart was breaking for her knowing the visions she was having for her invention would not come to pass that day.  After about 10 minutes, she came in and said, "Well, that didn't work, but at least I have an awesome, handmade costume for Halloween".
Kaitlynn constantly surprises me with her elegance in dealing with life's dissappointments.  What wonderful lessons we can take from simply observing our children.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Day Of School

After a very rainy couple of days, on September 1, the kids were very excited to start school. 
My sister, Auntie Lynn, is their bus driver, as well as the school cook. Two of her children are on the bus, and the kids just think this is a fabulous connection to have.  
There are only 30 plus children in the entire grades K-8 school, and only 3 classrooms.  Grades K, 1 and 2 are together, grades 3, 4, and 5 are mixed and then the grade 6, 7 and 8's make up the last class.
Their old school had about 70 kids in one grade alone and they were separated into 3 classrooms.  So this is a huge change.  But they are adjusting very well, and have even told me that they really prefer this school to their last. 
Nearly 3 weeks has passed since their first day, and they are feeling right at home.  Their bus ride is even shorter out here than it was in Cold Lake.  A total of 35 minutes a day was shaved off their daily riding time.  So much for city living being more convenient. 
The only thing we truly miss about the city are the friends we left behind, and the fact that they lived right next door.  Oh, and don't forget, they did not have children of their own, so they were extremely flexible, and could bend to our schedule on a whim.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rainwater Runoff

It was fun to watch how our yard handled a half inch of rain in a little under a half hour.  When planning our landscaping, it is essential we know what rainwater does.  In our case, we're lucky.  The water all flows a nice distance away from the shop and the house, through a nice little ravine in the grass across the driveway and into the ditch.  The only thing that needs attention is the driveway.  We cannot change where the water goes, but we can change how fast it drains.  We don't need a massive mud puddle in our driveway for days after a rain, although my kids would disagree.
As for that natural ravine in the grass, I can easily envision a dry river bed running from the driveway, all the way down to the ditch.  How many years will that take me to do?  A few I think.  I've already started eyeing up a few rock piles from which to start my harvest. 
We are currently working on building our garden shed.  A much needed building in order to get organized before winter.  After that, well, we'll see how the weather treats us.  There are a few more projects we would love to get done before the snowfall.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Early Frost

The threat of an early frost had us fleeing to the pumpkin patch to save our crop. We came home after enjoying a supper with relatives and after being given some serious advice, we were out there with flashlights unil about 8pm (yes, it is getting dark that early already), saving all that we could find.
There were only about 6 plants all together, but the patch grew massive, bearing nearly 100 fruit. We took off about 75, and left the small ones to weather the storm.
We did not get a frost that night and that was over a week ago. Upon closer inspection in the daylight, we have found at least another 25 pumpkins and squash. We will let them grow until the threat of the next frost and then in they will come.
The morning after picking was spent washing each individual with a bleach solution, and then placing them in their own space (not touching their neighbors) on wooden pallets. Now, hopefully, they will last to be carved for Halloween.
To date, the most pumpkins we've decorated for the occasion was 120. That was when we lived in the city. Out here we have a lot more room to spread out the little devils, so next year's patch is going to have to be a lot larger. We carve them in the traditional ways, and we also paint a bunch. Some of the tiniest ones end up scattered in amongst the larger.
This was our first summer in this yard, and the garden was not well planned at all. Actually, it's a miracle we planted anything at all. We came down during the last week-end in May and it was raining and cold, even threatening to snow. But we were determined to get something in, and now we are glad we did.
We've already picked the place where next year's fall friends will grow, and it is a lot larger then this year's space. Our hope is to line the driveway with them one year. The weather would have to be kind to us for that to happen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Learning To Ride

There is nothing like a wide open space to encourage kids to play outside. My kids have always loved the outdoors, but since we've moved out here, they've at least tripled their time outdoors. Between the snake nest, the salamander crossing and the froggy patch, they are always on some sort of adventure, exploring and collecting. Not long after we moved in, we added bicycling to our repertoire of things to do outdoors. Within minutes Jared was off his training wheels, and my daughter wasn't far behind. Now we all ride together. Our favourite road runs just east of our place. It is quiet and there is a large water feature about a mile down where we love to watch the ducks swim and flap around. It is still very green here, but soon will be my favourite time of year to be outdoors. Once the colours start to change and the leaves start to cover the road and once I need a sweater to be comfortable outside and it gets dark early enough to enjoy the stars again. That is my favourite time of year, and I hope it lasts the next 2 months with no snow until the middle of November. Until then we'll keep riding, a little further each time, exploring a bit further, getting those little legs strong enough so that one day we can ride all the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house, a good 6 miles away. Well, that might not be for a couple of years yet, but for now, we'll enjoy all the little roads around here.