Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Treats

I am up to my ears in sweets! Gingerbread houses, (made from graham crackers) and all kinds of different candy; I've baked shortbread, sugar cookies, and gingersnaps.  Then there are all those squares I bought to support our school's fundraiser. If we eat these treats at a reasonable rate, (which some of us will not) we'll still be eating them in July. It really is a lot of fun though, and my 12 year old boy is fairly certain this is what Heaven is all about.

I hope you are all enjoying your baking and your giving of baking and your eating of the baking and mostly that you have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Tree

I've got our home into full Christmas swing. I've really enjoyed making Christmas cards and they are on their way.  Next is to wrap the gifts and then into the kitchen for my favourite part, the baking!  
I love this tree more every year.  It took me over 4 hours to put it together and I had help putting the lights into it this time.  There are so many memories in its branches, and we add more every year.
I can hardly wait until school is out for the year, and I can cuddle up with my family for Christmas movies and games. Even when we are all off in our separate corners doing our own things, I love the feeling a full house gives me.
This picture was taken just before sunrise.  Every morning, this time
of year, I am so lucky to have a fantastic view.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Snow Covered Spruce

For the past few weeks, I've had this crazy notion that I wanted to hand paint all of my Christmas cards. I couldn't get the idea of snow-covered spruce trees out of my head, and so I headed over to Youtube for a quick tutorial.  I had to improvise a little, as I don't own professional supplies, and I've now got 15 little pictures done, ready to matte and place onto cards.  I can't tell you how much fun I am having painting these little trees,

I've handmade cards in the past. One year, I drew a few different snowman scenes, then I made several copies and coloured them to adorn my cards. I've used my stamp collection to make sets, and I have a Cricut machine which was fun to use one year.  

In the past few years, I have truly enjoyed the process of making and writing out these cards, then shipping them off.  I would love to add more of my blog friends to that mailing list, so please send me an email with your address if you enjoy receiving Christmas cards.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Marshmallow World

Well, as you can see, I am now fully into winter. It continues to snow as I'm writing this and I can hardly wait to finish my lunch and head out into the quiet to walk my dog. This is his favourite weather for many reasons - the temperature is perfect, he loves to eat the snow, and he loves to play in the snow.  At times, he goes absolutely crazy with joy for the fluffy, white stuff and it is so much fun to watch him.

Halloween was fun here; we carved 43 pumpkins and I had painted several others. It wasn't the display of last year, but it still looked great. I usually do up a detailed post for the occasion, and I'm not sure what kept me from it, but there it is, and it's over, so moving on.
The big reveal for Stephanie's tea cup exchange is coming up, and I am so very disappointed that I managed to miss it. I looked in 1 week too late   I had some great ideas this year for my special friend too, but I suppose they will just have to be put off until the next one. Let's hope I don't sleep through that one too.
Actually, what has been taking up all of my spare time is a current obsession with reading novels. Every time I've sat down over the past month, all I can think of  is to get back to my current book. You can see the titles under the GoodReads section in the sidebar if you're interested. It is unusual for me to pick so many wonderful books in a row, hence it turning into an obsession. But my good luck has ran out, and my current read isn't keeping me near as enthralled, which is why I've remembered that I have a blog and several blog friends.  I suddenly felt the need for a visit, so here I am and I hope you all are well, and I will "see" you soon.

Monday, October 16, 2017

An Enjoyable October

It is warm here. Unseasonably warm, and I am loving it.  We had a major frost, that has killed everything - it looks like winter without the snow and it feels a bit surreal, but I can't complain about a warm breeze this late in the season. The snow can stay away for as long as it wants. Although that carpet of dazzling white is beautiful, it makes life more difficult, and who needs that?
I have been spending my time getting my yard winter-ready and decorating for Halloween. Harvest will be done today barring any major disasters with the machinery. Things will slow down, and I am feeling so very grateful. It has been a good year.

These Pumpkin Peppers or Pumpkin-On-A-Stick were fun to grow and even more fun to decorate
with. But be warned, the thorns on their stems and leaves are very mean.

Yes Sooty, the jack o' lantern print is why I crowded your favourite chair with a cushion., and yes, I am
aware that the black cat and pumpkin thing has been done.  But no, it can never be overdone.

Beautiful bug on a beautiful leaf on a beautiful day.
There are so many lovely gourds and pumpkins adorning my home, but there are only a few that look like something
out of a painting.

My precious Bear... he sure does get rambunctious this time of year.  He loves to play in the leaves - it's game on
if you toss a few onto his head!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Autumn Blessings

I have truly been enjoying my yard this year, especially now when the garden is paying me back in full.  I'm sure you all must think that all I grow are various types of squash, but cucumbers, corn, potatoes, corn, carrots, beans, peas and lettuce have all been plentiful this year and enjoyed by everyone.
It makes all kinds of sense to grow your own food if you can, but why do I spend so much energy on pumpkins and gourds? I have been asked this question many times, and have even been accused of being off my rocker. I'm not sure that I can articulate a clear answer here and I don't really think there is a need to, but I'll give it a go.
With the gourds and pumpkins that I adorn my yard with, it is about making our ordinary fall, extraordinary. To add colour and texture and of course with anything that grows, there is that element of magic. How all of these seeds that pretty much look identical can produce so many various types of squash is fascinating.
And then of course, there is the treasure hunt! You just never what you will find among the vines. "Life is like a mixed gourd patch, you never know what you're gonna get." -Me.  
I guess, the answer is  - FUN.  I find it enjoyable.  Speaking of enjoyable, I've picked up an old project from about 2 years ago and I've finished it.  The goal here was to use up yarn ends. So I present to you my hobo blanket. I thought I would donate it, but my son has claimed it as his own, so it stays.

Bear is thoroughly enjoying the cooler weather, and he loves the pumpkins too!

Another creation using scrap bits of 2x6 wood. 

I love to go fro drives in the fall.

One of the paths to my fire pit. No, I do not plan to rake those leaves.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rain On The Way

Harvest has been going very well here and has actually felt like it has been running at a fairly relaxed pace, but that feeling was swept away this morning by the new forecast of imminent rains. We may not get done what we would like to before the skies cloud over, but we can hardly complain when we think about what our neighbours are going through with Hurricane Irma.
Love and prayers to our Southern friends.
There are still plenty of blooms out in the fading garden.

Cosmos mix with marigolds, and the bees are still humming.

My mixed gourd patch always has a surprise for me.  This year it is in the form of a min-gourd. 
They are grit-your-teeth-together cute.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

In the Fields

It is warm and dry and our normal winds seem to have returned. There was not even a drop of dew on the lawn this morning.  Perfect harvest weather -yep, just how the farmers like it.
Mainly the fields in this area are seeded with wheat and canola.  But you will also find oats, barley, peas, fava beans and flax, although I've heard that our family is the only one in the area to grow flax. 
Growing up, my Grandpa and Dad only ever grew wheat.  At least, that's all I can remember and it is my favourite crop through every season.  I'm especially fond of the bearded varieties. It's the texture and the way it moves with the wind, and in the fall, it's the colour. Nothing beats that golden hue, especially in the right sunset. It moves me every time.  I find it amusing, how the right colour can stir the soul.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

An Odd Fear

I've always been a collector. I had all sorts of items squirreled away in different parts of the yard I grew up in. It was a sad day when I had to give up part of my hoard.
I was about 7 years old, wandering around the yard like usual, I stumbled upon a beauty of a feather;  jet black and shiny, a perfect specimen and I couldn't resist. I was holding it for several seconds when I felt something crawling on the back of my fingers. Startled, I turned my hand over to reveal a huge black beetle, not unlike the colour of the feather, clinging to my skin. Several hard shakes and it would not let go.  I used my other hand to get rid of it and ran in the opposite direction.
Now, here is the interesting part - my mind decided that somehow this beautiful feather that I was still holding had somehow magically produced the little monster that had scared the wits out of me. And being witless as I was, became convinced of it.  I dropped the feather, went to my room where I kept this particular delicate collection, took them outside and dumped the lot.
Fear had taken something from me.  Where there was once intrigue and beauty, now every time a feather presented itself, all I could feel was disgust.
Fast forward to years later.  My daughter has the same interest in random items found in nature.  She has a small collection of feathers in a special place in her room. When out on a walk recently, I saw this beauty of a feather, my first inclination was to take a photo of it and leave it where it was. I knew however, that it would make a lovely "Good Morning" gift for my girl.  Strong memories of why I do not pick up feathers were at the forefront of my mind when I picked it up, turned it over and gently placed it in my pocket. 
I couldn't help but wonder if there was a large beetle exploring in there, and I had to remind myself several times on my way home that I had thoroughly inspected it.
As expected, it did make a much appreciated gift and her smile was worth it. Also, I do believe I made some headway in resolving an old irrational fear. That's not to say I'm restarting that particular collection, but now, someday is a possibility.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Crafting and Decorating

Yesterday, I noticed the leaves on the pumpkin vines wilting.  I really thought I was done watering this year, and if frost looked to be imminent, I would be.  But instead, it looks like we're in for a heat wave. This is very good news for the underdeveloped pumpkins.
Actually, I didn't think there was all that much on those vines.  But the wilted leaves revealed that there is plenty of treasure to be had.  So I was watering last night and early this morning and I'll be out there again this evening giving everyone a good dose. Those leaves perked up almost immediately!
During the hot parts of the day though, there is time for some crafting and decorating.  The fabric pumpkins below are especially dear to me.  They are made from a worn loved one's sweater.  The stems are dried from last year's pumpkin crop and I just love the acorn dangle. The other is just a bit of décor.  I have so much fun decorating this hutch for every season. It lends itself perfectly to just about anything!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pumpkin Bliss

It's my favourite time of year again! I have been going into my patch daily and enjoying my "pumpkin hunts." It is so much fun digging around, looking for treasure and decorating the yard.
This is it, what it's all been for - the planting, the weeding, the watering. At times I wondered if I might be crazy doing all that work. I was ready to sell my acreage and move into a condo on some of those hot days when I couldn't put the work off any longer.
I don't think it will as bountiful a year as 2016, but I'm still having so much fun.  Here are a few pictures of what's going on in my yard.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Instagram Woes

It happens every summer, time moves beyond fast and I'm left wondering where a month has gone. The weather has been so kind this year, warm temperatures and hardly any wind. I mention the wind because I live on the prairies and so wind is just something I've come to accept, but what a marvelous break we've had from it.

I've been taking pictures like crazy since getting a new camera at the beginning of July and so you'd think I would have been blogging a lot, but... Instagram. Yep, that's where my photos have been going. A few you of have found me there and so know that I am still alive, but the rest of you, I have not been fair to. 

I'm not sure I'm in love with Instagram.  I was at first, but then I discovered that a lot of people are using it to build up a false sense of popularity. Normally, this sort of thing would not bother me, except that I'm looking for a genuine community. Here's the problem - I post a photo, I get a bunch of "likes" and usually 3 or 4 new followers. That's great! I check out their photos and if I like what I see, I'm happy to follow right back.  Then, a few hours to a day or so later, they "unfollow" me, meaning they were not at all interested in my photos, no - they are just trying to build up their number of followers or advertise. Blech!

Now, there are 3 types of people I follow - people I know, people I find inspiring, and people I would like to get to know through a mutual exchange. I do not want my feed all clogged up by people who are not interested in sharing back and forth.  Of course, I realize that this status competition exists here in blogland too, but it is much less aggressive, and I find I am largely unaffected by it simply because I'm not here to be competitive and build numbers. With Instagram, blogging in the fast lane so-to-speak, you're in the competition whether you want to be or not, and it is not a worthwhile competition. A false sense of popularity through tricking people into following you is, at best, a complete waste of time. I will say though, Instagram does have a fun side, and I have enjoyed sharing with the people I know and the few genuine people I have been building relationships with. Also, there are some absolutely amazing photographers out there, and I thank them for their daily doses of inspiration, they keep my camera clickin'.

Alright, enough of that. Here are a few of my favourite photos from the past month.  I hope you have all had as marvelous a summer as I have, and are enjoying the last days of it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Go Fly a Kite!

Son walks in and exclaims that he is bored and Mom replies unsarcastically, "Go fly a kite."  Son whines that he doesn't feel like doing that, but after having suggested it, Mom realizes that it is a fantastic idea and decides to go out. It is after all a much needed photographic opportunity. Before Mom has the camera ready, the boy has his kite on the front lawn and much fun is had over the next hour so. For a time, boredom has been overcome.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July Mornings

July is flying by so fast, it is making me dizzy! I've been having fun learning about my new camera and enjoying Instagram a whole bunch. I like that I can use it from my phone which I almost always have on me and that it is super quick. Mostly though, I've been enjoying the weather, my gardens and having my kids at home. They're older now, and mostly prefer to do their own thing, but I love "dropping in" now and then to see what they're up to and just having their happy voices fill up our home makes me lighthearted.

I do hope you're all having a fabulous July! Here are some photos, mostly from my morning walk with my dog.

An America Coot in its nest. I get a kick out of these guys and the noises they make.

A lovely pair I passed on my morning walk.

Seemed like a sad little birdie.

My black kitty Sooty, getting some love from Georgia.

This is one of those shots I thought I didn't get. It's my current favourite and I will keep playing with it to
see how best I like it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Happy Hatching Day!

You know, killdeer are very considerate creatures. They could have hatched yesterday when we were in the city all day, but they waited.  I was out early this foggy morning, new camera in tow. I checked on them then, and all was quiet. They must have seen the shiny new equipment I was carrying because a few hours later - POOF! 4 puffy chicks. Just look at the poses they gave me; fantastic little models. 
I've thrown in a few other photos from my practice session.  

This is Daddy.  He was running around making a racket the entire time his tribe was breaking free of their shells. He's
to blame for me finding out it was hatching day.
Still tired from all the work it took to get out of that tiny egg.

Time to start venturing out a bit - stretch those wee legs.

I can't believe this little fluff ball could even fit into something that small.  
Asparagus fern.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Morning in the Garden

We've had a cold spring, but things are starting to fill out in the garden now. Here are a couple shots of the place I call home and some pretty flower photos.
Oh, and I'm on Instagram now as aostaj!