Cactus In Alberta

3D65517A-1E5A-4E3F-AE95-5FA91219F784

Did you know Cactus grow wild in southern Alberta, Canada?

Prickly Pear cacti have actually been know to grow as far north in the province as the Peace River area.

In central Alberta, they have grown in our family’s flower beds for over 30 years.

The above picture is one of our beds of cacti here at the lake which had a building for shelter during the 2014 damaging hail storm. It has its first of many blossoms for this season.

Below is a before and after picture of a different flower bed that needed love this year. It use to be crammed full of large cacti like the other bed. Many of the plant’s in this one didn’t survive that hail storm a few years ago. The ones that did have been fighting their way back. Recent wet weather though is washing away the soil and the landscape ties trap rainfall leaving them often living in a water puddle. I can’t even keep up weeding the growing moss and wet soil grass.

It was a dreaded chore, but we removed all the cacti, dug out the grass and moss, filled the bed with 8-10 inches of sand, then separated and replanted the cacti.

I hope they appreciate the work and flourish once again.

Late fall these cactus will start to shrieval and lay over, ready to be covered with snow. Each spring they bounce back. As in the first picture, this variety gets large yellow blossoms in June or early July, depending on the spring’s warmth. Ours are later then usual this year.

Do you like unusual bedding plants?

Can you grow cactus outside in your area?

If you are wondering, how I weed these cactus beds, I use long handle pliers or a fish hook remover.

What Holds Us Back

Does anyone remember the above saying?

I heard it thousands of times growing up.

Do you ever wish you could do something? Anything in our control qualifies for this question. Things like, learn a new hobby, language or to cook, play an instrument, game, sport, or even practical things like save money.

I’m certain everyone at some point has said, “I’d love to be able to…”

What sometimes keeps us from trying these things?

Is it a confidence issue?

Is it not liking change?

Is it as simple as, we don’t like to risk failure?

Are the wishful activities that dance in our heads not worth extra time, effort and maybe risking not doing them perfect at first or ever?

After all wouldn’t “failure” be not trying them at all?

Say, if after a month you can only count to ten in the new language you’ve been studying, that should still be seen as success, right?

Even the “I wish I could…” which involves changing a current habit should be considered here.

What if after a week you’ve only saved 50 cents a day, that’s still saving, right? Plus, the following weeks goal could be simply increase to another reachable amount.

It’s common to get enthused by success, and discouraged by defeat. So, lets not make our goals for something new or habit changing difficult to reach.

Remember, even the tiniest accomplishment or change can help you reach the big goal.

Take someone whose “I wish” is to have a more organized house. Tackling it in small areas it’s not as overwhelming.

This makes me think of something I was once told years ago and I truly believe. “A messy, unorganized living space reflects what’s going on in your life.” Often physically cleaning up the clutter will help settle inner anxiety.

We should give ourselves easy goals to achieve, approach things in steps, and maybe lighten up a bit on our expectations.

Here’s something I’ve often wondered. When someone says they can’t do something for example cook, do they really mean “can’t” or is it they “don’t want to try”?

As adults we need to study the young. How do they learn to walk? Do they give up after the first fall? No, they do it in stages over time and with lots of effort. They sit, then stand, then move on to taking steps.

After spending a couple days with “Monkey” (our little grandson) it occurred to me that we are born with a tremendous amount of try in us. Anything new Monkey comes across that he wants to do he is persistent until he succeeds.

Perhaps in this time of Covid-19 you took a chance to try something that has been a wishful thought, or perhaps you tackled changing a habit.

Why as we age do we let the determination and persistence we are born with slip away?

 

Multi-purpose Furniture

image

Grandma and Grandpa’s latest building project will keep “Monkey” safe while helping in the kitchen. Now that he tried it out and enjoys it, we’ll tweak a couple things and paint it.

Items that have dual or multi purposes are necessary when living in a small space. Foot stools and end tables with storage, hide-a-bed, murphy bed, all those regular type things.

We’ve made some of our own creations when we can’t buy what we need, or if we can’t find the right size piece.

In my perfect world, I would be working with wood nearly every day because it’s my favourite hobby.

This latest piece might look confusing or overbuilt, but it transforms for four different uses.

In the top picture is it as a aid for my dish washing and baking helper. To grow with him it has four height adjustments.

The picture below it’s an adjustable highchair.

img_8349

It also converts into an extra adult chair for at our table.

Plus, I can adjust it for a step stool when needing to access our high cabinets.

There’s building directions for lots of different styles of the four things mentioned  above on Pinterest, but I couldn’t find a multi purpose one. So, with a idea in my head, Mister and I started building this figuring out the arm system as we went.

Do you remember being little and standing on something so you could help in the kitchen?

Do you enjoy making things of any kind?

Change or Maintain?

4D1FB64E-7AAC-4711-8EF6-59B6AB26E0AE

Our leaves and flowers seem to be slow appearing this spring. Definitely later than last year, but not really unusually late. Maybe the social distancing and isolation just has a person anxious to see change.

We’ve had about a week now of cooler and windier weather than normal, so I’m sure once the warm sun returns things will pop.

How are things growing where you are?

Yard-work is not my favourite pastime. Let me rephrase that, yard maintenance is not my favourite thing to do. If we were building or changing something outside I’d be all in, but I have to force myself to do the weekly weeding.

If it was up to me there would be some flowerbed and rock-garden changes done this year, but Mister has the “why change things” attitude. He says why do major projects when it’s up for sale, which is reasonable. It’s just with what’s going on in the world we also doubt it will sell this year. Money spent on different landscaping wouldn’t be a recoupable expense.

We had this cottage built fourteen years ago, and have lived here full time since 2009 with little to no major changes.

I’m feeling a real need to change something inside or out.

Normally, painting a interior room would solve this restlessness and would have been a winter project. Edging around 22 windows, 6 doorways, and tall vaulted ceilings made me think it might be more than this aged body should tackle though. I know I can do it I have in the past. I also remember how much work it was. Before you think it, no, having someone else do it does not satisfy my need to change something.

I’m sure professionals out there will say I have some big underlying issues with needing change, but really I’m just tired of seeing the same old same old.

Do you like change? 

I’ve mentioned before that woodworking is one of my favourite hobbies. Not having a garage though means it’s done in warmer weather outside. I spend the snowy winter months planning projects, and I’m chomping at the bit to get started on them.

I’m certain that’s why spring yard work irritates me, it has to be done before projects get started.

So there’s my dilemma, I feel stuck wanting to change something or at least get started on some outside projects. Hurry up and warm up weather, quit with showers and blustery winds.

Do you like to rearrange furniture, paint rooms, change or add landscaping?

Are you content with material things staying a certain way for long periods?

What About After?

704C0C9B-699C-417D-B51C-AA62FDBC53F3

Does anyone else have these thoughts?

Are you ever going to be able to relax while in a crowd, or even just shopping or dinning out again?

Knowing this virus is still out there, how fast it can spread, or that this could happen again with a different virus, just how much paranoia is healthy?

Will flights, cruises or even mass gatherings have any appeal to you?

I’m hoping Mister and I can find a comfortable middle ground. I do think it’s going to take some time though.

Air travel won’t be in our near future, but to be fair, Mister has never enjoyed airports. We were checking out cruises when this all started, but they aren’t high on our priority list anymore either.

Respecting a strangers personal space anywhere we are will be our new habit.

Not to the point of if I’m in an elevator and a crowd enters I’ll flip out, at least I hope I won’t, but my eyes may widen if someone in there starts coughing or sneezing.

Will this isolation experience forever change your habits?

We’re still hanging in here, hope you are too.

One Thing At A Time

FA129696-49C5-4DC5-8DC8-1E786C776973

A Family Float taken years ago

I’ve been a bit quiet blogging lately so here’s an update as to why. When this isolation started I thought I was going to continue writing posts from my already outlined file. Yet, when I read a draft its level of importance in life has changed. For most, it just doesn’t feel like the right time to post them. They’re not deleted their day may come.

I’m sure I’m not alone feeling that with each added week of isolation I’m becoming more unsettled. Motivation has become my biggest obstacle. My attitude sways towards, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” it’s not like there’s anything else happening. I’ve lost the scheduled routine of what needed to be done every week.

Don’t get me wrong, part of this slowed down lifestyle I think we needed and I hope to continue practicing it.

I use to always tell myself, “I’ll sleep or relax when I’m dead”. My new motto might just be, “Every minute of every day shouldn’t be scheduled unless time to relax is included.”

Or, maybe my motivation issue is because most of the enjoyable stuff is done on my to-do-list.

I have been ticking things off which feels great, but I also hope this isolation ends before I have to do some of the remaining boring items. My temporary remedy is the other day I added about 10 new things to the list for more choices.

I should probably be ashamed to mention these, but I’m actually proud of myself for getting them done.

Our son is married and has a young son, and I recently got all of my old stashed notes recorded in his baby book.

Another impressive feat was completing the “Grandmother” book our older set of grandchildren gave me in 2003. This one has 64 pages of questions to be filled out regarding my childhood right up to views for the future, and then it’s to be given back to them. It’s now sitting here waiting for us to be able to deliver it.

I have material from 2006 to make a quilt which has finally made it to the cutting table, but we’ll see how far I get with that.

Our snow has finally melted and spring has arrived, so outside work takes priority. It also means I can start some woodworking.

Have you gotten anything done that’s been on your list for a long time?

Do you have something on your to-do-list you’re not looking forward to tackling?

My main one is, resealing our paved driveway which I’m guessing is around 1000 square feet. The worst part is we know this chore has to get done.

All in all, things with Mister and I are as good as can be expected. Life hasn’t stopped throwing us a few curve balls, but I’m sure that’s happening to everyone. 

(knock on wood) We’re still virus free, and as far as we know family and friends also are, so this is great.

It looks like summer is going to be nothing like what we had planned which sucks big time, but that’s out of our control.

Stay healthy and sane everyone. (smiley face)

Why Is It Called Dog?

C0C126A9-DFBA-433E-80E9-4E6F5B8AB3FB

Do you need something besides Covid-19 to think about?

Here’s something I often wonder, and even Google hasn’t given me satisfying answers.

Why is a dog called dog? Why is a house a house? Why is walk walk? Why are we called people?

Can you see the big question? Why, how and when did the words we use originate?

I decided to Google “when did humans start speaking.” It appears I’m not alone in wondering about this. There’s a few theories and speculations, but nothing very helpful.

These are quotes from one article I found.

“The origin of language and its evolutionary emergence have been subjects of speculation for several centuries. The topic is difficult to study because of lack of direct evidence.”
Okay, I get that, but it wasn’t very satisfying.

Here’s a helpful line.
“The shortage of empirical evidence has led many scholars to regard the entire topic as unsuitable for serious study.”
Sounds like me after awhile of thinking about this, throwing my hands up in the air and muttering, “I don’t know.”

This statement pretty much sums up my research.
“In 1866, the Linguistic Society of Paris banned any existing or future debates on the subject, a prohibition which remained influential across much of the Western world until late in the twentieth century. Today, there are various hypotheses about how, why, when, and where language might have emerged. Despite this, there is scarcely more agreement today than a hundred years ago when Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution by natural selection provoked a rash of armchair speculation on the topic.”

If I had the gift of time travel I would go back and search for answers.

Well, I think I avoided my chores long enough. No more researching this mystery for me today. 

But really, why is a tree called a tree, a mountain called a mountain?

Sometimes my mind rests, but not often.

I’m curious, have you ever given this subject any thought?

I hope you have support and are staying strong and healthy during this social distancing and often isolation.

Which Group Are You?

73991764-B532-4E61-8FDF-5F1E21BAF948

When something goes wrong our instinct as parents and grandparents is to gather our family, stay close, protect and support each other. Right now the opposite has to be done if younger family members are unable to completely isolate because of their jobs.

This isn’t a, woe is me, post, but it does suck to be in that higher risk and more vulnerable age group. I’m certain everyone of you who is feels the same.

“Thank Goodness to today’s technology.” Who else agrees that without it this isolation would be so much more difficult?

Using devises and Internet we can not only hear our family and friends voices, we can see their faces, or easily share pictures and videos. We only have to physically isolate, so to keep our sanity any kind of call interactions are greatly appreciated.

Video chats is now how we visit Monkey (our newest grandson) who seems to grow and learn new things each day. It’s depressing not being able to share these in person, but we hope not doing it now means a better chance of doing it for years to come.

We get virtual tours of projects and changes at the son and daughter-in-law’s place and lots of video visits while we watch Monkey play.

Our daughter also keeps us up-to-date daily with life in the country for her and her husband. She sent pictures of their house renovations, which they luckily had supplies on hand for. We get to see what her fur baby is up to, and she’s keeping us posted on spring progress with her horse.

The effort each and every individual puts into social distancing will make a huge difference.

Remember, just because you can’t see social distancing results in the moment it could literally be life altering.

Mister and I are starting our 4th week physically separated from family and friends. Boredom or running out of projects isn’t an issue yet. Like many of you, I would be lying if I said at times it doesn’t sadden and frustrate us, but there really seems to be no other option.

This situation has increased our desire to move closer to the kids. We had just listed our place for sale before this virus took over. Now, I doubt the chance to sell and relocate will happen anytime soon.

My prayers go out to all during these terrible times. Especially, those whose job takes them out in the public.

Lets keep these people healthy by isolating ourselves if we have symptoms or have been around someone with symptoms.

Lets stay home unless it’s a necessity.

Lets learn what is a necessity.

Lets learn to be happy in our homes. I hear it’s a great time to move furniture around.

Stay Positive.

Be Kind and Considerate to others.

Be Diligent with hygiene, social distancing or self isolation.

I Hope You have someone or something that Can still make you Smile.

What is something you can’t wait to do once this virus subsides?

For me it’s, be in the same room as family and friends. I should clarify that, family and friends other than Mister, because he is certainly both of those.

Probably, do one of our Chinese food get togethers with the kids. I’m craving something not home cooked.

Hold and play with Monkey of course.

Pet and wrestle the grand puppy. Spend time in the barn with the daughter and her horse. Technology hasn’t been able to bring me the smell of horse, leather and hay.

Be able to clear my throat without causing public panic, and be able to touch my nose, eyes or face in a store lineup without fearing illness.

Have you learned any new ways of communicating or staying connected with family and friends while social distancing?

I hope you and yours can remain Safe and Healthy. 

Have You Gotten Reacquainted

9CC127C9-A98A-4E00-A103-5773D1F433DE

I have started a new social distancing activity called reacquainting myself with stuff.

I won’t refer to the digging in and going through nooks and crannies as cleaning out, because I rarely throw anything away.

It’s more like taking inventory.

For instance, I have 4 of my previous wallets stashed in a box. Two of them have been in the box for over ten years, one was put in there because it was my all time favourite but is falling apart. The forth one is my traveling wallet and is occasionally used.

Does anyone else save old wallets after buying a replacement?

Worse than that is my collection of glasses cases, drugstore sunglasses, and readers, that I can’t even wear now because of my prescription. Not all of them are in this box. I have no explanation for this, but as long as there’s room in this box things are safe. Once it’s full I will not start another one. That’s when something will have to go.

The box that is getting scary is the one housing out dated phones, cameras, chargers and cords. It’s getting full, but it’s not on my to conquer list yet.

My memory is still pretty good as to what we have and don’t, but I don’t always remember right away where something is stashed. Which can lead to a little frustrated search. So, I’m enjoying this rediscovering.

I’ll admit I had a brief moment of, I should make an alphabetical list of where stuff is. I guess I’m not bored yet, because that didn’t happen.

Have you gotten reacquainted with stored things yet?

Hopefully you and yours are staying healthy, and you are finding ways to fill your social isolation days.

This Is A First

1039B670-E3C1-49CE-AB94-1EF142547104

5:28 am. I’ve said many times I’m a morning person, so seeing these clock numbers is not unheard of, but being up at this hour for today’s reason is a definite first for me.

Mister is stirring in the bedroom and is about to join me which is even more unusual.

We’re not up because we’re sick, headed to a doctor, going on a trip, picking someone up at a airport, nothing like that.

We’re taking Covid-19 serious, but this I actually found funny. Well, I don’t think I chuckled the instant I threw the warm cozy blanket off and rolled out of bed.

It’s Wednesday, March 18, a coffee sits beside me as I start this post which I will finish later.

What are we up to?  We’re headed for groceries.

A store in a nearby Town is opening at 7:00am, a hour early for seniors and vulnerable people to shop during the Covid-19 social distancing. 

We live about a half hour drive from this town, and I shouldn’t be in public without at least one cup of coffee so that’s why I’m up long before the sun today.

We appreciate the store doing this, and hopefully we find the pork chops and few other things on our list.

The store wasn’t as crowded as we were expecting which was nice.

Experts say don’t touch your face, eyes or mouth when out in public, so of course standing in line I got something in my eye. Not wanting to use my finger and thinking I’m smart I took off my glasses and used the arm tip to rub my eye. Than I was like, wait, when was the last time I cleaned that part of my glasses. Needless to say, I stopped what I was doing and tried to clear my vision by blinking alone.

I won’t bore you with details, but we came home with everything on our list. We should be set to hunker in for awhile once again.

With all coffee and crafting get-togethers here canceled for now it’s a good time to dig out some tucked away projects. Maybe after a nap though.

Have you been having trouble finding or getting out for supplies?

What are you doing to ward off boredom?