Flowerbeds and Spring

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The Goal

The snow has melted and uncovered pitiful flowerbeds. Filled with last summers dead stalks, dead annuals and fallen leaves which act as cold weather insulation for roots and bulbs. I don’t prune perennial’s in the fall, because my mother believed not doing that keeps frost from going down the steams and damaging roots. She taught me most of what I know so, of course, I honor and garden by her rules.

Here’s another tip of hers that I’m certain has no real merit, yet it makes me smile and I still follow it, “Don’t water your plants at night”. She would add, “Do you like to go to bed with wet feet?”

Last Tuesday the beautiful spring day enticed my cleanup to begin.

A lack of this type of activity during the winter decreases my stamina for being bent over picking up leaves and pruning plants so after 3 hrs my back screamed, enough for one day.

It took three heaping wheelbarrows to get 4 out of 8 flowerbeds cleaned out. One more bed than planed because why walk a half full wheelbarrow to the compost bin.

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2 Back Corner Beds Before Clean-up

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After Clean-up

I miss the days when I could complete all my yard-work in one shot. Maintenance free landscaping sounds more appealing each year. I can picture graveled beds with large placed boulders, unique driftwood and waving sea grasses, but I know I’d miss the colorful blossoms come summer.

Wednesday morning, I struggled out of bed. My back hadn’t forgiven me and using a very technical term, my bend-over-butt and leg muscles also expressed great displeasure with yesterday’s activities.

With coffee in hand I sat in my recliner regretting, again like every year, my gung-ho approach for that first-day of yard-work.

Why can’t I learn to space it out, do one flowerbed to start or at least in the weeks ahead prepare my body by stretching and maybe exercising those dormant muscles? As I blow my nose, probably from all the dust and pollen stuff I disturbed the day before, I know the answers.

  • I enjoy being active but devoting time to actually exercising has never been something I can stick with for more than a few consecutive days.
  • Weeding is a chore I dread doing. I’m not one who says, “Oh, I love to putts in flowerbeds.” For me, it can’t end fast enough. Sometimes, I wonder what I’m missing that makes me not find the so-called pleasure in gardening.

Mister’s pride shows in how he takes care of our lawns. He may grumble once in a while about how quick it grows, but that’s because he keeps fertilizing it. They are still too wet for his work to start.

The flowerbeds are mine to tend. I wouldn’t consider myself having a green thumb but plants grow and blossom. I do the necessary things, I fertilize, water, weed and prune. The problem is I’d rather do just about anything else.

If you’re a returning reader you’ve heard me mention before,

I’m a winter girl.

I have indoor plants that bloom all year and I don’t have to kill my back, sweat, get sun burned, or swat mosquitos while tending them.

Okay, I’ve whined enough.

Attitude changes everything. It’s time for me to practice what I preach. Find the positives.

I’m grateful I woke and could get out of bed, many don’t or can’t.

I’m grateful for sunny days even though the snow is gone.

I’m grateful to have a yard and yes maybe even the demanding flowerbeds.

Most of all, I’m grateful for every extra day with Mister, family and friends.

Once the season gets into full swing, every morning like other years, I’ll be checking flowerbeds anxiously watching things grow.

Do you have a least favorite outside chore?

Do you enjoy gardening and have a green-thumb?

What is Retirement?

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Mister and I sometimes get asked, what do you do to fill the days, do we get bored?

No, we don’t get bored often. Sure, some days are quieter than others, but than there’s days like today that seem short.

Today is flying by because, even though it was a weeknight, we were up having fun while playing cards with good friends T & E until 2:30 this morning.

It’s great having the opportunity to do this, knowing we can sleep in which I did until 9:30, and knowing it won’t interfere with projects needing doing. Unlike when working and you only have those precious 2 days, a week, off.

What doesn’t get done today can get done another day.

Hence the clock picture capturing the time it was when I finished my morning coffee, doing emails, and finally went to get dressed.

I skipped lunch because a breakfast cinnamon bun worked for both. There was barely time to vacuum and stroll the yard checking flowerbeds before my 3:00 afternoon coffee break. Smiley face.

Life can be great! Savor the downtime, tomorrow might be busier.

Just thought I’d share this short unscheduled post as I reflect on how enjoyable retirement freedom is.

Retirement is different for everybody but this is a glimpse of ours.

Here is a startling, amazing, somewhat scary, call it what you may, tidbit.

The four of us card players vary in age and without revealing the exact numbers if adding our years on this earth together they approximately total 295.

Are you retired? If not are you counting the days, months or years until it happens?

Art and a Glass House

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I love wall art with meaning, family or travel photos, or pictures or things you or someone you know make. Like this grouping of portraits I sketched of horses that Mister and I have owned and showed since together.

A hanging tribute that with a glance or simple passing, we can recall these treasured animals.

The poster size piece hangs on a wall at the country home where our daughter and husband live. Those fingers gripping the edge belong to her as we literally took an art walk through the house trying to find a spot to photograph it with the least glare.

A small, yet unfortunate issue for a picture lover like me, regarding the cottage where Mister and I live, is very limited wall space.

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County regulations when we built stipulated, not more than 12 inches of wall between windows in the main living area. For us that affected one whole side and the back, and is why I sometimes refer to it as, our glass house. (Now, you may also understand why I grumble when it comes to cleaning windows and blinds.) Blinds, I could rant for a whole post about my dislike for cleaning them and the dilemma of what other, if any, window covering option we might have. But we’ll leave that triad for another time.

The few big enough drywall areas are precious space, and they showcase art with meaning.

There are two current exceptions. One picture hangs in the bathroom, a boat and shoreline scene. The other, large one is of, chairs on a dock facing a sunset. It hung on the living room wall at first but is now in the master bedroom. Both pieces fit the decor but were store-bought as inexpensive space fillers when we first used the cottage as a weekend retreat.

It’s crazy, we’ve lived here full-time for eight years now and with how important wall space is to me those insignificant two still remain, simply because I can’t decide which pictures to replace them with. I tend to over-think and over-stress about this, but…I shrug my shoulders and smile.

After writing about this though, I will move changing them up in priority on my to-do-list.

We have many special photos, so I enjoy multi frames or frames with multiple spots, probably because of my indecisiveness when choosing favorite pictures. Smiley face.

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This is another, “to-do-project,” update this cluster which hangs on the only sizable main living space wall.

I Just had a Light Bulb Moment.

I blog because I love to write, share stories, and enjoy the interaction of comments. Learning how to entertain, enlighten, inspire or inform a reader with my posts is a learning process, and I may not always succeed,

but

writing this post inspired one person, me.

I didn’t have a big, life changing ah-hah moment, but I’m pleased none the less.

Don’t laugh at my victory, but I finally realized why choosing a picture for our bedroom wall has taken years. It’s not the spot for one photo to be enlarged and framed.

The room needs a colorful piece, something beachy and crafty, or a collection of sorts there instead. I’ll update on this when the change takes place.

So my brain storming and searching will begin. Sounds like a great reason to spend time scrolling Pinterest. Not that I normally need an excuse.

Does what hangs on your walls have meaning?

Do you like artwork if so what type?

How Many is Too Many Lighthouses?

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Lighthouses, whether anchored on a rocky shoreline or perched high on a hillside ledge, tall or short ones, white, red, or striped, simple or with buildings attached, they fascinate me.

Built to endure, they stand through blistering heat and rugged storms. Their importance for men and women on the water is undeniable, and the lives they have saved makes them man-made heroes.

When we travel a coastal road, I’ll search our route in advance for these majestic landmarks. Mister, kindly feeds my obsession whenever possible, and we’ll stop and even take a slight detour so I can photograph a lighthouse. Getting close is sometimes an adventure though, and I promise to write a future post about one particular hair-raising experience.

Ornaments and accents in our family home had a definite country flare, but we left bronze horse statues and Western themed pieces behind when Mister retired and we moved.

How could I decorate a lake cottage, especially one with a turret that reminds people of a lighthouse, with such things? Yes, I know I could have.

I chose to go nautical, and in part, that gave the new phase in our life a fresh feel.

I’ve always loved sea shells, water creatures, sea horses and starfish. Unique pieces of driftwood or crafts made from driftwood. Boat anchors, steering wheels or anything related to boating. So now, ornaments, decor pieces, throw pillow covers, accent upholstery, it’s mainly nautical.

At last count and not including the few pieces outside, 41 lighthouses or things with lighthouses on them, have found a place inside our home. This is counting sets like, salt and pepper, cream and sugar bowls, or the four dining chairs only as one unit.

Does that sound like too many? Perhaps it’s somewhat of a fetish.

Not that it’s all you see when you step inside, but there is at least one lighthouse visible from any seat in the kitchen or living room, which is just one big room.

To me, I’ve kept their numbers and placement to a tasteful scattering, not an overpowering tackiness. Isn’t that what all people say about their collections, LOL.

kit 1See, just a few lighthouses tucked here and there with a side of nautical.

Other than furniture, most everything in our place is a travel souvenir or gift. Each item has an attached memory, and maybe one day I’ll write their little stories so when they are left behind someone, if interested, will now their history.

My decorating skills are minimal at best, and if I didn’t contain myself to a theme, my wide variety of likes would create a mismatched mess. Some people can make a collective style work, but I’m drawn to individual pieces and that can cloud the big picture.

Do you have a decorating theme or preferred style in your home, or an interest for certain collectables?

 

Interesting Lighthouse facts?

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse pictured above is one of the most-photographed structures in Atlantic Canada and one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world.

The first lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove was built in 1868. It was wooden with a beacon on the roof. In 1914 the current structure was erected, an eight sided reinforced concrete one that stands almost 49 feet (15 meters) high.

The older wooden lighthouse became the keepers dwelling until 1954 when Hurricane Edna damaged it and it was removed.

It was a treat for me to see Peggy’s Cove lighthouse in person.

Have you visited Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia?

Hello Bud, and Spring Travel

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Do you know how to tell when an Albertan believes it’s really spring?

When they’re going for a drive and they don’t throw big snow boots, winter jackets, gloves and a hat in the back seat. Smiley Face.

That’s Mister and I, anyway. We even keep snow-pants and a blanket in the van during the winter months.

Unlike most people, I will miss winter. Not the extremely cold days, but the freshness of a winter walk and the relaxation that comes with the season. It’s a great time for catching up on visiting or inside crafts and hobbies.

For those waiting for summer, it’s no longer wishful thinking that spring is approaching, the signs are popping up everywhere. Flowers and tree buds are sprouting, the geese have returned from down south, and the Jackrabbits are changing back from white to brown in color.

Neither geese nor rabbits would show themselves on Sunday so I could take their picture for this post.

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Even surrounded with snow and ice there is signs of life in the flowerbeds.

Mother nature can’t make up her mind though, and last week’s weather was like rolling dice. Something different showed up each time you looked outside.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were prime examples.

By noon Wednesday the temperature warmed enough that a light shirt and vest was efficient not just inside but when outside.

Born and raised in Alberta and setting out on a road-trip though, my winter coat and snow boots joined an overnight bag in the van. A duffle which contained three layer options of clothing for Thursday’s planned shopping day with my girlfriend.

For two hours, I drove North on dry roads for a night at the daughter’s. The glorious sunshine heated the van interior enough I had to put the air conditioner on from time to time.

Keeping up with weather forecasts is a must at this time of the year, so we checked it after supper. They predicted an overnight cooling with possible precipitation. No big deal, we’re use to that.

I joined the daughter when she set out to do evening chores. She fed and blanketed, “Nugget” her horse. With access to shelters and with him more content outside, he doesn’t spend nights in the barn. The temperature wasn’t expected to drop enough to warrant a quilted blanket but since he had already shed most of his winter hair she put a rain-sheet on him.

Early Thursday morning we woke to about one and a half inches of fresh, wet snow. It continued lightly falling while we drank our coffee, but the weatherman said it should clear by the afternoon so us girls decided to still go shopping. We picked up my girlfriend and by 9:30 am we were heading North for the forty five minute drive to the city.

The snow didn’t stop, instead the flakes got bigger and came down heavier as the day went on. With near zero temperatures the roads and parking lots got slushy and by the time we headed back South, between vehicle spray and falling snow, visibility on the highway was crappy.

Halfway to the girlfriend’s house the weather cleared, and it didn’t look like the area got the storm the city was getting.

I phoned Mister to see what the weather was like at the lake so I could decide if driving home or staying at the daughters one more night. He said, “Sunny and 5 above Celsius, all day.” I drove home that evening. The roads were dry the whole way.

So that was my Thursday, and its two seasons of weather in one day.

I should have taken pictures of the different conditions, but I was too busy enjoying the girls day out.

It’s not uncommon for us to get temperature changes, of ten or more degrees, during a single day. Now, that’s hard to dress for and why I pack more than I need. LOL

Do you get drastic weather shifts where you live?

Lego, and The Kid In Me

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No children were involved in the hands-on part of this post, LOL. That’s right just me and an afternoon of building Lego.

Interesting Facts, you may not know.

-A Danish carpenter, Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded Lego in 1932. He started by making toys and wooden blocks.

-In 1958 he patented and began manufacturing what we know as Lego today, and every block made since then can lock together.

-Lego is the largest manufacturer of wheels, out producing Bridgestone and Goodyear.

-If Lego figurines were real people, they would be the largest population in the world.

As a youngster, I loved playing with Lego. I often built a truck and livestock trailer for my farm-set animals. Oh wow, this might date me. Does anyone remember farm-sets? Maybe they’re still made, I haven’t been in a toy store in a long time. I had the tin barn kind with most species of plastic farm animals, choking hazard size or smaller. The figurines were poised and on platforms so they would stand. There was snap together fences, a tractor and field equipment. It even had rows of garden crops, tools, shovels, and tons of other tiny pieces.

Anyway, back to my main topic, Lego. What I had growing-up was about six sizes, in single or double row blocks, some platforms, and flat pieces. Most were red or white.

Using just these simple blocks meant projects other than buildings would resemble what you were trying for but they were rarely pretty.

In those days, Lego sets weren’t as specific, they simply came in different size sets.

You used your imagination to design things because building manuals didn’t come in sets until 1964.

I remember the excitement when black, yellow and blue colored pieces appeared and specialty pieces started showing up. Like curved corners, clear pieces, different doors and windows, and the little people.

Even back then Lego was a costly toy, so I had little of it, but my cousin often got the newer sets. During visits to his house, him and I would create and build for hours.

By the time, mine and Mister’s, kids were old enough and Lego returned into my life it had changed a lot. The son and daughter both enjoyed building things, and they started with what I had saved of mine and their collection grew from there.

They only got a few big fancy sets, special ones like, a large pirate boat, a castle, and a stable set, to name some favorites.

The kids and I, enjoyed great times together building for hours. It wasn’t Misters favorite thing to take part in because we usually sat on the floor surrounding a pile of pieces or laid on our stomachs propped on our elbows.

Why am I writing about Lego you may wonder?

Because, knowing how much I enjoy building Lego, the Son and his Girlfriend got me a unique set for Christmas.

I was waiting for a chance to build it with him during a visit, but that hasn’t worked out. So yesterday being a cold blustery day, I selfishly built one of the set’s options and enjoyed every minute.

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Have you ever built Lego?

P.S. – Dropped or forgotten pieces of Lego found by stepping barefoot on them is still as painful as it used to be.

Country Life

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What’s that noise?

Faint rustling followed by squeaks and gurgles of a baby fussing came from the feed and tack stall next to the booth where Mister and I sat at the horse event. Exchanging an knowing glance with my husband I went to investigate.

Pictured above is what I found. Our daughter with this sheepish look sprinkling hay on her little brother who was supposed to be asleep.

Our family often jokes about the saying, “Were you born in a barn.” Although not born in one, our kids spent a good portion of their childhoods in either a barn, an arena, or outside and nearby while we did our chores.

Four legs, manes, tails, and everything horse best describes our daughter’s likes.

For a few years, a spring horse took center-stage in our bay window. She spent endless hours in that saddle, her stare focused outside, and her eyes glazed with little girl daydreams.

The toys that entertained her while indoors were all horse related. My Little Pony’s, Lego stable sets, and the jeep, horse trailer and horses for her Barbie’s. Even the multi story, upright, Barbie house Mister made her, of course, had a floor level barn included.

She was happiest outside, even if just watching the horses eat or roam the pastures. As an adult, she still spends her spare time outside with her horse or in the barn.

She recently posted this picture and description on Instagram. (@candie214)

Pretty sure this is why I like watching people ride, I spent hours on those tires.

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If you look close, you’ll see the small child saddle I’m riding in so I could take the edge off “Dr. Pepper” before she rode.

In her I see the younger me. Doing barn or farm chores was, and is, rarely considered work and when given a choice they trump household chores.

To us horses aren’t a hobby, they are a lifestyle. Location has changed this for me since I live at a lake resort now, but it’s still her way of life.

This is “Nugget” Her current, young, Quarter Horse Gelding she’s training.

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We were blessed as parents to have children, especially teenagers, whose passions meant they were happy at home.

Our son’s interests changed from horses over time and if you haven’t already, check out my post, “Our Version of a Norman Rockwell” for a glimpse into what makes the male’s of our family tick.

Did you have a childhood passion?

Do you still enjoy it?

DIY Game Board Craft Project

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If you enjoy playing board or card games, you might want to try “Jokers”. It’s similar to the game “Sorry” the main difference is you use cards instead of rolling dice.

It’s an easy DIY project. Cardboard, poster board, cloth, plexiglass or wood, are some options you could use to make a board depending on what medium you like to work with. Paint or mark squares or drill or punch holes for game play.

Objects used for player pegs or pieces should be paintable or come in a variety of colors, you need a different one for each player.

Player pegs can be golf tees, cribbage pegs, thinner wood doweling cut to lengths, skewers cut, toothpicks, colored straws, tree twigs, or be imaginative.

Player pieces can be made by cutting thicker doweling into discs, paint tiny rocks, checker pieces, or pennies, use buttons, marbles if you drill indents, the choices are endless.

I enjoy working with wood and drills so no surprise I used plywood to make our game. A board can be specifically for 4, 6, or 8 players, or put a combination or all three on one playing surface. I put the 4 and 6 player versions on the one pictured in this post.

Material’s I used

-2′ foot square of 1/4″ fir plywood

-30 cribbage pegs, 5 for each player

-6 different colours of paint

-clear coat

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Making a Board

As templates, I cut six strips of cardboard with the number of holes needed for each side, and spaced for my pegs. Then I centered and spaced them how I wanted them on the board and made marks. Mister cut the corners off giving the square its shape afterwards.

Sections on the board don’t have to be coloured as long as players pegs or pieces are. I outlined strips to match peg colours though. If drilling holes lines aren’t even necessary but I like to paint.

With projects like this, I paint lines, and apply clear coat before drilling holes, otherwise clear coat drips into holes and you often have to drill again to clear them.

Playing The Game

Objective is be first to get all your pegs from the start cross into your home line.

Played in teams, whether 4, 6, or 8 people.

Shuffle together 3 card decks, including jokers, and deal five cards to everyone. (If 8 players use 4 decks.)

Card Count

You need a King, Queen, Jack or Ace to come out of start spot and begin play. (Jokers work to do this, but I’ll explain their full move later)

Once pegs are on the game part (and you can have more than one in play), a ten card along with Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth ten.

Ace counts as one.

A Eight card means you always move backwards (which if you are in your start hole moving back means you are close to your home entrance, but you can’t back into home)

Seven card can be split in any forward combination between two of your pegs, (good for moving up in home line)

A Joker can make any one move to take out another players peg, even if your peg is still in the start.

A Players turn

Pick a card from the pile of undealt cards, from your hand lay a card face-up, moving a game piece in accordance to its value. (If you can’t move, maybe you have no pieces out of start yet, a card still must be discarded.)

Basic Rules

You can jump past another players peg but not your own.

Landing on a opposing player’s peg sends them back into their start place.

Landing on your partners peg sends them to the base of their home line.

You need the exact cards to get into and move within home slot and cannot jump a peg.

Once all your pieces are in your home slot, you help your teammates get theirs home.

Rather than making a board there is also a slat style. You can Google or search Pinterest for ideas on that type. Some other names to use when searching this game are, Marbles and Jokers, Jokers and Pegs.

There are lots of internet sites with more detailed game play rules plus strategies.

I hope you enjoy this game as much as we do.

Have you made any of your games?

A Romantic Drive, Resort Style

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Our carriage awaits. Because of their narrowness, Mister and I jokingly refer to cruising in a golf cart as a romantic drive.

This picture was taken on Valentines Day. It was a warm plus 9 Celsius, for this cruise with my man. We didn’t even roll down the plastic doors when we went to the storage lot to shovel snow off the boat tarp. How’s that for a romantic outing? Funny thing was, we were content because together we enjoyed beautiful spring-like weather, and it put a taste of coming summer days into our hearts.

After completing the chore we cruised around and snooped at the new lakeside homes being constructed. Then we stopped by T & E’s house for a quick visit and to arrange our next card night.

Here, golf carts aren’t just on the course, they are a preferred choice of summer transportation. Hundreds travel the resorts roads, and their variety is extensive.

One would think with Mister’s vehicle interests our carts would be among those with custom rims, paint, or fancy modifications. But nope, ours are older and pretty plain except for a second seat conversation added to one.

Golf carts out and about in the winter is rare, but not unseen. One family, when they’re here on weekends even pulls an occupied toboggan around. Our kids sure would have been game for that activity when they were young. Wait, as adults they still would if our carts went faster.

Mister gets the above cart out when weather permits which helps break-up the long winter months. It handles well on snow covered roads, and it goes through a surprising amount of slush. With that said, I hope we don’t get stuck the next time we are out for a cruise.

Throughout our years together, going for drives has been a common and enjoyed pastime, although most of them are done in an actual vehicle.

I have had some of the most heartfelt and genuine conversations with family members and friends during road trips.

Do you enjoy going for drives?

Have you shared great conversations with someone while on the road?