it was coming

You have all been wonderful, especially those who subscribed to defray the costs of keeping the blog ad free. But honestly, I am done…

So thank you all for reading and following for these past ten years.. but it is time . I have copied all the posts for my own records and this is likely my last post for the summer.

Thank you. You shouldn’t be surprised. You knew

it was coming

to be worried

Not sure if you can tell, but I am older today than I was when we spoke last. Perhaps age will bring a more mature, could I say, more intelligent writing style? Doubtful.

My friend was telling me that if one wants to have plants flowering in the garden every month of the year, go to a nursery once a month and buy their specials. Why didn’t I think of that? Probably because just about everything in my garden is a gift from a friend or my Mother. What I do have, usually, is a gorgeous June garden, because over the many, many years of my life, my Mother gave me a plant for my birthday and I brought them all with me to the island.

So on my birthday, normally, my garden is at its best. This year, although flowers are late coming, there are signs of good things to come. As I enjoyed every flower blooming on my birthday I grew more and more melancholy. I miss my Mom.

Who else appreciates your birthday more than your Mother? As I sat in the garden yesterday next to the Beauty Bush looking at the Ceanothus, waiting for the Meideland Rose to bloom and watching the yellow Tree Peony say goodbye for the year, I was surrounded by memories of my mom. She would have loved this garden. She would have loved to spend the day sitting in it with me. I miss her.

I spent the majority of the day sitting in the garden along with my memories and thoughts of her. We had a good visit. It was a perfect day. E then made a gorgeous dinner and my sister and brother in law joined us, bringing an incredibly decadent cheese cake for dessert. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that cheesecake is always going to make me happy. We toasted the day with Prosecco, a gift from another friend, and ate dinner on the deck for the first time this year. (It is June! unbelievable).

The year my Mom turned 65, she had just retired and I had had the first of our three children. The majority of the days of my life which I cherish and remember in detail began that year. It is cliche to mention that it only seems like yesterday but honest to Pete.. IT ONLY SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY!

I worry that I will run out of time for my grandchildren to know me. My Grandma had thirteen pregnancies with one live birth. Mom was born three months premature in 1921 when Grandma was 35. World War II kind of got in the way of baby making in my Moms twenties and I was the third born when she was 35. Here I am at the same age as they were, beginning the Grandma stage of my life but I am reassured to know just how close, even with my late arrival to her life, that I was to my Grandma and how close my kids were to my Mom. But still, it does beg the question, will I have enough time with them?

On the up side, Grandma lived to 95, albeit in poor health but then Mom lived to 96 still reading a book a day, so there should be no need

to be worried

it is raining

The building at the top of the driveway which we call the studio is full of an eclectic assortment of objects. To describe it as a frightful mess is an understatement. University textbooks, tools, mirrors, pool noodles and old coats are stored, some in boxes and some not. All with no rhyme or reason. There are still boxes we brought from Ladner ten years ago, unsorted. Just last week, E found two boxes we stored for safe keeping before the reno, full of wine glasses and knicknacks. No, my missing trifle bowl wasn’t in it but my favorite cake server was. (It is shaped like a high heel shoe and trust me, it is cute, so score!)

E went to town on a propane run today, while I stayed home to continue my never ending attempts at dog grooming. Shanty is just about done, Piper still looks like a Clydesdale horse. Today’s efforts involved putting the shears down and snipping their hair by hand, with scissors. Shanty was far more inclined to cooperate without the sound of the shears freaking her out. Piper, well Piper has his own ideas about how he should look. I am committed to 15 minutes per day until they grow bored arguing with me.

Just after E left at 10:15, I walked into the living room to see a humpback whale in front of the window as he slipped below the surface, following what I can only assume was a huge jump. Waves were splashing every which way around his wake. I got my camera but only caught the tail end of him as he sped past. As I sit here there is word from neighbouring islands that there are four Orca heading our way, so I have my windows wide open to try to hear them, should they come close.

We have yet to sit out on the deck for an entire evening and it is mid June. The weather has just been horrid. Rain almost every day, but it hasn’t stopped E from fulfilling his commitment to our daily soaks in the hot tub. Whether it is raining or not, he is keen to have a soak before bed. I, however am more of a fair weather hot tubber. Recently, as we sat in the tub it started to pour with rain. I pointed it out to him because I am convinced he appreciates my ceaseless ability to state the obvious.

Yesterday, he went back up to the studio to dig around in the boxes he found last week to find what he considers to be the solution to my refusal to sit in the tub while

it is raining.

Works for me

“I would love to see the inside of that house” the kayaker said as she looked up at our house from the water. From the water, admittedly, the house is nice looking. At first appearance, probably owned by people who would have a respectable , not too posh, but most definitely clean, home interior. Wrong.

Looking around the living room, as I sit here, there are blankets on all the furniture , ‘cause, dogs. There is dust 1/4 inch thick on everything, the fireplace needs to be cleaned out, laundry is still on the rack from two days ago and the windows haven’t been washed in two years. In absolute honesty, my desire to house clean since Covid began is directly related to how many guests we are entertaining. So, next to zero…

Some of our kids are coming, though, to visit this week, so it’s time to make an effort, to be an adult, if you will, and clean the house. It’s ironic isn’t it? That now, at this late stage in my parenting life, I’m cleaning the house for my kids instead of because of them.

I got the new garden bed weeded and planted with seven more pumpkins. Now, through a series of poor seed starting decisions, I have twelve pumpkins. One Pepita, six Cinderella and five Small Sugar. It is probably eleven more pumpkins than we need. In October, I will likely be handing pumpkins out on street corners.

So while I have been weeding in the garden ignoring the state of our house, E has been murdering trees. He took a sixty foot tree down yesterday morning. That kind of chainsaw project would normally cause him to walk like Grandma P for a week, but he had an epidural, last month at the hospital, which seems to be helping, along with the daily hot tub treatment.

There have been days after strenuous work when he has visited those wonderful jets in both the afternoon and evening. The tub has been a very welcome addition to our life. A game changer, to quote a friend who visited the garden today.

Life is good, the garden is looking great and no-one needs to know my house is a mess. If hell froze over and there was an opportunity for that kayaker to see the interior of our house these days, she would be sorely disappointed in what she would find. Unless, she turned her back to the room and looked out the window. That’s what

works for me

in the garden

We bought our first house in 1989, and moved in when our second son was two weeks old. The house came with horrid 1970’s orange wall to wall carpet. It was decidedly unattractive and first on my list of the changes I wanted to make to our new home. We lived in the house three years which was, coincidentally, when we grew tired of the basement flooding every time there was a heavy rain. We ordered white wall to wall carpet to install before putting the house on the market. The carpet was on sale, a good deal, non- refundable. E then started to tear up the icky orange carpet only to discover the upstairs of the house had immaculate hardwood floors. Three years and we could have had gorgeous flooring that whole time and saved the money we spent on carpeting.

E made a reservation at a nice restaurant for a well deserved dinner out next week. It was a really nice idea but, at the end of the day, I still don’t want us to be around potentially unvaccinated people, and the money it would cost to eat in a fancy restaurant could better be spent on, I don’t know, well, yes I do, plants. So we went to town yesterday and bought some nice items for a special dinner and then stopped at the nursery to buy new roses. We chose one yellow climber, and an apricot coloured one and another apricot coloured one. (I couldn’t decide which one to take).

All night last night, I dithered about where I could plant the new roses, looking forward to my day today in the garden. Honestly, I am running out of room for more plants. I wish I could think of a way to expand the garden without E divorcing me.

Once the roses were planted, next on the chore list was to deal with the iris bed. It has been my nemesis for years. The iris themselves have stopped flowering as they are over grown and need to be thinned. Last year, I took some out and scattered them in the main flower garden. They flowered this year and were stunning, whereas those in the original bed did nothing and the area is overgrown with weeds.

Iris, as you know are grown close to the top of the soil and I assumed, since we moved here, that the previous owner took advantage of their growing conditions to plant them, along with a carpet of moss, to cover the rocky shelf which borders the garden. It was time to tear out all of the iris and peel back the moss and maybe repurpose the rock shelf. I thought I could maybe sit the pepper pots out there or maybe some pumpkins in cloth bags. This is the mess I was going to deal with.

I got out my trusty shovel and started to dig and dig and dig. You would not believe it, kids, but what I found was not a rock shelf but a gorgeous bed of healthy soil eighteen inches deep. A new garden bed almost thirty feet long and four feet wide. I am so excited. One minute I am lamenting that I have no more space in the garden for the plants I want to grow and the next minute there is a brand new bed, an empty canvass so to speak, just waiting for some plants. So many choices and ideas of what to do with the space in September, when it is a time more appropriate for moving and dividing plants. In the meantime, the extra pumpkins I am left with after the plant sale can go in there for the summer.

You would think I would have learned my lesson in 1989 to look under the rug of a new home, even if that rug is moss, and it is

in the garden

law’s cinnamon buns

I read a blog post this morning written by a gardener in New Zealand, who summarized her growing season, vegetable by vegetable, plant by plant. Reading it, I thought it could have been something I might write in the fall as I wrap up my growing season. The differences of our gardens predicated by our hemispheres and growing conditions were insignificant compared to how similar our perspectives were. These gardens are a labor of love and gardeners reading the words of other gardeners understand from where those words come.

I was then speaking to a friend who gave me Dahlia seeds she had started as an experiment. I proudly showed her a picture of how well they are doing and we celebrated the shared experience of her experimentation. In their retirement, she and her husband are having great fun building garden beds on their acreage for their daughter to grow a cut flower business. (pun intended)

I went to coffee shop on Sunday for the first time since October 2020. For those who haven’t lived here, coffee shop is a thing where friends gather, for coffee, weekly. You could bring a thermos of coffee to share, or not, maybe just your mug. You can bring a plate of goodies to share, or not. There is always something yummy to eat, so bring your appetite, no reason to eat breakfast. No invitations are sent.

Neighbours just arrive. They arrive to chat about their week, what they accomplished or what problems they are having. Someone will always be there to provide words of advice or encouragement. I always liken it to what church must have been like for rural communities back in the day. Our friend from a previous post who sunk his aluminum boat arrived at the following coffee shop wearing his life jacket. You must always bring your sense of humor.

Even before Covid, I found it hard to go to coffee shop when there was a large turn out. More often than not I would be there at the beginning and disappear when the numbers grew. Since the pandemic, islanders have followed the government restrictions, and months passed when no one could gather. But as the rules relaxed, more and more islanders were able to gather. Coffee shop, I should mention, is held outdoors. E went for the first time a couple of weeks ago, still wearing his mask. He is more social than me and really likes to connect with our neighbours.

I just always feel everyone is better off if I stay in my garden. I welcome my friends to sit with me by the pond and love love love seeing them one at a time, but in a crowd, I just can’t do it. For introverts, Covid restrictions have been easy to follow.

It was absolutely pouring rain on Sunday and I thought the chances would be good there would be a small turnout at “church”. My sister in law further enticed me with the promise of delicious baked goods. I lasted about half an hour at my second attempt to socialize, which coincidentally is the amount of time it took to hear all about my neighbours’ gardens while eating two of my sister in

law’s cinnamon buns.

Golden Opportunity rose on the new arbor