Last night the wasps were gone, the mosquitos were gone and the strong winds had stopped. So we sat out on the deck late into the night, looking at the stars and playing song tag.
Song tag, if you don’t know the game, just needs two phones with links to Sonos and unlimited song availability. The rules are simple. Turns alternate and when it’s your turn you have to have the next song, any song of your choice queued up to play before the current song is finished. I have to admit a certain lack of orginality in my song choices as I have nowhere near the music knowledge of my usual opponent. I often return to my Bob Seger favorite, Turn the Page. E’s choices are more eclectic but often return to a Mark Knopfler theme. Our choices often prompt discussions of great concerts and old friends.
We celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary this summer and, as we have been together this long with limited funds for entertainment or travelling, we long ago learned to entertain ourselves for the price of a couple of bottles of cheap wine. One day I will tell you about Friday night scrabble, house rules.
Although we had a wet spring the province hasn’t been spared a forest fire season. It is just later than normal and right now the area around Hope is having a tough time. The smoke from several fires in the area is coming straight down the valley and across the waters to us and sits now over our heads. Weather advisories were issued today for poor air quality. The sun looks surreal.
Like most of you, we have lived our lives with music playing in the background and when we hear songs from the playlist of our lives we are immediately taken back to those times. Tonight, for me it wasn’t music but the image of the sun in front of us that took me back to a time singing a Paul Simon/Bruce Woodley song with good friends. This is for you Syd and Mary. “The morning (evening) sun was shining like a
We had friends over for dinner the other night. I know! It was the first time in years that we have entertained. The weather was perfect and we were able to enjoy our meal outside. The wasps that terrorized us all summer have seemingly suffered communal death and we were able to sit out all night. Good riddance to them. I have to say it was nice to visit with friends. We will start slow. Two guests, whom we know are careful, was a great start.
Now, fair warning the video tonight is from the garden, so not whales, but technically still the nature channel.
I am probably not telling you anything you don’t already know but it is worth mentioning for the record that it was a strange year indeed, for gardeners in this area. The spring weather was cold and rainy, causing a very slow start to the growing season, not only for flowers but for the fruits and vegetables.
Somehow, the pollinators were confused and missed our fruit trees. Not sure how my neighbours made out but we have one plum and maybe six apples total on three trees. We had no tent caterpillars and I succeeded in what I thought was a stellar pruning job last winter, but still no fruit. I blame the bees. We intend to raise our own mason bees next year.
The flowers in the garden have never been so happy. I had tons of water (see the next post) and everyone was well nourished. Although everything flowered later than normal, they were happy and rewarded me with amazing bouquets. The roses and hydrangea were especially lovely.
The vegetables struggled with their slow start and with varying results. The cabbage production, both red and green, were great. Certainly more than enough for E. Peas and green beans were a waste of time as was the asparagus and spinach. Pumpkins are few and small but certainly enough for just the two of us. But the garlic, the garlic was awesome, and the figs, omg the figs!! So many figs off my little tree. The rhubarb too, we had two full harvests. The Brussel sprout’s success remains to be seen as they have until the winter to prove themselves.
I have struggled for years with an inability to keep garlic cloves useful long into the winter. I would go to the pantry for garlic in January only to find dried out bits. This summer, we added a food dehydrator to our kitchen arsenal. Armed with all the solar power a girl could want, I can dehydrate every day at this time of year from 12 pm-6 pm without affecting our systems. After sharing with three who like to cook, I am left with two quart-sized jars of the most gorgeous dried garlic. It can be tossed into any recipe for that heavenly taste long into the winter. In addition, I was able to save twenty heads of the garlic to replant plant in October.
But what about the tomatoes? They are late. In past years, I would have finished canning my harvest and more than likely would have their beds all packed up by now. But we have only harvested 14 pounds so far and I have just begun to cook my sauces. We moved four plants into the greenhouse to see how long we can keep them going for day to day produce and so far they are happy. I have pruned back the plants remaining in the garden leaving only the tomatoes on the vines. The hope being that September provides enough warmth to ripen most of them. Worst case scenario, I will pick them green and allow them to ripen indoors. Tomatoes will do that and it can be helpful if the temperatures cool suddenly.
In summary, although the weather conditions proved challenging we were able to grow plenty of food for the two of us. With the price of vegetables in the store these days, it is well worth the effort.
We aren’t prepared for a great deal of socializing just yet. Outdoor dinners with one or two friends or evenings at a bonfire are definitely what I can see us doing for a few months still. While most everyone else seems to have moved ahead, pandemic not withstanding, we are still cautious.
Now, please for a moment or two if you will, relax and
Thank you for all your kind comments and for welcoming me back into your homes. We have a lot of catching up to do so I poured a nice, cold glass of pinot gris, removed any restrictive garments and put my feet up. Comfortable in what is considered my official writing position, we can get to it. If you make it to the end of what will be the first of a few posts catching you up with what has been going on around here, there will be a couple of nice videos from last night which I think you might like.
E and I continue to remain Covid free. We still don’t really socialize and other than family we haven’t really hosted any guests in the bunkie for years. I can only hope that we will still have one or two friends who remember us when this thing is all over. Fortunately, the family has visited often. In fact, with one son deployed fighting forest fires and his wife swamped with art contracts, we were recruited to take care of their new baby, along with his sister, for two separate weeks. I don’t need to tell you how fun it was for us to have the eight week old and four year old all to ourselves for that kind of time. Along with regular visits from our other children, I will be better able to get through the next few months without seeing them.
With summer slowly disappearing behind us, our thoughts go to preparing for the winter ahead. Today, after dropping our son off at the ferry, we did a fuel run, Canadian Tire run, Andrew Sherets stop, a visit to the Spa chemical store and a big grocery shop. We still do our grocery shopping on line and enjoy the convenience of having the food delivered to the car. Today’s goal was to complete the freezer, pantry and gen shed needs for the next few months. Flours, sugars, and soaps are stocked up along with all our chlorine, oils and distilled water needs.
As our son wrapped up his visit last night we looked at the beautiful sunset and calm water and I said, “You usually have good luck with whale visits, It’s too bad you didn’t see one this time. Tonight would be a perfect time for one to suddenly appear”. He went back out onto the deck and sat down. I am not exaggerating to say that it wasn’t five minutes before we heard it. Whale! Sure, enough there were two in front of us. One close in to the deck and one in the middle of the channel.
If my goal is to bring you more stories from the nature channel than endless water and tomato updates this winter, then last night’s visit
Ok, I have had the summer off, taken a break and am thinking I will resume the blog for the winter. I discovered that the website is paid for until next March anyways, so I might as well be using it. Thank you again, to all of you who helped support the site.
To be honest, I have missed talking to all of you.. There are about 300 readers who follow fairly regularly and some of you actually comment to let me know who you are…
One of the reasons I was frustrated and took a break in June was a comment I received that “they had heard all my stories two or three times before” so therefore.. yada yada yada, never mind. The implication being I was a silly old woman endlessly repeating herself. Hurt my feelings. Whatever, it’s done.. I took them off the distribution list.
So if any of you are tired of reading my stories, please do leave. I won’t stop you. Off you go.. But in the near future there are going to be lots of posts of how the garden progressed over the summer, how our water held out, wildlife sightings and what we have planned for the winter. There are bound to be updates on E’s chore list as we progress and with any luck the nature channel will entertain.
There will be plenty of sunset pictures but please be aware, I am likely to be talking about topics you have heard all about before. I give
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