Friday, January 1, 2010

So This is What 2010 Looks Like

To most people, watching a computer hard drive being formatted is tatamount to watching paint dry. To me, it is as thrilling as watching the latest blockbuster movie!
No, really...

Hard to explain except to say it's a technician thing. I love fixing computers. Have been doing it now for over 12 years and have had my technician license for 10 of those years. I guess that explains why I am spending New Years day fixing Hammond & Megans notebook. I have had it since Thanksgiving - Canadian Thanksgiving - and finally decided today was the day. Hence watching a computer format.
It has a virus. Multiple actually. Sure, I could have spent hours working to remove the program that installed said viruses but I know when to cut my losses. And this is definitely loss cutting time. Quick & dirty. Format then reinstall Wondows XP. Then set it up. Works in theory. Fingers crossed for working in practise to.

Today marks 5 weeks since I had my total knee replacement surgery. I started a blog post that morning while waiting for my operation. I include those thoughts here below.
We left early, as I said we would, because you just never know what the road out of the Valley to the East side of the Island will be like. Weather people were calling for -5. That could mean icy roads. Over the mountain - Arrowsmith - and through the woods - Cathedral Grove - can be sooo ugly this time of year. The road was clear, only slightly wet and we arrived at the hospital 45 minutes early. Of course. So here I sit, looking foolish in a too short hospital gown in the surgical daycare, waiting. For another 1 & 3/4 hours. More to come, sigh. AND IT IS WAY TOO HOT IN HERE! Oh and did I mention the silly booties and dorky hat? Out of surgery by 11am into room by noon, dozing waiting for Richard to come see me. I actually feel quite good. Way more alert @ this point then I was with last knee. Perhaps because I refused the nausea inducing narcotic painkillers this time. Hope I won't be sorry. Oh and just one problem... I have to share a room with men!!!! @&$"-/:;?! VIHA thinks it's quite fine to have coed rooms. NOT. I hate this.

Yup I really hated the coed rooms with no privacy. Bad enough using a commode chair with only women in the room. Try that with 2 men in the room & you seperated from them by only a short flimsy curtain!
Damn. Anyway, it's all behind me thank God.

My leg healed quickly. And I only have some residual pain where they cut through muscles & tendons etc. Yeah I know, not a pretty visual. What, too much information? Hey this time the leg didn't turn blue & purple from mid-thigh down. Just very swollen. Left foot looked like...well, picture a football with 5 cocktail sausages stuck on the tip were toes would be. Yup not a pretty visual either.
Then came physio, or as I refer to it, medieval torture. I continue to amaze them with my progress. Not bad for an old bat.

Did I mention the incision? No? No stitches. No staples. Surgical glue! Too cool. When my family doctor saw it he raved about it saying it was the best he had ever seen. So did physio therapists, husband Richard, and friend Bente. It should be great. Dr Sundby is a trauma surgeon who has helped out at numerous disasters around the word and has done several tours in Afghanistan. He goes back again soon bless him. I pray for his continued safety.

So all in all the first day of twenty ten, as I am referring to it, has been good. Hope yours was as well and will continue to be throughout the year.
What's that? The computer? Oh it's good. Got it back up & running quickly. Even have the wireless connected. Just have to finish up installing other drivers & it's good to go. A good beginning to a great year.

No, really.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 27, 2009

Once More Into the Breach...

It's 2am & I have to leave for Comox Hospital in 2 hours. Today is surgery day. Time to finally get my other knee replaced & I am looking forward to it, to being able to walk again on 2 good legs.

We leave at 4am to take our time & get there safely by 6am for surgery at 8:45am. Yes it will be a long day for Richard. For me...I get to sleep most of the day. And night. You become aware quickly after surgery is over but then you get painkillers that knock you out again.

So I will post again when I can after surgery, sometime next week. Somehow I don't think the hospital will let me tap into there Wi-Fi network to post my blog.

I will try though...

...just sayin'

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Here We Go Again

Well at long last I am back. Yes, I know it's been months. I got a bit sidetracked but will do my level best to stay focused...honest.

So much has happened I hardly know where to start. It was a great summer! Garden boat and tomato tub exceeded expectations. Flowers in containers were superb! Richard got the sunporch finished & I promptly filled it with plants to overwinter. I turned 60. And then there was Linda & Baby Bear.

We noticed her in September trying to climb the tall pear tree on the south side of the driveway. Took us a few days to realize she was a baby & motherless. I got photos of her at various times & will post them here later.

She stayed around for quite a while hiding out from a larger male bear, only venturing out when she knew he was gone. On Saturday of Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we got up before dawn to go down to Sooke. I sent Richard out with flashlight to make sure no bears were in the apple trees so we could take the dogs out.

"No bears, come on out." he hollered. Out we trooped, the dogs congregating & sniffing around under the King apple. I stood directly under the tree talking to Richard & trying to hurry the dogs along. We had had several days of rain & it was cool & damp. Suddenly, "water" started to pour down from above. I quickly stepped to the side, saying "please tell me that's not pee!"

Richard shone his flashlight up into the tree. "Oh," he said "there she is!"

Meanwhile I am wiping bear pee off my head & shoulder with a crumpled piece of paper towel from my pocket. Richards eyes were huge as he looked at me, trying to gauge my reaction. His lips twitched. Then twitched again as I stared at him, deadpan. His eyes crinkled. Then his cheeks. Then he gave up the battle & started to laugh. Tears running down his cheeks, he exclaimed over and over "I'm sorry, I'm sorry but that was ssoo funny!" Then he'd go off in gale's of laughter again.

Meanwhile poor terrified baby bear is still in the tree as quiet as a mouse.

Finally I herded the dogs & Richard up to the house & indoors. My that time dawn was breaking & we could watch the poor little bear hustle down the outside of the tree and scamper away to safety.

All the way to Sooke, Richard kept snickering then apologizing. And me? Come on, it was funny. I mean how many people can say they've been peed on by a bear? A little soap & water fixed me right up.

I think the big thing is how quiet she was up in that tree. Even the dogs didn't know she was there. And it could have been worse...much worse, that she dumped on my head.

I'm just sayin'.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 21, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation....

I'm back!!! Didja miss me, grin? It has been a really good summer for us. Despite what the title says, no we didn't go anywhere on vacation, except out to the Garden Yard and down to Victoria Quay for lunch several times to watch the wildlife on the Canal, aka the Alberni Inlet. A&W loves us, I gotta tell you.

The weather was quite good for most of August, although we had a stretch of two weeks with weather that even Kate said was too hot for her a couple of days. Now that is HOT as she loves the hot weather. Let me tell you, when you go outdoors and it is 111F with the Humidex - for those of you who don't know, humidex is the opposite of a Prairie winter wind chill factor, Island style - you literally can hardly breathe. Don't misunderstand, I am not complaining about the heat, not after the nasty winter we had, just sayin'...

So, how did I really spend my days? Like I said, in the garden. Many an hour was spent watering, dead heading, pruning, transplanting, reconfiguring, hunting for, lessee what else...oh, yeah, and, um, buying plants. Well, you see, Walmart had some terrific end-of-season sales. I mean, $1.50 for a 12 inch hanging basket? Come on, don't tell me you wouldn't have bought 8 of them too. Or how about all the assorted plants I got for 50 cents? And now it's end-of-season at Canadian Tire. Boy did I get some good deals there so far. Wandering way over to the back of the garden center, I discovered the "discount rack". Jackpot! Nineteen 4-inch pots of Osteospermum for 25 cents each. Yup, you read it right, 25 cents per pot. In the spring, the 6 inch pots sell for a minimum of $4.99 each. Then I paid 49 cents each for 4-inch pots of Fibrous Begonias; same for Tuberous Begonias, Ageranthemums, Rose Mint scented Geraniums, Wave Petunias, and Snap Dragons. And 90 cents got me 9 little blooming seed geraniums, 10 cents each.

Kate gave us a beautiful Red Hibiscus for our Anniversary at the beginning of August, and I fell in love with the plant. Canadian Tire had them, but they were $3.00 more than Kate paid for the one she got us...she spent $4.99. Anyway, I kept checking all month because I knew, just KNEW, they would be going on sale. Yesterday I struck gold! They had the Hibiscus on for $3.99 each. I bought 2 Luna Blush - white with a pink blush on the petals and a red heart - and 1 Luna Red. One of the Blush ones is for Kate's garden. Again I wandered back to the discount rack and again I got bargains. Be still my heart. Six 1-gallon pots of Hibiscus, on clearance, for $1.00 each. They are all Luna Blush too. So, now I have 7 Luna White Blush and 2 Red. Too Cool! More for Kate and Bente!

Then there are all the Gerbera Daisies I have. Some I managed to save over from last year, some I bought this year. I think at last count I had 30 although I gave one to Kate, a gorgeous Orange one. Most of mine are in shades of pink, a few are yellow, one orange and a couple are white. Oh and there are 3 or 4 that are a deep red. In case you haven't figured it out, I am crazy about Gerberas. And I refuse to pay full price for them. The most I spent on one was $3.99. The least, 49 cents.

The Garden Boat is doing quite well. My seeds I planted are producing a profusion of blossoms - Cosmos, Zinnias, Lavatera, Sweet Peas, Calendula. The flowers I bought as bedding plants have thrived. The Gladiolas have produced long leaves but no flower stocks yet. I keep hoping, but even if they don't bloom, they are increasing the size of the corms for next year. Oh and the Tomato Tub has outdone itself. Lots of tomatoes coming and we have been eating Yellow Gallina and Pink Ice Candy Cherry Tomatoes all month. Yes, yes, the tomato tub was waaaaay overplanted with tomatoes, but, I wanted to try different varieties not planted before. Now I know what to plant next year. Black Prince is still the perennial favorite in this house.

Richard has been quite patient, even enthusiastic, about my plant buying. Once, when I was trying to hurry my purchases through the checkout and get them to the van before he saw them, he came up behind me in line and ahemmmed. I whipped around and said "I didn't buy any plants" with a sheepish grin on my face. With a straight face he replied "That 12-step program not working so well for you, hmmmmm."

That's ok, he has discovered the joys of Coleus and is particularly fond of the rust, red, and wine colored ones. I also got him a Kong Coleus, with leaves the size of dinner plates. Today we got 4 Blood Leaf plants on sale, their purple/red leaves are striking next to the variegated pale green and white of the Rose Mint Geraniums.

So that's all for this episode. Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlet O'Hara was fond of saying. Will write more tomorrow. Yes, I really do have that much to talk about.

Oh the Old Bat turned 60 on September 2nd.

Old Bat?

That would be me, silly!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night...

The weather has been weird this summer. Two or three days of HOT and sunny weather, followed by COLD and cloudy. Saturday was 32C. Today 17C. Go figger. The Garden Boat looks really good, as do most of my other plants. Tomatoes are going crazy in the Tomato Tub. We had to raise the old bunk bed frame up by over 2 feet because the plants were so tall. Now I just have to figure out what I can use to cover them up. I had white plastic shower curtains from the Dollar store, and the tomatoes loved their cozy wee greenhouse. However, the plastic is not UV resistant, nor wind resistant either. Long story short, the plastic is now gone. Several of the plants have tomatoes growing, and Richard is counting down the days to his first tomato sandwich.

I planted 60 Gladiola bulbs in the Garden Boat. 30 are up so far, while I expect the other 30 to be up next week. How can I be sure? Easy, I told them to grow or get yanked and replaced. Works every time, grin. Why so many Glad bulbs? Sigh, a sale. I bought a bag of 25 pastel colored ones and a bag of 50 bright colored ones and they cost me $2.00 per bag. You know I can't resist a bargain.

We have had a lot of birds nesting on the farm this spring and summer. I have mentioned the Starlings before, and the Crows. This time we also have a Red Tailed Hawk, a Blue Heron, a large family of Cedar Waxwings, along with the usual Hummingbirds, Chickadees, Robins, Turkey Vultures and Bald Eagles, Pileated Woodpeckers, Ring Necked Pheasants, Blue Grouse, and many more too numerous to mention. Yesterday Richard was working in the Garden Yard when we heard a loud bird call. "Did you hear that?" I asked him. "Yeah, sounds like an Eagle to me," he replied. I looked up, way up, in the top of the Sitka Spruce tree on the South side of the drive. "Nope," I said, " it's TWO Bald Eagles." They sat, looking all around for quite a long time. Meanwhile, I am watching the dogs closely, making sure the Eagle pair don't decide the Bichons look like a nice light snack. The photo above was the best of the ones I could get with my camera, before they flew away.

Speaking of creatures, a couple of weeks ago, Richard was driving in the yard when he spotted the Cute Little Island Baby Mule Deer "hiding" in the grass off the side of the driveway. We got photo's of her while Mommy was in the Saskatoon bushes eating berries. The whole time we watched her, she never even blinked, so still was she. Richard also mentioned seeing a Cute Little Island Doe with twins on the other side of the farm, romping in the hay field before it was cut while Mommy grazed nearby.

I have written before about taking the dogs out into the Garden Yard before bed at about 11pm each night. Last night was no different. The "kids" look forward to it, barking and racing each other out to the far end of the yard by the boat, while we totter out behind. Mason did his usual: sit and stare down towards the shed across the driveway to the East. He always acts as though he can hear or see something down there, but I never hear anything, and can't see anything because there is no light there.

Last night was a different matter. After we had been out for a while there was suddenly a "clank, clunk, thud" sound from near the old truck camper. The hairs on the back of my neck literally stood straight up and I froze for a few seconds, trying to decide if I had really heard it. Of course, one look at Mason confirmed I had. "Did you hear THAT?" I asked Richard. "Something down by the shed. Something big enough to make a LOUD noise." He walked over to the fence and looked into the darkness. My feet meanwhile had minds all their own and were quickly moving towards the house, while my mouth was shooing dogs ahead of me. "I don't see anything." he said. "Well there is something there, and it could be a bear," I replied from the safety of the deck, one hand on the door handle.

Back inside, and after some careful, more rational thought, I came to the conclusion it couldn't have been a bear, because the "kids" didn't alert to it and believe me, they would have. So, hmmmmmmmm, what could it be. "Raccoons," Richard replied. "Of course that is what it was, a family of them, foraging in the Saskatoon Berry bushes." Thank God, I would be able to sleep after all. Miserable little bandits!

So today, before coming home from work, Richard purchased a "rechargeable Spot Light" to pack with us on our forays into the dark reaches of the Garden Yard at night. And yup, you guessed it, it paid for itself first time. Richard shone it down to where I heard the noise from last night, but no glowing eyes shone back at us. "Shine it all around the yard," I said from the safety of behind his back. He complied. "Nope, nothing". I walked back over to the garden boat. The he gave a loud whisper "Come quick and see this." He had the light pointed out into the field to the North of us. And there, lying in the field while their Mommy grazed, were the Cute Little Island Mule Deer Twin babies from this year. Eyes shining brightly in the spotlight, looking back at us as if to say "you can't possibly see us, we are hiding like our Mommy told us to do."

Shining the light beyond the deer, we see bright eye's peering back at us from a tall tree on the drainage ditch. Several pairs of eyes that moved up and down the tree and back and forth on the branches. Rocky and Rita Raccoon and all the bratty little raccoon's picking berries and cherries, the little bandits.
Time to troop back into the house. Molly stops at the corner of the house listening to Mole People gossiping under the deck, one of her favorite pastimes...when she isn't trying to dig them out. Bedtime.

Tomorrow is another day. Bente will be home from visiting her sister in Seattle. First warm, sunny day, we'll get an Iced Cappuccino from Tim Horton's and go to the Quay to drink it and gossip. Can't wait.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dancing Queen

To the uninitiated, Humpback Road, a link between Highway 1 and Sooke Road on Southern Vancouver Island, is a heart-stopping experience. No, REALLY. It is a narrow, winding, bumpy, crumbling-shouldered shortcut, only a few kilometers long, with 3 hair-raising blind spots at it's Eastern end and places along its route were two vehicles - even very small vehicles - cannot safely pass each other. Richard and I love it. It shaves off about half an hour from our 3 and a half hour trip down to see Hammond, Megan and Rylan. I have tried several times to take photos of it, to show people what I mean, but that is made difficult by my left hand firmly gripping the dash and my right hand tightly on the door support. Kind of impossible to take pictures with both hands other wise occupied. This past Sunday was no exception.

Sunday was Rylan's dance recital at the Sooke Community Theater. We have known about it since last September, when she first started dance lessons and Richard booked the day off months ago. We wouldn't have missed it for anything. Taking our time driving down, we stopped at several farm markets, enjoying the sunny day. One of the markets had bags of dried Strawberries, a special treat as I love dried fruit for baking and for eating out of hand.

The recital was fabulous and fun.
It was done as a Circus, with Master of Ceremonies. Rylan was a Polka Dot Pony. Dancers of all ages from 3 to adult strutted their stuff on the stage in a well choreographed performances. Of course our Granddaughter was the best! The children were so terrific and unaffected by the sold out audience. .

We went with Hammond and Megan, and another set of Rylan's Grandparents from Edmonton, Hammond Sr. and Joy. It was wonderful to see them all. Rylan was thrilled to have us all there watching her. What a terrific 4 year old she is.

After the recital, we meandered our way back home, stopping again at Russell Farms, a farm market we love North of Duncan, for an ice cream cone, some of their fresh lettuce and new potatoes. Oh, and I bought two more tomatoes - Micro Tom's loaded with tiny tomatoes - and a Red Lupin. Now I have red, blue, white and pink Lupin plants. Would love to get a yellow one too.

What's that? How many tomato plants do I have now? Um, well, er...a few. Ok, 35, but that's all I'm getting, I swear!

It has been beautiful weather this last two weeks. A couple of days were in the mid-30'sC. That's over 90F for all my American cousins. Well over. My garden boat is really taking shape and I have worn a path around it eying it from different angles, trying to decide what to put where. I want it too look beautiful, but I want it also to look like things just...well...grew, kind of haphazardly like organized chaos.

I have placed in random spots, 8 double-flowered Evening Scented Stocks in deep Rose, Violet, Creamy White and palest Pink. I bought eight of them thinking the sign I saw said $1.79 each. Silly Me! Turned out they were $2.99 each. OUCH. They are beautiful, their tight clusters of flowers looking like tiny Cabbage Roses, but next year, I will plant my own from seed.

Speaking of growing seeds, I have found the perfect fool-proof way to get them to sprout. No, really I have. You just plant the seed as usual, water well, give them a few days to get used to their surroundings, keep watering, and then, bam, you fix them with a steely-eyed glare and hit them with the following words: "You have 24 hours to sprout and show me you are growing or I yank you out and plant something else. I mean it!" Works every time. The next morning the seeds have sprouted and are up over an inch. Worked with Zinnias, Lavatera, Cosmos and Lettuce seeds so far. Try it.

Well, the Tomato Tub is planted; 20 Heritage tomatoes in all. Richard is ready at a moments notice to butter thick slices of homemade bread to make a tomato sandwich when the first one ripens. Me too. It will be a long couple of months until that happens, but well worth the wait, I assure you. And if things work out, there will be fresh, home grown lettuce to go with those tomatoes too.

Have to quit writing now, just broke my glasses and can't see a thing without them. There was a loud snap, and a weld broke where the temple attaches to the frame. @#$%^&*. I have only had them 5 months. Time to haul out the florists tape and do a temporary fix, then back to the store tomorrow for a fix.

And maybe on the way home, stop at the nursery, just to see what they may have. No, not to buy tomatoes, nope, uh uh. Just to look.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dear Mommy Deer

The sun has come out and it appears, hypothetically speaking, that spring has at long last arrived. We have had a week of wonderful weather and I have stopped whining about least for now. Many signs of true spring around the Garden Yard. The two Starling families have fledged their babies, although the babies are seemingly reluctant to leave home. I see and hear them in the nests throughout the day. The other day I came across a small Garter snake near the shed. Our Garter snakes here are different colored than on the Prairies - out there, they are dark green with yellow stripes. Here they are more brown with orange stripes.

The Garden Yard is being slowly whipped into shape. Richard and I have been working hard...he cutting grass, hauling in the stock tank and filling it with dirt for a Tomato emptying potting soil from dozens of pots, whose occupants winter killed this year, into the Tomato bed. He also dragged in an old white bathtub that has been sitting in the yard for eons. I emptied potting soil into it too, and will fill it with flowers and herbs. We have moved several pots and things that sat on the driveway side of the yard, giving a nice clear sight line to the garden boat. Oh and Richard also brought me in another tub, this one out of an old dryer, to fill and use for flowers or vegetables.

I found a unique way to grow lettuce on the Internet when I was looking for something else one night. You use pieces of PVC pipe, cut holes in the top for the plants, fill pipe with dirt, and suspend from a fence or other such supports. Gonna try that one for sure. Richard was really excited about that idea. We have the PVC pipe, we have a stand to suspend short lengths on, and we have the lettuce seed and soil. What more could you ask for.

The Garden Boat is beginning to look really good. Still a long way to go, but each day as I walk around it, it takes shape in my mind. Some things that survived the winter were a huge Yarrow plant, two mini roses, Bergamot, White Echinacea, an elderly lemon thyme plant that is really doing well, chives and purple sage. Oh, and one mustn't forget the 1000 Feverfew seedlings. Good grief, but who knew they would seed like that? I planted Blue Lobelia and Yellow Pansies in the prow of the boat. Then in a row behind that are Blue and White Pansies. My adorable little Hummingbird feeders are also in the boat, two at the back and one at the prow. Today I am planting Sweetpeas, finally, along the one remaining pieces of chicken wire Richard put in the boat for me last year.

Some things I have discovered along the way this Spring:
1. I am addicted to buying Tomato Plants. More on that later.
2. When you move a plant pot that has been sitting there for months, you will find a pile of earth worms.
3. The easiest way to pick up those aforementioned worms is not with your thumb and forefinger as one might think, but with your forefinger and middle finger, gently pinching the worm with the middle finger pressing against the top, or fingernail, of the index finger. Really. Oh stop shuddering, it's just a little worm.

Back to the Tomato Plant addiction. One of my lifelong vegetable passions has been Tomatoes and the growing of same. The first time I grew tomatoes from seed, I planted 72 tomato plants. Yeah, I had a bumper crop of tomatoes. I found a source locally for Heritage Tomatoes, which I love, and last year planted several terrific varieties. This year my source let me down and I couldn't find all the varieties I wanted. I got the ones I could and a few I haven't tried before. I whined to Kate about the lack of plants here so she went out on her days off, Bless Her Heart, and purchased some for me. Now here is the list, and brace yourselves, it is extensive:
Ailsa Craig, Big Rainbow, Black Krim, Black Prince, Bulls Heart, Cheesmans, Cherokee Purple, Dixie Golden Giant, Galina, Giant Belgium, Green Zebra, Isis Candy, MIcro Tom, Mortgage Lifter (AKA Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter), Ox Heart, Pineapple Beefsteak, Pink Brandywine, Pomme d'Amour, Tumbler. I am still looking for Brown Berry, Tumbling Tom, Yellow Mortgage Lifter and Striped Cavern. I plan to grow the tomatoes upright on supports, and only let them get so tall before nipping them off so they set fruit rather than putting all their resources into the plant.

Just for today...

I was given a real blessing yesterday afternoon. I had gone to the store for a few things, and as I drove back in the yard, I saw a Cute Little Island Doe Mule deer under the large Pear tree. I slowed right to a crawl, but she never moved, so I stopped the van and sat their watching her. Suddenly, I thought I saw something moving under her feet. "Is that..." I spoke to myself "It is!" There beneath her was a brand spanking new baby fawn! She must have just dropped it, or only a short while before. I grabbed my camera, snapping away, shot a couple of videos. What an amazing sight! I have seen fawns before, but not one newborn and up close. The Doe stood there watching me knowing they are safe in our yard. Soon she licked the baby a bit, then moved away a short distance. The baby slowly got to its tiny feet and tottered after mommy, searching under her belly for milk. I sat there in awe watching as they wandered slowly through the yard to the bushes near the road. My photo's aren't great but you can see how tiny the baby is.

What can be more perfect than that on a sunny day?

Not too much, I don't think.