My happy place

I’ve been meaning to share picture of the inside of the sun porch* now that all the house plants are moved out there for their summer vacation. It took this panorma after I finally got them moved (it was a surprisingly big job!)

Okay… technically it’s not all the house plants either. There’s still a few inside. I have some in my upstairs bathroom, sewing studio and office, as well as a few in the kitchen. They all get great light where they are so there’s no real need to move them. And there are a handful – something like 17, maybe – that are still in the living room because there is just no more room for them on the porch.

And like the garden, this little area sometimes blooms too.

For most of my life, I always found African violets so hard to keep. That’s until I had a space at work with a north-facing window, and I discovered that all they really want is a lot of indirect light. Here they go under the grow lights in the winter, and spend the summer on the porch and they just thrive. I have two right now – two different shades of pink, but I will get more.

Most of my orchids are done blooming, and I brought them all out onto the porch so they could enjoy the humidity of summer.

One still has flowers though…

And oddly enough, it’s the one that was on clearance because it was half dead. The ones I paid full-price for had gorgeous flowers, that barely lasted…. I can only hope they rebloom again eventually.

And before I go, I’d like to share another little project Dave finished recently. Several weeks ago, we were at the little used store in Strathroy. I’d seen a little table/storage unit that I thought was just so cute. But I didn’t really need it, so I left it there. When we went back a few weeks later, it was still there. They tend to turn things over pretty fast, so I decided it was a sign and I needed to buy it… it was only $35.

I thought it would be perfect for the porch. I could store my plant supplies in it, and put a couple plants on top. Now personally, I liked it’s “rustic” charm, but Dave was not having it. He insisted on redoing it. Giving in was easier than listening to him complain about it, so I got some pretty blue paint (so it would look nice with my gnome quilt).

Now it’s tucked in the corner, and as I suspected, it’s a great place to store my soil, spare pots and such. And there’s ample room on top for several happy plants.

I’ve considered hand painting a few daisies or something on it, to bring back that country feel… or I might just get out the sandpaper when Dave’s not looking, and rough up a few edges.

*you may notice that the inside of the sun porch is still red oxide… it will be painted, but not until the fall when I move all the plants back in. I’m not moving them twice!

Tweedy Thursday

Finally, I feel like I’m making some progress on Dad’s Christmas sweater.

In this picture, it’s about halfway through the raglan increases. I’m actually further along, having added a few rounds since I took this, and I hope to be splitting for the arms and body soon.

Not much more to say on it, because it’s pretty mindless knitting. But that’s about all I can handle after these long, busy work days I’ve been having lately.

Walkabout Wednesday

This week there’s a slight twist to WW.

Almost every day, my walk ends at the post office. We don’t have door-to-door delivery here. Instead we have PO boxes, and I have to go there often, because they are small, and can get full fast, even if it’s just junk mail. Not to mention, Dave tends to get a lot of parcels (which I have to pick up next door at the post outlet/township office).

Anyway.. in the mailroom, there’s a large notice board, where people and businesses can post their notices.

Now, I’ve said before that the town is quite small – about 2,500 people. City folk often think there’s nothing going on in towns like these – but as I learned as a junior community journalist in my 20s… small town are happening! You would not believe how much goes on.

Here’s a look at what you can do in this small town:

A lot of stuff goes on for the kids. There’s baseball diamonds at the end of our street, and we can hear the games all summer long… but there’s also ball hockey too. (And regular hockey in the winter – we even have our own team – the Alvinston Killer Bees, which is part of the Western Ontario Super Hockey League.)

The legion ALWAYS has stuff going on. At least once a month they do a Meat Raffle.

And with the prices in the supermarket lately, I may have to check it out one of these days.

There’s also going to be music in the little park by the post office.

On the second Sunday of the month, all summer. I missed this month’s, but I may take a mosey over there next time.

Apparently one of the most exciting things to happen is the return of the Alvinston Pro Rodeo.

COVID shut it down for two years. We didn’t go, because I wasn’t even planning on being around last weekend, but the rodeo grounds are only a block and a half away, and it sounded like it was a pretty wild time. I told Dave next year, I’d like to check it out. I’ve never seen a rodeo!

This is also a car show that’s happening on July 3. I’m trying to convince Dave that we should take the Bonneville over. But it will depend on the weather… if it’s too hot, there’s no way I’ll move him away from the a/c.

Tiny needle Tuesday

I feel like I made much better progress with my stitching this weekend than I have in quite a while.

As you can see, I got most of the top of the sewing desk finished, and the blue fabric started.

I still prefer cotton floss, but I do have to admit this wool/acrylic stuff has some perks. First is that it doesn’t seem to tangle and knot like the cotton stuff can.

And second, I love the handy dandy way they provided all the colours needed on one piece of cardboard. They are numbered to match the chart, and it’s nice having them tidy, and all in on place, instead of on multiple bobbins.

It’s an excellent little kit.

Monday, Monday

Thanks for all your kind words on yesterday’s post.

But that last note, about Dory and noises… wasn’t completely in jest. I had been hearing noises. At least I thought I was – sometimes I wouldn’t, so I thought maybe it was just the road surface. And Dave wasn’t saying anything (he’s usually in tune to anything abnormal). I was supposed to be headed Mom and Dad’s place on the weekend to do some quilting, so I figured I’d get Dad to take a looks while I was there.

But Thursday night, Dave and I went out to get a burger, and on the way back, the noise got a whole lot louder.

We both looked at each other, and said “Wheel bearing.”

While I could get her home no problem, going to Mom’s was out of the question. I got up early Friday morning, and started calling around to see if I could get her fixed that day, and still salvage my weekend.

I don’t know what it is about this area – there are dozens of mechanics, but no one seems to be able to take anything in right away. If you’re lucky, it’s a day or two later. Usually, they are booking a week or two out.

And that was the case… almost everywhere I called, “I can look at it at the beginning of July…”

Finally, I found a shop that would take it in and diagnose it that day. But he probably wouldn’t be able to fix it until Monday. It was the best I was going to get, so we went and dropped it off (hopefully, as you are reading it, I’m picking it back up – it was a wheel bearing).

So I found myself with an unexpected weekend at home. Of course, at home, there’s ALWAYS something to do.

Saturday, I busied myself in the front gardens. While you may not think it, I’m actually a pretty lazy gardener. I weed only when absolutely necessary. And I don’t worry about getting every last little sprout out. I do enough so it doesn’t look over run and that’s that.

After weeding, I decided it was time to get the annuals I started from seed in the garden. In the end, only the cosmos, zinnias, and some snap dragons were decent enough to plant out.

They are still pretty tiny, but I expect they will grow pretty quick now they are out of the seed trays. After planting, I decided to tackle the overgrown holly bush. Early this year, we had a brief warm up, followed by a long cold snap, and as a result, several of the holly branches had gone brown and died (apparently, this is not uncommon.)

My plan was to just cut them, and any other dead stuff off, and maybe shape it a bit so it looked tidy, as it was way overgrown. If I was thinking, I would have taken a before picture, but I wasn’t planning on there being that much difference. The best I have is this picture I took not long after we moved in.

Pretty wild and overgrown… and once I got cutting. Well I just kept finding more that needed to be cut. And the next thing I knew…

I was going to cut more on that taller one, but Dave said let it be for now. The good thing about pruning holly in summer is that it stimulates growth. Hopefully we’ll get some nice healthy new branches to fill everything in, and come winter I can prune it for shape.

And if you’re wondering exactly how much I pruned…

That big pile in the back… basically a holly hedge and a half.

And while I was working away out front, Dave was diligently working out back. He was painting the sun porch to get rid of the yucky oxide red, and make it match the shed.

It’s only the first coat, and the catio side has to wait until we fix the stairs, but it’s already looking a million times better. It’s amazing what a little paint can do.

Dad’s day

Today, being Father’s day, I’d like to pay homage to my old man. That’s what he always called his father, and I always thought it was funny as a child.

You all know how awesome my Mom is, but I’m pretty darn lucky, because I’ve got a pretty fantastic Dad too.

It’s no secret that he’s been a HUGE support to us with this wreck of a house. From mowing the hay field of a lawn on the first day we got it, to hanging drywall, demolishing the greenhouse, erecting the catio, and saving the sun porch, we wouldn’t not have accomplished as much as we have without his experienced advice, and extra pair of hands. That’s one thing I have always been able to say about my Dad… he’s never discouraged me from trying anything, and he’s always taught me new things when I’ve asked. He’s not the most patient teacher, but I’m not exactly the most patient student either.. but somehow, we manage. The fact that I have living room walls is proof of that.

Mom will tell you that, though I look more like her, I got my attitude and twisted sense of humor from him. And she’s probably right. But that’s not the only thing…

It’s definitely where I got my love of all creatures great and small. From dogs, to cats, to chickens, to turtles, Dad’s brought them all home. An avid outdoorsman, he’s given both his children a huge appreciation for nature. He’s also an prodigious reader, and definitely encouraged my love of books (and all things sci-fi and fantastical). So much of the music I listen to is influenced by stuff he listened to when I was a kid.

I’m pretty sure he’s where I got my resilience from. Like me, when things go wrong, he doesn’t dwell on it. His attitude has always been ‘F@$& it… let’s find a way to fix it.”

So… to the ultimate Mr. Fix It… I say…here’s to you. Keep being you… Also… the truck is making a weird noise… I’m going to call you so you can diagnose it.

Happy Father’s Day!!!

Saturday in the garden

The last couple of weeks have been sort of an in between time for the garden. The last of the spring blooms were fading, and the summer ones not quite ready yet. But things are starting to ramp up again

The hibiscus will bloom off and on all summer. I have to keep it in a pot, because it’s not a hardy hibiscus (they do exist, but I’ve never come across one). I’ve yet to be able to keep one all the way through winter (they always seem to kick it a month or two before it’s warm enough to put them outside), but I keep trying. I bought this one at the grocery store garden centre, and put it beside the cat hut. My baby banana is right behind it, so I hope the cats feel like they are in a bit of a tropical oasis.

I didn’t think I had any chives here… I purposely didn’t bring any with me from the townhouse. While the bees love them, I found they have a tendency to take over, and I had a hard time keeping them in check at at the townhouse. But… it looks like this one hitched a ride in the dirt with the Shaker’s Prayer iris. My neighbour has a big pot full on her deck, so maybe that’s a better way to keep them. I will have to look into it.

When I said all the roses died over winter, that wasn’t quite true…. all the roses I brought from the townhosue did, but the mini roses I bought over summer/fall last year survived just fine.

They are still in the catio (though I may move them out front at some point) and the yellow one is blooming nicely.

One plant that did survive the move well was the white bell flower.

It’s so pretty and it blooms on and off all summer.

The native version if it was added to the garden out front.

The flowers are smaller, but still very pretty.

None of my lavender survived the move, but I bought THREE new plants this year. Basically three different colours. Dark purple, light purple, and this pretty pale pink.

I also added a couple delphiniums, and the largest of them has bloomed.

Such a gorgeous deep purple.

Another exciting thing is the honeysuckle I planted outside the catio.

It’s still small, but it is blooming. My hope is that eventually it will grow up that corner of the catio and be covered in blooms.

And last – it’s berry season!

I’m getting a few fresh berries every other day, and so are the birds. Next year, I will plant a proper food garden, but for now I’m enjoying the tiny bounty of this one.

Friday felines

You may recall that when we lived in the townhouse, Relic had a habit of striking some rather… risque… poses while cleaning himself. Usually in full view of the neighbours.

However, when we moved here, he stopped doing it suddenly. Maybe because he no longer had an audience?

But then the other day…

The peepshow started back up again…

And clearly, he is not at all ashamed.

Black Star Rising

While Dave wanted my help in the yard on Sunday, I told him no way… no how. I hadn’t been at the sewing machine in ages. I was taking the day off and doing NOTHING but sewing.

I started just after 10 a.m. I put the second, third, and fourth quarters together on the black star scrap quilt. Then I added a couple of borders, and just after 5 p.m…

I had a completed top, ready for quilting!!! I just love how this turned out! Totally scrapalicious! It finished up at 72″ square, so it’s a decent sized one too.

I’m hoping to get it quilted this weekend (along with the Motorcycle quilt). And then I want to make another one – I think this would be really fun to do with a charm pack, and baby-sized!