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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Hard Winter Followed by a Flood???

It's really not funny.  We had a record breaking cold, and it felt, longer than ever winter.  Went into Spring with a huge smile on my face, only to be greeted with colder than usual temperatures, and then at the end of June, record breaking rainfalls.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful that not only were my house and outbuildings relatively unaffected, but I think the majority of my gardens will recover too.  That is, providing we don't get a foot of golf ball sized hail next week.  I should also mention, that this year was the first time in my entire life that I witnessed a funnel cloud.  Yes, I had someone with me who can verify my story.
So, if I'm so grateful, why do I sound so whiny?  I really thought that after surviving a winter like that, and not jumping ship, that Mother Nature would remember to take her Valium and dish out some milder, more appropriate weather.  Weather that would allow us to forgive her the all out 5 month bitch-fest.
On a lighter note, aside from being worried just how bad it was going to get, watching my land transform into a lake, was rather beautiful.  The power of it made me feel small and insignificant, which is really quite liberating.  There was nothing to do but watch, wait and see what the next few hours would bring, and deal with it.
My darling husband, fantastic timing as always, was away at work, some 14 hour drive away.  It really does seem he misses all the action out here.
Enough of that, here is the proof in photos.  I should also mention, that aside from still being damp, everything around here is pretty much back to normal.  I wish I could say the same for everyone else.  Too many people are having to rip out their basements, and there are those who still cannot reach their homes.  I hope the old saying, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true.  If that is the case, then there are many folks gaining a new perspective on life.  I spoke with a lady today from one of the areas hit hardest, and she said, "This sure has brought people together, and there is beauty in that.".  Enough said.  And I'll stop whining.

Both my kids had a lot of fun letting their imaginations run wild as the water built up.  They even wanted
to build a raft.  They were even more amazed when the water disappeared overnight.  That's when
they forgave me for not letting them build a raft.
"My own private island!"  It would have been really cool to have a raft to sail around one's own island.
This is the first day the creek started to overflow.  June 29th.  We were impressed.  Prematurely.
This is 24 hours later.  My garden was already looking pathetic.  But how would it look if the water covered
it with several inches of water?  It never did.  The water started to recede the evening of the 30th.  And I
slept soundly.
The water is inching its way into our formal yard.  You can't see it, but there is an inch of water in all the
grass in the photo.
Standing back, we had no idea what we were looking at.
A little closer, and we discover a raft of ants trying to survive.  They kept crawling over
each other and, it seemed they were taking turns to breathe.  We couldn't help
but feel for the little creatures.  They quickly rebuilt there homes when the
water receded.
A common sight all across South Eastern Saskatchewan and well into Manitoba.
I can honestly say I wasn't all that worried about the water reaching my newly built flower bed.
I was wrong.  Not that worrying would have helped.  I am happy to say, the African daisies that love
hot, dry weather are now starting to bloom!
This all disappeared overnight!  And while I was wiping my brow, whispering, "Wow, that was close!" people in
lower places south of me were just starting to get the worst of it.  All I keep hearing on the radio are stories
of people helping people, and lots of Thank-yous going out to neighboring communities.  Appreciation and
gratitude are not what I'm used to hearing in my local news.  As much destruction as I have seen, I have also in
equal amounts, if not more, seen the good in people brought to the surface.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Visitors

I've been keeping my camera on the kitchen table, ready to go, for the last several days, trying to catch one of these rascals on 'film'.  I never get there in time.  I see them from the sink, move to the window, and by the time I'm in position, they flit off.  They move so fast, it's easy to think they are not wholly of this dimension.
So, this morning, camera (and coffee) in hand, I pulled a chair up to the window, and waited.  Patience soon paid off, as before I could take 2 photos of one, a second little rascal showed up.  There was a bit of a tiff, but they settled on opposite sides, and had their fill.  
I love the sciences, biology in particular.  I'm forever looking up names of plants and birds, interested in their biological classification.  Then doing further research into specifics concerning various feeding/growing habits, origin, etc.  I find it fascinating.  Why then, do you ask, am I not a biologist?  I considered it, but alas, I have not the memory required for it.  A few details about a specific specimen may stick, but most of it is gone moments after I've read it.  
Why the science tangent?  These little critters have an air of magic about them, and no matter how many times science explains their capabilities away, I find myself in awe while watching them.  I hold a similar opinion of bumblebees.


We have had many storms moving through our area, and as such our sunsets have been filled with color and texture.  Vibrant blues, purples and pinks fading across the sky into yet more blues, yellows and even greens.  It is times like this, that I'm glad we don't have a whole lot of trees blocking our view of the skies.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Changes

Hello out there blogland friends!  I've been so busy with my yard this Spring, that I haven't had a moment to write or to even stop by and visit my favourite blogs, (which I will be doing as soon as write up this little post).  
So much has changed in my yard - of course, most of that is Mother Nature taking her course and turning my yard into a lush paradise.  But, I have been hard at work, not only maintaining, but creating new spaces as well.  I'll feature one in this post, and then I'll need to go snap a few more photos of the other spaces for the next entry...
Caraganas, chockecherry and lilac shrubs all crammed together create a lovely border in front of the poplars
behind them.  

The old-fashioned lilacs are putting on a wonderful show this year!  And my yard smells amazing!  Heaven!  I also
have a long row of hybrid lilacs, and while lovely, they do not compare with these.  The hybrids bloom later though,
and it is nice to stretch out the lilac season with the 2 different types.
Here is how the garden at the beginning of my driveway looked in April, dead plants and all.  It felt puny,
and I had dreamed up an idea over the winter that I could barely wait to start on.
It needed to be bigger, so out came the sod cutter and shovel, and away I went.  It didn't take me as long
as I thought it would, and I just let the shape evolve...


Here is the finished product.  The wagon wheel is gorgeous being mostly wood with iron strapping and an axle.
My husband spotted it last year while picking stones in a nearby field.  I couldn't be happier with it.
The bench is concrete, and the kids are now using it to wait for the school bus.
The path is gravel with flat rocks sunk in. I really love how it turned out.
There were some daylilies from last year, and I filled the rest of the space with African daisies in shades of red,
yellow and orange.  They have taken root nicely, and I can't wait to see what it will look like in full bloom!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Spring Walk

I think the snow is finally gone for good.  If any more falls, it will surely melt as quickly as it has fallen.  There is life in the greenhouse, and garden work is being accomplished.  My legs are sore from a day spent outside, so it has been made official - Spring is here!
At the end of a busy day, I like to indulge in a few moments with my camera, and go for a walk.  Here are a few photos from around my 10 acres, and a little about what moved me to take them...
An overall view of the changing landscape.  It's hard to believe that only a couple of weeks ago, this entire prairie
was under a foot of snow.  All too soon, this pond will dry up, and we will be mowing around the willows.
These red willows line our ditches, and our Spring 'pond'.  From a distance, they are a striking display.  I hope
they start easily from a cutting, because I'd like to spread them to the North side of the house too.
I love the way the grass looks under the water, very dreamlike, and then the way the grass fades into a reflection
of the sky.  
I always stop to admire the bark on these trees.  Large leaf poplar have a silvery green bark, and their leaves
sound wonderful in a breeze, similar to a gentle rain.
I like the way the sun 'starbursted' in this shot.  It's also kind of cute that one of the bubble glares is encircling my dog.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lovely Weather For Bunnies



If you are a white bunny today, the country side is your playground.  Even if bunnies could fly, they wouldn't be seen today.  

I'm so glad the trip home from our Easter supper was a short one.  Nonetheless, it wasn't enjoyable. Very poor visibility, and difficult steering is never a fun combination.  

It is actually extremely beautiful out there.  I can't remember the last time I heard such a loud silence.  It's something you notice as soon as you step outside.  The whole world has been stuffed with fluff and if feels very pillow-like.

The flakes are as large as toonies, much too big to melt quickly, and when you catch one on your tongue, you can really feel it.  If you catch one in your eye, well, it's quite a shock actually, because it feels as though a small sheet, heavy and wet has hit you, and you can't open your lid for a moment.

I hope everyone has had a lovely Easter Sunday, and if you are travelling, may you have better roads than we currently do.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy April Fool's Day!

Without fail, on the morning of April 1st throughout my childhood, my Dad would manage to get me to come to the window to look at all the deer, or bunnies in the backyard.  I don't remember ever not falling for this. It's funny though, he always felt bad when he saw the disappointment on my face.  Well, now I know how he felt.  

This morning, my daughter awoke, and uncharacteristically crawled into bed with me.  I told her, "I want to tell you a secret."  Her eyes brightened up, and she tilted her ear to my mouth.  "I'm having another baby." I said with a little excitement in my voice.
  
Her reaction: "Really!!??  Can I have the big bed downstairs?"
  
This was not what I expected.  Then I asked her if I could tell her another secret.  Again, she tilts her head to me. I say, "Happy April Fools Day! and don't tell Jared."
  
Very shortly after, my little guy, walks into the room and says, "Good Morning, it's April Fool's Day!"
  
I replied with, "It sure is, and I just told Kaitlynn a little secret.  Would you like to know what it is?"
  
"Of course I would!" he says.
  
"I'm pregnant and you are going to be a big brother."  

"What??!!  Really??!!"  He sounded genuinely happy.  Again, not what I expected.

And Kaitlynn takes the pleasure this time, "Happy April Fool's!"  

Then we fall into a discussion about what it would be like to add another child to our family.  Kaitlynn would hope for a little sister so that she could take the little one outside and teacher her to love snakes and not be a princess.  

Jared wanted a little brother so he could show him all the ins and outs of Minecraft, (a very creative video game).

There are no plans of adding to our family, but after this morning's discussion, I almost wish we were.  I felt bad letting down my children like that, but I had to do something and I had to think fast.  It's tradition after all.  My original plan was to switch their underwear drawers around last night after they were asleep.  But alas, I forgot and will have to try and remember that one for next year.  This would be seriously funny, as they have such a strong aversion to each other's personal effects.

Kaitlynn wanted to continue on with a prank, so her idea was that we should switch roles and have a little fun with her younger brother.  So I took on the role of big sister, and she got to play Mommy.  Jared and 'big sister' even got into a slapping fight and 'Mother' had to come break it up.  'Big sister' had to make her bed. And 'Mother' had to serve breakfast.  She even went as far as calling Jared "my baby" and "honey".  He got a little extra Nutella on his toast this morning, and enjoyed it while sitting right next to 'Mother' at the dining room table.  This is unheard of on any other day of the year.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Another Short Shower

I've randomly chosen this image to go with the post so that some part of your visit here would be worthwhile.
Isn't he a beautiful animal?  He always makes me smile.
It has not been an easy winter, the Spring has started off very cold, and now we have lost water to our house.  Well, we spent a bit of money setting up a temporary system to carry us through until the thaw.  Up until then, we will have to haul all of our water in to the holding tank in the garage.

To make a long story quite short, one day we noticed we had lost water pressure, then soon after, we lost all pressure.  After a 5 day long battle, we realized we could do nothing more until Spring, and went ahead setting up the temp system.  Luckily we have a truck, a 2009 Dodge, which of course, knowing it was needed, promptly broke down.  

That has since been fixed, so everything should be okay for now.  I hope. Maybe the trailer will break, or the pump at the place we haul from will give up.  Or maybe everything will run smoothly from now until the thaw, and then just when the grass is turning all nice and green, we will get the backhoe out and tear a 20 foot wide, 10 foot deep hole into it.  

Just a quick, little insert here:  Just as I'm writing this, I hear a curse from the boiler room.  Okay, what now? The septic pump has seized.  WTH???  I guess I only have myself (and my cynicism) to blame.  Luckily we are being very conservative with our water usage, or the sewage may have backed up into the house by now.  

There is definitely something working against us, but there is also someone on our side.  Why else would my husband have checked the breaker box for no good reason, and realized that the septic had kicked itself off?  

I love him, you know?  My Husband.  When he's not being extremely handy in keeping our household running, he's improving our home.  He's been painting the interior and building a larger, new and improved greenhouse, (after the old one, as in 1 year old, got destroyed in a wind storm this winter).  A lot of our best memories are of working on projects together.  Much of our good quality time is spent in the shop, with great conversations happening as the next coat of varnish goes on.  He's not afraid to show me how to use tools, and when I'm putting one screw in for every dozen of his, he reminds me of my skills in the kitchen, and how there is no shame in having weak areas.  Just give everything and anything a try.  I think welding is next.  Maybe I'll show him how to bake bread.  Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves...