Saturday, September 29, 2012

Headed Home

A view of our home from the 'backyard' - Sept. 2011
It seems like moments ago I was journalling about how much I was looking forward to our road trip, and now we're on our way home. Sometimes I wonder if it was ever worth leaving home at all. Thinking back over the last couple of days, the scenery, our first real road trip with our children, feeling nostalgic because this how we started our marriage, (roadtrips), it wasn't only worth it, it was necessary. Giving the kids the experince of travel is a source of education you just cannot replicate in the classroom. Enjoying my husband's company without all the demands of work and home has been so refreshing. Giving myself a different perspective, and taking a break from the everyday routine of being a housewife has been very nourishing. My own bed, my creative space, my pets and time to myself are all good reasons to go home and get resettled. Not to mention all the wonderful photos I now have of the Jasper scenery and of my family with gorgeous backdrops and beautiful, big smiles. This scrapbook is going to be fun to do.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Autumn Adventure

As we are leaving Edson, AB. this afternoon on our way to Jasper, the landscape takes on a different look and my little guy says, "Wow, I can see mountains! I have an awesome feeling.". I do love the honesty of young children. Before they learn to stop and think if what they are about to say is cool or not. Not that this is always a good thing. There are many situations we have been in where my child's honesty was not appreciated. But I digress. We have taken the children out of school for half the week in order to enjoy the fall weather. Why go camping in the much cooler weather you ask? Well for one thing, the campfire is that much more practical and enjoyable. The stars come out far earlier and are way brighter this time of year. And of course, nothing beats Mother Nature's autumn display, making the drive a "nothing but a good feeling" time. We left Theodore yesterday, and drove to Lloydminster, where we set up our tent trailer at a friends place and then enjoyed our first campfire of the trip. We will stop there again on our way back, and I hope the sky is as clear as it was last night, because I believe the moon should be full by then. It has been so big and bright lately. It is so nice to have good friends to visit along the way. The kids are getting very excited as they have never been to the mountains before. Well, actually my oldest was only 9 months old the last time we visited, but she has no memory of it. We took the camper my dear Husband built, got lots of interesting looks from fellow travelers and almost suffocated overnight. But that is a whole other story. We are in the foothills now, and the kids have put their headphones and games away, trading up for the unusual, spectacular views. Their excitement reminds me of the first time I traveled here and reveled in the feelings that such fabulous scenery gives. Then, it was my Husbands turn to give me the gift of travel. Now we share in giving it to our children, and I'm reminded of a quote I recently read - "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." St. Augustine

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Imagination

When you look around, what do you see?  Things as they are?  Or things as they could be?  If you would like to see change, do you think of ways you could do it yourself, or do you hope someone else will do it eventually?  Does uncertainty keep you from starting?  And if so, how does that make you feel?  Can you recall a time when you were not sure where to start, but started anyway, and eventually found yourself very impressed with the results?  Do we need to know the outcome before we start something?  If we constantly let fear stop us where we stand, can we live happily in stagnation?  What scares us anyway?  The fear of rejection, or worse, perhaps no reaction at all from our fellow creators?  Do we need constant reassurance from the people in our lives in order to go ahead with things?  If that is the case, won't it become nearly impossible to get out of bed in the morning?  When we do accomplish something and receive positive feedback, is it then finished?  Does this lead you to happiness?  Or just searching for the next big thing? 
 Imagination is to blame for it all.  We imagine there is something scary out there to stop us or hurt us.  We imagine we are not strong or smart enough to do things by ourself.  We imagine there is something we have to do in order to be satisfied.  We let our imaginations run away with us, leaving our body helpess while it indulges  itself in all kinds of fantasies.  When we are not busy blaming our imagination, we are giving it credit for all the wonderful ideas it comes up with.  There are countless ways in which to both love and hate our imaginations.  As much as we are gifted, so we are cursed. 
 
Spending too much time in our imaginations is dangerous and unhealthy.  We have to remember to pull out every now and again and allow ourselves to experience life as it is without allowing input from that (very loud) voice in our head.  
 
Never forget that your imagination is responsible for everything in your life.  From the beautiful piece of work you still feel so proud of, to that so called ugly body you carry around with you.  Even when it seems to be doing wonderful things don't put too much weight into it, or you risk going quite crazy.  Take it from one who is constantly accused of having a fabulous imagination.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Set the Mood



Somewhere between harvesting and processing the last of the corn off the garden, and cooking a chicken dinner for supper, I managed to put out my fall decorations.
The pussy willows in the tall, green tin have been there since early spring, but I just love them too much to throw them out, so I just added a few fall picks to the arrangement, and Voila!  I think it works quite nicely.
The black, primitive kitty is new this year.  I fell in love with him and I know I won't be packing him away at the end of the season. 
I also changed the picture in the scrapbooking frame.  It's of Halloween 5 years ago, so the kids are just cute as buttons, and it makes me smile and shake my head at the same time.  How the time is flying!
That handsome owl was originally bought to be an outdoor ornament, but I set him there in the early spring, and there he stayed.

This antique wash stand is always a breeze to decorate, and it is probably my favourite thing to change up throughout the seasons.  All I did this year was put down a cute pumpkin placemat, add a candle and this really neat twine holder (complete with a pair of scissors)  I found recently.  On the floor is another antique, a crock pot that I filled full of chrysanthemums.  I love the way it turned out.

Another easy piece to decorate for the Autumn season, is this antique replica desk from the 70's.  A little colour on the floor lamp, and in the background vase.  A few rustic grapevine pumpkins and it looks all put together.  Now it will be so much more enjoyable to bake more of those fall cookies, and cook those wholesome, warm meals.  When the kids came from school, they explored every little thing I had put out, and my little 7 year old guy said, "Mommy, we have such a beautiful home."  And right there, it was all worth it.
 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Sweetest Time of the Year



The fall, is for me, the best season.  I know I'm not alone here.  When in one season, I always enjoy it and find myself looking forward to what the next one will bring.  But I would love to stretch Autumn out by several months.  The cooler weather, and harvesting my garden.  Enjoying cooking again because I'm not busy trying to cool off.  I enjoy being at home and in my yard more.  This is when I tend to do the most home improving, nesting for the winter I suppose.  In the winter, I find myself in the city more often, wandering the mall and other shops.  In the summer, it's the beach, and road trips, (I hate winter driving).  The spring is my next favourite season, but because it leaves me with very little choice (yardwork, yardwork, yardwork), I still prefer the fall.  There is a little bit of everything in this season for me, and I find I feel more balanced now than at any other time of year.
On a fun note, here are some cookies I made yesterday.  They will cheer up those school lunchbags I'm now packing every morning again.  Acorns, oak leaves, and owls (not shown), made from a simple sugar cookie dough, and decorated quickly with royal icing in three shades, orange, green and brown.  I think those squiggles look really cute, and like I said, they were quick.  I did 2 cookie sheets, lined up tightly in about 20 minutes.  I also like that the cookies aren't overwhelmed with the very sweet royal icing.
I hope you are enjoying the season as much as I am.  Happy Harvest!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Promising Harvest


 

Harvest in my garden this year not only promises to be bountiful, but also very interesting.  A few of the gourds here look just as pictured on their seed package, but thanks to cross polination, we have some very unique specimens as well.  Every time we take a walk through the patch we get another surprise, which usually leads to discussing how we are going to use the new find in our Halloween display.  We just can't wait to pull out all the little creepy crawlies and create a spooky but fun display with everything we pull out of the patch.                  


                                                                            

 
I also grew a few other interesting plants for the first time in the garden this year.  To give you an idea of the size of this plant, I called my 100 lb puppy over (he's not quite a year old yet).  This is a little plant I found in the greenhouse in the late spring, and it was just too different to pass up.  It's called cardoon, and although it is edible, I just grew it as a feature plant.  I understand it is a perrenial, but I doubt it will survive our climate.

From seed, 8 seeds to be precise, I also grew flowering kale. Out of the 8, only 3 came up, but they did very well. Everyone who comes to check out the garden stops to admire them.
 

These are zinnias that I directly sowed into the ground as well.  Not only are they a wonderful mix of colours, but they are wonderful as a cut flower as well.  They seem to last forver.  I've collected seed from this patch, and intend to grow a much larger patch next year.  
 
 
This is Scottish kale, and directly sown once again, it came thickly and quickly overtook its part of the garden growing to be 3 feet high.  It even covered up its neighbor and cousin, flowering kale.  I love the hedge it has created and have plans to do something more creative with it in years to come.                                                                                             This is the first large garden I've had, and planning it should prove to be fun over the long, cold winter.
 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Love You to the Moon and Back

The Moon on July 2, as seen from my deck.  (not quite full)
Although a day shy of being full, the moon was beautiful lastnight.  I was lucky enough to have my sister-in-law over to give me a few tips on how to photograph it.
 
I have been trying to get some photos of the awesome lightening we've been experiencing, but without success.  The moon was a much more forgiving subject, as it stayed in one place long enough for the camera to capture it. 

We've all seen amazing photos of the moon before, but being able to catch this much detail with my little camera was very satisfying.

Most have heard the saying, "I love you to the moon and back".  In my family, this saying has taken on a life of its own.  We go on and on getting more creative each time and competing to see who can get in the last words.  It usually goes something like this: "I love you."  "I love you to the moon and back."  "I love you to the moon, go around 100 times, and then back."  "I love you to the moon and back a million times."  "Yeah? Well, I love you to the moon and back infinity."  That one is pretty hard to top.  Many times we start including distant planets, or places far beyond the Milky Way or imaginary (most likely) places somewhere off in our vast universe.  Like I said, we can get pretty creative.  The kids get especially wordy when they don't want me to leave their bedrooms in the evening.

The moon is full tonight.  But, we are supposed to have thunder storms.  Either way, I will be out there playing around with these new found settings on my camera.  Maybe I will even set up the tripod and the remote control to get an even sharper photo.  There has also been a very interesting critter visiting the petunias on my deck every night.  A hummingbird moth has got to be the sweetest bug I've yet to meet, and I would just love to get a photo of him for my blog.  I even seen a firefly lastnight, but I think that unless there were hundreds, it would be very hard to capture on film.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Funny Story

The kids, Bear and I were out playing on the bales last night (again),  when Kaitlynn announced loudly that she had to go to the bathroom, but didn't think she would make it to the house.  She ran off behind some tall grass, but I could still see enough to realize she was taking off everything from the waist down, including her boots. 

Jared was sitting next to me, and I said, "I need to teach that farm girl a thing or two about emergency 'field trips'".  Bear decided to join Kaitlynn out of curiousity, and I tried to call him back, without success.  After a moment, Kaitlynn starts yelling at Bear, and is starting to sound quite frantic.  I asked her if she needed some help, and she literally screamed "YES!". 

So off I went, telling Jared to stay on the bales in hopes of saving what little dignity my daughter had left.  There was quite a surprise.  Kaitlynn's little 'field trip' turned out to be quite the episode.  'Number 1' turned into an explosive 'number 2'.  And Bear, in all his curiousity, had gotten underneath her! 

So now, I had a messy little girl, and a messy pup.  Kaitlynn takes a lot of pride in herself and this was something definitley 'beneath' her.  Becoming increasingly upset as she redressed to walk back to the house to get cleaned up, I had to think of a way to calm her down.  I'm trying very hard at this point not to let loose the laughter that is building. 

So I said,  "Now, lets think about what just happened here.  You decided to go pee in the field.  It ended up being explosive diarrhea.  Bear gets too close, and you shit on his head?" 

Now I never curse in front of my children, even though I realize they know every curse in the book from their playground relationships.  So I knew this would work in cheering her up.  She found it so funny, her big sobs quickly turned into an uncontrollable laugh, and between gasping for breath and laughing, she said, "Yes Mommy, and he ATE it!!!". 

We laughed our way back to the house where I cleaned up both girl and dog.  Kaitlynn's tummy ache subsided and the evening went on as normal.  I asked if I should scrapbook about it, and she said "Definitely, and blog about it too.".  So, this post is with her permission. 

Moral of the story?  Always try to find the humorous side in an otherwise emabarrassing situation.  My favourite personalities are the ones that can laugh at themselves.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Can Actually Fly!

The kids have built their dragon nests in the bales, and are now playing out there every chance they get.  The game involves touring around the 10 acres and looking for a specific grass and other oddities to add to their homes.  It takes up entire afternoons.
                                                                                                                                                                 
Here is Kaitlynn during one of her take-offs. I'm not entirely certain that one of these times she won't actually take off. After all, they say if you believe in yourself enough, anything is possible.




Here is Jared launching himself off the bale and landing so hard it makes my feet hurt! It doesn't faze him though and he keeps doing it over and over again.



"Mommy, take more pictures of me in flight!" So I just set the camera to snap multiple images and away they flew! We got several great action shots, a few of the best included here.


Here is Jared with "actual wings" he fashioned from his sweater. I still can't believe how fearless my children are. They think nothing of throwing themselves off a 5 foot high bale.

 
Watching them is a lot fun.  I'm taken back to when I was that age, and the world around me became anything I wanted it to be.  I also remember being called in for supper, and gulping down my food as fast as I could so that I could get back out to that world.

For myself as an adult, I get close to that same excitement when I'm gardening, creating new spaces outdoors.  Most of my ideas are still in the imagination stage, so I guess it isn't so different from childhood.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sheer Joy!

Here is a series of photos I took of my dog, Bear, as he is running up to greet meet me.


I was just going out to check on my kids, take a few photos and call them in for supper.  Bear was playing on the bales with them, and when he noticed me, launched himself off the bales and started running toward me.


I just love watching him run!  In the last few years of my last dog, Ginger's life, there was no more running and bouncing.  The arthritis had taken that freedom away, and watching her was often filled with more pain than joy.


Bear is just over 6 months old and weighs in at over 60 pounds.  He is a force to be reckoned with.  At this point I am already starting to brace myself for the impact!


I'm loving the one ear up, one ear down look.  He has big floppy ears that will often turn inside out when he shakes his head.


Just look at that face!  He has not started to slow down yet, so I know if he hits me, it's going to knock me over! 


Look at those ears!  I just loved scratching and playing with them.  Bear enjoys it too, and will lay his head in my lap for as long as I'm willing to sit there and massage him. 


Just before impact, I move a foot to my left and he goes slighty past me before reeling around and pushing his head, hard into my legs.  If I don't bend down, and offer him my cheek for a kiss, he will jump.  So, I'm better off to bend down and take the kiss. 
The entire time I'm watching him run to me, I have a huge smile on my face.  Where else will you get such a reaction for just showing up?  If there is a human who feels the same way about me, then they have a lot of self restraint!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Early Spring Yard Work

Last year at this time, I was still living in Cold Lake, Alberta.  I would have been packing and showing the house, and getting ready for the move in July.  Now I'm all settled in, and enjoying the house.  Time for yardwork!  There is not much I'm able to do without a tractor, as much of the work that needs doing is major landscaping.  But I can make a few improvements...


Here is my fire pit area (one of them anyway).  I didn't mind the fire pit on its own, but the rocks make it look fabulous.  You can see I've been raking leaves in the background.  There is still a lot more raking to do.


This is an overall view of the part of the yard I've been working on.  It is on the west side of the house, and right now is my favourite part of the entire 10 acres.  I can't wait to see what it will look like when the trees fill in and my planters are overflowing!  Cleaning up fallen branches, pruning trees, raking and weeding were all part of the workload.  But the difficult part, (and the most fun) was creating the stone borders and paths.  They are only partly done.


A view of the path that leads to my firewood pile.  I plan to have my husband build a charming, little shelter for the wood.  I just love little buildings!


This is the view of the path coming out of the area where the firewood and pit is.  I plan on creating several little shade gardens in here as well.  I'm not too sure how it's going to look yet.  It is a work in a progress, and I just sort of go with the flow.


This is the start of another path going into the woods where last fall, my daughter made an exciting find.  Did I mention I like paths?


Look closely.  See the old stone and cement foundation?  It dates back to the early 1900's when it was a service station, and 'highways' were dirt roads.  There are small trees growing in it now, but we will gently remove them, and create our own little secret garden.  My favourite thing about this foundation is all the lichen and moss it has growing on it.


An interesting plank I found lying around, and a couple of logs make up this little stand for my blue planter collection.  The best thing about this?  Simple and natural. 

I did all this work, every single stone in the past few days.  Not a good way to reintroduce myself to yard work.  My legs are killing me, as are my triceps, and even my back is complaining a bit.  And even though I promised myself I would rest today, once it warmed up outside, I just couldn't help myself.
But now I have run out of rocks in my yard, and I have to wait until the fields dry up a bit more, before I can hit up the really well stocked piles.  I also have to wait for my husband to find the time to help me move some of the really big stones.  We will need some big equipment for those. 
I can't wait to keep going!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Fantastic Giveaway!

Vicki at 2 Bags Full... creates these beautiful yarn nests you see in the photo, and she is giving one away at the end of May! 

I do not usually promote giveaways, but I had to make an exception for Vicki.  Not only is she uncommonly kind, but her blog is always a delight to read and look at.  Her photos from all over the world are phenomenal, and I always feel inspired in some way after visiting her little corner of blogland.    

Great art picks up where nature ends. ~Marc Chagall. 

That is how I feel about these wonderful, little nests!  

I hope you feel encouraged to visit Vicki's blog, and even if the nests aren't your thing, take a look around, and absorb some of the lovely energy that resides there.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another Kitten To Love

My house is turning into a zoo.  I will soon be able to charge money to anyone entering my home.  A gecko, several cats, a puppy, a fish, and who knows what will show up next.

This little orange guy is Georgie's (the kitten he's hugging) big brother.  It took quite awhile to gain his trust, but he is now the friendliest cat in the house, and he does not show a desire to go outdoors, although that is where he was raised.  His momma is still around, but we rarely see her now that our new puppy has taken over the deck.  But she is showing up at her cat house everyday for food and was chased under the truck today by that puppy who has yet to learn what kitty claws can do.

These kittens are a fun pair, going at it like gladiators one minute, and then curling up into a tight ball the next.  Their personalities are like night and day.  Georgie, the female, being far more uptight, aloof and chosey about when and how she will be handled.  Crush is far more relaxed, much like the turtles in 'Finding Nemo', with a very 'life is cool' attitude. 

Junior, my going on 19 year old male is slowing down, and interacting less and less with the kittens all the time.  He is healthy though and still shows up for regular meals, and lets you know if you are at all late with his food.  Junior still loves to snuggle and although he's def, he knows when someone has settled onto the couch, and he quickly lays claim to their lap.

The benefits far outway the drawbacks when it comes to owning pets.  They are a lot of work and they tie us down.  But I would never trade the everyday joy they bring for anything.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flying Kites

My husband likes to surprise people.  So when my daughter found the kites hidden for her and her brother, there were 3 very disappointed people.  My husband, because his big reveal was ruined, and my two little ones because Dad wasn't ready to give the kites to them yet.  The next couple of days, I had a son who went on with life like it was no big deal.  As long as he has his bicycle and a puddle, he's happy.   And I had my little girl trying to find things to do to impress her Dad to the point of giving in on the kites.  This past Saturday morning, that Dad took the kites and quietly went to his shop to start assembly.  My son, being curious as a kitten followed shortly after and came running back to the house after about 5 seconds outdoors, yelling at the top of his lungs that Dad was putting their kites together.    After another 5 seconds had passed, they were both outside, under Dad's feet, eagerly awaiting their kites.  Kaitlynn received a dragon, which couldn't be more perfect.  And Jared a fighter jet, which he couldn't wait to see how it looked up against the blue sky.  The dragon was up and flying in no time, but the jet is a bit of a heavier piece and we had a hard time keeping it up  there.  But that didn't seem to matter.  He loved running around and looking up at Kaitlynn's dragon, and she even let him fly it for a bit (after a bit of motherly persuasion).  Today, Sunday, brought some much stronger (and colder) winds.  Both the kites were up and flying right after breakfast.  But the force was a bit too strong for either of them to handle, and as such, we spent more time untangling the string from the fence then we did flying the kite.  At least we didn't lose the kites to the wind.  They are both here to fly another day and capture the imaginations of all who see them soaring through the sky.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Meet Bear!

After losing our German Sheperd, Ginger after Christmas, we started to think about giving another pup a good home.  We found this guy at the SPCA in Saskatoon.
His name was Mega Bear, but we have since shortened his name to Bear.  We were told he is a Rotweiller, German Sheperd cross, but his history is unknown, so it is anyone's guess.  He is between 4 and 5 months old, and is very large for his age.  Hence the name Mega Bear.
He is very lovable, a big teddy bear and he does not like to be separated from his new family. 
I've been doing some training with him everyday, and he is a very quick learner.  A pleasure to work with.
I needed a dog in my life again.  I have several other pets including cats, a lizard and a fish, but nothing compares to the love of a dog.  The enjoyment I get from spending time with this critter is immeasurable.  Whether I'm playing fetch with him, going for a walk, grooming, or just having him lie on my feet while I watch TV, he is the perfect all around companion.  He has only been living with us for a week, and I already cannot imagine life without him.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Celebrate Your Love!


When my day seems dreary, with rain soon to follow.
When the pit of my stomach feels lonely and hollow.
When the plans I have made, seem to turn against me.
Your strong loving arms are a safe place to be.
You let me snuggle, all toasty and warm.
You build me a haven away from life's storm.

          Author Unknown


I put together this little collection in honour of a relationship I could not live without.

Do you have someone wonderful in your life?  Someone you thank your lucky stars for everyday?  I am one of those fortunate people. 
For all the cards, the letters, the dates we've been on, the kisses, the flowers, the hugs, the gifts, the road trips, our home, our family, and for all the promises of a future we have yet to share - Thank-you.



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our Ginger

Our beautiful German Shepard, Husky cross passed away just before New Year's.  Ginger was 14 years old, and was, everyone agreed, the best dog anyone could ask for. 
While living in Rainbow Lake, before we had children, we had two cats when this adorable little pup came onto our radar.  Neither of could refuse, and for the next year or so, I spent a great deal of my time learning how to train, and training my dog.  It paid off.  She was extremely well behaved, and while remaining instinctive about people, treated everyone with due respect.  She travelled with us, camped with us, slept under our feet during movies, went for long walks, and generally impressed anyone we met.  I especially loved combing her fur, playing frisbee with her, and kissing the wee black spots on her white muzzle.
A few years after we adopted Ginger, we moved to a very busy corner in the city of Lloydminster, and decided it would be best if she went to live on the family farm in Theodore.  She quickly took to everyone there and became the farm dog.  The only time she caused any difficulty was during thunder storms.  She would scratch at the doors, and left a many a reminder on the paint of my in-laws home, to let everyone know that a storm was coming and she needed to be tied to her dog house.  If not, she was known to bolt in the opposite direction, and last year, even went missing for a good 2 weeks.  We thought that was the last we had seen of her, because her health was not great, with arthritis taking it's toll on her hind quarters.  But my in-laws, loving her as much as they did, called everyone, and used every resource available to them.  This included long drives in the country, many phone calls, and when a local pilot heard about the search for our beloved Ginger, he took to the sky and did his part.  Eventually, she turned up on a farm of a single, elderly lady, and was very happy to be returned home.
She was a very loyal dog, and although the farm and it's people were her home, my father-in-law remarked on more than one occasion, that he never saw that dog happier than when Todd, I and the kids pulled into the yard.  As each child was born, she instinctively took to being protective over them.  At one point, even growling at our Uncle Mike, who lives on the yard with her when he reached into the car seat to take a peek at the newborn.  Being trained well, it only took a simple, "It's OK Ginger." to calm her completely.  Once the kids started walking and exploring the large yard, she stuck by there side and kept a close eye on them.
This last year was very hard on poor Old Ging, and everyone who had to watch her decline.  It got to the point where standing and walking took all her effort and drained her of energy.  I choose to remember her as the frisbee catching champ that she was, and her memory will carry on in our hearts and in the next dog that we adopt.  She has set a precedent, and I know what to look for in our next pup.  Hopefully, I will be introducing you to yet another family member early this Spring.
Thank-you to everyone who loved and took care of our dog.  Fred and Diana for accepting her easily and treating her like one of the family.  Auntie Vera for always having a treat ready for her.  Uncle Mike for his constant kind words whenever he passed her in the yard.  And Loretta for all the time you spent grooming her.  Ginger, you will be sorely missed by all.