Friday Five from the Garden

Sometimes, I actually get a project done. This driftwood planter is one of them. I saw the idea several years ago and thought it would make a nice addition to our garden. First, I had to find the driftwood. We picked up this piece on our trip to the north Island during spring break. Tim drilled and gouged it out recently, and I added dirt and succulents and oregano from my garden. It's sitting on the garden edging bricks for now, until I decide where it will fit best. 

On a fine summer evening I was inspired to get out a piece of watercolour paper and do a quick sketch of the bird bath. I've begun painting it, but haven't made much progress this past week. It's a pleasant way to while away an hour or two with the windows wide open to let the breeze drift in.

The peonies are in bloom. How I love them in all their ruffled elegance. Layer upon layer of soft petals. There's a vase full of them on the dining room table tonight. 

A view of one corner of the garden. Siberian…

On a May Long Weekend

We took a quick trip to the mainland. My parents recently moved from their home with a garden to maintain to a townhouse where someone else takes care of it. They didn't move far, from Chilliwack to Abbotsford, and now they are living where they first met, probably 65 years ago, or more. 

We spent Friday night with them, and Saturday, seeing where they volunteer at MCC (Mom with quilting and Dad with the thrift store). On Saturday night, after a good dinner cooked by Mom, we drove to Vancouver to spend the night and following day with Ashley and Owen, our Vancouver kids. 

Following church on Sunday we drove to Deep Cove and enjoyed a yummy brunch at The Village Table. Ashley and I had Eggs Benedict, with spinach, tomato and avocado - and we ate all of our platefuls. Tim and Owen had the Village Hash, also good. 

The weather vacillated between sun and clouds, warmth and a bit chilly from the wind. We warmed up considerably during a hike to Quarry Rock. Up through the forest, past tric…

It Feels Like Summer!

Summer arrived this week. She might leave for awhile, but then she'll be back. Record-breaking temperatures over the weekend made our first overnight trip on the boat this season a great success. 
Mount Baker appears to be floating on clouds beyond the Salish Sea. 

Fat seals lounged on sunny rocks and looked up indifferently as we motored past. 

We took our two granddaughters for their first overnight on the boat. Port Browning was our destination, on Pender Island. There's absolutely nothing like a beach, even a rocky one, for entertaining children. 

Gulls cried and swooped across the water and we watched one pick a crab from the sea, bang it on the rocks, and devour it in front of us. 

A curious river otter (they live in the sea, too) watched the girls playing near his fishing ground. He studied them, then flipped his tail and dove, several times. He, too, caught a fish and ate his dinner there.

I spent most of my time on the beach watching the girls. How quickly one forgets the e…

Of Gardens and Dining Rooms

What a glorious weekend. Warm sunshine beguiled us into the garden on Saturday. I planted out the tomato starters, but will leave them covered lightly until the last full moon in May which is the 29th. We can occasionally get a touch of frost this month if the skies are clear. Carrots, beets, and radishes were planted earlier and are emerging from the soil. The strawberry plants are full of blossoms and I mentally encourage the bees and other pollinators who busily move from plant to plant. 

Tablecloths or placemats? I use both, but I prefer tablecloths. I've had two pieces of printed linen in my fabric stash for a couple of years and was finally motivated to stitch them up on Saturday. I mitred the corners for a nice finish and am very happy with the way they look. 

A couple of weeks ago my daughter-in-law Katie was listening to a radio talk show about how dining room tables are passe because no one sits down to a meal together anymore. A number of callers responded in agreement. K…

Lilacs and Anne

This evening I'm on my own as Tim is at a meeting. Long shadows stretch across the garden, and there is just an hour or two of sunlight left in today. Earlier I heard the summer sound of a lawnmower across the street. 

Yesterday I spent time in the garden, potting up annuals. This year there are white geraniums, purple heliotrope with its sweet vanilla scent, and blue and white lobelia. Our old white lattice deck railing is no more. Tim built a new one and I love its clean lines. Soon we'll get the summer gazebo set up and enjoy sitting outdoors. It's still a bit chilly for that in the evenings. 

When lilacs bloom here, I am reminded of Anne of Green Gables and of our visit to Prince Edward Island several summers ago. The lilacs bloomed at while we were there. L. M. Montgomery created such a full picture of Anne in her books; an Anne who changed and grew as any child does.

Anne's imagination took her to wonderful places - "But I just went to work and imagined that I …

A Place of Harmony - Sointula

Utopia: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect

Sir Thomas More, who coined the word utopia, and wrote a novel by the same name, very likely never imagined how many communities would be formed in hope of achieving a perfect society. 

In the late 1800s, Finnish immigrants came to Vancouver Island in search of a better life. Many of them worked in the coal mines. One of them, a man by the name of Kurrika, dreamed of a place where Finns could live an ideal life. He the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company Limited to encourage more Finns to immigrate to Canada. 

He traveled up and down the coast, looking for land suitable for building such a community. In 1901, the provincial government granted the Kalevan Kansa Company ownership of Malcom Island. The island was promptly renamed Sointula, which means "harmony." 

Here a few hardy souls attempted to create paradise from the wilderness. The task was unending. The colony was soon in debt for they discovered tha…

Five Favourites: A Taste of Summer

It happens each year. Each green shoot poking upwards is oohed and aahed over. When the first flower appears, perhaps a yellow crocus, my heart sings. Little by little more flowers show up and each one is admired. 

Then the first warm days arrive and the blooms rush one upon the other so that it's impossible to keep track of them all. I liken it to when my children were very young and I knew each word they could say. Then, from one day to the next, they began speaking words I hadn't taught them and couldn't possibly count. 

This morning, while putting my bags in the car, this flower-laden rhododendron smacked me with its showy beauty. Last year, it bloomed not at all. This year, it's making up for it by being covered with perfect blooms.  

I took a few pictures with my phone this morning, and went out again this evening for more with my camera. Pink rhodos are first on this post of five favourites. 

Second is cauliflower rice. I'd read about it and thought that it coul…