Tuesday, June 21, 2016

AN EFFECTIVE CLEANSER

Saturday was one of those days when lots of cleaning gets done.  Sometimes it surprises me.  I had bought new window washing equipment last week and did a quick clean up of the windows on the balcony.  But that created more work.  

The balcony had not been cleaned this year.  It's covered with a vinyl decking material in a very pale beige.  The winter snows, the spring winds, the visiting birds had all left their dirt behind, and the "run-off" from the window washing showed just how dirty it was.  So I hooked up the hose, got some soapy water with ammonia in it and started scrubbing.  That's a handy scrub brush on a handle--good for scrubbing without getting down on hands and knees.  

                    

The soapy water was not doing the job, so I got out the "Big Guns"--Fantastik with Bleach.  You can see the difference now.  This stuff really works!

You can tell from the picture that it was a cloudy day, and that was perfect because a hot, sunny day would have dried the scrubbed up areas too fast, trapping the dirt again.  

Two years ago I painted on a refresh coat.  In fact, the "paint" is a coating called "Refresh."  Next year that will need to be done again. I love having our own home, after 32 years of living in parsonages, but there is a price to pay--not just in all the bills that come along with home ownership, but in the "elbow grease" needed to keep it in good shape.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

CURRENTLY IN BLOOM

Some poppies and a beautiful Japanese Lilac Tree:



This is the beginning of a beautiful time in our landscape here.  What a joy!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

LOTS OF KNITTING

Besides the usual--cooking, baking, cleaning, doing dishes, laundry, dusting, vacuuming, washing windows, weeding the garden, balancing the cash for the garden centre, etc.--I've been knitting!  In July I will teach some beginning knitting classes at our local drugstore/fabric & yarn shop.  We will start with dishcloths, the washing kind, not the drying kind.  So I am kitting up several samples to inspire the students.  Here's what are ready now:

This one was on the needles when I took these pictures, but has been finished since then.  

I'd like to make another "Leaf" pattern cloth, as the green "Leaves" was fairly complicated.  There will be three classes so we'll begin with a pattern that uses only knit and purl stitches, and in later classes learn how to increase, decrease and cable.

We have a flourishing rose bush in a pot on our back patio.  I protect it carefully every night to placing chairs around it and covering it up with a sheet.  But it seems that a deer got at it during the day.  Here's the damaged side.  See all the nipped-off stems?

Here's the other side of the rose bush, showing how those stems should look!

That was pretty discouraging.  However, the rose bush will recuperate and put out more stems and more buds.  I'll show a photo of it when they are all in bloom.  That should be gorgeous.  It's a new rose called "Caribe".

It's mainly the three yearlings who come "snacking" lately.  Someone who knows deer told me that the older deer are probably chasing these young ones away from they are feeding.

But on a happier note: the aluminum pie plates seem to help with keeping the deer out of the vegetable beds.  The corn plants that were grazed are coming back and putting out new leaves.  I'd like to hope we'll harvest our vegetables, but hardly dare to.  It's too disappointing when we lose the battle!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A DEPARTURE AND A CELEBRATION

When we first operated our garden centre we invested in a hobby greenhouse, 8' x 10', as a sample of what we were able to sell.  Our carpenter laid a foundation of 4x4's and I put together the greenhouse from a kit.  It turned out that they weren't big sellers.  Did we sell just one, or was it two?

The hobby greenhouse stayed where it was for something like 15 years.  At first we put bedding out plants for sale in it, but it was a bit removed from the rest of the sale plants. It gradually became just a neglected place where last year's leaves and weeds accumulated.  So we decided to sell it.

Yesterday was the day.  A crew of fellows came to remove it.  First they had to either "unscrew" or break off the screws that held it to the foundation of 4x4's.  That actually took a while.  Some of the screws refused to remove and had to be broken off.

Then the fellows picked it up and carried it.  Almost "squeezed" it through the narrow opening to the parking lot.

A flat-bed truck was waiting for it.  They manhandled it onto the bed of the truck.

After a strap was passed over the roof, securing it to the truck, they were ready to deliver it.  Drive slowly!  Good thing it's going just one mile down the road to its new home!

Bye-bye little greenhouse!  Almost felt like adopting out our cat.  Last evening the Dear One said, I feel a little sad.  It's like a beginning of an end, taking apart all that we have built up here in the last 17 years.

This morning we celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary with a BEAUTIFUL fruit salad. 

The Dear One had completely forgotten that this anniversary was coming today--too many other things on his mind lately!  He couldn't figure out why there was an envelope with "For My Sweetie" on it.  He was abashed, of course, but I thought it was quite humorous, catching him out like that.

We made plans to go out for dinner to celebrate and thought better of it.  This is Cruise Weekend here, an event that draws hundreds of people to our little town, to exhibit and inspect historic, just plain old, and all "spiffed up" vehicles of all sorts.  I walked Main Street and Railway Ave yesterday to have a look.  Some of the vehicles take me down "Nostalgia Lane."  My favourites: the old Model T and Model A Fords, the mid-fifties Ford Fairlanes and Victorias (especially the red and white ones!), a '39 green Chevie just like one I remember from my childhood.  Remember the rope hanging from the back of the front seat--something to hang onto? There was a two-tone grey Nash from the 55's just like Uncle Enno had.

Uncle Enno was NOT a good driver.  He would get too interested in a conversation and almost forget that he was driving.  EEEEKS!  It was exciting, but in a bad way, to be a passenger in that Nash.

Oh, and there was a '56 two-door Chevie (not the right colour) just like the one we bought in '58 in Cuyahoga, Ohio when our Dodge died of a clogged oil line on the Ohio turnpike, on our way to a visit with the New Jersey relatives.  That Chevie was a great car to drive.

I don't know much about cars, but I always enjoy this trip into the past on Cruise Weekend.  The weather was perfect this year: sunny and warm, verging on hot, but with enough breeze to be refreshing.  A lot of people are going home with a sunburn from this first beautiful summer weekend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER...

Monday dawned cold, windy and rainy.  Good day for some indoor work.  After breakfast dishes were cleaned up I had some time to waste (spend) before going to town for the mail and some groceries.  I had finished the machine quilting on the Big Purple Thing, so it was a good time to straighten out the sewing room.

The scrap basket--where odds and ends go to be cut up into useable sized strips and squares--was more than overflowing.  So I started cutting and trimming.  I got so into it that the whole mess was sorted, trimmed and put into the proper containers!  Wow! that felt good.

It felt so good that I started sorting out more odds and ends around the cutting table.  And finally had the whole "design" board cleared off, all the threads removed with a lint roller, the melmac table top removed, the see through drawers moved out of the way, all ready for some vacuuming and washing.


Sometimes the way to get things cleaned up, sorted out, and made neat is to make a big mess!  Yesterday it was all neatly back where it belongs except for some odds and ends that got tossed.  It feels so good!  I love neat, clean and organized!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A FUNNY MISTAKE

I spent a lot of hours this week machine quilting the purple summer quilt.  It was a fairly heavy thing to handle--just because it is so big.  The measurements at this point are 97" x 103".  I had hoped for 105" x 105"  Perhaps I'll add borders to the 97" sides.

I chose a variegated thread in fairly bright colours for the one side and a variegated thread that blended with the purple for the other side.  Today I machine quilted the last quarter of the quilt.  BUT I turned the blended colour side up and used the bright coloured thread on it.  So now 3/4 of the quilt is brightly quilted on one side and 1/4 is brightly quilted on the other side.

It's not a disaster as this quilt is meant to be only a light summer cover, and not a "display worthy" quilt on top of the bed.  The difference in threads does not show up on a photo, but here's this big quilt on our bed:

It needs to be bound and washed a few times to soften it up.  I like to make very large quilts for our bed so that I still have some quilt left to cover me in the morning, after the Dear One has shifted it over to his side.  Anyone else have that problem?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SOME RAINY DAYS

We were blessed over the past weekend with about 2" accumulated rainfall!  The forecast for the coming weekend also includes some showers.  This is so welcome!

The irony of it was that last weekend was the first long weekend of the summer season.  In Canada we celebrate the third weekend in May as Victoria Day (on Monday) in memory of England's Queen Victoria.  Most people have off from work, and lots and lots of people go camping in the foothills to celebrate the coming summer season, pitching tents, camping trailers and hauling their ATV's.

This year that first long weekend was frigid, rainy, and in the foothills snowy.  Those who went camping got very muddy!  The snow didn't reach us, we're about 50 kilometres east of that, but we did have very cold, rainy weather.  The temperature hovered around 0ÂșC.  That made it a good weekend to be home, to do some quilting, to have a mug of hot chocolate and read a good novel.  I enjoyed it!

This is almost traditional weather for the Victoria Day long weekend.  Seven out of the last sixteen years that weekend has been cold, rainy and snowy.  But we did set a record this year--it was the COLDEST Victoria Day in forty years!  Home was the place to be.