Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dublin rubies

We've arrived! And just in time for Ruby Tuesday.

Time is important with this connection so it's a wordless (almost) post. These were seen around Dublin's city center during our first walk. It's a city with a lot of red!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mellow yellow

The camera is packed away now - along with everything else.

We had a lot of fun making these memories last summer. Here's Charlie trying to figure out how to climb out of this yellow cage.

For more Mellow Yellow Monday visit Drowsy Monkey.

Next post from Ireland!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday wonders - O

O is for orange. Can't you just smell them? And feel the texture of their skin. And they're so, er...orange.

I took this photo months ago when the sky was gray and there was no sign of life in the garden.

In fact, this photo was the reason I started my alphabet challenge. I wanted to use it but couldn't really work it into a blog. So I had to create a whole series just to have the excuse. Oh, all, right, I confess the challenge has been more fun than just a one-off blog would have been.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Today, I got up early to wish my first baby a happy birthday. It doesn't seem like 36 years ago that she was this age. Apparently, time flies regardless of the fun you're having.

One of our staff had her first baby last week, and I was reminded of how little girls are so special to their dads, especially if they look like them. Even though her daddy didn't realize it then, our little girl had him wrapped around her finger right from the start.

The hairstyle earned her the nickname of Herbie who was a cartoon character from my parents' day. Reference was completely lost on me but it became their nickname for her no matter how old she was.

The rocking horse was a special mail-order from some more sophisticated city than Vancouver was in those days. Funny to think of all the things that were so unavailable to us that we take for granted now. But I digress....

Happy Birthday, Kitty! I'm so glad you're in my life - you've taught me a lot.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Packing decsions

So you've booked a walking tour. And you have to get through the airport(s) security. And you'll be staying more than a day. Can you see the problem?

At first, we were thinking that we would just be ruthless and travel really, really light. Just enough stuff so we can scoot on and off planes and not worry about lost bags. But, then we got to thinkin'. What about our beautiful - and so useful - walking sticks? No way they're getting through security. And, no way, they'll fit in a carry-on if they did. BTW, this case is no longer an approved size so we'd have to buy new bags. So - plan scupperer #1.

Now, I really would like to have my knitting with me at some point. I have read all the regs, read all the posts to several forums and have come up with: No Answer. It's all over the map. My favorite solution is 'don't ask; don't tell' and just walk through security. As you all know, I am such a super-cool grammy that I hit all the profiler's hot buttons as someone who must be given careful scrutiny. Anne's even higher on the list. Maybe that solution won't be so good. Plan-scupperer #2.

So, we've decided on travelling light with our backpacks. But we also will check a small (but now over-size) bag with all that unapproved for carry-on stuff in it. And a clever packing tube with our poles.

Now, decision painfully made, to get all our lists and gear together.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cool and calm

It's funny how all winter, I wait for the spring colors. The glorious purples, yellows and orange of crocus and daffodil. The layering of the pinks, reds and blues which come next. I can hardly wait for all that excitement after a dull, gray winter.

But, now, the white flowers have started to shine. And they truly do. I took these photos in the evening when the light was just starting to fade. The backgrounds recede and the daisies and roses spread a kind of peace throughout the garden.

Since this is not Sissinghurst, there was no grand and painterly plan. White just happens each year at the beginning of summer. The garden takes on a calmer aspect and I think it helps reduce our stresses just to walk there in the evening.

Fickle creature that I am I know I'll be just as happy when the colors change again. But for now, white is cool. Really.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

We found this lovely carving on a sailboat moored in Genoa Bay, BC.

Click here for more rubies.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The lesson

It's Mellow Yellow Monday. Go here for more MYM posts...

"Watch and learn, Grasshopper."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Wonders - N

N is for Nemesia...

which is one of my sentimental pleasures in the garden. It's so quaintly old-fashioned in it's demure beauty. When I first had a home with a garden that I could plant stuff in, I went to the nursery and bought annuals. I'd never heard of it but the nemesia looked pretty so I bought some. They were to become my favorite.

Each winter, when Maria asks for the summer seedling order there is one standing order : nemesia. And this is why. Look at the variety of color and markings in just these few plants.

They bloom for ages and reseed themselves over the summer. Usually, there are two crops which can bloom well into the fall, if I'm careful with the dead-heading. And, they are so bright that they can make a spark in the smallest corner.

They are such tiny flowers - that's my fingers behind the blossom. The woody-looking lines are my skin markings in macro. Cool, huh?

I looked up the origins because I was interested in where the name came from: reminded me of 'nemesis' but actually has nothing do with it. The plant comes from South Africa where it grows wild and the flowers are usually pale mauve. It's even got some drama going on. Apparently, it's in the process of being shifted from one genus to another. Definitely falling out of its established category must be traumatic.

And they have such happy little faces, don't they?

Friday, June 19, 2009


This great yellow sweater is done! I put off the seaming because it was just too hot to have the wool in my hands and lap.

I love the many different yellows - everything from palest moonshine to almost mustard - that is a result the hand-dyeing process. At least, in my hand-dyeing that's what I get. It's a happy result.

The fit is a little big on the shoulders but it's actually so comfortable that I wouldn't change it. What I would change is the button. I searched all my jars of buttons, all my little stashes here and there and couldn't come up with one - yeah! just one! - that looked really proper. Given how temporary fixes seem to stay permanent, I chose the one I could live with. It'll be there forever, I'm sure.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Clever bird

I like crows. I know they're big, black and sometimes scary. I know they're very noisy - especially right now when they're dealing with their chicks. Oh, my. Such nagging parents. Such demanding children. The squawking never stops. But I really admire their cleverness.

I've been trying to catch one of the crow parents as he (or she) comes to our bird bath in the tree. The camera is ready but I'm slow.

What I'd like to capture is what the crow is doing. At first, I thought it was just having a drink. It has been very dry here and most local water sources are dry. The babies can't fly over to the creek yet and so what's a parent to do? The crow had something in its beak which was being held under the water for a few seconds at a time. It appears to be pieces of old bread scavenged from someone's garbage. Then, it flies off to the nest tree carrying the food.

But, it's the use of a tool that I admire. This crow has found a way to soften the bread as well as hydrate the baby. Pretty smart! If I ever manage a photo, I'll come back and post it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This isn't the first time I've noticed, but yesterday it seemed to knock me on the head a bit harder. Or my head was softer.

You know all those security 'words' that we have to type in to leave comments? Well, they're starting to make sense. And I can type them in really fast now. Yikes!

When I was in high school my parents considered that I shouldn't learn how to type. I was going to be the great academic and in those days, I guess, the great ones could hire folks to type for them. The academic path didn't quite work out, but I have this pretty effective three-fingered style which goes quite fast but nothing like touch-typing. I do look at every word and spell it out in my head. Fast.

So, it occurred to me yesterday that probably all the young'uns - and not-so-young but good typists - out there weren't reading them and likely didn't think of thosesecurity things were anything but randomly-generated letters.

So, here's me, actually getting good at writing nonsense because I think it means something. Stop laughing!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Handy & Red

This is my Ruby Tuesday offering...

Meet my main squeeze - for knitting, that is. This little device replaced my twirly row counter about three years ago and we've not been apart since. I squeeze and count faithfully now when I used to try and 'remember'. That twirly thing is OK when you use straight needles but I use circs almost exclusively. Now my row counter just sits beside me and gets a squeeze at the end of every row. That's love!

See more red stuff at Mary T's place - she's the host for Ruby Tuesday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mellow yellow

Obsessed as I seem to be with yellow right now, I thought it would be fun to share in Drowsy Monkey's meme for Mondays.

Here is a photo that we took on a visit to Steveston one sunny day. Those bright yellow curbs are leading me right to the fishing boat.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday wonders - M

M is for Memories - and since it's almost Father's Day, my memories are about my Dad.

My Dad was born in the heart of apple country: the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. He knew a lot about apples! But he was born to work with telephone and electric cables. His father, brothers and sister, and many other family members worked in this field.

Although I never saw him do any of them, there were three things my father could do well: play the fiddle; make a barrel; and play hockey. They were all things he learned in his youth which disappeared when he went to war.

Some things that he taught me: how to hammer out a bent nail; how to play badminton; to love maple walnut ice cream; and, to drive a car. He taught me how to shoot a .22 rifle, too. I can still remember the smell of the old rifle range and the mattresses we had to lay on. He called them 'pallyasses' - I think they were stuffed with straw - and sometimes you'd feel a mouse run through the one you were using.

These are things that my father loved: teaching kids (us and others) how to do anything, gardening, political discussions, chocolate ice cream, sailing - and my Mom.

As a kid, I always wanted to make my Dad happy but it also seemed important to run away from his influence.

But as any apple grower will tell you: the fruit never falls very far from the tree.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Garden art

A delicate pink cup filled with white feathers...

opens to show the feathery nest...

with four tiny chicks inside.

This beautiful peony was blooming beside a garden path just waiting for its photo op.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just ducky

Yellow, yellow, yellow. I seem to be attracted to it right now. Or maybe it, to me?

The first sock is a request from Becky. Her old yellow socks have worn through. And Grammy hates mending. I'd rather knit a whole new pair - which I'm doing. I went searching for a lacy pattern and found this duck foot rib in Nicky Epstein's Knitting Over the Edge. Sinec the yarn was such a bright and intense yellow, I figured it was perfect. Had to modify it a bit to keep it in line with the top ribbing.

This second sock is some sock yarn stash that was begging to be knit. I made a kind of puffy texture with garter stitch squares and slip stitch 'stripes'. It's a very squishy and soft sock. Now to finish the second sock. Not like me - I usually motor through one pair before the next.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Red lurker

It's Ruby Tuesday again!

I found this photo lurking in my collection. Looks like a place where smurfs could be found...no, wait, they're blue.

For more Ruby Tuesday, check out Work of the Poet.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend work

Garden projects really help you make up your mind. See that dark - and boring - shrub behind Charlie?

We've been living with the camellia ever since we bought the house. Now many people like camellias and I wouldn't disagree. It's the first flowering shrub with, what could be, beautiful big red rose-like blossoms. But our springs are usually too wet and cold. The buds form and turn brown. Or the flowers open, it rains and ten minutes later the flower is brown. The worst part, for me, are the leathery, laurel type leaves. Laurels are definitely not on my favorite plant list.

So, while we were dreaming about our veggie garden and making plans, I wonderd if we could accommodate a dwarf fruit tree - or two. Where would it go? we thought. Aha! We both came to the realization together - the camellia! Last winter, our snow was so heavy that it's branches broke off and cracked under the weight. So, add the damage to it's lack-of-happiness factor and...

It's moments were then numbered. The saw came out and it's gone to the recycling place. What a lovely bright space we have in that part of the yard now. It's amazing. And we can enjoy our neighbor's mock orange for the first time.

Now there's the little detail of removing the stump. Yikes!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday wonders - L

L is for lace...what else would you expect from a knitter?

A wide lace trim I knit years ago with a vision for the edge of a little girl's sheet...

This flower could have been in that pattern maker's mind...

Goat's beard flowers make a nice lace inspiration...

An aunt knit this delicate tea cosy...

Even the dreaded buttercup shows some lacy possibilities...

A piece of crocheted edging from my embroidery and crochet period...

Wouldn't this make a lovely shawl pattern?

Leaf miners create lacy patterns. Maybe this is the lace maker looking over its work?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wireless woes

The wireless router we got a couple of weeks ago to help us play with the new laptop just never worked right. Intermittent reception was the problem. And whenever you have an intermittent problem, it's almost impossible to figure out. So, I decided to return it. No big deal - just an exchange since I was thinking this was a random thing.

So, trying to dig out the proof of payment proved a fun task. I started looking two minutes before I was picking up my car keys. Did I say it was the hottest day we've ever had in June? That was probably me throwing in a few degrees. Oh, ye gods! It was nowhere to be found. My horizontal filing system is usually not much of a challenge to me and this was a BIG piece of paper. Called the store and they said without the receipt it would be a wait of 5 days to get a copy from head office. Yikes! I'm patient but not that much.

I finally decided to just go ahead and try to bluff my way through. No problem at all. I had - who knew? - purchased a warranty with the laptop and the clerk just quickly made the exchange. Took home the new router. Plugged it in. Wireless worked great but no LAN. Rats!

So, we called the Guy Who Helps and he rode up on his motorcycle. Several hours later, and no solution in sight, we all concluded that this was a dud, too. It will go back to the store and I will now pay for the top of the range. But it explains why the clerk made no question about accepting the first one back. She didn't even ask me why I was returning it. 'Nuf said.

So, after a day off-line, the old router is plugged into service again and I'm back. Sure does get quiet when the 'puters are down.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Green project

Here's the latest yard project. Anne's been dreaming and researching about growing vegetables for a few weeks now. She wanted to implement a four-year plan to feed us with lots of the veggies we like out of her projected 100 square feet of beds. Sort of a variation on the Square Foot gardening idea which recently surfaced.

It all came together last Sunday when we found a supplier for the boxes. Thanks to Maria's sharp eyes, we've got beautiful cedar-planked boxes in two sizes. Because we have to order a few yards of soil for the big boxes we started with the 4x4 foot one first. It's going on a part of the front yard where the grass grows very sparsely.

As the digging began, some worms came to the surface. Anne was helping these worms to find a cool and covered corner when she had company drop in. This was a scrumptious buffet for one of our resident robins.

Here's the first bed all planted out. Again, thanks to Maria, we have four zucchini, two cucumber plants. We've planted bright nasturtiums all around the edges - remember my craving for nasturtiums? According to our companion planting guide, nasturtiums work well with squash. And they'll be beautiful in salads. And, apparently, they also help control aphids. We'll see about that!

Now we just sit back, water and wait for the harvest. Since we've lost most of the growing season for this year, we'll take our time preparing the other boxes. We also have to collect more organic material.

I can taste those grilled zucchini already!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Busy morning

It's a warm sunny morning - just perfect for breakfast on the deck. As I was looking out at the garden, I could hear a loud humming right beside me. It was coming from the weigila beside the deck railing. There was a whole bumble of bees buzzing around the pink flowers. Of course, I ran for the camera.

They were so busy it was hard to get them to stand still and pose. Such a lot of flowers to get through while the sun shines. So, I just pointed and shot. Most shots were rubbish but here's one that isn't too bad.

This bee on the cornflower was a bit lazier...or more used to the papparazzi.


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