Tuesday, 22 July 2014

What a weekend

I had a nice weekend out at the farm, though I did a lot of driving.  The farm is about a 1/2 hour drive from my home; I made three trips out on Saturday, back in on Sunday, out later that day, back in on Monday, then out to the vet's office, and back on Monday evening.  Lots of miles....I'm not sure how my brother and his wife do it on a daily basis!

Of course I always make sure I take my camera.  Here are some of the shots from this weekend.

On the lower part of the yard, there is the barn and an old train station.  My brother R has built a deck on the side (or the dance floor as it is more affectionately known). It's an awesome place to watch a storm in the distance, or the northern lights.

The station was moved to the farm site by the former owners.  It's most frequently used for birthday parties!

R recently created a 1/4 mile running path through the bush, up the hill and then back around for he and his children to use.  I didn't run it, though I walked more quickly than I might normally have because of the annoying mosquitos!

Above is part of the flower bed they planted a few years ago.  One of the neighbours was clearing out the bed and gave them massive amounts of perennials.  They've thrived in this environment.

The rose on the left, is a wild prairie rose.  These were on the side of the road, and I don't think there was a blossom without a bee.

I tried all weekend to get a photo of this little chipmunk, and with this exception he was too fast for me!

The horses didn`t realize I was taking a photo because I was across the road.

Of course the reason I was there was to take care of this lovely lady Hollywood.  For those of you who don't read the cats' blog, she had an eye surgery a couple of weeks ago and I had to give her meds over the weekend before she went the vet for her final checkup and removal of stitches.  All went well!

Finally, I leave you a photo of the quintessential Prairie view from the drive home to the city.  The weather was perfect!

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Aunt A, Aunt E, Mom, Uncle B

Friday morning, the last of my mother's siblings passed away.  Aunt E was a character, a cigarette smoking, beer drinking, strongly opinionated woman with a mouth to match.  Apparently she had a butterfly tattoo, something I never knew before today, but doesn't surprise me.

She married at the age of 17 by eloping with her high-school sweetheart.  They were still married at her passing but haven't lived together for many years.  Aunt E had a stroke a few years after my my mom's and was eventually moved to a nursing home in her hometown.

She and her husband W adopted a son about 40 years ago.  About 20 years later, they took in their grandson and were raising him when Aunt E became ill.  W took the child and moved nearer to their son, though I understand W has been back in their hometown for a few years.

In the early '70's they won a significant prize in the Irish Sweepstakes and used the money to purchase his family's farm and build a house on the property.  I recall it the entire interior was painted yellow and she had a sunken living room with deep purple shag rug.  It still looked the same the last time I was there a dozen years ago.

It was in this house where she had her first stroke.  Instead of calling an ambulance W dragged Aunt E down the exterior stairs, basically a ladder as the home's exterior was never entirely finished, and drove her to the hospital. Later when he took her back home, she was limited to the bedroom, hallway and kitchen as she was in a wheelchair.  He did, at least, build a ramp so he could bring her in and out of the house.

However, her health declined because she wasn't getting the care she needed at home and she had another stroke.  After a brief recovery she moved to an assisted living apartment and soon after to the nursing home.  I believe Aunt E lived in the nursing home for at least 7-8 years as she was a patient when Dad was moved there in 2006.

For years she ran the canteen at the nursing home. Everyday after lunch, she would pull herself along the railing with her good arm from her room to the little store near the front door of the home.  I'm not sure she made many sales.  Most of the patients were either non-ambulatory or unable to recall how to get there and her often grouchy demeanor was a bit off-putting for most people.

My mom, actually our entire family, didn't particularly like W and it only got worse as the years went on.  As a result, we didn't see Aunt E often, usually only on Christmas Eve.  She and mom kept in touch by telephone and when mom passed I think she felt very much alone.  By this point she and W were married in name only, her son was "away working", and she had no access to her grandson.

But she managed to thrive at the home, because she got the care she needed, as well as the social interaction with others. A friend of mine, told me on Facebook, "I liked her, we got along really well.  She always wanted a beer and a cigarette after her bath, and wanted me to join her too! LOL"

I like to think that she and her siblings are now together, Aunt E and Aunt A are having a beer, mom and Uncle B are drinking coffee, all four are puffing away on their cigarettes, and they're talking up a storm.

Rest in peace, Aunt E  Fly free, like your butterfly tattoo and give my mom a hug and kiss for me.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Time to compare

I know I said I wasn't going to post again this week, but I have to share these photos.  It's amazing what a difference lot of rain and some heat can make.

The earlier photos were taken around the end of May, the comparison photos were taken last evening.

I planted three petunias in each container. Perhaps that was two too many?

But I love how all the color brightens up the deck!

I couldn't find an earlier photo of this container of snapdragons and lobelia but I known it's gone crazy too.

I bought a mixed flat of the snapdragons thinking they were pink....not so much.  But I really like the color combination so maybe next year I'll use less pink in the garden and go with reds and yellows.

You may notice there is no photo of my front flower bed.  It desperately needs weeding and I'd be embarrassed to show what it looks like now.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Weekend wrap-up

Where does the time go?  I keep meaning to update my blog and then days pass along with my good intentions.  So my new goal is to update this blog once a week.  it's funny how the cats' blog is easier to keep up with than my own!  Perhaps they have more to say. ;)

I spent the past week in Saskatoon working with my staff there.  Although we use e-mail and talk on the telephone often, I find it beneficial to have face-to-face meetings so we can walk through their workload together.  That way we're looking at the same information so misinterpretation or misunderstandings are reduced.

Having the opportunity to work in Saskatoon also means I get to visit with family and friends.  This week I went for dinner with my cousin J.  She's recently changed jobs, bought a new car, and her aunt (and my cousin) passed away so we had lots to catch up on.   I think I mentioned H's passing awhile ago.  J told me that H's husband D, had informed her father that only "immediate family" was invited to the service.  This meant M (J's Dad) was allowed to attend.  It has obviously caused a rift in the family and J was quite upset.  Understandably so!

Later in the week, I took my camera and went up to the weir on the river to take a walk.  It was a gorgeous late afternoon, one of the nicest days so far this summer.

The trail is in the center of the city, well-maintained and well-used.  There were families out walking, cyclists, and runners.

Saskatoon is known as the city of bridges here in Saskatchewan.

This appeared to be a walking bridge just north of the weir.  I didn't take the climb the stairs to the top. Perhaps my next visit!

There were white pelicans in abundance.  I assume they were looking for fish, but I didn't actually see any of them catch anything.

Part of the walking path was flooded.  The water levels are very high this year. 

There are actually several paths, this one led down to the river, another ran along the top of the river bank, and another was about mid-way up the bank.  There were benches and walls where one could sit, and look-out points to take in the view.

Along the paths were a variety of native plants. These are Saskatoon berries for which the city of Saskatoon is named.

I suspect once they are ripe, the birds and passersby will enjoy the treat!

Arriving home on Friday (and my apologies to those who read the cats' blog - this is a repeat) I had to deal with a broken window in the sunroom.  

My son had cleaned up much of the mess but there was still glass in between the panels and I made some calls to glass replacement companies. Unfortunately the earliest appointment I could get is August 6th.

After clearing up the edges of the window pane, I put the piece of cardboard as a temporary fix.

This window is sheltered by a three foot overhang, so hopefully even if we get rain the cardboard will stay in place until the repairs are made.

We still haven't figured out what happened.  I suspect something hit the window in just the right spot to cause it to shatter. There was no evidence though of a bird, branch or rock so it will remain a mystery.

The rest of weekend (including today) was and will be spent catching up on chores.  Laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing floors, cleaning cat litter, mowing the grass, deadheading the containers...all the usual mundane tasks.  Even though C kept the house tidy, took care of the cats, and watered the containers while I was gone there is always something to be done.

Maybe that is why I have such a tough time keeping my blog up-to-date.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Thankful Thursday

The sun finally came out on Tuesday.  I spent some time outside enjoying the sunshine and cleaning up debris. With all the rain my plants are growing like weeds (and so are the weeds).

You can definitely see the weeds in this photo among the ground cover.  I'm not sure what it is but it is nearly impossible to kill.  I'm thinking I should probably mulch around the plants.

The alyssum is doing wonderfully, the purple mums...not so much.

With all the rain this pair must have been confused. They showed up first on the neighbour's lawn, then wandered across the street to mine.

 She looks a little round to me.  I had to wonder if she was looking for a place to nest.  If I'm right, I'm glad they flew off, hopefully to find somewhere safer and more comfortable.

We're into the heat now, the temperatures and humidity are rising.  I'm sure the mosquitos aren't far behind.

I'm thankful for the sun and the heat, and that the workweek is a short one.