Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Deck has Begun!

This is the way the deck used to look - pretty grim.
Nothing but clover and weeds would grow between the flagstones. 
Nothing like sitting outside, reading a good book, surrounded by dirt.

Oh, and a small patch of myrtle which Lily
used to bury herself in.
Sorry Lily. You'll have to make do with potted plants!

The deck guy spent yesterday measuring and making 
giant post holes. Not sure what he is working on at present though I can hear a 
lot of whacking! I'm afraid to look! A big pile of wood was just delivered. 
Hurrah! Progress!

Oh thank goodness....COLOUR! Saw these gorgeous fuchsia coloured
flowers on my most recent trek around Fanshawe Lake.
Wild Sweet William? 
A feast for the eyes!

 I am in love with this trail. New growth trees, old growth trees, turtles,
snakes, deer...21kms of great trails.

Isn't it lovely?



I could build me a wee cottage! Well, not me...but 
somebody could build me a wee cottage. 

Hope you're enjoying summer now that it is finally here. Around here we had a cold wet spring - it wasn't nice AT ALL and then it instantly became summer complete with blisteringly hot days and hot sticky nights. But I'm not complaining! I look forward to sitting on my deck soon (hope he's a fast worker) shaded by my huge maple trees...cool drink to hand....mystery novel to hand (because I have two hands!) and hopefully a nice breeze.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Fanshawe Lake Trail

 

So the one day I don't go OUT into nature...nature comes to me! In the form of a fledgling
bluejay. I noticed Lilypad throwing herself against the screen patio door and went over to have
a look and there was a beautiful little bluejay. As sweet as Lilypad is she desperately wanted
to have a go at the fledgling. So I closed the glass door to the patio as well as I really thought
she was going to break the screen. It's ok Lilypad, I know you're just acting on instinct.

The fledgling seems to be in good shape and looks healthy.  It just can't flutter very far, basically hopping around on the patio furniture. I looked up on the local London Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre, called Salthaven, and this is what they had to say:

Fledglings - have proper feathers, can perch and may even be able to flutter short distances. These youngsters often leave the nest and sit on branches nearby, waiting for their parents to return with food. Unless they are in immediate danger, they should be left and observed from a distance. The parents usually come back within a short time. Keep cats away from the fledglings. 

That means YOU Lilypad! While I watched an adult bluejay landed beside the fledgling and popped something in its mouth. So it wasn't going hungry. As I watch its flying skills seem to be improving and it is hopping and flying slightly higher distances. I wonder if it's better off inside my enclosed patio, where it is now, or whether I should place it outside the patio where it would be more vulnerable but possibly closer to its nest. I think it's best to continue to keep an eye on things - it's safe, it's being fed and it's growing stronger. If anything changes I'll call Salthaven and see what they recommend.

NATURE is so fascinating!!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

$$$$$

Hello my neglected friends.  I'm back to get caught up - lots has been happening, mostly good I'd say. First off - we are holding our own health-wise. Kazi has the first of her quarterly pap tests booked for July. We hope that her next four tests remain clear. She is changing jobs in a few weeks and hopes that it won't be as stressful as her current position. Anxiety is a b--ch!! As for me I have no complaints. Feeling strong, hiking a LOT!  I would like to do an 8-10 day long distance walking trip to the UK but not sure if I can make it happen this year. A lot depends on Kazi's health and of course I want to be close by her just in case.

That's not to say I'm not spending any money - quite the opposite. I finally got my deck/patio project approved by my condo board - yippeeee! But cha-ching!! Wish I was a handy woman some days. But also know this is not a job for an amateur. At least not this one :)  Actually it's not too complicated - there's an A/C unit to work around as well as a window well and the concrete steps. I've let "my guy" know that the project can go ahead - he's thinking around the first of July and it'll take two days to complete. Can't wait to put my patio furniture out on a level platform instead of wobbly flagstones.
Hopeful the chipmunks move on to the neighbour's yard while they're working in mine!

I've been doing a lot inside the house with lots more to do. Yes the spring cleaning will soon become "summer cleaning"! Things are not getting done in a BIG hurry because we've had SOOOOOOOOO much rain that whenever we get a decent day I am out on the trail hiking or biking. We have a lake on the outskirts of London called Fanshawe Lake and there is a trail all the way around it totalling 20kms. It takes me between 4 and 4.5 hours to hike all the way around. It's one of the nicest areas I've ever hiked and I'm so happy it's near me. I bought a yearly pass for only $25 which allows me to drive in, park and then hike the multiple trails as often as I want. A very good deal.

I don't know if you've ever seen something called "Privacy Pop-up" tents for sale in your facebook feed but as soon as I saw them I thought that's for me! I love love love sleeping in a tent and this design is great - your mattress goes inside and there are zippered openings on all sides. Luna and Lily love it too and nap in there. The only problem is I sleep more...is that a real problem? When I posted about it on facebook Carla said they'd got one for their youngest and she loves it and that it was good quality so that was the push I needed to go for it. I really look forward to going to bed now :)
That's not me LOL!
In addition I bought a new mattress and a new bed frame and new bedding - $$$$. (I decided in a conversation with one of my brothers that the retirement money I've been saving since I was in my 20's is for me to use now that I am retired - makes sense right? ) Not all of it at once obviously :)

I'll close with a few photos as usual:
There are hundreds of these bad boys!

Trillims are Ontario's provincial flower - the white ones
are more common than these beauties. Also come
in pale pink!

Sent this photo to my brother who has been in Ireland the last
three weeks - they've got nothing on us!
Green as green can be!

Gorgeous trails, a wee bit of mud here and there but not bad considering all the rain and flooding we've had.

Phlox is in bloom now.

Sunshine!!

and beautiful blue skies!

That path is calling to me!

Fanshawe Lake


More of Fanshawe Lake

Fisherman on the right side of the Thames during flood season.
Today I am thankful for a rainy day as I promised myself to get caught up on the blogs on the next rainy day. As long as it doesn't last for the next few days!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY...(and grandmother and great grandmother....)


When my uncle Fred died a couple of years ago I took the opportunity to take pictures of photos
that were in an album made by a cousin. The page above shows my maternal grandmother and
grandfather. Ida Belle and Laurence Frederick Catton. He went off to fight in WWI already
carrying a bullet in his shoulder from shooting practise.
When he returned from the war they were very poor and sadly he died just
when my grandmother had given birth to their fourth child.
In spite of great poverty my grandmother raised four children single-handedly and
lived to be almost 94 years old. 
Ida's mother, Lydia Jane, is shown above. She had good genes as well and lived
to be 104 outliving a couple of husbands.
She was very feisty despite losing her sight as she aged. No one
could tell her what she could or couldn't do.
I like to think that in addition to receiving her middle name that I also inherited
her feistiness. 


My mother, Edith Jane, was very photogenic! This is the house she lived in as a girl. A well-to-do uncle
owned the house and allowed her, her mother and three brothers to live there. Those were the depression
years and money was scarce as were jobs.

I have a Brownie camera though not the same one my mother used for a lot of these photos. She
loved to pose and get her photo taken - I love this one with the old bike and newspaper-sized basket.

I see myself in this photo.
 





This is the house I grew up in.
Me and my mom.  She was a great mom - always had good advice when I had a problem. In the 1990's she
was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, late onset. It wasn't long before dementia took her away from us in 2000, almost
20 years ago. But she is as alive to me now as she ever was and I feel her presence every day.
Here we all are...my two older sisters, my two older brothers and my handsome parents. This house didn't
have a furnace only an oil stove in the dining room to heat both floors. The girls' room had a wooden vent in the floor to allow heat to rise (not much haha! The linoleum was bitterly cold on the feet winter mornings!)
Eventually my dad excavated underneath the house raising it up and creating a basement.
Here's my mom and I in my dad's garden - he had quite the green thumb.

Mom - I'll keep cycling just like you did. One of these days
we'll meet up on the same road.
Love you Ma.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Things are Moving Along

Well it's a busy time of year in the land of birds and plants! And for us humans too as the warm weather means all the crap that was under the snow is now plain to see. I've raked and swept several times as the trees are loaded with buds that fall off the trees a bit at a time. Although I live in a condo complex the area is well treed with locusts, maples, cedars, spruce etc etc. When I first bought the place in 1994 the maples were little saplings - now at 80' tall they loom over the house providing lots of shade. I don't mind shade in the summer as I rarely have to use my A/C but all the sun-loving perennials I planted years ago of course didn't survive. Ah well, life changes frequently doesn't it?

I've been busy over at Kilally Meadows (I sometimes think I should change the name of my blog to Kilally Meadows as I practically live there!) I spotted a merlin on Sunday - that's a new raptor for me though while I can stand seeing ospreys with fish in their claws I do NOT want to watch the merlins ripping small birds apart! Ugh!
Mr. and Mrs. Osprey in their man-made nest! I
notice they've added a few more sticks to give it
the personal touch :)

Speaking of birds I had a fun encounter with a starling the other day - as my guidebook says they are very gregarious and while this one hopped around a bit it came quite close and I snapped a few good photos that are actually in focus for a change! Her beak was yellow which means she is breeding and boy she was sure happy about it!


I've never seen a bird smile before!



The meadows were flooded here and there after all the rain we had and I had to turn around at one point due to the trail being underwater. Not nearly so bad as last year though. I took my chances when out on my bike Monday cycling through a few flooded areas. I figured I'd be reckless as an elderly Japanese man told me it would only be up to my ankles - he was right though my socks got wet and that felt rather unpleasant! :( 


Due to the flooding the marsh marigolds were blooming in places where they've never been seen (by me) before - I guess that is how plants spread and take over new environments.
Marsh Marigold



I've  contacted a company to see how much it would cost to put a deck platform on my patio. I've tried several times to grow grass with no luck.  So much stuff falls from the trees that I've swept out all the tiny gravel (pea gravel?) between the flagstones and there's just no dirt for the grass to hold onto. My patio water source is at my next door neighbour's house (my hose it at the front of my house) and her tap leaks so I've given up asking her to use her hose. Anyways...I think a deck will be really useful - you should see me try to find a reasonably flat spot to park my chairs and other outdoor furniture - due to the flagstones everything wibble wobbles!

After that gets done I'm thinking about getting Bathfitters in - they put in a new shower surround and new bathtub and give a lifetime guarantee. Should have done it years ago haha! I'm also working on spring cleaning though I noticed the dining room window is speckled again due to recent heavy rains. Drat. Spring cleaning is going to turn into summer cleaning and then fall cleaning...

I hope you're all doing well and in fine fettle with spring in the air finally. I open my doors and windows every chance I get to bring the fresh air inside. Sure perks a person up. Volleyball ends this Friday with an all-day tournament and then my routine will change a bit as I'll have more time for myself and will hike and cycle ending up at DQ afterwards :) (I did that on Monday already!!!)

Ok, time to think about supper. There...I've thought about it HAH!

Over and out.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Gratitude

Thanks go out to my readers for recent uplifting comments.
I feel inspired to carry on and start posting again.
It feels wonderful to know
that although we don't talk face to face
(well, thankfully sometimes some of us do)
you are in my corner
and I am in yours.
Some of us have been posting and 
commenting in the same family
of blogs for 8-10 years!
I think that's amazing and
I just want to say...
"I love you guys"!
This is a remark some of my family members,
including me, 
make when we've tippled one too many 
scotches :)
we get sappy and teary
but in a good way.
😁

Signs of Spring!!

The Ospreys are back!

Green - my favourite colour!

Leaves of an early spring wildflower - Trout Lily

The deer are loving the fresh new grass!

I don't like the smell of skunk cabbage
but I do love the colour and
the spirals!
Snowdrops

The wild snowdrops are much more vibrant than my domesticated ones.
Spring also brings out ladies who lunch :)
I was fortunate to meet three school friends in Hamilton
for a nice long catching up lunch.
I love these ladies!!!
Next time I need to wear heels!