"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This 'n That

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time."
- John Lubbock

You may recall that we were hit with a hailstorm two weeks ago. I'm happy to report that my tomato plants have thankfully recovered (though only in part) from this assault. You can see some of the damage on the branches above - needless to say, I had to remove a lot of leaves - and flowers along with them. 

Looks like I'll be harvesting only half a dozen or so tomatoes now from this 'Big Boy' plant -- it was positively laden with flowers prior to our storm. I'm thankful to get something at least for all my efforts!

My zucchini plants are also rebounding and have sent out all new leaves and blooms...

I happened to spot this creature while watering the other day. He was quite well camouflaged against the wooden post he'd perched himself on. I think he's really beautiful, but have no idea what he is... any ideas?

I also watched this fly for a few minutes the other day. I was hiding in my vines hoping to snap a decent pic of the cutest tiny brown birds that spend a lot of time arguing amongst themselves in my strawberry plants - no luck so far, but then I noticed Mr. Fly who hadn't moved in quite some time. Notice the water droplet he's 'holding' :) Expand this pic for a closer look.

Seeing as it's (already) July 31st, I thought I'd announce this month's recipient of the 'Whoo Loves Ya Baby!' award. Congratulations to turquoisemoon from 'Daily Om'! This wonderful blog is, in her own words, the "Daily life of a dreamer, a doer, an old hippie, girlfriend, astrologer, adventurer, artist, traveler, worker, sister, mother, chocoholic, grandmother, animal lover. This is where I'll whine, laugh, complain, grow, nag, share, brag, and anything else I may come up with." When you have a chance, head on over and show her some love :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Terrariums: Tiny Worlds 2

Any clear glass container (plastic can also be used) with or without a lid can house a terrarium (it all depends on the plants you are using - ie: succulents cannot be grown in a closed environment) Bright light is best - but never direct sunlight! 

The first few terrariums I built had to be taken apart and redone with all new materials (save the decorative elements, which I scrubbed off with soap and water) because I introduced too much moisture into them right from the onset and they were quickly overrun by mold - the terrarium's mortal enemy.

After further research, I rebuilt from the base upwards using:

1. a layer of rocks for drainage, (the dollar store)
2. one inch of activated carbon (you'll find this where they sell fish & aquariums) - this helps filter decaying plant matter,
3. layer of dry sphagnum moss (stops soil from falling through to the rocks below and allows you to 'sculpt' your terrain)
4. approximately two inches of prepared all-purpose potting soil (don't use dirt from outside!)
5. plants which I'd trimmed right down, removing most of the roots and dirt surrounding them,
6. decorative elements,
7. a few ounces of water (preferably not tap water) sparingly applied and a few good mists of water.

There are many very good websites that will assist you further in all areas of terrarium building - in particular, achieving the right balance of moisture. The ultimate goal is to have to water/prune only every few weeks or months in many cases. Here's a great one-page resource I've bookmarked.

Many of the rocks I used were collected by my children more than fifteen years ago, when we lived in Peace River. As well, the merino glass piece behind the couple on the bench was a pendant that fell (& chipped) a few years ago. Terrariums provide the perfect opportunity to dust off and display those cherished items that have been languishing in a cupboard or drawer in your home.

The little people were purchased at a hobby store which caters to miniature railroad enthusiasts. Everywhere I go now, I find myself keeping an eye out for interesting objects that could possibly be used in my next terrarium. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Does this cute fluffy tail...

Make my butt look Big?

The vet says I should lose at least one pound! I'm not sure how that's gonna happen with all the treats I've negotiated over time with Mommy & Daddy... 

Let's see:

- there's a treat every time I return from doing my business outside, (sometimes I even pretend to have to go, hehe!)
- one for being good when I'm brushed or my face is washed,
- the three that are hidden (& I expect) under the pillows and blankets every night,
- one after Mommy cleans & puts drops in my ears twice a day (& I still have two weeks to go)
- and sometimes there's a treat just for being so darned cute!!

Is it any wonder I need to lose weight?
 I don't have my own talk show yet - so this blog will have to do for now. 
I sure hope you're all behind me! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Terrariums: Tiny Worlds

When I should have been outside the past few months... weeding (!) I've been inside instead - making terrariums. This is a hobby my daughter introduced me to and it has fast become my (latest :) obsession.  

Anyone who's followed this blog knows how much I adore all things teeny-tiny. I also love gardening. Terrariums are the perfect melding of these two interests - and they serve to indulge my creative side. As well, they are a beautiful addition to any home. I keep this mermaid on my dining room table.

I've made 4 terrariums so far (which I will showcase over the next few posts), with more planned - I really think I need one in every room of my home, hehe!  I've been holding off posting them for a few weeks now because I wanted to make sure they were going to survive before showing them to you.

All sides of your terrarium should be visually pleasing - I've continued this seaside theme all around with pretty shells and rocks. There are three plants and two patches of moss growing in this one. 

The first recorded terrarium was 'discovered' quite by accident in 1829. From that point forward, their popularity has ebbed and flowed - they were very big in the 60's & 70's, but again fell by the wayside for a few decades, only making a huge comeback in the past number of years. 

If you are interested, the internet has many very good websites devoted to this pastime. As well, there are several books you can buy. Over the next three postings, I will delve further into how a terrarium is constructed, where you can source out the materials needed and a few mistakes to avoid.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is This Blog-Worthy?

Haha, don't adjust your set, dear reader - you are indeed seeing double :) I ran out this afternoon and picked up a second pair of these adorable little shoes I've been wearing non-stop this summer. This isn't the first time I've bought a second set of the same pair of shoes - I do so quite regularly. Next spring who'll be laughing... !

Shortly after I'd arrived back home, my sister called me and I mentioned my errand. "Oooh," she said "Is this blog-worthy?" Hmmm... I'm not sure if she was being sarcastic or not (I have my suspicions!) - but, truth be told, I had already been thinking the same thing as I drove home. When you have a blog, you tend to see and run your entire life through the 'blog-filter'.

Well, I guess you have your answer Michelle! It is.

Do you buy things in multiples when you see a great deal or just plain love something? I am very proud of myself for not procrastinating this task and then finding out they were all sold out of green, size 7. Another thing I'm not going to put off any longer is starting my Christmas shopping - especially the stocking stuffers. I have been thinking the time to start is now - not in October and November when it's cold and the stores are busy. Many thanks to Sarah for giving me a reminder... even if it came in July :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer

Hi everyone, I've been kind of ignoring my blog in favour of soaking up the HEAT. We've been enjoying incredible weather - it's actually quite humid - a rare occurrence for here, or at least it used to be... maybe there's something to this global warming after all.

Here's one way to keep a dog amused when it's hot! (Under close supervision of course)  

Emma doesn't really ever get a piece of ice in her mouth anyways - the ones she manages to get out of the bowl are too slippery and already half their original size. 

It sure cools my beard off though :)

We had an incredible storm the other night; it was thundering and lightening for hours - and hailed at least 3x's. I kept getting out of bed and standing at the back door willing the system to "move along now" and it did eventually, but not before it wreaked havoc in my garden :(

Even after the peonies stop blooming, I continue to prize their deep rich foliage throughout the summer. Rather spoiled now.
My tomato plants are looking quite sickly - I think they're in shock - I hope they perk up...

What's left of my lettuce patch - also leaves from my poplar trees that were scattered all over the yard.

Some of my hostas were hit.

There's more damage to my hops vines (just the top layer of leaves, thankfully), zucchini, numerous shrubs and bedding out plants all have the odd hole here and there in them... you get the picture.

See the holes in my rose bush? Hail is not to blame in this instance - this is the handiwork of wasps! I planted 4 rose bushes last year and they bloomed beautifully this season. All the while, the wasps have proceeded to decimate them - and very quickly, I might add - on numerous occasions I've watched them at their work - a hole is carved out in mere seconds! This pic was taken last week - they're much worse now.

It's not all doom and gloom though! Most stuff survived and three have come into bloom since our storm. I recently planted this particular hosta and it's flowered already. 

My daisies are all a riot :) I hadn't expected them to survive, but they were all standing at attention the next morning, the little troopers! Thank goodness for trees - they provide a lot of shelter in a storm.

Have you ever looked closely at a delphinium flower? They are beautiful... so soft & furry :) 
I'm glad they made it.

We gardeners are eternal optimists... thankfully, there's always next year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How 'Bout Them Apples?

Hahaha, I love it when I can find an excuse to use and abuse Steven Tyler! He's such a good sport :)

I read a disturbing news story over the weekend. We are a youth-obsessed culture thanks to Hollyweird. Normal aging is seen as something to be manipulated and even cut away as necessary... Well, we can colour our grey hair, slather ourselves with creams and exercise till the cows come home, but we are still going to get old - and look it! 

Apparently now even our apples must look eternally young and fresh. Despite public resistance a BC apple grower is among a group seeking approval to eventually market GMO apples (they're still in the development stage) with flesh that doesn't turn brown when cut. It's unsightly! Personally, I've found lemon juice quite effective for dealing with this travesty. The thought of apples being genetically modified to prevent browning is unsettling to say the least. The fact that we will eventually see these on our shelves whether we want them or not, is infuriating. What's next... perhaps an apple you eat before bed that delays the aging process... hmmm, sounds like Snow White and that was a poison apple!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Goodbye Little Creamer ☹


This past week I was again reminded of the Buddhist teaching to see stuff as already broken. (I blogged on this mindset some time ago here when my favourite coffee mug broke.) The above set was purchased 22 years ago at a yard sale in the tiny hamlet of Berwyn, Alberta on a very hot summer's afternoon with two little children in-tow and I have treasured it dearly ever since. I'll admit I was mortified when it broke - I won't even bother going into how. I screeched, howled and stomped around the room for a minute (or two :) and then an acceptance and calm took over... c'est la vie!

The essence of this teaching is that all of life is in a constant state of change. Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. Every tree begins with a seed and will eventually transform back into the earth. Every rock is formed and every rock will vanish. In our modern world, this means that every car, every machine, every piece of clothing is created and all will wear out and crumble; it's only a matter of when. Our bodies are born and they will die. A glass is created and will eventually break.

There is peace to be found in this teaching. When you expect something to break, you're not surprised or disappointed when it does. (Can't claim I'm quite 'there' yet, lol!) Instead of becoming immobilized when something is destroyed, you feel grateful for the time you have had.

I am grateful for the time I had this creamer - it was finely-crafted, attractive and used in innumerable ways over the years; perfect for watering a plant, lovely for sauces and gravies & maple syrup :) and of course, milk or cream.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm Moving!

I thought I'd take you on a tour of my future new home, lol!!
My sister made this most adorable fairy house for my niece Brooke (she's three :)

Where there are mushrooms, there are fairies...

A fairy door... the portal to enchantment... !

Will you join us for lunch?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Belated Canada Day & A Happy 4th of July

A very happy 4th of July to all my American neighbors! I took the above pics two years ago on a luncheon cruise through the Thousand Islands in our shared waterway, the St. Lawrence.

Did you know it's also 'Country Music Day'While I am not a big fan of country music per se, I do have a few favourites within the genre. Here's one I fondly remember from the era of vinyl and dusty needles. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Berry Special Awards

It's that time again! Drum roll please...

The July 'Whoo Loves Ya Baby!' award goes to Annie from Annie's Adventure's

In her own words: "I love my family and friends. I love photography and travel. I like to scrapbook when I have the time. Exploring textures in Photoshop thanks to Kim Klassen. I love cooking and entertaining. And what is life without a book on the go?" She is definitely my kind of gal :)

I really enjoy tagging along on all of Annie's Adventures - she recently shared a wonderful series of posts from her trip to Amsterdam and her travels in and around Australia where she lives - very different in topography from the ones I shared with you from my time in Sydney. I do hope you'll all stop by her blog at some point this month.

I also want to thank Martha from Plowing Through Life for awarding me the coveted 'Totally Funkalicious Blog' award for the month of July. A true honour. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you are in for a treat! Heartfelt and yet ever the optimist, her blog is a great addition to any day.

And not to be overlooked - this 'Berry Special Award' goes out to YOU dear reader out there in blogland, I truly appreciate everyone of you and love that you take the time out of your busy schedules to stop by. You are Berry Special to me, hehe :)