Tuesday, September 30, 2008

hearts everywhere

For some mysterious reason I am seeing hearts everywhere I look.  They pop up in unexpected places, at unexpected times.  Sometimes they're made of stone, of a flake of brick, of a piece of wood, of mirror fog.  Maybe I'm interpreting what I'm seeing in my environment in a particular way.  Maybe the universe is sending me a message.  Maybe I'm imagining things and I am just a giant dorky froot-loop.

It's a bit uncanny, though, isn't it?

Monday, September 29, 2008

gifts from the garden

"A late summer garden has a tranquility found no other time of the year"
William Longgood

It seems that my very humble and modest vegetable garden just doesn't want to give up its grasp on summer, and is still gifting me with tomatoes.  I don't make a big deal out of the vegetables. I always put in the same easy growers year after year: tomatoes, squash, zucchini, sometimes peppers or eggplant, and some garlic (left over from last year).  I spend much more time fussing over the flowers,but when it comes right down to it, I am always deeply grateful for any veggies that make their appearance in spite of my failure to weed or water with any kind of regularity.

In the spring, there's such energy, you can almost hear the vegetables growing.  Right now, everything is fading, and mellowing.  There's a stillness and a grace to my unkempt little patch of soil.

A few morning glories wind around the tomato plants.  You didn't think this was an efficient, practical kind of place, did you?  It's so not.

It feels like the garden is suspended, waiting for the first frost.  I am too.  Im also waiting for my first bite of this.  

Thank you, modest little garden (full of weeds) for this last (and much appreciated) harvest.  And there I go talking to my plants again.

walking to the store to buy eggs

On Saturday my daughter and I took a walk to the small convenience store in the neighbouring village to buy eggs.  It really is a small village, and if you blink while driving by, you've missed it.  Instead of walking along the two-lane highway in front of our place, we decided to go the back way, through the fields.

I think this is a Kentucky Coffee tree, one of the trees native to the Carolinian forest which runs through our part of the world.  They're very resilient and grow quickly.  Once you've walked through our field, and the neighbour's field (yes, we're trespassing, but only for a few minutes)  
you reach a small one-lane gravel road.  It's very picturesque but you can't see it because I deleted it by mistake while editing this post.  Don't worry, we'll revisit it later.

We saw some lovely wildflowers and gorgeous fall foliage.  Before you think this is all sunshine and flowers, we also heard quite a few gunshots, I guess it's goose or deer or duck hunting time (I don't know, we don't hunt).  That always has the effect of hurrying me along on a country walk , especially when I'm not wearing bright colours.  In our hurry, we sort of fell into a ditch.  You see, the grass was really tall, and we didn't know there was a ditch under it.  It was dry though,  and the grass cushioned our fall.
We (and the eggs) made it home in one piece.

Friday, September 26, 2008

win a prize (every time)

It's time for the fall fair!  Oh, I know the weather's not that great, but you wouldn't want to miss it, it's the international year of the potato, for crying out loud!  

After you've gone on the rides, two, three times (but not the Spin Out, that one's too scary), won some garish and squashed-looking prizes in skill-testing games ,admired the prize-winning baked goods, and produce and art-work and hay bales (where you pretend to be a hay expert and cast your all-knowing, critical eye on the offerings)....

....I'll let you get some taffy...look at all the flavours!  Peppermint's my favourite.  Also butterscotch,  chocolate, blue strawberry and vanilla.  And banana.  Good times.


"Paul is sending us some stone lions from China" my husband said to me one day.  

"Um, what kind of stone lions?" I asked, "and why is he sending them to us?"  

"I'm not sure, but his neighbour gave them to Paul, and he can't keep them"

"why not?"

"I think they're too big"

"Oh, that's very ....generous.... of him".

Paul , a friend of my husband, lives in Shanghai.   My husband  often spends time with him on visits to China for business.   

This matter of the 'stone lions' was causing me a little worry, though.  You see, whenever my husband travels, he often brings me gifts.  'How wonderful' you're thinking, 'how sweet of him'
.....yes, it's very sweet and he has given me some really pretty and thoughtful gifts over the years.  The latest gift he had brought me from China, though,  caused me some bewilderment.  I think I'd better show you:

It actually doesn't look too bad on the photo, but it's quite something in real life.  This particular colour of red is so bold and tomatoey it practically punches you in the nose.  GOLD plays a large part in the embroidery.  It isn't silk, unless it's a new kind featuring poly and ester.  
And did you notice the slit on the side, it's about 5 miles long.  Right now you're probably thinking I'm ungrateful (and maybe I am) but images of giant cement lions painted in garish greens and golds were swimming before my eyes, and where, where, where could I put them, after all, Paul was due for a visit that very summer, and he would expect to see them front and centre.

Two very large crates soon arrived , and I looked on worriedly as my husband pried one open. This (long-winded) tale ends happily, since the stone lions turned out to be granite, hand-carved Foo dogs, which now reside happily on either side of my front porch (which desperately needs sweeping).  

Also on the plus side, we were able to figure out how ancient egyptians transported thousand-pound stones used to build the pyramids (they rolled them on logs or pipe-like structures).  For more info on Foo dogs (or lions) go here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

now featuring larger photos

I figured out how to post larger photos on blogger, and stretched out the whole template. It looks sort of huge. I tried to re-size the header photo (to a longer, thinner one) but I don't think it can be done without distorting. I am not a technically savvy person, and so right now I have the same feeling that I get when I spend the afernoon at the dentist's, getting my cavities filled. Phew, thank goodness THAT's over.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

this is only a test

I am trying to get larger images to appear on this blog, so this is not an actual post or anything, just a picture of a daylily.  Hope this works. Oh, o.k., looks like I need to do a little more research. Stay posted.

You too can look like Cleopatra

One day, 'Charlie' the bee man knocked on our door and asked if it would be o.k. with us if he kept bees on our property.  In exchange for this, we would get some honey.  

"How much honey?' we asked

"Well, the going rate's fifteen pounds".

Hmmmmm....fifteen pounds of honey (per annum) for doing nothing.  It took us about fifteen seconds to agree to this "sweet deal", and we have been enjoying pure, delicious honey ever since.  It gets delivered to us just before Christmas in a big container, and even though I jar it up for friends and family, we always have too much.  This year I realized that I still have honey left over from three years ago.  The stuff had gotten all thick and caramelized, and though it was still probably fine to eat, I thought I would make like Cleopatra, and use it on my face.

Everyone knows that Cleopatra was famous for her marvellous complexion, and bathed daily with milk and honey.   Anyway, my honey 'scrub' worked wonderfully well and smelled heavenly too.  It turns out honey is full of minerals and vitamins which nourish skin , it is a natural anti-inflammatory and can promote the healing of cuts.   And you can also eat it on toast.

This delicious and magical (yes, magical, it's made by bees after all) substance can also make us look like a Queen of the Nile.

If you haven't done so before, go and  give yourself a honey facial.  Your skin will feel baby soft, and you might even end up looking like Cleo herself.

That's her image on the coin on the right (the Dude on the left is Antony)  Isn't she.....lovely?

Monday, September 22, 2008

blogging about frogs

I'm sorry to disappoint everyone, but there will be NO frog picture posted.  I tried, I failed, I gave up.  Please accept, instead, the following photos:

A lovely fall vegetable and flower garden (not mine)

And a cat perched on top of a hay bale (also not mine).  

And I would have tried to get a lot closer to both, but there was the little matter of trespassing.  Thanks for your co-operation, and for some clarification of this mildly loopy business, please see the previous post.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

post-weekend post

Let me start things off by posting a picture of a very interesting fungus I found in the bush beside my house.  Here it is:

The thing is, I was actually on the lookout for a frog to photograph.  This summer was so damp that there was a virtual boon of frogs.  A bonanza of frogs.  A plenitude of....you get the picture. Anyway, there I was, sitting on the back porch with my feet up (only for a moment, you understand, really, I rarely get to sit down) and a glass of , um, apple juice ....

......trying to think of a way of making this post more interesting.  Oh, and the mary-jane shoes with the white socks?  I know.  Who would wear that.  Here's the thing:  it doesn't matter what get-up you wear out here.  Pretty much anything goes, and frankly, my toes were chilly.  So there. 

 I had some photos of a vintage candle-holder and a matching frog vase filled with mums (mums that I grew myself , no less).

And while pretty enough in a bland sort of way,  the photos lacked a certain zest.  

I thought if I might find a real live frog and perhaps set it down beside the frog vase, I might succeed in creating an unusual and interesting juxtaposition ( and also grossing out a whole bunch of people, since that is my kitchen table)....hey, it's tough being inventive and creative out here in the blogosphere O.K?

 My search for Mr.  Froggy, alas, was less than fruitful and the only remotely interesting thing I found was the aforementioned fungus.  You will be comforted to know that I will resume my search today, and we may  get our frog yet.  You're so excited you can't stand it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

soak it in

Enjoy the beautiful fall weather this weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I recently joined my son's grade 5/6 class for a field trip to Agstravaganza.  This is an event run by local volunteers (farmers, veterinarians, etc...) and is intended to educate children about farming and agriculture.  Before your eyes glaze over, you need to know that this event is actually BIG FUN.  Free chocolate milk!  cool machinery!  loads of animals to pet!

Milk a cow!

Bottle-feed a brown-eyed calf!

See the piglets, for crying out loud!   (man can they squeal!)

See random examples of loveliness!

See the cattle, horses, and sheep.  Laugh at the goats' antics:

Then, after all of this excitement, and after watching a bale of hay being shot into the air thirty feet by a baler,  we headed to the poultry building.  And EACH of the twenty nine children got to hold a baby chick.  That's right, you heard me, BABY CHICKS.

Extensive negotiations ensued:  "can I keep it?"... "my parents won't mind"...."I'll just put it in my knapsack" ........ (and that was just me, you should have heard the kids carrying on).  Everyone reluctantly handed back their chicks, and took one last longing look.  

They were only 65 cents each (oh the temptation)

It is safe to say that a grand time was had by all.  Really, it doesn't get much better than this (don't you think?).