Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Most of the Yellow Ones

Such a short summer season here in Alberta but we stuff it as full as possible with things that bloom.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spicy Kale Soup

Kale Soup

This makes a large batch of soup. Somewhat like borscht, difficult to make a small pot of.

5 mild Italian sausage

5 spicy Italian sausage...chop into little pieces and brown in

3 T olive oil...when browned add

One chopped onion

3 chopped carrots...fry, stirring, until onion is clear

Grate 4-5 garlic cloves, add to pot and stir for a few seconds.


1 carton chicken broth

Fill carton half full with water, swish it around and add.

Peel and dice 5 potatoes and add.

Add one can sliced mushrooms.

One bag frozen chopped kale. Or

Some salt and pepper. Might need more water.


To this I added about 3 cups leftover mashed potato that I had in the fridge.

Simmer in crockpot or low on stove for  two to three hours.

Serve with milk or sour cream.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Even Late in the Season

 We stopped at Canadian Tire today. It's good to see them caring for their plants this late in the season. The ones in the wind were a bit beaten but evert hung has been watered and looks wonderful...except for the succulents inside the store. They need more light and are doing poorly.

Monday, May 22, 2017

More Country Blossoms

Back out to Shelley's near Tawatinaw along with both DIL'S to pick up a few things. Her plants are lovely and so well cared for.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cleaning Stainless Steel

Pintrest came through very well.
This is what I did...
To make stainless steel gleam...
Wash off ufo spots with soapy water.
Pour some white vinegar onto a paper towel and wipe garbage can down.
Put baby oil on a rag or a kleenex tissue. Rub over the metal. Polish up with soft dry cloth

I was amazed at how long it stayed looking good.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Peavy Mart

Oh what a treat to walk into a cool moist greenhouse at sunset to the sound of radio music quietly playing in the background, a fountain trickling water, and that wonderful aroma that only evening scented stocks can produce at sundown. Mmmm! Didn't buy anything  as they were quite out of begonias but what a wonderful feeling place today.

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's That Time of Year Again

The houseplants are a little like a house cat these days. Out. In. Out.
But whatever it takes to keep them from frost and wind damage.

I try to keep the pots small and not transplant into the heavy barrels so I  don't kill my back. And group the little pots together in easy to move boxes and pails

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shelley's Begonias

So we went to the opening of Country Blossom's Greenhouse Saturday morning. There were too many people about and I  got too shy to take pictures. So this is the one I brought home.  There were none of the beautiful Illumination begonias, the orange ones that I like to grow.  As a small producer she doesn't have priority at the supplier, and that particular brand is falling out of favor. I feel badly on both counts.  Illumination is a fantastic hanging begonia. And Shelley's greenhouse is not big. She does much of the work herself.  But it is meticulously cared for and every plant is in prime shape.
People have told me that her tomatoes are much cheaper than elsewhere. And her pansy collection is pretty nice too.
She also tells me she has the starry skies petunia but I  had missed it and was too overwhelmed to go back and search it out. So I probably missed a lit of good stuff.
I am hoping to go back when it's not crowded with opening day crowds with enough time to savor the sights of every aisle.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hardening Off

I like to put my plants out in a sheltered situation to harden off. Here they get some wind, sun from the top and if frost threatens it's much easier to whisk them into the ship or house overnight. Then there is no set back when they get put into the flower bed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

YIG here

So Independent Grocers has begun to bring in their plants. And pots and garden accessories.  Mmhmm!
And they are finally figuring out how to hire efficient friendly staff that acually cares if you find the plant you need. Such a pleasure to deal with friendly staff. Maybe it's the bright green tshirts 😀

Canadian Tire Plants

I am always amazed at the quality and amount  plants at Canadian Tire.  And this year they have outdone themselves. I didn't even get to walk through the park of trees they set up. But they will be there a while. I will be back.

The Water Feature

So the water fountain is in a different corner this year. But I  can still see it from the kitchen and DH complains (just a little) that he can hear it tinkling all night long through our open window. But it's the sound of summer. My own personal lakefront property.

St Albert Home Depot--the Plants Are InT

A parking lot full of newly delivered plants. So exciting.

There is a new type of petunia out. It is called starry skies.  When my friend told me about the polka dot petunia and said it was "Pretty neat" I thought "Meh. How cute could polka dots be on a flower. Polka dots belong on spring dresses." But I was quite wrong. They look like a painting of night skies. Expensive? Yes. But I  could see there was tremendous potential for growth with many branches much like a young Wave petunia. So we will see.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

SouthSide Greenhouse in Barrhead

Southside has an annoying habit of hiding the bulk of its plants out at their farm until the season has fully started.  This annoys me because I don't get into Barrhead all that often and I am afraid I am going to miss out on my popcorn geraniums.
However this is made up by the super friendliness of the owner and his staff.  Maybe its just the beginning of the season, but the smiles are big and genuine.
I am told they are developing an orange popcorn geranium.  But they won't have enough to sell until next year.  So excited!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Barrhead...Ace Greenhouse

Glamery Greenhouse

So the greenhouse season has officially kicked off with the opening of Glamery just west of town.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many things are blooming. It was not a plant friendly spring but under the big hoops it is delightfully summer.

Many kinds of new petunias. One purple and white is Moonlight Bay. Very pretty.

No water plants this year.
A few succulents.  Regular geraniums. Martha Washington geraniums.  Begonia. Million bells. Alysum.  Fushia (not blooming yet) Pansies. Perennials.

I love the look of orange and lime green together.

Oh. One very critical item. A public washroom. Thank you Glamery. Now we can relax to see the flowers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

cutting Tiny Tomatoes

I enjoy cutting up veggies but sometimes one has to speed things up a bit.

Whip the cover off the margarine. Slice right along the bottom of said cover with a serrated knife.

voila! Sliced tomatoes. I think this will work for grapes too.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Little Green Onions

That onion that went all sprouty before I got to use it.  Now I have fresh green onion to snip. Just make sure you don't submerge the bulb or the water will become nasty. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I Love Cement

Year before last I tried hypertufa and I was sorely disappointed when my creations crumbled away. So this year I bought the real stuff. A bag of post haste and one of mortar. Oh! Concrete heaven.
I can't help it. We have done a bit of concrete work about the place. We have round concrete steps at our back door. Our son was itching to try it... on someone else's concrete budget. It was worth the anxiety all the night before as I worried what would happen if the layered thin plywood forms burst through. They didn't.  
We have worked as volunteers on many a cement pour and I marvel at the way something like porridge can turn into something so durable.
But one can also make beautiful things with it. So. Here are some things.
This is the link to the excellent site that taught me this  


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Setting a Lunch Table

So this is an idea of the order of things the way we set them out.  I made this map because I just know I will lose my notebook.  I know what trays and utensils I have available.  And for the latest funeral lunch I requested four tables in a row instead of just 3 and it made such a difference.  The table was arranged so a line could go down either side and make it go quickly. I like a fast food line.  There was more room between the serving dishes and that seemed to make a big difference.
We also found that less choices can be better.  We did three kinds of meat.  One kind of cheese and one type of pickles which really simplify things.
One day I will add some links to the excellent pages that helped us arrange things.  In the mean time if you have to arrange something like this...make a plan. Make a map.  Makes things go smoothly.

Drunk Bees

David phoned about the issue down at his compost pile. He said there were bees there so he thought he would donate them the remains of a honey pail as a little gift to their industriousness. 
To his surprise they totally ignored him. Most springs they are thrilled with it but today nary a one would even look at it.
He took a closer look at the situation.  He said they were drunk on rotten banana peels. 
He says they were flying in circles and doing loop-the-loops,  landing in the sawdust areas to roll down the slope or riotously kicking holes into the sawdust. He was sure they were giggling foolishly in tinny inebriated little voices. 
Appalled by the scandalous behaviour, he tells me they were the  sensible working class worker acting like teenagers on their first drinking party.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Mother's Hands

Life is a funny thing. I've been reminiscing about people. Could have something to do that my father in law just passed away, days short of turning 97. Not many left of the generation born in the '20s.
Time marches along. I look in the mirror and the time line lurches abruptly ahead. I see my mother. I don't feel like my mother. But my hands feel like her hands.
I remember talking to her when I was pregnant with my first child. I knew I could love the baby to the moon and back but how would I have all the answers. My mother did. Or at least it seemed like it. She could flip the blankets, twice, and the bed was ready to tuck in the pillows and call it made. She could sew, and knit, and bake, and preserve and garden. She dry walled their house. She built furniture. Refinished stuff. Raised chickens. Made roses of craft paper. Fixed scratches. Recycled stuff. Took things apart. Put things back together.  Sewed clothes.  Her hands knew what to do. Like they had a mind of their own.
I told her I was afraid I wouldn't have all the answers. And she said it was ok. A tiny baby didn't have a lot of hard questions. I would figure it out as I went along.
And she was right and she was wrong. Some things I did learn as they happened. Somethings I had to figure out and research. And somethings I fell flat on my face trying.
Today I was cutting parchment to line baking pans and pulled out the right amount without even thinking. My hands knew. And I remembered my mother again.
What will my children remember about me when I am gone.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Fever

Spring is coming.  I'm sure it is.  The crows are back in town.  I saw a goose flying. The chickadees are singing their spring song.
And the planning of gardens has begun.  I have been stretching the borders of Pintrest to the limit.  Last year I tried hypertufa.  Fail.  It disintegrated.
So this year I bought cement I love working with it.  My heart beats faster when I hear the distinctive sound of a cement truck revving its motor.
So after my son made cement counter tops for their kitchen I decided I would play with the real stuff.
First bag I bought was PostHaste from Home Depot.  A little coarse,  but very real. I made the bumpy jar and the doily pot and the ice cream container with it.  There is a problem with cement bags.  They don't hold a lot.

Next bag was mortar.  I made the cement hands (stuffing cement into plastic gloves is not as easy as Pintrest nonchalantly insinuates it is).  I lost a little finger.  Not mine;  a cement one.  Then I made the basket thing the hands are on.  Lost the basket in the unmolding.  Oh well.
But I didn't like the round edges on the cement hands where the wrists should be.  So I but a few inches of cuff and sleeve off an old cotton sweater, stuffed the middle part, soaked it in cement and dressed up the hands.  The broken finger got cemented underneath  and the whole thing is aging in the garage.  I will post more pictures when I get things planted up.
I do love cement pots.  They are heavy but they don't blow around the yard much on a breezy day.
There are some terrific tutorials out there.  Little video clips that make me hyperventilate in delight. I research and research and pin and screen shot until my device batteries croak.  A word about these projects...everything I tried so far worked but there are some issues; a chip out of the bottom of the smooth round pot.  And the doily just isn't sitting flat.  It's tippy.  I think I will make up a little saucer of cement and set it in for a base.
So one has to think ahead a little bit.  Something I'm not terribly gifted at doing.  But I'll make it work.
Happy as a pig in mud...or Gramma D in the cement.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Almost Drop-Free Pen

For little people old enough to use an ink pen. The ribbon can be looped through the coils of a notebook or a buttonhole to keep it from falling into an inaccessible part between the seats of the vehicle or two aisles over in the auditorium. 
Or for someone doing merchandising where the pen is constantly getting lost. For an adult who doesn't care for polka dot ribbon...use the black cord that hold eyeglasses.

Those Tricky Fitted Sheets

Fitted sheets are the nemesis of the tidy linen closet. They bunch and lump and use way more than the share of space. So one day when Mikkayla,  our friend who worked in hotel laundry,  was over for supper I  asked her to show me how to fold a fitted sheet. And she could do it quickly and beautifully. 
And then my DIL drew up a series of pictures to show how to. 
Lovely.  Thank you Mikki and Sabrina.

As soon as I can I am going to make this picture more clear.  Just waiting on technology to get it from my phone to my computer.

Friday, March 3, 2017

China Memories

I love walking through the dishware at secondhand stores. Memories jump out at me and say "Remember me?  I used to live in ___'s china cabinet and you were just little and you used to look at me through the glass door. " And, yes, I  remember. Old farm houses. Good friends.  Favorite Aunties. 
And then suddenly today my memory time line sped years forward. Memories of someone I love dearly and is no longer in my life. Funny how a set of dishes in Value Village can make one cry.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Real Books

I do love technology.  Photoshop is a close friend.  I carry my ipad with me everywhere I go, and my phone is never far.  I have downloaded books that I have never seen in our library and read them on a black screen with white letters.  But books are my first love.
There is nothing like holding a real book with rustling paper pages, scanning the story line by line, and then turning the page in breath holding anticipation of what happened next. 
Reading is a physical thing as well as mental.  It’s the crispness of the paper, the flow of words that conjure up picture after picture in the mind, and the smooth heavy richness of a leather cover warm on my knees or the rough texture of a linen finish on the covers.
Actually it goes back to standing in front of the book case and scanning the titles.  Tipping one or two partly out, teasing myself with the story I know is there, ready to take me instantly from my easy chair to anyplace in the world, or the universe.  In a book anything is possible.
 Then there is the preparation to read. The cup of tea or coffee.  The treat to snack on.  The fire burning brightly in the fireplace, and a little blanket to cover the knees. 
Then, a sip of beverage, running the hand over the book, and opening the cover. Blank page. Turn. Title page.  Maybe an illustration.  A table of contents.
 And then...chapter one. A skillful author can have you immersed and gone in the first half page.  A story has begun and trees and gardens and people and mountains rise around the chair, until some mundane  responsibility pulls us back to reality.
 Ahh, the acquaintance of the book.       
 An experience the double tap can never give you. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017


I truly wish I had the answers.  I like to fix things. But some things...many things...Probably most things are beyond the scope of what needle thread and crazy glue can mend.
I wish there was a recipe for happy that would work as well as a cup of strong tea for a headache or a bowl of chicken soup for a cold. Haven't found one yet.
It seems that we probably can't change some of the things that cause depression and unhappiness.  What we have to do is adjust how we react to the situation so we can keep our head out of water.
I've been told about rip tides. Fortunate enough not to have experienced but I've been told that they drag one out into the ocean without mercy and there is no swimming against that current. But if you swim parallel to shore eventually you can get beyond it'd influence and get back to shore.
Unhappiness is going to drag you down and out too. All I can think of to say is don't panic as you see the shoreline receding. Do what you have to do,  whether it is counseling,  prayer,  medication, vitamin d, and/or therapy and swim parallel to shore.  Don't panic.  You can do it.
Conversely something that I have experienced are hot flashes in the night. Likewise without mercy they leave one uncomfortable sometimes to the point of nausea. Occasionally one can quell it by sticking ones feet out from the covers. Sometimes by getting up for a drink of water and waiting it out,  bare feet on a cold tile floor,  staring out the window at a dimly lit backyard and wishing it was gone. And then as suddenly as it came it is gone and the prospect of warm blankets is a welcome thought. And sleep comes again. Things pass.
And that is my advice to someone I love who deals with spells of Unhappiness. I wish I  had the fix it app to make it better. But I give you the suggestion that works for me and my wish is that it might help you too. When you have done what you know you can then ride it out. Swim hard but with purpose. There is no instant fix. I have no idea what medication or therapy will help. Some things you must work out for your personal circumstance. But once you have done this  you must know it will pass. The sun shines on the other side of the clouds and when they part it will shine on you too. Honest.
And my advice is not gospel. Maybe it's ridiculous.  But that's what works for me and I hope it works for you too. Because I truly care.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Bun Box

I found a large size crate at Home Depot to use for serving buns at a potluck.  I found a couple of free clip art wheat to use and played around with text in Photoshop to fit the word to the page. 

I turned the paper over and pencil carboned the back of the design, and then taped the paper to the end of the box.  A ball point pen traced the edges of the design into the soft wood.

I used the dremel tool  to etch out the design..

Stained with tea

Finally...a use for the old tablecloths that I can't bear to part with.