This past weekend could have turned out differently……

Spring….is such a delightful word that can contain many different meanings. The time of year is my favorite definition for the word, Spring. Especially coming out of a long and cold winter full of shoveling daily to keep up with all of the white stuff.

But, spring also can mean a spring in your step. For me meaning I’m almost skipping outside to visit my yet to be planted garden for this season. Even, my pup appears to have a spring in each of her tired, old four paws. You see she is aging and it is beginning to show in her movements ~ Almost, mirroring my own hobbles around on those certain rainy cold days of spring.

How about that trusty mattress that you bought years ago, and loved every night breaking it in just to your liking. But, as with breaking in a nice new pair of shoes or pair of jeans, just about the time they are broken in to your will, they will begin to fray or become airy as is my old tennis shoes .. Who have by the way never seen a tennis court, since I’ve bought them just for the comfort…Remember that mattress well springs tend to creak and crackle with age same as my pup and I …

This early spring has been unlike most of the 34 other springs I’ve experienced since immigrating up to Canada from Florida. It’s been really early.. by a month or more!

Mother Nature also must have a spring in her step as well with all the the flooding happening in the United States and in Canada. The rains came and someone forgot to turn off the taps. I wonder what type of water bill good old mother nature will owe?

Please enjoy the short video of Mother Nature showing us here who is boss…

Excuse the shaky parts in the beginning of the video, the winds were thrashing so fierce they were throwing stuff at my face.. oops…But, the rest is pretty smooth…

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Good Golly Miss Molly

Sometimes, mother nature will throw you a curve ball.. Even if it’s not spring training yet…My pup knew early this morning that something was up and she didn’t like it one little bit. The wind began to howl and she began to slowly pant. The thunder roared across the sky as if a freight train was going over the house… My pup began to pant heavily and shake. I rose from my bed to see what was the matter, and didn’t find St. Nick atop the roof, but what I did find was something resembling popcorn bouncing off the rooftop.

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The New Reader Page & A Polar Vortex

Is it just me or do you also find the New Reader Page hard to see? Now I know I have old eyes that are in dire need of a new pair of glasses, but really! Does our post need to be chopped up and put into a tiny banner like that? Just saying, I’m not a happy camper about these new changes that WordPress released recently…

Alright I’ve vented about that… We’re underneath a Polar Vortex right now and our temperatures are in the – 30’s Celsius heading to – 40 and colder. It is so cold right now you can throw a cup of hot coffee outside and it freezes before it nears the ground. Needless, to say I am not going outside, and stand guard watching for my pup when she’s out there in case I need to run and pick her up. It’s so cold she at times can’t walk to make it back inside.. I have my coat and winter boots on before I let her outside. Just in case!

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Polar Vortex

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The Slug ~ Friend or Foe?

This summer has seen very little rain for our gardens, we’ve drained out every drop in our rain barrels, until just recently when the skies began to open up and shower upon us the rain we’ve needed since May.

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The slug problems for me were non-existent during this time, until just recently where the garden beds are damp from night-time showers. Luckily, my permaculture beds are draining the rain off as fast as it pours down and believe me this is a good thing.

But, and yes with me there are many of these…Slugs still march on in whether it be an army or just a few scattered here and there. One morning, while sipping my coffee I looked over at the sunflowers with 9 flower blooms on the two plants growing in harmony together ~ What did my eyes go and see?

The biggest Brown Slug I’ve ever seen and during the daylight hours too. This Friend or Foe slithered up the sunflower stalk and made its self comfortable on the pretty yellow petals of the flower. I raised my camera, closed one eye and clicked the shutter button.. I really didn’t want to get a good look at it. But, just for you I lightened up the picture in photo shop, since it turned out so dark ~ happens when you don’t wanna look at what you’re taking a picture of..

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I’m certain you’re happy this picture turned out horrible with its blurry pixels ~ I know I was…But since the slug in my garden and I have to co-exist during gardening season I thought I would find something, anything, whats so ever about these Gastropod Mollusc (Slugs or snails) that I could live with on a rainy day. I won’t ever use poison to rid these creatures in my garden because what’s the use of growing your own food if you’re going to also poison yourself in the process…

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So, after looking on the inter-webs for information that I really found hard to read, since these beasties really do creep me out. I decided to google funny images for a change of pace to lighten up my thought processes…

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After looking at these two funny pictures I could feel my mood changing away from complete frustration over these pests in my garden eating the pretty yellow petals of my sunflowers I began to actually absorb the information about this topic. I already knew from experience the slugs find hostas plants as delightful as I find a nice lobster on my dinner plate, dipped in warm creamy butter.

So, why are they here I pondered…I know every single thing on this planet has a reason for being here, whether it’s for their beauty or because they are food for another predator. Did you know chickens adore these slimy critters, as do birds, toads, frogs, snakes, raccoons, etc the list was almost endless….

I wondered if I made a visit to City Hall and tried to convince them to allow me to raise just a couple of nice looking chickens within these city limits because I needed a way to rid the slugs devouring my lettuce leaves…. Would they accommodate my needs?

So, after giggling over that thought I remembered hearing something about Diatomaceous Earth to help with the critter problems in the garden.

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Or, I could…

 go and buy some beer at the beer store and try to drown them while they are feeling woozy and perhaps flirtatious with each other or servicing themselves… Did you know they are both male and female all wrapped into one slimy package? hum… too much information….

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http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html

The link above will tell you all about Diatomaceous Earth

Perhaps, the hated slug will never become my friend and the same goes for it being a foe. These slimy creatures do play an important part and benefit us ecologically.

http://budgeting.thenest.com/ecological-benefits-slugs-31334.html

So, I’ll continue to keep all of my hostas plants far from the garden beds, hoping these creatures dine there instead, and if they do find my lettuce leaves heavenly ~ Well who am I to dictate where they will eat out….

But, for now the Diatomaceous Earth is going around my Sunflower Plants, as these are a private section for the owner of this little piece of earth for the time being that is.. we can merely just tend to the earth and then return it when we’re gone… Life is way too short for all of this frustration over slugs in my garden beds. Because I dined on home grown Beets, and Carrots this evening and not a single slug was invited…

One last thought on this slimy matter. Early on in the springtime the caravan of caterpillars marched right on in to the yard with all of their markings so pretty in the daylight. Oh there will be a butterfly and perhaps that one is going to be a Monarch, Arctic Skipper, or a Zebra Swallowtail.. Come on in and dine on all of the newly sprouted leaves on my bushes my endless legged friend, because one day very soon you’re going to magically turn into something of beauty. Here, you bright green crawling thing, take this plate of honeysuckle leaves and have some maple leaves too…

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~Arctic Skipper~

When pondering the differences between how I felt about the slimy slugs, and the caterpillars I noticed something. In the Spring, granted we in the north are so happy to be out from underneath the many feet  (meters) of snow that we’re happy and almost delighted to watch the brightly colored caterpillars slowly, but with purpose crawl into our yards and gardens.

After a rain when the same occurrence happens and the slugs slide on in during the darkness of nightfall, we are ready to head outside after midnight with a mallet in one hand and a torch in the other to bang away at the shiny bits crawling around our plants. Granted these creatures are something that this old saying applies, “Only a mother could love.”

But, the animals that feast on these slugs and snails consider them to be a bounty for their palates. I can remember thinking not too long ago I wish I had snail problems instead of the shell less slug. At least I could admire the different markings on the shells of a snail, instead of being grossed out by the slugs. Hum…

Just because beauty is not the first thing you think about when looking at slugs in your garden I think if you really with both eyes looked at all of the different markings and colors on the many species you’d be almost amazed. Remember, just a few grains of salt can turn this ravenous jelly like creature into a pool of slime. We are the Ghost-busters of the slug world when we put on our holsters locked and loaded with SALT.

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Until next time

~Laura~

 

A little stroll by the Lake ~ Part Four

The cruise ship was in my sights as I walked away from a father and his daughter who I knew for certain would have a nice time playing over on the brightly colored equipment just for children and grown ups alike with a child like heart.

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This area is the center line between shallow and deep water of the lake. I love how these rocks are piled high above the waterline. just waiting for someone to canoe over and sit a spell, but it won’t be me in one of those canoes anytime soon…

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I could hear music playing where the ship was docked, and wondered if the men and woman working on the cruise ship were cleaning up the decks to their favorite tunes…

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I found my right foot tapping to the tunes that were drifting toward me as I drew closer to the ship. I stood by this sign just looking around and enjoying the music supplied from inside the cabin doors.

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I had to walk way back from the sign to get a picture of the ship, but still missed the right front corner.. Oh well, by now my knees were screaming at me without a care in the world about just how far I was from my car.

I started back to where I began on this gray morning and noticed the father and daughter were parked by the playground and I just knew the little girl was going to have fun and hopefully forget all about her daddy yelling at her moments before.

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These little beauties were growing very close to the shoreline among the rocks.

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If it wasn’t about to rain any second now I could have sat on the edge of the pier and watched the reeds dancing in the wind that was beginning to pick up speed. You can smell the rain in the air as it approaches with its sweetness.

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With each pause walking back to the car my heart danced through the aching joints and enjoyed the beauty that was on display this August day in the year of 2016…

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I sat on a bench and looked though the camera lens at the bits of blue and purples along with a variegated hostas

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This path made of stone was calling out my name to choose this direction instead of the same way I arrived…

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For this single bloom alone I was glad I was listening to the stone paths wisdom, so I could delight in the beauty of this flower.

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Excitement abounds with thoughts about this tree surrounded by these hand picked plants from the caregivers of these gardens. If trees and plants could speak, what would they say on a day like today?  This congregation would have plenty to voice I’m certain….

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I wished there were labels to tell me the name of this beautiful plant. It reminds me of deep sea diving in Florida and the beauty that lies beneath the sea…

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I needed to pick up the pace as the sprinkles began to appear on my glasses….

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Looking forward before heading back to where I started on this morning I smiled at these grouping of beautiful trees swaying so delicately in the breeze off the lake.

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I sat down just underneath the cover of some trees and snapped this picture as the darkness covered the skies, briefly as the lamp came on.

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I knew I had a few more minutes to get the final pictures as the skies parted and a little more light was available to me…

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August 16th 2016 - New Hotel Construction

I’m excited and worried about this structure going up, excited about the new restaurant, but it’s right across the street from the lake and the garden I’ve just shown to you all here on Word Press… what would you think about a 6 story building in this location, just wondering here what thought you all might have about that.. Please leave a comment in the box if you have any views on this.. Thanking you kindly for following along with my little stroll along the boardwalk and down to the pier… hugs

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Until next time

~Laura~

A little stroll by the Lake ~ Part Three

I rose from the edge of the pier, after sitting there for at least 3o minutes remembering moments that I’ll always treasure. But, it was time to move forward or perhaps look just across the pier again…

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Too bad it was so early in the morning and the dock shoppe would be closed. I found myself after cruising my memories so to speak in need of a scoop of ice cream in a cone. But, it was definitely much too early for that, since I’d only had a few sips of my coffee this early morning at home.

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I continued walking the pier looking at all of the summertime water crafts tied at the floating docks which the marina removes for the wintertime just before the lake freezes over and the winter vehicles zoom across the frozen lake. Upon looking at the brightly colored awnings of the boats in front of me I noticed a seagull resting atop one of them.

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After zooming in with my camera I could see clearer that most of the boats were all dressed in brand new awning covers. There was very little breeze out on the pier this morning so I was missing out on the delightful sounds the water makes when the wind transforms water into clapping waves hitting the floating docks, bobbing them up and down a little bit.

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Continuing on I looked up and could see yet another seagull resting atop this light along the pier. So, I gave this feathered friend a wide birth and walked around the light just in case nature called upon this bird and I happened to be right smack dab underneath him or her at the perfect time. I had to giggle while crossing back over to the other side of the pier, because this king or queen seagull sitting above me ruled my actions this morning. Hail, to the ruler of this section of the pier, since I forgot my hat at home.

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I just had to smile broadly, once again after looking at the edge of the pier. This really needed me to take a picture. Here’s a weed growing out of the cement which is above the water. For years I’ve battled with trying to get my front yard to grow grass. The city usually needs to come and dig up part of the yard every other year to install new this and that, or repair an old this or that. They are kind enough to replace the dug up area with new sod, but since I’ve no hose hook up on the outside of my building I can’t really water the front lawn regularly.

This is the stupid thing about being in a townhouse…I’m in the middle, a home to the left of me attached and to the right of me. There was a little room I think where the builder could have put a water hose outlet. But, noooooo…..The only water outlet for the front yard is inside of my garage, which I’d have to pull out my car, crawl underneath attached wooden shelves and while bent over in half try to attach the hose. Well, ten years ago I did this without much difficultly, but not now with my knees. I tend to not do things that will set any pain in motion as far as they go… I just thought this little weed was funny and had to share with you…

Continuing on…

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This little vehicle with two beautiful young ladies inside was paused on the pier while I was taking a silly picture of the weed growing out of the cement. It’s electric so I never heard it was there waiting on me to focus the camera. Boy, I wonder what they thought of me, while waiting…?

I can just hear it now, “Why is that old woman taking a picture of a weed?”

One of them might question to the other, “Perhaps, it’s the water she’s taking a picture of…” The other young lady might have replied…

“Either way that’s weird…” One might say just as I finished taking the picture and walked over to these young ladies to applaud the fine work they also do at the lake area.

They had been collecting trash from the bins all up and down this area. I often see school age children working and riding on these neat little vehicles and always wanted to drive one of them around, but since these sort of summer jobs are directed for the youth as summer jobs my window of opportunity had long since abandoned me.

They were so polite, smiling over at me when I walked over to them thanking them for the short wait I put them through, and I said….

” It must be so much fun driving one of these…”

The ladies grinned from ear to ear and both in harmony said, “It sure is!” Smiling from ear to ear, both of them….

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I stopped at a marina building that probably houses supplies of some sort or the other, and thought it might be an interesting picture with the wood just below the foundation of the building. When I noticed something in the water. Looking like a pallet or part of the wooden structure of the building. I zoomed in a little way down the pier, since this one was closer to the edge of the walkway.

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With the sun trying to peek between the clouds I noticed it was not a pallet after all, but someone instead of moving this wood just place big heavy rocks on top of it. You can see how shallow the water is here and I’m really close now to where the cruise ship is docked.. There’s a drop off to happen soon, or else the cruise ship would be a ground.

But, before I continued walking I thought about the 5 or 6 people I passed while walking on the pier, wondering if any one of them noticed the weed growing out of the cement, the ducks, the wooden structure, or the father who had his daughter in the car parked on the pier, while he threw out a fishing line. This set up sounds nice right? But, it was far from it…

This father was berating the child for wanting to come to the pier to go fishing with her daddy, while the real reasons for wanting to come out here was to play in the brightly colored playground. This man was going on and on, repeating him self over and over when I just had to walk over there and cause a tiny ripple effect on both of their day… Hopefully….

“Hey, catch anything good?”

I asked the father who abruptly stopped yelling at his beautiful daughter, who peeked her head out of the window to see who was talking to her daddy…

“No, not yet…” He replied…

And, then the magical moment happened, thank heavens…

This fathers facial expression changed and the coloring on his skin began to go back to its normal coloring, instead of beat red ….He talked about his daughter asking to come out to go fishing, because she knew he’d take her straight away. But, her motives were to merely run to the playground instead….

I was looking and smiling at this lovely child in the car, and back again at the dad before commenting when he was done.

“You’re a very lucky man, to have such a beautiful daughter who wants to spend time with her daddy at the playground….Time will arrive much to quickly when she will only want to spend time with her school friends, and never dream of fishing or spending time with you near a playground. Well, sir I wish you luck with your fishing and hope you catch a tasty dinner for your sweet family, soon.” And, I kept walking…

I could hear the daughter speaking to her daddy through the car window, wanting to know why I’d stopped to talk.. and the father replied, “I’ll explain all of that when we get over to the swings…”

This was my purpose for wanting to stroll on the pier today, that I’m certain of. When ever I get a notion to do something that is not normal for me, like trying to beat the all day rains that were coming, and ignoring the approaching rain – knee pain just to walk here taking pictures where the lighting is not favorable to do so.. I know without a shadow of a doubt ~ There was a reason and this was it.

To be continued, join me tomorrow for Part Four

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Until next time…

~Laura~

 

 

 

A little stroll by the Lake ~ Part One

It was just one of those days…I woke around 5 this morning and felt the approaching rain off in the distance. Last nights beautiful sunset was a sign that rain was in our future. We still need the rain so it’s a welcome sight to see. But, my knees know as well when it’s going to rain or snow and they are not in the least bashful about showing me who’s boss.

I thought I’d go for a little walk early this morning down by the lake on the boardwalk. Since, I was going to feel pains in the knees I might as well earn it a little because there was going to be no gardening for me today.

I checked the weather forecast before heading out and hoped that the estimated time for the arrival of the showers was correct. Just to be safe I grabbed my handy dandy umbrella and placed my digital camera in my little ice cooler because it keeps the rain off and when the camera is in the car it’s hidden from others and it won’t be damaged by any heat in the car. Works like a charm… Just a helpful hint… So, come on and follow along with me on my walk this morning…

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As you can see the whole of the morning was going to be hues of gray with a few scattered sprinkles here and there.

As I looked down the boardwalk I noticed the volunteers hard at work this early morning. Pulling out brown bits of plants and pulling any weeds that have appeared just overnight from the past two days of rain.

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I walked pass the Hostas with their varied markings. There is really something special about these hardy plants. They can withstand drought, as proven in my own garden this year as long as there is shade for them like underneath this pine tree.

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I came upon this beauty with a visitor resting on top of the flower. So, I must stop to take a shot before it notices I’m there and flies away.

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I pretty much had the entire boardwalk to myself this morning, except for the occasional person walking their dogs. This newly mulched path looked appealing to me and wondered if I’d see a tiny critter running through the bushes. I wasn’t disappointed because two chipmunks took off running in the other direction.

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This is where small celebrations are held. It’s amazing how your voice can travel when standing underneath this structure. Kids of all ages love to stand in the middle and call to each other while a slight echo happens like magic…

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I walked around by the beach area that is roped off for the safety of swimmers of all ages and where the summertime lifeguards can keep a watchful eye on everyone.

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Although, it’s abandoned at the moment as soon as the weather clears folks will be out on the beach playing and swimming. Under the careful eye of the wonderful people who sit up on this lifeguard chair.

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It may have been too early for young children with their parents to play at this playground, but this single little duck found it just right and had the beach all to themselves.

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I found myself giggling when looking through the camera and noticed these rocks looked more like a loch nest monster then just being low tide…

or is it???

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  or perhaps  060309_loch_ness

You can see I have quite the imagination while doing most things each day…So join me tomorrow for Part Two of the stroll along the boardwalk…

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Until next time

~Laura~

A little packet of seeds from my daughter

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My sweet daughter surprised me last winter with a little packet of flower seeds. They were given to her as an appreciation gift with a cute little red potting container. I thought these would look lovely in my homemade garden trug box on either side of my green onions, parsley and ginger. This above picture is the first bloom. I just was blown over by the color of the petals.. Not altered in photo shop.. I just put the picture on a simple background…

The seeds are called: Zinnia Semi Dwarf Pumila Mixed colors. So, I’m excited to see what the next bloom will look like. It rained for the past day and a half and this little beauty opened up during the rain just as it began. I’d say this plant was delighted as much as I was to finally see the skies providing life sustaining water.

Have a happy day today my friends…

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Until next time

~Laura~