May 31, 2013

May 2013 - What I've Seen and Done and Loved

It was a crazy spring here in southern Ontario.  We witnessed rain, snow, tornado warnings and breath-stealing heat and humidity.  We felt lucky not to bear the brunt of most of Mother Nature's wrath in Peterborough.

I went to the US for my first girls' shopping trip and had a blast thanks to Sandy and Cindy.  I spent some fine time with family and friends and I thank God every day for them.  They save my life over and over.

I had my ups and my downs this month but I had plenty of company.  A new political scandal seemed to break every day this month.  I'm a bit of a political junkie so I've been glued to Power and Politics on the CBC.

My garden has been a source of joy this year.  I planted a lot more vegetables and look forward to eating fresh, organic produce out of my own garden.  One of my goals for June is to start cooking and baking again.  I've been very lax.  The flowers have been extremely inspirational.  My magnolia  tree put on a terrific show this year...maybe its' best.  The lilacs were so fragrant that I bury my face in them every time I step outside.

The highlight of my month was adopting my lovely little kitten Eilish.  She is a spunky little brat but I love her dearly.  Lucy is warming to her but Finnie loves her very much.  He protects her and is very gentle when they are playing and she is being the annoying little sister.  She keeps biting him - especially his tail, poor Finnie.  But he puts up with a lot of her jumping and fighting and biting and when he reaches the end of his rope, he gives her a nip on her foot and growls a warning.

All in all, there were a lot of good times in May.  I hope to finish decorating my bedroom in June and do the "big reveal".  Take care,


May 30, 2013

Aiken House and Gardens

If you have never visited Carolyn's Aiken House and Gardens blog, stop reading right now and go directly there.  It is the most beautiful blog I have ever seen.  It is like Victoria magazine (one of my favs) come to life.  A visit to Carolyn's garden on Prince Edward Island is now on my bucket list.

The quiet beauty of her house and garden just fills my heart with peace as I scroll through her blog.  I never miss a post and in fact, sometimes I go back to look at the pictures again and again.  It's like flipping through that magazine you keep around forever to get lost in when you want to escape the chaos of your own life.  A quiet hour with a china cup of tea and Carolyn's exquisite taste.

Well now, Carolyn's own magazine (book) can be that source of inspiration for you.  I was lucky enough to win a copy of my very own!  It arrived this week and it is oh so beautiful.  The photography is stunning, the words stirring and the colours uplifting.

Oh the colours...they send me into rhapsodies....the pinks, the blues, the purples, the aquas and the greens...oh the many shades of green.  Seeing this garden makes me feel greedy.  I want it to be mine. all mine.

I want to sit in this chair and drink tea and eat homemade buttermilk biscuits with berries and cream (Carolyn includes her recipe).

I want to slip into this bed with my magazine and enjoy a lovely afternoon nap.  Just heaven!

And the best news, you can order your own copy and I would highly recommend it!  I would have ordered one if I wasn't such a lucky duck and won one....Enjoy!


May 28, 2013


I had a lovely day today.  My Mom and I took a little road trip to Stirling.  Such a quaint little town. I'd love to live there.  We were heading to Chickadelic for some Miss Mustardseed Paint.  My sister's dining room chairs need a milk paint makeover.  She bought some great fabric and I'm going to help transform them with Ironstone paint....

I also bought a cute little hankie (I will be making some bunting), a key (I can't resist keys.  I wonder what Freud would say?) and a stack of pre-loved magazines.  Eight magazines that I haven't read yet.  I feel so rich!  Oh and I bought a picture of Audrey for my bedroom.

We had lunch in the local diner with all the regulars.  I loved watching my prim Mother in her Ralph Lauren t-shirt eating among the farm folk and ladies who lunch in Stirling.  She can't help but be a bit snobbish.  It's funny because my Mother grew up on a farm, one without running water or electricity.  She came to the "big city" of Peterborough as a teenager to work in a factory.  She couldn't wait to get off the farm.  She worked hard to perfect her grammar and to speak "properly".  Now she lives with a daughter who loves the country and all things country.  Someone who'd like to raise chickens in the backyard and likes her furniture to be painted and chippy.  Poor Mom.  She enjoyed her day though, especially all the tidy prosperous farms we passed by.  Some of the farm girl remains.

Then we stumbled on Rustic Routes.  Oh my, a decorator's gold mine, treasure trove hiding in a little town...I'll be back ;).

This is the most amazing tin ceiling you have ever seen!  It has faces on all four corners of the tile.

Of course, on the way home we stopped at Dooher's Bakery in Campbellford so I could taste the donuts everyone raves about.  I bought a dozen - 6 for my sister Connie and her husband Bruce and 6 for Mom and me ;).  Sorry there are no pictures.  I ate my 3 for dinner (blush).  My tiny little Mother also ate 3 donuts after her dinner.  Honestly, I don't think you can have them in the house and not eat them.  They are the best donuts I have ever eaten in my entire life.  I really don't think I can ever buy them again because I can't resist them.  I phoned my sister after dinner and the first thing she said was "I just finished a donut.  Why did you buy them.  They're incredible".

See that unprepossessing donut in the front?  It is light as a feather pillow filled with a cloud of fresh whipped cream (drool, drool)....ok, well I better go to sleep here before I start thinking about it again.  Thank God there aren't any left in the house.


May 27, 2013


Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I need to drown out the noise in my head.  Sitting in the garden, pulling weeds is the perfect antidote.  My solitary meditation of dig, lift and toss, dig, lift and toss allows my mind to focus only on the next weed and the next.  All other thoughts escape and my brain and my body are flooded with the warmth of the sun and the comfort of the trowel in my hand as the pile of weeds grows ever larger.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, then you know that I "disappear" sometimes.  I stop posting and I've never really explained why before.  I suffer from bipolar disorder.  There are times when I am depressed or manic and I have trouble communicating.

When I'm depressed, the world loses all colour and I literally stay in bed with the covers over my head.  I lose interest in any activities and tend to isolate myself.  I don't like to dwell on this but I felt it was time to explain.

When I'm manic, I am a whirling dervish.  I talk too much, I eat too much, I laugh too loud...well you get the picture.  It's a fine feeling while you're in it and I understand people not wanting to take their medication.  It evens you out and you lose the highs and the lows.  But I've always hated the manic phases because it is hard to control what you are thinking, saying, become one of those impulsive and sometimes obnoxious people who say whatever comes into their head.  I've been working on this and always try to be kind and take time to think before speaking or acting.  Next I have trouble sleeping and eventually get exhausted and end up with debilitating depression.  It's the old...what goes up, must come down and it seems to work in equal measure.

I was diagnosed about twenty years ago and it took a year to find the right medications to stabilize me.  I was able to live and work pretty normally from that time (with only minor periods of sickness) until November 2011.  Then I got sick and went off work.  I tried to return once but to no avail.  It's tough being off, feeling guilty that I'm not working but just thinking about it puts me into a panic again.  I hope to overcome this one day.

I'm one of the lucky ones though.  I have very supportive and understanding family members and friends.  I have excellent doctors and access to free health care in Canada.  I also have a good disability plan through my employer so I'm not living in a box under a bridge somewhere.  A lot of people with mental health issues end up destitute and homeless so I count my blessings every day.

I find it's important to take some time every day and find a bit of joy.  If you dwell in the possibilities of life, you can always find happiness.


PS I am joining Elaine for her blog party at Sunny Simple Life.  Please pop on over.

May 25, 2013


I am joining Claudia's A Favourite Thing party today.  You should hop on over to her blog, Mockingbird Hill Cottage to check it out.  There was no difficulty choosing a favourite thing this week. It is my new baby kitten.  She finally has a name, Eilish.  She was born on St Patrick's Day so I wanted to find an Irish name that suited her.  It was really difficult and took a couple of weeks.  The poor girl has had a different name every day!  Here is my cutie patootie...

She is playing with her wolf's tail...

Today was the first day that I was able to get a picture of her awake that wasn't a big blur of fur.

She likes my Ralph Lauren sheets.  After clicking the camera a few times, the little eye opened and she said "really, are you going to keep doing that?" and then she got up and jumped off the bed and was gone.

I just love little kittens.  Tiny bundles of energy whizzing around the house, up and down, over and under.  She makes the cutest little sounds - no meows - just a little trill that sounds more like a bird.  She is not afraid of the bigger cats, stands her ground and hisses back if necessary but she squealed in fright today over a tiny beetle.  She falls asleep at the drop of a hat and wakes up raring to go.




nighty night


May 21, 2013

May Garden Journal

Usually when I share pictures of my garden, they are beautiful, edited shots: often very close up.  Not today.  I need a realistic garden journal.  I'm working on a bit of a revamp of my garden, trying to make it simpler and less maintenance.  To do that, I need real, unvarnished pictures, taken everything month.  That way I can make decisions on what is working and what is not.  This early in the season, nothing is edged or mulched so here goes, warts and all...

I'm starting with the front of the house. A little weeding, pruning and mulching is in order.  I need to replace the house numbers, outdoor light and mailbox.  The front door needs painted.  Paint on the porch should be touched up.  New cushion for chair and I'll have to keep my eye on the begonia planted in the pink pot.  The squirrels seem to love them.  The front garden gets pink wave petunias.  Might be a good idea the clean those windows too.

Lots of fertilizer required here...

Some weeding and mulching required.  The lawn is in horrible shape but I know I can't get to that this year.

Some pruning in order but the bridal wreath spirea needs to bloom first.  I think the clematis and trellis will be moved to the back.  It gets lost in the front.

Around the side corner is a little utilitarian...

Fava beans and nasturtiums.  I've never eaten fava beans before so I must track down some recipes.

My bean garden, seeds planted at the beginning of  May.  Need to fill in some spots.  They look really dry but they were watered today and we have 3 days of rain forecasted.

Now to the other side yard or as I grandly refer to it, my courtyard.  It has a porch heading into the kitchen and boy, does it need painted.

A view from the driveway....

Won't it be nice when I get it all cleaned (and painted).  Perfect place for morning coffee.

I cheaped out this year and bought as many plants as possible at discount stores.  Looks like lots of fertilizer will be required.

My potting bench needs to be built and I think a trellis of morning glories would be good.

Just inside the back gate.  Lots of pruning and digging out required.  This  area will eventually house my frog collection.  I would never recommend a burning bush - just a weed.

Need to save my Euphorbia polychroma.

The lilacs are doing well this year.  I plan to clean up in front of them and plant foxgloves.

The wild back corner.  I need to hack through this area, tidy it up and make a couple of fairy gardens.

Don't you love this shed?! Sheeesh.  My nasty cat hating neighbour has a lovely mess in his backyard which has led me to sadly neglect this corner of my yard.

My wheelbarrow has been planted.  Red and purple this year.

My Japanese maple is coming along.

The lilacs I had to chop down are coming back nicely.

The back garden...I need to rescue some plants, dig out some of the violets and bishop's weed, mulch, mulch, mulch.

This is the garden that backs onto my unfriendly neighbours.  I have lilacs at one corner with a Japanese maple beside.  The other side of the garden has a flowering almond.  Eventually I will find another bush to plant but this year, I will grow lavatera and hollyhocks to provide some screening.  This is the next garden to work on.

The oval garden is lush and beautiful again this year.  Just needs edging and mulching.

My magnolia is almost done.

Side garden got some tomato plants and lavender planted yesterday.

Veggie garden...seeds planted at beginning of May.

Patio garden...


I'm joining Elaine at Sunny Simple Monday!