Sunday, July 05, 2020

Sunday
July 5th, 2020

I have just said good-night to the garden, - turned the water off here, and put it on there for the evening

Admired the flowers that are greeting July with lots of bloom and enthusiasm.....and noticed that the garlic scapes are curly nicely and making a lovely structural picture where they are growing amongst the raspberries - don't asked me how they got there, but they are welcome, and making themselves right at home.

It has been a warm day, and this afternoon I was glad of the shaded patio out in the back garden
 - perfect place for cold drinks and cool books. I am reading (re-reading) The Language of God (a scientist presents evidence for belief) by Francis Collins, who seems to know what he's talking about. He seems quite satisfied with the theory of "theistic evolution" - many thoughts which I am entirely  in agreement with.  Well, as much as you can be in agreement when you are pondering "life, and where it arose from".

Sometimes the best you can do is just lay it down to a MYSTERY.

I have some nice McCall Smith books to lighten the reading load a little, and give my mind a rest, and some entertainment.

In the morning, when I still have more than just a shade of energy, I have been winding warps with firstly a set of lace and spotted towels and secondly a mohair blanket, the thoughts of which make me wonder if I am over-reaching my capabilities at this advanced age!  However I am game to give it a try, and am quite excited by the cones of mohair that arrived in the mail.

Before I started counting warp threads I went to online church - lovely to be able to arrive and listen to the old familiar words of the Anglican service - although I don't hear the words of my youth 

"Dearly beloved brethren, the scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness" 

 (I remember in my younger days exchanging these words for "Dearly beloved brethren, the scripture moveth us in sundry places to go and watch the donkey races, and when we've seen which donkey won etc. etc.- I have forgotten the last part about what we would do upon seeing which donkey won.  It will probably come to me in the night, when my mind rescues those little bits and pieces that get stuck along the way from my memory to my mind!!!

Anyway, without getting all dressed up for church I was able to take part in that hour that has meant so much in my life....I have to say that I did miss Charles, beside me 😐😐 or signaling to me to crank the organ either up or down, depending upon how loud it was coming through...

Life goes on, day by day and one must somehow cope with the losses and appreciate the pluses - which are pretty well made up with our children and their loving attention and care!  

And this makes me think of the other day when Bruce and I went out to sit on the bench in the back garden while my youngest son, and my oldest son, together dealt with a rat that had somehow got into the house and was causing much confusion while I slept.....well, not much, but enough to be noticeable.

Fine men and hunters, those boys!!!!  Home is now rodent free.....

I would like to leave a picture here, but this new way of putting a blog together is one I find quite stressing, so I guess I will leave things as they are, and say Good Night, - God bless,  etc.....












Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Farewell to June

  • What is so rare as a day in June?
James Russell Lowell asks the question, and one can only say, June is the rarest month of all, and never, in all the other months, will you find a "perfect day".   as you will in June ----- if you are aware and alert to the beauty that surrounds you, as nature awakens and the earth stirs and all the greenery and the summer flowers take over that bare brown earth that was the sleeping garden.

Oh gosh, I am getting carried away, but the garden has been so lovely this past month and I have found such pleasure in all the flowers that bloomed, - one after the other as the month moved on.  I have to admit it is a bit of a jungle in spots where the plants are revved up, and I have not be diligent enough to go about thinning the extra stalks and greenery.

Right now the Bee Balm is raising it's lovely scruffy red head above the creamy yellow lilies that are just starting to bloom, and they wave around in the summer breeze amongst the golden daisy-like flowers (that I don't know the name of),  There are other beautiful pink lilies across the way in the eastern bed, and beside them the Shasta daisies are in their glory - they are such nice, dependable daisies, and last so long in the garden, - and in the house when I bring in a bouquet.

I am hoping to post a few photos but I find myself at odds with this new way of posting a blog - the icons are all so unfamiliar and they don't seem to respond to my urgent clicks, so at this point I have not been able to access any pretty pictures!!!

I will keep trying but I find it very frustrating as bedtime looms, and I have been up since six a.m. (which is my usual time of rising because the morning hours have always been so precious to me, and a great time to ponder and plan).

I digress!!  I will go and click on those two peaks and see if any photos come up, - and if so I am able to manipulate them on to this page!!

Yes, yes!!!  I am beginning to be hopeful!


Seven a.m. in the morning.  Everything froze up last night, - I think it was the White Rabbit pretending to be The Trickster.

I have decided to post this as it is, and get on with the day.  (Which is cool and promising to be a good day at the loom).....

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday, June 26th, 2020

Youngest son arrived early this morning with a virtual chauffeur's hat and a delightful invitation to go for a drive....which I so readily accepted!!!

Since reaching this venerable age, and since my driver's licence expired I am not so inclined to make these  drives down through the Valley, - the ones that Charles and I used to take on the spur of the moment, and found so enjoyable.

Without even checking my hair or my lipstick I was out through the door, down the steps and into the car, ready and raring to go!

This is a drive that we used to take fairly often, poking around in all the nooks and crannies of Cawston where we lived for so long, with apple trees and sheep and a wonderful family of children. 

found that things have not changed drastically, - many things still the same to stir my memories of the thirty-six years we lived on the Cawston Bench with our children, Charles' father, and a flock of sheep.

Different occupants of the houses and orchards from those who planted the Benchland;  all veterans of the Second World War, as it was a "Soldier Settlement" project, as they called such entities after the First World War.

So probably the community is somewhat different, and perhaps the farmers are not all so young, and peers of the military, and there may not be so many children, but the orchards are all looking green and vital and cared for, and here and there are the remnants of some of the veteran families whose children have stayed with the farm.

 All sorts of memories came flooding back, - the year we had all black lambs from the beautiful silver/black ram we had, and the field above the fruit orchard was ebony dotted with his offspring.  The children of various ages, all catching the school bus, and the involvement of the ladies of the Bench in the Parent and Teacher's Association - the festivities in the Cawston Hall, and the Father and Daughter dance that opened the evening - the wonderful feeling of comradeship among these young veterans and their families, -  stirring up Memories' Well can result in great nostalgia, and it is enough to say it was such a pleasure to be in this small community again.

And there were the other memories of the fields of tomatoes we planted for the cannery, while we waited for the orchards to produce fruit and provide us with a living.  I remember playing bridge with friends in their unfinished house (as most all Veteran's houses  were - unfinished -.as the money had all gone for trees and irrigation equipment and tractors) and one of the rooms was stacked with tomatoes for the market in Vancouver.  The smell of tomatoes in great quantities always reminds me of that bridge game.





.We went a little way down the Valley, saw a raptor flying overhead - my son tells me it is safe to call this lovely soaring bird a "raptor" as it wasn't an eagle, or a raven - although I have seen eagles in the Similkameen, and I have heard that old timers have called it the valley of Eagles.  Probably my most memorable sight of them was a lone eagle,flying in circles above a funeral cortage of an indigenous pioneer of the valley.

Ah, to be young again.  

 And how much pleasure these memories give me, 

- and how much I appreciated this unexpected little drive!!!   

On the whole, life is very good!!














Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Ten o'clock, and it is time to close up the house.  The thermometer indoors is 23C. and outdoors on the porch, where the sun shines relentlessly from the time it gets up until about noon - there it is 30C - and climbing!!!!

I have  come in from moving sprinklers around, and picking a few flowers to replace the ones who recently brought pleasure to the house, but have now just faded away!!!  The Shastas are starting to bloom and the yellow daisy types threaten to give me total privacy as they tower above the back fence that runs along the lane.  I should know the name of these plants, but it has escaped me, as so many names seem to do now.  When people inquire about the blooms I should not sputter and fluster but just name them confidently, - any old name!!!!  Evidently the enquirer doesn't know, and would probably forget immediately whatever I tell them!!!! Or better that I should admit to being forgetful, and don't know....😞😞

My memory these days works best in the middle of the night, when the name of some old acquaintance suddenly comes to me!  It's a good thing I am at home almost always, - it saves me from that embarrassing flounder for the right name to call someone, - I use "Love" a lot.  It covers up my forgetfulness and gives the recipient a feeling of affection!!!

It is time to retreat to the loom room, where the warp lies waiting to be threaded.  I still have not decided if I should stick with a plain weave or search for some exotic pattern that requires me to concentrate on a more difficult order of threads.  To be truthful I am very inclined to go with the plain weave - I like to tell myself it is more absorbent in a towel, although I know this is really not so.....  1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4,....allows me to wander in my thoughts, which is sometimes a good thing for the ancient!!    

 Before I go, here are a few pictures of the garden.  I say this confidently, not knowing where I should go next on this new and confusing blog order (confusing to me, anyway, but that may be because I am NINETY-FIVE and in love with THE WAY THINGS WERE!)





Well, there are three pictures, - eventually I will get used to this new way to Blog, and then, of course, it is quite possible someone will change the whole order of things!!!!!  And where will I be then??????

out in the garden eating worms, poor thing -

this is a little rhyme I used to tell the children, when they pouted or were down in the mouth.......

"You'll be out in the garden eating worms,
poor thing!

Long, slim, slimy ones,
short, fat, furry ones!!!

Oh how they tickle
when they squirm, yum, yum!!!"

............Accompanied by a fond tickle to the tummy, and soon they were smiling again!!!

I found a few worms the other day when I was digging around, and it reminded me of the days we used to collect worms to go fishing, and I did miss Charles!!! And the fishing trips with grandchildren, - all grown up now......but still sweet in my memory....



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

This and That and new ways to confuse old ladies!

Another day "confined to barracks" as was the wartime phrase. I don't complain - there is so much here to keep my hands and mind busy and creative, and out in the garden the greatest pleasure is to sit with a book, a cold drink and a hammock to rest my feet upon!!

I have just finished reading Chris Arthur, - his latest book of essays "Hummingbirds Between the Pages". I am very taken with books of essays - they give you something fairly short to read, and then to ponder. The last chapter of his Hummingbird book is entitled "Thirty-six Ways of Looking at an Essay" and he presents this list as a defense of the Essay which he feels is a victim of the misconceptions that "too many people dismiss the essay as "something of little interest, a relic occupying a literary dead-end or a chore that belongs in the academic backwaters of student assessment,"

 This is surely not the case in the group of essays that Arthur has put together. which covers a wide range of subjects including (from the back of the book) "Charles Darwin's killing of a South American fox to the carnal music sounding in the statue of the Buddha" - whether he's looking at sea shell, skipping stones, old photographs or butterflies, the book is just pure pleasure!!!

 I was taken back to holidays at the lake, when I was a child, and the underhanded skill of skipping stones into the water to the point where I would really like to go out and determine if I still have that movement that comes so naturally when I think of "skipping" stones, and how many times you can make the stone graze the water, and what shape the very best stones are, for doing this!! Ah well, all this is probably many years behind me and I don't envision the opportunity to see if I can still make stones skip - not any time soon!!!!

 If nothing else keeps any elderly lady home this current pandemic surely does!! Luckily there is lots to do here.... I am in the midst of threading the LeClerc with a cheery towel warp - orange and apricot with a few brown stripes to make the colours glow. And besides that I still have boucle towels to hem, and a new Cello DVD to watch and listen to. Nevertheless, it has been a long time since I've even toodled down the street, or around the block, and each night, as darkness falls, I think about the 'morrow and the plans I keep making to run over town on the Scooter that sits in the garage, ready for adventure.

 The day is bright and the sun is shining, after a little bout with thunder that really put the wind up poor Bruce, who came looking for reassurance. Blogger has introduced a new and unfamiliar way to draft a post, and I am not much into new ways, but appreciate the familiar that doesn't tax my brain too much. However, I will see if I can publish this, and maybe I might even be able to add a snapshot or two!!!  If I can find where you click to add photos!!   Or even where you click to "post"!!!!!

Oh dear oh dear, - change is inevitable, but often not welcome as the years go by and you cherish the old and familiar!!!

If I find the POST icon hopefully you can read this!


And more good reading!!!!!   



  












Wednesday, June 17, 2020

June 17th, 2020

I woke to blue skies, white clouds and the faintest summer breeze, blowing through my open window.

For a week it has rained, been dreary and wet and the flowers and plants bent over, peering at the damp grass!

But this morning put joy in my heart when I opened my eyes to sunshine, and I quickly slipped out to put on the coffee while I dressed and let Bruce out to gambol on the nice fresh lawn.

When the morning coffee visitors had gone about their business I gathered up cups, had a hasty piece of toast, and we were out like a flash to welcome the sun (after all the dreary rain...)

Took a few pictures....

The small clematis is clinging to the back fence in great bundles, while what remains of the honeysuckle  intermingles around the edges


Towering over the garden shed the red rose blazes, as it is supposed to do in compliance with its name.  We have had Blaze Roses in all our gardens (as I have probably said before).  I would say they have a sentimental place, but somehow it is more than sentiment, but a continuation of a love and relationship we have had for this handsome and loyal flower.  There were Blaze Roses growing against Charles' parents' screened in porch and it just seemed natural to plant them in our first garden



There are lots of things in bud - not so many in bloom - but here are a few delphinium,  the remnants of the peonies in the back garden, and the last of the roses.





some pink roses and a few tubs of herbs and flowers....

and a shaggy peony!!





In a week or so the garden will be a glorious mass of yellow and gold

as the barn flowers and the yellow petaled daisies 

start to bloom,

with the shastas as a lovely complement to them.



When the clouds gather I go in and weave

and have this great long warp

to show for it!!!


It's all cut up now. into individual bits

with ten towels to hem

and two placemats which are nicely fringed!!!

busy days for busy fingers!!!

It fills the hours when we are so confined

to home these pandemic days.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

June 10th 2020

A slightly despairing June day.  The clouds are grey and lowering, and the dampness echos in my bones.

I go from one thing to another, - a bobbin of boucle woven into the towels I am making on the loom  - a page or two read out of the Chris Arthur essays I am reading (Hummingbirds Between the Pages) a second cup of coffee and I turn on the '40's music I am listening to on Serius Radio.  The memories it arouses are tender and poignant.

Days like this urge one to follow the call from the kitchen to busy oneself with making  pies, or cookies, or cake - filling the kitchen with appealing odours and the cookie jar with chocolate chips!!  However, days like this also discourage one from standing at the kitchen counter measuring out the ingredients, and my back aches at the thought!

Things are o.k. in the garden - rather at a standstill until the sun starts shining again.  A few golden petals are starting to come out, and the Monada is about to scatter it's lovely shaggy blooms throughout the garden.  What is really looking quite beautiful, even in this damp and shadowy weather, is the white rose we planted over Callie's grave - and the Honeysuckle, smelling divine.



I see that the sun has deigned to appear and I shall pull up the blind and let its rays encourage the day!  Is it here to stay or is this just a teasing glimpse????

In any case I shall continue with the day, - maybe go and pour a cup of coffee and read a bit - and if the sun doesn't suddenly disappear Bruce and I will go and pull a few weeds and try to make our way through the jungle that the garden is becoming, out the back to the rhubarb.

I have a few strawberries left and a ball of pastry in the freezer that is just enough to make a rhubarb and strawberry pie!!!






Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Time, you old gypsy man.....

June 3rd, 2020

Before I went to the loom this morning I sat and mused,

as I lingered over coffee...

Mused about the passage of time

and where I now exists on its line

between birth and death.

Well, I am naturally more involved

with the "now", rather than with

what may come  (what 'inevitably' may come!)

The breakfast table

is right next to my book shelves...

I would like to call it a library

but the books are not that well organized..

I picked out three, randomly,

and leafed through them as I lingered

over my second cup of coffee.

"The Human Revolution" by Ashley Montague....

a book that fascinated me fifty

(or maybe sixty) years ago.

It, along with Loren Eiseley's "Firmament of Time"

melded and influenced much of my thinking in those days

when I came rather late to asking so many

questions about life ....

The third book was "Handwoven Laces" by Donna Muller

and it represents the path my mind followed 

when I took up weaving seriously.

I am eternally grateful that I was so drawn.

I cannot complain about being alone

as our children are close, physically and emotionally,

and I find they assuage the loneliness that so often

comes in old age, when you have lost your Beloved, 

and there is nobody to discuss at the breakfast table,

the here's and where's and what's and so on!!!

However, the looms have kept the creative part

of my mind active and the actual day-to-day act of weaving

is sometimes even exciting!!!

It fills my time, and that is so important , (I think)

as one ages, and copes somehow with the loss of friends

and the means to be more mobile.....

I took two lovely silk and linen, blue and grey scarves

off the loom, - washed and pressed them -

and now I must go and twirl all the fringes!!!



Friday, May 29, 2020

White peonies





Peonies at Dusk

White peonies blooming along the porch
send out light
while the rest of the yard grows dim.

Outrageous flowers as big as human
heads!  They're staggered
By their own luxuriousness.  I had
to prop them up with stakes and twine.

The moist air intensified their scent,
and the moon moves around the barn
to find out what it's coming from.

In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near, and bending close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one's face.

Jane Kenyon


May 29th, 2020

Morning in the Garden


The shadows are lengthening

as the sun rises higher in the sky

but still it is morning,

and there is that lovely fresh aura

in the air


Spring is late this year, -

at least the gardens' response to spring.

I look at pictures from earlier years

when the Blaze and Princess roses

were in full bloom...

but I am not impatient.

It will all happen in good time

and I find joy in watching the garden gradually

settle into summer!

Here's what's blooming!!!!

The Iris, of course



Iris and a few pink roses, although they are far behind last year's generous offering....

not so with the buttercups, - they are inclined to be weedish - but bright and heart warming, so they 

get accepted!!




 Out back there are some lilies and more iris, a garden shop basket and the promise of lilies and shastas and peonies - SOON


a few early poppies and the honeysuckle coming into bloom

along with the clematis that lives beside it.



The scarlet peonies along the front fence have been quite gorgeous,

but here, in the back garden, the single white peony starts to bloom

and they are so lovely in the evenings when they spread wide

their petals, and their beautiful golden centre glows.


The Blaze rose got a terrific pruning job this year, and although they are not

the brilliant blaze of glory as in other years

we will look forward to 2021!!!


Lilies - the first of many

and more pink cabbage roses


 Everything welcomes the sun and the rain

and blooms merrily



Oh, life would be so dreary without a garden!!



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Bouquet No. 1




A beautiful sunny day!




  
a few perennial buttercups at the feet of the iris and alium




yesterday was dismal........

but today is inviting!!

Following a little after-lunch nap

we left Bruce sleeping

and The Walker and I

went out for  a little stroll

(as much as you can 'stroll' with a Walker -

but that's the way things are these days!!)

There are some lovely light lilies in bloom

a perfectly wonderful yellow.....





and the early peony is showing signs of

calling it a day, while the later ones

are still pregnant, - growing closer every hour!

A few early white daisies are crowding in

amongst the clover that persists on growing

at the front of the flower bed,  just 

beyond the fence (that needs painting)

And the yellow daisies show dire signs

of the problems that afflicted them

last year,

which means I must seek expert advice

and get them sprayed, or they will

all curl up and die.

The garden needs attention,

but not this afternoon.

I am here to enjoy the few roses that are blooming,



the poppies that are pushing against

their white metal fencing,

and to pick a few flowers to

brighten up the house.

Not an awful lot to choose from

but soon I had a nice selection lining The Walker's basket

and here they are....

..

placed in front of the "arrival mirror".....

an old dresser that fills the bill nicely,

and makes one think that we have just twice as many

blossoms as the garden yielded.

Off to make a cup of tea, or a glass

of lemonade,

and I shall sit outside and glory

in the late spring.



at 95 one must take advantage of the beauty

that cometh from above....

Just in Case.....Carpe Diem.

Friday, May 22, 2020

On reading Mary Oliver

May 22nd, 2020

I breakfast with Mary Oliver

and one sentence she writes

out of the vast and beautiful picture

she paints with words

takes me back years, into another world -

to when we were young

and tending the orchard

with all the other veterans

on Fairview Heights........

and the children were so contained

in our lives - school buses and bicycles,

picnics on the big rock,

listening to the Night Hawks

as they break the evening air

with their cries and the clap of their wings

Such wonderful memories -

did we realize at the time that we were

manufacturing these beautiful memories

 so they would sit beside us

when we were ancient

sipping our morning coffee and

losing ourselves in the words of the poet.






Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Nimble in the Garden

Wednesday, May 14th, 2020

There was a time when I was nimble in the garden...

it went on for years and years, and they were glorious times.

First of all, when the children were young and we were raising a family I kept my nimbleness in check and was content with a few Peonies, a willow tree, some Iris and always the Blaze Rose!!!




I
We had thirty acres there, on a hillside, and our house was located half way up the hill.  I had a yen to line the roadway with hollyhocks, as our house had been when I was growing up, but I received very little support for this idea, and the only hollyhocks I have had in all these years are some which volunteer at our back gate, facing the lane.

It was apparent that nobody in the family had experienced the joy of making ball gowns from hollyhock blooms, for clover headed dolls, as I had when young, and with my bestest friend!!!



We were on the farm for almost forty years, but when we moved to town we had three acres of land - pasture for horses (where we eventually grew tomatoes, having no horses then) and just all the room a gardener would wish for,  -  of which I took great advantage!

The header on my blog is a picture of the bed which lined the street, and I think it probably includes the great log fence that Charles built to protect the flower beds from passers-by. and to define the street lawn.


We grew all sorts of wonderful flowers there, - lilies and peonies and snowball bushes, and flax and poppies and delpinium, - oh, I could go on and on.....  It was a gardener's heaven, and always being an early riser I would be able to get an hour or two in the morning garden, with the long shadows and the cool early morning air., - all this before Charles arose for breakfast......










Eventually we moved away, - bought a smaller mobile home and placed it
on our son's property.

There was no garden at first, but we soon took delivery of a few
truck's full of top soil, and planted trees and shrubs
and lots of flowers!!






and, of course, at one end of the house we had a Blaze Rose (but I can't seem to find a picture of it, except in my memory.

We got older, alas, - as we all do if we are lucky, - but it seemed the time for us to move back to town, and we were lucky enough to find a lovely little house, with a beautiful garden, and room for looms, as well!!!   Our son and daughter-in-law own the house, but I indulge myself in the garden, with the help of family, and the dear one who looks down from heaven and gives directions!!!


This is the owl my sister made for me, many, many years ago, to watch over all our gardens, and here he sits amongst the greenery!!

So this is the lovely garden I have now, - just a few pictures.  There is a blue delphinium, lots of shasta daisies a Mister Lincoln Rose, and of course, as always, a Blaze.






Life is good, but I'm here to tell you, I am not as nimble in the garden as I once was. I stop more often and rock a bit in the garden swing and have a swig of lemonade, and Bruce sits with me and we contemplate the white rose on Callie's grave, and miss her......