Thursday, 29 July 2021

Using Up Zucchini

   It rained all morning so no tennis today, but the afternoon was very pleasant, sunny but staying cool. I had a few errands this morning and spent some time in the afternoon pulling weeds. They came up easily because the ground had had a good soaking. I also made a pot of soup and baked a loaf in the bread machine, so a productive day.

     I made a low carb lasagna yesterday using zucchini slices instead of the pasta. Other than that I used my usual recipe, a layer of spinach and cottage cheese (with lashings of garlic) and a layer of meat sauce and mozzarella, topped off with parmesan. One recipe I found suggested grilling the zucchini slices to dry them a bit but the final result was quite wet. However, today it was much better. Next time I will grill them longer. I got five portions so three went in the freezer.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Camera at the Ready

    Got the pool heater fixed yesterday (those darn spiders - seemingly they are attracted to the smell of gas and built a nest in there) so the family came over for a swim. It has been cool overnight most of this week so it took a while to get the temperature up but they were both in and James swam 30 lengths. The pool is only 10 meters long but still that was an impressive 300 meters.

I now have two pumpkins - this is the larger one. Should be ready for Hallowe'en.

Not sure what this is but it was worth snapping.

I asked Natalie to stand by the sunflower to show how tall it is - she's about 5'7".

Almost ready to be picked. I've had quite a few cherry tomatoes already.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

First Sunflower

    Got rid of the rest of the giant zucchini to daughter yesterday - she and James came over for a chat and a swim although it wasn't very warm. She has lots of recipes so will use it up quickly.

   Tennis first thing today and it was much more pleasant, hardly humid at all and quite fresh. We weren't able to get a court next Sunday so it will be a day of leisure. The booking system is quite a good idea but, in the past, we would just show up and hope for a court. 

    Several of the sunflowers are developing "heads" but this is the first one to open. Still a while until the seeds ripen.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Tonight's Dinner

    I felt like something light for dinner tonight so went on a hunt through the fridge and in the garden. Voila!

Lettuce, cherry tomatoes and raspberries from the garden, nectarines, cucmber, feta cheese and olives from the fridge and needing eaten up. A match made in heaven and it was filling and delicious not to mention healthy to boot!

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Giant Zucchini

     Can't claim to have produced this mammoth specimen - a friend brought some to tennis yesterday and I was the lucky recipient of this beauty!

I made fritters with about one quarter of it (enough for three meals). Now what should I do with the rest? Suggestions welcome!

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Damp Basement

     After all the rain we had earlier this week, I was horrified to find puddles in my basement when I went down there this morning. It was actually in the crawl space so no furniture was damaged but some carpeting I had down there was pretty wet.

   Unfortunately, with the high humidity we have at the moment, it will take ages to dry out. I had to throw out some cardboard boxes which had soaked up quite a bit of the water, but stuff I had in plastic bags seems to be OK. It was a good reminder not to stockpile stuff down there so I will be doing a bit of decluttering soon.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

The Grand Tour

    As I have said before, I have a pretty small garden around the house. However, all the borders are packed with plants, mostly perennials, that are really blooming with all the recent rain. So, today's post is a tour around "the estate"!

I'm afraid I am not much of a photographer, but this will give you an idea of what's blooming today.

This perennial is called Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus) - you can see the balloon shape of the buds before they open.

I have slipped in an indoor violet as it is blooming so spectacularily!

Echinacea and some Bee Balm.

Self-seeding sweet peas - they come up every year but are just one colour and have no noticeable scent. Very pretty, nevertheless.

Phlox and more Bee Balm.

My first attempt at Sunflowers - they have really reached new heights this week!

    I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my garden. Today we had two thunderstorms with more heavy rain so I expect things will have grown even more by tomorrow - and the grass needs cut again!

Friday, 9 July 2021

More Bounty From the Garden

     Considering I only have a small patch of garden set aside for growing food, things are producing well. Today it was raspberries, haricot beans (my first attempt at growing them) and a large scallion for tomorrow's breakfast omelet.

The raspberries will be my dessert tonight. I have been nibbling a few each day but this is the first substantial picking. I will have the beans tonight too, with a lamb chop, mint sauce and new potatoes. Yum!!
 Big excitement today! I finally got a haircut after 8 months. It is such a relief to have a neat head of hair again. My hairdresser has been worked off her feet this week (the first week of opening) so I am very glad she managed to fit me in. I just hope I don't have to go so long before the next cut!

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Everything's Growing Like Crazy

     Off to pick some lettuce leaves for a salad for my dinner, in between showers. We managed almost an hour of tennis first thing this morning before the heavens opened, and it has been raining intermittently all day since then. The garden is very soggy and there is lots of rain in the forecast for the next few days. No sign of any sun.

It's nice to be able to pick just what you need. Plus they needed thinning out.

   Susan came back for coffee after tennis (we were both slightly damp) and watched the tennis from Wimbledon, the women's semi-finals, two exciting matches. Tomorrow it's the men's turn and they should be exciting too.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

My Hectic Life.....not!

    Nothing much to write about today but realized it is some time since I last posted. Just the usual, keeping busy with chores. It was very hot for a couple of days so I wasn't even getting in my daily walks. We have had quite a bit of rain recently (hailstones on Monday!) so the grass needed a cut today. That took up most of the afternoon but now it looks so much better.

    Watching Wimbledon in the mornings - one Canadian still in the Men's draw so that makes things interesting. I actually prefer the Women's matches although there are no big names left in the draw apart from #1 Ash Barty. It will be interesting to see if she prevails! 

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Second Shot

    So glad to get my second shot yesterday, now just have to wait two weeks to be fully protected. It was easy and fast. Most of the family are coming up for their second shot too, except for one grandson who is needle-phobic. He will have to get both doses before school starts back in September so that is a worry. He really wants to be vaccinated but gets a terrible panic attack when confronted with the needle.

   Today is cooler so I got lots of gardening and other chores done. I went to a local village market but didn't buy much as it was all over priced and I wasn't entirely sure things were local! I don't think I will be going back.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Canada Day

    For our tennis game today we decided to wear our national colours, red and white. It was a perfect day for tennis, then home for a BBQ and swim with the family.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Getting On With Business

   Very hot on the tennis courts this morning but we played for an hour and a half.  A very welcome thunder storm and rain this afternoon but, although it cooled off for a while, it is still up in the high 20's.   

   Car acting wonky yesterday so booked it in at the dealership. Sod's Law, everything was working fine today! So, after checking it for an hour they sent me home - no charge, thankfully.

   Made a pizza from scratch for dinner today (dough in the bread machine). Can't wait to try it. It looks juicy and delicious!

That's today's batch of jam at the back of the stove - strawberry rhubarb.

Monday, 28 June 2021

Strawberry Fields Forever

    Our local strawberry picking farm had a drop in time for Seniors this morning so I was on the road just before 7:00 a.m. There was a surprising number of people there ahead of me but I got a good row and was finished picking by 8:00. It's about half an hour out in the country.

   Home for breakfast and a relaxing swim then got stuck into jam making. I got one load done but decided to call it a day as I had a spill and the stove is a right mess! I have never had the jam overflow before but I managed to get most of it in jars. I will do another batch tomorrow.

   I had a surprise visitor while swimming this morning. There was a splash behind me as I was climbing out of the pool and there was a tiny red squirrel swimming like mad toward me. I gave him a helping hand to get out and he scurried away under the bushes. I don't know which of us was more surprised - I've no idea how he fell in.

Sunday, 27 June 2021


    A heat wave has engulfed our part of the country although I hear it is worse out west. Today it is still 30C at 6:30 in the evening. The AC has clicked on for just the second time this summer - I keep it set at 25C - as I manage the heat in the house by closing windows and drapes first thing in the morning then opening everything up at night. Tonight I may not do that if it remains hot.

   We had an early (8:00 a.m.) game of tennis this morning but I only lasted until shortly after 9:00 as it was very humid. The others kept playing for another few minutes by which time they were pretty well done too. Home and straight into the pool! It's amazing how even a quick dip brings down your body temperature.

   I attempted a bit of gardening when it became overcast later in the afternoon and followed that up with another dip, but mainly I spent the afternoon reading in the shade. We could really do with a shower or two although that will probably just add to the humidity. It will probably continue this way for the rest of the week.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Things Beginning to Open UP

    Got in most of my morning activities but it has been raining pretty steadily since then so no gardening. Luckily I have lots to read and I cheered myself up by baking a super gooey caramel and chocolate bar! 

   I went to my "other" tennis club this morning, not to play but to help run a social. Well, I did get on the court for a short while as we had a couple of "no shows". With COVID restrictions still in place we can't just drop in, we have to reserve a spot. It was wonderful to see all my old friends but we still miss being able to hang around to chat after playing. Later in the summer things may be back to more like normal.

   Some pretty things growing in my garden.

This is my first attempt at a pumpkin patch. I have two plants and this one has already produced a couple of flowers. It remains to be seen if they develop into pumpkins.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Summer Sets In

 It has been quite pleasantly cool for the last few days, which I have enjoyed as I had some gardening chores (cutting back bushes) to take care of. Finished just in time as tomorrow is set to be hot again. Luckily we had arranged to meet at the tennis courts early so I should be back home before it gets too hot.

   My computer is acting up so I will sign off now while I still can!

Sunday, 13 June 2021

A Quick Update

    I was on the computer bright and early last Monday to move up my second shot - only by two weeks but better than before. I now get it on July 2nd. then just a two week wait for it to take effect. Can't wait!

    The family came over yesterday for a swim and I inadvertently heated the pool to 82F. They had a ball! It is still nice and warm today and I must say I really enjoyed my swim this afternoon after gardening.

James waiting for Natalie to move so he can practice a dive.

A "treading water" contest, great exercise. Natalie won!

Sunday, 6 June 2021

The Heat Continues

    Another scorcher today (over 30C) and two dips in the pool, the first after two very hot hours on the tennis courts. We started at 8:00 and almost made it until 10:00 but I was really dragging by the end. It's amazing how a quick dip in the pool brings your body temperature down.

   Another dip this afternoon after some pruning and trimming of bushes. Everything is becoming very overgrown. My other Wigelia is now blooming but the peonies have not produced any flowers at all. I think they will have to be replaced next year.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Three "Firsts"

    The first "First" was picking some rhubarb from my one big plant which I did a couple of days ago. There was enough for a rhubarb crumble which I had over three days. It was very good!

    The second "First" was my first dip in the pool. It has been extremely hot for the past few days and the water temperature is now up to 70F. Very refreshing although I didn't stay in over long!

   The third "First" has still to be attempted - my first effort at making fish tacos. I eat fish quite frequently but have gotten rather bored with the few ways I prepare it. So, tonight is Fish Tacos night. I will load it up with veggies and make a Tartar sauce. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

A Beautiful Plant

    Just dropping in to show my latest dazzler in the garden. The Clematis was a new purchase last year and has survived the winter and established itself well. I am thrilled with the three blossoms and there are more to come!

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Things are Looking Up

    Couldn't complain about today's weather. We had a later than usual start to tennis but it never got uncomfortably hot. Home by 11:00 a.m., did a bit of gardening and thoroughly enjoyed the sunny skies and pleasant temperature. A lazy afternoon reading in the shade and am just about to barbecue some turkey sausages for dinner. Life's all good at the moment!

Friday, 28 May 2021

Depressing Weather

     It only got up to 5C today and we had snow flakes falling all morning. 'Nuff said!

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Pool Up and Running

     The pool has survived another winter, albeit a relatively mild one, but the cover has taken a beating. I think it will last another year, fingers crossed.

   As of today it is ready for swimming but still very cold, barely above 60F so it will be some time until I can get in. However, it is looking nice, just waiting for some summery weather. Tonight it is going down to 7C, not even very Spring-like!

    Tennis this morning and a much more pleasant experience as it was sunny but with a nice cool breeze. We managed two sets and played from 9:00 a.m. until nearly 11:00 (with breaks in between). We are back to our original routine of booking a court on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and so far have been successful. It is looking like being a good summer of socializing on the courts.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

One Step Closer to Summer

    During the long winter months I have managed to keep my weight under control by daily walks and thrice weekly workouts. However, once the tennis courts opened in April I let the food restrictions - no carbs except bread -  slide somewhat (indulging myself as a reward for making it through the winter months).

   Then came the third lockdown - a month of stay-at-home orders - and my weight has crept up again! Today was our first day out of lockdown and a return to the tennis courts. Let's hope it results in a more orderly resumption of good eating habits and weight loss. We're only talking 5 or so pounds but it is amazing how much better I feel about myself without that extra weight!

    It was very hot on the tennis courts this morning but we managed almost 2 hours. I was gasping by the time we stopped and have basically spent the rest of the day recovering. I had to tidy up the back yard (trimming grass and borders and cutting back bushes) as the pool guys are coming tomorrow to take the cover off the pool. One last job is to hose off the cover but I was hoping we would have some rain to do the job for me. No luck so far.


Saturday, 22 May 2021

My Flowering Garden

    Cooler today and overcast, just 25C. Yesterday hit 30C and was humid into the bargain. I had a bad night, tossing and turning until the wee sma' hours. A nap required this afternoon.

   I have two Wigelia bushes, one of which has been taken over by the Euonymous by the back fence. However, the other is just coming into bloom and is looking healthy (I lost a third last year as they are all "of a certain age"). Lily of the Valley is just coming into bloom this week too. I love its scent in the house!

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

A Wasted Morning

 Out early this morning, right after my workout, to water the vegetable garden. I had an appointment for my air conditioner service so had to stay by the phone. Here it's most annoying, they phone to say they are on their way, but if you don't answer they don't come! I have had that happen a couple of times so am super careful to be on hand.

    The guy was due between 10:a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Of course, he came at 1:30 so I had to twiddle my thumbs for over 3 hours. Never mind, it's done now and just in time as the weather is heating up - high 20's this week.

   I cut the back grass this afternoon (once released from my self imposed incarceration) and was hot and sweaty after, wishing the pool was open. I would definitely have gone in for a cooling dip regardless of the temperature. I have been watching the lilac bush and today it is just right for a photo. It seems there is something new in the garden every day at the moment!

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Two Successes

   Finished today`s crossword in the Toronto Star - my first time ever completing it! This is a new (to me during lockdown) activity as I always thought I wasn`t smart enough to try it. However, it is a good way to put in an hour or two on the long mornings. I do the Sudoku and Jumble as well.

    More gardening today. I found two more tomato plants at the grocery store today, one a grape variety. I would still like to get a cherry tomato but am running out of space. Transplanted two pumpkin plants that I grew from seed just to see what they will do. Stay tuned!

Monday, 17 May 2021

Bleeding Hearts

    Sore back and hip today from preparing the vegetable garden yesterday. But that's mostly done so I had time to examine what else was going on in my garden.

   This is one of five Bleeding Heart plants spread around the front and back borders, all from one original plant. It tends to self propogate (shoots spring up close to the mother plant) and only requires  a transplant of the new growth which seems to establish itself quite easily.

    We are set to have a beautiful week of sunny skies and high temperatures. The nights are still cool but no hint of frost!   

Friday, 14 May 2021

Some Chats and a Good Book

    Window cleaner here today - my faithful Ahmet of the roof repair - I only have him come twice a year as the air here is relatively pollution free and the windows stay pretty clean. He made quick work of my windows and was quite happy to stay for a short chat as I was his last job of the day. Earlier I hit the garden centre on the lookout for tomato plants but came away almost empty-handed - just one tomato, some kale seedlings and three begonias for a hanging basket. Lined up to get in and again to pay but, all in all, it didn't take too long. Last stop of the day was to make a delivery to a friend so another chance to while away some time chatting.

   I have just finished an excellent book, one of those that you never want to end, very satisfying. It's "A Town Called Solace" by Mary Lawson and I have immediately requested two others by her from the library. A couple of reviews sum up its appeal.

     "Poised, elegant prose, paired with quiet drama that will break your heart."

    "Lawson is tender with her characters.... She has a unique talent for making them so vibrant and compelling that readers will feel they have made new friends."

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

First Asparagus of the Season

    Asparagus has been in the stores for a couple of weeks but the spikes were rather spindly. Today's were much more appetizing so I bought a bunch. This will do me several meals in prepared in different ways. Today it was steamed for 5 minutes and then finished cooking in butter. A generous squeeze of lemon completed it.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Mother's Day

    I got another lovely Mother's Day treat today, this time from daughter - afternoon tea in a box. The same as last year but we were able to enjoy it indoors this time. Last year it had to be on the front porch and it was a bit chilly!

     There were sandwiches, a small quiche, a scone with creme fraiche and jam, and various sweet treats. Also a special tea blend which we both enjoyed. But the best part was having her company for a couple of hours! Then she went home to have a special treat from her own family. Quite a delightful day!

Friday, 7 May 2021

A New Experience

    I had an interesting experience today - I was the "Mystery Reader" to my daughter's kindergarten class. This was all done online so I had the opportunity to see how all that works. I was very impressed at how hard she has to work to engage the children.

   After I read the book (Fancy Nancy - I kept calling her Francie) the children got to ask questions and I showed them a photo of Judy when she was just a bit older than them. They were fascinated but Judy was quite mortified. Luckily she laughed it off. I would definitely like to do that again. Hope I am invited back!

  It is Mother's Day here on Sunday and son (in Victoria B.C.) sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers since he can't be here in person. Also some delicious chocolates. We are both chocaholics so he knows what I like!

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

First World Problems

    I didn't bother with a walk today as it has been on and off rain almost all day and I had a good long one yesterday. Zoomed with my Bridge friends this afternoon then went on a fruitless trip to bring another friend some yarn for her knitting project - went to the wrong building - but I'll try again tomorrow.

   My handyman, God bless him, came yesterday in the rain and patched the place on my roof that lost its shingles to the wind last week. He used the shingles that landed in the yard but will come back to do a more permanent repair later. At least my attic will stay dry until then which is a big relief! I can't believe all the house problems I have had in the past year, just hope that is the end of them. My savings account has taken a beating! I guess I should be happy I had some money put by for emergencies - it wasn't earning much interest anyway! 

This was the only tulip from my header photo that survived the rampage of the squirrels!

My neighbour's magnolia tree- it is further along now so I will try for another photo.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Nothing to Write About

    I have been absent for some time just because nothing interesting has been happening in my life. 

   Today is cold and very windy (snow forecast for overnight) so I haven't been able to even work in the garden although the grass badly needs cutting. We had a great deal of rain over the last two days (the last of the April showers) and the garden is still very soggy. I have just noticed some sheets of roofing are scattered around my yard. Another job for my handyman!

   I had a couple of errands to run this morning (by car) and didn't have my daily walk. Luckily I have a good book on the go and a DVD to watch tonight. Tomorrow is another day!

Friday, 23 April 2021

New Purchases

    I had to drop off some paperwork at a friend's house this morning and, since I was near the Garden Centre, I decided to pick up some supplies. I managed to get the last rhubarb plant - last year I missed out and they were all gone by the time I went looking. I also bought some pansies for a display at the front door. They should be OK if we have a slight frost. Otherwise I will bring them inside overnight. I still need to get some manure for the vegetable plot and fertilizer for the lawn but the garden centre is not the cheapest place for that, so it will have to happen on another day!