July 31, 2017
We have officially celebrated thirty six years
together. It doesn't seem like it's that long.
But here we are, not any taller but with
grey in our hair and lines around our eyes.
Many adventures, many losses and truly
so many things to be thankful for ....
A recent rainy night, after a hot
and busy day, demanded a bath.
I lit candles, put on my favorite
music and grabbed my book.
Settled into the bubbles and began
to devour the words before me.
The candle light was so perfect,
until the lightening began. And
soon a knock on the door, from
dh, who insisted with the storm
that had begun that I get out of
my delicious tub. I'm sure it's
an old wives tale but I wasn't
going to make him worry, so
out I got. Not happy about it
but at least I was safe and dry.
The second photo challenge that I'm going to do
is this one ~ #myhouseinaugust. I love the whole
concept and look forward to participating. With a
new home, there are so many things I can share.
Have you participated in any photo challenges?
Would you be willing to try this one out?
I had no idea we had Hummingbirds
in our northern region here in Canada.
When we lived on the West Coast, close
to the ocean, we had them everywhere.
So it was a bit of a shock for me to be
out shopping one day and coming across
this sweet little Hummingbird feeder.
The saleslady told me she bought one
and took it home, made up the nectar
and has had masses of birds since then.
So I took it home, followed the recipe she
gave me and made up a quantity of nectar.
I haven't been able to capture any of our
tiny Hummingbirds just yet with my
camera but we have had so many, we
keep having to make the nectar. They
are so small and they're wings move
so quickly. It's fun to watch them hover
over the feeder and even fight with each
other. Great entertainment for all of us.
We have found two different wrought iron
gazebos that we could buy for the garden.
This first one above is more contemporary,
which of course is truly not our style.
It was on sale last week for 40% off but
even with a discount, it was still $1,600.
The next day, we found this one and its
more our vintage, Victorian style. But
it's not yet on sale. I do have the store
owners business card so I can call her to
see if there is a sale coming up or if a
better price could be negotiated. This
one is set at $1,400 so it's still a better
price than the first one. More scrolls
and more "hearts." Now comes the big
decision: which one do/should we buy?
project: at the moment, there is NO
progress as my dollhouse is buried
behind all the items that need to be
chalk painted. Once the art studio is
finished, I'll be able to lay out all my
projects and work on them at my own
pace without crowding or burying
other items. Very frustrating right
now but we're almost finished.
While we work on completing our
fenced in garden area, we've been
growing some fruit, veggies and
even some herbs in containers.
Our strawberries have produced some
lovely yet small, crimson berries to enjoy.
And look at our blueberry bush. We've got at
least a half dozen berries and more to come.
Once our garden is finished, we will plant our
little perennials into the ground for next season.
I recently finished reading "The Little Book of Hygge" and quite enjoyed exploring this new concept of living a full and intentional life. What I found interesting was how much of our own current lifestyle here in Canada is very Hygge. I would highly recommend The Book of Hygge for anyone wishing to create a homey, comfortable life with intention and peace. A great read and great resource. Here is the Hygge Manifesto, as written by author Meik Wiking, with my comments in green:
1. Atmosphere ~ Turn down the lights. We truly do not like bright lights. We use small lamps and soft lighting.
2. Presence ~ Be here now. Turn off the phones. Living in the moment is a promise we've made to each other and our family. We love to reminisce our past experiences and make plans for the future but we need to enjoy and be truly present to what we have now. No rushing tomorrow. And phones drive me crazy. We have ours on when we're on call for work or projects. But it's so freeing when we have them turned off too. I love the silence.
3. Pleasure ~ Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. No to coffee (we've never been fans), yes to chocolate (milk for me, dark for him), cookies (soft homemade chocolate chip are our favorites), cakes (chocolate or Angel food) and candy (anything sweet AND sour).
4. Equality ~ "We" over "me". Share the tasks and the airtime. We've always been a good team in sharing the tasks. I feel very lucky to have a guy who helps.
5. Gratitude ~ Take it in. This might be as good as it gets. On a daily basis, there is so much to be thankful for. A safe, clean environment to live in, good careers, family, friends and so many opportunities to have fun and create memories in our community.
6. Harmony ~ It's not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements. Exactly! Being humble is so much more chic.
7. Comfort ~ Get comfy. Take a break. It's all about relaxation. Our life and our home has truly been designed and crafted around comfort. Even buying clothes. We search out clothing and bedding, towels and footwear that provide comfort and make us feel good.
8. Truce ~ No drama. Let's discuss politics another day. Not part of our life as it does nothing but bring stress and unnecessary discussions that can get out of hand.
9. Togetherness ~ Build relationships and narratives. "Do you remember the time we ....?" We love being together and sharing stories ~ the "story of our life."
10. Shelter ~ This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security. Truly our cottage and our life have become our security from the storm outside our door ....
I love photo challenges and came across
two today that I am going to join. This is
the first one, though I won't do this until
the Fall. We don't have a cluttered house
but it would be a wonderful way to do a
bit of routine downsizing so we don't get
to a state big of "clutterness" in our little
cottage in the big woods. A good plan.
A show from my childhood has made it back to prime time tv. In the form of reruns of course. I'm not sure why I'm so intrigued at the moment but am devouring both episodes that air daily. Perhaps it's the things that are said and done that we would never think of saying or doing now. Very entertaining. I remember my parents watching it and hearing them laugh ~ a happy spot each week during a very stressful time. I love the simplicity of the Bunker home and the simplicity of their lives. Certainly we live in a more "exciting" and innovative time. But to be so present, in the moment, without the things that distract us now is a bit of a refreshing experience.
Is "All In The Family" a show you watched when it aired?
If so, do you have a favorite episode or character?
I've just turned the channel after tuning in to some "Breaking News" and found myself both amused and then feeling sorry for the latest casualty of the "revolving door" our neighbors are experiencing with White Staff. I wonder how long it will take before we turn the channel one day and see the latest staff change will actually be the removal or resignation of the current President.
Not the best picture but it's the only one I have right now. Introducing our first two trees ~ we've never had to buy trees before, in all our years of home ownership. Every house has always had a fairly nice, established garden. And now on just over 2 acres of land, we've got a million trees .... but no fruit trees. Lots of organic and wild berry bushes, but no other fruits. So we saved up and waited for a sale and came home one day with these 2 beauties. We're slightly nervous about being entrusted with the well being of these fruit bearers. But we'll do a our best. And they came with a long warranty (5 years if I recall correctly). We currently have 2 very round and starting to redden up MacIntosh apples sprouting. Fingers crossed that they continue to grow well and in time, we have crops over the years. For us, a new and fun project.
Do you now have or have you ever grown apple trees?
What kind and when did you get a good crop?
It was a very busy Sunday yesterday. We were up early and headed down the highway to rent a gas auger to put the fence posts into our little garden plot. It took most of the day, with a dear friend of ours helping, but we got in all the posts that we had planned out for the day. We have a few more to do for the gate but have to get the rails cut to size and a few more in the front garden for our Arbor, wing fences and gate. So grateful for the cloudy day with a bit of a breeze. We had a heat advisory last week so it was a gamble to do this on Sunday but turned out to be just the right weather. Today it's rainy, chilly and a bit gloomy. I'm thankful for a day to rest and do small jobs around the cottage. I did take the auger back, then headed in to town to get a few groceries, some gas and stopped in to chat with my staff.
We changed the location of the garden from in front of the shed to beside it. It wasn't going to work to attach it to the potting shed liked we hoped, so we came up with this idea instead. It took me until mid afternoon to decide that I was going to like it and by the end of the afternoon I had already planned out a grassy area with a flagstone path and a sitting bench and more trees in front of the shed. I can see it becoming a favorite spot in time.
This proud boy has been waiting weeks for
his little seeds in his tiny pot to sprout.
He was away for a few days and I was
watering all the pots on our veranda the
other day and noticed a bit of green
slightly peaking through the dark soil.
He's very proud to be able to garden
and learn all about plants. So exciting.
We've finally made a decision for the Art Studio. Our cabinets are now all installed, the shelves and drawers are in, the walls are painted, the lights are almost all in and next on our list was the counters. We wanted to find a wood look and came across these counters from Ikea. The Karlby line and the fit will be perfect for our contractor to work with. He has used these a number of times in kitchen remodels, so we're trusting his judgement. And right now, Ikea has a kitchen event, so we'll be getting back 10% on our purchase today in gift cards that we can use for future purchases. Today, a friend of ours with a truck is meeting us at the store. We'll pick out the ones we want and then he'll transport them out to our acreage for us. Our counter guy is hoping to come on Wednesday to do the install. Just waiting for his confirmation. Once the counters are installed, he'll then do the baseboards, our floor guy will come and install the flooring, we will then put the cabinet doors and drawer fronts on, and the hardware, and then my dh just has to put up the last two lights ~ we were waiting for the counters first so we can align the two lights over the island just right but needed the counters there first. This has been a long dreamed about project and I can't believer we're almost ready to finally use our new Art Studio.
One of our local grocery stores has brought
in a line of Tesco products from Britain.
One of my favorite chocolate bars is a Kit
Kat. And look what we found from Tesco.
A bar called "Snappy Fingers" and it was
almost identical to a Kit Kat but a bit
thinner and a bit less of a milk chocolate
flavor. Still a good treat and one I would
buy in the future. We're quite enjoying
trying out all the Tesco items. Yum ....
I'm pretty good at getting tasks on my "to do" list done. But sometimes, the big "P" word creeps in to my life and I've recognized that it typically happens when I'm tired or my list get tooooo long. The big "P" word? Procrastination.
I'm a list maker and it truly helps. And I do try to be realistic. For years, I've practiced something I created to help myself when lift gets to be too much .... I call it "Six Things" and it is just what it says. I'm allowed to write a list each day that has six items that I wish to tackle. Not eight, not two, but a manageable six. And these are not items like "make the bed" or "plan dinner" but items that need attention and need to be schedule. Most of the time, this helps and I can knock six items off the grand list each day. An example .... write a grant or schedule interview times for new employee. Not things I do every day but things that crowd life and need to be done within a period of time. Realistic and achievable.
At times, I find though that even completing six things is too much. Is it procrastination? Or is it I'm just exhausted and can't function? When those times happen, and thankfully, it's not often, but when it does, I am kind to myself ~ okay, realistically, I do beat myself up for a bit ~ then move on to negotiation. Can I move those things I'm not going to get to today to tomorrow? Can I have someone else take on the task? I'm actually getting quite good at delegating now that I can see others are very capable of taking on projects that in the past I felt I had to do on my own in order for them to get done well. Yup, big lesson to learn there. And so freeing!
And I've learned that all of us have moments of procrastination .... sometimes we have tasks on our list we really don't want to do. The human reaction is to keep moving it further down our list or ignore it. I've found that if I give myself a reasonable due date (BEFORE the actual due date), I can then find a time within that period where I will actually get it done. Always feels good and I often wonder why I was not wanting to do that particular item in the first place. It's usually not as bad as I envisioned.
Big question of the day: are you a Procrastinator?
How do you handle all the tasks on your list?
July 30, 2017
Before we moved in to this house, we shredded many years of old records and paper. It was so freeing to empty box after box of items we no longer needed to hang on to. And so far, I've not yet needed any of those items that were gone. No here we are, 2 years later and my paperwork pile is starting to grow again. We have a handy tote that holds all our current files and a couple of box of files that hold archived tax returns, official documents and items we are comfortable tucking away for now. My shredder though is going to come out soon to trash the items that are really not worth hanging on to. As organized as I am with paper, I'm truly looking forward to making my paperwork pile shrink down to nothing.
How do you manager all the paper in your life?
Do you keep everything or toss immediately?
July 29, 2017
I'm married to a funny guy. He loves to joke and at
times, it's a good one but sometimes it's so bad we
can't help but snicker, and then walk away. The other
day he asked me why I hadn't complimented him on
his "fancy attire" which he had sported all day. I truly
hadn't noticed. He actually had to point out to me the
addition of a tiny bow tie to the front of his shirt.
See what I have to live with every day! He promised
me that marrying him would mean every day would
truly be an adventure. And he has never wavered on
that long ago engagement/marriage promise ....
We try and have Sunday Dinner in our dining room each
week and it's fun to set up the table for our "guests".
A few weeks ago, we celebrated our daughter's birthday
and a small milestone was reached on this special day.
Did you spot it? Yes, that is our grandson enjoying his
first wine glass, a tiny one and no wine was inside!
Roasted chicken, mashed taters, gravy and peas was her
request. And then the big ice cream cake came out. A
lovely day to celebrate our first born and to watch our
little guy feel like a grown up at our formal but fun table.
I love writing letters and sending cards to loved ones
and friends, so I'm always looking for stationary.
I found these sweet cards last week when I was
looking for thank you notes to add to my stash.
Even the inside of the box and the tiny white ribbon
melted my heart. A great find that won't last long.
Do you collect stationary for letters and thank you's?
Do you like to buy writing paper, cards or both?
July 27, 2017
We had a fair bit of "tree drama" on Monday afternoon. The wicked storm that had moved in was making me a bit nervous with how much our trees were swaying and moving about in the wind. Our last big storm showed us that a few of our trees would eventually need to come down due to their advanced age and the proximity to our house. We had a company come out and cut down the most critical but they were so busy that day that they suggested the other 2 we were concerned about could wait for another 2 to 4 years. In the moment, I was totally trusting their judgment as tree experts but ended up booking for later this summer when they had openings to take them down before it got too dangerous. They went on their merry way that day, after reassuring me once more that the 2 other trees were not going to come down any time soon.
Fast forward a couple of weeks later to Monday afternoon. The rain and wind had started the night before and I felt so lucky to not have to go anywhere that day. I puttered, I wrote, I laundered, I cleaned, I organized, I napped and I hunkered down to enjoy the coziness of our home, while the storm howled and crashed about outside. I at one point decided to check to make sure our 2 wayward trees were still intact and ventured in to the art studio above our garage to take a peek outside. They were both dancing in the wind but there were no signs that any danger was imminent. Not long after however, my daughter asked "when did the tree come down?" I walked down the hall to the studio to see her peering out the window at the trees I had just checked and sure enough, one was laying across the first part of our driveway. You can see that in the picture above, with apologies for the window screen showing up in the shot. So thankful that it didn't fall towards the house. My car would have been quite damaged with the weight. It's strange we didn't hear anything, especially as I had some windows open to capture some of the cool air.
I quickly texted my dh to let him know that the entrance to the driveway was now blocked. He was in meetings and then left to come home early and actually didn't check his phone, so it was a bit of a shock for him to pull up. By then I had phoned our next door neighbor to ask him if he had any kind of equipment that could actually somehow brace the tree beside the one that fell (the one you can see in the picture on the left). It was doing some heaving when the wind would blow and I was extremely worried it was going to come down on the house. He was just on his way over to check it out when dh pulled up. We spent some time talking about options and then our other neighbor pulled up to see if he could help. It's lovely out in the country how everyone bands together. We literally live at the back end of our subdivision, in a sweet little forest. How he knew we were in need of help I never did quite figure out but there he was. We went and grabbed our chainsaw, he got his out of his truck and we went to work clearing away the first tree. Then we figured out a pulley system we had in our garage to tie the second tree down while our neighbor, who is an engineer, figured out where to make the cuts in the tree to get it to fall in just the right spot. I don't have that picture today but could post at another time. There his is in the second picture on the right, tying down our "system" while our neighbor in the yellow rain gear held on with my dh. This guy is 84 years old and works outside every day. He just replaced the fencing down his lane and between our properties, by hand, on his own and would not accept any help. He's quite the character. So notches were made in the trunk, I ran around the corner as I couldn't watch and within minutes, the tree came crashing down. It was incredibly loud so we can't figure out why we didn't hear the first one come down! Once we were able to see that no damage had been down, we all then went to work chainsawing it in to big pieces of firewood. And with that, our home was safe and the 2 trees that were going to cost close to $1,000 next month to come down were taken care by nature and by neighbors, without any cost, though we are planning a big thank you for both of them for their time and expertise. We are so thankful for close neighbors out here where it is so important to know each other. We do have to rely on each other when things like nature take over the day.
So that is the tale of our "tree drama" and I hope it's the only one we'll ever have to tell. I'm a true tree hugger but had no issue saying goodbye to these 2 monsters who could have done some serious damage if they had fallen the wrong way. All is well and now we can be more relaxed and feel safe when a wind storm comes our way.