Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday calmness

 It's Black Friday here... The day after the Turkey coma grabs you! People were camped out before the doors opened and for the first time on the actual Thanksgiving day in what I believe I heard was over 200 years. I calmly told myself with out any hesitation yesterday that there was nothing I needed that would make this non-shopper.....go our into the hoards of crazed "possible savings" frenzy...
 I woke this morning having slept in an extra half hour. Made my tea and sat down to quilt. I realized that I had not prepared my post for today so started up the laptop. While it started I checked my smart phone and then opened an email that lured me in! Black Friday savings....WOW! 
I started sifting through all the various items and seeing indeed the incredible savings. Yes! I could use some new sheets... Oh those tall boots sure look great! I have lost another pants size so lets check out the trousers.... and on and on it went..... Do I dare attempt to go?  Well, that would mean actually combing my hair and getting dressed! I do need to go into the office and deal with some new contracts... Here I go... the shopping demons have grabbed even this non shopper!! yikes!!! 
But at least at the end of the madness I can come home to the tranquility and the place that is my Sanctuary... My very own indoor garden.

This is what the mermaid does for the winter months... In March there will be starts competing for the window space... Unless I build that much longed for greenhouse!
I have the Tootsie madness.... don't we all?  Speaking of Tootsie.. You've got it. Im linking up over at Fertilizer Friday with Tootsie.. See all of you over there.
Have a fantastic weekend. Please leave me a note to tell me you've been. I will answer... I know Im behind..But I will.. and love to read them all.
Kate

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I can sing a Rainbow...... Reds


Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow too.
Listen with your eyes,  
Listen with your ears,
and sing everything you see,
I can sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow,
sing along with me.
Red and yellow and pink and green,
Purple and orange and blue,
I can sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow too!


So did you guess what the next colour would be? I actually surprised myself in singing this favorite child's song of mine that I remembered it fairly well. Although I did have the title slightly wrong... Its actually  "I can sing a Rainbow" .  Considering the ages of my three girls I'm thinking that's pretty good!.  I also found out there is a song by Dr Hook with the title "Sing me a Rainbow"



Some of the "REDS" are not as red as I would like them...But, if they are described as red who am I to argue with the the powers that be.
This is one of my absolute favorite photos of my pond.... Is this doing your heart good? Seeing all this glorious green and colour... four months and counting....See some people are counting down for Thanksgiving or Christmas but not me. I'm already counting down to digging in the soil. 
I'm going to let you wander at your own pace and enjoy... I'm hoping that all this will brighten a few of my friends hearts too. If you want to be really optimistic then for those of you with greenhouse it will actually be a lot less time!




This was sold to me as a "Red"....



















Well Im feeling better after that.. I hope you are too!.  I think its a fairly good coverage of the red in my garden but Im sure I am missing some. 
What is your favorite photo.. Do you see something you think I should add?

Another thing to be thankful for... How my blog make a great journal of what happened through out the gardening season so I can visit on 21 degree days when its blowing and snowing and cars are slipping everywhere outside. 
Thanks for walking my garden. Please come again. Leave me a message so I know who has been.
To everyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday. Make it a joyful day.
Take time to really think about all the small things that we take for granted and truly give thanks.
If you know someone all on their own. If you can possibly do it.. Why not invite them in to break bread with you!. 

Kate.







Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mermaids Manic Monday Things Im Thankful for...

Its Mermaids Manic Monday..... Time to share what ever you have to share. I'm really not feeling very Manic at all this Monday. Although considering that this week is only a three day week I'm sure that as the week marches on and I'm scurrying to get things done it might just turn more manic.

The weekend was suppose to include an outing with Bear to Grand Rapids for the Beer, Wine and Food festival only it turned cold after raining all Friday morning and covering the roads in a sheet of ice for Saturday morning followed by wet huge flakes of snow. A recipe for nastiness.  So, instead it was light the fire, make a big pot of Thai curry chicken soup and stay indoors quilting. While I quilted I also put movies on my computer.  I'm able to look out over garden through two windows in my sewing room. The birds at the feeders were very thankful I had filled it up before the storm and it made me start to reflect about this Mondays post..

 What am I Thankful for....  

 I am very thankful for a roof over my head!
 Im thankful for hot water!
 Im very thankful for my girls and how well they have grown up and are living their lives.
 Im thankful for my health. 
 Im also thankful for the blogging community and the friends that it has brought into my life 
 Im thankful for having welcomed God into my life and for the calmness and acceptance that that has brought into my life.
Im extremely thankful to live in a country that allows me to have the freedoms I do and especially the choice of religion. (So far!) 

Thursday is American Thanksgiving... As I prepare our meal I will be extremely thankful for the food that will be on our table and the friends we will share it with. I will also stop and think of the family's that have loved ones unable to travel home or who are abroad serving their country. 

Im sharing a picture of a couple quilting projects I've worked on this weekend... One being the start of a new Christmas hanging... The star block is one of many to complete a quilt top called Cooperstown. I'll share the progress as it happens..








Kate  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Favorite Recipes or family Traditions....

Its here! Mermaids Manic Mondays... So called because after the weekend usually everyone has something to share. Either you were out working in your gardens, creating crafts, cooking or out and about seeing something you might think of interest to others. Mondays are also "Manic" for me because I always seem to have troubles getting my self out the door and leaving my garden/home...If you want to join in its actually very easy. Just read to the bottom of this post and select the blue button. It will walk you through the rest of it. I figured it out and trust me. Computers are just not my thing!  So what are you waiting for? Join in..

Mermaids Manic Mondays... Week three...

Family traditions... Every family has them even if they do not always take the time to identify them. I feel they are important. A type of glue if you like. They give you something to look forward to and anticipate.   They start off as simple as colouring eggs at Easter. Making gingerbread houses at Christmas. Exchanging platters of homemade cookies and bars. As gardeners we often will exchange seedlings in the spring. We all know someone who grows the strongest healthiest vegetable starts and exchange back and forth among neighbors or gardening club friends so that we do not all have to start everything.  Some of us continue to grow different vegetables and then share the bounty with each other.
As a single mom. Money was always an issue. Yet it wasn't! If you look around your home towns you can always find things to do that takes little or no money to enjoy.

 We made homemade gingerbread houses. Something the girls still do. Now a days you can find some pretty neat kits if your time or talent doesn't allow for actually making one from your own recipe and design.
 There was one year while living over in Germany where I made and sold twenty some odd  Gingerbread houses and decorated them with the help of the girls. I have to say our house smelled wonderfully. We got pretty creative. We made the roof hinge so that you could store Christmas candy inside.


Thanksgiving growing up was always a huge feast. It was never just my parents and two brothers. We usually had other people who would of been on their own joining us and the count was often into the twenty's. A home grown turkey and ham would both be cooked.  Dinner would be around 1:30.  Time would be allowed for the turkey coma to subside before mountains of freshly homemade whipped cream covered pies would make their debut. Thanksgiving for me growing up was the Canadian one so around the 11th. Weather permitting I would of been out riding and enjoying the crisp clear blue Sky's or an Indian summer breeze off the lake. For some of the family's it was also the time of year when the cattle would be rounded up and brought back into the farms from the range land.
Around here something called "Deer camp" happens.. Ladies get together and have slumber parties while the men folk or to be politically correct the "hunters" are off hunting.

 I love to make the gingerbread and cinnamon smelling decorations that takes equal parts of cinnamon and applesauce  and can be decorated with gold glitter pens or how ever you wish.


 Another tradition for me was to start something called Rumtopft Its soft fruits as they come into season layered in a big glass container and covered with rum. They spend the summer fermenting with sprinklings of sugar added. That will be divided into jars and given to friends. You either just scoop it out and enjoy sipping on the rum and munching on the fruit or you can ladle it over ice cream or cake!

We tried hard to make it not about the money but more about spending time together doing things, going places such as community free Christmas light shows. Ice skating, Craft festivals and a big thing was to be able to go to a Christmas theater production.  Now a days we are very spread out and the oldest daughter has developed the tradition of going snowboarding on Christmas day.


Decorating is a huge tradition for a lot of family's. They have exactly what they want and where they want it all mapped out. Going and finding the perfect tree by horse back with my dad during the summer was a favorite thing but we never seemed to be able to find the tree once they were laden with snow!  I do remember the first year the girls and I moved back from Europe and we went and picked out a tree growing on my fathers farm and drug it in. How wonderfully it smelled. Decorating the tree has different memories for all of us. My mother was a real stickler for having all the decorations evenly spaced and the icicles laid one strand at a time over every little finger of every bough starting from the inside and working out creating the perfect layer of shimmer and beauty... not a strand out of place!  It is something I still love to do. Now living in Michigan I try to go to the Fredrick Meijers sculpture garden Christmas tree display. Last year I was invited to join the Rotary International exchange students when they went out to the tree farm to pick out a tree and then decorate it.




I love all the preparation of baking all the goodies. However, with the girls gone. They are not here to eat them. I do not need it. Bear doesn't eat anything sweet!  This year I'm hosting a cookie exchange. I will just keep enough for visitors and the rest will be given away.



So what are some of your traditions. What do you look forward to every year? Maybe its time to think of some new traditions because your family dynamics has drastically changed. Its never too late to start. Go ahead what are you waiting for. Even if you live on your own and especially if you are on your own. Then its time to think of something you would enjoy doing especially with the Christmas Holidays coming up. Something to get you outside and put a smile on your face.

I started a new Christmas hanging.. found two Christmas projects I haven't quite finished and lengthen two pairs of pants. I also found three quilt projects that have the fabric already selected and boxed  to start quilting. 
How was your weekend... Now its time for you to share..
what are you waiting for...
Join in now. Its free and it feels good!

Kate.









Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sing a Rainbow

Its a blustery grey November day.... warm enough that what ever is kicking up over the Great Lake of Michigan its going to be wet and not snow... But something wicked this way comes!
There isn't really anything to look at now. We finally had a few nights that brought in early morning frost and the leaves rapidly were shed with the next slight breeze. Piles of them line the streets of Holland waiting to be cleared away. Another thing I am so not use too. They are not bagged. They are just raked and piled out on to the street and wait there clogging up the roads till the crews get to them. Shhhh... Don't tell the citizen in Calgary Alberta that. They might want that contracted out for them too! 
Looking out my window waiting for the rain I got thinking about the lack of rainbows here. Or at least that I'm not seeing them where I live.  I look over all the flower beds that just a month ago still have colour. Its easy to forget the beauty we were blessed with when its all dormant. I'm back to working on the planting plan and deciding what needs to be moved or more added and where. So I started looking through the photos. I decided that maybe I would do a revision of what colours are offered here at Frog Hollow through out the summer. Instead of month by month though I have decided to break it down and sing you a rainbow. 
I hope your eyes and heart enjoy the feast of colour I have for you.


This is straight out in front of the main entrance and so I love a lot of colour and contrast here.
This bed is actually on the other side of the walk way bed and separated even by the grassy sward.
Softer pastel colours are up closer to the house. The bright brilliant colours a bit further away as a treat for the eye.
looking at the cleaned up beds right now you might not realize the riot of colour that will again explode next spring. The colours in this bed constantly changing. My beds start out pretty monochromatic. Blues, purples and white.
Just some of the sixty Lily's that were planted last fall.
I know that one of the things I didn't like is that the green all seems to be the same.. I have different flower shapes and sizes and colours.. The leaves are different textures and shapes, forms. Yet I'm afraid if I printed this out in black and white.... would there be a contrast or would it all blur together..
close up showing the growing Monkshood which would of added a glossier darker leaf to the mix 
Okay... maybe I should just relax.. I'm liking what I'm seeing here.
I did go a bit mad cutting back at one point though because the vegetation was choking out this rose It was suppose to be the center feature of the bed. It did grow spectacularly by the end of the summer and hopefully will put on a much greater show and have a stronger presence in this bed next summer.
So this is the start of a set of features called... Sing me a rainbow.. do you remember the child's song.. lets see if you do... what colour will I be featuring next?

Have a great weekend in what ever way you spend it.

Kate

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mermaids Manic Mondays Nov 11

Its finally here......
The weekend is gone.... The alarm bell has rang... time for a cuppa before the next week I begin... My thoughts down in type... a picture or two...I have the weekends happening ready to share with you.
The song Manic Monday is playing in my head.. As I smile and the publish button is pushed and our link up begins

So... watch this space and read the list on a previous post titled ....Last curtain.... A new beginning... Here's your invitation  Your all invited to join in!

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Least we Forget....






 It would not seem like Remembrance day without hearing this familiar childhood poem.
In my travels it surprised me that not everyone actually had ever heard this poem. It just seemed to be such a part of Remembrance day and the whole celebration of drawing poppies and making wreaths growing up.I don't think I actually ever look at a poppy without the first couple lines glimmer in my memory.  As Canadian children we would observe the two minutes silence. Watch the veterans place their wreaths at the memorial. Veterans would be invited in to tell us their stories. Then I married a British soldier. I experienced it from a wifes perspective. Im told that not all schools observe Remembrance day any more. Its not "Politically correct"... (You do not want to hear my reply to that)  Please take the time to remember.... For all the men and women who have given so much. I do not think that two minutes of your day is such a big thing to ask for.    

                                                                  Kate

Friday, November 8, 2013

Troll foot in the face!

Its already November 8th. The weather has certainly shifted to a more seasonal low. T-shirts are now long sleeved and usually I will wear at least a light wind cheater while outside in the garden. I've been out cutting back even though there are still a lot of blooms waving enthusiastically, greeting me each morning and night as I come and go. The darkness of early nights didn't creep up on me it stomped its ugly troll like foot smack into my face! Where was I? Why didn't I realize? Was I just in total denial?  Or was I perhaps trying to be eternally optimistic! At any rate the scenery at Frog Hollow has certainly changed. I did snap this one picture though after cutting several others down with out a thought as to sharing them this fine Fertilizer Friday.. Sorry Glenda.

There are a lot of people who do not like "yellow" or think that there is just too much yellow in their gardens. However it is exactly this time of year when any colour at all is very happily received. Just look at the healthy green of the leaves in contrast to the bright happy yellow.  I also still had some plain yellow and some purple, burgundy and pinks left but I had them cut down before I thought to snap a last minute shot.
I went out to fill a bird feeder and before I knew it I had removed another three big wagon loads of vegetation.I  seem to have an extra abundance of leaves hanging around this year. They blew away last year! There wasn't anything to really concern myself with even raking. But the rains came before the winds right after the first snow flurries so the leaves were soggy and have stuck around. I cut back all the perennials to make sure that all pests etc were removed but the trees were very healthy and Im thinking that letting the worms do their work over the next few months and into early spring isn't a bad idea. Oak leaves however will have to be removed from the lawn.


Do you remember the tree jewelry I made last fall and hung on the tree.. Well it didn't have anywhere near this amount of fruit on it.  Hopefully the birds will enjoy it over the coming winter months. It certainly does add this blaze of colour against the yellow of the grasses and all the other foliage that's been cut back.

Speaking of grasses... just look how this one has a halo with the sun shining through it.  I've cut a lot of the grasses back again to cut down on places for the pests to winter over but also to save myself some work in the spring as well as not to be traipsing around in the beds when the spring bulbs are poking their tops out.


I've taken the mermaid and dragon and several others inside. Im now wondering if I should try to get the fish out of the pond and put them in the family room in an aquarium for the winter.. Does anyone have any suggestions on what they do. Obviously the river is no longer circulating.  The pond is over four feet deep in the middle..  Also, did you notice the back ground change? I thought I would change it to a lighter background colour for the winter.. I like the darker colour for the contrast with the bright flowers etc... But, winter can be far to "cool" coloured all on its own. However I do love to decorate for Christmas and having the wood fireplace going. Winter months also give me down time to do quilting and other crafts. How about you? Do you have other hobbies to fill in your winter months. If you do how about joining us on Manic Mondays link up right here... This week it will be about what projects you have in mind for the next few months.. Maybe you haven't thought that far and you need to find something... It might just be time to go back into Pinterest and review all those saved Pins... or find some new ones! Check back here on Monday to see a few of the challenges I've set for myself.

Have an awesome weekend.

Kate
Psst its Fertilizer Friday... time to hop on over to see what Tootsie has been up to this week.

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