Pony Driving

IMG_0006My father got us a pony when we were little. Bucky. A welsh pony with a thick neck and greedy appetite. But we loved him. We learned how to drive and ride and all the neighbourhood kids would come with us for our pony adventures. 

My father had the men in his shop build this little wagon. I think the base is an old Volkswagen. I still have it. Last year I replaced the rubber and a few years earlier rebuilt the box. I always wanted to use it again but never had a harness for my pony. But we began to use it for Aidan’s bigger pony. We first tried at the neighbours. He erred on the side of caution and hooked Zeta up behind his mules. This was the horsy equivalent of putting training wheels on your bike when you already know how to ride and Zeta was not impressed. She fought back and the mules just pulled her anyway. I was afraid the experience had soured her so I was quite glad for the long rest period before we tried her again. 

We hooked her up Sunday afternoon and I led her on a loose lead around a circuit or two. Then Aidan went solo. And there was no problem. The flies were bothersome but Zeta made lap after lap and performed very well.  

 
Then last evening a friend of hers from the pony club came over with his pony cart. We hooked Zeta up and away they went. She’s a rather fiendishly clever pony.  

He’s left the cart here for Aidan to use so we’ll be hooking up every evening while the weather holds and get some miles on that fat pony. Our summers are short enough and it’s nice to have a reason to get out and enjoy it. 

What if happiness was a flower?

Oh I have been a lazy cow!!  Not that cows are lazy. I don’t know any really lazy animals. Maybe I should say,”Oh, I’ve been a lazy human!!”

I’ve just been lollygagging these past few weeks, not really doing much of anything. Watching my garden grow. Look at those peonies!!  I brought some inside for the first time this year. Peony season is so short and they are such a riot of colour, and mad crazy petals everywhere. And the smell!!  Or should I say scent!!!  Can a smell be good?  These few blossoms have filled the house with the most amazing spicy floral smell/scent!!  Smells are stronger than scents and this is so wonderful. I’ve often seen peony scented soaps and lotions but they’ve been nothing like the real thing. I didn’t even know peonies could have such a powerful emotional smell. It’s the smell of happiness or joy–who could doubt these blossoms are joyful!!

This morning, before my coffee, my daughter and I went out and created a trellis for a couple of climbing vining plants she bought. 

These were the two rattan headboards I picked up on the Island last year for this exact reason. First I ameliorated the bed with some rich soil, pounded in a few t-bars and secured the headboards with wire and string. 

Then we planted, wove the vines in to start-I’m sure they will weave themselves in as they grow. It was hot and humid and I was dripping by the end.
Of course the cat had to come help!!

Then I picked radish. They’ve grown beautifully. I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since I’ve been home. 

In fact everything has grown really well. The yellow beans are phenomenonal, the green beans had some gaps. Perhaps the germination was poor. The peas were the same but someone was eating them at ground level. I just reseeded in the gaps and the new seeds are sprouting now. The corn and potatoes are all doing well.   
The soybeans didn’t come up at all. Not a one. So I reseeded peas over the top and put in a new pea fence. You can never have too many peas, one of my favourites. Breakfast was my over due coffee and radish with bread and butter–the only way to eat fresh garden radish. 
With crunchy salt to dip in, it was a kings’ breakfast. Hope yours was good as well!!

Bike rally 

I almost didn’t go to the bike rally today but my daughter pushed me out the door and said “have fun”.  And I did 😊. 

We’ve been going as a team for quite a few years now but I went solo this year. She just got a new tattoo on her foot  and was warned to attempt the rally only if she wanted something bad to happen. 

So she stayed home. My son was fishing and my other friend was sick (or so she said 😜😜). So I went alone. And I had a marvellous time.
There are usually two routes and we usually do the long one.  This was the first time this year I’ve been  on my bike. I was quite disappointed–the long route wasn’t really all that long. I stopped half way as I was on the right side of town to visit my sister for half an hour or so and then finished it off. 

They have a BBQ supper and I figured I earned the two burgers and bowl of ice cream I inhaled. Yum. Then prizes were handed out and I came away with a $25 gift card for the Co-op. Nice. How do you like my dorky helmet?

Then home to do chores and because I hadn’t eaten enough I had a couple pieces of baclava I made yesterday. Completely guilt free!!



Now, back to work tomorrow. 

Thank God it’s Friday 

Yes I know. Today is actually Saturday but I really wanted to write this yesterday.  However  a weird series of events conspired to put me into an extremely foul mood and all I wanted to do was forget about yesterday. It started badly and ended worse. 

I got an early morning text, (actually it was a late night text–but as I go to bed with the chickens I didn’t read it till morning) from a teacher at the school I drive bus to.  Could he use MY bus, today, for an extra curricular field trip. That’s awful short notice I said. I have an early morning appointment and I need to get home. Oh we’ll drop you off on our way to town and pick you up on the way back.   With a bus load of kids on?!?  Nope, I don’t think so. Nobody needs to know where I live. 

I finished my route and got to school where the spare driver was waiting. I had a bit of a vent and rant and then borrowed a different drivers’ bus to go home with. Needless to say I was unimpressed. 

So after my morning appointment I went to the school division and had another vent and a rant. I was comforted to learn they thought it as unreasonable as I did. Things were looking up. I had a nice lunch with an old friend at the Taste of Culture. After lunch I thought I would pick up a few things before heading home.  

I got a text from the spare driver and it put me back into a bad mood. I thought, I don’t really need this right now. I’ll just leave the phone in my truck while I run into the store. I came back out–no keys–not in this pocket, not in that pocket, not in any pocket!!  Poopy bum!!  I peered into the cab and there they were, right where I left them. In the ignition. Ok. No problem. I have CAA. I went back inside and called. Busy. Busy. Busy. Now I was starting to get worried. It was 1:45. I had to be home by 2:30 to be at the school by 3:00. I called the downtown office. Busy. Panicking now, we called the tow truck company direct. Oh they said, you’ll never get CAA–the lines are down. But they’ll come anyway. I went out to wait. They never came.

 By 2:10 I decided I had to just get to my daughters’ work to borrow her car to get home. I asked the first man out of the store for a ride (I should have walked earlier but now I was seriously late). No problem he said. It actually turned out he was on his way home and was driving right by my house. Would he give me a ride?  No problem. 

I made it to school on time, borrowed a phone to call the tow truck driver (they were now there, waiting for me!!) and my daughter, as I had left my purchases in the back of the open truck box and hoped she could pick them up before they got stolen. 

My own bus was returned, filthy, and who is going to clean it??? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count!!!!  Aaarrrgh!!!

So then my daughter drove me back to town to pick up my truck. I didn’t feel like going home to stew so I went back to the Taste of Culture event and sat with the same friends, had more food, and some laughs and felt better. (Actually booze would really have helped–if this event was in Europe there would have been a beer/wine garden–but Canadians are just too puritanical. People aren’t allowed to be responsible human beings–everything is so regulated, but I digress.)  

And that was my Friday. Thank God it’s over!!!

Apricot dumplings

There’s just something special about apricots. First of all they always look better than they really are. If you picked them from your tree in the back yard they would be a completely different animal but picked green, shipped in a cooler and banged around in boxes, the fruit in stores is just a shadow of what they could really be. Often mealy and mushy, or hard and sour they are a constant disappointment to me. But I buy them anyway. Something magical happens when you cook them. Jam or chutney or apricot dumplings–marillenknoedle as they say in Austria.

Today was a bit dreary to start. Cloudy and a bit rainy and cool–a good day for making something yummy. I searched in the pantry for some potatoes–I had none. I called the neighbour to beg some potatoes–luckily she was home so I went over to collect five or six. I boiled them up and put them thru the ricer.

Added egg, salt, nutmeg and flour.  The dough was very sticky so I added more flour. Popped the stones out of the apricots and replaced them with a sugar cube, wrapped them in dough and into the pot of simmering water.

Then into the pan of browned in butter bread crumbs, and that was lunch 😊

I was home early from my bus run so I fired up the mower and cut grass till almost nine. I’ll have to go over everything again in a couple days but it does look better. I was looking for the sprinkler in the greenhouse when I saw the hummingbird. It couldn’t find its way out. I called for my daughter to bring her fish net.

IMG_2164[1]IMG_2166[1]
The poor little thing was exhausted from trying to find its way out. So yummy dumplings, grass cut, garden watered and hummer rescued. Another great day 😊

Buzzers and hummers

 

I love my garden!!  It’s a lot of work but nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing, literally, the fruits of my labour.  Of course, I took plenty of breaks, sitting in my .50 cent garage sale chair, strategically placed beside the winter onions and the hummingbird feeder.  I got plenty of shots of the fuzzy buzzers, all yellow and orange velvet, looking more like stuffed toys than bumble bees.  They LOVE the winter onions…IMG_2065IMG_2096And of course the hummers were out in full force too–they seem to have no fear and came right up to me at the feeder…IMG_2047IMG_2056

Love this shot–look at how fast his wings are moving–and look at his tail all spread out–what amazing little creatures they are!!  But I did manage to get in the majority of the garden in–a few peppers and tomatoes left–then I really have to get the grass cut.IMG_2137  But I think I’ll just watch the buzzers and hummers a little longer 🙂

 

Getting back in the groove

I’ve been home a week today and am just starting to feel human again. I came home to a few surprises. My daughter weeded my garden for me, my son tuned up the mower and cut all the grass, and both kids collaborated on building a much needed section of fence. These things kept my stress level down to a low purr and I’m happy to say that I’ve been working in the garden slowly but steadily. I popped in thirty new strawberry plants, some lettuce, sowed some radish, put the pea fence up and did two double rows of peas. I’ve levelled the back half of the garden and and am just running the Dutch hoe over the weed seedlings. It’s looking not to bad but the raspberry patch needs some work. Baby steps. 


I put out my two favourite garden decorations, my crazy squirrel (he’s got a nut!!) and my sons’ creation from his first year of welding at school. 
My first morning home I was woken up by a strange noise–at first I thought it was a very large mouse under the bathtub. They’ve been inside the rim of the tub before–how they get in there I don’t know but many years ago I set traps inside the service panel of the now not functioning jacuzzi and caught quite a few. But whatever it was was chirping and scratching at the window in the bathroom. I slowly crept up to the doorway and was stunned to see a crazy oriole trying to get a foot hold on the window frame. He didn’t seem able to see me against the glare of the glass so I got my camera and sat on the edge of the tub and snapped some shots. He came back over and over again–attracted, I think, by the orangey red colors in my IKEA shower curtain. He either wanted to eat it or kill it, thinking it was fruit or a rival male. Crazy bird. I put out some sliced oranges for him and bought a special feeder but he was more interested in my shower curtain. 

Welcome home!!