About Me

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I'm a mother of four grandmother of seven and great grandmother of one. I have many hobbies and interests but gardening and rug hooking are my main interest at the moment. I live with my husband in the house that we built with the help of my brothers and have been married for 51years.

Friday, November 30, 2012

SLEEPING GARDENS

If you've been following my coming and going on this blog, you must know by now that I love  flowers. I got my love of flowers from my grandmother. She had some nice tiger lilies and some tall goldenrods.  I thought that when I'm older and  have my own house, I'll plant lots of flowers.

It all started so innocently with a little piece of this pretty bright yellow  Sundrop  perennial plant and a little piece of Phlox from my mother in law ages ago and a little piece of that one from a friend and before I knew it I was over run by flowers. I was planting seeds and needed to dig more beds to accommodate the plants divisions every year. I weeded faithfully even if I had to work in the rain.

Then I sent away for those plants and seed catalogues.  Petal greed took over... My husband had even built an attached hot house where my sunroom is now from recycled old heavy glass picture windows and angle aluminum frame. I could use it year round, starting all my own perennial and bedding plants.... I was in Petal Heaven....

Of course I was much younger and more energetic way back then. Every year I had to dig one more flower bed. It wasn't too difficult as I kept them weed free and mulched until I  had health issues  and not able to work much in the garden. Then the nasty flood  came and damaged lots of my work and brought so many weeds that I had never seen before. I started getting behind and couldn't keep up with all the flower beds. Winter came early and caught me unprepared and in the spring I had so much cleaning up to do in the beds that weeds would pop up and go to seed overnight it seemed.

I'm still not caught up but at least I've given myself a good head start for the spring. Oh I hope that the St John River doesn't overflows it's banks too much this coming spring. There's is absolutely nothing I can do about that.

Sorry, I don't have anything pretty to show you but sleeping beds today. As I reviewed my blog, I noticed that I have forgotten the huge bed at the back of the cedar hedge where my rhododendrons are .  It's needs major replanting and weeding. That bed has lots of weeds from the flood that just keep coming back.


On the left is what used to be my vegetable garden and is now a newly planted daylillies that I divided this fall  and the upper  narrow weed infested bed is a daylilly flower bed that needs to be dug up and weeded.




A the upper bed is daylillies and the lower bed is irises., some ground phlox at the lower end


Weeded and cleaned of dead foliage and the border redone.

This one need the border finished and also needs weeding. I cleaned out the dead foliage though.


Newly replanted and weeded. The border needs cleaning up as weeds got in between the bricks. Hopefully this will be done in the spring


My thorny rose bush needs the border cleaned up of weeds too.


My smallest bed of peonies needs the border cleaned of weeds


My hostas have been all cleaned up and luckily no weeds in this flowerbed.



This bed needs some landscaping as the rain water seeps in the basement when we have a heavy rain. Moss is growing here so it need major work.
I used to have foundation trees  in both beds in front of the house and I kept them pruned and when I was sick, they went wild and I had the pulled out and planted flowers instead.


Another bed inthe back cleared of dead foliage except my clematis growing on the chimney.

This is the other end . 



I have daffodils planted on the back deck. I had some excess bulbs and took two patio blocks out.


These are compost piles in the back of the hedge that are should be ready to use this spring. Not well managed as creeping charlie weeds crept in.

Hopefully the next time you see my flower beds it will be to show you some petals.

Take care and stay warm.  It's -8 Celcius in Fredericton right now. That's 17.6 Fahrenheit
Have a great weekend everyone.
JB

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MY JOB IS FINALLY DONE

Today I finally finished my job and I'm so glad it's done for now till the spring, although I so enjoyed working in the cool fresh air while wearing warm clothing. I did a lot of deep breathing.


My wonderful cutters that Christine, my daughter gave me for Christmas two years ago. Available from Lee Valley.


A close up of the cutting blade and the ratchet head.


Some tall tops that I couldn't reach from this side of the hedge even with the long handles. That hedge was wide and still is.




The top is taller than the ladder. I save a few to decorate with lights for outdoors. You can clearly see that the hedge needed to be cut down...




George took pity on me with the last 12 feet of the hedge and came with his chainsaw. He was a little trigger happy with the cutting. Not as level as I had hoped for. The branches were flying. lol...
I shouldn't complain and I'm thankful that he came to finish the end of the hedge because my right shoulder was starting to hurt some.  It should be easier to trim the branches in the spring now.

This is part of the mess to be cleaned up and that spruce is murder on the skin.



The mess is cleaned up. This is what used to be my vegetable garden. Now it's full of daylilies that will hopefully grow comes spring if the river doesn't overflow it's banks and wash all my top soil away again.
In a way, I'm glad that the lawnmower didn't start or I would have never started cutting the hedge. At least the hornets didn't bother me one bit. The only stings I got were from the sharp spruce needles. Now the grounds are frozen and too rough for cutting grass.

I hope that you enjoyed a peek in my backyard.
Next time, maybe  I'll show my many dormant flower beds. Some still weedy and some cleaned up and replanted. I really need a companion gardener to take care of all those flower beds.

Thanks for visiting and have a safe and restful week.
JB

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'M BUILDING SOME LEG AND SHOULDER MUSCLES

On Friday I wanted to cut my grass one last time before winter sets in but I must have flooded my lawnmower because it wouldn't start so I didn't want to wast the beautiful weather on Friday to work outside. My thought turned to the unsightly hedge... I left the lawnmower under the Gazebo out of the rain.



This is all I have left to do on the edge. I'm not going to trim the edges, I just want to be able to tame it a bit.


We used to have a nicely kept spruce hedge on the left side of our property dividing our property with our nice neighbours. My husband would fertilize it and the neighbour would trimmed it carefully. He was retired and had plenty of time. It always looked nice.

Then one day his wife got Alzheimer and the stress was too heavy on him and he got a stroke but was lucky to be taken to the hospital early and made a great recovery but had to move to be near his wife in the nursing home.

My son bought the property but had no interest in keeping the hedge clipped. There were hornets in the hedge and I didn't want to tackle it either or hire someone to do it for fear that they would be attacked by the hornets.

The hedge has grown wide and high very fast. I was going to hire someone as soon as it got cold to trim it but I  remembered that my daughter had bought  me a huge pair of Anvil with a ratchet head a couple of Christmases ago from Lee Valley...  Nothing like it... I love them a lot .
By golly, I'm a gonna try rather than pay a lot of money on such a big job.



Now I can see my son's house on the other side. Some of those tops are as high as my step ladder.


I got my step ladder out and my prize cutter and a hoe to reach the cut off tops and I tried my best to see if I could do it. I didn't had much time between farm work and errands in town but at least I'll find out if I can do it.

My first few tops cut out without too much trouble but one top was a bit out of reach when I spotted my husband leaving the house and he came to cut that one top for me and went back to the barn for important business before he left for the weekend.

Then I remember, the handles extend to 41 inches. duh... Now there was no stopping me until I had to go feed the calves and do my barn chore s again.

Saturday morning it was mild and  again I had farm work and  lots of errands to do and grocery and it was misty in the morning but after lunch it was raining lightly and I put a cap on to keep my head dry  went back up the ladder and continued my cutting until my son came out of his house and could clearly see me now peeking over the hedge and told me it was time to go feed the calves  again.

On Saturday the back of my legs were sore for stretching for so long on the ladder  and they were still a wee  bit sore today too but not too bad. I still have a ways to go before I'm done  but at least it will be a lot better than it was.


The lawnmower is still out of the rain



I started cutting by the shed so that if I couldn't do the job, it would not be too noticeable.

Now I have tons of small Christmas trees and I wonder what to do with them. I can pass them through my chipper. Yes, I have a chipper.  Maybe I'll decorate  some of them. Maybe someone needs branches to put on their plants. I was going to take a picture of my cutters but I show them on my next update.

My husband is back from his trip out of town for the weekend so life is back to normal on the home front. I was so busy I never pulled a single hoop. Today has been way too cold to go up the ladder.

Life is never boring around here.

Thanks for visiting. Have a great week everyone.
JB

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'M STILL ALIVE

Time to show signs of life... I'm still alive. I spent the whole day at a calf seminar in a beautiful little town about an hour drive from here yesterday. It was nice getting away from barn chores for a change while my son did my chores for me.

Calves keep coming and this morning got my 8th bulls in a row. I should be playing 8 Balls Billiard.

My house is dusty but  most of my yard work is done except for two large beds.
Christmas can't be too far away because my Christmas cactuses are blooming.


I'm only showing one of the first  Christmas Cactus to bloom.   The others are just waiting to open


Same here, only a sample of my poinsettias to start to show their colored bracts. I tyhink that they need some TLC and fertilizer.



An update on my Childhood Memories rug. I'm at a stall right now because I have to decide how I'll proceed to my next step. Last evening I sorted through a pile of wool worm that got all mixed up and put them all in the proper drawers so I have a clean place to start hooking my next memory. I'm slower than some of my hooker friends for sure. So far I did this last section without dying any wool, just using the worms I got in my stash, from #3 , 4, 5 and 6 cuts.



A closer shot of my little outhouse with it's weathered boards for lack of the desired wool color.. Don't miss  that little outhouse at all... lol... Glad it's only a memory.

Thanks for visiting and keep smiling, it looks good on you.
JB

Saturday, November 3, 2012

GETTING THE BLURRINESS OUT OF THE PICTURE

This is a revised version of my earlier post. The pictures came out clear this time and I don't know why they were so blurry before. If you saw my post before don't feel that you have to leave a comment again.


James and mama chilling out

Only a good dad would dress like a big bear and take a lion cub trick or treating.

The pumpkin carving man himself



If you got ghost around your place, don't worry and  call Ghost Busters.


The little man playing with his trains on the big Skully pumpkin




This way Daddy




Mama Bird is trick and treating too.




Big Dady Ghost Buster caught the little green blob ghost.


This ia a great pumpkin carved by James father.

Friday, November 2, 2012

FROM DISASTER TO EDIBLE

I've been craving bread so much lately but most of the bought bread has some soy by-product which I'm not supposed to have because of the nasty C.  I decided to try an old sweet bread recipe that I've made many time before and it was always good.

I dug out all the ingredients and measured carefully everything and started to scald the milk on the stove. I put my yeast to proof in a big measuring cup by the sink. At the right time I started to mix the dough.

Because kneading bread is a no brainer, I decided to turned the TV on for an update on the relief situation for the hurricane victims and continued mixing and kneading the dough but it was supposed to make a soft dough and this was getting as hard as a rock.  I was wondering what did I do wrong.

Ah, I know, I must have made a mistake when I measured the flour because there was still lots of flour in the bowl.
No problemo, I'll just add a wee bit more warm water and work it in and that will do the trick.... It wasn't working.  My bread still felt like a rock and had no elasticity and I'm contemplating throwing it away but I'm craving.....

 I once was poor when I was growing up and we never threw food away because there were starving children in the world who would gladly eat it the way it was... and I've been reading Frank McCourt's memoir entitled Angela's Ashes and the misery and squalor he lived in  and how hungry and starving they always were as he grew up, and this was still fresh in my mind.

 I oiled the bowl and put the rock in it to rise and I walked to the sink to wash my hands. I know the great cooks out there are laughing their heads off......

Maybe I'm getting old and senile and I know that I'm out of practice..... Then a lightbulb moment ... the friggin yeast is still on the counter and there's enough liquid in the cup to make a difference.

I cut the rock in pieces and added the yeast liquid and after much cutting and squishing some more I poured half of the lumpy goo into my food processor with a dough hook and give it a whirl and it is beginning to look like a mushy dough. I repeated the other portion and dumped it all back on top of the left over flour in the big bowl.

It's starting to feel more like the bread dough I used to make. I kneaded it all nice and  I placed the bowl it in a warm oven to rise.

By now my kitchen is a mess and I have more  doughy bowls and spatulas than an army cook. It took me about twice the time to make this bread than usual and I knew that I would not have time to shape it into  sweet bread roll.

It's time to go to the barn so I punched the risen dough and made two loaves and put the pans in the fridge so it will not rise and I cover the tops with oiled parchment paper to bake the next day.

When I got back from the barn, I opened the fridge and to my surprise the two bread have risen enough to bake. The rest is history




So we had some fresh sweet home made bread for our desert. It has some lemon zest in it for a nice taste.

This has been a particular hard week with more calves being born and more calves getting sick and not enough place for them so we had to tether some down, we had herd health and deworming and vaccination for the big calves and hoof trimming for the cows.

  One morning this week,  a cow was ready to calf and she needed help but every time I got in the pen, she would turn her rear to the wall and she would  lay down.  Not a good place to give birth. I called my son but  by the time he arrived  I had already pulled a big bull calf out by myself and was washing my hands.  She was an older cow so it wasn't too difficult but it felt awful heavy and I dragged the calf away to safety to clear the mucus from his mouth and  and by the time my son arrived the calf was breathing. I was more concerned with clearing the liquid from the mouth since his head was still covered with the membrane when he came out. At the time I didn't even realized that he was a big calf.

On Wednesday I had two more big bull calves born. My son had to pull one out and I assisted. I vaccinated all the calves soon after they were born.

The last one one that my son  pulled ate well the first time but  refused to eat on the second day and had a high fever and at this point I suspect a bad batch of vaccine. He won't drink his electrolyte from the bottle and we can't force feed it  because he can't stand up. He was found dead this morning and we had an autopsy done and he died of a congenital defect. Part of his colon was missing. The vet ruled out a bad batch of vaccine and he reassures me that everyone else are plagued with sick calves because of prolonged  damp and warm weather we've been having and things should get better as soon as the weather is cold. He said that even the horses are getting sick.

I've had 18 new  baby calves born in just a little over a month and I have a couple of more cows to calve on my old list and then I get a new list of the next batch of cows to calf. It's no wonder I can't make bread anymore, hahaha.

I hope that you all have a great weekend and that you realize that next month is Christmas.

JB