Thursday, May 27, 2010

Perennial Paradise

For the past week we have been getting up at 5am because Kurt has to be at work by 6 am. We get up, have a nice breakfast together, and then I drive Kurt (and our neighbour) to work. Then I have 2 hours to myself before I have to go to work, it is bliss! The morning are so sunny and bright! It is usually much more calm in the morning, and no one else is around. I make my coffee, and then work on whatever I want to!
Yester-morning I planted our front flowerbed with beautiful perennials I got from Brenda. The beds are filled with Japanese Iris, Anemone, Columbine, White Daisies, Pink Daisies and Lupins... all gorgeous and healthy perennials. They look fantastic, and will look even better in a little while when they are all in bloom. Our yard is starting to look established... well... cared for at least!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rocks, Rocks, Rocks!

 Here are the promised pictures of our new rock garden! We had a great long weekend, despite Friday and Saturday's constant rain, ton of slush/snow and power outages. Sunday melted most of the snow and Monday morning turned out to be beautiful. I cleaned the house, Kurt worked on the construction in our basement and we planted the flowers in our rock beds. We then went canoeing and had a weiner roast with some friends. I also dug a whole bunch of perrenials from some of Kurt's relatives... I can not wait to plant them!
Carefully placing the stones...
Kurt's genious idea of making "flower pots" inside the rocks...
And the beautiful results! There are three little spots with perrenials at the base of the sidewalk/drive way.
Up by the house/walk way we have two spots currently housing annuals. We may change this next year to perrenials, depending on how we like them down by the sidewalk and how well they survive the winter banks of piled up snow on top of them...
Come over and visit to see our lovely rocks in real life!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our Yard ROCKS!! Part 2

A little while ago we started lining our driveway with rocks from my in-laws farm, "Solid Rock Ranch." Well, this week we got another truck load of rocks and finished off all along the driveway. I had been taking with my negihbour a few days ago, and she suggested laying old shingles down on the ground to keep the weeds from growing up through the rocks. What a brilliant idea, thanks Tara! We went to a supply store and got a bunch of old shingles dirt cheap. We laid them all down in the shape we wanted and the proceeded to pile our rocks in the design we wanted. We left three holes for flowers at the front corner, and two holes for flowers at the top (close to the house) corner. We also left a small space where we are planning on putting a triangular walking path block, since we usually "cut the corner" anyway. We are super pleased with the results!
Last night we went out to Dunvegan gardens and Kurt picked out some flowers (!!) for the spots among the rocks that we left. He chose some really cute daisy-like flowers, a miniature alpine spreading flower, as well as some neat creeping/cactus-like plants called "hen and chicks." They are actually quite cute and will hopefully fill out nicely. Now I just need to plant some flowers and wait for the grass to grow. I may have to wait to plant the flowers though, since it is supposed to snow all night tonight and all day tomorrow. Typical May-Long weekend!
Pictures to follw when it is nice out again....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Raised Bed Garden

It is time to get the garden in! But, since I didn't yet have a garden, it was first time to get the garden spot made! We got a load of topsoil yesterday morning and laid out the boards during my lunch hour to figure out where/what we wanted. Originally we were going to make two 4 x 16 beds paralel to one another, but I would have had to buy several more boards. Instead we decided it would look really good to make a corner bed... one 4 x 16 and one 4 x 12 put together to make an even "L" shape. We left about 3 feet from where the side fence is going to be, and about 6 or 7 feet from where the back fence is going to be. We are thinking about making a rock garden or small patio between the fence and beds. We will see what happens I guess...

When I got home from work I measured and cut the boards to fit in the shape we deciede on and then re-painted all of the fresh cut ends. After supper Kurt came out and helped me pound spikes to fit everything together and then we leveled them off and shoveled the beds full of dirt. 
Tada! It looks fantastic and we are really pleased with how the whole thing worked out. Now I cannot wait to get out there and do some planting!
 In other news, Kurtis made a harness for my greenhouse and attached it to the more blown over plants for me!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Thing That Drives Me... Barnheart

I have realized the answer.
The answer to what drives me to read "just one more" page in that self-sufficient-lifestyle magazine before I head back to work, to skip lunch in order to get "just one more" stitch done on that quilt during my lunch break, to yank "just one more" weed before jumping in the car. The tender love that compells me to speak to my garden plants. It is why my heart yearns to have chickens in my city backyard and long for the days when we will own our own farmland. What makes my heart skip a beat when I see a beautiful homestead and breath a little deeper when we leave the city limits. I have a condition... it is called Barnheart! Click on the link below to read all about it. The article is from on of my favourite blogs and author, Jenna Woginrich. She has written a book called "Made From Scratch" and also writes for one of my favourite magazines, "Mother Earth News." ENJOY!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Yard ROCKS!

Kurt and I headed out to the farm last night for a lovely dinner with Kurt's Mom, Grandma, and sister. Mmm... we had wonderful steaks and veggies and even carrot cake and strawberries for desert! Thanks Mom! But then the real fun began... we headed out to the field to pick rocks!! It was a ton of fun, tromping around the field finding treasures in neat colours and funky shapes. We loaded down the truck... literally! Kurt kept saying "I think we have enough" but we just kept piling more in. We even found a large rock with some fossils in it. We will use it as a "feature" rock in the front I think.
We got home around 9:30 but we were too excited to just go to bed, so Kurt and I unloaded all of the rocks and arranged them alongside our driveway and front walk. It looks fantastic! We are so pleased with the look already! We need one more load about the same size to finish off along the driveway, and then lots more to fill under our front deck. We are going to put small patches of perrenials between some of the rocks along the front corner and maybe along the driveway as well. I cannot believe how great it looks... OUR YARD ROCKS!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Complete and utter desolation entered my soul when I got home from work yesterday. All of my hard work and tender love of the last several weeks was lying squished and strewn across my back deck. My greenhouse had been blown over in the strong wind, leaving my poor seedlings strewn under their pots and dirt just waiting to die. As tenderly as I could, I scooped each little plant back into their pot, trying hard not to cry. In that moment I felt like my home had just been devestated by a flood or tornado (a bit of an overreaction, I admit now) and I was looking at the remains of my life. I was able to salvage most of my plants... but we will have to see if most of them revive or not. Cracked and squished zucchinni and squash limbs, wilted and bent tomato plants, upturned and dirtless strawberry plants... please survive! I love you!
The majority of my little flower seedlings are gone, but a few hardy plants remain. My flower pots will be a lot more scarce than I originally thought, but I guess that is the way it goes. I can always plant some more seeds and enjoy later blooms.
On a happier note, our grass is coming along quite well. Now instead of looking like thin elephant hair, it resembles a somewhat patchy, thin caterpillar! We are thrilled! This evening we are hoping to head out to the farm and pick a truck load of rocks for our front walk and flower beds.
It is a gorgeous day and all will be well in the world again soon!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pruning and Painting; the Perfect Weekend!

This past weekend was spectacular! I spent my time doing things I love...what could be better than that? On Friday Kurtis and Cory left on a roadtrip for Calgary. Cory bought a Harley Davidson, so they set off in the truck to bring the new baby home. As usual, the weather seemed absolutely beautiful, but these boys had been fooled before. No more early Spring bike trips through Fox Creek and Valleyview, because inevitably it will snow... and it did. They were very thankful to have the truck!
Since I was "bachin" it this weekend, I decided to go and visit my dear Mummsy. Friday afternoon I got off work a little early and headed on down the highway. I decided to detour to Dawson Creek and  check out the local pawn shops and garage sales, which turned out to be a complete waste of time. The weather sure was funny this weekend.I drove through four or five different 5-10 km stretches of snow and hail, and always came out on the other side to find brilliantly warm sunshine and dry pavement.
I finally reached Tumbler Ridge and my Mum and Pops. We spent the evening chatting, drinking Tea, loading up old facia and soffets (that my Dad had spent the day salvaging off a neighbours house for his new garage) and looking through family treasures and keepsakes.
We started out searching for a scrapbook that we had done of our ancstors grave rubbings when we were young (don't get me started on the outrage that inspired this hunt!) and wound up finding a really old Bible and recipe book from my Dad's Great Grandmother. We had a riot reading old kiddie books, looking through my Mom's birth annoucement cards and learning how to make homemade cough syrup!
On Saturday, my Mom and I spent the entire morning ruthlessly pruning and weeding her perrenial/rock garden. I am in a bit of a "rock phase" right now, always noticing rocks and dreaming up things to do with them in my yard, so I had a great time discovering the beautiful rock work under all of the creeping vines and fronds. After several hours we came out victorious, arms battered and covered in scratches, but loving the look of the yard! We then organized her entire prop/costume room at the school, and rewarded ourselves with a cold drink at the restaurant and a round of cribbage. I haven't spent time with my Mum in a long time, so it was nice to catch up for awhile. Once Mum left for music practice, I conned by Brother into playing a few rounds of crib with me, and then we decided to root through all of our old playmobile and sort out mine from his. It is so easy to revert back to your childhood and just want to play!
I finally drug myself away from the toys and headed home, crawling into bed beside my husband at about 11pm.
Sunday moring Kurt was not feeling well and decided to pass out for another few hours instead of going to church. When he is sick, he could sleep for days, poor boy. Coffee in hand and good ol' country tunes blaring, I decided to be productive! I put my plants out, and got to work on my landscape ties. Last week I found an ad on "FSJ Now" and bought 19 ties for $45 dollars to make raised garden beds in my backyard. I spent the entire day sanding and painting and am very pleased with the results... other than the wicked sunburn that is! They started out faded blue and ended up fire-engine red! I can't wait to get a load of dirt and some spikes... garden here we come!

I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day weekend and were able to spend some time with your Mother, just doing the things you love to do!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The South East Asian Loop

As some of you know, my sister Lydia and I went on a three month getaway to South East Asia in the winter of 2006. A few posts ago, I showed the first month of photos from touring around Northern Thailand. The following pictures are from our second month.
After racing around for a month, seeing every site possible and running from place to place...we were worn out, and decided we wanted a little more "laid-back" pace, so we started hittting other countries. First, Laos. This was a beautiful little place, and probably the most laid-back place on the face of the earth! We didn't stay for very many days, but met some friends we traveled with for quite some time, and got our Vietnan Visas while seeing the sites. Everyone seemed to think we were twins, and when we insisted that we were only sisters, they insisted right back, that we were "Twins, but (born on) different days."
After spending a day with "Micky and Mi" back in Thailand, we headed over to Cambodia...just for a quick drive through the country to get to Vietnam.  I have never seen a rougher road. Pot holes that I swear could swallow a bus, and at least five vehicles a breast at all times on a one and a half lane dirt road...
And then we hit Vietnam...a completely different experience than any other country we had been in. We left the big city for a small beach village as fast as possible, and then we saw it. The Ocean. The most beautiful sight we had seen in over a month of traveling. We were hooked. From that day on, we decided to just relax and enjoy every minute of the time we had left instead of trying to "see and do" everything. This is where we met up wth Odin and Leanna Hougen from back home, and spent a blissful month relaxing in the sunshine, making friends and exploring Vietnam.
We both took our "padi" diving course, what a rush! I love diving and can't wait to go again one day. We also got a whole bunch of custom-designed clothes and shoes and ended up having to send a huge package home. We spent every single day of our 30 day visa in Vietnam, and wished we could stay for longer.
We then travelled back into Cambodia with some friends we had met and spent the day touring a genocide museum and exploring the local hang outs. Again, we didn't stay long in Cambodia, but headed back for Thailand and the final month of our adventure together...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lydia's Painting

My families Christmas holidays (and any other holiday!) consists of eating, arguing, and playing board games and cards games into the wee hours of the morning. During Christmas 2009, my sister Lydia got 'bored' and decided to paint a picture while we continued to argue and play games. 
I claimed the picture and framed it and have it in my home... for more of Lydia's creations, visit her blog at