Tag: Plants

Pluckin’ and Shuckin’, Oh Tis the Life

Pluckin’ and Shuckin’, Oh Tis the Life

Today was a pretty good day, as days go where you don’t have to go to work and you can pretty much just hang out. Oh the luxuries that early retirement affords.

I spent some of the afternoon pluckin’ and shuckin’, no was corn involved (shuckin’) but I did get in my share of pluckin’.  We have a few gardens that needed tending and I still have numerous plants and flowers in pots and all needed their share of attention.  Watering and weeding, the 2 w’s were the order of the day.

DSC_0338
shore by Pend O’Reille dam

Prior to any of this though I had to make a trip to a post office on the American side of the border to pick up a package we ordered a week or more ago.  We often get things sent there as it’s much cheaper than getting sent to Canada from the US.  More often than not the items come with free shipping and we pay no duty or taxes when crossing the border, probably due as much to good luck as good looks.  Today I picked up some solar screening from the post office and filled my tank with cheaper gas.  Kinda like a double header.

The sun was in a great position on my drive back and I got some photos of one of the hillsides in part sun and part shadow.  I think it will look neat, with some editing (yet to be done).  Time will tell.

DSC_0346It was only after I got home that the pluckin’ began.  I had a few Coleus to transplant, one for my Mom (one of the children under the stairs) and the other two for me.  Not sure what I’m going to do with so many Coleus in the house in a couple month as they aren’t perennials and won’t last the winter outside.  We get too much snow and it’s far too cold for them to survive.  They do make beautiful deck plants however and I’ll do what I have to to keep them going, which may include wintering with the geraniums and other annuals we keep going year round.

I also had to tune up my roses as they are getting rather ratty looking.  Whether that’s from lack of water, some other rose affliction, or just the way it is.  I don’t really know the cause but I’m banking on the lack of water at this point.  We’ve been on the road so much and Mom was looking after all the yard plants that I can’t be sure they got adequate watering while we were gone.  I’m sure she watered, just how much is the question.

All in all the day went well.  I never did make it to installing my deck handrails nor to any of the other tasks on my list, but that’s the price I pay.  C’est la vie.  Tomorrow is another day.

Tip Toeing Through Elysium Gardens

Tip Toeing Through Elysium Gardens

Our time in Kelowna, this time around, is done.  We hung out with the kids, I took a couple walks, we bonded with our grandson, and certainly the highlight (for my wife anyway) was the Cirque Quidam show on Saturday night.  It was a great show but my back rebelled part of the way through and sitting in the folding chairs didn’t do it any favours.

It was part of a birthday gift for my wife.  We went for dinner, had a drink and then walked through a Japanese garden that’s downtown and near the stadium where the show was.  I found it (hope she did too) a very pleasant and relaxing evening.  Certainly Cirque was jaw dropping.

Even though I had trouble sitting through it the show was good entertainment and if you are at all interested in acrobatics, some audience interaction and amazing, some might say freakish, human contortions you would like this.  We sat on the floor about 9 rows back but in hindsight a seat somewhere in the bleachers would have been just as good.  On the floor you miss some things by being eye level with the stage.

DSC_0320We left to come home yesterday but before we departed town we stopped at Elysium Gardens, a local nursery and mixed garden venue.  My main purpose was to have a look at the Japanese garden there, something that is a new/old interest of mine.  I would really like to create a Zen garden, or other type of Japanese garden in our yard.  Something to bring peace and calm to our lives.  Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to do or take part in all the things I’m interested in.  My retirement has to be early in order to have time for all this stuff.

The gardens are certainly beautiful and while I was a bit disappointed in the Japanese garden portion of the grounds it was still a peaceful and relaxing break to the day.  The Japanese garden was just a bit smaller than I had hoped for.  All the gardens were certainly beautiful though, another place to visit again.

The trip to the gardens also gave me an opportunity to play with my new camera, a Nikon D5100 I picked up a couple weeks ago.  It’s another old/new interest, one that will enable me to take waaaay more pictures of our grandson Madden without having to use my iPhone.  I was really into photography 30 years ago and feel a strong urge to reconnect with the hobby.

DSC_0311I shot off about 50 or 60 photos at the garden and now have to decide the best way to file and manage both these groups of shots and the 200 or so I took of Madden before that.  Certainly any suggestions would be appreciated.  I’m thinking I should just register a domain, find a hosting site and be done with it.  Truly any ideas would be helpful.

After we arrived home we tried to determine our next course of action.  We would both really like to go out camping again but with house and home commitments, appointments for my Dad, and other necessary tasks I don’t know that camping is in the cards.

My wife will be back to work for a day or so this week and while she could commute from the local campsite it just seems like too much.  Perhaps we should just stay home.  I know we have some beautiful gardens here, perhaps I can tip-toe through my own tulips.

Yearning Again For My Holy Place

Yearning Again For My Holy Place

The days are still warm, the nights pleasantly cool by comparison.  The sun, while beautiful in the dappled shadows it casts, is relentless in it’s mid-day attention.  My plants and lawn are suffering.  The heat, without any accompanying moisture, is causing not only my gardens to stress but their owner (me) as well.

I do my part to alleviate the stress on both parties.  This morning, before the deck repair guy came, I grabbed a nice cup of java (capital C this time) and headed out into the front yard.  I call it my Holy Place, and while I’ve not worshipped there for a while it was nice to return.  The congregation of flowers and plants welcomed me and when they saw I came bearing water they rejoiced.

“I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to.
– Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.
– Elizabeth Lawrence

There were also different chairs there to support me in my leisure, not new chairs but chairs re-positioned from the deck while repairs were under way.  These are wicker, my normal church chairs are Adirondacks.  They are equally as comfortable and beckon me no less, after all it’s the place not the pews.

The sun played off the chairs and invited me in.  I wavered, but my duty to water pulled me stronger.

“Later”, I said, “I’ll come back and visit later.”

Perhaps I’ll take a seat this afternoon when things cool.  I’ll take my laptop and write, or grab a book and read.  A cold drink may be in hand.  It’s those things that bring me the pleasure, that help me to relax and de-stress.

And how can a man who’s retired, early no less, feel stress.  That’s a good questions for which I have not an answer.  Maybe it’s just in my nature, maybe I’m just an uptight individual, maybe depression is having an uncommon effect on me.  I don’t know.

I just know in that place, my holy place, I can chill and feel ok.  Maybe better than ok, I feel good.  I can sit and survey my domain.  I can revisit my holy place and feel the presence of calm.

Stop….and Smell the Roses

Stop….and Smell the Roses

Now I know the title sounds like one of my previous posts “Wake up and Smell the Roses” but it’s not just a replay, really.  Todays title is the actual saying, albeit punctuated differently, and it really has some merit.  It is also one of the credos I will try to follow over the next number of months.

I’m still struggling a bit with this retirement thing, the big “R”, and whether it’s early retirement or not the challenge for me is the same.  I see so many things I can do, so much I should do, that I overwhelm myself and in the end do very little of either.  What I need to do is chill, take a breath and a break, and don’t fuss over jobs that call out to be done, they’ll be there another day.  It’s all about the balance isn’t it?

Magnolia in bloom

Yesterday was a good example of a day spent in balance.  I worked for a short time in the yard, took a walk for my health, cleaned the bathrooms (don’t fall over), and posted to my blog.  When all was said and done I felt pretty good.  I don’t have any roses I can smell but I do have a lovely Magnolia tree blooming in my backyard.  Every year I look forward to seeing it in all it’s majesty, and stopping to gaze at it frequently brings me calm in a busy day.

In trying to bring order to my days I’m still thinking a master “to do”  list will be beneficial.  I can complete one or two items a day from the list and still feel a sense of accomplishment, while maintaining some personal time and an opportunity to reflect.  Exercise will fit into that schedule as well, or it should, and my day will end up being more well rounded.

I was planning on seeing Dad today and that’s one of a number of jobs/tasks that needed to be done.  I shouldn’t call it a j0b/task really,  because it is after all caring for my father and family time should not fall into that category.  Helping him should be done for love and compassion, not out of some sense of “have to”.  It was something that had to be done and git it done I did (how”s that for proper English?).  Trying to maximize my travelling time I did create a list of things to accomplish while out and I feel pretty successful in getting 90% of them done.  I went pretty steady but at this stage in my life I think “steady” is a relative term.

With this post wrapping up I think taking a brisk walk will round out my afternoon nicely.  I have our dinner planned, most of my chores have been completed and it’s an opportunity for a little “me” time.  Who knows, on my walk I may come across a few of the flowering beauties and truly Stop…..and smell the roses.