Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We have some enormous cabbages.  They came from the nursery as tiny seedlings, and the tag just said 'early cabbage'.  They are supposed to get a conical shaped head.   They are lovely healthy looking plants, but there isn't much sign of a head forming yet.

The leaves are huge, and look so nice.

So I picked two off, and with a few more ingredients, which didn't include the peonies...
we had ourselves a lunch.

Everything sliced up, and sauteed in some olive oil.

Parmesan cheese sprinkled on near the end, and a lid put over it for a few minutes.

Congratulations to Heather

Congratulations to my lovely niece Heather, from Ontario.
She graduated last week from Concordia University in Montreal, with a 
Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing with distinction.


You matured young. Spent too much time
in a basement room with sombre pulled shades, 
where your parents hid the piano like some 
old persistent wound. The world was fascinating 
even as it ignored you, dusty sunlight across 
your fingers in stroking tones. Yellow sachets 
on the windowsill in baskets, the electric orange
tabby, yawning cavernous and often. 
You knew the truth, sometimes, when it slipped 
out and lay like a fish on the top of the keys. 
Because it was always already three o’clock 
in the afternoon, you were supposed to have been
doing something else with your day. Not playing 
a sonata for the people on the street,
if only they could hear it. You knew it wasn’t
enough, it was never going to be enough.  
The look about you of someone who cares 
too much, hunched into the bars and notations
that streaked the pages. Realizing even then 
what you were doing, quietly saluting
the years as they passed.

Heather Davidson has a BA in Creative Writing from Concordia University, where she won the 
2011 Irving Layton Award for Fiction. Her poetry has been accepted by  The Antigonish Review, 
Descant, and carte blanche. A short story appears this winter in The New Quarterly.

While we are waiting for Heather to write her first novel, any offers of employment can be sent to me:)

And it was interesting to note that the hostas were blooming in Montreal as of last week.  Not here,  and not this week either.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Lovely Summer's Day

After a couple of nice warm, summery seeming days, we are back to the clouds and showers.  Look at that sky.  It rained most of the morning, then there was a bit of sun, and then is rained some more, and then it cleared off again.

It's never too wet for soccer though.
Last week, unfortunately Meredith drove over Luna's white ball.  I got it for $2 from the thrift store, and that ball stayed out in all weathers, for over two years, and it was perfect.  
We did have this basket ball stuffed away, and Luna doesn't seem to care.  This one is harder though.  If she bounced it off her nose too many times, she'd become a Pug:(

Jake only likes the toys that he can actually pick up.  None of that nose and feet work for him.

You might remember last year, and all the talking I did about the dahlias.  So far this year, it's been a disaster.  First it was too wet, so I put them in raised rows.  Then the slugs moved in to the all you can eat buffet.  The soil was so chunky that they had no problem crawling into the soil and taking up residence around the dahlia tubers.  That meant they could nibble off the new shoots without even showing their slimy heads.  The only dahlias that were doing much growing were ones that I started in pots.  Mostly it's the little brown and grey slugs, which can be rather hard to find on that soil

They leave this orange stuff on your hands, and then if they start to crawl, you get that horrible slime trail that doesn't wash off, you have to rub something rough on your hands to get rid of it.

So here's the pathetic looking dahlia's.
I finally dug out all the tubers that weren't doing doing much.  Sure enough, there were slugs hiding in the tubers.  I got rid of all the slugs, and replanted the tubers with finer soil packed well around them.  I've been going up there several times a day and picking off the slugs I see.   I've probably squished at least two hundred of them.  That's a whole lot of slug guts.
Next year I've decided I'm going to start all the dahlias in pots.

The chickens thought it was the kind of afternoon to stand in a sheltered corner and do some preening

And I tortured the dogs with rhododendron party hats

If looks could kill......

The bumblebees were working the flowers that were still on the bush

And there were a few Goldfinches eating dandelion seeds in the hay field

More showers forecast for Saturday:(

Wednesday's Ride

Seems like Wednesday has become the day we load the bikes on the back of the truck and head out to pedal a few miles.  
This week we stayed closer to home, and went to Ft. Langley, which is only about 15 minutes from here.
We rode on the Fort to Fort trail.  It starts right in Fort Langley.  We parked in the parking lot for the old fort, which is now a tourist attraction.  You know, the usual sort of thing.  The old buildings have been repaired or replicated.  There are employees or volunteers wandering in period costume, explaining and demonstrating how it was done 100+ years ago.  It is really quite interesting.  We've been in there a few times.
Here's the map of where we rode.
We actually started off the map, where the dotted line disappears in the bottom right hand corner. There is some tiny printing there that says Ft. Langley 2 km. 
You can click on the photo and zoom in.

Where it says Heritage Area is where the original fort was built, and where this plaque and cairn were located.

That's the Fraser River behind Larry.  It's still running quite high, but not as high as it was.

There was a lovely old oak tree.  I wonder if that was there in 1827.
Larry said that he'd like a maple tree like that, instead of the one we have.
Plant and tree identification is not his specialty:)

We headed on towards the Edgewater Bar area and the campsite.  The pedaling is mostly flat, with some small hills.

There were even a few empty campsites.  We would have been happy to take this one.  The mosquitoes can be notorious in this area.  I don't think they are a problem yet, as we didn't even notice any in the sheltered area, but there was such a stiff wind that it was hard to be sure.

We rode through the campsite and around the dog off-leash area, which does have some river access at one corner.  There were a couple of people there, who said that when the river is lower there is a sand and gravel bar there.  On Wednesday there was just a small muddy drop into the river.

By this time the Fort to Fort trail had turned into the Trans Canada Trail

We rode along for a while, passing through an old farm.  Yeah, the road went right through the middle of it.  On one side the barns were right at the edge of the road.

We rode to the YOU ARE HERE spot on the map at the beginning of this post, and then turned around and headed back.  
The weather was perfect, and it was a great ride.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer is Here!

Well, for a couple of days.  Tomorrow we are back to clouds and showers, and the forecast continuing on for a few days isn't any better.  Hopefully we'll see the sun in there a little bit at least.
It's been such a cold miserable Spring that the garden is way behind last year.  Finally though, things have really got growing.  Of course the weeds have had no problem with our weather, and have taken over.
Finally the worst of the weeding is done in the vegetable garden at least.  
Larry goes for quality over quantity.  He worked along the edge of this bed, and I'll promise you there's not a weed root left in there, and the soil is all fine and well worked over.
Jake is always waiting close by, just in case Larry would like to take a break, and throw that frisbee for him.

Here's what the bed looks like with all the weeds out.  You know that quality/quantity bit, well I weeded out the middle and between all the veggies.  Larry hasn't got to the edge on the left yet.  Actually he never got to it.  He took Luna to agility on Monday night, probably the first time he's ever gone without me, and I did a 'quantity' job on that left edge so I could put the fence back up.  David walked by and commented 'wow, that garden has sure come up'.  I said you couldn't see anything before because it was all a mass of weeds.
So that's kohlrabi at the far end, then some beets, carrots, and more beets close up.  The beets didn't do very well, well they should have been thicker than that, so I've put more seeds in to fill in the bare spots.

Just behind me at the corner of the barn, is a lovely little clump .

The foxgloves really are beautiful.  Who knew they were so hairy though.  You just have to see them from the right angle and in the right light.
Kind of like my chin, when the light is coming through the bathroom window a certain way.
It's an OMG moment.
How long has that hair been sticking out like that?
Isn't your family supposed to tell you about those sort of things?

Down in the main vegetable garden it's sort of the same kind of thing.  Some things were seeded a couple of times, and still the beds aren't nice and full like they are supposed to be.
 Radishes at the bottom.  They have mostly bolted now, and even before that, quite a few of them were pithy inside.  Don't know why I bother with radishes, they are never that successful.  Next is spinach, which didn't germinate well.  The mixed lettuce isn't too bad, the chard after that has been seeded for the third time.  The arugula is pretty thin too, and then there are onions and broad beans at the very top.
The peas are to the left, they are flowering well and will probably flop over any day, as they've grown a couple of feet higher than the wire.

The second bed of potatoes I put in look great, and I did find one potato under there.

The broccoli is slowly getting there.  I can finally see tiny heads forming in the center

The cabbage is looking fantastic, and I stole a couple of leaves to chop up in a stir fry last night.  No heads forming yet, but they look so healthy.
The kale too has finally put on a growth spurt.

Further over there is more arugula (foreground) planted, and that will be ready to pick for this weekend. 
There's also more lettuce mix planted the next bed down.

Pride is on the other side of the fence.
There are no vegetables within his reach.

In the greenhouse I've got half of the tomato plants in, and have to find somewhere to put the 'junk' on the other side of the greenhouse, so I can get the rest in.
Okay, it's not all junk, there are some plants there too.

The mouse traps have been retired for the season.  I did catch two mice up on the bench with them.  After that there was no more damage to the zucchinis.

Up at the other garden, where I've been trying to plant the dahlias, well it's been a battle with the slugs, and so far they are winning.  On Sunday before we went to the market, I picked off 33 slugs on or next to the dahlias, and another 10 within two feet.  Add that to the  60 or more I picked off on Saturday when it was raining....
I'm thinking that the tide is turning in my favour now though, or maybe that's just wishful thinking?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This Morning's Walk

When I'm heading out for my exercise walk in the morning, I don't have a whole lot of choice in where I can go, without getting in the car and driving.  We live on a block that is one mile square.  We're on the west side of the square, the house faces west.  Right across the road from us there is a sort of subdivision (5 acre pieces), and it is a mile  in total to walk around that.   So I head either up or down the road, and even when I get to the closest corner, I can only go one way.
There was a little excitement when we first got started.
See the rabbit?

Heading up the 1/4 mile to the first coner

At the corner looking north at Golden Ears mountain.  The road turns east here.

A cute mailbox.  There's another mailbox along that stretch, that has two surveillance cameras pointing out of the ivy on each side of the post.

After 1/2 mile of flat, and 3/4 mile of uphill, we reach the highest point.
I was trying to get the hazy hills in the background, and so ended up with the foreground kind of dark.
The road is running straight east.  We walked down past the end of the pavement you can see, and then around the corner for 1/4 mile.

A lovely view down this part. 
Mt. Baker to the southeast in Washington.

And now we are turned around and heading back up the hill.  Why does the hill never look as steep through the camera?
Mush, dogs, mush!
It was easier to walk up it than bike it though.

Looking north.
Holstein heifers, of the none mailbox variety

These are rows of hazelnuts.  They aren't really being grown for the nuts though, they are creating the ideal environment for truffles.  And not the chocolate ones either.
This farmer used to raise pigs.  
I wonder if he kept a pig or two to dig up his truffles?

A random poppy that has seeded itself along the ditch.

On the way back I did pass Larry walking with his sometimes walking partner and his wife.  Larry walked with me yesterday.  He said I walk twice as fast as them.  
I do like to walk by myself.  That way I can go when I want, and where I want and as fast as I want.
I don't think I'm really a team player

On the last 1/4 mile to home, I met a neighbour walking up the road.  He told me that one of our sheep was down and couldn't get up.  I figured it would be April.  So instead of a nice cool down on the last stretch, I figured I'd better run.  

Yep, there was April, on a side slope, on her side, her back facing down hill, and her legs stuck out at a 45 degree angle.  I heaved her upright, she toddled up the hill, peed, shook herself, and a few minutes later had started to eat.

When Larry got back he said she had been up and eating when he left, so I figured she'd probably been stuck no more than 10 minutes.  No harm done.

April, now 15 1/4, is actually moving around better than she was a month ago.  She not quite ready to kick the bucket yet.

And for the dogs and I , another 4 miles done.

Update:  Calli is doing quite a bit better.  I have made a chiropractor's appointment for all the dogs though. It will be interesting to see if she finds anything 'different' in Calli's back.