Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thrifty Blue and White

I better get this posted before it is such old news that it won't be worth it.  So last week I was at the thrift store on Monday morning at opening time.  Actually, I lie, I was probably a couple of minutes late.  Fortunately no one else had been lined up to get what I had my eye on.  So there is a bit of a back story here.  Larry's mum, many years ago had one or two of these blue and white plates made by Johnson Bros. in England, the pattern is called Countryside.  Somehow she had found out that the plate was worth about $15, so after that it became a sort of special plate.  When she moved to a care home in about 2008 or so, and we were sorting out all her things, Meredith said she would like the plates. (You know Meredith is a collector of blue and white)  And then the same thing happened again when we were sorting out my mum's things, she had one or two of the plates as well.  Meredith herself has maybe picked the odd piece or two of the set, and I got her 4 cups and saucers one time for a total of $10 at this same thrift store.  A month or two ago, quite a selection of the Countryside pattern had showed up at the store.  They priced it with white tags (which only come on sale 4 times a year), and the prices were quite high.  A few things were sold, but a couple of weeks ago I noticed that what was left of it now had blue tags, and blue tags were going to be half price starting Monday of last week.  And so, because Meredith can only get there on weekends, and I will take any excuse to stop at the thrift store, I said I would try get there first thing on Monday morning.  The plates were still there, and that was what Meredith wanted, so I got her seven dinner plates for $2 each, and two side plates for $1.25 each.

Then I found these pyrex glass bowls, with a blue stencil.  As I often do, I take a picture and text Meredith.  Sometimes she is able to reply, sometimes not.  I didn't hear back, but thought for $2, I would just buy them anyway. The set was all taped together, and I didn't look at them too carefully.  They are quite scratched up, so Meredith decided she didn't want them.  I think I might keep them.

Since we are on a blue and white theme here, I bought this waist pack for $.75.  It was very new looking.

And also this waterproof jacket for $2.50.  I thought it would be a good idea for walking or running in the dark.  You know, you feel less guilty spending a few dollars when you sort of have a half ass reason as to why you need to buy it. Ha ha!  It works for me anyway.  I love jackets and bags of various sorts.

On Wednesday I had an appointment at the bank, which conveniently is very close to my usual thrift store, and also another one a bit farther down the street.  So I went to the second one, and found another blue thing.  This cute little set of binoculars. $1.  They are sitting in the palm of my hand.

They are so light weight, they are perfect for taking on a walk or hike, and they work well.

And that thrift store happened to be having a half price sale on Friday and Saturday, and somehow I found myself there.  I really don't have any sort of 'reason' for buying this, other than it was 'ONLY $4!!'.  A Sadler (England) teapot and creamer and sugar bowl, autumn themed.  Also the other little sugar bowl, also Sadler, for $.25.  Oh my.  A lady came up to me when she saw me tucking the set into my basket and told me that she was soooo glad I was buying it (giving it a good home!)  She said she used to have the same set, and tried to replace the teapot way back when, and it was $35 back then.....

So after scrolling through pages and pages of Sadler teapots on Ebay, I actually did find that set. (Wow, they make an amazing variety of tea pots!)  Mine was a mere $40 Canadian, but add $50 to that for shipping from the U.S. and import duties, and I guess it makes $4 look pretty good.

And a shout out to the wonderful two Spring days we have just had! A nice reminder that it doesn't rain here every day, although sometimes it seems like it.
 I attempted to break the clothesline on Tuesday when I hung three loads of clothes out, which all dried in the sunshine and breeze.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's Five O'clock Somewhere

This afternoon was my biweekly egg run to White Rock.  Because Larry was out with David on a Land Rover event, and I didn't think they would be back until late afternoon, I decided to take Jake and Luna with me, and I thought I could walk them at Campbell Valley Park on the way home.  There is a seasonal off-leash area that is closed in the summer because it is a hay field, but is open Fall, Winter and early Spring.  I'd say it is a 'rubber boots are mandatory' kind of walk.  It certainly was today.  This morning had started out decent, and then before long the clouds had rolled in and then before mid afternoon it started to rain.  As I headed to White Rock, there was a band of blue sky in the west, and that gradually moved east and it dried up.  We got to the dog park about 5 pm, and the last of the sun was catching the trees on the east edge of the field. 

I must remember to take the camera along with me more often.  Once again, cheap phone pictures.
 It was one of those big sky, big clouds late afternoons.  I think you might know by now that I like taking sky pictures:)
Looking southwest

The setting sun is that bright spot underneath that evergreen in the left half of the photo

Looking south. Da plane, da plane!

Southerly silhouette 

Looking back west on the way home.  Not exactly a red sky at night, but the forecast is half decent for the next few days.

Just over half way home, between 248th St. and 256 St. on 16th Ave, is a night roosting area for thousands of crows.  It was a bit early still as I drove through, and they were just starting to gather. I have driven through there when it is a bit later, and it really is a bit of a fascinating, albeit creepy sight.  The trees are heavy with them.  Some barn roofs in that area are covered in in black crows. Sometimes the power wires are lined up with them. Thousands upon thousands of crows.

Reminiscent of this. 
A frame from Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Neighbourhood 'Petting Zoo'

Now that Larry's eye is coming along, and the symptoms of vertigo he was getting have subsided a lot, he is moving around more.  He's not supposed to do any fast walks yet, because, as the doctor said, each step is like a little pile driver to the eye.  But, he is able to amble along at Calli speed, so the last couple of afternoons he has taken her out for a stroll.  Quite often in the afternoon we take the dogs around the block across the road from us.  About a mile around, with a good off leash section for sniffing.  I can do it in 20 minutes with Jake and Luna, but if Calli is along it takes twice as long, if not more. Yesterday afternoon there was a break in the rain, so we got the dogs out.  Not that they are particularly bothered by the rain, unless it is really heavy or stormy, but just makes for a pleasanter walk for us.  I'm not sure where Larry went, he just would have let Calli lead the way, but I did the usual mile block.  Half way round there is a place that always has an interesting collection of animals.  I'd say most of them are rescues, the lady is a vet tech, and I am sure the animals that she brings home had no where else to go.  They do change every once in a while, but some of them have been there a long time.  

The two donkeys are so cute, and three of the four goats were incredibly curious and would 'climb' up the wire with their front feet to reach your hand over the rail.  The two sheep were oblivious and kept on grazing.  Yesterday there were four goats, two donkeys, and two sheep.

They were a little nervous of Luna at first, so I didn't really let her go right up to the fence.  Jake had no interest at all, but he might have snarked at them through the fence anyway, so it was just as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Nod to Nostalgia

On Monday I got to the thrift store at opening time, I was a woman on a mission.  I was successful with my mission (more on that in another post), and after I had taken that prize out to the car, I came back into the store and had a good long poke around.  Items with green tags were 50 cents starting that morning, and blue tags were 50% off.  I was looking around in the 'collectable' section.  They had a few different food mills there, the most expensive being about $10.  I saw this one, it was priced at $2.50, was a blue tag so was half price, but it said it was missing the nut.

The expensive food mill had a nut on the bottom that held the shaft in place.  But, I was really familiar with the style of this one, and I knew it didn't need a nut.  I knew how it went together.

When I was a kid, my mum had one of these.  I 'think' it was called a Mouli Baby, but it was very, very similar.  
At some points in my childhood we had the same meals on the same days of the week.  For example...Sunday was roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and if my dad was lucky, custard pies with nutmeg sprinkled on top. I can remember my mum running the nutmeg 'nut'? over the grater. Mondays were cold roast beef with mashed potatoes, maybe cooked cabbage and carrots, and baked beans from a can.  Mmm, the beans and the mashed potatoes in one forkful together....mmmm. Tuesdays were home made fish and chips, Wednesdays were roast chicken with home made buns.  I remember ripping them open while still warm and sopping up some of the drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan. Thursdays escapes me, maybe leftovers from Wednesdays?  At one point Friday was some sort of stew, and then at another time was liver and onions and fried tomatoes too I think.  Saturday was a barbequed chicken from Safeway. 

 Anyway, back to the food mill.  My memory is of me not wanting to eat the stew on Friday.  So unwisely, my mother decided that it would be easier for me (I would like it better?) if she ran it through the food mill so that it was all mushed together and not in big chunks.  Because she had added split green peas to the stew, what she ended up with was a green mush, which I wouldn't eat either.

Now I can look at the food mill with fondness, and wonder what happened to my mum's.  I don't remember coming across it four years ago when we cleaned out her house and had a garage sale.

So less than the price of a cup of coffee I brought this one home.  Not an antique, with that red plastic on it.  But a little bit of nostalgia for me.  I may never use it.  It may go back to the thrift store sooner rather than later, we'll see.  For the moment it gives me a little jolt of pleasure when I look at it.

It gives me a jolt of pleasure too when I see this Guillouard Food Mill  listed at Lee Valley Tools for $98;-)  Virtually unchanged since 1939 it says.  Except the price of course, I think I might have paid the 1939 price!  

We went back to the Opthalmologist today in Vancouver.  Much nicer drive, no rain.  Much better news too, the doctor says the eye looks good, about 80% of the new cells are starting to do their job. Phew, that is a relief, I think we were both feeling a bit stressed about the transplant possibly being a failure.  
We searched for a free parking spot.  The only one we found was on an incredibly steep hill.  So steep that the sidewalk there, down one side, had raised concrete 'slats' so that you wouldn't slip.  Our car is a standard.  I had to use the parking brake method to stop the car from rolling back, but it didn't really want to hold us. I was freaking out really worried that I was going to roll into the car below us as I tried to jiggle around to tuck the car in nicely.  I made Larry get out and tell me how close I was to the car behind.  Anyway we all survived unscathed, and conveniently when we came to leave, the car in front was just leaving too. 
Nearly three weeks before we have to go back for the next check up.  Hopefully Larry will get the okay to drive at that point.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Terrific Tuesday

It's always such a pleasure to get a decent day after one that was so wet and miserable as Monday. It just poured for much of the day and well into the evening. Driving was miserable, and the trip into Vancouver to the Opthalmologist was one of those sort of 'white knuckle on the steering wheel' ones.  Much of it is on the freeway, and the amount of spray thrown up by the vehicles was almost blinding sometimes.  Oh I sound like I'm getting old!  
Still waiting, fingers crossed, for the transplant in Larry's eye to sort itself out and for the cells to do their job.  It's a bit worrying, as the doctors comment every time the first eye was checked, was 'perfect!' We are waiting to hear a 'perfect' for this eye. We go back again tomorrow.

Anyway, yesterday was chiropractor morning for the dogs.  They don't get a bush run that morning, because it is so wet and muddy out there right now, that they would be just filthy and wet.  I headed off with them for a 10am appointment, and as our route takes us past where we walk on the dyke, they all think that is where were are going, and sometimes there is much anticipatory whining in my ear on the way. I'm sure they are disappointed when that is not where we end up, but hopefully feel better after their adjustments and the treats that are handed out.  All dogs were in rough shape this time, particularly Jake.  He protested a bit, but should feel much better now.  I'm interested to see if it has any affect on his 'fear' of the slippery floor at the top and the bottom of the stairs.

Since we have to pass the dyke on our way back, it makes sense to walk them there, which is what we did.  I took this picture to send to my sister in Ontario who has just come through a bitterly cold spell, and yesterday was dealing with a huge dump of snow.  That is blue sky in the distance and the temperatures are very mild.

These photos are taken with my cheap little phone, so not the best...
In the afternoon I did take the dogs through the bush, and when I looked back at the house, this was the sky. A blue hole....
It wasn't as dark as it appears here, there is no way I'd be going through the bush if it was.

It was a very slow walk, Calli did a lot of this.

"I can't believe you made me go through this puddle three times just to take a photo"
And then she got stuck in the mud

And the sky on the way back.  This was about 5pm. Loving the longer evenings and early mornings!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Guardian of the Garlic

Here's some more pictures from that Spring day we had on Tuesday.  I was puttering around in the garden, not accomplishing a whole lot.  Just a bit of random clean up and this and that.  Remember that lumberjack window we made last year by cutting two of the fir trees down on the south property line?  Well it's great, it allows a patch of sunlight to slowly sweep across the garden, until such time that the sun is high enough to shine over the tops of the trees. Luna came in and plonked herself down to soak up some sun too.  That's the garlic right in front of her.

It got planted rather late, I think about the end of November, but I'm happy to see that pretty well every clove has sent up a shoot.  I should have kept more to plant, instead of selling so much.  Oh well.

There are quite a few rather pathetic leeks left too.  Skinny little things, because they got overrun with weeds last summer and were struggling to survive.  I use them when I make stock or bone broth. I cut them in half lengthways so that I can wash the dirt out from between the layers, and throw the whole thing in the stock pot.  I use them in soups too.

And here's the last of the red cabbages.  Not very big, about the size of a large apple.  Little skinny worms like to spend the winter between the outer layers, so you have to pull quite a few layers off, and even now I'd be checking or pulling off a few more layers before I used the cabbage.

The hens enjoyed the pieces I pulled off.

And they stood along the fence and preened themselves in the sun

Or laid down to sunbathe.

I did some cleaning up in the greenhouse too.  Pulled all the old tomato plants out, and some weeds that were coming up already.  I need to get the benches back in there and get some seeds started.

I saw daffodils blooming in Vancouver today!
It was a long day in there.  After taking the dogs for a walk in the dark, we left here at 6:30 am.  Larry was supposed to check in at 8am, and we were there with a bit of time to spare.  I left about 8:30 after he went to be prepped for surgery.  I found a McDonalds not too far away that had a parking lot, so I didn't have to try find street parking, and sat in there about an hour drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.  Then I drove to a thrift store and spent an hour in there, slowly looking at everything, trying to kill time.  Larry said after that he thought that he was the last one to go for surgery.  They do a lot of eye surgeries at this hospital.  After the surgery he had to lay on his back for an hour.  I was phoned at 11:25 when he came out of surgery, and was to pick him up in an hour.  Then we had to go straight to the doctors office so he could check that everything was staying in place.  He had to 'decompress' the eye.  The air bubble that holds the layer of cells in place was too big.  So some drops went in, back into the waiting room for a while and then back into the exam room to reduce the size of the bubble.   We were there more than an hour, because I had to pay $10 for two hours of parking.  Usually when we go to his office we are able to find free parking a bit farther afield, and have a bit of a walk.  Since Larry isn't really supposed to be walking around, and it was raining, the only option was the parking under the building.  Anyway, we finally got out of there just after 2pm.  Slow going driving through Vancouver with all the traffic lights, but once we got on the freeway and were able to use the HOV lane because there were two of us in the car, it went pretty well.  We got home just after 3.  I thought Jake and Luna would be having to cross their legs, they aren't left that long without a break outside,  very often.  That darn Luna and her iron bladder, she didn't even want to go out and pee when we finally got home.
Larry has to lay around tomorrow, and then back to Vancouver for checkups on Monday and Friday.

PS  I started playing around with the blog design.  Let me know if you don't like the font ( I think it might be a bit harder to read).  Sometimes you just want to change things up a bit....
PPS I changed it again.  This is more of a happy median between the original font and the first one I changed it too. I decided that that first change really WAS harder to read.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

One Fine Day

On Tuesday, it was just like Spring.  A fond memory now that we are back into a stretch of clouds and rain.  It was so lovely, and sunny, and warm. 

Because we, or at least one of us, had to head into town to pick up the antibiotics that Larry had to start today for tomorrow's eye surgery, I suggested we take the dogs along and walk them on a different dyke.  So we got on the freeway and got off at exit 99 at the Cole Rd rest stop.  I was driving and I parked there and I saw Larry make a face, and there was mention of it being a bit of a walk to get on the actual dyke.  I said well it just starts over there, but totally forgot about the park we had to walk through just down the road to get the part of the dyke I was thinking of.  Anyway, we plodded off, and I'm sure poor Calli was just about pooped out by the time we got there.  We walked down a bit of the dyke before we turned around. Did I say it was a beautiful day?....:)

Mt. Baker in Washington State peeking over the shoulder of Vedder Mountain.

Mt Cheam and Lady Peak in the background, and blueberries behind the dogs.

  The warm weather had brought out a ton of tiny little bugs down near the water level.

  There were a few Common Mergansers in the river, but it was hard to get a decent photo. I kept telling them to stay still but they wouldn't listen.

The eagle slingshot:)

And another Bald Eagle just across the river.  

If we don't leave so many years between visits, I might remember to park in the right spot next time.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mostly about Calli

We disappeared up to Oliver for a week. Needed a break sort of, and I wasn't able to do anything yet regarding most of my mum's affairs. Larry decided that it was a good time to come down with the flu.  Maybe it was sort of a mild case, he didn't do much but sleep for a couple of days, and then on the third day he was able to get himself to the dog park with Jake and Calli while I did a run with Luna.  Recovery has been slow, but he's getting there.  Thankfully it didn't happen later, because while at Oliver we got a call to say that there was a cancellation, and would he be available for eye surgery on Feb. 11.  That is to do an epithelial cell transplant in his second eye because of his Fuch's Dystrophy. Yippee!  We are close to two years now, first with the cataract surgery, waiting for each of those, then the disappointment of those not improving his vision because the Fuch's Dystrophy had been aggravated.  Then waiting for the surgery to do the cell replacement, the first one was postponed due to lack of donor tissue, finally it was done at the end of June last year. Hopefully this one will happen on the 11th, but we won't know for sure until the day before.  Then there will be the recovery from that, and then finally he will be able to get a new prescription for his glasses.  
Anyway, on Jan 26th, Calli turned 16, which is a mighty fine age for a dog, especially a lab/golden retriever cross, and especially so considering what she has dealt with.

At this point now, her back legs have no strength at all. She used to be able to pull herself up and get around well, but not at all now.  Of course as a senior dog, she spends a lot of time sleeping.  We have to hold her up while she eats, and what comes out the other end is manipulated by us. We used to be able to tell her to 'go pee, go pee' and something eventually would click and she would. Now she can't hear us anyway, and she can't walk around.
Her favourite spot to sleep is in the basement, she had a big mat there.  In the last year that she has lost all strength in her back legs, she can't move around on her mat much.  But, her front legs are super strong, so she will push herself up with those, and then the back end just slides away, and eventually she ends up off her mat. 
Last summer in garage sale season, I went to one held by someone that use to sell dog supplies.  I got this cool dog playpen.  It was funny, there was another lady hanging around waiting to see if I would walk away from it.  She was informed by the owner that it was for dogs, not kids, and the woman laughed and said she was sure her daughter-in-law wouldn't want to get a dog pen for her kids.  Anyway, it was brand new, I paid $10, and it folds up like a baby playpen.  I figured I could fit two dogs in it, and if I made a top for it, maybe I could use it at agility trials or something (if I ever enter one again). 
Since Calli often would start barking if she ended up off her mat, and she has a loud bark, and having to head down the to basement to sort her out at 2am wasn't really appreciated, I tried her with the dog playpen, and it really is perfect.  If she starts pushing herself around with her front legs, she can't really go anywhere, we just have to remember to zip the door shut.

We didn't take it to Oliver, because really there isn't enough room there.  This is were she sleeps there, in a nook created by the end of the loveseat and a kitchen island.  The first night I was woken by some thumping, not barking.  I figured it had to be Calli so I got up and and she was off her mat and across the room by that little three legged table you can see at the end of the other loveseat.  The thumping was her pushing herself up with the front legs, and then her body sliding backwards and the elbows thumping back down on the floor.

We did have a dog crate with us, but it wasn't big enough for her to lay full out like she is here.  So the next night I got creative and made a pen out of furniture.  It worked.  No barking.  Luna decided it was her turn, and she whined to go out, so I had to get up anyway.  

The third night Calli barked again, even though she was still on her mat. Who knows why, she is doing that more often now.  Up again, I got the dog brush and brushed her for a couple of minutes, that seemed to work. 
The fourth night, the same thing, and yay! Larry felt good enough to get up that time.  The last three nights were quiet ones, thank goodness.

This is the second day there, Larry was still out for the count, and I was walking the dogs down the dyke. It is a relaxed walk, as Calli doesn't go that fast, and the other two get lots of time for sniffing and doing dog stuff. 
 I was hoping to see some decent snow while we were at Oliver, but this is as much as we got.

Keep on rolling Calli girl:)