Greetings and salutations, my long-suffering friends! I have not fallen off the edge of the earth, only been somewhat preoccupied with all things summer in the southern Interior.
The garden, shown here a few weeks ago, is thriving - in part due to the thing orange strand I draw your attention to in the bottom third of the photo. That is an electric fence line, familiar to livestock producers on several continents. Darned good stuff for keeping deer out of the garden.... and wandering teenagers, too, if the yelps I heard one night after its installation are anything to go on. Apparently the old ticker is still pushing through the volts quite nicely.
The smoke at the top right is from the fire.....
shown here, ably stirred by The Girl. This isn't just any fire. Oh, no. This is a Heap Big White-man Fungi Burnin' Fire (as Brody texted "Annihilate with Authority!") ....
to combat this:
which is a terrible case of Hollyhock Rust, a destructive fungus that attacked our hollyhocks just as they were about to burst into bloom. However, as it is a fungus and as it will, with time, attack malva, we opted to eradicate the problem quickly and thoroughly.
And there was plenty of this:
with which to anesthetize the traumatized gardeners, which led to a lot of this:
Who says gardening aint fun?!
Brian and Cheryl were out for the July 1 weekend, and we had a great time (even if I did have to work Friday). Saturday was the nicest of their visit weather-wise and we took advantage of it to visit the Heritage Gardens in Kelowna. The gardens are an inspiration to me, to remind me and help Bryan visualize where I'd like to go with our yard in the coming years. He's on board completely, which is great.
By the way, the resident horticulturalist told me (when I asked) that we did the right thing when we eradicated our infected hollyhocks with flame, and suggestions to avoid the blight should I recover enough to try hollyhocks again.
My Bryan, at just under 6'4" (that old age shrinkage, you know) to put the height of the roses into perspective:
Cheryl's Brian, below, checking out some of the lovely drifts of heritage flowers.
Brian and Cheryl rounding the back of the garden.
There's a lovely 100+ year old house on the grounds - if I recall correctly, it was one of Lord & Lady Aberdeen's residences (or they had some association with it). Anyway, it's now a restaurant, very popular for fancy do's . We went in for lunch and were very impressed.
As our drinks arrived and we waited for the first course, a table of three women beside us had finished their meal and we about to leave: two middle-age ladies and a quite elderly but neat and trim woman. As they got up to leave, I noticed that the eldest one was wearing a lovely sand-coloured linen jacket with a floral pattern. When they passed our table, I spoke to her and commented on how lovely it was.
"Why thank you!" she replied and made to continued on. But just then, she stopped, turned back towards me, sweeping back the jacket and posing her hand on her hip, and archly asked, "Anything else you'd like to admire?"
We almost wet ourselves laughing. The table behind us was also in tears. She grinned, one of other ladies turned a bit pink but also grinned and said, "We've always got a story to tell when we take Mom out for the day!"
Now that's what I call a role model!
B&G left on Sunday morning to travel east. We did laundry and tidied the house.
Monday night and I arrived home from work to find Don and Renee, friends from Valleyview, just pulled into the yard.
Renee is going to kill me when she sees this:
but I know the pictures she has of me!
And of course, because it's us, it's time for another fire out back, so's the boys can philosophize around their white-man fire.
You know, almost everyone around us has beautifully landscaped yards and fancy fire pits with decorator furniture. You'll note our stylist appointments: old kitchen chairs, stumps and the rim fire pit we've dragged from farm to farm to hamlet.
As Roland said at Bryan's 60th birthday party: "Can you believe we drove almost 1000 km to sit in the same chairs, wrapped in the same old blankets around the same fire ring talking and drinking with the same people!"
Why yes I can. Shows good taste.
What I was going to say before Roland interrupted was that for all that, we're almost the only ones who use our yard! We're growing vegetables, cutting flowers for the house, playing outside, entertaining outside. Not a week has gone by since snow melt that there hasn't been at least one evening (or rainy afternoon) spent out there by a fire.
Who needs TV when you have a fire pit?
It's time to get other evening tasks done, like turning irrigation lines off and on (in different places, silly!). The drip lines are the greatest thing ever for this yard. I can keep the moisture levels around the plants just right and not waste any water. It was 39C today when I left the office - doesn't take long for things to get parched in that heat.
I want to leave you with a parting shot of some of the flowers around the veranda. The lilies have been outstanding this year. Cheryl, these ones opened a week after you left!
And the volunteer sweetpeas are breathtaking, both in foliage and scent. I come home and just stand here, breathing deeply for a few minutes when I get home. It puts my whole day back into perspective!
And one last shot, the neighbourhood bathed in an intense golden glow after a powerful lightning storm moved through. This picture doesn't do it justice, but I tried.
There are saskatoons to be picked, as big as blueberries this year with the moisture and heat. Saskatoon pie!!! Don't you wish you were here for supper?!