Monday, April 25, 2011

Damp Dawn Parade, Memories of Sunrise Services

I was perusing the Taranaki Daily News website this morning before work officially began. There were photos of the ANZAC Dawn Parade. In the rain.

The cenotaph in New Plymouth is only a short walk away from an apartment I had in New Plymouth a few years ago. I attended the Dawn Parade that year. Having played piano for a multitude of Remembrance Day services in Canada over the years, I found this ceremony refreshing and moving.

In the dense darkness of predawn, there was a p
reternatural quiet given the number of people gathered together. The surf pounded the nearby beach. It was moving. And chilly.

But not raining.

I remembered Easter Sunday sunrise services of years past. Those that occurred in March were particularly notable for their hypothermic potential.

Bad enough being up at dawn milking or during calving or having not gone to bed at all.

I am so not a morning person.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bruise of Honour

I have a lovely deep purple bruise beginning its transformation to a less-than-lovely yellowish colour in the crook of my left arm.

The bruise is a badge of honour because it was incurred while giving a blood donation on Friday.

The donor clinic is coming to Vernon more frequently now and during hours when I can attend, and so I recommenced an activity that I'd been unable to take part in for many years now.

After the long screening process now required since HIV/AIDS and Chagas came into the picture, I finally got to the chair. The RN was swabbing my arm and for some stupid reason, I blurted out, "You know, I don't know why I'm here. I hate needles." Because, you know, they use huge honkin' needles (4 gauge or something damned close) so as not to damage the red blood cells.

She gave me a long look, smiled and said, "I hate needles, too" then proceeded to give a very nice needle, as huge honkin' gauge needles go. And I was an exemplary donor because I filled my quota in 9 minutes. Yea for me.

The rain outside this morning is looking suspiciously like snow. It's melting upon contact with the ground, so I'm thinking it's just snow with bad attitude. Spring, grow a set and fight back!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chai Tea morning

Cuppa tea this morning rather than my usual coffee fix. Some days, that just seems right.

No doubt the coffee pot will come out later in the day.

Those observant ones in the know, yes indeed that is a Northern Gateway Public Schools mug. And yes, Rosie and Pat, that is a tea bag floating in a mug and not properly steeping in a tea pot. I own a tea pot. I'm just lazy. It is Tim Horton's Chai Tea, not that that means anything to anyone but a Canadian.

The butterfly quilt is finished, washed and in the hands of Sean and Jenna. Mike and Loren's is now underway. You might have seen a quilt with this fabric in Mom's house or in my granddaughter's crib.

The pattern on this fabric isn't as dense as the butterfly fabric, so I'll do in-fill quilting on the blue sky between balloons as well as inside the balloons themselves. Just now, I'm working around each balloon. My photos are a little dark. These are bright, bright Crayola crayon colours.

The sewing room is still in a bit of disarray but I did get the books moved and the fabric stash sorted. The photos are two of my favs. The group is my mom's mother with her siblings and father, taken in Rocky Mountain House in 1940. Mom is the infant in her mother's arms, older sister Betty standing in front. And the one to the right is Mom at my brother's house holding one of Daisy's little tiny very new puppies (Daisy is a Jack Russell, like our girls).

Spring has been slow to arrive. Environment Canada gurus are saying that the entire West will experience a cold, wet spring. They'll get no argument from me. Sorel and mint, poppies and weeds are all that's poking their heads through in the garden. The narcissis and hyacinth are holding back.

Inside, one of my 'creepy' plants is in seasonal glory:

That ropey, spiny thing is a Crown of Thorns. It often has more leaves on it, but its true gift is the incredible blooms it puts out:

This plant is a particularly prolific bloomer.

It was a bit sunnier outside yesterday but cool enough to make trenching bearable. I've been burying the drip line supplying water to the trees and shrubs around the perimeter of the yard. There's also drip line in and around the flower beds but I like to keep it tight to the surface so I don't inadvertently hit it with a shovel or fork and tear it.

The line for the trees needs to be shallow buried so we don't rip it with the mower or string trimmer.

From the kitchen balcony, looking northwest up the hill alongside the house. You can see the black irrigation line laying on the ground. Disturbed dirt at the top near the woodpile where I quit yesterday.

Above: looking straight west along the north boundary of the property and the fir trees I've transplanted from the volunteer plantation on Kelly's lot. The line is already buried here, as well as to my left, and to the south at a 90 degree angle from the end of this row.

Heading straight south along the west property boundary. The group of firs and our woodpile is straddling the property line, but as the land beside us is CSRD land - the fire hall property - it isn't a big deal. Doubt very much there will be a fence here unless we build it.

The little tree immediately in the foreground is a Rocky Mountain juniper, another local transplant. I have a few of them in this corner of the yard.

Around the woodpile and looking down to the bottom of the yard. The white stake is a boundary marker. The string is electric fence line to (hopefully) keep the deer out and away from the roses. It works even better on teenagers.

The water line is running to the left of these big trees, among the varieties of horizontal juniper we planted there. They provide good ground cover and excellent quail habitat. The line goes on to water the magnolia and catalpa trees further to the south, and then to the line of cedars along the south boundary.

The lot measures 26m x 62m (85 ft x 205 ft). So far I've buried 52m (170 ft) of line, around the north end. I've got 135m (440 ft) left to do because the line doubles back along the bottom of the yard, along the cedars, through the southeast rose and lily bed and then back west to supply the dogwoods, cottoneasters and roses parallel but north of the cedars.

I should get the line running south along the west border done today. And if not before 4 pm, then too bad because Canada plays Scotland in the Mens World Championship today and there's a table at the pub with my name on it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In a Dither

Hi Rosie! Nice to know you stopped by.

The spring weather can't make up its mind today: light snow this morning, sunshine during the afternoon (like I'd know, sitting in an office), rain in one valley and thin sunlight in another driving home.

Likewise I can't make up my mind: stay home, get some chores done and work on the next quilt, or head down to the pub to watch Canada vs Norway in the World Curling event (the occasional inconvenience of not having television serve at home - by choice I might add). Stoughton's secured a berth in the finals, going unbeaten through the round robin to this point.

I'd kinda like to see Ulsrud beat him tonight only because I'm so not a Stoughton fan. Sort of like politics - like the party if not the leader, or the leader but not the local candidate ... you get the picture, I hope.

It's just so hard to get past the whole pants thing with the Norwegians, though. Doncha think?

Check it out.