Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hitting Balls with Sticks

I was checking out some of my favourite blogs this morning, back-pedalling through some I've fallen behind on, and came across Cro's croquet game from a week or so ago.

Oh, wow. Memories of playing a game of which we had no knowledge about rules of play. (Of course, that covers a multitude of sins … I was SO surprised when for the first time, at age 28, I actually read the rules for Monopoly. It was NOTHING like how we played it. Who knew?)


When I was a kid, our Dad took a liking to croquet. He bought a game set and although I'm sure our front lawn wasn't to specifications (is a croquet field supposed to have a 3% slope? I didn't think so) it didn't slow us down.

We played lots of games that involved hitting a ball with a stick. Baseball, for example. In that game, the ball flies through the air and you have to hit it.

In croquet, the ball is on the ground. Flat (flat-ish). How hard could that be?

Then we discovered the beauty of the game. Our favourite play was when your ball rolls up against your brother's ball, then you can place your foot on your ball to steady it, whack it (the ball, not your foot) with your mallet and send his ball way out into the horse pasture.

Is that a legal shot?

Who cares.

 I have been a BIG fan of Calvin and Hobbes since forever, and this is an example of why. He plays croquet like my brother and I did, or at least how I remember it. He might not have such fond memories.

And then there was baseball.

When you only have three kids in the family, and one is a lot younger, and you use the stallions' corral fence for a backstop at home plate with the burning barrel for a base …. well, let's just say our game bore little-to-no resemblance to the regular game.

The cartoon below might actually more closely resemble the spirit of our 'baseball' games.

When the game got tied up because the batters were both (!!!) on bases, we'd beg Mom for help. Now, she was a real ball player, used to pitch fastball in high school, and was a wicked pitch hitter (throw the ball up in the air, then hit it when it comes down). She'd drive that ball WAAAAAY out into the pasture, effectively getting our game back into motion while also keeping us occupied for at least half an hour trying to find the ball.

Yay, mom.

When our kids were little, we played neighbourhood balls games on hot summer nights at Bruce and Maggie-May's place. They even had a proper backstop and bases. The rules were a little different, though.

The line-up alternated kids and adults (kids could play if they could actually swing the bat and run, so age 3 was possible). The kids got unlimited pitches. The adults had to bat one hand, wrong hand with a beer in the other hand. Adults were not allowed to lap a kid when running the bases - I've seen men scoop a kid while rounding third base and slide into home plate.

Now that's a ball game!

We never thought of playing croquet. Can you imagine what we would have done with THAT?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Iris Love

It's no secret that I love, love, love irises. I'd have an entire garden of them if they weren't so darned seasonal. Better to invest real estate in roses and others that provide more long-term bloom.

Still, who can resist this:

 and this:

 and these:

 but most of all, this:

 Iris are glorious, blowsy, sensual and ever-so-slightly naughty.

The mostly cool, wet weather has turned our spot in the world into a green oasis. The lilacs are getting enormous, shown here just past their peak bloom:

And just so you know it's not all gardening all the time, I'll tell you that The Husband and I were living one of the ultimate Canadian stereotypes last night:
                               sitting in a small town bar drinking beer, eating poutine while 
                               watching the Stanley Cup playoffs on the big screen TV. 

And in case you didn't know, the LA Kings won.

And last Sunday we went a nice local ride on the motorcycles that included Campbell Creek Road (follow the 'street view' from Barnhartvale Road to Hwy 5A) that was lovely, excepting the 5km or so of dirt and potholes (on a sport bike, no less) that made me cranky.

Never mind, we had ice cream at  the Silver Valley Store.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

First o' June Photos

Finally FINALLY the heat has arrived and things are poppin' in the yard.

I went for a walk around the bottom of the property early Sunday evening, camera in hand.

The baby Japanese maple came through the  harsh winter in good condition.
Mayday trees (back left) finished blooming a week ago.
Trembling aspen (tall, back right) doing very good.
Japanese rose (left) best it's been in 6 years.

The first of the bearded irises. Iris makes me weak in the knees.

Flower therapy helps me deal with the stress and frustration of a day, to celebrate the joy of a happy, productive day, and to celebrate the glory of life, no matter the type of day I've had.

Columbine adding colour. In front of it is rudbeckia;
 to the right is bee balm and behind on the left is Marguerite daisy.

Cranberry cottoneaster. Yes, I need to pull out some grass.

After hours spent in front of a computer creating temporal works, there is deep satisfaction working with my fingers in the dirt and my back bent over the ground, nurturing enduring life.

The annual 'From the Far Corner' photo. The photos help me gauge progress and
 remind myself  how well it's progressed … in spite of the winter casualties.
Early peonies blooming in foreground; the larger plants
behind show promise of a tremendous blossoming.

One of the many lilac varieties in our garden,
all getting towards the end of their flowering season.

This one under the kitchen window is particularly aromatic.
Along with the lily-of-the-valley bloom just below it, the fragrance is intoxicating.

The new deer fence … and it works so far.

Deer fence detail.

The neighbours' new cedar border. Provide privacy for both of us.
The five (count 'em, five) dogs in that household keep the deer away from the 'candy'.