I Did It My Way!

All in a Day's Work! June 25, 2011

It’s been days since writing and I wanted to let my readers know what I’ve been up to.  As per usual, I forgot to take a BEFORE photo of the backyard…let me look in my archives and see what I can find! 

Boardwalk to the Studio

Ah yes…here is a wee photo before building my boardwalk!  And yes, I did it myself!  It’s fun to look back and see the transformation!  And, apart from building the deck, I did all of the physical labour, myself!  From the beginning, I dreamed of having a place where I could grow both veggies and flowers.

My parents had always been the most remarkable gardeners!  Growing up with that experience certainly caused me to love being outdoors in the evenings, picking weeds before they became baobabs. And it is certainly one of the most relaxing times of the day, sipping a coffee in a backyard garden, while checking on the changes there.  I learned so much while building my first raised bed and purchased a good level, sledge hammer and got into buying neat drill bits of all sorts, so that I could pre-drill holes and set my reebar.

First Raised Bed

From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to plant ground cover and I am an avid rock collector, always have been and I wanted to display a variety of flat rock that came from many special places.

Initially, we set them out in dirt and through time I became really frustrated with the constant issue of weeds that grew up and interspersed with the ground cover and this is why, this spring, I decided to revise the layout of the back yard.  One of the problems was also, that I had placed our veggie garden down the center.  This was just NOT aesthetically sensible, although, highly functional!

Cayley and Mud Pies

My daughter, Cayley, was a ‘treasure’ as she created a patchwork of leveled rock in our first attempt.  It was so beautiful how the yard was changing!

Sometimes I consider moving into a smaller home, but as I look at the history of this place, it would be a very difficult thing to do.  We have created so many stories here, as a family!

Hmmm….I have to race off to church…more later! ;0)  (Funny how writing always carries me away!)  Ok….so, I’m back.  This is how the rocks looked before the ground cover and the weeds took over!  I can’t find a photograph of this overgrowth, likely because I really didn’t like it!  It didn’t matter how often I weeded, I couldn’t keep up.  Now that I hope to do a bit more traveling, I need something with less maintenance and so now I’ve floated the rocks on a bed of cedar shavings.  I love the smell of cedar and this is a big reminder of my Dad’s vegetable garden near Frankford, Ontario.

Cremona Rock: Step Down

It’s so much fun going through the old archives of this project!  The rocks were gathered up from Jack Pot, Nevada, the Teton River’s edge and a whole myriad of places from here to Mexico.  There are many memories, experiences and stories tied up with this garden!

The boardwalk was finished up.  When we visited my grandparents in the Magrath area, Grampa would take us out to the Hutterite Colonies in order to finish off his wool orders.  I loved the sound of shoes on  boardwalks. The buildings on the Colonies were edged with boardwalks and I remember that this is where mothers brushed out their daughters’ long hair, all bathed in evening-light. 

 As well, didn’t you love the sound of cowboy boots on boardwalks in those old cowboy- movies we used to see at the theaters?  Everything in my garden resonates with me!  I hold on to these stories because they cause me such happiness!   

Studio Boardwalk

When I moved here, the backyard was an empty canvas…clay overrun with weeds.  It has gradually become my oasis.  Since I tackled this project  on my own, it became a source of enjoyment.

Now, I love to spend time watching the birds at the bird-feeder and putting the finishing touches on things.  The catoni asters are no longer tiny sticks in the far left corner, instead they are becoming a frame for my ‘reading space’, a work still in progress.  I looked at early photographs of May, my Mayday tree, and now she stretches her arms up and becomes a place for the birds to rest.

As I move back into my day, curling up to a good book on a sunny afternoon, I am going to include  poetry by my favourite poet, e. e. cummings.  It is a poetic-sort of moment for me.

Laurie-dog Hangs Out

Recently Listening to Noam Chomsky

Given that I’ve been reading about slavery as it existed in Prince Edward Island and other provinces, I’ve happened upon Noam Chomsky’s work and have spent a good part of this rainy grey evening, listening to his thoughts.  Excellent stuff!

Happy Father’s Day!

My Dad: Moose Jaw Tech

My Dad was the man with the Plan B.  He was the person, in my life, who had backbone when backbone was required and helped me with the BIG decisions along the way.

I remember a time when my Dad  placed his hand on my shoulder in a situation where he was unable to speak.  And, through that gesture, he gave me strength to go forward in acceptance and confidence.

Dad was the one who taught me about being directive in my life…so, I knew I wanted to stay the course and keep my head up.  He taught me to be able to flex for the inevitable surprise and to do so, without fear.

Dad taught me to have opinions and ideas and never was a dull man around a dinner table.  We learned about politics and economics and sports.  We talked about EVERYTHING.  I guess, in part, I owe this blog to him. ;0) 

I love my Dad, for the life he built for his family.  This year, my Dad turned 80 and he writes me E Mail.  I look forward to his little notes.   I couldn’t be prouder of the person he is!  My Father is a wonderful man. 

Bleeding Heart

Front Door Greeter

My daughter asked me to please plant a Bleeding Heart bush, shortly after we moved into this house.  I asked her why and she replied that she just loved those little dangling hearts.  So, I planted one right near our front door step, a reminder to me of love and how a house becomes a home!

Lupins in Full Bloom

Detail: Lupin

June 16, 2011 Back Beds

Every springtime I feel as though a little bit of the East Coast of Canada rests with me in my flower beds.  The amazing rich colours that fill even the ditches of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Ontario are so amazing!


Peonies: Ready to Bloom


Peonies like ants…ants help them along with pollination and such!  I feel as though the ants are WINNING in my garden.  I’m always looking for a natural solution to minimizing their huge impact on things!  Some day, ants will provide us with nourishment…I just know that insects are doing very well on our planet these days.

Back to Peonies…early bloomers…thick, amazing blooms…so heavy, that they bow their heads down.  Mine is a healthy and fairly young plant.


How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mom's Angel in the Front BedMany accomplishments this afternoon!  I managed to build the new strawberry bed and the side flower bed as well.  I’m trying to integrate veggies in with the flower beds, hoping to create really healthy soil and to have edible things everywhere!  It was windy and cool, but a perfect day to do mega physical work!  Just as I unplugged my power drill, the rain started coming and now I’m indoors, sipping a nice glass of red and watching the birds at the feeder.  It has been a beautiful day! 

On June 5th, I posted some photos of wee plants that were just getting the start and wrote about some of the people I feel close to because of the variety of plants and their origins.  Now, for a shorter update!  It is so ‘magical’ when plants bust out in bloom!  Everything changes!  So…here you go!

New Bed: Strawberries and Asparagus


New Bed for More Bloomers and Veg

Oh, Canada!

Mom and Dad

There we were, traveling late on the highway, white lines racing hypnotically toward us.  My chin leaned on the back seat of the station wagon, a burgundy Rambler, as I lay stretched in hot dog fashion alongside the oldest and youngest, in the back.  My parents voices were a hush.  Every now and then there was the sound of my father humming a few notes of this or that song, usually melodic at this hour, better to keep everyone calm and quiet.

I have no recollections beyond that and the sound of the windshield wipers in the dark…then sleep.

In the morning, we met another landscape.  I don’t remember ever seeing a sky so open or so welcoming.  Honestly, there was a huge purple canopy stretched over that sky.  There was the threat of rain.  At this point, it seemed the miles flew by; there was a wild energy in the air and yet, we remained still and calm.  When we saw what rose up off the horizon, it seemed an alien world.

Dad, with voice cracking, said, “Kids, there they are!”

We had no notion of what he might be talking about until we scanned every portion of the landscape stretched out before us.  And then I saw them and my eyes opened wider than ever before!  I called out, “THE MOUNTAINS!”  Mauve, deep violet, edging the entire world, I saw the Rockies for the first time.

My brothers, in unison, called out, “We are close to Grandpa’s!  We are almost there!”

I love those same mountains this morning…those set out for me on the horizon!  What an awesome thing, to have been born Canadian and to be given the opportunity to love this country…to have been the daughter of a man who would have given everything in defense of this everything that I love!