A Good Home, Building a Water Feature, Canadian Homes, Canadian Village Life, Carol and Wayne Shaw's Gardens Summer 2018

What’s Wayne Up to Now?

Glad you asked!

We’ve been following him and Carol as they expanded their small house and garden into what our family now calls “The Shaw Estate”. 

Blog Photo - Carol garden at front with plants and house front

And I promised you that I’d revisit them when the Coach House interior is complete. (He plans to do this in cooler weather.)

Blog Photo - Carol Garden coach house beautiful exterior

But our family has known Wayne and Carol for many years and I should have known that Wayne is always up to something. 

Blog Photo - Wayne at work on a new building

“I came up with the idea about 3 months ago,” he says.

A neighbour bought the property next door, and made changes that affected Wayne and Carol’s use of the back of their property.  Wayne decided they needed a water-feature there.

Blog Photo - Wayne's fountain and first pond at night

“I started looking around for the ideal rock fountain and finally found it in nearby Campbellford. I took Carol up to see it, and we decided on it that day. While there, I made an appointment with the gentleman (Jim Spencer) who builds and installs all their water features. We came up with a final layout (in our heads).”  

 Q: Did you make a sketch, Wayne?

A:  “I did not. It was a vision/plan in my head, and when we met, he and I understood each other within minutes. No plans were drawn!”

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain Rock Arrives 2

 Jim, whose property is fully landscaped, has been doing this work for 40 years. He and colleague Wayne (yes, another Wayne) arrived weeks later with backhoe and fountain boulder.

“As you can see, the 6,000 pound fountain boulder was a little too much for the small backhoe to manage! They had to bring in a heavy duty boom truck.” 

Blog Photo - Wayne and Heavy Duty Boom Truck

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain Men Placing Fountain Boulder

This wasn’t just a fountain, however. They built a patio, a stream and three ponds and planted a cedar hedge as a backdrop.

Blog Photo - Wayne's fountain and stream and two ponds

Q: How did Carol react when she saw the finished product, Wayne?

 A:  “She was elated, as are all of those who have come around to see what we are up to out back!”

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain with stream and ponds and garden bed

Blog Photo - wayne's Foutain closer of pond and cedars and rocks

Jim allowed Wayne to operate the backhoe one day, but mostly, Wayne designed and supervised the project.

Blog Photo - Wayne's fountain and Patio at night

Blog Photo - Wayne's Foutain finished Product with patio and steps

Q: So are you and Carol lounging about, having drinks and admiring the new water feature?

A: “No. But we do go out at least once a day and admire the work the boys did!”

That’s because Carol is busy working in the garden and Wayne is now building an office inside the main house.

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain shows back of house and coach house and rocks

Meanwhile, Jim Spencer, pleased with the collaboration, asked Wayne to assist with a future project, and he agreed.

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountian front view of garden and coachhouse with water feature in BG

And double-meanwhile:

“As soon as I’ve finished the office, I hope it will be cool enough to go back and complete the interior of the COACH HOUSE!!!” 

Yes, and we’ll have pictures!

~~

Photos by Wayne Shaw.

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A Good Home

Strimping and Swimping

It’s  a pattern, I’ve come to realize. 

I return from each medical assessment with worsened pain, more intense PTSD nightmares, deep anxiety and a feeling of dread. 

But the moment I start to see daylight again, I become determined to DO something. 

I might wash the drapes. Or rearrange something. 

Almost always, I write in my journal, and from there, return to blogging. Occasionally, I give you a glimpse of my struggles.  Mostly, I write cheerful, hopeful posts, meant to uplift myself as well as you.

But those first days are dangerous.

Blog Photo - Tree and Shady Garden

Once, I tried to climb a tree, using a stepladder my husband had left nearby.  I’d loved climbing trees, even as an adult.

Slowly, carefully, I negotiated each step. Got to where the trunk forked then manoeuvred myself up, pain worsening with every move. 

I rested against one large branch, clung to another with my good arm and closed my eyes in relief. I’d done it.  I’d climbed Everest.

It was now time to climb back down. 

I’d focused hard on climbing up, not sparing a single thought for how I’d climb down. And now my injured body couldn’t do it. I was stuck.

Blog Photo - Bird Scratches self

Stuck, watching a ladder that was tantalizingly close, but not close enough. Stuck, wondering why humans didn’t have wings, and how hard the ground would be if I just jumped.

How long was I there?  Measure it in life-times, not minutes. 

Once again, my husband came home and into the garden. He looked even more frightened than I was.

I fervently promised to behave better in future. No more stupid risks. No more frightening this good man.

~~

The great opposite of risk-taking is to live in fear. I’ve done a lot of that too.

Take swimming. We are blessed with a backyard pool which came with the house.

Blog Photo - Pool long shot

Yet, for three years (forget last summer – my left leg was in a heavy cast after I fell), I’ve never gone into it alone. Fear of my right leg and thigh becoming numb and heavy, which they often do.  Fear of drowning.

Recently, I decided to try.

I asked my husband, the first few times, to stand on the pool deck, watching me. I used one of those sponge noodles (a flotation device), splashed around, but didn’t stay long. My right side, of course, was the biggest problem.  Even in the water, and despite great efforts, my right leg felt useless.

The next time, I told my husband he could do something else, as long as he checked on me every few minutes. 

Blog Photo - Muskoka chairs and Umbrella

Each time, I stayed longer, tried harder. And here’s what I discovered (big drum roll, please): I can swim on one leg! 

My left leg, the one broken last year, is a champion; while my right leg simply floats, the left is doing the work of two.  I’m still using that noodle, but I’m swimming, for whole minutes, without fear.

~~

Two evenings ago, I did not announce it. I just went. 

Back and forth I swam, from one end of the pool to another. When I stopped and  looked up, my husband was standing there, watching me and smiling.

“You’ve been out here for quite a while,” he noted.

“Thanks to my left leg!” I laughed. “I’m swimping!”

He laughed back, recognizing immediately that I had combined the words swimming and limping. After all, it was he who first called my style of strolling “strimping”. Now, I, too, have made up a new word.

“If we keep this up, we could create a whole dictionary,” I said. 

 

 

 

 

A Good Home, Change in Seasons, Late summer and early fall

To Everything, A Season – or Two

I’m living a double life.

Trying to hold on to summer while quietly giving in to early-autumn rituals.

Blog Photo - garden Sept 2018 chairs and pool

I’m still ‘swimming’ outdoors, but the heat also went on in the house last night.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 benches and blue pot by pool

I dusted off the outdoor furniture as if summer isn’t almost finished, but I also changed the tablecloth in the dining room to something autumnal.

I’m still watering the flower pots containing summer flowers  — pansies, petunias, lilies and lobelia — but we also bought 3 large pots of chrysanthemum. (At ten bucks a pot, including tax, that’s a great deal.)

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Single Pansy

I salute the few late blooms of white hydrangea as if it’s early summer, while around me, most Annabelle hydrangea flowers have already turned green for autumn.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Three Hydrangea turned green

I’m still urging on our beets and zucchini in the garden, but getting ready to roast and preserve some just-picked tomatoes for autumn meals.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Beets in Ground

I’m also cheering the raised container bed of herbs my husband planted in the spring: rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley.

“Keep growing!” I tell them.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Herb Bed.JPG

I eye the pots of amaryllis outside, knowing it’s almost time to shake off the soil and bring the bulbs indoors.

I see this patch of maple leaves changing colour, and pretend they’re a charming seasonal anomaly.  Meanwhile, I narrow my eyes at a nearby tree whose leaves have already turned an unattractive dull-brown.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Leaves start to turn

Perhaps most ridiculous of all, I am foolishly encouraging this sunflower seedling to keep going, telling it that blooming is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Sunflower Seedling

Yesterday, I listened to an old favourite song, “Turn, Turn, Turn”, (Pete Seeger) whose lyrics were excerpted from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes (“To Everything there is a season”).

But there are limits to these accommodations of the change in seasons. For example, I have resolutely not bought any spring bulbs, though I know my husband will likely go out and get some.  (I figure he has enough garden work to do at this time, with little help from me.)

Yesterday, I glimpsed a Christmas decoration show on television. For a few moments I stared in bewilderment, then turned off the TV.

To everything there is a season. But even as I creep and lurch my way into fall, it’s way too early for Christmas!

 

 

 

A Good Home, Acts of Friendship, Canadian Gardens, Flowers, Gardens, Keeping the Faith

The Glory of Late Summer

So much beauty.

Late summer, but the garden is still resplendent with colour. 

Blog Photo - September 2018 Lovely Backyard tree to woods

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Ligularia Yellow Blooms in border

The bees are plentiful and hard at work, drawn to fragrant hosta and almost everything else, it seems.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee on Hosta Bloom 2

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Hosta White ECU

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee ECU

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Very wide shot with bee in one lily

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Bee in Lily Med Wide

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Bee CU in Lily

The trees are still green.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Under the Dogwood tree

And there are blooms everywhere.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - late blooms1

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Single Blue clem

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Zucchini and Flower

I give thanks for this season and the ability to enjoy it. Last summer, I had a bad concussion and broken bones from a sudden fall.  Luckily, my husband and an old friend both took photos so I could see bits of the garden.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 benches and blue pot by pool

This summer, life has again challenged me greatly at times — as it does to many of us.  Loved ones get seriously ill or die.  Another fall.  A lengthy medical assessment kicks off horrible nightmares and indescribable pain; I’m shocked to find myself again staring into the abyss.  I shake my head and have a few frank words with God.

But weep ye not!

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Sunface

I’m determined to dwell, not on the bad, but on the good that’s around me. And there is so much good, so much beauty, to be thankful for.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Yellowish Hosta fersn and wall

My husband and children are healthy. They are caringly present, especially in rough times. 

Most days I am, according to my husband, “strimping along”. (I insist I’m striding or strolling, not limping.) 

My relatives, neighbours and friends are never far away.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Hosta in front

We support each other.

I surprised one dear friend with a funny birthday gift and kept a promise to another.  (Tiny acts, but I know they matter.)

My sisters and daughters called; we shared words of hope, love and reassurance.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee on Blue shrub

And I’m still keeping the faith.

And the sun still shines in abundance.

Blog Photo - Phillipians 4 Whatever is True

~~