A Good Home, April Freeze, Birds, Garden, Snow

The Frozen North

Photos by Hamlin Grange

We’ve had all kinds of weather in the last four days: wind, rain, snow, freezin’ rain. Then more snow and freezin’ rain and wind again.

Hamlin froze his tush off to get these photos today!

Blog Photo - Cardinal in Snow

We hear the birds singing loudly — though methinks it sounds more like complaining today. Who can blame them?

Blog Photo - Dove in Freezing weather 3

This wall must be warm, because a dove has taken refuge on the climbing ivy branches just outside our window. We’re so sorry for him/her that we almost opened the window and said “Come on in!”

Blog Photo - Dove in Freezing weather

Our snowdrops are encased in ice.

Blog Photo - Frozen snowdrops1

The frog, we imagine, is playing a requiem for Spring, because it sure feels like Spring has died and Winter is resurrected.

Blog Photo - Frozen Frog

The poor daffodil buds, about to bloom, have frozen too.

Blog Photo - Frozen daffodils

Blog Photo - Frozen garden ornament

Blog Photo - Frozen Bench 2

In our eagerness for Spring, we put out the warm-weather table and chairs days ago.

Blog Photo - Frozen Deck

Blog Photo - Frozen chair2

The laugh’s on us for forgetting it’s April in Canada. They don’t call our country The Frozen North for nothin’.

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A Good Home, Apple Pies, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Farmhouse Kitchen, Garden

Garden Joys

It’s such a joy to grow things.

Blog Photo - Veggie Garden Lettuce

And even more satisfying to know that the stuff we’re eating is from our own garden.

Blog Photo - Garden harvest baskets with toamtoes peppers eggplants on table

This year, as I walked through the garden, I found myself eating berries and vegetables before I even got them into the house.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Red Currants

Instead of making jelly, I ate the currants fresh from the bush every day.

Asparagus spears, delicious when eaten fresh, often didn’t make it into the kitchen.

Same for the raspberries and even some tomatoes.

Being able to forage for food in one’s own garden is a privilege.

Blog Photo - Garden harvest Basket tomatoes pumpkin

Recently, we’ve made herb oils (basil, in this case).

Blog Photo - Herb Oils 2

And I’ve made peach cake.

Blog Photo - Peach

Knowing my tragic history with baking cakes, my family was impressed by how well it turned out.

Blog Photo - Cake 2

I was so impressed with my baking victory that I kept making the same cake over and over again.

Blog Photo - Cake Cut

“Make her stop!” younger daughter begged her father.

I protested and she said “Mom, I love you. But you know … you find one thing that you can make, and you keep making it and making it till we’re sick of it.”

I  rolled my eyes and tried to look penitent. But I was busy making another peach cake.

Blog Photo - Cake slice

Soon it will be time to pull the garlic and onion bulbs from the soil.

Blog Photo - Garlic 2

And time to make apple pie.

I’ll peel and slice the apples, and my good man will make the pies. Everyone in our family looks forward to this tradition (and no-one complains since he only makes these delicious pies once a year).

Blog Photo - Kitchen Apple slices

Blog Photo - Kitchen Pies on Table

It’s the simple stuff. The good stuff. 

And my daughter will be relieved to know that now I’m serving the peaches freshly sliced, with yogourt.

But just wait till next summer.

PHOTOS BY HAMLIN GRANGE

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Garden, Spring garden

Mama’s Garden in Spring

My husband named this garden for my mother. It’s my favorite garden and I promised to tend it.

But my injuries made gardening a huge challenge and Mama’s Garden became a little jungle.

For the last few years, it’s looked a bit wild, especially from the outside.

Mama's Garden Side shot with dogwood, ferns etc

Mama's Garden side shot

But it’s always a treasure-trove on the inside.

Mama's Garden Ferns and Jack in the pulpit

My Good Man weeded the pathway for me this Spring – thank you, thank you, Kind Sir!!

Suddenly, you could see the path and even the plants stood out more.

That purple flower on the left below is woodland phlox. Farther below, in the next picture, is Solomon’s seal, blooming its small white bells.

Mama's Garden Pathway May 2015

Mama's Garden Solomon's seal

Mama's Garden Purple Iris CU

Yes, even Irises bloom here. 

Mama's Garden Yellow Iris CU

Ferns, hydrangea, Jack-in-the-pulpit, May apple,dogwood, ligularia, wild phlox, woodland phlox, astilbe, hosta — and many more plants grow together here.  Including two clematis vines.

Mama's Garden Double Clem CU

Mama's Garden Path and Arbor side

 The double clematis flourishes on the entrance arbor. It will cover that side of the arbor very soon.

Mama's Garden Double Clem opening

The dogwood blooms above all that. It has never looked better.

Mama's Garden Dogwood blooms May 2015

Same goes for the purple lilac.

Mama's Garden Purple Lilac

Way to go, Mama’s Garden!  Thank you for your thriving and lovely ways.

~~

Dedicated to my mother.

With thanks to my husband for all his work in our garden.

A Good Home, Blessings, Flowers, Garden, Peonies

Flowers for Jean

Blog Photo - Spring flowers in VancouverHow typical of Jean,” I thought when she sent me cheery photos (including the one above) of spring flowers in Vancouver. “To do something nice for me when it’s her birth-week.”

Jean does this kind of thing.

But it’s Jean’s birthday, so these flowers are dedicated to her.

Blog Photo - Red Peony

If asked to name something that comes to mind when we think of Jean, her friends would probably say:

Family.

Faith.

Friendship.

Good Food.

Flowers.

(We might also add Athletics, Books and Music but those words don’t begin with an ‘F’, so they don’t make the cut here.)

Blog Photo - Peonies and Solomon's Seal

These flowers are in honour of a special birthday.

Blog Photo - Peony deep pink singleJean loves flowers. She’s actually studied gardening. Recently, she created a whole new garden from scratch.

Peonies are among her favorites.

So are Bleeding Hearts. These below are grandchildren of a plant she gave me years ago.

Above photos by Hamlin Grange
4 Photos above by Hamlin Grange

A few of Jean’s gardener friends have contributed flowers and garden scenes to this birthday greeting.

Ornamental grasses from Linda’s garden:

Blog Photo - Book Club Iron Heron

And a lovely white peony:

Blog Photo - Flowers  for Jean Linda's Peony

Jan sends this yellow beauty and the pink lady’s slippers by the lakeside: 

Blog Photo - Jan's Yellow flowers for Jean

Blog Photo - Jan's Lady Slipper for Jean

And from Val’s garden come these peonies and scene of the lush countryside northwest of Toronto:

Blog Photo - Val Peonies on hillside

Thank you, Jean.

For your friendship.

And for being you.

A blessed birthday and birth-week to you.