A Good Home

I’m Berry Blessed, I am….

I love blueberries, I do.

Blog Photo Blueberries by H Grange

On Sunday, as we drove to Wilmot Orchards Blueberry Farm in Newcastle, Ontario, I told my good man: “I want to go blueberry picking. How hard can that be?’

Blog Photo Blueberry Picking

To which he promptly said: “Not a good idea.” Or some other such very sensible reply.

Blog Photo Girl Picks Blueberries by H Grange

I gave him a mean look. Because he’s always right….

Perhaps to give me time to reconsider, he drove around to other nearby farms and we stopped as he took these photos.

Blog Photo Sunflower CU by H Grange

Blog Photo Sunflowers by H Grange

Blog Photo Apples by H Grange

Blog Photo Apples CU by H Grange

By then I’d regained my senses. I went and BOUGHT a container of blueberries at Wilmot.

Came home, shared it with neighbours and still had enough for a feast.

And now I have been eating so many of these delicious berries that, any day now, I shall be entirely blue!  (But very thankful.)

Blog Photo CR and Berries by H Grange

All photos by Hamlin Grange.

A Good Home, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Family Moments, Family Stories

What Did You Do With My Mother?

I sat on the rug in the family room, concentrating on the needle in my hand.

Without turning, I could tell that my daughter was standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

“What are you doing, Mum?” she asked.

“I’m darning the rug. It’s got a few holes and I’m trying to mend them.”

“Who are you?” she asked.

Unasked, but loud nonetheless, was her follow-up question: “And what did you do with my mother?”

Some of you know this rug. It’s the one that was on our verandah. We suspect it’s about 100 years old. But how many things do you know that have retained their gorgeous colour (despite the threadbare spots and holes) after 100 years?

blog-photo-verandah-chairs

But I digress.

I’m not a do-it-yourselfer. I have ten thumbs and no talent.

But it was a great day in my world:  pain no worse than usual; speech clear; best of all, my daughter was here. It was like winning the lottery.

Plus, the lady in the yarn store was sure I could mend the rug.

“I even lost the two sets of yarn I’d bought here”, I confessed. 

She smiled and reassured me yet again.

Back at home, I threaded the huge needle and pulled the wool over the hole, criss-cross. It looked awful. My mother’s voice popped into my head: “You need a patch of fabric.”

Of course.

I asked my husband: “Have you a thick old sock? Something I can cut up?”

We found one. Its colour almost perfectly matched that section of the rug. I cut out a chunk, put it under the hole and started mending.

And that’s what I was doing when my daughter spied me.

But when she came closer to inspect, even she was impressed.

If a bit speechless.

**

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A Good Home, Canadian life, Couples, Family, Family Moments, Humour

To Make You Smile – A Bit of Foolishness

I’m not talking to my husband.

The problem  is that I can’t remember why.

“How can you be mad at a person and not remember why?” he asks in disbelief.

“I don’t know. I just know.”

Which makes about as much sense as holding a grudge for something you can’t remember.

“Did you have another dream?”

~~

There was the time, long ago, when I dreamed that a woman flirted with my husband.

I woke up the next morning and was very upset with him.

“Was she pretty, at least?” he asked.

“This is not a joking matter,” I replied huffily.

“But why are you blaming me? SHE was the one who flirted!”

“Well, you were probably encouraging her!”

“So you’re blaming ME because some woman flirted with me — in a  dream?” He asked.

“Yes!”

“But it wasn’t even MY dream!” he protested.

“That’s no excuse,” I pouted.

~~

Now, what the heck had he done this time? I couldn’t remember.

It wasn’t because of The Case of the Missing Ski Sock. 

Although, I was pretty mad at the time.

“Are you sure you didn’t put my sock somewhere?” he kept asking. “That’s my expensive ski sock.”

So of course I went looking.  Hours later, I’d completely re-organized his very messy closet – but still no sock.

He had learned early on that if he accused me of removing his keys, pen, wallet, cell phone, socks — you name it — I’d go searching till I found the darned thing, right where he had misplaced it. But it took me decades to catch on. Decades. Yes, I’m really that daft.

Now, if only I could recall why I’m mad at him this time.

How can I forgive and forget if I can’t remember?

~~

Dedicated to all loving partners who con their spouses into finding things they’ve lost — and to the loving, crazy people they live with. 

 

A Good Home, Canada's National Historic Sites, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Famous Places, Gardens, Heritage Homes, Home

PARKWOOD: A Place of Astonishing Beauty

Ever visited a garden which made your jaw drop — repeatedly?

Parkwood does that to me… every time I visit. A national historic site, Parkwood is gorgeous.

Blog Photo - Parkwood house from west

You’ve likely seen Parkwood in the movies – many movies and television shows have been shot here, from X-Men to Hannibal.

Located only about 35 minutes from Toronto, Parkwood is the kind of place where you can lose yourself, meandering from one space to another. Time moves slowly and pleasantly on the 12-acre grounds.

Surprisingly, Parkwood is right downtown in the city of Oshawa.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Fountains and teahouse

It’s one of the few places I know that has a white garden — but then again, Parkwood has so many garden rooms, it could dedicate one to each colour and still have space left over.

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Built for auto baron Robert Samuel McLaughlin (“Sam”), his wife Adelaide Louise and their five daughters in 1917,  the house is a mansion by any definition.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Drawing room

Blog Photo - Parkwood Dining room

Many features were rare at that time: indoor heated swimming pool, morning room for breakfast, large conservatory and an indoor bowling alley and games room.

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As for life’s ‘little’ luxuries: Parkwood had an in-house telephone system, an elevator, a central vacuum system, remote-controlled outdoor lighting system, air conditioning, climate-controls for the art gallery, a walk-in refrigerator, and much more.

Blog Photo - Parkwood - RSM and Family

The family could well afford it. McLaughlin was president of his family business Canadian Motor Car Company which became General Motors of Canada.

The house is Classic Revival in style, with some Georgian features.

Blog Photo - Parkwood back of mansion.

I’m impressed by the grand house and its history — it’s a Canadian jewel.

But I’m completely bowled over by the gardens.

Blog Photo - Parkwood teahouse-restaurant

Inspired by the great gardens of Europe, they were created by the finest landscape designers available.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Garden layout

Blog Photo - B&W shot of garden and pavilion

And though Adelaide and Sam loved gardening, the expansive grounds and eleven greenhouses required a staff of 24 to look after them.

Blog Photo - Parkwood Garden and Pavillion

Today, people visit from all over Canada and the world. They tour the house or gardens or both, and some come for lunch or tea at the restaurant. I highly recommend the tea house-restaurant and tours. A great way to spend a morning or afternoon in a place of outstanding beauty.

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To visit Parkwood or donate to the upkeep of this national treasure:

Tel: (905) 433-4311
Email: info@parkwoodestate.com

All photos courtesy of Parkwood Estate