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, Bowmanville, Heritage Trees, Trees

Wondrous Wednesday

This tree, which I ambitiously tried to hug — in my own special lop-sided way — is a mighty oak indeed. It stands tall and wide in the front-yard of a beautiful brick home, and though the home is old, the oak is older.

I recently met the owners of house and tree at their home in the gorgeous heritage district of one of Canada’s nicest small towns: Bowmanville, Ontario. They’ve lived here for decades and have learned much about their home, the town, and of course, the tree.

“It’s more than 300 years old,” the husband told me. “Many people stop to take photos.” 

As did my husband and I.  I’ve even told friends about this tree, and directed them to it!

It is, indeed, a wondrous tree. 


There are other large trees on this beautiful street. Maples, magnificent beeches and others. But none as massive and wondrous as the oak.  Which is ironic as the street is called Beech.

Here’s to the mighty oak!


A Good Home, Maples, Nature, Poetry, Spring, Trees

In Praise of Trees

Blog Photo - Apple Tree and others

The apple blossoms soon will bloom

The lilac fragrance fill my room

Leaf buds will open on large trees

Gardeners will fall upon their knees

Blog Photo - Tree and Shady Garden

Bring forth your green, oh maple grand

Welcome the spring across the land

Whisper to me through rustling leaf

And I shall sigh with great relief

Blog Photo - Trees Woman hugs tree

Bring back your shelter, copper beech

With arms that dare to heaven reach

Bring back your green leaves, walnut friend

And cleanse the air, our bodies mend

Blog Photo - Ebor House back lawn

Give us your shade, oh mighty beings

Cover our spaces with your wings

Shade so the grass becomes a bed

Shade for the place where lies our dead

Blog Photo - Trees and Memorial Stone

Shade for the robin, perched on limb

Nest for the bugs that pester him

Blog Photo - Bird Scratches self For trees are gifts to creatures all

From those who walk to those who crawl.


Dedicated to all my blogger friends.

A Good Home, Trees

Home is Where the Trees Are— A Guest Post

My thanks to Georgeina Knapp for this lovely story.

And to Hamlin Grange for the Photos.


I love trees.

Big or small, deciduous or evergreen.

Blog Photo - Trees Woman hugs tree

There were always trees around our house and to me as a child they seemed very large and very old.  Maybe that’s why I felt so safe around them.

Three old maples stood along the edge of the lawn, like sentries between us and the world.

Blog Photo - Trees three trunks in autumn

Another maple grew at the corner of the garage and along with a giant lilac bush and a cedar made the space between the house and garage a cool quiet, shady haven.

A monumental old apple tree shaded a portion of the backyard and held one end of our clothesline.

Blog Photo - Trees and Apples

A pear tree stood between the apple tree and the house but it met an early fate when its branches snagged onto the clothes line full of laundry — one time too many. My mother did not give anyone many chances — not even a pear tree — if their behaviour didn’t improve.

One tree was special. I loved that tree and our relationship lasted for forty years. ‘Relationship’ may seem a strange word to use about a tree. But this one had a personality and we even had a sort of communication. (I had always been a rather odd child.)

Blog Photo - Trees of Various kinds

The relationship started when my father took us children to the wooded area near our house to pick wildflowers, as he did every spring. This time I found a tiny seedling.

“What is it?” I asked my father.

He explained that  it was a baby cedar. It would grow into a tall tree.

My four year old mind didn’t quite believe it. This was something I had to see for myself.

The baby tree was dug up, carefully brought home and planted in a flower pot.

Month after month, year after year, the little tree flourished. It was eventually planted outside, next to the lumber pile. It grew steadily but was soon in danger from growing too close to the lumber pile so my father moved it to a spot near our back door.

Even through the hot, dry summer days, my tree stayed green.

“That’s no surprise,” my mother pointed out. “It’s close to the well. Its roots have a constant source of water.”

The tree grew fast and was soon as tall, then taller than I. At Christmas we always put lights on it. The first year it held only one light, then each year a few more lights would fit until we had to get more strings of lights to cover it.

Blog Photo - Trees and snow 2

I worried about my tree when ice and snow covered it. If a branch got damaged, I suffered with it. On warm summer days I fussed over it, checking for insects and brown spots.

I loved the beautiful cedar scent.

The years went by.  After my parents died, I had to sell our home. It broke my heart to leave the home I was born in, and to leave my beloved tree.  It was nineteen years before I could return to see our home and my tree.

The house was there but Tree was gone. There was no sign that it had even been there. 

Except in my memory.  I have never forgotten the seedling that grew into a big, beautiful tree and was my friend for decades.