Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter / Spring Cleanup

First it was the teens with machine guns, then the computer distracting me, and suddenly the window of sunshine (which probably lasted only 30 minutes) was gone.  But it was still pleasant - cold, but calm - when I finally got outside this afternoon to cut more blackberry vines for my stick bugs and spiny leaf bugs.  The machine guns?  Oh yeah, it's not really that kind of neighbourhood.  One of the teens in our neighbourhood was in the cul-de-sac, filming scenes with some of his friends.  I recognized the villains' vehicle as his parents' van, and they were holding up some poor guys driving his dad's delivery truck.  No actual shooting.  Perhaps the scene didn't need it, or they will add that sound later.  They apparently were on their lunch break, since they were gone by 1 o'clock.

Anyhow, once I did get out to clip blackberry vines, I was happy to stay out longer, to trim and clean up my front gardens.  I notice there are some tulips just starting to push through the soil, which gives me hope that Spring will arrive soon.  But when I suggested that to the local newspaper delivery man, he reminded me that we often have snow into March.  So true, but I'm ready for Spring anyhow. 

In 1 hour I easily filled the 48 gallon container which the city provides for yard waste recycling.  I always think that I wish I had a larger container, or was able to borrow one of my neighbours', but then when I come back in the house, I realize it was just about the right amount of exposure and exercise for now.  Besides, I have a list of a dozen items I need to get done inside the house, and I've only crossed off the first few.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Never Too Late for Spring Bulbs - Hopefully

I am not inclined to planting annuals - or bulbs, for that matter.  But I like to have some Spring surprises, and I love underplanting my fruit trees, to have some colour and life when the trees are still mostly bare (see below).  This past summer, I expanded the holes around my fruit trees, so was optimistic, and bought a number of different Spring bulbs.  I planted many of them before Winter set in, and suddenly it was dark every evening when I came home from work, and weekends were either too rainy or when clear, the ground was too frozen (okay, we don't really get frozen here, but still we get a layer of frozen on top, which makes it unpleasant to plant through).
Anyhow, the remaining bulbs have been sitting patiently in my pantry for a few months now, for their opportunity to be planted.  They are a bit shrivelled now, and some were sprouting, but today they got their chance.  Although we didn't get the deep snow that was continually forecast, the temperatures have stayed below freezing for the past week, so that the snow which was on the ground persisted.  Finally yesterday it turned to rain, and lots of it, so it cleared much of the snow away.  Then today it cleared up, and amazingly that coincided with my husband taking the kids skiing, and leaving me behind for the afternoon.

So I planted the remaining bulbs.  Some "Quebec" tulips (see photo below courtesy of Botanus - aren't they pretty?), some mini irises, some tete-a-tete daffs, and some muscari (hyacinths).  I feel a great sense of accomplishment, and relief.   Now I am ready for Spring.  If only Winter would hurry up and finish its course.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Girls Birthday Party and Arrival of Snow

My daughter had her birthday party with 7 of her friends last night in our house.  It was fun.  I made her 24 rat-themed cupcakes, and they were a big hit with her friends, who also enjoyed playing with her 4 rats.  There was only cupcake left this morning, which my daughter will have for lunch.  She's off to a handbell festival today.  (Click any photo for a better look, then ESC to return from the photo viewer.)
Rat themed cupcakes
The parties are getting easier for me every year.  I didn't need to think of ideas to keep her friends entertained.  Between the rats, multiple rounds of eating, fashion shows (using hats and fishing nets and other items we didn't manage to clear away from the rec room), dancing, more dancing, .... they were very disappointed when their parents started arriving 3 hours later.   My daughter has a great group of friends.  She's an impressive girl too.  She spent MANY hours in the week prior to the party, purchasing songs on iTunes and fighting multiple rounds of uncooperative technology, to finally get a playlist on her MP3 playing on the sound system within the house, so the girls could dance in the rec room in the basement.

She managed to also dig up her laser light for the dance party, so I tried a few photos of the girls in the dark, on a long shutter speed.  I think this one turned out pretty good.  My daughter is the one in the front with pink hair.
Birthday girls
Late last night, after all the girls had gone home safely, it started to snow.   We awoke to a pretty good blanket of snow in the morning, so I snapped a few photos of the back yard, from the 2nd floor balcony :
Back yard in snow
...and from the main floor deck :
Back yard in snow
The front yard, from the porch :
Front yard in snow
It looks pretty.  Good thing I don't need to drive in it, at least not today.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another Fursona

My son doesn't think this is him, but his fursona is a wolf, and he is an avid soccer player.
My daughter's birthday party with her friends is tomorrow night, so we'll see if the girls will try this "fursona" out for themselves.  Tonight I made some cupcakes which I'll decorate tomorrow so it will be a surprise.  I hope to share some photos once they're done.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

My Fursona, or rather Scalesona

My daughter will turn 13 in another week, and she's at the wonderful age that she has all sorts of neat ideas to share with me.  So today (instead of cleaning the house, which I was also trying, but not very successful) we were exploring how to create a fursona.  She may ask her friends create them at her birthday, as a fun activity.

Fursona: A Furry Version Of Yourself

Scalesona: A Scaly Version Of Yourself

Feathersona: A Feathered Version Of Yourself

You could either pick a type of animal which you like, or associate with in personality.  Or you can take the quiz to find out what type of animal you are.  When she took the quiz, she turned out to be a small animal, such as a raccoon, or bunny or bat.  She chose the raccoon for her fursona :
I took the quiz, and found out that I am a winged creature, such as a dragon, owl or bat.  I chose the dragon, in this case as a scalesona :
I tried to personalize it as best I could - the dragon has my big belly, my green eyes, and shares my love of boots.
If you find this amusing, and take up the challenge, please let us know or send us a link to your fursona.  It would be fun to compare our results.
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