Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Outside My Computer Window

Just beyond the window next to my computer desk is a Barberry Shrub. This is a very thorny plant which is green out of the sun and purple in the sun. If you look among its thorny branches this is what you will see.

A parent Robin ( actually a thrush ) tending to her/his
two youngsters.

...and two very large mouths like this one.
I am trying very hard not to keep looking out to see how things are going , so as not to disturb this very territorial parent.  I do hope I will get to see them fly in about two or three weeks.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I accidentally put today's post in Mattawa Fish . It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Sorry , folks.

It is about this discovery in the backyard. Another thing to do before winter.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grocery Store Garden Centre Orphans

This is the best time of the summer in Canada to get plants for pitance. Often if the timing is right , garden plants can be absolutely free.

Every grocery store partitions off part of the parking lot and sets up a
'Garden Centre' in May for the convenience of their shoppers. The store purchases bedding plants , shrubs and trees that are not exotic . Most fall within the average choices made by home gardeners to spruce up their yards without having to babysit the gardens to often . Common supplies and tools are usually included.

orphan hosta 10 years ago
 By the middle of July , these plants are showing signs of insufficient watering and being root bound . Prices are slashed to clear the plants out. This is a perfect time to fill your vehicle with whatever there is left . Every plant regardless of size or type is going for $1.00 or less.

Yesterday my neighbour turned up at my door with a car full of flowering plants , shrubs and trees which she had purchased for $16. The passenger seat , backseat and floors were filled to capacity. " I didn't have time to come and get you. I had to get them there and then. So I bought everything I could get my hands on," she informed me.

Orphan Spirea three years ago
  Of course I was overjoyed. She had dropped by the grocery store at just the right time . I became the willing recipient of a dozen new plants (all perennials) for my yard. I really felt like taking them all but that would not have been very considerate in the face of her generosity.

Anyone who passed through that same parking lot after closing would find a pile of what looked to be dead or at the very least 'on their last roots' plants ready for the compost.

Orphan Euonymous ten years ago
 One of the best gardens I had was in Winnipeg when my husband and I stumbled upon one of these piles. Tens of petunias , spirea shrubs and dwarf variegated junipers created a beautiful front garden of a house we had just moved into . It did not cost a cent and we did not lose one of those plants . All they needed was a good drink of water and some room to wiggle their toes  roots.

They are always seem thankful for the freedom from constrictive pots.These rejected orphans will give a glorious long lasting show , just when others in the garden are winding down.

This years orphans will join many adopted grocery store rejects like the ones in the pics .
A hearty welcome goes out to Labrador violets , another anonymous steppable, bellflowers , white anemones , Alpine Columbines , another Clematis , a Red Prince Wiegela and a French Lilac .

Go forth and multiply . Once I have planted you and settled you in , you are on your own.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Insulation for Hot and Cold
How many times have we seen pictures similar to this - at least in colder climates? We are always thinking insulation against the cold of winter and just where we are losing that heat.

But , now that we are in the middle of a heatwave , reverse those arrows and you will see how the heat is getting in . Yes , the same way it gets out.

Don't forget the insulation works both ways. If you make your house cool , it won't stay that way if the heat outside can get in and warm up the air you prepared for your comfort .

Think of your house like that cooler you bring on picnics . Why does a cooler keep your goodies cool ?...because it's insulated .

It can be an expensive proposition to insulate a house but it can be done a little at a time. Start with that space under the roof . Add an extra layer there with ventilation to suck out the heat/moisture . You will appreciate the comfort as well as a reduction in the cost of cooling during hot weather and heating during the cold months.

That cooler you use on picnics in summer can be used to port hot foods in winter...because it's insulated .

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Prairie Air Conditioning

When I moved to Saskatchewan in July 1985 , I hit a wall of heat .

This was a new experience for me : 42 degrees celsius and absolutely no humidity- unlike Ontario .  

I could feel the water literally being sucked out of my body . Sweat evaporated before it had time to collect into a drop on my forehead . Thus , there was no cooling effect of evaporation . The water dissipated too soon to reduce my body temperature. I felt sure the few clouds that did occasionally build in the sky were formed from evaporated human sweat.

How did these hearty prairie people manage to do it ?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Think Green

If you don't make much of an impact , your garbage can can look like this ,too.

Even the rope that prevents bears from carrying it away can be turned into a beautiful green velvet rope given time .


Can you guess what this is ?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!

When is your country's birthday ?

Mine is Canada , July 1 , 1867 . ( 144 years old today )