Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Tour and a Tea In The Garden...

It's that time of year... finally... when I get to enjoy the beauty of my garden!  It's too hot during the day to work in it, and it might as well be enjoyed!  Even though the weeds are never-ending...that's okay.  It is a place of beauty and relaxation, and I thought you might enjoy it too...so let's go on a little tour of this happy place, and I'll show you a tea party that was enjoyed in the garden as well :)

My strawberries were plentiful this year.  This is the third year since I planted them, and my best crop yet!  Nothing like homegrown strawberries! 

This iron bed was my toddler bed as a child!  My parents saved it, and I have repurposed it into a flower bed at the end of our driveway.  I cut out the tin ovals with my Big Shot die cutter using pieces of tin left over from building our chicken coop, and painted on the numbers. 

It will be fun to decorate with each of the spring, summer and fall seasons!  I will have to put it up for winter, as it will not be safe with the snow that piles up where it sits during the winter.  

I planted flowers that deer would not like... onions that flower, lavender and marigold, hoping to at least have some blooms that would not get eaten by the deer.  So far.. no problems! 

I invited some friends over for an afternoon tea in early summer. 
I had so much fun setting up my little garden area for the tea party! 

The tea party was held before it had gotten terribly hot, and the wildflowers were blooming in profusion.  I used cut wildflowers and some flowers from my garden for centerpieces.  

The china is a set I found at a thrift store, and it goes perfectly with my garden theme!

The menu included iced green tea, tortilla roll-ups, a veggie tray, strawberry shortcake, and delicious cinnamon chip scones (made by my friend).  It was all so very yummy!

These cinnamon chip scones were amazing!  
We drank iced green tea in our teacups... 

My mom and I found this gorgeous teapot at a yard sale earlier this summer.  It matched perfectly with the colors of the dianthus flowers blooming in my garden. 

My friend gifted me with this gorgeous set of handcrafted soaps made by her parents! This soap has gorgeous scents with long-lasting quality!  The wooden container was also crafted by her parents out of redwood to hold the soaps.  Truly a delightfully packaged and quality made soaps.  If you would be interested in learning more about their soaps, here is their website: Riverbarsoaps.com  I have purchased a lot of handmade soaps, and I have to tell you, these are now at the top of my favorites!  :) 

I just had to share another picture of my cosmos... one of my favorite summer flowers to grow here, their blooms last throughout the length of the hot summer days, their bright cheery faces always a joy to behold!

A peek at my collection of succulents... I've found a new use for cracked or mismatched teapots in my garden... succulents grow beautifully in them!  Repurposing things in my garden is a special joy of mine! 

Bees are loving the bee balm I planted. 

These cheery African daisies were sent to me in a seed package by my dear friend Mrs. C. earlier this spring. I started them as seedlings, and they have cheered up my garden space all summer long!  

Roses abloom in my garden. 

My Yellow Brick Road roses. 

Love the cheery faces of these sunflowers!

Spending some time in my garden catching up on some letter writing, as the birds, bees and chickens happily worked around me.  

A wildflower bouquet graced my little wooden table. 

Succulents blooming happily away in an old fishing tackle box.  

More roses in bloom. 

Potato flowers...

Raspberries! They did wonderful this year! 

More succulents growing inside a pottery teacup. 

A sign placed inside a gathering of violets... 

These violets are still profusely blooming in the shade, delightful!

Another picture of the African daisies... love their yellow golden smiles!

Cosmos... the glory of my flower garden this summer with their profuse blooms! 

Lavender blooms greet you as you enter my garden.  
Well, I could go on and on... but I shall leave the rest of the pictures that I want to share for another post.  Harvest season is upon us, and daily I am busy reaping the gains from the garden.  I will share those pictures in another post. 

It is hard to believe we are already into the middle of August, and while I do love and anticipate the season of summer, fall will be a welcome respite.  We can feel the nip in the air in the mornings... it won't be long now!  It was 42 degrees here this morning and while it will climb to the 90s by the end of the day, the days are getting shorter, nights longer, and our first frost will be upon us within a few weeks.

Isn't it hard to believe how quickly the seasons pass!  We must make the most of each of our days, and while some seasons are easier to pass through than others, there is always something to be thankful for in each one.  :) 

Blessings and hugs to all who spent time here today with me in the garden!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Our Canadian Family Reunion

My mother's family held a first of its kind family reunion this past June.  The planning for this reunion started about two years ago and we finally saw it become a reality this past month.  It was not without its crazy difficulties, as our travel plans were canceled by the airlines we booked it through not once, but twice!  And my family was not the only one who had flights canceled, my brother and his family, as well as my mother, suffered cancellations in their travel plans as well.

Our original flight plans were to fly into northern Maine and drive from there to New Brunswick.  However, back in May, one of the airlines we had our flight booked with discontinued their services to the airport, and that flight was canceled.  So, we booked a flight with a different airline into a different airport.

Then, just as we were about to walk out the door to head to the airport for the trip, we got a text from the airline saying our flight had been canceled.... not delayed...canceled!  It was four desperate hours that ensued as I was on the phone with the airline trying to find another flight for our family of four.  Multiple times as she would try to book the flight for me, it would disappear.  Bad weather in Chicago was blamed for the problem.  Finally, it became apparent that we would not be able to find a flight with this airline, or any other US airline that would get us to the reunion in time.

I remained calm throughout it all, and felt a peace from the Lord that it would all work out.  I prayed it would.  After the four hours on the phone, and our trip canceled, we all felt rather discouraged.  It was then that my husband thought to check out the Canadian airlines, as we live about three hours from the closest Canadian airport in British Columbia.  It was a miracle!  He found a flight that would accommodate all four of us leaving the next evening, allowing us to arrive just in time for the reunion... and at about the same cost (minus the difference in currency) that our canceled flight had cost.

Praise the Lord! The next morning we got up early and decided to make a fun day of it, since our flight would not leave until 8 p.m.

We took our time traveling to the airport, enjoying the scenic route and the provincial parks and scenery along the way. 

We even drove through a little town with a bridge named after our son.  He was quite intrigued with the bridge as it was very old and full of character. 

The highlight of our travels brought us to Tim Horton's, our favorite Canadian coffee shop.  We loaded up on caffeine and sugar... we had a long night ahead of us!

We arrived at the airport, and felt like we had stepped back into time!  We couldn't believe the difference in the Canadian attitude towards air travel, so relaxed, friendly and pleasant.  No pat downs!  No x-ray machine!  We didn't have to take shoes or jackets off to go through security.  We saw one man's luggage ahead of us spill out onto the floor.  Several of the agents rushed to his aid, helping him put it back together.

Canadian hospitality at its best :) 

Because the security area was so small, you could only go through security 15-20 minutes before your flight.  Then, you walked out onto the tarmac with the incredible view of the mountains surrounding you.  What a great way to start this adventure!

We flew Air Canada, and were quite impressed with their hospitality throughout all our flights with them. 

Once again, I realized why the calm had come from the Lord in the moment of desperation.  What a blessing it was to travel through Canadian airspace, enjoying their kind hospitality throughout all the airports we were in.  

My uncle picked us up at the airport and of course the first thing we wanted was a sit-down meal.  We arrived around noon Atlantic time, which was about 8 a.m. our time. No matter, it was lunch time for us!  When I saw the lobster roll on the menu, we bonded!  Oh, it was so good!  If you are ever in Salisbury, NB, visit the Silver Fox restaurant there to have this lobster roll.  It was a treat! 

It was pouring down rain as we drove towards my grandmother's home.  We crossed through the longest covered bridge in the world in Hartland en route. We had a joyous reunion with family at my grandmother's home and spent the evening visiting and playing Yahtzee with my Gram.  Gram suffers from macular degeneration and glaucoma and is legally blind.  However, she can see enough to read her large dice and she played a great game of Yahtzee with us... beating us!  It was wonderful to spend this time with her the night before the reunion.

The next morning dawned clear and bright.  The familiar St. John River glittered in the sunlight. 

The next day, we traveled to the campground where the family reunion was to take place.  My mom's oldest sister manages the campground and our family had reserved this weekend to have our reunion there.

Several family members had come earlier to help set up the tables and prepare for the gathering.  My mom's family is Danish.  My grandfather traveled to New Brunswick from Denmark as a child, and my grandmother was born in the Danish community of New Denmark.  And of course it was also Canada Day weekend, hence the reds for both the Danish heritage and Canadian flag abounded everywhere! 

 This special area was decorated for my grandmother to sit and visit with all the family who came.  The green tree behind her held the names of all her children. 
Our family stayed overnight at the campground in one of these cabins.  All of them were open for family members to spend the night there.  They were cozy and darling little cabins, all of them equipped with air conditioning, which was wonderful since the nights are hot and muggy there. 
Later in the afternoon, the skies turned rather ominous, and a storm was brewing.  Many trying to get to the reunion had to drive in terrible weather to make it.  Thankfully everyone arrived safely in spite of the large amount of rain that downpoured just as we were about to eat.... thankfully inside! 
The food for the weekend was put together by my mother's large family, and a group of dedicated sweet ladies and gentlemen who worked tirelessly in the kitchen so we could enjoy our time together visiting.  We were so blessed to be able to spend our time visiting, and not having to be in the kitchen.  My aunt did a tremendous job of organizing the event with the help of her sisters and brothers as well.  Many thanks were extended to her and those who helped her for their hospitality!

Delicious desserts decorated with the Danish flag! 

Lemon meringue pie, one of my favorites :) But then... I don't know that I've met a pie I didn't like! lol... 

Early the next morning, I went for a walk down the country road the campground is located on.  I waved to a lady who was out working in her yard.  She said hello, and we struck up a conversation.  Before long, she was giving me a tour of her garden and flowers! Another example of Canadian hospitality :) 

This is one of the irises found in her garden, it was huge!  You can see the beating the flowers had taken from the rain the night before.  She was mopping up the damage, but still, her flower garden had survived the onslaught of the rainstorm, and there were still many gorgeous blooms. 

This peony! Oh my, it was gorgeous.  I believe it was called "Bowl of Beauty".  It was huge! And stunning! 

In spite of the storm passing through the night before, their petals were still intact and beautiful!
 I enjoyed my visit with my new friend so very much that we exchanged our addresses, and plan to keep in touch.  We do share a love for the garden and flowers! 

Our time spent visiting with family passed oh so quickly!  It was hard to believe that all the anticipation for the event had come and gone.  It was a wonderful time of connecting with cousins, aunts, and uncles.  We played a game of baseball, and anyone who wanted to play or hit the ball could play, and it was the most amazing time that we all had.  I hadn't played baseball in years, and it was so much fun.  We reminisced about the times as kids we would play baseball in our grandparents' cow pasture using cow patties for bases.  Those were the days, ha!

On Sunday morning we went to church with my Gram, and then it was an afternoon of fun 4-wheeling.  My uncles provided us with 4-wheelers, and there were trails all over my grandparents land that we enjoyed. 

The trails wove in between the power lines and the woods. 

It was a gorgeous afternoon, and the potato fields seem to stretch for miles. 

Soybeans were growing in this field. 

You can see my grandparents home and barn from a distance.  These pictures were all taken from a 4-wheeler.  :) 

Because it was Canada Day, after our 4-wheeling adventure, we headed over to one of my aunt's homes to celebrate with a wiener roast and fireworks.  Hot dogs were provided with sticks, and you got to roast your own! All the kids had so much fun with that!  They were happy to roast wieners for the adults who were enjoying visiting!

My aunt and uncles home sits on the St. John River, and we took a walk down to the river at sunset. Beautiful! 

Soon it was time for fireworks! 

The guys put on quite a show for us!  

Our time was passing so fast!  Our last day there and it was back on the 4-wheelers for another ride around the trails. 

Our son on one of the 4-wheelers. 

A closer view of the old barn.  It is cordoned off as it is no longer safe to be in.  Lots of memories as a child were spent in that old barn, and it was sad to see it in such shape, knowing that its days have come to an end.  

A view of the back of the house and barn. 
Too soon it was time for us to pack up and fly back across the country.  Our travels home went rather smoothly, although 2 pieces of our baggage did get misplaced at the end of the trip.  Air Canada was kind enough to send a courier with our baggage when it arrived the next day and brought it to our home.  So all our travels ended well, and the most incredible and special memories were made during the short few days that we were there.  We chose to spend as much time as we could with our Gram in the short time we were there, and I'm glad we did.  While it seemed almost impossible at times for us to make it to the reunion, it did happen, and what a blessing it was.

Back home, the garden and dogs had been tended by dear friends, and all was well.  It had rained quite a bit while we were gone, so things were still green and lovely.

I shall put up another post quite soon with pictures of my garden as it is now getting lots of warm sunshine, and happy things are happening in there.  It is hard to believe this is already the 20th of July... it seems time just marches on far more quickly in the summer!  This is the season to be out of the house, in the sunshine, and enjoying the warm weather.  We anticipate these days all winter long, and make the best of it while we have it :)

I hope that your summer has been full of lovely and wonderful things as well, and I look forward to getting caught up on my blog visiting and reading after settling back into a normal routine after our trip.  Blessings and hugs to all :)