Monday, June 4, 2018

Graduation, Family Visits and Spring Flowers

Where oh where did the month of May go?  It seems that you wait with such longing and anticipation for spring to arrive, and then when it finally does, the days seem to pass in fleeting moments.  Spring's blooms finally arrived, my parents arrived for a visit, we had a graduation to celebrate, the garden has been calling, and so the month of May passed rather swiftly, but not without its beautiful and precious moments. 

My parents arrived to celebrate our children graduating, and spring was celebrating too.  These gorgeous cherry blooms greeted my parents on their arrival. 

We went down to see the roaring spring run-off river in downtown Spokane.

It is incredible to see the force and power of the water!

Spring had arrived with all of its bright and beautiful blooms in my garden!  

I loved the deep rich purple color of the hyacinths

One of the first stops my parents made after their arrival was a local restaurant that makes the best
huckleberry sundaes.  We enjoyed a lovely sweet treat! 

One day we took a trip across the border and our first stop there was at Tim Horton's, of course! 

Since our children were both working and couldn't come, we used that as an excuse to stock up on some donuts for the day
trip and to take some home with us. 

It was a beautiful day with stunning views like this one as we drove. 

We stopped at a little harbor and watched this man fly fish.  He said he wasn't having any luck...

But the views were magnificent!
We took the ferry across the Kootenai Lake and enjoyed the beautiful views of the mountains as we crossed. 

The ripples of the ferry on the otherwise still lake...

The gentle breeze blowing the flags.

The serene town of Nelson with its iconic red bridge. 

On our way back home we took the Salmo pass where the rushing waterfalls along the highway were a crescendo of cold rushing water.  This particular waterfall was so powerful that the falling water created its own wind storm.  The trees around it were blowing like there was a storm, but as you moved away from it, there was no wind.  We tried to get closer to it, but I had to turn my back to the falls because I didn't want to drench myself or my camera.  It was incredible to see... and COLD!  Ooh, it was cold, and there was still snow close to the falls.  It was amazing to see the temperature change with just a few feet.  I was ready for a cup of hot tea after that visit, lol 

The little town of Salmo was delightfully quaint, set back in the mountains. 

We knew that at the summit of Salmo pass there was a darling cabin sitting at the edge of a lake, and we had packed a lunch hoping to enjoy a picnic here.  However, there was no such picnic to be had, as there was still 12 feet of snow around most of the summit! 

We climbed over the deep snowbanks to reach the cabin, and this was the view from one of the windows! 

The wood stove looked like it had been in use over the winter, and we considered building a fire too, but
my father wasn't able to climb over the snowbanks so we had our picnic in the car instead :) 

It was rather surprising to see this amount of snow on the mountain in May! 
As evening fell, the skies were filled with glorious colors of promise for another beautiful day. 

The day after we returned from our trip to Canada, we celebrated the graduation from college of both our children. Good food was in abundance, as my mother and I cooked up quite a spread for the guests who had come to celebrate with us. 

Texas-style brisket was the star of the show. I used Pioneer Woman's recipe  for Braised Beef Brisket.  Normally we like to smoke the brisket but due to time constraints, we put it in the oven overnight instead, and it turned out amazing! There were little leftovers to speak of.... 

My tulips continued to bloom profusely... 

Loving the bright splashes of color along my garden border!

I added to my garden's fabric banner after my Mom and I were at a thrift store, and we found strips of fabric already cut in the perfect size for $2.00!  Talk about excited :) Mom tied them on for me, and we enjoyed the charm they add to my little garden area. 

Much too soon my parents' visit came to an end.  My Dad had planned to stay longer, but he was having some health issues and needed to get back home to see his doctors.  It has been a rough time for him as the doctors have struggled to pinpoint what is causing his shortness of breath and dizziness. We continue to pray that the cause of all of these issues gets resolved. So thankful for the wonderfully sweet and blessed time that we had with my parents!  It passed far too quickly, as it always seems to do! 

The weather has been lovely here the last few weeks with lots of sunshine mixed with rain, a perfect mix for the garden.  Late spring is here, with wildflowers blooming, and summer is just around the corner... amazing how fast the seasons pass!  I am still wondering how we are already into June, but here we are! 

Knowing how quickly the seasons pass, my dear friend Jen who is the editor of Rural Magazine, has put together another stunning issue showcasing the delights of spring.  She asked me to be a contributor to this issue.

This issue is available to purchase a print copy at The online digital copy will be available soon, and I will update the link when it becomes available. 

So as the beautiful days pass by, oh so quickly, my time inside is quite limited... we wait all winter for this warm weather and when it arrives, we must take advantage of it... :) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

12th Tea Cup Exchange

I have been participating in Stephanie's Teacup Exchanges for several years now, and it is truly a rich delight to enjoy both giving and receiving a tea package, and then to see what other ladies have given and received as well!  The greatest highlight of these exchanges is the sweet friendships that evolve because of the gifts that have been given and received! 

I received the most incredible package from Mary.  She does not have a blog, but tells me that she does like to visit blogs and even had visited my blog before, what a coincidence!  She sent me the most thoughtful and beautifully packaged box, oh my, it was pure delight to open it!

The box had the cutest little teacup stickers all over it, just a hint of the delights inside.

Each beautiful item so prettily wrapped and packaged in pinks and greens!  Oh the delights of wonderful
flavors of green tea (my favorite) and biscotti, a new flavor I had not had before too! 

This Chcolate Super Berry Burst tea smelled SO good... even without unwrapping the package, and it was wrapped so prettily with pink ribbon!

Mary sent the sweetest handwritten card, oh I just loved it!  I enjoyed reading her notes about herself, and getting to know her better...look at this card, isn't it the cutest with her name on it! 

Look at this darling tea strainer!  I do love to drink loose leaf tea, and dry my own raspberry leaves to make tea as well, so this is just a delight to have! It is amazing how each special thing Mary sent was just perfect for me :) 

And stamps!  Mary knows I love to stamp and make cards, and she sent me these two stamps with the sayings "Sending cheerful thoughts your way" and "Just to say Hello"... aren't they the cutest! 

It seemed like the package Mary sent kept giving and giving... this powerful book was photographed and written by a local Christian photographer in Mary's community, and its powerful images captivated my heart. 

Mary writes that this photographer likes to photograph using black and white photos, and truly amazing heartfelt pictures were included, but most of all, each photo was graced with a scripture... oh my, just a beautiful book that I will treasure always! 

Inside the sweetest floral box was this gorgeous teacup! I do not have a teacup like this one at all, it is stunning!  

I just love the beautiful rich colors of this teacup with the gold edging... in perfect condition... oh I couldn't wait to brew up a pot of green tea, and enjoy the biscotti... but wait,  there was more! 

Yes, sweet Mary included not one, but two little books to enjoy at tea time!  This Tea for Two book was
full of sweet anecdotes about teatime, and included stories about how tea became so fashionable, little tea quotes, thoughts and recipes too!  

Truly a joyous delight to savor with my tea!

Ahh... what delight!  A new teacup, a new tea flavor, and a raspberry chocolate biscotti...
as I sat down to savor and enjoy the new delights that had been delivered to me, I felt so thankful for this beautiful tea exchange, and the sweet surprise and joy that it delivers to each participant.  

I had so much fun putting together this package for Lynn!  She told me she liked to scrapbook and make cards, and that she loved all things pink and blue, so I went with a pink and turquoise blue theme and included some fun items from the Pioneer Woman, including a magazine, teapot-shaped salt and pepper shakers and her magazine.   

I spotted this teacup at a local store, and thought it would be perfect for Lynn... She tells me it was :) 

I packaged all of Lynn's gifts into this box, it was perfect for holding all of the little goodies that I sent to her. Lynn sent a handwritten thank you back to me (as she doesn't have a blog) about how thankful she was to receive the tea package, and she wrote me the nicest letter!  Beautiful handwriting, and it was just so nice to sit and read her letter, and learn more about her.  
Thank you again to both my sweet new friends Mary and Lynn for the delights of meeting and getting to know you better through this tea exchange.. I know that neither of you have a blog, but I hope to continue to communicate with you through "snail mail", really the loveliest form of mail there is!

This tea exchange is so much fun in every way, but I think the thing I cherish most about the exchange is the making of new friendships along the way! Each lady I've exchanged with through the years has become a dear friend to me, and it is amazing how this way of exchanging love through teacups and mugs really becomes a greater blessing. 

Thanks again to sweet Stephanie for organizing and putting together such an incredible exchange... I cannot imagine the hours that are spent organizing and sending out emails, and just the time of it all.  I sent sweet Stephanie a thank you gift, as I think it is always good etiquette to thank any hostess for her time and efforts in some way.  I appreciate the love and care that she puts forth, and want her to know and feel that appreciation. 

In the heat of the afternoon, as spring has fallen by the wayside, and summer has somehow slipped into the front row, I have been quite busy getting my garden back into working order after the long winter.  It seems I spend most of my waking hours outdoors enjoying the beautiful days.  Our wildflowers have not yet begun to bloom, yet the tulip blooms are fading ... and it seems that while spring has come and gone, quite quickly... the warmth of summer days are here. 

I promised a post soon about our visit to Canada with my parents, and the celebration of our son's graduation... and I hope to get that up within a few days.  Hugs and blessings to all :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Spring is Here!

Oh, the delight-filled days of spring!  They have arrived... mixed in with days of cloud and rain, but in the last week or two, we have seen days with temps in the 80s! Spring yard duties have called me outdoors, and I've not spent much time inside, working in the yard and garden.  Today I have found some time inside as spring rains are pouring down outside so that I can share some pictures from the past month with you. 

These purple beauties were the among the first flowers in my garden to
lift their faces to the sun. 

Our son turned 20 years old, leaving behind the teenage years forever.  It feels strange to
no longer have a teenager in the house!

A new foal born to our neighbor is standing with its mother against the glorious sunset backdrop. 

You can see in the earlier picture that they were quite a distance away from us.  However, the kind mother brought her little filly right
up to the fence to meet us!  What a delight that was! 

She was the cutest little thing, all legs, and not quite sure of herself.  In this photo, she was only 4 days old. 

Seeing this sweet baby girl almost made me want to have a horse, but I had to rein myself in because they don't
stay babies long, lol! 

Glorious sunsets in the evening.  I enjoy walking at sunset, as the land is still and quiet, and I love listening to the gentle rustle of the trees and sweet chirps of the birds and turkeys as they bed down for the night. 

We had some chicken drama here this past month as well.  Mr. Pepper must have broken his beak somehow in a fight with the other rooster, Mr. Sal.  Because he was unable to eat, he became weak and lost his throneship.  Mr. Sal took over Mr. Pepper's duties quite gladly, and a sad and dejected Mr. Pepper now follows me around the yard. You can see his broken beak.  I researched how to help him, and discovered that their beaks are like fingernails and can be clipped.  So I did a little surgery on Mr. Pepper, removing his lower beak carefully until they were closer in size.  He now can eat, but remains the underdog, for now. 
It felt great to hang clothes out on the line for the first time this season!  My wool sweater has been folded
and put away for now.  Spring/summer weather is here to stay :) 

A day trip with a friend of mine along the river was enjoyed immensely.  The sunshine was brilliant, with not a
cloud in the sky, and the distant snow-capped mountains added the perfect touch to every view. 

A train cheered at us as it steamed along its own path down the river. 

Great views from every bend in the road had us stopping and getting out of the car quite frequently. 

We walked across this pedestrian bridge that crosses the river.  The rush and force of the spring run-off water below
us was incredible to see. 
An osprey had built a nest atop the bridge and kept a vigilant gaze upon us as we walked underneath.  

My garden journal has been updated for the last year of gardening and is prepared and ready for this season of gardening. 

I use a cheap journal notebook, embellish it, and keep track of all my efforts in the garden. It is helpful to look
back and remember when I planted certain bushes and trees as well.  

I keep track of which seed companies I use, how well the seeds produced, and any other tidbits of information that
might be helpful in years to come. 

Another of the early bloomers in my garden, these purple hyacinths were a fragrant gorgeous addition
to the garden just waking up from its long winter naptime.  
Both our children are graduating from college this spring, and my parents are here visiting and to celebrate with us.  I plan to share another post soon with pictures from our trip to Canada, and the graduation.  :)

I hope you are all having a blessed and beautiful springtime... we are enjoying the flowers, the blooms, and the bright greens of spring... because we have already seen that summer's heat is hovering near at hand.  We are enjoying the spring days as much as we possibly can :)