Saturday, July 31, 2010

Groovy baby - the horse that is.

It was like seeing something out of a comic book.

I laughed out loud when I first heard of this idea, and then I felt badly for this white horse named; "Silver".

Assurances were given all was just fine though and big wide smiles appeared on everyone's faces.

The fluorescent colored paints used were safe and nontoxic. Following the artistic endeavor, the horse was thoroughly cleansed (bathed and scrubbed) afterward.

One of the horse camp instructor gals came all prepared with this groovy idea and tote filled with supplies for the last day of the one week camp session. All of the camper children and helpers participated eagerly and with great enthusiasm. Can you just imagine?

I'd never thought to use a live animal, let alone a white horse to be sure, for such a painting canvas.

I think my girls were in a bit of shock by day's end over the whole groovy painting session.

I myself am smiling a whole bunch just thinking of how artistic and creative everyone became. Hand prints were the most popular decor, a few slaps on the butt included. Poor horse....laughing.

What a laugh this created, and one can only imagine when a car drove by, the double takes this horse caused for passersby.

A forever memory was made right here in our neighborhood folks.

I know for a fact they don't make horses like this in real life!


soaked at summer soccer

Summer soccer has already come and gone.

For the second year, our younger two found this recreational community sporty fun right up their alley, perfect really for playing around and enjoying this sport, unlike their older siblings who preferred the challenge of competition to their fiercest and finest sport loving levels.

These younger ones opted for a good time, plenty of good ole fashioned fun, so thus the simple summer league of choice.

The weekly games seemed to zoom by.

Really they did.

Every Thursday evening, if humidity and heat allowed for it, my hubby accompanied me to soccer, plopping down our chairs to cheer for the children.

Often the older ones met us there after work,walking down to meet us once their shifts were over.

There were times of course when I had to ask my husband to settle down, such excitement tends to get him loud and proud out there on the sidelines. :)

He tends to get a little overzealous with his cheering, something akin to my mother when she's accompanied us to the older one's sporting activities, because they sure can both get all wound up and overly excited. (laughing)

Maybe it's that former coaching experience both have to make them only want success for their loved ones. No matter. It's all fun and jesting for me to tease them a bit because I know they are the best cheerleaders one could ever want watching them in play.

The funniest thing was I was not alone as there were other parents like him out there, and many spouses with fingers to their lips saying; "Shhhhhh....."

The grand finale came, and what a memory that day still holds for all of us!

A wicked storm whipped up with a ferocious rain pelting, and the traditional season end dinner of hot dog and drinks was quickly removed to another location.

Once the roar of the winds began, coupled with the buckets of rain, umbrellas were out in force and many parents chose to to run for shelter, some towards their vehicles, wringing out their clothing on the way.

It was just that wet!

Oh the rain was okay at first, nice and steamy with the heat. And then the skies opened up and I'm sure a great big ocean fell to earth!

Once the lightning began a short distance away, the fields cleared faster than one could imagine.

What a good thing for an excellent parking place this night!

Very soon the airways were filled with an "Environment Canada warning" of a "severe thunder storm" overnight.

Didn't they know it had already appeared here? Sheesh!

And so ends one more year of summer soccer, soaking wet children who already began talking about joining in the fun again next year.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stinky stuff

Ah, the joys of living in the country and not being hooked up to city sewer and water systems.

Septic tanks and septic fields, two things new to us in this home of ours.

First off, where oh where exactly is that septic tank of ours!

With site property map in hand, the company we hired to inquire about (ie; pick brain to find out all about the wonderful world of septics). We had hoped to find out if our tank required his services, not sure of when to do it or not. Before winter sounded good to us, so when his card appeared in our neighborhood, he came to call.

"What type of tank did we have, rather what size?", he asked.

shrug... No idea

"No problem", he said, let's find out, and with our property site map in hand, he and my husband began to pace off to find the approximate area from house to tank.

Then said; "I have special tools to poke down to find the caps".

There is more than one cap?

Two, in fact.
Okay now.... learning in progress.

So here's what else we've learned;

  • Our septic tanks holds 2000 gallons of stinky stuff. Inside there are three chambers, and through gravitational pull from our house to septic tank, all settles in first chamber, eventually overflowing to settle in the second chamber, (sounds like the lock system in the Panama Canal to me), and then eventually flooding into the third chamber where it continuously leaches out into the percolating ground (sounds like a brewing coffee pot) further beyond toward the septic field, out further near the forest area.
  • The tank itself is about 4 meters below the surface.
  • The sediment that doesn't get flushed out through the gray water compartment processing, the stuff that sits at the bottom, must get pumped out every 18 months to two years or so, all depending of course on how many users and poopers live in the house, how many bathrooms there are, and so forth.

All I know about this whole thing is this is just not a type of career I would like to have. Hooey!

Okay, then, a poke here, a poke there. At last he found the two lids for access to all three compartments.

A general stake was placed in one of the holes until the following day when a crew would come around and complete the task.

Surprised to come home in the afternoon only to find they had already been to our property well before the scheduled hour.

The crew must have left in haste for the promise of landscape completion with all the soil returned into the holes, and finally the grassy sod compacted back down was left undone.

A funny timing occurred just a short while after our boys made their way out with shovels and rakes in hand, wanting to complete the deed so the cut up grass could be salvaged in the heat blaring outdoors. That's about when the owner of the company showed up for payment at the front door.

Directed to the back, he was very apologetic and assisted not only by rolling up his sleeves to get all back into place, but also leaving a discount on the billing.

I'm not sure if it was a win/win situation though yet, because the crew left a bill for a lower amount, and the owner proclaimed the amount emptied was originally calculated incorrectly, thus changing it and adding in almost another 80 bucks before offering the discount!

Now, we can breathe a sigh of relief, for it will be two years or so, until the next time this service is required.

At least we know WHERE the thing is!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

birding pleasures

Birds are everywhere these days, twitting about, flying about, singing their nature symphonies and no CD required to get the same thing on our stereos.

Resting for a time on my new Adirondack chair out on the back deck, one can drift off from the relaxation and tranquility provided nearby totally free of charge.

And then there are wee new baby birdies appearing as soon as they peck their way from the eggshells homes, those which have been keeping them ever so cozy for only a short time, like the ones shown below.


Once in a while, I can capture a photo when my camera is near to me, other times I have to rely on my memory for referencing a bird or two later on.

Here in this post are but a select few, read = non-blurry photos!

I love to discover by chance, all of the bright ones, oh, and the pretty ones, oh, and listen to the lovely lull of sweet summer birding just a few steps away from the threshold of our doorway, especially when the gentle hum of required air conditioning usage indoors can oftentimes drown out the sound of the outdoors into oblivion. What we miss if we stay inside...

Those brightly colored siskins, tanagers, bluejays, and cardinals are so beautiful to see before the green colored splash of forest behind them.

And the downy woodpeckers doing their mating dance and catch-me-if-you-can chase up and down the trees can be fascinating to watch.

And yes, even the brown cowbird can prove to be interesting at times, when least expected, pesky as they can often be.

After diving into a bird study unit with the children this past spring, I'm all alert for observing behavior, and using all of the hints and tips learned to attempt identification on the bulk of them.

Sometimes I can guess, and just know on sight. Other times, there is no way.

So many wee birds seem to be crashing into the glass on our larger windows, falling to the ground below, either stunned for a time, or outright dead. Yesterday, one such wee Kinglet bird with green in his plumage had to be rescued and buried, so sad.

It's such a sweet obsession this birding stuff for me, but secretly, I know my husband is really into it this year too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A day in the life...with a twist

As per the normal calendar week, my husband attended his twice weekly respiratory physiotherapy today, the same ole, same ole... with a twist! :)

Today was the day for our family friend to attend her long awaited medical interview with the respiratory doctor in charge of the program at this hospital.

Driving from our former home area, almost a four hour road trip before her and her husband, they granted the trip plenty of time for an unhurried journey into her unknown medical next step ahead.

I've blogged about this lovely lady before, a woman I met soon after our move to our former home, the woman who was my Creative Memories scrapbooking lady. Like my husband, she also suffers from a lung disease, primarily Pulmonary Fibrosis, with underlying bronchiectasis.

We've been gently coaching her to the possibility of attending the hospital's respiratory physiotherapy program, and after many months of waiting, today was her big day! And we were there, yes we were, ready to meet and greet them when they were excused from their appointment time.

What a great day too, a positive day in all ways!

Within the next two months, we hope to hear news of her admission not only into the program, but also for all good things to come as she has been informed that she will someday require a lung transplant, something quickly looming in her near future. Firstly, she definitely needs to get stronger, her heart is weakening by the day and better medical care is an absolute concern at the helm of her care.

There's definitely no doubt about it - two things go together!
Road trip + Starbucks drive through.
I had mine, and then the privilege of meeting up with this lovely lady and her husband, along with my husband, our foursome for a subsequent very heartfelt, and long winded session of "lung disease" supportive cheerleader chat.

Great day!

Sunny and hard to keep our eyes open for the photo below, squinting doesn't make for a very photogenic picture, but oh well...
we made a memory this day. We did! And with God's grace, we hope we were a positive and supportive input into this woman's tough road ahead.

Squinty eyed from the blaring sun.

(Perhaps an asian photographic display? snickering)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

garden mulching in summer's heat

Six yards of bark mulch were delivered to us.


And that same day, of course, a heat wave began making it very difficult to proceed with the work ahead of us, that of completing our initial goal of taking only one whole day to get this huge pile spread out into all of our flower gardens.

With the newly carved back garden beds, this would be the last step to complete the whole new garden bedding process, so other than weed whacking, pulling weeds upon occasion, and able to enjoy our huge and sweaty work efforts of recent days.

So, as one son shoveled piles of the bark mulch into the wheelbarrow, and another son hauled it for placement, this mama had two huge buckets to also fill and haul to double up our efforts.

Gosh, there is merit while working on such garden goals to own two wheelbarrows, let me tell you.

After a grueling and ridiculous time of ensuring shade-breaks, we quit once our back gardens were complete, and that was it for the day, barely denting the remaining huge pile. However, it was a good feeling to have the four inch base atop our back garden beds once and for all.

Day 2
- All of our helpers were off to work. Drats - no go! But oh so hot again anyway! In the evening, younger son helps mother haul out about a dozen wheelbarrows full of mulch, and then the mosquitoes came out and wanted to eat us alive.

Day 3
- Sunday! We really don't want to work this day at all! Off to the beach to play...feeling ever so guilty for not getting on with our goal of completing this pile. But, in defense it's so Sunday and so HOT outside! We would never get it done anyway. I'm sure of it.

Day 4
- One helper works with me for one hour. This time though, the front garden beds are over one foot higher than the ground with a stone edging to climb and hoist the wheelbarrow up before pouring the mulch inside.

We quickly figured with one person on each side of it, we could heave it up so the front piece next to the double wheels, rests there and the handles could be thrust into the air for the pour and placement.

What a job this was going to be!

One hour with oldest helper son. And then I had to drive him to work.

Next up, daughter was home for a time, so she began to offer a hand. Together she and I shoveled and filled the wheelbarrow. I pushed it and she helped me haul it up and out. And then, she had to get to work.

Next again, younger son returns from work and helps mother out and together we complete the task right to having to haul the plastic tarp with the last remains to the front and turn it all over into the garden beds.


We are still short at least 3 more yards to complete the topping over the forest floor bedding for the year's end.

Some other day.... yes - some other day for sure because we're DONE with all this work!

Meanwhile all we wanted to do was celebrate this summertime grand feat of beating the impossible odds of enduring one intense and unexpected heat wave!

Natural Bug Trap

because some need to be reminded...

Thank you mom and dad for this little addition to our inspiring (carved words) river rock collection.

This is very special, and you would know the "why" of that.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Beach Sand

Maybe it is the memories

the change of pace that brings us there

the sense of vacation

maybe the smell of the place
the sights of the gulls,

the dunes, the grasses

but oh it is the feel of it,

the crunch and slide of it

the feeling of beach sand

so different from dirt,

soil, loam
not earthy, moist, rich,

but oh so granular
and gritty
even when wet,

moveable paper
spreading under toes
sliding beneath the soles
smoothing my skin

clearing my mind
unburdening me of the rest
drawing me to the tactile,
the feel
of beach sand.

~ by; Raymond A. Foss

Sunday, July 25, 2010

memories of birthday blessings

for my husband last weekend...

Ever have a day that just flows ever-so-smoothly, leaving you marveling at the end of the day just how wonderful it really was?

My husband's birthday turned out like that.

It was an odd sort of day, hot as typically usual for this summer's temperature norms, and yet the humidity seemed to fall for some reason this particular day, for a few precious hours, leaving an amount of wide opened possibilities, just perfect really to get my man back outside again!

You see, when one has tremendous respiratory difficulties, living in a bubble (house, office, vehicle) under strict climate control is absolutely necessary.
This day, he became a free man to exit the threshold of the doorway, well for a while anyway.

Everyone was in such a good mood, from early morning wake up right through to bedding down for the night at day's end. All were enthusiastic, eager and ready to make a memory for my hubby on his special day.

It was rare to be in sync like this (I know, I'm still in shock myself, laughing), and yet it was so GREAT to have such easy flowing togetherness, especially being that we had no clue what the day would/could hold for all of us!

The day was filled with content and impulsive sweetness.

  • An impromptu visit to the zoo.

There was so much to see there, new to us, small babies galore for one!

Let's see, there were three baby pot belly pigs, a week old zebra, a baby leopard, a baby black wolf, and three baby monkeys.

We never remained there long, just enough time to show hubby our local zoo, the one we have a yearly membership in support of it as a family.

  • We enjoyed a late lunch at a new to us restaurant, very cowboy like with western themed everything to observe and comment on, while we consumed our wings and things.
  • An ice cream cone with a drive along the water's edge
  • A beautiful sermon to take home in our hearts with us

  • A surprise in the dining room with candlelight and children waiting to surprise their daddy.

  • A cake that was scrumptiously delicious!

We could have had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I know everyone would have been happy about that. A lemon chiffon cake with whipped cream icing and finely grated white chocolate.

Super light and fluffy, we all commented on how exceptionally wonderful it was.

  • A cup of decaf java to savor the flavors afterward.
  • Two teens to tug their father out the door for an early (eagerly anticipated) movie, complete with them footing the bill for the tickets and filling him up with popcorn.

A day to remember?

You bet!

Happy Birthday Memories Honey!