Friday, July 27, 2018

Thunder Moon Moon 2018

There  has been plenty of thunder this week, with summer storms and torrents of rain. 

Hopefully this will clear the atmosphere as we  head out on our sailing vacation and want to avoid any bad weather on the lake. 

Provisioning the galley, packing, stocking up the library. Three weeks!

Rob and I will be traveling in tandem with Caroline who is sailing single-handed.
Heading east? south? west? 


"Full Buck Moon"–Algonquin
“Ripe Corn Moon” –Cherokee 
“Middle of Summer Moon” –Ponca
“Moon When Limbs of Trees Are Broken by Fruit” –Zuni
Full Moon: July 27, 4:20 P.M.

Monday, July 23, 2018

More light

So much more light this year without the tree. So much more light I was wearing sunglasses at the dinner table and we were sweltering on the deck - so we brought in a sun umbrella for some added shade.

More sunlight in my micro-climate means more watering and weeding is required, along with new possibilities for growth.

Right now it is raining and I'm sitting inside with the sliding doors open, enjoying the green of the garden and listening to the rustle of leaves and raindrops.

White floribunda roses in a pot on the deck add a light fragrance, and so do the spicy geraniums.

I think I will try to overwinter the roses and replant in a pot again next summer, I like their understated elegance and constant flowering.

The bergamot is one of my favourite additions this year. I've planted it at the edge of the retaining wall where it is attracting hummingbirds and adding a dash of colour to the summer landscape. It also makes a heady mix with lavender and rose petals when tossed into a milk bath for a rejuvenating soak in the tub.


Blue bauble

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Screech Owls

This last week I've visited Rosetta McLain Gardens five times, checking the progress on the fledging of four screech owlets.

The park is full of photographers with long lenses, all eager to capture the birds' image. The people on the ground cluster together and point while there is a soft whirr of shutters clicking when the owls shift position.

My first visit I nabbed a fledgling with my camera phone. The fuzzy image didn't do the creature any justice, although it does capture a preternatural vibe.

There was nothing spooky about the sightings. The owlets were simply adorable with their fluffed up feathers. I watched one in the nest sticking one big foot out of the knothole, stretching it's toes, and then testing the other foot, but I didn't see it make it's first flight.

Rob returned to the park with me on my second visit and we brought Alex and Penny along last night. 

The owlets have all fledged now and are branching - testing their wings on short distances, hopping branch to branch. The adults will feed the young meals of mice and small birds until they learn to hunt. The silence of the night would be broken by the sound of other birds defending their nests and the adult owls calling to each other with their soft warbles. Humans whispered.

In twilight, the owls become more active, but they are even harder to locate. Penny was great at spotting them all up in the branches. The long lenses all clustered in a different direction, we were able to marvel in another corner of the park. Eventually the photographers picked up their sticks and followed us. The owls don't seem to mind the humans; they must think us a curious species.

taken with our pocket Sony camera (Rob)
taken with our pocket Sony camera (Rob)

Saturday, July 21, 2018


I scheduled my staycation around Yoga in the City again this year, hitting the studio in the mornings with Marlene. An hour of pranayama, then a half hour break before two hours of asana. Really feel wonderfully renewed at the end of the week. I would like to do more maha mudra, when we did it in class it seemed like something I could spend a lot more time exploring. And for the 'twenty breaths' I am taking in my regular morning practice, why not bring more bhramari breath?

Food Meals from Mark McEwan's grocery were a special treat, no cooking required in the summer heat; although I did enjoy preparing an easy meal of duck comfit one night. Tried a few new Mexican restaurants, Playa Cabana on Dupont had great cocktails and Mariachi's on Yonge added crunchy and carmelized onions to their soft tacos for extra bite and texture. Douce France was a nice end to the yoga week, sitting on the patio in a bistro chair, eating a stuffed plum, and then grabbing some Parisian delicacies to take to Kitchener to enjoy with my mom.

I ended up hanging out in my own backyard most afternoons, just loving being there, in no real hurry. Reading a book and drifting off to sleep in the sun, waking up when the book fell and hit the  deck with a clunk, finding my page and then drifting off again.  Gardening in the backyard, planting some new clematis, monarda by the pond, purple ajuga on slope, moving some shade plants into the ravine (liverwort, solomon seal), transplanting ferns and hosta. Weeding and puttering. Watering. Getting dirt under my nails.

Sailing on the first weekend enjoying the dazzle on the water. Saturday a perfect wind and Sunday anchored at the Bluffs beach. Saturday the day with Rob, Sunday hanging out with friends. Caroline swam over to the boat; Alex dinghied; Aldo hung out for a bit on the swim ladder. Then back to the dock and a lovely dinner of lemon chicken on Caroline's boat.

 Fringe Theatre Festival added three titles to my
playlist, in different venues, so in a way I did get about to explore the city. I really enjoy sampling the offerings of these dedicated amateurs. There are moments of brilliance butting up against the not-so-fine, but that is part of the adventure. So much talent! There was venue in Kensington market, the Poetry Jazz Cafe, that reminded me a bit of Small's in NYC for its dimensions; no more than twenty in the seats but fantastic show where the actors were embedded in the crowd and the audience was able to order from a menu of different emotions to start the show. The Tarragon at Dupont and Theatre Passe Murraille were other destinations. This was a reminder that there is lots going on in the city throughout the year, with readings and open rehearsals to explore works in progress.

I started my vacation on a Friday, and drove to Kitchener to visit with my mom and sister, and returned the following Friday for another visit. Squeezed in a visit with Janine, too, an old high school friend; we've recently reconnected and it is amazing how quickly we've caught up. Going back to my childhood home brings mixed emotions, especially with my mom so sick and my sister's very recent diagnosis of M.S.  But I really liked sitting in the carport surrounded by the green space; the climbing hydrangea making a wall and the scent of rambling roses and the fragrant linden trees wafting into the space.  I am so grateful she is able to be there instead of in a hospital room. Mom now has Facetime installed so we visited throughout the week.......... I took my sister out for a birthday lunch and she was able to joke about her condition, saying she plans on buying a t-shirt that says, "I'm not drunk I have M.S." The second Friday I returned with some yoga gear and taught her a few poses, hoping she will start a regular practice of her own. My brother Pat was celebrating his 49th birthday and we had a few good belly laughs together, too, as he shared evidence from the Flat Earth Society about the fiction of the visit to the moon - he actually almost has me convinced of a conspiracy.

The last day of my vacation I went to Rosetta McLain Gardens to check out a jam with some local musicians. A few people from Scarborough Uke Jam showed up, so although I left my ukulele at home, next time will bring it, along with some charts. I've been meaning to check out this park for quite some time as it is a hotspot for birders. On the way out we went by a tree with three fledgling Screech owlets, and a birder was kind enough to lend me their binoculars. What a little fluffball! Three ready to leave the nest.I got a good look at one curious bird, poking it's head out of the tree and looking around. My phone didn't do the owlet any likeness however this is about the same age and stage. Absolutely adorable.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


I loved my Henryi clematis and when it disappeared from the garden, I missed it!

I tried planting it again on the fence but it just didn't take. Henry the 1st made a brief reappearance, and then vanished altogether. 

Now I've dedicated a trellis to Henryi the 3rd  in the garden, hoping he likes his new home. A few buds on the new vine show promise for fall.

I've also found some vigorous growers for along the fence and hope these white clematis thrive. There are some for early summer flowers and late bloomers for fall.

All white, for petals in the moonlight.

Jackmani Alba:  For the fence, closest to the red Japanese maple. Flowers June to September. This is fully hardy; flowers on last year's growth. It prefers to be facing south or west; I've placed north and east, hopefully its vigorous nature will adapt nicely. Large open single or semi-double blooms. Group 2, prune light. In early spring:
  • Yr 1: Cut back all stems to 30 cm (12") 
  • Yr 2: Cut back all stems to 1 m (3')
  • Yr 3: Cut back all stems to a pair of buds
Sweet Autumn Clematis (clematis terniflora): For the fence, above the chocolate boneset, which has plumes of white in fall. Vigorous twining deciduous vine produces fragrant creamy white panicles of flowers from late August to October followed by silvery seed heads. Ideal for fences or ground cover; considered invasive by some but when properly maintained, the vine can be a well-behaved asset to the garden at a time of year when pretty much everything else has stopped blooming. Prune back to 12" from ground in late fall to keep in check. 

Henryi: Group 2 clematis; blooms in late spring/early summer and again in fall. 6' - 10'. Deciduous climber. Prune in late winter or early spring; then prune again after the first flush of flowers.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Book Babes AGM

Life's circumstances shortened my participation at this year's AGM from a weekend to one day (June 25), but it was definitely one fine day, despite the rain and cool temperatures.

Nicolette picked up Debra and I, and on the drive up we listened to Louise Penny's The Brutal Telling on audio. I had also just started reading the book the book Still Life, by the same author. What an interesting experience! Reading the first in series, while listening to the fifth, as Chief Inspector Gamache solves the murder while in the Quebecois village of Three Pines. The same characters had grown and changed by the fifth, their lives evolving in the not-so-quiet town.

We arrived at Nicki's and walked over the stone road, past the pond with the singing bullfrogs, around the curve and down the hill to Louise's, where we discussed the first book over brunch with mimosas, quiche, limoncello mousse, and fresh fruit. Nicki, Louise, Linda, Laura, Virginia, Nicolette, Debra, and me.

A quick trip into town and then back to Nicki's. As he has done over the years, while her husband Tim was hosting his radio show he played two different versions of "Fever," teasing us for hot and cold flashes and afternoon naps.

A rainy afternoon, while we picked the books for the coming year. A tasty meal, and then back to the car for the long drive home.

Booklist 2018-2019

Sept 5, 2018- Diane: Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman

Oct 3, 2018- Nicolette: Enlightenment Now by Stephen Pinker

Nov 7, 2018- Laura: Sixty, A Diary of my Sixty first year by Ian Brown

Dec 5, 2018- Virginia: Unearthed - Love, Acceptance, and Other lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra Risen

Jan 9, 2019- Debra: The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal JourneyInto the Dark Side by James Fallon

Feb 6 2019- Pat: The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

March 6 2019- Nicki: Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate

April 3 2019 Liz :Republic of Love by Carol Shields

May 1 2019-Miriam: The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

June 22 2019 -AGM Louise: Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn

Honourable Mentions
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Mistakes Were Made but Not by Me by Carol Tavris
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
Consumption by Kevin Patterson
The World As it Is by Ben Rhodes
The Break by Katherena Vermette
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
The Japanese Lover by Isabelle Allende
Stranger the Dream by Laini Taylor
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly