Supersonic Mach-3’s – July 2, 2014

The black walnut tree has been expanding its lush canopy.  Mr. McD hauled out the loppers and removed the ends of a few branches that were beginning to obstruct our view of the Swiss Chalet and the activities of Lord and Lady Wren.  Now get this straight.  We’re not into any espionage business.  We just like to follow them on Twitter!  ♫♪♪

July 2-14-pruning-1024-walnut boughs

The line of vision from our lookout on the lawn swing is now clear.  Isn’t it fascinating how the wrens put a protective barrier at their front door?  Wonder what security company they’re signed up with?

July 2-14-unobstructed-1024-view now

The subdivision at Cedar Hollow received refreshing showers in the late afternoon.  It seems the hens and chickens succulents are pretty serious about guarding the edge of the pond.  I don’t know who gave them their marching orders, but during the last few days, they have gone all out erecting sturdy guard towers.   Can you spot them poking up in the centre front?

July 2-14-Subdivision-1024-2-Cedar Hollow after rain

Here is a close-up:

July 2-14-Guard-1024-owers

Below is a picture of a hummingbird that just flew out of sight! 

July 2-14-pix of hummer-1024-just passed out of sight

Well, it’s not my fault.  I have no idea why the hummingbird didn’t exercise a modicum of courtesy and let me know which direction he was heading in.  I didn’t have a ghost of a chance to click him as he sipped for a split second at the newly opened hosta flower in the back flowerbed . . . and it wasn’t even red! 

I didn’t come up with this clever “out of sight” saying.  As kids at school, we had a good laugh when we saw someone put such a caption at the bottom of a page in a friend’s autograph book:   Above is a picture of a plane that just flew out of sight!

 I doubt if the hummingbird was impressed by the acrobatics performed at last weekend’s air show, smoke plumes and all.  Those man-made contraptions can’t touch his abilities.  After imbibing at the feeder, he often executes a supersonic Mach-3 straight up!  He’s at the top of the walnut tree before you can blink an eye—and there’s no sonic boom either!

Hi!  I'm coming in for a sip!-1024- Aug


Canada Day – July 1, 2014

We left Cedar Hollow for Waterloo to celebrate CANADA DAY with John, whose Father’s Day gift was a steam-engine train ride from Waterloo to Elmira on  the Waterloo Central Railway.

 All aboard!  The muggy air blew away after a quick thunderstorm, bringing refreshing breezes in through the coach’s open, unscreened windows.

July 1-14-inside-1024-rail car

From St. Jacobs to Elmira, we enjoyed pastoral scenes of Waterloo County.

July 1-14-Mennonite-1024-country

July 1-14-add-ons-1024-to Menn

July 1-14-clothes-1024-on line-2

On the return run, we stopped to give thirsty Engine No. 9 a drink of water.  I took a picture of the friendly President of the Waterloo Central Railway’s operations, run totally by volunteers.

July 1-14-Pres-1024

This man began six hours before departure time to start a fire, and get it hot enough to support the needed pressure.  He shovelled coal as we gently rocked and clickety-clacked our way along the rails, sipping on bottled water, and taking in the rural landscape, and view of the Conestoga River the pioneers arrived on from Pennsylvania.

July 1-14-Shovelled-1024-the coal

 Arriving back at the station in downtown Waterloo, John received permission to get into the engine.

July 1-14-Jn in-1024-engine of No

Can you believe that No. 9 is 91 years old, and the caboose is 100 years old?  Our hats are off to the hardworking group of volunteer men who repair and bring cars and engines back from their glory days of steam into service once again for the public’s sheer enjoyment.  Hearing the wail of the steam engine’s whistle was a nostalgic thrill, let me tell you!

Woo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oooo!!       Woo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oooo!!!!

After we disembarked by a friendly farmer’s place outside of Elmira, the train backed up, and did a drive-by so we could take photos, and then did it once again. 

Wish you could go on such an old-fashioned ride?  You absolutely can, and you don’t even need a ticket!   

July 1-14-L&E by-1024-91-yr

Turn on your sound, click on the excellent, brief movie John took with his brand-new S-5 cellphone!  You’ll want to share it with your friends.



Before or after picture? June 20, 2014

Two things happened when I stepped out the door to refill the hummingbird feeder this morning:

     I heard Lady Wren’s Good Morning song


    I saw the beginnings of a hornet’s nursery lying on the sidewalk.  Where did it come from?    Usually you can spot where it had originally been attached.  We have seen black-coloured hornets taking a sip around the pond now and then, and they haven’t bothered us at all.  They cunningly construct the delicate tissue-paper walls from saliva and wood pulp, but  I don’t think our wood deck will disappear any time soon. 

June 30-14-hornet's-1024-nest

Like yesterday, I could hear Lady Wren singing from every corner of the neighbourhood.  As her song drew nearer to Cedar Hollow, I got the camera on the ready.

Sure enough, after her arrival in the black walnut tree, she popped inside Swiss Chalet.  The obstruction of twigs she has placed by her front door didn’t slow down her entry in the least.  Nothing slows her down! 

Apparently she builds the bowl of her nest toward the back of the box.  It’s thought that wrens use spider egg sacs to help control mites in the nest.  The spiders hatch and eat the mites!

 Now, is this a picture of Lady Wren just after she laid her daily egg . . .  or had she laid the egg at the crack of dawn and then proclaimed it from the neighbourhood treetops?  Don’t you wish you knew?

June 30-14-Wren emerges-1024- onto doorstep

 I’m so glad Lady Wren chose the Swiss Chalet with its cool, leafy canopy overhead to protect her and the egg-babes from the current heat wave.


The Poppies Blow – June 28, 2014

From the north, then the south, now the east, next the west . . . from every corner of the neighbourhood you could hear Lady Wren bubbling out her songs.  Was she reminding everyone that this was the beginning of the long-anticipated July 1st weekend, Canada Day, or . . . was she announcing that she had just laid an egg in Swiss Chalet?

Lady Wren noted that Mr. and Mrs. McD took their breakfast coffee out to the swing.  She heard them reading out loud to each other by turns about what happened 100 years ago this very day: 

 June 28, 1914

Archduke of Austria was shot


 And to think, mused Lady Wren, the soldier-doctor from Guelph mentioned my second cousins in his famous poem, In Flanders Fields, right in the first verse: 

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The larks certainly were brave, said Lady Wren.  They knew that if a wounded soldier heard their song . . . even just a note or two . . . it might give him enough courage to do whatever he had to do next . . . the next duty for his country.

June 13-Poppies, orange,1024-Riverside Park

Now, let me see.  I’d better check the nursery again.  It’s dreadful when you can’t read your own writing.  Did I put down 5 layettes or 8?

June 28-14-dbl-1024

Speaking of hearing, the water lily confided that the frequent remark people make when they meet or greet her is always about how peaceful and serene she makes them feel. 

Well, that means I do more than provide green docks for frogs and landing pads for dragonflies.  As I float, I can emanate peace in the language of whoever looks at me.  That makes me multi-lingual, doesn’t it? 

June 28-14-waterlily-1024


And the winner is . . . .

Now wouldn’t you think folks would ask me which house Lady Wren has chosen?  After all, it’s happening right under my very nose.

June 27-14-Red-1014

 When ladies start measuring the size of the nursery, and figuring out just how many blankets and layettes they need to prepare, I’d say the guessing game is over. 

June 27-14-How many-1024-blankets-2

Yes, Sir, the winner is the Swiss Chalet!!   And doesn’t Lady Wren look contented?

June 27-14-wren at S-1024 If one of the babies is colicky, she won’t even have to rock it.  The breezes will take care of that so gently.  Ah, yes, I’d say Lady Wren picked the best house in the subdivision!

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the many write-ups about wrens on Google, I came across something quite remarkable.   In 1921, in the Field Book of Wild Birds and Their Music,  F. Schuyler Mathews wrote out the score for the song of the wren.  I think it was the male’s score , . . because Lady Wren does not end her songs on the low notes as shown in this music.  Oh my no.  Lady Wren  projects joy!  And like all expectant mothers, she seems to have that  glow about her!  You know what I mean, don’t you?

Eenie Meenie Miney Moe

The early morning sun filtered through the pine woods and into the quiet subdivision at Cedar Hollow.

June 26-14-a.m. light-1024

Lloyd and I took our breakfast coffee out to the lawn swing to see what was going on.  Presently, Lady Wren inspected the Swiss Chalet.

June 26-14-Swiss Chalet-smaller than 1024

In no time at all, she flitted over to Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane.  H-m-m-m.  We could almost hear her going, Eenie Meenie Miney Moe . .as she tried to make up her mind which home to choose.  What all was going through her little noggin?

June 26-14-Wren on roof CS-1024

So the selection has boiled down to two houses, has it? 

The tiny brown bird paid no attention at all to the stylish Château de la Gourde gleaming in the sun.  After all, she thought of herself as a plain little bird, even though she was betrothed to one of the finest tenors in  the whole wide world.  To tell you the truth, Lady Wren did not want to be classed with those uppity-up folks who act as though they are a notch above others just because they live in a fancy house.  No way!

My husband had an eye appointment mid-morning, so I can’t vouch for what went on at Cedar Hollow a bit later.

On the way home, we purchased a black shepherd’s crook at the local hardware store, and pushed its pronged feet into the middle of the sidewalk garden.  A phone call or two turned up the possibility of assistance from one of the wood carvers who gather at a seniors’ club.  Our request next week will be: 

Route the words “Cedar Hollow”
into the surface of a flat piece of driftwood
hauled home from Bonaire 30 years ago. 

It’s about time this place had proper signage like every other respectable subdivision, don’t you agree?



So that’s what he was up to! June 25-14

Good old Google shed some light on this strange business of playing musical houses.  Apparently, as part of the courtship ritual, the male wren begins building several nests in a nearby area, laying just their foundations.  Then he spends his time high up in the trees, singing to attract a mate.  And does he ever sing!  600 songs per hour! 

Situated in a quiet subdivision in Cedar Hollow are the three housing choices Lord Wren offered his ladylove, which you have seen before.  Left to right:

    Swiss Chalet

    Château de la Gourde

    Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane

June 25-14-subdivision-1024

Now which nest do you think Lady Wren will finally choose?  Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane would be the safest.  Nothing can climb up that fat old PVC pipe, can it?  Swiss Chalet would be the coolest, that’s for sure, shaded by the walnut boughs.  But  Château de la Gourde has got class.   

 Well, it’s up to Lady Wren, and that’s that.  Once she has made her choice, she will finish building the nest.  Now, don’t be surprised.   I have it on good authority that she got her carpentry papers from Conestoga College with right good marks!  When the house is finished, Lady Wren will settle down and knit the softest blankets you can imagine from feathers, hair, spider cocoons, wool, strips of bark, rootlets, moss . . . and even trash.

 “Is there anything down there that I could use?” 

June 25-14-on fence-1024-looking down

 A few moments later, Lady Wren flew by with something long and white in her beak. 

 Now, whatever is that white gob on the outside of Cedar Shake? I wondered.  Going closer to it, lo and behold, it was a soft spider cocoon!  Lady Wren  just epoxied it onto the outside of her house for a few moments until she was ready to stitch it into her blanket

June 25-14-spider bedding-1024

I kind of think that means that Cedar Shake is Lady Wren’s choice, don’t you?  I’ve been fooled before, as you know, so stay tuned for further developments!

Playing Musical Houses – June 24, 2014

It was too humid to be out in the garden much yesterday, but when I went to fill the hummingbird feeder, I heard no conversations whatever coming from Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane.  I saw no fast-food deliveries by Mr. or Mrs. Chickadee.  Yes, the chickadee youngsters have flown the coup, and we missed the fun of watching their maiden flights.      

This morning on our break, who should we see on Cedar Shake’s rooftop but Lady Wren!

June 24-14-wren-1024-roof

“I always did like the look of this place!  In fact, I had my eye on it before Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee did.  Well, they gave the landlord their notice Sunday night, so now it’s mine, mine at last.   I know it doesn’t have a front porch like the Swiss Chalet, but you can’t have everything, no, you can’t.  Well, there’s no time to waste.  I’ve got to whir up my wings and get some furniture hauled in before someone else makes a down payment on it.  Possession is nine-tenths of the law, they say.”

We watched Lady Wren in disbelief.  Lloyd had seen her when she first looked the place over a few weeks ago.  Then, the first thing we knew,  she had begun carrying building materials into Château de la Gourde.  But the very day after John hung the Swiss Chalet in the black walnut tree, she gave it a brief inspection, and claimed the Chalet for her residence!  Lady Wren spent several days hauling in the makings of a bassinette and rocking chair.  She especially seemed to enjoy its front porch, even though its dimensions were quite narrow.  Before retiring for the night, she often sang a goodnight hymn there.  

Well, there’s just no telling what ladies fancy when it comes to housing! There’s not a lazy bone in Lady Wren, and she seems determined now to set up housekeeping  in the house of her dreams.

Had we any idea that Lady Wren would move over to Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane, Lloyd would have given the house a thorough cleaning.  Ah well, there’s no stopping her now.

We watched as she manoeuvred long twigs through the front door, dropped some, picked them up again, and poked them inside.

June 24-14-long stick-1024

I heard her chirp something that didn’t surprise me in the least.  I could tell by the perky angle of her tail that this was her philosophy:

 Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” 

Had she overheard me telling John that my mother used to say that?  One day my mother told me that her mother and her grandmother both held it as their motto.  Great advice!  When you see a little wren going at it hammer and tong building a nest, remember that these words of wisdom were no doubt passed down to her, too.

Lady Wren paused briefly at her front door. 

June 24-14-wren door-1024-way

“Ah, yes, I do like this place! There’s such a view from here! I can see what’s going in the yards on either side, I can see right out to the street, the McD’s side door, and if that mangy old cat so much as sets a paw around here, I’ll be the first to know!  I believe there’s something to that realtor’s spiel after all:  Location, location, location! 

Warm showers of rain fell now and then during the afternoon.  Robin Jr. spent some time in the front yard spa cooling off. 

June 24-14-robin drenched-1024

“My, but that felt good!” he declared.

What was under that hat?

Some of you have seen the winter hat on the left before, pompom and all:

Rose blanket Jan. 25-2014

Let’s pull it off . . . and see what it was protecting:

June 20-14-b-1024-bath

Amazingly, there was no die-back on the end of the rose canes, most of which were about 18” tall.  The canes were completely green, thanks to the snow’s insulation.  Here are some of the David Austin roses that were sleeping under that woolly hat.  Take a sniff of the spicy perfume offered from their  delicate chalices!

June 20-14-2 David-1024-2-Austin roses-pink

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Climbing Rose by our side door was put to sleep last fall with the same type of ‘comforter’ as the tea roses – a foot thick of dry maple leaves dragged home by the bagful from some of the neighbours’ curbs.  Not being surrounded with a sheltering hedge, the climber didn’t receive a wool hat.  This winter’s lower than usual temperatures killed all of its 4’ canes!  They were deader than a mackerel!  Never mind.  Sir Wilfrid Laurier got busy and pushed up new shoots from the ground.  Three cheers for its progress so far!

June 23-14-SWLC-1024-door

Its blooms look more like tea roses than climbers, don’t you think?

June 23-14-SWLCR & bud-1024

Below is one of its full-blown flowers.  It thinks it will make a rose hip for future propagation, and doesn’t know that pruning shears will relieve it of the effort.  After all, appearance is everything when it comes to roses, don’t you agree? 

jUNE 23-14-swlcr-FULL-1024-BLOWN

Ring the bells!

Cedar Hollow had been all too quiet for two whole days, two long, rather sad days. 

And then the joyous melody of the wren rang out from the leafy treetops.  Lady Wren popped inside the Swiss Chalet.  When she emerged and sat on her perch, the coral bells by the pond rang and clanged out a most hearty “Welcome home!!”

June 22-14-r-1024-coral bells

           I don’t have any idea what all this fuss is about, Lady Wren seemed to say.  After I laid my eggs, I left for a rest at Granny’s on the other side of town.  This is my first family, you know, and I had so many questions to ask her.  She smiled when I told her how beautiful the creamy-white eggs looked, all speckled with tiny reddish-brown squiggles.

          “Be sure and turn them over every day, my dear,” Granny said, as she gathered me under her soft wing and hugged me good bye.

June 21-14-wren-1024-on perch

Mrs. Chickadee flew down by the lighthouse.  It was plain to see that she had something to say to us as we sipped iced-tea on the lawn swing.

          Just keep the camera handy, folks.  My babies will be flying the nest any time now, and I don’t want you to miss it!

June 22-14-Ch. by-1024l

Presently, in the doorway of Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane, Chick No. 1 appeared, and then disappeared.  He was as big as his mother, and looked just like her.  Or did he take after his father?  I can’t be sure.  Soon he was back.

          Oh my, he cheeped.  So this is the big wide world Mom and Dad have been telling us about. And that’s the wood fence they said is the closest landing pad.  But it’s SO-O-O far down.  No, I’m not ready for a test flight, not yet.  I’ll let Junior No. 2 or 3 or 4 try it first.  And besides, I couldn’t concentrate on which wing to flap first with all these noisy grackles about the place.

June 22-14-baby-1024-chicakadee looks out

 With that, he disappeared once more, and a black curtain was drawn across the doorway.

Chick No. 1 was right.  Cedar Hollow was literally invaded this afternoon!  A family of haughty grackles barged in!June 22-14-grackle-1024-at bSeveral of them strutted about the lawn with their mouths gaping wide open.  What a sight for sore eyes!  They made me hot just to look at them!  Two or three at a time crowded into the small bird bath for a drink and then a splash-about!    

One brave grackle did his ablutions in the pond, standing on a rock close to the surface.  Why, they practically took over the place!

June 22-14-grackle-1024-in pond

 Well, I’d better brush out the bird bath and fill it up again with clean water!   Anyway, Lady Wren is back, and all is right with the world! 

Don’t under estimate the power of the bean! June 19, 2014

Walking past the row of beans in the sidewalk garden when I left to pick up some painting canvases the other day, I noted one pale green loop raising its head.  By the time I got back, the loop displayed an open bean and  two robust  young leaves.  Now that’s moving, folks!

June 19-14-bean-1024-sprouted

It’s too quiet.  Has Lady Wren got laryngitis?  Or is she sitting on some eggs and enjoying a well deserved rest?  Lloyd thought he heard her singing at 4:30 this morning. Oh my.  What’s going on around here?

I think Father Robin overheard my concerns about our quiet garden, and decided to do something about it.  He flew up to the topmost tip of a tall but skinny spruce tree two doors down (the kind of spruce you see further north), and filled the air with score after score of thrilling music.

June 19-14-robin on-1024- tree top

Enjoy Scott Green’s recording of an American Robin.  Never mind the rude old dog that chips in now and then.  

Often at dusk, Father Robin sings evening vespers, blessing the entire neighbourhood with his repertoire, ending with . . . And to you, a good night.

It was the flowerbed on the right side of the small steps going up from the pond that got some attention this morning.  The first day lily of the season bloomed forth in solid gold tones!

During some heavy downpours of rain late yesterday afternoon, the roses gathered their gowns about them, and they seemed no worse for wear this morning.

I wish you could inhale the exquisite perfume in the heart of the white roses.

June 19-14-w-1024

The red rose has no scent to thrill you, and I know that sometimes she struggles with an inferiority complex because of that.  But I overheard her whisper to her sibling buds:

          Never mind. No one has written a poem about a white rose,
but everyone knows what Scotland’s poet Robbie Burns

My love’s  like a red, red rose! 

June 19-14-r-1024-rose

To be seen or not seen – June 18, 2014

“I’m next,” a little voice cheeped from somewhere within Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane.  Frazzled Father Chickadee caught his breath on the fence for a moment before delivering his treat.  He looked as worn out as his wife!

June 18-14-chick w-1024

“Go get your breakfast at the sunflower feeder, Papa,” I said coaxingly.  “The youngsters will just have to wait a moment, that’s all.” 

He paid no heed.  No sooner had he delivered his pizza, when he flew straight over to the Maple’s Staples just beyond the north corner of the yard to round up more grub.   

 I was out early this morning, cultivating the left upward-sloping flowerbed by the pond.  For some odd reason, each year the corkscrew hazel has contrary upstarts popping up on her left side.  They do not want to grow kinky like their mother, but get hold of that straightening stuff, and stick straight up! What a rebellious lot!  I gave them a talking to before I snipped them off.

June 18-14-corkscrew-1024- hazel

Beside Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane, the mock orange bush has begun to bloom.  Its blossoms have the same delightful scent as the flowers of its namesake – the orange tree – which eventually provided the marmalade we enjoyed at breakfast! 

June 18-14-mock-1024- orange

The climbing hydrangea has put on its best frock yet!  Maybe more sunlight came its way after the neighbours on the south side of our property cut down a huge hawthorn tree.

June 18-114-gate-1024-hydrangea

On a house tour at Puslinch Lake a few summers ago, Lloyd and I saw a gigantic hydrangea blooming, which completely covered a cottage.  It was unforgettably beautiful! 

The hydrangea’s flower saucers have a sense of humour, and must be teaching a few of their tiny members to overcome stage fright:

           Just step right out!

          Put your little foot out, right out,

                    and let them see you!

June 18-14-hydrangea-1024- bloom

How to make rodents paranoid – June 16, 2014

A clump of foxgloves takes the spotlight in a round bed of pinky-mauvy astilbe, encircled by carrots and swiss chard.  Veggies always taste better when planted in circles.  You knew that, didn’t you?

June 16-14-foxgloves-1024

Now, who is snooping around here?  Why, it’s Zip the Chip! 

           Whatever is this?  Am I hearing things or what? 

No, he isn’t.  He is checking out a Go’pher It II which we dug into the flowerbed.  It is simply a long metal tube containing four “C” batteries which emit a beep every few seconds.  The theory is that it makes ground rodents paranoid!  They roll up their tents and leave.  The beep can’t be heard above ground, but it makes rodents think another critter may be burrowing in the ground toward them, and they’re not about to wait around to find out who!

June 16-14-rodent-vibrator-1024

Bird Land – June 14, 2014

What’s the motive behind Lady Wren’s exterior decorating?

June 14-14-Exterior-1024- fluorishes to nest

Never mind, I think she has a clutch of eggs inside, and that’s something to sing about!!  It’s a wonder the City By Law officers haven’t had complaints about the “loud” music at our house.  That’s how one neighbour described it, but we think it’s glorious!  We’ve never had a summer like it!   Go to blog of June 3 to hear the video of a wren’s symphony!

June 14-14-singing-1024- on doorstep

We’re guessing that the cardinals have fledged their offspring from the cedar hedge, and are enjoying life in the slow lane right now.

June 15-14-Cardinal-1024- on hoop

Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee are certainly not slackening off yet.  Every few minutes, one or either of them arrives at Cedar Shake on Black Pole Lane with a high-protein sports bar for their young.  Here’s a lemon special!

June 16-14-Chickadee w. food in beak

You think Mrs. Chickadee looks a little ruffled or worse for wear?  You would be, too, if you spent the entire day shopping! Their favourite supermarket is the Black Walnut Groceteria.  They must be going through the fast check-out.  In no time at all their grocery items are rung through, and they are winging their way home.  We see them frequenting Lilac Quick Stop, as well as The Maple’s Staples. 

Sleek Father Robin is ever alert as he forages for tube steaks in our lawn.  He knows our lawn is totally free of pesticides.  Yes, Sir, the tube steaks at McDonalds are 100% organic, no antibiotics, no growth hormones!

June 15-14-robin-1024

One of his youngsters puffed its feathers out as far as it could, trying to keep warm one windy, cold evening.  Why ever did I fly the coop? he seems to whimper.  I was never cold there, snuggled next to my brothers and sisters!

June 13-14-robin baby -cropped on chair


Fire in Park! June 12 and 13th, 2014

How do you keep on top of things?  The waterlilies not only have marauding coons to contend with, but in the dark recesses of the pool, something is actually trying to choke them to death!  Lloyd puts on his police badge . . . and heads into the fray.  Frequently he has to literally pry the dark villain’s fingers off of their necks, using a bottle brush attached to the end of a stick.  Villain’s ID?  Algae.

June 12-14-algae-1024

How the years fly by.  Our granddaughter, Rebekah, made her way through the audience to see us shortly before the graduation ceremonies got underway at Conestoga College on the afternoon of June 12th.  On the same day that she graduated as an Early Childhood Care worker, she received a phone message that she had been accepted for a full-time position with Tender Loving Care, a childcare company well established in Cambridge.  How’s that for a red-letter day?

June 12-14-R-1024- grad

While motorcycles without number roared toward Port Dover for their infamous Friday the 13th rendezvous, we headed to a quiet outing at Riverside Park, Guelph, with Young at Heart, the seniors’ group at Heidelberg Bible Fellowship.

June 13-river in Riverside Park,Guelph

The gardens surrounding the floral clock featured both peace-loving white peonies  . . . . 

June 13-Peonies -1024-white & buds . . . . . .as well as flaming oriental poppies too hot to handle!

June 13-Poppies, orange,1024-Riverside Park


The Tall and the Short of it.

What do waterlilies taste like?  Maybe not so great.  I suspect it was a coon who took a chomp out of one of the waterlilies last night, and spit it back out, leaving petals strewn about on the water.

June 11-14-open-1024- waterlily

Two tall plants are in bloom by the wood fence.  One is a delphinium.  The hummingbird made an inspection of the garden a couple of days ago, hovering above yellow daylilies for a few seconds.  I do hope she will take a sip of delphinium ambrosia.

June 11-14-Delphinium-1024

Three star-bursting spheres from the onion family are blooming not far from the delphinium, and two more star-bursts greet anyone who happens along the sidewalk garden.  When  finished blooming, the spheres dry well, and make an interesting addition to an autumn bouquet, lasting for years.

June 11-14-Starry-1024- sphere

When you think of delicate flowers, which ones come to mind?  And would you think a delicate blossom would have to be small in size?  Time to think again.  This is a wondrous bearded iris after a gentle rain, with petals as delicate as tissue paper.  Can you imagine how soft its golden carpet is  for the bumblebee’s feet?

June 11-Yellow -1024-bearded iris

Six Promises

Can you find all six buds on the water lily?  Six promises of loveliness to come!

June 9 - How many-1024- waterlily buds

I hope Zip the Chip wasn’t watching, but I had to use the shovel again today.

A yellow swallowtail butterfly flitted through Cedar Hollow a couple days ago.  I’m sure she was searching for a parsley plant which we usually have.  That is her favourite place to lay eggs.  I dug one of the parsleys out that was being overshadowed by a vigorous hosta and planted it in the bed above the pond.  Hopefully, the two of us will be out in the garden at the same time . . . the swallowtail and me . . . and I’ll be able to photograph her.

It’s hard to gauge how fast hostas grow.  Two of the red busy-lizzies edging the back- fence garden were complaining that they were being treated like second-class citizens, and that the hostas were encroaching on their territory!  To settle them down, I moved them to a spot beneath the lilac by the deck that was calling for something bright.

Have you ever picked lettuce that you didn’t plant?  I’ve been pinching leaves off for a couple of weeks now. No, I’m not trespassing in someone else’s garden.  Whatever gave you such a thought?  The seeds just sprouted from last year’s crop in the garden on the wall.

Do let me know if you try this made-in-Ontario recipe:

Mom’s Salad Dressing

Mix in blender and put into double boiler:

2 eggs
2 tblsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1-1/2 tsp. dry mustard
½ c. cider vinegar
½ c. water

Stir in 1 cup of cane sugar (from Bulk Barn)
Add ½ tblsp. butter
Cook until thick.  Add a little milk before serving if it’s too thick.  Enjoy!

June 9-lettuce-1024- in garden on the wall


Keeping an eye on things

Howdy, folks!  I’m Zip the Chip.  Let me tell you, it sure is a job keeping track of things around Cedar Hollow.

June-6 - chip -front-0K size

My biggest beef is that old shovel.  Mrs. McD keeps dragging it out of the shed, and the next thing you know, something’s not where it used to be! I guess you heard that the bachelor buttons got moved a few days ago, and she told you all about her cornflower crystal.

June-6-chip by b.but.-1024

You see, I really have to map things out mighty carefully.  One never knows when the mangy old cat from across the street will come padding into Cedar Hollow.  I’ve got to have my escape routes all figured out in advance in case she tries to sneak up on me.  Mrs. McD won’t put up with that old bird killer for a minute.  You should hear the loud psssst!! she comes out with whenever she sees it.  It’s enough to scare a dinosaur off the property!  The other day, I overheard her declaring that the next water gun she gets is going to be a POWERFUL one! I’m glad she’s on my side. 

Mr. McD is using the reciprocal saw to cut up the lilac branches that were draping over the side garden.  I guess they were depending on the big tamarack tree to hold them up, but you know what happened to it.  The crock by the fireplace is plum full of twigs! Mrs. McD is planning on using the twigs for kindling.  I heard her wondering what lilac wood would smell like.  Do you have any idea?

June-6-L sawing-1024- lilac branches

As Mrs. McD was heading up the steps with a fan rake to tidy up the mess left from harvesting the lilac branches, Lady Wren alighted on the grass.  She chose an iddy-biddy lilac twig, flew up to the Swiss Chalet, and poked it inside.  I don’t think Mrs. McD raked as thoroughly as she might have after that, but that’s OK. 

Who Is Listening to You?

Oh my!  What’s that big critter in the cage?  It seemed to be sleeping, so we had time for breakfast.

Lloyd placed an old towel over the cage so the masked bandit would remain sleepy.  How heavy he was as Lloyd lugged the caged coon to the car. There was a river and woods not far from the drop-off spot in the countryside.  How large his tail looked as he bounded away and disappeared in the undergrowth.


Lloyd and I took our morning break on the lawn swing.

Blog-Jn4-14-1024-back yard

Have you ever sensed that you were being spied on?  Chippy is on tip-toe, gopping at us!


 It was apparently break time for others as well.   Both mother and father cardinal alighted on the top wooden fence rail within a minute of each other, bearing a light green something-or-other in their beaks.

Meanwhile, energetic Lady Wren filled the June morning with her joyous songs.

Squeak, the Red Squirrel, listened quietly, for a change, from a perch high in the walnut tree while I read aloud the newspaper summary of last night’s TV debate.


Pollsters ranked NDP’s Andrea Horwath  the highest with her IT MAKES SENSE platform, six points above the Liberals, and eight points higher than the Conservatives.  Who knows what might change with one week of campaigning left?


Song of the Wren

Today I finished playing musical plants.  The perennials are now where they’re going to be for this season, and will no longer shake in their boots when they see me clomping along with a shovel in hand.

I must concede that the three Bachelor Buttons moped a bit after they were transplanted, but now seem to have reconciled themselves to their new location in the garden, and are holding their buds up proudly once more.

Blog-Jn4-14-bachelor -1024-buttons

Did you know that it is the bachelor button flower (also called cornflower) that is engraved on the cornflower crystal that was so popular when I was married?  I still use this crystal for company, but cornflower crystal is now in the antique shops! Disgusting indeed when it’s obvious I’m such a youthful hostess!

As I was watering last night, I surmised that Lady Wren’s wings were just too tuckered out from a day of nest-building to hoist the last twig all the way inside.  Ever feel like that?

June 1-wren on perch,1024-twig behind her

Take a few moments to listen to the wren songs recorded by Bryan Wells, and watch her at work:

Understand now why I’ve been so excited about having Lady Wren move in?