How My Husband Spent His Birthday..

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. As it is with other days, we make no plans and see what the day will bring.  He had previously purchased birthday presents, we have no surprises here.  I said he needed new running shoes so that was from me.  He also got a wallet and a foam bed from Costco so he can nap outside on warm days.

But who knew what was going to happen when I mowed the front lawn?  There was a 6-year-old Nishiki Willow tree that was growing horizontally instead of vertically.  As beautiful as the new growth was with its white, light green and pink foliage, it was a tree that neither of us liked because it needed constant pruning.  In winter I was out at 3:00am shaking and knocking snow off the branches because they had flattened to a pancake.  But getting back to yesterday,  I was mowing the lawn and once again had to duck under the branches, so I asked husband to trim some of them off.  As he trimmed we talked about how we no longer liked the tree so in agreement, he got out his sabre saw and branch by branch down it came.  Then we looked at it and said “what have we done” because clean up was such a mess.  And as we cut branches into smaller branches and bound some of them up, neighbours came by and said “what did you do that for? it was so beautiful”..    but they didn’t have to mow around it nor do major trimming in Spring and other times of year, nor shake snow off at 3:00am.

After it was all cleaned up husband said “we are not going shopping to Dinters (a great local nursery) today to look for a new tree.”   But I know him, and he doesn’t like to leave things undone, so after lunch he suggested we go and “have a look”  which I knew would mean more than a look.  We looked at Japanese Maples but we have 8 varieties of those, so we finally agreed upon a Smoke Bush that has been grafted onto a tree trunk.  It was blooming and just beautiful!  I asked one of the people working at the nursery if the lovely soft blooms would hold up under a heavy sprinkling and she said that they have overhead sprinkling, so with that we purchased the tree and brought it home.  Then we went down to a local feed store to buy stakes for either side.  Below is the result.  Husband always has to have a project and I know that even though he was tired, he enjoyed doing it.

Photos taken at 6:00am, last night’s sprinkler drops are still on the blooms.

I think that it is beautiful..   below is a link to a page on Nishiki Willow so you can see what we had if you don’t know what it is.

http://www.midwestgardentips.com/hakuro-nishiki_dappled_willow.html

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Venting: Leaving Dogs in Cars on Hot Days

This is a venting post.  Today we went to a local strip mall for husband to find some running shoes.  Outside one of the stores there was a beautiful blue merle Sheltie sitting in the passenger seat of a car.  The windows were rolled down only about 3 inches, not enough to keep the car from becoming very warm inside.  This makes me really angry because I don’t understand why someone would leave their dog in a car on a hot day.  Granted there was a breeze but the temperature was 75F, warm enough for the car to become very hot for the dog.   There was a security guard nearby so I asked him if he could do anything about dogs in cars and he said “yes.”  Apparently there were keeping an eye on the car to see if the owner came and that they had a few minutes to come back before security would call the police.

Many stores in our area have changed their policies so that dogs on leash are allowed in the store.

People, if you are going shopping on hot days, please leave your dog at home!

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Bicycle Riding on the Cowichan Valley Trail

Today we went back to riding our bicycles on the Cowichan Valley Trail.  We have been riding on the Somenos Dyke Trail but with hot weather coming, the Cowichan Valley Trail is much cooler.

I have been thinking about just how much the Cowichan Valley Trail is like life.  There are shadows and sunlight, as there are dark times in our life and bright times when everything is going well.  The way is narrow, and for a Christian, we are to follow the “narrow path”, not the wide path that leads to destruction.

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The Cowichan Valley Trail can be a dangerous place.  Sometimes cyclists come up very fast with no bell to let you know they are coming, and if you are not riding right on your side, it could be a disaster.  Life is like that.  Sometimes danger comes upon us that we cannot see coming.  According to the Lord’s will, he may deliver us from the danger, or we may have to go through it and be a testimony of God’s grace to us through difficult times.

There are wonderful sights, sounds and smells on the Cowichan Valley Trail..  wildflowers, the green trees and shrubbery,  the sound of roosters crowing, or sheep, the smell of freshly mowed hay at the farms beyond the trail, the smell of horses in the pasture of a farm near the trail, this is beautiful to some.  As with life, all of Creation if we just look around us, the sound of a pouring rain or a gentle rain, the sound of thunder, the sight of lightning.  The fragrance of flowers, or puppy breath, or a baby..  all of life.

I am thankful to be back on the Cowichan Valley trail.

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Removing the Bird Feeder

This Spring is the first time I have fed birds from a feeder having always fed them through winter by throwing seed on the ground.  I never thought that so many varieties would come to the feeder and it was getting to be too much, as though I was the only one feeding the birds.  The female House Finch in the photo above is one of many visitors.

I began to think it wasn’t such a good idea when by chance I saw a female sparrow carrying a moth to her nest.  That was when it dawned on me that perhaps seed was too easy and that they should be looking for their natural food.  Then a couple of days later I saw that a Starling had appeared  and if there was one species I did not want on a bird feeder it is Starlings for they take over very quickly.  A day or so after that my husband saw a squirrel in the tray below the feeder and the heavy glass roof above the feeder was knocked at an angle.  This meant that some brave squirrel had jumped from quite a distance to reach the food.  And that was the end for me so I took the feeder down and carried the pole holding it away.

But I felt very guilty..would my little friends starve after I took their food supply away?  such foolishness on my part.  Yes, they did hang around looking forlorn for a few days and I continued to feel guilty.  I decided to put some seed out on the ground in different places and it wasn’t long before a few of the birds came back.  This morning I was lying on a swing in our back yard and a Chestnut-backed Chickadee flew in and landed on my knee.  It looked at me as if to say, “that’s OK, don’t feel so bad.”  This little Chickadee who formerly would swoop down, grab a black oil sunflower seed and fly into the tree was now going down to the ground.  And I also noticed that there is a new flock of Sparrow fledglings coming to the seed on the ground as well.  For previous fledglings it was difficult for the mother to entice them to the feeder so ground-feeding is better for them.

What does the bible say about feeding the birds?

Matthew 6:26 “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them……”

I do still provide them clean water in a bird bath every day, and I still have my hummingbird feeder up because we had such a cold and wet Spring but I think that in July when everything starts to bloom I will remove that as well.

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Lack of Sleep

Today I am suffering the effects of lack of sleep.  It was probably 3am before I got to sleep last night or should I say this morning.  Yesterday before going to bed I watched a movie called Take Shelter, made in 2011.  The “information” said it was about a man having apocalyptic dreams who decided to upgrade his back yard shelter, but it was so much more than that.  Turned out to be a psychological drama about a man who may or may not be developing a mental illness as his mother had when he was a boy of 10.  Were his dreams about an illness coming upon him? or were they premonitions.  I went to bed before it was over and tossed and turned thinking about it.  This movie to me was all about  fear..  fear of the unknown was taking hold of him.  Was he sick? or was there truly a disaster coming?

I don’t really know why this movie had such a hold on me, perhaps sometimes I have fear of the unknown.

And yet I am a Christian and I am not supposed to fear what the world or man might do to me because I have a home in heaven waiting for me.  Christians are admonished to fear the Lord in a reverential way because of who He is, Almighty God.

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

I hope that tonight will be a peaceful night of restorative sleep.

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edited to add that after writing this post yesterday, I had a very good sleep last night.. from now on I will have to be very careful what I watch before I go to bed..

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One Thing Leads to Another

Lately there have been white Pelicans in this area so today we decided to drive to Cowichan Bay to see if they were there.  It was raining all morning, a light and misty rain, the kind you can get soaked in because it doesn’t seem that you need an umbrella.

The Pelicans were not at Cowichan Bay so that led to a drive to Mill Bay to see if they were there.  Not there either, but what we did find on the drive home is that our favorite produce stand is open again.  Called Sweet Meadow Farm, it has the freshest produce we have ever found. Most is local but they do bring in Okanagan cherries, the best we have found.  We bought some new carrots and nugget potatoes and are looking forward to those for supper tonight.  This stand is only open from late June until late August.

But best for me was a visit to a farm market at Cobble Hill.  I saw a small sign on the road leading back from Mill Bay so we drove to Cobble Hill to check it out.  There were not many stands, but there was a lady selling fresh bouquets of flowers picked yesterday from her garden.  Husband kindly bought one for me, it is lovely.  A lot of flowers I was not familiar with and I am enjoying it on my table.  Photos below:

The second is another view.

We expect the rest of the day will be quiet.

A Baby Deer and Pouring Rain

Yesterday my husband was angry with me.. In the morning we took our dog in for a grooming to a place that is in the country.   As we left the groomers a squirrel ran into the road but thankfully we missed hitting it, such was not the case a couple of years ago.  So we were talking about this, and about the time in 2012 when a deer jumped out of bushes and ran into the front fender of the car to $3,000 damage.  I have always thought that husband has very slow reactions when he sees an animal.  He doesn’t slow or swerve, it’s like his mind goes blank at those times.  At any rate, as we were talking about these things we were driving down the forested hill towards Cowichan Bay when a doe and a very new fawn were crossing the road.  I yelled “deer and fawn” and husband slowed but he did not stop.  The doe went into the bushes but the fawn seemed scared and started wandering around on the road.  I was terrified that someone would come from the other direction and hit it.  I told my husband to “Stop the Car!” and finally he did.  A truck came from the other direction and stopped because  he saw the fawn on the road.  After what seemed like a long time but was only a minute or so, the doe came back to the road and the fawn followed her into the bushes.  Husband was not pleased with the way I spoke to him about this matter and did not speak to me for the rest of the day..  and that I would have to go pick up the dog at the groomers on my own.  I should say that since we moved to Vancouver Island husband has done 90% of the driving and I have been concerned about losing my driving skills so probably it is good for me to drive more.

But today is a better day.  We went back to Cowichan Bay to get bread from the Artisan bakery there called True Grain.  But he got into the passenger seat and I had to drive there.   It is a wonderful thing that neither of us are grudge holders.

Also, today we are having a good downpour of rain.  I am always thrilled for rain in June because July is always very hot and dry.  The temperatures for the past week or so have been mild and that has been a blessing also.  As I always say, rain for the forest, rain for the garden, rain for the river and the lake.  Two years ago we had a terrible drought, hopefully that will not happen this year.

The Wicked Heart

I am in a really blue mood today.  I watched the local news early this morning and saw something that was deeply disturbing to me, why they thought to include it in the local news is beyond me.  Allegedly there has been terrible abuse and cruelty to chickens in farms by employees which was captured on video.  I won’t go into details but I can’t get it out of my mind.  Truly as Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

This on the heels of a film called “Unity” which has aired on TV a couple of times lately.  It says it is about “why we can’t seem to get along even after thousands of years”.  I admit I have not watched all the movie but I did watch the part about the dairy industry, and about the calves that are born so that the cows “freshen” to produce the milk and it made me thankful that I am not now nor have not been for a very long time, a drinker of milk.

Why can’t people get along?  The answer is very simple, it all goes back to the fall, when Woman (later called Eve) and then Adam disobeyed the command of the LORD God and ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  From that moment on, sin touches everything and that is why “we can’t seem to get along”…

I really hate hearing about the cruelties in this world..

Maranatha….Come Lord Jesus

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Garage Sale Days..

Are there a lot of garage sales where you live?  I don’t remember many where we used to live but here in the Cowichan Valley they are a staple.  When Spring comes, every weekend there are many home garage sales and yesterday there were two huge sales, one at a church in the town of Duncan, and one at the exhibition grounds for the SPCA.  There was also a garden sale at the heritage church down the street from us.

The little community where we live is having a garage sale next Saturday and we will be participating.  Garage sales bring out a variety of people; dealers who come a couple of hours before the sale starts who will go through your merchandise if you let them, looking for the “good stuff”.  I really don’t like the dealers.  Then there are those who look for things they can later sell at their own garage sale, my brother-in-law is one of these.  Then those who are looking for things they can use, they like to barter.  Lastly those who don’t have much money who are also looking for things they can use.

As well as lots of “stuff” we don’t need,  I am putting 3 of my dolls into the sale as well as a mohair teddy bear that I made years ago when making teddy bears was the thing to do.  One of the dolls is an artist doll made of silicone vinyl, I doubt that she will sell.  I also wonder if the mohair bear will sell.  She is beautiful and I don’t want her to go to anyone who won’t take care of her. She has glass eyes, is jointed, and is not a toy. The trouble with making bears is that when you put their faces on they become real to you.  Photo below:

I do have a plan for 2 of my dolls though.  They are Lee Middleton dolls made to be played with, but I bought them just because they were so cute.  One is Chinese, her name is Kya and one is Japanese, her name is Kamiko.  Lee Middleton dolls are always named, thus personalizing them and their eyes are so human-like they look like real toddlers.  They were never sold in big box stores.  Even though I am asking $20 for each of them (paid $75 each) if a little girl falls in love with either of them and asks her mom to buy it,  I will give them away if the child promises to take good care of it.  I will not sell any of my dolls or the bear to dealers.  Last time there was a garage sale here I had a bear for sale and an elderly lady just fell in love with it, I knew it would have a good home.    Below are Kya (on the left) and Kamiko.

Even now they are both looking at me as if to say, “how can you let me go?”

The chair they are sitting on is also going.  It is very comfortable and I hope that someone takes it.

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