Tuesday, August 23, 2016

From Pallet To Garden Arbour

  As often happens, I came home one day to find that Brian had completed one of the many projects on my wish list. I had drawn up plans of what I envisioned for our yard. In my plans, I had divided the area into  four 'rooms'; the lawn, the garden, the skating rink, and Danica's play yard. 
  The area between the garden and Danica's yard was divided by a fence made from shipping crates and wire. An opening had been left for an arbor that would eventually....or hopefully.....be covered in vines.  This is the project Brian worked on while I was out for a few hours.
Danica, walking along the stepping stone pathway to the trellis
The pallet fences are underway in the background

  I don't think any other pictures were taken the first year it was built, but these ones show how Brian constructed it. The 4x4 posts were already there for the fence, so he attached some pieces of 2x10 to the posts, and these created support for the pallet. The pallet, used for shipping doors, was larger than most, so it fit perfectly into the space.
  Danny and I extended the wire from the fence posts up and over the arbour. Where there were gaps, we tied some scraps of baling twine to give the Virginia Creeper something to grab onto. 

Danny helping add wire and twine. Skating rink/pool area in the background.

A view from below the arbour

The vines are making their way up to the top of the arbour

You can see where we added some twine to encourage the vines to grow upward

This year the vines have made there way all the way up the arbour.

Looking into the garden area

Looking toward the pergola and patio. My rooms are starting to form!

View from Danica's yard.
Hopefully, by next year, the entire fence will be covered in vines.
 This is the fourth summer for the arbour, and it's holding up great. If it ever does start to weaken, it will be easy to add in new supports from underneath, and attach them to the 2x10s.

View into the area where the rink was
  Since building the arbour, we've already made some changes to the 'rooms'. This year we decided to take out the skating rink, so there's no longer a fence dividing that area from Danica's yard. We found that we were unable to keep the sand in the rink area from drifting every time there was a wind. We'd end up with huge gullies along the fence where the wind had carved out the sand. Besides, the boys found it easier to go to the local rink than to maintain the one in our yard. So, part of that area will become more lawn, and hopefully, part will be raised planters for veggies.

Trellis leading to playhouse

And one day, Danica's playhouse and yard will be completed... another post for another day.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Manitoba Sky Monday - Aug. 22/16

We always seem to have amazing skies on Mondays, and somehow I miss the best ones!

I caught the sun rising Monday morning, but missed a rainbow in the west!

My niece, Corinna Dominquez, took this one! 
My husband, Brian, got this one.

My neighbour across the road, Diana Haggerty, got this one.

I need to keep a closer eye on the sky!

Tuesday, some dark clouds blowing across the sun

More of the fast changing clouds from Tuesday

A foggy Wednesday morning sunrise.

Friday, the clouds are gathering over our neighbbour's house.

Saturday brought some beautiful blue skies, and lots of fluffy clouds!

Brian took this on Saturday afternoon, on our patio

And to end the week, the sunset on Saturday evening.

See you next week!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chokecherries and Elvis

 Trust me, there IS a connection, and I'll get to it in a minute. But first, some history......
 Most Canadians my age, even if they're not a hockey fan, know that the question, "Where were you in '72?" refers to when Paul Henderson scored the winning goal against the Soviet Union. I don't know exactly where I was when the goal was scored, but I definitely remember when it happened.
 Going back a little further to 1963, "Where were you when JFK was shot?" I was only five years old, so I was at home with my mom. I do actually remember watching the funeral on tv....while eating a mustard and onion sandwich....don't ask; I have no idea!
  There are just some things that stick in your mind. So, that brings me to, "Where were you when you heard that Elvis had died?" I was 19 years old, and wasn't a huge Elvis fan, but I know exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was with my brother and sister, and we had taken Dad's car down the road to pick chokecherries. We had the radio on while we picked, and that's when it was announced that Elvis had died. In that moment, and it seems forevermore, a connection was made in my brain. 
  For the past 39 years, I have depended on the radio, or in more recent years, Face Book, to remind me of the day that Elvis died...so this year, when Brian came home from work on the 17th of August, I said, "Do you know what today's date is?" He answered, "The 17th?" Me; "Yes, the 17th! Do you know what that makes yesterday?" Brian: "Oh, the 16th." Me: Yes!! And not one person on Face Book mentioned Elvis yesterday!" Brian: "Well, the nerve of them; how dare they not?" Me: "I know!! How am I supposed to remember chokecherry picking time, if people forget Elvis?!"
  Yes, this was a real conversation. (tongue in cheek, but real!) My family knows I take my chokecherries very seriously, and if you asked them the significance of August 16th, they would tell you, "That's the day Elvis died; it's chokecherry season!"  
   I guess my addiction stems from my childhood. I grew up on a farm with seven siblings, and we spent a lot of time wandering the countryside. We all knew what was safe to eat, and what wasn't...maybe from someone's previous experience! Saskatoons, pin cherries, ground cherries, cranberries and nanny berries were a few of the other things we snacked on. But chokecherries were one of my favorites....yup, the same kid that ate mustard and onion sandwiches...and several other strange things I won't mention here. In case you're wondering, yes, Mom did feed us good, healthy meals. 

Chokecherries, all washed and ready to eat.... or turn into jelly.
    I know most people don't have the strange taste buds I have, so I've included a recipe for Chokecherry Jelly. I haven't made it in years, but Mom and I used to make it together.
*Hint: If it turns out a little runny, it makes great syrup for ice cream!

Chokecherry Jelly

Prepare chokecherries:

Wash the fruit.
Add water to cover the chokecherries.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.
Cool and strain through cheesecloth or a damp jelly bag.

3 cups chokecherry juice

6 1/2 cups sugar
1 box (2 pouches) liquid pectin

Pour juice into heavy saucepan. Add sugar and stir to mix. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Bring to a full, rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir and skim off foam for 5 minutes. Pour jelly into hot, sterilized  jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Seal with canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Share Your Garden

Do you have a garden you would like to share? Gardeners from around the world are welcome. It doesn't matter if you have acres of garden, or a small patio garden, I want to hear from you. Just send me an email through the contact form on the sidebar, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

If you also have your own blog, that's great! I'll include a link back to yours, and add you to my blog list.