Saturday, July 26

Green Thumb Sunday

It's Green Thumb Sunday, hosted by Tricia at As the Garden Grows. If you'd like to participate, just click on the link to find out how.

I have been working on the side flower garden, trying to gain some control over it. The weeds were thick and with the renovations, I didn't get to it early this spring like I usually do. I've been pulling weeds and mulching as I go in hopes they don't come back.

I have most of it done, but rainy weather has prevented me from doing much this week. However, I did get the bears that Brandon and Jordan gave Dwight for Father's Day sprayed with a clear laquer to protect them. Once the laquer had dried, I put them in the garden. Above is the grizzly bear. Above are the black bear cubs. They look very nice next to the orange blanket flowers and with the reddish colored mulch.
The purple flowers and ivy that Brandon planted earlier in the spring have flourished, but this week I think they got a little too much water. The purple flowers (I forget what they're called) are not doing as good as they were. I also picked some leaves off the ivy that had black mold. I'm hoping the weather clears and that they come back. This was a very pretty planter and I want it to continue doing well into the fall.
My neighbor gave me the above handmade basket. It is made out of small pieces of wood. I had purchased a couple of plants to go in it and they were too large. Last Wednesday hubby brought this Shasta Daisy home from the grocery store. It fit perfectly and looks so nice in the basket which sets on the porch railing.
Above is the coleus that the boys and I were going to plant while they were here yesterday. However, it rained buckets and that was impossible. We had planned to go fishing, but that idea was squashed as well. We had headed out to the lake and were caught in the storm. I have some photos to share another day but unfortunately none of them include fish.

I hope you are having a restful Sunday. Enjoy your day. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, July 25

Fun at the Zoo

On Thursday morning I picked the boys up at about 10:30 and we headed off to the zoo. Though the temperatures were to be reasonably cool, it turned into a very warm day, but at least there was no humidity.

We arrived at the zoo about 11:30. We've been to this zoo before but not for a couple of years.

The first thing we saw was this little guy. Jordan loved him and he seemed to like Jordan very well. We had purchased a bag of grain and one of peanuts when we entered the park and Jordan had the grain. This little guy is smart. He knew who had the good stuff.
The next thing we saw were two zebras. We tried to coax them over to the fence but they were enjoying a meal of hay and no amount of coaxing could make them leave it.
The two beautiful peacocks above strutted there stuff as the people passed by. Did you know that peacocks love peanuts and will actually fight over them. These guys were quick and Brandon enjoyed throwing the peanuts through the fence to them. Then the boys spied this little chipmunk. He was scurrying around in the grass near the capybaras. The boys had fun feeding him peanuts and he loved them. He stuck them in his cheeks and skittered away into the long grass to enjoy them. These beautiful flowers were growing around a fish pond. They are certainly beautiful. We stood and watched the fish while we waited for the show that would start at 12:00.

The first thing they brought out were some reptiles. The yellow and white one above is an African Albino Python. Jordan touched him but Brandon preferred not to.
After the reptiles the staff brought out the furry critters. The lion cub above loves doing the show and came racing out of the enclosure. There were two cubs and he is the largest of the two. We weren't allowed to touch him.
The smaller lion cub is more friendly with humans and we were allowed to touch him. He was soft as silk and had a nice personality.
The larger one stayed with the woman who was telling us all about the animals. See how he hangs onto her leg with his paws. It looks like he's trying to eat off her leg.
Another pose of the larger cub playing with the announcer. He is quite strong even though he is only a cub.
And here he is at the end of the show. He laid quietly and looked directly at us. He was adorable.

Next we got to pet a red fox. These animals live in the wild in this area and they are beautiful with their red coats. They eat mice, birds and other small creatures. Red fox smell kind of like skunk. The smell gives them some protection from predators.
The animal above looks like someone's pet dog, but it is really a wolf. The audience was not allowed to touch it and it dislikes noise, so we were asked to be very quiet as the young girl brought it around for us to see close-up.
This photo is a little blurry because the young lady didn't stop for photos with this guy. He isn't as comfortable around humans as some of the other animals.
Swans are magnificient creatures. So graceful and black swans aren't as plentiful as white swans. There were two of these swans in this area.
The boys have always liked meercats. This is a ring-tailed meercat, according to the sign.
The creature above is another kind of meercat but I don't remember what it was called. He is beautiful.
The monkey in the above photo was screaming his head off and making a terrible fuss. Something had upset him.
Then we came to the white-tailed deer. Remember Jordan had the bag of grain. This one is very interested in him.
Brandon had the bag of peanuts and the deer also enjoyed eating them. The boys love to feed the animals right out of their hands. There's nothing like being up close and personal with wild creatures.

The deer weren't shy at all. Jordan enjoyed feeding them grain. When the herd realized he had it, they all came toward the fence. This one didn't stray far until Jordan moved on.
And...the King of the Jungle. He was basking in the sun and taking a nap. He didn't even open his eyes as we passed.
If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the Koi. This is a pretty area.
As we were leaving the park we came across this African Crowned Crane. We waited around and tried to get him to turn around but he was only showing us his back.
Just before we left the zoo, Jordan fed some grain to this little guy and then gave the last of it to some goats. By this time we were all hot and tired and so we headed home to the AC and a nice cool glass of lemonade.
Take some time this weekend to get into the great outdoors and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. It's balm for the soul. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, July 24

Award and Thankful Thursday

Nancy at Nancy's Nonsense shared this. It originated with Memoirs of a Mommy who created this award in honor of the donor that saved Noah's Life. Noah is her son, and he had a heart transplant when he wasn't even a month old. This dear little boy just celebrated his first birthday earlier this month!! Her hopes are that in passing this award around, we will create more awareness of the importance of organ donation.

Please take a copy of this award and post it with a link back to Memoirs of a Mommy and help promote organ donation.

Today is Thankful Thursday. It is a day when we list the things we are thankful for. If you would like to participate, be sure to stop by Sting My Heart and pay Iris a visit. You can find all the information there.

This week I have much to be thankful for:

1. Food on the table and a roof over my head.

2. The beginning of the end of the renovations, though there is still quite a bit to do. However, it's nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

3. Friends, both online and in the real world who are kind and caring. Friends are more precious than gold.

4. For medical professionals in every field.

5. That my Aunt May is still getting around, though her blood count is low and she is spending a lot of time resting. She is finished her chemo for at least 5 weeks. They cannot give her any more right now, as her blood count is too low and the chemo would make it even lower. She wasn't in such high spirits when I talked to her Wednesday night. Please keep her in your prayers.

6. For the love of family, especially grandsons who phone and say, "Hi Grandma, watcha doing." I love that phrase. It makes my heart sing.

7. For cooler temperatures, beautiful blooms in the garden and bird song at dawn and dusk. There is nothing like the beauty and music of nature.

I hope you have much to be thankful for today. We are very lucky in North America. I ask you to pray for those less fortunate and for all those that are in the path of Hurricane Dolly. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, July 23

Renovation Update

This week the neighbor's son has been coming to lend us a hand with the renovations. He is an excellent worker.
Remember when the small bedroom looked like this? Well we had the lath and plaster taken away a couple of weeks ago.
Today the small bedroom looks quite different than it did back then. The sub floor is good and so we don't have to do anything but lay carpet over it. We've washed the walls and it's ready to be painted. The vacuum was humming in there all afternoon. We were trying to get all of the dust off the plywood floor, which I think is impossible. This dust seems to reappear as quickly as the vacuum sucks it up. What a job!
Remember when the bathroom walls were nothing but green water resistant wallboard? Well now it looks like this. It's all primed and ready to paint. Two coats have been applied and we used an entire gallon of primer. It should be well sealed. The wallboard absorbed the primer quickly and by the time the neighbor's son had the first coat applied, it was dry enough to begin putting the second coat on.

Remember this large black wall unit. It was in pretty rough shape but made of solid wood. It is very heavy and it needed a lot of work. We took it apart, used a bit of wood filler and some Kilz and this is what it looks like now.Quite a difference and it is already to come downstairs and replace our small wall unit. This will give us so much more room to store things and display knick knacks and such. We are always looking for ways to add more space.

As you can see, the living room needs some work. We haven't got that far yet. We've skimmed the wall on the left and sanded it and now we need to wash everything so we can paint. It's all beginning to come together. I'm going to see if the plumber can come next week to install the tub, shower and vanity. I'm hoping he can. We may just have the work all done by the end of July. It's been a lot of hard, back-breaking work but we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

In other news, I received the above award some time ago from Violet Lady and then again from Storyteller. Thank you, Ladies. I'm honored.

And now the rules:

1. Please put the logo on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. You must nominate 7 fellow bloggers for this award.

4. Add links to the recipients.

5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

I always find it difficult to choose who to give awards to, as each is equally deserving. That said, I am going to give it to all of my friends and visitors who have stopped by and commented during the month of July. Please feel free to take a copy and post it on your sidebar or on your awards page. Enjoy! ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, July 22

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Tackle it Tuesday is a day when we show or tell about a project that we've completed. As you all know, we've been up to our ears in renovations, which has included drywall and sanding dry wall mud, which is a very dusty business. I didn't realize that the dust had penetrated our apartment so badly until tonight (Monday) when I walked into the computer room and saw something that hadn't caught my attention before. My old fashioned walnut washstand, which houses my dog collection was buried in dust as well as things that didn't belong there. This is what I saw:

Quite a mess, isn't it? All of the white dust on the washstand is dust that has sifted through the house while we've been renovating. I haven't dusted this area since we started the renovations. So, I decided I'd tackle this for Tackle it Tuesday.

With a little elbow grease, a dry dust cloth for the washstand, a wet dustcloth and a dry one for the dogs and a can of Pled*ge, this was the result just 20 minutes later.

What a difference a few minutes makes. When I was done, I resolved to tackle more jobs for Tackle it Tuesday. This is one small task completed for the time being and it is one corner of the house that isn't covered in dust.

If you would like to participate in Tackle it Tuesday, follow this link to 5 Minutes for Mom. It's a great incentive to tackle both big and small household chores.

Have a great Tuesday and remember to do a kindness that will make someone smile. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, July 21

Fun Monday

I'm a little late posting Fun Monday today as other things kept me busy most of the morning. This week our hostess is Irish Coffeehouse and this is the assignment she has given us:

THEN: As a child day dreaming of what your future would hold for you, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you ever pursue or achieve it?

NOW: If you could be trained and placed in any career beginning tomorrow, what would it be?

As children my brother and I used to explore our Grandpa's farm. At one time, Native peoples called this place home. We would follow the plow and pick up arrowheads and pieces of pottery that were turned up. We also explored the back section of Grandpa's farm and found pottery, pipes, arrowheads and other paraphernalia, such as spear heads and bone tools. This gave me a burning desire to be an archeologist.

When I was 15, my Dad had a work related accident and was in the hospital for 7 months. My brother and I put our career dreams on hold to go to work and help Mom provide for the family. My dream was forgotten.

Since my archeology dream wasn't realized, when I was in my early thirties, I decided to go to Winnipeg and become a member of the RCMP. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police.) I was to leave in early September and my daughter was to stay with Mom & Dad. There would be three months training before I was given a post, probably as a border guard. On August 26th Dad passed away suddenly. I gave up the idea to stay home and close to Mom. I have never regretted that decision.

If I were to be trained and placed in any career of my choosing today, I would chose archeology. I still love digging in the dirt to find treasures from the past. I have found bottles, dishes, household items and more. As I gaze upon the items that I find, I wonder about the lives of the people that they belonged to. If only these items could talk. What a wonderful story they'd have to tell. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, July 20

88th Canadian Soldier Falls in Afghanistan

I am going to forego Green Thumb Sunday this week to honor Cpl James Hayward Arnal, who lost his life on July 18th while serving for Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.

Cpl James Hayward Arnal, aged 25 years, was killed by a roadside bomb Friday. He hailed from Winnipeg, Manitoba and was an experienced soldier, part of the 2nd Princess Patricia Light Infantry. He had volunteered for this year's rotation and had plans to volunteer for another tour in 2009. Cpl Arnal is the 88th Canadian to loose their life in Afghanistan.

Please pray for Cpl Arnal's family and also for the soldiers and friends who mourn his loss.