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annuala: (mindpalace)
The weather here is still hot, and though the nights are cooler, there's no sign of frost yet. This is a good thing, because I'm still discovering things in the garden.

First of all, the unidentifiables. I've used Google Image search and haven't come up with any matches that allow me to identify these. If anyone knows what these are, I'd be grateful for the information:

Unidentified pink flower

What is this?

Unidentified yellow flower

I have a feeling I should know that last one, but can't figure it out. The middle one resembles a blanket flower, but only superficially.

Google Image search did help with the identities of the following:







I've also got a fine crop of pink and red-and-white poppies. It wasn't till well after they started blooming that I realized what I had.



Elsewhere, plants are going to seed, including the poppies. The forget-me-nots are pretty much done; the herbs are going to flower, mostly because I can't keep up with the blossoms. Normally I cut them off, to keep the herbs sweet, but this year, I've just given up. The roses are still going strong, and there are massive red hips already hanging from the branches. Mostly I'm having to weed a little and water a lot more; it's been quite dry the last couple of weeks. But I'm already enjoying the fruits of my labours: I've had two of my home-grown tomatoes so far, and they've been delicious. :-)
annuala: (tinytardis)
This year was ever so much better than last year. For one thing, the power stayed on.


Christmas village

Julieanne and her baby brother came over in the afternoon to open gifts.

And more...

New favourite toy

"She's got to be kidding..."

"Well, if you say so..."

Then there was dinner with the family... well, sans Dave, Julieanne, and Kristopher. (Don't ask.)

"And I say unto thee..."

"... and then I said..."

Then I finished up the evening with some relaxing... and some "Doctor Who."

Merry Christmas, everyone
annuala: (mindpalace)
My dad always used to say we'd have a January thaw... even if we had to wait till February for it. Well, this year it came bang on time, right in the middle of the month. We're back to the deep freeze, but here are some photos from that lovely week in mid-January:

Fog over ice


Running water

Open water

annuala: (Default)
No photos, I'm afraid; there's very little to photograph out there now.

Today I harvested the tomatoes. All of them. I had to--it's getting colder, and it's a minor miracle that we haven't experienced a frost here yet. So all the tomatoes had to be brought in. They'll ripen in due course. Some of them are absolutely huge. I'm going to have to look up some tomato recipes...

I cut up the plants themselves to use as mulch/fertilizer. If nothing else, it should protect the mint I planted this year.

Everything is going dormant, slowly. The rose bush still has some blooms on top; a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a single cluster of white near the top of one of the snowball bushes. The cosmos, calendula, rudbeckia, and California poppies are still going strong, though. And the herbs are still bright and tasty, though perhaps the chives are a bit old now.

I've got some bulbs on order: tulips, more bluebells (I am ever hopeful), and lily-of-the-valley. The ornamental allium never did bloom, I'm afraid, though that little patch of ground did for a while smell like a Devonshire spring. Maybe next year.

And that is the song of the gardener: Maybe next year... :-)
annuala: (mutebutton)
It's just John Watson. :-)

Um, yeah, I'm a little obsessed with "Sherlock."

But not so obsessed that I'm gonna start reading the fan fiction... nope, not going there...
annuala: (deathfrisbee)
Just testing some new icons.


Jan. 18th, 2013 01:38 pm
annuala: (facepalm)
So a couple of months (yes, months) ago, apparently, one of the main student loan administration centres in the country had a security breach. An external hard drive containing the personal information of several thousand borrowers and about 250 staffers disappeared. No one's admitting it was stolen; it could simply have been misplaced.* The news of this breach broke only this week.

Now, since I am still (yes, still) paying down my student debt, I was a mite concerned, as you can imagine. That's a lot of personal information there, including my social insurance number, bank accounts, etc. So today I called the hotline, and after I spent 5 minutes listening to purportedly soothing music, I spoke to a very efficient young woman, who after taking my SIN was able to tell me... my information was not affected.


On the Human Resources and Social Development Canada site, there was some info on protecting one's personal information. But... they were in charge of protecting my and thousands of other students' (not to mention employees') personal information. And they didn't let anyone know it had gone missing for two months! I can't imagine how many people--many of whom must still be finding their feet financially in this cruel world--may have had their identities stolen and credit ruined by this breach. My own brother may be one of those affected. (He hasn't called the hotline yet.) I call on the Government of Canada to rectify this, and to implement greater security on personal information that is held by their various departments. This should not be happening.

*Or grown legs and walked to Mordor. :-p

I'm back!

Dec. 22nd, 2012 12:51 pm
annuala: (Default)
We lost power here about 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. Wanna know why?

How much?!

OK, maybe that doesn't give you the whole picture. I mean, that's, what, 5 inches? We got at least 7.

Evergreens and white

Picture perfect


How's that?

Eh, voila!

Nov. 28th, 2012 05:08 pm
annuala: (Default)
So the last two days involved some kitchen time... I like to be prepared for the holidays well ahead of time, even for Christmas Eve supper. I baked two tourtieres for that, one yesterday and, once I was informed that we'd likely need two, another today.


Tourtiere is a French-Canadian dish, a meat pie that's traditionally served at supper after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, though it can be served pretty much any time. Recipes vary: mine includes ground pork and beef, onion, garlic, and a mix of spices and herbs. But what I liked best about this year's end product (so far--there'll be no tasting till Christmas Eve, of course) is that perfectly golden-brown crust. It's something I aim for and often fall short of whenever I bake pies.
annuala: (Default)
I'm a bit slow at getting these photos up, sadly. They've been on Facebook for a while, but I just now got them up onto Flickr, and so can share them here.

I'd been waiting for the fall colours to really show, but this year's colours were unspectacular, to say the least. Something to do with the dry, dry summer we experienced, as I understand it.

This is a shot from a local "development"; a real estate agent bought up the old Andrews property down the road, which was at one time a farm, so there was a lot of acreage involved. The agent fancies she's going to make a killing creating "waterfront" lots. Never mind that the waterfront is a good half-mile down this lane.

Birch Tree Lane

It's pretty, anyway.

It was one of those days when I found the clouds more interesting than the landscape:


I'm often enchanted by the play of light and shadow over the hills on a day like this one was. Nine times out of 10, I don't have my camera with me.

Racing shadows

As I said, the colours weren't really anything to write home about this year. And now pretty much all the leaves are gone. The season is drawing in. Soon the snow will fly...
annuala: (Default)
Yes, I'm still gardening... though I'll admit I haven't actually stepped foot into the ankle-high grass that passes for our lawn for a while now, not since Julieanne and I picked ALL THE TOMATOES! a week or so ago. But it's time to get the place ready for the winter, so today I toddled out there armed with a spade and various sharp implements.

First, I relocated one of my two hostas to the southwest corner of the deck. It was in with the astilbe, but I suspect it was getting crowded out by those monsters, as it didn't bloom this year, whilst its mate in the northwest corner did bloom. So I carefully lifted it and transplanted it. It looks happier already.

Then I removed the tomato cages from the herb garden, uprooted the tomato plants, and chopped them up for mulch. I was surprised to discover that my mint had extended trailers all the way across the bed to the lavender. I guess that (probably apocryphal) English gardener wasn't kidding when he advised her ladyship, "Plant the mint and then stand back, madam." Definitely an invasive species!

Next, I tackled the hydrangea again, this time to give it more shape and take out some of the weird branches that were poking randomly through the top. Now it's got more of an umbrella shape, and is a wee bit shorter. I also had to take some new sucker-type growth from the main trunk, because it was interfering with the plants in the bed below.

Speaking of which, everything in that bed seems to be going into a second bloom period. The California poppies, the marigolds, the little purple things, even the big splashy pink things are all blooming again. And the poppies seem bigger this time around. That really surprised me; I didn't expect any of them to bloom again, but the poppies especially. I mean, it's right there in the name: California poppy. When I think "California," I think warm. (This despite the fact that the only part of California I've visited is San Francisco, the climate of which is strangely similar to my native clime, at least in summer.)

The cosmos are going crazy, too. I had no idea their bloom period lasted this long; I don't recall it being so long the last time I grew them. Though perhaps this is a different, hardier cultivar. They're ridiculously tall; I know they can get up to 6' in ideal conditions, but there's no danger of finding those here. Still, they're at least 4', which would make them taller than Julieanne.

Lastly, I had a go at the viburnums. They're simply too tall now, and Mom asked me to cut them down to size. I thought I could get at them from the deck (they're really too tall), but my grasp exceeded my reach in this case, and I ended up going below. Difficult, I will freely admit. Branches tangled in my hair (that's the last time I go in without a hat), and I got a bit of bark or something in my eye (ditto, safety glasses). But in the end, I prevailed. The viburnums are now considerably shorter, and I've even opened them up, so more sunlight will filter down. Hopefully, that will lead to less tangling of branches.

All of that took roughly two hours. I didn't attempt the Rosebush from Hell (TM), because that's going to be an all-day, all-out-war situation. I've got three days in a row off next week; at least one of those should be sunny, and pleasant enough to spend time in the garden.
annuala: (sherlocked)
And because I am a meme sheep. :-)

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

Err... probably "I need a haircut."

2. How much cash do you have in your wallet right now?

*gets wallet* $32.86, $7.86 of which is in change. Normally I don't carry that much cash, but some of it is meant for a deposit.

3. Do you label yourself?

Sadly, I don't own one of those nifty label-guns. ;-)

4. What does your watch look like?

It's got a silver bezel, black strap, and is adorned with a Biker Betty Boop. Yes, it's analogue. I prefer an analogue watch to a digital one. Yes, I am a bit of a Luddite.

5. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Sleeping, I think. "True Blood" finished up at around 11:30... yeah, sleeping or nearly so.

6. What’s a word that you say a lot?

Beats me. I say a lot of words with a certain amount of frequency.

7. Who told you he/she loved you last?

Again, beats me. "I love you" aren't words said frequently around here. It's not that no one loves me--I know they do--we just don't say it.

8. Last furry thing you touched?

A stuffed unicorn.

9. What was the last thing you said to someone?

"I just thought you might be hungry." (To my brother, who was supposed to be grilling supper.)

10. The last song you listened to?

Actually listened to or just heard? The radio's on behind me... "Where You Came From" by Robert Francis.

11. Where did you live five years ago?

Right here.

12. Are you jealous of anyone?

Not that I'm aware of.

13. Is anyone jealous of you?

Again, not that I'm aware of.

14. Name three things that you have on you at all times.

You mean when I'm out and about, right? So... sunglasses, wallet, keys.

15. What’s your favourite town/city?


16. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?

I suspect it was sometime in the late 1990s.

17. Can you change the oil on a car?

Nope. That's what brothers are for.

18. What is your current desktop picture?

A school of fish swimming under a shark, in honour of Shark Week. It's a National Geographic wallpaper. I have a lot of those.

19. When did you start your blog?

Got me. A while ago. More than five years but less than 10.

20. What country would you like to live in other than your own?

England, easily. Though I could probably live quite happily in Ireland or Wales as well.
annuala: (Default)
So I planted a packet of random seeds this spring. From that packet, I have California poppies and cosmos (one of which has started to bloom, yay!). I also have things I haven't identified. So I put it to you, O F-list: what the heck are these?

The first contender is a yellow daisy-like bloom with a protruding centre and dentate foliage:

Unknown yellow flower

Unknown yellow

Unknown yellow

The second is a blowsy pink-and-white confection, also with a protruding centre, with fuzzy foliage and buds:


Unknown plant

Any ideas?
annuala: ('ello)
Some shots of the most recent bloomers:

I have no idea what this flower is.Edit: According to the lovely [personal profile] ariandar, below is a California poppy.




Pink and yellow


annuala: (Default)
I've been watching the new series of "Inspector Lewis" on PBS (and again, what a wonderful thing satellite television is! Once upon a time I could only yearn to watch British television here), and every time I do, I begin to long for Oxford.

I spent roughly two days in Oxford three years ago, and I think I fell in love. Every time I see something I recognize on film, I get all gooey and excited: "Ooh, yes, I remember that!" I even swear that in one episode, Lewis and Hathaway had lunch at the Turf Tavern, where we did, though I haven't been able to confirm that. One episode was set a great deal in and around the Botanical Gardens, which made me sigh and smile, because I adored the Gardens and could have happily spent even longer there than we did.

At the same time, things will drive me a bit crazy. The most recent episode ended with Lewis and Hathaway sitting in a pub garden (I think--they were definitely having a beer), and then the camera panned around for a shot of the Radcliffe Camera... and I'm absolutely certain that such a shot couldn't have come from where Lewis and Hathaway were supposedly sitting. I've looked at a map, I've checked my guidebook, and I can't find anywhere that might possibly possess that view. I suppose that's television for you, though.

But I do find myself dreaming of those dreaming spires, and sighing with longing each time there's a short of the city's skyline...
annuala: (cookies)
Yep, I have a playdate with my niece tomorrow. You see, she came over Friday night with a pair of paint-yourself plaster horses that her mother had bought her at Michaels. Unfortunately, Julieanne wanted to paint them right now, and as it was 8 PM and I had an early start on Saturday, it wasn't going to happen. This led to a KidFit ("I wanna paint NOW!") and then to the Ultimate Threat ("I run away!"). She did, too, right out the door, still clutching her horsies.

I plodded out after her, wearing the flip-flops slippers. She paused by my car, as if waiting for me, then when I got closer, she hollered, "I run away AGAIN!" and took off around the south end of the house. I continued plodding. Her uncle caught her on the other side of the house and then handed her to me. As I carried her inside, I said, "Look, how about Monday? That's just after the weekend. I'll even come over to your house, and we'll paint the horses."

Julieanne sniffled, then said, "OK."

And thus the playdate was set.

I wonder what I've let myself in for...


Jun. 19th, 2012 03:27 pm
annuala: ('ello)
I promised peony photos, so here they are:



Also? Some bonus columbine photos. These ones are a more pastel variety than the others:

Pink columbine

Pink and yellow
annuala: (Default)
Well, there were blooms earlier, with the daffodils and the crocuses, but now it's June, and the summer blooms are starting to come out. Like the roses:

The first rose of summer

And the columbine:


The columbine plants haven't looked that healthy in a couple of years.

And of course, there's the rhododendron:


It's got so many blossoms on it, it looks like a giant green and pink powder-puff. And they're still not all open!

Here's a bonus shot, of a bee making the most of the blossoms:



annuala: (Default)

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