Spring – plant seeds, save bees!

Spring wild flowersThere is a whole world of living, thriving life that is so easily missed unless we pause and pay attention.  These snow drops were peaking up among last Fall’s discarded and dying leaves.  It was only when I got closer to take a photo that I noticed the bees on the petals of the tiny flower.

Did you know that our bee population  is declining? According to an article in the Globe and Mail  and information shared from the David Suzuki Foundation, almost one-third of the food we eat is pollinated exclusively by bees including apples, peaches, cucumbers and coffee.  If the bee population continues to decline, this will have a significant impact on agriculture and ultimately, world food production.  Scientists remain unclear as to the reason for the decline although there are some theories that pesticide use is a contributing factor.

Canadian Gardening  described some strategies that scientist and environmentalists are adopting to address this issue including filling our gardens with pollinator friendly plants.  Personally, I like the guerrilla gardening strategy that a friend recently shared with me – she and her partner plan to, under the cover of night, secretly scatter pollinator friendly wildflower seeds throughout the city.  (You go girls!!!).  So folks, save the bees, take up seeds and scatter.

Inspired by WP Daily Post Photo Challenge, Spring and Where’s my Backpack travel theme, Close up.

 

 

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Contrasts

Siberian squill flowerThe new spring growth of blue flowers contrasts with the old dried growth from last summer.  Although the early spring flowers are blooming, Mother Nature is having a hard time letting go of winter temperatures here in Southern Ontario. 

For more contrasts and flower photos, visit Where’s my backpack?

Bird-themed Bridal Shower

I had to once again channel Martha Stewart to create a theme for my little sister’s (aka Lil Sistore) bridal shower.  Mama P. invited 70 of Lil Sistore’s nearest and dearest to the event (you can’t do small and intimate in an Italian family) and took responsibility for organizing a great Italian dinner (Antipasto, Manicotti, Chicken Florentine and Strawberry Parfait for dessert) and the Italian relatives baked tray upon tray of cookies (because you can’t have a shower without cookies for all the quests to take home). This meant that the decor and games were left to me (the daughter without the craft gene!).

Lil Sistore loves vintage, birds and pink so we tried to blend these elements in the decorations.  We wrapped the favours in craft paper and chiffon bows and Lil Sistore made the tags (using her Cuttlebug dye cut machine – So not my thing!).  She was cursing by about the 30th tag!

We (actually My One and Only)  filled a bird topped apothecary jar with candy covered chocolate eggs for a guess the number of eggs game. My One and Only counted the chocolate eggs (613) and may have eaten about 30 along the way.

The bride’s table had a blue bird-cage filled with pink peonies.  I don’t have patience for flower arranging generally so my cousin thankfully was available to take on the task.

I added bird motifs on the receiving table and pink accents throughout the venue including small white boxes that contained flavoured sugar packets that we used as place cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I reviewed the preparations I realized that I didn’t really have to have a craft gene – just organization skills and the ability to delegate – I managed to get everyone else to do the finicky craft details while I just had to “supervise.”  Despite Lil Sistore’s aversion to events where she is the center of attention she had a great time.

 

Bridesmaids Brunch

I had to channel Martha Stewart in order to properly host a bridesmaid brunch for one of my most favourite people in the world – my sister (aka Lil Sistore).  Despite a significant age difference she is one of my best friends and I was incredibly touched when she asked me to be her MOH (Maid of Honour).  Lil Sistore is a fun, funny, sensitive person and often the comedian of family get togethers.   She is fiercely independent but ready to step in to help anyone in her circle who needs something.  However, the thought of asking someone to do something for her gives her heart palpitations.  So as MOH I hosted a brunch for the bridesmaids and the mothers in order to talk dresses, hair, makeup, decor and a trip to Vegas.  Fortunately for Lil Sistore, I love to entertain.  Unfortunately for Lil Sistore, I struggle with DIY projects (Lil Sistore got the craft genes) but I was determined to host a yummy brunch with pretty, decorative touches.

After hours perusing Martha Stewart Weddings for decor inspiration and the LCBO for food and drink inspiration.  I filled dollar store vases with arrangements of white roses, lilies, hydrangeas and evergreen branches and tied each vase with a ribbon and a tag for either a bridesmaid, mother of the bride or mother of the groom.  Lil Sistore gave each guest a flower arrangement upon leaving.

The buffet menu included:

Antipasto platter

Fennel, orange and pomegranate salad

Roasted asparagus drizzled with a dill and yogurt sauce

Crab salad

Maple bacon

Frittata

Johnny cake

Stacked mini pancakes

Butter rolls

Fruit salad

Cookies and squares

I think we managed to have a lovely day and plans were made, but in the end, what mattered most was the company of good friends and the laughter that we all enjoyed.

Summer Moments

It’s raining.  After almost two months of glorious sun, heat and summer weekend bliss,  it’s raining on a Saturday afternoon.  But somehow it’s okay. After all, the trees and the garden have been waiting for a good downpour and it gives me an opportunity to post on my neglected blog.  I haven’t found the time to post anything, mostly because I have been too busy enjoying the beautiful weather and the opportunities that summer provides.  It felt like a bit of a waste of the beautiful days to be sitting at my lap top when I could be outside.  So today’s rain is an opportunity.  An opportunity to reflect on the simple pleasures of summertime.

So here is my list of moments of summer bliss:

Leisurely strolls with Abbey:   Abbey waits patiently for her mama to get her keys so she can start her walk.

Dining al fresco

 

 

 

 

Even left overs somehow taste better outside.  Grilled vegetables and shrimp on pasta. Grilled asparagus. Cucumber salad with basil.

Growing watermelons:

Every day, we patiently water this watermelon and watch it grow.  It didn’t come with instructions so now we just have to figure out when it is ready to eat.

Summer dressing:

Love the loose, colourful clothes of summer.

Frothy icy drinks from Starbucks:

Yummy. Especially after a long walk on a hot summer afternoon.

Planning our Fall trip to Italy:

Big beautiful hanging flower baskets decorating the streets:

Playing soccer and baseball:

I’m such an athlete.

Our first garden vegetable:    Writing this post reminds me and re-connects me to the wonderful everyday moments of my life.

My backyard oasis…shattered

I delight in my peaceful backyard oasis.

It’s a small garden but over the years I have filled it with statuary and perennials that bring me joy and contentment.

I sit on my deck, reading, blogging, sharing a meal with friends and simply enjoying the beauty around me.

And then it happened.  My One and Only and I were sitting on the deck, enjoying a lovely summer evening.  The wind gently rustled the leaves of the large black walnut tree overhead.  The birds chirped cheerily.  The pond fountain gurgled. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a  flash of black charge down the trunk of the black walnut.  The underbrush shook violently and we heard hysterical chirping.  The streak of black emerged from under a large hosta with a slash of red in its mouth.  It took me a moment to register that it was the neighbour cat with a cardinal in its mouth.  It took me several more seconds to realize that the cat had grabbed the cardinal that lived in our backyard.  The cat looked at me triumphantly and then before we could to react,  the cat  took off across the yard, leapt over the fence into the neighbour’s yard and disappeared.  We sat shocked and somewhat traumatized. 

I know, I know – it’s what cats do.  But still.   So now we sit on our deck,  less peaceful, with a broom at the ready, to chase that damn cat away if it even thinks of stepping foot in our garden oasis.  So far, the cat is winning.