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Friday, July 25, 2014

flowers, history and memories

Day lily ~ American Revolution

Hydrangea ~ Endless Summer Blue

Everything is starting to bloom beautifully around the yard this month.  The weather has been so beautiful most days with lots of sunshine and heat and the odd rainy day or night.  Just perfect.

Double Shasta Daisy

My sister is visiting with our older sister for a few days.  It's been a very busy and emotional week for us dealing with our brother's illness and trying to happily celebrate our birthdays.  We spent last weekend in Moncton visiting our brother who has been in the hospital but got day passes.  On Saturday we decided to visit the Moncton Museum and the Thomas Williams House, and on Sunday we all went to church together which was very special.  We went to lunch together after church then to their house for DQ ice cream cake.   John has not had a very good week and is very low and weak but received his second Immunotherapy Treatment yesterday.  We are praying this will continue to boost his immune system to fight off the cancer and strengthen him.

This is the Free Meeting House next to the Moncton Museum.  It was built in 1821 and is one of Moncton's oldest standing public buildings.   It was used as a house of worship for all religious denominations until each one could afford to build their own churches.  

The oldest stone in the cemetery is dated 1816 and the most recent is 1876.  I love the old orange lilies that are growing around the Meeting House property.

This beautiful old maple tree stands in what was my grandmother's back yard.
I am standing right about where my grandmother's kitchen would have been in this photo above.    My father's mother and his sister lived in the house on this spot until the early 1970's.  It was a beautiful old house with some very old antique and Victorian furnishings.  It was sad to see it torn down for a parking lot.  When we visited our Grammie we lived by the rule that 'children were to be seen and not heard'.  So to amuse ourselves we would go outside and play and often played hide and seek behind the old gravestones in the church yard next door.  

This is looking toward the parking lot where my grandmother's house once stood.  The maple tree is huge and old and I expect was growing in the backyard when I was a youngster.  I'm glad they (the city) at least saved it!  Time moves on and change takes place but memories linger and, although sometimes we need to be reminded by others of the lives that once lived here, we hold a spot in our hearts for those who are gone.

We visited the Thomas Williams House Museum on Park St.  It's a beautiful Second Empire house built in 1883.  When it was built, it was out in the 'boonies' of Moncton, as forest and fields surrounded it.  

Upon talking with the tour guide and telling her of our family history in Moncton she remembered that the fireplace in the dining room came from our grandmother's house.....the one that was torn down next to the Free Meeting House.  Amazing!  We don't remember this fireplace as it's been a long time since we were in my grandmother's house but I believe it was in the dining room of the house.  I wish I could step back in time and walk through the house again and take some pictures!  :)  Isn't it a beauty though?  There was also a painting on the wall from our Grammie's house that was painted by another well known family member who was an artist way back when.  

We were invited to stay for tea in the tea room of the old screened in porch but declined.  Perhaps another day.   We decided to dine at our favourite home style restaurant - Hynes - and John, Margaret and I enjoyed lobster rolls.....delicious!!

Sunday afternoon we celebrated our July birthdays.  Do we look alike or what!  I think we look more alike now than we did as kids.  {probably because I was a brunette, Margaret was strawberry blonde and John was blonde ~ funny that I'm the only one they turned grey eh?}  Sweet memories.

Thank you for all your kind comments on our new deck that I shared in my last post.   I haven't spent too much time on it this past 2 weeks but such is life these days.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks again for your visits.


Monday, July 21, 2014

our new deck and pergola reveal

Hi everyone.  I hope you are all enjoying this month of July.  I can't believe how fast it is going can you?  My sister arrived last Wednesday night and we spent the weekend visiting our brother.   We even got in a birthday celebration for three of us who celebrate July birthdays.  Of four kids, the 3 youngest were all born in July within a week and within 3 years.  (our poor mother!)  Sister and I will be running the roads, as they say, so I wanted to share our new deck with you before the summer was gone.  I sure hope we get some deck time in the next month!   Busy, busy, busy!!!

So....grab an iced tea, or cold lemon water as this is a lengthy post.  Our new deck build was a major project this spring and now that it is completed we are enjoying it immensely.  There is still a bit of work to be done in the yard (maybe a lot!) like building a new stone path from the deck stairs to the garage but, that's not interfering our enjoyment one bit.  Come and sit a spell.  We can chat, take a nap, read a book, enjoy breakfast, lunch and supper outside, listen to the birds and enjoy the view.

The old deck.  April 2014

And....our new deck.

It took a whole month but it sure is worth it!!

Our son, Mark, and our contractor, Shannon, started to take down our old deck on May 28, 2014.  
This deck was built of pressure treated wood and was on poured cement posts in the ground.  Living  in Canada we endure severe freeze/thaw conditions every winter and spring which cause the deck foundations to heave.  This deck shook a lot and was heaved badly.  The railings were loose and the decking was done with nails that popped up to be tripped on or to snag a snow shovel on. 

This deck was built in the 1990's and replaced the first deck Murray built, but, it was really way too small.  There was room for a small round table and 2 chairs, the barbecue and 2 lawn chairs to relax in.  Very cramped and not really usable.  We couldn't entertain on it as there just wasn't room for more than 6 people.  The jog in the deck is where the stairs turned down which took up more floor space.  It was time for it to go.   

We worked with a local contractor who designs and builds decks etc.  He was so good to work with and drew up plans on his computer for us.  We were very pleased with his work ethic and craftsmanship.  In the above photo our son, Mark, who has his own business of installing screw piles into the ground for foundations for decks, etc., is running his excavator and Shannon is guiding the pile as it goes in.  That's our neighbour watching.  These piles aren't going to move like the cement ones and they can be adjusted if need be.  Mark installed 12 piles under the posts of our new deck.

Here they are levelling the piles.  The square cement with the metal sticking up is the base for Murray's old Ham Radio tower which had to come down to make room for the deck.  :)

Here we are on June 7.  It's starting to take shape.  The posts are all 6"square.  I wanted to save the hydrangea bush so we trimmed it on the side next to the deck.  It's already grown and filled out since this photo and will have to be trimmed again.  Maybe we'll move it some day but I like it there.  We may skirt the deck base with deck boards some day but will wait to see how it goes this winter.  It would make the basement rooms dark if it's skirted.

June 17 ~ the pergola roof, decking and part of the railings are complete.  Shannon shaped the knee braces on the pergola top and used a router to shape the pergola cross pieces.

June 30 ~ All done!  The pergola had been stained but the uprights and top rails on the rest needed to be done.  Murray finished the staining last week.  The floor will be done in September.  Hopefully we'll get some nice sunny and dry days in a row to do it.  We used Cabot Australian Timberwood Oil in natural cedar.  The bulasters are powder coated aluminum.  

The pergola is set out from the rest of the deck to give it some 'character'.  We had talked of putting a pergola on the ground level with stairs going down from the deck but Shannon suggested this idea and we are so glad we went with it.  He said we might not use the pergola as much if we had to step down further to it.  I think he's right.  Plus, it's wheel chair accessible from the kitchen door for when we get older.  Ha ha ha.  (that's what Murray says)   The style of the pergola is post and beam and it's very rugged and sturdy.  It definitely will do us out!

This is looking from the pergola to the other part of the deck.  The measurement of the main deck is 24 feet long by 14 feet wide, not counting the stairs.  The pergola part is 14' x 12'.   It's huge!!  We can definitely have a party on this now.  There is lots of room for a larger dining table and chairs plus seating in the pergola for more than four and room in between the two as well.

And, this is looking the other way.  The furniture isn't new or fancy....it'll do though....for now.  I'd like to have a rustic wood dining table and chairs out there and two more Adirondack chairs.  The green ones are beautiful but need re-staining so I have to figure out a colour for them.  I really like vintage furniture and colours, like the old green blue colour but I don't know if stain comes in that colour.  The zero gravity chairs are really comfy for snoozing.  :)  The plastic Adirondack chairs will go out by the fire pit if we can find new ones.   Maybe next year.

The pergola gives dappled shade and we always have a nice breeze here so it really is ideal for sitting out there even on a hot day.  We've had breakfast out there and sit out on the mild evenings and enjoy the fireflies.  We hope to add some LED lighting soon.

The view from the back yard.  You can see that the staining is nearly done on the uprights.  The base posts still need to be done, probably this weekend.  We will be enjoying this deck for a very long time.  It's like a second room (a space for me to decorate) and increases our outdoor living space a lot!  I even enjoy looking out the windows at it.  

Sorry for such a long post but I wanted to include everything from start to finish.  I am looking forward to many fine weather days out there in the years to come.  

Thanks for visiting!  Have a wonderful week.  I will try to get some visits in soon.  I am not even going to link this to any memes as I just don't have the time to keep up with it.  Plus, I have had so many spam (advertising) comments the past 3 weeks it's getting beyond ridiculous.  I don't want to revert to word verification so if anyone has a solution I'd love to hear it.  Thanks.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

catching up from last week

baby tree swallow

Here is an update on the Tree Swallow family.  They fledged the birdhouse on July 6.  I happened to hear a bird chirping in a pine tree and saw this little one calling to it's parent for some food.  They must have flown out when I was away in the morning and I didn't see the other 2 again.  

The parent flew in and gave this one something tasty to eat.

I noticed 3 other swallows flying around over the back yard so figured it was the rest of the family.  They are gone now although I still see some flying over the fields catching bugs.  It was fun to watch the family as they were raised.  I've cleaned out the birdhouse and am hoping another bird, possibly a Bluebird, might find the home available for rent.  I should put a sign up.  :)  

Well, it's been quite a week following Tropical Storm/Hurricane Arthur's rampage through the province on Saturday, July 5.   The weather turned sunny and hot all week although it was nice and cool for sleeping at night.

This is one of our neighbour's homes where about 9 large trees were blown over or severely damaged by the storm.  Thankfully none fell on their home or barns.  This tree has an iron rod through it near the crotch.  I remember seeing it showing over 30 years ago but it's grown around it.   They are talking of getting an excavator to come in and lift all the huge stumps and roots out and removed by dump truck.  It's a huge task.

a very small pile of wood from one branch
There's way more than this!

There are still thousands without power a week later!  It's been a daunting task getting the trees, power lines, poles and transformers cleared up.  We've never experienced anything like this before.  We had the terrible ice storm over Christmas last year that left hundreds without power for almost 2 weeks but to have it affect thousands and in the summer time is unusual.  First count was 2000 trees lost in Fredericton alone but that was upgraded to over 4000.  That's not including the surrounding areas and the rest of the province!   It's an incredible loss and a very costly one.  I expect our electric power bills will be going up soon!   


We've been enjoying our deck a lot having meals out there or just sitting and enjoying the breeze. 

 We had a beautiful sunset one evening.  There have been some nice ones but this one was 
particularly 'hot' looking.  

I picked strawberries Saturday morning and we had strawberry shortcake that evening with friends.
Another game of Mexican train dominoes was played and the guys won.  

My sister, Margaret, aka Maggie, arrives on Wednesday evening.  I'm so excited to see her again.  
I've been busy getting her room ready and cleaning the house etc.  I finally vacuumed on Saturday morning.  We have carpet in our bedroom and on the front stairs.  The front stairs get all the traffic so they are awful to keep clean!  One of these days.....I may just rip it out!!   Then we'll have to get the stairs refinished!

Thank you for all your kind comments and prayers regarding my last post.  I truly appreciate each one of you and your thoughtful concern.  

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.  I've been visiting a bit and will post again soon.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014


There's been lots of bird action around our yard as babies are starting to fledge their nests and make their way into the big world.  I can't help but wonder how many nests and babies were blown from the trees during the big storm on Saturday.  There were some very rare bird sightings in Nova Scotia of birds that were blown from as far away as Florida in that storm!

I captured this baby barn swallow on Monday as he sat on the deck railing with his mouth open saying "FEED ME".  It was so sweet to watch. 

The parent flew in and dropped a bite to eat into it's mouth.

And the parent is off to find more food.

There were two baby barn swallows waiting for their meal that day.  Then they were gone.
I see many of them flying through the air over the fields though, gathering bugs and mosquitoes all day long.  I like that.

I know the photo is blurry but there is a Tree Swallow peeking it's head out of the hole in the bird house.  I think he might have been taking lessons from the Barn Swallows on how to eat and fly.

Now this is cute!  I enjoyed the entertaining antics of the 3 baby Tree Swallows in the Bluebird box.
There is always at least one head peeking out but then there are 2 other heads (and mouths) vying for the attention of the parents bringing in the meals.  They are about ready to fledge and I really hope they are all getting fed equally.  Sometimes the parent will push it's way into the house and feed them.  

Here comes the food!
I  bet it's really hot in there on these upper 20 degree Celsius, high humidity days.

Thank you for your comments and concerns for us after Arthur's visit.  We are doing well after another power outage on Monday for about 5 hours.  There are still about 40,000 customers without power.  This is day 5 for them.  Talk about living like the 'good old days'!   No thanks!!


I'm sorry I haven't been visiting and commenting much lately...not just due to the storm and power issues but, with life being busy in general.  The deck construction took a month, then there is the gardens to tend and weed etc.   My sister arrives home from BC a week from tonight for a month long visit.  Our son's wedding is a month from today and more company will arrive.  Plus, our family is dealing with a major illness with my dear brother who is battling cancer.   My emotions and faith are being rocked like a tree in a hurricane (no pun intended).   However, I'm clinging to "the Rock that is higher than I" and trusting in God for his strength, and for healing for my brother.  We will have many family get togethers over the next few weeks then in mid-August, we'll be going to our daughter's to visit and welcome their new baby's arrival (#3).  Isn't it amazing how God gives us good along with the bad?   I may not get to visit or comment on your blogs for a while but will pop in now and then....and I hope to post once in a while, even just a photo to let you know I'm still here.  
Thank you for your understanding and for continuing to follow me.  I really enjoy taking photos and sharing them with you and visiting you to see what you've been doing as well.   I'll see you soon.  I still have to share our new deck with you.  (my sis and I will be enjoying it too!)



Sunday, July 6, 2014

the wrath of "Arthur"

As most of you know Hurricane Arthur rattled up the eastern seaboard of the US on July 4th.  It put a damper on a lot of Independence Day activities but it was a hot humid summer day here.

By early evening of July 4 the dark clouds were rolling in.  A short while later the rain started.  It had been warm and humid all day - very tropical feeling.  We awoke to heavy rain in the night and by morning the wind was howling and spraying rain on the front of the house.  The wind was northeast - the nasty kind ~ and it had turned a lot cooler.  Hurricane Arthur was downgraded to a Tropical Storm by the time it came close to our region of the Maritime Provinces in the northeast.  It came over southern Nova Scotia and up the Bay of Fundy which lies between NS and New Brunswick.  We were to be on the rainy side and NS on the windy side.  We got both though.  I think more than they thought.  It was bad for both provinces.

When we awoke earlier than usual in the morning the wind was wildly blowing the rain sideways.  The leaves were blowing off the maple trees as they swayed violently in the winds.  This went on all day until around midnight last night.   At about 10:10 am  we lost power.  In the country that means no water and no toilet.  

our leaf littered lawn

Thankfully, Murray bought a generator a few months ago for possible outages during winter snowstorms.  Little did we know that we'd need to use it in the summer.   He also had a charged battery so we could have internet.  You could say we were pretty well set up.  We even had water that we had drawn off to flush the toilet.  It wasn't too bad, really, living off the grid but, I do like my 'comforts'.   Don't you?  

In the afternoon I was looking out the dining room window and just happened to see our neighbour's huge Manitoba Maple Tree blow over.  I couldn't believe it.  I called them and the Mr. said the other one out father was down too and also the one at the front of their driveway.  Thankfully none of them damaged any buildings or power lines.  Then their neighbour on the other side lost 3 or 4 huge Manitoba Maples.   Our son who lives down the road lost 5 Manitoba Maples.
Do you see the lesson here?  DON'T PLANT MANITOBA MAPLE TREES!!!  They have very shallow root systems, they grow fast and huge and they easily topple over as they are broad and top heavy.  Guess what?  My 'favourite tree' in the back yard is one of these and even though it has a lot of dead branches on it and is dying, it did not blow over!!  It's out in the open catching all the wind and it's still standing.  Go figure.

These are our neighbour's 2 trees and their garden gazebo.  I went over to see how they were doing and took cell phone photos.  They managed to salvage the gazebo minus the bug netting though.

This is the only damage we had to our property.  Our 'junk' corner that will soon be totally cleared out has a cedar tree.  That tree was swaying so hard in the wind and finally one of the branches snapped off.  You can see the trunk and all the leafy branches of our neighbour's tree in behind.  

Last evening we passed the time playing Mexican Train Dominoes.  Murray beat me severely but we had fun.  By the time we were done it was getting dark and we had to turn the generator off and go to bed.

This Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny.  The hurricane force winds and torrential rain had died down overnight.  It was so quiet that we woke up around 4:00.  :)   Our church decided to hold a service.  Someone brought a generator and few musicians and singers came along with about 80 worshippers.  We had sound and lights and a great message from our pastor.  
Driving to town and around the city we couldn't help but notice all the downed and damaged trees everywhere.  We've never seen anything like it before.  Thousands of trees are gone and a lot of houses, cars and properties have been damaged.  There has also been some flooding from the
 80 - 130 mm of rain that fell over southwestern NB.  Power was out to over 140,000 customers and is gradually being restored but some in the outlying rural areas may not have power for 2 more days.   We are so thankful we got out power back on this afternoon.  18 hours without was enough.  Interestingly, some of my friends in the city are still without power - 38 hours and counting!!  

This is a tree down across someone's driveway.  It missed the cars and house though.

Because of all the rain the Mactaquac Dam has opened it's flood gates to lower the head pond above it.  We were sitting at the traffic light on the dam this afternoon (it's down to one lane for annual repairs) and I took this photo with my cell phone.  That's a lot of water going down the river.  I guess there were a lot of boats that floated from their moorings, even on the rivers and lakes, and were wrecked or sunk.  I'm sure the tally for damage will climb over the next few weeks.   We were certainly fortunate.   I feel very sorry for those who have had damage from the storm.  Also, there has been some very severe weather in the Canadian prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba with severe flooding, storms and tornados.  Our weather is really wacky this summer isn't it?

I hope my American friends enjoyed the July 4th holiday and the long weekend.  

And, I hope those caught in the wrath of Arthur are safe and didn't have a lot of damage to their properties.  Take care.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

good fences # 15

I posted pictures a couple weeks ago of a foggy morning here and these first two photos were taken the same morning.

The next two photos were taken last weekend at Cap Brule, NB.  The fence is along the property line between cottages and the stairs at the end go to the beach.

This is peeking over the fence at the view.  I think I could sit there for a long time and enjoy the ocean breeze and sunshine, couldn't you?  Well, it was perfect that day for sure but not always. 

I'm joining Theresa at the Run Around Ranch Report for Good Fences.
Thanks to Theresa for hosting.

Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends!  I hope you have a fun and safe holiday.  I am thinking of those of you in the path of Hurricane Arthur as well.  Please be safe.


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