Sunday, September 20, 2015

Columbus Paver Patios...

Garden Potential with Columbus Paver Patios!

I love my yard and I love my gardens. But I don't think I utilize my outdoor space to its fullest potential. Our yard isn't very large, but we have the best of both worlds with part of the yard in full sun and a good portion in shade. We have space for a fire pit and a grilling area, as well as a gazebo or patio. I love the idea of a patio with a pergola covered in a sweet smelling flowering vine. Green and partially shady, this new space would let in a little light and allow a breeze to waft through.

I yearn for a space that is comfortable and welcoming, a space that says "Come in and relax." With the yard as it is now, it's comfortable, but it could be so much nicer. We've never actually cultivated grass, what we have is sparse and spindly and grows naturally in tufts. We have mostly white pines that grow tall and offer some decent shade. I love that my yard smells like I'm camping every day. The needles, however, hinder the growth of nice grass and the sap can be a nuisance. I do have a couple of wonderful shade gardens and fabulous lilacs, boxwood and wigelia in the sunny spots. This is wonderful, but my mind's eye sees something else.

I see a patio and walkway, created with paving stones, set nicely under a pergola for shade. A fire pit nearby would complement the space. The scent of the pines can stay, but the needles, sap and spindly, tufty grass must go. A Wisteria to cover the pergola and an adirondack chair or two might be in order. Add to this an overstuffed sofa, a hammock and an incidental table or two and the vision is complete.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Walking Harness/Parka for Dogs Helped Me Enjoy the Winter...

I spend a ton of time outdoors and my dog Penny is usually with me. We walk every morning and evening for about an hour each time. We both enjoy this time of bonding and exercise and passing the time with neighbors. We go out in all kinds of weather and during all four seasons. This past winter the need for Penny to have protection from rain, wind, cold and snow become very important.

Since we had much more snow than normal (around 7ft fell in February and March) and exceptionally cold temperatures (in the single digits for an extended period), I wanted to put her in a coat or parka that would not only protect her from the elements but keep me from worrying about her health and safety during the super tough weather we were experiencing. I wanted something reflective since even during daylight visibility was terrible.

Penny is trained to a leash and collar, but I decided to try her with a walking harness for dogs, that is also a parka. My friend Sue and I walk her dog Winston and Penny together on weekends. Not much keeps Sue and Winston in the house during the winter. When the weather is very cold or wet, she dresses Winston in this great parka that is waterproof and has a fleece lining. Sue also turned me on to some rubber booties to protect the Winstons foot pads from road salt and cold slushy snow. Sue told me that when we bundle up against the awful cold, we should protect our pets too. I agreed and bundled Penny up to brave the ferocious winter.

Once Penny had her fashionable parka and rubber booties, we actually enjoyed our wintertime activities much more. We could stay out a little longer, exercise a little more and visit with Sue and Winston.  Last winter was a huge challenge with all that snow and cold. But I felt better knowing Penny was warm enough and safe from the elements. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Translation Service - Family History Revealed...

Years ago, when my Nana died, I was allowed to go through some old things in her attic. I found a lot of cool stuff. There were postcards from all over the world, a box of nothing but cancelled stamps and most importantly, correspondence. The letters I found were written by family and friends from across the globe. I found a letter from Granddad apologising to Nana for upsetting her. I found letters from her brothers when they were away in the war. There were letters from her parents congratulating her on the birth of her sons. But, there was so much, I put some of it away and didn't look at it again for many years.

When I took up that box of correspondence again last year, I found something really exciting. It was a packet of information written in what I assumed was French. I couldn’t tell what kind of documents they were. But it all looked like it had come from a lawyer. There were maps and drawings and some stuff that looked like it came from a bank or an accountant. I showed it around to a couple of people I know who speak Spanish and Portuguese.They couldn’t make heads or tails of it and suggested a translation service. I packed it up and sent it off.

I told my brother what I found. I asked if he thought it could be something important like an old bank account in Canada she had forgotten about. Brother told me he doubted it was anything important. He surmised if it had been, it would not have been found in a box of old letters in the attic. Brother reminded me that as a young married couple, Nana and Granddad traveled around Europe a lot.  Brother decided the documents I found had to be concerned with those travels.

A little time passed and the documents were returned to me. Reading through I was excited to find out that Nana and Granddad once considered relocating to the south of France. The papers and maps were for a very nice little home with a few acres. There were no pictures, but the description suggested comfort and beauty. The pages that looked as though they were from a bank were simply the run down of down payments and mortgages, financial stuff. I wondered what kept them from going through with the deal.  Checking the dates, I found out that these papers were drawn up eight months before the birth of my father. I searched for the letter Granddad had written in apology to Nana. It was dated about a month after the French documents. Reading it over, it made sense to me now. I wondered how different my life would be if Nana and Granddad had actually bought that little house and raised their family there.