wild roses.

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”

~J.M.Barrie~

…or, in my case, God gave me a camera phone so I can have roses in April.

In December, I have Christmas to cheer my heart. By late April, my soul is really craving green leaves, rosebuds, and fresh little blossoms.

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The snow is pretty well gone, but the ground is still mainly grey and brown where I live. I remind myself that spring has sprung when the days become longer; I try to focus on and celebrate the increasing daylight. This is necessary for me. I’ve learned by sad experience that March and April can find me feeling more than a little low if I wait for mild, greening weather too early in the year for where I now live.

So last summer I went outside by the river and collected these photos of wild roses, to tide me over until our short but sweet rose season is back.

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How pretty are they? And they not only look delicious, but smell so sweet I could drink the scent. It’s something I look forward to all year. I can just breathe in the rose-scented air and feel so refreshed. And I know I’m not alone in this adoration of roses.

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When we lived In England for a few years, there was a huge rose bush outside my kitchen window, in the back garden. The roses it grew were blush-coloured, and abundant. I’ll never forget the simple pleasure of standing at the kitchen sink and looking past the hideous orange and yellow tiles someone had unwisely decorated the backsplash with… to my bountiful bush of blooming beauties through the open window.

So blessed,

Leah 

sourdough.

I first cultivated my rambunctious ‘starter’ culture years ago, and it’s still going strong. I haven’t named it until now, but I think I’ve just hit on the perfect appellation for this happy and healthy little creature; I’ll call it Baby.

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This is hardly an original thought, now that I think about it. My family and friends have teased me about my ‘bread babies’ for a few years. I can see why; both are soft and squishy, smell delightful, and are ever so satisfying to nurture. Both babies and Baby like to be touched and need to stretch, and grow especially well when tucked up in a cozy warm place for frequent naps. Both have within them innate qualities; given the right conditions and enough tender loving care, both turn out more wonderful than the mama or the baker can really take credit for…

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When my children were in high school and my house was full of my little dayhome children, I baked 2 loaves a day. At lunch hour, the house seemed to fill up with teenagers who obligingly devoured homemade sourdough bread, helped heartily by the half dozen cute little people who populated it all day with me. Those were the days…

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Sourdough baking is an addictive behaviour, as many will attest. I once saw a man’s twitter account introduction in which he described himself as a ‘pathological sourdough baker’. I could write an entire blog on the subject; many enthusiasts do. But I’ll stick to an occasional post here and there on the topic of my wild-yeasty friends and their exploits.

Again, this is another sweet and simple thing that enriches my life every day, including now, during the pandemic. It makes me happy; making it, seeing it grow, baking it, eating it, and sharing it.

So blessed,

Leah

 

dutch blitz.

I’m not really one for card games. But this one is definitely an exception.

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Little did I know what good times I was bringing home to my family when I picked this up randomly, shopping one day several years ago. You may wonder why I haven’t gotten rid of this poor old box, and just wrapped the deck of cards in a rubber band. This is why:

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While I appreciate and admire those talented individuals who can ‘do accents’, I am not one of them. But when I read the little ditty on the back of this box, I think I actually sound a bit Dutch. Maybe not, but it’s fun to try. 

It’s simple, even straightforward to understand how to play. The hilarious intensity is because it’s played all at once! No turn-taking. No dull moments in between turns. No mind-wandering. Nope.

Each player gets one of these sets (from the main deck). If you want to play with more than 4 players at a time, there’s an expansion pack you can buy. Personally, my attention is spread to full capacity with four players. One of our adult daughters has A.D.H.D., and playing Dutch Blitz with her is enough to make my head spin. She’s definitely at an advantage in this game!

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The general idea is to make lots of red, blue, yellow, and green stacks of cards in the centre of the table, each stack beginning with a 1 and ending with a 10. There’s a pattern to how and when to use the cards in each players’ hand, and it’s fun.

Don’t take my word for it, though. I’m pretty sure you can order it on Amazon. During this pandemic, a lot of us have extra time at home with our families (or housemates), and this is just one more way to enjoy it.

Here’s the official Dutch Blitz website, which has a video you can watch to see the game played:

 
The craziest, and best memory I have of playing this is from last summer. My husband and I were out car camping with our two adult daughters. It was cold and pouring rain there in the majestic mountains of Banff National Park, so we all squished into the back of our little Subaru Forester to play a few rounds of Dutch Blitz. In all honesty, we didn’t actually fit. Oddly though, we all cheerfully contorted ourselves into pretzels in order to laugh our way through this silly game together. Good times. 
 
So blessed, 
 

Leah

Hayley.

Today I’m feeling especially grateful for my nieces; in particular, this one!

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A couple years ago in an airport, as a complete stranger walked by us, she smilingly commented, “Well, that’s not a mother and daughter, is it!” She meant it as an ironic statement of the obvious, but Hayley and I laughed because it’s not the first time she’s been mistaken for my child.

We have a lot more in common than our colouring though. We’re both avid readers, with a special taste for historical fiction. We both enjoy knitting, and cooking, yoga, and family history research. And we’re both nature lovers, so we like taking walks together when we get the chance.

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So blessed,

Leah 

time to paint.

Here’s a sight for sore eyes! My husband is a teacher on his spring break, and the ski hills are all closed (thank you, COVID-19) so he has time to paint some walls in our apartment!

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Why (you may ask) don’t I just do the painting myself? Well, I asked myself that question last year when our family home was on the market and I had some down time while Kirby was out of town. It looks pretty easy, even fun. So I bought some paint, rolled up my sleeves and set up. I cut in with the primer, and then excitedly started rolling it on.

It was a nice thought, but pushing the roller across the wall caused shooting pain through my wrist. It was an old case of tendonitis, flaring up just in time to grind my wall-painting ambitions to a halt. I was disappointed, and pretty frustrated. So much for my I-can-do-anything independent idea.

Imagine my husband’s delight when he arrived home to find that another bedroom needed to be painted asap, because I’d had some free time a couple days ago. Since then I’ve been content to stick to my original part of redecorating; choosing colours.

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white on white a la Laurel Bern

To see more of her beautiful work check out her blog at LaurelHome.

This week we have our sweet and energetic 13-year old niece, Hayley, staying with us. She enthusiastically offered to help Kirby with the painting, and they’re a great team. I’m grateful for their hard work washing, taping, filling holes, sanding, priming, and painting. I’m sure looking forward to having a brighter, lighter feeling in our dining room after today!

As much as none of us would have willingly signed up for so much of life shutting down over the COVID-19 pandemic, we can use the time it’s giving us to catch up on projects like this one. And yes, Kirby; in this case, when I say “we”, I mean “you”.

So blessed,

Leah