Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Back yard

Peonies-3 days ago

Before any flowers came out I counted over 120 buds.  About half are in bloom now but we have had a couple of days strong winds so they are bowing down quite a bit now.

Rogue daisies.  I pull them out every year, and every year they manage to come back somewhere else.  Where they are now isn't a bad spot so I might let them stay!

Pansies that come up every year but I didn't plant them.  Seeds must have blown in from somewhere.

This is the deck at the back of the sunroom. Hanging pots of petunias and geraniums, alyssum, million bells and other stuff.

Another view of the deck.  Garry calls it my retreat.  It's very private.

 Other side of deck with BBQ, more hanging pots and pots of petunias and lobelia and alyssum.To the left is the patio with table and chairs and a raised bed with tomato plants, green and yellow beans and zucchini.  I've replanted the zucchini as they didn't come up and the second set isn't up yet either.

 This basket is so full.  It's all petunias, purple with white spots.

 This is all pansies and is really full.  Very pretty.

 Lilies coming up. hosta and  can't remember the name of the little pink ones. 

 More lilies coming up. another hosta ,pink groundcover and crocus that didn't flower this year.

Big clump of irises and chives beside them.

It has been so windy, but it doesn't feel as hot with the wind.  We have been in the mid to high 20's.  Yesterday in Phoenix, Arizona and Vegas Nevada it was 49C and in Yuma Arizona it was 50C!!!  I can't imagine being in that kind of heat and lots of people there don't have air conditioning!
Will have to take more pictures when more things flower.
Bye for now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Snow is Gone!!!

Just to show that the snow does disappear eventually, although it could snow again before the end of the month.  The pictures below are all my plants ready to go out.  They are forecasting a couple of nights down close to zero so will wait until the end of the week to do my pots.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

books 4-7

The Martyr's Curse by Scott Mariani

Ex-SAS major Ben Hope has found sanctuary in a remote monastery in the French Alps.  But wherever Ben goes, trouble is not far behind.
When a team of merciless killers slaughter the innocent monks, Ben's revenge quest draws him into a bewildering mystery of stolen treasure, deception and murder.
As he works to unravel the clues he is confronted with a terrifying reality that threatens to cruelly reshape the future of humanity.  What is the significance of an ancient curse dating back to a heretical burning?  What are the real ambitions of the enigmatic 'Army of the Prepared'?
I thought this was a great book, it kept you reading and wanting to know what happened next.  I just found out that this is one of a series of 14 books all centered around Ben Hope.  I think each one can be read independently but it would help to read them in order to follow the trial of Ben.

The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart

For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful.  Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities.  She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City.  Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.
Nell's gifts can't be hidden by Oscar Fields' efforts, however.  Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner for his 1922 collection.  The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London where she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them.  But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her.  As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.
I thought this was an interesting book, telling the reader lots about the millinery trade.  I felt very annoyed, at times. with Nell with the crap she took from her boss, but I guess that was how it was in the 1920s.  The ending was quite predictable.  But overall I did enjoy this book.

The Ice Child by Camilla Lackberg

Image result for The Ice Child by Camilla Lackberg
It's January in the peaceful seaside resort of Fjallbacka.  A semi-naked girl wanders through the frozen woods.  When she finally reaches the road, a car comes out of nowhere.  It doesn't manage to stop.
The victim, a girl who went missing four months ago, has been subjected to unimaginably brutal treatment-and Detective Patrik Hedstrom suspects this is just the start.
The police soon discover that three other girls are missing from nearby towns, but there are no fresh leads.  And when Patrik's wife stumbles across a link to an old murder case, the detective is forced to see his investigation in a whole new light.

This is a review I found on
“Enter Demetrius and Chiron with Lavinia, ravished; her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out.”
This gruesome line comes not from The Ice Child but from Shakespeare’s goriest and rarely performed tragedy, Titus Andronicus (Stage direction, Act 2, Scene 4). The mutilations inflicted on Victoria Hallberg at the start of The Ice Child differ slightly in kind but not in brutality. Having been missing for four months, she wanders through a wood in the freezing cold, wrapped only in a red blanket. It is her bid for freedom and it does not last long. When she reaches the road, she is hit by a car and this time her injuries are terminal. The full extent of her pre-crash injuries is then shockingly revealed by the post-mortem.
Like watching Titus Andronicus, it is fair to ask how much of this unpleasantness the readership audience is prepared to stomach.
Crime fiction comes in various degrees of nastiness. A genre that deals primarily in murder is never likely to be an entirely comfortable read. But the spectrum is wide.
These days we would regard Agatha Christie as a lightweight and Michael Connelly, say, as a significant step up in nastiness. But both of these writers seem to be more interested in character, motive and procedure than in the grim details of death. The hugely popular Camilla Lackberg is much further towards the Titus Andronicus end of the spectrum.
This is a book that deals with a singularly nasty group of people in a pretty unpleasant way. I confess that it was not entirely to my taste.
The Ice Child, like most of Lackberg’s work, is set in the small Swedish town of Fjallbacka and, as in previous novels, features Detective Patrik Hedstrom and his crime writer wife Erica Falck.
Victoria Hallberg is not the only girl that has gone missing but her discovery in such a brutalised state provides the first clues in the inquiry. Running parallel to this is Falck’s research for her latest “true life” crime book which features a woman, Laila, imprisoned for murder and for keeping a child in conditions of extreme cruelty. Falck is determined to discover what really went on in the now-abandoned house where the crimes were committed. Slowly but surely, the two apparently unconnected storylines begin to merge.
The Ice Child by its nature challenges our complacency about evil, particularly in an age that rightly or wrongly is determined to find social and psychological explanations rather than to acknowledge that evil might exist as an entity of itself. “The girl looked so happy and innocent, so unaware of the evil that existed in the world. But Laila could have told her all about it. How evil could live right next to what was good, in a community where people wore blinkers and refused to see what was right in front of their noses. Once you saw evil up close, you could never close your eyes to it again. That was her curse and her responsibility”. 
Fans of Camilla Lackberg, and they are legion, will have followed the relationship of Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck over several books now but I have to say that I found their characterisation one of the weaker elements. Patrick in particular seemed altogether too weak and vapid to be a lead investigator despite the obvious incompetence of his superiors. The best of a bad bunch, possibly.
Lackberg also makes heavy demands on her readers in terms of keeping track of a very large cast of characters. Written in fairly short episodes, the book jumps from scene to scene quickly, necessitating the retention of a large number of names and plot strands. This is not to imply that the book is badly plotted, it isn’t, just that the technique for delivering the plot is demanding. Keeping track can be tough – a book best read in large doses, I feel.
Finally, it is always difficult to comment on the quality of writing in a translated book because it is not easy to tell whether the weakness lies with the author or the translator but, whichever, the result here is less than exciting. I found much of it rather flat.

The above pretty well sums up how I felt about the book.  There were so many characters and the story kept jumping from one to the other and it was hard to keep track of them all.  I didn't now that the author was so prolific in her writing of so many other books with the same main characters.  It finally came together in probably the last 30 pages.  I was glad to get it finished and I don't think I would read another of this authors books.
The Width of the World by David Baldacci
Image result for the width of the world
This is it.  Vega Jane's time.  She's been lied to her whole life so she breaks away from Wormwood, the only home she's ever known, in search of the truth.  She battles horrors to fight her way across the Quag with her best friend, Delph, and her mysterious canine, Harry Two.  Against all odds, they survive unimaginable dangers and make it through.
And enter a new world that's even worse.  Not because deadly beasts roam the cobblestones, but because the people are enslaved and don't even know it.  It's up to Vega, Delph, Harry Two, and their new comrade, Petra, to take up the fight against a foe that's unrivaled in savagery and cunning.  Not only are the lives of Vega and her friends on the line, but her triumph or failure will determine whether a whole world survives.  Or not.

This is the third book in the Vega Jane series, and I'm sure there will be a fourth.  It's a very easy read and remains interesting and exciting from start to finish.  Relationships are developing more so there are different elements to the story other than battling the enemy.
I found that this book had a lot of similarities to some Harry Potter books.  I guess given the subject of the Vega Jane books this isn't unusual.

Monday, March 13, 2017


Well, I've been to so many blogs that have posted pictures of all their flowers coming up and they are planting seeds so I thought I would show you my garden too!
Now you may have to use your imagination a little but everything is there, we just can't quite see it yet!!

 First of all this is my raspberry patch that will be loaded with berries before you know it!
 This is the front of the house.  Under both windows are thick, dense orange tiger lilies and the two bushes on either end are golden elders.  Oh, the snow on the lawn is about 4 feet deep.

 This is at the side of the house.  At the far end is a huge clup of mauve irises and at this end are white irises.
 Still at the side, this bed has deep purple irises and lots of tulips.
 This bed is on the other side and has yellow, pink and red roses and a huge white peony.
 Beside the shed is the half barrel with my rhubarb.

As you can see, when the snow is all gone (maybe the end of May) I'm ready to start planting into all my pots.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my garden as much as I enjoyed seeing all of yours!!!! lol

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 Books 1-3

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard-their secret hiding place-in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
This was a really good book.  I didn't know anything about this part of WWII history.  Parts of it were heart breaking and I couldn't put the book down.  Highly recommend this book.

To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman

Josie, Perri, and Kat have been best friends since third grade-the athlete, the drama queen, and the popular beauty.  Growing up in an affluent suburb of Baltimore, they enjoy privileges many teenagers are denied.  But on the final day of school one of them brings a gun with her.  And when the police break down the door of the high school girls' bathroom, locked from the inside, they find two of the friends wounded, one of them critically....and the third is dead.
This is a pretty good story but I found it a little difficult keeping track of all the characters because of all the flipping back and forth to different time periods.  The conclusion was a little different than expected.  

Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes

Police analyst Annabel wouldn't describe herself as lonely.  Her work and the needs of her aging mother keep her busy.  But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbourès decomposing body in the house next door, and she is appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed the womanès absence.  Annabel sets out to investigate, despite her colleaguesè lack of interest, and discovers that such cases are frighteningly common in her hometown.
A chilling thriller and a hymn to all the lonely people whose individual voices haunt its pages. It shows how vulnerable we are when we live alone, and how easily ordinary lives can fall apart when no one is watching.

This book was very different and really makes you think about living alone and therefore dying alone.  It kept my interest and made me want to keep reading to see what would happen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

'This seems fitting right now..


Just got home from seeing the specialist.  All good news at the moment.  She is very pleased with the healing so far.  She said it is so good that instead of going back in 2 weeks I don't have to go back for a month!!!  Just keep putting the silicone cream in the divot and  keep it moist.  So I'm very pleased with that.

We have so much snow there is nowhere to shovel it to.  In my header picture the snow is now higher than the hedge!!  Apparently we haven't had this much snow since 2008!! Youngest son and grandson went out of town (3 hours south) to a hockey tournament on Friday night.  The town then got over a metre of snow dumped on them Friday night and Saturday.  The highways were closed and they didn't get home until Tuesday-instead of Sunday!  Grandson thought it was great-hotel with a swimming pool and missed 2 days of school. Son not too impressed-2 more days on the hotel bill, 2 days of work missed and a hair raising drive home when the roads were finally opened on Tuesday!  But they got home safe and sound so that was the main thing.
It's actually supposed to get above zero in a few days instead of endless days of -30C.  Then we'll be complaining about all the water and flooding!  Can't win.
That's it for now.