Burdock may be unwelcome in a farmer’s field, but our backyard bees are loving it! (Click through to see the high-rez version.)
Remembering our girl, who we lost one year ago today, when she was only six years old. These are some of our favourite photos from when she was all grown up.
Mark’s card design ideas for this year. We ended up going with the first one for our Christmas cards. (All can be clicked on to view full size.) Wishing everyone a 2015 filled with all the things you love best, and at least a few happy surprises along the way! -T&M
Sometimes things appear when you least expect them. In the case of our newest acquisition, we were nearing the end of a woefully unsuccessful bookshelf hunt. As one is wont to do when in a furniture store, we were wandering around listlessly, gazing wistfully at all the ridiculously over-priced things we could never possibly afford, when we espied a comfy, homey-looking couch that looked just right for a brief respite. We sank into it, and noticed with surprise the $88 price tag. Obviously that couldn’t be for the couch we were sitting on, unless there was some glaring structural integrity issue (especially given that there was an identical couch across the room marked at $799).
On a whim, we flagged down the nearest sales guy, and asked what the deal was with the mark-down. Could it really be because of one little tear in the front left-hand corner? As it turns out (the friendly sales guy explained), their latest advertising scheme proclaimed discounts up to 90% off. So, to skirt any potential nasty legal issues, there had to be at least a couple of items in the store that genuinely were reduced by 90%.
Still wary, we pressed further. No structural issues, no bad smell, no stains. It was, indeed, what it said on the tag. We thought about the sad, sagging, ripped-up, disintegrating thing that our old couch had become; I thought about how I had (more than once) considered tossing said old couch out on the lawn and setting fire to it. We looked at the price tag.
A few minutes later, we were signing the paper and handing over the cash. A few days later, two cheerfully robust moving guys were hauling it up the steps into our house. (We were both amazed to notice that the younger of the two did most of the hauling on his own, with the couch literally over one shoulder; that’s what lugging furniture around for a living does for you.) The old couch was unceremoniously shoved out onto the porch where it now resides in its temporary role as cat-paw-warmer, and the rest is (admittedly very brief) history.
It may not be the most beautiful colour, but it’s amazingly comfortable, and laughably tall when compared to the other chairs in the room (think Gandalf sitting with hobbits; at last, something made with long-legged people in mind!). We think the plethora of colourful blankets adds a bit of bohemian flare, although they’re mainly there to discourage Dude from scratching the new fabric (he’s partly the reason the old couch looks the way it does). It has been nap-tested, lounge-tested and bounce-tested (from a seated position only), and so far has passed with exemplary marks in all categories.
(Oh, and we did eventually find a bookshelf. Even with shipping and taxes added, the couch still came to less – and was a far more satisfying story.)
We let our backyard go a bit wild this year (life got ahead of us, in more ways than one), but the flowers and pond plants seem to be happier than ever. We have a ton of bees this year, which is heartening to see, given how hard up bees are world-wide lately. You can see one of them (if you look closely) in the second picture down. (Click for hi-rez)
Our highest grape yield of any year so far – thanks to a complete and utter lack of any sort of pruning for two years straight. I suspect that’s not the way it’s supposed to work. This year, the grapes got especially friendly with our resident cedar trees (click for bigger).
The cats enjoying their brand new outside room. Click for bigger.
Miss Kitty Fantastico looking pretty on her new perch.
All three cats love the new shelves, but MKF has totally owned them. To be fair, she totally owns the entire room; the other two are just tolerated guests. ;-)
Look ma, no leash!
Mister Grumpy (aka Dude) hangin’ with the wee lass. She’s keeping an eye on him, as he’s had a tendency to swat at anyone who comes nearby. Still needs to work on his outdoor etiquette.
Miss Kitty and her best bud. Jake is still a little freaked by the new space, but likes being back in the fresh air again. And the shelves are pretty darn cool, too.