Monday, April 18, 2016

Would You Like to Come for a Walk with Me? . . . by Kate James

In Ontario we had a relatively mild and snow-free winter . . . until April! We're barely past the middle of the month and it turned out to be the snowiest month of the winter, and it's the first time that has happened since records have been kept.

But all that's behind us! This weekend is glorious with bright sunshine and truly spring-like temperatures. With no more snow in the forecast, it's time for me to start the spring cleanup of our gardens. With the weather so beautiful today, I thought I'd take a walk to inspect our grounds and gardens and see how much work I have ahead of me. I'd be thrilled if you'd come along with me.

Our view is mostly brown still, but the trees are starting to bud and should be bursting into green soon.

With the relatively mild winter, the lawn fared well and is greening up nicely. Some sections are starting to look as if they could use a mow!

If you live in Ontario or you've seen some of my posts on Facebook, you'll know that we had a terrible ice storm a few weeks ago that caused a lot of damage and left people without power for days. We were lucky to have our power back the same day and we didn't loose any trees. There was notable damage to some of our trees, though, with the birch seeming to sustain most of the damage. Some of the trees had their tops snap right off. Others broke but did not fall to the ground.


We have some mature, beautiful evergreens, including some rare species. Fortunately, they survived the winter unharmed.


We have a massive Mulberry tree (I couldn't even guess how old it is). Although it's the last tree to bud and still looks dormant, it looks to be in good shape, too.


I'm always sad when I find a bird's nest on the ground.


I hope the birds moved out of this one before it fell to the ground. The gardens definitely need some attention, but not as much as usual. There's leaves to be cleaned out in some areas.
Although most of the mulch is in good shape, there are some areas where my weed cloth is visible and I'll have to add some more before all the perennials start to sprout. You can see some of it in the picture on the right.


I have four cubic yard of mulch being delivered on Wednesday. That should keep me busy for a while! Anyone who'd like to come help, please raise your hands! Overall, the spring-blooming plants seem to be on schedule. My daffodils should be blooming soon and the snow drops are mostly spent now.


You'll notice in the bottom left picture that the bunnies have already started to help themselves to the tulips.

Stay with me a little longer. We're almost done! There's not much clean up to do in this area.
If you've read some of my posts about our dogs, Harley and Logan, you might recall that Harley has an obsession with butterflies. He'll chase them without thought of where he's going. Since our property drops off steeply in some sections at the back, I had to erect a temporary fence to keep him for running off and/or injuring himself. It's a little unsightly but well worth it to keep our pups safe. Doing a visual inspection it seems that while it has been effective at keeping Harley in, it hasn't been quite that effective at keeping critters out (picture on the left: the bottom of the fence is pushed up and in). More surprising, a truly enterprising critter managed to somehow unhook two sections, where I'd secured them together (picture on right).


It's a good thing we found it before Harley did! And finally, before we say goodbye, here's a sad looking little pup who sits in one of our gardens by our patio.


He definitely needs a spring bath (and some cheering up)!

Thank you for keeping me company for this walk. What is the state of your gardens where you live? Do you enjoy the spring clean up or would you rather that everything just burst into full bloom without any work on your part?

In closing, thank you very much to everyone who nominated my books for The Romance Reviews' Readers' Choice Contest. All three of my qualifying books made it into the final round.



At this stage every vote counts. If you've already voted, I appreciate it. If you haven't but would like to, you can access the voting page here. Please scroll down to the contemporary category and you'll find my books listed alphabetically. Thanks again

Happy reading and happy spring!

Kate



29 comments:

  1. Lovely post, Kate! It's great that spring is here, and even better that your books are finalists. I voted for you!

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    1. Yes, I'm very happy that it finally feels like spring.

      Thank you for voting for my books, Amie!

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  2. I enjoyed the walk, Kate. I love springtime because you can see the changes every single day. Hope you win in the TRR contest!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Liz. Thanks for coming along. Would you like to help with the mulch next weekend?! :-)

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    2. You know, I'd love to come and help since I've never been to Ontario, but then you'd have to come to Indiana to help with ours!

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    3. That's only fair! :-) As an added bonus, you could visit the Harlequin offices!

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  3. So nice strolling through your property today. I was wondering what critter was responsible for sabotaging that fence. I don't live on a large lot, but we had to have another tree removed from our property because the roots were going haywire and threatening to break our sidewalk or driveway. We had one removed last year for the same reason. Now we are trying to nurture the grass because so much of it was pulled up with the tree. I'm more of a container gardener myself. Probably since I'm originally a city girl. ( :
    I voted for your books. ( :

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    1. Thank you for coming along for the walk, Laurie. We back onto the Oak Ridges Moraine, home to all types of animals. I've seen deer simply leap over the fence. Although there are coyote and fox in the moraine, my guess is it was probably an enterprising racoon. Thankfully, we haven't seen skunks or porcupines on our property recently. I wouldn't want our dogs to run into either of those critters.

      I'm sorry to hear about your trees. We have a couple of beautiful, old crimson maples in front of our property and I'm quite concerned about one of them. A lot of the sand and salt the township uses to keep our road clear in the winter ends up there, and it can't be good for the tree. :-(

      Thank you for your votes, too!

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  4. Here in PA we are probably a couple weeks ahead of you, daffodils already blooming. Best of luck with your books!

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    1. I expect our daffodils will start to bloom by the end of the week. It will be nice to see some color in the gardens. We used to have hundreds of tulips, but between the rabbits and squirrels feasting on them, we probably have no more than a couple of dozen now . . . and I learned my lesson and haven't bothered to plant more! :-)

      Thank you for the good wishes, T.R.!

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  5. Thank you for the tour, Kate! I get excited in the spring at every flower that pops up. Daffodils are bloomed and gone here where we live, but now it's tulip time. We have wonderful "tulip festivals" north of here where entire fields are awash with color. Congratulations on your contest successes!

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    1. The tulip festival must have been spectacular! I love tulips! They are showy and come in such a wide range of colors and even shapes. I particularly like parrot tulips. As I noted in my response to T.R.'s comment about, sadly I have very few left. The first couple of yours I planted hundreds of them, until I realized that the rabbits love the leaves and the bulbs themselves are a delicacy for squirrels and chipmunks! I tried all the recommended deterrents without success and eventually I gave up!

      Thanks for taking the walk with me, Carol! :-)

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  6. What a great morning. Just got back from my walk and got to accompany you on yours. And what a lovely setting. I have to have neighbors I can see from my window. As Carol said, daffodils are gone now, but azaleas and rhododendron are in full bloom and they's so gorgeous. (I don't have any, but they're pretty.) A few wild iris on the side of the house and showing up, and my honeysuckle is budding. The apple tree is full of flowers but the dear will get the apples, and that's fine with us. We figure it's our contribution to the ecology. Congratulations on all your book finalling!

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    1. Sound-alike words are such an issue. That makes it sound like Ron climbs the tree for the apples. I mean, of course, the DEER.

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    2. I'm still laughing Muriel. Yes, please keep Ron out of the tree. We have an enormous crabapple tree behind our house and adjacent to tour patio. It looks spectacular when in bloom but is quite a nuisance the rest of the time because of all the little apples it drops. Ken would happily cut it down . . . if I let him! We also have three junipers at one corner of our house. We had to plant shrubs in front of them because the deer kept nibbling away at them until there was nothing left up to the height of their heads!

      Thank you for joining me for the walk, Muriel. Next time we'll have to take Claire, Harley and Logan along!

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  7. Loved the tour and I'm not one of those who loves the Spring clean-up...or any clean-up for that matter. Here in North Mississippi daffodils and Bradford pear trees have come and gone, but azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom. I love Spring with all its shades of green.

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    1. Fortunately, this year the clean up isn't going to be too bad. I also cheat a little, as we a neighbour's son helps me out a bit with the branches and leaves!

      I'm looking forward to everything turning green!

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  8. Kate, your grounds are a lot to take care of, but beautiful. Sorry about your trees. I had to have a big one removed because someone planted it too near the wall that runs around the townhome. This weekend we had harsh winds that broke some of my blooming oleander. I had to cut them and some branches almost too large for me to handle. I'll have to get the man in who trims my cacti. They have beautiful yellow blooms this year. Mostly I have desert landscape and have pots filled with tin flowers out back. I'd say they don't need care, but I do have to wash the dust off several times a year.

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    1. We're fortunate our trees did survive. During the worst of the storm, I could hear trees falling in the forest.

      With our dogs, I'm glad we don't have cacti. Knowing them, I don't want to think about how they'd learn the hard way not to go near them.

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  9. Congratulations on making it to the final round, Kate! I'm so happy for you.
    Your photographs are beautiful and the Mulberry tree is fantastic. Everything is in full bloom here..the sounds of sneezing can be heard throughout my office. :)

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    1. Thank you, Jill!

      The Mulberry is quite something. I suppose I should have realized that Mulberries do have little berries. They attract birds and squirrels. It's quite funny to see all its inhabitants fly/scurry off when we get close to it!

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  10. Kate, I definitely don't miss snow in April. We are in full cherry blossom glory :)
    So happy for your book nominations.

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    1. Thanks, Sophia! Reading all these comments makes me want to move south!

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  11. So so pretty, Kate. I'm so jealous...all that nature!! Thank you for sharing this with us. And yay on the finals! I've got everything crossed for you! <3

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    1. Awww . . . thank you, Anna!

      It'll get a lot prettier when everything is in bloom.

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  12. Loved the tour, and congratulations on making it into the final round.

    Little snow here in Anchorage this year, which lured me into a false sense of security. I took the dog for a walk in the park last Sunday, slipped on some wet grass on the hill, and broke my leg. Yes, after twenty-six years of ice and snow, it was the grass that did me in. Hubby's been doing spring clean-up this week. We'll probably have daffodils in a month.

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    1. Oh, Beth, I am so very sorry to hear you broke your leg. With the thaw-freeze cycles and the ice storm, we've had some treacherous walks with our dogs, this year.

      I'm sending happy, healing thoughts your way.

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  13. What a fabulous walk! I love your posts because I always feel like I'm right there with you, chatting away or at target practice with you!
    The best ever!good luck with your July book!! Can't wait to read it. Thank god for your Wattpad sneak preview.

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    1. I would love for you to be here in person for the walk, Catherine. Harley and Logan would be very happy, too!

      I'm thrilled to be sharing a release date with you in July!

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