Friday, February 27, 2009

Gardens - Water Gardens

I have been familiar with water gardens from childhood, my mother was ahead of her time, when, in the 60's she decided to put a small pond in her garden, with water lilies, fish and a fountain.

At that time the resources for building a home water garden weren't readily available so she had to improvise. Mom used a rigid vinyl kiddie pool with a fountain pump in it. It'a a lot different now, today, you can buy pre-formed pond kits in many sizes and shapes, or do-it-yourself kits with pond liners at your local department store or hardware store. There are even stores that specialize in water features that will help you decide what you need and how much if you want to do it from scratch.

The first water garden I made in 1994, I started from sratch, I used the pond liner that's sold by the metre on a roll. I found that it is the best way, with a large pond. A pre-cut 12' square liner sold in a kit would be enough to make a 6 foot pond that is 2' deep. If you want to make a shelf you have to add the depth of the shelf onto the measurements. It is advisable, in colder climates, to make the pond a depth of at least 3' so it doesn't freeze solid. So, where I live, a 12' square liner would make a pond 4 ' x 3' deep and I wanted a larger pond.

The second water garden I made years later, and I had different circumstances and considerations. I wanted a shallow pond, because I had grandchildren at this time, so I started with a kit. It was large enough for my purposes.

I decided to go with an idea I saw on a gardening show, I can't remember which one, where they used old sinks to make a waterfall. the sinks were placed in tiers with liner betweeen the sinks with pebbles on the liner and rocks around the edges leading into a pond. I liked the idea, but my space was limited and the ground was too level, so I decided to raise the sinks, so I made a waterfall with an old cast-iron bathroom sink on a concrete pedestle, overflowing into a copper kettle, over some rocks and into a kitchen sink and then into a single laundry tub and into the pond.

A few years later, the grandchildren were getting bigger, so we decided to expand the pond.

We wanted the original pond to connect to the new pond, which is 3 1/2' deep, so we made a stream to connect them, and bonded the two liner pieces together where they overlapped. Now we needed a bridge to go over the stream, it had to be wide enough for the lawn mower and garden tiller to be moved easily, and sturdy enough to be safe for the grandchildren to run across and jump on.

I also had to remove my clematis from the arbor that we used for our wedding, and start it growing on the fence that was being built there. It was a slow process, I did have an advantage in that the arbor was constructed in small lengths, held with screws, so I just dis-assembled the arbor, sliding the pieces out of the plants. I then wrapped the vines around the fence-posts and up around the rails, and started training them. They have come through the re-placement with flying colours.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Genealogy and Collections

Genealogy is one of my interests, collecting is another. I thought that I would combine the two in this blog. I have, since I was young, been interested in anything that was "old". I started out collecting fossils and coins, I saved any coin that was older than me. I was always on the look-out for Indian arrowheads, although I never came across any.

Now, I collect things like my grandmother and great-grandmother might have used in their kitchens, mixing bowls, sifters, a range set, some enamelware, etc.. I have a lot of depression era glass as well as some antique transfer-ware, and I couldn't pass up a couple of baby bottles that were made the year my dad was born.

I started collecting flowerpots, because they reminded me of all of the violets that my grandmother used to grow all over the house, they were always in full bloom. I also have my grandmother's mahogany lamp table, and a couple of old oak school desks with all of the dents and scratches of years of students use, one of which my youngest grandson sits at whenever he's here.

I have a cradle that is really primitive and rustic, it looks like it was home-made, it must be at least 150 years old. I don't know who made it, but I like to imagine all of the babies that were rocked to sleep over the years in it. It is well-worn and it still works, I used it for my youngest grandson to nap in when he was small, he used to like just sitting in it, rocking and playing with his toys. When he grew out of it, he started keeping his toys in it.

Another item I collect is books, history, local histories, Canadiana, and I have some old local newspapers from the early 1900's, too. I have some that used to belong to the first mayor of Leamington, which have articles about his elections and the greenhouse industry from WWI era.
When you think about it, genealogy is just another kind of collecting, collecting family history.

Country Auctions - What's in the box?

I love going to country auctions and estate auctions, there are lots of bargains to be had at these auctions. Often there are 'box lots' which usually go for a buck or two. These are mostly overlooked and are full of surprises. A lot of times you will find odd dishes, nick-nacks, etc. suitable for yard sales but I have found a lot of treasures in them also. I bought one that had a vintage light fixture in it, got it home and researched it and found out it was worth about $200 restored. It was pictured in the Eaton's 1924 catalogue.
Another time I found an antique ginger beer bottle.

I have a Coltrock tobacco humidor that was in another one, that I found out was made by the Colt Manufacturing Company, Coltrock was the name given to the Bakelite it was made from, worth over $100 too.
So, next time you are at an auction don't be afraid to look into the boxes under the table, you may find a treasure of your own.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Settler's Village, Bobcaygeon, Ontario

My husband and I go camping every summer at Emily Provincial Park in Omeemee, Ontario, near Peterborough. One day we decided to tour one of the local towns and see what attractions we could find. We decided to go north 20 km. to Bobcaygeon.
In the town of Bobcaygeon was a pleasant surprise, a Settler's Village right in town. The location was quite unusual, we didn't expect much, but it was worth taking a look.
There was no Admission fee, just a donation when you leave, if you wish to make one. A tour guide took us around and unlocked the buildings, one by one, they don't get much traffic. Now I will give you a tour.
trapper's cabin

interior of cabin


firetruck being restored

interior of schoolhouse

teaching requirements 1870


interior of shanty

Fairbairn Church

interior of church

19th century home

the Muir house

general store

the Duggan house

the Boyd shanty

the totem pole seems out of place here

the Jail

the blacksmith's shop

the barn

the honey shack

What is it?