Welcome to Suzanne’s blog, Tuesday Café

Suzanne StenglAuthor Suzanne Stengl writes whimsical, heartwarming romance and cozy mysteries. When she needs a break from her keyboard, she swims lengths at the Y, skis at Sunshine Village and hikes in the Rockies. She’s also a pretty good line dancer . . . and a very poor euchre player.

Daylilies

dayliliesI grew up on a mixed farm in Southwestern Ontario.

My dad rotated crops of corn, wheat, beans and occasionally sunflowers. My mother grew a garden of carrots, asparagus, string beans, leaf lettuce and a few tomato plants. There was a flower garden right in front of the living room windows with lots of petunias and morning glories. Mom used to put strings in front of the windows and “train” the morning glories to climb.

One year I saw her sprinkle morning glory seeds at the base of an upright juniper beside the lane. The morning glories topped the trees by the end of the season.

Everything grows well in the rich soil of Southwestern Ontario. Across the road, a few yards away from our lane, there was a ditch filled with orange daylilies. They are not technically wildflowers, but somehow they got started there. Since they are very hardy, they don’t need a lot of care. They manage to survive the intense heat of the summer even if there is little rain. They’re not fussy about the soil and the bugs don’t seem to bother them. And they bloom from early spring until the frost comes in the fall.

Notice that is one word. Daylilies.

The scientific name for these flowers is Hemerocallis. This comes from the Greek words hemera (day) and kallos (beauty). An appropriate name, since these perennials only bloom for a day, opening in the early morning sun and withering by nightfall.

Although they look like lilies, they are not of the lily family. True lilies grow from bulbs and daylilies have tuberous rootstocks. And, of course, the cut blooms of real lilies can last a week or more.

As children, we would pick bunches of daylilies and bring them home where they sat in mason jars and wilted by nightfall. Still, we kept picking them and our mother kept putting them in jars.
mason jarsAlso across the road, and down about a quarter mile, was another farm where the bachelor Gordon lived. He was a soldier from WWII who had taken up farming, and like many farmers, he supplemented his income by working at the steel factory in the city about 30 miles away. He didn’t have a phone so if the factory needed to get a message to him, they phoned our farm and one of my brothers or sisters delivered the message.

Every Christmas, the factory gave him a huge turkey. Since he lived alone, he gave the turkey to my mother and she cooked it and invited him to dinner.

Gordon also had a pear tree—a single pear tree that stood in the middle of a field. He must have liked that pear tree because he drove his tractor around it as he worked the land. Each October, that tree produced the most beautiful yellow pears I have ever seen. We would go across the road and bring back bushel baskets of the pears. We ate a lot of them and my mother canned some.
yellow pearsI was back in the area this summer, and I drove past the old farm. The pear tree is gone. Maybe because the new owner didn’t like the inefficiency of driving around that single tree. Or maybe the tree died.

But in the ditch, although not as abundant as I remember, the daylilies are still there.
daylilies
Daylilies from MorgueFile
Mason jars from Bigstockphoto #9102760
Pears from Bigstockphoto#98820719
Daylilies from Bigstockphoto #95722331

Checking in

Well look at this. It’s the end of June and I’ve been delinquent with my blog. But I have been busy.

First of all, I am writing a lot. It’s a Christmas book, set in a blizzard. And last week, Calgary was 30+ Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). So it was difficult trying to imagine coldness.

imagining coldness for a Christmas story

imagining coldness for a Christmas story

We’ve got a bit of rain predicted now so the temperature is more tolerable. I’m humming Christmas Carols as I go through my day, and the story is working itself out.

The second reason for my absence: I’ve been working on another blog.

It’s for my primary hero, hubby Rolf. He’s just finished bicycling around Lake Michigan. Along the way, he took pictures on his phone, typed a story out on that tiny keyboard and sent it to me. I put it into WordPress. You can have a look if you’re interested: www.rolfstengl.com

bicycling around Lake MichiganHe’s back in Calgary now. I picked him up at the airport on Friday night. We had a Welcome Home BBQ on Saturday and it’s great to have him home.

And the third reason for my absence? I think it has something to do with not having a specific day of the week to be here.

Remember when I used to call this blog Tuesday Café and I actually showed up every Tuesday? I did that for a solid 4 years and then last March,  I decided to be more flexible. I also changed the name of the blog to the Chimes Café but most people still refer to it as Tuesday Café – whether or not I blog on the Tuesday. I supposed it doesn’t matter. Tuesday is a name. It’s doesn’t mean I can’t post on a Sunday if there’s something I want to say on a Sunday.

So I’ve decided to be Tuesday Café again and to try to post every Tuesday. I still might not be here every single Tuesday, but it’s a goal.  

So that’s where I’m at. I hope your summer is what you want it to be – calm and relaxing, or off the beaten path and adventurous.  

I prefer a summer of calm and relaxing.

I prefer a summer of calm and relaxing.

imagining cold from iStockphoto #000019131823
bicycle gears and chain from thinkstockphotos #83113308
coffee from iStockphoto #000024767120

 

My balcony garden

getting readyI took out my collection of pots and then made a trip to Sunnyside Greenhouse. Along with a huge bag of potting soil, I bought nasturtiums, geraniums, lobelia, pansies, violas, petunias, dusty miller, zinnias and a Gerbera daisy.

In an afternoon, I created this—an outdoor “writing room”. 

my balcony gardenA place to sit and think and compose, with fresh air, sunshine, colour and sweet smells. I love it. And, it seems, so do the squirrels.

Calgary’s Tallest Building

"The Bow" is Calgary's tallest building.On Wednesday, Rolf and I visited Calgary’s tallest building. “The Bow” is the headquarters for Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy. Our D-I-L Liz works for Cenovus so she got us Visitor Passes and showed us around.

Suzanne and Liz

Suzanne and Liz

The building is named for the Bow River which runs through Calgary.

The Bow River as seen from the 54th floor of "The Bow"

The Bow River as seen from the 54th floor of “The Bow”

Not only is the Bow the tallest building in Calgary at 237 metres ( about 779 feet), it’s the second tallest building in Canada. There are much taller buildings in the world. At the moment, the tallest is Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 828 metres ( about 2,717 feet).  This is the building that Tom Cruise scaled in Ghost Protocol.

You can watch the scene here:

But the Bow is the tallest building I have ever been inside. Three weeks ago, I was on the observation deck of the Calgary Tower with Debra Dixon. You see “The Bow” behind us here.

The first 24 floors are for Cenovus and above that are the offices for Encana. There are also three indoor gardens – each six storeys high. Cenovus has one at the 24th level, Encana has one at the 42nd level and there is a shared garden at level 54.

indoor gardens at The Bow

indoor gardens at The Bow

The building was completed in 2012. Its position and shape give it the maximum amount of sunshine. Solar heat is collected in the atrium and redistributed, making the building more energy efficient.

collecting sunshine

collecting sunshine

The crescent shape of the building deflects the prevailing winds, which allows for a lighter structure.

And what a view!

looking south to the Calgary Tower

looking south to the Calgary Tower

looking west to the Rocky Mountains

looking west to the Rocky Mountains

In front of the building is a 12 metre (39 foot) sculpture officially called “Wonderland”  but everyone refers to it as The Head.

The Head

The Head

A full-time security guard is on duty to keep people from climbing The Head, but it’s okay to go inside it.

inside “The Head”

inside “The Head”

Suzanne StenglHave you been up high lately? How was your view?

The Bow – full height from bigstockphoto # bigstockphoto.com #76038542