What I’ve Been Doing This Week.

 I found a skull. So there’s that. Also – I discovered I am rapidly losing all of my social skills and if this country doesn’t open up soon I’m going to become an uncommunicative hermit covered in chin hairs. Even my elbows will have chin hairs.

This week was the uppy down week where every good was followed by a bad.

I took Monday off from work which is always the very best way to start a work week in my opinion. It was just by luck that my day off landed on what was finally going to be a warm, rainless day. The weather this spring has taken its cue from the mood of the world and delivered nothing but a depressing, cloud of ick over everything. 

But Monday it was finally going to be warm. Warm!

It wasn’t.

It was 32 degrees celsius which is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit which is not warm, it’s hot. Just a few days earlier it had been snowing so my body wasn’t terribly acclimatized to this and at some point my pancreas liquified.

Also I sweated so hard that my bra leaked all over my tee shirt.

It was a pink bra. And now it is a pink tee shirt.

Yet still I worked and worked in the garden. I only had one day so it was do or die. Or die while doing, which I didn’t so everything worked out fine.

It was when I was about halfway through the day and raking some natural fertilizer into the soil that I felt like I’d developed a bit of heat stroke hallucinations.

I reached down into the soil to pick up what hilariously looked like a skull.  Oh you crazy heat hallucinations.

No, wait, hold on, that is a skull.  A tiny, tiny skull with tiny back teeth and big, fangy front teeth. I immediately declared it a top pocket find and then drank 14 litres of water.

It took me a lot longer than it should but I managed to get a tiny corner of the garden cleaned up and some flowers put in (which you can see in the first photo up top.)


Twice this week I ran into different neighbours and managed to say hello but then couldn’t quite figure out what was expected of me next.

I knew standing in silence staring at them wasn’t the right thing, but on both occasions that’s what I went with.

I no longer have any idea how to interact with something that doesn’t have fur, feathers or a sawblade.


Back home on the range I was the happy, proud owner of a successfully grafted tomato plant. THIS was going to be the most exciting thing to happen in my garden in a long time. An heirloom tomato that I grafted into the top of a disease resistant tomato so I could get a disease resistant heirloom tomato. (I explained a bit more about grafting a couple of weeks ago)

Honestly I never thought in a million years it would work, but of the 4 I tried to graft, one of them took.

2 days after this photo was taken, I came outside and it looked like this:

I have no idea how it happened but I suspect a roaming psychopathic tomato murder; codename “squirrel”.

I am crushed over this. I’m don’t really have time to try to do another batch of grafts, but I’ll try anyway because I’m a glutten for uppy downs.

THESE plant markers I made are so far still one of my ups for the week. I made them for marking dahlias in my garden.

It’s just a bamboo stick cut into 1′ lengths.  I then split the top of the bamboo and slipped wired tags into the splits. Once the dahlias need to be dug up, I pull the wired tag out of the bamboo, and attach it to the tuber so I can keep track of all my varieties.

I haven’t tested them outside in the elements yet so there’s still time for these things to become a down.


This week I got to order a beautiful garden flower type arrangement to send to someone. I hired a woman who is local to me and does it as a cottage industry out of her home. It included  locally sourced and seasonal flowers like peonies, bleeding hearts, onion flowers, and anemones. 

The floral designer sent me a photo of it and it was perfect. It’s one of the most beautiful arrangement I’ve ever sent anyone and it made me so happy just to look at a picture of it.  That was the up.

The down, was the occasion for the flowers.  I’m so sorry to have to say that a member of my family some of you have come to know died on Monday.  Aunt Jean passed away. She would have turned 106 in August. 

 Aunt Jean got an iPad when she was 100.  She went swimming at the beach of her cottage when she was 101. She pulled the fire alarm in her retirement home for fun and sped away in her wheelchair giggling like a lunatic when she was 103 (all caught on security footage🤣.)   

I know. You want to be Aunt Jean when you grow up. We all do.

But remember to be her or anyone else with a long life, strength and character you have to take the ups with the downs.

What I've Been Doing This Week.

Have a good remainder of your weekend!

74 Comments

  1. Beth L Bilous says:

    Just finished watching Anne with an E. OMG I loved this series. Just wish it continued. I looked forward to watching it every day. watched one whole season yesterday. One of the best series I have ever seen. Thank you so much for the suggestion. Beth

  2. Susan K Eddy says:

    I’m so deeply touched that you shared Aunt Jean’s passing with us, thank you!
    Did you find out which animal the skull came from? That heat wave was something wasn’t it? Ugh!

  3. Robert says:

    I’m really sorry about your loss.
    May we all live a long and fulfilling life like Aunt Jean!

    The arrangement is beautiful

  4. Ann Brookens says:

    You know, Karen, I think you could be Aunt Jean in about, what? 60 years or so? I can see you pulling a fire alarm and speeding away on your wheelchair. From what we know of you, I imagine you’ll research how to soup up the motor, so all the security cameras catch will be a blur. I’m sorry for your loss; she sounds like a relative to remember!

  5. Roberta says:

    Your Aunt Jean sounds like my Aunt Emma, she died at 102, but until then she dyed her hair red, drew on her eyebrows, told the filthiest jokes you ever heard, and had a shot of whiskey every day. She’s been gone over 30 years and I still think about her and smile. There is sadness for you now, but trust that Aunt Jean will live on in your fond memories. I hope you can take some comfort in that. Also sorry for your tomato plant. Squirrels are the spawn of the devil, especially if you’re a gardener.

  6. Dawn Holmes says:

    Here’s to Aunt Jean! Thank you, Karen for sharing!

  7. Bobbie S says:

    Sending sympathies to you on the loss of your Aunt Jean. Her stories were such fun. May she have more heavenly adventures.

  8. pat says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your wonderful Aunt Jean. I want to be just like her. Sending hugs.

  9. Julie says:

    I’m so sorry about your Aunt Jean….she was always one of the highlights to read about when you posted about her.

  10. Marie Anne says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. The flowers are so beautiful and perfect to celebrate a life like your Aunt Jean’s. When people say “you have to take the ups with the downs” I think many of us actually forget to really take the ups too. The downs usually get so much more of our attention we hardly notice the ups. I’ve been very sad lately, but in honour of your Aunt Jean I’m going to try to enjoy more ups, even if I have to create them myself!

  11. Patricia says:

    Dear Karen,
    I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your Aunt Jean. I lost my mother six weeks ago. Right now is a terrible time to grieve and have a funeral. My heart goes out to you.

    And your lovely tomato! I moaned out loud when I saw the photo of it broken off. Part of Mother’s Day was spent clipping the remaining cane of an ancient family rose (planted by my husband’s grandparents when they were young) and nestling them in pots in hopes of rooting them. Of the seven, one remains. Hopefully it will live. I also dug up three suckers off a dark purple lilac that looks like it was here when the bison roamed. Two have survived. So I hope you will continue to try with the tomato. I’m so impressed you were able to have one graft take.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks very much Patricia. And I’m so sorry to hear your mother died. And you’re right. Death is amplified at this time. A funeral of 10 people max, with everyone wearing masks. It will be memorable anyway. I have 3 more grafts already and so far they look great. ~ karen!

  12. Su Holohan says:

    My condolences to you . Your Aunt Jean I’m sure was a treasure. Heaven is a little brighter and crazier 😊

  13. Laura Bee says:

    Oh my, so sorry, I will miss your Aunt Jean stories.
    Congratulations on your hamburger credentials.

  14. Kate T says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your great aunt Jean. What an awesome woman she was. I well remember her advice to her fans: I have all my own teeth!

    Jean sure seemed to have had a life well-lived. My hat is off to her. I will certainly miss your reports about her. We could sure use a lot more aunt Jeans in the world. We should all aspire to be one!

  15. Cynthia Studer says:

    So sorry to hear about your Aunt Jean. She sounds like she was one amazing woman. My great Aunt Mildred was just as feisty. I always wanted to be like her. Ladies like that are always the life of the party and the spice that makes life worth living.

  16. Wendy Lemont says:

    So very sorry about your Aunt Jean…would like to hear more about this interesting lady.
    Take care

  17. TucsonPatty says:

    Karen, I’m so sorry about Aunt Jean. She lived a long and from your wonderful stories, awesome life. I’m sure she would have loved turning 106, but dying at age 105? Priceless! I’ll bet, from her stories, she would have loved knowing that she would hit that age!
    I’m sorry for you and you family’s loss of a beautiful, spirited woman.

  18. Angela Minear says:

    Rest In Peace, Aunt Jean! You will be missed!

    In chin hair news, I reached up to scratch my face and realized that it was itching because one of my hairs was so long that it had curled down far enough to tickle my skin!!! Wearing a mask when I leave the house has me forgetting to even look in the mirror!!

  19. Gretchen Sexton says:

    I agree: may we all aspire to be like your Aunt Jean. I’m so glad she was here and you shared her. I’m so sorry that’s she’s gone now. May her memory keep you warm at heart! You’re just the best.

  20. Jackie says:

    Oh, Karen, I too am sorry to hear about your Aunt Jean. I loved to read your stories about her.

  21. Margo Goffin says:

    So sorry to hear about your Aunt Jean. It sounds like she had a wonderful long life.

  22. Lora says:

    First, I congratulate you for wearing a bra, and a pink one at that, to garden in; I buy skillfully designed t-shirts to hide the fact that I don’t need a bra except for when I get a chill. Secondly, I’m sorry for your loss. I am new to your crew, but I hope she is cheering my mom on to perform pranks beyond Rainbow Bridge.

  23. Vikki says:

    I’m so sorry to hear the news of your Aunt Jean; she was one-of-a-kind and so admirable. I loved reading your posts on her. And that flower arrangement is truly beautiful!
    Chin up–things have got to get better. (yeah, like Wiley E. Coyote said right before the safe dropped on his head!)

  24. Luanne Christensen says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Aunt Jean. She’ll have enjoyed having you as a neice, to share fun and quirky bits with each other. You’re right. Its uppy down to have such wonderful relatives. 💗

  25. Lynn says:

    My condolences to you and all your family. Your aunt sounded like a real treasure she will be missed yet loved with happy memories .
    I agree with you the weather this year is like a bingo game, you never know what it’s going to each and every day. An it’s more unpredictable than what we have been use to that’s for sure.

  26. Holly says:

    Awhh, so sorry to hear about Aunt Jean. I actually was wondering about her the other day while reading your blog. I’m one of your readers who luckily became acquainted with her over the years. She reminded me so much of my late mom. Pure class and strength. The flower arrangement is stunning. Here’s wishing you and everyone more ups and less downs .. we need them!

  27. Sandy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What an inspiration she must have been (and memories of her will continue to be)! And that’s the perfect flower arrangement to honor her memory. I’m fairly sure a “roundy-moundy” would not have been suitable for such a dynamic and full-of-life lady. (I’m still wondering how your friend got that white poppy to stand up straight on the left side! It doesn’t look like it’s anchored in the container.)

  28. Theresa Clarkson-Farrell says:

    OH I am So very sorry to hear Aunt Jean has passed. As you’ve shown us hers was a life well lived -drunk down to the last sparkling drop. She lives on amongst your family and friends and all of us. A wonderful example of being yourself and facing the world head on.
    Thank you for introducing her to us all.

  29. Jodi T. says:

    So sorry to hear about your wonderful Aunt. ♡ You and your family are in my prayers.

  30. Margot says:

    I am so sorry about your aunt and so pleased she lived her life to its absolute fullest, up, downs and all.

  31. Tracy says:

    Karen, I am so sorry to hear about Aunt Jean! I think she was special to all of us too, her thousands of fans through you. Hope there are more ups than downs next week.

  32. Linda in Illinois says:

    Sorry to hear about your aunt. Yes to have a heart like hers would be amazing. Bless you and her.

  33. Lori Hope says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your Aunt Jean. Loved hearing about her, and I definitely aspire to be like her.

  34. Jody says:

    I am sorry to hear of your Aunt Jean. I was thinking of her just the other day and wondering what new adventure she was on.

  35. Mary W says:

    Please keep her life alive with stores about Aunt Jean – she will certainly be missed. Talk about ‘ups and downs’ – we aren’t getting the low down on Ikea Hot Dogs? MEAN!

  36. Cheryl Young says:

    I loved hearing of your Aunt Jean’s antics over the years. She was a firecracker – seems that is a typical trait among the women in your family :)

  37. SuzNKton says:

    So sorry for your loss. She sounds like an incredible lady who lived life out loud with no regrets.

    We are in Kingston ON so have been dealing with bizarre weather, too.
    It happens at least twice a year that we have the heat on at night but need the ac during the day. It’s hard to know when it’s safe to plant for fear of frost. There was even a frost warning up last night for the Muskokas.

    I am certain that other people will be very confused when we meet, I am surrounded by teen boys (only 2 of them, but they are huge and smelly!) during this isolation, and our conversations have been….strange to say the least. I have always struggled with adulting but our humour may not be appreciated by others!

    Where do I look for the bamboo sticks? They are probably very strong and would be fantastic in my garden!

    Stay safe and well.

    • Karen says:

      HI! I have a stash of bamboo sticks but Dollarama almost always has them! ~ karen

    • Molly says:

      You are a funny girl Suznkton, and I congratulate you on not adulticizing too much with your smelly boys! My smelly boys are all grown up in their thirties, and not so smelly anymore, sigh… you should blog… or do you?

  38. Susan says:

    I’m sorry about your aunt Jean. I’m 71 and want to be an aunt Jean when I grow up!
    You provided an opportunity of perfect ad placement! Your paragraphs worried about becoming reclusive and then you put the photo of your exhausted, sweaty bod with non colour-fast pink bra and right below it, the caption was “at Hyundai, we can help you!”
    The ads are probably targeted and the amusement will be mine alone but I’ll take all I can get.

  39. Brian says:

    So sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family. She sounded like a wonderful lady. Everyone needs an Aunt Jean in their life.

  40. Irene says:

    Oh my, and there I was asking you recently about Aunt Jean, confusedly calling her your grandma.
    Thank you for sharing her with us; she was most certainly memorable and touched our hearts.
    Hugs to you and your family and all who loved her.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Irene! Her death believe it or not, was very sudden. She was fine one day and on death’s door by that night. ~ karen!

  41. Jane says:

    Aunt Jean sounds like my kind of people. RIP.

    Our shed is actually a very old (everything is very old around here) detached garage which we use as storage, and it’s stuffed to the gills. There are a couple of cracks that squirrels can get into it. A few years ago, I found a complete set of tiny skeleton on the floor near my gardening tools. Obviously a squirrel got in and decided to take a very long nap. I briefly wondered if I should donate it to the grade 7-8 school nearby. I haven’t looked, but it may still be where it was.

    • Karen says:

      IF it was completely in tact I’d try to preserve it and put it under a glass cloche on display. But that’s me 🤣~ karen!

      • Jane says:

        It was completely in tact, alright, at least, the last time I checked. I’m leaving it there hoping it might be a deterrent to the next one that wants to take up residence. 😉

  42. Marie T says:

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your Aunt Jean. My sincere condolences on your loss, Karen, and hope you are all doing ok. I had actually been thinking about her recently and wondering how she was, as I was re-reading some of your posts describing her, whilst trying to find the balsamic vinaigrette recipe I’m still trying to perfect, or at least get right for my hubby’s tastes. Her passing must have been the event that brought the frost advisory this weekend in the Ottawa Valley, a somber chill after the stifling heat. Seems her shenanigans have already started!

  43. Jenny says:

    And I would have loved to have met your Aunt Jean. Sorry for your loss… she sounds like a real character.

  44. Jenny says:

    Karen, you have such a great turn of phrase! I always enjoy your posts and frequently laugh out loud when reading them, which is such a welcome occupation these days. Thanks for brightening my day😁

  45. Grammy says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss, but I know how happy you were to have Aunt Jean for all the time you did. I remember your stories about her, and I hope to be like her when I grow up. That was a lovely flower arrangement — a fitting tribute for you to have sent in her memory.

    As for the other ups and downs, I’m glad you were able to at least have a couple of “ups” because everybody needs some. All of us are losing the social skills, I guess, and some people didn’t have all that many to begin with.

    My veggie garden is much smaller than yours, but I still tend to spend hours a day in it, mostly just looking at every leaf and flower and wishing. The remainder of most days I spend tending the sourdough starter and baking bread. I also discovered that after more than 40 years of marriage, there isn’t even that much to bicker about when two people are locked up together for months.

    My husband loves to find bones in the desert on his photography trips, and he’s brought me several over the years. One of them was a skull, but it didn’t have a tooth like that one you’ve got. I don’t like the bones, but I never had the heart to tell him that, so they sit on shelves and such. Now that I think of it, that’s something we could bicker about. I’ll keep that in mind if we decide to take it up.

    Hang in there, pink stains on your t-shirt and all. The world outside our doors is not so good right now, so we need to seek whatever makes us smile wherever we can find it. Lucky for me, I find a smile whenever you post something new. Cheers to you, dear girl.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Grammy. That’s nice of you to say. The world is broken and I spent a lot of time at the garden yesterday contemplating and arguing with myself over what exactly I could do about it. ~ karen!

      • judy says:

        Weirdly I tuned into a PBS news /documentary that tracked a disinformation campaign by Russia preceding putin. The operatives must concoct false information,misleading stuff and mostly divisive info to separate people and to cause massive unhappiness and distrust so as to make strong populations,less united,more divided and basically miserable.

        We all have a lot to be miserable about,my sister stopped speaking to me in a nice way saying she just couldn’t bear to talk about anything negative-I thought-oh dear-head in the sand? but when I watched this program I thought-in a way she is right. We have to be together in strength and know that we can and must live toward a better day.
        Who said “never let the Bas*tards get you down-never let um see you sweat? Very sorry about your Aunt Jean and you are a whirling dervish of inspiration. Though at 80 I’ll just sit and watch.

  46. Catherine says:

    So sorry about your Aunt Jean, she sounded fantastic. Hope you are all ok x

  47. Wendy says:

    Karen, I’m so sorry to hear about Aunt Jean. Loved your posts about her. She was awesome.

  48. Lois Baron says:

    I have every intention of calling someone who willingly eats kale a cabbage moth caterpillar.

    Aunt Jean sounds like my Aunt Nora, who only made it to 96. She was the best.

  49. KiwiKat says:

    Your Aunt Jean rocked…I’m sure she’s just getting started with her afterlife shenanagins! I’m sorry for your loss, but glad you had her in your life.

  50. Lisa says:

    I am so so sorry about aunt Jean, she was awesome.

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