Monday, December 31, 2012

Trees in Snow

 Without the varied colours of summer, the winter landscape is about light, shapes, shadows and lines.
Click on photo for full size.

 Dog paths create cliffs that reflect the light.

Hollows form on the leeward side of the tree trunks.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter Welcome

All's quiet on the home front.  Our two little grandsons went home yesterday with their mom and dad and two dogs.  We managed to get through the holidays with no people needing emergency medical care for illnesses or injury, but our son's dog escaped yesterday and was bitten by the neighbour's dog so we had an emergency visit to the vet.  The dog is sore but ok - nothing that a bit of time and drugs won't fix.
We had snow before Christmas and then got about a foot on the 27th, so there was plenty of snow for the grandsons to play in with their grown -up(?) uncles. The little boys had wild rides on a plastic sled, built a snowman and dug out a snow fort in a snowbank. Of course, all that hard work meant that they needed hot chocolate and marshmallows when they came inside.
I did some major  purging of old posts so that I can put up photos again.  Really didn't like Wordpress. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation.

Isaiah 52:7

I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, and a New Year full of  adventures,
friendly people,  and exciting things that inspire you to take pictures . I really appreciate the wonderful blogs that I can visit. I know it takes time and effort to keep posting.  
  Thank you so much everyone!
I'm hoping to have photos up again in the new year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

On The Bright Side

Tomorrow will be brighter than today - our days are getting longer.
There is plenty of nasty stuff in the news but let's not forget all the wonderful stuff that's around us:
Full moon shadows on a snowy winter night.
Cheerful chickadees feeding out of our hands.
Silly doggies being goofy.
Children who are curious and full of adventure.
Friends and family watching out for us.
Music to make our hearts sing.
Photos that fellow bloggers share to enrich our days.
The list goes on and on.
Light always dispels darkness.
Darkness can't put out light.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Tardigrade? you ask.  So did I.  Tardigrade was the answer to a crossword clue, and as I didn't know what it meant, I went searching and found a fascinating little creature.  Picture a manatee about 1 mm long.  Fat body, smooth but folded skin, 8 short fat legs, stubby nose, small round eyes, and all 1 mm long. And we have all probably met the little guy at one time or another.  Tardigrade live in the water or in damp conditions.  So they could be crawling around moss or lichen, or swimming in the local pond.  They eat plants and bacteria. We don't hear about them because they don't bother us.  Wikipedia told me that these amazing creatures can go into suspended animation for years if they dry out.  They can also withstand much more radiation than we ever could, they can live in a vacumn, and as for living in the cold? Well, -200C is ok with them.  Marvelous. Google tardigrade and you will find some very neat pictures of them.  They are also called water bears or moss piglets (love that name).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Third Sunday of Advent

O Little Town of Bethlehem

 How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still
The dear Christ enters in.

Phillips Brooks 1868

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Lights

At the end of a challenging, tiring week, I had my spirits lifted by a beautiful display of Christmas lights in the park of our nearby town.  Different businesses in town participate in putting together the decorations, and homeowners on the opposite side of the street got into the holiday spirit and also had lots of lights on their houses, trees and shrubs.  It all looked quite wonderful and fanciful. I'm hoping to go back on another evening to walk around and  get some pictures.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Triple Date


The last triple date of the century.
 What other triple things are special to me?
Let me think.
My two sisters and I.
Our three (to be) grandchildren
Our three dogs.
The three months of summer (June, July, August)
Three stages of gardening - planting, growing, harvesting
Three meals a day
Waltzes in the beat of 3/4
Cantering on a horse - a 3-beat gait
Sloping roofs that shed snow - triangles on our houses
Three cheers for friends
 The Trinity

Hope you all have a triply wonderful day!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Second Sunday of Advent

Of The Father's Love Begotten

O that birth forever blessed,
When the Virgin full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Saviour of our race;
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed his sacred face,
Evermore and evermore.

Aurelius Prudentius  4th Century

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


A play to be performed.
Hours to prepare, days to practice, years to perfect.
Actors' fumbling is transformed to confidence;
Players' uncertainties are replaced by assurance.
Dress rehearsals,
Final run throughs
Some nerves
But mostly anticipation.
Act I, I know how
Act II, I can handle this
I'm ready for Act III...

But the final scene
Has no preparation.
There is no script
Only an unrehearsed solo.

Monday, December 3, 2012

All Creatures Great and Small

I heard  an amusing recounting of a true tale on the radio today by a man who grew up in Texas.  When he was around 7 years old, he and his buddy decided they wanted to find "dangerous animals". They had some close encounters with a scorpion, a poisonous snake and some tarantulas which proved to be a little too hard on the nerves so they soon opted for more benign animals like turtles.
  It got me thinking about the creatures that shared my childhood.  Growing up in the country, there was no shortage of them.  I had a soft spot for moths and toads as well as butterflies, daddylonglegs and crane flies.  Beetles were interesting but I didn't like June bugs with their sticky feet. Inchworms were funny, and  wooly bear caterpillars  looked so friendly with their brown and black stripes.  I didn't like buzzy things that could sting (I had a bad run in with a yellow jacket nest when I wasn't very old), or biting things that took chunks out of you (deerflies and horseflies) but I developed a pretty high tolerance for mosquitoes and black flies.  You had to in the Laurentians or you would never go out in June or on a summer evening. We had insect repellent spray and nifty sticks of 6-12 repellent, that were the texture of deodorant, that we used around our ears and forehead, so we had some protection, but still the bugs could be pretty bad.
  Down at the local swimming pond, there were lots of frogs to watch or catch, tadpoles to marvel at as they gradually transformed, sleepy turtles to inspect and little minnow fish to nibble our toes.  You never knew what new and interesting bug  or reptile you might see.
Add to all this, the usual animals - horses, cows, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, birds - that people kept, and the wild animals and birds. There was lots of LIFE to surprise us. 
Pictures of green frog at

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First Sunday of Advent

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill all the world with heaven's peace.

13th C latin hymn

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Excellent Photos

My husband showed me the Atlantic page that features the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest winners.  A great selection of photos in all kinds of styles, and all kinds of subjects.
Go to and scroll about half way down the page to In Focus (picture of a mother bear and cubs). Click on the picture and you will get the whole 50 pictures.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On The Bank

I heard yesterday that Mr. Mark Carney is leaving his job as Governor of the Bank of Canada to head up the Bank of England. I find that an encouraging piece of news as I believe he is a smart man with a good head for economics.  They certainly could use some good leadership over in Europe and maybe he will be able to help them sort out the mess.  I read that he was born in the Northwest Territories.  Maybe all that pure Arctic air, wide open spaces and plenty of room to run around in got him off to a good start.  His father was a school principal and his mother, a teacher.  His wife is British so going back to England will probably be a positive thing for her.  Mark Carney went to Oxford for his MA and PhD so he is also familiar with the British way of life.  Anything that can be done to help Europe will also help Canada, so although we are losing a fine Governor of the Bank of Canada, we will still benefit from his expertise - just a little more indirectly.

Another snowy picture at

Monday, November 26, 2012

Winter has Arrived

I woke up this morning to the delightful brightness that you get from reflected light off snow.
We got about 1 cm last night -  not very much, but enough to take us from fall to winter.
The air outside had that uniquely snowy smell to it (I think it is slightly metallic in quality) and the wisps of wind were blowing flakes off the trees giving the illusion of it snowing with the sun shining.
I always find the first snow really energizing and I didn't even mind the cold fingers I got from taking pictures with my glove off.  I need to get a pair of gloves that people use for texting so I can manage the buttons on my camera without freezing my bare hands. 
For pictures of the snow please link to

Saturday, November 24, 2012


The weather has suddenly turned wintry today.  The wind has picked up from the north and we are having snow showers.  As I went for my walk this morning, I thought of a poem by Christina Rossetti about the wind so I am going to share it here.

                        Who has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

I will be posting photos  on

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Blog

Hi Blogger friends,
I still can't post photos on this blog so I have started a new one on Wordpress: where I will continue posting pictures of nature, gardens, birds and animals, with the odd craft thrown in for good measure. I hope that you will visit me there.  I will still be posting some written posts here, and perhaps eventually I will be able to get some photos up again.
There are so many neat things to look at and enjoy. I can't imagine not snapping photographs, and it makes it so much more fun when I can share them with others.  So over the bump in the road, I go.  I really hope that you will check out the Wordpress blog. and keep stopping by here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

No Room at the Blog

Blogger is again telling me that I've run out of room in spite of me carefully downsizing my pictures.  It seems everybody is getting the same message about no more storage. Hum ...
Anyway, for now I will just use this blog for words and I will keep trying to upload pictures as I did delete some older posts.  I will probably start a Wordpress blog for pictures.

I watched a  movie last night called Wit. It's a fictional story about a women's journey with ovarian cancer, from diagnosis to death.  Really well done. It is based on a play so the setting is spare, but the acting and script is excellent.  Touching and sad, but at the same time hopeful.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Icy Water Designs

 I like the layering and bubbles that happen when the water freezes at night and begins to thaw in the morning.

 Some interesting black and white patterns with the icy water.

No ice here, but the swirly reflection makes a neat pattern.
We are still having fabulous sunny weather. It seems like all November has been bright.  Very little wind so even when the temperature is down, it doesn't feel cold.  What a treat! So often November is cold, rainy and incredibly dreary.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Moon Shots

Just finished a book called "Between a Rock and a Grace Place" by Carol Kent published by Zondervan.  She and her husband have one son, a treasured young man.  Several years ago,  their son shot a man and is now spending life in prison in a Florida maximum security prison with no hope of parole.  Their story is quite something.  The book includes writing not only by Carol and her husband, but also her son in prison.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Astir by the Asters

 Master gardeners appreciate these hardy plants for their versatility.

 They present a sterling example of fall beauty.

 They are like asterisks in the wild landscape.

Faster blooming flowers may not match the durability of these late blooming stalwarts.

Have you guessed that I really like asters?  Pictures were taken last month.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's a Fun-gi Time of the Year

 Stacked plates of fungi.

 Collars and frills fungi

 Fishy fins of fungi

 Three froggy fungi sitting on a log

Butterfly fungi

Friday, November 9, 2012

Up, Down and All Around

On top  - what a view! For miles and miles. 

The long hill into the valley. Hope our brakes are good.

The corners following the flow of the land.

 Great scarred, worn hills

 When we've all been long gone, these hills will still be here.

Some of the brave truckers who drive these hills year round.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall Sunset

 The sky was a delight yesterday at sunset. Click the photo for the full width.

I like the headlights - two little eyes in the dark landscape.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

European Wildlife Photographer-2012

The Guardian newspaper from England has a great series of photos from the GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest.  Most unusual collection.  Check it out at

Monday, November 5, 2012

In the Key of Red

Andante in B(ug) Sharp Minor

 Song of Endurance

Simple Melody of Lines

Sunday, November 4, 2012


 The milkweeds always pop open in unexpected ways that are interesting to look at.

 The wild colours of October are over, but the subtle colours of November have their own attraction.
I like the soft beiges and faded greens mixed in with the cherry red of the dogwood.

 This is my burning bush - not exactly flaming!  That's because it doesn't get enough sun.  When I planted it, I didn't realize that the fall colour would be so dependent on a sunny location.  Anyway, it is still a good shrub and the very muted colour is  all right as long as I don't expect it to be a bold red, which I don't anymore.

Beech leaves. I love everything about beech trees - from the smooth grey bark and long outreaching branches to the coppery leaves that last into the winter.
We are in for a cold night of -7C.  May be taking pictures of ice tomorrow.  Hope you are all snug in your homes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Kool-Aid Dyeing

 When I saw my friend, Sue, the other week she showed me some things that she had dyed with Kool-Aid.  I was intrigued and she sent me information on how to do it.  Yesterday when the weather was rainy, I thought I would give it a try.  I have some Lopi wool in a boring beige and I was able to transform it into the lovely pink wool in the photo.

I started with a pack of unsweetened cherry Kool-Aid which I dissolved in water in a casserole that is about 13" x 9" by 3" deep. Originally I was going to heat it in the microwave but the dish seemed just a bit too big so I used the stove top instead.  The casserole is original Corning Ware that can even be used on the stove top. As a little aside, this kind of Corning Ware, that used to be readily available and then wasn't produced for several years, is now available again at Canadian Tire. It is labelled as Pyroceram under the Corning Ware brand.  Maybe I'll rave about it in another post, but now I'll get back to Kool-Aid dyeing. I filled the casserole about 2/3 full of warm water , unwound the ball of wool and gently placed it in the water pushing it down with a big spoon. It's important to use real wool as acrylic won't take up the dye.  I heated it gently on medium low until the water began to steam and then I turned off the heat and let it sit for about an hour, giving it a gentle prod now and again with the spoon.  By then the water was just about clear, so I drained it off and gave the wool a couple of rinses with lukewarm water.  I squeezed out as much water as I could with the wool wrapped in a terry towel and set it out to dry. I'm very pleased with the results.  You can see the before and after in the photo above. It is supposed to be colourfast and, of course, non-toxic.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Aster Monch

I bought this hybrid aster - Monch - at the end of the growing season when plants were on sale.  I have been really pleased with it.  The plants I bought started blooming in September but according to the internet, they will bloom in mid-summer next year and continue on into the fall.  They have not been affected by the light frosts we have had so far, and I will see next week, when real frost is the order of the night, how they will manage.  The flowers are larger than most asters - about 1 1/2 to 2" across and the colour is well reproduced in the photo. The lavender colour looks very well against the fallen leaves .  Next year, I will pinch them back as they are tall and prone to flopping and I should get a really nice display of blooms.  Zone 5, full sun is best, and well-drained soil especially in the fall.

As a postcript to Sandy, my sister who lives in New York City never lost power during the storm, but my mother in Quebec lost power for 26 hours.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Brush with Sandy

 We had our brush with Hurricane Sandy last night. It was pretty windy, enough to blow down the dead butternut tree, but it wasn't as windy as was forecast.  Very little rain.  We will get more rain tomorrow as the storm tracts east but nothing more than a regular rainstorm.

 This morning it is sunny, breezy and mild.  It actually feels like March.

 And to add to that effect, I noticed some surprise flowers as I checked on the property.  A fresh, bright nasturtium flower, just opened.

 Some yellow primroses, a little worse for wear from the storm, but still putting on a show before the snow flies.

 This pink primrose must have opened this morning after the winds had died down.

And finally, the very last Iceberg rose blossom which also opened this morning.

Our thoughts and prayers are for the people in the US who will be struggling for quite a while with the effects of the storm.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Special Furry Friends

 Little Jaws, our son's dog, can be pretty fierce if you are a mouse, a squirrel, a pussycat, a schoolbus or a truck, but he is affectionate with people and loves soft blankets, comfy chairs and sunspots.
He was a rescue dog and we don't know anything about his past.  He didn't show signs of abuse but we think he was left alone a fair bit because he will chew blankets sometimes if we aren't home. He may have picked up the habit from being bored at home alone. He is best buddies with Ginger.

Ginger has gotten sleepy in her old age (she is 10) which is probably a good thing because she is somewhat fragile.  Last fall, she hurt her back leg or back and it took many weeks of very restricted activity to get her healed up.  A few days ago, she reinjured herself but it is not so bad this time and hopefully she will get over it sooner.  She is very into food as most Labs are and she is a friend to every person or dog.  Her favourite place to sleep is close to her sister, Snap.

Snap is the thoughtful one.  She is always "reading" you - body language wise.  She loves games, especially ones where she has to find something.  She also loves food, but you can win her over with fun just as easily.  Unlike her sister, she is often apprehensive of other dogs and prefers playing with people.  Although she is 10, she can be puppyish and downright mischievously sneaky- "What's in Snap's mouth?!" at times especially if she thinks the grandchildren are getting too much attention.
Our special furry friends.  They add smiles to our lives.

Tonight the edge of Hurricane Sandy will blow through our area.  We won't get  a lot of rain but the winds will be high.  We stocked up on water and food so if the power goes out, we'll be fine.
Hope it's not too bad in the US.