Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

 My sister gave me this happy little ornamental pepper for Christmas.  It got a bit of a chill on the way home so the leaves are not very happy, but I'm hoping with some TLC that it will perk up.  The fruit aren't hot and they are edible , but the crazy fireworks display is the main feature. Possibly it is the Medusa variety.

 Tradition has it that we make New Year's resolutions.  Usually dreary ideas like: I will give up chocolate, I will do 500 curl-ups a day, I will vacuum religiously every day, I will only eat kale and carrots.  Bah Humbug, I say. 

This year I am going to write more, even if no one wants to read it.  I am going to start an online
store, even if no one wants to buy anything. I am going to plant unusual flowers that may not bloom, and tasty heirloom tomatoes that may not have a long enough summer to mature.  I am going to dig holes with our new little backhoe just for the fun of it. I am going to hug my friends and family, and enjoy their wonderful personalities.  I am going to relish all my blessings and let the light in.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year full of new adventures, loving relationships, and joy in the wonders of nature all around us.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent 4

A couple of ornaments from a train set I made a few years ago.  I like working with felt and sewing on the details.  The sequins give it a sparkle that's appreciated at this dark time of year.  We are having more stormy weather.  A few hours west of here has had significant ice, but we have been spared that so far - just snow and ice pellets.  However, we may get the freezing rain later today.
A good opportunity to do some more Christmas cookie baking.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King."

Charles Wesley, 1739

I hope you get a chance to watch "A Charlie Brown's Christmas" this year.  It's a must see at our house.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


 We've had some pretty cold days (-25C) lately so we got a bit of frost on a couple of windows.

I always like the frost patterns.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snowy Night

Shovel at the ready.
 Every evening, I go out to give my horse his last feed and water of the day.  At this time of year, it is, of course, dark.  It is so beautiful with the fresh snow, and the moonlight giving enough light that I don't even need a flashlight. 

 The porch light was making the fluffy snow on the railing sparkle .

 The moon will be full tomorrow.  Even with cloud cover, it was giving lots of light last night.  The falling snow shows up as streaks in the photo.

The trees are just enchanting.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent 3

We got more snow overnight, about 8", and we'll probably get a couple more inches today.
I guess we're in for a snowy winter.  The grandkids will be happy when they come down at
Christmas: wild sled rides with the uncles, perhaps a snow fort , hot chocolate with their special aunt.
Snow + kids= fun

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 13, 2013

Art Show

Art Show in Morin Heights

Check out www.fancy.oldmediafestival.org for info. on an interesting art show
taking place in Morin Heights from De.13 -24 (except Mondays). Artists from Quebec and New York City-paintings, sculpture, prints, dresses.  Also goodies for sale.
A great excuse to take a drive in the beautiful snowy mountains.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Doll's Dress

I wanted to get our little granddaughter a doll for Christmas.  I was able to get a soft-bodied doll from
Mary Maxim and a pattern for a dress.  I like the expression on the doll's face, and she is nice and cuddly with her knitted dress and cloth body.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fluffy Snow

 This morning we got a couple of inches of nice fluffy snow. 

  A blobby snow sculpture.

 A mouse might like to crawl under the snow-covered leaves and stay cozy.

 The flakes are quite spiky and transparent.

Cascading snowfall.

 A fashionable hat.

Cold elephant skin.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent 2

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by thine advent here;
And drive away the shades of night,
And pierce the clouds and bring us light!

Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee,
O Israel!

Latin hymn c. 13th century

Sunday, December 1, 2013


First Sunday of Advent

I know the first verse of lots of Christmas carols, but I'm pretty shaky on further verses.  This year,
I am going to pay more attention to verses 2 and beyond.

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Verse 2

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heav'nly music floats
O'er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wings:
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

Edmund Sears, 1849

Another thought on Advent:  it is the beginning of Advent-ure.
Definition of adventure:  a bold and difficult undertaking involving unknown risks and danger.
                                         (Gage Canadian Dictionary)
A pretty good definition of the Christian life.  Good thing, we're not alone :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Snowy Lines

 Winter has arrived. Yesterday, we got about 8" of wet snow.  Today, the temperature has dropped to about -10C and the snow is crunchy.  The surface is pitted because the snow on the trees fell off when the snow was still soft.

 Time for a quick walk in the bush.  I thought trees were supposed to be vertical...

As I walked around, I kept finding trees making shapes,

 and designs.  The snow highlights the branches.

 A naturally made rail fence.

A winged tree.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Random Shots London

 Swallow Street that runs off Regent Street.

Lots of restoration going on everywhere .  Not too pretty when the work is being done, but what a great investment in the future.

 Eye-catching frieze.

 Jumble of sights.

A rock-steady business with its solid brown base.

Ornament at Selfridges.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

St. Paul's Cathedral

It's another rainy day here so time to go back to London.  This is not the traditional view of St. Paul's Cathedral (check out Wiki for a classic view), but I think it gives a good idea of just how tall the building is.  Look up, look way up, and you will see the top of the dome.  It reaches up 365' (111m), and when you have climbed up to the top you really know that it's a tall, tall building.  A sign at the bottom of the inside stairs to the dome warns that people with heart conditions, pregnant women and claustrophobics should not attempt the climb.  Claustrophobics?  Oh, yes.  The upper staircases are very narrow, steep and sharply curved.  I had to stop periodically as I started getting a bit dizzy from all the turning.  It is also becomes a one-way venture when the stairway becomes too narrow for two-way traffic.  Once you proceed higher than the Whispering Gallery (the base of the dome), you have to continue to the top before you can come down.
Wonderful view at the top.  Well worth the challenging climb.

 Very different architecturally from Westminster Abbey.

 Lots of cherubs and flowers which are quite a contrast to the bold pillars, and overall rectangular shapes.
 Somebody in London enjoyed doing those curled, leafy carvings.  They keep cropping up.

People have been praying here since 604AD.  Wow! This building dates from the late 1700s.
We arrived at the Cathedral around noon, and were able to participate in a service.  The cathedral is the seat of the Anglican bishop of London so it was a regular Anglican communion service.  I really liked the way they set it up.  An area was roped off to delineate where the seating area for the service would be, but the service wasn't cut off from the tourists milling around inside the cathedral.  The tourists and the worshipers were happily sharing this amazing space.
No photographs allowed to be taken inside the cathedral but there are lots of good pictures online.
Absolutely worth a visit, either in person or via the Internet.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tractor Fun

I am not someone who likes machines or motorized whatevers.  I would rather sweep with a broom than vacuum, stir cookie dough by hand rather than use a mixer (don't actually  have a mixer), add numbers with a pencil rather than use a calculator, screw in a screw with a screwdriver rather than a drill.But I am thrilled with our new little tractor, especially with the loader and the backhoe.
I was so surprised that I enjoyed working the backhoe so much.  It is strangely soothing to use the hydraulic levers to manipulate it.  Who would have thought?!  Certainly not me.
My husband, who is on the tractor, is good with things that go so I expected him to like it, but I have never felt so pleased to work with a machine as I have with this little orange tractor.
We got the tractor primarily to deal with the snow.  In fact, today the tractor man came and removed
the loader and backhoe and put a snowblower on the front. We are anxiously awaiting the first snow
fall ,which could be next week or not for several weeks, so we can try out the snowblower.
We will find all kinds of excuses next summer to move dirt around and to dig random holes, I'm sure.  I could even use the backhoe to dig up perennials if I want to move them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Albert Memorial - Royal Albert Hall

 It's a dreary November day today, but then Remembrance Day always is.  I guess it is fitting that it should be so.

Here are some more London photos.  The Albert Memorial, built by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband Albert,  is at the southern edge of Kensington Gardens.  From a distance, it didn't strike me as very remarkable, and I found the design a bit odd with the peaked roof looking too big for the rest of it. 

 When I got close to it though, I liked it better as the proportions change when you are near it.
 Although it is a memorial to Albert, it has a lot to say about Queen Victoria herself and about her people throughout the empire.  The carved band depicts some of the significant  creative people of the empire:
Writers, musicians, painters, sculptures, etc.
 On the inner four corners carved in white marble, are representations
of  the four major areas of enterprise: agriculture, engineering, commerce, and manufacturing.

The sculptures on the outer corners represent the continents of the empire.  Each group includes an animal symbolic of the continent:  Africa - camel,  Asia -elephant,  America -Bison, and Europe -Bull.  The sculptures are all beautifully done .  The people and animals all look outward.  That seems very apt as Victoria was certainly someone who had a big view of things.

 Across the road from the Albert Memorial is the Royal Albert Hall. It was built in 1871 and originally had a seating capacity of 8,000, but today's regulations only allow for about 5,000 people.
It is used for all sorts of concerts and fundraisers.  When it was first built, the acoustics weren't good and performers were challenged with echoes.  Over the years, improvements have been made to solve the acoustical problems.

Monday, November 4, 2013


 Years ago, orchids were considered very exotic, expensive and hard to grow, but in the last few years Phalaenopsis orchids have become readily available in the plant section at the grocery store.

 They are a bit tricky to keep going over the long term , but they will  bloom for weeks after you buy them with not too much trouble. That's a real treat at this time of year.

 I water with rainwater as they don't like hard water from a well.

Lovely markings and shapes.