Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm Dreaming...

 It's been a blustery day with snow squalls and a significant drop in temperature after a rainy day yesterday.  Time to peruse a garden catalogue or two, in company with some primulas.

Spring Garden has a cool red and white rose , "Rock & Roll" , that has a very full flower and a strong fragrance. Also in their catalogue, mixed Victorian primroses (primula eliator hybrid) in four different colours all with a distinctive yellow border round each petal.  For a sunny or part-shade location, a Ruby Spice Summersweet would be a good bee magnet.

Breck's offers a short-petaled coneflower in a lovely rosey-red - "Raspberry Truffle".  New this year are a Himalyan Snow Marsh Marigold (white) (Caltha palustris) suitable for a damp area, a bright magenta  Japanese Bottlebrush (Sanguisorba obtus), and a very frilly white tuberous begonia with a red border to the flower - "Crispa Marginata".

Hope you're having fun planning your gardens.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fun on the Slopes

 We drove by a small ski hill this afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny crisp day, and the young people were enjoying themselves on the slope, skiing and snowboarding.

Quite a few people were lined up waiting to get on the chairlift.  It always takes so much longer to go up than to come down!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Purple Statice

 A little colour for the day considered the dead of winter.  Some purple statice left over from an arrangement.

 Amazing how it keeps its vibrant colour.

Looking very pretty in a creamer/vase painted by Ronna (

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yup, It's Winter!

 Yesterday, we had some snow and then the temperature went above freezing and melted most of it.
We had some rain overnight.  This morning, the forecast said clearing and colder temperatures.  Sounds OK for driving.  Halfway to church, which is about a 15 min drive, the snow and wind start to kick up.  I almost didn't make it up a small, but steep hill, in spite of having snow tires.  Oh well, by the time I will be heading home, the snow will have stopped and the plows will have cleared the roads.  Two hours later, it is a full blown blizzard.  Near white-out conditions.  I am using the telephone polls to help me gauge where the road is.  On the plus side, nobody, except the pick-up behind me, is out on the road.  I'm thankful I know the road and can anticipate the hills and curves, and I am really thankful for the yellow and black hazard signs on the sharp corners.  As I get closer to home , I relax a little more.  If I go in the ditch, I can walk the last mile or two home.  I am well equipped for a walk in the snow as my No. 1 winter driving rule is always take a warm coat, warm boots, warm hat and warm mitts, no matter how benign the weather looks. Finally, I turn unto our road and soon I'm safely parked in the driveway.   A few hours later, the sun does, in fact, come out
and, although it's still windy, the snow has stopped blowing around.  Another day in the life of an average Canadian.

 We had two pretty easy winters last year and the year before.  This year is more normal, but instead of people griping about it, I find they are  glad we are having a "real" winter again.  Maybe we were missing battling the elements, starting to worry that we would turn all wimpy and unable to cope with challenges.  We are a funny bunch, to be sure.

 I've experienced over 50 snowy winters and I never stop marveling at how beautiful the snow looks on the evergreens.

Patterns, patterns, patterns.  Wonderful, intricate patterns.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Cold Snap

 After a January thaw over the last week or so, we are into our January cold snap.  This is the normal course of events in January.  Today it is almost -30 C (-20F).  Fortunately there isn't much wind.  Too cold for me to spend much time outdoors, but other hardy souls will be skating on the canal in Ottawa or going skiing or snowshoeing.

 Too cold for me to be taking pictures so these are from a different day.

I don't really mind some very cold days. It is very invigorating to be out in the cold, a bit like taking a polar dip.  And since I have plenty of warm clothes and a nice cozy house to come back to, it is no hardship at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Shot of Colour

 I like winter, I really do, but sometimes I just need a good shot of colour to perk me up.

These shots are from last fall when we had spectacular fall foliage.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dark Winter Water

 Like pools of ink, the cold water flows through the snowy landscape.

 Or is it like coffee or chocolate, peeking through a topping of whipped cream?

 An ink splotch at the edge of the water painting.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winter Sumac

The staghorn sumac adds some welcome colour to the winter landscape.  It can be food for birds and squirrels, and deer, but I guess there is lots of other food around because most of the sumac still has its fruit.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Delicate Whites

 A lovely textured canvas for the fine lines of the weeds.

 Like wind-blown sand, the snow swirls and whirls.

Eyelet footprints gently curve along

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Special Vase

When our daughter asked our three year-old grandson what he wanted to get me for Christmas, he said that he wanted something that I could put flowers in.  What a sweetie!  So they found this round vase which will be perfect for floating flowers in next spring and summer.  And even now, it is cheerful with the artificial poinsettias in it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


 A couple of new primulas that I bought at the grocery store to brighten up the windowsill.

Next spring, I'll plant them outside and hopefully have them to enjoy for several more years.  I like the  white accent on the pink flowers and the strong contrast in the cream coloured ones (they look white in the picture but they are actually cream coloured).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January Walk

 After some dull days, the sun came out this afternoon and I just had to go for a walk.  I hadn't been in a while because of the holidays and then I got a cold.  Today was perfect.  Temp. just around freezing, and a light fresh breeze.

 Because I don't have good circulation in my hands, I am always on the look-out for warm mitts and gloves.  In fact, I have quite a collection of winter hand protection.  These fuzzy purple ones are new this year and I really like them.  Very comfortable and warm enough for a day like today.  They get a thumbs-up.

 Snow is fascinating.  I can see why the Inuit have so many words for it.  Just a couple of days ago, this snow was coming down as light fluffy flakes.  Now it has morphed into solid lumps that the plow has thrown up on the side of the road.

 The shadow could be a distant treeline.

 A double-lane wild turkey road . Make sure you go the right way!

The tire tracks and little snow bank reminds me of knitting.  On the left, a series of baubles run down a cable.  The middle tire track section is like stocking stitch and the upper right is like seed stitch.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Shadow Patterns

 There are always lots of interesting shadows on the snow on a sunny day.

 Swooping down like a wave

 Leaves dancing

 H is for hushed

A delicate branch pointing to the bright snow

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dogs in T-Shirts

 Why is this little dog wearing a shirt? The bites he got from the neighbour's dog were healing up really nicely, but they suddenly got itchy.  That happened on the day of his check-up with the vet, and she wondered if he would need one of those awful cone-collars to keep him from licking his wounds.  Instead we thought we would try out the little shirt (it's actually a onesey - size 18 months) and see if that would work.  He felt a little strange with it on at first but quickly adjusted.  When he goes out to pee, we simply roll it up to his armpits so it doesn't get wet so we aren't having to take it on and off throughout the day.  The cotton fabric breathes nicely so his injuries are staying nice and dry.

Ginger is wearing a snazzy purple shirt because she was licking the callous on her elbow and making it sore.  The shirt has allowed it to heal - should be able to take the shirt off in a few more days.  Her T-shirt is particularly stretchy which makes it fit better than Jaws' green one. I think purple looks quite nice on her.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Call the Midwife

I've just finished reading "Call the Midwife" by Jennifer Worth.  She was a midwife in East End London in the early 1950's. After WW2, there was an acute housing shortage in London and many people were forced to live in overcrowded and/or condemned buildings.  Basic sanitation was challenging in these conditions, and the midwives would do a pre-delivery assessment of the housing situation to see if a home birth could be done safely. I was born in '55 and, growing up in rural Quebec, I saw poverty, but nothing compared with what many of the Londoners suffered.
 Many colourful characters are described in the stories but I think the most remarkable was a woman who had 25 children.  Her 25th was born very premature weighing only 1lb 10oz (the mother had a bad fall that precipitated the labour), but the mother was able to keep the baby alive by always having it snugged up to her breasts and feeding the baby drops of milk every half-hour.  What love and dedication.  No wonder her husband adored her.
PBS has made a TV series based on the book which I think is going to be aired this winter.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Classical Guitar

Our daughter gave me a recording of classical guitar music played by Julian Bream. I have enjoyed classical guitar music for decades and even took some guitar lessons when I was young, so I was very pleased to get this recording.  As I started to listen to it, I realized that it was a remastering of a vinyl record I had bought years ago.  It was great to hear it again - I don't have a record player anymore and haven't listened to vinyl in years.  It felt like meeting up with an old friend.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


 The snow is mounded up on all sorts of things outside. 

 These bins hold our recycling.  There will be some emptying to do before pick-up day.

 A load of ice cream in the wheelbarrow?

The snowman built with chunks of snow because the snow wasn't sticky enough to roll.

The snow muffles sounds and if you're also wearing a warm winter hat , it's very quiet outside.
When we were kids, tired from playing , we would sometimes plop down, flat on our backs, in the snow . You would sink down in the snow so that you had snow walls about a foot high around you that blocked your vision of everything except the sky above. It was so soothing, it was hard not to stay there and fall asleep.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Here It Is! 2013!

2013 - New opportunities, new surprises, happy days, sad days, fun and ho-hum.

In the New Year I will: be bold at the beginning of the year with my resolutions, and then probably fade over time.
                                    : not sweat the small stuff - keep the big picture in mind
                                    : remember that it's not all about me
                                    :listen to more music
                                    : find new ways to share the beauty and remarkableness of nature
                                    : listen more closely to family and friends

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and that 2013 will be memorable for you in a good way.