Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

Hoping that everyone will be able to spend time with family and friends, and enjoy some good food and conversation.

Friday, December 19, 2014


 Potential wrapped in promise.

 Hidden beauty.

 Reaching for light.

Shields no longer necessary, fading away.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

More Snow and Ice

 An icicle looking like translucent wood.

 Or perhaps like some crystalline rock.

 The lilac looking like a frothy skirt.

Ropes of polyester stuffing.

Whipped cream topping.

In 1977, the temperature for today was -28C.  Two years later, the temperature for this date was 16C.
That's a difference of 44 degrees C.  No wonder we're always checking the weather forecast. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014


 Snap hasn't been feeling very well lately, but she was really enjoying the new fresh snow.

 I like the way the snow made an overhang on the railing.

 It's hard to be grouchy about snow when it is so darn pretty.

Sugar dusting on the door.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Car and The Horse

The Car and The Horse

One day, Jack and Jill were having a coffee together.

"I went for a drive in the mountains yesterday," said Jill.

"A drive? You mean in a car? You put straps over your body and buckled them up so you can't even move?  Your doors were locked like you were in a cage? In a car that can only drive on one side of the road, and has to stop at signs and red lights? How confining!
I have a much better idea."

Jack took a small car out of his pocket, and rolled it back and forth on the table.

"This way," he said "I can make the car go wherever I want, anyway I want.  I don't ever have to stop unless I want to.  And see how clean and shiny it is?  This, my friend, is how to use a car."

"Well, yes," said Jill, thinking of the muddy splatters on her car and the squeaky brakes," but I can go to interesting places in my car."

"I go places, too," said Jack defensively.
He swooped his car in the air and spun it around on landing.
"Can your car do that?" he demanded triumphantly.

"I went to the mountains so I could ride a horse," continued Jill.

"A horse? But they bite and they kick and stomp on your feet.  They buck and they rear and throw you to the ground.  Not even to mention the smell!  Really, Jill, the way to know a horse is to look in a book.  Here I have one."  Jack searched in his bag and pulled out a book.  "On page number 9, a nice bay horse.  Anytime I want a horse, I turn to page number 9.  No fuss, no bother, no broken bones."

Jill wiggled her right foot.  It was a little sore from being stepped on, but she remembered the whinny that Lightning had greeted her with, and his fragrant hay breath.  She thought of the gallop over the fields, thundering hooves, and both of them breathless after the fun.  She had to admit there had been a buck or two, and a few dodgy moments when she feared for her bones. Still...
She glanced at the horse on page number 9 and shook her head.

Jack smiled back at her grandly and drove his car in a fancy manoeuver, and clicked at the bay, the tamest, safest horse in the world.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

And So It Goes

 This is a picture of the corner store and post office in the village near our home.  At the end of the month, it is closing and will be replaced with

these outdoor mailboxes.  Kind of sad.
When we moved to the area about 30 years ago, the village had several businesses as well as being a stop on the main railway line between Montreal and Ottawa. Back then, a person could do most of their day to day affairs right in the village as there were two small groceries stores (one had a butcher, one had basic hardware), a clothing store with essentials like rubber boots and warm socks, two garages that sold gas and did repairs, and a bank.  All these businesses have closed except for the post office and a small restaurant which will close soon, too. Just up the road a little, was a French elementary school.  The school closed two years ago as enrollment had dropped to 12 students.  During the summer months, baseball and soccer leagues used to be played at the local field.
Now, it seems the village is just full of old people. No urban sprawl in this neck of the woods.
It is a case of no jobs, and the young people needing to move to the city to find work. I know it's not just happening here.  It's happening in most of rural Canada.  Still I find it sad, the hollowing out of rural villages.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fun with Kale

 December 1st, and I still have some produce from the garden. How cool is that?

Finally after years of gardening, I planted kale this spring, and I have been really happy with how easy it has been to grow.  It is very insect resistant and has survived several hard frosts.

Kale is, of course, very nutritious having good amounts of vitamins A , C and K as well as calcium and other nutrients that are healthful.

Kale can be eaten raw, but cooking will mellow its taste.  I usually just saute it with some onions.  Lemon also goes well with it. 

Next year, I think I will also try some of the colourful ornamental kale which is edible as well as attractive to look at.

Kale will grow best in full sun, but mine was in part-shade and managed anyway.
If you start it indoors in early spring, you will be harvesting kale for several months.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

When The Sky Comes Near

 When the sky comes near,
 Azure blue, cobalt blue,
 Pow-der blue,

 Billowy, ballooning,
 Bold, breath-taking clouds
 Below shrinks and fades.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quiet Light

 The little stream has been damned up by the beavers - about halfway up the photo you can see the raised water level behind the damn.

 The seedpods of the weeds catch the November light.

 Like little LEDs in the tangle of grey and brown branches.

 The dried bullrushes shine like bronze.

A hole in the frozen pond ice allows a reflection to show.

 This photo was supposed to feature a blue heron . Oh well, I got to see him.
This past week, we had snow but it is too early for snow pictures so these pics are from a little while ago.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Stocking Up Squirrel Style

 Some squirrel has done quite the job of stashing the apples on this apple tree.

 A squirrel with good spatial abilities as he knew just how full to fill this hollow.

 Just a few lonely apples left on the branches.

These apples are conveniently placed for a picnic on a sunny day.

A perfectly poised apple . Good engineering skills, too.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eking out some colour

 I picked a few last bits and pieces from the garden.  I never realized that nicotiana had fuzzy petals.

 The nicotiana is very sturdy and has kept growing through the cooler weather, although now it is finally going dormant.
Some pink flash from a geranium.  Because we have so many trees on our property, it can be hard to find enough sunny spots for the plants in the summer, but the upside is that we are protected from early hard frost  in the fall so we get to enjoy the flowers for a little bit longer than people with more exposed gardens.
We may get a few flakes of snow this weekend.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lazy Girl Gardening

 Some of the last few tomatoes I picked a couple of days ago.

 I wanted to turn this weedy patch of ground into a grassy area. My usual modus operandi for sites like is to mulch over with newspapers and put soil on top.  First, I cut any shrubby stuff down to ground level and pull up any tall weeds that want to come out.  Then, I put down a layer of newspapers 6 - 10 sheets thick right on top of the weeds.  Finally, I dump on composted manure or other topsoil aiming for a depth of about 4".

 Here's the same spot about 1 1/2 hours later.  The soil is only 2" deep but I'll put on more  another day.  In the spring, it will be ready for seeding.

 This is a little patch of |Brunnera that I put in at the end of |August in the area next to the newly mulched one, using the same newspaper technique.  The transplants have already rooted well and have put out quite a bit of new growth.  The "growing on the top" method is good for lots of vigorous, shallow rooted plants like Brunnera, beebalm, rudbeckia, hostas, daylilies, etc., but isn't suitable for plants that need good soil to a deeper depth like roses, or delphiniums. I have used it with phlox but those plants need topdressing every year to keep them growing well.

Monday, October 27, 2014

St. Joseph's Oratory - Montreal

We went to see St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal yesterday.  We had been years ago, but our daughter wanted to visit it again so  we stopped in to have a look.  The building of the Oratory (place of worship) began in 1924 and it wasn't completed until 1967. It looks like an old building, but it is actually quite modern  which the interior reflects. It is a minor basillica (place of pilgrimage) and some people would climb the many front steps on their knees.  Not so much nowadays. The Oratory is, of course, dedicated to St. Joseph, but it is really in honour of Brother Andre, who had a healing ministry there.

 It is situated on a high point in the city and, from the balcony, the view went for miles and miles.   The Laurentian Mountains  show up as low dark blue humps in the far distance.

 Inside the Oratory, statues of some saints and apostles are positioned on the outer walls. Photos are a bit blurry as the light was dim.

 The light was ever changing as the sunlight shone through different stain glass windows. I wasn't too keen on the circular light fixture at the front of the sanctuary.

 Crucifix behind the altar.

 The organ is a Beckerath organ with 5811 pipes.  It was truly amazing.  The organist was practicing for a recital and I have never heard such a wonderful organ. At times, it sounded like a trumpet, sometimes like bells, or a clarinet - the variety of tones was spectacular. The acoustics in the church were excellent, matching the skill of the organist.

 Modern stain glass perhaps depicting the calling of the Apostles,the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus' healing ministry.

An attractive nativity relief.  There were also reliefs for the Stations of the Cross on the sides of large square pillars.