Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Clouds

 Some interesting clouds I saw the other day.

 My husband saw a ghost with his arms in the air  in the shape on the left side, and I saw a little dog just to the right of centre.

For everybody who is finding it hot these days, here is a cloud picture that looks like snow.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Orange Lilies

The wild ditch lilies are blooming. Technically, they aren't wild.  They were brought over from Europe , but now they have naturalized.  

 Many people have a patch of them as a garden flower, though, as they are really very attractive and virtually indestructible.  They just glow in the sun.

This is a  native Black-eyed Susan.  Although it looks like the Rudbeckia hirta, it is a different plant with fuzzy leaves and a flatter center to the flower. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Microwave Flower Press

 I have been drying some flowers with my microwave flower press that I bought from Lee Valley a number of years ago.  It is a fantastic way to dry flowers. The pansies dry in 3 minutes at 30% power.   The flowers retain their colours really well with this method, and you don't have to wait for weeks for the flowers to dry in an old book.
The press is made of two clay tiles ( mine are 6" square), two half-inch thick felt pads and two pieces of white cotton fabric that the flowers go on. The moisture from the flowers is wicked away by the felt and comes out through the holes in the clay.  The clay tiles also moderate the temperature so that the flowers dry evenly.
It takes a bit of experimenting to get the times right for different flowers and leaves (plants with oil in them burn easily), but the microwave press is a great way to dry plants.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Big Rock

Near my mother's home in Morin Heights is a big rocky outcropping that, as kids, we aptly named The Big Rock. It made a great place for a picnic.
 It is possible to climb the face of it as it has little ledges that act as steps.

Lichens and mosses grow on the rough rock.

This moss, which grows 1-2 inches high, looks like miniature fir trees.

At the top of the outcropping, two big humps of rock stick out, with a flat mossy section in the middle.  It's a good place to have a sit down and enjoy the setting. Sitting on a great hunk of stone is always good for the soul.

 A wooded trail that gradually ascends from the back to the top of the rock provides an easier way to access the view. This photo makes the rock look quite short, but the first photo looking down gives a better perspective of the height of it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ottawa River

The other day, we had our lunch in a picnic spot on the Ottawa River. A fresh breeze was blowing keeping the temperature just perfect.  The windy weather had stirred up silt in the river so the water has a brownish tinge to it, but the water is clean. If you click to open to the full width, you can see the gap where a bridge spans between Ontario and Quebec.
Being  near the river always makes me think of the early fur traders who used this waterway as a highway to take them to the St. Lawrence River.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sunny Days

 We've been having a very dry summer that is challenging for the farmers and gardeners, but I am focusing on enjoying the sunny days . I don't think me wringing my hands will make it rain so I am going to soak up the rays and appreciate the lack of mosquitoes.  Winter will be here soon enough.
 I have been watering the vegetables and the annual flowers as needed, and they are growing well in the sunshine and warmth. When I weed, I use the pulled-out weeds as a mulch around the veggies.
One thing about getting older is that you have more memories to draw from: "I remember the summer of 19___ when the wells were running dry."  We've always had erratic weather, and somehow we manage.  I was reminded yesterday of 1816, the year summer  didn't happen.  Because a large volcano had erupted and put tons of ash into the atmosphere, many parts of the world had no real summer weather that year.  In Ontario, a significant frost occurred in every month right through summer..