Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wee Paws and Posts of the Week

Thank you all very kindly for the warm, encouraging and supportive words on my last blog post. They are so appreciated. You folks are the absolute best!

* * * We pause for our (not so) regularly scheduled blogcasting to bring you a moment shared between friends * * *

Wee paws for..

benny skitty tete a tete
a nuzzle,

benny skitty tete a tete2
a secret,

skitty nose
and a contented purr.

* * * We now return you to our regular blogcasting schedule. * * *

I have far more POTW than usual, this week - mostly because I've been slacking off lately. Be sure to bookmark this page if you don't have time to visit these bloggers for a while. You won't want to miss their fine posts.

❀    ❀    ❀

And now, without further delay, here are the Posts of the Week. The icon below is yours for the taking if your blog post is named as a POTW.



by Michelle
at House of Lime

Is Blogging Taking Over Your Life?
by Betty
at Cut and Dry

Mickey - The Love Sick Budgie
by Eddie
at Clouds and Silvery Linings



Faith Whispers
by Laura
at Shine the Divine

Birds's Eye View
by Glo
at Porcelain Rose

Feather Air
by Daniel
at The Pixel Collective

Past Pleasure
by Steve
at Out on the Prairie



An Eden for Elephants
by Stephen
at Chubby Chatterbox

The Street Sweeper
by Lisa
at Lisa Gordon Photography

Conversing With the Moon
by Bimbimbie
at Bimbimbie Plus

Nico and Me
by Rosaria
at SixtyFiveWhatNow



Whack A Doo
by Di
at Diane Cayton Hakey

The High Cost of Beauty
by Sandi
at Holding Patterns

My Furnace Thermostat Crashed
by Red
at Hiawatha House

Riddle Me This
by Ray
at Out and About in New York City



Soft and Cozy
by Linda
at Crafty Gardener

Unexpected Art
by Karen
at Spokalulu



New Best Friend
by Elizabeth
at Magical Moments



Tackling a Fresh Coconut
by Kamana
at Capturing Joy Everyday

The Meendharas of Sunderbans
by Indrani
at I Share


Please drop by their blogs for a visit and leave a kind comment if you have the time. Also, please feel free to add your own choices (for any blog except this one) for a specific blog post in the comments section below, where others can see them.

Thank you

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Overcoming Fear and Lucky Ladybugs

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The other day, I brought some trash and recycling to the dump - about ten minutes from home. There isn't anything unusual about that for the average person but it was a first for me. I'd been to the dump several times before. And I've tossed trash and sorted the recyclables before. So how was this a first?

Well to tell you that, I have to confess something that has always embarrassed me. Something that just about everyone else does daily and without much effort or difficulty. Something that most people at this stage in my life have been doing for over forty years. Something that I've managed to get by without but have always wished I had accomplished like everyone else.

I never learned to drive.

Gasp! Shock! Oh my! Yep, I can hear the collective surprise in your reading voices.

I lived in cities for most of my life and it's rather easy to get around them by bus, so it was just as easy for me to put aside thoughts of learning to drive. At first, it was just as convenient to not be driving. After a while it became a habit. Before I knew it, it had become a fear. I didn't think I could do it.

But up here in the country, life is a bit different. No, it's a lot different. The closest town is about fifteen minutes away and the closest grocery store is more like a twenty minute drive. Things I'd like to explore with my camera are all over the place but very few are within walking distance. I want to be able to do all of those things and more on my own, so a month after I moved here, I began driving lessons.

Let's back up a bit. I started driving lessons almost two years ago - with Frank. He frequently took me around the lakeshore road near his home but it would seem that my progress was .. slow. I appreciate all of the time and patience he put into helping me but I simply wasn't getting anywhere fast. Once I arrived here and December rolled around, I knew I needed to accelerate those lessons (so to speak) and I hooked up with the only available driving instructor in town - 24 year old Jasmine with whom I immediately clicked. I also discovered that I was far more comfortable driving her car than Frank's so my confidence began to build.

Weather has been bad this winter and so some lessons had to be postponed. Jasmine's time was also limited as she is a supply teacher at the high school during the week and a swimming teacher on Saturdays. She squeezed me in whenever she could and I had several hours of instruction throughout the winter months.

So back to the dump. It was a first for me because that was my premier solo drive after obtaining my license* on Wednesday.

So, I'm still kind of embarrassed to say that that at this stage in my life, I'm only beginning to take my place in the driver's seat but at the same time, I'm kind of proud that at 58, I've finally accomplished this and overcome the fear I've carried around with me for so many decades. That feels rather liberating.

I have no photos with which to document the day - it was only a trip to the dump, after all. So I'll just post a few that I had already planned to share.

* The province of Ontario has a graduated license system and this G2 document grants me nearly all driving privileges after being tested on basic driving manoeuvres. The full G license can be obtained after being tested on more advanced driving skills in one year.

* * *

Below are a few photos of one of our little red guests who have wintered over at our place.

ladybug on sink2
This little one was making its way along the edge of the kitchen sink. You can see some of the scratches etched into the aluminum from scouring.

ladybug on sink
It appeared to be drawn toward the pretty aqua reflection from the hand soap.

ladybug on coffee maker3
Another one watched on from the top of the coffee maker. You'd think we are infested with them. We kind of were in October but not any more. We just have a few holdouts. 

ladybug on handsoap
It seems to be an overwhelming task to climb all the way to the top of the bottle but by putting one foot in front of the other, this determined little ladybug will make it.

ladybug on handsoap3
It's a long, colourful climb.

ladybug on handsoap4
And before she knew it, the ladybug was circling the dispenser.

ladybug on handsoap5
And safely made its way down again. I feel a bit of a kinship with this wee critter.

More photos coming up soonish.

Monday, March 17, 2014


I'm here to make some excuses for my less than reliable blogging schedule. Part of it is just being in a new place and falling into different rhythms. Part of it is because it's been a really cold, snowy winter and there's only so much to see and photograph when the world is buried under a few feet of snow, whenever I venture out into the cold. Mostly it's because up here in the country, our only "high speed" internet option is satellite and really, they misrepresent the meaning of speed. A simple upload of a dozen photos to Flickr seems to take a matter of hours with several images timing out and the whole process needing to be started over again. I started an upload about fifteen minutes ago and it's just now retrying the first image after an unsuccessful start. I have yet to find a time of day or kind of weather (that file just timed out again) which facilitates the upload.

Anyway, I'm less inclined to do a series of posts in advance like I normally did because of this. Okay, that's enough complaining. On with this group of photos. I'm sure they'll upload eventually. In fact, if you're reading this, they obviously have.

The things that stand out are often the oddities.
~ Pierre Salinger

Oddities. I'm probably stretching the boundaries a bit here but for the sake of going with a theme, please humour me.

golden orbs
Three suns! Well there you go - that's not true at all. But it is one lovely rising sun and a couple of glares reflecting off of the glass through which I was shooting. That's what happens when you don't follow the rules and end up shooting straight into the sun.

This goes back to late November when we had freezing temperatures but no snow. I was walking Benny one morning and found a dead chickadee on the road. I tried to pick it up so that I could put it on a grassy area - it just didn't feel right to leave it on the road. But I did end up leaving it there because I couldn't remove it - it appeared to be frozen to the road. The next morning, all that was left of it was its wing - still frozen to the road. I guess it became some creature's meal.

slip sliding
Fast forward to February 21. My friend Carol Anne and her significant other, Michael were visiting. The three of us went out for a walk and this shed/garage caught Michael's eye. "Look at the roof. That's about to slide off of there any time now." Carol Anne and I agreed that it was only a matter of time. How long could gravity hold out? Well, fast forward again. The above photo was taken on March 9th. We've not had a notable snowfall since the middle of February and so it has to be the same snow that was saw the previous month. Evidently, gravity is a stubborn old fart.

cloud mountain
I snapped this photo because I thought that cloud looked like a distant mountain. If I didn't know the landscape around here, I could have easily been fooled. I never claimed to be clever.

blue jay impression
Let's have a look on the other side of the house. The small table on the deck had a fair pile of snow collecting on top of it. I had been watching a blue jay flit about on the deck - probably after it peeled more paint off of the house. For a brief moment, it seemed to perch on a tiny icy shelf on the side of the snow pile. When it took off again seconds later, it left its impression behind. Can't see it?...

blue jay impression sparkles
Have a closer look.

frozen beer
Frank's friend Peter has been up to visit us a few times. It's been pretty cold his last few times up here. He's no longer in the habit of using the back deck as a refrigerator for his beer supply. Not when Mother Nature behaves more like a freezer. This bottle was nearly frozen solid inside.

I looked out over the lake one day, to see not one but two of these beasties flying fairly low over the water. I was able to grab the camera in time to snap this second of the two planes. The next day, Frank spotted them again, one of them banking fairly close to the tree line - or so it seemed. I knew where to turn in order to confirm which of our Armed Forces aircraft it was. My son, Jeffrey quickly replied to my emailed question and image with the information I wanted. "It's a C-130J Hercules transport aircraft. It would be from 436 Squadron out of Trenton." He also figured that they were in training. The boy knows his stuff.

Early one morning, the sun was rising in shades of gold which reflected off of the snow crystals all over our yard. It glittered like diamonds. The previous night, Frank saw the same sparkles by moonlight. It wasn't as cooperative as the morning light for photography though.

ladybug on coffee maker2
We've had a fair number of ladybugs winter over at our place. They entered the house by the dozens in October, before I was here to stay. Frank would give me the running count in email each day - "I just caught and released ladybug #47 for the day!" Of the dozen or more that we've seen around the place through the winter, some have died but the rest seem to be enjoying the winter sunshine by roaming the kitchen window sill. This one made its way over to the top of the coffeemaker and was having a good look at its reflection.

golden icy window sunrise
A little bit of frost on the bedroom window caught not only the glint of the golden sunrise but other jewel tones, as well.

That's it for now. More photos coming before too long - Flickr willing.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Walking on Water

For a change, I'm rather up to date with photos. These were taken a little over a week ago.

The day broke in pastel shades of loveliness.

My younger son, Alex was visiting for the weekend and was sleeping in the next room. I miss living, breathing, laughing and simply being under the same roof as this man child of mine. But for this weekend, my boy was with me and all was good. As the day progressed, we lingered over a hearty breakfast - something in which none of us tend to indulge but the occasion of his visit seemed to call for it.

trail to blueberry
It was a pleasant day, just as the dawn had predicted and Alex and I decided to take Benny for a walk on a path I'd never travelled before - at least not in winter.

the way to blueberry
Beneath our feet was the frigid waters of Lake Baptiste. Thankfully, there were a couple of feet of ice between our boots and the water. That's Blueberry Island sitting way across the bay, and it was our destination for today.

Benny was thrilled to be off leash for a change and spent his energy running ahead and then back again to greet us. Snowmobile paths made for an easy route to follow.

ex tree
The water, snow, rain and wind have all done their part to smooth the bark off of these wood specimens.

Alex and Benny running
I think my son also enjoyed the freedom of walking on water. He soon picked up the pace and sprinted across the bay, with Benny in hot pursuit.

Alex and Benny running2
It took us about a half hour to get there. Benny and Alex arrived before I did.

Alex and Benny running4
By far.

Alex and Benny running3
It would be cool to have their energy.

Alex and Benny running5
Once we got across the bay, it was lovely to see Blueberry Island up close and personal.

blueberry with icicles2
In other seasons, it's a popular spot for rock climbing. And for getting stuck. In November, the guys who are working on our house watched as a helicopter was needed to rescue a few climbers who were stranded on Blueberry's face. I was taken with the crags, holes, swirls, cracks and layers on this rocky beauty.

blueberry icicles
Snowfalls, melts and freezes resulted in enormous icicles in a few places.

blueberry up close
By now, the wind had picked up and was blowing those clouds pretty quickly. It was time to head home.

house view from lake
We walked back against the wind and found it to be pretty chilly at times but our cozy home awaited our return. This is how it looks like from the lake. You can see that renovations are ongoing.

Thanks for walking with us. I'll be back with more photos before too much longer.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Fine Autumnal Day and Posts of the Week

With this post, I'm taking one of my steps back in time to this past autumn. I have a few photos which I took back at my old place and I have yet to share them. I've been incredibly inconsistent blog-wise these past several months and generally less organized than usual. The southern hemisphere is heading into autumn soon so just like a broken clock which tells the right time twice a day, my post is current somewhere.

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.
~ Washington Irving

wabukayne autum
The leaves that I saw, this past autumn didn't appear to be quite as vivid as years gone by. They were still lovely though - especially when reflected in the pond water. Most of these photos were taken in Mississauga during October, while I was preparing to move.

Getting up close and personal with a sunflower.

salmon roe
Here's the one exception to the location of these images. This was snapped when I was out walking with Benny at Frank's old place. We were in town for a family wedding. It's salmon roe which had leaked out of a recently caught female.

A pumpkin bravely faces its fate. Hallowe'en was just around the corner.

yellow mum2
What's autumn without the lovely hues of potted mums? Beautiful in shades of yellow...

orange mum2

purple mum3
and purple.

The leaves may have been more subtle this year, but the colours in general were beautiful.

❀    ❀    ❀

And now, without further delay, here are the Posts of the Week. The icon below is yours for the taking if your blog post is named as a POTW.



Ice Fishing in America
by Betsy
at What Makes You Think I Have Cats?

The Biggest Surprise
by Michael
at Michael Manning.TV



Evidence of Love
by Lisa
at Lisa Gordon Photography

Mesa Arch
by Scott
at Just Used Pixels



A Thailand Beach Surprise
by Reena
at Missing Moments

Favourite Things
by Marianne
at Under Wide Suffolk Skies

The Scale of Things
by Bimbimbie
at Bimbimbie Plus



I Am Claiming My Divine Rights
by Anvilcloud (with Sue's permission)
at The AC is On



Recommended by: TexWisGirl

Betty and the Super Bowl
by Kathy
at Kathy Goes A Ramblin'

Recommended by: Linda
I Hear the Train A-Comin'
by Montanagirl
at Montanagirl

Please drop by their blogs for a visit and leave a kind comment if you have the time. Also, please feel free to add your own choices (for any blog except this one) for a specific blog post in the comments section below, where others can see them.

Thank you