Friday, 26 May 2017

a side trip

Wally and I often get out in the evenings, to break up my quiet day alone and his manic day at work

There's still much to do around the old homestead, but we need the juxtaposition of change.
Note how slowly the leaves on the ash trees on either sides of the driveway are coming in, always the last to fill in. Their sweetly scented blossoms have fallen all over the driveway, and their pollen all over our car.

One of our neighbours is always doing home improvement to his pretty little property.

On the main street, this little place has done a nice job of softening the exterior with various bushes.

We enjoyed watching this small mansard roofed house get renovated.

So typical of its age, this lovely house is too close to the main street now.
I love its bay windows and other Victorian features.

A house sitting in the midst of commercial buildings, not unusual out here,
 it always has a grand lit up tree in the right window every Christmas.

Up the hill is Blair House at the Agricultural Centre.

Suddenly Wally turned into the Centre.
I just missed the prime shot of the big willow on the pond

This is where the high school graduates will take their prom pictures in the near future when even more flowers will be in bloom.

We drive past the old red barn

Built in 1912, it was originally a dairy barn. It remained in operation until the '70's.
Though the old silo is gone, it remains a heritage landmark, here at the Agricultural Research Centre.

We turn right, past the main building

We can see down the hill from whence we came

a hint at what's to come

A big maple branch blocks a stand of birch

I'm sorry I didn't get a decent shot of the front of Blair House, named for the superintendent who took care of the grounds these many years ago. This is a side shot looking towards the back.

As we left the car, I fell into a world of Rhododendrons.

We often see these and Azaleas in private gardens, and while pretty, I never really fell for them.
But up close...


I never realized how much like lilies these really-quite-exotic flowers are.

Peeking through the massive planting back at Blair House

we wandered deeper into this magical, dare I say "enchanted", garden

It's froth of blossoms was enough to make one giddy

more varieties that I couldn't identify

a whatcoulditbe

with its somewhat bell-shaped flowers

up close

We wandered along grassy paths noting the pine needle beds that the Rhododendrons were planted in to acidify their soil.

Wouldn't you think this was a lily at first sight? 


The place was humming


an unusual amount of bumblebees
yet these flowers have no scent

I asked Wally to pose for scale.

These flowering bushes are insanely prolific

Wally suggested we pose together.

some more whatcoulditbe's with some lovely red leaves? flowers?

These tiny budding flowers

on this giant bush

Am I in Costa Rica?

I would have sworn this was a tropical flower, this crazy mottled Rhododendron about to bloom.
Another mystery flower in bud

up close

We were actually on our way to pick up a few groceries!

how lucky we are.

please find beauty where you are

Thursday, 25 May 2017


Welcome back to Birdland. I don't remember such a proliferation of birdies as this spring has brought. The little sparrows are nesting in the hedge, starlings in the cherry tree, crows a few houses up the street (thank goodness, the noisy things), and the robins seem to be next door.

Meanwhile, "back at the ranch", the orange crested warbler

is still going at it

staring at himself in a window of the cabin

knowing there's an intruder there 

"Yes, I'm certain! There you are!"

He continues to scrabble at the window
(my shots of that useless on this sunless day, at this distance)

the wind made it a good drying day despite the low sunlight

The little warbler takes a rest in the honeysuckle

then on a pipe leftover from the shed deconstruction

Meanwhile the pheasant is out in the field

and a starling surveys his world from the cabin roof

he hops to the crest of the roof

and begins to sing

the song of his people, all the while fluttering his wings like a wind up toy

and the gurgling

One day we listened to him do a dozen or more different musical phrases,
a private concert while we picnicked on our side porch

hopping over to meet a newcomer, such social creatures

On a sunnier day I ran for the camera just in time to get a rare shot of the female pheasant

It's the male I usually see

and I do mean usually as they are out every day,

starlings are picking loose grass in our yard for nests I suppose

the yard is lush, the little apple tree in the foreground with more blossoms than in years past

yesterday, another lucky sighting of the female, though you can see how ghost-like she appears
blending with the old hay

the male is magnificent. Can you see his feather "ears"?

It's tempting to apologize for these blurry shots

blown up from images much smaller than this

I'm just grateful to have this new view opened up
(see the warbler in the right hand window?)

On Monday, Victoria Day, here in Canada, I painted the garage doors of the cabin.
This shot taken from my studio window where...

I put the finishing touches on my robin girl
(paint pens, coloured pencils and fountain pen)
How could I not finally draw a bird after all this influence as if the Universe isn't trying to tell me something!

Gratitude. It is heightened for me with loss. That's ironic in this western world where we have so much. But it is loss that puts a fine point on our overview. It becomes our duty; yes, we are obliged to remember the abundance in which we live, and in gratitude ...