Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The F-Words of February (Foolishness, Frozen, Feathers, Flames, Flowers & Frank)

Our rainy, foggy, milder weather of last week was short-lived, and we got hit with another 10cm (4") of snow on Sunday. This was nothing much compared to some of the large snowstorms we've had over the winter, but after our taste of spring, it was disappointing - unless of course you're a snow-crazed Jack Russell Terrier named Benny, who is out to kill every single shovel-full of the evil white stuff.

That's Benny's favourite winter activity. He could spend hours out there devouring snow, shivering and peeing. Inevitably, after we get him inside to warm up, he'll throw up on the nearest carpet. A small dog's belly can only hold so much water.

Here's how he looked just before we got him to come inside on Sunday. (please click to enlarge)

As usual, we took a few walks around the pond and came upon a few sights. The water refroze around this log, creating an interesting wake when it drifted in toward shore.

This adorable Mockingbird watched closely as I inched toward it to take a few shots. It didn't sing for me, but did flit about on different branches to get a closer look. I took a few shots, thanked him for his cooperation and moved on. (please click to enlarge)

Later in the day, we were treated to another lovely sunset. The sky became a fiery mass of orange and gold, melding with soft shades of mauve and yellow. (please click to enlarge)

Across the lake, rooftops and trees created a sharp silhouette against the colourful sky. (please click to enlarge)

Continuing around the pond, the setting sun painted a blend of delicate pastels on the icy surface below. (please click to enlarge)

A pair of regal Canada Geese afloat upon the lovely, mauve water. (please click to enlarge)

Earlier in the week, after the day's thaw refroze, I came upon these leaves trapped under an icy veneer. It reminded me of those elementary school projects of preserving leaves between sheets of wax paper. (please click to enlarge)

Guaranteed to warm my heart on even the coldest February day, were these lovely Valentine's roses from Frank. (please click to enlarge)

And here he his playing around by hiding behind the flowers, while I play around by hiding behind Photoshop. (please click to enlarge)


SK Waller said...

I wish I knew you and Frank. You are my kind of people!

Reb said...

Well, at least Benny seems to know to stay where the snow is being thrown. Kai used to try to get it off the shovel, you really had to watch or you would slam the blade into his nose. I came close a couple of times to clipping his chin or enlarging his smile.

Lovely photos, lovely flowers, great photoshop work.

Andrea said...

Love Benny's snowface picture!! It was disappointing to hit with more snow, wasn't it! :( Beautiful roses!

Zuzana said...

Ah, Benny is hilarious! So much life in such a little dog.;))
I so understand how tired you are of those "dustings" by now.;)) But then again, spring must be so much more appreciated in your part of the world. Your pictures always manage to capture how truly beautiful winter is after all.

The flowers are gorgeous and the sentiment behind them priceless. As is the man.;))

Sandra said...

I love Benny and his spirit. The video is wonderful.

Tabor said...

I wish I was like your little dog and eager and happy with every late snowfall into spring. Unfortunately spring starts the thaw in my veins pretty early.

Shammickite said...

That Benny tires me out! Tessapuppy revels in the snow being shovelled in her face too, must be something restricted to mad dogs, I don't think I'd like it much!
Yup, more of that $%^&^%#@!!! snow, I'm tired of it. But at least Feb is a short month and then we're marching into March. Think SPRING!!!!

Mental P Mama said...

It is always such a treat to come here! I love that Benny to bits. And that log/frozen wake is another serendipitous event....

Anonymous said...

Benny is super cute. Put a smile on my face.

Always love the pictures- makes me hope for a snow here in Texas. Wishful thinking.

Jinksy said...

More awe inspiring words and pictures from a very gifted lady.

Daryl said...

Oh that silly Benny ... lovely pix .. I love how you colorized Frank!

Tired Dad said...

Great pictures! I really like seeing your Benny playing in the snow. I wish we had snow down here for our Benny to play in!

Anonymous said...

I love the snow beard. It reminds me of when my son sticks his head in the tub water and comes up with a face full of bubbles. He yells out, I'm Santa Claus! It always makes me giggle

Leah J. Utas said...

Benny is so full of life.

Frank Baron said...

Love the shot of the Mockingbird - all chubby with fluff...hmmm...might use the same description for that guy hiding behind the flowers. What a great face for radio!! ;)

ds said...

Cute video. Love the photos, as always, particularly the sunsets (ah!) and the puffy mockingbird.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Benny looks like he's a hoot of a pet! LOVE the photos, especially the mockingbird and the colorful flowers your sweetie is holding. Do you ever do gallery showings?

Suldog said...

Benny is a hoot. I love watching an animal's reactions to snow.

Lulda Casadaga said...

Hilary: thanks for the chuckle...watching Benny is so much fun...I wish I could be there to help shovel! :)
Well, maybe not! LOL
The roses are lovely and Frank is a cutie hiding behind them...Love the photoshopping! And of course the birdie is great...and also the log trail in the frozen lake. Great job all round! Keep warm...

Gary's third pottery blog said...

yaaaaaaaay Benny!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Benny is such a sweetheart. He must get it from his "daddy." ;)

You could make money selling your photographs, Hilary. That one of the plump mockingbird is absolutely wonderful!

Tink said...

The colors on that first rose shot are just so striking! And the frozen log photo is fascinating. Not having snow (and ice) makes me forget how beautiful it can be.

HanamiGallery said...

very cute dog! our cats try to get out but once they step in the snow they freeze right in their tracks! haha.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. Love the flowers, the fact the giver is trying to hide (and your description of him playing and you playing), the darling little Benny (who is a minor celebrity in cyberspace), and the really great shot of the mockingbird against the berries!

Thanks for your warm words to my post today!

Redbush said...

Bonzi, my german shepherd and Benny would make a good pair! I can't even lift the shovel up to throw the snow when he attacks it. So, I make him go down off the deck, and throw shovelfuls of the deck while he does flips turning himself inside out to catch them along with an attack growl. I then, eventually have to lock him in the garage after he has eaten tons of it so that I can actually finish the job! Your photos are absolutely amazing! I love the rose one, but the sunset and a lot of the others!

Leenie said...

Hilary: thanks for stopping by. If I had a dog it would be a Jack Russell, or a border collie, or a German Shepherd or a...Oh well. Loved the video, and your fog photos were most excellent.

NJ said...

I feel the same about the snow as you do. I was ready for spring. However, I guess the turn in the weather will make us enjoy the spring that much more. We had a horrendous drive home from Toronto Saturday night. The snow was deep and there was not a plow in sight. Sometimes the rumble strips were the only indicator of where on the road we were.

Benny is such a cute dog. I love the mockingbird picture and the picture of Frank is adorable. Great photoshop work

RiverPoet said...

You have the most spectacular sunsets up your way, and your artistic eye is amazing.

That Benny is a nut!!!

Peace - D

Maggie May said...

your blog is so fun! i also love wordplay, as a writer, it thrills me to swim in it.

great, great photos. i adore the birdie, his bright eye...and your pups are so sweet.

Nancy said...

I loved the pictures - especially of the log - how interesting! Benny looks absolutely adorable. I have always wanted a Jack Russell. Our dog, Lucy, likes to run her face along in the snow - like a snow plow.

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Steph. What a sweet thing to say - and a fine compliment. :)

• Thanks kindly, Reb. Benny only stayed put because we were done with the distance shoveling and down to only lifting and tossing the snow onto the pile. When we're actually pushing the shovel along, he has to bite it and pull it off to the side, derailing the neat tunnel we were creating. He's a total pain. A clip on the chin, or a smile enlargement as you so cleverly put it, might deter him. Maybe even for a full thirty seconds! Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Andrea. Yes it was a disappointment after that nice thaw, but we'd have to be really naive to believe we were truly into spring in the middle of February. Still, I was hoping. ;) Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. :)

• Thanks so much, Protege. Yes, spring is very much appreciated around here, and summer. Ah, summer. It seems so far away. Thanks for the always-kind words - about the photos, about Benny and about "the man," who, no doubt will be strutting around my comments section with such a compliment. ;)

• Thanks, Sandra. He's one nutty dog, but he's a lot of fun. Thanks for the visit. :)

• I'm with you, Tabor. I'm usually ready for spring by November. And you're right - Benny does have the right idea. He enjoys every last little pellet of ice and flake of snow before spring rids us of them completely. I wish I had his energy. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Benny tires you out, Shammie? Can you imagine how we feel? ;) Tessa sounds as nutty as Ben. They'd be exhausting together. Yes, I'm ready for spring too, but it's February, and I know better. Soon though. Ish. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much for those kind words, MPM. Benny has quite the growing fan club. Nice new avatar, you have! Thanks so much for the visit. :)

• Thanks kindly, E. You're welcome to the rest of our snow.. any time. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much, Jinsky. How sweet of you to say so. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, Daryl. I'm glad you like the colorized Frank - he requested the blue bits. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thank you, Tired Dad. You might feel otherwise if you saw Benny throw up a stomach-full of melted snow - and breakfast leftovers. Other than that, he's quite a lot of fun in the snow. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Kelly. I'll bet your son looks absolutely adorable when he does that. Be grateful that he hasn't figured out Benny's snow trick. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• He truly is, Leah. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks, Frank. I'm glad you like the shot. I know how you feel about birds. I also remember you using that "face for radio" line in a funny email a long time ago. It described your visit to McGraw Hill after your book was published. It was then, that I knew you'd soon be writing columns. You just didn't quite know it yet. ;)

• Thanks, DS. I'm glad you enjoyed the video and the photos. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Angie. Gallery showing? :) The truth is - I've yet to even print one of these photos for myself. I'm planning to remedy that real soon though. I just bought some ink for my printer. Thanks for the always-kind words. :)

• Thanks, Sully. I'm glad you got a kick out of that goofball. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks so much for the very kind words, Lulda. I'll bet your enthusiasm for shoveling would be short-lived. Benny makes it kind of difficult. It's not every day that Frank gets as many compliments as his dog. He's going to love this! :) Thanks very much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much for saying so, KC - very much appreciated. And I'm sure Frank thanks you too. No doubt! :) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Tink. I'm glad you like the photos. Your always-kind words mean a lot to me. :)

• Thanks, HG. One of my cats does that exact same thing. He can sit with all four paws squished together so that he can stand on an inch of dry space. Come spring, there'll be no stopping him. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the very kind words, MT. As always, they mean a great deal to me. I hope everything is getting back to normal at your end and that your son will be just fine very soon. Thanks for taking the time to drop in when so much is going on with you. :)

• Redbush, it sounds as if Benny and your shepherd would indeed get along great. Tag-team shovel attack! And here I thought it was all the terrier mentality. :) Thanks so much for your very kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks very much for the kind words, Leenie. I love Border Collie's too.. and Shepherds. A JRT wouldn't have been anywhere near the top of my list, and yet... ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• NJ, Saturday night was not a good night to be on the 401. And you have such a long drive from Toronto, too. I was just as happy that my son didn't have to leave to go back to Kingston until Sunday. I'm glad you made it home safely. Thanks very much for the kind words about the photos. And I think I can hear Frank's head swellllling!. ;)

• Thanks very kindly, Doris. Your always-kind words are so appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much for your kind comments, Maggie May. I love word play too and I'm glad you're enjoying my blog. That means a lot to me. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, L of L. Lucy sounds like a real character. How do you keep a straight face when she does that? You ought to consider posting a video of that. :) Thanks very much for the kind words. :)

Dave said...

So much to comment on again today Hilary. Your funny movie of Bennie chasing the snow, your mockingbird photos were great,(I've never seen one - I know the song Mockingbird Hill) and the photo of the beautiful roses in colour and Frank and the rest of the pic in B&W. And all the other photos. You are a clever lady. You photos give me a sense of what Canada's really like. Wish I could visit but it will never happen for me sadly. - Dave

Deb said...

My dog, Lilly, would love to play with Benny! Her nickname is Snowpuppy. She loves to have us throw snowballs or shovels full of snow at her - just wish she didn't bark incessantly at us the whole time! Spring is right around the corner - I hope!

Shrinky said...

That clip of Benny is absolutely adorable, as is the facial shot. I think my favourite one has to be the last one, it really does say a thousand words. So love dipping in here.

SK Waller said...

Because you make me really think, I've given you an award. You can pick it up on my blog.

HeatherPride said...

I love the dog's snowy muzzle! And the mockingbird is great too. I love to hear the mockingbirds sing in my neighborhood! They are so clever. We have one that does a phone ringing and several who bark like dogs!

Dianne said...

Benny plays and drinks til he throws up - my kind of guy heheheheheh

you know how happy Benny photos make me, a video is heaven

and I love how your edited the 'flower bearing Frank photo'

SandyCarlson said...

That was a fun sequence and a great finale. So now my daughter and I know what a mockingbird looks like!

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - wonderful pictures, as always. And that Benny - what a caution! The Princess loves snow shovelling, too. Dogs are so silly.

Deedee said...

Great photos! Benny is extremely adorable.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wonderful post! The video of Benny is great! Such a happy little dog! Thanks for the smile. (:

Stace said...

I love Benny :) Did he not crash into the fence when jumping at snow?!

Dave King said...

These are really gorgeous pictures. Drool-worthy! And the narrative made them even more interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Pat - Arkansas said...

I loved every bit of this. Benny has the cuteness market cornered. It's too bad a belly full of snow makes him upchuck! That won't deter him from doing it again, though, will it? Lovely photos and prose, as usual. It's such a joy to visit here.

lime said...

oh that picture of bennie with the snowy muzzle is so funny and cute. love the mockingbird too. the colors really grab me.

JC said...

Frank done good. So did you on photoshop. Looking at your pictures makes me thankful to be in the deep south. It is a bright sunny expected to be in the 70's this afternoon kind of day.

I'm catching up on blog reading while everyone is out of the office.

Louise said...

There is definitely never a dull moment with Benny!

I LOVE the flowers. I think you know red roses aren't mine thing. It all started in college when my boyfriend at the time gave me a bouquet of mixed colors. I was "smitten!" (It was one of his few good qualities. Actually, his mother probably thought of it!)

imbeingheldhostage said...

you always get some of the most amazing bird shots-- I love Benny's little snowy face, he looks like such a happy little guy.

Sandi McBride said...

I was looking at all the wonderful pics and had to keep going back to the Mockingbird...and I started laughing when Mac, who was reading over my shoulder said "in what part of the world is THAT a Mockingbird? I said, "Canada"...he walked away saying "doesn't look like any Mockingbird I've ever seen"...I yelled at his back "that's what you said about the Robins in England...get a grip." Loved the post...ignore Mac, he's a man,what does he know?

photowannabe said...

That Benny is one crazy dog. Too cold for me. I guess I am a wimp. Love your hiding behind "photoshop" a greaat series of shots as usual.

photowannabe said...

I just read that you have never printed your pictures. Man...get that ink into your printer and get started. These are just too darn good to leave on the computer.

Indrani said...

Fascinating shots!
The mocking bird looks real cute...trying to warm it self. It is difficult your best shot actually. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks very much for such kind words, Dave. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and that you could experience winter vicariously through my camera eye. There are so many places I'd love to visit too, and probably never well. New Zealand is certainly among them. Thanks always for the virtual visits. :)

• Deb, I'll bet Lilly and Benny would probably have a blast together - except she'd probably teach him how to bark incessantly and then we'd have to kill him. ;) I hope you're right about spring. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much, Shrinky. Your kind words never fail to make me feel great. I'm glad you enjoyed the Benny antics .. and Frank's. :)

• Thanks kindly for thinking of me, Steph. Said award is now up on my sidebar. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, Heather. I've only become aware of these mockingbirds last year when a neighbour and local bird photographer identified it for me from a picture I took of one. They're anything but timid, and often seem to try to be noticed. Yet, I've not heard one sing yet, and in fact haven't seen all that many. Though I may well be hearing them and thinking they're something else. I'll keep my eyes and ears open for them. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Dianne, your comment made me laugh. I'm glad you liked the photos and the video. If Benny videos make you happy, I'll have to try to capture him more often. He's quite the ham, eh? Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks kindly, Sandy. I'm glad you liked the post. I sure do hope my info about the Mockingbird is correct (as I read ahead to Sandi's comment) but Google Images are reassuring me that I am. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Baggie. Yes, dogs can be very silly. Much like their owners. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks kindly, Deedee. I'm glad you like the photos. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Cheffie. I'm glad the video and post made you smile. Thanks always for dropping by. :)

• Stace, he may have crashed once or twice but tends to just rebound. He's a bouncy little thing. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much for the kind words, Dave. Much appreciated. :)

• Thank you for your always-kind words, Pat. No, it won't deter Benny from doing it again and again. In fact, he has at times felt poorly because of his snow-eating ways. He shivers excessively, pees frequently, throws up a few times, wanders aimlessly and then as he warms up he'll gladly start all over again. His brain must be a scary place. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Lime. Benny's snowy muzzle is a little less cute when he's mushing it into me to warm up, but yeah, he's kind of endearing to look at. :) Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks for the kind comments, JC but you sure do make me envious of your fine weather. Ah well, soon I hope. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Louise, your comment made me laugh. I'm not real crazy about red roses myself. Red just isn't a favourite colour.. for much of anything. I do however love just about any other colour of rose so this bouquet sure was a hit. I'm glad you like what I did with the photo. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, IBHH. He is incredibly happy - until he perceives that Frank is going somewhere without him. Then he goes into panic mode. Other than that, he's as happy as a lark. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Sandi, your conversation with Mac made me laugh. Then it made me wonder if I did indeed have the right bird. A few hits on Google Images assured me that I do. I think this one is a Northern Mockingbird juvenile - they're more plump and of course smaller. Now I can rightfully mock Mac (say that three times fast!). ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Sue. I did buy the ink and will start printing up some photos next week for sure. I just don't know where to start! At least I have some wall space to fill, so I guess I'll go shopping for frames. Thanks for the very kind words. They mean a lot coming from you. :)

• Thank you, Indrani. He's a cute little critter, isn't he? Thanks for stopping by with your always-kind words. :)

Tricia said...

Your photos always remind me to stop and enjoy today...to enjoy this season instead of simply anticipating the next. Thanks for that. And Benny, he wears snow really well.

Jo said...

Your photos are glorious, glorious, glorious...! Benny is a hoot!

We got hit with a snowstorm here yesterday too. Can you even imagine!? Snow in Vancouver!? And it's almost March!?

scarlethue said...

Love Jack Russells! I just posted about mine a couple days ago.

I found you through authorblog but I'm sure I've seen you posting on other blogs I read too. Hope you don't mind if I visit you again. :)

Maggie May said...

That little Benny is a scream. Such a lovable dog.
Lovely photos, especially the sunsets and I don't think I ever saw a mocking bird before!

SamJ said...

Turned on my AC in phoenix today... i am kind of jealous of your weather.

Jennifer S said...

I can never decide on a favorite photo of yours. But those leaves are beautiful. It's always a feast, stopping by here.

Kappa no He said...

I seem to recall Bennie eating waves, too. Water in all its forms!

Lovely pictures. Frank should use your creation as his author photo on his next book.


Russell said...

Well... here it is, March 1. You posted this February 24 .. 5 days ago! Guess it's time for me to crawl out from under this rock...!

My favorite image of this grouping is the log frozen in time (water). It is the frozen wake that is most intriguing. I don't think I have ever seen that. I have seen sunsets and birds and snow on dog faces (though you do all of them quite well) but I have never seen an image of a log and wake frozen in time. THAT is interesting!

Take care.

Let's see. We are now in March. I remember in school the teachers always had pictures of people flying kites in March - but I don't think I ever flew a kite in March as it was too cold! April showers did bring May flowers but, well, those March kites were fun ... on bulletin boards!

Susan English Mason said...

I enjoyed the video clip of Benny jumping to try to either catch or attack the snow, one or the other. Amazing that the mockingbird tolerated being photograph. I think the birds in Arizona think that a camera shoots bullets because they instantly fly away when they see the black/gray box hanging around my neck. Great shots as always.

Rainbow dreams said...

wonderful adorable photos...and am smiling as I grew up with a jack russel terrier who was so full of character.
thank you for sharing these glimpses of your life here :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos. I love the roses colored on the b&w image. Just beautiful.

david mcmahon said...

That third shot is great. Love the rose too.

Woman in a Window said...

I enjoy them all, as always, but that one of the mockingbird, uh, to be that close!

Unknown said...

Lovely images!!! I really like the mocking bird shot. Yr blog is so refreshing!

Hilary said...

• Thanks so much, Tricia. That's a lovely thing to say. I felt very distanced from winter before I had this camera so I know what you mean. Thanks for the very kind words. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Jo. Just do me a favour and keep your snow. We've had more than enough of it around here. Thanks very much for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Scarlethue. I'm looking forward to reading your post about JRTs and I'll be by shortly. Of course, I'd be very happy to have you return again, and often. Thanks very much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Maggie May. Yes Benny is a hoot, alright. He keeps us well entertained. Thanks so much for you kind comments. Much appreciated. :)

• As am I of yours, E4H. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Jennifer. I'm always glad to see you stop by. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• You remember that well, Terrie. Benny eats waves, snow, ice and would probably love to eat steam if he had the opportunity. There's another photo of Frank coming up on the next post. Maybe he can decide between the two. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Russell. Leave it to you to always find and comment about the least common image. I can always count on you for that. :) I agree. It doesn't feel very much like kite weather but those March winds sure do feel strong. Now don't go crawling under any more rocks. Stick around - your comments are always fun. :)

• Thank you, Susan. I'm glad you liked the video and photos. Most birds are certainly more timid than Mockingbirds. They seem to be curious and quite unconcerned with my presence. And they look inquisitively at me. They're quite sweet. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Katie. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and could relate to Benny because of your own JRT. They're quite nuts, eh? ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Gina. Your kind words are very much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much, David. Always a treat to see you out this way. :)

• Thank you, Erin. I'm glad you like the Mockingbird shot. They do amaze me with how they not only allow me to get close, but almost dare me to. They're sweet birds. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Anoop. Much appreciated. Thanks for the visit. :)

Marlene said...

Hi I found you reading the raccoon story..so heartwarming!!!your photos are awesome! I have something in common with you! checkout my blog..Jujube my Jack Russell terrier... looks alot like your Benny...and from reading about him.. they could be twins!!He keeps my husband and i on our toes..and is the love of our life!

Hilary said...

Thanks so much for the very kind words, Marlene. And you're so correct. JuJube and Benny look a lot alike. Thanks for stopping by. :)