Sunday, July 24, 2011

Four Years... It's Time for a Change

Had I been on top of things before posting yesterday, I might have noticed that it was exactly four years since I published my first blog post.

During that time, I have only changed my blog layout once - about two years ago. Similarly, my profile photo went back about three years, and since I don't have that Dorian Gray thing happening for me, I figured it was time to update that too. The image of me is courtesy of Frank (who nudged me into blogging in the first place), taken just last week on the dock, at the cottage. The moment behind the heron header is described in the post below.

Thank you to everyone who so kindly comes by to visit me regularly and leaves such warm and encouraging comments. You folks are nicer than words can express.

Below are a few images taken from the dock.

It's one of the nicest places on the planet to sit and watch nature unfold. Bring a book, if you like. And a camera - that's a must. I'll pour us a few summer drinks. Come join me on the dock.

two loons
A pair of loons, bathing and preening as they slowly made their way past the dock, one evening. The sun was behind them, so their features were mostly in shadow. Still you can see the water droplets splashing out from one of them. They're such beautiful birds.

Great Blue Heron in flight
Occasionally, we are treated to a fly-by from Mr. Blue. Truthfully, I can't tell the males from the females but I always think of these gorgeous herons as Mr. Blue or, when discussing him with Frank, he tends to be "Our Boy." This one just sailed right in front of the dock while I was reading. I looked up just in time to grab my camera and "click."

frank and ben on dock
Of course, Frank and Benny also like the view. Frank likes the view of a fish on the end of his rod with a late day cast. And Benny would like nothing more than to re-catch it as it comes out of the water. Hey, guys! You're blocking our view of the sunset!

clouds lake sun
Ahhh, there it is. Just a few more minutes of this splendour or we'll be eaten alive by mosquitos and deer flies.

golden sunset
One last look at the lake, dock and all as we head back into the cottage.

There should be more photos coming up soon.


Brian Miller said...

oo..beautiful view across the lake...nice change of pace...congrats on 4 years...getting close to that for me, come october...nice pic too hilary...happy 4 years...and 4 more? smiles.

Maggie May said...

Lovely new layout.
I am a stick in the mud with mine, aren't I?

Glad you are planning another 4 years blogging!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Ruth Hiebert said...

WOW!!! The beauty you are surrounded with at the cottage is breathtaking.I thought the Loon pictures was the best,until I saw the sunset ones.Oh my,I am in awe.

Anonymous said...

Four years ~ that is Fantastic! I love all of the changes ~ the cool blues with the warm golden light ~ beautiful ♥

Melinda said...

Oh, what a lovely image of the blue heron, I have yet to catch one... the camera is never handy! The new design looks great, it's always fun to change things up! The dock looks like a most peaceful place to be. :)

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful images, especially the "Loons"

messymimi said...

Great choices for layout.

Well, i'll bring a camera only if it is a PhD; you know, a Push here, Dummy! :)

Anita said...

A pinch more color is a perfect new look for your very vibrant blog.

Love the shots, as always. How nice it is that you, Frank, and Benny share a love of nature. What a connection!

Congratulations on four years of blogging. Here's to many more!

Leah J. Utas said...

Love the new look. Congratulations on four years blogging. Great pics, as is your way.

Dawn said...

Oh wow! Hilary...that was the most beautiful dock sitting I have ever done! What a gorgeous way to end the day.
Congrats on your 4 have blessed us all with your talent and view on the world!!!!

Mimi said...

Congrats on your blogoversary!
I like the new look.
Your photos are stunning, especially the last two, what an amazing sunset, worth a mozzie bite or two (though in my case it would probably be 200! they love me!)

Anonymous said...

These are just too beautiful for words... great snap of the boys on the dock too!

CorvusCorax12 said...

what gorgeous pictures and the new layout is very nice too

Birdie said...

I have been blogging for about seven years and 40 and... is my 4th blog. I changed because I feel that *I* have changed. I do like looking back at old posts but I feel the need to change my template every so often. I wish life was that simple! :-)
Thanks for your e mail. I have a lot to think about.

Cheryl Kohan said...

Beautiful, as usual. I think you should be hired by the Canadian tourist bureau...if these photos wouldn't "reel" in a bunch of tourists, I'd be shocked!

It's a goal of mine to get up to Canada for a relaxing commune with Mother Nature. Somehow it just seems more "naturey" there.

Cheryl Kohan said...

P.S. Forgot to tell you that I love the new look, too!

Bossy Betty said...

My hear skipped a beat when I saw that title! My first thought was I hoped this was not a goodbye! What would I do without your wonderful spirit gracing the blogging world? Love the new color and picture too!

Liz Mays said...

I don't want you to go inside. It's too beautiful out there!

By the way, what camera do you use?

Kristina P. said...

I love your new picture! Your eyes are so warm and welcoming.

~JarieLyn~ said...

It's been awhile since I've stopped by. Looks like I came at just the right time. Congrats on four years and I really like your new layout and the color too. Your photos are beautiful as always, but I do have a soft spot for Benny. Love that pic of he and Frank on the dock blocking the sunset.

Unknown said...

Another gorgeous series!

TexWisGirl said...

oh my goodness. loons, herons, beautiful benny butt! then ending with such glorious sunset shots... truly wonderful.

like the new look of the blog and new photo!!! :) congrats on 4 YEARS!!!

ethelmaepotter! said...

Whew! I thought for a moment you were leaving the blogging world...nooooooooo!!!!

But what a wonderful way to celebrate four years - completely different look, just as beautiful as the last, and more views of the world from Paradise. How can you bear to leave?

June said...

A peaceful lake full of loons (including the brown and white bouncy one) and herons and fish. And a sunset to boot.
Life is good.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Glorious pics - as always Hilary. The sunset over the water just makes me sigh ... I'm packing a bag: book (tick), camera (tick), bug spray (tick), happy anticipation (double tick). :)

The new look will really compliment your photography.

Congratulations on four years of blogging - here's to many, many more!

Cloudia said...


Looking forward to Benny and many more such posts :)

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral


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She Who Carries Camera said...

An entirely new house and decor...lovely!

Your lake scenes are heavenly!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Oh, I love loons; and this image is beautiful. The sunset over the lake is lovely, too.

I'm always amazed at the absence of people on so many Canadian lakes. In the States, wherever there's a puddle, there's a race to build a cottage on it. You can't go to a lake on a weekend without risking life and limb with all the boats and jet skis on it. Frank's family's cottage appears to be a gem of peace and serenity.

Unknown said...

Stunning place to pass the time away! Those sunsets are to die for!
I don't think I would ever come back ... well maybe when snow is on the way!

Unknown said...

Hey, glad to be around for this monumental change! It's delightful!

Anonymous said...

congratulations!! I don't feel so bad - I've been intending to change my layout and still haven't gotten around to it. These are gorgeous photos - love that reflection and the one of Mr. Blue.

Frank Baron said...

Looks good. Especially the new pic of you. ;)

Here's to many more blogaverseries. :)

DJan said...

I haven't changed my look for awhile, but the pictures are recent. I love your new look and, of course, the pictures are outstanding. Or maybe that is Benny out standing... :-)

christopher said...

Stunning shot of the heron. I like the loons as well. A while back I would often go up to Maine...Lake Kezar...also a great nature spot...and plenty of loons.

ds said...

Oh, the heron is gorgeous! So are the loons, the sunset, the new blog layout--and the blogger.
Congratulations on your first 4 years!
Ohhh, the view from that dock!
Thank you, Hilary.

Pierre BOYER said...

Lovely pictures...
I particulary love the one with the man legs and the dog...
Have a nice week,


Unspoken said...

Four years?! I think I have blogged about as long. Just not all in one place. I like the blue change from green!

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Brian. It's a wonderful view - uninhabited so far. Thanks very much for the kind words. I hope for at least 4 more. :)

• Thank you, Maggie. You're not a stick in the mud. You're a classic! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Ruth, thank you so much. I'm very lucky to spend time in such a beautiful place and I'm happy to share my images with you. I'm glad you enjoy them. :)

• Christine, thanks very much. :)

• Melinda, the secret to getting a shot of a blue heron is to ALWAYS have the camera handy. That, and a bit of luck. ;) Thanks very much for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Bob. I knew you'd be drawn to the birds. :)

• MessyMimi, thank you. And you made me laugh with that remark. Do your shoes say "TGIF?" (toes go in first). ;)

• Anita, thank you. We're very lucky to be able to enjoy what we have in common. Thanks so much for the kind comments. :)

• Thank you, Leah. Very much appreciated. :)

• Dawn, thank you for joining me. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. And thanks very much for such kind words. :)

• Thank you, Mimi. The mosquitoes seem to love me too - no matter how poorly I treat them. Thanks for the kind comment. :)

• Di, thanks very much. I'm glad you like them. :)

• Twain, thank you kindly. Much appreciated. :)

• Birdie, I can understand your changing your blog to suit where you feel you are in life. My blog, as it is, still suits my main purpose - that is to post photos and to ramble on occasionally. I just needed to freshen the look a bit. Be safe, my friend. :)

• Thank you, Cheryl. Such a kind thing to say. :) We might seem more "nuturey" (love that word) here because we're a bigger land mass with far fewer people than the U.S. We have to spread out. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Betty, sorry to mess with your heart rhythm. Despite my sporadic visits lately, I'm not planning on going anywhere just yet. You're much to kind for saying that though. Thank you. :)

• BlueViolet, fine! Just pass the deep woods deet, please! My camera is a Canon EOS 50D. :)

• Kristina, thank you so much. :)

Hilary said...

• JarieLyn, your timing is good! I'm glad you stop by when you can and I'm especially pleased that you enjoy the pics. I'm sure you'll be seeing lots more of Benny through the season. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks kindly, Chip. :)

• Tex, thank you. I think you can include Benny among the loons, sometimes. ;)

• EthelMae, noooo. I'm not planning on going anywhere just yet. Sorry to convey the wrong message. Thanks so much for your kind comment. It's not too hard to leave the cottage when I know I'm going back soon. I hope that won't be too long from now. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• June, you know and understand Benny well. He is indeed the looniest of them all. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Bonnie. I'm glad you're packing all those things but please leave all those ticks at home. We don't want Lyme disease. ;) Thanks so much for the very kind words and wishes. They're so appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Cloudia. I'm sure I'll have plenty of Benny for you. :)

• Thanks very much Jill. That means a lot to me coming from such an artsy one as you. :)

• Much appreciated, Linda. What you describe is similar to many lakes here too. The lake where Frank's cottage is, is surrounded with Crown land. His parents and I believe, other church members (Frank can correct me if I'm wrong) were offered the opportunity to buy land and build on it forty years ago. Most of the surrounding land is still Crown property. It is indeed a reasonably quiet lake. It's also quite a large one, and of course other areas of its shores are more populated, so boat traffic is significant in summer. But rarely, if ever disruptive. It's a great place. Thanks for dropping by, my friend. :)

• MM, you sure wouldn't want to be there during the winter.. unless of course you had a winterized place. I shiver at night in October.. sometimes even in June. I'm a weather weenie. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Susan. I'm glad you could join me. :)

• Barbara, thanks very much. Yes, don't feel bad at all. It's fun to make the changes but if time is short, there's other more important things to do. This was a last minute decision today. :)

• Thank you, Frank. I'm glad you think so. Many more, I hope.. yours, mine and ours. ;)

• DJan, thank you kindly. You made me laugh with your outstanding remark. :)

• Christopher, thank you kindly. I love Maine, though I don't know Lake Kezar. I've spent some time traveling around and camping at Mt. Desert Island - beautiful area. Thanks very much for stopping by. :)

• Thank you so much, DS. You never fail to make me smile. :)

• Thanks very much, Pierre. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Thanks, Amy. I remember a few of your incarnations. I'm glad you've kept at it. :)

Nancy said...

Love the new look and all of the gorgeous pictures. Thanks for all you do for us!

Moannie said...

Now I see you and Frank as Katherine and Henry by their 'Golden Pond'. Do you affectionately call him an 'old coot'? And do you pick wild strawberries together and sit rugwrapped as you watch the sun come down?

What bliss, what a beautiful place; and thank you for sharing so generously with us.

New layout and picture...yes, like it.

Anonymous said...

What fabulous shots from the cottage! I love the new layout (although the dark font is a little hard to read on the blue background?)

Congrats on four years of blogging!

Oh - what a lovely shot of the heron.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Seriously, it's been FOUR YEARS? I remember when you started, and it seems so much more recently than that. Perhaps because your images are so fresh and beautiful. I can't believe you keep finding more new things to "say" with your lovely pictures every week.

So glad you've hung in there!

Anvilcloud said...

Great photo of the heron (for your header too). When you mention mosquitoes and deer flies, I shudder. Love the geography of the north, but those insects ... ugh. We actually prefer "the cottage" in autumn and winter if we can get there.

Out on the prairie said...

I am envious of the heron in flight.The blue background is a good color for your wonderful photos.I too would like to see the fish on the end of my rod.

Friko said...

I don't care for how many years you have been blogging like this, it is wonderful for me to have found this site and your beautiful photos.

Still, it would be churlish not to congratulate you, so, all together now:

May happy returns of the day!

Pauline said...

The blue is a perfect backdrop for your photos, and for Mr. Blue! Thanks for the sunset on the dock.

Lynne with an e said...

Striking new look to your blog! I love the blue tones, and the header with Mr.Blue is amazing. Congratulations on sticking to your blogging post (rather like a tongue to a metal flag pole in the middle of a Canadian winter) for four years! I'm so happy to have recently discovered it and am always dazzled by your beautiful photos and entertained by your remarks.

Daryl said...

LOVE this blue .. love the header .. but surely Frank could take a photo of you smiling .. you are such a lovely woman with such a pretty face .. sadly that headshot is not flattering! Change it!!! xo

Gail Dixon said...

Wonderful photos! Love the new look of your blog and your profile pic.

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray recently and LOVED it!

Suldog said...

Breathtakingly beautiful setting, that is. I wish I was there now.

The new layout is nice, and so is the new photo of your lovely self. Congratulations on four years!

Reb said...

I love the new look!

Thanks Frank for getting us an updated photo of Hilary too ;)

Great photos Hilary. Lovely sunsets and I like the Benny & Frank shot.

Indrani said...

Love this new look, my fav color is blue. :) Congrats on 4th bloggversary. Lovely shots.

Lisa said...

They are all so very gorgeous. Four years in one place is so wonderful. I know that form coming from WLS.
I love your new layout , colors and your new photo of you is wonderful.
So happy to see you .

Sandi McBride said...

Your photos are always so wonderfully done that I feel I could dip my toes in the water off the dock, reach out and pat dear Benny and stroke a wing of a passing bird...should you ever do a photo book, I'd buy it, happily!

larkswing said...

Very nice! Thank you for wonderful images and great links and terrific words!


Mage said...

Just to add to your massive notes today, but I'm always here. I so appreciate that a huge talent like you posts and chats. Good stuff.

Jayne said...

Oh- this reminds me of our lake! How I wish I had you and your camera up at our place in Maine. Your photos are magnificent, Hilary!

Love the new look, too. :)

Wanda..... said...

Beautiful sunset photo and lovely Blog...can hardly wait to fully explore.

Anonymous said...

Very very cool - I like the whole new look. And thanks for the updated pic of yourself too - great to be able to see you in my mind's eye while reading your posts...

Naqvee said...

I have come here after a long time what a relief your blog gives me.. its serence its calm and yet so much to speaking and talking... Love the pics Benny and Frank's pic is #1 for me..


ellen abbott said...

You scared me, when I saw the post title I thought you were going to say goodbye. Love the new layout and the colors and most especially the new pic of you. But I do find the black print on that beautiful purple hard to read.

photowannabe said...

Love your new picture and blog header. 4 years, congratulations. I'm glad you have kept up with it. I love coming here and seeing what little tidbits have struck your famcy.
Gorgeous pictures of the sunset. makes me jealous.

Brandy Marie said...

your lake view is just so beautiful. If there is a Heaven on Earth, You definitely have a piece of it. Congrats on 4 years of Blogging :) _B

SandyCarlson said...

Your revisions are beautiful. You have me totally appreciating blogging anew right now. The cool people are here, wherever we are. I love the profile photo.

And Benny. I pray the two-legged version will walk my way some day!

yaya said...

Love the new layout! Your photos are amazing. We have a heron that visits us and we don't live anywhere near water...I actually saw a little one fly over and sit on top of one of our pines..maybe he was looking for your lake and beautiful sunset?

Hilary said...

• Thank you so kindly, Nancy. Much appreciated. :)

• Moannie, you're too funny. I can't say that I've ever referred to Frank as "an old coot" but I've often called him "a stubborn old fart." Thank you so much for your kind words, dear lady. You're a true gem. :)

• Lady Fi, thanks very much. I darkened the post background and lightened the font. I appreciate your input and I hope that helps. :)

• Crabby, I remember visiting your blog when mine wasn't even a consideration yet. You were partly responsible for my wanting to start one, so thank you so much for that. And thanks very much for your always kind words. I'm glad to see your return to blogging. :)

• Thank you, AC. Mosquitoes and mostly deer flies make me shudder too. And itch. A lot! I know what you mean about waiting until later in the year for cottage life. I personally prefer the warm lake water and not shivering while fishing out in the boat but I also enjoy the campfires and comfy hikes devoid of bugs, too. August is a happy medium, don't you think? Thanks always for the visit.. and for the very kind words. :)

• Steve, thanks very much. I don't suppose you're doing much fishing on your trip across Iowa but I hope you're enjoying yourself nevertheless. Thanks for the kind words. They're very much appreciated. :)

• Friko, thank you very kindly. You brought a smile to my face, as you so often do. :)

• Pauline, thank you so much. I'm glad you could join me. :)

• Louciao, thanks very much for all of your kind words. And the funny ones, too. :) You're too kind. :)

• Daryl, thanks.. I think. Frank has taken dozens of photos of me. He thinks they're all great. I selected a couple of them - both of which you've seen. Maybe sometime down the road I'll change it over again. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Gail, thank you kindly. How cool that you just read this particular book. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you so much, Jim. You're always so kind.. probably because I don't hand out awards. ;) Your warm words are always very much appreciated. Thanks for that, my friend. :)

• Thank you, Reb. I will pass those words along to Frank though I suspect he'll see them for himself soon enough. :)

• Thank you, Indrani. I'm glad I could oblige by using your favourite colour. :)

Hilary said...

• Lisa, thank you so much. Your kind words are so appreciated. :)

• Sandi, so good to see you. And thank you so much for your kind words. They're very much appreciated. :)

• Thanks kindly, Lailani. :)

• Mage, thank you very much. You are too kind. :)

• Jayne, I'd love to be in Maine. It's one of my favourite places though I've not been there for about 8 years. Thanks so much for you very kind words. :)

• Welcome, Wanda and thanks very much for your kind comment. :)

• Roobo, thank you. I'm glad you like the changes. Thanks always for your visits. :)

• Naqvee, nice to see you. Thanks very much for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

• Ellen, sorry for the scare. You're not the first to think that but I had no idea my post title would be taken that way. In retrospect I can see that it could. I'm in no rush for goodbye's except maybe briefly, when we head back up to the cottage soonish. You're the second one to mention difficulty in reading the font colour, so I've changed the post background, making it darker, and I've lightened the font. Thanks so much for letting me know and for your always kind words. They mean so much to me. :)

• Sue, thank you kindly. Yours was one of the first blogs I started visiting regularly. It's nice to know that we're still visiting and enjoying one another. Thanks for that. :)

• Brandy Marie, thanks very much. I do believe you're right about this spot. It is a little bit of heaven. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Sandy, thank you so much, my friend. I do hope you're right about your desires. Though be careful what you wish for. Benny really is a bit of a nut job. ;)

• Yaya, thank you so much. I think that's cool that you have a visiting heron.. but away from water is surprising. They tend to stay close to their fishing spots. You must feel honoured that they come to visit you. Thank you so much for your always kind words. They're so appreciated. :)

Jeff said...

Looking at your photos in Beijing, after having just spent hte day walking on the Great Wall, I realized I'm missing summer evenings on the lake in Michigan! The evenings (when the mosquitoes aren't too bad) are magical. THanks for the photos.

Dianne said...

the moment I read 'a pair of loons' I started laughing and can't stop
wouldn't it be cool for you and me (and I will bring Daryl) to sit on the dock like a pair+1 of loons :)

nice tush in that man and his dog photo - Benny too ;)

Cricket said...

Looks lovely... a pair of loons, eh? Any irony there? Heh, heh.

Sorry to have been a blogging lame-o. Lord, it feels like forever... and things won't improve until I can get all these people out of my house and back to school.

Well, I guess we all need time to relax. Mine will likely come in the fall.

I don't know why, but I think I would like to hear Neil Young sing Helpless right about now.

Was it really so long ago you changed to the green look ?!? Time hurries on....

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Very beautiful. Enjoyed the visit to your lake.

My blog so needs an update, but I have enough trouble with the upkeep.

Barb said...

What a wondrous place to relax and watch Nature unfold. Happy Blogversary to you, too! I love the photo of Frank and an expectant Benny on the dock.

Wendy said...

Wow - what a pic!! I absolutely love that heron in flight! You are so talented, Hilary.

Time for a change and it's a good change. I like your new look. Think I'll have to get a new look too.
Isn't summer fun? Sitting on the dock, watching the sunset, fishing, reading, dog walking and running from mosquitoes, ahhhh, I'll have that drink, please!

Country Girl said...

OMG - these are too beautiful for words. Four years yesterday?! Well now.

Congratulations on that. Love the new header.

Hilary said...

• Wow, Jeff. I'm going to have to catch up with your blog again, and see your post on the Great Wall. I'm amazed that you find the time to blog and blog hop while on your travels. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Dianne, you make me laugh. I think that the three of us would make a fine bunch of loons. I relayed your remark to Frank. He's strutting now. ;)

• Cricket that irony didn't get past you or Dianne (see comment above yours). It's totally understandable about the time needed away from blogging. Summer is a busy season for so many of us. I'm so glad that you did stop by though. I've missed you. :)

• Thank you, MJ. I know the feeling. You'll change when you can. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Barb, thank you kindly. Your warm words are very much appreciated. :)

• Wendy, thank you so kindly. Your sweet words mean so much to me. I'll have that drink on ice for you before you can say "look at that sunset!" :)

• Kate, thanks so much. Yeah.. time flies, eh? :)

BrandNewStudio said...


Sérgio Pontes said...

Your photos are really nice


Anonymous said...

A change is always good !

love the way benny stands

Claudya Martinez said...

Four years is quite an accomplishment! Congratulations, I'm so glad I get to see your lovely images. The layout looks great and it's nice to see your current beautiful face.

lime said...

they new profile pic and blog design are both great. not that i had any problem with the old ones but it's just fun to see the new look.

Hilary said...

Thanks very much Brand New Studio, Sergio, TVF, Mami and Lime. You're all very kind and I appreciate it more than I can say.

Unknown said...

Outstanding images that are comforting, calming and fun!

DeniseinVA said...

Fabulous photos, nature surrounds and I feel joy :)

Anonymous said...

I love this place. I feel calmer just looking at your photos. I can't imagine what it might be like to live there.