Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Like Butterflies

Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

Some of the little girls on my block are very sweet, and impossible for me to resist - especially when I have a camera in hand.

You all know Lily pretty well by now - she's a stealer of grape hyacinths, other blossom petals and of hearts.

A few doors down from Lily, you'll find Jaylyn. She usually has a smile on her face - especially when she sees Benny.

Jaylyn's little sister is Bria. She was much smaller last autumn. Kidlets have a way of growing up over the winter.

huggin cousins
Bria's same-aged cousin is Lynzie, whom you've also met semi-recently. There's another lovely face peeking over these huggin' cousins from behind. Let's get a closer look at her.

Lynzie's older sister, Leah. Another beauty to add to this bevy.

You can see that there are no shortage of adorable children in my neighbourhood. And these are only a few of them.

summer worn
Pretty dresses
Little Curls,
Oh thank heaven
for little girls!

 I'll have more photos coming up in a few days.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Where it Leads

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads. ~ Anatole France

One day, in the middle of May, I took a walk up to a park about fifteen minutes from home. There's a man made pond there called Lake Aquitaine, which attracts many of the creatures that my local pond does, and often a few others. Mostly, it's just nice to have a different place to stroll, sit and smell the flowers. And of course, take a few photographs.

sweet magnolia
Not far from my front door, a couple of neighbours have magnolia trees growing by their homes. Frank has a beautiful tree on his own front lawn, also. I never got the chance to see his in bloom, this spring so I was pleased to be able to enjoy the blossoms closer to home.

spring blossoms2
The lovely white blooms of the Serviceberry or Juneberry are a promise that there will be a lot of edible fruit coming soon. A few posts back, I included a photo of this tree from a distance, along with a profuse growth of dandelions. A couple of you asked me what the tree was. I looked it up at the time but completely forgot to edit the post to include the information. So consider that done now. The fruit is a favourite of birds and of yours truly. I usually try to sample only a couple of them and leave the rest for my feathered friends.

new growth3
Maple leaves are always interesting when they first begin to bud. These flowers have yet to fall off despite the leaves being nearly fully formed.

Another tree on the way up to the pond - full of colour, texture and life.

Painted turtle
Out on the pond, a painted turtle was sunning himself on a floating log. I didn't have a very long lens with me so this was the best I could do from a distance. Thankfully I can still zoom and crop on my computer.

helping hands
A young dad was trying to teach his little boy how to fish. The child was about three, and a bit more interested in dancing on the edge of the dock. One time too many for my maternal nerves to stand and watch for too much longer.

crab apple blossoms
At the end of the afternoon, I followed the scent of crab apple blossoms which beckoned me homeward.

Thanks for joining me at Aquitaine - even though we took this walk back in May.. I'll have more photos coming up for you soon.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest.
Henry Van Dyke

I've been rather absent from blogging recently. I've had some scheduled posts and I've popped into a few of your blogs here and there but mostly, I've been rather absent from blogging.

Part of what has been keeping me busy is home renovation. I've lived in my house for twenty-nine years, and very little has been done to keep it looking current. As some of you may know, Frank and I have been on the lookout for the past year, for a home on a lake. I hope to eventually sell my home and so I have been getting numerous things done to put it in a more sellable condition.

Another part of what has been occupying my attention is the actual search for a home. We've scoured online ads, followed up on listings sent to us by real estate agents and on a few occasions, gone north to look at a some places.

A couple of weeks ago we went to see a couple of homes. One of them was on a parcel of land which measures a little over an acre. The lake on which it sits, houses several species of fish and has many nooks, crannies, streams and islands - a fisherman's dream. The shore faces east, across the waters of a bay. The immediate vista is that of uninhabited Crown land and a small, hilly island. Sunrises would likely look quite amazing coming up behind that scene.

Upon the property sits a small but impeccably-maintained house. There are currently three rather small bedrooms, an open concept kitchen, living room and dining room, a large rec room in the basment, an attached garage and decks on both sides of the house. The potential for expansion is great, and a fourth, large bedroom, bathroom and additional storage space would be essential. And doable.

The other side of the house is where you'd find most of the property. There is a long driveway alongside a grassy lawn where you'd find some sheltering trees - mostly mature pines. There is also a small garden for growing vegetables and numerous spots around the house where perennial flowers are growing.

The place is twenty-five minutes north of a town with a hospital, grocery stores, banks, several restaurants, two Tim Hortons and a Canadian Tire (these last two might be lost on most non-Canadians). It sits about fifteen minutes south of a smaller town and just a few minutes from an odd little general store.

There are reportedly daily sightings of deer, and occasional glimpses of fox, bald eagles, wild turkeys and moose on the property itself. It's a place where my camera will be busy clicking, where fishing will be a near-daily event and where, come August, Frank and I will refer to as "Home."

I'm very excited, of course but it's going to be difficult to leave my neighbourhood, dear friends, park, pond and twenty-nine years of living and memories. This move will truly be bittersweet. If the new neighbours are half as wonderful as the amazing people I'll leave behind, Frank and I will be very lucky, indeed. And this move will take us much further away from family and friends. This will be especially difficult for me but we'll have a lovely little oasis for our loved ones to visit.

So, my erratic presence in blogging will persist for a while. The Posts of the Week will probably suffer for a couple of months. We will take possession of our new home on the last of July. I won't disappear completely but I will be pretty busy over the next few weeks as I prepare my home for sale, sell it and move. Yikes!

I'll close by offering a few photos of our view-to-be. I'm not comfy posting images of the interior of the house until it belongs to us. But come August, watch out!

A view of the property from about one third of the way down the driveway.

facing north east
Looking northeast, you can see a bit of the neighbours property beyond the treeline, and lots of Crown land directly ahead.

front view
Some of the many pines on our front lawn.

side of house
The walkway which leads to the front door from the driveway and garage.

What you'd see as you approach our front door from the lawn.

view from dock
The back door and deck as seen from the shoreline.

The view as seen through the spare bedroom window.

With this vista as enjoyed from the deck, I suspect I'll take in many a sunrise, while sipping on coffee with my camera in hand. I look forward to sharing it all with you.

Thanks for your understanding during this time of transition. More photos of some sort or another coming up in a scheduled post soon.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Every Single Day

There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them. ~ Jo Walton

Just in case you've missed them lately, I'm going to share a sunrise and sunset with you. They're not from the same day but what does that really matter?

I was tired. I hadn't slept well and though I was now wide awake, I wasn't energetic enough to head out for a walk. I decided to go downstairs and make some coffee to kickstart my day. Cats fed and coffee brewing, I went back upstairs to check on email. That's when I glanced out the window and saw an orange ball rising in the sky. Fine, I'll walk!

morning has broken
There are only a couple of spots along the path where you can catch a good look at the sunrise. This is one of them.

morning has broken4
And this, of course is the other.

in the pink2
As the sun rose, it shared its beautiful light with everything it touched.

Every blossom appeared a bit warmer in its glow.

By the time the sun was high in the sky, I was grateful for the coffee which was waiting for me at home.

On another day, it was the amazing sunset that drew me out.

sunset behind blossoms2
It peeked between the branches and it offered a lovely backdrop to the spring blossoms.

sunset through sumac2
And it beckoned me to enjoy it from behind the fuzzy sumac tree.

sunset through sumac
From this angle.

sunset behind sumac
And from that one.

somewhere over the sunset
I wonder how the sunset looked to the people up in that airplane.

RWBB singing at sunset
And to the red-winged blackbird who was singing his heart out on this very beautiful evening.

Thanks for joining me at both ends of the day. I'll have more for you after a few more sunrises and sunsets have been around.

Know where to find the sunrise and sunset times and note how the sky looks at those times, at least once. ~ Marilyn Vos Savant

Friday, June 7, 2013

Colours of the Wind

You can own the earth and still, all you'll own is earth until you can paint with all the colours of the wind. ~ Stephen Schwartz

Spring seriously has to be the prettiest time of year - even though I probably say that about summer and autumn, and maybe even about the odd winter day. Nah!

There are so many colours coming into their own at this time of the year. Below are a few photos which demonstrate that.

in the pink3
These deeply tinted pink blossoms can be found suspended over a park bench overlooking the pond. For the brief time that they're in bloom, it makes sitting there a favourite place to relax.

unfurling leaves
Leaves on an unknown (forgotten, really) tree begin to unfurl.

new growth2
Flowers and leaves emerge together making for a colourful, textured growth.

blossom close up
A tiny crab apple blossom in its early days.

Colour sometimes comes from unusual places. Sadly, this fish has died at the bottom of the dam. I suspect it was already dead or dying by the time it got there. Someone in the community has repeated the vile oil spill that this pond has endured before. In fact - twice in recent weeks. It's taking its toll on the many dead fish we've seen lately and the obvious absence of the great blue heron.

oranges petals ant
Beneath the tree from the first picture, I happened to see a couple of discarded orange wedges which were sprinkled with the fallen petals. My friend, Caroline thought it was a little strange for me to take this photo. I'll bet she's rolling her eyes right now. (Hi Caroline!) Quit rolling your eyes and have a close look at the little ant on the upper orange piece. That makes this another wildlife photo after all. ;)

Thanks for joining me on this look at spring colours. I'll have more photos coming up soon.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conscious of Our Treasures

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
~ Thornton Wilder

I find treasures - large or small, almost every single time I go out walking with my camera. Below are a few of those which have caught my eye over the past few weeks.

trash removal
The trees have already experienced their full blooms and have settled into the leafy shades of green for the summer. This is one of my favourite areas of the park caught at the hight of blossom season. I will admit to having Photoshopped this image to remove the unsightly trash and recycle cans from the left hand side in front of the fence. There was also the beginning of a floating island taking shape but the florescent orange balls bobbing in the pond also looked wrong for this scene. If you'd like to see how it looked before I removed these things, keep on scrolling.

Which of the two photos do you prefer - the one with the original distractions or the one where I cheated?

goose pair
Geese are always a treat to see whether they're paring off for nesting season..

...or just stretching to greet the day.

hooded merganser male juv
On one of Frank's visits here, he noticed this fuzzy-headed little cutie swimming around all by himself. I believe he's a juvenile hooded merganser.

white blossom
Up close and personal with a delicate, white blossom.

Way down at the bottom of the dam, this little sandpiper whistles his little song while rummaging around for insects.

My neighbour, friend and walking buddy, Caroline spotted these very tiny wildflowers (or weeds) in the grass at the park. Each bloom wasn't really any larger than an appleseed. You can tell how little they are compared to those blades of grass which surround them. If anyone knows what they're called, please tell me?

first robin
Before the leaves came out, this lovely robin was enjoying the dried berries from last year's harvest. You can see that some of the leaves were just beginning to bud. This was taken toward the end of April.

I have lived in this home for 29 years. Coyotes have been in the area for at least 15 of those years. I walk the parks regularly, as you know. In all these years, when everyone else has seen coyotes numerous times, I have yet to encounter one. I've always been rather bummed about that.

I was walking along the path one afternoon. A couple of people told me that they'd seen one hanging around for the last few days and he'd been spotted as recently as in the past fifteen minutes. I walked around the pond once.


I walked around a second time and glanced to my right, just on the other side of the fence when I thought I saw slight movement on a rather large rock. I stopped to see what might be on the rock. That's when the rock stood up and looked at me with the most beautiful piercing eyes. I took a step toward the fence and raised my camera. This made the coyote a bit nervous and he moved deeper into the brush. I followed him with my camera as he headed down toward the pond. But he stopped briefly and looked back at me before continuing. He allowed me to take a photo.

This was my greatest treasure, that day. What a wonderful gift from a gorgeous creature. It's not a great image, having shot it through a chain link fence and various twigs and branches, but I was just thrilled to see this handsome creature, let alone get a photograph of him. Thank you, beautiful beast.

Word has gone around that shortly after that day, this wonderful animal was seen struggling with a serious injury. There was speculation that he'd been hit by a car or possibly shot (I don't want to believe the latter about our neighbourhood). I'd seen Police and Animal Services in and around the park on many occasions but they'd all been very closed-mouthed about the purpose of their business. A couple of days later, my neighbour, Caroline heard a distinct gunshot at around five in the morning. I wrote to my community Counsellor Pat Saito and asked her straight out if the coyote had been destroyed. She replied that Toronto Wildlife Services had been trying to catch and treat the coyote but that she knew nothing further. She said that her staff will find out and let me know. A few days later, one of her staff members followed up with a "we're still awaiting a response" kind of email. To date, I have still not heard further nor has the coyote been spotted by anyone I've talked to.

I'm hoping for the best for that beautiful treasure.

More photos in a few days.