Friday, November 29, 2013

Through Glass and Posts of the Week

I bet you thought I'd forgotten all about the Posts of the Week. Ha! Fooled you. I was just taking extended time away from aspects of blogging which were a bit too time-consuming while I focused on getting myself moved from one home to another. Since I'm here now, I can put a bit more time into blog-reading and keeping track of the posts which I most enjoyed, and think that you might, too. And of course, there's always Reader's Choice, when you fine people come across blog posts that you've been taken with and ask me to share them as your recommendation. They're all back - at least for now.

But first, a few photos.

"Do you hear the snow against the window-panes, Kitty? How nice and soft it sounds! Just as if some one was kissing the window all over outside. I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again." And when they wake up in the summer, Kitty, they dress themselves all in green, and dance about -- whenever the wind blows -- oh, that's very pretty!...And I do so wish it was true! I'm sure the woods look sleepy in the autumn, when the leaves are getting brown."  Through the Looking-glass ~Lewis Carroll

We have big, nearly picture type windows at our new place and I tend to snap shots through the glass fairly often. Interestingly enough, despite the beautiful scenery around me, I tend to leave my camera behind when I go for my morning walks with Benny. Not always, but usually. That's mostly because the road where I walk him is a main one and too busy to safely take him off leash. Keeping control of Benny and a camera isn't always easy. Of course the first time I'll spot something photo-worthy and find myself without the camera will probably be the last time I'll go out without it.

In the mean time, I hope you'll enjoy the following images, all taken through glass of some sort or another.

leaving Mississauga
This was snapped through the windshield of my son's car. We were on our way out of Mississauga and heading up to my new place, cats in the back seat.

snow business3
Much as the opening quote would suggest, this fluffy snowfall was taken through the window pane. It kept up for a little while, collected and eventually melted again. We have since had a more significant snowfall and are currently blanketed in white.

foggy sunrise
A moody, foggy mid-October morn.

libereated boat
Late November, the boat was removed from the right of the dock - rescued from a layer of ice.

bringing in the dock
The next day it was time to bring in the dock.

Another view through a car window. This was taken on our way back from a day trip to a nearby town. I liked the little island with tamarack or larch trees. This autumn was the first time I have ever noticed coniferous trees which actually turned yellow and lost their needles. They were new to me.

October morning gold
And one more sunrise because who can resist when the world is bathed in October gold?

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



The following is the story of my own paternal grandparents and was written by my cousin.
Let Me Call You Sweetheart: A Love Story
by Phyllis
at Prompt Prose

by Betty
at Bossy Betty


Cannon Beach Sunset
by Karen
at What Karen Sees

No Fighting
by Scott
at Just Used Pixels



Attitude Adjustment
by Barb
at One Good Thing

A Thousand Dark Birds
by Kerry
at Ed and Reub

Happy Thanksgivukkah
by Lime
at House of Lime



Just Following the Road to Nowhere
by Sandi
at Holding Patterns

Happy Thanksgiving
by Cedar
at Cedarflame



Recommended by: Jackie
by Abe Lincoln
at oldmanlincoln

Recommended by: Tabor
November Lullaby
by Aisling
at The Quiet Country House


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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wet Dog

The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.
~ Ambrose Bierce

I know that many of you are huge Benny fans and that there haven't been all that many photos of the little guy recently. Coincidentally, I had the following late summer images planned in this scheduled post when I decided to share the story of Benny's unplanned November dip in the lake. So for those of you who look forward to seeing our little guy, sit back and enjoy a bit of bonus Benny. Just don't let him up on your lap... he's all wet.

Benny loves playing fetch in the lake. If you toss a stick or a ball, he is more than happy to go get it. Just don't count on his returning it to you - unless of course you can entice him with another stick.

Benny swimming
Hey Benny, you're going the wrong way. Turn around a find that ball.

splash ball
There it is.

splash ball2
And there.

splash ball3
And there. I really found it hard to toss a ball and then lift the camera in time to catch the splash, so please indulge me.

splash ball retrieved
Good boy! Bring it on back.

benny shake2
Shake it out, baby!

benny shake3
One more shake and you'l be just about dry.

benny shake
Or not.

More photos coming up soon. Grab a towel on your way out.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nine Lives

I think Benny is part cat.

I have several reasons which explain that notion. He's been known to play with small toys by tossing them in the air, much like his feline counterparts do with mice. He's a lap dog - any chance he gets. He loves to bask in patches of warm sunlight. He's curious as all get out.

And he seems to be working his way through nine lives.

Unlike most cats, Benny is very fond of the water. It was his penchant for water play that got him in trouble at Frank's family cottage a few years back - and where Life #1 was relinquished.

We took possession of our new home on the last day of July. Frank has been living here since then but I had spent most of my time back in the city preparing my house for sale and finally packing up to move here - which I have now done.

During Frank's earlier days here, he had our dock lengthened so that it would extend beyond the shallow portion of the shoreline, and he bought a boat so that he could pursue his lifelong passion for fishing. He had been so hungry for getting out on the water and hauling in walleye, that he has become the last one on the lake to bring the boat and dock in for the winter.

Overnight after my first day living here, the temperature dropped well below freezing to -15C (5F). The morning didn't warm up all that much and when we looked out through our living room window, we saw that the bay was frozen over.

1 Alex Ben
That's my son, Alex walking with Benny. He helped me get the last of my stuff up here and provided another familiar and comforting voice for the cats during the long drive up. He's a tough guy. His long hair was still in a towel after his morning shower and his jacket remained inside the house. He seemingly does not feel the cold. Note the boat stuck in the ice.

1 icy morning
After the towel came off, Alex continued to stay out in the cold playing with Benny. He's tough and nuts.

The ice was nowhere near thick enough to hold our weight but a certain little Jack Russell Terrorist has found that it's plenty strong to support him very close to shore.

Frank has been out there a few times, rocking his baby boat in order to create some movement and subsequent melt.

slight melt
It only helped open the ice up in one very small area.

snowy iced in boat
There had also been precipitation recently - both rain and snow and some accumulation of each in the boat. With the milder days and colder nights, his boat has endured melts and refreezes and ultimately enough ice for Frank to crack and break up into bits. Those kinds of bits are very enticing to a crazy little dog like Benny.

Frank cracked some of the ice from the bottom of the boat and gave them to Benny. After a while Benny just began helping himself to the ice chunks, allowing Frank to abandon ship and warm up inside.

ice chunk
Doggie-sized chunks of ice make a good chew toy.

It was then that Frank came into the house to do the obligatory annoyance that some little boys men feel compelled to do. He commenced warming his icy hands... on my bare back, underneath my shirt. After jumping a foot in the air admonishing him with mild expletives, he explained to me about picking chunks of ice out of the boat and handing them to Benny's waiting jaws. That was the reason for the cold hands.

It was not the sole reason for the cold shiver down my spine.

As Frank was telling me this, I happened to glance outside to see if I could see Benny doing his thing, transporting ice chunks from the boat to the dock. Something looked very wrong. The bit of open water surrounding the boat had grown larger and choppy, and there was a fair bit of broken ice, where moments before it had been smooth. One of those large white chunks was our Benny.

Frank and I made a mad dash out to the dock and onto the boat. He was only a few feet away with his head out of the water and and his front paws clinging to the ice in front of him. The rest of him was in the icy water. He was not overly distressed. Frank was hoping to avoid going in after him (it was only about three or four feet of water) and he quite adeptly took the rope which was tied to the boat and looped it around Benny's neck, causing him to fall backwards. I was ready to scoop him with the net but there was no need. Frank was able to tug him closer, reach into the water, take hold of his collar and snatch him up into the boat.

Crisis averted.

broken ice
This is how the previously-smooth, icy water appeared after Benny's impromptu dip. The white rope hanging from the boat is what Frank used to haul him in.

One crazy, shivering wet dog tore his way around the yard for a few minutes before we grabbed a towel and wrapped him up in it. He shivered so hard in my arms while I carried him downstairs to the propane stove. This is where his similarity to cats ends. He had no interest in lolling in front of that heat source. He continued tearing his way through the house, rolling himself on the carpet and sofas to rid himself of the excess moisture that the towel left behind.

He was fine. And like Frank said, he has hopefully learned something about the perils of ice. Frank and I had recently discussed our concerns about how he would handle ice during the spring thaw, after he would presumably spend a winter walking on water. We might all have a better idea of that now.

There's never a dull moment in Benny's life, and in my estimation, our little ice-breaker has seven of them left.

Next post will be one that I had previously scheduled and it coincidentally contains photos of Benny playing in the water late in the summer - back when water showed no signs of turning solid.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Autumn Wings

I'm officially living at my new digs amid boxes and disoriented kitties. Ben was a tad happier to see them than they were to see him but he, along with Frank and I represent the familiar, and they're taking to his love attacks and this foreign territory far better than I worried they might. Mostly, they stay in the basement by day and wander the house at night. 
My son, Alex stayed here the first night with them after transporting them up here, and they keep entering the room where he slept, looking for him. It tugs at the heart. They'll miss him and he, them. And I'll miss him more than I can say. But I'm home now. On to a new adventure!

These photos were taken back near my old place while still preparing to move. It will be a while until I get recent photos uploaded and I can pay more attention to blogging. I hope you wonderful people will stand by until then. I will get back to my regular blogging routine before TOO long. Or maybe a tad longer than that.

All those golden autumn days the sky was full of wings.
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

It was these pretty spiky flowers which caught my eye at first. Some of you probably know what they are. A bit of Googling tells me that they might be celosia. You are invited to tell me if I'm wrong about that. All I know is that they're quite beautiful but it wasn't long before my focus was on the wasp climbing the spikes.

While my macro lens was fixed on him, another one came into the picture. I took lots of images and concluded that they were either fighting or mating. In this photo, they were head to head. At other times it appeared that other body parts were meshing.

I'm cheating here. There's nary a wing to be seen. Just a bunch of gils and a tiny explorer.


sparrow trio
This trio of sparrows were sitting pretty for the camera.

sparrow landing
But they scattered a bit when this one came in for a landing.

sunflower and bug
A yellow lady bug looks so proper on the sunflower.

This little bee hovers and decides which flower is worthy of him.

Oh don't look so surprised. We both knew you wanted to see those parts meshing - or about to. I still think they're just wrestling. ;)

More photos coming up before too much longer.

Friday, November 8, 2013

In the Presence of Oddity

This is a scheduled post. Photos were taken over the past couple of months. I'm busy packing up a trailer and planning my move in a few days. I'll meet you over at the new place soon! 

I feel comfortable in the presence of oddity. Probably because I'm a little bit odd.
~ Martha Plimpton

This post is all about oddities - things that are out of place or our of their proper timeline.

pd palm
My sister lives in Port Dover, Ontario and although it's pretty southern as far as the province goes, it's still significantly northern as far as palm trees go. And yet here's one of several which beautifies the beach view every year. We have very cold and snowy winters so they can't grow there naturally. This restaurant, Callahan's Beach House has borrowed and planted them every May and then dug them up again in late autumn so that they can continue their lives in greenhouses. In recent years, they have simply left them growing on the beach until icy weather does them in. Then they plant new ones the following spring.  Just imagine walking through the snow and seeing palm trees.

The Ridgetown is a 1905 Chicago-built freighter with an interesting history. She serves as a breakwater off the shore of Port Credit in Lake Ontario. You can read about how she got there, here.

flying machine2
I apologize for the extremely poor quality of this and the next image. It was taken through the windshield, while my son was driving, with nothing zoomier than a portrait lens. I thought my eyes deceived me and I'm still not sure how or why this "flying machine" was soaring across the highway, high in the sky.

flying machine
This is the best I could do by enlarging and cropping. It still has me scratching my head.

the buccaneer
This pirate ship is docked pretty close to our new place, on the opposite shore. If you look closely, you'll see that it's actually a boathouse and probably a bunkie or playhouse for the kids.

the buccaneer2
In fact, there's a little cutie peeking out from beside one of the pirates. The folks who designed and built this have no shortage of creativity.

boot outside my windo
This boot was climbing a ladder outside my office window, just beyond my computer monitor. Was I worried? Nah. It belonged to one of the roofers who was laying new shingles, in the hopes of making my house ready for sale. It's not every day you see a man on a ladder outside your window, so how could I not snap a quick shot?


baby squirrel2
Last but not least, we have this little out of place cutie. My neighbour, Caroline and I were walking along the park path when we saw some teenaged girls mildly distressed by something following them. We looked down to see this very young squirrel who was quite determined to chase after someone. I remembered the orphaned raccoon kits, Sugar and Spike, under my deck, and how they sought out human help when they were cold and hungry. We stopped, and the squirrel immediately turned its attention to us, first climbing Caroline's leg and then mine.

I picked it up and held it in the palm of one hand and rubbed her back and belly with the other. It was cold and desperate for food. She tried sucking the end of my finger. Another neighbour of ours, Nicky (who orchestrated the raccoon rescue along with her daughter, Sarah), would know how to care for her. When we got to Nicky's place, she readied a small carrier for her and headed off to the pet store to get her some squirrel specific formula. She estimated her age to be about five weeks.

Although Nicky wasn't entirely certain of the diagnosis, she believes this little thing was ill with squirrel pox - which developed over the next few days. She is a member of the Grey squirrel family (despite her black fur, she's still an Eastern Grey) and therefore has built up something of an immunity to the disease. She will likely survive it. But she will also always be a carrier and can never be released since it is quite deadly for our red squirrel population. I should learn more the next time I see Nicky and I'll be sure to fill you in.*

baby squirrel
Despite her illness, this little cutie is very affectionate, energetic and bright. Thankfully she's in good hands. The hands in the picture belong to Caroline's husband Lloyd.

*And now, I do know more. We learned that what this sweetie had was a nasty but now-cured abscess and nothing more sinister than that. She's healthy, energetic, growing and full of mischief. She's also extremely affectionate according to Nicky. We went to visit her semi-recently and she was understandably a bit wary of us but in fine shape - she jumped up toward the ceiling to watch us.  

squirrel sweetie
See for yourself.

More photos coming up soon.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Listening to Silence

Before I get into my usual post, I'd like to draw your attention to my blog friend, Laura over at Shine the Divine. Those of you who read her beautiful words, already know her strength and determination in the face of a difficult life challenge. She is the unwavering voice of understanding, hope and gratitude. It is her ongoing expression of gratitude that has led her to create The Gratitude Quilt.

This is her fifth year hosting this virtual quilting bee and Laura is asking you to join her by creating a verbal "patch" for her Gratitude Quilt.

Here, in Laura's words, is how you do it:

It is easy to participate in the Gratitude Quilt: Open a new word doc on your computer (or take out a sheet of paper and a pen). Close your eyes. Place one hand on your heart, then your other hand over that, giving yourself a gentle hug. Breathe into and out through the center of your heart for several breaths. Now, exhale slowly. Inhale deeply. Exhale again… type or write whatever you are most thankful for in that moment. Do not edit just let the words flow. There is no need to translate into English if that is not your native tongue. Copy and paste the words into an email and send them to me by November 24th so I have time to "stitch" out words together. Please type the words "Gratitude Quilt" in the subject line.

Please consider joining in. Last year's "patches" were awesome to read. Drop Laura a line and your own sentiments will be part of the quilt.


 I should also probably mention that which is rather obvious - I've not done the Posts of the Week for quite some time now. Most of you know how crazy busy my life has been over the past several months. Right now, it's just a little more hectic than ever. 

I have fewer than ten days to pack up the rest of my belongings, sell some pieces of furniture, give away others and get a trailer load of "stuff" and my two cats up to the new place, over three hours away. Then I have to turn around, and head back to the city a couple of days later to sign papers and collect the funds.

Why not wait until then to make the full move, you might ask? Oh at least one of you asked. I'm pretty sure I heard it. Well, because my cats are getting older and have never lived anywhere but here. There's been a lot of chaos around them as they've endured renovations, people coming to see the house, and my packing up the place in front of their very eyes. I think it would be too much to empty my house and have them wait around while the lawyers do their thing to finalize this deal, and then make the over three hour drive with them. I just can't do that to them. 

So two trips in a couple of days it is. I'll have good help and good company. And hopefully loud music to drown out the yowling cats. 

So now you know why I've not had time to keep track of any posts for the POTW. Once I'm settled in, I'll get back on track. But not for a while. Thanks for your understanding. I know you do. 

Now, on to today's post.

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.
~ Thomas Hood

The following photos were all taken up at my new place during the course of two quick visits, late in the summer and early autumn.

bedroom view 2
A peek out through my bedroom window tells me that morning has broken over the lake. I suspect I won't be able to get enough of these sunrise shots, through the years. The scenery is just too beautiful to resist.

Sunrise with bonus bugs
Heading over to the living room window, we catch the same break of day, just a few minutes later, complete with a couple of bugs on the window - just above the horizon on the right and near the top of the sky on the left.

sunflower droop
An official greeter of the sun - even if it's a bit late in its season.

autumn view
Beautiful sunlit colours of autumn.

fallen couple
A pair of yellow leaves, held together by the weighted beauty of morning raindrops.

mowing and mail collection
Jeffrey was in town, and joined me up at our place for a few days. He put himself to work cutting the grass and delivering our mail in the process.

Rockface of Blueberry island
This is the magnificent rock face of Blueberry Island, across the bay from our home. The frequently-present loons are swimming into the picture on the left.

last roses and fly
Withering roses still hold some beauty, and are attractive to insects in need of soft place to rest.

late day loons4
Lovely colours materialize in the sky, as the sun begins its descent. A pair of loons float peacefully along the lake water, just beyond our dock.

Autumn sunset
This evening sky held such a softness of hazy pink. I wasn't sure that the camera would capture what our eyes saw, but was pleasantly surprised that it did.

And with this, another day is done. There'll be another one coming up again shortly. Stay tuned for more photos.