Sunday, April 28, 2013

St. Paddy's Birthday Tea

On March 17, Frank's sisters Lisa and Theresa, their cousin Nancy, family friend Pat, my friend Carol Anne and I celebrated St. Patrick's Day and Pat's 84th birthday by having a fine lunch at Jazzberry Tea House in Pickering Village, east of Toronto. It was the second such gathering for five of us though we went to a different location last year.


tea pot
The table was set with fine teapots which were waiting to be filled with the steeped beverage of our choice.




tea menu
For a couple of us, there was no question - Masala chai, please! I don't recall all of the choices but at least one lady selected ginger-orange-peach green tea and one decided on "Mystic Mellon" but the flavour was weak so it must have only had one L in Melon after all. Not quite as groovy as it sounded. ;)




tea gown
As we waited for our repast, we chatted, laughed and enjoyed the decor. This lovely old dress was hanging nearby. It must be the norm for tea houses because there were similar a-door-nments where we went last year.




tea strainer
Tea was soon served. We each had this adorable mini strainer to catch the tea leaves each time we poured from the pot. After the cup was poured, the strainer was to be placed upon a little metal cup to await the next serving. I can't tell you how many of us would forget to replace the strainer on our cups, resulting in tea leaves sinking to the bottom. Some of us did it multiple times but I'll never tell who that was (it was her!).





tea tray
Scones were served up with fruit and Devonshire cream. The sandwiches consisted of brie and red pepper spread, cucumber, radish and cream cheese, mango and sundried tomatoes, and turkey with smoked Gouda. There were also slices of smoked salmon to enjoy.





tea lunch
Lisa enjoyed her own vegetarian collection.





tea card
Once we were done with lunch, we each had cards for the birthday girl, Pat. She surprised us in return by giving the group a St. Patrick's Day card with a lovely Irish blessing on the front.





tea message
But that didn't compare to her sweet message written inside.




tea cakes
And speaking of of sweet, Jazzberry went all out for Pat's birthday cake(s). We each managed to sample a forkful or three from this yummy selection.

It was a lovely afternoon spent in fine company. And I thank you all for joining me in remembering it.

More photos  of some sort coming up soon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Moment of Beauty

"A trout is a moment of beauty known only to those who seek it."
~ Arnold Gingrich

Before I tell you the story about the photo from the previous post, why not go over to the comments section there and read what everyone had to say? There are some correct answers, some which were way off and a few which were clever and funny. Go on.. I'll wait.

Done? Okay, so here's the story.

Late last summer I blogged about the salmon run at the creek in Bowmanville. Now that spring is here, the trout have begun their own trek upstream to spawn. They're much smaller than the salmon, and generally have an easier time of getting up the fish ladder - if they've positioned themselves in the right spot, that is.

Silly things - many of them are trying to climb the actual dam and not the fish ladder. Here are a few of them in action.

jump7
Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.
~ W. C. Fields 




jump9
No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish.
~ John Ruskin




jump5
Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish.
~ Steven Wright




jump2
Do fish ever get seasick?
~ James Joyce




jump3
Such good manners. This guy is waiting his turn.




jump rescue 1
Beauty without grace is like a fish far displaced from the water and looking at this kind of beauty is like watching that fish die right there on the cement in front of you.
~ C. JoyBell C.



As expressed in the above quote and shown in the accompanying image, sometimes the trout end up where they shouldn't be. Some miss the ladder entirely and end up on this small platform

jump6
They try to reorient themselves and work their way back into the water.


 

jump8
Most will succeed at doing this, as this one was about to do.

But every now and then, some of them exhaust themselves by trying to propel themselves in the wrong direction, taking them even further from the water and to their ultimate demise.

 That's when yesterday's image was taken. This one here was snapped just seconds later.

jump rescue 2
Our unsung hero had decided to climb over the rail and into the "no trespassing" zone so that he could kindly help these weary (not dead) fish back into the water.



jump rescue 3
Thank you, compassionate stranger.




jump12
These trout will continue their upstream trek for the next little while. Aren't you feeling tired just watching them? How about grateful that there are those who care about a fish's struggles to take a few moments to help them out? Yeah, me too.

More in a few days.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tell Me a Story and Posts of the Week

Tell Me A Story

This somewhat unusual photo has a bit of an interesting story behind it. I'll reveal that story to you soon along with some more photos. In the meantime, I'd like to hear your take on what you believe this image might be about. I suspect you'll probably be correct or at least close because you're smart like that. Or you can make it funny, if you prefer - a caption - a quote - anything you like. It's up to you.

I'll be employing comment moderation just for this purpose but I'll publish all comments before the next post. If you don't feel like coming up with what you believe is the story behind this image, that's also fine, of course. I'll be back before you know it with more photos and an explanation of what's happening here.

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.





***

A GOOD READ

A Moment Here
by Pauline
at Writing Down the Words


***

JUST PLAIN GOOD

Stop the Spit-Flying Xenophobia. Now.
by Leah
at The Goat's Lunch Pail

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
by Rosemary
at Creative Journal


***

IT'LL MAKE YOU LAUGH

0 for 8
by Fragrant Liar
at Fragrant Liar


*** 

PHINE PHOTOGRAPHY

 
Subway Series
by Daryl
at Out and About in New York City

Sproing!
by Tabor
at Room Without Walls

D├ęguisment...
by Pierre
at Pierre Boyer

Being Flexible
by Sandy
at Writing in Faith

Finding Rainbows
by Fiona
Lady Fi

***

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, April 14, 2013

Light and Shade

Walking in the morning takes you to beautiful places where light and shade make love. 
~ Prof. Mohamed Shareef 

We had a few snowfalls this winter, which is more than I can say for last year. These photos however, were all taken before any of the white stuff fell from the sky - between late November and late December. Come take a retro walk with me.

morning has broken
You needn't awaken or head out too early to meet the sunrise in winter. It would stay dark until a decent walking hour. This is how the sky looked over the park as we venture out onto the path.




sumac
Very few things retain any vivid colour at that time of the year but the hair-covered crimson berries of the Staghorn sumac were brilliant in the winter sunlight.





icy headless duck reflections
The lake was only lightly glazed over with ice on this mid-December day. Sun, ice and sleepy mallards combined in such a way that we appear to be looking at headless ducks and their glassy reflections.





little sweetie
The squirrels (see.. we don't only have black ones) at this park are especially bold. A lot of people enjoy feeding them, and so they're not afraid to come very close in hopes of mooching a peanut. This guy was mildly disappointed that I only clicked my tongue to get his attention for a photo, and not to share any goodies.





peanut poacher
Thankfully, somebody came along to the rescue with pockets of peanuts, and this little poacher appeared to be pleased with his treat. Next time, I'll be ready with full pockets too.




between the fronds
If you would have looked up a second earlier, you would have seen yet another squirrel peeking through these cedar fronds. Of course, if I had snapped the image a second earlier, you would still be seeing him right now. I like the way the photo turned out, anyway.

 


lakeside
As we watched the sunlight twinkling on the water and the breeze blowing through the fluffy tall grass...




kitty watching
...we, in turn, were also being watched. Too bad he was too shy to allow for a scratch behind the ears.





cling on
Look up. This here was taken a couple of days after Christmas. What were we doing with green leaves clinging to life this late in the year?




full moon
Last but not least, one more evening look skyward revealed a full moon. This was November's celestial treat.

I hope you enjoyed our walk. I'm sure we will do this again sometime soon. Hopefully, it will begin looking like spring.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fun in the Water & Posts of the Week

 "He had as much fun in the water as any person I have known. You didn't have to throw a stick in the water to get him to go in. Of course, he would bring back a stick to you if you did throw one in. He would even have brought back a piano if you had thrown one in."
~ James Thurber

It wasn't more than a couple of weeks earlier that parts of the creek were still frozen so this water had to be especially cold. That didn't keep this guy from having fun fetching, shaking and smiling.

fetch




fetchretrieve




fetchshake




fetchgoodpuppy




fetch smile
 "Dogs are obsessed with being happy." ~ James Thurber


And one very cute, very short video which will make any dog lover saw "awwww."




You said "awwww" didn't you?



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.




CREATIVE

Recycled Art
by Sharon
at Sharon's Paws Create


***

A GOOD READ

Lucky
by Stephen
at The Chubby Chatterbox

Teacher Geese
by Cloudia
at Comfort Spiral

***

JUST PLAIN GOOD

by Russell
at Iowa Grasslands

Treasure
by Mimi
at MessyMimi's Meanderings


***


READERS' CHOICE

Recommended by: Linda

My Vacation From Personal Hygiene
by Betty
at Bossy Betty


*** 

PHINE PHOTOGRAPHY

 
Bring it on
by Reena
at Missing Moments


by Gail
at Louisiana Belle


***

FUN STUFF

Seems Like a Fun Idea
by Kerry
at Ed and Reub


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


Friday, April 5, 2013

Let The Sun Shine In


That golden hour of sunshine never fails to warm me whether I'm indoors or out. Below are a few photos taken at my favourite time of day.

benny beauty3
Frank brought Benny to my attention this one afternoon. A small stream of sunlight shining on his furry little face.




icy twig2
The colours of this wet branch are saturated by sunlight and looks fiery beneath its icy sleeve.




stepping out2
This handsome mallard was stepping out onto the ice. Doesn't he have such beautiful colouring?




sunlit snowy qal shadowed2b
Behind the fence, a long-dead Queen Anne's Lace collects an icy filling. I've cranked up the colours a few notches on this one.





sun in the sun
Back at Frank's his own sun ornament plays peek-a-boo with the real thing.




bookcase in the sun
While looking at this photo, I found a book on his shelf that I'd like to read.





owl ornament in sun
A yard sale purchase, this owl was soaking up the last of the rays.





sunset
And here are the last of those vibrant rays.




benny beauty2
Would you believe that Benny was sitting still through all these photos, and only now got up to leave? No, me neither. He must follow wherever that tongue leads him.

More in a few days.