Friday, February 28, 2014

C'est L'hiver!

My country is not a country, it's the winter
My garden is not a garden, it's the plains
My path is not a path, it's the snow
My country is not a country, it's the winter

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon jardin ce n'est pas un jardin, c'est la plaine
Mon chemin ce n'est pas un chemin, c'est la neige
Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
~ Gilles Vigneault

(According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, when the song Mon Pays was composed in 1964, it wasn't intended as a Québeçois anthem. That happened later. It was written to express "nationalism, solidarity and connection to the northern landscape" and it is Mr. Vigneault's original intention I prefer to convey.)




It's been a pretty cold winter here in the great white north. Bitter cold, windy and snowy. There have been days when I've opted to bundle up and take Benny for a brisk walk in the frigid temperatures. There have also been quite a few more when I've decided to wimp out and just stay indoors. It's those days which prompted the photos below - all taken from the comfort of home.


blurry zeph
Cats are the ultimate narcissists. You can tell this by all the time they spend on personal grooming. Dogs aren't like this. A dog's idea of personal grooming is to roll in a dead fish." ~ James Gorman
Zephyr knows that it's a day for relaxing at home and enjoying a long bath.






one brown egg
A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg. ~ Samuel Butler
Eggs, anyone? One brown egg amid the white. Something about it begged to be photographed and so I did eggsactly that. I crack me up.






garlic
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. ~ Alice May Brock
Not to be upstaged by fewer than a dozen eggs, my pal Bud finds his way into most of the foods we cook around here. The eggs were probably an eggception (okay, I'll stop now).






blue jay through glass
"Hear! hear!" screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, "winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it." ~Henry David Thoreau
We're getting "the look" from this Blue jay because this is all that's left are those itty bitty seeds. The hoards of jays who frequent our feeders have already gorged on all of the sunflower seeds and peanut bits. I'm not kidding when I say that we have a lot of these bossy beauties coming around each day. There are probably close to (if not more than) thirty of them who screech, tap and demand their meals. I hear them early in the morning, every single day, tapping at the wall outside my bedroom window. They sound like woodpeckers in slow motion. They also tap outside of the kitchen. After a bit of research and and awareness of the damage they're causing to the paint, I learned that blue jays eat the paint off of houses in order to get calcium in their diets. They seem to need more of it than other birds because they're the only ones who are attacking our house. It's known to happen in particularly cold, snowy winters when they can't get at some of the natural grit that offers their needed intake from the soil. The solution? Eggshells. And for a group this size, we're going to need a lot of eggshells. I've started collecting them but we don't eat all that many eggs. I'm considering asking the local deli/bakery if they can save theirs for us. The raw shells need to be placed in the oven for about a half hour to minimize the risk of the salmonella poisoning, then crushed up into pieces smaller than a dime and offered up on a silver platter (or any old plastic plate will do) for these spoiled brats of the avian persuasion. I'll let you know if it works.






plant in window
My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them. ~ Mitch Hedberg
This isn't fake. It's a real Jerusalem Cherry Pepper plant which we picked up at a local store. It was looking pretty tropical sitting in the window soaking up sunshine. But I'm not falling for it, Mother Nature. Just out of view, to the left, was a thermometer which read -27C (-17F).






jerusalem cherry
We humans are the greatest of earth's parasites. ~ Martin H. Fischer
Unfortunately, our enjoyment of that plant was short lived. Peering closely at it one day, I saw tiny, red insects had set up shop in it, and the underside of the leaves were housing hundreds of their little eggs. You can see a few of them here, if you squint. Into the trash it went but I kept the pot to hold my cooking utensils.






Hairy Woodpecker6
Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts. ~ Coleman Cox
This little lady would have probably enjoyed adding a few of those insects into her diet. She's a Hairy woodpecker. What do you suppose she's looking at?






Frosty Morning Moon
The moon puts on an elegant show, different every time in shape, colour and nuance. ~ Arthur Smith
Could it be the moon rising in the middle of the day. This was the view out of our kitchen window, one afternoon. Strangely, I'm never certain whether to call that the front or back window. Ordinarily, I'd say it's the front because it's the side of the house which faces the road. There's a small deck just off of the kitchen but it's not where we generally sit because the other side of the house (the side that I would typically call the back of the house) faces the lake. There is no entrance on that side other than sliding glass doors which lead into the house from the deck. To me, that's the back of the house. But folks around here tend to refer to that as the front because it faces the water. What would you consider the front of the house - the side with the main entrance or the side with the view?






sunrise bedroom view
There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope. ~ Bern Williams
And now that we've pondered that little mystery, here's the early morning view as seen through the lake-facing window. Whether it's called front or back, there's no denying that it's a beautiful scene with which to greet awakening eyes.

More photos coming up.. when they do.

71 comments:

ladyfi said...

Such pretty shots! Looks lovely where you live.

Bob Bushell said...

Photos, they are superb. Everyone is a winner, I love them all.

Andy said...

This winter weather is no better in Southern Ontario. Many people have fallen ill to cabin fever.

Tabor said...

You have such a photographers eye to capture both tone and composition. Have you always had such talent? Love each and every photo. You could put the plant in a very warm shower and wash it super well then take on the porch and spray with pesticides and then bring it inside. Some pesticides allow you to eat the fruit in a few days after washing...others you would just have to throw out the fruit and wait until next crop.

June said...

Oh. Look. COLOR!
Thank you!

And thanks for the little tidbit about eggshells for the jays!

Marianne said...

I always enjoy looking at your photos especially the wild life ones. Your world is so different to mine and yet my grandparents would have recognised it I think.

Brian Miller said...

i agree with tabor....there is something special to your pics....i feel them not just see them...

DJan said...

Stunning! I love all the pictures. I thought one was great, then I looked at the next, and the next. Oh joy is mine! :-)

Out on the prairie said...

you found some good ones. I throw my egg shells back in the carton and then into the garden when the carton is empty.

TexWisGirl said...

oh my gosh, that view... i'd definitely say the front of the house has the entrance and faces the road. but i'd spend all my time in the back. :)

loved your jay photo! perfect christmas card material. hope the egg shells will work for them. seems like they need it in that dreadful winter you're having.

sorry about the poor little bug-infested plant.

Red said...

I must admit that I have wimped out this winter . Does that make me a wimper? Do I whimper when I wimp out? Great woodpecker shot.

messymimi said...

Call it what you will, it's all beautiful.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

The photo of Zephyr is superb. Love the shot of the jays, too. And the Downy. And the snow-covered evergreen with the moon in the sky. I'd tend to agree with you on front and back; but "lake" and "road" would reduce the confusion.

Leah J. Utas said...

So very gorgeous. I'd love to have a lake view no matter if it's front, back or side.

Linda Wildenstein said...

All of the photos are terrific. I am especially taken by the birds. The down on the woodpecker is so calling my name to touch it. Wonderful as always. Oma Linda

Indrani said...

Lovely captures Hilary.
I have seen that mint leaves keep many pests away. May be you can experiment by growing a mint plant besides the next plant you buy.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Gorgeous photos, and I loved the quotes. I didn't know that about jays; thanks for the tidbit. I think the "front" of the house is where the main entrance is located, but perhaps that's a southern perspective. Your lake view is magnificent.

CiCi said...

You crack me up too. I actually like the look of the one brown egg with the white eggs. Pretty cold here too. There are indeed plenty of days that it just better to remain inside. Stay warm.

Barbara said...

I always enjoy scrolling through your photos and you always have the best quotes. I'm stealing one for my Facebook status right now! (The one about the woodpecker - although the sunrise one will probably be posted tomorrow. :) Thank you for the tip about the eggshells. We don't eat many, but at least now I know a useful purpose for them! And what a precious photo of Zephyr!

Barbara said...

Oh! I say the front is the side facing the road. :)

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

An interesting post that I enjoyed reading. Some nice shots.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Gail Dixon said...

Beautiful photos!! It's eggsactly what I need to see today. :) I can relate to the wimping out thing; even for us, winter has been rough. Those blue jays look none too happy at the buffet.

L. D. said...

Your photos are always so great. The cat photo is full of fur texture. I like the statement about the fake flowers that died from lack of water.

Anvilcloud said...

Some grand photos here. Some birds are daft. For more than one year, there was a robin who flew into our window time after time. Aluminum pie plates eventually helped.

yaya said...

Boy does Squeak look like Zephyr...right down to the tongue on the paw! I would call the main entrance the front, but if I was being escorted out the door, I'd take the back way please! We've never had blue jays attack the house, but then again it's vinyl sided! As always your photos are a work of "heart"

from Madrid said...

I see that you love nature and feel it. Marvellous shots !!.

Tomás.

Stephen Hayes said...

These great photos show what can be accomplished even on an inside (stay at home) day.

ellen abbott said...

if I lived there, I would never see the sunrise. just don't wake early enough. so many excellent shots. I'll have to get some peanuts for the bluejays around here, the few we have anyway. cardinals, however, are in abundance. so why did you trash the plant instead of getting a little insecticidal soap?

Barb said...

Hilary, I love visiting your place - you're so hospitable, even to the bossy jays. Your views are incredible - I especially like the ones from the BACK of the house...

Country Girl said...

I just love your quotes and your beautiful images, Hilary. And those jays truly are spoiled brats! Great photo of them, btw.

Jackie said...

The photo of the blue jays takes my breath away....so beautiful, Hilary.
All your shots are gorgeous, and this one looks like a painting or post card. Stunning....

Kamana said...

beautiful captures, especially the birds.

Rita said...

OMG! Stunning photos!
I might be inclined to go along with the lake view being the front if that is the side of the house that you send most of your time on and come in and out of a lot. Only because my apartment building sits on a busy road and technically the side that faces the road is the "front"--but the main entrance everybody uses is around the "back" of the building where the parking lot is. Everyone here considers that the front door. Or you could just think of it as having two front doors--LOL! ;)

Maggie May said...

Can't pick any photos out this time because they are all excellent. (Or should I say eggsallent...... some of them!) Brilliant. Sure you could make a living out of photography!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Gary's third pottery blog said...

fantastic sunset and blue jays..what would winter be without those?

E. Angelina said...

You make my day! :)

Lisa Gordon said...

How beautiful these are, Hilary.
I especially love the one of Zephyr.
He looks so content in that photo.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Kerry said...

Isn't that golden light on Zephyr just the best? All of these pictures are just to die for, Hilary. The blue jays are so perfectly in focus that I did a double take; I thought they were a tableau of sorts. Bravo!

Pauline said...

Reading your posts is like reading a favorite book. Such gorgeous photos and words :)

I always assumed the front of the house is the part that "fronts" the road (this from the Macmillan dictionary - the surface of something that faces forward
house/building fronts (=the parts that face the road). However, the front of my house faces the back yard of the main house so I guess it's a matter of perspective,

Linda said...

Lovely photos! There are calcium products for caged birds but I did not know that bluejays were so crazy for it!

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Wow, what a beautiful winter! If we're cold down here, I can only imagine how it is up there!!! The blue jays shot could be on a postcard. Hope all is going well with you. I've missed seeing your lovely shots. :)

Anita said...

Great indoorzy photos included with the outdoorzy ones. :)The bluejay photo with the pine in the background, looks like a Winter Holiday card. The birds are beautiful.

Your brown egg photo reminds me of a photo I put together for my "Lone Black Woman" post. :)

And I with the majority - the front is where the main entrance is, off the road.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

You're such a ham!

When we lived on the lake we always called the lakeside the front!

Hilary, you're doing so well managing winter!
Your photos are amazing.
Eggs for the blue jays. What the heck!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Mage said...

Marvelous thank you.

Stacey Dawn said...

Oh wow - I could scream of joy looking at your sunrise image.... and your blue bird image...and of course the light falling on kitty.... what a gorgeous place you live.... those colors just pull me in in that sunrise. I think I need to stare a while! ;o)

Dhara said...

Your pictures inspire me Hilary. What a great way to start my day. I feel fresh already.
Thank you.

Betty Manousos said...

looks like that global warming has move the north pole to your country!

absolutely gorgeous pictures! gosh, what a great view, too! looks so lovely where you live. color me purple with envy! LOL

hope you have a good remainder of your weekend~

big hugs!

Reena Walkling said...

Love the look of those Blue Jays ... exactly what they are thinking! Stunning early morning view! Let's hope our worst of winters is soon behind us and we begin seeing signs of spring.

Bimbimbie said...

I love the fact that those blue jays aren't intentional vandals but just taking care of their dietary requirements.

Your new surrounds look stunning*!*

A Cuban In London said...

I could frame that first photo. That cat's gorgeous. You had winter, we had rain! :-) Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Chicken said...

I love the captions you choose to go with your photos. The fake plants one cracked me up. It was eggspecially funny.

Sandy Carlson said...

Your photos are intensely beautiful. I feel like I can touch those blue jays. And the kitty! Wow!

Thanks for sharing that song.

Rob-bear said...

Each of those photos is a delight, and your stories are wonderful, too!

Say, could you send a couple of Blue Jays my way? I've got a tray full of whole peanuts just for the Jays. No takers thus far.

Blessings and Bearhugs!

Tammie Lee said...

each of your photos have such gorgeous light in them! truly beautiful photographs Hilary!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

"What would you consider the front of the house - the side with the main entrance or the side with the view?"

I ponder the same issue. My neighbor sits on his dock and says "How's this for a backyard?" I, however, think of it as my front yard. I park my car in the front of my house, but my porch and dock seem like my front yard. That's where all the action is. The water and boats and my catfish and bluegills and ducks and geese and heron. Only cars hang out on the other side.

So...
The lake is my front yard.

Joanna Jenkins said...

The blue jays are gorgeous but chipping the paint off your house?!?!? Yikes. Great idea to ask the local bakery (or diner/coffee shop) for their shells. It sure sounds worth the effort.

Stay warm. I'm really hoping Winter ends SOON!

xo jj

Swati Singh said...

Nice collection!!!

Sharon Wagner said...

Perplexing question! The snowy pine tree photo is beautiful. Winter does have its splendors.

Daryl said...

you are always up for a good yoke

Scott said...

I always enjoy your very pleasant meanderings through life so nicely illustrated.

Kat said...

An absolutely brutal winter. I'm done!
Come on, spring!
Beautiful pictures! Those blue jays are gorgeous!

munchow said...

A series of lovely photographs. My favourites will have to be the eggs and the garlic - together. May winter soon be on the return for you (although for myself I wish we could have some more).

photowannabe said...

I think if I lived there I would be the #1 wimp!
Brrrrr you have really got it cold.
I think it has sharpened your indoor photography...if that could be possible!
Love the eggs, garlic and your grooming cat...actually I really love every one of your photos.
Hope you thaw soon.

J Graham said...

Lovely! And Brrrrr!

--crabby

LindyLou Mac said...

What an enjoyable and eclectic post, thoroughly enjoyed all the photos and words. :)

Friko said...

Indoor or outdoor, your pictures are spectacular. And always tell a tale.

Lady Lilith said...

The first song goes to show you nothing is really as it seams. It is all based on perspective.

Laura said...

Beautiful series Hilary. I love your kitty taking a bath and the woodpecker. Although it is not nearly as cold as it is where you are, it was breathtaking when I ventured out to teach a mediation class this morning… just between house to car and car to building. I too am enjoying being cozy for the rest of the day as star shaped snow flakes descend.

Daniel LaFrance said...

The last two images are something special!

Michael Manning said...

The Cat photo is so vivid to start off with, and the variations are such a nice collage of life!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Breathing in a sigh of great pleasure at such a collection of beauty on one page...
I thought you couldn't possibly top the fabulous picture of your shy kitty Z, but each one of these offerings are spectacular. Thank you, Hilary!