Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"I Thought We Had Just Begun"

Twenty-one years ago, today, the second of my two most beautiful gifts was bestowed upon me...

Happy 21st Birthday, my beautiful son.

I love you,


Monday, June 27, 2011

A Walk in the Park

It's time to join me for a walk in the park. Grab a hat and some sunscreen. These hazy days are deceiving.

garden daisy
Fresh as a daisy.

double iris
Twin Iris. Born of the same stalk.

young robin fluffed
Frank pointed out this young Robin primping.

young robin preening6
And preening.

A duckling explores the water and comes up empty-billed.

Our local Painted turtle basking in the sunlight on the slope of the dam. The water sparkles behind him.

Up above him, Mr. Blue does a fly-by.

I hope you enjoyed our walk around the pond. Can I pour you a coffee?

This was a scheduled post. I will not be able to return visits for about a few more days because I am away at the cottage. I do have some more scheduled posts though, and they will be coming up soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Benny at the Car Wash

Meet my beautiful young neighbour, Jacklyn. Her family has lived next door to us since before she was born and I've had the pleasure to watch her grow into a lovely, young adult. On this day, Jac and her friend Jen decided to wash her car.

benny watching
Benny watched across the driveways, from my front lawn.

jac washing car
He watched as Jacklyn soaped up the vehicle and scrubbed it clean. He waited patiently for his favourite part.

And Jen soon obliged him.

Crazy little, wet dog!

This was a scheduled post. I will not be able to return visits for about a week because I am away at the cottage. I do have a few more scheduled posts though, and they will be coming up soon.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Floral Arrangement

I have flowers to share...

For openers, a view of a globeflower in my neighbour's garden.

My Croton stays indoors all winter but enjoys the outdoor weather in summer. It had just been rained upon.

another iris
The first Iris to bloom in my garden this year. I had a grand total of two. On the same stalk.

a hip
A solitary rose hip left over from last year's climbing roses. The blooms are profuse this year. I'll have photos somewhere down the blogging road.

Daisies growing along the edge of my yard. That's the driveway you see behind them.

globe flower
And a closing shot of another Globeflower.

More photos coming up soon if the Blogger scheduler will oblige.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cribbage Hands and Posts of the Week

Frank and I play a lot of Cribbage. It's a great game, and no matter how far behind one might be early on in the game, anything can happen to turn things around.

Frank has been playing since he was a child and has never attained the much-desired perfect hand of 29 points. He thinks that he may have had the second best hand of 28 points only once, when he was fifteen. Forty five years and countless games of Cribbage have passed, and he has not repeated that feat. He has, however, had the humiliating (for me) pleasure of having double skunked me once - just a few weeks ago, in fact. If you play Cribbage, you know how embarrassing that might be. It didn't help that Frank drew circles around the score, and added stars, fireworks and smiley faces to it each time he found it in the score pad.

Fortunately for me, I was able to redeem myself somewhat when a couple of weeks later, I managed to get my very first 28 point hand.

28 pts close
This is what my hand looked like the night that I managed to acquire the elusive 28 point score.

28 points
And this is what Frank's hand looked like.

The truth is that Frank is a great sport. The camera missed the high-five he gave me seconds later. (It still hurts to sit down.) ;)

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 Post of the Week - either as top post or as a runner up.

This week's Post of the Week goes to one which was recommended by Shammickite. It had me laughing out loud and though I usually include recommendations at the end, I thought this one needed to be read, particularly if you need a good laugh. This dog makes crazy little Benny appear totally sane. Enjoy...

What Did Your Dog Have for Breakfast?
by Ken
at Grumpy Old Ken

Other wonderful posts are categorized below (they may well fit into more than one category but I'm only selecting one for each):

While I've Been Gone
by Pauline
at Writing Down the Words

Sight Seeing
by Louciau
at Décolleté Glimpses

Unsung Heroes
by Jo
at A Majority of Two

Cosmic Flow
by Nancy
at Life in the Second Half

Reighton Sands
by Technogran
at My Photos

A Balcony...
by Robin
at Rambling With a Cantakerous Old Mule

Mamma Squirrel Moves Her Family
by Tammie Lee
at Spirithelpers

by Reena
at Missing Moments

A Fairy Tale
by CherylK
at Lake Mary Musings

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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mr. Blue

We always keep an eye out for any one of the many herons which come to the pond to fish. A bit later into the summer, we'll begin to see the Night heron with great regularity and at some point, I hope to see a few more visits from the Green heron. Right now, not a day has gone by that we haven't seen the Great Blue heron.

A few days ago, we were walking the usual path around my local park. We spotted Mr. Blue across the pond and we slowly made our way around until we were fairly close. We wondered if our nearness would spook him and if all we'd be left with is a flurry of wings and the ripples in the water where he stood. But Mr. Blue was very cooperative. He allowed us to watch him as he showed off his great fishing expertise. He ambled back and forth in front of us catching minnows. Here are a few photos from this day.

His beautiful, sharp eye kept a cautious watch as he went about his fishing expedition.

A serious dunking of his head came up short. No fish in that attempt,

Just a wet head to shake and flick all over the pond.

But all his patience pays off eventually.

I guess that they need to close their nictitating membrane (or third eyelid) to protect their eyes while fishing. Try zooming in on this, or any photo by hitting Control+ (Command+ on a Mac). Hitting Control or Command- will bring it back down to size afterward.

More photos coming up soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's On!

Back to my summer schedule, it looks like I'll be enjoying some cottage time semi-soon. Some of you may have already noticed that my visits have been dwindling and my comment responses are often lacking. I won't apologize because when I do, so many of you kind folks tell me not to, and to just enjoy my real life away from the computer. So I'm going to do just that.

Through the summer, I'll visit when I can, comment when I can and put together the Posts of the Week when I can. And when I can't, you can be sure I'll still be taking lots of photos to share with you when I find that time to do that.

For now, I'm scheduling a few posts and my online time will be sporadic. I may pop in here and there. But I may not. Oh, who am I kidding? I probably will. But if I don't, you'll know that I'm off experiencing new photo opportunities.

Summer mode is officially ON!

poppy bloom 3
Red poppy in full bloom - a side view

poppy bloom
And a little more over the top.

closeup leaf
An up close and personal view of a red maple leaf as seen in the previous post.

apple blossoms
Crab apple blossoms. As fresh as spring itself.

A cute little muskrat makes its way down the shore bank after grabbing a few dandelion leaves to bring to its home.

He brought the leaves into the water and swam several yards before disappearing into the bank.

Faceoff at the seed post, between a cowbird and sparrow. Nobody won. They both took off when they heard the camera click. Edited to add that these are actually two cowbirds - the male on the left and female on the right. They were not facing off but merely enjoying a romantic dinner together. Now I know what they flew off to do. This information courtesy of Frank.

male cowbird
Another cowbird watching from a small branch.

beautiful grackle
As I sat watching the creek water gurgle and swirl past me, this handsome grackle stopped by to have a bath and a drink along the opposite shore. The sunlight certainly brought out his best colours.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

F Words

Foliage, Flowers and Feathers. What did you think the F words were?

red maple leaves 4
You might think these are autumn leaves but they're not. They belong on Frank's Red Maple tree in his back yard. The colours are beautiful, particularly when the sun is shining through them from behind.

Out in the fields, ferns have unfurled to reveal lovely, lacy patterns.

gull dripping
A gull, unsuccessful in catching a fish, pond water still dripping from its beak.

bleeding hearts
Bleeding hearts. I never tire of seeing Nature's little love flower.

maple tree leaves
Another red leaf from the Red Maple tree, late in the evening, just before dark.

A mystery bird. This little cutie was sitting on the boulevard just as we were heading out for a walk. I think it's a juvenile but I have no idea which kind of bird it is. Can anyone please help with this?

mystery flower
And speaking of mysteries, I have no idea what kind of flower this is but I liked how it looked in the near-dark.

Eastern Kingbird best
A beautiful Eastern Kingbird posed perfectly atop a high branch.

The brilliant red feathers of red-winged blackbird as he comes in for a landing.

Thanks for joining me in exploring a few F words. They're be more photos coming up real soon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Where'd You Get Those Peepers?

On Wednesday morning, I made it most of the way around the pond without seeing anything particularly interesting. Just before I turned past the final spot where the path follows closely to the water, I saw some women and very young children watching the ducks. They had a cute little dog with them and I wandered over to pet him when I noticed what looked like two oversized bumblebees skittering around on the pavement by the shore - and they were peeping their fuzzy little heads off.

Peep, Peep, Peep, PEEP!

The group had been watching them for a while. There were only a few mallards in the water and only one of those was female. Was she the mother? The ducklings looked healthy but were clearly beginning to sort of imprint on we humans - looking for and following our movement.

The other folks soon moved on (their little girl was frightened every time one of these miniature fluff balls approached her) and I was left wondering what to do with them.

I kept trying to put them back into the water, in hopes that they'd swim out a distance and that the female would come for them.
Every time I placed them in the water, they'd just turn right around and hop out, and waddle up to me. And peep.

Peep, Peep, Peep, PEEP!

The adult female appeared to be totally disinterested in the little ones and soon departed along with the drakes.

I placed them in a shady, protected spot and rushed home (less than a minute away) to phone Nicky. She's the Animal Whisperer of our neighbourhood - the one who helped rescue the orphaned raccoons from under my deck, and the geese which were dying from an oil spill in this same pond a year ago, spring.

She said she'd meet me at the pond. I returned a few minutes later to find them in the water, but as soon as they saw me, they paddled their way out and hurried toward me.

A few people came and went, marveling at their supreme cuteness. One man brought me a small cardboard box in which to keep them shaded and safe until Nicky came along. Before placing them inside, I gave them each a kiss on top of their sweet, fuzzy heads and wished the very best for their survival. I know their chances are not great without a mother.

Nicky was there within the half-hour and ended up taking them home with her. She fed them mushy rabbit food and chopped up dandelions and clover. They were very hungry. The ducklings will be fine with Nicky until she can bring them to the Toronto Wildlife Centre where they will rehabilitate them and return them to the pond if and when they reach independent maturity. She'll keep me posted and I'll do likewise with you. In any event, I know they'll be in the best hands possible.

Judging by the photos I've seen on Google Images, it would appear that the ducklings were between one and three days old. Please keep these little sweeties in your best thoughts.

Meet the wee, feathered twins.

Could they possibly be any cuter?

When some folks were leaving, they rushed to try and follow them.

They almost caught up with them too!

The two of them stayed close to one another. Everywhere one went, the other followed.

This little darling became sleepy in the sunshine.

And decided to take a bit of a nap.

So of course, his brother followed suit, and did the same.

Now, I know you might be wondering just how tiny they were. To put them in perspective, that brown thing on the right is the front tip of a man's shoe.

And if you're still not certain, here's one of them nestled in my own hand.

Same hand, different duckling.

That's more than enough cuteness for one day.