Monday, May 26, 2014

Nature Resumes Her Loveliness

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. ~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

There was a brief window of lovely spring days between winter and black fly season. Yes, they're annoying and they restrict regular activities such as the enjoyment of a walk but they are also known to be indicative of a healthy aquatic ecosystem so I'll take consolation in that.

During that bug-free time, some photos were taken of our emerging plant life and a couple of summer birds.

As soon as the grass began to grow, I started to notice the pussy willows emerging. You can see them in two different stages here - the spiky catkin and the soft fuzzy bit that most of us associate with this plant.

Here's an up close and personal look at the former.

On one of my walks a couple of weeks back, I saw a few of these lovely but very shy birds. This image was taken from quite a distance away and it's the best I could do. I haven't been able to identify it to my satisfaction though we're thinking it might be a flycatcher of some sort. Any help in identifying this cutie would be much appreciated. A big thank you to Jennifer Jilks for identifying this little beauty as an Eastern Phoebe which is indeed part of the flycatcher family like Frank suggested.

A couple of weeks ago, Frank's son, Francis came up for a visit with Frank's sisters Theresa and Lisa. We had a short but wonderful time together. Frank had to head back to his other place for a few days so he left early the next day with his son. Lisa and Theresa and I shared a long walk headed into the nearby town to look at antiques. It was a whirlwind visit but I enjoyed it immensely. I think they need to consider moving up here.

red trillium
Lisa spotted this Red Trillium on our walk. Funny thing about this flower is that it has so many names. It's also known as trillium erectum (yes, I hear all of you immature guys snickering), wake-robin, purple trillium, birth root and stinking Benjamin. I'll probably stick with red trillium. The white trillium is Ontario's provincial flower. I also snapped some photos of them in bloom but they're still in my camera as I type this.

new growth7
It's important to remember to look up occasionally. When you do, you might see some beautiful spring green.

new growth
The promise of something delicate and lovely about to bloom.

new growth 6
And here's something different which has already kept its promise.

nest building osprey
I could probably do a series of images of nearly-photographed birds, and perhaps I will, one day. You might want to consider this one as a preview. It's nearly a photograph of an Osprey which flew in over the lake with a piece of nest-building material. By the time I got her in focus, she was flying over the roof.

These lovely pink hyacinths are among the many spring surprises growing in our garden.

daffy and bug
Another little surprise of the insect variety. I didn't notice it until I looked at the image on my computer.

Rudy's Tree4
Here's a sweet coincidence for you. The former owner of our house, Josie told us about Rudy's tree at the time we purchased the place. One of her stipulations upon selling was that she reserved the right to uproot this tree which sits outside our kitchen window. It was planted when her beloved husband, Rudy passed away a few years back. Of course, we agreed to her request but it turned out that the tree had matured enough so that digging it out would prove difficult and expensive, and there would be no guarantee to its survival, so she opted to leave it behind. I knew that the anniversary of his passing was in late May. I wanted to take a few photos of its leaves about to unfold and send them to her so she could share them with her family so that she would know that we were honouring his memory. I took a few photos earlier in the week and processed them on Sunday. Then I proceeded to look through some paperwork left to us by Josie to see if I could find her email address. I could not. I made a mental note to stop by the next door neighbour, Jayne to see if she could provide it. Then I went to sit on the dock and read a book.

Rudy's Tree2
Not a half hour later, I heard female voices approaching. Glancing up, I see both Jayne and Josie making their way along the dock to come see me. Josie was in town visiting another neighbour and stopped by to see Jayne, and in the process, hoped find out what our addition to the place looked like. It was one of those serendipitous moments when things work out so beautifully. I had a nice visit with the ladies and showed them the changes. Josie spent a couple of quiet moments with Rudy's tree, I showed her the above two (and a few more) photos and I was able to obtain her email address. All in all an unexpected but lovely event. The rings which are tied with ribbon to one of the branches, are from Rudy and Josie's grandchildren, I believe, and they read "Memories. Peace. Family."

That's it for this post. I hope to put a few more photos together before too much longer. And start catching up on my blog visits. But it's spring and even if the mosquitoes and black flies are telling me to stay inside, other things beckon like Saturday morning yard sales and catching the breeze at the end of the dock. And Frank's boat is back in the water so fishing will be added to the agenda. In reality, I might be a bit more scarce than my norm, this summer. But I will continue to stop by from time to time and post as often as I can. I know you'll understand because you're all pretty wonderful that way.

More photos coming up soonish.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Unfamiliar Light and Posts of the Week

Do you see that out there? The strange, unfamiliar light? It's called the sun. Let's go get us a little."
~ Nora Roberts

As has long been the case, on and off, these days, I'm finding myself falling behind with blog reading. The weather is nice. The house is still in a stage of unready and I'm an expert procrastinator. But I will be around for a visit before too much longer, I hope.

I have lots of spring images to share with you but they're all still in the camera right now. The photos below are from that transitional stage between late winter and early spring. If you just squint and ignore the ice on the lake, you'll never know the difference. At the end of the photos, I'll post a short video that tells us once and for all that the spring season has arrived.

hazy light
Glancing through the kitchen window (yes, it's spotty and in need of a good cleaning), the sun was making its subtle presence known on a very grey day.

I took a walk down to the public boat launch, one afternoon when the ice had just begun to pull away from the shoreline. There was a colourful world of discarded nature just above and below its surface.

Same spot as the water reflects the low-lying branches of a nearby tree.

musky mailbox
A short distance up the road, there's a small cottage and trailer rental spot. This was their mailbox which had fallen of its post sometime during the winter.

paradise landing3
I posted a photo of this road recently. This is just another view of Paradise Landing - the one through the windshield.

warming April sunset7
Late day sunlight gave some much needed colour to the landscape across the bay. There was still ice on the lake but the colour bounced off of the clouds and onto the watery patches close to shore. The lake has been pure liquid for the past couple of weeks now.

warming April sunset3
Here's a close up of the point. Take note of that spot - it will appear in the video below.

warming April sunset13
And here is a better look at Blueberry Island with just a few remaining patches of icy snow on its beautiful rock face.

warming April sunset14
Let's zoom in just a little bit closer still. Imagine the view from up there? Some folks do climb it. I bet my adventurous blogging pal, DJan would tackle it in a heartbeat. Oh I know she's a hiker and not a rock climber but she's jumped out of planes, for goodness sake! Lots of them.

luna moona
On a cool, clear night, early in April, this is how the moon appeared. All crisp and cold and deeply into the serious task of becoming full.

moon through trees
She came in through the bathroom window a few nights later wearing nothing but the branches of still-bare trees. Apologies and thanks to the Beatles.

We watched these two Common Loons take chase across the lake from our far left point of view to the right. Every now and then the one who was in pursuit would change direction briefly and then so would the chaser. They'd quickly return to the business of running away and following. We weren't sure if they were a male and female in a mating ritual or if it was a territorial issue between one of our established bay watchers from last year and a newcomer. Google confirmed the latter. They sure can be goofy birds and I'd have to say that they come by their name honestly. But they're also incredibly beautiful birds and they serenade us with their haunting songs every night.

More photos coming up soonish.

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



Look Up
by Hilary
at Crazy as a Loom

The Centre of the Universe
by Leah
at the Goat's Lunch Pail

Foxy Lady
by Stephen
at Chubby Chatterbox

The Fad
by Joe
at Cranky Old Man



by Gail
at Louisiana Belle

Look Up. Look Down
by Daryl
at Out and About in New York City

Foxy Lady
by Daniel
at The Pixel Collective



High-Rise Country Living
by Theresa
at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report

Let's All Shout for Trout
by Crabby
at Cranky Fitness

The Hairy Eyeball
by Yaya
at Whispering Pines



What Your Flower Delivery Person Wishes You Knew
by MessyMimi
at Messymimi's Meaderings

When a Photo Becomes the Canvas
by Karen
at What Karen Sees



Recommended by: Tabor
In Defence of Nothing
by Leah
at The Goat's Lunch Pail


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, May 11, 2014

Soft and Huggy

You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place. That's why animals are so soft and huggy.
~Bill Waterson - Calvin & Hobbes

As promised in my last post, below are just a few of them many creatures which have crossed my path in one way or another over the past few months.

I was really MOOtivated to get them posted for you. I saw this lovely beast when I was out driving, one afternoon. The farmer to whom it belonged seemed a bit alarmed to see a crazy woman stop the car to photograph his cattle.

beaver road
This one goes back to March when I met up with a woman whom I hoped would be making curtains for our new addition. On my way back home, I saw this little guy taking his time, moving on up the road with his small tree branch. He was taking the scenic route, as the sign says.

beaver tail
The beaver eventually waddled over the the left and climbed up the snowbank, leaving his prize behind. Most evenings, we see one or two of them in our lake, depleting our neighbour's brush pile, one stick at a time.

little red guy6
Closer to home, we have Rufus.. or Rufette. Cute as a button and bold as brass. Gotta love red squirrels (even though I know some of you don't).

deer in garden
This was one of the last times we saw deer in our yard. He was checking out our garden. He must have been disappointed with its lack of growth which is probably just as well. They'll be back after hunting season in the fall. I hope.

northern flicker yard
This Northern Flicker was new to me. Frank had seen them before but I had not. He reminds me of a confused woodpecker, as he spends his time pecking for ants in the ground instead of trees.

yellow bellied sapsucker4
Here's a woodpecker that understands what he has to do. It's a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Handsome little guy.

red breasted nutchatch4
Our feeders attract a number of birds. Among them these darling Red-breasted Nuthatches.

red breasted nutchatch7
Funny little acrobats.

northern flying squirrel
This little cutie was a bit of a surprise. Frank's son Francis was visiting us and he saw him feeding on the deck railing. He was confused as to what he was. Frank had spent some evenings sitting out there in the dark and assumed it was Rufus getting a midnight snack. Now that the light was on him, it was clear to see that he wasn't one of our usual visitors. Those big black eyes (which I tried to return to their original state as best I could with Photoshop, after they were reddened and washed right out from the flash) gave him away. Frank correctly identified our nocturnal visitor as a flying squirrel. He was unconcerned about our presence, the light, the camera and our chatter. Of course, he felt otherwise about Benny who eventually scared him off.

back to back4
Last but not least, my own handsome guys who turn 15 this month. Here, they were practising hard at being bookends.

That's it for now. I should have some more photos coming up soon.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Murmur of Spring

All the woods are alive with the murmur and sound of spring. ~ Oscar Wilde

Spring is truly here and I've been taking more photos the last couple of weeks than over the past several months. Various adorable and interesting creatures have begun to reappear in our world, and the sounds of the season are sweet and cheerful. Our dock is back in the water, to be followed shortly by the boat. Splashes of colour have painted the landscape and the grass is perceptibly greener and growing daily. Big sigh!

I have a few random photos to share with you. Most were taken two or three weeks ago. One of them still shows the ice on the lake which has kindly since melted away. Still, they're all semi-recent images. I hope you enjoy them.

wee chickadee
Sweet, little bright-eyed Chickadee. The boldest beauty among our visitors. They have landed on Frank's hand (full of birdseed) a couple of times now. I'm hoping that my turn won't be too far behind.

cloudy dusk2
Some pretty colours in the evening sky. This is the view we see out of our kitchen window. The same place the eagles were flying in the last post.

celebration chocolate2
Snack time! This decadent collection of chocolate was Frank's thoughtful way of saying either "Congratulations" or "Better luck next time" when I took my driving test in March. Thankfully, it was the former and I could indulge with gusto. Erp! Thank you, Frank.

barkie texture
Up close and personal with the gnarly base of a beautiful old tree. It kind of looks like a lizard's face. Or perhaps ET. Hmmm I never meant that to rhyme but it does in an awkward sort of way. Let's try that again.

Up close and personal with the gnarly base
Of a beautiful old tree.
It kind of looks like a lizard's face
Or perhaps ET.
(I'm so easily amused.)

leafy survivor
A cling on from last autumn.

olden golden\
Another holdout from just before winter. They must have been pretty, little bell flowers at one time.

foggy view2
Here's that still-icy lake view. We were in the middle of a weather change - from cold to warm - and the fog just enveloped the trees like a silky, sheer scarf. I took a ridiculous number of photos, and processed many of those. I'll only inflict this one on you (this time).

paradise landing4
The landscape looks a lot more like this now. This is a little spot called Paradise Landing.

This tree bark has a certain.. a-peel.

At the edge of our property, everyone's favourite spring bud - pussy willows.

Purple crocus. It was like a fresh breath of spring air to see them growing outside our kitchen door. Thank you, Spring!

I'll have some critter photos for you next time.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Silent, Peaceful Poise and Posts of the Week

One grey morning, while doing a few dishes at the sink, I glanced out the window to the hills beyond the road. Above the trees, in the charcoal sky, a couple of juvenile bald eagles were practicing their soaring skills.

baldies juv
They fly. And when they fly, oh, how they fly, so free, so graceful. They see from the sky what we never see. ~ Unknown

baldies juv2
Eagles, soaring in the clouds, fly with silent, peaceful poise. ~ William Arthur Ward

baldies juv3
The day is done,
and the darkness,
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward,
From an eagle in his flight.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

baldies juv5
I am the eagle, I live in high country, in rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky. ~ John Denver

baldies silhouettes
Eagles fly but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines. ~ Steven Wright

We're so lucky to share space with such wonderful creatures.

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



No Thinking Allowed
by Joeh
at The Cranky Old Man

When the Smell was New
by Linda
at Olde Baggs 'n Stuft Shirts

Eternal Baseball
by Cloudia
at Comfort Spiral



Some Sun, Some Patience, and a Lot of Luck
by Keith
at HoldingMoments

My Big Week
by Gail
at Louisiana Belle



Law of Mother Earth's Rights
by Cloudia (She's on a roll!)
at Comfort Spiral

by Kerry
at Ed and Reub



by Stephen
at The Chubby Chatterbox



Recommended by: Joeh
And Now, the Curtain Rises... to Reveal Fanny Hugg
by Val
at Unbagging the Cats

Recommended by: Eddie
Love Story
by Betsy
at My Five Men


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