Saturday, November 29, 2014

Studio Tour

Well this post goes back a long way. It's been sitting in my draft file for four years - from when my son, Alex was about to graduate from Metalworks - the production company which has kept him employed ever since.

One evening in December of 2010, Alex helped a friend who needed to complete a project for his sound mixing course at Metalworks.

metalworks window
He needed to record a song and do the post production work on the piece.

Alex doing a sound test.

Alex was to play guitar for young songwriter and vocalist Danielle. She's a very talented young performer. The song was her own composition, Say Goodbye.

digital processing units2
Some of the equipment in the mixing room. Alex tells me these are called digital processing units.

mixing board diff view
An overall view of the mixing board..

mixing board3
.. which can also be seen here.

Alex testing
Alex hadn't laid eyes on the music before that night, and they were just going through it for the first time.

Here's a video of their very first rough go-round. Alex's guitar was the only sound actually being picked up and recorded. Danielle's voice and the metronome you can hear were just to keep him on track, and the vocals were to be added once all of the tracks had been successfully recorded. Ultimately, Alex played rhythm and bass.

I'm told it got much better with a bit of practice and eventually the other tracks were recorded. He never did get a copy of the finished piece.

I've searched online for it every now and then to see if I can complete this post with the more polished recording but never found it. I did recently find a video of Danielle singing her composition in front of an audience. She accompanied her own self on guitar. She's a talented girl.

That's it for your mini-tour of a Metalworks mixing room.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In the Right Light

All of these photos were taken in September and early October. The lake looks nothing like this right now. In fact it's frozen over, snow-covered and melting into icky slush with today's rain. It looked much prettier a couple of months back so I figured I'd pull some of those pics for you instead. I hope you enjoy them. 

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." - Aaron Rose

They say that photography is all about shadow and light. Of course it is. It's also about opportunity, equipment and a huge dose of luck. But just for the sake of being agreeable, this post is all about light and its ever-present shadows.

brief sunlight across the bay5
This was a very overcast day. I know, it doesn't look all that gloomy but it was dark just moments before and moments after this photo was snapped. The clouds parted ever so briefly, allowing the sun to shine its light - creating vibrant colours and a few dark shadows. The contrast just makes everything come alive.

On a different day, it rained off and on throughout the daylight hours. We counted no fewer than 4 different rainbows between us. Only a bit of this one showed up but it was rather vibrant, and you can see the rain falling from the clouds above where that lovely sunshine fell.

edged cloud
One evening, the clouds seemed to be lit from the side creating a soft pink edge - like an illuminated shelf of cloud.

sunset boat
Sunset on our bay is rarely full of deep, saturated colours because we face east. Behind us is where the real colour is happening but that's blocked by the hills which lie west of us. Every now and then, there's a sunset that must explode with such intensity for those facing west, that its bounce and reflection paints the sky and water of our eastern view. And we're not complaining for one itty bitty moment.

sunset moonrise3
Please indulge me. I can not resist taking image after image when the sky is like this. I'm only going to show you a few. Note how the moon had already risen on this lovely evening in early September.

sunset moonrise6
One more showing the wavelets forming from a passing boat.

sunset moonrise5
Incoming ripples and the moon reflecting on the water.

sunset ripples
And a final close up of the colours on the lake's rolling surface. You can add your own sound effects.

sunset moonrise2
Oh just one more - I couldn't resist. A bird flying through a pink sky while wispy clouds kiss the moon's cheek in passing.

moon2 oct 9 2014
We're oh so incredibly lucky that full moons happen to rise over the lake, directly in front of our door. Here's that lovely glowing orb just before it cleared the treetops across the bay. This was actually the night after the full moon - but close enough.

hazy moon rising7
And here it was the night before, sliding in and out of subtle colours of the clouds. What shall it wear tonight to make its October d├ębut?

With a bit of luck, shadow and light can go a long way.

More photos coming up soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Creature Feature

Animals, it would seem, are the photographic subject we have most of around here. Whether they're our own pets or one of the birds or mammals which look to us for daily feedings, or those which will have nothing to do with us at all, there is no shortage of creatures around here. Hence this creature feature. I hope you enjoy our critters as much as we do.

Zephyr nose
My beautiful Zephyr. He (along with his brother Skitty) is fifteen and truly hasn't changed much since the day I brought him home at 10 weeks. He's fearful (mostly of that killer vacuum cleaner, unexpected sounds, strangers, a cough, his shadow, his thoughts and just about anything else), gentle, loving and sweet. We won't get into his IQ, but let's just say that his tender heart more than makes up for what might be lacking in that department. This is his kissable nose.

white throat sparrow juvenile2
This little cutie is a juvenile white throat sparrow. He was hanging out on the decorative (lichen covered) bird house outside of our kitchen window. It was through that window that I snapped this photo several weeks ago.

rufie baby
Oh yes, I know. You've met him before. Our sweet little red squirrel ex-regular, Rufous. He pretty much believed that he owned the place. He kind of did. We've not seen him for quite a few weeks now but Noivus (a very nervous red squirrel) and Sprout (or Little Red as Frank calls him) have taken his place.

growing families
Every now and then, through the summer and early autumn, a couple of families of geese would wander by our dock. Sometimes they'd hop onto the shore and nibble on grass. Other times they just peacefully paddle past our place. The young ones were growing nicely. They've all moved on now because that lake is now frozen over (at least in our bay) and it carries a few inches of snow on top. Winter happened very quickly around here. Much quicker than I was able to get these photos out to you in a timely fashion.

hungry jay
The always-present blue jay, snacking on some seed. They're a handsome but very noisy bird. Last winter, they were quite destructive - picking and eating the finish off of our house, in search of the calcium citrate found in paint. This year, we're ready for them with cooked, crushed egg shells.

Benny on the dock
Benny semi-recently got a new collar and he's proudly modelling it for you. Doesn't he look fetching? Oops, did I say fetching? He'll be running off in search a stick now.

The sweet, little red-breasted nuthatch has been a regular visitor to our feeders all summer. They are truly a joy to watch. Even with the snow, they've stuck around and have recently been joined by the larger white-breasted nuthatch.

hey bub
I think I caught this chipmunk in mid-chew. He reminds me of Buddy Hackett in this photo. And you might have to be bordering on old to know who he was.

hunter atop cupboards3
This is Hunter, my son's beautiful trouble maker. You wouldn't think by looking at those innocent green eyes that he has caused my old guys such stress and angst and frequent emptying of bladders throughout the house - but he has. And yet, despite it all, I love the beast and miss him terribly now that he's moved on to Jeffrey's Dad's place where he is the only feline and gets all of the attention he loves and needs - without causing trouble. It would have been so much easier to see him go if he wasn't also such a sweet cuddler and purr machine. In this image, he was lounging atop the kitchen cupboards. He thinks he's a wild cat - see those furry ear tips? Just like a lynx. If he was here right now,  he would be hiding behind my monitor and attacking my hands as they move around the keyboard. My cats do not miss him, however. They are much more relaxed, not fearing surprise attacks, eating better, not afraid of using the litter box and not peeing inappropriately any more. It was the right move but I still miss you, Hunter.

sweet little phoebe
I believe this was a young phoebe preening itself on our front deck a few months back.

flying squirrel cutie
Most nights, we get visits from not one, not two but up to seven flying squirrels. We once believed they were a family - some of them are considerably smaller than the others. Now, I'm coming to realize that the larger, more friendly squirrels are of the Northern variety. The shyer, smaller cuties are Southern flying squirrels which have been making their way up north through the years. They're all quite sociable with one another. This image was taken with a flash and I have re-darkened the eyes in Photoshop.

brotherly love2
And last, but not least, my two boys together, lounging on the kitchen island. Zephyr is enjoying his kitty massage. Skitty is happy to preen his brother. Can't you just hear the purring?

That's all for this post. I'll have more photos for you before too much longer.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Small Bundle of Large Enthusiasms and Posts of the Week

It turns out that my blog, among many others, and probably still more to come has reverted back to word verification prompts. I dislike them as much as you do and please know that my settings are such that I do not allow it on my blog. And yet, there it is at the bottom of the comment form for at least some visitors. 

From what I understand, this is yet another attempt at Google forcing Blogger users to sign in with a Google+ account in order to not have to jump through the very annoying hoops of word verification. Google likes to tell us that it's to protect our accounts from anonymous posters but my blog settings also indicate that I don't allow anonymous comments. And folks who are not anonymous and who are signed into their usual Blogger profile are still seeing the WV. So that doesn't jive. 

So it appears that at least for now, many of us will be stuck with having to punch in those ridiculous letters and numbers which are so difficult for so many to see so that Google can continue to "protect" us. I'm sorry that my blog is among those.

Ahhh Google, I used to think you were the best. You've been a major disappointment for the past few years. 

❀    ❀    ❀

Everyone laughs at so small a bundle of large enthusiasms.
~ Aldo Leopold


sweet chickadee
We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.
~ Tom Brown Jr.

The chickadee and nuthatch are more inspiring society than statesmen and philosophers, and we shall return to these last as to more vulgar companions.
~ Henry David Thoreau

sweet chickadee3
Then piped a tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite, a cheeful cry,
"Chick-a-dee-dee!" saucy note
Out of a sound heart and merry throat
As if it said, "Good day, good sir!
Fine afternoon, old passenger!
Happy to meet you in these places
Where January brings few faces.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

chickadee dee dee
She is only a little chickadee
Not the boldest bird to sing
But she knows that she's most fortunate
there's no one else she'd rather be
She can fly, she can fly
Anywhere she'd care to roam
And call anywhere her home
She is only, a little chickadee.

~The Chenille Sisters

sweet chickadee2
The day was not observed when it first blossomed, nor when it first bore fruit, unless by the chickadee.
~ Henry David Thoreau

All my life I have tried to learn as the chickadee learns, by listening-profiting by the mistakes of others, that I might help my people.
~ Chief Plenty Coups

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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.



Fixing Charlie Dinner
by Mage
at Postcards

This Time of Year
by Pauline
at Writing Down the Words

 Such Gratefulness
by SerentySeeking
at Ditching the Black Dog

I Want to Go to Lunch...
by Chicken
at Chicken's Consigliere


I Know a Great Place to Ride
by Steve
at Out on the Prairie

The First Cold Weather
by Tabor
at Room Without Walls

What I Learnt From Venice
by Fiona
at Lady Fi



by Bob
at Birds and Nature in the Forest of Dean

by Adrian
at Adrian's Images

Honoring Autumn
by Tammie Lee
at Spirithelpers

Late For a Very Good Reason
by Djan
at Djan-ity

Fall Beauty
by Sharon
at Sharon's Paws Create


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, November 11, 2014

Close to the Heart

Canadian FlagFrom the last Friday in October, through to Remembrance Day on November 11, Canadians (among those from other Commonwealth countries) traditionally wear red poppies on our left lapel, pinned as close to the heart as possible. We wear them to remember those who gave their lives in past and present conflicts.

This practice was inspired by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae's poem In Flanders Field. The poppies, which are offered by the Royal Canadian Legion each year, are available on street corners, in storefronts and at federal buildings such as banks and post offices for a voluntary donation. The funds earned provide assistance to past servicemen and women in financial distress, and for medical-related services.

Another touching, fairly new (since 2000) tradition takes place in Ottawa after the ceremonies and wreath-laying has occurred. Veterans and civilians alike remove their poppies after the service, and lay them on top of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's a very moving gesture and sight. It was at this National War Memorial where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down while standing guard less than three weeks ago. He and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, murdered two days earlier in Quebec will be among those we will remember with heavy hearts.

Today, at the eleventh hour, with red poppies pinned close to our hearts, Canadians across our nation will share two minutes of silent reflection and respect to remember those who served our country.


Two minutes for those whose hearts ceased beating far too soon.

Two minutes for countless, selfless acts of courage given in exchange for our freedom.

Two minutes for indescribable sacrifice.

It's an honour and a privilege for Canadians to pause to remember and respect those who serve.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, please pause to honour those who have given their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we assume as our right.

May we never forget.

poppy pins

In Flanders Fields
~ John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Throughout the latter part of the summer and into September, we were visited nearly daily by our little chipmunk friend, Indy (so named for a funny little indent he has partway down his tail).

Indy baby 2
He thought nothing about hopping onto our feet, climbing our legs and looking either one of us in the eye in hopes that we would take pity on him and provide him with a peanut.

Indy baby
We almost always obliged.

Indy scores a peanut
Eventually, he would boldly stick his adorable nose into my closed hand, knowing that I was hiding a treat there.

He'd also climb Frank's shirt and dive into his pocket, in search of a peanut or two.

Indy scores a peanut2
He had us both very well trained.

little Indy
Every now and then a day or two would go by, when Indy wouldn't show up. Five or six other chipmunks were always around to keep us entertained but none of them were as bold as Indy. By day three or four, Indy would invariably show up and he'd make himself right at home on our laps.

Indy stashes a peanut
One of his absences dragged out much longer than three days. In fact, it's been many weeks since we've seen him. Frank's theory is that one of the other chipmunks may have fought him and won his territory, and that he's moved on. I'm not so sure because none of them seemed to be all that aggressive, and all of them appeared to be eating in near-harmony on our deck. In any event, he's no longer coming by to add to what must be his enormous stash of peanuts.

Indy on Frank
And I miss the little brat.

thanks for the peanut
Remind me not to name the next little charmer.

More photos coming up in a while.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Support Your Farmers' Market

The biggest thing you can do is understand that every time you're going to the grocery store, you're voting with your dollars. Support your farmers' market. Support local food. Really learn to cook.
~ Alice Waters

maynooth market
Every Saturday, from May through mid-October (our Thanksgiving), the small town of Maynooth holds a farmers' market.

I had planned to be there as much as possible through the summer but you know what they say about the best laid plans. I did manage at least a half dozen trips to the market where I purchased delights such as;

~ Pure, raw honey made from local early summer wildflowers. I can't begin to describe how delicious it is.

~ Dark maple syrup - ditto on the yum factor.

~ Vinegar infused with calendula flower and basil. I am now addicted to this, mixed with equal parts of olive oil, a few fresh herbs and a splash of the above-mentioned maple syrup, combined well to make a fresh salad dressing.

~ An organic soap called Sunflower Dance - if summer had a scent of its own, this would be it. I just bought the last five bars she had in stock, lest I not have it again all winter.

~ Sugar snap peas so sweet, they could be enjoyed like candy.

~ Pickles which we've not opened yet since it's suggested we wait until November. Frank picks up the jar and rubs it against his cheek every so often in sweet anticipation.

~ Heavenly homemade pies, muffins, carrot cake, scones, corn bread, jams and hot coffee on the premises.

The photos below are from my first visit to the market.

maynooth bustle
The market was bustling on this last day of May.

maynooth music
As I approached the grounds, I could hear organ music which immediately put me in mind of the old SCTV skit with Dave Thomas and Andrea Martin - Tex and Edna Boil's Organ Emporium.

maynooth tex boyle
Ain't that right, Tex?

maynooth edna boyle
That's right, Edna.

She played non-stop every time I visited. She was actually pretty good.

maynooth quilts and tables
It was much too early in the season for any produce but there were lots of seedlings, baked goods and crafts - like these lovely quilts.

Maynooth girl and dog
Just across the road, I could see this stylish young girl and her dog waiting patiently for her parents to bring her to the market.

Maynooth antler jewellery
At one booth, a man was selling these necklaces made from the cross cut of deer and elk antlers. Since we had deer in our back yard just about every day through the winter, I selected one made from their antler.

Maynooth antler art
This one, in fact.

maynooth take my picture
The artist's young daughter quite enthusiastically asked me to take her picture. With dad's permission to snap and to post, I did.

maynooth farmers market
It was a fine day - followed by a few others through the course of the season. Now that I know just how good some of the products are, I'll look forward to it even more next year.

More photos will be ready for picking soon.