Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Rainbow Connection

This post covers an event from three months ago.

Someday we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
~ Williams/Ascher

Less than halfway into October, on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, rain clouds and sunshine had each been doing their best to colour the day. Every now and then, the two would combine their efforts and we'd instinctively look opposite the sun, in hopes of finding a rainbow. On this lovely day, we were gifted with a beauty.

best rainbow ever5
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
~ William Wordsworth
At first, the rainbow appeared during classic weather of showers and sunshine. You can see the raindrops sparkling in the light of the arc and a second, more faint rainbow forming off to its right. One would think that there's a pot of gold hidden just beyond the end of the dock or in the boat.

best rainbow ever8
Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
~ Edgar Harburg
When the rain stopped - at least over our heads, the colours seemed to just get more intense. I've never seen a rainbow this complete and this brilliant or lasting this long before, so I took a lot of photos. I'll only subject you to a fraction of them though.

best rainbow ever15
The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work.
~ Patricia Clifford
My sons were here to enjoy the beauty.

best rainbow ever17
Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.
~ Lord Byron
I can remember the days when Alex played a computer game called Rainbow Warrior. Evidently, the goofball now plays it in real life.

best rainbow ever12
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by.
~ Bob Thiele and George David Weiss
We were all pretty much in awe for the full fifteen minutes or so that it remained.

best rainbow ever21
Don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
Are beautiful,
Like a rainbow
~ Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly
 I couldn't resist trying to get nearer to it.

best rainbow ever11
Where does the rainbow end - in your soul or on the horizon?
~ Pablo Neruda
I switched lenses and transported myself even closer.

best rainbow ever10
The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
~ Henry David Thoreau
The woods were awash with hues of enchantment.

best rainbow ever16
Rainbows apologize for angry skies.
~ Sylvia Voirol
Rainbows are a semi-regular occurrence around here but we'll be hard-pressed to see another one like this.

What a way to feel connected to the world. Thank you, Universe.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Random Memories and Posts of the Week

A few random photos. I hope you enjoy.

little red brat
This adorable little red squirrel is young. His tail isn't even long enough to keep his head warm. He was hanging around our place for quite a few weeks but like so many other sweet creatures around here, he just upped and disappeared one day. Anyway, on this day, he held this position for the longest time and though it was shot through glass at near dusk, you can still see the forlorn look on his adorable little face. "Where have all the peanuts gone?"

cardboard face
Here's another rather unhappy face. It's the cardboard in which the charger and cord came with a Kobo Arc. Seeing faces in everyday inanimate things is called pareidolia.

The bright eye of a female Hairy woodpecker checking me out through the kitchen window.

It kind of looks as if the walls are bowing inward but that's just the shadow cast by the openings in the side of that lamp, and they're actually on the wall behind it - which ends at that hallway off to the right.

STELLA! She's Frank's sons' beautiful girl.

laundry in the sun2
Laundry never seems to end. And rarely does it catch my eye in an attractive way but I liked the way these towels looked in the sunlight which streamed in through another window.

hello beauty
Don't we get the most beautiful visitors?

More photos coming up soonish.


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.


The Best Medicine
by Shammickite
at Rook's Nest


New Year's Day 2015
by DJan
at DJan-ity

Lake Roger's Park
by Author R. Mac Wheeler
at R. Mac Wheeler



Zero to Ten
by YaYa
at Whispering Pines


by Jim
at Suldog

Coffee, Reflections and Music
by A Cuban in London
at Un Cubano en Londres

The Hair
by Joe
at Cranky Old Man


Abstract Lights 
by Linda
at The View From Squirrel Ridge


Recommended by: TexWisGirl
Nature Smiling

by Paul
at Shutterbugs Capturing the World Around Us

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, January 18, 2015

Silent, Soft and Slow

Out of the bosom of the air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We've been getting our share of cold, snowy weather. It's been better than last year, so far but winter is well and truly here. All photos were taken through glass -some through glass and screen. And some on different days.

came in through the bathroom window
My first glimpse of the sun coming over Blueberry Island, as seen through my bathroom window.

morning sun through screen
Turning to the opposite direction, you can see her lovely rays landing across the snow of our yard.

icy treetops2
Through the kitchen window, across the yard, across the road and up the hills on the opposite side, the trees collected frost and snow which lasted over tend days before we had a warming spell.

through kitchen window
And then the snow came in earnest.

snow squall
It continued to fall despite a few shoveling sessions.

sunny snow
Eventually the sky began to clear and the vague warmth of sunshine tried to burn through. Despite that, it kept snowing for a while.

wind pattern on ice with blue filter
The wind got creative - making icy patterns on the frozen, snowy lake.

through office window
Sunset arrived with huge, cotton candy clouds. This is the view from my computer desk. I just lifted my camera over the monitor.


moonrise over lake
And not wishing to be out-pinked by the sun, the moon did her best to illuminate a lovely sky.

Even for a summer person like me, it's difficult to not love a winter like that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

B-9 K-9

The current photo post is below but I had to break in with this brief good news that the pathology results for Benny's tumour came back benign.


Wild and Free

All good things are wild and free.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Hello, Deerie. Don't be shy.

shy buck
Come on out into the open. Hunting season ended over a month ago.

shy buck venturing out
Atta boy!

shy buck thanks
Come get a treat, my beauty.


shy buck likes carrots
Would you care at all for a carrot? Of course you would.

shy buck nom nom
You're most welcome.

We fed them deer feed throughout last winter. It was bitter cold and there was lots of snow. So far, the winter's cold has set in later than last year and there have been more natural resources available for these lovely, elegant creatures.

We have also done a bit of research, reading and listening and have learned that for several reasons, it's not such a wise idea to feed the deer. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources advises against it under most circumstances, as do most animal advocates. And though we'd like these beauties to come around for a visit, we sure don't want to do them harm in any way, so we decided against buying commercial deer feed and scooping it out for them each day. Besides, a few of our neighbours are feeding them regularly so adding to that during a normal winter would be overkill.

That doesn't mean that they don't get the occasional carrot treat - though only a couple of them seem to like them. Neither does it mean that we have stopped feeding the birds. And where there is spilled bird seed, there are deer who come to clean up. We still have several come by each day. They seem to forgive us for the lack of last year's gourmet offerings.

clever deer3
This guy is a clever one.

clever deer5
We sprinkle bird seed along the top of the railing for birds and squirrels alike. Of course some of them are messy eaters and so it falls to the deck below. It just so happens that the deck is at a perfect height to allow the deer access by poking his nose in between the bars.

clever deer6
Opening wide...

clever deer11
And licking up all the seed.

He's here doing that every day.

young buck
Such beautiful creatures.

They're the best part of winter up here in the country.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Cone of Shame

So just a few days ago, you got your Benny fix and today, I was all set to introduce you to some of our sweet deer who have been coming around since winter has settled in.

But no. Benny had other plans.

He's such an attention hog!

No, not really. Here's what happened.

On and off, over the past few weeks, Benny has had a rather goopy eye. Some mornings, he would be in need of a warm, wet washcloth in order to clean him up. There was no redness. No swelling. And no pain. We didn't think too much about it. We figured he might have scratched it on something... like a cat's paw.

On Wednesday afternoon, Frank happened to notice a big dark glob in his eye. I thought it was some dried crusty bits which sometimes form in the corners but it was rather large for that. I tried to wipe it away but soon realized that it was fixed to his lower eyelid. And it didn't look right. It seemingly appeared out of nowhere but Frank figured that it had probably been growing behind his lower lid and flipped up once it became large enough.

Benny left eye
This image was taken in low light, without flash from across the room, earlier that same day. It was before we had noticed but if had I taken a good look at this photo, I might have seen it sitting there in his left eye.

A quick call to the vet got me an appointment for the following morning.

The clinic is an hour from our place. Once she had a good look at Benny's eye, she advised me that she felt she should remove the growth right that day. She concurred with what Frank had surmised, which helped to absolve us of guilt for not noticing sooner. She had other appointments to attend to and wouldn't be able to perform the surgery for a few hours.

Enter Carol Anne!

My dear friend spends most of her time in near(ish)by Peterborough. I had time to kill and Carol Anne helped me fill it. We met for lunch at a diner about fifteen minutes away from the veterinary clinic and about a half hour from Carol Anne's significant others place. The time went quickly as it always does when we're together and before I knew it, I was getting a text from the clinic advising me that all went well and that I could come get our Benny.

What the doctor thought was a deep-rooted tumour, was in fact two. The large visible one and a smaller one underneath it. She felt that the small one was benign but could not feel certain about the larger one so she sent them off for analysis. We'll know more about that in about a week. Hopefully it was also benign and if not, the next best thing would be to know that she got it all. That's the information we're waiting for.

In the meantime, Benny has very fine, dissolvable stitches in his lower lid and it must be kept well protected until his follow up visit in about ten days.

Yup, that's right. The boy has to wear...

cone of shame2
The Cone of Shame.

Poor Benny. He keeps crunching up against things and scooping up snow with the cone when he tries to sniff out a good place to pee. It took him a few jolts before he figured out that he had to hold his head up to go upstairs. He's doing a lot better with it but it's pathetic to see him try to scratch his ears through the plastic. If one of us hears him tapping on the cone, we'll help him out by scratching the area he's after. The funny thing is that he thinks he's having the affect on his itch and just keeps on scratching the cone.

Anyway, he's a little trooper and I only feel mildly guilty for using him and his condition for my Photoshop (and Illustrator) entertainment.

He's a real little gentleman about it all.

Of course these ideas have all be blatantly stolen from fun photo shoots already out there in various Googled images. Most were far more creative than this. They actually built props for their pets rather than take the easy digital route. But I suspect that Benny wouldn't have sat still long enough for that, anyway.

J-R-Tini, anyone?

pixar benny
Ah yes, he really ought to be in pictures.

Please keep our boy in your best thoughts? I'll update you on his results shortly after I hear.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Benny

Ahh Benny. He's funny, loveable, goofy and cute. And undeniably insane.

Need some examples?

Let's start with snow shoveling. If one of us takes on this task and Benny has been left in the house, he will jump at the glass door incessantly while yipping, barking and emitting mournful cries until the person who is stuck inside with him can no longer stand it, and allows him to go out.

crazy benny2
Once released, Benny has a huge dilemma on his paws. "Do I wait at the bottom of the deck so that I can eat each shovelful of snow as it comes over the railing...

...or do I attack the shovel and derail it by emptying it just before they are about to toss it over?"

Being a relatively good problem-solver, he runs back and forth between the two and does both. The trick is to fake a snow toss in one area so he'll run to get it and then actually discard the snow where he won't be so that 1) he doesn't get buried in it and 1) he doesn't add its contents to his already full belly and increasingly extended bladder. Even clearing up after a small snowfall will result in a shivery, nauseated, manic dog. He spends the next hour throwing up and peeing excess melted snow, while never losing focus on where each and every one of those shovelfuls landed. Crazy!

Benny does not know how to enjoy a dog treat. Oh he wants the treat. He sits pretty and waits patiently while it's being retrieved from the drawer - his tail wagging and eyes focused. He'll take the offered goodie very gently from the obliging hand and that's when the crazy kicks in. All of a sudden, everyone is his mortal enemy whom he believes wants to take that treat away from him. He walks over to his bed with a paranoid skulk and tries to bury it within the folds of his blanket. If anyone dares to approach his bed over the next day or so (or until he has forgotten about it), he utters a low warning growl. He never ever bites but the closer you get to Benny and his hidden treasure, the louder and more vociferous his growling becomes. If you lean in REALLY close, he'll merely lick your face. Usually, we have to just retrieve the treat and throw it away again. Clearly he doesn't really want it but he does want to want it. He just doesn't know how to enjoy them without paranoia. He will however take cat food from my hand and happily eat it right away. Yup, crazy!

Benny sniffing
Why do we keep trying? Because it wasn't always this way. He used to love his treats. Only the odd one would evoke that reaction. Then more and more, it became a habit and there's only one treat he won't act like that over. Back in the day, he used to try and retrieve them himself, if he could. This image was taken just over three years ago at Frank's family cottage. We caught Benny trying sneak over to the treats by climbing on the sofa which backed onto the desk where we had put them during our visit.

Benny you can't see me
Caught in the act, he merely closed his eyes because when it's dark like that, we obviously can't see him.

He's a good dog, for the most part and generally gets along well with visiting animals but one pooch did not go over very well with him. Frank's son Francis has always belonged to Benny and there has never been other canines with which to compete for his affection. Until recently. Frank's sons filled the void that Benny left when we moved up here by getting themselves another dog.

Meet Stella. She's a pretty good natured Olde English Bulldog and she would have been a great friend for Benny if he hadn't figured out that she stole Francis from him. He spent much of her visit being rather unpleasant to her. There were a few times that they seemed to get along better when they were outdoors with plenty of room to romp and frolic but when Stella was anywhere near him inside, Benny was not very happy. Crazy!

fog on melting ice
About a week ago, we had some mild weather. The already-frozen lake was beginning to get mushy in parts and the edges had begun to recede a little bit in places.

lake hockey5
It was still pretty solid though, as evidenced by our neighbours taking their grandchildren out on the ice for a game of hockey. Some had boots and some had skates. All of this was very wrong to Benny. He's not used to seeing people walking on the ice to begin with. And the sound of the skates and hockey sticks made him uneasy. He spent a fair bit of time barking at them but it was later, when nobody was around that he became very fearful of going outside.

We wondered if the skating was still playing on his mind but his fear became such that he would not go out to pee unless Frank accompanied him. That's when he figured out that the lake itself was scaring Benny. Because of the melted edges, the lake was burping and belching water and gasses from underneath the surface of the ice, and releasing it where the ice no longer quite met the shore. This was a near constant sound which became loud enough over the next couple of days to be heard indoors, in the still of the night.

At one point, I tried to outsmart Benny by letting him out the kitchen door on the other side of the house. Forgetting his woes, he happily scampered down the stairs but must have heard a lake burp. I closed the door behind him and turned around just in time to see him waiting impatiently by the lakeside door to get back in. Crazy... like a fox!

Not all of Benny's hyper-awareness is troublesome. During the Christmas holidays, he ran to the kitchen door and barked at what sounded like a vague tinkling noise to me and my visiting son Alex - sort of like hail hitting the window. Only it was a clear but very windy day. Nothing we could see was causing that sound. It stopped after a few seconds but Benny was clearly spooked by it. It had us perplexed but we quickly forgot about it.

one tree two spots
A few minutes after Alex left for home the following day, he pulled over to phone me to report that two large trees were partly blocking the road a few houses over. This had to be what we heard the previous day. It was far away enough that the sounds were subtle to us but to Benny's alert ears, the breaking timber was a very troubling noise. I called the roads department and the trees were soon removed. I believe it was really just one tree, broken in two - the pieces landing quite far from one another, so my guess is that it fell from the top of the steep hill. And though I didn't notice it at the time, I can see in the picture that it seems to have taken a power line down with it. Many of the homes here are seasonal and so a specific power outage might not be noticed by anyone until spring or summer. Our own power remained intact, thankfully. Not so crazy!

found kitty2
This is Soul. She was not impressed with a curious Benny when he approached her by dancing, dodging, hopping and woofing. All Benny wanted to do was play but this little five month old kitty was unsure of him. Her story is a sweet one.

One of our neighbours stopped by, one November day to tell us that this little sweetie had been hanging around her place for a few days - a bit underweight (she's puffed up to look threatening to Benny in this image) and very hungry. I stopped by to have a look and we opened some cat food and watched her make short work of it. This is when I decided to join the local lost and found animal group called Home Again, on Facebook - to see if anyone might be missing this very friendly, purry cutie. I snapped the above photo and posted it to the group.

Within ten minutes, someone came forth and claimed her as hers. She had been missing for a month - since the day the teen split up with her boyfriend and he moved out. Soul must have escaped through the frequently-opened door on moving day. The astonishing part is that the distance between Soul's home and mine takes about twenty-five minutes to drive. My guess is that somebody found her wandering around close to her home and decided to bring her to live with them up my way. Soul probably got lost again up here or tried to find her way home and settled instead for the warm, blanketed box that my neighbour set up for her. Anyway, she was on her way to her home with me the next day, to be reunited with two other cats, three dogs and a couple of bearded dragons. Nothing crazy here!

But then there's Christmas. Remembering last year, Benny made it near impossible for me to wrap any gifts in his presence because all he wanted to do was get at the paper so that he could rip it to shreds. He stole the rolls from me a couple of times and whined and whimpered his way through the process each time the paper, tape, tags and bows came out. Of course, when it came time to opening gifts, he was just like a toddler. He cared not a whit about what was inside of each package, or for whom it was intended, as long as he could get at the paper. And he did a lot of that.

An awful lot of that. Crazy!

exhausted puppy
It's exhausting work.

Yes, I know there are far worse character traits than eccentricity in a dog. And Benny has a boatload of good ones. But this post is about Benny getting his crazy on and so that's what I'm sharing.

benny hose
In case you haven't seen enough of his insanity to be convinced, here's an older photo of Benny "helping" my previous neighbour wash her car. Crazy? Hell, yeah!

benny grass and bubbles
And here he showing everyone he can float just like a bubble. Whacko! (Nah.. adorable)

I think that's just about enough crazy for one Benny post. He's not always this insane and really, there's only one time when his behaviour becomes even more loony and that's when there's a...

Oh crap.. that's tonight!