Thursday, February 25, 2016

So Long, EG.

I am so saddened to learn about the tragic passing of our lovely and talented photo-blogging buddy, Tina Forrester who blogged over at East Gwillimbury CameraGirl.

She and her husband, Tom were taken in a traffic accident a few days ago. My heart goes out to their family and friends.

This one is for you, Tina.

tulip pinky
 Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Like It That Way

You will find this to be a more oniony soup than the usual kind but, as the cross old lady said when a stranger told her that her slip was showing, "I like it that way." ~ Margaret Yardley Potter

One day, last winter, I had a craving for some French onion soup.

onion soup - adding flour2
Banish the onion from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it. Its presence lends color and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair.
~ Elizabeth Robbins Pennell
I had never made it before and went in search of a recipe. I decided on this one. It was more time consuming than I'd imagined, allowing the onions to caramelize but it was also incredibly yummy. This is what six or seven large onions simmered down to.

onion soup - wine and flour
I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food. ~ W. C. Fields
The recipe states that wine is optional. Ha! I wouldn't possibly consider opting out of adding this flavour enhancer.

onion soup - grated gruyere
Cheese is milk's leap toward immortality. ~ Cliff Fadiman
And given the choice between Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, I went for the former. I probably even added a bit of the latter.

Unfortunately, there were no photos take of the finished product. It disappeared far too quickly. Plus I forgot. Mostly, I forgot (I did mention the wine, right?). But it was delicious. I strongly recommend this recipe. If you happen to make it, please let me know how you like it.

pboro sunrise
Nature unfolds her treasure at the first ray of sunrise. ~ Kishore Bansal
A winter sunrise possesses so many vibrant, jewel-tone colours. This was the view outside my apartment window, a few mornings back.

We've had some crazy weather, this winter. We keep jumping from above-seasonal highs to deep freezes, only to warm up a day or two later with rain, freezing rain or a large dump of snow. Someone (probably my sister) on Facebook suggested that Mother Nature might be menopausal. That sounded about right. As I type, we are experiencing freezing rain which weather-watchers predict will turn to rain as the temperatures rise to just above freezing over the next few hours.

clear windy day
A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. ~ Carl Reiner
This image of the eastward-facing view across Little Lake was taken last week, after a snowfall and before the melt.

View of the Q and then a giggling trail of mermaids appeared in our wake. We fed them oatmeal. ~ Tove Jansson
The water tower you see straight ahead belongs to Quaker Oats/PepsiCo. This factory has been in Peterborough since 1902 but was rebuilt after a devastating fire destroyed it in 1916. When the wind is blowing just right (or just wrong), you can smell the sickeningly-sweet smell of their flavoured oatmeal wafting through the east end of the city. At first the scent is pleasant - like fresh baking but eventually it can permeate the air quite relentlessly, forcing you to find something with which you can overpower it. Like wine.

too cold to sit copy
Nothing burns like the cold. ~ George R.R. Martin
It was a brilliant, sunny day but very windy and much too cold to just sit for a while. The windchill was around -24C (-11F). I played around with the colour/effect in this and the next image in Photoshop a bit.

winter doc
And finally Winter, with its bitin', whinin' wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow. ~ Roy Bean
You can see by the absence of footprints that nobody had interest in stepping out on the dock.

across the lake
Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen. ~ Willa Cather
A glance southward.

full  moon feb 2016
Here am I floating
'round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do.
~ David Bowie
A couple of evenings ago, we had a full moon. This image was taken shortly after it rose. Unfortunately, it was snapped through two panes of  less-than-sparkling-clean glass, one window screen and the branches of a tree a city block away. Still, it demanded I take its picture. Bossy old moon!

More photos coming up.. eventually.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Time for Comfort

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home. ~ Edith Sitwell

Winter's icy fingers have gripped southern Ontario by the snowballs rather suddenly and aggressively the past couple of days. Up until this week, the weather hasn't strayed too far below the freezing mark for very long, and many daytime highs have climbed well above seasonal norms. That came to an abrupt end on Friday when temperatures dropped from a near-balmy -5C (23F) to a painfully cold windchill factor of -40C (which is also -40F) expected for tonight.

Hopefully, this blog post finds you toasty warm and in the mood for a few winter photos.

drive by farm
The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never. ~ Yiddish Proverb
There are no shortages of barns, once you get north of Peterborough. This one was snapped from the car last year when my son and I were headed south to our old haunts. We've had much less snow than that. this year.

frosted gold
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
Frost on my window catches the morning sun, rising to greet the town.

all decked out
I read about a guy in Michigan this winter who was cruising along on his snow mobile. "Whoo hoo!" Didn't see a barbed wire fence. FOOM - cut his head right off. And I'll be honest with you, my first thought was... That's how I want to go. Having the time of your life, "Whoo hoo!" FOOM. I want the last thought in my head to be, "Hey, check out that headless snow mobile driver. He's got a jacket just like mine. ~ David Crowe
Another one from last year. As soon as the lake was frozen, snowmobiles zipped by semi-regularly.

Frost grows on the window glass, forming whorl patterns of lovely translucent geometry. Breathe on the glass, and you give frost more ammunition. Now it can build castles and cities and whole ice continents with your breath's vapor. In a few blinks you can almost see the winter fairies moving in ... but first, you hear the crackle of their wings. ~ Vera Nazarian
A recent frosty window. I played with the exposure settings a bit for this one.

bonus pink cloudy streak
See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. … How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!
~ Arthur Conan Doyle
This was captured back in April of last year. The lake outside my door was still frozen but that didn't deter the dusk from accessorizing the sky with a cheerful, springlike pink feather.

One winter morning I awoke to see magnificent lines of frost stretching across my window panes. They seemed to rise with the sunshine and the bitter cold outside. They looked like little miracles that had been formed in the dark of the night. I watched them in sheer amazement and marveled that such beautiful forms could be born during such a winter-cold night. Yet, as I pondered them I thought of how life is so like that. We live our long, worn days in the shadows, in what often feels like barren, cold winter, so unaware of the miracles that are being created in our spirits. It takes the sudden daylight, some unexpected surprise of life, to cause our gaze to look upon a simple, stunning growth that has happened quietly inside us. Like frost designs on a winter window, they bring us beyond life's fragmentation and remind us that we are not nearly as lost as we thought we were, that all the time we thought we were dead inside, beautiful things were being born in us. ~ Joyce Rupp
You had to know that with me, if there's one frosty windowpane image, there's going to be several. This kind of looks like a night sky behind it but it was taken mid-afternoon.

perogie dough
Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven. ~ Yiddish Proverb
During the long, cold months of winter, we often have a tendency to turn toward comfort foods. In December, I had the honour of being included among a wonderful group of women friends for the making of Christmas pierogies. Experienced hands readied the dough on a breadboard which has seen a few generations of food preparation.

perogies roll
She rolled up and down, back and forth.
A sprinkling of flour dusted on a sticking place,
and the dough stretched and gave.
~Julia Meylor Simpson
Each ball of dough yielded quite a bit of rolled out real estate.

perogies cut
Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible. ~ Pearl Bailey
We used a simple glass to cut the circles from the dough.

perogies filler
Preparing food is one of life's great joys, but a lot of times, parents ask their kids if they want to cook with them and then tell them to go peel a bag of potatoes. That's not cooking - that's working! ~ Guy Fieri
The potato and cheese mixture was ready and waiting for helpers to grab those spoons to start filling these scrumptious treats.

perogies raw
noun, plural pierogi, pierogies. Eastern European Cookery.
1. a small dough envelope filled with mashed potato, meat, cheese, or vegetables, crimped to seal the edge and then boiled or fried, typically served with sour cream or onions.
And fill them, we did – several dozens of them. There were also some previously-made pierogies which we had as part of our lunch. All in all a lovely day with lovely people.

fan of frost
It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.
~ John Burroughs 
I'll leave you with one final frosty window shot from this very morning (Saturday).

More photos coming up before too long.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Texture and Wonder

Indifference is isolation. In difference is texture and wonder. ~Edwin Schlossberg 

As some of you have noticed before (hi, AC!), I tend to develop a theme around a small collection of photos, from time to time. This is one of those times, and the theme is texture.

snow frills
I used to be Snow White, but I drifted. ~Mae West
After as snowstorm, when all was said and done, layers of snow combined with wind created this frilly effect.

little red cutie
A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit. ~Sarah Jessica Parker
Rough branches, prickly needles and the soft little stubble of a red squirrel's moustache and whiskers.

blue boy alex
I have a son, who is my heart. A wonderful young man, daring and loving and strong and kind. ~Maya Angelou
And speaking of stubble, this contemplative beard-laden face belongs to my younger son. We were at a family wedding where the lighting was blueish. At that particular moment, perhaps the music was too.

How memories lie to us. How time coats the ordinary with gold. How it breaks the heart to go back and attempt to re-live them. How crushed we are when we discover that the gold was merely gold-plating thinly coated over lead, chalk and peeling paint. ~Henry Rollins
I suppose it would take a fair bit of work to get this place in shape again.

Lisa's friend Karens dog
If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret
This beauty is Marzy. I met her while visiting friends a short while before Christmas.

Wabukayne walk17
I had always felt that mittens were a few steps back on the evolutionary scale-- why, I wondered, would we want to make ourselves into a less agile version of lobster. ~David Levithan
Out for a walk with my previous neighbour, Caroline in my old neighbourhood last March, I saw this fuzzy bunny mitten waiting patiently for its owner to find it.

Right from the gecko4
Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way of the best happiness. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
And this smile belongs to Caroline. So does the cute and scaly little guy on her shoulder. I took an immediate liking to him... right from the gecko.

wing kissed
Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings. ~Victor Hugo
This delicate imprint in the snow appears to be from bird wings – most likely a blue jay. I suspect that it was about to land in the fresh snow but changed its mind in mid-descent.

Beneath the rust and grime which dulls the shine of our weathered hearts, joy patiently waits to be rediscovered. ~John Mark Green
I wonder if anyone will buy this rusty old beauty and give it new life?

A meow massages the heart. ~Stuart McMillan
These are Oliver's watchful eyes. He's about ten months old and belongs to my neighbour, Carol. I checked in on him a couple of times a day while she was away on holidays, recently. He's quite the cuddler, and never stops purring the full time that I'm with him – about a half hour each visit. I suppose that he continues to rumble for a while after I've closed the door behind me.

At the end of our lives we hope we will look back and, like an incense stick completely burned away, will have poured forth all our fragrance into the world. ~Prem Prakash
This last bit of texture is a macro view of a skinny stick of incense. The scent is called Super Hit, and it's one of my favourites.

See you next time with more photos.