May 31, 2019

Déjà vu Vu All Over Again

Remember a couple of years ago when the town suffered some pretty significant flooding and the water in Lake Ontario was so high the beach was under water?

Well guess what, it happened again.

Not the flooding, but the disappearing beach. Which seems kind of ironic considering the flooding that went on all around us, especially further up north in cottage country.

And of course I had to take a look for myself and record the view for posterity.

May 27, 2019

Mithridate Monday

mithridate ~ antidote to poison

Welcome to Canada, where you get wind, rain, sun, and snow – sometimes all in the same day.

It appears that we skipped over spring and went right from late winter to early summer. One day we were still getting frost warnings, the next we were running around without our coats on. The grass is green and the trees are leafing up nicely. And the first round of flowers – tulips, daffodils, and crocus – are already fading to make room for others.

Since my last post I’ve actually had the deck door open a few times. Haven’t quite got to the barefoot stage yet, but then my feet get cold easily.

I haven’t been able to take the granddaughter to play at the beach after preschool lately, not because of the rain, but because there isn’t any beach. I guess maybe it's because of the rain after all. Once again the water level of Lake Ontario is so high that it’s right up to the board walk at the local waterfront. It had started to recede a bit the morning I went down to see for myself, but I’m sure it won’t take much to flood it again.

The granddaughter and I were able to get all of our seedlings in the ground on Friday, and then Saturday they were pretty much flattened by a heavy rain. Fortunately they had some sun yesterday so they weren’t looking quite as bedraggled. But they only have today to make their comeback because it’s supposed to rain the rest of the week.

It's a learning experience, that's for sure. While I agree that some plants, like tomatoes, benefit from being started indoors, there are many that don't need the head start. Beans, for instance. They sprouted in just a couple of days and were about a foot high before we got them into the garden. I would have been better to plant the seeds directly to start with. And carrots - there's gotta be a trick to planting carrot seeds. The seeds I planted inside were just barely sprouting and fell apart when I tried to put them in the garden, so I ended up planting more seeds but they did not end up in even rows like I recall from my mother's garden.

For those of you who are interested, the seedlings that we planted were green beans, purple beans, peas, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, regular carrots, purple carrots, and dill. We also planted pumpkin seeds which didn’t sprout but I planted the pods anyway just in case. And my neighbour gave us about eight brandywine tomato seedlings, some sweet millions (which I think are cherry tomatoes), and some more pepper plants.

Even with all of that my garden looks a little sparse, but it’s just getting started. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in another couple of weeks.

May 24, 2019

Down on the Farm

The bad news is that I still haven't found another photography course to take. The good news is that I'm still taking pictures. :-D

This week I had the opportunity to go on a trip to the farm with the granddaughter's pre-school class. It's a small farm, but perfect for pre-schoolers to visit. There were piggies to feed, baby chicks to stroke, and eggs to carefully collect from the chickens. And many, many pictures to be taken.

I chose this particular shot because of the look on the calf's face. Could anything be cuter?

May 20, 2019

Megascopic Monday

megascopic visible to the naked eye

If you’re lucky enough to be living here in Canada, then chances are you have the day off today. All hail Queen Victoria!

Traditional, the 24th of May weekend is the long weekend set aside for planting gardens and opening cottages. Well, it sounds good in theory, but we’re still getting frost warnings and cottage country is pretty much under water.

I’m still having to wear a jacket, or at the very least a sweater, when I go outside for any length of time, and I’d better remember to check to make sure I have rubber boots to wear when I go on the trip to the farm with the granddaughter’s pre-school class on Wednesday.

The Orange Menace to the south can say whatever he likes about there being no such thing as global warming, but even he can’t deny there’s been a change in the climate. We’ve been subjected to some pretty extreme weather the last few years.

There’s been a rise in both the number and the ferocity of hurricanes, droughts resulting in wildfires, earthquakes, mudslides, sink holes, the list keeps growing. And there’s been a subtle, but relentless, shift in the seasons.

Several years ago I did a series on prophecies, and I remember while doing my research I came across an aboriginal prophecy about the earth having enough of what man was doing to it and retaliating with fire, flood, and wind. I wish I could better remember the details or at least what tribe it had been so I could try and find it again, but unfortunately I didn’t save any of that research. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?

In the meantime, the granddaughter and I got impatient waiting for spring, so we planted a tray of seeds in the house. Everything but the pumpkins sprouted in less time than I imagined, and actually they’re more than twice as high as they are in the picture. And yes, I made little toothpick flags to mark what exactly I planted.

Now all we have to do is wait for the weather to settle enough to plant them in the garden.

May 17, 2019

Fish Pond

Well, as per the way my luck goes, my photography class was cancelled. This was the second time I've tried to take this class through the local college and it will be the last. There are other people out there who can show me how to use my camera. So, until that happens you'll have to suffer along with the pictures I've already taken.

This particular picture was taken in one of the greenhouses in the Allen Gardens in Toronto last summer. There are several greenhouses joined together, each featuring an amazing variety of flowers. But the thing that stands out most in my memory was how insanely hot it was. Greenhouses tend to be a little on the warm side at the best of times. Exploring a series of greenhouses on the hottest day of the summer was killer. :-D

May 13, 2019

Madapollam Monday

madapollam ~ fine cotton cloth

One of the surest signs of spring is when the big white sign goes up on the lawn of Saint Peter’s Church announcing the annual book sale. It’s an event the daughter and I used to enjoy attending together.

Unfortunately, as is the way of things, the book sale has changed over the years. What started out as a fun local event where you could pick up a book or two for pennies has morphed into something . . . less enjoyable.

First of all, they’re no long accepting donations of magazines, which means they’re no longer offering them for sale. This is a shame because in my time I’ve picked up some really good ones – old National Geographics (yes, the same ones I had so much trouble getting rid of myself), and UNESCO Couriers, which is a magazine put out by the United Nations.

They used to group the books into categories like History, fiction, non-fiction, children’s, and sometimes you could find a real treasure amongst them. They’re still pretty good about separating them, but a few years ago they started a “Collector’s Corner” as well.

I don’t know who decides what books go onto this table, but if you like old books this is where you’d find them. With jacked up prices. What ticks me off is that all the books at the sale were donated, and while I can understand separating out books that might have some value, jacking up the prices of those books seems a little unreasonable. Especially considering many of these books end up unsold.

The buyers have changed a lot too. Instead of the friendly locals we’re getting more out of towners who are out to make a buck. There’s a lot more pushing and shoving and a lot less camaraderie. This year I was there right when the sale started and I found what I consider to be a few bargains, but I don’t think I’ll be going next year.

It’s the end of an era, folks.

St. Peter’s Booksale

I wait through winter dark
anticipating spring
I watch the ice recede,
leftover snow melting.
The days extend their length
the sun stays in the sky
the wind warms up the air
we bid the cold goodbye.
But for me the greatest sign
of spring is without fail
the lawn sign that proclaims
Saint Peter’s Book Sale.

May 10, 2019


Our town is nestled on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Which means it faces south. Which means getting a decent picture of the sunrise or sunset is pretty problematic.

The good news is, my photography course starts next week. In the meantime, I chose this picture of the sunrise on this rainy Friday morning to remind myself that the sun does really appear occasionally. Maybe it'll come out tomorrow. ;-)

May 6, 2019

Montane Monday

montane ~ mountainous; mountain-dwelling

One of the hardest things a pet owner has to face is having to make the decision to let your beloved pet go. This is a decision we were working up to over the last several months with our 19 year old cat Taz.

Just before Christmas we noticed Taz was having difficulty walking, so we whisked him off to the vet. One x-ray and blood test later it was determined that he had a pinched nerve in his back and advanced kidney disease. We came home with special food, painkillers, steroids, and kidney medicine for him, all of which I had to administer on a daily basis.

He did better for a while, and we hoped he’d last until the weather turned nice enough that we could take him outside one last time – his favourite thing in the world. Alas, the weather stayed cold and wet and it was not to be.

Taz started a downhill slide, and rather quickly too. We wrestled with the decision to end his suffering and last weekend we agreed it was time. He’d stopped eating and was barely able to make it out of his box to have a drink of water. There is a mobile vet in our area, but she wouldn’t be available until Monday, so we made him as comfortable as possible.

Sunday night, the daughter and the granddaughter said their goodbyes when they were here for dinner. And just as I was headed for bed, he managed to drag himself as far as the door to his room. I brought him a drink of water, and then I broke open one of his pain pills (they were capsules) and mixed the powder with some broth so I could give it to him with a syringe. Then I wrapped him in a towel and we had a nice cuddle for a while. I had the feeling in my heart that this was good bye.

When I got up last Monday morning I found that I was right – he left this world the same way he lived his life – on his own terms. I’ll never forget the fearless little kitten he started out as, and I’ll miss him terribly, but I’m glad his suffering is over.

I’m sure his beloved Panda was waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge to greet him, along with Julius and Valentine. Rest In Peace, Taz.

May 24, 2000 - April 29, 2019