Sunday, 3 December 2017

A December Walk
December 3rd, 2017

We went for a walk today on the path. Chilly, but not cold. With a light mist in the air and no wind, it felt good breathing the fresh air and looking at the ever changing plant life that nature offers on an almost daily basis. There's always something new to see any day you venture out in nature... a small flock of geese flew over as we started out, honking their way to the lake. 

The tree tunnels have taken on their winter dress. Mist makes for good photos, but it also heightens the mood in nature.














It's been a bumper year for walnuts. The squirrels find a comfortable perch in a tree, and chomp down on the walnuts. The shells tend to fall at the base of trees. Though they start out as a golf-ball to tennis-ball sized green spheres, they blacken as they age, or at least what's left of them do, once the squirrels are finished with them.
















It's been a while since I took many shots on the path. Maybe that's why I took several today. The rich green of this Garlic Mustard caught my eye. Jane & I were wondering how long it looks this green. Under the snow for a while? How much sun does it need to stay this bright? 

If you like nature's scents & smells, crush a leaf in your fingers and smell it. Pioneers used it in their cooking.















Some of nature's Christmas decorating... Wild Cucumber seed pods on a Cedar hedge.















As some of you already know, fungi are one of my favourite subjects. These are Turkey Tails.















The arched blue-ish Raspberry canes stand out this time of year.















We thought this was unusual. Looks like the tree rotted at its roots, close to the surface. Jane thought it looked calcified.
 














The woods in their December browns. If the white holds off for a few weeks, I'm fine with that. We kicked our way through the leaves like we did as kids. We do it every year. It's still fun.
 














A favourite type of shot for me on the path... someone else enjoying the day. The mist adds a warm, cozy feeling to the scene.
 













This has to be a perfect home for some small creature... squirrel is the obvious guess, but who knows? It was low to the ground so not a good choice for squirrels really. Maybe it's vacant.















The leaves still have some color, but it's softer & more subtle this time of year.


























As we approached home, I was falling behind Jane, as I looked for more to shoot. Off she goes, into the mist.














Last night we went to a Christmas lamp-lighting ceremony down at the lake. Loved it. There are three heritage homes there that date back to the 1800's. This was on a wall. Interesting idea.













Trying to re-create the 1800's as best they could, the lighting was just oil lamps in some rooms... which your nose quickly told you.





















The ornaments on the tree were home made, to reflect the times. It was a beautiful tree.





















This ex-Nova Scotian sang Christmas songs of the day, with some from today as well. She had a beautiful voice. Besides the guitar, she played a Dulcimer.














After we visited the houses, and had our picture taken with a period Santa, we grabbed a coffee and went and sat under a gazebo overlooking the lake. Listening to the water lapping the shore, and watching a light fog drift in from the lake made it feel like we were thousands of miles away, in a dreamlike scene. It was wonderful... a feeling of solitude & peace.

With the quiet introduction to this busiest of seasons at the lake, and the walk in nature today, it feels for a short time at least, that all is right with the world.

All our best,
Bob & Jane
__________________













Monday, 27 November 2017

Teresita

I met Teresita in El Salvador in 1999. I only spent about 15 minutes with her, but she was one of those people you meet who have a profound effect on you.

Some of you may have seen this image of her before. I've posted it in a few places. Her dress, the way she clasped her bananas and the few dollars she'd collected from them, melted my heart.

























I've never posted this one. She was a tiny woman, but she had one of the biggest, sweetest smiles you'll ever see. With my limited Spanish I couldn't speak to her directly, but my guide, Irene, helped me. I did buy a banana. :-)























I wonder if she's passed away. To me, she's the kind of person who could live to a very old age.

A few more images of a very special woman...














































She won't make any news reports. She may not affect many lives, but she sure affected mine. It's hard to define or explain. I'll never forget her. Maybe she's a reminder for me that we can all affect others in ways that we can't imagine.

I'm richer for sharing a few minutes of her life.

Bob
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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A Mix
November 6th, 2017

Tempis fugit. It's been a month since my last post. Returning from a visit to the hospital, we cut through Parkwood Estate, former home of multi-millionaire Colonel Sam. The grounds are relaxing and beautiful. From out of nowhere it seemed, this robot came at us... an Automatic Lawn Mower.  














A couple short videos of it in action...

https://youtu.be/t1MuTKnJ5sU

https://youtu.be/472nSZNRQwM


With self-driving cars, AI, auto-this & auto-that, there are some huge changes on the horizon. Any attempt to predict what it will all mean is futile I think. The future is always different than our predictions.


Will the mowers be common in our neighborhoods soon? Probably. This model is about $3000 but you can get a cheaper version for around a $1000. Prices will drop quickly as they always do. We're only at the start of robots taking over jobs. It's a scary future for the young ones, especially those who don't have specialized skills.













RJ joined us at a farm market, as we looked for fall squash & vegetables. They have a kid's play area there.


















Some of the squash we  picked up. We all thought the 'swan squash' was cool.





















One day when I picked up RJ from school, he asked if I wanted to hear a tune he'd learned on the recorder.

RJ went out as the Grim Reaper for Halloween, complete with axe.
























A scary trio.
























No doubt the last tree tunnel shot I'll get this year. I can't resist them.

Our best,
Bob & Jane
____________________


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Back to Nature
October 2nd, 2017

Thanks to a buddy of mine, I finally returned to nature. Just walking through the trees in the woods, seeing chipmunks skitter about, hearing geese honk and ducks quack, and to see raccoons acting in their inquisitive and mischievous manner show up for human-provided treats... it all adds up to a welcome escape from the goings-on in the world. Las Vegas is on the news in the background.

I can understand why some choose to minimize their attention to the world news, in an attempt to try to enjoy life. It's an escape to be sure but one I understand completely. I do it too at times. We are so privileged. Those of us who have food every day, clean water, a roof over our heads, computers, etc. etc.

Sorry, but I can't help but ponder our privilege now & then. Life is so unfair to so many. Don't get me wrong. I'm no Albert Schweitzer. I enjoy my privilege as much as anyone, and I don't want to give it up, but I live with a certain degree of guilt. Maybe I should start a blog where I can rant about the world situation.

If I haven't taken you to a dark place, please escape with me, for a visit in nature...

We went to Lynde Shores CA... close to home. Despite living close to Toronto, with a population of a couple million, there are many natural areas we can enjoy. Ironically, many more than were near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where I grew up. Moose Jaw and area is beautiful in its own way. In many ways, much better than here. Mainly because of the smaller population. 

I'm babbling again. Do some of you just look at my pictures? If you do, that's cool too.

If you follow my blog, you've seen similar shots before. The cattails are crazy high now at Lynde Shores.















I love coons. There was a time when I'd put a shot like this in Photoshop to take out or minimize the blown out areas. Not today. Maybe next time, but I doubt it. Damn, they're cute.


















It's been a hard day. These humans can be chintzy at times.














Reaching for the seeds from under the bridge. 















He provided some shots that were different from the usual... when you find them in the woods.














How can you not think their 'bandit masks' are cool? He thinks he's Zorro.












A crappy shot, but a Heron is always a welcome sight for me.














Anyone know what this is? I 'm curious but I haven't a clue. My best guess is that it's for a bird, but what kind?













I'm waiting for pictures from your end.

Take care, 
Bob 
_______



 

Friday, 22 September 2017

From My Niece Aletha

Aletha and her husband are in Saskatchewan... not far from Moose Jaw. Mortlach to be exact. They raise cattle & bison. I think the bison are so cool. They have a good-sized herd.





In Aletha's own words:

“Yes, they are quite neat. Ours are fairly quiet, so it is nice to just sit and watch them. Ray's cattle (her brother) are even quieter and you can walk amongst them with less worry."

"Where our cattle are, we have bison there too, so you are cautious there too. We have one heifer that is quiet and a Holstein that was pail fed... so there are a couple you can pet." lol













Aletha's words again:

“We were raising them, then butchered them, but the price selling live is quite good. He (husband Bill) has been butchering very few. We haven't even been able to eat it because we can’t afford it." lol







Ray's cattle are Texas longhorns... another sight not very common on the prairies.






Aletha's words:

“These are some pics taken at Raymond's pasture. Two bulls & some of the calves, then the brindle cow, the one I like the best.”

Did you bring us something to eat, or just that stupid camera again?

 

 




I thought some of you might enjoy these. My next visit to Moose Jaw will definitely include a visit to Aletha & Bill's to see the bison. Then to Ray's pasture to see his longhorns.

Take care,
Bob & Jane
_____________

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A Variety from August
August 29th, 2017

It's been a while. Time to dust off my blog and put something new on it. I haven't been out with a camera in nature for awhile so this is a mix of garden shots, a few from the path, and a few miscellaneous.

Two young bunnies have joined our backyard zoo... cute as buttons.
 














One of them posing with our stone duck.

















Late summer colour.





I just love these guys. True entertainers.
















Our garden boy has been part of garden 'forever'. Huck Finn? Tom Sawyer?
















Subtle colors on  Sedum.














Protecting his tiny bird.

















Our happy elf has been part of our garden forever too.























Limelight Hydrangea



















  

Some of our favourite places.















The chipmunks and squirrels do leave some seed for the birds, but they definitely get their share.















Obedient Plant. Obedient to what I have no idea.



















Deep, rich pink Phlox.
















Have tried many feeders over the years. These are one of only a few that have proven to be squirrel-proof. When a squirrel sits on the ring-perch, its weight closes the feed holes. The smaller chipmunks manage to grab a bite or two.



















Outside a building in Oshawa... a bench specifically made from phones I guess. Good to see.













Haven't seen this kind of thing since I was a kid. Thousands of ants gathering. RJ spotted them across the street from our place. They were on the curb. Not sure what it was all about. I thought maybe some pop or something was spilled but couldn't see anything.
























My kind of humour. I love this.













Hopscotch in the driveway.












After getting the garden shots, we went for a walk on the path. Not doing that very often lately either. The Himalayan Balsam has been out for awhile so it's fading quickly. An invasive, but a pretty one. Like Jane said, 'Most of the invasives are pretty.' 

BTW, the following shots were taken with my phone. It doesn't have a fancy camera like so many do today.














Dryad's Saddle
















A poor shot... it was windy but it gives you an idea of what a Japanese Beetle looks like.
















And this is the damage they do to leaves... called skeletonizing.
















Another invasive. There seems to be more and more Dog-strangling Vine every year. And the 1000s of pods mean more is coming.















 

Haven't shot a tree tunnel for awhile. They always look inviting.













Japanese Knotweed... yet another invasive. But again, a pretty one, with its blossoms perched above its leaves.

Tar Spot on leaves. Harmless, but ugly. Maples are especially susceptible to it.













Black Walnut trees have been spreading along the path for years now. They've become one of the most common trees on the path. They don't bear fruit for 4 or 5 years but more and more of them are reaching that age. The squirrels couldn't be happier. I even bring a few home for our squirrels, but Jane is discouraging me. :-( They do exude juglone which is poisonous to some plants. Not a concern for humans they say.















Take care all. Please send us some pics from your end.

Bob & Jane
_______________________




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