Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring Flowers New and Old

Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, with festivities occurring all over, particularly as we inch closer to Canada Day on July 1st.

In honour of the occasion, a special tulip was developed: the Canada 150 Tulip, sometimes, but not often, known as the Maple Leaf tulip. It is red and white, the colour of the flag, and when it works just right, you can see a resemblance to the maple leaf.

Online, I found an image in which you can see the maple leaf motif fairly well (above), but in practice, things don't always work out perfectly.

I planted about two dozen bulbs last fall, and about half of that number have actually come up, and some haven't bloomed yet. I scattered them around, so I couldn't get a picture of a good drift of them, so I ended up focusing on this one in various shots. The maple leaf motif is visible on the left side; perhaps we will see more as the flower continues to unfold.

In the first two photos above, there is a flower in the right background that looks gnarled and misshapen, but it at least came up, and perhaps it will do better next year.

Many people have reported problems of the flowers coming up pink or faded, but some of mine are doing alright. The following one looks a little creamy, but it may turn whiter as it develops more. It has also not been the best spring for flowers, so we'll see what happens in future years.

Meanwhile, my dad's forget-me-nots are back. Due to changes in the garden they aren't as plentiful as in past years, but it is good to see some return.

I have posted of them more than once in the past, but the brief story is that my dad planted forget-me-nots in our property about 35 years ago, and they kept reseeding themselves every year. When we moved way across province 12 years ago, we brought some seeds with us, and they keep coming back and help us not to forget dad.

Today, I think I'll go around town and look for more of the Canada 150 tulips, and maybe I'll take a few more of the forget-me-nots too.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tulips and Lilacs

Aside from one extremely hot day, the weather has been fairly spring-like here, perhaps on the whole a little cooler than usual. And it has been windy — very windy. So windy that our decrepit fence seemed to be in great danger the other night, swaying back and forth.

With the more seasonal weather, the tulips have arrived in our front garden. I did some playing around with textures to try to add a bit of pizzazz to the photos.

In the backyard, our lilac bush has also come into bloom.

The two raised stepping stones were made by the kids for Mothers Day, and Shauna gave her the pot of yellow begonias (above and below).

You have no doubt noticed that we have no grass back there. Living in a townhouse, we grew tired of pushing the lawnmower the somewhat long route around neighbours properties from the front to the back. That plus the fact that the soil and lawns are not exactly great here caused us to mulch the yard last year, and we are happy enough with that solution.

As a parting shot here are closer shots of the two stepping stones from the kids. They are too fragile to actually step on, but they add a nice touch.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

48 Years

You have got to be kidding!

As of today, Sue and I have been married for 48 years. We get along very well; I do what she tells me, and life is good. In point of fact, I swear that it only seems like 47 years. πŸ˜ƒ

As is usually the case, but not always, celebrations will be low key. We will have the kids before and after school, and we will do nothing exotic.

There will be breakfast out; there will be fudge; and, there will be pizza. These are traditions that must not be abandoned.

Since May is our gardening month, we will consider plants and other related items to be our gifts to each other.

I will give her this little token, call it a card of sorts if you will although it is printed on a 13x19" sheet, so it won't be folded, and I don't have an envelope. πŸ˜„

It's the little things that make a good life.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Family Heirlooms on My Mother's Birthday

One day in March, Danica got to exploring some of the treasures that my mother has left behind, which, in turn, were mementos from her forebears.

I was elsewhere in the house at the time, but they noticed that my mother's notes had faded over the years. So, Danica typed out the faintest ones. She also took pictures.

The next day, we decided to make a collage of the notes and photos in Photoshop, and this is what she came up with, which I think is pretty doggone impressive.

I decided to wait two months to post this on Danica's Great Grandmother's birthday. She has been gone for 14 years, but her treasures and photo albums frequently remind us of her. Mom would have been 103 today had she lived this long, but she made it to just one month shy of her 88th birthday, so that is not bad at all.

Back to the collage: Danica did it all — typing, photos, and page design. Yes, I was mentoring the layout part by her side, but she was in charge of the mouse and wouldn't have had it any other way. And I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

She made choices about editing the photos: cropping, sizing and aligning them. She also decided that she wanted a flower background, which I thought was the perfect finishing touch.

I added the note at the bottom right, which you probably can't read, so here it is.

Aside from Danica doing such a great job, it feels so satisfying, somehow, to have five generations represented in this one image. Items were passed on from my great grandparents to my grandparents, and then onto my mother and me, and then the work that went in the collage was done my my granddaughter.

I hope that these items, or at least some of them, eventually go to Shauna and then Danica, and that will be six generations. Will there be more? 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Glorious Poutine

First off, it's pronounced  without the terminal 'e', so it's pou-TIN. I must admit, however, that I tend to pronounce it with the 'e' as in 'teen' because that's the way that I learned to say it before I supposedly knew better.

Secondly ya silly, old people, we have Google, and Google knows and tells all, so why are you asking me as you did in the previous post? Huh? πŸ˜€

But for those of you who need this poor Canadian gaffer to lead you into the glorious but arcane and esoteric promised land of poutine, here is Wikipedia's initial description:
Poutine (/puːˈtiːn/; Quebec French: is a Canadian dish, originating in the province of Quebec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. This fast-food dish is typically found across Canada and in some places in the northern United States. In Canada it is sold in small "greasy spoon" type diners and pubs , as well as by roadside chip wagons  ...
There's much more on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

A few images.

Whatever you think of the appearance, I can assure you that it is pretty darn yummy.

I once heard an interview on the radio from a guy who claimed he invented it by requesting the ingredients be made for him at a diner in Quebec. Who knows whether it was true, but someone invented it in relatively recent history.

From Quebec, it has spread into Ontario, and I presume all other parts of Canada. I have even seen photos of poutine stands at USA fairs. but from the questions from the previous post, it can't have reached far beyond border states.

One doesn't eat it very often for rather obvious reasons, and it can be a pretty filling meal when one does decide to indulge. I think I have had it maybe only once or twice in the past decade, which is probably a good thing for my system if not my taste buds. πŸ˜…

Although the basic dish is as stated above — fries, cheese curds, and gravy — you can pretty much add whatever your little heart desires. Make it with chicken, lobster, shrimp, eggs, meatballs, and so on and so forth. You can even put it on pizza if you're so inclined although I can't imagine that combination.

Personally, I would stick with the basic dish, but chacun Γ  son goΓ»t as they might say in Quebec: to each his own.

It has become such a thing that the city of Ottawa has it's very own Poutine Fest. In fact it was held last weekend. I have not attended and most likely never will, but according to the images below, it appears to consist of many food trailers offering their version on the Sparks Street Pedestrian Mall.

As you can see from all of this, we Canadians take our poutine rather seriously. As well we should.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Country Gospel Concert

As one of the town's designated Canada 150 Event photographers. I headed out to town hall on Saturday evening to shoot the Country Gospel Concert.

The even was pretty well attended, largely by the older set, so the rather sedate country style with a bit of twang went over pretty well.

I stayed for the first half and, of course, took quite a few photos of this group from Renfrew a few of which I post below.  Sorry, I can't give you names.

It was fun to get out again although the low and mixed concert lighting is always a challenge,

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Our Early Mothers Day

Once upon a Mothers Day, many years ago, we made the mistake of going out for breakfast. And the large crowds caused us to vow never to do it again. Since then, we usually go out for breakfast a few days before Mothers Day. This year, events transpired to make it a lunch instead of breakfast, so we headed out of town to Laws & Orders, home of the Rhippo Burger, which I'm sure is a very large burger.

Laws & Orders is a popular burger and fries type of place that burned down last year but reopened in a brand new building this year.

There is a deck for eating out in nice weather, but it wasn't nice that day, so we ate inside. It was interesting to see that the deck door was a garage door to make access very easy.

Some of the menu as well as the pickup window is shown below although the larger menu was off to the left, and I neglected to take a shot of it. I can't fathom anyone managing 2 Rhippo burgers, which must be very large, and 1 lb of poutine in 20 minutes. I'm not even sure if they should make the offer in case someone might try to do take them up on it and cause themselves to get sick.

The meal was standard fare; there was nothing wrong with it, but I don't think I would be tempted to make the drive again as burgers and fries aren't all that difficult to find closer to home.

I did like this little piece of art, using licence plates to make a map of Canada.

After lunch we continued our long rural drive to Balderson where we had an ice cream cone and also took some peanut brittle home.

So, it was a happy early Mothers Day outing.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Night on the Town

Carleton Place held its first Night on the Town evening. Part of Bridge (ie Main) Street was cordoned for vintage vehicles as well as a few vendors. What with the autos, the theme was Retro with the notion to wear vintage clothes from to 50s, 60s and 70s etc.

Since most of us don't have such attire hanging about, I didn't see too much vintage clothing, but it was a very nice night, so quite a few people came out and wandered about.

The cars were gleaming.

And people were happy.

But the most rewarding photos that I took were of a flower bed on a side street as we walked back to the car.

It was good to get out on the town for a short while, especially with the nice weather after it had been gloomy all day. And it is gloomy again this morning.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Oh the weather outside is ...

OMG! Seriously folks, it's May 8th, and I woke up to snow.

That was at 5AM, but it's now past 9AM, and it's still snowing. On the plus side, it's also melting, so there is actually less accumulation than earlier when I took the twp following photos: both from upstairs, with the first out front and the second out back.

At least it is light snow and better than the recent days of abundant rain which has caused all sorts of problems. Fortunately, my town seems to be managing well enough, but there are certainly flooding problems around and about.

In Renfrew up the Ottawa River
In Gatineau, down the Ottawa River, just across the river from Ottawa

In Constance Bay: a part of Ottawa
Farther downriver in Montreal where you also have to deal with the St Lawrence River
I could go on, but you get the idea. As far as I know, there is no danger to life, just to property, but it is still somewhat sobering.

The good news is that although there is more rain in the forecast this week, it does seem as though it will be light.

Friday, May 05, 2017

At the Sugar Camp Once Again

It's pouring out — again! but it did abate for much of the day yesterday, so we took the opportunity to head out to Wheelers Sugar Bush with friends.

You may be able to glimpse the bird feeder beyond Ivy's head below, and while we munched a lovely Rose-Breasted Grosbeak came and fed for ever so long. We just looked, enjoyed and didn't take pictures — for once.

As usual, we briefly toured the boiler room. The season is over, but there were many barrels of maple syrup in the the left foreground, only a few of which are visible, but you get the idea.

We didn't remember seeing this cross-stitch before.

While the others toured the museums, I walked the trail in search of photo ops, hoping to catch the faint leafing out that begins in this season. I snapped quite a few, but with a gray day, they were poor, so I trashed them all when I got back home.

I did, however, take this photo although I have shot similar ones in the past. White Rose was a one-time Canadian company, and you all know about the famous Model T.

I shot it as an HDR, which I won't bother explaining right now, but it served to help me boost the exposure in the gloomy garage.

Now, it's pouring again, which reminds me of a line in the kids' gospel chorus, The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock: "the rains came down and the floods came up." It is becoming a serious concern in some areas. I have never seen the like.