Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fun at the Mill

It's a rainy, cold day in a rainy, cold week, and Johnny and Susie are pretty well housebound, so I might as well post a blog. This one goes back to our previous session with the kids, with our next one to occur next week.

One day, we took the kids to the mill. It's only about 20 minutes away, and we usually hit this place once or twice per summer. We have a picnic lunch, and then they play on the equipment for awhile.

The real fun is walking down to the river. We remembered their nets but no buckets in which to place their captures. This wasn't too big of a problem this time since their captures were minimum.

They were prim and proper, keeping pretty dry in the bank.

Of course, they were soon getting their feet wet.

And then they got braver.

And braver.

All in all, they had a splashing good time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Daylilies in the Garden

Toward the end of July, our front garden is about at its best. Here it is as seen from my den window on the upper floor.

It's plain to see that the Echinacea (pink, bottom right) is in full vigour as well as the daylilies (hemerocallis) toward the middle left. The Shasta Daisies toward the top left are now fading quickly although they still look okay in this faraway shot. However, the Rudbeckia/Coneflowers (yellow behind the pink lilies in the left foreground) are just beginning to show, so they will help compensate for the disappearing daisies.

I have three daylily cultivars, below. In processing, I chose to emphasize their detail and texture and not their softness.

Sabra Salina
Allison's Wedding

As I understand the Hemerocallis is a native plant, so it seems to do well in my garden, which is fortunate because being sited along the driveway is certainly not ideal, nor is the fact that the rock is very close to the surface.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Swimming Lessons 2014

Well now, somebody finally got around to put together a video montage from the kids' swimming lessons. This is the third summer that I have done this, but it took me two weeks of holidays to get around to it.

I despaired of adding music this time because I couldn't find any site to give me free music. But once the video was uploaded, I saw that I could do it right in YouTube. Sweet.

To jog family members' memories, I will embed the previous years videos below. I see that I was more ambitious last year and did a separate video for each kid. I also had some a title frame. I am definitely slipping.

And from 2012 ...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cute Signs

I see that it has been a week since I posted and just about as long since I read any posts. Oh well.

I was fiddling with this sign photo ↓ last night night. I took it last February but never posted it, either here or on Flickr. So what I did was to add one of my photos to it. The scene and the colours are from another of my photos to kind of pizazz up the original.

This ↑ came from the Country Depot shop up near Almonte. They always have an abundance of cute signs, and if I have my camera, I cannot usually resist snapping a few, and here are some ↓ from our last visit in the past week. These are just straight shots with no compositing.

Speaking of waking up to smell the coffee, I woke up too darn early this morning, like around 3:30. I finally gave up any attempt to get back to sleep around 5AM.

I've had one coffee already. Maybe with another, I can summon the energy to check out your blogs.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Miscellaneous Photos

My goodness, our first kid-less week is coming to an end. We've just been puttering around a little. I've done a little outside work, read a novel, and taken a few photos. We have two more weeks  of down time before we are on deck again; perhaps we will get a little more accomplished.

This first photo ↓ was actually taken when we were still with the kids last week. It's of the Old Town Hall in Almonte. It's a fine building, and decided just to shoot a bit of it on that day.

↑ Sue and I took a Tims Maple Biscuit breakfast sandwich to the park, and I saw these pretty flowers blooming by the bank. I went back in the evening with my camera and took this photo.

As I was leaving the park, I passed the eastern edge, which is more of a beach than a park and spied a nice sunset developing, so I walked over to near the shore and took this photo. ↓  It's difficult to get good sightlines for photos around here. This is about as good as it gets, it seems.

The next evening, I could see another nice sunset developing, so I looked on Google Earth for a local spot. This photo ↓ was about the best I could come up with after searching. It's a spot just outside of town. Must. Keep. Trying.

Sue has been shifting her photography to her iPod (sorry we're behind the times when in comes to cellphonography), so I will try to make it a point to carry her point-and-shoot around. My thought is to experiment Snapseed as my processor for these images rather than my usual workflow in Lightroom etc. I will have to use the computer version, which is accessible through Google+ but only on the Chrome browser. In fact, I am linking it here from G+ rather than uploading from my computer.

It's a well photographed barn in the Stittsville area of west Ottawa. ↑ It's a remnant on a strip that is becoming commercial, and it will soon be gone. I played with various Snapseed filters. Interestingly, Google/Snapseed keeps a copy of your original, and you can also change your mind and re-edit the edited version. For example, I could go back and remove or change the border on this photo.

I don't know whether I will keep on with Sue's old camera or whether I will keep using Snapseed, but it's something to try for now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Swimming Lessons 2014

The kids did their third year in swimming lessons this summer. We generally care for them in the first two weeks of July and request that swimming lessons are a part of our gig. They have both made significant progress since the first lessons.

Both kids with their classes and teachers ↑ . I rather doubt that the kids were quite getting the crawl that the teacher was explaining so sincerely to JJ's class. There's a time when things click, and this was likely not it.

They both received lots of help and attention, however. ↓

Meanwhile, grandma chose to watch from the doorway. ↓ The pool area is hot and muggy, and grandma does not do heat well these days. But she kept a very close eye on the munchkins from her vantage.

Speaking of things not clicking yet, at a more advanced stage, Danica was hard-pressed to keep up as her teacher requested many lengths each day. She hasn't quite mastered the art of breathing on her front, so she has to stop and catch her breath every few strokes. I've got to hand it to the kids though; she hangs in and perseveres.

What with Amma and Buppa's Excellent Summer Camp, Celtfest and swimming lessons, I have been busy catching up with photos lately, but videos are on my todo list.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Almonte Celtfest

Earlier, I posted some pics and a vid of drummer extraordinaire, Catherine Hauke, of the Rogues. Now it's time to post more general photos from the event. I have to pick and choose here because the festival goes for 10 hours on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. So, these are just a few pics, mostly from the leading acts, even so with much omitted.

Before we go there, however, let me say that there are any number of fine local acts too. However, they tend to repeat from year to year, so I won't post much of them for now.

Another note: I may put together a video compilation at some point, but I am just passing along a few stills today.

Alrighty then, here we go.

↑ I mostly want to post in order, but I love the Celtfest stage at night, and I especially love seeing the Rogues in their kilts. Unfortunately, the lead singer/musician, Nelson Stewart, misplaced his kilt. The lady he is singing with is his wife, Jeania, who just joined in for one number on each day.

There is a unique form of step dancing in the Ottawa Valley as well as other pockets in Canada. The daughters of fiddler, Louis Schryer, Chelsey and Kaitlyn, are keeping this exuberant genre alive. ↓

Salty Dog is an English, Montreal-based group that specializes in Maritime music. They are a lively group that interchanges fiddlers at times. This was their fiddler for the Celtfest event (sorry, I don't recall her name and can't find it on their site), but I have seen two others in times past.

We were also treated to three beautiful Irish dancers this year from the SFH Irish Dance Studio in Ottawa. In their rehearsal costumes ↑ and in their presentation costumes ↓ .

Le Vent du Nord,which translates to Northwind in my mind, is a French speaking group from the adjacent province of Quebec. They are absolutely fantastic, both singing and playing extremely well. They travel all over and are worth the experience if they come to a place near you. Check out their website. Their sing in French but patter very well in English in their delightful accents. They really got the audience up and dancing.

↑ Réjean Brunet is on the left and fiddler, Olivier Demers, on the right.

↓ Nicolas Boulerice plays the hurdy gurdy. I am glad they named the instrument at some point in the performance because we were all scratching our heads. You can see his left hand turning a crank in the photo.
Nicolas Boulerice

Réjean Brunet
Réjean Brunet

My final photos for now are a collage of five of the fiddlers of celtfest ↑ and the concluding song The Parting Glass ↓ sung by two local young ladies.

The collage ↑ features two local and excellent fiddlers at the top: Matt Pepin on the left and Kyle Felhaver on the right. Below are Corey Walden of The American Rogues and Olivier Demers of Le Vent du Nord. The fellow in the centre is Louis Schryer and Canadian fiddling champion many times over. For the background, I used the photo of the rogues which I used to begin this post. I used it for the sake of continuity and atmosphere but blurred it to minimize distraction. May I brag a bit by mentioning that all of the fiddlers are Canadian, including Corey Walden of The American Rogues. In fact, three of the five performers with the Rogues were Canadian.

For awhile Celtfest always concluded with a song called The Parting Glass. That tradition got lost in the last few years, but was brought back this year by these two lovely young ladies ↓ who were accompanied by The American Rogues who just learned the tune.

Celtfest is a great festival that we have attended every years since our move here to the Ottawa Valley. So ... until next year.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Amma and Buppa's Excellent Summer Camp: 2014 Round 1

We've had six days of round one of Amma and Buppa's Excellent Summer Camp and are now on a three week hiatus until we once more step into the breech. Beware: I am posting even more photos than usual today. Oh, stop that sighing. I mean it. I hear ya, Tex.

Day 1: The kids began their third annual summer swim lessons. I decided to wait until further on to start taking swimming photos, and the rest of the day was rainy, so for once, I have no pictures.Sorry about that; it won't happen again. lol

Day 2: It was a hot, muggy day. Somewhat stupidly, I suggested that we take a walk in the woodsy area on the other side of the river. Said woodsy area is quite swampy. Hmm ... hot + muggy + swampy + trees = very mosquito-y. Silly Buppa.

The kids found this big branch. I don't know where they thought they were taking it,
but they were made to leave it behind in the woods. Sorry kids.
Day 3: This was a very hot day, and we thought we would use the neighbour's pool since we have an open invitation every year. But the dog was out and nice neighbour wasn't home, so we ended up at the beach and water park down by the river.

Although there are lifeguards, I also sat on guard: first on the sand (left) and later on a chair.
That's Danica standing in the pink bathing suit holding seaweed ... or river weed.
Note the geese passing by.

You have previosuly seen my gif of the kids under the water buckets.
Here, Danica walks through the adjacent sprinkler area.

Day 4: This was our day to visit the Country Depot to see if the chicks were in that day. Later, we did the river walk in Almonte and had a picnic lunch by the river.

Yes, there were chicks ...
... and there were riding tractors. Vroom.
We walked by the river ...

... climbed a tree

... and ate a picnic lunch on the Preacher's Bench [sic].

Day 5: This was quite a day, featuring a trip to the Mill of Kintail. It started with a picnic lunch,included some brave forging of the Indian River, and ended in the cemetery.

After lunch butterflies were hunted with enthusiasm ...

... and one was caught ... and released ... of course.

Then it was time to play in the river. After a little hesitation, they got right into it,
and got totally soaked in the process.
It's rocky with a current but so shallow that we weren't overly worried.

Danica took it in her head that she wanted to visit a cemetery,
so that's what we did on the way home from the mill.

Day 6: Phew! Almost there, folks. We visited the library in the morning, had lunch at the chip truck, and went swimming in the pool in the afternoon. It was a good final day to a good six days of summer camp. Now, what the heck will we do with them next round?

After the library, the kids played war.

Waiting for our order to arrive at the chip truck.

Fun in the pool.

Was Buppa hot or cold? Well, he started out cold after swimming, so he grabbed a sunny spot on a partially cloudy day. Then, the sun came out, and he actually used the towels as a shield from the hot rays and not for the cold.

After three years of needing to be in the pool with them, I could actually get out after awhile and sit and watch because they have progressed so well. Frankly, the fact that they no longer need me is a bit sad-making. But just a bit.