Saturday, November 28, 2015

Q&A With Danica

Danica has done a guest blog once before when she described the chipmunk in the house. Since she is having a sleepover with the old folk, I thought she might like to do it again. I think I'd like to try a Q&A this time.

Q: Christmas is coming. Tell us about something that you remember from previous Christmases.

A: Oh. I LOVE the gifts. Usually we would get dressed, do the stockings first then have breakfast then open gifts from under the tree. I love Christmas the most out of  all holidays! 

Q: What is your favourite song (or singer/group) right now. What do you like best about this song/singer?


Q: Who is your best friend? How often do you see her/him? What do you like best about this person?

A: Morgan. I usually see her every recess. We talk and laugh we're just BESTIES.

Q: You are in French immersion for half of your school day. Please say something to the world en Francais.

A: Biscuit (Cookie) Commence ca va? (How are you?)

Q: Please write that in English for those who can`t read French.


Q: Who is the Prime Minister of Canada? Would you have voted for him? Why or why not?

A: Justin Trudeau. I think he is a very good Prime Minister. I would have voted for him but I'm not even 10 :(... BUT I'M GLAD HE WON!!! :)

Q: Is there anything else you want to write right now?

A: If you have a question, send it in! I'd love to respond to your questions. We need enough to do a Q and A though! If you have a question to one or both of us please do our names and we shall respond!!!!

=========== Buppa`s Note ==========

Facebook has been popping up a lot of memory pictures this week because it was three years ago that we babysat the kids for more than a week while the parents went on a cruise. We made a point of posting a lot of pictures on FB for the parents. This is a photo of an email that Danica was writing to Mom. She did this on her own. She was in Kindergarten, and she was writing about Zackers the Shelf Elf making his seasonal appearance.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A This and That Sort of Post

... Well, that was a night! I went to bed ~11:15 and saw 12, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 on the clock. I'm sure I did some light sleeping in those hours, but what the heck was that about? I thought maybe I had forgotten my pill, but I hadn't. While I sometimes have short or restless nights, that was very unusual. Oh well, it's not like I have to work in the salt mines today. An hour or so with the kids this morning and again this afternoon is entirely do-able ...

... Speaking of the kids, we had a nice afternoon with them on Sunday because it was time to trim their tree. We have had tree decorating parties for a long, long time. Back in the day, my parents would come over to help decorate ours. Val would also drive from Brantford to Sarnia for the day or weekend. They are all gone now, but the memories linger. Times change, and my daughter now has the parties at her place, and we are the attendant grandparents ...

.... The weather is strange. Usually El Nino years result in colder than average Novembers around here (no, I don't know why), but it has been a pretty mild month all over Canada from what I understand. The last few days have been getting colder but have still been tolerable. Still no snow, for which I am grateful. It's odd because they have had snow in the usually milder and less winterish southwestern Ontario. I don't mind snow or winter, but both last a long time around here, so I am happy enough for the delay ...

... Speaking of snow, I have an appointment to have the snow tires installed on Thursday. They will be on for at least four months ...

... When snow does come, however, it will look less bleak around here. With no leaves on the trees and usually overcast weather, it can look pretty dull ...

... Yesterday, I printed out a large (13x19) family photo from the weekend when my daughter and her partner visited from Vancouver. Then, I put together and also printed a collage from that weekend ...

... Sue reads books by subscribing to Audible and listening to them. She finds it easier on her eyes. I generally prefer to read, but every now and then, I will listen as well. Recently, I listened to The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. It was the tenth of her Inspector Gamache series. I think it has become my favourite detective series, even more than the British ones. But I suspect that's a changing taste. It is nice to be read to every now and then. Listening slows me down, and I probably get more out of the book that way. Overall, however, I still prefer to do my own reading ...

... I trust that for most of us the world is calming down a bit. There is so much hysteria after an attack like that. I understand that reaction, but I hate the inhumanitarian opinions about refugees. I am pleased that Canada is determined to bring in 25 000 within the next month or so. Most Canadians are on board with this although there is some apprehension about the speed. Women and children will be the priority. Single men will not be included this time. I understand that, but I don't like seeing one group singled out and excluded ...

... If you go to this page, you can see a touching video about some of the work that Samaritans Purse is doing with refugees as they land in Crete. My late brother-in-law supported this organization, and we made a donation to SP upon his passing last fall ...

... I guess that's enough blathering for now. I will attach copies of the two photos that I mentioned above. I am trying to print a little more lately, despite the cost of ink, which runs out even more quickly when you're printing large sheets. But there's something about a print ...

You've seen a version of this previously, but I really like the print.

This is the collage that I put together: The title says the A Team since the girls' names bother begin with A.
CP is the short form of our town — Carleton Place.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Rusty Trucks Of Combermere

Shortly after you leave Combermere travelling east on the Rockingham Road, one comes across a photographic delight — a row of old rusting trucks on the edge of a lumber yard. (The map is live, so click, zoom and enlarge to your heart's content if you wish to get a better idea of the location.)

It was the second time that I had passed these rust buckets, or at least the second time that I had stopped to take photos. On the first occasion, I took mostly distance shots of the row or of parts of the row. This time I concentrated on getting a little closer.

 I took quite a few and processed them in different ways. First the farther shots.

Let's move in a little closer.

I converted some to b&w.

What fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Je Suis Fatigué

It has been a few days since I last posted. I thought that I might actually write something for a change, but I am so very tired. I am tired, but it's only 9:13. If I go to bed too early, I'll be up too early, so I need to stay up until at least 10:30, and 11:30 would be better.

One reason for my tiredness is that I only managed a few hours sleep the other night before waking up for good at 3:30. It was two nights ago, but since I am unable to make up for lost sleep (can't sleep past about 7 hours), it takes awhile to get my feet back under me.

Enough of crying and whining. Onto the pictures.

This one ↑ I took on my stroll the other day. I often take my camera with me and then delete most photos when I get back. This one of bulrushes is acceptable. Not terrible, at least.

The next one ↓ is of an old, horse carriage in an open sided barn. I just like the way the processing turned out. It seems to fit the era.

I found this one ↓ while browsing through an old folder. It is a few snatches from my sister-in-law's journal. She does an outstanding journal with one entry per week. This gives you a peek at the kind of things that you might see in there. Each page is full from end to end as you can see by the dimmed one I placed in the background. I just pasted a few excerpts on top.

Finally, for now, I had a notion to create a composite of ... well, you can see for yourself.

It's a three photo paste together. One: the kids turned to silhouettes from a back to school photo in September. Two: the moon is from a photo that I took in 2014. Three: a starry shot, also from 2014. Sure, it's an amateurish job, but I am glad that I was able to see my idea through to fruition.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pioneer Church at Rockingham

While I am calling it the pioneer church, it is simply known as the Rockingham Church although it was originally known as St. Leonard’s Anglican Church.

It was built in 1875 when there was much more going on in Rockingham than there is today. Today, in fact, the church and a few houses seem to be all that there is to find. The scrollable map below will attest to the isolation of Rockingham. Do click to move around or use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out in order to get a better idea of the location.

Sue and I had visited twice in the past, but we thought we would take our inlaws on a field trip when we were staying with them at the cottage in late September and early October.

The church sits up on a  little hill with a cemetery around it. I try to picture the parishioners struggling up the hill in winter. I suppose, however, that most of the pioneer folk were young and hardy.

Here it is on our last visit in 2011. Just imagine making that climb on a blustery Sunday morning in January.
Historical plaque near the bottom of the climb.
Taken on our recent visit, the path from the previous is on the other side where you see a bit of a railing near the corner. We are only about 1/3 of the way down in this photo. I wanted to get a view including both the church and surrounding gravestones.
Here's looking back down from inside in another older photo.
Before we take a gander around inside, here is another view of the building.

Inside, the church is about what you would expect with its hard pews, but the wood is all very attractive and well preserved. Once again, these photos are a mixture of old (2011) and new shots.

I believe that is the original stove or one much like it.
I can't imagine that it was terribly effective,
especially for those sitting near the back,
which is where I would have been.

There is quite a bit more information about the history, architecture and maintenance at this site of the Pembroke library.

The combination of the map (above) and these directions should get you there. It could be made part of a daytrip from Carleton Place although it might be a little long for some.

Directions from the Pembroke Library website:
The Rockingham Church is located at the junction of John Watson Road and the Rockingham Road, in the village of Rockingham. From the east (Killaloe or Eganville), turn off Hwy. 512 at Brudenell onto Renfrew County Road #66 (the Opeongo Line). Turn left onto Renfrew County Road #68 (the Letterkenny Road) and follow the signs to Rockingham. From the west (Combermere), turn off Hwy. 62 onto Hwy. 515. Turn left immediately onto Renfrew County Road #68 (the Rockingham Road) and follow to Rockingham.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Being Neighbourly UPDATED

I am adding a new photo to the previous post, and here's the story.

Lena was quite thrilled with the previous photo: at least she was until she realized that she had forgotten the lady's bonnet and corsage.

I returned to take a shot of the amendments. I had thought to just shoot the lady (so to speak) and composite her new parts onto the original image. I did that, but it didn't quite work right to my eyes.

So ... I did it all from scratch again. I selected, masked and extracted the figures from the background. I then added the same background and candle as in the original post.

I did do something differently, however. The figures were very close to the edge in the first version, with very little breathing room. So I added space on either side and turned it into something closer to a 6x4 format ... although it isn't exact. I also deleted the "snowy" texture that they were standing in in the first version, and just stood them right in the snow in the background image. In any case, here is the new result.

I liked the first version, but I like this one more.

======== original post below =========

We have a good neighbour whom I've written about in the past. In the days before we hired out snow removal, she would frequently clear our driveway with her snowblower. This was when I still shovelled, which I didn't mind doing, but I also appreciated her help from time to time. I still wouldn't mind shovelling, but it seems best that I don't, so this will be our third winter of hiring a contractor. Or is it the fourth year already?

She keeps an eye our place when we're away, and sometimes brings over produce from her garden. It goes beyond us of course; she's a general do-gooder in the neighbourhood.

The other day, she showed Sue the Victorian Christmas Carolers that's she's been working on sense last winter. But she had been unable to take a decent picture. That is when Sue volunteered my services. I had heard that it would be pretty cluttered down in Lean's basement, so I took my older Canon  over 7D and not my newer and preferred 6D. I chose the 7D because I have a wide angle lens for it and figured that I might need it to get a photo in a tight space.

Here is what I came up with. It's good for context. You can see how big the figures are. She made them from papier mache and created all of the clothes herself. She did come over last winter and peruse Victorian costumes on my computer with me, and she followed those images to create these.

Well, she could stuff that photo in her album, but Sue and I thought that we could do more with it. So, I cropped the photo and then did some photoshop work to extract the characters from that background. I then did a search for a winterish background as well as a candle to light up the lamp.

Lena was thrilled with the result, but we then thought that it could be turned into her Christmas card, so here's some text that I added as a trial.

Then she was miffed because she had forgotten to fully clothe the mother figure. I went back the next day with my other camera, just to shoot the mother. She had also cleared out the space well enough that I could shoot the whole scene again.

It's definitely a better quality photo and it is also much less cropped, but I am not sure if I am inclined to completely make a whole new image with the required photoshop work. I might, however, choose to superimpose the lady's bonnet and corsage. We shall see. Right now we are in the midst of a busy weekend with company, so whatever I do, if anything, will have to wait.

Lena did show me a few pictures she took of the work in progress. I scanned then and though they might interest some of you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Family Portrait

Phew! We've just been through a whirlwind weekend: not only the long weekend itself (Friday through Monday) but the days leading up to it — the preparations. The busyness has pretty well kept me off the blogs, but I shall endeavour to make amends soon.

The A Team, daughter Allyson and her partner Alycia, flew in from the west coast just after midnight on Friday morning. Before dropping them back at the airport on Monday afternoon, we spent much time chatting, reminiscing, laughing, and playing games.

One thing I wanted to do was get a family photo, but I was almost thwarted as we got busy doing other things. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, I got a little opportunity. It wasn't what I envisioned, but we made do.

We were in Almonte, so we tried this gazebo by the River Walk, but I think you can see the problem. There's too much light and shadow. So, the setting was fine, but the light wasn't. It's still a worthwhile, memory type of photo but not generally the type that one would print and frame.

Not far from the gazebo was an interesting tree, but the light was still a problem. Ideally, you'd want a cloudy day where the sky is like a giant softbox.

You can see me holding my remote clicker in the next tree shot.

The third try was acceptable. We situated ourselves around this rusty, old mill wheel where the light was more or less even. Snap.

While it still is not exactly what I envisioned, it will do. It's one that I might print and hang, even though it is not a perfect, studio type of family portrait.

By the way: this is our whole family: not a big family but a great family.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

PD Day

The kids had a PD Day last Friday, but we only had them for the afternoon because their other sitter had a party in the morning. We like to get them out, and our choice on that day was the River Walk in Almonte. We begin at the Old Town Hall and make our way to main street. It's not far.

Along the way, we come to the former railway bridge. ↓

Below the bridge, we found neat swirls of what looks like soap scum. ↓

The kids threw rocks in the river, and this ghoulish face appeared. Do you see it?

Further on, Danica balanced on the bench, and JJ climbed a tree.

I liked the textures, lines and shadows of the Victorian Woolen Mill.

The falls. I promise that I will return with a tripod, someday, for a slower exposure.

Me and my buddies. Either they are standing on something or I am slouching or both.

Oh ... they may have put a 'feather' in my cap, but I don't think they called me macaroni.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Cemetery Ghost Walk

Last night, Sue and I joined others for a Cemetery Ghost Walk led by Linda, a pillar of the community. It had been scheduled a few days before Halloween but was postponed due to rain. At 6:30 before the time change, it wouldn't have been completely dark — not at the start of the walk, at least — but after the time change, it was pretty much pitch black in the wooded cemetery.

Obviously, great darkness is not great for picture taking, but I tried anyway. I put the ISO way way up there and the shutter speed really slow (1/10 sec) and hoped for the best. I couldn't really focus either. I set everything to manual and did my best.

I was somewhat surprised to have salvaged as much as I did.

These first three photos show Linda, our fearless and peerless host. The next two show some of the group around her, listening in rapt attention.

Another group shot. ↓

A few scenes. ↓

You've heard of water twitching or witching? Well, our one host was also a grave twitcher. There are some unmarked graves, and she found them by using two copper rods. When they crossed, it indicated a male down below, and when they separated apart, it indicated a female.

A few others tried their hands but they just didn't possess the magic.

We ended up by the little crypt-like building for light refreshments.

Inside the structure, the ghostly table was set. The racks, faintly visible at the back, were for storing caskets when the ground froze in winter.

It was a fun night. Thanks to Linda and the other helpers.