Wednesday, 27 October 2010

On Where I Live

 087/365  This one is titled, 'Where IS everybody".

Have you ever noticed how the very tipmost leaves hang on when all of the others are long vanished?  I explect that there is some scientific reason that my brainy ED could explain to me, but I prefer to think of this one as the baby of the bunch who does not want to leave home.


Every year I take photos of glowing trees and forests pulsating with colour.  But these last few burnished leaves, accented by the absence of light and their fellows, are so beautiful.


This is the cemetary of the hamlet near where I live.  The old part of this graveyard is grey and sere on a misty day, the legends slowly eroding from the stones, but in the new part, the families have decorated and elaborated and the monuments are new and shiny.  If you magnify this last shot a bit, you will see that the centre gravestone, the one with the tub of gold chrysanthemums in frontof it, also has a hummingbird feeder on a hook at the left hand side.  I am not sure whose grave this is, but whoever it is, I would wager, loved hummingbirds.

Can I have the last two count for both idiomatic and spooky? No?  Oh, well.  I agree that these graves, in their festive decorations, are not the least spooky.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


A while back my daughter and granddaughter presented me with a Martha Stewart magazine of Halloween projects. Along with the maximum labour pumpkin faces and other d├ęcor ideas, there were some pages of costumes for the big day. Adult costumes, and very elaborate. And on one page was a photograph of a woman about my age, dressed in white perfection, holding above her head an umbrella that had been crafted to resemble a jelly-fish. Seven year old Little Stuff was fascinated by this and asked if, maybe, I could make her one like that, big brown eyes staring imploringly into mine.

'I have a cloche umbrella just like that one,' said my daughter, cheerfully.

I know when I'm outnumbered. I promised LS I would make her a jellyfish umbrella.

Yesterday she and her mother came out to our place from the city, lugging big bags of bubble wrap, rolls of cellophane and tape, the umbrella and the illustration. I read the directions beside the photo. I read them again. Not a lot of help there. And so ......... we propped the photo up on my desk, plugged in the glue gun (but forgot to turn it on) and started cutting strips of bubbles, diagonally across the large size bubble wrap. Not a fun job, that. If you are not very, very meticulous in your cut, you can nick the side of the bubble and it goes foof. LS was getting frustrated and grama was starting to perspire, gently. We developed a technique where we cut only every second line of bubbles, in strips. Not perfect like the ones in the photo, but possible.

Then we had to make the handle and edge of the umbrella white, while taping the strings of bubbles to the edge. White book tape - miserable to stretch out and impossible if it touches itself - was laboriously applied and the bubble strings untangled. And untangled again. Next we had to make the umbrella sections look like turquoise jelly.

The instructions said "Cut 8 same-size strips of lightweight iridescent cellophane; sandwich each between 2 bubble strips; hot-glue smooth edges of tentacles to umbrella spokes. (Plastic will melt.)"  We made a pattern. We cut, fringed, pasted, untangled the strings of bubbles, untangled the fringe and repeated. Two hours passed while we did this, again and again. Little Stuff was indomitable and hung on for the whole time, with one digression out to the swings while I put the roast into the oven and one small pause for a snack (and coffee for grama) when we discovered the glue gun was still cold.

The pattern cut from the newspaper had most of a photo of Muslims at prayer on it - down on their knees with foreheads on the floor. "What are all those people doing, grama," said LS. "Praying," says I. "They look silly," said little Miss. Oh, dear. While I tried to get bubble wrap to stay square, not drip the glue all over and untangle the strings of bubbles, I also had to carefully pick my way through the minefield of discussing tolerance of one another's differences with a judgemental child.

I asked her what she would do if a friend wearing a dress she loved but that looked ugly to Little Stuff asked LS what she thought of it. LS allowed that she would not make her friend unhappy by saying it was ugly. Same with what people do that looks strange, I tried to explain, especially their religions, because that is something that a lot of people feel strongly about and it is both wrong and easy to hurt someone's feelings. After some discussion of this, LS read the caption under the photo, which accompanied a story on the firing of Juan Williams, "Remarks over Muslims cost top US radio host his job."

To the tangles of bubble wrap and strings of glue, we now added the tangles of political correctness. We got into 'jihad' from Williams' statement that Muslims on a plane madehim nervous. I finally wiggled loose after explaining that some people misinterpreted their religion and were very wrong. I clearly recall, in another post, saying that I was thankful that theology and all its ramifications were the province of parents, not grandparents. And after this I shall make sure that we make newspaper patterns with the comics section of the paper.

The umbrella looked quite handsome when it was finished.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


After some brooding about the latest 365 prompt, I realized that I have at least one photo in the ready pile that answers it.

We have a lot of buildings around here with the characteristic 'doghouse' on the top - old and decrepit ones, new and spiffy ones, big ones, tiny ones.  In Eastern Ontario a building with a doghouse on the roof is a sugar shack or sugar camp, a building used to boil down maple sap until it becomes syrup.  The 'doghouse' has removable sides and when the sap is boiling, the excess steam escapes through it, making the main part of the building less steamy and improving visibility.

 087/365 - idiomatic - an old sugar camp on Concession 2.

Leaves and Lingering Light

It's the very last of the warm, crunchy autumn weather here - almost all of our leaves are stripped off and have, with great noise and effort, been piled into composting heaps.  But the oaks are still bearing leaves in beautiful shades - mahogany, ochre, sienna.  The oak trees, large and small, stand out against the bare branches and the deep shades of the evergreens.


Besides the oak leaves, only the tamaracks are still providing colour - blazing away like golden candles in the marshy lands they prefer.


Over the last two days, trying to make up for the hiatus in posting for the 365 project, I have been taking my camera around the area with me, perched precariously on the passenger seat, trying to manage my meetingfull life to give me time to leap out of the car (or, at least, hang the camera out of the car window) and record some of the beauty of the countryside.

I've been especially attracted to old, battered buildings and to the way the long light falls and blazes and glows in the late afternoons.  Here are some of the results to get me up to date and allow me to deal with Sue's next challenging prompt in a more timely way.  A fair number of these were taken at Last Duel park in Perth where there is a very old cemetary and access to the Tay River.

079/365 Tay River

080/365 A glowing oak at the park

081/365 A gull makes a loud comment

082/365 The last leaf

083/365 Long light - with the cemetary in the distance

084/365 the cemetary again.

085/365 glowing sky

086/365 - sunset across the fields

I think I am now up to date and I will get to the old barns on a day when inspiration has failed me.  On to 'idiomatic'.

Monday, 18 October 2010

More Catching Up

We had a lovely, lovely sunny fall weekend - a bit cool, but not imposibly so.  The YD went canoeing on the Petawawa River and had, according to her, a lovely time.  Brrr.  It is 8 C out there this morning.  She did not take the large white dog, figuring it would be too cold for her.  Her father rolled his eyes at this, but I didn't - the LWD will wade into water at the slightest provocation and getting her coat soaked at these temperatures would not be good for her if you couldn't dry her off.  Ah, the joys of pet ownership.

At any rate, we had this glorious sun and I decided to play with shooting directly into it.  Probably not good for my camera sensors, but I wanted to try.  I also wanted to capture the oak on the front lawn as it was looking very nice decked out in deep red and rust.

071/365  -- notice how cleverly I have hidden the satellite dish behind the trunk.
 072/365.  Dramatic, in a strange way.

I was also up early one day this weekend and as we are still on Daylight Saving time, I got to see the sunrise.  It was very cool and still and damp - there was not a bird chirp or rustle of leaves.

073/365.  What I saw first - and took without the flash on the camera, being somewhat dopey and not outside of my first coffee.
 074/365 A few minutes later, with flash. I can't decide whether the colour did intensify or using the flash changed the sensor reception.

I'm still playing around with the oxymoron prompt.  Can't leave this kind of thing alone.  I looked at my office desk the other day and one of my mother's expressions surfaced in my mind -- "A fine mess you've made of it!' she used to say.

I have tidied all the mess into one pile this morning, as my cleaner is here and I don't like to watch strong women weep.  But I will have to disentangle it later and Do Somthing with most of it.  Maybe a bonfire would be a good option.  Maybe not, though.  There is, I think, a cheque lurking in there somewhere.  No better incentive to file than finding money while you do it.

076/365.  If only this fellow were a bit bigger and more, um, animated.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Yep.  That's the mind bending prompt that the 365 project photographers are struggling with this week.  Good grief!

Here are a few that I've squeezed out of the reluctant brain - I confess to having grabbed a couple I took earlier in this project and coudn't think what to do with.  There's also one I took a while back and have used once before, but it meets the prompt so well that I'm recycling it.
and finally 070/365  Bedrock.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Goodbye Sun

A long line of gray clouds is pushing in across the sky, ending five days of the most perfect fall weather I remember for a long time.  All of Thanksgiving weekend was spectacular; days full of sun and skies so bright a blue as to dazzle the eye.  My family came out from the cities where they live and played and took marvellous photographs, while I stuffed stuffed bird in and out of the oven and prepared The Feast.  The event also included JG's birthday and so two cakes were added to the traditional pumpkin and apple pies.  And cookies, some of which were part of JG's birthday gift.
056/365  A work of art!  Little Stuff and her mother made this woodland scene for Grampa.  And it is delicious!

Meanwhile, I have been lugging my camera around in the car (and driving somewhat erratically) as I looked at the scenery more than the road.  Have you ever noticed how many power lines polute the pristine vistas of Ontario?  So, craft having been the object, I took long shots and have just finished editing out the junk.

057/365  Long view.

I've been somewhat obsessed by these long views - here are a few of the results.  Where I've had to do a major edit, I'm putting in both before and after.  In the one above, for instance, I erased the power lines by using a cut and paste.  The little cloud, for example, is bigger in the cleaned version as I used it to cover some of the power line.  I use Corel PhotoPaint for this kind of thing.

058/365 This one worked
And this one, not.

 059/365 - down our road.

Here's another power line edit, this one of a local church where the old, crumbling headstones were reset and preserved.

I should have t aken out the wire on the far left as well.  Or cropped more.

 This is the original - of a barn a few hundre metres down the road from where we live.  It's taken in the last of the light.  Then I played with it.
This is what happens when you play with the intensity and light values to equalize the two halves.  Kind of neat.

And, because they are so beautiful, my Thansgiving flowers.  Thanks, YD.
Gee, I'm on the last day of September in posting photos.  Sigh.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Catching Up

For the last two weeks I have been working flat out on an election blog for our municipality.  I got involved with the local Business and Tourism Association which has an election committee and found myself very much involved in the all-candidates' meeting that the Association runs.  There's quite a split in public opinion and the position of candidates here, one side being somewhat similar to the Tea Party in the States (only I guess it should be a Timmy Party here, hmm?) and the other much more "small L"  liberal.

Anyway, there is a lot of controversy and the group was afraid that the all-candidates meeting might get out of hand.  They decided that to keep it on a more even keel, all questions for candidates would have to be submitted in writing before the meeting got underway.  And it became my job to number the questions coming in, type them onto a laptop and project each one up on a screen at the front of the hall as it was selected.

I borrowed my husband's lap-top, with its small screen and equally cramped keyboard and spent an unhappy hour hunched over it on an inadequate table, sorting and typing frantically.  I would not have been finished save that the Ratepayers Association had seven pre-determined questions and dropped them into the question boxes in multiples.  They would have flooded the questions if we had simply been pulling questions from the box, a somewhat sneaky ploy that is typical of how this campaign is going.

What with all of the meetings around that and the extra meetings generated by a review of the strategic plan at the Health and Community Services board of which I am past chair, I have been driving in and out of the village a lot.  And looking sadly at the fall folliage and glorious fall flowers as I whip past with no time to spare.  Yesterday I finally carved out some spare time on my way to physiotherapy and got some photos done for the 'fluff' prompt.  And I've had a few other quick stops. Given the unusually rainy and windy September we have had and the fact that there is so much moisture that the fall colours are unusually muted, my fall haul is not as good as usual.

But, for what it's worth, here is a bit of catch-up.
048/365  The stream is running high.

049/365  The colours are muted this fall.

050/365  Even my faithful red maple is mostly gold.

051/365  The milkweed pods are popping open.

052/365 Fluff!

053/365  A wild aster (also called 'Farewell Summer') and the fluff flying.

054/365.  Sunset last night - and today it is raining.  Again.

055/365.  Isn't he a sweetie?  Collected by Little Stuff last weekend, he sat for his portrait so that we could identify him.  Guess which end is the head.