Monday, 25 February 2013


We have an ancient apple tree that overhangs the bird feeders. This morning, this owl took up a post just above the feeders, waiting for an unwary mouse or other burrowing animal. It let me walk right up and take portraits.

This afternoon there was a hole in the snow and no owl. So I guess it got its lunch.

Monday, 18 February 2013

What IS that thing?

Well, it's a golden swamp monster dragon, strayed from its home swamp.


That is a long, but wonderful story.

Some years ago my best friend ever and her family invited my family to a New Year's Eve party at her home. The family group consisted then of the parents and two married sons, each with their own home on the property. The senior family's home was placed at the bottom of a hill on the concession road, across from the family sugar camp, and between the road and the house was a large wide and shallow ditch. I left the party briefly and as I was returning I took the downhill too fast and slid, slowly and irrevocably, into the ditch, ending with my car nose down, back wheels in the air.

The slide was so slow that neither the car nor I suffered any damage, but I sat there in the ditch for quite a while gathering my courage because I knew that the minute the family knew what I had done, I would be the target of a lot of laughter and that they would never, never let me live it down. And that was the case. One of the sons plucked me out of the ditch with his tractor, a lot of comments were made, I drowned my sorrows and the party ended.

Shortly thereafter, when I visited my friends' home, there was a hockey net across the bridge side nearest the ditch with a sign on it reading 'Stay out - Mary's swamp'. On another occasion, the side of the lane way was blocked with hay bales. On yet another, signs appeared on trees between our home and theirs, giving the distance to 'Mary's Swamp.' And the incident was mentioned. A lot.

Well, there had to be some response to this besides turning beet red and spluttering. At the start of the sugaring season, on a day when the snow was wet and packy, I climbed down into the ditch and built a swamp dragon out of snow  - crawling out of the ditch and heading toward the camp across the road. I coloured it with spray bottles of coloured water and it was a handsome concoction. I may have put up a sign saying 'beware of swamp monster' - I'm not sure about this. Although the family may have known I was there, they were busy and only when the left the camp was the full glory of the dragon perceived. And I was gone by then.

Over the years there have been other elaborate jokes between our families. There was a plague of ceramic garden gnomes. There was a night when our lane way was lit with ice lanterns. The best one might have been at a party for our 45th wedding anniversary when my friend tried out a recipe she had been given where, if you buried condoms in a cake pan of soil with a puck of some substance at the bottom and then watered the soil, the condoms were supposed to fill with air and poke out through the soil. It didn't work quite as planned, however, as the condoms would fill up and then lose air, droop over and then refill. To say it was funny is not really a good report of the resultant hilarity and comment.

Anyway, this brings us to our fiftieth wedding anniversary. We went in to the city to have a superb dinner with the family and as we turned into the gate on our arrival home we saw two gold painted sap pails with a 5 and a 0 on them, hanging on the maple tree at our gate. I had expected something, I must admit, and thought that our friends had been remarkably restrained.

Or I did, until I heard JG saying urgently to his brother, who had come to stay for the festivities, 'Turn on the back door lights!'. Then he called to me, in a somewhat shaken voice, 'Come and see this!'. We turned on the spotlight and there, in all its glory, was swamp monster, promoted to gold and fashioned, now, out of 50+ gold painted sap pails with a green monster head and staring eyes. It was sporting a 'No Parking' sign. It was a spectacular construction. I think it must have taken them days to put it all together. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry - friends like this make life a marvellous adventure.

Only, now it is my turn again. I do have some ideas, too.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Just For the Record

Fifty years married on Saturday

In February of 1963, JG and I went to a Valentine's Day dance. The next day, as well as I can remember, we were married. We were at Queen's (University at Kingston) at the time, and the dance, I think, was the 'Levana' formal.  We were married in the Chapel in the Old Arts building - my mother bought my dress and borrowed the hat from my cousin. That's champagne we are holding, and I was the only illegal drinker at the dinner my parents held for us.

 Four years later, we were obviously attending another party or dance, but for the life of me, I cannot recall what it was. I was pregnant at the time and had made my dress, that I do remember. As well as what a big nuisance long gloves were. It's 1967 and JG is all decked out in his Centennial beard.

Here we are a few months later, getting set up to visit the Montreal Expo '67. The passenger in the baby carrier is the YD, age 3 months or so.

  In this shot, we've just come back from a Canada Day parade. That's the YD on the left, ED with the balloon, and JG with his hair grown out.  I think this would be 1970 or 71.

 A few years later, 1975 or thereabouts. At 'The Farm' with a beagle named Bugle. The kids are now old enough to take photographs.

 This is 1980 ish. A holiday dinner at the house of some good friends. Again, one of our kids took this. It was really difficult to find photos of the two of us through these years - either I was behind the camera or part of a group shot.

 Here's one that the daughters insisted on taking to mark some kind of festival or anniversary. Or, maybe they noticed that there were not many photos of the two of us. This is 1990, we think. I am now sporting the highly permed 'poodle' hairdo that the YD hated.

 Kids have left home. Empty nesters got some good travelling time in. Here we are in Holland with JG's parents; I think his father took this. We are en route to Africa, I think in 1993.

It is 1995 and we are building our 'forever home'. My father took this one, and it is one of several where my backside is both large and prominent. But it is one of very few shots of both of us that I could find for this period. We have just walked that piece of framing, called a 'knee wall' up the ladders and are putting it in position.

 2004 at Stratford, at intermission of a Festival play. We're out in the grounds, and the ice cream in my hand is one of the reasons shots from behind make me wince. And my hair is back to its normal spider silk thinness.

2012. A Christmas party. I don't think this looks much like me, but the others are worse. It is good of JG who is post cataract surgery and no longer needs glasses.

This was just forwarded to me by the YD - Christmas 2012. Yum!

Saturday, 9 February 2013


I seem to put up an inordinate number of posts about my daughter's animals. And (here we go), indeed, here is another one.

The YD is besnowed in Washinton, after a business trip, and we are cat-and-dog sitting. Yesterday morning, as the snow poured down, both JG and the animals took the morning off. Check the close-up to find Callee cat.

Last evening, all rested up, Callee cat was not inclined to have a nice nap while I worked on the scarf I am making for my grandaughter. When I sit in that particular chair, she figures it is cat petting time. Not reading, knitting or napping time for Mary. She has been known to pat my face with a scimitar-equipped paw, if I try to do anything but pet her.

 The start of the scarf - four repeats needed.

 Need a good caption for this - something like ' wool is catknip, isn't it?' Only better.

So, poor grandkid will have to wait a little longer for her scarf.

Friday, 1 February 2013

A Little Business

I have just changed the comment settings for this blog to 'moderation'. Too many spam comments. Sorry, bogging buddies.