June 27, 2017

Lovely Summer Days & Celebrations

Hi there,

Just dropping in to share a few pictures from my recent nature walks.
As you know, I love to get out and about. Well, more than that. It's an absolute necessity for my  over all well-being.
On my walks, I've been lucky to encounter little animals and many other things of beauty. Yesterday we had a mink check us out. He was on the boardwalk and when he saw us he ran for cover, but he did peek out from under a boards to look us over. So curious. It's a trait that I admire in humans and in our fury and flying friends.

Wild Blue Flag Irises. 

I had to lean over the barrier for this one. Love the iris at the bottom. Wish I had a better pic. It would be a lovely one for the drawing/painting board. Maybe I can go back out there and take one today. 😉

Love the shape of these leaves.

Musk mallow. The seeds must have blown into the wild places because this plant is a native of India. White flowers, for me, are hard to capture in a photo. Any pointers?
Water lilies backed up by a winning chorus of frogs.
A huge wasp nest. 

video  Sights and sounds.
video What no seeds?


To those who ask, I didn't make the cut off date for an entry in the juried art show. Last year it was held in September, and I was hoping or the same this year.  I did, however, go to the opening night to cheer the others on. There were approximately 186 entries. And what a wonderful array of great paintings!

As a country, we are celebrating 150 years of Confederation on July 1st. U2 along with some other great bands will be entertaining us on Parliament Hill.

Speaking of celebrations, to my American friends do have a wonderful, safe and happy 4th! 

I've decided to take a little hiatus from blogging. Thank you so much following my blog and for reading along. I do appreciate each and every one of you and I love to read your comments!  In the meantime, you can find me here.

HAPPY CANADA DAY ! 



June 01, 2017

First There Was a Robin and then . . .

Hi there,

Since I generally post on Tuesday, I can't believe it's not Tuesday.  It came and went without me, but, hey, thinking it's Tuesday must mean something. :) Moving on . . . to Spring! We've had it all weather wise. It's been very hot and it's also been unseasonably cold with a lot of rain. Perfect weather, it seems, for a beautiful spring.

Always on the outlook for whatever nature puts on display, I was lucky to happen upon a mother robin and her nest. I haven't seen robins' eggs since I was child. And what can you really say about robin's egg blue? It's the prettiest colour.

Not on her watch. Alert and on guard. I didn't want to upset her too much so I've waited awhile and then made a fast trip in to see her babies.




Two fat chicks, tucked in a warm nest and growing like weeds with the help of a package of mealy bugs and two hard working, diligent parents. Robins never use a nest twice. And these parents could raise two more families this year. Lined with mud (how many trips does it take?) and once that's dry, last year's dry grasses up the snuggle effect. The papa bird brings materials, but the female builds the nest. She's a wonderful artist. The grasses are spread out on the sides and the bottom with a real flare.

Flora ...
Lilacs
 Hostas. Wish they were mine.
Pretty in pink.  A Hawthorn tree.

Solomon's Seal

Once again, lovely ferns on the grow. So fresh and green. I can't help it, I am crazy about them.

The wetlands are actually wet this year. Drained for three years to kill off the cattails, it's, once again, brimming with water. The tadpoles are jumping and the frogs are loving it. What a chorus! 

 * * *
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Turtles."

Art for art's sake...

A mock up of violets. Very soon there will be an art show at the mall. I'd like enter two paintings, so I better get back to the painting board.


And finally, this lucky marsh wren was chosen for the spring show and flew off to the local gallery. 

I hope you are all enjoying spring, or if you are down under a wonderful fall.

Thank you so much for visiting. . .hope to see you on Instagram too. Let me know if you are there.

Enjoy . . .

May 02, 2017

Flowering Tea

Hi everyone, 

 Happy May!  We've been having a few lovely warm, sunny days. It's so liberating to be out and
about without winter clothing.  I've been traveling without my camera, so I don't have any pictures other than cell phone pics of the wild flowers. They are everywhere this year and in places where I haven't seen wildflowers before. A bumper crop. Lovely!

 Since I love tea and flowers, it will come as no surprise that I like blooming tea.  Normally, I brew two pots from one flower ball, but apparently you can brew three. I love the colour and if you like green tea it's tasty, too.

 Transcending Beauty ~ Green tea, jasmine and lily flowers.  It takes 45 minutes to tie a flowering tea ball.  Once you add hot water, a quarter sized ball quickly unfurls in the pot before your eyes.

                                                                  
For the drawing board, two fresh sprigs of reasonable priced Tiger Lilies from the florist.
                                                    

           

Art for art's sake...

                              Hawthorn berries The frost-bitten berries turn bright orange in the fall.

   Trying out Bockingford hot press 300g/140lb. watercolour paper.  I decided on a practice run before I start a Crab Apple painting. I've transferred the drawing to the Bockingford paper, but since I have one good Fabriano block left, I think I'll stick with the tried and true. In the meantime, I'll keep practicing on Bockingford. I'm trying to familiarize myself with it because the Fabriano company is still working out some issues. 
Bockingford is nice and sturdy. You can lift colour well too, but just at the right time. I found it's tricky to add more colour to a wet into wet wash that, because of a fraction of a smidgen of too much water, doesn't like to be disturbed.
 I've also tried Moulin du Roy hot press by Canson.  It's very smooth much like illustration board so it's easy for a wet into wet wash to dry out too quickly.  Windsor and Newton's Blending Medium slows the drying time. I haven't tried mine yet.  Recently, I heard that some people are having great success using the wrong side of the Moulin du Roy.  My O my, the intrigues of paper!

I am enjoying Season 4 of  When Calls the Heart. If you haven't seen it, it's a wonderful Hallmark production.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the week...


April 29, 2017

Now that we know better...

For me, it's time to speak up.  Today, I stand up and protest in blog land, not only for climate change but also against racism and for women's rights.  If you do not wish to read what I have to say, that's okay and it's probably better that you skip out now.

Because my blog is also a diary, I definitely do not want my descendants or any other people in the world thinking, especially on the day of the Climate Change March that I approve of the destruction of the planet.

As most of you know, I live on the North American continent, and that makes me an American, although perhaps for delineation purposes a Canadian American. I am also a citizen of the world and, therefore, I do NOT support the pipeline. I do NOT support the Canadian or American portions of the pipeline.  I do NOT support the Canadian tar sands project. I do NOT support drilling in the Arctic. And I do NOT support widespread destruction of the earth by any means, on any continent, at anytime!

And, further, I do NOT support the rampant overthrow of environmental protection laws instituted by President Obama, allowing oil companies to frack along the Eastern seaboard, and on the Western seaboard namely along the California coast, nor do I support fracking in National Parks.
(While the news feeds us a diet of acerbic wolf cries from the new president, many environmental laws are being changed and passed behind our backs that will wreak havoc on the world's climate.) I also do NOT support any racist laws. Or the robbing of the poor to give to the rich. I mean really! Reinstate meals on wheels. And the lunch programs for children. 

However, I do believe that now that we know better, it's time to do better

We have the technology to go green. It can and will create jobs. I have seen the brilliance of young inventors: for example a young woman invented a sidewalk that produces power--every step you take creates energy. And there's a plan to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by 2020. (A worldwide ban on dumping garbage in our oceans would also be a clever move.) Thankfully, the list of brilliant minds and innovative thinkers that want to protect the earth and also enhance living standards for all the earth's people goes on and on.

There are, of course, green regions.  Eco watch rates the top ten greenest countries. Nine of those countries are in Europe.  For your reading pleasure, here's the link.

Venice has also taken steps to stem the tide.  They have build a Mose Flood Barrier, costing billions of dollars. But if we continue with our heads in the sand, will it be enough to protect this historical marvel? And what about the people in poorer nations who are as I type facing rising waters? One wonders what, if any, world wide emergency plans are in place.

Unfortunately climate change threatens. The oceans are rising and we cannot continue the inane argument about whether climate change is cyclical or man made. Either way, it's time to do what we can to stop it. Why? Because its the right thing to do. If it doesn't work, we can at least say that we did all we could to protect the earth, it's people and the plants and animals that depend on the earth for survival.


If these two could speak, I am sure a they would say climate change is real too.
 

These bears could use man made ice platforms. I don't know if that's even possible, but without ice they can not hunt. Last year, I heard about polar bears swimming in open water without, sadly, the possibility of ever reaching shore. For bears, the emergency is now.


Finally, as Jane Goodall keeps saying, "There's still a lot left worth fighting for."  It's sad that we have to fight for what's morally decent and right, but since our lives and the lives of future generations depend upon it, it's urgently imperative that we do.



Stand up, speak up! Do all you can!


April 04, 2017

Maple Sugar Lane

Hi there,

Yesterday, it was off to the sugar camp only to find out that it's closed on Mondays.  Undaunted and since it was okay with the friendly owner, we set off for a walk down sugar lane.

Sadly the restaurant was closed too. We strolled by, while vision of a breakfast of pancakes flooded with maple syrup danced through our heads.


The gift shop also closed and filled to the rafters, no doubt, with tasty maple syrup and other sweet treats.


I was looking for taps (sprouts) and sap buckets, and was disappointed not to see any of the old- fashioned gear.  But less labour intensive high tech extraction methods have hit the sugar camp. The lines run from tree to tree and then on to holding tanks. Later, the syrup is pumped to the sugar shack where it boiled down to pure maple syrup. Since there's a lot of water in the sap, the general ratio is 40 to 1~ 40 liters of sap are boiled down to produce 1 liter of maple syrup.

It takes cold nights and above zero day time temperatures for the sap to run. We had unusually warm weather in February, so they tapped on the 19th. But March was cold and I am sure the sap wasn't running for two weeks or more.
Other than sugar maples, they can also tap red and black maples.

Other trails. Guess who took this trail?
Traffic signs? When the sugar camp is open, they have wagon rides, and, who knows, maybe four wheeled vehicles zoom by sometimes too.

A hunters' blind? I prefer to think it's a camera blind covered with oak leaves.  If you stayed up there awhile, I bet you would see deer and other animals walk by.

A high tech tap and an unusual white fungus.

Back at the sugar shack. The stove with the holding tanks above and to the right.

A wood burner. They boil down the sap twice a day. Having a inquiring mind, I wanted to ask more questions, but since they were not officially open and the owner had cleaned everything and was getting ready for another go, I thought I'd better bow out gracefully while thanking him for his hospitality.


Across the road. A quiet place to sit and think. And look no snow on that sunny hillside! For a hemmed-in snow bound person, that patch of open ground made me take a deep breath and filled me with a sense of freedom. . . . definitely a sight for sore eyes.


Maple trees and the bounty they provide make up a huge part of the Canadian identity.  So it's fitting that our flag sports a sugar maple leaf.
 I was hoping to buy some maple treats and a bottle of syrup, but since they weren't open that was impossible, but, luckily, I still have a stash in the cupboard from Quebec.



"Shoot for the moon and if you miss you'll still be among the stars." 

Les Brown 
Enjoy the week...

March 21, 2017

Hello Spring

Hi there,

Yesterday was the first day of spring. And late last week three feet of snow fell; it will be awhile before we see blossoms like these, but, hey, a girl can dream. The good news: each day brings with it twelve hours of daylight.

A snowy white world.
Recently, I was hanging out at a bird feeder, but most of the birds were too fast for me and my camera. Since I can't take pictures with gloves on, my hands were freezing but I enjoyed watching my feathered friends.
*
The robins have arrived and they look bewildered because of the snow. I saw two pecking at old berries. If the temps stay above zero, hopefully the snow will melt soon and they can get to the business of feeding on succulent worms. In the meantime, they could use some help. As far as I know they will eat raisins, apple slices, berries and the pet stores should have meal worms for sale.

A Starling tries to get a big mouthful of seeds. Obviously, he thinks he can snip the wires with his beak, or maybe he's just angry because he's hungry.


I emailed a few photos and a photo of a painting off to Vistaprint to have stickers and this calendar made. Not quite the calendar I had in mind, but it will do for this year. In case you are thinking of getting stickers ( not shown) made from photos, the high gloss are very nice.

WIP ~ A Botanical Blue
The mess on the desk. Yes, I've been drawing aliens too. Meet Srinda and Zelgog.
Apparently radio signals have been coming in from a certain area in the Milky Way. Speculation is rife. So far I've heard it may be from a neutron star (Hence the star in my cartoon drawing), stellar bursts, etc. etc. Further speculation:  the signals may be from a planet in the Goldilocks zone ( not too hot, or to cold).  All that info made my head hurt and drove me to doodle aliens. :^)

"Spring has returned.  The Earth is like a child that knows poems."-Rainer Maria Rilke

And . . . from yours truly.

Cultivate a dream.
Thanks for reading along.  Have a lovely week . . .
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