Saturday, November 28, 2009

Marvelous Amaryllis

It' s time once again to pot up some amaryllis bulbs. Widely available these days in various places, even grocery stores, for about $8 you can treat yourself to a bulb that will produce some amazing blooms that will brighten up any room they adorn. I buy several and stagger their planting, so that we have indoor blooms throughout the winter. Available in a variety of colours, they make great gifts. When my sons were in elementary school I gave them to their teachers at Christmas and they were always appreciated. Really easy to grow too, check them out if you haven't before.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last Leaves Standing

So nice to see these colours around at this time of the year. With the grey days it's such a relief to have a bit of contrast. They seem to be about the last shrubs to still have leaves in the fall.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leaves at Rest

Fallen autumn leaves will settle wherever the wind decides. I love how these ones have clustered along the edges of the stairs, the wind taking a breather before swirling them off to some other location.

The dried brittleness of the oak leaves with their rich brown hues lend warmth to the grey stone steps.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Framing the Distance

Rather like the way this photo came out. The hanging vine provides a nice frame for the bridge in the distance. I was trying to get some close-ups of dried plants, not considering the background. So this was the fortunate result of a shot gone wrong, or at least a shot that wasn't what I was aiming for.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tortoise Wisdom

I've had this little fellow for quite some time. Picked up in a thrift shop, his corduroy finish is a little worn in places. But such patina is rather endearing. Any labels or tags he might have once had are long gone, so I don't know where he was made. What lesson does the tortoise hold for me these days? Well, maybe that it's okay to be at a point in time where things are not happening too quickly. Sometimes life moves so fast you hardly have time to consider what you are doing or why. This might be a time to reflect, consider, change direction and move slowly towards a future goal. It also might be a reminder to be patient. To quietly wait while things sort themselves out in preparation for what comes next.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Magic of Milkweed

Did you love milkweed when you were a kid? Who could resist that fairy fluff? When the pods split open, the seeds and fluff would pour forth, carried on the wind like tiny silken parachutes. What a source of fascination they held. The silky airborne strands were an invitation to play.

During the Second World War, milkweed floss was gathered as a substitute for kapok, which was useful in life preservers because of its buoyancy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brown Predominates

Went for a walk along the river on my lunch hour and snapped a few photos. All the autumn foliage is now off the trees and everything is starting to dry out. At first glance it seems that the colour brown predominates the landscape. But on closer examination, there are endless shades: dark mahoganys, rich reddish browns, golden beiges and a lovely silver grey.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vintage Venue

I mentioned going to the Vintage Clothing Sale yesterday but didn't show you the beautiful ballrooms in the Chateau Laurier Hotel where the sale is held.

The hotel opened on June 12, 1912. Commissioned by Charles Melville Hays, it was the first hotel to be built as part of the Canadian Pacific hotel chain. Unfortunately, Hays did not live to participate in the event. He had traveled to Europe to choose furniture for the hotel's dining room and was on his way home aboard the Titanic when it sank on April 14, 1912. The hotel, with its interesting history and lavish decor, makes an appropriate venue for a vintage event.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Postcard from the Past

Today I attended one of my favourite annual events, the Vintage Clothing Sale, where I discovered this postcard for $2.00. Despite the name, the sale also has vintage fabrics, ephemera and all sorts of interesting doodads.
The card was printed in 1905 and sent in 1906 from someone in Pense, Saskatchewan to Miss Etta Hanna in Glamorgan, Ontario. When I did a little research on Glamorgan I learned that the postal master from 1899 to 1913 was a man named Alex Hanna. Perhaps Etta was his daughter or niece or sister? That could be the reason there is no house number or street listed for the address. Or maybe Glamorgan was a fairly small place.
But none of this was the reason why I bought the postcard, I just found the illustration and message on the front amusing. It wasn't until I returned home and turned it over that I caught a glimpse into the past and noticed the penny postage stamp bearing a portrait of King Edward VII as an added bonus.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On Little Cat Feet

The combination of fog and frost made it seem like a winter day as I stood at the bus stop this morning. The frost was so thick on the ground that it looked like a dusting of snow. What a reminder of what is to come!

This photo is a colour photograph, taken just after 8:00 in the morning, so you can imagine how heavy the fog was to make it look like a black-and-white shot.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nature's Tapestry

Please humour me as I post one more photo of autumn leaves this fall season. This was taken before the wildly windy Halloween day that shook loose many of the colourful leaves that remained attached to branches in Boulton Centre, a small town in the Eastern Townships. It rather reminds me of a tapestry. I love the interplay of colours, of how the orange of the trees at the top off-set the blue of the sky’s reflection in the stream at the bottom. I also like how the birch tree crossing the stream causes your gaze to travel from left to right and also how the arch of branches above the birch tree pulls your gaze through the arch to the other side to the light coloured tree that stands upright in the distance. My eyes seems to be pulled all over this image, round and round.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Red Ribbons

Aren’t these intriguing? No it's not some kind of outdoor art installation. What appears to be red ribbons are in fact leaves.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Golden Glow

The golden glow of Autumn, that end-of-day light that bathes the foliage and has a quality all its own.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spirea Spectacular

I had no idea that the common spirea bush turned such gorgeous colours in the autumn. I was stopped in my tracks when I saw these bushes on my lunch hour. Luckily there was a landscaper working so I asked what they were. She said that they are the "Anthony Waterer" variety.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ghost Hunting

What an interesting Halloween I had this year. The evening found me on the historical Billings Estate for a couple of hours of ghost hunting. The group was led in the art of divining spirits by a psychic/medium from a nearby town. After some explanations and a quick lesson, we were turned loose to track the spirits in every nook and cranny of the 1829 house, with permission to wander wherever we pleased from the attic to the basement. No doubt the spirits were amused by our bumbling efforts to find them, armed with our wire coat-hanger divining rods.

The indoors hunt was followed by a quick visit to the old graveyard on the property, under the light of an immense full moon. It was a lovely mild night after a day of rain, howling winds and swirling leaves. And the house, in the shadows with the surrounding trees, looked like a postcard for Halloween.