Thursday, February 28, 2013


And no, little sister, I don't mean Springsteen.  I mean my neighbour, Bruce,  with his trusty John Deere lawn tractor with snowblower attachment.  We got a heavy dump of snow last night.  I woke up to find myself in a winter wonderland with a driveway plugged up tight.  As, currently, it is just me and the dog (see previous post) and she's no hell with a shovel, it meant that this morning's task was to go out with my trusty snow shovel and unplug it.

When I said that snow was heavy, I wasn't kidding.  It's above zero C so that snow is laden with water.  Even the clumps falling from the branches are heavy enough to brain you.  The stuff that the plough pushed into the driveway was solid enough to pick up and throw to the side in chunks, like those papier mache boulders from sixties TV. (And yes, I do mean on Star Trek--I know that's the image that came to your mind).  I played at that for a while, since it was actually easier than shovelling.  I contemplated building an igloo with them, or maybe rolling snowballs down the driveway instead of trying to pick it up.  All around me my neighbours, retired men, were clearing their drives industriously and mechanically and, I thought, oblivious or studiously ignoring the sight of me struggling to do it by hand.  "Oh, fine!" I thought, feeling all Little Red Hen-ish, and comparing them unfavourably with my Dad, who, when he got his first snowblower, went up and down the street, happily creating mini-snowstorms as he blew out all the neighbour's drives.  As I shovelled and grumbled, I tried to stop feeling petty about it.  After all, I was the one who chose not to invest in a snowblower, right?  I liked the exercise, right?  One shouldn't presume, right?  But another part of me was thinking "Chivalry really is dead" and "If it were me, I'd help"

And then, after half an hour, along came Bruce, a retired oncologist, who lives kitty corner to us.  In five minutes flat, the whole driveway was done,  and the snowbanks were peppered with gravel, as the underlying ground is thawed.  When I saw that, I wondered if the other guys had been afraid of dinging their blades, since almost everyone in the subdivision has a paved drive.  Bruce didn't seem bothered.  Old Wilf McLean always gave my Dad a bottle of whisky every year as a thank you, but I only  had some strawberry jam I made last summer, so I gave him that, that and my undying gratitude.   Last I saw of him he had moved on to the neighbour two doors up.  Bruce is the man.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


The dog and I.  Just me and the dog.  Me.  The Dog.

Everyone else is off doing other things for the moment.  For the next little while.  For a month.

It's quiet.  I walk the dog.  I feed the dog.  I do housework, desultorily.

I read

I don't need to go out, except to go to work or to walk the dog.   I can't really go out for long anyway, because of the dog.   Even the woods are quiet at this time of year.  Nothing but the sound of our feet scrunching on the snow.

I woke up this morning, later than normal.  I wondered what day it was.  Tuesday, right?

As I was lying there, not really wishing to leave my coccoon, I realized that during the hurlyburly years, this was the kind of vacation I'd always wished for.  Where everyone would just be gone for a bit, and I could put everything in order. Actually, that was the second most desired vacation.  The first was the "White Hotel".  Everything was white and still, and nothing was covered in peanut butter.  The breeze blew the curtains at the open window.  Beyond that was blue sky.  Sensory deprivation therapy.

I discovered later that is is a THING.  There are actually hotels done all in white.  Like this one.  Or this.

I think my vision was probably of somewhere Caribbean, which shows you how desperate for change I really was.  I have never in my waking life wanted to go to the Caribbean!  Maybe it was  in Greece, like this one....

 But. Here I am.  Its not white here, except outside, but in all other respects, its a sensory deprivation tank.  Turns out that while I like the home improvements, I miss the people.  Thank goodness for the dog.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Ingrid Fetell, at aesthetics of joy, posted some lovely shots of colourful clothes hanging, and posed a question about which day to day things in our lives bring us joy in the same way.  I mentioned my spice jars.  Here they are, Ingrid!

Monday, February 11, 2013


We both believe we are on the wrong side of the door here.  Note the bare feet and surrounding whiteness.  I got carried away and rushed out to try to get a picture without proper preparation.  

 When I finally had the sense to put my boots on for a closer look, our prey let us come right up to him.  Not that he had any choice.  Its pretty slow going in deep wet snow; post storm.

 I imagine late winter porcupine was a tasty treat in the olden days, And I'll bet it tasted like chicken. And I'm glad I didn't have to pluck it!

This guy was a good size, and pretty cute in his scruffy, slow-moving way.  I'm betting he's not much of a conversationalist.  His survival strategy was not to move a muscle, but you wouldn't want to get within tail's reach, which is why Casey had to be satisfied with being on the inside.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


It has been snowing all day.  Big fat Hollywood snowflakes.  During a lull in the proceedings we took the dog for a walk, and I went in search of some colour.  Not the bright colour of the plastic mailboxes or the neon jacket on the telephone lineman up the pole, but colour in nature.  And I found it.

The milkweed pods, now stripped of their fluffy parachute seeds, look as if they've been gilded.  The dog glows against the snow.  And sumac can be counted on to add a touch of scarlet.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Contrary to what you may have seen in the previous post, there are definite signs of spring in my neighbourhood.  As I went to close the drapes tonight, I found this little fellow on the door.  He is definitely the most amazing thing I've seen today.  I'm not going to put him out in the cold. Maybe he can sup on the amaryllis nectar?


The return of Winter:

 So, it's Groundhog Day.  No self respecting groundhog in these parts would even come out of his burrow to look at his shadow in weather like this.  And there'd be no shadow in any case.  Here.

 But someone somewhere has consulted his local furry oracle and decreed that there shall be a further six weeks of winter.  The only person who will be happy about this will be Alex, who would like to get in some more ice fishing.

What's a girl to do?  This is a hard time of year to photograph.  Lots of white on white and gray on gray.   I tried to deny what was happening outside by taking some pictures of the bonus amaryllis which sprouted long after the Christmas flowers had gone, working with the different aperture and shutter settings on the new camera.  I'm not sure this is an honest exposure or strictly speaking, in focus, but I like the translucence of the petals and the way the background disappears.

  A look outside prompted further shots from the safety of the doorway.  One thing about the snow, it does highlight the bone structure of all the trees and shrubs.

Finally, on a whim, I threw the camera (well, not literally!) into the car on my way to my exercise class, and was rewarded by the sight of the two homely horses up the road digging into a fresh round bale.  They don't seem to mind the weather, so why should I?  And in fact, once I was out in it, it was a lovely (winter) day.