Sunday, March 29, 2009

Snow Crystals & Sprouts

Can you see crystals in the snow? Or diamonds. No, not the dirt; the sparkles. To get a better view, I took a handful and threw it against Grandfather Oak; the oldest and wisest tree in my backyard. I knew he wouldn't mind.

Taken from my back door onto the deck. You can see the snow has melted, forming a pathway through the surrounding hedge.

Here is a side view of the deck. No, not because the deck is special (it's very ordinary and will need another paint job this summer), but so you can see the rock garden slowly coming to life.

Up close to the house (facing south) where it's nice and warm, we find something sprouting! I don't remember what it is!

Here are the beginnings of spring tulips.

And a lonely little daffodil sprout. We still have a long way to go before our spring flowers burst into bloom, but they will!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcome back!

The Canada geese are back! We say good-by to them in autumn with sadness, but welcome them back in spring with open arms.
O.K. maybe not open arms, (who wants a goose to fly into your arms?)but with joy! Spring is surely here.

We still have snow in the backyard, but it's melting with our warmer temps. March has been unbelievably sunny. Usually you can count on damp, rain, and wind for March. But not this year. That's the good news.

The bad news is: Hubby is sick with a virus of some sort. Four out of my 8 grandkids are sick with various viruses.

The good news is: viruses don't last forever.
Happy Spring once again to everybody.
Can't wait to get out in the garden.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Determination or...

desperation! I was cleaning old dead leaves along with some remnants of snow from our rock garden this morning, when I came across these two little crocus, pushing their way up through the soil.
What a nice surprise! I had to rake up a chunk of snow before seeing these little gems. Goes to show that even under all that snow, the urge to grow and survive is strong.
I wanted to take more pics of the rock garden and back yard to show you how much more snow there is, but my camera batteries shut down!
Never mind. I am pleased to see my first crocus pushing its way up towards the sun.

And in my own journey, I am making preparations for that "get away" I've been wanting to do all winter. There have just been so many things in the way (hubby not feeling well, me feeling guilty, nobody to come and stay with him, etc. etc. etc.).

Well now it looks like things might just come into alignment and I will keep you posted as to my plans.
Have a good weekend everybody. We have sunshine (still cold, but I'll take the sun) and tomorrow is the St. Patrick's Day Parade here in Montreal.
No, I don't go, but others do and they have a wonderful time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today I saw...

a red-winged blackbird! Not this one, this pic comes compliments of "google images". I was walking round the neighbourhood this morning. The sun was out and the air was nice and warm. We still have snowbanks all around, but they are fast receding. Coming to a muddy ditch, I stopped to watch the fast-moving, icy-looking water, as it ran downhill towards the village.

Then out of the blue, I heard the distinctive call of a red-winged blackbird.
It can't be! So early?
I whipped my head around to locate the bird.
And there it was, sitting on a branch very close to the mud.
I was so excited!

What's he doing so close to the mud?
Maybe the he is a she, and she's looking for bits of last summer's grass and squishy mud to build her nest.

Or maybe he/she is sitting patiently, waiting for an unsuspecting earth worm to stick it's head up out of the mud for a bit of air?
Or is it only robins who eat worms? Not sure.

I left Mr/Mrs. Red-winged blackbird to its muddy ditch and continued on my walk. I was filled with joy at yet another sign of spring. All around were the sounds of busy-ness. Twittering and scurrying as birds and little animals awaken to a new season. Bright sunshine warming my bare head. Snow that eagerly changes into swiftly rushing water. Is it Spring yet?

Smiling and happy, I reach the end of my street, where our post-boxes stand like soldiers by the side of the road. Reaching into my coat pocket, I grasp my set of keys and nonchalantly push the button.
Nothing happens.
I push again.
Oh no!

Quickly, I look around. Nobody has seen me.
Fitting my key into the lock on my mailbox, I take out the day's mail.
I can't believe I just tried to open my mailbox with my car door opener!
And my car, of course is at home, sitting innocently in the garage.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Daffodil Sunday...

and other tidbits....
Brought home some potted daffodils yesterday. I like to buy them when they're still closed. I set them on the kitchen table and .....

In the morning they had partially opened! How did they do that? Do they open overnight?

I took them off the table and put them on the kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight.

By afternoon they were fully open! As much as I love sunlight, it doesn't do well for taking pics. Washes the colours out.

Ooops - please excuse the mess on the counter.

And finally, here's a Grandma tidbit I thought I'd share with you:
Someone had brought chocolate for the grandchildren. I was babysitting for the evening to allow Dad to visit Mom in the hospital (baby Owen's birth).

"Enough chocolate!" I scolded grandson #2. "It's time to put it away." Grandson #2 (who was almost 8 years old), opened the refrigerator and promptly put the box of Lind* milk chocolate balls inside.

I was puzzled. "Ryan, why are you putting the chocolate in the fridge?"
"Because it says "milk", and milk belongs in the refrigerator."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Smiling Sky

Somebody sent this pic to me via email.
It was called God is smiling or something like that.
I couldn't resist sharing with everybody.
It's beautiful! Wish I'd taken it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I missed bloomin tuesday...

...once again. I was going to show these pics of my poinsettia that decided to come back to life. I'd enjoyed it last Christmas (2007), put it out in the garden last summer (2008) and left it there. Last fall (2008) I took pity on it. It had survived all summer in a shady spot with the lily of the valley. I brought it back inside and by January this is what it looked like.
I was so excited to see red flowers - or leaves really, or bracts, I think. I've never had a poinsettia come back to life.
Well, this one is.
And it's continuing to produce red bracts or leaves or whatever they're really called.
I am so pleased. Doesn't matter if the season is wrong.

Now it's March and look how much it's growing! I wonder what it would be doing in it's native setting?

Food for thought. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my off-season poinsettia, while I wait for the spring flowers arrive.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How Old Are You Grandma?

Saturday afternoon. Grandson #2 is officially turning 8! So I decided once again this year (yes I like doing this) to take him shopping for his birthday. This way he could choose his own gift and we could share a meal or snack. His older brother, Justin came too.

First stop was Chapters. There was a special book he had in mind with skeletons on the cover.
Hmmmmm - not too sure about this, but we'll see.

Unfortunately, he couldn't find this particular book. Since it was a Saturday afternoon and the bookstore was exceptionally busy, I elected not to ask the employees for help. Ryan's description of his book was rather vague anyway.

Our next stop was Toys-R-Us. It was rather busy here too, but I didn't mind. Ryan could browse to his heart's content. After a while he chose his gift and we left the store.

Eating lunch at MacDonalds (his birthday, his choice), Ryan turned to me and said "was D...... very old when you married him?"

"No, " I answered somewhat perplexed by this question. But then, dear hubby has been on oxygen for 7 years, so in Ryan's short lifetime, my hubby has always been sick. And therefore, old.

"He was about 51 or 52", I continued, knowing full well that anyone over 18 must be old to an 8-year-old.

"So how old were you when you married him?"
"About 43 or 44."

"And how long ago was that?"

At this point Ryan's older brother piped up and said "why don't you just ask her how old she is?"

Oh, so that's what it was. I wondered where all the mental gymnastics, the calculation of years married, etc. was leading to. Yes, why didn't he just come out and ask me? I'm not one of those who hide their age. I understand people who do, but I really don't care who knows how old I am. His mother must have told him it was rude to ask an older person his or her age.

"We've been married 13 years," I decided to continue on with the discussion.
"So, you're 54?"

"You're 70?"

I burst out laughing and so did the lady at the next table, who had obviously been eavesdropping.
All in all, I'd say we had a good time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Looking through the years

Monday afternoon, I was in the pool for my usual Aquafit class.
It was "cool down time" - the last few minutes of the session.
We held our "noodles" overhead gently swaying from side to side.
"Look over your left shoulder. Hold for few seconds. Now your right," intoned our teacher.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a group of school-aged children sitting quietly on chairs over by the deep-end. When did they come in? I didn't hear them. I wonder what they're doing here?

"Thank you everybody, and have a nice afternoon".
With a start I realized the class was over.
Good! Now I'll sneak in a few minutes of leisurely swim, while the elders meander towards the pool stairs. No point everybody clogging up the exit.

I was almost at the pool steps, when all of a sudden I heard great shrieks and splashes!
Those children who were so politely seated, waiting by the side of the pool were leaping into the deep-end with an abundance of enthusiasm! They all had flippers and flutter boards and noodles and goggles.

A huge grin lit up my face. It was so refreshing to see these bundles of energy letting loose and having fun. Looking around at my classmates, I noticed some smiling, others frowning.

Oh, the exuberance of youth. I watched for a few minutes, thoroughly enjoying the flailing arms and legs, unselfconsciousness, and playful energy that had taken possession of this group of schoolkids. In those last moments while us plumpish, crooked, elderly ladies were exiting the pool, some of the braver young souls had already swum to our side of the pool.

I looked at a young girl, her eyes distorted by a pair of swimming goggles. What does she see as she watches the slow progression of old ladies towards the locker room. Two "hip replacement" ladies walk with canes. A few others plod along; no rush. Some walk with an antalgic gait. All bodies are well worn with age.

Does she see her future?

Looking away from her, I let my eyes drift down to the end of the pool, where the mass of shrieking, jumping, splashing, youngsters were at play - totally soaking up the moment.
We were all young once. Back then our bodies were lithe and quick, just like these kids. We could dive and swim with total carefree abandon, as they were doing now.

Back and forth, back and forth, my eyes slid from the youngsters to the oldsters. An eerie feeling spread over me, as if I could erase Time.
Vivid memories of my own girlhood washed over me. My hair in pigtails, shorts and t-shirt, pedaling my bike down the street as fast as I could. Spending hours in the woods, picking flowers, climbing trees, picnicking. Skipping rope after school. Hopscotch. Hide-and-seek. Roller-skates, wearing the key on a string around my neck. Running to the corner store with my weekly allowance of 10 cents. 10 cents in those days bought a chocolate bar. Thinking I'd never be old.

Old? That was for grandmothers. That wouldn't be for years and years and years!
Well those years have come and gone.

And here I stand, dripping in my bathing suit, looking back down the years towards today's youth, enjoying their March break.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A flock of robins

They're a little hard to see.
Robins hiding in the tree.
Zoomed in for a closer look.
But all you can see is this lump.
Almost looks like a toad sitting up in the branches.
And I so wanted to capture the unmistakable red breast that this robin is showing to whomever is across the street. Hmmmm.
I was so excited to see my first flock of robins. It's rare to see robins this early.

I had just finished visiting Owen and his mommy in the hospital. Was on my way to the car when I looked over at the side of a building and saw some birds pecking in a bare patch of earth.

As soon as I approached, off they flew - right up into the branches of some nearby trees.

My first thought was "darn, I don't have my camera." But of course I did! I had just finished taking pics of baby Owen.
Next camera I buy will have to have a stronger zoom.