Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Reflections on 2015...


The month began with the annual Japanese ladybug invasion - I was vacuuming them daily for about a week as they followed us indoors everytime we came in, one has to admire their persistence!  Otherwise what a wonderful month we had, it was quite warm with no snow until the 21st but even then it only lasted a day before melting. Got in lots of walks in Pinery and a few trips to the beach.  Reminded me of how fortunate we are to live with so much beauty at our doorstep.


And so the year comes to a close. I hope you've enjoyed my monthly collages of photos.  To view some of these individually, and other pictures, full size you can follow me on Flickr: 

It was yet another warm month, with pansies and periwinkle still blooming in the sheltered corners of my garden. Our walks in the woods continued unhindered by snow or cold weather, and the camera got its usual workout. 

This month I started to volunteer a few weekend shifts at the Pinery gift shop - it's a small way to give back to the park we enjoy so much.  

We had a very quiet Christmas, getting together with friends and our wonderful neighbours and driving to Ottawa to spend the holiday with Ross' brother's family.  Did not put up a tree this year as we were going away, but it was so warm Ross did get some outdoor lights up and we enjoyed those. I admit it was nice not having to take stuff down  on New Year's day.  I wasn't really feeling in the spirit of things this year, ( really didn't get into shopping). Being together with friends and family for Christmas dinner really made the holiday for me. 

Reflections on 2015...


After two golf trips and 4 seperate visits to Calgary, we finally manage to get away together. Ross is attending a conference in New Orleans and I  come along for the ride, since that destination has always been on my bucket list. The hotel we stayed at was lovely and I spent most of the days walking around the museum district ( toured the Outlet mall but only spent about $40) while Ross was at the conference. The War Museum is well worth a stop with 4 buildings of exhibits ( but no mention of the Canadian contribution that I could see), and the Aquarium of the Americas was also a  good choice. I did not make it to Bourbon street but Ross did, and reports that I didn't miss much - it was very smelly and not very appealing. You can see that the recovery from Katrina is far from complete, lots of derelict buildings mixed it with new construction, people living under overpasses, and streets that don't smell great. It was not a city I would feel safe walking in alone at night. Best meal we had was at an Irish pub. Glad I went, but doubt I would return except perhaps to do a bayou tour.  On the return trip we drove by Loretta Lynn's country kitchen and had to stop in for breakfast ( very good) just so I could tell mom we had been there. Last stop on the way home was a quick trip to Point Pelee - will definitely be back probably in the spring for some bird photography.  

We left home Oct 17th to go south. That morning we woke to a heavy wet snowfall that saw trees bent over with the weight of it all.  There was actually one almost completely across our road, but we got around it and by the time we were at the Sarnia border the sun was shining. It was only when we got back that we saw how much damage was done by that dump to trees still in full foliage. The breakage in the Pinery was incredible, luckily for us only a few branches came down on our property. Over the next week as we walked the trails, Ross cleared many fallen limbs from the paths.  So sad to see all the extra devastation after the tornado last year.  Still the rest of the month was lovely even if we did miss the peak of fall colour, it was even warm enough for the turtles to be out on the river.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Reflections on 2015...


Early in the month added an extra trip to Calgary to celebrate my sister's 50th birthday. Her friends Kari & Jim did a fabulous job hosting an east coast themed party. It was a surprise, so I had a few days to myself while Doris did not know I was in town. Time to visit with my good friend Elizabeth from Okotoks. We had a fun day with a stop at the Leighton Centre Gallery and spent a night at her house catching up on all the news and talking politics with her hubby. After the party Doris was off on a BC tour with her good friends from NB, so MR and I headed off to Waterton Lakes National park for a few days of sister time. Got back home just in time to see Ross off on his east coast golfing trip with 3 of the guys from the March Alabama golf group. They flew into Halifax, rented a van and visited a different golf course each day. He returned on the 18th and I left the next day for a second trip to Calgary that month to be with my sister who had a sudden illness requiring hospitalization. Mom was in NB visiting family and  I stayed until she returned at the end ofthe month. Flew back home on Sept 1st.


The highlight of the month is having both the kids visit at the same time! It was Ryan's first time to see the new place and he brought his girlfriend, Courtney, along. Time flew! Todd did some of his fabulous cooking, they spent time at the beach and checked out the strip in Grand Bend, Bayfield, Rock Glen, our favorite local winery ( Twin Pines), the cemetary in Arkona, had a day trip to Toronto see the science centre and visited with the grandparents here and in London. The week went by way too fast and Hanna sure missed Jessica when they left. She got spoiled with attention the whole week. The other big event was the lunar eclipse which we sat out see with the neighbours but it was cloudy, so not much of a show. Also had a couple of baby hog-nosed snakes show up in the back yard. I think they have a den under some of our big rocks - hope to see them again in the spring.


Reflections on 2015...


It's my first trip back to Calgary this year, time to meet with the accountant to finalize
year end and see my kids. On the 17th my braces come off after 5 long years, and while 
I will have to wear a retainer for a year - I'm so looking forward to flossing sans wires!
It's the small things in life that matter (grin). MR is teaching a course in Kingston, so I
decide to spend a few days visiting with her. It's also a chance to see my nephew Alex 
and meet his fiancé Brandi. Kingston is a beautiful town with lots of lovely old homes.
I spend a nice afternoon doing a cruise to the thousand islands, and every night my sister 
and I get to have a nice meal and visit after she is done with work.


My garden is looking spectacular this year. It's also wildlife month - we get a couple of baby
skunks hanging around ( we think mom may have died), Hanna alerts us to a mother racoon
and her 4 babies hanging out in the trees in our backyard. A couple of very pretty
garter snakes are hanging around the front ( they seem to enjoy the rocks we put along the 
driveway), and last but not least we finally see the elusive 5 lined skink with his blue tail!
Philip & Jayne stop by for a visit to see the inlaws. They bring their "summer dog" Beau 
along ( Hanna is such a good girl). The photo club does a tour of the Goderich Goal and
I play with macro photography.


Reflections on 2015...


Spring is here and the birds are back - cardinals, robins, red winged blackbirds, finches
a variety of woodpeckers... a few tundra swans are still hanging around. In the Pinery
we spot our first painted turtle sunning on a log. The photo club does a tour of the
cemetary in Sarnia and we also visit the family graves in Arkona. I decide to 
volunteer with the campaign to elect Christine Elliott to lead the Ontario Conservative
party. Sadly it will be all for naught, as she does not win. 


Has got be my favorite month here - wildflowers are blooming and the orioles and
indigo buntings return along with the hummingbirds. It's gardening time with lots to
do to get the garden going. Ross is off to Calgary for a week for Geoconference. A
friend asks me to photograph her 60th birthday party, she is happy with the results
but I learn that photography really is only a hobby for me. Plants & wildlife are much
easier than people!

Reflections on 2015...


We visited with Ross' brother Phil & his wife Jayne in Ottawa. The highlight
had to be an afternoon spent at the Canadian War Museum. The sailor suit 
in the collage is very like the one worn by Ross' dad during his years aboard
the Kootenay in the Canadian Navy during WWII.


This month sees me still afflicted with the nasty flu that I picked up last
month.  Ross is off for his annual trip to Dothan, Alabama to golf with his 
buddies. Of course that is exactly when I get a call from  Community Care
asking if Ross' parents are still interested in moving to their first choice of 
nursing home!  That call came in on a Wednesday afternoon and by
the next Monday we were moved - what a time for Ross to be away.
It was, however well worth the effort. Not all nursing homes are
created equal sadly. Miss Mulligan had her first birthday in february, she
is a brat but such a pretty cat she gets away with a lot. This was also the month 
annual return of the tundra swans. There did not seem to be as many this year.
The snow persists and our backyard looks magical, especially when we are
honoured with a visit from the magnificent pileated woodpecker.   

Reflections on 2015...


The year began fairly mildly, but by the end of the month we knew winter had arrived.
I am still attending the Port Franks camera club and taking pictures most days.
Hanna and Miss Mulligan make great models. This months' topic assignment was
macro photography, hence the garlic close up. Red bellied woodpeckers were
frequent visitors at the feeders this month.