Thursday, February 28, 2013

Summit Circle

 A view of Montreal from Summit Circle in Westmount.  It was foggy so the city buildings are largely hidden by the mist.

 Steps leading down the hill to a path that continues the descent.

 A brick house  built on the side of the mountain.

 Looking down at a house buried in the snow and trees.  Just to the right of the stairs is the roof of a little shed.
A stone house typical of the Summit Circle area

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snowy Forest

 So here's a bit of a guessing game.  Where is this snowy forest?
 Another picture might help...

 Lots of people and dogs - well-behaved dogs, off-leash well-behaved dogs.
Definitely not our neck of the woods.

 Pretty hard to tell except that it's in the country somewhere, right?
Actually it is in Westmount, an area of Montreal, within a few minutes drive of downtown.  A beautiful natural park where happy dogs cavort and everyone has good manners.  People are very careful to pick up after their dogs.
One friendly dog tried to take my mitt off so we could have a game of chase and   his owner was most apologetic.  The park is probably about 5 acres and is left in its natural state.  You are not allowed to pick anything including sticks, unless you're a dog. 

A view on the side of the road near an entrance to the park.
Next time a few pics of houses in the area and the view of the city from a lookout.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My month-February

 Glistening hemlock branches soaking up the sun, getting primed for spring growth.

 Cedars make an inviting doorway to a bright snowy field.

 Once tall sky-reaching trees, now a barn to shelter what the ground grows.

 Sun-drawn design

Sparkles, bubbles, diamonds, froth; snow to cheer

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Which God Did You Pick?

Life is full of variety and choice,
  No question about it.
And so, apparently, is God.
Which God did you pick?
A stern-God, a happy-God,
  a nature-God, a no-God?
A saving-God, a punishing-God,
  a loving-God, a multi-God?
A fame-God, a money-God?
A me-at-the-top-God?
A clever-is-best-God, a health-God?
A beat-up-my body-God, a can't-eat-that-meat-God?
A make-me-the-boss-God?
So many choices.
Which  God did you pick?
Which one did God pick?         

Thursday, February 14, 2013

V is for Violets

 It may be Valentine's Day, but V is also for violets.  Lovely, cheerful African violets that have been a staple houseplants for decades and with good reason.

 The native African violets grow in Tanzania and parts of Kenya where they enjoy the shade of moist forests that are  often foggy with low level clouds.  The natural colours are purples and whites.
They obviously hybridize well as there are so many colour variations available in potted plants.
Although they like to be gently moist, they will rot if over watered. East windows allow them morning sunlight but protect them from the intense southern sun.  They love fluorescent lighting, and a lagging plant will perk right up under growlights.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blanket Statements

I just finished knitting this lab blanket.  A great project for the long winter evenings and very cozy to wrap up in while watching TV or reading a book.  It's acrylic and the slightly nubby texture of the yarn makes it warm, but I'm thinking next year I will knit one in wool blend which would be even warmer.  There are lots of wonderful washable wools available. 

As our new Ontario provincial government gets into swing, I'm going to make my pitch for people to get involved,in a small way anyway, in politics. I'd like to encourage you to write to your MPPs, MPs and specific Ministers about any of your concerns and with any of your ideas for improving our lives.  You may think your e-mails will just be tossed in the trash bin, but some of the people in government actually pay attention to what the public says.  Case in point, the federal government has just canned their internet surveillance bill due to public protest. Between elections is an excellent time to put in your two-cents worth because it gives the politicians time to reflect on what you have said, or to further investigate your complaint or suggestion. And don't forget, the opposition parties.  They have critics for all the ministries, and are very anxious to have a new angle on things especially if it would give their party an advantage next election. Be part of the solution - don't just gripe.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter Sites

  A landmark tree.  How many birds have used this tree on a gentle rise to survey their surroundings?

  A sheltered dell.  I wonder how many deer have used the trees as a windbreak in a storm.

A comfortable mound for a squirrel or rabbit to sit on, and enjoy the winter sun.

      A bookmark to remind me of layers in the landscape. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Simple Seasonings

 I was watching a cooking show recently and the chef was cooking a variety of fresh vegetables. Most of the recipes were simple, but the simplest one was boiled corn with butter sprinkled with salt and pepper.  At first, I was amused that such a basic recipe would even be demonstrated, but on reflection I thought it was a good idea to remind people that simple can still be delicious. Surely fresh corn with butter, salt and pepper is a treat. 
Pepper has been used to flavour food since at least 2 BC. For something to be popular for so long, it must taste good.

This coarse sea salt grinds up very nicely and gives a bit of crunchy texture if it's added just before serving.  I guess what makes salt and pepper such outstanding seasonings is that they seem to go well with every kind of meat and vegetable, and they blend well with other seasonings.