Monday, October 27, 2014

St. Joseph's Oratory - Montreal

We went to see St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal yesterday.  We had been years ago, but our daughter wanted to visit it again so  we stopped in to have a look.  The building of the Oratory (place of worship) began in 1924 and it wasn't completed until 1967. It looks like an old building, but it is actually quite modern  which the interior reflects. It is a minor basillica (place of pilgrimage) and some people would climb the many front steps on their knees.  Not so much nowadays. The Oratory is, of course, dedicated to St. Joseph, but it is really in honour of Brother Andre, who had a healing ministry there.

 It is situated on a high point in the city and, from the balcony, the view went for miles and miles.   The Laurentian Mountains  show up as low dark blue humps in the far distance.

 Inside the Oratory, statues of some saints and apostles are positioned on the outer walls. Photos are a bit blurry as the light was dim.

 The light was ever changing as the sunlight shone through different stain glass windows. I wasn't too keen on the circular light fixture at the front of the sanctuary.

 Crucifix behind the altar.

 The organ is a Beckerath organ with 5811 pipes.  It was truly amazing.  The organist was practicing for a recital and I have never heard such a wonderful organ. At times, it sounded like a trumpet, sometimes like bells, or a clarinet - the variety of tones was spectacular. The acoustics in the church were excellent, matching the skill of the organist.

 Modern stain glass perhaps depicting the calling of the Apostles,the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus' healing ministry.

An attractive nativity relief.  There were also reliefs for the Stations of the Cross on the sides of large square pillars.

Friday, October 24, 2014



Leaves curling , cuddling, cloaking
Around lingering blooms who are
Like visitors whose goodbyes go on and on
Because we long to keep them with us.

The Smell of Leaves

Dried rich tea smell
As they crunch and crackle underfoot
Leaves releasing aromas stored in heat
Warming us in the cool days of autumn.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Never Underestimate Canadians


Monday, October 20, 2014

You Know You're Getting Old When...

You know you're getting old when it seems like every week brings news that one of your peers is facing a serious illness or has died. We attended yet another funeral last week.  A good reminder to spend time with family and friends, and not assume that there will always be another day.
On another cheery note, if you are not an arachnophobe, check out for pictures of a huge spider.  The blog also features pictures of unusual tropical animals with lots of info about them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

All Around Us

Gardening books are always talking about aiming for a pleasing design - having different heights and depths of plants, using a variety of textures and colours, exploiting the sculptural qualities of plants. Out in the natural world, you see it all the time. 

The colour of the distant trees draws us into the view.

Leaves like a beautiful watercolour painting.

Strong lines of the tree trunks and branches softened with the wispy leaves.

Like a bowl full of candy.

The sky echoing the curvy lines of the sumac.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!
We will be having a nice turkey dinner with family, and then, YIKES, we'll be putting the snowblower on the tractor.  You just never know when the snow will fly.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Native Asters

 Every year I look forward to the wild asters.  This soft pale lavender variety starts blooming at the end of August. It's a very subtle shade of purple that reminds me of snow shadows.  The weak stems often flop from wind and rain, but that just creates a beautiful cascading mass of flowers.

 The larger darker purple aster blooms in September.  It has several tall stiff stems per plant.  I counted 18 stems on this plant.  Growing by the side of the road, they usually only have a few stems but, when fertilized, they become quite bushy.

 A little later yet, this pure white and bright yellow-centered variety opens up. It is similar to the early pale lavender one in form and also falls over.

 This fun little aster has stiff woody stems and also has a pale lavender colouring. The centers of the flowers range from yellow to purpley pink, and the petals are most irregular popping out at weird angles and spacings.
 A typical plant of the woody aster. They bloom in time with the dark purple asters.

 Finally at the end of September, the bright magenta New England aster flowers.  It is not native to our region, but they are a native plant a bit further south and they seem identical to the dark purple asters except in colour.  I grew these plants from seed and they have survived a few winters now.
All the asters are wonderful for all kinds of bees and wasps, and, on a sunny day, are just abuzz with insects.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Swinging in the Breeze

Swinging in the Breeze

Swinging in the breeze
Lying on the present hammock
Tethered by the trees
Of past and future outlook.

Swinging in the breeze
Nestled swaying to and fro
Sipping nectar teas
Of memories near and far ago.

Swinging in the  breeze
Covered with a canopy
By whispering leaves                  
Of sweet changes yet to be.

Swinging in the breeze
Lying on the present hammock
Tethered by the trees
Of past and future outlook.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Before The Rain

 I thought I'd better get out and take some fall colour pictures today as it's going to rain tomorrow, which will knock a lot of the leaves off the trees.  I never get tired of the fall colour even though I've seen them every fall for how many years? So beautiful against the intense blue of the October sky.

 The colours are not quite as intense as the last couple of years, but the trees have held on to their leaves longer.

Different types of maples will turn different colours ranging from red to orange to yellow.

 A maple bush in the distance that the farmer sometimes taps for syrup.  The brown foreground crop is soy beans that were hit with an early frost a couple of weeks ago.  Hopefully, the beans are still usable for something.

 In the foreground, corn that is being left to dry in the field.  Sometimes the corn isn't harvested until December after several hard frosts.

 More corn shimmering in the sun.

 Interesting how the colour is so uneven on this tree.

The red sumac bush has lost most of its leaves, but it was very red a couple of weeks ago.

All is not red and yellow.  The hay fields are still emerald green .

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pottery and Glass

 On the art tour, we also stopped by a potter and a glassblower.  I like the simplicity of this vase that wouldn't distract from flowers in it.

 An attractive display of a variety of dishes.

 The artificial flowers add life to an already pleasing assortment of items.

 A bowl that looks like it could be old, although it's new.

 The glassblower is turning glass on a rod that will eventually be a vase.  I tried to get pictures of the process, but he was always in motion : heating the glass in the furnace, swinging the rod, blowing into the rod, rolling the glass on a table or cup, adding crushed glass for colour, etc.  It's quite a complicated process that took about 45minutes to complete the vase. Always fun to watch glassblowers.

 Some small items made by a different glass worker.  I like the polar bears.

 A colourful swirly bowl.

 Another vendor had some necklaces she had strung for sale.