Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Beautiful Flowers

My favorite spring flowers are anemones...

I love the way they blow in the wind - reminding me of an open meadow.

They spread their seeds around, so I have more than I used to... But I really don't mind.

The more my garden holds, the better!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Living in a Small Town

I spent the first seven years of my life living in an Alberta village, population 300. Terry's family lived in several small towns in eastern Quebec, near the city of Sherbrooke.

Often, as we drive through the country or pass through small towns, we reminisce.

Should we retire to a smaller rural community?

It's nice to live in a place where you know everyone in town.

In the end, we usually conclude that, at our age, it's important to be close to essential services. We live near not one but half a dozen food stores. There are also two different hospitals a short distance away...

If we wanted to experience country life, we could always rent a cottage for a week or a weekend - but our neighborhood is pretty peaceful, especially if I compare it to central Toronto...

... where two of our grown-up children live.

(Occasionally we talk of moving there, too!)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Favorite Weather

My favorite summer weather is warm - not hot - days with cool nights.

I usually get up early and immediately open as many doors and windows as possible to fill the house with the cooler night air.

Later, when the outdoor air begins to warm up, usually around 9 am, I close them all.

All day long, the house stays naturally cool...

Natural air conditioning!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Meeting the Designer of a Canadian Coin

A few weeks ago, we were wandering around Parliament Hill with our daughter, who was visiting from Toronto.

As usual, the area was full of visitors.

We were returning from the back of the Parliament buildings - where there is a wonderful view of the Ottawa River - when a tourist asked if I would take his picture beside a statue of Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada's first prime minister.

Chatting with this stranger, we discovered that his interest in Canada's first prime minister stemmed from the fact that Sir John A. had been the driving force behind the building of the trans-Canada railroad.

Chatting further, we discovered that the man we were talking to had created of one of the designs chosen to be on the special coins marking Canada's 150th birthday. His design of two trains joining well-known Canadian landmarks had won the honor of being on the commemorative $1 coin.

The next day, Terry headed out to try to find the coin. It took most of the day, but in the end, he managed to get one for every member of the family...

His enthusiasm for this particular coin stemmed not only from the fact that we had met the designer - so randomly on Parliament Hill - but because in his younger years, Terry had taken the train across Canada. And since then, he had visited every landmark found on the coin!

(Doing a google search of the coin, I came across this video clip of Wes Klassen, the man we met on Parliament Hill, speaking about the inspiration behind his design.)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Back to Carp... Farmers Market

Last Saturday Terry and I headed to our first Farmers Market of the season... at the nearby village of Carp.

While Terry hunted down his favorite vendors of corn salsa and maple syrup, I enjoyed a new taste in the food court: pierogies smothered in fried onions, sour cream and grated cheese.

It's a little early for local fruits and veggies, so we ended up purchasing treats from our favorite home-based bakers...

Farmers Markets are so much fun!

It's all about the food... and chatting with the people who make it!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rob to My Rescue!

A few days ago, I posted pictures of flowers currently in bloom in our yard, but there were a few whose names I couldn't remember.

My neighbor Rob knows the names of most plants around. Whenever I want to know what a plant is called, I ask him. So I was glad to see him walking his dog past our house recently.

Those are called forget-me-nots, he told me, adding: So you won't forget them!

And this pretty ground cover with white flowers is called Sweet Woodruff. It apparently does well when planted under trees.

I'm glad I didn't totally eliminate it when I tried - a few summers ago - to get rid of gout weed that is threatening to take over my flower beds.

(And the gout is coming back too, unfortunately!)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Neighborhood Walk: Centrepointe Park

My first neighborhood walk was a 3.3 mile trek to and then around Centrepointe Park, a lovely green space in our community.

I walked over to College Square, then across Woodroofe Avenue to the large building that used to be our Nepean City Hall.

It now houses offices of city councilors, a public library and a theatre... and a public bathroom.

In winter, the artificial pond outside the building becomes a skating rink open to the public.

Centrepointe Park, across the street, has meandering paths...

... trees and ponds for ducks...

A few years back, I used to walk or cycle across the park several times a week to a fitness facility nearby.

It was nice to be back. It's a great place to walk!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Never Noticed This Before!

Our yard has quite a few pine trees...They're not my favorite trees - they create acidity in the soil that kills a lot of plants.

But Terry loves them!

This year I noticed something I've never noticed before - red tips on their branches...

Are these the beginnings of pine cones? I'm going to keep my eye on their growth...

Strange that I've never noticed them before!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Late Spring Flowers

A new wave of spring flowers has begun to bloom in our yard.

My favorites are the anemones in the front garden bed.

The bleeding heart plant has begun its brief blooming season.

Nearby, a low ground cover is full of  tiny white flowers.

The bright euphorbia is also in bloom.

Under the pine trees, lily of the valley are in bud, not quite blooming.

I remember buying a seed packet of these tiny blue flowers when we first moved to this house. Now they appear here and there. They must re-seed themselves. (But I can't remember their names!) There are now a few white ones - mutations of the blue?

A few late blooming tulips have appeared... Red, near the fence in the back of the yard, amid the Persian corn flower leaves...

And blue periwinkle flowers...

And yellow tulips in the side flower bed, almost hidden behind the gout weed.

In the very front of the yard, the first (tiny) iris is also in bloom.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Memories of ... Poutine

A few miles from our house stands a chip wagon that my son used to frequent when he was in high school.

They make the best POUTINE in the city, he told me. I wonder if it's still around.

I've seen the wagon recently, but maybe it has changed hands, I replied.

So we went over to check it out.

Yup! Same owner. Same great taste, he concluded as we shared the mound of fries, cheese curds and greasy gravy!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Enjoying a Walk in the Glebe

This is the last weekend of Ottawa's annual tulip festival.

A few days ago, we had lunch in the Glebe, not far from Dows Lake - where the largest beds of tulips are found.

Afterwards we took a little walk...

I couldn't help but admire the street art - paintings on buildings...

I've never noticed this new indoor parking garage before - very modern looking, in contrast to the older brick buildings around it.

Stopped to admire the lovely tulips on neighborhood streets, as well.

The Glebe - a dynamic mix of old homes and interesting shops - one of my favorite Ottawa neighborhoods!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Back to Outdoor Walking

Spring and fall are my favorite walking seasons. Years ago, my daughter and I used to go on a 10 kilometer walk every Saturday. These walks were organized by a local walking club called the "Nepean Nomads." They would provide maps for 5 or 10 kilometer paths that meandered through city neighborhoods - or even small towns nearby.

We'd arrive around 9 am, sign in at the beginning and end of each walk (so presumably someone would come out to look for us if we didn't return!)

It was always interesting to see how more experienced - and often much older - walkers would slowly overtake us, then disappear in the distance.

Once, during an unexpected rain shower, one slowed down and offered to share his umbrella with us. As we tried to keep up with him, we mentioned that we were now able to walk the 10 kilometers in 2 hours. (When we started doing the walks, we were pleased to finish in 2 1/2 hours.

How long does it take for most experienced walkers to finish the course? I asked him.

An hour and a half, was his reply.

An hour and a half became our new goal - but we never reached it. We stopped the weekly walks after I injured my foot.

Time to get back into distance walking again, I've decided. I may eventually participate in an organized walk again once I build up some stamina.

But for now I'm walking around the neighborhood, using the step counter on my phone to keep track of my mileage. My first goal is to do 5 miles several times a week, then work up to 10.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Family Photo Books

I've just finished creating three new photo books - from digital pictures stored in my computer.

These three are memories of Hawaii, photos from last year's Rideau Canal cruise, and our personal photos of our granddaughter's first year.

I'd like to do several more books - one of family photos over the years, another of day trips and family vacations.

Ever since we started taking digital pictures, we rarely print them out. I don't want to lose them when the computer goes...

I know photos can be saved on memory sticks - but recently one of my memory sticks was considered "unreadable" by my computer!

Technology changes all the time - but books capture the images in a format that is timeless!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Beautiful Car!

I'm not one to notice cars...

Unless they look elegant, as this one does!

Why don't they design cars like these nowadays?!

(Maybe they do - I just can't afford them!)

An added detail that personalizes the car for me: We share the same initials - MG! (My initials for many years, before I was married...)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tulip Festival 2017

I don't always go to Dows Lake to see the annual display of tulips.

Some years we simply drive by. But a few days ago Terry and I went - and I'm glad we were able to wander about.

They were as profuse and lovely as usual...

Tourists and locals were taking advantage of the warm, sunny weather to walk about.

Every year the flower beds are a little different.

Are they developing new strains that are fuller? I wondered as I looked at these.

Those don't look like tulips, Terry said... But I think they were.

In some beds, there were other flowers - like these purple hyacinths, mixed in with the blue tulips.

Thousands - if not millions - of tulips in one place.

An amazing sight, especially if  you like flowers!