Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sculptured Garden 2018

One of the special events brought to our region last year, Canada's 150th anniversary, was a special sculpted garden planted in Gatineau, across the river from Ottawa.

It was so popular, that the city governments on both sides of the river decided to sponsor this masterpiece again. Unfortunately, there are no plans to bring it back again in 2019.

(Fortunately, this garden was untouched by our recent tornadoes.)

Terry and I headed over a few days ago.

Entitled "MosaicCulture 2018, it consists of 125 plant sculptures depicting iconic Canadian images.

Believe it or not, these sculptures are made from plants and grasses planted on a frame... They are watered and trimmed daily.

It beautiful... and amazing!

So much work goes into creating these living sculptures.

Here and there we caught sight of gardeners trimming and weeding...

This garden is definitely a must-see...

But it will only be here for another few weeks!

No time to delay!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Tornado Damage

Last Saturday morning we began to get an inkling of some of the damage created by the previous evening's tornadoes...

The tornado split into two - part going north-east, the other going south-east - but it created six paths of destruction.

My son, who lives about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from us in the city took pictures of downed trees and damaged homes near where he lives.

A large church even lost part of its roof. It will have to be torn down and re-built with its structural integrity gone.

We were shocked to discover that the tornado had come that close by.

Some say that the grove of large trees in this community may have saved the homes from greater harm.

Here is a bus shelter near my son's home that was shattered and bent.

Nearby a truck was knocked over - propped up by a car that happened to be on the road beside it.

It took days to hear about all the places where homes had been destroyed.

Those of us in neighborhoods untouched by the tornadoes are so, so thankful!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Last Week's Tornados

A week ago today, on September 21, my cell phone emitted a loud whistle. I looked over and saw a tornado warning. Ottawa residents were being urged to seek cover - preferably in a basement, until the danger had passed.

I walked over to the window to look for a funnel cloud, while Terry switched to the weather network radar on his computer.

There it is, he said. That must be it - that little red blob... It just split in two. I think it's missing us... One part is heading north of us, and the other part is heading south of us.

Should we go into the basement? I asked.

No, it's going to miss us, Terry replied.

So, instead of going into the basement, I watched the clouds sail past. They were moving rather quickly, I noted. But not long afterwards, the wind died down.

Is the danger over? I asked Terry.

Not yet. There's a bit more to come, he replied, his eyes glued to the weather radar. More clouds and wind followed. Then the electricity flickered and went off.

A few minutes later, the sky was pink and it was raining.

It missed us...

We expected the power to come back on before long - but it didn't...

We had no idea how much devastation had occurred around us. As we saw bits of news - on my cell phone, which was still, thankfully, working, we read that there had been two tornados: The northern arm wrecked havoc in several small towns along the Ottawa River, before crossing into Quebec and destroying houses, apartment buildings and an elementary school in Gatineau, Quebec. Fortunately, at 6 pm on a Friday evening, no children were in the building.

The southern arm of the tornado, had raced within two kilometers of our home, knocking down trees and hydro-electric poles, flipping over a truck, tearing off roofs and parts of buildings, lifting the roof off a large church, and then totally destroying one of Ottawa's two main electric power distribution stations - leaving 40% of the city without electricity.

Later aerial photos showed that there hadn't been two tornados - there had been been six!

But we knew none of this at that time. In the dark, battery-powered flashlights were all we had. We had no access to radio or TV. Some of our neighbors lost their land line phone connections as well. My cell phone with its limited data plan was our main connection to the world beyond our neighborhood.

It would be days before we fully realized how much damage had been caused by the little red blob moving across Terry's computer screen.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Two Anniversaries!

The month of September is a double anniversary month for Terry and me .

A few weeks ago, we celebrated 41 years of marriage. We got married in Montreal in September 1977. We often head to Montreal for our wedding anniversary, but this year, unusually hot weather deterred us...

Instead, we spent the day quietly in Ottawa, enjoying a few of our favorite eating spots, and walking around.

We started out with coffee and a croissant in a cafe our daughter introduced us to years ago.

We don't go there very often anymore - mainly because my low-carb diet doesn't include pastry!

We then walked around the Glebe, with its interesting small shops - and chair exhibits (created by one of our daughter's high school teachers).

So many memories!

As we walked around, we both had a strong sense of appreciating the city - Ottawa - a place we originally planned to live in for only one year...

That was 39 years ago!

In spite of our original reluctance to put down roots here, we did - and it's a wonderful city to call home!

Which brings me to our other anniversary...

September is the month we moved to Ottawa, back in September 1979!

We came so that Terry could do his masters degree in Pastoral Counselling at St. Paul University.

We both found work here - and ended up staying.

Some things you plan; others, you don't!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Heritage Flower Garden

One of the loveliest public gardens in our part of Ottawa is the one found at the Keg Manor, a restaurant housed in an old farmhouse in the middle of the city.

Next to it, a walled garden that was originally the farm's vegetable garden, is now a formal flower garden cared for by volunteers.

I come to see what's in bloom...

Are there any flowers I could add to our flower beds?

I don't have these...

I noticed monarch butterflies flitting around...

(When do they head south?)

I left - inspired to make asters my next garden addition.

The butterflies seem to like them, too.

I used to have pink asters, but they disappeared a few years ago - probably crowded out by other encroaching blooms.

There are asters in various colors here.

After wandering around, I sat and rested for a bit on one of the garden benches - placed in honor of volunteers who have worked in this garden continuously for over 25 years!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dealing With Knitting Aches and Pains

I really love knitting!

It has been such a pleasure to work on my latest sweater - a tweed cardigan...

It would probably be finished by now, except for the fact that knitting gives me wrist pain...

In an attempt to find a solution, I google "knitting wrist pain" and found various web sites with exercises...

It's heartening to know that I'm not the only one who has this problem...

These stretches are found on a Love Knitting You Tube Video that is well-worth watching.

I do these stretches from time to time - and also wear hand and wrist braces / splints  (purchased at a drug store) when I knit.

They limit my mobility, but afterwards I have less pain.

I also try to knit for shorter periods of time...

Monday, September 24, 2018


A while back, I was looking for some see-through loose-leaf  pages. I knew I had some... but where?!!

I wrote myself a note to remind me to look for them...

Well, a month or two later, I've found them...

The problem is, now I don't remember why I wanted them in the first place?!

As I finish writing this blog post, I think remember: I wanted them to store downloaded knitting patterns in, so I could create a binder instead of having the patterns in files here and there...

Perhaps writing about the problem helped me remember!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Watching Glass Blowers... in Merrickville

On a trip to Halifax a few years back, Terry enjoyed watching local glass blowers in a downtown studio.

We didn't realize that there were glassblowers closer at hand.

On a recent day trip to Merrickville, we discovered a glassblowing studio and shop that had been around for years... We had never walked far enough from the canal locks to see it.

So we stopped...

And shopped...

A great place to buy one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Flowers... All Around the House

One recent bouquet of fall flowers filled five vases!

I had a hard time finding spots to put them...

But eventually I did!

Whenever I get flowers, I have the urge to do a painting. It involves noticing every small detail.

But recently, I haven't done any botanical art...

So I photograph them - to remember the lovely bouquets that were...

It's just lovely to look up and see... flowers!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Merrickville: Rideau Canal in September

The beauty of September is that the weather is still pleasant enough to take day trips by car - but the busyness of summer is over.

One recent day, Terry and I headed to Merrickville, to enjoy the town - and the canal that runs through it.

Before cars were common, the canal was the main route through the town.

One of the large old buildings here was once the biggest department store between Chicago and Montreal...

(I wonder if Chicago is accessible from here by water?!)

There are still signs of the town's former prosperity in the picturesque stone buildings that remain.

But no boats passed through while we were there...

Just peaceful, glassy water.

(What a difference 150 years makes!)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

BED of Flowers - Literally!

English has interesting language terms - like the FACE of a clock...

A BED of flowers...

Someone in Merrickville, Ontario, decided to take the term literally!

(I wonder if an English teacher lives here...!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ice Cream Trail?!!

Terry's goal - for years now - has been to enjoy every brand of local homemade ice cream, wherever we travel.

Recently, in Merrickville, we stopped for homemade ice cream in a shop we visit every time we're in town...

As we sat enjoying it, I happened to look up and notice a sign: the shop is an official stop on the Ontario Ice Cream Trail!

There's an Ontario ice cream trail??!

We've never given much thought to hiking or cycling on the Trans-Canada trail, but a trail leading from one ice cream shop to another is definitely something we would be inspired to follow!