Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This old chair

Over the weekend I got to see a chair I've been hearing about lately: my Grampa's chair.

It's seen better days, obviously.  In some of them, Grampa was enjoying supper with my mum and sister and brothers and their mum, then setting his head down to rest after a long day; this was during the Depression, when it was hard for carpenters for find work.  I wonder too whether the brain tumor that cut his life short was beginning to grow then, sapping his energy.

Another thing I'm wondering: creamy paint? turquoise paint? a clear varnish to protect both parts of its history?

Not wondering: whether I will be doing this myself.  My Grampa almost certainly got the chair from his, so I think it's safer in the hands of a professional, don't you?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Crop circles

I saw these at my uncle's cottage and had to have their picture:

They remind me of Miss Muffet's Tuffet... which reminds me, it's time for breakfast.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shed a little light: the before and after

Here is what my verymost local municipal tree looked like before the big trucks pulled up yesterday:

The yellow arrow on the upper left points to the problem.

I sat in the living room for the 20 minutes it took to address the entire situation.  The guys would sling a rope around one limb to act as a pulley for another, drop a few leaves with some sawdust, then swing a branch down, canopy first, to the lawn.  A chipper parked in front of the house dealt with the remains immediately but I had time to see the round splotches of disease on all the leaves too high for me to see normally.  The tree is nearly 70 years old so I guess it's not a surprise, but I'm sad to think I might be seeing the last of its long years.

They didn't cut the problem limb itself - they'd need a bigger truck for that - but they did cut away any branch that so much as thought about the roof of the house, thereby avoiding any liability risks in future.  Which leaves us with this:

The house feels so barren.

On the bright side, maybe now I can get solar panels?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cavalry: big truck edition

The weather report for today is high winds and thunderstorms, and I was just taking glass off some shelves in anticipation of a tree limb crashing through the roof sometime around midafternoon when I heard a comforting


and looked outside to see two guys in construction hats getting out of a very big tree-trimming truck.


and hopefully, so will our tree be.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trees that point down

Yesterday afternoon I tucked up with friends in the basement to watch Part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you have seen this film or others in the series you will know there is rather a lot of arguing with bright crackling items, and will perhaps understand how a few authentic lightning flashes and thunder rolls could go along unnoticed.

Well.  When the credits rolled we noticed there was just enough time to buy groceries before supper so off we went outside and, wow!

Tree branches were everywhere they ought not to be.  Barely a block was not sporting a very large limb across the road, leaves pointed up taller than the usual car's roofline, to say nothing of the jagged edges left on trees that had dropped (marginally) lesser limbs on sidewalks and lawns.

A few blocks away, half of a tree had been split away from the whole right at the base of the trunk, careening sideways and taking out the awning over the front door of the nearest house.  Worse, in another direction, an entire tree had been ripped off its trunk and deposited straight up the front lawn of a house set, mercifully, well back from the road; its second-storey eavestrough is bent, and both storeys' frontage is completely obscured by a wall of leaves and branches that press in at the windows, but the roof is untouched.  I feel sad for the gorgeous landscaped garden which will likely not recover from the combination of initial impact and imminent sawdust, when the city's forestry crews come to cut it up.

My tree, the tree that shades my house and dapples sunlight into every window and is generally much loved by me and mine, seemed unaffected by all the excitement.

But no.

There is a long gash along the top of one of the larger branches - I am guessing about 4' in length, and 2" wide in the middle - near where it joins the trunk. Yesterday there was a crack in the same area on one side, today an additional crack in the same area on the other.  That branch is coming down, and if it's not in the hands of the already overloaded forestry workers, it's on my roof.  I'm hoping for the former.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The getaway

I was invited to a cottage and left on Friday morning, expecting a long drive.  Fairly quickly, it turned into this:

Miles and miles of this. 

Hills, huge hunks of ancient rock, and loooooots of green things growing.

It was very. very. relaxing.

On arrival, the sky looked like this:

and the shoreline - because of course, the cottage sits yards from the edge of a pristine lake - looked like this:

I'm sorry I can't photograph the air or the mingled scent of trees, small animals, damp and heat, and deep calm.  It was wonderful.  I hope I get to go back!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Cute tin wrapping, or inspired solution? You decide.

7 home-baked cookies looking for transportation

1 tin available

Former label from tin - previously removed - left glue, still sticky

Paper closest to hand an attractive sand colour but

Said paper, aka Parchment Paper, proves its nonstickiness by

Not allowing tape to stick.

Conclusion: either it's lucky the baker is an imaginative knitter, or it's obvious that the baker was too lazy to cross the room for another paper choice. Or both.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Autumn: on its way?

Okay, I've had a few clues here. 

One is that we're not yet halfway through August which makes it Still Summer. But I'm tripping over crispdry leaves outside that are spilling out of the corners in which they had congregated in corners earlier in the month.  They are all green, but that doesn't fool me.  I mean, they fell off the tree.

Another is that suddenly it's cool enough outside in the mornings that I need to wear sleeves (in April, I would have considered this balmy and gone sleeveless, but I'm putting that point down as another clue.)

A third: I've been baking. When it's heatwave season, I'm too busy being slumped on the floor in front of the air conditioner to think of something crazy like that.

Plus, have you noticed I've been writing in the diary lately instead of just posting a picture and maybe commenting on it?  It's fall that always kickstarts the writing, for me.

Oh, and I'm thinking harder about what exciting things I want to be wearing soon.  This mostly involves layers and layers of black, but still.  The key word 'layers' is in there.

I suppose Spring is the same - you start getting milder moments in March, even when there's still snow on the ground.  Seasons don't come and go by the calendar but in little steps - they are a process, like life.  And like life, you gotta take those little reminders and recognize that what you have now is going. 

This year though... I'm thinking that instead of shoring up for what's coming, like I usually do, I might just focus on enjoying what's left of Now.

(while finishing the cardigan I'm knitting for fall.  Because I don't want to lose a moment of cool weather on not wearing it.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The art of cheerful thinking

I always bring a friend along when I have to have a blood test, so I have somebody to look at and hold hands with and talk to about a subject totally unrelated to the needle going into my arm for the purpose of removing something I rather like having inside me.  My preferred topic: Holidays I Might Like To Take Some Day.

Today I had to give a blood test, and the topic was: Holiday I'm Taking in Two Days.

Me: crystal clear lake waters!

Friend: starry night!

Me: springy pine needle paths!

Friend: mosquitoes!

Nurse: putting vinegar on your skin deters mosquitoes.

Me: thank you for that tip! and also, dock!

Friend: mosquitoes! and other biting insects!

Me: lake! barbeque! marshmallows roasted over a fire!

Friend: blackflies!

Me: I am never bringing you with me for a blood test again.

(H'mmmm... I wonder if that was the point?)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A long summer's nap

I'm not getting a nap today, but I'd really like one - I started the summer buoyed up with nervous energy that's finally dissipated over the last week or so.  So in the absence of opportunity, I'm imagining the perfect miniature sleep.  In a hammock under tall trees, or on a shady porch after a lunch of iced tea and cucumber sandwiches, maybe. And then waking up refreshed to a supper that somebody else made.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good story, catchy tune

Two winters ago, I listened to La Boheme via captioned YouTube videos, of which this is the first in the series:

Last night, I listened to the recordings I bought once I was well and truly obsessed, and fell all over again. I'm not good with opera, I don't know why, but La Boheme is just so easy to love.  And it really helps when you know what the singers are saying.

* * * * *

here's more:

Act I part 2

Act IV part 1

Act IV part 2

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The train that runs on this track hadn't been able to for a couple of months when I took this picture - other sections of track had washed away in heavy rains.  Isn't it amazing how fast things these plants grew, with no train to knock them down?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A recipe

Okay, it's pretty much just fruit in a cup - and apparently I'm one of the last to know that drizzling honey over fruit is a delicious idea. But see that lemon wedge in the green goblet?  Yeah.  Lemon juice drizzled over honeyed  fruit = super yum.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A first

The first solid food I ever ate, I took unasked from Mrs. Denver's basket of freshly ripened tomatoes.

I wonder if that's why red is my favourite colour?