Friday, April 30, 2010

Daffodils from a Friend

This is the first year I've ever had daffodils in my garden. They were given to me by Sandy...aka Doris the Great. She came out to our place for lunch late last summer and brought me a packet of bulbs. I have always loved daffodils, such a wonderful sign of spring and the promise of summer gardens to come.

Poor Sandy. When she arrived, I was excited to show her around my little garden since I knew she was a gardener. I marched her around the yard in the roasting hot summer heat for about an hour before I sat her down for some food and drink!

When we moved here, the house was literally sitting in the middle of a hay field with no landscaping. After two summers, it's coming along but we're in the midst of yet another garden expansion....the last expansion I'll probably do (I promise John!) But wait....weren't promises made to be broken?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Lamb

One of my spring obsessions is taking photos of lambs. It happened last year, and is currently underway. There is just something so unexplainably cute about them...it is my mission to get the "perfect" photo. This red barn is at the end of the road we live on, and I stop there often. Yesterday the owner was there and I talked with her for a while. She told me that they were really happy with their results this year...only one female born and the rest were males. I must have had a blank look on my face, because she explained "We send the males to slaughter". Agggg! My reply "Oh...I don't want to hear that!"How could you look these guys in the eyes and send them off on a truck? I know, I know. I'll never be a farmer. The 3 photos below were taken at another sheep farm nearby. They also have black faced sheep (does anyone know what they're called?) but none of them were out when I was by with my camera.Lamb is never on our menu!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gaff Point Hiking Trail

On Saturday I took a little excursion with fellow Photo Club member Teresa. Usually I only get to Hirtle's Beach a couple of times each year, but oddly enough this was my second visit in less than one week. But Teresa and I walked out to Gaff Point...something I have wanted to do since I discovered Hirtle's. The route is shown in the map below...the yellow strip is Hirtle's Beach, and the trail is marked in red and takes you around the point and back again.The scenery is stunning, and it takes two photographers 3 1/2 hours to walk the trail (keeping in mind that there is lots of stopping for photo opportunities!). First, you walk the beach:You can continue along the beach, or climb a grassy hill for a stunning view (we chose to climb the hill on the way out, and walk the beach on the way back). The treed area shown in the photo below is where the trail starts:A short walk through the forest:Brings you out to the heaths and grasslands: (this photo is looking back towards Hirtle's Beach)Impressive cliffs:Gaff Point is one of the last undeveloped headlands on the coast of Lunenburg County.Teresa (right) and I take a break for a portrait session...called set the camera and dash until Teresa brought out her remote (I left mine in the car....always doing that!)This chair was sitting out on a cliff at the mid point of the walk...prompting the thought...who would carry this thing for almost two hours? But the view is stunning.The walk back was a lot quieter than the walk out....I was thirsty (must remember water next time!) and concentrating on lifting my feet up high enough not to trip on the tree roots through the forest (harder to do than you might think after two hours of walking!) Back to the beach...made it!Looking forward to doing it again. A photographer's dream!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Memories-Welcome Home

Two years ago today was our first day as residents of Nova Scotia. We had spent two days travelling in a little convoy...John and our 3 dogs in the lead car, followed by me and the cat and a car load of plants for the garden in my little red VW bug. When we walked in to our new home, we saw these four birdhouses:They were created by our kids and grandkids to welcome us into our new home. From left to right: the barn painted by John's daughter Ang and grandson Sir J, The blue church painted by DIL (lots of people have been asking who "DIL" is....DIL is daugher-in-law), the log cabin painted by granddaughter Miss M (daughter of G&DIL), and white church painted by John's son G. The bottoms of the birdhouses are all inscribed:The birdhouses have sat inside on our staircase for 2 years.But this year I thought it was time to get them outside.So I took photos of them in their pristine condition, and in their new locations.I hope the birds will discover them and they will be as well loved by the wildlife as by me!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Local Wildlife

I met fellow blogger Nancy for coffee this morning at The Biscuit Eater in Mahone Bay...such a lovely spot...coffee shop, great food, and used books all in one spot. I went on a little photo mission after that....back to a couple of locations where John and I saw some wildlife when I didn't have my camera with me. (isn't that always the way?)

First...just outside Lunenburg at First Peninsula. A few days ago, there were 5 herons all gathered here so I went back to see if any were still around. One sole heron today.Then, over to Bridgewater where we had seen an osprey. Two were in the nest today, but one flew away before I could get very close.Close to home, I stopped at the local red barn to snap a few photos of the sheep (one of my favourite subjects). This little guy was so small, he could barely stand.
And then at home, out in our field (sorry for the blurry shot!)...one of "our" deer.A day full of wild (and not so wild) life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hirtles Beach

Yesterday we decided to take the girls to Hirtles Beach. We haven't been there in a while...we tend to head out to Rissers Beach more often than not. While we were there the weather changed a few times...sun, cloud, back to sun. We ran into one man and his dog on our way back to the car. Other than that, we had the beach to ourselves. I was practicing my "depth of field" lessons from my photo course.I finally put my camera down and joined John on this log. I realized when I stood up that the log was full of tar (I thought the black was burn marks...not tar!). My backside was completely tarred and I had to sit on a plastic bag on the way home. (it was either that, or take off my pants which I was not about to do!)
The waves were huge and thundering into shore. I love that sound. The water would pull at the rocks on its way back out, causing the rocks to clatter and chatter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Nova Scotia


I set up this little video to enter a competiton at our local Photo Club. The photos were taken while touring around with John.

I can't view it since we only have dial up internet access (word is that we'll be getting high speed at the end of May! Woo hoo!!) so please let me know if you can't view this YouTube file.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lucky Day

Seven years ago today was a very lucky day.

John and I were in this van, just five minutes from home on a two lane highway, when a transport truck in the oncoming lane lost control and jack-knifed...resulting in the trailer coming down on top of the van. This photo is the end result.

John was rushed to the local hospital, and then transferred by ambulance to the trauma unit of one of the Ottawa hospitals. It was during the SARS epidemic, so I wasn't allowed into the trauma unit to see him for the first 24 hours. He spent 3 days in the hospital, and the following months recuperating at home, and two years of physio. After the accident, the only way he could sleep was in a recliner chair in our living room.

Why was it a very lucky day?

We survived, and I still have my best friend, my partner, and the love of my life. Each day is a gift now, and we try our best to focus on the good things in life. But it's easy to forget. So each year I bring out this photo and take a look. And remember how lucky we are.

Take your day and do something good. Pass it on.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Before & After

Yesterday I decided it was time to go short again.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2010 Paws For Charity Art Book Project

Photo by Nancy - HappyLittleFish
Some of you might know that I publish an annual book to raise funds for breast cancer charity. I started Paws For Charity when I was the owner of a dog biscuit company. I created a biscuit called "Crunch for a Cure", and donated all proceeds from the sales to breast cancer research. With the help of 3 other business women, we raised thousands of dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society.
I sold my dog biscuit business in 2008, and we moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia. Last year, I decided to do something with the languishing Paws For Charity. So I got on the internet and contacted artists and photograhers and asked them to donate an image of a cat or dog for an Art Book. All profits from book sales were donated to breast cancer charity.
This year, I put together the 2010 Annual Paws For Charity Art Book. I received over 300 submissions and from those selected 65 artists and photographers to feature in the 2nd annual book. The book is 8"x10", 75 pages long, and has 96 images. It has photos of the artists as well, and their bios and artist's statements. It's just sooooo much better than the 2009 book, I burst with pride whenever I look at it!
If you'd like to take a peek at the first 15 pages, click on this link. The hard cover version is an Art Book worthy of any coffee table! (and the soft cover is pretty darn good too!) All proceeds from the sales are donated to the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade, a registered charity with programs in over 50 countries...and a charity that carries the Humane Charity Seal of Approval.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

For the birds

One of the great things about where we live is all the wildlife we get to see. This year we have at least 2 pileated woodpeckers that are constantly calling, pecking, and flying close by our home.

We also have a pair of red tailed hawks that are nesting on the edge of our field. Fingers crossed we get to see some baby hawks flying soon! (and that I manage to capture a good photo of one of our hawks this year)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another day, another beach

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. I am one of the luckiest people in the world...to be able to take off on a whim any time we feel like it and have our choice of dozens of fantastic beaches to visit.

Today we went to Beach Meadows Beach and had a lovely, long walk. In the photo below, you can see the beach curve around all the way to the right...and that's what we walked....all the way down the beach from one end to the other. And almost the whole time, we had the beach to ourselves....which meant the dogs got a good run...something they need when we don't let them run through our own fields (see previous post about ticks)My heart soars when I'm beachwalking.Like I said, I'm one of the luckiest people around!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ticked

We have been in our new province for almost two years, and I am often asked how we have adjusted to the move. My answer is that moving from Ontario to Nova Scotia was an easy adjustment to make and we have loved the change. But moving from a suburban home to "the country" was a much more difficult adjustment, and one we still struggle with now and then.

The biggest problem for me is a four month problem....ticks. Tick season was kicked off this year by the first one being found on me....on the hairline at the back of my neck. I can't describe how much I detest these little creatures. Thankfully this little critter hadn't got his jaws into me, and it was easy to remove and put into our tick jar. Yes, we have a jar (actually two jars...one under the kitchen sink and one outside in our screened in porch). Ticks can't be squished like a regular bug and they are tough to drown. We have vegetable oil in our jars and throw the ticks in the vegetable oil to kill them. Sounds nice, eh?

So each spring I go into a funk and wish I lived in town, where ticks are few...instead of "the country", where ticks are plentiful. For four months our dogs get chained up when they go outside. If we let them run through the field, they come back with 25 ticks (after a five minute run) for me to pick off.

To help us cope, we have guinea fowl.According to local legend, these handsome dudes like to eat ticks (and any other bugs they come across). The downside is that they dig up my gardens and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

Another rite of spring...Cassie gets shaved down to make it easier for me to pick the ticks off her. She got her hair cut today.
I think I might be next. Just thinking about finding that tick in my hairline gives me the willies.
Ahhh...life in the country.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday Touring

Easter weekend was absolutely glorious around here...sunny and warm. Temperature records were broken by huge amounts. On Saturday, we headed across Nova Scotia and made our first stop in Wolfville. We spent a while at the Farmer's Market, and then went on a little side trip on our way home. I won't feel weird about having glass windows hanging from some of my trees after seeing this on a front lawn in Wolfville:Imagine having a life sized woman flying in your trees! Here are the mud flats just outside Wolfville...as you can see, the tide is out. Way, way in the distance are the "mountains", with fog surrounding the bottom of the hills.We intended to follow route 221 across to Middleton, but took a sidetour over the hills and to a stretch of the Fundy Shore we hadn't yet travelled. When we reached the other side of the hills, the temperature dropped from 18 C down to 9 C (about 58 F)...and it was foggy! This was in Morden:We stopped to let the dogs have a quick break and saw this monument:Here are the words written on the monument:
"French Cross
Tradition has it that on this site Acadians from Belle Isle wintered in 1755-56. In the spring of 1756 Pierre Melanson with an Indian Boy crossed the bay for aid. On the return trip he died."

The wording struck me as funny, although there certainly is nothing funny about the content.

We continued on our journey, with some turning around due to road closures (something that happens in the spring on some Nova Scotian dirt roads). We were headed to Middleton, where there was a restaurant that was recently written up in the paper. Finally, finally, we got there at 3:00 anxious to try out this restaurant. We stopped and asked a local for directions...got there to find the restaurant closed for Easter weekend. We walked down the street to find another restaurant closed. By this time, we were pretty hungry with the closest restaurant on our route home being one hour away. So we ended up eating a very late lunch at Canada's favourite fast food restaurant...Tim Horton's. Sandwiches and donuts for us before our trek back across to our part of Nova Scotia....and home to 25C (78F) weather and an evening on our new deck!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

nothing like the beach

There is nothing that compares to having a mile long beach to yourselves...so the dogs can run free and chase sticks until your arm is too tired to throw any more. Nothing like walking the length of the beach and listening to the waves thunder and crash on the shore.......and nothing like the smell of wet dog for the car ride home.