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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime and the living is breezy

I now feel truly retired (and actually have been for 6 months)... having attended two more parties! The one just for me was held outside at a seaside venue, and was just super. There was a jazz duo playing in the background. It was great seeing colleagues that I hadn't seen for a long time, and also those who I had worked with recently.

Many stories were told, a long poem had been written and was recited by a group, and then a song accompanied by guitar by another group. Lots of yummy food, including a watermelon carved like a peacock ~ (looking like a sibling of one I did...) Some lovely sentiments were expressed ~ I felt truly blessed and appreciated.

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Meanwhile, at the Friday after school hangout, the hanging baskets are looking lovely ~ including the one on my deck.

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Here's one way to cool down ~ a new drink ~ on the rocks. This little fellow was about an inch long, and landed in my glass of water.

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Branching out ~ I spotted these two while on my travels. This is the only dead looking tree in the vicinity, which seems to offer a perfect eagle-eye view.

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There are many birds flitting through the colourful flowers in the garden, and the robins are making themselves known in the cherry tree tops.  Although the cherries aren't at their usual ripeness yet, the robins seem to find them attractive anyway.  Here's hoping the cherries ripen soon so I can have a taste!


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School is out and summertime really begins. Normally I'd be working for a couple of more weeks finishing things up and preparing for next year....but not anymore. Big smile :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturday Sights and Sounds

Thanks to those who came back to read the addition of a poem to my previous post ~ and thanks to Flighty for linking to it in his blog.

Saturday was a beautiful day, so I decided to go for a walk to town on the newly paved trail. There are still sections of soft trail along the path as well. The trail is to encourage safer travel for bicyclists and pedestrians to school, town or places in between. At one point it became quite busy! When I returned, I made my first youtube video ~ which is comprised of some photos and one video of sights along the way.




Here's a video I made to show one of my garden visitors yesterday ~ the red-shafted northern flicker




Last night there was a lot commotion as the flicker family seemed to be in distress. I'm not sure what was going on but I did capture a short video on the power lines. For one moment the flicker landed on the chimney and the echo of the distress echoed down the flue ~ that's what prompted me to go outside to check it out.




After all the carry on and since it was close to sunset, I thought I'd take a drive down to the beach and see if any more of the vintage cars were visible. I found some in a hotel parking lot...

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and the sunset was so pretty that I took some photos to make another panorama. It turned out quite lovely except for a seam that I couldn't adjust satisfactorily. As it was getting very late, I gave up and did this ;)

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Twilight time (edited to add poem)

**I've edited this post to include a poem I wrote for fun about Flighty's washing bowl pond, tadpoles, a fox and a robin. Click on for larger version.

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The evenings have been lovely, tempting me to go for a sunset walk to the beach. Accompanied by the fragrance of honeysuckle and roses wafting on the breeze as I listened to the twilight song of birds, I thoroughly enjoyed the last rays of the day. I decided to stop at the top of the trail rather than descend to the shore. I stood there for a long time breathing deeply as the sun slowly sank from sight.
Because of the strong breeze, the waves were rolling and I could hear them crash on the shore. I took a few photos along the horizon and later stitched them together to form a couple of panoramic views, one of which I have used in my header.




On my walk home, I saw the silhouette of a bird which appeared to be on a feeding mission.

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Yesterday my brother and his partner came for dinner. We barbecued chicken and skewered vegetables (no photos!), but I did manage to take a photo of desert. It was a light cake (1 cup egg whites), resembling an angel food cake, with a touch of cinnamon and streaks of chocolate throughout. I served this with strawberries, blueberries and vanilla ice cream. It was very pleasant to sit out on the deck relaxing with company and enjoying dinner together.

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Today, a dragonfly was visiting the rose garden and fortunately, she landed on a rock! I know it was a 'she' because of the delving I had to do to find out! What we have here is a Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly.

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Here's a wiki link and another link.

She then flew off the rock and landed in the cedar shavings to offer a profile view.

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I am really appreciating my time at home, especially since it is always such a busy time as the school year draws to a close.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Birthday, Blue Sky, Birds and Butterfly

At last a blue sky day ~ what a treat!

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I spent this gorgeous day mostly in the rose garden. It's amazing how many (3) wheelbarrow loads of weeds can accumulate during the rainy weather. I even weeded behind the shed and placed some red cedar shavings along the pathway. Seeing Nikki's beautiful roses on her website in California encouraged me to start a rose garden of my own a couple of years ago. Of course it's nowhere near the bountifulness or beauteous nature of Nikki's, but it is exciting for me. Flighty wished Nikki a happy birthday on his blog, and I send my best wishes as well ~ here are some freshly baked cookies and a couple of roses from today. Happy Birthday Nikki ~ I hope you are enjoying your trip!

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Yesterday afternoon while I was looking around the back garden, I was nearly dive bombed by a couple of hummingbirds. There is a vast number of honeysuckle blossoms at the back of the property ~ plenty for everyone! However, apparently that's not how the hummers look at it. There was room for one, and one only. They were so quick it was difficult to capture a photo, so this is the best I could do. At first I could hardly find them through the foliage when I downloaded the photos. On the photo at the top left, the hummingbird's expression seems to show its determination!

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Today, while weeding, I saw dragonflies, butterflies, and lots of wasps! I steered clear of the wasps; the dragonflies didn't land anywhere near me, but I did manage to catch a Swallowtail butterfly stopping for a sip!

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...and...if you wish to see a diary and some terrific photos and video of baby blue tit birds in a nest box getting ready to fledge, check out Shirlsgardenwatch!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beach, Birds and Bounty :)

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When I was at the beach recently, I caught a glimpse of a fellow paddleboarding westward, and then returning about half an hour later.

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I also had my eye on a couple of crows, possibly young ones, enjoying splashing around in a stream running into the sea.

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I was taking particular notice of these birds after watching a documentary called A Murder of Crows, part of the Nature of Things series on CBC the night before. I have found a link to the show here, in case you are interested in watching it. I knew corvids were intelligent, but after watching this show, I will be looking at them in a whole new light...because they will be taking notice of me...and you...

No surprise to see a robin or two around, especially when I am digging or raking.
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Here is a look at what is growing in the back garden - everything coming along OK, except my friend who lives on a farm said that the wet cool weather has caused the growing season to be behind about 3 weeks. Usually the first of my cherries gets nibbled (by me, that is) on July 1, so it will be interesting to compare this year. The fruit seems to have a long way to go! There is no sign of any plums on the tree my son gave me, but it is only the first year.

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...and I will leave you with the fragrance of roses, honeysuckle, and pansies...

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

June already!

I just don't know where the time goes! The last part of May has been washed away in the rains, I think. Luckily, the days are becoming brighter again. The pink dogwood has dropped her lovely pink petals all over the front yard; the peony has blossomed and after a brief period, the petals were washed and blown off! However, the honeysuckle is now wafting its fragrance, and is surrounded by lush foliage.

I have also spent some time looking through photos as I had to come up with some for the district retirement celebration and dinner for all retirees held last Thursday. Along with the photos, I had to write my 'farewell' speech accounting some touching moments and highlights. Now that that's over with, there are only two more events on the horizon ~ one celebration from the schools that I worked at, but that gathering is more informal and will be held at the beach! The other one is a year-end get together where three of us will be honoured. If I don't know that I've retired after all that, it will not be for want of celebrations!

Yesterday, my son and I went on an adventure, mainly because the blue sky was beckoning at last. We saw an eagle having a crab snackwich on the beach ~


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A crow thought it would see if there was any hope of a tidbit, but after one look at old eagle eye, decided to take the hint, and flew off...


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We took a look at our backroad maps and off we went. It was a lovely drive ~ here are some views as we drove along my new favorite road!





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We ended up at a large lake with houseboats along the edge ~





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This seems to be houseboat float or platform:

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We noticed a waterfall high up on the mountain ~ apparently the highest in Canada! See link to Della Falls.

I thought I saw a couple of ducks and looked to see if there were any youngsters...





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On closer inspection I saw they were decoys! Who's the dummy here, I thought ;)

On our way home, we stopped by another lake where some kids were fishing ~





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It was just uplifting to see some blue sky and the bright green leaves on the trees!

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I have also been making frequent trips to the library replenishing my stock of books for those rainy days and nights! Hopefully now I can spend more time in the garden ~ the roses have buds, the potatoes have been hilled but are now popping up like crazy, the sweet peas and snap peas are looking lush...and we're moving right into summer.