Friday, July 31, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday - Out for a Stroll

A fine sight in the Falklands.

Two Gentoo Penguins make their way from one group of birds to another. They took their time, as is the way of the penguin, much to the delight of the camera-laden guests.
Penguins in the Falklands have the right-of-way.
Please click to enlarge the photo You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Path

Will you join me on the path through summer?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Installment of Twofer Tuesday

Here's a bluebird on the Kootenay Plains. I mention birds in my opening sentence so it is tangentially related to today's post. Mostly I just wanted to run a pretty picture.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s Twofer Tuesday time again.
I’m currently reading the second of two books my FIL lent me on curing heart disease. I’m tickled silly about it because I’d never heard of either of them and they’re fascinating and useful.
This week’s sentences are from Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, by Dean Ornish, M.D. (Ivy Books, Ballantine, 1990 and 1996).

In a chapter on opening your heart he looks at expressing feelings as opposed to thoughts and judgments. The two chosen sentences:

“I’m right.
You’re wrong.”

I’m getting toward the end of A Fly on the Wall, but I still managed to cobble together something.

Here the mirror is on offer at a community garage sale. A young child is talking to it. The second sentence is the mirror’s response.

“‘You’re not a person. You have to be a person to speak.’
‘You’re very limiting. Why are you right?’ ”

For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Playing

Miniature pond forest. A great spot on a hot day.

I was playing with my camera the other day. I don't do it that often despite it being the kind that allows me to select my own shutter speed and/or aperture width and a whole whack of other stuff if I want. Rarely do I want. It is so much easier to set it for fully automatic operation and press a button. It's best when it comes to focussing as my eyes are not the greatest. I frame pictures and focus with the right eye and it is the weaker of the two.
But I miss messing with settings. I can't help myself. I used a Nikon FM professionally for 20 years and I like to play. So on occasion I fool around with the settings on the Pentax K20 and see what I get.
Above, an aperture priority gave me F16 at /1/60 of a second and the camera used the equivalent of 400 speed film. The smaller hole kept most of it in focus while the slow shutter let in light.
I am grateful for the chance to use a camera that lets me play while still being able to set it on auto and not have to think. I am also grateful that I can still remember what those settings mean.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday - More from the Horn

Here's another look at the windswept Cape Horn area.
Regular readers are well aware now that this is one of my favourite sights in the world.
It's buffeted by winds and water and is largely barren and empty but for the bird life.
It's a place to expand a mind and let it touch the world without fear of it impinging on another.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

When a Tin Foil Hat isn't Enough

Conspiracy theories are everywhere and most of the time they're amusing.
I am fond of many including, but not restricted to, lizard people , there's no other time than the present, and how the government can read our thoughts. That's why we need to wear tin foil hats.
But what do you do when you know the hat is not enough?

It's cleverly disguised as a blanket for reflecting heat back to the body. We use them camping. They spread out over the sleeping bags for that extra bit of warmth on cold nights.
They sell for cheap at better dollar stores everywhere.

And as for this, well, I can take care of myself. The government will be so distracted trying to plant a thought in my head they won't notice that I have a fork.

So, is anyone else as bereft of blog ideas today as me?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

For The Birds

Some photos from a recent trip to a local lake.

An osprey in flight.

Possibly something in the flycatcher family.

A swallow.

Have you written your abundance cheque yet?
The new moon was at 8:25 p.m. MDT last night. There's a 24 hour window to get it done.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gracious Groundsel! It's Twofer Tuesday

It’s Twofer Tuesday time again. I get to share with you what I’ve been reading. And what’s more fun, for me anyway, what I’ve been writing.

Two of the sentences I’ve read this week come from a book on curing heart disease lent to me by my FIL.

From Jean Carper’s The Miracle Heart: The Ultimate Guide to Preventing and Curing Heart Disease with Diet and Supplements (Harper Paperbacks February 2000) we learn how to release the anti-coagulant compound ajoene from garlic:

“Add just enough vodka to cover crushed garlic, and let steep for several days uncovered. This releases ajoene.”

Mine are nowhere near as tasty or useful, but I hope you at least get a kick out of my efforts from A Fly on the Wall. I’ve thrown in a few extras for context.

“’Oh gracious groundsel, said Mrs. Ingetuckle. ‘She doesn’t look familiar to me at all. I wonder how she got the mirror? I though it was going to be Miss Eleanor again. Oh, it’s exciting to be wrong.’
Mrs. Phlebos reached out a hand and patted Mrs. Ingetuckle on the arm. ‘You must be in a constant state of excitement, dear.’”

For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Beneath the Waxing Moon

Scenes like this are everywhere.
It's a matter of getting out and finding them, and enjoying them when you do.
I have gone out for late-evening paddles a few times over the years.
Little else in the world is as peaceful as floating along in the quiet punctuated by the haunting call of the loon or the lonesome howl of the coyote. We're blessed to have friends to camp with who enjoy it as we do.

If you're curious this is Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park, at about 10:30 p.m.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Exploding Summer Edition

This explosion of life in bloom offers summer in her grandest colors.
I hope this brightens your day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bloom Like an Egyptian

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
-Anais Nin

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Our Egyptian onions are about to flower. They are the first out of the ground in the spring offering a welcome green to the bare earth and a welcome flavor to the evening meal.

Please click, enlarge, and enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Twofer Tuesday Time

I’d wondered the other day where to mine the sentences I’d read from for this Twofer Tuesday. The answer came, as it so often does, while I was busy doing something else.
The something else in question was debating which bit of writing chocolate I ought to have. It was an important question yesterday as I hadn’t gotten around to doing the day’s writing yet.
Should it be a promise? Or a reward?
Promise won, of course and I had some Lindt. As I was going through the varieties I had on hand I decided the sentences ought to come from one of the packages.

From the Lindt dark chocolate with chili we find this compelling prose:

“Lindt Excellence Chili is a unique and sophisticated new taste experience from Lindt’s MaĆ®tres Chocolatiers. Enjoy this combination of Lindt’s finest aromatic dark chocolate with the well balanced spice of premium red chili.”

This is good chocolate, but in the end I went with the company’s milk chocolate and caramel offering yesterday.
Disclaimer: I don’t work for the company, and no one has paid me to say this. Dammit.

In keeping with the theme, albeit a thin one, of sustenance, here’s something from A Fly on the Wall. In it, Brelyan has just returned to this century. He’s traced his mirror to a recycling center and has to wait outside overnight.

“Mosquitoes of the 21st Century were vicious, bloodthirsty hooligans. The spread-on skin covering that protected him in the future did nothing in the current time.”

For more, or to find out how to participate, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Sunday Morning Well Spent

We spent a sunny summer Sunday on a nearby lake doing a spot of fishing.
We paddled around then took a short break. We were away from the few other fisherfolk on the lake and it was quiet. The lake is carved out of the bush and thus surrounded by trees.

We spent more than four hours on the water chasing after northern pike. The lake holds perch, too, so it is claimed. I haven't seen one.

I had a too-small jack on my hook for a minute or so. It set itself free, saving me the trouble. It was a thoughtful fish in that way.

Our only other fish-related excitement was when a pike hit us at ramming speed. It was scary.
I suspect it was a sign that we weren't supposed to be fishing. We ignored it.

We canoed down this inlet just to have a closer look. It was a pleasant and soothing side trip.
Our world is filled with wonderful spots to enjoy. No special equipment is required as Nature is there as She is. Fishing is an enhancement and an excuse to be out, and I'm grateful for the chance to do it and enjoy the abundance of our natural world.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Alberta Sunset

Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park

Alberta has beautiful sunsets. The further north one goes away from the mountains, the longer the sunsets last.

It is a peaceful time of day. Life winds down for most of us while the night creatures stir. At the lake loons call, coyotes sing, and the lake empties as birds return to their nests.

In Elk Island Park the sunset was long and easy. We set out in our canoes after 10 p.m. and returned to shore just before 11 p.m. Here, the sun hides behind a cluster of spruce trees on at the end of its journey.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Modern Muskrat Love

A muskrat cruise through Astotin Lake.

The bump in the water is a muskrat. We saw a few of the little critters as we canoed on Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park last weekend.

They seem so happy. Whether they are or not depends, one assumes, on the muskrat and what kind of a day it’s having. This one went about its important muskrat business and barely took notice of us.

It was so peaceful to paddle on the lake and watch the wildlife. I found it soothing to see the muskrats float by us. Maybe they were busy, maybe they were doing patrols of their lodges, or maybe they like to come out and laugh at the silly two legs who float on top of the water instead of in it like sensible souls.

He also reminded me of other times. When I was young I was a tomboy. I took more of an interest in the farm and the outdoors than cooking, or clothing styles, or talking about boys, or personal grooming beyond keeping my hair combed when I thought about it, or other activities commonly associated with females. In short, girly stuff bored me senseless. In all frankness it still does.

What I loved to do was go out with my dad on the long spring evenings to check for beaver and muskrat in the creek about a quarter-mile up the road. Our farm was more than a half-mile off the highway and surrounded by trees. This made it quiet for us and a haven for the wild things.
Dad hunted muskrat and beaver in those years. The creek had plenty to offer, we believed, and taking out a few a season was just something we did.
We’d mimic the sound of a beaver slapping its tail on the water by dropping a rock off the bridge. Later, if dad’s .22 was true, we’d throw rocks in the creek beyond the poor thing’s lifeless body so the ripples would send it to the shore. Dad was a damned fine shot. He did not miss.

I lost interest in this around puberty. Dad did too. It’s been nearly 40 years since I went hunting with him in the evenings. Today I have no desire to kill anything. I’d rather watch the critters go about their lives.
I’m neither proud nor ashamed of the evenings at the creek. It happened. It’s there. It exists as part of my past and watching the muskrats on the lake brought those days back to me. I do not miss the hunt, but I miss the time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Twofer Tuesday - Another Sign, Another Prohibition

In this installment of Twofer Tuesday I'll share with you yet another sign. This time, I hope someone can explain to me why our National Park Service is so dead set against this.
My two sentences that I read, and I have the sign to prove it, are:

"Please do not use feet to flush the toilet."
"Push and hold the handle to flush!"

While I'm sure the Parks have a reason for this it brought out the rebel in me. I followed the regulations, but I tell you what, I sure wanted to use my feet.

As for my sentences, well, I was away for a few days so I haven't added much to A Fly on the Wall recently, but I managed to put a few words together.

My two:

“Soap opera?” Brelyan’s brows threatened to meet in the middle. “Soap sings? It has a story to tell?”
His eyes widened and his brows went back to their proper places. “There’s so much about this time I have to learn. So much.”

For more, please see Women of Mystery.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gratitude Monday --Bison Camping Edition

This past weekend was our annual camping trip with our friends. We went to Elk Island National Park which contains a herd of buffalo.
This park is east of Edmonton about a half -hour drive, if that. This is the second time I've been to it and the first in summer.
We spent a great deal of time on Astotin Lake. We saw a wide variety of bird life from sandpipers to pelicans.
At one point during a paddle we saw a heron. Behind him, a buffalo.

Later that day Mike and I drove around the park and checked out the bison loop. No bison were about, but as we drove back to the campground it started pouring rain and two of them were out enjoying the shower. Here's a wet buffalo:

We came home on Sunday and were treated to this sight along the road. Here's a dry buffalo:

And here's a field full of them. They were across the road from the bison loop.

I am so happy to have finally spent some time in the park and to finally see some wild buffalo roaming.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Photo-Finish Friday -- Around the Horn

The general Cape Horn area. Cold, empty, lonely, and one of my favourite spots in the world.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Evening in Skookumchuck

The Burger BarN was a lovely spot to eat. That's good, because it was the only spot. The restaurant across the road is open for breakfast and lunch, but closes for the day at 2:30 p.m. Outdoor seating, all it has, offers a soothing feel. The area itself is scenic and peaceful. We were alone for most of our meal and it was quiet enough to hear the birds.

What you see in the photo across the road is a flea market. I wanted to have a look around, but it was closed when we got there and stayed so until after we left. The restaurant/gas station is beside it.

This was immediately behind our motel room. We heard plenty of robins and siskins and I heard a small woodpecker at one point, but the soothing sound of running water was the best. There was even a duck in the water down the stream.

And in the morning:

We enjoyed ourselves there. It was an easy getaway for us and we'd go back in a heartbeat. If you ever get a chance to go, do so. It is scenic and soothing and well worth the effort.

I've seen Skookumchuck spelled different with a "c" and without one. I suspect it's because there's no real spelling in English for a Chinook word.

Disclaimer: I am not now nor have I ever been employed by Skookumchuck or BC Tourism or anyone connected with same. This is my opinion. If the place had been awful I'd have said so.