Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunlit Sundays

Took a walk at a favourite conservation area this afternoon with the pup. It's a pretty area just a little west of my town. We both enjoyed the time out in the woods immensely. Part of this area is leash-free, but we walked on a little-used path and I let him go free the entire walk. Cody likes to run far ahead of me, then turns and runs back to check on me, and then back out in front again. He never stopped running the three hours we were out, so he was fairly tired and quite muddy by the time we came home. But that's the best kind of walk don't you think? 

The sun was shining and there was actually a warm breeze blowing! Absolutely gorgeous spring weather :)

Joining up with Karen of My Little Home and Garden for Sunlit Sundays!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Five on Friday

Joining up with Amy of Love Made My Home and her Five on Friday!

Five things that are making me a little happy today:

One:   Our winter storm has blown over now, and I'm thankful that we barely had anything here to make our lives more difficult. Plenty of people in other regions suffered power outages, ice-covered roads and heavy snow. Living beside Lake Ontario has its advantages. Today it's bright and sunny, although with the cloud cover gone, the temperature has dropped yet again. I'm good with that though!

Looking out my back door.

Two:    My Christmas cactus is getting ready to bloom. It usually does a thing just before Christmas and again just before Easter. This past Christmas I think we were blessed with one or two blooms. A few more have emerged in the past week, so it should be a better Easter show.

Three:   While decluttering/reorganizing some cupboards in the kitchen, I pulled out this pretty vase and decided to swap it for the blue & white striped biscuit jar I had been using for my wooden spoons on the counter. It's taller and narrower, and I love the little birds on it.

Four:   A drain tray full of blue & white dishes! I had finished washing up some dishes, and continued with washing a few of my display things, and thought they looked so nice in the drain tray with the sun pouring into the kitchen :) I've waited a long time for my blue kitchen, and it's so nice to see the blue & white dishes looking so crisp and pretty in there now.

Five:   After reading about Brenda's popovers, I pulled out my old Purity cookbook (again from my great aunt's house!), and decided to make these butterscotch rolls (tea biscuits with brown sugar and butter filling). They are going really well with a cup of tea this afternoon :)

Thanks for stopping by today!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Breathing New Life

I have some very old and large photographs of family members looooong gone. When my great aunt was moved from her family's home in Hamilton years ago, I one day helped my mother to clear out some of the things. I don't think I was much help as I was more interested in the fascinating things my great aunt had in the house. This was the original farmhouse of my family that my great-grandfather first owned. It sat on ten acres of land originally (a market farm), but I only knew it as a small town plot surrounded by other newer homes. It was a treasure trove of antiques.

I was sent up to a bedroom to sort things out. In a closet I came across an old photograph of my grandfather. There is no date on the photo, but he was in the WWI and sent overseas. I have some postcards that he sent to his sisters at that time. My mother groaned when I showed her the photo, and said "Ugh ... that photo!". I never thought to ask her what she meant, but perhaps a big deal was made of my grandfather going off to war and she had heard it all her life? Who knows. She didn't have the best relationship with her father apparently, but she didn't say a whole lot about it. He died before I came along.

The framed photo had slept inside the bedroom for many, many years and was quite filthy. Everything in that house was filthy as my great aunt only dealt with daily necessities by then. I thought it was kind of sad that this old photo was neglected. I brought it home with me and what did I do? I put it away in my own closet for another 30 years or so :( 

With all the decluttering I am doing, I am now forced to deal with this photo. Today I pulled it out once again and decided to clean it up (again) and take the photo out to wash the glass. The frame is a well-made piece of wood with plaster pieces around the edges and painted a hideous gold. I want to freshen it up and breathe some new life into it. Out came my little tool kit that I keep in my kitchen ... every girl should have one ... in fact, the tiny hammer also came from my great aunt's house and I use it all the time for hanging pictures, etc.

I pulled out the nails holding in the photo and backing. The glass is convex and I was surprised to find that so was the photo, although you can't tell from this photo.

I washed the frame gently with hot soapy water and soft scrubby brush and dried it off with a towel. It's now resting on my mitten drier over the register to get completely dry. 

There was one little piece on the frame that had been repaired with plaster (below), and unfortunately the bath weakened it and it crumbled away. Not too drastic, but I'll see if my husband has some wood filler to maybe build it up again.

I have this tiny missing piece (below) in my jewelry box and will glue it in place once the frame is dry.

I think I'll paint the frame all white so that the details of the plaster bits don't get lost. I really don't like the gold and I think the white will give it a fresh look. I don't know where to hang it as yet. I'm not sure if my husband will even agree to hanging it up. Where do you hang your family photos? We only have a few small framed family photos around.

I also have this other photograph of, I believe, my great-grandfather. This photo is very fragile and little bits flake off from the edges every time I handle it. I think it too deserves to be framed again (it didn't have a frame when I found it). I think he must have had those "crystal blue" eyes from the look in the photograph.

The last thing to show you is this old survey ... again quite old and brittle ...

It's the survey of my family's old farmstead in West Hamilton. 
I want to put this in a frame too ... one day!

I'm sorry I don't have the finished photos to show you today, but I'll definitely post about them when I get the frames all painted and back together.

Thanks for stopping by today!


Linking up today with Jemma of At Home With Jemma and Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Maybe you'd like to pop over there and see what all these creative folks have to share today. Thank you so much for hosting this link party Jemma!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It Blew in From Texas!

Well, that's what the weather folks tell us. This weather system we are getting today blew in from Texas ... yee haw! This is the tail-end of winter weather that no one enjoys. It started off dry this morning, but by 8:00 a.m. the snow started. I took the pooch for a good long walk just in our neighbourhood and got the cabin fever out of us. We were both covered in snow by the time we got home. He was wearing a crust of snow on his thick coat.

Since then it's been a mixed bag of yuck out there ... snow, ice pellets, wet snow, freezing rain, regular rain ... is there a term for just normal rain besides "rain"?! There seems to be new terminology for precipitation and weathery things every time we change seasons now. Last year the new term was frost quakes, which we'd never heard of, but then we had never had them before either. For those that haven't heard that phrase, it's when the ground water freezes and cracks! And you can hear those cracks, and they sound like a huge crash inside your house and everyone runs around in their pajamas thinking the robbers are in your garage crashing around as they steal your stuff, or a tree limb fell on your roof!!

not much snow accumulated before it turned to rain
Anyway, it's fairly crummy out there, and I just sent my poor lad out to deliver newspapers for our next-door neighbour while said neighbour is on a Caribbean cruise. Figures the weather turned nasty in time for this favour. He should be out there for over an hour :)

freshly cleared driveway :)
I only ventured out after my walk to clear the driveway of snow, but then it rained all over the driveway anyway, so maybe that was a waste of effort on my part. Brewing a small pot of tea when I came in was in order as I was wet and very cold. Oh, and I fed the birds since they get such a raw deal at this time of year. This is supposed to continue until tomorrow ... bring me cold and a proper snowfall any day.

cozy inside at last
The only good thing about this weather is it's such a treat to come back indoors and get warm and dry again and you can watch the rotten weather through the windows :) I may or may not have gotten really lazy (since I had no kids in today) and watched a movie all by myself too!

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Down by the Lake

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Last Friday I thought I saw fire blazing through the houses behind us. Turned out to be a beautiful sunrise. But don't those clouds look like smoke glowing from a huge fire?! As you can see we still had a fair bit of snow on Friday morning. Saturday morning, however, it had all melted away completely and the thermometer climbed to +16C! Incredible, since we had a major snowstorm on Tuesday, and the temperature dropped to -20C on Thursday!

Today was gorgeous and sunny, with a brisk bitter wind, but I couldn't stay indoors any longer, so out we went for a walk along our Waterfront Trail. This trail makes its way from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Brockville area, and is a wonderful way to explore a bit of southern Ontario. Our little stretch has a nice paved path for biking and walking. If you're walking, you really have to be aware of the cyclists tearing along. If you're cycling, you really have to be aware of the slower people walking. It's a shared path.

When I first arrived at the parking lot, I saw this beautiful hawk on the wires alongside the road. Of course the zoom lens was left at home because I didn't want to carry the heavier lens around my neck today. But I did get some decent shots ... I was able to get quite close to him.

I think it's a broad-shouldered hawk, but not sure. If anyone knows for sure it's identity feel free to leave a comment. We normally just see red-tailed hawks around here, so I was happy to see something different today. Sorry about the wires!

The water was just dazzling in the sunshine, and there were a few mallard ducks and buffleheads on the open water. On Saturday we drove our daughter back to university town and passed the marsh where my husband and I walked across last Monday. The ice was melting quickly there ... no more skating this winter!

I still needed hat, scarf and gloves today with that brisk wind, but soon now, this relatively mild winter will all be over. 

The sky was sooooo blue today! So clear, without any clouds overhead, just further out across the lake. The very edge of the horizon was wobbly, but I couldn't tell if it was land I could see, or just a distortion of the water far off in the distance. Directly across the lake from us is the little town of Olcott, New York. I looked this up this evening, and found it kind of interesting to see images of this quaint little town on Google maps :)

Hello Olcott citizens!!

I could see Toronto very clearly further along the shores of Lake Ontario. A bit difficult to see in this next photo, so I cropped it for a better view.

You can clearly see the CN Tower. Before the tower was built, it was difficult to distinguish where Toronto was exactly. When I was younger and living in Burlington, I remember first seeing the CN Tower from the escarpment (very close to my home). It was so exciting for us as kids that we could actually see the tower from "so far away". Kids always think the world is so huge, right?

The park in springtime is so empty

A new sign has been posted about this park. Click on the photo to see it larger.

Played with this shot on the computer. There are a few nice old trees here.

This little tamarak (larch) had so many tiny cones on it. Tamarak trees are Ontario's only native deciduous conifer. It turns brilliant yellow in fall and then drops all its needles. My mom used to say when you see a lot of cones/pinecones on trees, it's going to be a hard winter. Hmmm ... didn't seem very true this winter, or maybe this isn't "a lot" of cones!

I don't know what kind of tree the next one is, but it's one of those scrubby little trees you see along the edges of fields. Maybe a hawthorn? Didn't look at it closely, and there are no leaves yet for me to identify it. It made a nice silhouette though, and that's why it's on my post today.

As I walked along, you are probably envisioning the glittering lake on one side of me and miles of countryside on the other. Unfortunately, to the north of me was a lot of "beep-beep-beep" emitting from these dump trucks as they continuously drove up this very large hill to dump dirt from somewhere. Maybe from the new train facility being built close to this area. The companies along this strip have all donated land so that the Waterfront Trail can continue along uninterrupted. They have nice plaques saying so stuck on boulders along the path. Thanks guys :)

That sky!!

Cody will be turning 11 in a few weeks. I thought I'd get some nice shots of him today sitting all pretty. He sure enjoyed the walk today, although I couldn't let him run off leash here. He blends so well with all the brown grasses and blue skies.

Watch me! Good boy!

I think he could hear mice in the logs as he jumped up searching for something just after this shot.

He's brown and one blue-eyed himself ;)

I think I've rambled enough for now. Lucky for you I didn't show all 112 photos I took on this walk! Remember when you'd buy a "big" roll of film with 36 photos on it? I was a lot more selective in my photography then.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wendy ... and Cody

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