Monday, September 29, 2008

Diplomatic Plates/ Ruby Tuesday

Most Ontario licence plates are blue on white, but diplomatic plates are RED. Hmmm. I wonder who was in that car ahead of us!

To join in the Ruby Tuesday fun, visit Mary, The Teach at

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gaillardia/ Today's Flowers

'Orange and Lemon' Gaillardia or, as some people call this flower, blanket flower.

So far, no frost in my gardens! YAY! Gaillardia is a perennial so won't be killed, but the plant will die down to the ground.

Ha! So far so good! The first fall frost date for here usually occurs between September 16 (for Barrie, an hour north of here) and October 6 (for Toronto, an hour south of here). From today on, I'll count each frost-free day as a lucky extra day of blooms. ;-)

To view more blogs celebrating Today's Flowers, visit

Fleeting/ One Single Impression

As I watch the sun slip
towards the horizon --
daylight’s finale wedged between
that which has gone by and
that which is to come --
the sun’s glow pierces
the here and now with bliss,
and I wonder
how it is that the now
is forever on the move,
ever fleeting, ever changing,
yet eternally in the present.

Written in response to Fleeting, this week's meme prompt found at One Single Impression:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Snackin' Squirrel/ Camera Critters

Someone has been stealing apples. Hmmmm. I wonder who it could be, don't you?

OOPS! I think I'm getting a tad to close for this critter's comfort. He doesn't look very happy about me creeping up on him, does he?

To join in the Camera Critter fun, visit Misty Dawn's site at

Friday, September 26, 2008

Gazebo at The Briars

Although Sunday was a pretty day, no one was in the gazebo except...

me, the spy. And no one was playing tennis, either, which one could watch from this gazebo and stay out of the sun.

Yep, this is the lovely gazebo on the grounds of The Briars (see the previous Sky Watch post).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Briars/ Sky Watch

Last Sunday afternoon was so beautiful, my husband and I drove north to visit Jackson's Point on Lake Simcoe. Originally I planned to gather beach pebbles and take a few lakeside photos.

BUT since we were in the neighbourhood, we decided to spy on the rich and famous staying at take a few pictures of The Briars, a 200-acre, year-round resort approximately 70 minutes north of Toronto.

Well, anyone can drive in and look around the resort grounds. Ha! Even if they are wearing grubby jeans like I was. It's not stuffy even if Nicole Kidman once stayed there. ;-)

Nope! We didn't recognize anyone famous. But my camera was enchanted by this observation tower soaring six storeys into the pure blue sky. It overlooks part of the lake and the resort, which was once one of the most elegant estates on the water.

The original manor house, which you can see a bit of to the right of the tower, is a heritage building built in 1840. Over the years it has been added onto considerably to create a comfortable sanctuary surrounded by lush lawns, tennis courts, a golf course, gardens and forest.

To join in the Sky Watch fun, which features skies from all around the globe, visit the Sky Watch blog at

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Raku Workshop/ Fave Things

One thing I really like to do is learn something NEW. I'm always a super-klutz at first so the REAL JOY for me is when the "light bulb in my head" finally turns on and I begin to master whatever it is I'm trying to learn. Hahaha!

On two Saturdays in September, a few friends and I attended a beginner raku workshop. We had such a GREAT time!

Never heard of raku? Here are some examples.

The first day we played with raku clay. Some of us had never worked with clay before (except as kids in school) so we tended to make simple items like mushrooms. But a few of the clever participants made masks to hang on trees or fences in their gardens and/or containers for dried flowers.

After we created the shapes, the clay had to dry and then be fired in a kiln. So two weeks later (last Saturday) we met again to paint glazes on out treasures and then fire them in an outdoor kiln (top right photo in first collage) to 1000 degrees Celsius heated with propane. (That's 1832 degrees Fahrenheit!) If you think the kiln looks a little like an old clothes dryer, you'd be right. It's a dryer lined with some kind of special insulation.

Notice the students in the next two photos are wearing pure cotton clothing with long sleeves, leather shoes, and lined leather gloves.

Once the items were up to temperature, our instructor and her helper (dressed like space creatures in goggles, leather, special lined gloves) opened the kiln and placed the items in individual holes in the ground lined with sawdust and shredded paper. We let the paper burn for a few seconds then quickly covered the holes with metal cans to smother the fire.

Yes, these are MY mushrooms set in my scree garden. ;-)

To join in the Favourite Things fun, visit Blue at Behind Kyanite's Door -

Lake Simcoe/ Watery Wednesday

Lake Simcoe is a large lake north or where I live. Last Sunday was a lovely day, perfect for enjoying some of the lovely views from the shore, though the sky was a tad bit hazy.

More photos celebrating Watery Wednesday can be found at

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Getting a Jump On the Season

To join in the Wordless Wednesday fun, visit

Monday, September 22, 2008

Red Suspenders/ Ruby Tuesday

It looks smoky, but there was no fire. It was just a misty morning. ;-)

So why the firemen? A local fire station was doing a training exercise.

One young fireman arrived late and as he was donning his jacket, I noticed his RED suspenders. And what went immediately through my head? RIGHT! Ruby Tuesday!

To join in the Ruby Tuesday fun, visit Mary, The Teach, at

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Japanese Anemone/ Today's Flowers

Not many perennials are fresh this time of year, so Japanese anemones are a welcome sight in my and several of my friends' gardens. I haven't figured out why more people don't grow them! Can you help me out here?

And as you can see they are floriferous once they become well established.

To view more blogs celebrating Today's Flowers, visit

Autumn/One Single Impression

September glory -
Asters amidst golden blooms.
Earth's star signals change.

Written in response to Autumn, this week's meme prompt found at One Single Impression:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

That Good?/ Camera Critters

Oh, my goodness! I had no idea I looked so good! ;-)

To join in the Camera Critter fun, visit Misty Dawn's site at

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Last of Summer

To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunset over Goldenrod/ Sky Watch

Driving north on a north-south East Gwillimbury road, my husband and I stopped to enjoy this lovely sunset over a field covered with much maligned but innocent goldenrod. Unfortunately for goldenrod, it blooms at the same time as sneaky insignificant-looking ragweed, the REAL culprit.

Most North Americans don't appreciate goldenrod for its beauty, probably because it's so common, but I've heard Europeans grow it in their gardens. And in the past few years a couple of really nice cultivated varieties have begun to be sold for Canadian gardens too. Not in my gardens though because goldenrod is in the fields all around me already. ;-)

To join in the Sky Watch fun, which features skies from all around the globe, visit the Sky Watch blog at

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Old Barns/ Fave Things

Yes, I LOVE old barns. I usually prefer them to be in better shape than this one, but even in disrepair this one is a beauty.

To join in the Favourite Things fun, visit Blue at Beyond Kyanite's Door:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spider on White Aster/ Wordless Wednesday

To join in the Wordless Wednesday fun:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hay Truck/ Ruby Tuesday

We had soooo much rain this year the hay has been cut TWICE. Apparently, that doesn't happen very often here in East Gwillimbury. The farmers who cut twice and got their first cut under shelter are happy...very happy.

But I hear that because of all the rain, a few farmers have lost their first cut and are relying on their second. (And how do I know all this? Ha! I learn a lot standing in line at the only bank in town.)

I have no idea why so many of the hay wagons around here are red...ruby red. But they sure are a pretty sight loaded up for delivery.

To join in the Ruby Tuesday fun, visit Mary, The Teach at

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Greater Masterwort/ Today's Flowers

All summer long, Greater Masterwort (Astrantia major) blooms on the east side of my house where it gets sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. I love their neat silvery flowers with their flush of soft pink. Plus their fragrance is lovely and if I cut the flowers for a kitchen bouquet, they last a long time.

To join in the Today's Flowers fun, visit Luis Santilli at

Seeds/ One Single Impression

Poppy Pods

I ponder nature’s capsules -
living miracles,
dormant and appearing lifeless
yet chockfull of
wondrous possibilities.

I ponder political promises –
dynamic seeds
replete with wealth, success,
happiness and poof!
disappointing hocus pocus.

I ponder political rumors -
robust germs
alive with exaggeration, fear,
and malicious lies.
Is this democracy?

Please note: Canadians vote on October 14, 2008.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kidding Around/Camera Critters

AW! Isn't this kid cute? Who would possibly believe this little guy could ever eat a tin can? Not on your life! That's just a myth started by the other political party, you know the ones that want to be elected to the White House in Washington...or is it Parliament Hill in Ottawa? I forget.

But goats are curious and CAN get into trouble. Oh-oh, this kid here has advised me not to talk about scandals or I'll hear from its lawyer. ;-)

But I CAN tell you this goat lives at a nearby goat farm that sells goat milk, cheese and...shhh!...meat.

Did you know that more people around the world eat goat milk and cheese than that from cows? Apparently no one is allergic to goat products, which are easier for humans (including politicians) to digest.

To join in the Camera Critter fun, visit Misty Dawn's site at

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just Hitched

This is NOT a common occurrence, but I DO think it's a fun idea. The bride and groom are sitting in the front seat of the carriage and I'm not sure who's in the back, perhaps the maid of honour and the best man. Just out for a ride through the village of Mount Albert. ;-)

And now I'd like to thank Reader Wil for this lovely award. Reader Wil, who lives in the Netherlands, has led an interesting life indeed, having lived as a child in Indonesia during the Second World War. Her remembrances are heartwarming and definitely worth the read. She's not living in the past, however, and has just returned from a visit with her daughter in Australia with lots of stories and photos. Her lovely blog is a MUST visit:

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.