Saturday, October 29, 2011

fall and garden

This past week the Mum Show has been on at Gage Park. It is a long standing tradition, this show, but this year there was a change - namely a brand new greenhouse. It has been renamed The Hamilton Fall Garden and Mum Show and this year included varieties of coleus and poinsettia.
The theme this year was fire and there were displays with three different fire trucks
as well as old and new equipment planted in amongst the flowers

there is always a petal decorated animal and this year it was a cute firehouse dalmatian

and a fire breathing dragon that looks a bit like Nessie with wings
and what would a fire theme be without a fireplace setting. I loved the colourful and oh so soft cushions!

The greenhouse was only finished a month ago and these 13,000 or so hardy mums have had quite a journey to get here. Cuttings were taken from last year's mums and rooted in the old greenhouse, then transported to two other greenhouses during the demolition and construction. The new greenhouse is much bigger and is now a single, wide open space. Though I rather liked the element of surprise every time you turned a corner in the old one, this one is much brighter and it's nice to see everything at a glance and to be able to walk around the displays instead of everything being against a wall.
I, or rather the resident barn cat, gave a tour of a previous mum show a couple of years ago which you can read about here and see the difference in the space.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

a happy day in NZ

I am not a rugby fan, but I am a New Zealand fan.
And three cheers to the All Blacks for winning the World Cup, at home!!

Finally. Despite being perennial favourites every year, they have not won the cup since the last time NZ hosted, which was the first World Cup, in 1987.

This poor battered country needs something to cheer about after the devastation of the earthquakes and oil spills. Not that this win will really change things, but it does give a boost to a nation that needs some happy news.

Party on NZ!

Friday, October 21, 2011

the world didn't end

Today the world was supposed to end (after it failed to do so May 21st. Remember that one?)
It just crashed a little.
The day started out okay. I read about a ceremony to honour a tree and I thought I would head on over and maybe get a good post out of it to share with you all.

The tree is 300 years old, which is impressive enough by itself. It sits on the edge of a short road and at one time was a boundary marker between the villages of Burlington and Aldershot. This is a majestic white oak that stands about 30 metres (98') high and has a 50 cm (19") girth. And now it has a plaque honouring it as possibly the oldest and largest white oak in the country.
The ceremony was fine, though it was a small crowd who gathered because, well, it was at 2pm and wasn't announced to the public except for an article in this morning's paper. And most people probably aren't all that interested in a ceremony about a plaque for a tree. There would have been a far larger crowd had anyone suggested chopping it down, I'm sure. But the Mayor was there to give a speech, also the local alderman and the town's arborist (all, incidentally named Rick - much joking over that ensued) They were flanked by speeches from two Janes - one from the historical society and the other the new MP at her first official public event. There was apple cider and delicious oak leaf shaped cookies afterwards.

Some people went to extremes to get a good shot.

Some people decided to change lenses.
And dropped the newest one.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going off to have a little cry.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I have never wanted to run a marathon

As I drag my feet along the relatively comfortable carpeted and warm halls of the apartment buildings, this man is smiling up at me from the newspaper. 
He is my new hero. It took him almost 8 1/2 hours to finish, but he did it. And it was a miserable, cool, wet, windy day on Sunday, but at age 100, he completed a full marathon. 

He belongs to a running group of elders called Sikhs in the City [now isn't that a great name?!] and they are all in agreement about why they've managed to stay so healthy: a positive frame of mind, keeping the company of people who are forward looking, not indulging in any excesses, appreciating what God has provided them with and keeping active.
"I do not consider myself to be old. From the moment I do that, I would lose everything, because age is a state of mind - as long as you're positive you can do anything" says Fauja Singh. 'I go to bed early taking the name of my Rabba [God] as I don't want all those negative thoughts crossing my mind.'
His next goal? To carry the torch at the 2012 Olympics.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

it was hotter than texas*

This might be our new catch-phrase, to replace the more cumbersome "it is hotter than the last time it was this hot at Thanksgiving" (which was about 3 years ago). It was also more humid than any October weekend should be. A friend of mine described how she spent all day Saturday scooping the leaves out of the pool instead of draining it. She did this while in the pool. As we sat outside, watching the thermometer and waiting for that magic number that would break the records (it got up to 28C) and as we ate our turkey and stuffing and roasted vegetables, I thought, this must be almost what it is like at Christmas in Australia and New Zealand. If you squinted against the bright sunlight you could almost imagine that the bright yellow leaves of the maples were instead, big blossoms.

All in all, it was a perfect weekend for walking through the forest or
driving around the countryside looking for fall colours and taking in the studio tour seeking out interesting artisans. Or getting lost finding the poorly signed studios. Not lost, really, I was familiar with the area having lived there for a time, but the signs on these long country concession roads were a little confusing and I ended up a little disoriented. And looking at the brochure, I discovered that GPS co-ordinates were provided in place of addresses! At one point, I just gave up and had some ice cream.

Later, while the turkey was merrily roasting and before the rest of the clan arrived, I decided to go sailing. Last year Orillia had the guitars, this year the street art was sails. Sixty of them. They had been up all summer, but this was my first opportunity to get a chance to find them all, or most of them.

some of them had different designs on the other side

sail on over to my other blog here for more pics

* the news kept making a big deal out of the fact that some cities here were hotter than Dallas, like that was a benchmark of some sort.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

last weekend - part one

Last weekend I took an overnight trip. One that had been planned and thought about for weeks. Months, actually. Not to anywhere exotic by any means. Just a small town on a river. Perhaps take a boat cruise to a few of the Thousand Islands dotted on the river. A hike or two along the 12kms of looping trails to see the fall colours.
Enjoy the outdoors in the off season when it would be much less crowded. 

And, the main impetus that got me there, a wander through some of the Doors Open participants, many of which were the huge old homes of the area that have been turned into luxurious Bed & Breakfast establishments.

About an hour into my (3+ hour) journey, I wondered why I was doing this. Had I not had a motel room booked, I would likely have said, forget it and crawled back into bed. But I persevered through the rain. And the unseasonably cold temperatures that seemed to be in effect for only that weekend. It had been sunny and warm up until the Friday and would return to sunny and warm - actually rising to unseasonably warm by the following weekend - on the Monday.

But, you never know. All those weather forecasters could be wrong. It could change. And, it did get warmer than 10C. I saw many people were still taking one of the several boat cruises and I was warned that it was indeed very cold out on the water. A bargain store was in stock with some gloves and I added a hoodie to my purchase when I realized that my jacket hood might not be enough to keep the cold wind out of my ears. Then I waited until the Sunday to see what would transpire.
(more pics on Sightlines; you'll see what transpired.)

In the end the colours weren't all that great and I took no hikes and no boat cruise. I knew I would return when the weather was nicer. No point in paying twice for the boat, once in damp, foggy, miserable weather and again in warm, sunny, cheerful weather.

I do have a habit of trying to pack in far too much when I go away on these little excursions. I sometimes forget to just kick back and enjoy the day and I end up coming home exhausted rather than refreshed. (see, it has even taken me almost all week to write about it!)

The Bed & Breakfast homes were each beautiful and I will have a hard time deciding which one to choose to stay at (should I find myself with a few days and lots of spare money to enjoy the stay).
I didn't take many pictures of the rooms... after all that is what the website is designed to show.

And it was fun to go through and hear the owners tell of the history of the house and the original owners (and sometimes, hear stories from some of the towns people who remembered) and to hear the tales of transforming some of these gracious homes up to code and collecting the antiques and furnishings to go into each room.

I used to have a client who was a very intense person with a stressful job and when she came to see me on Mondays she would tell me of her weekend jaunts. Almost every weekend, she would drive somewhere - sometimes not with any real plan as to where, and find a B&B or a motel and spend her time exploring and walking, or fishing and collecting her rocks. I found it a bit strange at the time. But now, I really see the appeal of this short escape. Small town Ontario has a lot to offer if you are not looking to be entertained, and sometimes, one or two nights staying there is enough. Sometimes you find a place you want to return to again and again.

When I came out of this B&B, this woman in pink was standing on the steps. I stepped aside, thinking she wanted to go inside and I was trying to photograph the flowers, but she just stood there, waiting. Waiting, I thought for someone else to join her. I wandered about taking a few pics until I noticed her husband standing way off on the sidewalk holding a camera. Waiting for me to get out of the way. She was still posing when I got into my car. If this was my shot, I can only wonder what his must have been like. I assume he wanted to get the whole house in his shot, but I'm afraid I don't see the point of her standing in the doorway. That is just me.