Saturday, 16 September 2017

Sharing

A Differential Grasshopper and a Japanese Beetle share a yummy dinner on my runner bean leaves.
The Japanese Beetle is an unwanted import from... yes, you guessed right.... Japan, first noticed in North America in 1916, but the Differential Grasshopper is native to Southern Ontario. Easily identified by that distinct herringbone pattern on his legs. Both these creatures are considered crop pests. I wish they would stay away from my beans!


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Hot Shiny Metal

A sunshiney day and an annual car show in the grounds of a local business brought out the crowds at the weekend. If the weather's good, all the fancy cars come out of the garage and get washed and waxed ready for a big day out. Here are some of them.....
The Bricklin SV-1 is a gull-wing sports car assembled in St John, New Brunswick, Canada from 1974 until late 1975, the creation of millionaire Malcolm Bricklin. Less than 3000 cars were built before the company declared backruptcy. I wonder how many are still on the road.


Austin Healey "Bugeye" or "Frogeye" Sprite, produced in UK from 1958 to 1961.
1960's VW Bug and 1970's VW Thing. The Thing (also known as VW Type 181) was originally developed for the West German Army and is a two wheel drive four door convertible. It was manufactured and marketed by Volkswagen from 1968 to 1983. And fun to drive!
TVR 280i. TVR is an independent British manufacturer of high end lightweight sports cars from 1947 to present day. This one's for sale, fancy a test drive?

What can I possibly say about this? Useful if you need to be rescued in a flood I suppose.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Random This Week

Summer is coming to an end. It's been a "Back to School" week. My grandies all have new teachers who they seem to like. My Thursday Art Group is starting up again, Tuesday Line Dancing is back. It's still warm and sunny during the day, but nights are definitely chillier.
 A stunning sunset reflecting on storm clouds and a flock of Canada geese flying back to the pond where they roost for the night.
Here's Spidey: A huge spider (a bit out of focus, sorry!) who has been living on my geraniums for the past couple of weeks. It's been fascinating watching him (or her) repair the web each morning and every time an unfortunate fly or insect gets caught, he scurries over to the victim and wraps it up in spider web to save for dinner later.
A handmade quilt quoting the words of our national anthem, "O CANADA", by Canadian filmmaker and artist Joyce Weiland.  I saw many pieces of her work exhibited at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in the picturesque little town of Kleinberg, Ontario.
And the view from one of the windows at the McMichael. A painting in itself! The gallery is situated in ten acres of scenic wooded land with public trails through the trees. The building itself started as a four room log house built with salvaged pioneer hand hewn logs, but has since been enlarged, housing an extensive collection of Canadian art, including many works by the Group of Seven.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Splash!

I was at a pool party in a friend's lovely back yard. Here's the view during the day.......
 .... and after dark.
A pool in the back yard would be wonderful, I'd be swimming in it every day, but it's a lot of work, especially with so many trees dropping leaves, and the Canadian summer is so short, only 4 months of swimming weather and then it's time to winterize the pool until the next hint of summer sunshine.

Friday, 1 September 2017

More Pride of Canada

A few more of the fantastic creations on the Pride of Canada Carousel in Markham. (Scroll down to previous post for more pics.) You can ride on a total of 44 sculptured characters, all created by Canadian artist Patrick Amiot from recycled and repurposed junk objects. I bet you are breathing a huge sigh of relief that I didn't take pictures of all 44!
The lobster represents Canada's east coast, and the fisheries. Lobster, crab, lots of delicious seafood there.
Wouldn't you like to ride the carousel on a huge ice skate?  No need for any real ice. Just hold onto the laces and zoom away.
This is a VW Bus... I think! I had a red and white VW Bus many years ago.... great little vehicle, her name was Polly. Do you name your vehicles?
The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 in Nova Scotia. Although I don't think he envisioned one as big as this.  
And here's mallard duck... lots of them in Canadian Parks. Quack quack.
And here's the carousel in motion:


Monday, 28 August 2017

Pride of Canada

It's colourful, it's noisy and musical, it goes round in circles and it's distinctly Canadian..... it's the Pride of Canada Carousel. 
The Carousel is an environmentally friendly solar-powered fine art merry-go-round enclosed in an open glass pavilion on the newly built "Downtown Markham" area. The urban folk artist who created the magical carousel creatures, Canadian artist Patrick Amiot, has used all kinds of junk, oops, I mean found objects including hub caps, car headlights and old oil tanks.
This particular Remington Group doesn't manufacture guns.... they are a property developer company.
You won't see any standard carousel horses here, apart from this one being ridden by a goofy Mountie. Love his moustache, it's a broom, and the horse's hooves are irons.
You can go sailing on the Bluenose... famous Nova Scotia racing schooner,  with a giant moose next to you.
 How about joining this dog sailing along in the bathtub?
 Or take a ride on a seaplane, to deliver the mail to the Manitoba north country.
 This delectable mermaid just swam in from Prince Edward Island, according to her licence plate. I like the strategically placed maple leaves!
 Back to school next week, don't miss the yellow school bus.
Here's the man in the moon, closely followed by a couple of chickens.
A view looking up at the reflection of the carousel in the roof. Rides are $2.00 for only about 2 minutes.... rather expensive I think, could cost a lot to take all the grandies there because I'm certain they'd want to ride on all the different creatures. One ride just would not be enough. More pics to come....

Monday, 21 August 2017

Moonshadow

Oh, I'm bein' followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow---


We didn't have any of those fancy eclipse glasses, so we made the children stand with their backs to the sun, poked a pinhole into the middle of a paper plate, and let the sun shine through onto some white card. Sort of pathetic..... but it worked.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Fairy Tree

My friend has fairies living in a tree at the bottom of her garden.
How do I know?
Sssshhh be very quiet......
 I knocked on the door, but nobody was home, out attending to some fairy business no doubt..... or perhaps they were hiding?
 And there's even a magical alligator guarding the lily pond.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Tournament Time

Summer is on the wane, evenings are getting noticeably shorter, it's the middle of August already and that means softball season has come to an end for my grandchildren. That's too bad because the young players have just started to come together and work as a team. Another couple of weeks would have been perfect timing. They are finally thinking ahead and planning baseball strategy.... and as you know, baseball is full of strategy.

But it's not quite over. Just one last blast on the town's baseball diamonds.... the highly anticipated annual Baseball Tournament!

Our family has been ably represented since June by numbers 3 and 4 on the "5 and under' Yellow team and number 5 on the "8 and under" Red team. And now it's time to challenge for the championship!
 "5 and under" Yellows played against "5 and under" Reds at a well attended 10am game on Saturday morning. Lots of enthusiastic mums and dads, and aunts and uncles cheering them on. And at least one Nana.... me.



I have no idea if the Yellows beat the Reds or vice versa, I don't think anyone was keeping accurate score, but after the game each player got a drink, a slice of yummy pizza, and was presented with a "solid gold" trophy by the coach with a handshake and some words of praise. And you have to hand it to the coaches.... they are teaching basic baseball skills to five year old children who really don't have a clue what it's all about, and the coaches do it with kindness, loads of patience, smiles and a huge sense of fun.

"8 and under" Reds took on the Black team in an early 8:30am game, then challenged the Blues for the final at 11:15am. Skies were mostly blue with some grey clouds, so we all had fingers crossed that the rain would stay away.
It was a hard fought game. Reds led from the start with some snappy fielding and a couple of spectacular home runs, but Blues came from behind in the final innings to take the game 13-12.
 After the game, a drink, a slice of pizza and another "solid gold" trophy for each player. As the coach gave out the trophies, he gave each player an individual pep talk noting their considerable baseball achievements during the summer such as memorable home runs, double plays, spectacular base running, and how each person had improved, what they need to work on for next season, and his hopes for them in the future. Hooray for the coaches of these teams, they deserve "solid gold" medals!

 And the happy recipient of a trophy. He's going to join the rep team during the winter to hone his baseball skills ready for next season. He really really REALLY loves baseball.

Note: I was surprised to find that this is blog post number 899, just one more to go for 900! Perhaps I should have saved this comment for the next post. Thank you to all the bloggers around the world who have read my ramblings since I started this blog in November 2006 and have left me comments.... Happy Blogging to you all!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Sunset on Steroids

The sunset reflected beautifully on the cumulous clouds on the horizon so I grabbed the camera and went to the nearby church parking area.
This is how I saw the clouds....

....but with the function selection turned to colour enhancement, this is how the camera saw the clouds.


Which one do you like best?

Friday, 4 August 2017

Juried Art Again

A few more of the paintings that were chosen to be shown at the Juried Art Exhibition in the spring. I regret not taking note of the artist's names and the titles of the works. Sorry artists, if you happen to see this post.

This was a small acrylic painting, approximately 9"x12" I think.... brightly painted ice fishing huts on a frozen lake. A lovely feeling of isolation and yet community..... and cold!

I loved the colours of the dramatic skies in these two matched landscapes. And they looked perfect displayed on the red wall. Often the colours surrounding a painting can make such a difference to the appearance and effect of the finished product.

What's going to happen when that bird in the top right corner finally makes a landing?
I'm holding my breath.....

This was my favourite painting in the show, it was large, about 36" x 48".
Memories of the artist's dad's workshop.  I stood and looked at this painting for a long time, visualizing the man who worked here, building things and repairing things. Just like many dads.
I can't remember the artist's name but I remember the title: Portrait of a Good Man

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Jammin' Again

Big juicy blueberries were on sale at the grocery store yesterday so I just had to buy some, and jam fever took over. Add some sugar, juice of a lemon and some pectin and I was jammin'. Yes, I admit it.... I am a serial jammer, I just can't help myself.

First clean the blueberries of stalks and leaves, and smoosh them to a pulp. I suppose you could put them in a blender for some super-smooshing like the commercial jam factories do, but I've never done that as I prefer some whole fruit in the jam. Lets be real!

Squeeze the lemon juice in (a real lemon is best, not that stuff in a bottle!) and add the pectin and bring to the boil, making sure you squish any large fruit against the side of the cooking pot. And then gently mix in the sugar..... a cup of sugar for every cup of fruit, and stir constantly for at least a couple of minutes with a wooden spoon when it comes to a hard boil that you can't stir down.

Take the pan off the heat, stir for 5 or 6 minutes to cool the jam (listen to music and stir in time to the beat to pass the time) and make sure the fruit doesn't all float to the top, then pour into hot jars and seal. The seals will POP as the jam cools. These 7 jars cost me approximately $18 for ingredients, not counting the cost of the electricity, so about $2.57 each, half the price of store jam, and 10 times better!

My runner beans have started to produce, and I picked the first beans yesterday. So exciting! I've never grown runners before. Lots of little baby beans are ready to grow so I'll have to water the plants faithfully every evening during this sunny weather, just to make sure!
Krisk Bean Slicer - Made in Australia
Come on bees.... come buzzing by and make me some more beans. I love these beans, they remind me of Sunday dinners as a child in England. And the humming birds love the red flowers too.

This is my magical bean slicer... the Krisk Bean Slicer - Made in Australia! It top'n'tails the beans with a sharp blade, then will slice the bean and take off the strings all in one easy action. Fabulous! Every kitchen needs one.