Serenity Sunday: Back to the mountains


These photos were some I took driving out of Canmore, Alberta in May of 2016. It was a beautiful day. I feel so blessed to have been able to stand and gaze at these impressive peaks in the foothills of the Rockies.

Clouds kiss the mountain tops
A little bit of snow hangs on
in higher altitudes snow stays late into spring
which makes Banff a favorite of skiers
Three humps…. a different angle
It is so awe-inspiring as we drive out of the mountains. I took this one looking back from where we’d been and where we cannot wait to go again….
Close up …
Awesome views!
Glaciers carved furrows into the land
Further down the highway and ponds are plentiful
Even from a distance the foothills are beautiful
Farewell to the mountains, until I can come again….

Wildlife surprises


Over the past month we were traveling to Lac La Biche so my husband could have his dialysis treatments after a massive flood in the city caused water issues at our local hospital. It’s a three and a half hour drive to get to Lac La Biche through countryside, most of it wooded. It’s a beautiful drive, though I am glad we no longer have to make it three times a week! I always take my camera because you never know what you might see. Most of the wildlife I have been fortunate to see disappear quickly into the brush. But on a couple of drives I was lucky enough to capture a few shots of deer and a coyote. I was pretty excited and the quality is not top notch. Nevertheless here they are:

These deer were in a farmer’s field near Lac La Biche and it was such a joy to stop and watch them for a while
A doe, a deer, a female deer
There was a group of maybe a dozen deer, but this one was less alarmed by my presence as others
Such beautiful animals
Wile E. Coyote
This guy wandered out of the woods and loped along seemingly undisturbed by my presence
Lots of swampland and small ponds where beavers have been at work
Duck and geese have returned to hatch their eggs before returning south again
Although I waited patiently there was no sign of the beavers who built the dams

I have been hoping to capture an image of a black bear but have yet to see one this year. When I do I hope it will be while I am in the car and not while I am walking the nature trails that crisscross the city. In the past I have also seen red fox, but again not yet this year.

Spring blessings of birds


I took a little walk this morning and captured a few photos around a pond not far from home. I was a little disappointed that were not more variety of ducks and birds but I did enjoy what I did see and hear. I especially love listening to the song of red-winged black birds, although I love them all. Thought I’d share these for your pleasure (at least I hope it is a pleasure for you all).

This little sparrow was very active flitting among the reeds around the pond
So quick and so busy on this windy but warm spring day
I love the sheen of colors and he had lots to sing about too
Grackles were plentiful around the ponds
Red-winged black birds seemed to be in competition with the grackles
Their wings are so vibrant!
Mr. blackbird added his harmonies to the cacophony of song
While a pair of ducks took in the symphony and grabbed a bite to eat now and then

Serenity Sunday: Guelph, Ontario


Riverside Park

These are photos I took at Riverside Park back in 2012. If you happen to be in Ontario this is a really pretty park with an antique carousel and a miniature train as well as floral gardens with a floral clock. The Speed River flows through the park and the gardens include a waterfall feature. The park is a delight for the young and young at heart alike.

Can any child resist a carousel, even today?
A floral clock is one of the features of the gardens
Flowers of many varieties bring color and splendor to the park
A scaled down model of the first house built in Guelph in 1827 by John Galt
Flowers, flowers, everywhere
Stone pathways lead visitors through serene surroundings
A variety of shrubs and trees add to the beauty
Waterfall features add to the peace and calm
Side view of the waterfall
Strange and beautiful tree roots add interest
A miniature train carries visitors on a tour around the park
Personally, I prefer to walk the paths through trees and shrubbery
Or visitors can cross the bridge that crosses the river and feast their eyes on another vista
The Speed River flows through the city of Guelph and through Riverside Park
People are not the only visitors, water fowl seem to love the park as well, like this Canada Goose
Beauty everywhere since 1955 when the park was first created for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors alike.

The “C” word


Yes. It is getting old. But we’re alive. We’re safe. And there is still social media, at least. The past several days I have been doing a bit of spring cleaning. My husband asked me why I was doing it “because nobody can come visit, no one is going to see it”. Well, yes, that’s true. But I cannot live in a cluttered house. I have trouble relaxing fully. All I can think of is the jobs and chores waiting to be done. It makes me antsy, even though housework is something I truly abhor. Anyway, it was time and it was something to do. Air conditioners are ready to go, well almost, but close enough. And, in the ultimate insult, it snowed last night and early this morning. Mother Nature is thumbing her nose at me, I think. It won’t last. Already it has melted off the balcony and the green space is quickly beginning to look green once again. It’s one of the pitfalls of life in Canada. Spring can turn back into winter in a snap. It’s not that cold outside. However, you do need a jacket if you venture out.

This morning I made bread for the first time in over twenty years. It was a good day to do it. Nothing like a bit of comfort food on a cool day. It turned out pretty good considering I am out of practice. Have I bored you silly yet? How are you filling the hours? Are you looking forward to a lifting of the regulations around Covid-19? I have to say I am nervous. And I wonder how long I will continue to feel fearful of strangers in the grocery store. Are you nervous at all? It used to be fear around the “C” word referred to cancer. Not any more. Although, of course cancer continues to be a very serious disease, it’s potential to end a life in a very short time frame pales in comparison to the new “C” word. Unfortunately, it will be with us for a long time yet to come, even after a vaccine is found. That’s the reality as I understand it. Reality bites sometimes. Somehow, we will get a handle on it all. Somehow, some way, we will go on with life. In the meanwhile, I will imagine visitors oohing and ah-ing over my delightfully clean home. No, not really, but I am looking forward to seeing family and friends once again and hugging them very tightly – whether the house is cluttered or not! (Clutter, another “C” word I dislike, and I like the reality of it even less.)

Serenity Sunday: Fort McMurray, AB a.k.a. Fort Mac a.k.a. HOME!


Today marks the fourth anniversary of the horrific wildfires that swept this city I call home. It is also a week since the horrific floods caused another evacuation of approximately thirteen thousand people from their homes. I live in an area of the city that was, by and large, not affected by the floods, except for things like a boil water advisory and the inconvenience of having to leave home in order for my hubby to receive dialysis treatments. So, today, I have chosen to feature the beauty of this city.

Fort McMurray is criss-crossed by five rivers where water fowl and shore birds build their habitat. Sand pipers are common along the Snye, an area downtown where float planes land and the people launch boats for a trip down the river.
Ducks are frequent migratory visitors, returning home every spring
A Common golden-eyed with her brood, taken June 2016 just after we were allowed to return to the city we call home
Murals and artwork are common in the parks
Downtown on the Snye
Water pumps enabled fire fighters to save the downtown core during the wildfires. Unfortunately these same waters that once saved homes ultimately destroyed many when rivers overflowed banks just a week ago. Thankfully the waters have receded and damages are being slowly assessed.
There are many park benches for people to rest and enjoy the beauty of nature
taken in the subdivision known as Wood Buffalo Village after the wildfires in June 2016
Leading back downtown, thankfully the bridges that cross over the rivers were not damaged in the flooding – thanks to brilliant engineers!
Another river scene near downtown – this is actually not far from where I work
It’s hard to believe looking at this photo, but large chucks of ice on the rising river came up just a foot or so below the bridge
The Snye is a busy place, as you can see, it is a well-loved feature of this city
Saprae Creek was one of the areas hit hard by the wildfires. taken June 2016
A view of the Clearwater River taken from Draper, an area hard hit by flooding
Besides rivers there are several walking trails through Fort McMurray, this one is in the area called Thickwood and is part of the Birch wood trails system
A bridge across a creek on the Birch Wood Trail
Nature is a wonderful healer
Despite road blocks, the city continues to face the challenges it faces, whether fire or flood; pandemic or economic travails
Sometimes the journey is all uphill, but it will make us stronger, and hopefully even more resilient
In Wood Buffalo Village nature bumps up against the city and seems to thrive
The Fort McMurray Golf Course lays nestled in the hills along the Athabasca River

Fort McMurray is facing many challenges as I write this: a downturn in the economy. a pandemic, and the clean up of all the devastation caused by the recent flooding in many sections of the city. I have no idea what lays ahead for us as a city, as a province, as a country, but I know the tenacity of fellow citizens and the strength portrayed through the wildfires will be much needed as we move forward and keep on keeping on.

More trials and tribulations for Fort Mac


Every year in Fort McMurray the ice breaks on the rivers that criss-cross the city. Most years it’s not a problem. Unfortunately this year it’s a problem – a big problem. The Mayor has asked the federal government to send in the military to help. Scenes of flooded streets and news of mandatory evacuations have filled my social media feeds. We live in an area of town that is not affected by this newest dilemma. Unfortunately my daughter as well as my brother and his family live downtown where the flooding is bad. Certain low-lying areas have already been evacuated. My family members have bags packed in preparation, just to be on the safe side. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but there is a distinct possibility. Pictures my daughter sent me show water encroaching on her street. It’s a worry. We cannot get to her as the highway that leads downtown has been temporarily closed to traffic.

I had been wondering about this. As spring gets underway so too does the annual natural disaster season. Tornadoes in the south, and flooding everywhere on the continent are not unusual fare at this time of year. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough of a challenge in and of itself! Below is a video of the flooding, it really is amazing what water can do.

There are five rivers that flow through the city. They are the Athabasca, Clearwater, Horse, Christina, and Hangingstone Rivers. There is also a waterway called The Syne which is used for float plane take offs and landings amongst other things.

The city has been facing the challenges of the pandemic as well as being hit hard by the downturn in the oil industry, which has hit the town hard economically. And now this. So, I ask for prayers and positive thoughts for this city I call home.