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

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.)

Easter eve


Just a few photographs this very different Easter weekend. I hope they bring a bit of cheer. Please know I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. Be well. Stay safe. And please, stay home.

I took this down the street from where we live as the sun set over the athletic park. It is cold here this evening in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. As the sun sets this Holy Saturday I am praying for all peoples of the world and for renewed hope and faith in a bright and beautiful future for us all.
Nothing says spring like Tulips. My daughter took this photo of the tulips she bought at the supermarket to decorate the table for Easter. Photo by Anastacia Hopkins
a Calla Lily plant my daughter bought me for Easter – symbol of new life!

Happy Easter to you all and Happy Spring! May your blessings be numerous and your sorrows be few!

Where or where is the sunny weather? Spring, I yearn for you


It’s been a bit of a hard day. It’s the 7th of April. Shouldn’t the snow be melted and gone? Or at least well on its way to the never never land of past winters? I am impatiently waiting to see green shoots, to hear birdsong. Fortunately I do hear a few chickadees now and then, those cheerful little birds that never abandon us, no matter how bitter the winter winds may blow. Well, my spirit sank today as I watched a few flurries turn into big, fat flakes of snow falling from a gray and overcast sky. Yuck! Winter is fine but enough is enough already. I am longing for green shoots and new life.

There is new life promising to flower within the coming weeks, however. Last year my daughter gifted me with a hydrangea plant for Mother’s Day. It was so beautiful.

May 2019

I loved it so much I couldn’t bear to throw it out even after its blossoms turned brown and dried out. I nursed it through the fall and through the long winter days. It has rewarded me with new shoots.

April 2020

And so, while winter drags its feet in a long farewell I am reminded that life will be renewed again. Flowers will bloom again. Birds will sing their welcome to spring. I am reminded that even though that season tarries eventually she will make an appearance when she is good and ready. I must just have patience.

Green shoots and dandelions


It was such a beautiful day here today. I went for a little walk and enjoyed the spring sunshine. In the park people were busy picking up trash and cleaning up. It was nice to see whole families working together. One of the first signs of spring are the little green shoots – that lifted my spirits considerably.

Green shoots on the crab apple tree, looking forward to the beautiful blossoms to come

Of course many people hate dandelions, but they are an early food source for honey bees, and their bright yellow flower cheers me up.

I don’t completely understand the hatred for dandelions. they are actually pretty

There were also flocks of red-winged blackbirds, robins, sparrows, and grackles near the pond. It was heavenly to hear their songs.

A red-winged blackbird takes flight

A pair of mallard ducks made an appearance as well. There were likely other water fowl, but I could only hear them, nestled amongst the bulrushes and high grasses that surround the waters of the little pond. I love spring. And I hope winter has had its last fling in our part of the world. Happy Spring to you!

The Tragedy


On brightest day

Or hours of dreary rain

The robin sits and croons its song

The sweetest trill

Or darkest hue

Adds color to

The common theme

Of life anew

What blessing did I miss?

While trudging through

The days

With head so full

Of what to do

And noticed not

The miracle

Unfolding

With head bent down

I could not see

The wondrous sight

Hidden in plain view

I did not bother

Did not see

Life unfolding

Constantly

The kiss of spring

Before me lay

And bid me witness

the magic scene

a melodrama

Played out again

Yet I did not see

And therein lay

The tragedy

The American Robin – such a trusting little bird


 

Last spring a friend of mine showed me the nest a robin had built under the corner of the deck in her backyard. This year a neighbor told us about a robin that has made a nest in a flower box hanging off the rail on her front doorstep. How amazing is that? Obviously, they do not have much fear of predators, or perhaps they are just young birds that don’t know better. Having said that I distinctly remember my friend telling me that their robins come back to the nest under their deck every year. I love birds, but I confess I don’t know a lot about the nesting habits of this particular breed – or any other winged creature come to think about it. At any rate I snapped off a few photos of the robin in the flower box. I hope you will enjoy these.

Farewell to Winter


Spring 2018

Spring is in the air, even though there is still a couple of feet of snow on the ground it is days like this that lend me hope that summer is not too far off. The sun is shining, birds are visiting the bird feeders, and it’s good to be alive. You’ve got to love the end of February with its hope of winter’s end when you live in the north. Unless, of course, you are a lover of skiing, skating, snowboarding and other winter sports. I, however, enjoy none of those activities. I prefer the feel of spongy green grass under my feet or the sensation of toes curled in sand at a serene and quiet beach.  Farewell to winter. I wish I could say I will miss you, but I won’t!