Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photo Dump: In The Garden

"A garden is a delight to the eye and a solace for the soul."
- Sadi -

Our local paper recently wrote “If you like your summer days mild and your evenings cool this has been the perfect summer. But if you enjoy 30-degree days and sweating through steamy nights after a too-long winter, this summer has been a disaster.”

It’s been a ‘lukewarm’ summer; wonderfully comfortable without any major heat waves. I’m personally loving it (minus some of the rain), and so is my garden. With the cool and wet weather, the plants have been blooming for unbelievably lengthy periods. In all the years I've been tending to this garden, I've never seen such a continuous explosion of colour. There are flowers popping up everywhere, and they’re sticking around for a very long time.

Come along for a stroll...

I love the pretty blooms of the Lilium 'Lollypop'. Unfortunately, so do the rabbits!

The rabbits are also enjoying the Asclepias tuberosa more than I'd like them to.

Lilium 'Royal Sunset' puts on a spectacular show each year.

The elegant white flowers of the Lilium 'Navona'.

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Rainbow’ adds a special touch with its delicate blooms.

Butterflies can't resist the Centaurea dealbata flowers.

No garden is complete without the presence of Shasta Daisies.

All the Monardas (Beebalms) are thriving with the cool and wet weather.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Toto Rustic' is a favourite of bees and butterflies.

Alcea rosea ‘Spotlight Mars Magic’ produces beautiful red flowers and grows almost 7 feet tall!

What’s your summer like so far?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Question Of The Day

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Where does one start with this? I can write an entire book about the beautiful things about being a child, but I’ll keep it short, and save the rest for another day.

What I miss most is having the illusion that the world is a safe place, and being completely and totally unaware of all of the terrible things that happen every single day on our otherwise beautiful planet.

A close second is the excitement of finding the prize in the cereal box before my two brothers did!

What do you miss most?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It’s The Little Things: Bees

“Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the
technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we
are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to 7 billion people”
- Achim Steiner, Executive Director UN Environment Programme (UNEP) -

One of the things I enjoy most when working in the garden is the buzzing bees as they work alongside me, flying from flower to flower, oblivious, or maybe indifferent, to my non-threatening presence.

These workhorses of the insect world play a very important role in our food production and in the economy; their hard work guarantees that each generation enjoys the vegetables, fruits, nuts and flowers that are taken for granted.

And they are beautiful. But dying in record numbers. Their plight breaks my heart.

Imagine a world without them.

Below is an inside view of a honey bee hive. It includes remarkable close-up footage of the honey bee’s “waggle dance”; a method of providing directions to a pollen source that is the only known symbolic language existing outside of humans and lower primates.

We need to make the world a safer place for these magnificent creatures.

Have a lovely Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, to all. How was the weekend? I hope you enjoyed it. On Saturday, we biked the other direction of the K&P Trail, which I wrote about recently. And yesterday, we rode on the Cataraqui Trail, a beautifully-scenic one that I’ll share photos about soon. All in all, we biked about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in the past two days.

We’ve been joking that with so much exercise we’re going to end up like Wile E. Coyote (a character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons) when he took this product to help him outrun his rival...

...and ended up with these legs.

Even so, the poor bastard still couldn't catch the road runner he was eager to feast on.

Well, let’s get to today’s funny stuff, shall we?

A beautiful week to all of you!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Grumpiness Kicks In As We Get Older

"The 'Lifetime of Laughter Scale' shows that there really is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to laughter.”
- Researcher Dr Lesley Harbidge (Glamorgan University)

Ah, Ellen Degeneres. I just love that woman. She is a sharp lady, and a whole lotta fun. And I was laughing out loud this morning as I watched the video below where she says that a British study suggests that men and women begin to suffer a sharp decline in their sense of humour as they age.

And that it’s all downhill starting at the ripe old age of 52. Apparently, that’s when ‘Victor Medrew Syndrome’ kicks in, and we become more grumpy than happy.” (Click here for an article about it.)

52, huh?

Well, I better load up on funny stuff while I can because I've only got 2 ½ more years to go before I start to gripe and grumble.
The study finds that we laugh twice as much in our teens as we do in our fifties.

If you have a couple of minutes, watch this video. Ellen knows how to tickle the funny bone, no matter the age.


A beautiful weekend to all. Even to the grumpy ones!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Question Of The Day

If you could have something named after you as a memorial what would you choose?
(School, museum, building, street, library, park, statue, conservation area, etc...)

When this question came to mind, I thought it would be tough to answer, but it’s actually quite easy.

More than anything, I love being near the water, so a park by the lake (or any body of water) would be the ideal choice. Not that anything will be named after little old me when I exit this world, but that’s my choice.

Enjoying a sunset at Crerar Park, which is 2.21 acres of green space with a playground.

What would you choose to be named after you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hometown Memories: The Flasher

My friends and I shared some very interesting experiences during our teenage years, but nothing quite compares to what happened at the bus stop in the image below.

I lived just down the street on the right.

We were about 16 or so at the time, heading downtown, chatting away as we waited for the bus to arrive. A man in a trench coat (so cliché) approached, called out to us, and when we turned to look at him, he opened up his coat and flashed us.

And what was our reaction?

Dead silence for a few seconds with this look on our faces:

Followed by this:

We laughed so hard, and made such snarky remarks that the pervert shut his coat and ran away. In hindsight, we should have called the police and reported the incident. But we were young and naïve and not thinking clearly. The whole experience was shocking and gross and weird and funny.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interesting Sightings

"I don't go out looking for pictures. I go out, and if something catches my eye, that's reason enough to photograph it."
- Henry Wessel -

So here we are once more with the second post from my new blog theme where I share some of the interesting, unusual, fascinating and even amusing things I see when I’m out and about. And although some of these photos may not be photographically ‘successful’, they capture life’s extraordinary ordinary moments.

Here we go...

Christmas year round in this store! My kind of place.

Meanwhile in Canada...

Wasps will build a home just about anywhere.

Looks like this squirrel got the Midas touch.

After the 'Get Smart' television series ended, Agent 99 opened a retail store in Kingston.
(Click here is you're not old enough to know about this comedy.)

Some people are not clear on what a rock garden really is.

Darn...a snake. How am I going to get by now?

Hmmm... People may get the wrong message here, don't you think?

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your weekend was great. Ours was focused around our bikes. Both days. And a few days before that, too. We’ve become bike-riding fools. We tour our city with them, and we take them along when we visit neighbouring towns and bike through those areas, as well. It’s a lot of fun. And we’re discovering and exploring new areas.

For example, yesterday we rode through a pathway between homes that leads to a tiny park near the lake. We parked our bikes to take a closer look...

...and discovered this view:

Breathtaking. And peaceful. We stayed for awhile to take some photos and soak in the magnificence of this isolated area.

So we’re obsessed with bike-riding, and I hope it continues for awhile. But this morning, let’s all gather here for a chuckle or two...

A beautiful day to all!

Friday, July 18, 2014

It’s The Little Things: Comfortable Shoes

The most amazing man in the world and I enjoy taking long walks, and on one of those outings recently, I said “I’m so glad I’m wearing comfortable shoes”.

But the truth in the matter is that wearing comfortable shoes has become the norm. Or in other words, I've reached the comfortable shoes period of my life.

Gone are the days of sporting narrow, ill-fitting, pain-causing, blister-inducing, back-breaking high heels. Now it’s all about comfort. Relaxation. Mellowness. And my feet thank me for it. Embracing comfortable shoes is definitely one of the perks of being middle aged.

How about you? Are you a comfortable shoes kind of person?

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bikes and Sights: Cycling On The K&P Trail

As I mentioned last Monday, the most amazing man in the world and I went bike riding one evening on the K&P Trail; an off-road recreational trail that is about 15 kilometers long (9 miles). And today, I’d like to write a little about that area and include some photos.

There is parking available at various points along the trail where you can leave your car.

One of the most popular trails in the Kingston area, the K&P winds its way through and around gorgeous lakes and fields, and presents a very scenic experience with its open landscape, rock cuts and wetlands.

Here I am looking all active and stuff.

It is a semi-urban and rural trail that is open year round, offering a variety of recreational uses including hiking, walking, horse-back riding, ATV driving, snow-shoeing, running, cross-country skiing and, as in our case, cycling.

Lots and lots of greenery surrounds you.

Incorporated in 1871 by a group of Kingston businessmen, the K&P was originally a rail line intended to run from Kingston to Pembroke to gain access to the lumber and mining industries, as well as the agricultural economy in eastern Ontario.

We've got a long road ahead of us.

By 1884, approximately 180 kilometres (111.8 miles) of mainline and sidings had been laid that reached Renfrew, but by this time, the Canada Central Railway had already built a line from Renfrew to Pembroke, and since it no longer made sense to continue, the K&P was terminated.

You spot some farms along the way.

Because of financial difficulties, the rail line was leased to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) for 999 years in an agreement formalized in 1912. Beginning in the 1950s, the line was gradually abandoned.

And once in awhile you get a glimpse of wild turkeys.

The K&P, affectionately remembered as the ‘Kick and Push’ railroad, was transformed section by section into a scenic trail, and is now lined with trees as it crosses through the small towns it once promised prosperity to.

A tunnel runs underneath the highway bridge.

It is a very peaceful trail that we have walked through a few times since we moved here, and on our most recent visit, we choice to cycle instead, and ending up covering a total of about 13 whopping kilometers (8 miles) to and fro!

A silhouette under the bridge.

And to reward ourselves halfway through our ride, we parked our bikes outside a Tim Hortons (largest fast food service, and national icon) and enjoyed one of these:

Nothing like an iced cappuccino after a good cycling workout.

Then we headed home as it started getting dark.

Waiting for me to catch up as I stop to take photos.

It was a beautiful evening to spend on this amazing trail.

A mama duck and her babies enjoying a swim.

Have a great day, everyone.