Sunday, October 31, 2010

First snow

First snowfalls always come as a bit of a shock (especially in October) but if they are as beautiful as this, well ...

This fellow isn't sure he likes the idea.

And this one seems to be wondering what has happened to his tree!

So much beauty ...

Rather Christmassy for Hallowe'en ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Amethyst enchantment

A fellow blogger posted Robert Frost's poem "October" and I found it inspiring. (Thank you "Daffy"). I especially loved the lines "Retard the sun with gentle mist; Enchant the land with amethyst."

I submit this photograph to accompany the poem as I feel it also expresses an amethyst enchantment.

by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A little whiskey makes for a good day!

Today I decided to visit a park on Gouin Boulevard which I really only go to each fall because of the colourful maple trees and the little inlet from the Rivière des Prairies which attracts ducks.

Most week-ends I go to Mount Royal or sometimes Angrignon Park so this is another case of being in the right place at the right time. I say this because on my way back from the park and while waiting at the bus stop I suddenly saw a brown and white dog standing (alone!) at an intersection. He ran across the street to another nearby park and raced around. I watched to see if he ran up to someone but it was pretty far now and I couldn’t quite see. I told myself that he had probably just gotten away from his owner in the park but there was another tiny voice saying “hmmm ... I don’t know about that”.

But the bus came and I was cold and tired so I got on along with my nagging misgivings. The bus turned the corner and continued along the perimeter of the park. Oh no, there was the little dog all alone! OK, forget this – I got off the bus and ran towards him as he continued to race around to a playground now. A young man thought he was my dog and scolded me for not having him on a leash. Finally I caught up with him as he lay on his back in front of two small children asking for a “tummy rub”. After ascertaining that he wasn’t theirs, I scooped him up (not an easy task since he was a beagle mix and not exactly light).

Now what to do? As he squirmed, I carried him to the entrance of an apartment building and got inside. At least if he broke free from me he was still somewhat confined. Next I saw that he had a tag (yay!) and that it had a phone number (yay again!). Luckily I had my cell phone in my pocket but it was no small feat to read the number and try to dial the phone while holding onto the collar of a squirming, twisting, jumping dog!! Finally I put the phone on the floor and dialled. A man answered. In very broken French I managed to explain that I had his dog and where I was. He said his sister would be there in five minutes. Now I had to go out to the side of the road so she could spot me and I was afraid this friendly but rambunctious dog would get away from me. So, I fashioned a makeshift leash from my camera strap and we stood together waiting for her – or rather he pulled me and I pulled back and we went around in circles and thankfully very soon there she was running to him with a proper leash. She thanked me profusely and said "Whiskey" had slipped out the door and just when she realized he was missing, her brother called out to her and said there was a woman on the phone who had him!

So now reunited, she trotted off with little “Whiskey” on the end of the leash. This was a very good day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Sutton photos

Several more pictures from Sutton. I was particularly excited by the Monarch caterpillar and the Monarch chrysalis!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sisters in Sutton

A couple of weeks ago my sister Diane and I went to Sutton in the Eastern Townships for five days. She had stayed at Auberge Schweizer there in July for a watercolour painting course and raved about the place. So she suggested a short stay for us where she would sketch and paint and I would do my photography. We timed it to coincide with the lovely fall colours.

On the Sunday afternoon when we arrived it was showering but the forecast predicted a sunny Monday so we held on to that thought. The rest of the week looked "iffy" but we wouldn't let that get us down.

We proceeded to get the news that the accommodation that was expected (a two bedroom suite over the "painting room" would not be available due to a mouse that had to be "taken care of"). The Auberge owners were stunned when we both said in unison "that's OK - we like mice". They insisted in upgrading our accommodation but I was more concerned that they not kill the mouse/mice. Well, interestingly enough considering my previous post, they had a live trap and later in the week they announced success and that the captured mouse would be released "up by the dam". We even offered to do the release which elicited more stunned looks.

In the meantime we had quite taken to our substituted living quarters. It was a very comfortable chalet with a fireplace, full kitchen and two bedrooms - each one with a bathroom attached. We ate lunches in the chalet and had our breakfasts and suppers in the dining room. The food was vegan / vegetarian (as requested) and was absolutely delicious. Most of the food came straight from their organic garden.

While everything was wonderful, the weather was not very cooperative. Each day our mantra became "I think the sky is clearing" or " there seems to be a break in the clouds". Most of this was wishful thinking and actually things got worse as tropical storm Nicole sent torrential rains and gale force winds later in the week. However, we never let it get us down and I still managed to get some interesting photos (mainly of insects). On the worst day we simply headed off to wine country and toured the local wineries and stocked up!

Here are some of the photos of the trip. You can also find many of my Sutton insect pictures here.

"Our" chalet on the hill

Some of the fall colours

Here I am doing one of my favorite things - petting "Lucky", one of the resident dogs.

Diane doing one of HER favorite things!

Some early sketches

A Viceroy butterfly (mimic of the Monarch)

This pumpkin was grown in the Schweizer's garden and is estimated to weigh 100 pounds!

My next post will show more photos of this enjoyable stay in Sutton.