Wednesday 31 January 2018

Covered With Snow

    We haven’t had much snow this winter, so it was a treat to wake up yesterday to discover that everything had a thick powdering of the white stuff.  This is how the house looked from down by the pond.  I always like the subtle yellowing displayed by the willow branches sticking up above the roof.  Normally, because we usually get a lot of wind, the snow on the trees is blown off.  It is nice to have the winter wonderland effect this time.

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Tuesday 30 January 2018

Geraniums on the Roof

    On the January 13th blog I wrote about the geraniums sitting on the window sill.  Yesterday a couple of those geraniums had an unexpected adventure.  It all started because it was so mild and windy.
    Even though it was very mild outside (+5C, 41F) and it was comfortable enough in the house, I decided to put another log on the fire just to keep the fire going.  I hadn’t considered how fiercely the wind was howling outside.  The fire was smoldering in the stove, and periodically downdrafts in the chimney, forced smoke to stream from the stove into the living room and spread throughout the house.
    Since it was so mild outside, I decided to open one of the upstairs windows in an attempt to clear some of the smoke out of the house.  I figured the two geranium plants sitting on the window sill would be okay because the temperature outside was above freezing.  The plants leaves were blown around a bit from the wind gusts, but that was okay.
    A few hours later when I went upstairs to feed the cat, I noticed that there were no geraniums on the windowsill where the two had been sitting.  I spotted one dumped over on the carpet.  Where did the other one go?
    I glanced out of the window and there it was, pot turned over, dirt spread around and the poor plant sprawling on the metal roof.  I found it very strange that one geranium blew into the house and the other blew outside onto the roof.  It must have been some pretty powerful variable wind gusts to cause that to happen.
    Now that I am thinking about it, I am wondering if Lucifer, our cat had anything to do with any of this.  She’s pretty curious and sticks her nose in a lot of places where she shouldn’t.  I have no proof so I will have to assume it was just a very strong wind.
    I set forth to rescue the geranium, so I climbed up onto the roof.  I couldn’t gather all the dirt from the roof so I had to go out to the tool shed and get some additional potting soil.  
    The big bale of potting soil was frozen so I used a post hole digger to loosen some up.  I filled the pot, and replanted the geranium. 
    Meanwhile, the wind continued to howl and no matter what I tried, smoke periodically blew into the house from the wood stove.  By this point I was pretty pissed off with the whole ordeal, so I got the ash can, pulled the two pieces of burning firewood from the stove put them in the can, carried them outside, and threw them into the snow to snuff them out.  
    It took a while for the smoke to finally clear the house, even with two doors opened.  Fortunately, it was warm enough that the electric baseboard heaters provided enough heat to keep the house comfortable overnight.

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Monday 29 January 2018

Old Fence Post

    The area where I had my pond dug used to be a pasture.  It was fenced, and after the pond filled with water, a few remnants of the old fence can still be spotted around the perimeter of the pond.  This particular fence post ended up in the water. 
    I find it very picturesque, all covered with lichen and moss, I am sure it has been standing there for 50+ years, and still shows no sign of falling over, despite the abuse I have caused it.

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Sunday 28 January 2018

Nilsson Sings Newman, an old Favorite

    Even though I no longer have a turntable, I was looking through my record album collection this morning, and came across one of my all time favorite albums--Nilsson Sings Newman by Harry Nilsson.  For me, the songs on this album are sort of the musical version of a “comfort food”.  The songs are very melodic and easy to listen too.   It also has some good memories attached to it.
    In the early 1970’s I was a conscientious objector assigned to work in the Indianapolis Goodwill Store for two years.  It was a memorable couple of years where I met some very interesting characters, that I would have normally never run into.
    One of the pleasures of each working day was the lunch hour, when employees could wonder around in the warehouse looking through the donations that came in.  The range of interesting items that were there was huge.  Employees were allowed to purchase things they found, and even though my salary was extremely low, I couldn’t resist buying some of the amazing things I found.  Perhaps my most treasured find was an old acoustic Gretch guitar (Burl Ive model) that I still have.
    Anyway one day when I was perusing the merchandise, I came across the Nilsson Sings Newman album amongst the other old vinyl in the record section.  Surprisingly, unlike the other records, it still had the plastic wrap and had never been opened.  Where did it come from, why was it donated?
    At the time I followed music religiously.  I loved Randy Newman from the first time I heard him, and I really liked Nilsson’s singing from the songs I heard on the radio, but I had never heard about him making an album of Randy Newman songs.  I was familiar with most of the songs listed on the back of the album, having heard Newman’s version of them, but I grabbed the album anyway, carried it to the employee purchase desk and took it home so I could listened to it.
    I normally prefer songwriters singing their own songs more than other people doing covers of them, but this album is one of the exceptions (another one is Famous Blue Raincoat in which Jennifer Warnes does Leonard Cohen songs).  Nilsson has such a great voice and the arrangements are very similar to Newman’s.  Many of the songs are reminisces of the past with a nice sadness to them, and I think they hit the same chords that comfort food does. 

You can view my paintings:

Studebaker Truck: Photo vs Painting

    I think it is always kind of interesting to compare the photo image I started with and the painting I ended up with.  The painting shows what happens to the image after it goes through my brain and hands and onto the canvas, with the limitation of the colors I have to work with.

You can view all of my paintings at:

Saturday 27 January 2018

The Girl on the Train: The Novel & Film

    January’s theme for the McBride Library Book Club was to read a book and watch the movie of the same book.  It is a theme we do every year and I always discover the same thing--the books are always so much better than the videos.  My choice was:  Girl  on the Train by  Paula Hawkins
This is not the usual kind of novel I pick out to read, but I was interested in reading it because on a review I heard it compared to “Gone Girl” which I really enjoyed reading. 
This psychological who-done-it begins with a woman named Rachel traveling on a commuter train to work. Rachel’s life is slowly disintegrating.  Two years after her divorce, she has let herself go, living in the small sparse bedroom of an old school acquaintance, her work means nothing, and she is becoming an alcoholic.  
      Her only joy seems to be looking out of the window of the commuter train on her way back and forth from work, she is intrigued by the occupants of one particular house beside the railway, where her railcar makes a daily stop for a signal. She fantasizes about the happy lives of the couple that she sees there, imagining their loving relationship.  She tries to avoid looking at the nearby house where she and Tom, her ex-husband used to live.  He continues to live there with Anna, his new wife and their baby girl. 
       The novel, which is written in the first person, alternates it’s chapters between the lives of Rachel, Meghan, and Anna.  Meghan is the woman in the happy imagined relationship, that Rachel watches from the train. The things in Meghan’s chapters occurred a year before those in Rachel’s and Anna’s chapters, which happen in real time. 
       Although Rachel fantasies about Meghan’s idyllic marriage from the train window, Meghan, like Rachel, is a very unhappy woman. She feels her marriage has trapped her in an unfulfilling and boring life. She had previously owned an art gallery and longs to be back in the city instead of being stuck at home in what she perceives as a dead end existence.  She is unhappy, restless, and can’t sleep.  On Tom’s suggestion, she starts seeing a therapist, with whom she begins to have an affair.
       Rachel’s drinking continues to cause her life to spiral downward.  One morning when the train stops in front of the happy couple’s house, she is shocked to see Meghan, in the yard hugging and kissing another man.  Seeing this unfaithfulness, triggers memories of her catching Tom in his affair with Anna. 
        On a weekend after drinking heavily, she decides she is going to take the train to see the husband of her “happy” couple to warn him of his wife’s cheating, but after getting off the train, something happens to her and she wakes up the next morning unable to recall the night before, but she is battered and bruised.   Her blackout about what happened the previous night plagues Rachel, and this is intensified upon reading in the newspaper that Meghan has been reported missing to the police.  Rachel  is questioned by the police after being seen in a drunken state in the vicinity by Anna.
          When Meghan’s body is found in a shallow grave in a nearby park, the book becomes a real mystery novel, full of many psychological flawed characters, all of which could are viable suspects to the murder. There is a lot of exciting reading to be had with, “gaslighting”, drama, tension, and plot twists in this well planned and well paced novel.  

The Film:
    Like I said, for me the movies just aren’t as good.  One member of our book Club started out watching the movie first, and shut it off because it was so unappealing to him.  When he started reading the book he was immediately sucked in to what was going on.
      One of the obvious differences between the book and video was the location.  In the book the story is set in a suburb just outside of London while the film sets it outside of New York City.  I noticed this immediately in the video because the houses Rachel was watching were large New England style dwellings in a sprawling suburb with larger lawns than the smaller, identically designed smaller houses of the book. The houses in the film seem set back too far from the tracks which made watching the couple from the train window less plausible.
       In the video Rachel was always sketching in a notebook, while in the novel she made notes to herself. 
       When you read, you create images of the characters in your head. I guess it’s not surprising that the actors in the film didn’t match what I had envisioned and I didn’t really feel the same attachment to the characters, as I did in the novel.   Also there was much more character development in the book and I felt more sympathy for the female characters. 
       The film had more sex, except that in the book there was a sexual relationship between her therapist and Meghan while in the film the therapist held to his professional code of ethics and didn’t really submit to Meghan’s advances. 
        Of course because it was a mystery you get more impact from the ending in whatever you read or view first, so in my case the video couldn’t compete surprises in the book, because I already knew what happened.

You can see my paintings at:

Thursday 25 January 2018

Pussy Willows in January

    It only took a week’s worth of above freezing temperatures to encourage these catkins on the willows to form.  I noticed them along Horseshoe Lake Road, just east of the Village of McBride, BC. as we were walking the dog.

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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Studebaker Truck

    Yesterday I finished my painting of the colorful old Studebaker truck that belongs to a neighbor.  The old truck had been re-painted many times in its life and it was all the different colors that attracted me to the image.
    I did this painting using acrylics on a 18” X 24” canvas.  I started painting in September and it took me 107 hours to complete.  It is my 57th painting.

You can see all of my paintings at:

Tuesday 23 January 2018

From the Roof

    Yesterday morning when I happened to glance out of the upstairs window, I really liked the way the light was shining on all of the snow-covered trees over on the Cariboos, and I thought I would take a photo.  Unfortunately, we have a spruce and birch tree that partially obscures the view from the window and our balcony, so I had to climb over the balcony and walk out on the roof to the other side of the house to get this shot.

You can see my paintings at:

Monday 22 January 2018

Putting On the Name

    Yesterday Joan was working on her quilt and mentioned she was already dreading having to embroider her name on it.  I feel the same dread whenever I am getting to the end of on one of my paintings.  It’s the worse part of painting the picture.  It's not that I am ashamed of the painting, I am really proud my paintings, it’s just that I always do such a hatchet job on my name.  I am never satisfied with how it turns out.
    Several times I had to paint over my attempts of painting my name.  It's either too messy, too big, the wrong color, or in the wrong spot.  I don’t seem to be very consistent on how I write it.  I do try to make it subtle and although you can read it in the examples above, when you look at the painting as a whole, you really have to focus in to the spot to see it.  Squint your eyes to see how well they blend in to the background.

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Sunday 21 January 2018

My Invention: A Pocket Extender for a Phone

    You’ve no doubt heard the saying:  “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  Well I had a necessity.  I could never find a good place to carry my phone without worrying about damaging it.  For me the most natural place to put it was in one of my pockets.  I didn’t want to put it in my pants pocket for fear it would get scratched by keys or coins, or bent when I sat down.  
    A shirt pocket seemed a logical place, but all of the pockets in my shirts were too shallow and I couldn’t button my phone in the pocket, so when I bent over, the phone would slip out.  What to do, what to do?
    I came up with this this solution.  My shirt pockets had buttons and button holes, but the pockets themselves where too shallow for me to use them.  I figured if I made something with a button and a button hole I could button it into the shirt pocket and secure my phone.
    Being lazy, and a not very talented seamstress, I sought out a solution to save myself work.  I cut off a cuff from one of my old, rarely worn, shirts.  It already had a button hole, and I did have enough talent to sew on a button.  I buttoned the cuff onto my shirt, put my phone in the pocket, bent the cuff over my phone and tucked it into the shirt pocket, then marked the spot on the cuff where the shirt button hole was.  Then I took the cuff out, sewed a button where I had marked, and had myself something that would securely hold my phone in my shirt pocket.
    My invention may not be a thing of beauty, it could be narrower, but it works fine.  Below are some photos of before and after.  

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Saturday 20 January 2018

Sweet Spot

    During the day our temperatures have been rising above freezing.  Yesterday I noticed this healthy green clump of mosses growing along the edge of our old well house roof.  Clearly it was enjoying its situation.  Mosses love cool, moist, shady conditions and this clump had certainly found a sweet spot to grow on.
    Our old well house has a cedar shake roof, which gave the mosses enough texture to establish itself on.  Presently, snow covers most of the upper portion of the roof, and these above freezing temperatures are slowly melting the snow.  The meltwater from the surface slowly seeps through the snow until it hits the cedar shakes, then the slope of the roof makes it run downward until it meets the sponge-like mosses, which are happy to soak it in.

    While these mosses are thriving now, later during the summer they have a rougher time as direct sunlight drys them out and they only get watered when it rains.

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Friday 19 January 2018

Shooting Into the Sun

    Here is a photo I took yesterday as we were walking Skye on Jervis Road.  The photo looks quite moody and dark.  The day really wasn’t as ominous as the photo makes it appear.  The reason why it looks the way it does was because I was shooting into the Sun.
    When faced with such a bright light in its face, the camera does what your eyes do in that situation, it closes down the iris to restrict the amount of light getting in.  The result is that everything except the bright light becomes darker.   This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I happen to really like the way this photo turned out.
    When I took this shot I was really interested in the icy sheen of the snow and the light reflecting on it.  The Sun in the sky provided a nice balance to the picture.

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Thursday 18 January 2018

Paint Box

    One of the reasons I paint is because I love color.  If you want color, you’ve got to have paints.  I basically taught myself to paint without a lot of background about the best way to do things, and so don’t have much technical knowledge of paint.  One artist friend of mine who had a lot of instruction in art always buys one particular brand of paint.  When I am browsing around in the paint section of art supplies, I don’t look at brands, I just look at the different colors and hues available and pick out colors I don’t have regardless of the brand.
    The photo shows my paint box.  Even with all those colors, I rarely use them straight from the tube, I always end up mixing them with others to get the subtle shades I am looking for.

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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Drowning in Stuff

    The other day when I was wandering around the house, I came upon an old charger for one of my electronic devices.  Then later I noticed another.  I knew I had some others so looked around and found two more.  I know that Joan has the same number of chargers too.  We could get by with just one of these chargers.  It made me sigh to think about all of the stuff we have, stuff we no longer use, but hate to just throw away.
    It is a real dilemma for me.  I hate to hang on to things we no longer use, but I hate to see it just go to the dump.  We do recycle those things we can.  Our community is so small and isolated it is difficult to get things to people who might need it, and this is not just my problem, North America is full of households stacked to the ceilings with things that are no longer needed.
    I heard the other day that China has now closed her door on the world’s recycling.  That is where most everything collected for recycling used to go.  Now what do we do?  Maybe we will just have to start dealing with the over consumption that we created.

You can view my paintings at:

Monday 15 January 2018

Temperature Inversion

    So far this has been a pretty mixed up winter.  Yesterday we had clear skies and above freezing temperatures.  I usually talk to my family on Sundays, and it seems while we in Interior British Columbia were enjoying the balmy above freezing temperatures, Southern Indiana was shivering in temperatures in the +20F (-7C) range.  
    My sister, for one, wasn’t complaining.  The local lakes had ice on them for a change, and she is hoping that their current cold will mitigate some of the many insect pests they have been experiencing in the summer.  
    I too wasn’t complaining.  Quite often for us if it is clear, calm, and sunny in the winter, it is also very cold, which wasn’t the case yesterday.  Who knows what is ahead of us, so far this winter, things have been all over the map.

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Sunday 14 January 2018

Walk Around the Pond

    Right after breakfast, Skye and I always do a walk around the pond.  This morning when we were doing it, the Sun was just starting to shine on the Cariboo Mountains.  The temperature is mild again. It was just sitting on the freezing mark when we did our walk.

My paintings can be seen at:

Saturday 13 January 2018

Window Dwelling Geraniums

    What you see in the photo are our geraniums that spend the summer in our window box outside our living room windows.  It’s a pretty harsh environment for them in the summer, their box is located in sort of a heat-trap, and when the afternoon sun comes around it can generate pretty uncomfortable conditions.  After all those months in the blazing sun, I rip them out of the window box. stuff them into a pot, and put them on the window sill.
    Now in the winter, they are again, right beside a window, but this time on the inside,  looking out at the winter conditions outside.  To me it seems like an altogether difficult life, but they don’t seem to mind, and like the rest of us, they are probably just biding their time, looking forward to summer’s return.

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Friday 12 January 2018

Frost Stars

    Whenever we get a string of clear cold days (-26C, -15F this morning), it encourages frost crystals to grow.  I spotted this cluster or starlike frost growing on the ice at the edge of the outflow from our pond.  In the lower right corner you can see a bit frost that looks more like leaves that is forming from the snow.

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Thursday 11 January 2018

Internet Blues

    Living in an isolated rural area means that we have to accept that we are just not going to be able to have a lot of the things that are available to people in urban areas.  We were seeing news reports about ATM’s and cell phone coverage in rural Africa before McBride got those things.  Like I said we accept the fact, but that doesn’t mean we don’t complain.
    The internet reception we have bounces a signal across a couple of radio repeaters which are located on mountains, then the signal is received in Valemount (a neighboring village.)  In the past we have had lots of periods when something along the line failed and we were without internet for a couple of days.  The internet company was sold recently and we were hoping to see improvements, but instead the service has greatly deteriorated. 
    In the photo above you can read what kind of “speeds” we are receiving and I am paying over $70  for “Enhanced” service.  I am not a happy camper.
    It is sometimes dicy just to try to stream a radio station.  I would never dream of trying to stream a movie, that would never work.
    I’m afraid I have now lost that initial hope of improved by the new owners of our internet.  It is a company called Monashee Communications.  I lost that hope when I tried to call and complain about our service.  The phone number for the original company was disconnected, so I Googled the company to find contact information and when I clicked on their website link I got the “File Not Found (404 error)” message--not a good sign.
    So some outfit that calls itself a “communications” company, doesn’t have a phone number, or an internet site (I am unaware of any mailing address).  I am not sure how they are communicating.  They are continuing to take my $70 a month, and my frustration at the whole situation is building, especially every night as I twiddle my thumb waiting for a website to load.
    One of the problems is for us there are no alternatives.  A couple of friends had found good alternatives, but those are no longer available.  I just sit here hoping I am wrong and that maybe Monashee Communications will in fact communicate with me and help to solve this problem.

Note: since posting this I have managed to contact Monashee Communications and they have promised help is on the way starting on Jan. 22.  My hope has been renewed.

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Wednesday 10 January 2018

Sneeze Into Your Elbow

    Here is one of my cartoons dealing with disease prevention.

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Tuesday 9 January 2018

Laid Low

    The cold, or flu, or whatever it is that has been going through McBride, has finally caught up with me.  I always believed that living in such an isolated place would give residents some protection from these outside diseases, but clearly that is not the case.  As soon as I felt this thing coming on, I started hoping that I would be better by Tuesday night so I could go play music at our jam, but the miracle cure I was hoping for, failed to materialize and I will spend my Tuesday night curled up in bed.
    It is interesting how these ailments sap your spirit.  I haven’t painted for days, and have found it difficult to come up with a blog.  I took this shot this morning while Skye and I were slowly plodding around the pond.  I had to make myself take the photo, it wasn’t automatic the way it normally is.  
    Oh well, enough of my whining.  After a few days with above freezing temperatures it is getting colder and as you can see we got some snow overnight.  There is more snow forecast for the days to come so if we get a good dump of it, I sure hope I will be well enough to clear the driveway.

You can view my paintings at:

Monday 8 January 2018

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

The theme for our December Book Club was “A Title With ‘Time’ in it”

    I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read with the word “time’ in it so I fudged the theme a bit and read the novel Ragtime  by  E. L.  Doctorow, because it was something I had been wanting to read anyway.
      It is about America at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, with its social movements, it’s newsmakers, and its prejudices. The central storyline concerns a wealthy family, whose members are not specifically named. They include Father, Mother, Younger Brother (Mother’s brother), Boy, and Grandfather. 
      Younger Brother has become fascinated with the newspaper photos of the wife of an jailed wealthy spoiled good-for-nothing, who jealously murdered a famous architect because he was his wife’s only friend. Younger Brother is so infatuated with the woman that he goes to New York City determined to meet her. 
      Father, whose hobby is adventure, leaves for the North Pole on an expedition with Commodore Perry, leaving Mother and Boy alone in the big house, since Younger Brother, who normally also lives there is off chasing after the wife of the incarcerated rich guy. 
       While walking in the garden Mother hears a sound, digs in the ground and finds a newborn Negro baby, still alive. Authorities soon find the mother of the child, a washerwoman who works in the neighborhood.  Instead of allowing the washerwoman to be incarcerated, Mother  assumes responsibility for her and the infant and allows them to live in the attic of their near-empty house.  
       Upon returning from the North Pole, Father finds his domestic situation has changed, with a now more independent wife, a Black washerwoman and her infant living in the attic.  He feels out of the loop in a household that seems content to run along without him. 
       After some months, a very polite, well-spoken, dignified Negro ragtime piano player named Coalhouse, who is wealthy enough to own a car, begins visiting the house hoping to see the washerwoman and baby. He visits with the family every week, but at first the washerwoman refuses to see him. Eventually she does and they become engaged to be married. 
      On one of Coalhouse’s drive back from his weekly visits, his way is blocked by a group of redneck volunteer firemen who tell him he can’t drive on the road until he pays a $25 toll. He refuses and leaves his car to seek a policeman.  Upon returning to his car he finds it vandalized with human excrement put on the back seat.  He leaves his car parked where it was.  This incident spawns a series of unfortunate actions that quickly escalate into violence.
       Over the next few weeks Coalhouse tries to get legal help for the vandalism, but being a Negro, he can find no legal or governmental help. His car meanwhile becomes more and more vandalized and what is left of it is dumped in a pond.  Coalhouse refuses to ignore this racial injustice and tells Sarah the washerwoman he cannot marry her until the injustice is recognized and he gets his car back, fully renewed. 
      When the distraught Sarah hears that the US Vice President is coming to town for a speech, she sneaks off to petition him for help. As she rushes toward him, a Secret Service man hits her in the chest with his rifle butt, and she dies in the hospital, leaving the white family devastated and in charge of her baby.  
        Shortly after her death the volunteer fire station explodes, killing several firefighters, and a note is delivered to the local papers stating that unless Coalhouse’s car is returned in new condition and the fire chief turned over to him, more firemen, firehouses, and the whole city will be destroyed. There are plenty more events to come, but I will end my telling of the story there. 
      This central story of the family is interwoven with side stories of incidents, and famous people of the period.  Those famous people making an appearance in the novel include Houdini, the anarchist Emma Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Commodore Perry, Zapata (the Mexican Revolutionary), Booker T. Washington, and Henry Ford. 
       The novel does an extraordinary job of easily immersing the reader into the attitudes, beliefs, and atmosphere of the early 1900’a in America.  I found it amazing how the story wove all the characters, both famous and fictional together and connected them up so nicely. It  was a very entertaining novel to read. 

My paintings can be seen at:

Saturday 6 January 2018

Heat Seeking Cat

    Even through we have been experiencing much milder temperatures over the last couple of days (It  has even risen above the freezing mark), our cat Lucifer doesn’t seem to be convinced.  She continues to reside right under the wood stove.

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Friday 5 January 2018

A Ball of Cat

    I am in awe at the ability of cats to sleep in so many positions.  Here is a photo of Lucifer all snuggled together with herself.

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Thursday 4 January 2018

A Bright WInter's Night

    Last night I had to go to a meeting and returned home around 10:00.  Even though it has been three days since the full moon, the moon was very bright.  When I got out of the truck to walk to the house, I was struck by how quiet it was and how bright it was outside with the near-full moon and the snow on the ground.
    That snow reflected brightness has always impressed me during the winter.   Sometimes I think you could read a book outside just from the light of the moon and snow.  I have over the year’s tried to take a photo of the night light and have never been very happy with the results.  Last night I had my iPhone on me so I thought I would give that a try.  The resulting shot is one of the best night photos I have taken. 
    When we let Skye outside for her last pee, it is so easy to see her dark mass against the snow.  It is always a bit of a shock in the early spring when the snow is gone and we let her out, her black fur just disappears against the dark grass and you can’t tell where she is.    Snow does offer advantages when it comes to seeing in the dark.

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Wednesday 3 January 2018

As Far As The Tongue Can Reach

    What you are seeing is my bird feeder.  Notice how the area around the perimeter of the surface is void of seeds.  That is because every night when the deer come to feed on the leftover sunflower seeds, the height of the feeder makes it difficult for them to access most of them, and all they can get to are those that they can reach with their outstretched tongues.

My photo-realistic paintings can be seen at

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Down Dog

    I took this photo a few days ago during our cold snap and after we walked the dog.  Don’t get too upset, Skye wasn’t really as cold as the photo might suggest; Joan just likes to baby her.  
    Happily, the period of really cold temperatures has begun to moderate and we are back to our normal temperatures for this time of year--Highs -6C (21F) and Lows of -15C (5F).  Much of North America is suffering more than we are at present.

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Monday 1 January 2018

New Year's Eve, 2017

    While thousands of people were dazzled by the amazing New Year fireworks displays in cities around the world, our group of friends gathered at Milnes for our own pyroclastic display, featuring David lighting his annual Christmas pudding.   This year’s flambe’ was the best yet.  (Dave had learned the trick of heating the liquor before lighting it.)
    I must confess that this year’s gathering didn’t quite make it to the new year, as most of us aging partiers had gotten used to our earlier bedtimes and were beginning to fade before the clock struck twelve.  The gathering was also plagued by sickness that kept three of the normal attendees recuperating at home, but those that attended were treated with a beautiful table of tasty food, lively conversations, and of course, Dave’s Christmas pudding.
    Happy New Year !

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