Archive for the ‘Flora’ Category


New Growth

March 29, 2012

Peony SproutsPeonies sprouting through last years stubble.

Up early this morning running errands for my stepson’s chip truck…. along for the ride is a buddy of his, Billy, to do the heavy lifting. Billy’s an aspiring guitar player and I had Howlin Wolf’s London Sessions CD in the deck. ‘Hey, I’m liking this – who is this guy?’. So, I’m explaining to him about Wolf’s place on the Chicago blues scene and some of his equally famous bandmates – Willie Dixon and Hubert Sumlin – and some of the more recent bands who have covered his tunes. My brush with greatness being knocked on my butt when I literally ran into Willie in a hallway leading back to the stage in Toronto’s El Macambo tavern back in about 1972. My 130 lb frame didn’t stand a chance against Dixon’s 260 lbs. The big man leans down and says. ‘ Can I help you up, son?’. Good ride, good time. Loaned Billy the CD.

Fishing Hut


Wood, Trees, Leaves

November 17, 2011

Progress against the tide

It’s been a busy week here so far between work and working around the house before going to work. We had our yards cleaned up a couple of weeks ago as the willow and birch shed their leaves early. This past weekend though we had a long gusty rain storm that blew our neighbour’s maple leaves into our yard, completely carpeting it. How many leaves does a 70 foot maple tree have? About a kazillion.


This one? Well, when you’re sorta daydreamy from a long period of raking you start to notice the small details around you. To most people I suppose this is just a board on a fence.

Line, Shape, Tone Jumble

Last night around dinner time the wind started blowing from the north and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees in 2 hours. Today it looks like we’ll get up to maybe 6 deg C and it’s still gusty as anything. Apparently there is supposed to be a big dump of snow today further north (which is fine; it can stay up there). We have a few threatening looking clouds whizzing by ourselves.

for Kel

This is getting to be an annual thing but…. as I raked there were continuous V’s of Canada geese going over. Probably around a thousand a minute spread across the sky, every which way you looked…. and Lord, they are noisy as they flew with all their honking. If they fly low enough you can hear the swishing of the air through their feathers, too. Our dog Milo just sits and stares with a very worried and puzzled look on his face. Speaking of…. here’s my boy now. 


Autumn Colours



Who decides….

July 14, 2011

… which are weeds and which are flowers?

Queen Anne's Lace


gnarly barley

6 feet tall and about to bloom

 …. and on a completely unrelated note – while I was working last night one of the windows was shot out with a small caliber gun. Thankfully it was a triple glazed one and only the outermost one shattered.

fractured vision


Shades of Green

July 8, 2011

Wandering the yard….






dash of colour

Another wish….. that we could be surrounded by such vivid colour all year long.


Long or Short…. of it

November 24, 2010

Not too sure how long I’ll be sitting here. My back has been grinding and seizing up for the last few weeks… then I guess I screwed it up yesterday raking, bagging and carrying the last of the nice, wet, heavy leaves. Gotta have a little lay down soon before working tonight. Heating pad, ibuprofen, rest, la-la land…..


I’ve read a couple of memoirs lately by a two Toronto musicians (and writers) – Dave Bidini formerly of The Rheostatics and Paul Quarrington of Porkbelly Futures. Dave’s book recounts his adventure as a solo act touring the world following the Rheostatics break-up. He hit London England, Scandinavia, Russia, China, a couple of African countries and a few Canadian dates… the book’s title is ‘Around the World in 57 1/2 Gigs’. Paul’s book ‘Cigar Box Banjo’ is a blend of thoughts on music and life during his final year following a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer, which proved to be terminal. A downer of a read this definitely ISN’T. He stayed busy writing the book, a screenplay, writing songs and recording right up to three days before he died early this year. Paul grew up not too distant from where I did and we were about the same age so he mentions a number of places I’m familiar with and events we both attended.

Now I’m better than half way through Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ recounting his tour of Britain before moving back to the States (having lived in Britain for about 20 years). He definitely appreciates the ‘best of Britain’ but doesn’t hold back on his criticism of what he sees as ‘the worst’ either. Next up – and how could there two such divergent choices, anyway? – is either the Dalai Lama’s ‘The Middle Way’, or Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in America: The Gonzo Letters II’. Have to see how I’m feeling later and make up my mind then.

Had an interesting email from cuz BJ in response to that last post regarding John’s advice. Noted dear cousin; I’m not committing myself to anything fast and foolish. More like sober consideration.

Also re Kel’s comment/ question….. would have been tracking down courses except my back has kept me from the computer. Pretty much anything ‘Human Services’-wise would do. There’s a post-grad Addictions specialty degree offered at the local university so I’ll look into their course load.

bye-bye peonies - hack & slash

Nap time for Bonzo…..


Time Is Up

August 26, 2009
elongated shadow

elongated shadow

Today is a day of endings…. I have to tell a boarder to be on his way. Shortly after he moved in he lost his job and there hasn’t been a month since where he has paid his rent in full. Six months is way more than enough time. $2,000 in the hole is too much to expect he’ll ever be able to pay up. It’s time to cut my losses and at the same time cut him loose. This isn’t my way but I feel I’m being taken advantage of due to my lenient, accommodating attitude. Enough now, away…. it’s got to end.

shadowed clover

shadowed clover


How I Spent My Week Off….

August 4, 2009

Most of you know I was pretty much housebound as the result of Freedom’s repeat surgery and spent virtually all my time in the same room as her – the livingroom. We moved some furniture out and set up a double bed in there as it’s the only room on the main floor with carpet (better footing for her than ceramic or hardwood).

Thankfully, early in the week I got over to the library and picked up a few books and some music. What a change to have time and opportunity to read for pleasure. Over a few afternoon hour-long sessions I finished the autobiographic ‘Catch Me If You Can’ which detailed the one man crime spree of Frank Abagnale Jr. – con man, counterfeiter and ‘goodtime Charlie’ extraordinaire. Written in 1980, it was made into a movie in 2002 and starred Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent on his trail. Besides that one I picked up a couple on writing; one is very instructional and emphasizes the importance of clarity in thought and expression, and correct word usage. It is called, ‘Compose Yourself: and write good English’; written by an Oxford grad Harry Blamires, D. Litt. The other is titled ‘The Autobiographer’s Handbook’ (2008) and is edited by Jennifer Traig. Input is culled from 30 writers on a variety of topics and also includes a history of autobiography / memoir and a list of suggested reading. I’ve just started reading it but the first quote that struck me is, ‘I write myself into existence’. BTW, I had hoped to pick up one of Natalie Goldberg’s books but was saddened to find they have none of her books in any of their branches.

reddish-orange on green

reddish-orange on green

One afternoon we entrusted Freedom to the company of our dog-walker for a few hours so that we could pay a visit to a friend of Lynda’s – Debbie. Deb andher husband were recently on the receiving end of an enormous inheritance and had decided to have their house knocked down and to re-build from scratch. Deb wanted us to swing by to see if we wanted to scavenge anything – windows, doors, kitchen cupboards, whatever. We came away empty handed but enjoyed the time out and company. Deb’s husband and I removed a few last large items to their storage shed. The following morning the crane did it’s work in just a couple of hours bringing the whole place to the ground. Scattered about the property were a variety of trees, most of which are fruit bearing. One that I can’t recall ever having seen before was a Mulberry – bushes or canes, yes; a tree, never. Here’s a shot of it’s truncated trunk:

mossy mulberry

mossy mulberry

NEWSFLASH – TV is a wasteland especially at this time of year. The one shining nugget I happened to catch was a documentary on CBC-TV’s ‘The Nature of Things’ regarding brain plasticity (it’s ability to be rehabilitated after trauma). For an article about it and a link to view the episode see here; LINK. It covers some fascinating stuff and left me wondering if some of the therapies might have applications in recovery from addiction.

One of the CD’s I borrowed is journeyman saxophonist David Sanborn’s latest “Here & Gone’ (2008) which features the music of Ray Charles and his saxophonist Hank Crawford – a mix of jazz, blues, gospel and R&B. I was thoroughly enjoying the album, the music, guest artists and production right up until the last track came on when I just about went through the roof. One of my fave blues tunes of all time – ‘I’ve Got News for You’ – wrapped up the disc. The first time I heard that track was back around ‘the year One’ (well, 1971) when it was performed by Edgar Winter’s White Trash band with the great Jerry LaCroix on lead vocals. Sanborn’s version features Sam Brown on vocals. Here is Ray Charles performing it on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in 1990.

Hearing that tune puts me way up here:

on high

on high


Bouquet of Dead Flowers

July 22, 2009

cell2 086

Now if that doesn’t sound like a John Prine song title, I don’t know what does.

During some down time last week I trimmed the dead roses from the bushes in front of the house and then sat idly pulling the light peach coloured petals from the blooms. I was kind of lost in ‘the doing of it’ enjoying the fleshy feel of the petals and the faint aroma they still carried.  Did I bury my face in them?? Naturally!! Once I had amassed a pile of them I added a single whole red one that was holding together pretty well despite how far gone it was. After taking a couple of pictures using my cell phone I piled them into a little dish and put them on a windowsill in front of an open window in hopes their sweet smell would carry through the house.

Here Prine performs a song written by his late compatriot Steve Goodman – ‘Souvenirs’.


As Our Garden Grows

July 10, 2009

Here are a few shots taken during the last few weeks. It has been a cooler than usual transition from spring into summer and a little wetter, too. Perfect for abundant, verdant growth. Today was beautiful with clear blue skies and low humidity – temps in the low 70’s.












Blooming Idiot

Blooming Idiot

As you can see I like to fill the frame with the subject. Oops; I just noticed that the third shot should have been rotated. Mea culpa. I’d have identified them all if only I knew their names – the obvious ones are the lilies  and peonies; the others…????