Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Simplicity in Nature....

While playing with my camera this past weekend, I was able to examine a few subjects up close using my macro setting. The magnification ability left me reveling in the simplistic and yet so intrinsic beauty of my nature finds.

I was thrilled to come upon this humble little bee seeking some nectar on this bud. My poor husband wasn't wanting anything to do with this photo opportunity - splendor bit of nature or not, preferring instead to walk away instead. He is always leary of bees due to being allergic to their dreaded stings. Oh well....he can enjoy this photo instead. :-)

Something so simple as this insect makes one take in a huge breath, marveling at the glorious and yet basic simplicity of the natural world around us. Isn't it such a definite blessing to always be ever thankful to our God and Creator for every good and perfect gift from above, even something so itty bitty as this wee bumble bee? Lovely!

Wordless Wednesday

So how is your summer going so far?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fun with Nature, #15

Perhaps the title for this post might not be "fun" in some people's eyes. Perhaps it's downright "frightening" for a few. No matter this subject topic is of wild interest to one of our sons, and the topic today is;


Just as our whip snapping hero "Indiana Jones" proclaimed; "I hate snakes!", and showed his complete disdain towards them during the trilogy of movies, many can agree with his emotion towards them. At least in his case, snakes he encountered would absolutely justify such an emotional proclaimation. In fact, at several points in the first movie, I can remember lifting my feet from the floor and bringing my hands up to my own face while watching a few of the scenes. So many snakes were moving below his dangling feet threatening to wrap and coil their bodies around them. Ick!

I've mentioned twice before about the Common Garter Snake which crossed our path early one evening a few weeks ago, the one I was able to snap photos of from inside the house through the window glass, and then more photos when subsequently I scurried towards it after exiting the house in a huge flurry to snap even more.

It was a snake alright, and though we weren't exactly sure what kind of snake at first, books were opened and information sought both in their covers and on the internet. Shortly before my husband had shared with the family a story of a particular dangerous snake found here in Ontario who was poisonous.

Naturally throughout that week we had a few nervous children who quite suddenly weren't at all interested any longer in parading through the forest bush surrounding our home. One child in particular wasn't sleeping well at night, dreamy fears of snakes filled her mind. Poor child.

Our first visitor who came to call one evening

I was in my glory after snapping so many photos of the snake upon our rocky driveway, that is, until I discovered in my haste to get outdoors for the subject photo opportunity, there hadn't been a memory card inside of the camera and all of my great photos were actually resting on the camera's hard drive. Time passed by and it was only last week when I was in the city that the thought had occurred to me to enter a photography store (Blacks) and ask for assistance on how to retrieve those photos. I was so pleased when my issue was resolved with only a very short tutorial. If it ever happens again, I only have to click onto my menu, scroll to the next page and choose "copy", and then "copy to memory card". How simple does that get? I am so happy to have all those photos backed up onto my computer now for safekeeping.

Back to our snake topic;

We used our further snake fact research for an attempt to squash any lingering fears our children might still have. In fact did you know a garter snake is actually a very good slithery friend to have in our midst since his diet consists of earthworms, frogs and mice, and not young children.

These type of snakes can be very intimidating when first sighting one, that is especially when one considers the possibility of the length of his body. They can range from three to five feet in length and since they camouflage so easily in a bush or rock setting, they tend to creep up and suddenly appear before one notices them nearby. In fact the garter snake got his name as the pattern on his body resembles the form of garters once used to hold up a man's socks. When one observes one of these snakes in closer detail, a pattern exists of three small lines on one side, alternating with three on the other at intervals and a black stripe up their sides. This pattern makes them less visible to predators.

Snake "appreciation" isn't exactly a desirable hobby to me, but after finding out our visitor was merely a common garter snake rather than something more poisonous, (mind you it was still capable of biting when provoked), everyone seemed to calm down around here.

And when our son came upon a second sighting of one last weekend while working in the front forest area, he became very determined to capture it and take advantage of closer observations to learn more about him. Was it the same one we wondered.

Very soon I became a part of the action hovering very close to the garter snake in our midst, often with wild and reckless abandon when attempting a macro photo as it coiled up near to my feet. Safe or not safe, I could feel my adrenalin rushing through all of my senses as I jumped from one foot to another, ready all the while to try and secure some live photo footage while our son performed his very brave deed of the snake hunting ultimate capture.

It only took a few minutes to capture the fellow and he wasn't at all happy during the hunt. In fact, he moved about between us, sometimes only 3-4 inches from my shoes and then he began sit still and coil up with his tongue slipping in and out of his mouth quite a lot. He once attempted to hide under a leaf pile, but I suppose our son's fearless attempts at capturing him were too much for the little guy. In the end he ended up in a great big blue mesh bag. He wasn't going to be harmed at all, just looked (gawked!) at for a time.

Our blue netting bag soon became a safe though temporary haven for the scared fellow for a time and only for further observation of course.

Later in the day he was set free into the deep brush within our forest. Go snake Go! Go find mice to eat!

Here are a few more fun facts about Garter Snakes...
  • Colors of garter snakes can range from green to gray to almost black.
  • They give birth to live young in late summer.
  • They live in a range of habitats, including forests, edges of streams, fields and wetlands.
  • In winter, snakes hibernate in a deep crack, rock pile or log pile where the temperature remains above freezing.
Off to show his brother the new friend he captured

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Celebrating loved ones...

Happy Father's Day to my hubby!
Happy Graduation to our Son!

Today we celebrated loved ones in our family. This incredible day provided a time capsule filled with memories in our lives for dual celebratory occasions, and tender loving sessions with just the six of us hanging out together all day - on purpose! We woke to sunny skies - absolutely perfect weather for a celebration if you ask me.

Yesterday I was able to slip into a party store to shuffle through the aisles of the store, noting the displays and recommendations for such occasions as the two we had on hand in our family today. I found fun helium balloons to commemorate the celebrations this day and brought them home in a great big balloon bag. They remained in the vehicle until a late hour last night and then when all were asleep, I went outdoors to fetch them, trying my hardest to tiptoe with them in hand so I could surprise all with them in the morning. (Ever carried around an awkward and very noisy BIG bag filled with helium balloons, and tried to be quiet? LOL)

We proclaimed this day to be delegated as a high priority "family day" for the purpose of honoring our own. Firstly we celebrated the fact this was "Father's Day", naturally thoughts of my hubby filled the air around here, and of course both of our own fathers this day were on our minds. (Sending our love to our Dads over on the Westcoast).

Simple thanksgiving and sincere enthusiasm reigned throughout our home, from our "good mornings" to all attending a lovely brunch in the dining room.

My husband enjoyed a simple fanfare after our breakfast brunch round the table giving us a real show with plenty of hilarious antics rendering photo snapping from the warm fuzzies to remember for a long time. He can really get quite dramatic when he wants to, a funny side he shows our family upon occasion which has always had us in stitches over the funnies he presents.

Definitely looking just like "Indiana Jones" there honey

His new "Tilley Hat" will become a true asset to protect him from the onslaught heat waves of summer when the sun rises and the accompanying heat rises the mercury in our thermometer to high proportions making it all uncomfortable for everyone. A baseball hat is good. A Tilley is better yet for those super hot days when the sun rests just under the nap at the neck and on the face near the jaw. We're always on the lookout for shady spots to get him out of the sun's rays when we are out of the home, so this hat will become a great addition for his summer protection plan.

Did you know when you purchase a Tilley hat, no matter how long you own it, or what condition it ends up in, it can be replaced free of charge down the road, even as in the case of a man who returned his after 40 years of wear when it was almost thread bare around the visor part? Good stuff! I'm impressed as night has not quite fallen and he has already filled out his Tilley lifetime guarantee card, now ready to be popped into the mailbox tomorrow.

My hubby certainly loves the heat but it doesn't offer anything worthwhile even with just the welcomed warmth he so loves to bask in. Rather, summer can become a difficult time when it brings not only inevitable higher heat but in turn the warmer weather always carries along with it more humidity (especially here in the east). Often during these months my hubby can experience some uninvited panic driven moments when he feels the very sudden sensation of being smothered by a pillow over his face, unable to breathe properly during those times with his respiratory condition.

For those who have emailed to inquire about my hubby, thanks so much for your kind words and continued prayers! I am happy to report he has actually had several "okay" weeks while continuing with his twice weekly sessions of respiratory physiotherapy and many of his occupational energy tips have assisted deeply in helping him conserve his energies during activities. At this time we know it's necessary to gear up for tougher humidity conditions ahead. We can only hope and pray it isn't too severe this year, indeed that would be grand.

Today we also celebrated a milestone for our son being that he is now a 2009 (Home Educated) Highschool Graduate. Yes, this day is already here....and so soon.

No Grad cap for him today.
He prefers ball hats...this one with a grad tassel.
tee hee

Surprise after surprise filled our morning, the whole day really, but first mother here took out the very large bag of balloons to decorate the breakfast table. Along with matching napkins, a table centerpiece and other assorted items, we celebrated one occasion after another. Father's Day came first with our breakfast, and then when all was tidied up afterward it was time for a Graduation Celebration.

Gifts from the grandparents were presented,
the ones my mother left here the last time she came to visit.

Our son was deeply touched when he unwrapped an 11 x 17 framed graduation photo complete with congratulatory signatures written all around the enclosed matting. When I was in Vancouver a few weeks ago, I carried this matting everywhere I went and all the family were only too happy and pleased to participate in congratulating their brother, grandson and friend. Today, he became misty eyed for the sweet little notes resting upon that forever keepsake.

A very touching moment observing his response to this gift.

For an instant we were shocked by the time of day, almost too late for changing into our Sunday best and proceed out of the door to church for our noon time mass. We got completely distracted with our celebrations and we almost ran late getting out of the door. At one point while our son was opening a gift, I jokingly said; "Hurry up!" We all began to chuckle and dash from the table to get ready to leave.

The perfect way to end an afternoon and evening is to spend it by the water's edge. Original plans for the day included an outing request from my hubby but after a high mass turned out to be longer than anticipated, we all got into our family vehicle and pointed it in the direction of water, and just drove until we arrived at a boating dock and set off to explore the area.

Waterfront - the best place to be in SUMMER!

Park benches were scattered around the dock's wooden planks, and it was the perfect spot to take an afternoon stroll while stopping occasionally to rest and sip on a Timmies coffee. (wink, wink)

A few choice photos were snapped, random ones that I just enjoyed through my lens, and very soon we all opted to enjoy a dinner outing on the patio of one of the restaurants located on the waterfront.
After church most changed into other more
casual clothing for this dock side adventure

Arriving home in the early evening we noticed our carpenter had returned while we were gone out for the day and accomplished quite a bit more on our deck.

More deck action was underway while we were gone for the day

Picture perfect moments often happen when we least expect them, a few of those picture perfect celebratory moments that can only happen on impulse are uploaded here for our family to see. They were snapped on the spur of the moment when everyone was still reeling with happy adrenaline from the entire day's events and blessings.

Father and Son sharing a special memory together

The End of a GREAT DAY!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Just a little update today folks to report recent updates on the building of our new deck.

It's been a challenge for our carpenter, my hubby and oldest son to venture out to the back each evening this week as each working session has come complete with mosquito nippings and skin swattings. Yes, I know we can arm ourselves with plenty of sprays, in fact we have various kinds on board and STILL the ghastly insects adore my hubby the most. Perhaps we are thinking it's his more rare blood type, super yummy sweet and delicious for a mosquito to avoid the hunt for him, even while he sleeps! Just as a vampire becomes tempted with the lure of scent, so too we are sure now a mosquito can sniff the aroma of my hubby from miles away. Today he directed the three man working crew from within the confines of our home, through the screened doorway rather than exit the house for long.

We understand there are various devices and name brand mosquito aids one can purchase and have had several recommended to us. As I've proceeded with my research on which might render the best service for our home, I've become discouraged over employees snickering at me when I tell them where I live. Apparently these mosquito repellent or fluorescent sapper devices aren't working much in our area at this time, almost as though the insects have become oblivious to what their purpose is. So, I'm still hunting and darned if I'm going to find a simple remedy to the continued problem here. sigh...

Meanwhile, back to our deck...

The inspector showed up shortly after lunch on Friday, yesterday, and gave thumbs up we were allowed to begin the concrete pour into the sonotubes. One inspection down, two to go...

Our young carpenter comes with great qualifications from learning young while working side by side with his professionally European trained father. He retains a professional attitude on the job front, always working meticulously to secure excellent quality results. He more than earns the reputation he carries locally, a great guy to hire for our task at hand.

Relaxation occurs when one is working with a
reputable carpenter, a young one at that.

We have been greatly impressed by him and his work ethics, and the way he manages his additional helpers, our son included. Perfect training for future learning prospects, our son may be hired as a "helper" by him someday, at least that's what he's exclaimed to us anyway. I'm only hoping... grin, grin.

Deck in waiting outside of the door we've not yet been able to use.

Three men lifted and carried the smaller existing deck over to the other set of doors, and there it sits awaiting its installation next week sometime.

Many board planks were hoisted over men's shoulders and carried to the back decking area for an easy grab while construction was in progress. First though, my hubby and son scooted out early this morning to purchase another 12 bags of concrete mix because we were actually short with the pouring from yesterday into the concrete footing piers (sonotubes). Our son was weight training and didn't even know it when having to haul all the bags around. Bonus!

And the monsoon rains did fall but thankfully it was warm!

The weather the past few days has been extra lovely and warm, and today was no exception, that is until the rains came pouring down in a monsoon-like effect. All the worker's clothing was soaked through but none batted an eyelash as it was still warm out. Eventually though they called it quits when all the outside box, joists, beams, under beam support posts and handrail posts were all nicely in place.

Here's where we are at today, with more to come...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunday Cruising

Summertime Sea Breezes

Gotta love it when summer begins to come around, weather and all. Let's just say we got into the mood for summer this past weekend while celebrating the success of our family workbee the day before, and for this fabulous and most special present day - The Feast of Corpus Christi.

We celebrated alright, by relaxing and soothing our sore muscles and itchy scratchy mosquito bites by partaking in an afternoon cruise on the water, sailing for 3 hours as a family outing, all the while continually marveling over new waterways with historical/geographical narrations from captain.

The entire trip was spectacular for all even with the vast differences in weather changes. At first we were just fine, it was warm and no jackets were required.

Sea breezes are a balm to anyone with respiratory issues, a natural remedy to feel ..oh so good!

Sudden gusts of strong winds burst through the upper deck and the rain began to drop from the bulging black clouds overhead right where we were seated on our boating cruise, resulting in several trips up and down to warm up a bit and jackets were on. I should mention here there were a few family diehards who never left their seats and braved the elements on the upper deck the entire time.

We knew there would be a bit of rain. We knew the sun would still shine later after it dissipated and the best part is we also knew this would be a good day to cruise about because not as many folks would be thrilled with such weather prospects. The ship wasn't too crowded, plenty of room for all to wander about on both upper and/or lower decks. It was just right.

Within an hour or so, glorious sunshine blasted its rays directly on our boating vessel, spilling warmth and wonder into all of the passenger's spirits.

The upper deck became lively once with passengers preferring to get out into the elements while enjoying fun forays of sailing, speed boat and seadoo wild riders in the ship's waves' wake.

Both of our boys preferred to remain on the lower covered deck for most of the sailing, and somehow our oldest son managed to keep away from his mother's camera lens subject viewing. So, there are no photos of him on this trip save for his back in one photo while we were waiting on the dock to board the boat. His loss as he doesn't get to make it on this blog's photo picks for the post. LOL

All that said, I more than made up for the lack of photos for one child by playing with my camera (alot!) while simply taking facial photos of all the other family members at whim, capturing some really fantastic shots if I do say so myself. I won't upload them all here, just going to enjoy my looty in my photo files instead.

However, there is one shot that says it all when everyone tires of being "mom's subject" and I simply must share it with all of you....LOL....hee hee

H0w to end a perfect day of course? Dairy Queen ice cream treats! Yum! And then off for home where hubby prepared a feast for any king/queen.