Monday, July 29, 2013

Forest Scenes: A Running Photographer

I've decided that I love running and taking pictures.  When you run in the forest, you see so many beautiful views and interesting things like the frogs in the third picture, and you just want to record them.  At least I do.  As I stopped running to take another picture, I worried for a second that I wasn't getting a good workout.  Then I thought, 'actually, I'm really just doing intervals...'!  So that's okay then.  (It's all about your perspective.)

Fallout from Severe Windstorm - When A Tree Falls...

We had a severe windstorm in Hamilton Ontario Canada recently.  There are trees down everywhere. 

There were lots of trees down in the forest.  We're just lucky that so many are still left standing.


Tea for Two!

My daughter and I love going out for tea together.  It's a small bit of civilization in a house full of boys, hockey, and risque jokes.  Of course we love all the boys and their humour, but sometimes it's nice to go somewhere peaceful.  We went to Taylor's Tea Room in Dundas.  My daughter was reading the boards there, and suddenly she leaned toward me and whispered conspiratorially: "Mommy, did you know that the soup here is very special?"  The sign said, "SPECIALS: Soup".


Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Scenes: Including a Hoax and an Outdoor Shower

We were just up at the family cottage for a week.  The third picture is interesting; it's of an old birch log lying on the ground by the Bruce Trail near the Visitor Centre in Tobermory.  Obviously someone has cut slits into the log and put in some macrame of some kind.  I was running on the trail when I saw a large group of tourists taking pictures, so I went to see what was going on.  The tourists thought that they were looking at poisonous mushrooms.  They were amazed.  It makes you wonder who would go to the trouble of doing this and why.

I love the fourth picture.  If you look closely, you can see my daughter is sitting on the rocks and looking out across the water at a mother duck and her babies.

I also love the second to last picture - it's one of my favourite places at the cottage - the outdoor shower!  Who knew?  As a very smart man I know said of it, 'There's nothing like having the sun on your head and the wind up your ...'!  Honestly, it's so relaxing to shower outdoors.  It's so much more fun and scenic.  You can hear birds chirping.  Try it if you can; you won't regret it.

I've recently discovered UK travel writer Bill Bryson.  He is hilarious and informative.  In his book, 'A Walk in the Woods', he mentioned that humans seem unsure what their role is with regards to the environment: whether we should be neutral, opponents or stewards.  Living beside the water for days on end and appreciating the many different forms of wildlife you see, it seems obvious.  We need to be stewards.  Bears don't hold fundraisers to save their cubs.  Eroded cliffs don't bake cookies for bake sales.  Blue herons can't write petitions.  It has to be us.  We are immensely lucky to live in such a beautiful environment, and surely we care about its continuance, if not for us then for the following generations.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Scenes from a Trail Run - Canterbury Falls Trail and Sherman Falls, Hamilton Ontario

My exercise partner and I decided to do a run/walk this morning at 7 a.m.  I would love to do more workouts in the morning, but I always find I'm too exhausted.  All I want to do is drink coffee and read the paper before the kids wake up and mayhem ensues.  But I know it's better to exercise in the morning, and otherwise I'm working out on my lunch hour or in the evening, and evenings are so busy with activities for the kids.  We thought we'd try it. 

I meant to set the alarm, but forgot.  I woke up 15 minutes before I was supposed to meet my friend.  I jumped out of bed, panicking.  Luckily I had set out all my workout clothes, but it was amazing that I was even able to put my contacts in, because my eyes were barely open and I felt completely unco-ordinated.  I rushed out the door without even a sip of coffee, even though inside I was saying to myself, "How can I function without my morning coffee?  How?  It's not that I can't, it's that I don't WANT to!  I love my coffee!"  I ignored that voice and kept going.  (I ignore voices all the time; am I the only one?)

It's hard to begin, but once you're outside in the cool morning air and the early sun, it's all worth it.

These pictures were taken along the trail and then at Sherman Falls.  I was struck by how smooth the rock had been worn under the waterfall, as the rocks beside the falls are completely craggy and uneven.  It's amazing that water can affect rock like that.  I love the picture of the roots.  There's something about roots growing around rock that is beautiful.  I also love the design in the algae on top of the pond.  I think forests are at their best in the mornings.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

There's Nothing Like A Good Blue Heron Sighting

I love Blue Herons.  And it's so peaceful to see them.  At the cottage recently I was very lucky to see an entire family of Blue Herons flying low across the water.  It was twilight; a beautiful time of night for a beautiful view.

They are fascinating birds.  They live together in a large group of colonies called a heronry.  (What a great word.)  Both males and females sit on the eggs; they take shifts.  I love it!  The males take the day shift while the female takes the night shift.  Probably because during the day the females have a million other things to do like go grocery shopping....I mean, hunting!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's Your Idea of Quintessential Summer Fun?


As parents we want our kids to be able to experience certain things that capture summer fun.  What is that for you?
  • eating Popsicles on the deck on a hot summer day
  • picnics at the park
  • building sandcastles at the beach
  • jumping into waves
  • flying kites
  • playing at the playground
  • eating ice cream cones
  • blowing bubbles outside
  • throwing Frisbees at the park
  • bike rides
  • forest hikes
  • camping with bonfires, s'mores, roasted wieners
  • swimming in the lake
  • kayaking or canoeing
  • boat rides
  • seeing fireflies
  • fun fairs
  • chalk drawing on driveways, decks
  • lemonade stands
What have I missed?