Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before ...

... well, you know the rest! And even though we don't have any mice "stirring", our puppies are becoming more active all the time, even starting to interact with each other. I expect eyes will start to open any day now, as Christmas Day is their two week birthday. I doubt they have sugarplums dancing in their heads, but they are certainly content little babies.


We've decorated the house, dressed the tree (real, of course :)), gifts are wrapped and bowed, and the table is festive and ready for Santa. I never get tired of Christmas morning!






Monday, December 14, 2009

Puppies Have Arrived!

We're extremely pleased to announce the arrival of our latest litter. We have 4 males and 1 female (the one with the most white in these photos). Quite the range in size at birth, from 5.2 oz to 9.2, but all are doing wonderfully, and Jolie (Am/Can Ch Shaydeechase Girl Interrupted) is an outstanding mother. Sire is the handsome Ch Lynphil Mirror Mask.

A little camera shy ...

It's very tiring trying to sleep during your first photo shoot ...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Starting to Look a Lot Like ...

I never do my Christmas lights the same way twice, so it's a bit of a Cracker Jack box every year. I had taken a stab at it a week ago, but found some excuse to put off finishing. This past Sunday was bright, sunny, and not a blizzard, which is what we are usually battling to hang our lights. I got home in good time from a terrific dog show weekend with my very good friend Kim (Laureate) and was in a festive frame of mind, so even though I was going solo, and am not the best on a ladder, decided I really had to take advantage and finish the job. Unfortunately, it was not a task that would be accomplished in that bright, uplifting sunshine. I ended up crawling around in the dark (mind you, it was only 5:30!!) trying to find extension cords whose plugs were compatible. It should have been easy, but apparently not all plugs are made the same. Go figure.

The end result, although satisfactory, is really anti-climatic without that first gentle layer of snow (emphasis on "gentle"), which nicely softens the entire affect and makes the whole thing Christmas-y instead of just cold winter lighting. But from most angles, the lights didn't look half bad.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Rain Delay

On Sunday I had popped my 4 month old show hopeful "Meena" into the van with my camera gear and clothes for the weather to explore another large conservation area, just down at the end of the major thoroughfare one street over. It was darkening as the afternoon grew late, but I had high hopes the rain might hold off for us, just for maybe an hour. It didn't. This was the view looking into the entrance to the park when we arrived.

Same view, after the wipers had made a pass.

We did get brave enough to see if it really was raining as hard as it looked. It was.

That was all right, I had wanted to get a start on my dinner anyway, as it was something I came up with on the fly and a little more exotic than my usual fare. I had acquired some moose sausage a week or so ago, and although I've had it before, it has been awhile and I forget how I had cooked it. I settled on a kind of moose ragout, sausages braised in chopped tomatoes and root vegetables with mushrooms on wild brown rice. It ended up looking very rustic, and smelled wonderful! I'm glad there was plenty for leftovers :).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fall Frisbee

Not only are the golf courses still busy, but this unseasonably long and temperate autumn has extended even the frisbee season. Ordinarily by this time of year the neighbourhood streets and school parking lots would be ringing with the sound of pucks or balls being slapped by hockey sticks. Perhaps this isn't beach weather, but definitely still mild enough for a beach-type sport!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gull Spotting

As pleased as I was to find some surprises at the pond, I still was hoping to track down some Canada geese, in flight or landing in that majestic formation. I headed to a spot I felt sure would yield all kinds of goosey photo ops ... surely I wouldn't end the day without at least one fabulous shot of my quarry?

Of course I was doomed to not see a single Canada goose all day. I did find a large flock of gulls that I had not expected at all, and ducks that I knew and a few I didn't. I was caught by the striking difference in venues, leaving the pond that was all soft and puffy and muted, coming to this river bank, stoney and harsh, even the birds were edgier and steely. A no less enjoyable place to be, very different from where I had just come, and again, unfolding some unexpected treasure.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Hunter or Hunted?

Geese and ducks of all sorts are pretty much peaking right now in their migration activity. At any given time, you can first hear the trumpeting up above, then the characteristic V-shaped body passes overhead, sometimes only a few geese, sometimes so many that you can't count, and then they're gone. I've been trying to capture that moment of take off, or at least a close enough shot of them in flight, but I don't seem to be in the right place at the right time. I'm going to keep trying, at least until it snows. They may be elusive, and sure, they can fly, but I'm stubborn :).

I came across a man-made pond this weekend, behind a school and right in the middle of a suburb. I had seen geese in that general area before, but didn't realize the size of this pond. It was surprisingly big, down in a crater-type depression, and well hidden on 3 sides with weeds and grasses. Although it was nippy and breezier than it has been, I was dressed for it, and ready to wait as long as I had to. I took the few ducks paddling around as a good omen. So I waited. And I waited. I took photos rather aimlessly, deleting most on the spot, then realized my surroundings were really far more interesting that I had first thought. In fact, the longer I was there, and the colder I got, the more downright fascinating it was. By the time a handful of geese finally did make their arrival, I was quite happily wrapped up in my little "macro world".

These two ducks persisted in remaining close enough and long enough that I did oblige and took a couple of pictures anyway. I didn't want to hurt their feelings by letting on it was really the geese I was hunting ... they seemed satisfied after a few shots, and swam away.

While I was busy entertaining myself, I got the feeling, fleeting at first, then stronger, that I was being watched, and watched very carefully. After looking around a little more closely, this is what I found in the bushes. A day of unexpected surprises!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sunday at the Park

Inspiration, the sudden urge to pick up my camera and get "that shot", comes out of the blue more often than when it's planned. On Sunday afternoon, I was caught by the way the sun lit this flower arrangement on my table, and took a number of pictures just playing with the colours and composition and how close could I get (not as close as I would like :)).

That's all the excuse I needed ... my planned-for drudgeries at home suddenly evaporated, I changed from yard clothes to public duds, grabbed my camera bag and headed for Springbank Park, a large and well-known spot, sure to be busting with photo-op potential.

The park was full of maples and other trees in varying degrees of colour and defrocking. This striking yellow-leaved maple stood near the riverbank, and it's reflection looked like molten amber.

The carousel that would normally have line ups of children waiting to climb aboard these obedient steeds was nearly riderless.

The stairs led to the park's train depot and the pool area. Not a lot of foot traffic here now!

Even the swings are still and silenced, just one lone child, bundled and scarved, taking what might be the last turn of the year.

No reservations needed here ... not till next year ...