Frosty, Foggy Morning

A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.
– Rudyard Kipling, The Light That Failed –

Alberta

Sunbeams cut through the morning fog.

Alberta

As the fog starts to lift, frost steals across the ground.

Water drops freeze onto the tips of the grass blades.

Fall Hoarfrost – A Lens Full of Crystals

Our first ‘winter storm’ of the season was night before last. It didn’t drop that much snow, and the temperature didn’t get all that much below freezing. It wasn’t a big deal, unless you were one of the unfortunate ones who had to drive to work the next morning. People seem to forget how to drive on slippery roads, so the first commute of the winter is a nightmare.

I wouldn’t normally venture out in a car until well after the morning traffic had got to where they were going. Rush hour, darkness, and icy roads aren’t my thing. But The Car Guy had an appointment at a Doctor’s Office at 8:30 AM, and I’m still the designated driver, so at 7:30 in the morning we ventured onto the freeway for a trip that would normally take about 40 minutes. At 8:45 I breathed a sigh of relief that we had arrived at our destination, safe and sound and only 15 minutes late!

After the appointment, I faced another task I don’t enjoy – paying for the parking. (You probably remember my post called Give Me the Good Old Parking Meter, Please!)  At the entrance to the Parkade was a sentinel – an electronic ticket machine – daring me to figure out how to use it. Fortunately, The Car Guy speaks their language and all I had to do was remember on which floor I had parked.

Not all wintery days are so harrowing. Last week we had a Hoarfrost morning. I spent almost an hour taking pictures of a world filled with tiny crystals. It was magic.
Frost covered blades of grass.

A very close up view of a leaf.

Grass seed, with this year’s hay bales in the distance.

The Canadian Nature Photographer website has some excellent Hoarfrost pictures.

Moose Tracks in my Alberta Yard

AlbertaThis past winter a new set of tracks appeared on the edge of our woods – Moose. These tracks were made by several moose, likely travelling together.

Exciting, but moose can be very dangerous during certain times of the year. One of them has already challenged a car on the road out front, I hear.

I’m not too concerned about my personal safely, however. I have an early warning system – the chatty birds – Magpies. I’m not the only creature they harass! Owls, deer, coyotes, crows, fox, skunks – nothing slinks through these woods without being vocally assaulted by the magpies. All I have to do is listen carefully and I’ll know in advance if there is something I should be aware of.

AlbertaJust how big is a moose?  This is a close up shot of one of the tracks in the snow. The two little holes on the right side of the track are left by the animals dew claws which are two small extra toes that are situated a bit higher up the back of the leg. This track would be about 5 inches long.

The moose in the photo below is standing next to a fence that is 4 feet tall (and I am just over 5 feet tall) so you can understand why I would not want to be near a moose if it was having a bad day! I feel much safer with my trusty Magpies on full alert!

Macro Monday – Feather Iridescence

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
– Oscar Wilde –

macroThe most interesting thing about Macro Photography is that it changes the size of your world. Where a landscape photographer might take a photo of a whole field of flowers, a macro photographer needs only one flower. That one flower can be broken down into parts that become almost unrecognizable to someone who has never seen a flower from that perspective.

I’ve just started to use a Macro Lens, and I don’t claim to be anything but an inexperienced novice. It is hard not to be excited, however, about a whole new world that exists within my every day world!

On that note, would you recognize that this is a magpie feather?

Seeing Through Windows and Doors

You can’t go on “seeing through” things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.
– C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man –

It wasn’t too hard to find a photo in my archives to demonstrate ‘Through’.  Windows are very good for this sort of thing.  This one is our patio and driveway in the summer through our front door window.

This is the same view through the window today  – snow, thanks to a low pressure system moving in from Idaho into Montana then north into our province. And everyone thinks all the bad weather originates in Canada!

No, I wanted a much more difficult challenge, and for that I would have to use a magic spell. I took two photos, waved my magic mouse over them and uttered “Photoshopis elementis transperantis layerosis!”

photoshop transparent door
The magic spell used to create this transparent door is Photoshopis elementis transperantis layerosis!

Ta Da! You can see right through the closed door of my dishwasher! Yes, I know the view isn’t crystal clear, but dishwashers are notorious for leaving a bit of a soapy film, aren’t they?

If you would like to see how other photographers have interpreted this challenge, click on this link: WordPress Photo Challenge: Through.

Winter White Means Snow and Ice

All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.
– Erma Bombeck –

A carpet of white snow is slowly blanketing our part of the world. No one minds if children trod upon it, build snowmen with it, or slide down it. Children don’t seem to think winter is nearly as long as their parents do!

Across the street from the Red House, the Hay Bales got their first dusting of white a few weeks ago. The bales are looking more and more like frosted shredded wheat!

Our recent heavy frost briefly left a coat of white ice crystals on every surface. This tree stump looks like it has sprouted white feathers!

Cascade Mountain sports the first snow of the winter. It won’t be long before there is enough snow in the mountains for the ski season to start!

Guests and Family – My Labour Pool

Eldest Daughter (The Cooker), Son-in-law (The Fisherman), and two Grandchildren (Lego Kid and Wild Child) will be arriving soon for a month of Summer Holiday. Everyone is gearing up for this event. A master list of activities is at the third draft stage, with three families still to provide input. Canada could launch a takeover of the USA with less planning!

When visiting family first walks in the door of the Red House, they are treated like Guests. They are invited to use the hand towels in the Half Bath:

But after the first beverage has been poured, and the first meal has been served, all Guests at The Red House are expected to morph into family, whether they are blood relatives or not!  In other words, they can pitch in and act like they live here – which I make very clear with the signage at the front door:

The Cooker will have no problem with taking over some of the meal preparation. She is a far better cook than I am, and for the most part would rather eat what she cooks than what I cook, I believe. I explain the discrepancy between her skills and mine by reminding her that I am of British Isles stock, while she has inherited that plus Slavic and Nordic genes. Genetically then, she must have got her cooking skills from her father’s side of the family.

The Red House is a perfect place to host guests. Three guest bedrooms, two guest baths – lots of room to gather or be apart. But it won’t be long before everyone heads out to The Cabin on Antelope Street, and that is where they will stay for most of the month. The cabin – one guest bedroom, only one bathroom, a couple of holiday trailers. The little kitchen will never close once six to twelve people settle in for the summer!

In mid August the cabin will suddenly be quiet. No children will whoop and holler as they hunt each other down with nerf guns. (This game has a hiding component, and a rock whose purpose I don’t understand…) The bicycle rack will silently hold all the faithful two wheelers that have traveled back and forth between our Cabin and The Car Guy’s Sister’s Cabin. The freezer door will close and stay that way, all the icy Freezies gone except the blue ones:

There is no known navy-blue food. If there is navy-blue food in the refrigerator, it signifies death.
– Erma Bombeck –

But that is a month away. Today I can only ask for a month of good weather and hope a boatload of mosquito spray is enough!

Colourful Poppies

orange
Iceland Poppy
red
Papaver somniferum
White Poppy – possibly Iceland poppy
Oriental Poppy
Iceland poppy

Plant Profile
Common Name: Poppy
Scientific Name: Papaver
Hardiness: herbaceous annual, biennial or short-lived perennial

Papaver somniferum (Breadseed Poppy): source of poppy seeds; annual with red, white or pinkish flowers.
Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy): perennial with orange, red, white or pinkish flowers.
Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppy): short-lived perennial with white cream, yellow, salmon, orange, pink or red flowers.
Papaver alpinum hybrids (Alpine Poppy): short-lived perennial with white to cream, yellow, soft pink or orange flowers.