Friday, May 29, 2009

lily bells

The woods are ringing with perfect little bells of all sorts. The snappy white and green combo is so fresh and clean that I practically want to eat it. I loved the dramatic dark and light extremes of lily of the valley shots. It made me think of the lighting effects in italian renaissance paintings, romantically described as chiaroscuro. A reward for remembering to take my camera on my morning dog walk.

Monday, May 25, 2009

the river kwai

Willow's post motivated me to dig up a few photos from a 2008 jaunt to Kanchanaburi, a town a few hours west of Bangkok. The town sits on the bank of the sleepy River Kwai and it is at this site that the famous bridge spans the water. The bridge was rebuilt after the war and the graves of the POW who died during the building of the Death Railway were relocated to large cemeteries in the town.
We set up home base at the charming PLOY guesthouse and hired a songthaew (a small pickup truck) and a driver to take us on a round of sites. As with most places on the back-packer trail, there is a circuit of regional highlights and a competitive mob of drivers/tour operators who ply the well worn track between them. We made stops at the Erawan National Park and The Tiger Temple before heading back to town on the train that still runs along the Death Railway route.
the immaculate POW cemetery
the tiger temple
can I keep him?  natural pools at the Erawan National Park. no Disney effects here.
train station at Wangyen yellow benches lit by golden light

early in the evening, party barges are pulled up river and then left to noisily drift back down river with the current

Friday, May 22, 2009


The new fence is up. I don't think I will ever be able to look at it without immediately thinking "GRIDS!". I will then be transported back to the first year of design school where the trial-by-fire exercise was the drawing of a perfect, blot-free set of 1/4 inch grids...with a Rapidograph. A pen with ink in it. Imagine. I'm sure they still have them in museums. They display them along with the hot pokers, iron maidens and other instruments of medieval torture.

a wonky, stitched together panorama of our leaf strewn yard
[ click to enlarge ]

Thursday, May 21, 2009


More from the "I never get tired of my garden" photo collection. We topped out at 27º celcius today and the leaves are busting out all over.

the front path [ click to enlarge ]
the wall [ click to enlarge ]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

antonio gaudi

Sea sponge? Strawberry cheese?

Rare soft pink coral?

No, this is the work of the master architect Ant-onio Gaudi, the carpenter ant (or "chaarpinter ant" as Tom deSilva would say). The little buggers love rigid pink styrofoam insulation and have been helping themselves. We found a mess of them in the end wall when we renovated last year and I saved this bit of Ant Art. I've had an invasion this spring as the rest of the clan searches my house for blank canvases to express their muse. I wouldn't hazard to guess what the R Value of this is now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

we bought it on ebay

Well not quite an ebay buy but we did find this sweet little j22 for sale on the internet. The boat was originally from Texas and was owned by a sailor from Littleton, Colorado when we discovered it. In its lifetime it may have traveled more miles over land then it has traveled through the sea. This time last year we were bringing it home to Halifax, snaking around the great lakes and flying along the 401. Happy Birthday boat! 

(And yes Susan, there's that damn fleece again)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

out of the woods

I love this spring thing. Buds popping, birds singing, woods greening... I just want it all to slow down so I can take it all in. I know if it did I would not find it so exhilarating. All this newness has a fleeting beauty and it demands my attention.

Mayflower or Trailing Arbutus, Nova Scotia's floral emblem

Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) gets it's name from its habit of growing into the ground and snaring walkers

Baby Beech leaves

I don't know what this plant is but I love its tiny leathery leaves

Apparently Jigs likes them too

Friday, May 15, 2009

happiness is a warm puppy

My friends are adding a new member to their pack. Tonight I went with them to visit the litter and I met this bit of puppy love. I would like to introduce Jude. Only 5 weeks old and already stealing hearts. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

sole survivor

The deer were hungry this spring. We came home from the grocery store one snowy evening in March and were startled by a pair standing in the middle of our garden. Nothing was up at that point and in desperation they nibbled on the shrubs, dribbling Holly and Euonymus leaves around the yard. Their foray was an intelligence mission. They came back for a batch of tulips, nipping all but one in the bud. The survivor is blooming now. I wonder if she was being saved for dessert.

The headless brothers and sisters, cut down before their time

Monday, May 11, 2009

out and about

Sailing season has started again. Tonight was the first night for the women's racing series. We didn't race this evening, opting to do a bit of shakedown cruising to clear away the winter cobwebs. The breeze was southwest, just a few knots of light air and the living was easy. I neglected my job as sail trimmer and concentrated on capturing the the changing sky.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

mothering sunday

This morning I caught part of a reading of Beloved by poet Billy Collins on CBC radio. While searching around for it, I found this poem, which is a perfect fit for the day and a perfect description of the baffling imbalance of great love. Thanks Mom. I owe ya a lanyard.

The Lanyard - Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

making my list

©Wally Hayes - Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage

©Wally Hayes - Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage

©Wally Hayes - Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage

Some of my design work sends me digging through the photo collection of the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism Heritage and Culture. I am usually involved in this work during the winter months and while the snow piles up under my window, I am being tortured with photos of warm summer days and amazing natural places. Every second image reminds me of something I would like to see or do, so by the time spring comes my summer-to-do list has gotten pretty long. But when I came across these photos of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, I moved "Hike the Skyline Trail" to the top of the list. That ocean view is calling my name.