Sunday, November 6, 2011


strontium dog

The misery in Thailand continues and the flood waters have finally reached Lauchie's doorstep in the Lad Phrao district of Bangkok. Like many Bangkokians, he has fled the scene and has been relocated to a town 1000 kms away from the city. I am grappling with the enormous scope of disaster. There are 13 million people living in Bangkok and all are being effected by this catastrophe. My head shakes when I look at the recent news photos. So many familiar places are underwater. I posted a few flood shots above...just compare them to the images of this street from a couple of years ago.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

road trip

Acadia signpost

Back in mid-june we packed our bags, headed down the TransCanada highway, took a left in New Brunswick and followed the I95 into the heart of Maine. The weather gods were on our side. This summer has been one of the soggiest on record yet we basked in sunshine for three days. Acadia National Park was the highlight. Thanks to John D. Rockefeller's road building obsession, the park boasts an extensive network of carriage roads which are a treat to explore. We rented a pair of bikes and Lauchie got a gold star for not complaining about wearing a goofy helmet. Not even one grumble. His restraint was a show of stoic manliness.

granite tunnel



frenchmens bay 2

bike rider

granite tunnel detail

barharbour island



Sunday, July 31, 2011

every cottage has it

It is the thing you do that makes the cottage trip official. It's the milestone activity that you complete and say "ahhh, now that's summer". At our family cottage it was a hike around Red Point or a frog catching trip to the lake or a big bonfire on the seashore. At my sister in-law's cottage it is the hike to the top of the hill behind the house. Sheep grazed the hillside when the family bought the property and the A-frame was a beige triangle on a field of solid green. Now the lambs are no more and the brush and spruce has begun to take over the grassland. The laurels scratch your bare legs as you hack through the ankle-turning hummocks and skirt the swampy patches marked by Blue Flag iris. If you time your walk for a hot day in early July you can feed on tiny wild strawberries that have been warmed in the sun. The summit does not disappoint. The commanding views up the estuary and along to the West Mabou Beach are heart pounders.




I put together a little panorama. Click to enlarge in Flickr.

mabou panorama

Saturday, July 30, 2011

rock on

The garden has been on the rocks for the last month; specifically on granite blocks and limestone slabs.

A couple of summers ago we had a couple of small walls built as part of our new porch construction. The finished walls impressed us so much that we decided to continue the theme and replace another wall with the same material. Our builder has been busy trying to make this 15 ton pile of rock disappear.

The pile with a wheaten terrier for scale.

wall blocks 1

The wall rises but the rock pile looks untouched...hmmmm.

wall blocks 2

block pile 1

block pile 2

Lauchie has been in charge of the roadwork and he extended the pathway along the front garden.


path and porch

Saturday, June 4, 2011

messing about in boats

finish line

Don't tell my garden but I am cheating on it. This affair has been going on for years now and the relationship between me and my weeds has become quite strained. It started innocently enough when I answered an email from one of my relatives. He was looking for crew to help him race a J24. At the time, what I knew about boats could fit in a teaspoon of seawater and I had a pretty romantic notion of what sailing was about. I figured that I could compensate for my lack of knowledge with some wicked kitchen skills and imagined I would spend the races below decks manning the well equipped galley where I could keep busy opening wine, cutting up cheese blocks and putting out appetizers. If you have ever raced a small sailboat, you are probably laughing at this image. Racing is not quite that genteel and often, a smooshed peanut butter sandwich or a granola bar are the only items on the menu. Something in the game hooked me though and a few years ago I bought a boat with a friend. We've spent a couple summers racing it at a local club and the abject terror has softened into pulse pounding fun. Time on the water is addictive and my garden is suffering from some neglect. It's hard to serve both the land and the sea.

A few scenes from today's Appleton Rum Harbour Race: A bermuda start from the Northwest Arm, then around Hens and Chickens Shoal at Point Pleasant and into the Harbour with a raft up at Bishop's Landing. Amazingly, the diminutive Luna took second place.

luna crew

lorna trimming 4

one boat ahead

2 spins

raft up 1

raft up 2

Friday, June 3, 2011

she works for scale

Jigs 1

Plant pictures are nice and all, but sometimes you need to lend a sense of proportion to the image. If I was a geologist, I'd probably put a ruler in for scale or go really wild and crazy and put in a shovel. I am fortunate to have a wheaten terrier ready to hand and if you can overlook her complete disobedience, she makes a trusty assistant.

Observe. A path without a wheaten terrier:

path without jigs

A path with a wheaten terrier:

jigs on path

Much better don't you think? A little more life in the frame. Her stage entrances are a bit late but she works for kibble and doesn't talk back.

She's terrific for scale. How would you know this rhodie is a gangly, lanky thing unless she showed you the whole tree:

jigs mezit

And if the scene requires it she can even break out her acting skills. Here she is with a melodramatic sniff:

jigs sniff

For background performance work she drops her rates:

jigs blur

pink rhodie closeup


polypodium old growth

polypodium new

rhodie jungle

through daphne

Monday, May 30, 2011



Blue sky. Finally some sun to create light and shade. Weeks and weeks of grey bring me down. And give the garden a little light and you can watch it bust out all over.

It's really past time to play what my friend calls "musical plants". I should have been at that a few weeks ago. Gardeners know what I mean. In the spring it's moving time. You pull one thing out and to give it a new spot you must move something else. The domino effect ripples through the yard and eventually it seems like everything needs moving. Last fall we dragged a hot pink azalea out of a cozy den beneath an ever expanding yak. It bloomed this spring so there is hope for it. Too bad it clashes with every other plant around it. Something tells me it will be on the move again. The delicate Ginny Gee made me happy this spring. They were so completely covered in blossoms that they looked like a small pink cloud floating in the woods.



red pink clash

red maple


azalea vertical





view from the cottage