Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas has come and gone and we had a lovely
time. We had wonderful meals, went to a beautiful light show,
spent time with family and played with dogs. We visited the farm and
dropped by the cabin we built this summer to check
on things. We also received some lovely gifts and I will be
mentioning one in a later post.

I have a mental list of birds I would love to see it included
wild Turkey's, Bobolinks, Prairie Chicken and Snow Buntings.
I have glimpsed flocks of Snow Buntings while travelling
across the prairies in the winter but they never landed. So you
can imagine my delight when I looked out the kitchen
window of the farm and saw a flock of small white
birds in the stubble field in front of the house.
While the photos are not great I am posting them anyway.


" i)  I watched them from the road

At first
they didn't move
and when they didn't move
you couldn't see them

They were earth and snow

The birds were in a fallow field
and it was earth
and snow
and so you couldn't see them


vi) They drift across the barren  days

like grain in birch
in bird's-eye maple...seeds

like feathered seeds they drift along
blown by the wind

blown by the wind above the grass and stone


You must lie down in the dark
in the naked fields
You must think of the birds

and make them as you will"

                       Snow Bunting
                           D. J. Jones

Friday, December 23, 2011

"With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound. "

Twas the Night before Christmas
published anonymously


Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring
Snowin' and blowin' up bushels of fun
Now the jingle hop has begun

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancin' and prancin' in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air

What a bright time, it's the right time
To rock the night away"
                            Jingle Bell Rocks                        
                                  Bobby Helms

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Much pleasure you do give me
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Much pleasure you do give me

How often has the Christmas tree
Given me the greatest glee
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Much pleasure you do give me

From top to bottom
You’re so bright
There’s only splendor for the sight
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your lights are shining brightly"

                        O Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I have not mentioned much about my science fiction
collection on my blog. Part of the collection is a small
group of the whimsical covers Galaxy Science Fiction
issued every December and I have decided to highlight
them this holiday season.

Happy Holidays Everybody!!

"We Wish You A Merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And a happy New Year
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin.
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring some out here.
Good tidings ...

For we all like figgy pudding,
For we all like figgy pudding,
For we all like figgy pudding,
So bring some out here.
Good tidings ..."

                           WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
                                                     Hank Thompson


Friday, December 16, 2011

Soul-melting scenery was about me…
- George Catlin

The other day I opened my email and found this beautiful photo. It was in a
Christmas email from our friends Tim and Laraine. These are their dogs
Yogi and Andi roaming their property in Southern Alberta. While I have known 
a number of their pets over the years we have not visited recently and while we
have seen pictures we have not meet these beautiful dogs, but hopefully we can
remedy that soon.

I could not remember what breed they were so Tim
kindly supplied the following information

"The dogs are Akbash-Maremma crosses. Yogi is 3/4 Akbash and
looks much like any Akbash. The Maremma is much stronger in
Andi. They are usually working dogs and kept with sheep or cattle to
deter predators. Their job here is to keep coyotes and deer out of the
yard. They are also companion dogs here which works as they get a
long walk every day and there is plenty of room for them.
Andi prefers to be outside except in severe weather, whereas Yogi
has aspirations of becoming a house dog.  I'd suggest that they are
not suitable as urban dogs or even good for acreages where there
are neighbours around.They bark a great deal before they actually
chase anything. I understand that that is their breeding."

Thanks for that Tim

" Cocked in that land tactile as leaves
wild things wait crouched in those valleys
west of your city outside your lives
in the ultimate wind, the whole land's wave.
Come west and see, touch these leaves."

                                              Willam Stafford


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

If we cannot see the beauty in them
can we find it in ourselves?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Well today we had another round of snow falling gently and steadily
through the day. I took my camera along on a trip to the library with
my overdue book. Because I seemed to be engulfed in a grey blanket
the world became more enclosed, held to a smaller compass, more
charged with detail. As always in this situation I remembered the
experience of mole and rat in the Wild Wood.

"The Mole would not have known that it was the same wood. However,
they set out bravely, and took the line that seemed most promising,
holding on to each other and pretending with invincible cheerfulness
that they recognized an old friend in every fresh tree that grimly and
silently greeted them, or saw openings, gaps, or paths with a familiar
turn in them, in the monotony of white space and black tree-trunks
that refused to vary."

                                                     The Wind in the Willows
                                                          Kenneth Grahame

Mid way through this particular journey of
my life I saw an ominous sign.

And sure enough when I got home I found that
Jadis, the White Witch had been by..

"The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow,
and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk
ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds
of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the
very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more
delicious. He was quite warm now, and very comfortable.

                                                                  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
                                                                                    C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"The ghosts of dead leaves
haunt no one."

                        October Funeral
                                Linda Pastan

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Where is nirvana?
Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten."

                                Spring-Watching Pavilion
                                  Ho Xuan Huong

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Doors were left open in heaven again:
drafts wheeze, clouds wrap their ripped pages
around roofs and trees. Like wet flags, shutters
flap and fold. Even light is blown out of town,
its last angles caught in sopped
newspaper wings and billowing plastic -
all this in one American street."

                                     The Worlds in this World                                               
                                                  Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Last Sunday we had a massive windstorm, the winds
reached 149km/hr and toppled trees, blew out the windows
in the office towers downtown and generally caused millions
in damage. We came through fairly well although you can
see the remains of our gazebo, it toppled over into our pond.
Last night and today we got a fairly steady snow. Nothing
to get excited about and a good excuse for pictures but
compared to last Sunday a very nice day. I also saw Juncos
in the yard for the first time this winter but I could not get a
good photo. So here are some shots of the gang in the
backyard and a few more from a stroll through the
neighbourhood alleys.

"A year indoors is a journey along a paper calendar;
a year in outer nature is the accomplishment
of a tremendous ritual."

The Outermost House
                Henry Beston

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A few more shots of the flicker who has been coming
to my suet feeder. When it was finished with the suet
it began eating snow I assume for the moisture this
despite the fact there was a heated birdbath next to the
feeders. Then it rooted through the leaf litter, I suspect
it was looking for bugs.The number of magpies increased
and the flicker left. I did not get a good photo but I noticed
one magpie having found some shelled peanuts did not
gulp them down like a jay but held them against the ground
with it's feet and broke them like a small bird with sunflower

"The trees, along their bare limbs,
contemplate green.
A flicker, rising, flashes rust and white
before vanishing into stillness,
and raked leaves crumble imperceptibly
to dirt."

                   Winter into Spring
                            Lynn Ungar