Monday, 27 February 2017

Monday Moanings - February 27, 2017

Forward. March!

Sitting in my wagon at the top of this week, the last Monday in February, the second last day of the short month, the slide into March looks smooth. I took a gander at the posts of this last month and was somewhat dismayed to discover that 6 out of the 7 blog posts were about the weather. Good golly Miss Molly, doesn't this woman have anything else to write about? Well, it would appear certainly not this February.

I've been a wee bit out of sorts in the writing department this month. My parents taught me that in polite conversation when I can't find anything to talk about, then talk about the weather. I hadn't realized I'd put that advice to such frequent use in my blog. Sorry about that.

The result of my blog review has been something of a whack upside the head. I've got to get back on track with my writing, not just here but the book. Remember the book? The memoir about a mother-daughter relationship in the turmoil of Alzheimer's? Oh yeah. That one.

Allow me to be kind to myself. I have been writing every day. I started the practice of morning pages back in November as part of a NaNoWriMo discipline and I just didn't stop at the end of the month. Though I have only missed one day (Christmas) since then, the writing time has become a movable feast of sorts in the course of the day, occurring anywhere between 7:30 am and 5 pm.

When I read over the past month of those handwritten pages, I discovered a few gems amongst the wanderings but also an undertone of melancholia. I'm blaming that on seasonal affective disorder (are we back to the weather?). Actually, as long as I can remember, February has been a downer month for me. Does it matter why? I think not. It just is. And now the month is all but over. Hurray!

So let me turn the page and write on. I can only promise to post fewer weather reports. I'm not giving up atmospheric comments for Lent. I am a weatherman's daughter and even my daily version of morning pages begins with time, temperature and sky conditions.

A new month lies ahead, full of opportunities and open for discovery!
Best get my pen ready.

Oh wait - one more weather observation:

©2017 April Hoeller

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 23, 2017

Weather Warning

My snow ruler, upstanding for so many weeks, fainted in the heat.
As I write this, sunshine floods my page and a warm breeze wafts in through the open door. It's 19°C (66°F) outside and while this warm sun is indeed lovely; as much as it blooms images of flowers and forest resplendent in green, it is also a little worrying. It's not right to have such extended warmth in February. Soothing images of fragrant blossoms will vanish with a cold snap. Even temperatures more typical of February will bring Spring dreams to a quick end.

Heavy rain and even thunderstorms are in the official forecast for the next twenty-four hours. I recall my Dad saying the first thunderstorm of the year signaled that Old Man Winter's back was broken; that snowstorms and blizzards, ice storms and frigid temperatures were over until next winter. Well here's that weatherman's daughter's weather warning:

The snow ruler may have fainted, the sap may be running at full tilt, the driveway may be soft and mucky...

... and even sport a fine reflecting pool;

the periwinkle may be a happy green...

... the moss and other ground covers may be bright with freshness...

... and alas even the trees may be budding...

...BUT know this:

A winter's blast the likes of which we have not seen in these parts of late
will come upon the land with ice and snow and wind and bitter cold 
any summer tires hit the road before April 1. 

Be ye warned.

By all means, sing and dance in the rain, start a few seedlings indoors, tend to the indoor Spring cleaning.
Do not touch those big treads.
Thank you.

©2017 April Hoeller

Monday, 20 February 2017

Monday Moanings - February 20, 2017

It's a holiday Monday!

It's Family Day, and aren't we a stunning bunch -

Dad's family

Mom's parents
We improved with age...
1962 - Mom and her girls
1971 - one of the few photos of all of us
As you can see, I've spent some time trolling through the family photos again, stopping by memories - from the poignant to the hilarious and everything in between. This has been a lovely reminder of just how fortunate I am to have the family I do. No room for moaning today!

And our lives would be so much less without the four-legged, fur-pawed wonders who have greeted us with their big tail wags and bigger love.

Here's to each and every one of you, past and present.
We really are a stunning bunch.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing me to where I am today.
Heaps of love.

Happy Family Day!

©2017 April Hoeller

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 16, 2017

I'm with the Robins and the Blue Jays

It's a brilliant bitter day in the land outside my door. Just -15°C (all of 5°F!) out there first thing this morning, with a wicked wind threatening to rip my face off. Hard to believe that today I have to dress like this...

...and by Saturday, I'll be thinking more along the lines of this (IF the forecast of +12°C holds!)

Just what season are we in? Well the prognosticating groundhog in Wiarton, Ontario announced two weeks ago that it's Spring. What followed in the days since February 2, was not consistent with that pronouncement. And yet, yesterday, who did I spy in the red pines outside my kitchen windows? Not one but three robins!

I grabbed the closest camera to click off a photo. Not the greatest shot but enough to confirm the bird.

Before I could get the telephoto mounted on my camera, the three of them took off. They headed NORTH.  I switched out the regular lens for the telephoto, so I'd be ready to catch them the moment they came south again. I then wasted the rest of yesterday afternoon looking out the windows, all of them around the house, scanning the trees for what I was sure would be a hasty return. Alas, I only found a black-capped chickadee and a slate-coloured junco hiding in the trees...

...but the robins' visit was the talk of the town.

I should have been writing. Though it's often said that we writers are a privileged group of folks who can be hard at work while staring out the window, I truly can't use that claim today.

No, I was looking for birds and when I wasn't doing that, I was consulting the fount of all knowledge, Dr. Google, for advice on what to feed robins who arrive when the ground is still blanketed in thick snow.

Berries are the answer. There are lots of sumac trees here and they are loaded with red berries ripe for the picking.

This guy from last year (March 25/16 - more than a month later than this week's visitors) knew about the treasures of the sumac tree.

So, maybe the robins and the groundhog know something?

After all, spring training in the Grapefruit league begins in just a week. Our Toronto Blue Jays arrived in Dunedin on Valentine's Day and will take to the mound next Saturday in Atlanta.

The boys of summer are warming up, the robins are here and the groundhog has spoken.

Winter is gone.
Winter is gone.
Winter is gone, gone, gone.

©2017 April Hoeller

Monday, 13 February 2017

Monday Moanings - February 13, 2017

A drop in the bucket...

On the street where I live

It's an overcast -4°C (25°F) with a whopping 47cm of snow on the ground. Just a week ago there was 8cm of snow on the ground. Just Friday there was only 26cm on the ground.

I guess it's still winter.

We're halfway through the last row of firewood.
And the lock on the shed door where the hulking great snowblower is housed was frozen this morning.
And it's Monday. Again.

And I haven't got a clue what to write here today. A thousand ideas clammer for attention. A
thousand more ToDo's wave frantically (and sorry about my ineffective verb demanding an adverb - it's Monday so give me a break!).

Oh, but wait - what light through yonder window breaks?
An advert for the Maple Sugar Festival at Brooks Farms just popped up on my Facebook newsfeed.

Now there's something to lift the spirits. The folks at the farm think the sap will be running by March 4, a mere 19 days away. Sweet!

I can taste the cool sweetness of the clear sap.
I can hear the 'plink' of a drop in the bucket...

I can smell the wood fire under the blackened pots.

Pour it on, right out of the pot. Sweet!

Oh, and that frozen lock on the shed door? A three-minute heat treatment from my blow dryer put paid to that. Even an intrepid cardinal was impressed.

It's going to be a great day after all! 

p.s. Sophie has a question...

©2017 April Hoeller

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 9, 2017

Small, Beautiful Things

I  scrolled through my Facebook® feed early this morning, bleary-eyed and not really attuned to anything. I stumbled across this post originally from The Idealist page:

I've been a grumpy old sod for a while now with not a whole lot to cheer about. But this sentiment gave me a bit of a whack upside the head. Then suddenly my space filled with light. No, not a religious experience, but close to it! The sun came out! My kitchen flooded with glorious warm rays. I got up from the computer and turned to embrace the day star's return.

I had to get out there. Donning parka, toque, mitts, scarf, and boots with ice cleats, I braced myself for the frosty -10°C air. It was indeed crisp but it was also clean and, out of the wind, warm solar rays soothed my sun-starved soul. It was a small but beautiful thing. Mitts and toque stuffed in my pockets, and now with camera in hand, I trudged around and about the ice-covered snow, looking for more beautiful things.

Here's what I found on my quest:

Even just the blue of the sky is stunning.

After I'd uploaded the photos, I was curious about what other beauties I had captured this month but not fully appreciated, or at least that were worth a re-visit.

These you have seen recently:

But then there are the ones from just this past Tuesday when freezing rain pelted down. Some days I have to work to find my own sparkle from somewhere other than the sky.

I'm happy to say that our puffin is looking much less burdened today:

And a steaming cappuccino first thing in the morning is a beautiful thing.

Whatever the day may bring, 
may you find enough small beautiful things to nourish you, heart and soul.

©2017 April Hoeller