Monday, 24 May 2021

Monday Meander - May, 24, 2021

Victoria Day 2021

It's the day that originally celebrated the birthday of the late great Queen Victoria (born May 24, 1819) but since 1957 also includes Canada's official birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth II.  

God save the Queen. Bless her heart. 

Queen Elizabeth II - Canada's official portrait (March 2019)

It's the long weekend known as the May "TWO-FOUR" weekend, with a generous nod to what is known as a case of beer in Ontario. I wonder how the grand ladies Victoria and Elizabeth feel about their party being supplanted by hops and malt? Amused? Or not? Well actually, none of us is amused that this is the second year in row when the #1 long weekend of the year, the one that kicks off the summer season, is hemmed in by pandemic restrictions.

Ah, but the sun is shining on this holiday Monday. It is a grand day to celebrate the little things, the simple joys...

 A solar fountain in the bird bath....

...that needs more water according to a special little one.

Nothing more needed to say.

©2021 April Hoeller

Monday, 10 May 2021

Monday Meander - May 10, 2021

Baskets and Birds

The Mother's Day weekend has always been the time when I set out six to eight hanging baskets of blooming colour around the house. At first, this year looked like it would be a fail as my perusal last Wednesday of my usual sources turned up nothing I either wanted nor was willing to pay. Two garden centres were just setting out stock and what they had was, in a word, meh. Friday's excursion proved modestly better but Saturday's drop in at a grocery store outdoor garden centre was perfect.

Hanging baskets are the best choice in my part of the world for this time of year as frost remains a distinct possibility until the first week of June (even later there can be unwelcome chilly surprises).

Every evening since Friday, I've had to bring the blooms into the garage as temperatures dropped to freezing. Tonight's forecast again is advising of frost. I might be okay with that, but unless one is up and out first thing in the morning, sunshine is also missing from too much of too many days. As I've been writing this, the clear blue skies of 9am have have once again been overtaken by clouds. It's getting as tedious as a pandemic lockdown! 

Even the hummingbirds are tentative in their return with just one showing up now and then.

And I've yet to see a Baltimore Oriole at the feeder, but I know they have been sighted in the vicinity. The orange, nectar and grape jelly are all set up for them. Goldfinches, chipping sparrows and pine warblers are the main attraction at my feeders.

Pine Warbler

Elsewhere in the yard, the first trim of the lawn  has been done and the forget-me-nots and wild strawberry blossoms are popping up... are the tulips, though the cool temperatures keep them closed up to stay warm.

The rhubarb is set for first harvest by mid-week.

And that's the way it is as the second week of May kicks into gear.

Stay safe. Be well.
Enjoy the emerging colour and bird song of spring. 

©2021 April Hoeller

Monday, 3 May 2021

Monday Meander - May 3, 2021

The place has been tidied up and the welcome mat is out.

I harken to the road outside my door, waiting to hear the unmistakable and oh-so-familiar rumble of the big truck coming in off the highway. 

My heart swells with joy to see this event unfold before my eyes this morning. Why? Because the annual delivery of firewood is blessedly normal. It is reassuring to this old soul that the cycle of seasons still rolls on, not just those in nature but also those that shape my life in this place. 

And so, this first full week of May begins with comfort and joy, throwing off the pall of gloomy wet weather that has been hanging around for too many days. 

...but all shall be well,
all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
Julian of Norwich (1342 - 1416)

My soul must have been working with these words of hope and trust as my hands went to work this past week to finish the pandemic cross-stitch piece I began in early 2020. I hesitated to add my initials and end date because I had originally felt that I would not do so until the pandemic was over. But hope and smiles bloom...


©2021 April Hoeller

Monday, 26 April 2021

Monday Meander - April 26, 2021

No! No! No!

I woke up this morning and apparently slid into a pair of cranky pants instead of my usual comfy blue jeans. Who put those out for me to wear today? Not me! But, they're on now and refuse all efforts to be change. So here I am entering the day as stubborn and belligerent like as an ornery donkey. And don't let me hear that new C-word, the one that has fenced-in our lives for over a year now. That word sends me braying and bucking out of the room.

I'm done with pandemic news. I don't want to here it. No broadcast news about it, no political yammering and hammering, no opinion pieces however learned or not they may be. 

I. Am. Done.

I'm activating the emergency escape system.

I'll be back next week - probably. In the mean time I'm going offline - no social media after this post and no news feeds. There's plenty for me to do even with as dreary a weather forecast as the one for this week.

The Weather Channel

There are thousands of slides to be organized and digitized. I made a start last week and whittled down 1700 images to just 489, covering the years 1965 to 1975. (Warning to family: I have pictures!). It was a delightful trip down memory lane. I can happily do more of same, and there's only about another 5000 to go.  

Then there is a cross-stitch project to complete, the one began a year ago and a baby record pattern to get going on. 

A year ago.

Now - almost done, just some wording to add.

But first, it's time for me to go for a walk. Every day around 1:30pm a neighbour or two and I stroll the rural street outside our doors, weather permitting. For me it is the antidote to all things irksome, all bad moods and cranky pants. We share stories, we rant occasionally, we laugh often, AND we solve all the world's problems, of course. Today the sun is shining but it is cool at 9°C (48°F), so I will have to put on a few layers, tug on a wooly hat and bring gloves. I bet those cranky pants will be off by the time I get back!

Make it a great week for yourselves. 
Stay safe. 
Be well.

©2021 April Hoeller

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Thursday, or Thereabouts - April 22, 2021

 It's Earth Day - the 2021 edition!

For some years now, the soundtrack that always plays in my head on this special day is the enchanting music of Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring." Bubbling joy, insistent hope, and awesome wonder seem to dance together. Is there any more appropriate music for Earth Day? If you have twenty-five minutes in your day, have a listen to this amazing music.

Is there any more appropriate music for Spring in southern Ontario struggling to assert itself?

Don't think so. Tentative delight, sour setbacks and heartfelt desire move forward in a steadfast march, Spring chanting, "I think I can, I think I shucks! Begin again - I think I can, I think I can."

The old Shaker hymn that is integral to Copland's tone poem reminds me:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right. 

 Joseph Brackett (1797 - 1882)

"Restore Our Earth" is the theme of Earth Day this year. There is little that seems simple about that.

We are still masked but we are also still here! In the newly released documentary, "The Year the Earth Changed," the esteemed Sir David Attenborough speaks of amazing survival in the midst of such a year of challenge:

"During this most difficult year many people have reappraised the value and beauty of the natural world and taken great comfort from it. But the lockdown also created a unique experiment. 
Creatures around us have flourished, by and large, in this last year. The stories of how wildlife responded have shown that making even small changes to what we do can make a big difference. 
If we choose, we can transform the health of the planet for all."

 If we choose...

That choice begins with me. I choose to make environmentally responsible choices at home today and every day. It's not nearly as simple as the few mouse-clicks that putting my name on petitions, re-posting and retweeting calls to action, and donating support to local and national initiatives requires, but change, real change has to begin at home. 

Those three R's - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - that we've known for over fifty years, the banner of the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, remain fundamental to efforts to restore the earth. Social action and national commitments are important, but I have to walk my talk here at home, as tedious and as frustrating as practicing the three R's may be at times. Then I step outside my door where there are species at risk. I endeavour to make my garden bee-friendly and I let the dandelions bloom - they are such a joyful yellow!

So much to do. So little time...


Many hands make light work...

©2021 April Hoeller

Monday, 12 April 2021

Monday Meander - April 12, 2021

Rainy days and Mondays

When I took in the dreary, wet view outside my door this morning, that familiar song by The Carpenter's spun up on the turntable in my head. It was very soothing to my soul and I wanted to listen to the original as only Karen Carpenter could sing it. What was not so soothing was the discovery that Rainy Days and Mondays was released FIFTY (50!) years ago, April 1971. Holy Hannah, how can that be?  I had to do the math twice, on a calculator!

Mom and her girls, Easter - April 11, 1971)

Fifty years ago I was grade 12, the man and I were dating. He had taken a year off between high school and university and was working the computer floor at IBM, two-week cycle of eight-hour shifts (days, afternoons and nights). 

The way we were - 1971

Life was rich. Unless he was working the social graveyard shift (4pm to midnight), we were at my house on Friday evenings watching TV with my folks (remember the days on ONE TV in the house!) or going with them over to Gram and Gramps. I think 1971 was the year we spent god-knows how many hours soldering circuit boards with resisters, integrated circuits, and more to make into a radio/tuner. It was a kit made by Hallicrafters. It looked something like this one. I have a picture somewhere but after half an hour of searching my slide catalogue, I let the internet find this one.

The summer of 1971, my parents, younger sister and I flew to Vancouver on a 747 ("Fat Albert"). It was epic! A fabulous adventure from start to finish. And we still got to make the annual family to Breezy Point, NY afterward. What a summer!

Capilano River Park with "The Lions" mountains

My slide catalogue has 7 lined pages of entries for 1971 and it's been a fabulous trip down memory lane just to read the notes. It has also taken me over three hours to write this post as I keep returning to the catalogue and then the slide cases to view the actual photos. Turns out this rainy day and Monday has given me energy and purpose. It's time to begin the task culling and then digitizing important slides before the colours and the stories fade even more.

What a great job for this stay-at-home gal on blah days when the garden is off limits!  



©2021 April Hoeller

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Thursday or Thereabouts - April 8. 2021

It's been awhile since I last took up some space in this time slot but this week's Monday's meander got buried under a load of coloured eggs and sweet treats.

And now here we are at Thursday! Warm spring weather has blessed the land for some days now, bringing vibrant colours to life and raising hope for better days ahead. 

Such glorious days soothe the stresses of yet another shutdown, another state of emergency, another stay-at-home order due to raging CoVID-19 variants. There's plenty of yardwork just outside my door. Though it's too soon to give the lawns a thorough raking, I did haul five wheelbarrow-loads of winter debris from the wide ditch out front. Woot! Woot! So too was taking the winter tires off the car and firing up the BBQ for the first time this season. 

The man and I had dose #1 of the vaccine last week so I'm more confident about that light at the end of this very long pandemic tunnel. In the coming month I can putz around in the garden, or even just sit in sunshine watching and waiting for the reemergence of life in all its hues, reaching out to take hold of hopes, dreams, and happiness.

Stay safe. Stay sane. 
Stay at home. 

©2021 April Hoeller