Saturday, 17 October 2020

Saturday Photo: Grape Leaves, Or the Fruit of Sunlight

There isn't a whole lot of sunlight in our backyard because the maple tree two doors to the south shades everything most of the day.  But that hasn't stopped a volunteer grape from flourishing.

The grapes themselves are small, bitter and full of seeds, but the vine does a good job of covering a multitude of ills, including a garage that needs a good paint job but which certainly won't get on this year.

Then this time of year the leaves turn a wonderful yellow that makes me think of all the sunshine the vine absorbed over the summer.  So lovely...

Need all the brightness we can is this difficult time.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Saturday Photo: Never Hurts to Stop and Take Stock, Or Happy Thanksgiving

 I'm far from being a religious person, but I think it's important to occasionally stop and consider what we have in this life.  That's particularly true in this Plague Year, where the forces of darkness are out there, hammering at the gates.

Ordinarily we have a big buffet for family and friends on this weekend, which is Canadian Thanksgiving, but of course, Covid-19 oblige, we'll just be me, Lee and the turkey (or as one of his friends just said, me and two turkeys!)

Nevertheless, we've made it so far with no one falling ill, we've just about finished a renovation project that has been in the works for more than a year, and we are among the lucky ones who have suffered no financial uncertainty this year. 

So, while I think that giving thanks to some deity is not in the game, I'd like to thank those who helped keep our corner of the world safe, beginning with Tommy Douglas, the Father of Canada's Medicare program. As for the rest of you, well, come election time I'll be on the phone for you.  

Besides, as the French saying goes, quand on se compare, on se console,  That is, when you compare, you can be comforted.  It always helps to put one's own life in perspective. 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Saturday Photo: The Book Launch Will Be BYOB, Unfortunately


Usually when I have a new book come out we have a little launch party at an independent book store.  Last year just about now we were preparing for one for Frenenemy Nations: Love and Hate between Neighbo(u)ring States at Librairie Drawn and Quarterly.  We shared some good things to eat and drink, and I got a chance to hold forth in front of about 40 friends.   (That's what it looked like then.)

This time things are different, Covid-19 oblige.  There will no way of getting together in person to celebrate and talk about Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future, so we've organized a virtual launch through the resources of the publisher, the University of Regina Press.  There's a little video about the book to show and I'll, of course, hold forth.  Would be great fun to have you join us, even if any toasts we might make will have to be provided by you or done in your imagination..  Here's the link to the reservation: it's free, but we need to know how many folks to expect.


Saturday, 26 September 2020

Saturday Photo: Golden Rod, One Thing That Shines in These Dark Times

The golden rod has been blooming around here for several weeks.  In fact, in some places it's actually well past its prime, and is looking a little faded.  But this morning I found this bunch just as the sun began to shine on it.  Somewhere there are a few bees buzzing around, although I couldn't get close enough to catch them in action.

 We are heading in the wrong direction when it comes to Covid-19, and the political situation in the US is pretty grim.  I keep looking for hopeful signs, and while these plants have absolutely not impact on the state of the world, they made me smile this morning, which is not a bad thing. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Thin Air Festival Featuring Concrete, Believe It or Not

 It may sound like an oxymoron, but concrete in North America frequently contains up to 6 per cent

air.  Why, is something I talk about in Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future,  which will be officially published Oct. 10.  But before then there's a chance to learn more about it and my thoughts on the material that built the world as we know it.

Winnipeg's Thin Air Festival is now on, and is featuring two videos I've made about concrete as well as an interview with festival staffer Teresa Horosko.  Then on Sunday October 11 I'll be leading a 90 minute interactive workshop on writing non-fiction, called Thanks for the Memory: Writing Non-Fiction in a Time of False News.  Check it out at:

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Saturday Photo: Cosmos, the Flower That Keeps on Giving...


If you wait long enough, that is.  Cosmos are wonderful flowers that reseed themselves and change sunny places to corners of cosmic delight.

I've never had much luck with them because our neighboring trees cast too much shade.  But I love these flowers that burst into bloom at the end of summer, and dellight the eye when the senses begin to think that summer is over.

Would that the Cosmos were as well regulated...

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Saturday Photo: Good Crop of Umbrellas This Summer

 Well, it rained a lot here in August, so obviously these folks were on the case.  The umbrella stayed there for a couple of weeks, during the worst of the downpours.  This morning it had disappeared.  Can't decide if that was because the forecast is for sun, or because someone came along and "harvested" it.