Saturday, 30 November 2019

Saturday Photo: Jade Plant in Full Bloom

First let me say that I kill orchids, and can't get African violets to bloom.  Don't know why, but after several years of trying, I'm faced with defeat on that front.

However, I'm really proud of this jade plant which is now blooming very nicely, thank you very much.  The trick, I discovered after quite a bit of research and reading between the lines is 1) letting it  spend the summer in as much sun as possible  and 2) bringing it inside when the temperature drops to near freezing.

Summer before last I tried the procedure and got a few blossoms, but this summer--helped perhaps by an August that was very sunny--I have dozens of clusters of blossoms.

The larger photo was taken after the plant had been inside about a month, and flowers are still forming.  While not all that showy--Christmas cacti, which also like  to spend the summer in the sun and to be brought inside t\when the days are short and getting cooler, have much more brilliant flowers--these
blooms make me smile.  If only I could find the secret to getting orchids to survive...

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Saturday Photo: Winter Biking, Bixis, and Snow

Montreal's bike share program, Bixi, ended for the season Nov. 15, after what appeared to be a very good year.   The non-profit reported a record breaking  320,000 individual users logging more than 10 million kilometres of travel.

 The service begins in mid-April and runs until mid-November, and in recent years there's been some agitation to make the season longer.  But this year the end came sooner than expected since the snow fell abundantly the first week in November, well before the Bixi folks were ready to dismantle the stations and store the bikes.

This week I think that most of the stations around my 'hood had been packed up, but this is what it looked like a little earlier.  Not much traffic the last week, for sure!

Nevertheless, winter bike riding is on the rise in Montreal. You need heavier bikes, and I'm told that studded tires (forbidden on cars) are useful, too.   Don't think I'd take it up even if I were a better bike-rider than I am, but some of my nearest and dearest regularly bike to work all winter.  Heroes--or foolhardy?

Think I'll walk!

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Saturday Photo: The Definition of Tenacity...

Snow on the ground, but not all the leaves off the trees.  Is that perseverance, tenacity or stupidity?

Don't know but it does provide some relief from a nearly monochrome palette.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Saturday Photo: Just to Remember on a Day When Snow Falls Gently

This was what it was like last summer in Mount Royal Cemetery.  Blue sky and green grass.  It will come again, I have every hope.

Until then, keep warm.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Saturday Photo: The Book on Display...

Had a wonderful launch of Frenemy Nations: Love and Hate between Neighbo(u)ring States last Tuesday.  Great crowd, good conversation and quite a few books sold.

Don't quite know what this means, but the University of Regina website says the book is out of stock, but it's available on and, plus on-line and in Chapters-Indigo stores.  Your favourite indie store would be glad to order it too, I'm sure!

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Saturday Photo: Eviction Notice for Ducks?

Not sure which way the causality ran, but the family (or families, not sure if there were two) of 11 ducks which spent the summer in neighborhood parks have flown off to warmer climes, and the water in the ponds where they hung out has been emptied.

The lower photo shows what the pond looked like on Canadian Thanksgiving Day two weeks ago.  The trees were still pretty green, and the human mother and son duo were sharing something to eat with the ducks.  You'll notice that a few gulls have decided to join the party.

Seasons change, and frequently the other changes that accompany that natural process is hurried along by humans.  Would like to think that the ducks are now paddling around some pond where the first freeze is a month or more away instead of next week. 

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Saturday Photo: When You're Forced to Take a Step Forward for the Planet

The cold weather is coming to this neck of the woods, climate change or not.  Everyone knows you can't live here without having heating, and until now we've relied on a hot-water-heating fuel-oil furnace that probably dates from the conversion from coal in the 1950s.  The rads all seem to be working fine, but the first time we turned on the heat two weeks ago, the boiler cracked and the system drained all the water.
What a mess!  How lucky we were that it hasn't been too cold because we have had no heat since then!  Also good that a few years ago when we had to replace the oil tank we looked into switching over to electricity so we had some idea of what to look for.  We didn't make the switch then, it didn't seem to be the moment.

But the moment surely arrived this fall.  It took two weeks but last Thursday a new electric furnace was installed.  You can see the apparatus next to the remnants of the old boiler in the photo.

Now, in some areas electricity may not be the most ecologically sound choice for heating, but in Quebec where all our electricity is produced from hydro dams or wind farms, it seems to be.  The fact that the new furnace may be more efficient is also a plus.  Consequently we are feeling a little smug as well as snug, now that the work is done.  

One, unthought-about advantage: we now have about 20 per cent more space in the basement to store stuff since the footprint of the new furnace isn't a footprint at all, but just a box on the wall.  Must go mop the floor now to get up the last of the soot liberated when the workmen cut the old furnace apart to get it out.  Then to move my garden stuff into the space, while Lee will take over that corner for his ever-growing woodworking projects! 

Keep warm!