31 December 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas was accented this year with an unexpected visit from our second oldest son who flew home for Christmas.  Only my husband and another son knew about the surprise.  As I gathered gifts from below the tree, S came up the stairs playing "I'll be home for Christmas" on his I-pod.  Well, needless to say, the tears flowed freely as I hugged him.  What a wonderful surprise gift!!!

That evening we went to the Legislature grounds, walking amongst the festively lit trees, enjoying Christmas music wafting through the air via aboveground speakers.  

We all went out in our new pajama pants (gasp, I know!) and posed for this lovely photo ;)  Following which we visited Churchill Square downtown to check out the tree and watch a single skater on the rink in front of city hall.  It was a lovely evening which ended with a light shower of rain. Yes, it is winter here!  Normally we have a few feet of snow by now but this year is mild, knock on wood, and we are enjoying unusually warm above freezing temperatures.  There was a light covering of snow through all of December.

We had freezing rain overnight Thursday and a dusting of snow last night.  It is simply beautiful and warm. I cannot complain as I remember last year's winter.  January has not yet arrived and with it winter may actually pay a visit.  So here's to enjoying this gorgeous weather we have been blessed with, countrywide. Happy New Year everyone!

19 December 2011

Christmas at Greenland Garden Center

Early in December, before stores got too crazy busy, my daughter and I headed to one of our favourite places for holiday magic.  We took several photos of the Christmas Store at Greenland Garden Center and I share here just a few with you.  Enjoy.

Above and below, the one and only upside down Christmas Tree

A new Christmas decorating trend is the little starburst.  Sometimes combined with a few small decorative balls and sometimes on its own, it dazzles on a tree.

This "pick" reminds me of a stag horn fern.  It is new this season as well.

Colour combinations of bronze and turquoise adorn this tree.

A feathery topper in red.  A few years ago I did a similar topper with feathery fronds on a "bird tree".  I thought it looked good but one of the proprietors of the greenhouse thought it looked like the tree was going to take flight!

Another new trend is the ribbon upon a ribbon garland.  There are actually two different ribbons, one atop another, strung around this tree.

Merry Christmas!!!


Holiday Christmas Music Flash Mob of the American Festival Chorus

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good new year!  (you thought I was going to write "a good night", didn't you? ;))

09 December 2011

Lunar Eclipse Tomorrow Morning

On December 10, 2011 there will be a total lunar eclipse, visible from 5:45 am Mountain Standard Time until 7:32 am Mountain Standard Time.  According to Christian Science Monitor, the best places to view the eclipse in its totality are from Hawaii to Asia.  Those on the east coasts will not see much, while the west coast, without blocked views of the horizon, will have the best views.

"These eclipses occur when the Earth blocks direct sunlight from reaching the moon. But at totality, the moon still gives off a red glow, thanks to sunlight that passes through Earth's atmosphere.
The moon's ruddy hue during a lunar eclipse owes its color to the way light scatters in the atmosphere.
Coming from the far side of Earth, as an astronaut on the moon might see it, the sunlight must travel a relatively long distance through the atmosphere before it exits and heads moonward.
During the course of its travels, the light loses its other colors – think the color spectrum, here – to atmospheric molecules and dust. These scatter the shorter wavelengths of light. The more dust, the darker the red left to daub the moon's surface.
The color is created by the same effect that causes the deep reds late in a sunset or early in a sunrise."  (http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/1209/Lunar-eclipse-Why-will-this-one-be-so-big-and-red)
Other sites:

08 December 2011

Finale: Rich Little's Christmas Carol

Ahhh, the sweet memories.  I hope you enjoyed this as much as I.  My family and I saw this as a live performance at the Citadel in Edmonton last year.  Such a marvellous performance.  If you have the opportunity, you simply must take it in.

Rich Little's Christmas Carol: Part 5

Rich Little's Christmas Carol: Part 4

Rich Little's Christmas Carol: Part 3

Rich Little's Christmas Carol part 2

I still remember this from when I was a child.  Of course, I was too young to understand all the nuances but I do remember it being a less frightening version of the classic Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Now I watch it with a new appreciation for the great talent of Rich Little and his humour.  It's a light twist but the message remains as important today as it was when Charles Dickens wrote it years ago.

What are your favourite Christmas memories?  Do they consist of movies like this?

Rich Little's Christmas Carol: Part 1

01 December 2011

Creative Alternative to Cutting Down the Evergreen for Christmas

The creative staff at Gleeson Library in San Francisco have put their imaginations to good "green" work.  Rather than cut down a tree, they stacked books covered in varying shades of green, forming a tree that is a focal point in the library.  Clean up is super easy - just re-shelve the books!  Clever.

28 November 2011

Grass Fires Near Lethbridge Over the Weekend and other Anomalies

This weekend found Lethbridge area dry and windy, necessitating fire crews to be on scene in the Magrath area to battle a grass fire.  Residents in the vicinity were temporarily evacuated.

Strong winds down trees, fuel fires in southern Alberta | CTV News

Calgary had winds near 140 km/hr, that's F1 force winds.  Windows were shattered in some downtown high-rises, trees uprooted and power outages.  Near Claresholm, eight semi trucks were blown off the highway within a period of two days.  Click on the link above to view footage.

Winds died down overnight, thankfully.  I spoke with someone who had travelled Hwy. 2 Sunday and couldn't fuel up in Claresholm as the windstorm had caused a power outage and gas pumps were inoperable.  They too reported semis overturned along the highway.  I am so thankful that those who were travelling, my son included, arrived at their destinations in safety.

20 November 2011

17 November 2011

Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees has won the 2011 National Outdoor Book Awards!!!

Nature and the Environment

Seeing TreesWinner.  Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees.  By Nancy Ross Hugo.  Photography by Robert Llewellyn.  Timber Press, Portland.  
ISBN  9781604692198

Author Nancy Ross Hugo and photographer Robert Llewellyn together have created this unique look at trees complete with exquisite  photography.  You see aspects of the tree, leaves opening, flowers emerging, cones up close; magnified to reveal minute details that the naked eye often misses.  This one of a kind exploration of the world of trees is sure to keep you riveted page by page with a renewed appreciation for the miraculous beauty and wonder of trees.

Seeing Trees is certainly deserving of the recognition awarded it with the 2011 National Outdoor Book Awards.

12 November 2011

Shadow of Autumn

Crimson King Maple leaf and shadow on dining table.  (November 2011)

I am joining Hey Harriet on her Shadow Shot Sunday blog which shares shadowy photography by both amateur and professional photographers, world wide.  Won't you stop by and see what catches your eye?

11 November 2011

A Soldier's Tears

Why Poppies?

John McCrae wrote "In Flander's Fields the poppies grow.  Between the crosses, row on row".....

Why poppies?  We think it began with this poem, but it started before then.  Read this article to discover its genesis.

09 November 2011

Poinsettia Varieties - Helping You Make Your Selection

Rob Sproule, of Salisbury Greenhouse, discusses available varieties of poinsettias, assisting you in making your selection for Christmas.

08 November 2011

01 November 2011

21 October 2011

Weekend Reflections in the Mountains

For more reflections be sure to visit Weekend Reflections hosted by James.

Fertilizer Friday/Flaunt Your Flowers

Autumn has gradually been making her presence known throughout the province.  These photos of the back garden were taken last week.  I must get out to take another photos of this tree below as it is now even more captivating in glorious orange reds.

I love to flaunt photos of my favourite tree in my garden!  This is a three-flowered maple which is absolutely stunning in autumn.  Notice the foliage colour and the peeling bark.  This is a beauty, easy care tree all year round!

A sunrise last week.  They seem to intensify in colour as the weather changes and the seasons progress.  Looking back over some photos from the last year or so, I've noticed that some of the best sky shots I got were taken in autumn and winter.  The colours are magnificent!

I am linking up with Glenda over at Tootsie Time as we share our gardens, and flaunt our flowers.  Swing by and say hi, won't you?

20 October 2011

Sky Watch Friday in Waterton Lakes National Park

Is there anything more majestic than the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and British Columbia?  Today's Sky Watch Friday photos were taken in Waterton Lakes National Park in southwestern Alberta.  The southern-most portion of the park shares the US Border located in Glacier National Park.  These photos are of the Canadian side.

Where were you sky watching this week?

18 October 2011

Watery Wednesday in the Mountains

Today's Watery Wednesdays photos were taken the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving at Waterton Lakes National Park in southwest Alberta, Canada.  It was cool, windy and wonderful!


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