Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Orchids






I have two orchids in bloom. The pink one, I believe is a miniature catalaya called Pixie, the lady slipper is Paph. philippenense Graeham x Nancy, according to its tag. I have grown the lady slipper from a tiny plant and this is its first bloom for me. It has four flowers, Pixie has 3.

I was trying to do macros of Pixie's petals for Chrissie's Petal Art group on Flickr. One of these works, I think.

I brushed some heavy snow off my boxwood hedge today. I think the hedge will spring back up, without too much damage. I hope my fish have survived in the tubs. The snow is melting, but not very fast. This morning there was black ice on the roads until it warmed up a bit.

We received a lovely flower arrangement from J and C. I must send pictures. Pat has sent a note.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Snow

This is a photo of the late afternoon light behind the snowy trees to the south across the road from my dining room window on the 22nd of December. Too bad about all the power lines. Since the 26th the snow has been melting, the temperatures have been near 0 and a bit higher.

We were out to MacMorrans last night with Colleen and John. Pat has a nasty cold so this dinner out was not a great success for us. Of course, it was dark out and we could not see the ocean. There were very few people out. C and J go home today.

I now have the dishes moved out of the cupboard above the dishwasher, and have the glassware and crystal moved out of the cupboard above the kettle, except for what we are going to use daily. I move a few things everyday, which makes it all a bit easier than rushing to do it all at once.

I downloaded google browser 'chrome' ... it is easy. I will probably still use my old Firefox for now though. I will probably upgrade my firefox in January.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas

This is one of the water iris in the tub on the deck. All the snow is slowly melting. We are to have above 0 temperatures over night and tomorrow. We had a tiny bit of rain today, not really enough to wash away very much snow, though.

Our Christmas duck dinner with John and Colleen was really quite a lot of fun and easy to do. We tried to see the lights on Alan road and Ponderosa Place. There were a few cars out, but the streets were pretty much impassable. There was no enthusiasm for getting out to take photos, either. Today we are to meet them and perhaps cousins down at the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Another lazy day! Life is good!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

West Bay Marina

This is one stop from our drive about today. The West Bay Marina is a favourite spot to take visitors. Sometimes I get the impression they are not quite as enamoured with the area as we are.
Our Edmonton guests arrived on the 23 and are comfortably lodged at the Empress. Everyone must have the Empress experience at least once in a life time. Today we drove down and the four of us walked to our latest favourite lunch place for that East Indian soup. mmmm. Then Pat drove us about for a couple of hours. The streets are mostly clear on the more travelled areas. But the snow is piled at the sides of the streets. The sun came out and melted quite a lot of this white stuff away. All the snowmen were tipsy. Was a fine day.

Our carpet installation was finished on the 23 also. They only had to change the short piece. The stuff they brought out was a perfect match for the color and dye lot. Yippeeeeee. When they had just finished Karas came by to see about the job having been done. Well! that certainly is a change. Karas will also be co-ordinating our kitchen installation. Great! Nothing like good ol' Saskatchewan people to get a job done! I have the furniture moved back. Only need to reload the curio cabinet. It looks really good. Today, after our visit, I finished vacuuming. It looks really good. Can't wait to get the kitchen finished.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Steve Chong

A good internet friend just sent me this lovely card that he made from his last trip, leading a group of 16 photographers, to the Yuan Yang area of China. Steve Chong lives in Malaysia and is an award winning photographer, instructor in photography, photoshop, web design, and many other things. I was therefore so very pleased that he took the time to do this card for me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow, oh no, Snow in Victoria







We are going to have a white Christmas this year. We have had 2 to 3 feet of wet, heavy snow dumped on us. One of the pictures shows big fat snow flakes falling against the Eucalyptus tree. Tara, Andy and Pat have been shovelling off the driveway. Today we actually had a snow plow down our street. The other main roads where the buses go have been clear and wet/icey. Tomorrow we are to get more of the +3 temperatures with just below 0 over night. There were big clumps of snow falling off the trees today. I have not gone out to see the damage on the hedge. We are to get more snow on Wednesday and much the same temperatures.

I have been trying to catch a few photos of the birds. There are quite a few different kinds of brown birds out there. Wrens, juncos, sparrows of several kinds, and the hummers.

Tomorrow we get our lost piece of carpet! Sure hope its a good match for the color in the rest of the area. Would sure hate to have to wait another 2 months for this stuff. You would think, that in this down turn of the economy that there might be quicker installation times, if nothing else. I can't imagine why it took so long to get the carpet delivered to the store. They seem to have several levels of people to deal with and nobody gives anyone else any information. I have to tell the story to each one of them that calls about it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

American Widgeon Duck

While reviewing my 2008 photos I found this one from January last year. In trying to find out what kind of a duck it is, my Google search turned up a Flickr account with a shoveller duck and many other birds too. Isn't google a wonderful thing?

We have snow and below zero temperatures. Too bad the Edmonton connection picked this year to come to Victoria for Xmas. Ah well, they will feel right at home, I guess.

I am bringing the humming bird feeder in at night. I have seen the birds feeding at dusk - about 4:30 so I don't bring it in until it really is dark out.

I watched the Lord of the Rings - two towers this morning. Its a very good movie... really well put together. I must watch the series from the beginning now! And must watch WALL-E all the way through also.

EDIT: After some helpful information from another Flickr friend I find that this is an American Widgeon duck. Thanks D.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peloric Foxgloves






While reviewing my garden photos I found these strange foxglove (digitalis) photos. I spent a few happy hours researching and reading about them. These are peloric foxgloves. It is said to be a mutation. I once thought that a virus caused the mutation but could find no confirmation of that cause for the unusual flowers. I have had them in my garden before. A few years ago, I saved the seed and took them to a 'seedy Saturday" seed exchange. I should have saved the seeds this year. I understand that if you self polinate these flowers you will get the peloric feature coming true to type when you reseed. I see from the photo that I have a white one and a pink one. Well, no seed saved, but I hope to see them again next year. I will surely save seed next time I see them, after my research. There is a group on Flickr for plant identification. I am thinking of adding these to the group pool, as I spent quite a lot of time finding the name peloric.

Yesterday we went to the Bay for the annual Christmas basket and this year they DID have the Bay Bears. Of course I have one. It is really cute and now sits with the other one I keep by my desk. One is Keswick 2006 and this year is Charlotte 2008.

I am now bringing in the humming bird feeder at night and putting it out in the morning. Some of the snow melted, as it was a few degrees above zero. Now it is snowing again. We are to get 4 inches more snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

June Flowers






When we got home from our trip to Russia on June 2, we both had vicious colds. My garden was glorious, though. I imagine I missed quite a bit in May! I only took a few photos in June, though, as I seemed to have been unable to get out and otherwise busy. There were also lots of weeds that I am just now getting around to cleaning up.

We still have snow now and the weathermen say it will be here for another week to ten days. I made a scrumptious seafood chowder from left over salmon, a bit of red snapper, shrimp, carrots, celery, onion, potatoe. We have a meal of it frozen for another day. I made apple pancakes, bacon and eggs for dinner and enjoyed it thoroughly, too. Pat was out with the car to various places today, so the snow has not slowed him down too much in that regard.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow


Last night we began to get snow and this morning there was about 8 - 10 inches piled up everywhere. My waterfall is running and keeping the water open. Its quite a contrast between the dark water and light snow. I am pretty happy with this shot.
The Anna's Hummingbirds stay around all winter. I have been trying to get a photo of this bird for 2 months now. This morning I finally got a semi decent photo of it. It has its feathers all fluffed up and is not wasting energy flying. I refilled the feeder and the bird was back for a few sips all day. I did not manage a flying photo of it, though. It sits on the perch at the feeder to eat, so I would really have to be fast to catch it flying. The background is too light because of the snow on the branches of the trees.

Yesterday I loaded the Vilnius photos to my Multiply Travel album. I shall do the Amsterdam ones and then have the 2008 trip up on line, at least, if not on my own home page. They are on my blog, also.

I have my Flickr groups and comments pretty well caught up and had some time to surf around at bit. I followed a comment on my stuff back to the commenter's photostream and found some really nice Carlsbad caverns stuff, and another girl had some excelent stage shots of some band.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Auto Parts


These are photos of the hub of Pat's 1912 Model T. He needs to find new ones. I shot these yesterday for my best client. He picked out the photos he thought best and sent them on to a friend who is going to be looking for some of these for him.

This morning I heard from Bianca about the carpet. I might be able to have the installation done on Dec. 23. Said she would call back to confirm... gave her my cell number cause I was going to be out for most of the day. No call back, of course.

We were to an Indian restaurant for malagatawny soup, yum, for lunch, then to Oak Bay for tea and desert, at some Italian place. No chocolate cake, so I had this torte thing. We then made a few stops to shoot for the grid. It was horrible. Rain, wind, cold. My photos are terrible. We got some groceries, as the weather says we are in for some stormy cold weather. In Victoria, no one moves if they don't have to, when we have ice and snow. So, we should be set for a few days. We picked up some KFC for supper. I am chilled and longing for my Mother's feather comforter and her administration of Vicks! Just the thought makes me warm and happy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gardening and Playing in Photoshop



My David Austin red rose was cut back a couple of months ago. Now it has about 6 nice buds, looking a little bit worse for the wear. Tomorrow we are to get some below freezing weather, so they are doomed.

I shot this blurred foreground and focus on the stone statue, thinking it would be the heart of the man of stone for upload to Flickr. Then I decided to play with layers to make the whole photo old stone with the stone man's heart showing.

We have heard nothing further from the Home Depot carpet department. I am just soooo angry with their incompetence. But that does nothing but hurt me, so ... I suppose when they find it they will be in touch??? GAWD!!

Bokeh



I spent a few minutes in the garden, yesterday, trying to get a good photo for the Bokeh Wednesday group on Flicker. I found drops of water sparkling like jewels on the plants with the rich colors of Autumn for a background. The largest drops are a very tight crop to try to get the drops larger.

We have still not heard from Home Depot about the carpet. I called Karas yesterday and she said she would try find out about it and call me back as soon as she knew anything, or have the knot heads in the carpet department call me. She alluded to the mythical Melinda, who we have never heard from on this carpet deal, and who is suppose to be in charge of the carpet department. Still nothing today. I can't imagine how much trouble our kitchen cabinets are going to be if they cannot manage to get a simple piece of carpet ordered in the correct size and installed in a timely manner. Would you say 2 1/2 months is a bit long to be waiting for a piece of carpet? This incident is surely going to be reported to the Better Business Bureau, after contacting Madson, the store manager. Home Depot is NOT a good place to try to get anything done in a timely manner; and you need to check the quality of every item as well. The supply of wood products in the store is a disgrace to a home renovations store. I could go on and on about them. I suppose it helps to blow off steam here, instead of at the employees.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Some older photos

Another photo from my day downtown in June of 2007. I have not yet edited about half of the photos from that day. This is the steps of the Carillon.

The Netherlands Centennial Carillon, Victoria, BC (1967; 49 bells, increased to 62 bells in 1971)



A set of at least 23 bells encompassing two or more octaves in half-tones, and manually played from a touch-sensitive keyboard. The instrument originated in the 16th century in the Low Countries, in ranges of from two to three octaves. In the early 21st century a range of four octaves is common; five or more is exceptional. The carillon usually is an outdoor instrument, its bronze cup-shaped bells fixed in a tower belfry or, in some modern examples, on an open frame. The bells vary in size: those in a large carillon range from 16 cm in diameter and 5 kilograms in weight to over 2 m and 1000 kilograms. The carillon is played from a keyboard of large round wooden keys and short pedals that are connected to the bell clappers by simple tracker action. The keys and pedals are depressed with full arm and leg stroke, sometimes requiring considerable physical exertion. Dynamics vary with touch, and there are no dampers. Automatic playing (in which there is virtually no control of expression and dynamics) formerly was rendered by a rotating cylinder, with pegs (set according to the music) moving the external hammers. Latterly electric magnets or motors have been used to move the hammers or clappers, the music being encoded on an electronic cassette or computer disk, often as part of a MIDI system. Automatic playing is limited mostly to European carillons. A true carillon is played manually without electric or electromagnetic assists, but can be set up to be played automatically by external hammers and manually by internal clappers.

The carillon came into use as an adjunct to the Dutch tower clock, announcing the time at frequent intervals with pleasing melodies, and providing hand-played open-air music on festive occasions. The carillon's rarity may be attributed to the difficulty in tuning the partial tones in the bells so that chords and complex passages may be sounded accurately. After the mid-18th century there was a lapse of 150 years before well-tuned carillons were built again; in the 19th century about 15 instruments of inferior quality were installed in Europe and three in the US. At the beginning of the 20th century two English founders, Gillett & Johnston of Croydon and John Taylor & Co of Loughborough, developed sufficient skill in casting and tuning to produce satisfactory carillons, and prior to 1922 about eight appeared in Europe.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gardening

I don't know just what is wrong with this persepctives shot, but something about it just niggles at me.

It was another nice day. I raked some leaves, clipped down the pink rose, the jackimani clematis, and the burning bush, all of which are in the same corner of the garden. They will come to take my big green bin full of stuff away tomorrow and leave me another bag of compost. Next I should start weeding the violets out of everywhere, as well as other weeds. But, starting with the Japanese garden area, as it looks so much better when it is weeded, trimmed and the gravel refurbished. Hopefully I will get the area where I am growing moss uncovered so the moss can grow.

Yesterday I loaded the 'Riga' photos to my travel album on Multiply. I still need to do Vilnius and Amsterdam. I have my Flickr groups caught up to date, have reduced my number of groups and contacts. It is a bit more livable now. Next on line, I should finish another album or two for my old home page. No one goes there, which is probably a good thing. Its just my travel pictures and other ramblings, and very amateur.

Cyrus' new site is slowly progressing. It is so exciting watching this beautiful site grow. Its gonna be terrific, I am sure, and well worth all his effort and expense.

Pat received his fat man steering wheel today. What an adventure. Arthur's sister, in Ontario arranged to go and buy it and ship it out to him. It is in very good condition and will be a really trick item for his new old Model T-- which is a beauty, too. Pat has been doing floor boards for it most recently, as well as got Pat Houle to make him a small part. There will be more to do. This is going to be grand when finished and painted up. I hope he keeps his Speedster, as he has a fine place for storage now.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

VFXY

This is a reflection in the 'water table'. The water table is the plastic table on our deck. It has a hollow in it that fills with water. When it rains we can see the drops hitting the water. This day the English oak tree is reflected in the mirror of the water. That tree looks better colors in the water table reflection than it does against the blue sky, even on a sunny day.

I belong to a blogging community called VFXY - Please, push my button on the side. My quality level over the last couple of days has been bouncing back and forth between 8 and 9. Nine being one of the highest levels on the site. I was so excited to see it get to that level. Also, my rank finally made it under 300 to 215 at one point. Now its back over 300. The lower the number of the rank the better, as no. 1 is the highest rank. We cannot control these numbers, except perhaps by participating on the site in a good way. But to figure out how to do that would take more time than I have to fiddle about with it. It really is an interesting little site to surf around on. There are a lot of animus blogs. Quite a few bloggers like mine. There seems to be 2100+ participants at the moment; but I have not done a thorough check of that either.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Gardening


I was out in the garden for 2 hours this afternoon. I moved a torch lily from by the tub in the front to the back in the corner of the woodland. These plants look so messy and get too big for the spot I had it I moved montebretias from by the roses to the spot by the tub . The montebretias were hanging over the little rock path. I could see the humming birds at them from the dining room window. So, I left a few of the plants that were farther back from the path. I raked more leaves and cleaned them off the rock path and off the rock plants. A piece of the hebe broke off and is stuck in front of the montebretias by the tub. Hopefully it will take root, as this is an excellent, evergreen spreading plant with some lovely bluish purple blossoms. I clipped back the iceberg rose that grows by the front door. Its nice to have the compost bin to dump all these clippings into. I moved, what I think might be a yellow water iris to the back of the pond. This iris is a strong growing plant if kept sufficiently moist. I leveled the tub and put the mermaid up higher on a stick from the wood pile. On Wednesday the garbage men took away my old broken compost bin... was good of them to take it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gardening


video

I have managed to get the pond edges fixed, added the new pump, cleaned up the water plants and filled the pond. I had an extra rock to use on the rock path. I could use a few more nice flat rocks in the path. I have yet to clean up the Japanese garden area next to the pond.
Out front, I have raked the leaves off the grass and the rock plants a couple of times. There is still quite a few leaves on the tree.
I tried to load my video of the waterfall here, but it does not seem to want to finish processing. It has uploaded, as far as I can tell. This has been in the process for over 30 minutes. That is a bit ridiculous. well, just as I typed that, it finally loaded.