Joni turned 4 years old a week or so ago, though it’s hard to believe it’s been that long since she joined our household! She still has the boundless energy and enthusiasm of a puppy, a characteristic of border collies. Born in the winter, she loves the cold and finds the snowy, blustery days invigorating, where we have to bundle ourselves up against the elements. Soon the snow will be deep on the ground covering the frozen treacherous icy ruts on the road and fields and the walking will be easier as we don our snowshoes (and Joni her boots) to head out across the landscape. The freedom of being able to go cross country on skis or snowshoes in the winter is hard to imagine if you haven’t tried it. The interesting thing is that once you are out in it, the cold doesn’t feel as bad. There’s a saying that it’s not that the weather is too cold, you’re just not wearing warm enough clothes!
Enjoy the winter, those of us who have it, Spring will come eventually and the cycle will begin anew.
I have had many new subscribers sign up for my blog lately, to my surprise (and delight, thank you all!). In celebration of this and for all of you reading, I am sharing a favourite image of mine I took in the full bloom of summer. This was our first year of growing dahlias since we left France, 20 years ago (and we had some glorious ones there, raised in the heat and sun of that idyllic place). We didn’t have much choice by the time we went dahlia tuber shopping, but we were generally pleased with the results, only losing a couple that didn’t make it to the surface. And the earwigs! What a battle I had with them, but I won!
Though the fresh blooms of this particular dahlia are flamboyant and dramatic, my eye was caught by this one which was almost spent, finishing its flowering in an elegant, stylish fashion. Each of the petals had begun to twist and curl and they reminded me of the tousled head of a little girl with brightly coloured, naturally curly hair.
WHAT THE BEST DRESSED FUCHSIAS ARE WEARING THIS FALL
Now fall is upon us and the colours are starting to develop and intensify. It’s the most beautiful time of the year in some ways, though the chill is something I could do without. The warmth of the wood stove we use to heat our house and the faint smell of wood smoke in the cool, brisk autumn air have an appeal of their own and so I must simply shift my focus from the summer joys to those of this, one of my favourite seasons!
I looked out of my kitchen window yesterday morning to see these three jaunty looking fuchsias, protected so stylishly from the hard frost of the night before. I know their days are numbered, but as they are in glorious full bloom still, it’s surely not too much to ask just a few more days of enjoying the beauty of these before they go away for the winter?
Some of my friends have recently lost loved ones, so thinking of them and their sadness at this time, I wanted to give them, even if only virtually, some of the dahlias from our garden. If they had lived nearby I would have taken them the actual flowers. These are for Prue, for Cynthia and for Amaya and for everyone else who might be feeling the loss of a friend or family member.
I am planning to share a few posts on a different theme from my usual ones on here, in hopes that they will be of interest to my present readers. I have been giving some thought as to how to do this, but I felt that I wanted to share some of the beauty of our garden with special friends and all who visit. They come with my love and thoughts for you all.
This fiery streaked and almost ragged looking flower has a warmth and a wildness that really appealed to me.
And a dahlia in waiting, teasing us, only partly unfurling, as if shy to show herself, the first to bloom on this new plant.
Joni’s energy levels never cease to amaze us! Today was the longest bike ride we have done to date, using the Bike Tow Leash * to attach her safely to the bikes. (Joni now loves her bike rides so much that when she sees me holding the Martingale collar we use to attach her to the bike, she runs up, wagging her tail and sits down by the bike ready to go!) The whole trip was about 20.5 kms, (maps shown below on two apps, one managed to record the way out, the other managed the return trip, both giving slightly different distances for exactly the same journey). It’s a lovely ride on a groomed trail made from a converted rail line through the countryside, through woods and beside farmland and the dykes, with no roads involved.
We were careful to stop part way to offer her a drink (she was not interested at the 5km mark) and to chat with a few cyclists who were on their way back from a day out, then again at the half way mark in Wolfville, where we rested, as you see below, by the Minas Basin. There Joni lay down for about 20 minutes or so. She did have some water at that point, but was quite ready to go as soon as we were. The tide was high and the weather was warm, but not too hot and the ride was really a joy.
We were worried that Joni might have got too tired, as we were setting the pace, but she seemed to find the average 8 or 9 km/hr comfortable. When we got back to the car she rested (20 kms is a long run) and had a drink while we loaded the bikes back onto the car for the drive home. As soon as we got back, she ran to find her Frisbee for a quick game before supper. Unbelievable.
*Re: the Bike Tow Leash – we have no affiliation with this company at all, apart from being satisfied customers whose dog loves to go for bike rides with us.
Just a post because…. because it’s pouring with rain and seeing these photos will brighten up my day (and maybe yours); because flowers, (especially after rain) have a power to lift the spirit and lighten the sadness felt by so many it seems; because this fuchsia cheers me up every time I walk up my path to my front door; because it’s pretty in pink! (See all my floral images on my gallery here: Flora)
This is a wider view of the fuchsia plant, hanging with blooms, each one lovelier than the rest!
And last is a fantasy fun blur image, in a tunnel whirl of pink! Have a wonderful weekend. (See all my blurry images in my gallery here: When Life is a Blur )
Whenever the subject of the English weather comes up in conversation among those who have never been there, it’s never too long before I hear about how foggy it is there. I always laugh and say that what you see on TV shouldn’t be taken too literally, as often the programs represent Victorian England, when the pollution really did bathe the country in a murky dank smog. But those days are long over and England is no more or less foggy than other countries these days… Which is a shame in one way, because I really love foggy days.
For most of our stay in England last winter, the weather was absolutely glorious – at least during the dates we had planned to be there. We had to extend our stay due to illness and as if on cue, from that day the clouds, gloom and rain descended. And the FOG! I guess I have to revise my defence of the English fog as it really was very thick at times. But then I heard on the radio that this was an illegal weather immigrant phenomenon.
BLAME THE FRENCH!
So it seems that this deliciously atmospheric pea soup was wending its way across the channel and travelling hundreds of miles up into the heart of England, from France. We were driving through the Linconshire countryside as we heard this announced on the car radio and sure enough, there it was, creeping up the country, clearly visible across the field bordering the highway we were on. We pulled over and I took that photo you see above. So it’s not really English fog at all. But it stayed with us until we left.
FAMILIAR STREETS SEEM TO BECKON TO MYSTERIOUS DESTINATIONS
We took a walk down a familiar street which seemed to dissolve into a mystery just out of sight. Without the effect lent it by the Continental mist, this modern development had no more appeal than any other housing estate, but now it seemed to draw you along to see what secrets lay just out of sight. And then suddenly there it was! Right at the end there was a very English path with a lovely little crooked gate and a stone bridge through which trickled a gentle stream. It felt like we had jumped from one world into another!
A DIFFERENT WORLD
DUCKS IN THE MIST
The pond by this path was filled with ducks gliding silently through the reeds. The mist made them almost ethereal, like creatures of my past reappearing to remind me of all the ponds with all the ducks that had had bread fed to them when I stood by them on misty walks with my little girl.
It’s true that although England is no longer (usually) shrouded in thick smog, some of my fondest memories of the landscape of that country include mist or fog. All the same, I had not expected those memories would be so poignantly brought back to me on that short trip to Linconshire.
As soon as she entered the ballroom she knew she had chosen the wrong dress.
The rhododendron by the washing line is particularly lovely this year and I was admiring it late one afternoon when I suddenly noticed that there was someone at the party of frilly floral frocks who had not chosen the right dress for the occasion. What I particularly liked was how proud she appeared in spite of the ordinary yellow outfit. She was the one who stood out!
I’m not yet finished with England as far as my stories go, but this simply expressive photograph caught my attention today and I thought I would put it up to share. It’s one of the last taken on that trip, during our breakfast at Gatwick airport before we left and it doesn’t need anything more in the way of description.
Clicking on the image takes you to the gallery of photographs of our trip to England (more to come).