Author Archives: Ellie

Harvested

After the Harvest - Ellie Kennard 2012
After the Harvest – Ellie Kennard 2012

Almost exactly 5 years ago today, as part of my 2012 project, I photographed a favourite scene, with bare fields and that lovely old barn in front of the misty valley behind.

Today it is most definitely not 19 degrees, as with the windchill factor it will feel closer to -18!

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November 13, 2012 – 318/366 – After the Harvest

I photographed this farm from the other side, in the Spring (see below), showing rolling fields in front of it, and an eagle perched in the branches of the tree we see here on the far right. This time I was driving past on the other side and there was a lovely haze behind the scene, leading down to the dykelands beyond. The harvested stubble in the front had a lovely almost spiky, shiny quality setting off the slightly dreamy, misty landscape behind.

It was 19 degrees today, which probably accounted for the haze and mist in the Valley. It won’t be this warm for long, that is certain.

This is image #318 for my participation in the Creative 366 project on Google+

The Farm, with Bald Eagle - Ellie Kennard 2012
The Farm, with Bald Eagle – Ellie Kennard 2012

Original Post:

March 20, 2012 – 80/366 – The Farm, with Bald Eagle

I have been looking at this scene every time I drive back from our shopping centre town, knowing that I wanted to capture it. Today there was such a lovely bank of low clouds over the “North Mountain”, framing the trees nicely that I had to stop and photograph it. It was only when I got it into the computer that I spotted the bald eagle in the tree by the farm house. This scene is so representative of the Annapolis Valley, so very Nova Scotia.

Image #80 for my participation in the Creative 366 project on Google+

Winter Field Before the Storm

Winter field before the storm with flock of gulls - Ellie Kennard 2012
Winter field before the storm with flock of gulls

January 3, 2012 – Day #3 Creative 366 Project

Winter field before the storm with flock of gulls

The clouds were hanging low over the hills when this flock of gulls rose over the winter field as the light highlighted them. I just happened to be driving towards them and caught this image. It is taken in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, near the Bay of Fundy (behind the hills in the picture).

366 and all that

Now that the sun-setting of Google+ is projected for next August, I realized that some of my earlier photographic posts I made on there had never been seen by most of my blog followers. As I was going through the earliest ones, specifically those where I began my photographic journey in earnest, I thought I should share the highlights of my photographic Google+ journey on here. While the comments on the original posts will be lost, the text of the posts and the images will be archived here. I hope you enjoy them.

Project 366

At the start of 2012 I was invited to take part in a project of taking a photo a day for the 366 days of that year. I had been sick for a long time and seemed to be deteriorating. Honestly, at the start of the project I wondered if I would survive to the end of it. Now, 6 years on and in better health than I enjoyed in my early 40s, thanks to a switch to a whole foods plant based diet, it seems that my fears were exaggerated. I know, from speaking to my husband Steven, that they were not. He tells me that he felt the same way about me. At times he had to drive me to local places and help me as I propped myself against the car to take the photograph. Each day of this project taught me more about the province I live in, and even the local area so that I came to love it more and more as I sought out its beauty. I learned how to use my camera and learned the basic principles of photography. (Although I had worked in our photo studio, I had never been the photographer, just the photo editor. Having the camera in my own hands was a new experience for me.) Each day’s search for an image gave me an added purpose and kept my spirits up. My fellow participants encouraged me as I did them, with comments and likes and I found many new friends in that special network that has always been under appreciated and espoused by so few of my friends. Obviously I did make it through to the end of the year, one photographic day at a time. This is the start of the highlights of those days.

This is the first of many posts to come where you will see a photograph and a short descriptive note about the scene. Perhaps (I hope) you will see my ‘eye’ and my photographic skills develop. I look forward to hearing any thoughts from any readers who would like to comment.

Spicy Comfort Drink for Winter Warming

This is my new favourite warming drink!

Coconut milk (actually almond milk this time. Coconut is creamier but I hadn’t made any), turmeric, fresh ground black pepper,  powdered ginger and Ceylon cinnamon heated with a steam wand (or on the stove top) with a little splash of maple syrup to sweeten.

The recipe was made up from a delicious drink we had in a cafe in Camden on a cold rainy day in London.

If anyone wants the recipe, just ask in the comments below.

Spicy warming winter pick-me-up
Spicy warming winter pick-me-up

Silent Miaow – Molly 2001-2018

The Silent Miaow* - Ellie Kennard 2015
The Silent Miaow* – Ellie Kennard 2015

It’s always so hard to say goodbye. In this case we didn’t even get a chance to do that. We lost Molly last night, when we were thousands of miles away.

Molly was such a different cat. She took 17 years to really come out of her shell and learn to play and show affection. Her last years got better and better as she gained confidence and began to enjoy her life. She discovered the fun of chasing her tail this summer, at almost 17 yrs old. It’s so sad that, having got to that stage, her life ended so suddenly.

Molly had a special fashion sense. This photo demonstrates it best…

Molly's manicure- Ellie Kennard 2015
Molly’s manicure- Ellie Kennard 2015

Molly was very serious almost all her life, with an intense way of looking at you – almost right through you. We sometimes called her The Looking Cat. We never knew why she was like that as Cornish Rex cats normally are very playful and not at all timid. Her life long companion, Rupert is totally different. He is gregarious, fun loving, affectionate and full of confidence. The first 2 weeks we had her she spent lying flat between the mattress and the box spring of a bed, almost too frightened to come out to eat. Once she began to trust us, after about 10 years, she would sometimes just sit and stare at us unblinkingly, making everyone feel slightly uncomfortable. She looked right into our souls.

Molly's intense stare - 2015
Molly’s intense stare – 2015

Molly knew how to be elegant. Like all cats, she loved the sun and would always seek it out, whether indoors as here, or outdoors as in the opening image, wearing her harness which kept her from straying.

Molly Silhouette - Ellie Kennard 2013
Molly Silhouette – Ellie Kennard 2013

Goodbye Molly. Rupert will miss you. And so will we.
*Molly was here sitting in front of the book “The Silent Miaow” by Paul Gallico

Revisiting England – thoughts from abroad

It’s time to revisit England. Not literally, though a little while ago we had thought to return this month. No, this time I am thinking of England at my favourite time of the year, when I always wish I were back there. It was April, 1968 when I first visited. I had just left a Canada which was still wintry, slushy and tired of the cold and snow. England was having one of its balmy, even hot, sunny springs, with flowers blooming everywhere, birds singing and everyone friendly and happy, sitting on the grass in parks and by canals. I fell in love with the country then and I will always go back there in my mind every spring. There is nowhere like it for me. I have no photographs of the spring in England, I don’t need them. My memory holds it all including the warmth of the sun on my back and on my pale winter face, and the wonderful scent of the spring flowers. Every year I think of the lines from Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts From Abroad“* – “Oh, to be in England Now that April’s there…”

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry - Ellie Kennard 2012
Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry – Ellie Kennard 2012

And then another line comes back to me from “A Shropshire Lad“** by A.E. Housman “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough…” Many years later, the first real home I lived in in England had two ornamental cherry trees outside the front door.  To this day every time I see a cherry tree in bloom, I am transported back to that time and the joy they brought me then.

Through the cottage window

There were few flowers to be seen on our trip back to the UK, but some of the scenes brought back just as many memories. It’s funny how even the interior of a modern park home, one of many almost identical in tight rows, can seem like a quaint cottage when it is filled with the things brought from just such an old home. Everything about this said ‘cottage window’ to me and the simple treasures brought to it from such an old kitchen filled the modern space with a feeling of solidity and timelessness. The little lidded pots for tea and coffee had made a graceful transition to sit on a modern windowsill, and the bird feeders transplanted to the tiny garden were so familiar that as you looked out beyond them to the golden leaves on this new riverbank you were once again standing in the kitchen of the ancient cottage on the river bank in the Suffolk countryside.

Cottage autumn window - Ellie Kennard 2016
Cottage autumn window – Ellie Kennard 2016

The things we choose to keep

When we move to new homes, we choose the things that we want to keep around us, things that represent in some way who we are and who we have been. Here, this window hanging plant crossed generations and was selected to be brought through multiple moves. The horse brasses in the sitting room, tide clock and seascapes from Suffolk hanging on the wall as if they had always been there all serve to connect us all with past windows, past cottages, past loves, friends and families. No casual visitor could guess why such a plant, such simple possessions were carried through sad and happy times, places and lives, yet, even without guessing, something does come through, something more powerful than a simple object.

Memories through a cottage window - Ellie Kennard 2016
Memories through a cottage window – Ellie Kennard 2016

Looking around the home we were staying in I was warmed by the memories that each piece of decoration brought back.  They all opened a window onto the past that was still there, though so far away in time and miles.

*Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts From Abroad” (to hear the whole poem on Youtube)
**A Shropshire Lad” by A.E. Housman – the whole poem linked here

Joni is Four

Joni never minds the cold of winter walks, as long as she has our company!
Joni never minds the cold of winter walks, as long as she has our company!

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.

When Friends

Thinking of you - friends
Thinking of you – friends

When friends think of you and they let you know in some way, it makes your world a happier, warm place.

Thank you to all friends everywhere who brighten our lives.

Naturally Curly

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.

Naturally curly - Ellie Kennard 2017
Naturally curly – Ellie Kennard 201

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?

What the best dressed fuchsias are wearing this fall - Ellie Kennard 2017
What the best dressed fuchsias are wearing this fall – Ellie Kennard 2017

While waiting and in memory

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.

Dahlia flower - Ellie Kennard 2017
Dahlia flower – Ellie Kennard 2017

And a dahlia in waiting, teasing us, only partly unfurling, as if shy to show herself, the first to bloom on this new plant.

Coming soon, dahlia in waiting - Ellie Kennard 2017
Coming soon, dahlia in waiting – Ellie Kennard 2017