Category Archives: New Brunswick

Spring has sprung – at last!

It seems, of late, that it has taken much longer for spring to arrive. It’s as if the seasons are all about a month behind where they should be. But, that said, it’s a delight to have windows open, the sun radiating real warmth that soaks into you, and birds singing on every branch.

It wasn’t too long ago that the fields were swathed in snow and ice and branches barely showed above the banks on the roadsides. Now, when Harley and I go for our morning strolls, it’s a joy instead of a chore – for both of us. Now, if you look closely, buds are swelling getting ready to burst forth with leaves and flowers and the scents of the season. Spring truly is a time of rebirth and everyone’s mood reflects that. Walking down the street I notice that people are walking more lightly and with energy, smiling greetings at each other – no longer brief and gruff as winter winds drive the cold and damp into one’s bones.

In four days I’m off to Ireland on a Writer’s Retreat with author and workshop leader, Gerard Collins. He’s attracted an interesting group of writers to participate in the event from novices to experienced and published authors themselves. It should be a fascinating adventure and hopefully I’ll finally take the plunge on developing at least one of the book concepts I’ve been tossing around for eons. I’ll try and keep you posted from the Emerald Isle if I can. Meanwhile, get out, breathe deeply and enjoy the burgeoning spring that is just around the corner.

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Also posted in BLOG, Canada, photography, seasons Tagged |

The Hunger Moon

The full moon in February is called The Hunger Moon because, in times past (and perhaps not so far in the past), people’s food supplies and game for hunting had dwindled through the winter and they were hungry. Nonetheless, a full moon is always an impressive sight.

The Hunger Moon

This morning the air was bitterly cold. The thermometer read -25ºC and with the windchill the feels-like temperature was at least five degrees colder. Cameras (and photographers) really don’t like extreme cold, so I shot this image of the moon shortly prior to daylight through the window.

Pre-dawn

As the moon continued to set, the sky lightened to its pre-dawn purple hue hinting at a warmth that wasn’t there.

Sunrise

And even as the sun began to rise adding its hint of warmth to the scene across the road, the wind came up as well. For all creatures, two and four-legged, it would prove to be brutally cold for hours yet to come. No wonder it is the season of the hunger moon.

 

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Coping

Everyone has his or her own way of coping with loss or drastic change. For me it means grabbing a camera, putting a leash on the dog, and going for a walk on a country road just to stretch and breathe slowly, letting the stress out with each deep breath.

Last vestiges of fall foliage

Last vestiges of fall foliage

Sometimes if you take the time to peek into the ditches you’ll find remnants of the amazing fall foliage colours the Maritimes are famous for – and it will make you smile in spite of yourself.

Not letting go

Not letting go

And at the edge of the road a loan leaf clings to the naked branch of a bush, its comrades blown away by the last strong wind.

After two weeks of travelling in to the hospital to sit with my mother, brothers and sisters while her life ebbed away, and another week of frantic activity after the not-unexpected 6:a.m. call, the hubbub has slowed and the exhaustion has set in. When you are sad it is hard to get motivated to bundle up against the cold and go outside, but Mother Nature offers solace, encouragement and the rejuvenation needed to keep coping and moving on.

 

Supermoon (Beaver moon) Rising

Supermoon (Beaver moon) Rising

Last night I had intended to go out and set up my gear to capture the rising of the Supermoon over the local hills. One of the side effects of grief and attempting to cope is the inability to remember things properly and motivate yourself in a timely way. Instead of preparing, I sat down and ate dinner with my husband, only realizing after the fact that I’d missed that moment of the moon appearing over the crest of the hill. The best I could manage was a quick snap of it rising rapidly through the naked tree branches across the road.

Supermoon setting

Supermoon setting

My alternate plan, since I’m an early riser anyway, was to get out this morning and capture the giant orb setting over the Town of Sussex to the west of us. Mother Nature played a cruel joke on my plan and hid most of the moon behind cloud cover, showing just enough to taunt me!

Look closely and you'll see the lights of Sussex at the bottom of the photo.

Look closely and you’ll see the lights of Sussex at the bottom of the photo.

Everyone has different coping strategies. For me it will be more walks with Harley and perhaps a camera over my shoulder too. It’s been a long several months and no matter how prepared for someone’s death you think you are, you aren’t. A death brings out the best in some people, and the worst in others. Hopefully those who cope by striking out against others will find their way back to those who support each other in coping with the loss of the linchpin that held it all together.

Also posted in appreciation, Autumn, BLOG, caring, death, emotions, Fall Foliage, family, photography, rural living lifestyle, seasons, writing Tagged , , |

Giving Thanks!

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This is the week-end to give thanks in Canada, and we have much to be thankful for. Fall foliage in New Brunswick is always lovely, but some years are more spectacular than others, and this year is one of the latter. Every where you look the hills are dotted with a patchwork quilt of brilliant colours – deep reds, vibrant golds and everything in between. This week-end will probably be the peak of the season for foliage because once the winds and rains arrive, the dying leaves’ tenuous hold on the trees will be ripped away and they’ll fall to the ground.

ragweed-seed-head-web-copyEven weeds that are beginning to shrivel up in anticipation of winter offer beauty for those willing to look.

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And left over bits of timothy and grass seeds are hanging on – ready to start new growth next spring.

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And still a few plants and their flowers continue to thrive giving us more reasons to be thankful. I wish everyone a thoughtful and happy Thanksgiving!

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Autumn in New Brunswick

backlit-red-leaf-web-copyAutumn in #NewBrunswick means cool, crisp and clear days, cold nights and, most importantly, brilliant fall foliage! The peak time for the most colourful display is usually in about two weeks – around our Thanksgiving or mid-October. However, this year there’s a strong hurricane threatening the entire eastern seaboard from Miami through our area and beyond. So, I decided I should gather as many seasonal images as possible today – and if there are more to be had later, I can always add to the collection. We’ve had an unnervingly dry summer so the leaves are literally hanging by a thread, dehydrated and ready to fall with the smallest breeze, never mind hurricane force winds.

apples-web-copyAutumn also means apples. These very small, sour crab apples grow on my neighbour’s tree. They’d probably make good jelly but, as older folk are prone to say, they don’t make “good eatin'”. Other varieties grown in orchards throughout the area are much tastier for snacks, pies or sweet treats!

abandoned-house-knightville-web-copyIn the countryside around #Sussex the colours of autumn are just beginning to emerge. They provide a wonderful backdrop for many scenes, even this old, derelict farm house collapsing in upon itself.

beaver-lodge-web-copyThe industrious beaver family in the pond behind our house have been fortifying their dam in an effort to raise the dwindling water level that will provide their winter habitat and protection. Normally all that greenery behind them would be under water at this time of year – a testament to the long, dry months of summer.

deer-across-field-1-red-tree-web-copyMeanwhile, in the field across the road from our house, one lone red maple stands like a sentinel above a couple of grazing deer.

far-side-of-highway-web-copyIn the adjacent field the trees on the far side of the #1 Highway are just beginning to show off their autumn colours.

seed-head-web-copyHay scraps on the edges of the fields have gone to seed.

timothy-web-copySome stand out against the detritus of a season past its glory.

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Still, the view from our deck can be enjoyed as we keep track of the developing autumn colours on the far hills. Meanwhile, summer’s warmth is laid to rest  for another year under a canopy of colour.

 

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Also posted in Autumn, BLOG, Canada, Fall Foliage, photography, seasons Tagged , |

October denouement

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It’s the first of October, the denouement of autumn into that other season that we shall not name. Leaves on deciduous trees have been changing colour for the last few weeks and will probably peak in the next week or so.

The day began with the thunder of shotguns on this first day of bird hunting season. Ducks and geese fled overhead, quacking and honking in fear for their lives. But, as the sun rose, the hunters took respite until tonight when they’ll try again to nail those hapless birds. Truthfully I have no problem with hunting if it’s to put food on the table. I just fail to understand killing anything as sport. But that’s for another post someday.

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The sedum have flowered and changed colours from pale pink to a deep rose shade. Left untrimmed in winter their determined seed heads will be seen above the snow and those birds who spend the season here, as opposed to heading south, will feast upon them.

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Meanwhile, the hayfields have been cut for the second time and most of the bales taken away to feed the herds of cattle over the coming winter months. A few ignored or forgotten ones remain as distant trees mark the changing of the seasons. Summer is truly over.

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And the remnants of the black-eyed Susans punctuate the changes in the gardens – hanging on as long as they can until cold winds rip their shrivelled petals away from the seed heads. Like the sedum, those small black seed heads will remain until spring providing sustenance to the over-wintering birds and those returning early from their southern vacations.

October is the month of drastic change, beginning with clear and bright days with cool nights and ending by heralding the dark, damp and cold that is November. Luckily it is also the month that gives us the most brilliant of colours before the total denouement of the season.

Also posted in Autumn, BLOG, Fall Foliage, photography, seasons Tagged , , , , |

Pre-Balloon Fiesta season has arrived

Balloons Rising copy

Every year, before the official start of the #AtlanticInternationalBalloonFiesta, some enthusiasts arrive early to take to the currents above the Kennebecasis Valley – we call it the pre-Balloon Fiesta season. This year is no different.

Early this morning I went out on the deck to hang some laundry on the line. We are having an unseasonably warm week and this morning the air was heavy and still, not a breeze stirring the leaves. Harley was with me and staring intently into the distance, not barking a single ‘woof’. When I turned to see what had captured his attention I saw three balloons taking to the air – heading west toward Smiths Creek. In the early morning silence it was an incredibly peaceful scene to witness.

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Even the single bird on the wire wasn’t disturbed.

bird on a wire _DSF3119 - Version 2I think Harley and I will enjoy the week-end if the weather cooperates and keeps the wind to a minimum so the colourful hot air balloons can soar up and down the valley.

Harley balloon watching copy

Our peace was shattered moments later, though, when our neighbour’s little orange and white kitty came to visit. He’s not at all intimidated by Harley’s loud barking. For his part, Harley is barking with joy, tail curled and wagging, just dying to make friends.

kitty at window _DSF3151 - Version 2He seemed to enjoy taunting Harley through the window.

He's growing up to be a handsome lad!

He’s growing up to be a handsome lad!

 

 

 

 

Also posted in BLOG, photography Tagged , |

Summer is flying by in my garden

Here in the Maritimes summer in the garden is flying by much too quickly. I took a walk around the yard today creating photographs of what is happening (or not) in a couple of my very basic gardens. You have to understand that my passion is photography, not gardening. But, that said, I do appreciate how much a garden or two add to the ambience of a yard, making a house and property feel more “homey”.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

The petals on my Black-eyed Susans are showing the ravages of time but they are still a bright spot out there in the yard.

Day Lilly

Day Lily

And while most of the lilies have given up the ghost, there are still a few buds waiting to extend summer just a little longer.

Double White Rose and Bee

Double White Rose and Bee

I’m always amazed by my Double White Rose bushes that continue to bloom into the fall. They keep the local bees happy!

Double White Rose bud

Double White Rose bud

And there may be more to come before the official end of summer.

Lilac buds

Lilac buds

Even the lilac bush is still loving the heat of summer and putting out new buds.

Rose Hips

Rose Hips

Meanwhile, the roses that have finished for the season are happily setting their rose hips. The birds will be happy when the temperatures get colder.

Berries on the bush

Berries on the bush

Here’s where I have to confess my ignorance. I have no idea what type of bush this is and consequently no idea what type of berries these are – but the birds sure do like them!

So, that’s how I spent this warm and muggy summer afternoon – roaming around the gardens taking photographs while there’s still lots going on out there. If you want to make some nice photos of your garden, take your time, look for a variety of angles and simplify, simplify, simplify. All of these are shot at ISO200, f/5.6 and, since there was a slight breeze, a shutter speed of 1/500. My goal was to isolate a small section of each plant. Since the sun was shining brightly on the rose bushes, I used my body to put the roses into shadow so I could emphasize the bee, the petals and the leaf texture. The lone lilac bloom was lovely but the garage siding isn’t particularly attractive so, by using a long focal length (135mm) and a reasonably wide aperture I was able to blur the background to an almost solid gray, letting the lovely lilac flower star!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. It’s not over yet, but as the days grow ever shorter, it gets more and more important to get out there and enjoy it while we can!

White Rose

White Rose

They call these the dog days of summer. Hmmm. I wonder why? ‘Til next time.

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By the bay

When you live in southeastern New Brunswick you get to spend a lot of time by the bay – the Bay of Fundy that is. Home to the highest tides in the world, the changing scenery is always intriguing.

Sitting on the bottom of the bay

Sitting on the bottom of the bay at low tide in Alma, NB

These fishing boats are stranded – low and dry -waiting for the tide to come in and float them high enough to sail out through the gap and into the bay to fish.

 

 

Shells anyone?

A touch of whimsy

Who’d have thought that serious fisherfolk would have a sense of humour? These ones did, naming their boat “Dead Men Tell No Tales” and providing a decorative pirate theme to the bow and flags.

Moving up the bay you can glance across any field and glimpse the shores of Nova Scotia in the distance.

Albert Co. fields facing the shores of NS

My day ended in Hopewell Hill overlooking the Shepody marshes, where the goose-tongue greens grow, across the Bay of Fundy to the far shores of Nova Scotia.

Hopewell Hill and the Shepody Marsh

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‘Tis the season – to make hay

Tedded and raked field ready for baling.

Tedded and raked field ready for baling.

I love living in rural New Brunswick. Our neighbours are farmers and we catch the rhythm of the seasons as they fertilize and lime their fields, watch them grow, cut, rake and prepare the hay for baling. The scent of new mown  grass wafts across the road and I can sit on the deck and blissfully inhale the aroma.

Baled and ready to load

Baled and ready to load

With today’s modern equipment the process is much faster than it used to be. Fields are now cut, raked, tedded, baled and stripped all in a day, or maybe two if it’s a big field. Tractors come in, stab the huge round bales and stack them on wagons, ready to be hauled away.

Roadside remnants

Roadside remnants

And then it’s over – for now – and the fields begin to grow again.

Yes, ’tis the season to make hay.

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