Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 180 - A 'Lily' bit of home

Being from Saskatchewan, I have a particular affinity for the Tiger Lily, our provincial flower. Our lilies have been getting ready to bloom and the recent rain and intermittent sun gave them the little extra push they needed. Our lilies are nestled safely amongst a patch of Baby's Breath. By the way Baby's Breath does NOT smell like a baby's breath at all. In fact we find it smells like stinky belly button, YUCK! I'll try and get some shots of the stinky stuff in a day or two as it's just starting to open up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 179 - Rain with a Splash

Well, the much needed rain that they've been promising finally arrived this evening. We didn't get as much as originally forecast-ed but enough to quench the thirst of plants and gardens. We're supposed to get a bit more during the night so hopefully by morning the grass will no longer be crispy. This picture is a result of rain and eaves that are due to be cleaned. I opened the door to let Dexter out but he decided to stay in once he heard the rain. I decided to grab the camera and take a few splash action shots. The lighting was a little tricky but I think I got one that I can live with. Now that I've got this picture I guess there are no more excuses for not cleaning the eaves. Oh well, another summer job.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 178 - A Poutine Compromise

For those who don't know, poutine is a traditional Quebecois fast food meal. Although there are many variations, the original consists of french fries, cheese curds and gravy (poutine sauce). Some people like to have it with spaghetti sauce, peas or sausages (yuck). I've been craving one for awhile but the high fat content has kept me at bay. Peg offered to make a homemade version. She bakes, not fries, the potatoes with the skins so less fat and more fibre. We picked up the cheese at the grocery store along with a package of sauce. Although the sauce was St. Hubert's instead of Ashton's it was still good. Overall, I'd give this version an A+. It's just as yummy and has a lot less fat. Still not a meal to ingest regularly but a compromise when the craving hits.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 177 - Peas-a-plenty

One third of our garden is reserved for peas. We tend to eat them raw right off the vine. On occasion enough of them make it inside for Farmer's Dish. The first sowing has come up enough for the mesh netting to be installed today. We found this last year at our favourite garden store. It is sooooo much easier than tying strings for the vines to cling to.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 176 - Follow the Leader

We were out at the farm again this evening to walk the dogs. Fortunately, there was a new duck family there and Dexter refrained from chasing them around the pond. I snapped a few shots and decided on this one. I like the reflections in the water and the wake of the ducklings.

Day 175 - Happy St. Jean

On June 23rd and 24th many people in Quebec celebrate St. Jean Bapiste Day. Many people find their way to the Plains of Abraham on the evening of the 23rd. There is music, fireworks and unfortunately lots of drinking. On the 24th pretty much every thing is closed. Those who were more reckless the night before spend the day recovering. Others spend the day with family and friends, enjoying each other's company and the pride of living in Quebec. Like many things in Quebec, this holiday can be quite controversial. It is after all called a 'National' holiday even though it's celebrated only in the province of Quebec.
Personally, it's not a holiday I feel a kinship to. I love living in Quebec and think it's a beautiful and interesting part of the world. But in my heart of hearts, I am Canadian and to me Quebec is but one piece to the puzzle we call Canada.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 174 - Painted Picnic Fun

One of the favourite activities at our annual Family Barbeque Picnic is the face painting. The kids line up and wait remarkably patiently for the last day of school to have their faces used as artistic canvases. The two girls who spend the day creating, donate their time and talent to benefit the school's fun-raising efforts. This young lady and her friend posed proudly for the photo shoot of the day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 173 - Graduation

Well, another graduation has come and gone. This year's grad class was extra special for our school. We only opened our school 7 years ago so this year's group is the first group who went from Kindergarten to Grade 6 at Everest. It's hard to believe that the years have gone by so quickly. It seems just like yesterday that we were opening our doors. Here's to new beginnings and continued success. Congratulations Graduates!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 172 - Candid Cat

Although I do prefer dogs, I like cats and find them very interesting. They can be affectionate but are also quite independent. They are definitely lower maintenance than dogs but then again we do have two Great Danes so... Anyway, when I was at a friend's place I spotted this majestic fellow sitting on the deck surveying his kingdom. He was gracious enough to let me take his picture and even did some posing. I like how he stands out against the softness of the background.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 171 - Happy Birthday Sarah!

Yesterday, we celebrated a life about to start. Today we had the privilege of celebrating one that has been being lived for forty years. We told Sarah that she is now 4 perfect 10's! Once again we had yummy food and enjoyable company. While there I had a great discussion with a mutual friend, Nat. We chatted about photography and we are now photo buddies. We've already planned a few photo shoot locations. It truly is a pleasure to share my photography passion with a fellow fanatic. In between discussions we ate and took pictures of course. The above picture was taken by Nat while she was playing with my camera. Thanks Nat. Here's to many more pictures and happy birthdays amongst friends.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 170 - Expecting

Of all the wonders of the world babies are definitely one of them. Peg and I attended a baby shower this afternoon for our friend Stephanie. The shower took place at our friend Catherine's new home. We had a nice afternoon enjoying good food and friends. Of course, people had to share their own birthing and parenting stories. After all, we want to make sure the mother-to-be has as much knowledge as possible. Our gracious hostess is also expecting so we didn't feel the event would be complete without a photo of the two of them together. I'm sure their children will be just like them, amazing and the best of friends.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 169 - Colourful Character

Only a few days left of school but we're keeping pretty busy. A big part of the last few days is spent getting ready for the Grade 6 graduation. We practice things like the grad march, singing our song, sitting and moving on stage and grad speeches. Despite fatigue and very hot temperatures, students have been fairly focused and patient. However, from the looks of 'M', one of the grad speakers, the stress might be getting to some of the students. Since we don't set up the chairs until the day of graduation, we use these little dome markers to guide the students through the gym. At the end of practice I asked the students to each pick up a marker and place it back on the stand. 'M' picked up 3 and showed me this trick that he learned at soccer practice. I guess that goes to show you that learning does happen outside the classroom.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 168 - Setting new P.B.s

One of Peg's favourite things as a Phys. Ed. teacher is hearing and seeing her students get excited about setting new personal bests. (referred to as PB's at our school) This picture was taken at our Board's Track and Field Meet. "M" was so enthused about beating his old long jump record that he literally was flying! I decided to do the picture in sepia to soften the subject and create a more unified picture. This flight resulted in a 3.58 m result. Congrats M!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 167 - Happy Parachute

The parachute is a piece of equipment loved by children of all ages and many adults too. Peg doesn't usually bring the parachute outside because it's quite tricky to hang onto if there's any kind of wind. Fortunately, today was a sunny and calm day so she brought it out for her younger students. You can't see their faces in this picture but trust me when I say there was a big smile on all the little faces. The students above are making a balloon with the parachute. They need to lift the parachute as high as they can and then walk towards the middle to create the shape of a balloon. Between a sunny day, colourful parachute and happy kids it was impossible to watch without smiling.

Day 166 - Scarecrows

While at the track and field event with our students I noticed a nearby community garden. You could tell a lot of care and attention had gone into preparing and taking care of this space. This scarecrow was one of the first things to catch my eye. I smiled at the irony of such a cute fellow being considered scary. While I felt he was very welcoming I do hope he has the opposite effect on the 'pests' he is designed to keep away.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 165 - Hang Time

We had our School Board's Elementary Track and Field meet today. We had 6 schools participating for a total of 120 students. They did 5 events; long jump, discus, shot put, high jump and a 50 metre race. Fortunately, I got to attend in the morning. I helped out with set up and of course volunteered to take pictures. Above, is one of our Grade 6 girls floating over the 'bar' in high jump. It was a fun day with many personal bests and examples of good sportsmanship. It was a pleasure to be part of it. Maybe next year I'll get to attend for the whole day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 164 -Dog Day Afternoon

Ever since Dexter was a pup he would lie on his back, stretch out his back legs and gently gnaw on his front legs. We're convinced that this is the dog equivalent of sucking your thumb. Since Sadie's leg is recovering she's not as playful as usual so poor old Dexter has had to entertain himself. As well as 'sucking his thumb' he's been following Peg and I around as we do house and yard chores, barking at the neighbours and their guest as well as going for his daily walk. By the looks of it, nothing quite measures up to romping with his buddy Sadie. If all goes well the romping should resume tomorrow.

Day 163 - Flight of the Bumblebee

When I was out with the dogs I noticed there were a few bees out and about collecting pollen. So, I hurried inside to get my camera and began to follow the flight of the bumblebee. It's amazing how fast they move when you're looking at them through a camera. I decided to be lazy and took the camera off manual and put it on sport mode. I managed to get a few. I've chosen to put up an in-flight shot and a resting shot. They really are amazing creatures.

Day 162 - More Quebec Architecture

Planned on taking pictures at our staff party this evening but due to a lame dog (Sadie) we couldn't go. So, I decided to use one of my pictures from our tourist day a couple of weeks ago. This is a picture of our train station. As you can see, the architecture is similar to that of the Chateau Frontenac. It's beautiful inside as well. Just inside the building there is a beautiful stained glass skylight on the ceiling. In the middle is a reversed map of Canada (East is on the left & west on the right) with the railway map and on the outside are all the provincial flags. When the sun shines through you can see the reflection on the granite floor . It's quite a sight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 161 - Are we done yet?

The final countdown has begun, only 9 days left for the kids. For some, these days are a little bit longer because they stay at the daycare after school. If the weather cooperates they get to trek to the nearby park and play on the games and even in the water if it's warm enough. These young ladies, with stock in tow, are sitting in their line waiting to find out if today is a park day. Lucky for them it was. They even had a water fight with sponges. Unfortunately, I wasn't along for that part so I didn't get any water action shots. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 160 - Wine not Whine

It's that busy time of year once again. You know the time when everyone is tired, busy, stressed and ready for a holiday. There are 10 days of school left. On one hand teachers are happy because soon we'll be on holiday and have some time to regenerate. However, it also means we have correcting, report cards, graduation, year end activities, clean up - you get the idea - to complete in that short period of time.

So, as I see it we have a choice to make. We can whine about things that for the most part we can't change and focus on the negative. Or we can drink a glass or two of good wine (or other choice beverage - Diet Dr. Pepper), relax and focus on the positive. Although it's sometimes easy to get complain, we (me included) need to remember that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown. So, put on a happy face, think positive and live every day like it's your last.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 159 - Cotton Candy Clouds

I've always liked looking at clouds. I remember as a child my friends and I would look up at the clouds and see how many things we could make with their shapes. We saw many fluffy bunnies, fish and other creatures. It's been awhile since I've played this game. Maybe it's time to find a spot on the grass, put down a blanket and 'play'. We often say, "Stop and smell the roses." Maybe we should also say, "Stop and look at the clouds."

Day 158 - Santa Claus Melon

Peg purchased this melon on the weekend. She was intrigued by the name, Santa Claus Melon. Apparently it has a longer shelf life than most melons and can be eaten in a variety of ways. Anybody out there know why they call it a Santa Claus Melon? Inquiring minds want to know?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 157 - Poppy, before and after

Poppies are one of my favourite flowers. We have some in our garden and they're beginning to bloom. I ventured out into the rain, umbrella in hand of course, and snapped a few shots. I decided to post 2 of them. The first shows the poppy about to 'pop' out and the second is one that's just finished opening. I like the effect of the raindrops on the flowers. I'm hoping to plant some more this summer, white and red.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 156 - A bird without a name

Yet another camp capture. I caught this little fellow as we were up at the lookout point. He was difficult to 'catch' as he kept moving from branch to branch, further up into the tree. I managed to get a couple of shots in before he disappeared into the shelter of the branches. I've asked around and done some searching on the internet but I can't seem to find out this handsome birds name. Any ideas?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 155 - Heart Rock

While some people may like Hard Rock, I myself prefer Heart Rock. Sorry, I couldn't resist the play on words. Once again, sharing my love of photography with others has paid off. All my students know how much I love taking pictures and that I'm always looking for an interesting and unique subject to capture. While at camp a few of my girls found this heart shaped rock and insisted that I take some photos of it. The pictures turned out okay but I didn't find the heart stood out enough so I played with it a bit in Photoshop. Tracing with a ball mouse is definitely a challenge but practice makes perfect.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 154 - Polyphemus Moth

I actually took this picture last night. I was sitting at the table getting some correcting done when I looked over to the screen and saw this amazing moth. I took some pics from inside but they didn't really turn out. I decided to take a chance and go on the deck. I wasn't sure the moth would stick around and wait but it was very cooperative and patient. It hung out for quite awhile so I could figure out which settings to use on my camera. I had to use the flash as it was night time but it didn't seem to affect the colour. Today one of my students found a smaller version near where we were playing. She held it for me so I could take a picture. The little guy is below.

Day 153 - Rainy Day at Camp

Headed to Camp Keno with all the Cycle 3 students and teachers on Wednesday morning. The rain held off until we arrived and put all our bags in the cabins. Unfortunately, it rained for most of the day but the kids didn't seem to mind. They continued doing all their activities and I didn't hear any complaints. Shortly after lunch the teachers and I were in our cabin. The rain started coming down quite hard so I went outside to snap some shots. We had a deck on our cabin so I was able to take pictures of the rain without getting me or my camera wet. The rain did let up a bit in the later afternoon and early evening and then came back out during the night.
Although it might not be the best weather for camping, we certainly need the moisture. Besides, it often makes for more interesting camp stories. One group was out in their canoe when the rain started. They didn't fall in the lake but kind of looked like they had. Once again, no complaints only smiles. Yeah, camp!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 152 - Hanging Out

While visiting Old Quebec we happened upon these hanging silhouettes. There are a variety of figures strung between buildings. They're present above streets only used for walking. The characters can be seen skateboarding, watering flowers, rollerblading, hanging upside down and even walking a dog. Most of them are also holding a bouquet of flowers. I thought they were cute and a nice touch to the ambiance.