Flowery Prose

Sheryl Normandeau's growing words….


Cold front.

There’s a cold front moving in tonight, with snow in the forecast…the clouds and the wind were definitely letting me know about it as I walked on Nose Hill this afternoon.



The garden is waking up with all of this warm weather we’ve been having, but I’m not ready just yet.  That sounds funny coming from a gardener, but the timing isn’t right and I’m in no rush.  Better to let sleeping ladybugs lie.  ;)   Things will happen in their own time – but this bit of green certainly made me smile.



The don’ts of bird photography, part 2.

This black-capped chickadee clearly wasn’t ready for his close-up.  And neither was I.  ;)


See the first Don’t here….



The new trail markers at Nose Hill have beautiful cut-outs of Prairie crocus blooms… while I was out walking there last week, I had a notion that they’d make interesting photo frames.  Which focus do you like best?




Book Review: The Book of Beetles.


The Book of Beetles:  A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature’s Gems – Patrice Bouchard, Editor (2014, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago)

I may be a gardener, but I pretty much freak out whenever I encounter an insect – it doesn’t matter if they’re beneficial or not.  I can handle lady (ladybird) beetles (and by that, I mean I can literally hold them) and butterflies – and for some reason ants don’t upset me unless they’re in my kitchen, building little ant condos and supermarkets beneath my dishwasher.  But everything else either sends me running or – in the case of a certain grossly oversized, hairy moth that once flew into the open window of a vehicle I was driving – to a screeching halt on the side of the road.   Sawyer beetles – you know the ones that are the size of a Honda Civic and sport antennae of a length you normally associate with the rack on a trophy elk – make me positively hysterical.

Still, even if you have only a fractional fondness for insects, it is extremely useful (I’d suggest necessary) to be able to identify them in the home and garden. I came across The Book of Beetles at work and thought maybe it would be helpful for me to properly ID some of the beetles in southern Alberta.  Actually, while some of the 600 beetles in the book do indeed inhabit the province, it’s not really that kind of book.  It’s actually a book about the fashion models of the order Coleoptera.  Every page sports a glorious full colour, life size glossy photo of beetles bedecked in all their finery,*  accompanied by a short bio that answers all of the important questions, such as country of residence and favourite foods.  (“Carpet fibres,” enthuses one, while several others tout the benefits of chewing tree bark).   These beetles are all so staggeringly beautiful and unique, this non-beetle lover paged through the book in complete amazement.  And if I was impressed, anyone interested in beetles would be quite happy, indeed. The photographs are absolutely incredible, and despite its size and weight, the book isn’t text heavy.  (This shouldn’t trouble beetle enthusiasts and scientists, as the intent of the book is clear.  And it will only serve to make people like me take an earnest look).   I don’t think a more enjoyable book about beetles has ever been produced.

*In the case of the reeeeeallly little beetles, there is also a magnified photo to show detail.


Face to Face with 11 Amazing Beetles (BBC World)



Warm thoughts.

I headed out to Nose Hill and Whispering Woods shortly after sunrise this morning and spent a couple of sun-filled hours meandering on the trails…I am so thankful I had the forethought to put my ice cleats on my boots or I would have had to turn back right at the gate to the Hill.  Even with the extra grip, I was still skidding all over the place.  (Who needs to go out to the mountains for an ice walk experience when there are such excellent opportunities at home?).   ;)

Yesterday was humid and cold and so the trees were all caked in frost, but as I walked I could feel the warm air currents slip down into the valleys, and the sunlight quickly burned off the ice.  The aspen were so strongly scented they made me think of spring thaw.   And that’s a very pleasant thought, indeed….



Frost…no frost…. 


Very green aspens in Whispering Woods

IMG_0789Thistles may be annoying, but boy, do they have winter interest! 



Winter coat.


This morning we’re being treated to the fluffiest snow you can imagine – with flakes this light, it’s more a case of  “float” than “fall.”  I love how the spruce trees by the back step look like they’re covered in white fur.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Do you have any special plans?


Alberta snapshot: Cross Conservation Area.


“Look up…waaaay up.”

Definitely dating myself here.  Back in the *mumble mumble*ties we had a really sweet children’s program here in Canada (and in some parts of the States) called The Friendly Giant.  In the very special intro to the show (watch here), Friendly, played by Bob Homme, would call the viewers to the castle where he lived with his friends, Rusty the rooster and Jerome the giraffe.  There was always music and a story.  I didn’t realize it until reading about it recently, but apparently much of the show was completely ad-libbed by Homme, and Rod Coneybeare, the puppeteer who worked with Rusty and Jerome.  (You can really see that in the segment of the episode presented in the clip I’ve linked to).  I think it’s a rare Canadian – of a certain vintage, that is! – who looks back on The Friendly Giant without affection.

What were your favourite TV shows as a child? 

And now? 


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