Flowery Prose

Sheryl Normandeau's growing words….


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? 


Alberta snapshot: Cattle at Cross Conservation Area.


A quick shot from a not-snowshoeing trip my hubby and I took on the weekend out to Cross Conservation Area – you can see that our Chinook winds have been doing a fine job of eating all the snow we had earlier in the year.   One fun part of hiking or snowshoeing Cross in the wintertime is that you get to share the land with a huge herd of grazing cattle – but of course it means you have to be extra-careful about where you place your feet!   ;




These hyacinths are stepping out after a three-month stint in the fridge.  I’m positively giddy to see that green!

Do you force bulbs (or corms, tubers etc.) indoors?  Which ones are your favourites?   


Bad hair day.



Still standing…even when the chips are down!  (Which is rather punny, given that my hubby and I came across this mostly-defoliated specimen in a logged area in Bragg Creek, Alberta).   ;)

I think a lot of people in the province are coming off of a week of “bad hair days”…perhaps it has something to do with the ever-changing weather and the constant “tuque-on, tuque-off”* activity or the hair-raisingly icy and snowy road conditions.  I’m good with the sunshine and brilliant blue sky that showed up in the south today – that can stay!  Here’s to a new week of “Good Hair Days!”

What are your favourite comforts when you’re having one of those days? 

*55 Canadianisms You May Not Know or Are Using Differently

Photo credit: R. Normandeau



Cactus wishes.


I’ve had it a month and I haven’t yet exterminated my newly-acquired Christmas cactus!  I’m really enjoying the blooms of my newly-acquired Christmas cactus!

I don’t know why I have trouble keeping Zygocactus* alive…I keep hearing that they’re the “easiest plants in the world to grow,” accompanied by enthusiastic testimony about specimens twenty feet wide and three hundred years old, that bloom sixteen times a year with absolutely no input from the gardener. (Okay, I exaggerate, but only slightly).  I usually kill mine within two weeks of purchase, it’s like they come with a self-destruct button or something.  I wake up one morning and poof! – they’ve completely cratered on my windowsill.

I mean,  I’m extremely careful not to overwater.  Well, actually, it’s more “neglect” than “care” – I must admit that all my houseplants exist in a state of drought most of their lives because I get busy and forget to water them.  You’d think I couldn’t kill cacti of any kind, but I have a pretty good track record.  (Why, when I read that last sentence back, does it sound suspiciously like bragging?).

But this time…I think I’ve finally found The One!  Or maybe I’m getting too excited about our one-month anniversary, and shouldn’t put the cart before the horse and all that.  Wish us a happy ever after!   ;)

Do you grow Zygocacti?

*The name Zygocactus is kinda sorta fascinating – well, to me, anyway – as it refers to the way that these plants are segmented, and is not the genus name (which is actually Schlumbergera).



I flipped on the tube the other morning and the TV weather forecaster was using the highly technical term “diamond dust” to describe what’s been going on here in Calgary over the past couple of days.  It made me think of little fairies flitting about at sunrise, their delicate wings catching the light just so as they sprinkled the trees with icy filaments of sparkling snow conjured from the still, cold air.  And then I got to wondering if maybe we ought to use science-based language for weather reports, you know…just because.


I remember when I was very young and we were having a cold snap during the winter – it was consistently minus 40 something degrees Celsius for over a week.  We lived out in the country at the time and remote car starters weren’t a thing back then so my Dad had to go outside and start the vehicle to warm it up before driving into town to work.  One morning he walked inside, shaking frost off of his coat, and announced that the air was so cold “you could cut it with a knife!”  I was absolutely captivated by this expression, I kept rolling it around in my head and trying to figure out how a person would go about doing something like that.   Did you need a sharp steak knife, or would a flat butter knife do?  Did you just go outside and start slashing away or should you choose a specific piece of the air to cut?

I’m not sure what I would have done with the concept of frost as “diamond dust.”  I guess that’s how stories and poems get written.  And weather reports, apparently.  ;)




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