Floral notes – October 2018.

First things, well…yeah.  Let’s smile together.  Maybe even guffaw together.  Click here to see the finalists for this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.  And then tell me which one is your favourite pic in the comments.  (I am indecisive; torn between “Have a Headache” and “Crouching Tiger, Peeking Moose”).

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Calgary cookbook author Julie Van Rosendaal’s Out of the Orchard: Recipes for Fresh Fruit from the Sunny Okanagan (2016, TouchWood Editions, Canada) is perfect for this time of year. Although the sweet, juicy B.C. peaches are finished (no worries! – I have a bunch stashed in the freezer for any and all occasions), the apples are still rolling in and on for extremely budget-friendly prices.  If you look around, you’ll still find the plums, as well, and of course, the pears are just coming on.  I seriously would like one of everything in this cookbook – I have no idea where to begin.  Weeeeellll, maybe I do.  Page 43, “Peach and Pumpkin Muffins.” Happening this week, in my kitchen.  And for supper tomorrow night: “Roasted Carrot Soup with Apples and Sage.”  Or…how about…”Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Soup with Ginger and Pear.” That’s for Thursday night.  I’m gonna be busy….  If your bookstore or library carries this cookbook, I’d highly recommend tracking down a copy – it will quickly become a favourite!

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I meant to write about this much earlier this year but things sort of got away from me (they always do!). Alberta author Diane Mae Robinson has accomplished the impossible: she has made English grammar both accessible and adorable for children of all ages with The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom. Using examples from her previously penned Pen Pieyu Adventures (ho boy, I’m in for it with that sentence!), this is a cute, useful, and educational book.  While the major appeal is for kids, I think it may actually serve adult ESL students as well, especially if they enjoy fantasy stories.  This is a fantastic resource (and if you want to own a copy, you can get the e-book free for your Kindle on Amazon.ca right now.  If you don’t live in Canada, I think the freebie is also offered up by Amazon in other countries, so just search for the book or the author on your respective site).

Even if you don’t garden in the United States, this is a delectable treat: the American Horticultural Society has digitally archived all of its issues of The American Gardener magazine from 1920 to 2016.  You can peruse them all here.  The opportunity to access documents like these is one of the best, most positive things about the Internet!

And, from the “Yes, I Published Another Article and Yes, You Are Stuck Hearing About It” Department, I…um…recently had another article published. Well, four more articles, actually.  We’ve got “How To: Mulch 101” and “Plants for Fall Colour” in the Fall 2018 issue of The Gardener for Canadian Climates, “Check Your Pulses” in the autumn issue of Archive, and “Wabi-Sabi Garden Design” in Herb Quarterly (Winter 2018).  This may be why I blog so irregularly and somehow forget to reply to all your wonderful comments until two months (or occasionally six) after you’ve written them and then you get the WordPress notification and you’re, like, huh? what is she talking about, anyway? – and then you do a search and realize this was thirteen blog entries ago!

Wow.  Someone is clearly in need of The Dragon Grammar Book. Or less caffeine, more sleep.  😉

Flowery Prose turns 8!

Well, Flowery Prose The Blog turned 8 years old a little while back and I meant to write a little something to celebrate, but somehow it was overlooked, and here I am, a few weeks-ish late.  I would like to offer a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who generously and kindly gives FP a read, and/or stops in to comment – you all rock and I’m very grateful to you!*

Just for fun, I thought I’d share my top three favourite posts I’ve done so far – I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.

The Don’ts of Bird Photography  Timing is very important when taking bird photos.  You’ll see what I mean.  (Be sure to click on the image in the link for full, glorious effect).

Bookmarks. Since I wrote this post (and transferred to another library branch in the city), I am delighted (bewildered?) to add a child’s pink one-piece swimsuit to the list.  I am not joking.

Fun with Search Terms, Flowery Prose Edition.

Why not celebrate with me and put a link to your favourite post that you’ve done on your own blog in the comments? 

*even if things get supremely busy and I don’t get around to replying for weeks on end and then pretty much the season is over and done with or whatever I’ve written about is completely irrelevant and yet you are still so patient and wonderful and I truly appreciate it

 

Alberta snapshot: Sawmill snowshoe.

Although it is *technically* spring in this part of the world, we’re still pretty much in full-on winter mode, so to show you some photos from a snowshoeing trip we took a few weeks ago seems sort of appropriate.  Nothing “flowery” here, not at the moment.

But we have mountains! This is Sawmill, just off the Smith-Dorrien Trail close to where it intersects with Highway 40. It was a new snowshoe jaunt for us, a 5.3 kilometre loop with very little elevation. The most recent snowfall had occurred the day before, and the wind had blown hard, crusty dunes over much of the broken trail.

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And in other parts, there were tracks. We think these were from a bobcat:

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We figured we could rule out a cougar because the tracks were too small, and we decided a lynx could also be slotted into the too-large side of the scale. (I know, we ought to have placed an object for size comparison, but we didn’t think of it at the time). The tracks were slightly larger than those of a domestic housecat, which also lends credence to the bobcat ID. I’ve never seen one, but they are small!

We later found even smaller tracks running (but only in very brief intervals) in front of the larger ones and we believe the mother bobcat was likely carrying a kitten and set it down into the snow at certain spots.  I did some research and it seems possible that bobcats could have young at the time of year we were out, while lynx will supposedly birth closer to April or May.  Here are what we think may be bobcat kitten tracks:

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I would definitely welcome any input on the ID of the cat tracks – maybe someone reading this can offer more insight? Does our imagined mother-kitten scenario seem plausible, or could there be another explanation?

At least, this next set of tracks could be identified with absolute certainty.  My hubby offered the correct nomenclature: Polus pokysnowus.  😉

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And on that note…have a wonderful weekend! Hope there is a little less snow where you are….

Alberta snapshot: Death Valley, Sandy McNabb.

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The afternoon of the very same Tuesday I shot that frosty photo of Twin Valley Reservoir (see here), my hubby and I intended to do some snowshoeing at Sandy McNabb, in Sheep River Provincial Park.  The snowshoeing part of that was thwarted by temperatures that had risen to nearly plus 10 degrees Celsius and the accompanying heavy slush on the trail, so we hiked instead (and were grateful for waterproof boots!). The trails at Sandy McNabb were previously unfamiliar to us, but we’ll be back in the summer, for sure! During the winter, most of the trails are designated for cross-country skiing, so snowshoers, hikers, equestrians, and fat-bikers have to be aware of which ones are multi-use.  We chose Death Valley/Death Valley Loop, and despite the ominous moniker, it was an enjoyable, fairly easy 6 kilometre trek through primarily forested area.  We were even fortunate enough to make the distant acquaintance of one of the local residents. So fun!

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Photo credit: R. Normandeau.

Floral notes: August 2017.

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I haven’t done one of these posts in absolutely forever…well, since March, but I’m (only very occasionally) prone to hyperbole.  Because I’ve been kinda sorta busy, I don’t have a huge stockpile of links, which is probably a relief for both writer and reader.  Have fun with these!

History and botany…what could be better? I love this post from Lyndon Penner, detailing the life of Carl Peter Thurnberg (1743-1828) and his contributions to horticultural science.

Victorian pteridomania and all its wackiness and excitement is illustrated in this story.

If you’re interested in butterflies, the samples of illustrations alone in this article about the work of American lepidopterist Titian Peale will delight.  His biography is nearly as fascinating.

Anyone who crafts and sews might enjoy this fun article, which contains history and trivia about pincushions and pins.

The post needs an update (it was written in 2012) and it is a definite niche, but for anyone interested in children’s literature set in my home province of Alberta, this link will bring you to a list complete with short summaries of each work.

78 rpm records aren’t making a comeback on turntables in 2017 (although if you tossed out your collection of 33 1/3’s in the early ’90’s, you might be surprised to know that there are A LOT of us in used record stores looking for that old stuff…and we’re purchasing new albums on vinyl by current artists as well).  But if you’re interested in some 78 gems, this link will get you to a site where you can listen to hundreds of digitized songs, for free (and no pesky software download).  If you’re a music fan, be prepared to spend hours browsing!

Clipart credit.

Family Literacy Day.

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Today, January 27, is Family Literacy Day here in Canada! Since its designation in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada, Family Literacy Day is an annual celebration of reading and other activities related to literacy.  “Learn at play, every day” is this year’s slogan, reflecting the link between play and reading and the development of children.

At work this week, I found a couple of picture books that were so appealing I just have to share…the first one is Planting the Wild Garden by Kathyrn O. Galbraith (illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin). Although it’s classified as fiction, it approaches non-fiction in its clear explanation of the many ways seeds can be dispersed by wind, water, animals, and people. I love how everything seems to be moving in this book, expressed in action words and noises: the crisp sound of pods snapping, the “per-chik-o-ree” of a goldfinch, the chomping of raccoons on blackberries. Portions of the text are even printed topsy-turvy on the page, reflecting the constant motion of seeds.  So clever!

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(2011, Peachtree Publishers, Georgia)

Well-known children’s book and fantasy author Jane Yolen’s poetry is simple, sweet, and lyrical in Sing A Season Song, and combined with Lisel Jane Ashlock’s spectacular illustrations, this book is positively breathtaking.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have kids or you’re a long way from being one yourself, it’s worth finding a copy so you can delight in the artistry and beauty.

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(2015, Creative Editions, Minnesota) You can find more examples of Ashlock’s art on her website here. Chances are you may have already read a book she’s illustrated or provided the cover art for.

Spend some time reading to or with a child – not just today and not only if you’re Canadian! Kids + books = something magical and amazing!  Adults + books, too…. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Hesitation.

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For a pelican, he sure looks a little hesitant about getting into the pool….

Photos taken 10 July 2014, on the South Saskatchewan River near the CPR Bridge, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – something I was more than a bit hesitant to cross over on. It would be an understatement to say I’m not good with either heights or bridges and this old pedestrian bridge adjacent to the rail bridge completely unnerved me. Built in 1909, it felt decidedly creaky to me, although everyone else seemed blissfully unaware that we were all going to fall off into the river below if, for a split second, I took my white-knuckled fingers off of the oh-too-short railing or stepped on the wrong wooden board.  😉

 

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Do you have any phobias or fears that make you hesitate?

Baby jackrabbit.

We have an…erm…flourishing population of white-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus townsendii) around here this spring and with their clearly discerning tastes, they would far rather munch on the free buffets everyone’s gardens than the gazillion luscious dandelions popping out of the lawns.  The adult rabbits are big, too – much larger* than a housecat and many dog breeds, and they have this steely look in their eyes that suggests you don’t want to mess with them when they’re chowing down on your tulips.  They’re so used to people that they barely blink when you try to shoo them away – sometimes you really have to make a fuss to get them to run.

This little one is going to be a problem one day, but for now, he’s the cutest thing in the neighbourhood.  Our landlady hasn’t planted up the boxes in the doorway at the back of our building just yet, so he’s taken to snoozing in one, casually pretending that no one sees him when they enter and exit. I guess having his back to the bricks makes him feel very secure.  He certainly didn’t move a muscle when I took a photo over the stair rail a few evenings ago.   I just can’t get over how long his legs are compared to his body size – he’s going to be one huge bunny.

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*In Wayne Lynch’s article “More Than Fluff: The Curious Behaviours of Rabbits and Hares” in the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of Alberta Conservation, he writes that white-tailed jackrabbits can reach a hefty 3.5 kilograms.

Are rabbits a problem in your garden?  What have you done to try to deter them?

Alberta Snapshot: Flying deer.

Winged deer sign - Bragg Creek - 8 April 2014

I checked in the library’s copy of Mammals of Alberta and couldn’t find this particular ungulate listed in the family Cervidae.  After my hubby took this photo near Bragg Creek, we stuck around for awhile to see if one of these amazing beasts would fly out from the underbrush, but none appeared and we eventually drove home to grab a bite to eat.

 

Okay, I have to know – what strange or interesting road signs have you seen lately?

Have a fun and enjoyable weekend!  Hope the sun is shining for you!