Alberta snapshot: Nose Hill.

A flashback to a very frosty, foggy, and spectacularly quiet November morning here in Calgary, before the snow arrived to stay.

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday preparations!  If you’re setting up your Christmas tree this weekend or putting up some lights (or if you already have), have fun watching this completely over-the-top way to do the job. Have a wonderful weekend!

Flowery Friday: willows.

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Happy Friday!  I can’t believe I had to flip the calendar over to May this morning.  What’s up with time, anyway?  I know it seems to fly as you get older, but for me, it’s feeling pretty supersonic at this point.  (Awhile back, I came across this review of a book about the perception of time in relation to age…might make for some interesting reading).

I managed to get out to Nose Hill one morning this week and saw all the willow catkins emerging…I quickly took a few photos and rushed to get myself and my camera out of the rain shower that suddenly started right above me (and only me, as far as I could tell).  We really could use a nice, soaking rain, although everything is greening up despite the dry conditions.  I noticed our neighbour’s fantastically floriferous forsythia (too much?) on the way back from the park – it is, of course, competing with all those show-off Prunus species.  All this incredible colour and beauty is enough to make your eyes drunk.

I planted some spinach and radish seeds in the raised bed at the community garden this week – this is the earliest I’ve ever put these crops in, although many would reckon I’m actually running late.  I know some people who plant outside under cover in March – and unlike most years, we didn’t have much snow and ice in that month.  Last year, I planted my spinach on the 20 of May. Most of my garlic is up now – I just love to see those spiky green shoots splitting the soil.

What are your plans for the weekend?  I’ve got a deadline looming on an article about lacto-fermentation (BTW – do any of you do any fermenting?  I’ve been puttering around lately with several different whole leaf herb ferments – they’re easy and fun).  I’m also hoping to get out for some fresh air – I was reading a recent blog post by a local hiker, Barry Taylor, and he suggested Strathcona Ravine here in Calgary for a little nature jaunt.  I’m keen to check it out – we’ve lived here nearly two decades and I hadn’t ever heard of it before.

Before I leave you, I have to share the foodie extravaganza that is the list of midway culinary treats for this year’s Calgary Stampede.  If you thought last year’s were over the top, you haven’t seen anything yet.  I can’t believe that gigantic ice cream cone or the $100 hotdog…and we won’t talk about the cockroach offering.  I feel pretty much like I did last year – the poutines are the most tempting for me (well, except for the one with the doughnuts and the jalapenos – that just smacks of a stomach ache in a bowl).  What would you try?  Which of these is just too excessive (well, besides ALL of them)?

Flowery Friday: Prairie crocus.

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Hope you’re not tired of my crocus photos yet!  There are 1,406,718 of them (give or take a couple) blooming up on Nose Hill right now.  Don’t worry, I’ll only post one picture of this particular beauty.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Will you be spending part of it in the garden or going for a nice long walk?

Cold front: spring stirrings.

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.

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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.

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Warm thoughts: spring stirrings.

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….

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Frost…no frost…. 

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Very green aspens in Whispering Woods

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

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Willow catkins.

I have to run to catch up with spring, it seems…it’s all flying by in a blur!  I noticed our neighbour’s flowering plum is starting to bloom, even while a few doors down, there is a forsythia going strong.  The dandelions are threatening to take over the lawn (which makes me wonder why the rabbits choose to eat my liatris instead), and there are a million wild crocuses (Anemone patens)  up on Nose Hill flowering in sync with the golden (buffalo) bean.  The larches and the chokecherries and the aspens just leafed out these past couple of days – everything is that crazy young, glossy green, so bright it’s hard to comprehend.

I found these willow catkins this morning while walking on Nose Hill – what an amazing texture and colour!  You can really see the pollen on a couple of these images.

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What are you enjoying most about spring (or autumn, if you live in the southern hemisphere)? 

 

Alberta Snapshot: Daybreak.

It’s been a week of exceptionally warm weather, massive puddles and spectacular sunrises (which seem particularly amazing when I have to get to work and can’t stop to truly enjoy them).  The perennial beds are finally thawing a bit, and I was able to get out yesterday and haul away some of the litter that has blown in from the parking lot over the winter.  My neighbours have taken to lobbing their cigarette butts off the balcony and into the bed on the east side, so that will be an additional mess once I can finally pry them out of the ice.  Ah, to have a garden of my own someday….  🙂

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January sunrise at Nose Hill Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. According to the Friends of Nose Hill Society, the park is the largest urban natural area in Canada. It is comprised of 2,700 acres of grassland in the heart of the city’s northwest quadrant.

This photo isn’t of one of those sunrises – I took this last year.  I did manage to get out and enjoy a long walk on Nose Hill yesterday, but I missed sunrise by about a half hour.  Spotted four deer and one fluffy coyote enjoying breakfast, but they were too far away for decent photos.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!  What are you up to?