April 2011

Oh my goodness, was Easter really only last weekend? Surely we’ve lived three lifetimes since then. Some weeks are just like that, aren’t they?

I can hardly believe that our Good Friday wander around Manotick was a scant seven days ago. It was cool but bright, and we enjoyed wandering around the Mill and inspecting the dam in the midmorning sun.

120:365 Bench

And it really seems like a lifetime ago we were colouring these eggs (although it did seem that the egg salad sandwiches for lunch might never end!) It was only after I was playing with this one in Lightroom that I realized that I had handed Lucas the little tablets of egg dye in random order and he had dropped them into the cups in an equally random order — and yet he managed to put them in the perfect ROYGBIV order of the spectrum. He’s an artiste savant! πŸ˜‰ I was actually aiming to have the boys a little less in focus than this, but oh well.

121:365 Colouring Easter eggs

Not the shot of the day, but I rather liked this one of the tools of their trade, so I’ll slip it in here, too.

121b:365 Easter eggs

Am I taking advantage of your polite attention if I slip in just one more? Easter is so photogenic, and so much more transient than Christmas!

121c:365 Simon colouring

This is Bubba, my recently adopted fur-brother, trying to eat Papa Lou’s face for Easter dinner.

122:365 Doggy love

As if that weren’t already an incredibly photo-rich long weekend, it was Monday when lovely Baby H allowed me to point my camera in his direction. (There’s more from that shoot here.)

123:365 Toes!

There are some subjects I seem to be drawn to over and over again. Kids with books is one of them. Lucas is another one. πŸ˜‰

124:365 Reading

(You know, the whole reason I launched my own photography business is because my kids were getting so sick of me pointing my camera at them. I simply need more kids to photograph!!)

And then, on a much more sombre note, we have the results of that incredible wind storm last week. Turns out it will cost us close to $1000 to have our lovely old poplar cut up, a few hundred less if we dispose of the wood ourselves. Anyone want some free firewood? Pull up a trailer and haul away what you can! (No seriously, if you want some, I’ll hold it for you — just let me know before Tuesday.)

126:365 Goodbye tree

There’s more pictures from the wind storm on this post, if you haven’t seen it yet. Worth a click to see where the crown of the tree ended up. The good news is, I now know the species of the rest of the trees on the property. We have a handful of Manitoba maples and two silver maples and a sugar maple and a red maple. (It’s a very Canadian yard!) We have two towering Eastern white pines and an equally-towering ash. And an ex-Poplar. Sigh.

I mentioned the untimely demise of my favourite Manotick landmark in my earlier post, too, and included a picture I’d taken with my iPhone to replicate more or less the original picture I’d taken of it. I wanted to take one with my camera, too, as a proper sort of commemoration. I don’t know why I am so drawn to this silo, but I am. Erm, I was.

127:365 Goodbye old silo

I’ll be the first to admit, I really like my pictures. I think most of them are pretty good, at least the ones worth posting here. But every now and then, I really nail one. This is one of those times, and possibly one of my favourite photographs ever.

125:365 Puddle jumper

Isn’t that fun? The rubber boots, the rain coat, his relentless hair, and the reflection. It makes me smile every single time I look at it. No doubt, it was a very long week — but a lovely one, too.


{ 6 comments }

It went something like this:

*ring ring*

Hello?

Hey, Universe. It’s DaniGirl.

DaniGirl! Always a pleasure to hear from you. How are you enjoying your first spring in the new house?

Oh, it’s been gorgeous. There’s daffodils and crocuses, the boys love playing in the yard, and the porch is beyond awesome.

I’m so happy to hear that. I heard you dodged a bullet on that summer water ban issue, too.

Did we ever! As a matter of fact, that’s why I’m calling.

Oh really? Why is that?

Well, I know you have a bit of an, um, odd sense of humour, and I was wondering if maybe you heard me talking about how happy I was to be living out here in Manotick on well water for most of yesterday and today.

Well, yes, I may have heard you. Why do you ask?

Yeah, it’s about that insane windstorm yesterday. The wind was gusting up to 100 km/h here for a couple of hours. Did you know that once they get up to 120 km/h they’re hurricane force winds? It was quite brutal.

There was a lot of damage all around Ottawa, wasn’t there? Don’t tell me your house was damaged?

No, not really. There’s this chimney cap that blew off, and I’m a little worried about that. I’m afraid that if it rains, we’ll get moisture in the walls. And you know, it was just yesterday that we finally laid the carpet in Tristan’s room following the whole mould debacle. Did I even tell you about the leak in the opposite side of the house we had during that big spring melt back in March? So yeah, I’m a little twitchy about potential moisture issues.

I can’t say I blame you. So what are you doing?

Oh, a guy is coming by today to look at it, so I think we’re okay. The big damage, though, was the tree.

The tree?

Yeah, one of the giant old beauties in the back yard. It tipped clean over. It must have been at least 40 years old, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were 50 or 75 feet tall. This is what it looks like now.

20110429-052411.jpg

Wow, DaniGirl, the poor old tree. It didn’t fall on the house did it?

Nope. If it had fallen in the exact opposite direction, it would have crashed through Lucas’s bedroom. If it had fallen 90 degrees to the right, it would have taken out our play structure. But, at first glance, I was pretty relieved to see it only took out some cedar hedges — and it may have landed on my back neighbour’s garden.

Oy, that’s a hell of a way to introduce yourself to the neighbours!

Isn’t it? And that’s exactly what I did, with three boys in tow because Beloved was blissfully oblivious to all the damage at an event for his work. We walked around and I was going to knock on the door when I took a peek in the yard to see how the tree looked from their side. I noticed that it actually cut across the bottom corner of their yard and looked like the top might be resting in their next-door neighbour’s yard.

Pretty tall tree, eh?

No kidding. So I went next door, and my jaw dropped open. This is what I saw.

Holy crap, DaniGirl!

Yeah, that’s what I said. And they weren’t even home so I had to leave a note in their mailbox. What a mess!

I heard there were a lot of trees down in Manotick.

It’s just crazy. Two houses down from all this, a humongous Blue Spruce tipped over and took out the hydro line for the whole street. One block over, another tree fell on someone’s minivan. And there’s a little pocket park with a wooded area just around the corner, it looks like carnage in there, I’m sure more than a half-dozen trees down. And this — remember this gorgeous old silo that’s entranced me since we moved to Manotick?

18:365 Old Barn

This comment was posted on one of my other pictures of it:

Dani, I live just across the street from the Silo, It has fallen down in the last hour, due to the wind storm. 3:30 April 28th.

And this is what it looks like today.

Oh, that’s a shame, I’m sorry to see that. It was a brutal storm. In the end, you were pretty lucky.

Yeah, I did want to say thank you for that. I’m heartbroken to lose that beautiful tree — it was supposed to be my clothesline tree! — and it will be a bit of trouble to get everything back to normal again, but oh my god, it could have been so much worse.

Nobody was hurt, at least.

Exactly. Nobody was hurt, and if there’s nothing more than a dribbling of rain today, we’ll be okay with the naked chimney. I wanted to mention, though, I did notice that every time you wreak some minor disaster on the house, you make sure to wreak much larger disasters out there in the world. Like the day in March when we had the water leaking in the basement was the same day the tsunami happened in Japan, and all Beloved and I could say to each other was “A little water in the basement is nothing compared to that.” And today, thinking about what could have happened — oh my god, can you imagine if that treehouse had blown away? Tristan would have packed his bags and moved back to Barrhaven!

Heh, yes, I did step in and give it a little bit of a buffer from the worst of it. I figured poor Tristan has been through enough, losing the room of his own that was promised to him for the last six months.

Yes, well, thanks for that, Universe. But I gotta ask, are you on the city’s payroll or what?

Pardon me?

Yeah, I was thinking, it’s mighty darn convenient that this unprecedented wind storm blew through and got everybody’s attention diverted from the Barrhaven/Manotick/Riverside South summer water ban in a big hurry. You have anything to do with that, maybe?

I’ll never tell, DaniGirl.

Yeah, fair enough. Okay, well, thanks again for watching out for the treehouse, and the house. Um, not necessarily in that order.

My pleasure, DaniGirl. Take care.


{ 6 comments }

Wow, I’m still in shock over the news today of a summer-long outdoor water ban for Barrhaven, Riverside South and Manotick. According to the news so far, the ban will prohibit not just lawn-watering and car-washing, but sprinklers and kiddie pools, too.

OTTAWA β€” The City of Ottawa is immediately banning on all outdoor water use in Barrhaven, Riverside South and Manotick, which is expected to last until as late as mid-August.

That means almost 27,000 homes in these south-city communities will be prohibited from watering their gardens, filling splash pads or pools, car washing or even running a sprinkler.

Nancy Schepers, a deputy city manager, told council Wednesday morning the ban is necessary as the city replaces the Woodroffe water main, which experienced its second break in January. There is a backup water main system that can deliver enough water for drinking and other normal indoor uses, but β€œit does not have the capacity to meet spring and summer demand.”

The ban is in place, said Schepers, to safeguard the quality and quantity of drinking water.

It was about the third time I re-read the article with exponentially-increasing dread and outrage that I realized — hey, wait a minute, we’re not on city water. So while I’m relieved that we’ll be able to run the sprinkler and fill a kiddie pool, I’m still disappointed that our favourite splash pad will be out of commission for most of the year and I simply can’t imagine not being able to even water the flowers for a whole summer. Wow.

And suddenly living on a well and septic system doesn’t seem as intimidating and fraught with peril as it did last fall. It’s nice not having the $60 water bill every month, and the quality of our water is amazing now that we’ve upgraded the pump, water softener and filters.

I’m still ambivalent about the septic part, though. Now that the snow is melted, I’m making an effort to pace the lawn around the septic bed once a week or so to make sure the ground hasn’t gone spongy on me. One of these days I may even stop flinching every single time I flush the toilet, so deep run my fears of a sudden catastrophic failure of our septic system.

Anyone from Barrhaven up for a weekend car-washing party at my house this summer? πŸ˜‰


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I‘ve been daydreaming of putting in a lovely vegetable garden since the day we first saw this house last August. The yard is so huge, there’s tonnes of room for it.

You know what else is huge? The garden. I’m thinking that I may want to try keeping up with the existing garden for a year or five before I get all excited and start putting in even more beds that will need tending.

It started innocuously enough this morning. I figured since the boys were outside anyway, I’d grab the gardening gloves and pull up the leftovers from last summer to give the garden a clean start. (I was too overwhelmed to do this last year in between the move and raking 20 bags full of fallen leaves and the rest of the housing disasters that comprised last autumn.)

Ha! Four hours and five garbage cans full of dead leaves and other garden detritus later, and I’d only managed to clear out the front garden! There’s still two more patches to explore in the back. YIKES!!!

The garden really is lovely, though. There’s plenty of puschkinia and scilla and a few forget-me-nots creeping across the lawn. The daffs just woke up, and there’s tulips not far behind. I’m pretty sure I found a clump of peonies or two, and there’s quite a few patches of scotch moss and other groundcover. A rose bush and three (three!) lilac bushes just outside my bedroom window. And lots and lots and lots of stuff I don’t have a hope in hell of identifying.

101:365 Bzzzzzzz

Truly, it’s a garden for someone who has more time on her hands and more enthusiasm for backbreaking hard work than me. I get excited about the yard around this time every year, and my interest wanes as the summer arrives with its plethora of non-gardening activities. And with a half-acre to mow, I’m thinking just staying on top of the grass is going to be a full-time job this year!!

Speaking of which, I’m thinking of upgrading my little electric mower to a cordless electric one. (I’m a little bit scared of gas mowers, which is part of the reason why we invested in a snow service instead of a gas snowblower this winter.) Do you have any experience with them? Will they cut through thick grass and do a good job mulching? I’ve been known to forget to mow the grass for a week or three every now and then.

Funny, isn’t it, how I’m quite content to putter in the yard for hours at a time and yet can’t find 15 minutes to string together for housework once I’m inside?


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You might have noticed I’ve been ignoring the blog lately. Sorry about that. It’s not that I haven’t had my face stuck to the monitor any more than usual, I’ve just been trying various solutions for my photography website. I downloaded a couple of different galleries, but couldn’t find anything I liked. Finally, after many hours of tweaking, I think I’ve got it to a place where I like it. (Take a peek and tell me what you think!) But, it hasn’t left me much time online to do any blogging or socializing. Darn this 24 hour day, there just isn’t enough time to get everything done!!

I did manage to take pictures every day this week, though, and I’m pretty happy with them! I know you saw this one already (several times if you happen to follow my RSS feed!) but for the sake of record-keeping, I’m including it here.

118:365 Laces

And even though it was a busy week, there was still time for some peekaboo!

115:365 Peek

A lot of my pictures this week were on a theme of waiting for a spring that seems like it might never arrive…

113:365 Waiting for swing, I mean, spring

114:365 Picky

And this one, too … evergreens are more winter than spring, but I loved the way the long needles gave this one a sense of motion.

119:365 Pinecone

I was just playing with the camera when I discovered this weird phenomenon. I call it “reverse bokeh.” Bokeh is the out-of-focus part of the shot — for example, the brown background on the thistle/bur shot above. In this case, the bokeh is in focus and the bottle I was shooting is out of focus.

116:365 Reverse bokeh

What really perplexes me about this image is the fully-formed reflection of Lucas in the bottom right corner. I cannot for the life of me puzzle out how that’s happening! For reference, here’s what the bottle itself looks like.

OOF 2

Weird, eh? Half a week later, and I’m still wondering how that’s happening!

And last but not least, my handsome middlest son Simon. He’s going through the fake-smile phase all seven-year-old boys seem to pass through, but this one was close enough to legitimate for me — I love this one! I think the browns work so well with his skin tones, and the blue of his jeans gives a lovely contrast.

117:365 Simon in the treehouse

Now that I’ve finally got the photography website back to a point I can stop tinkering with it for a while (until I can get a custom logo created, anyway) I’m hoping to play out here on the blog a little bit more. Erm, after I do a family photo session this weekend. And I have to write an election opinion piece for Canada.com. And, um, I should probably talk to the kids and maybe go for a walk or something. I’m thinking the dust bunnies are just going to have to wait another week.

Anybody got any spare time? I seem to keep losing track of mine….


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118:365 Laces

by DaniGirl on April 22, 2011 · 2 comments

in Photography, Tristan

118:365 Laces by Dani_Girl
118:365 Laces, a photo by Dani_Girl on Flickr.

(I’d originally posted this on Flickr, but by the time I was finished writing it, it sounded suspiciously like a blog post!)

Via Flickr:
My oldest is not good with change but even I was surprised by the depth of his aversion to even the most rudimentary changes. He wore through his school shoes (I’m happy we made it from September to April, I think that’s a new record) and when we went shopping we found a pair identical to the old ones, which he immediately picked up. I showed him a few other styles and suggested he might like to try one on, but no, the exact same shoe one size bigger was what he wanted.

The next day, as I was packing the new shoes in his bag, I told him to just throw the old shoes in the garbage at school — and he looked at me as if I’d suggested he set fire to them on the principal’s desk. "But they’re still good, they just have a few holes in them!" he said with obvious dismay. And that night, there they were in the bottom of his backpack.

I pulled them out to throw them in the garbage, and hesitated over the can. I dropped them on the floor, added the baseball, and now they’re memorialized. Good old shoes, thanks for putting up with a lot of boy stuff these last seven months. Then I buried them in the garbage a bit, so he doesn’t see them. And so I don’t have to look at them. Because I was tempted to just throw them in the closet, yanno, in case he needs a backup for his backup pair.

You can see why we won’t let him get a hamster.


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HP PhotoSmart eStation Printer winner!

20 April 2011 Reviews, promotions and giveaways

Congratulations to Krista Gray-Donald, whose tweet was the winning entry in the HP PhotoSmart eStation Printer giveaway. Yay Krista!! I’ll send you an e-mail and we’ll work out the details. I have to tell you, your captions have kept us entertained all weekend. If you didn’t get a chance to scan through the comments, you […]

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The case of the mis-sized sweater

19 April 2011 It IS all about me

I have a sweater. (Stunning lede, no? Wait, it can only get better.) I’ve had this sweater for ages, four or five years at least. (See, nail-biting drama here. I don’t know if I can contain myself.) I really like it. (Surely this is Pulitzer-quality material?) I’ve worn it at least a couple of times […]

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Project 365 – April flowers and puddles

16 April 2011 Photo of the Day

My dump of photos from the Vancouver trip superseded the usual 365 post last week, but I had a few that I snapped before I left and now a week’s worth since I got home, so I figured I’d cram them all together here. These ones were snapped the weekend before I trundled off across […]

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Wicked fun new giveaway: HP PhotoSmart eStation Printer

14 April 2011 Reviews, promotions and giveaways

You know what I was doing earlier today? Surfing the Web, checking my e-mail and facebook, posting to twitter, checking the weather online. I know, nothing too unusual about that, right? Except I was doing it from my new printer. How cool is that? Thanks to the fine folks at Hill and Knowlton and HP […]

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