Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tom and Pottery

Tom is happy to be selling his work and joining in the fun at the annual spring sale at Clifton Studios.   And you'll be subjected to raffle ticket sales by Nicole, Kai and Gabe!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pelicans, Pollen and the Poplar Tree

Spring has obviously sprung in Winnipeg... and much earlier than other years.  Last year was wicked, apparently, with serious flooding, extended periods of snow and ice, and no real spring or summer other than a few nice days.  The good weather came in autumn.  So this year we're experiencing a delightful start to the non-winter time in Manitoba.  The river is clear of ice, but still high.  The geese are honking loudly every morning as I arrive near my work building -- there are a few pairs nesting on bulding roofs (good luck to the babies), and they make their presence known.  There are green shoots everywhere. The city is efficiently removing the winter dust and grit, so things aren't quite as dusty as a week ago.  I saw some daffodils blooming yesterday when Kallista, Nicole and I went walking in the evening.  And we've been hearing the woodpeckers announcing their presence with their search for food.

Last week, driving kids home from either rhythmic gymnastics (Nicole) or Honour Choir (Kai and Gabe), we saw a large flock of pelicans heading north along the Red River.  There are some pelicans that hang out near our cottage in a little marshy area near a place we call Pelican Point, and they're great to watch.  The flocks swoop  as a group when they fly, and they can be quite high as they ride the wind currents on their way to open water.  Once the rivers are open, the birds appear on their migration north.  New friends told us that they also see bald eagles along the river, so we'll experience some new bird life here in our new neighbourhood in Winnipeg.

The pollen count is high, so anyone with allergies is reacting.  The big poplar tree on the south end of our yard is dropping buds and pollen everywhere -- when you stand quietly outside, especially when our little four-legged friend is being urged to have a last bathroom break before bed time -- you can hear them dropping like rain drops or ice pellets.  And in the morning I have to brush the yellow dust off the van windows... those winter ice/snow brushes are handy!  The poplar tree is tall and strong.  Its smell takes me back to my teenage years because we had a row of them along the side of our house.  So we make another transition into the new season, and meeting new neighbours, getting to know our new area.  We only lived here for 4 months before we left, so now is the time to make new friends and figure out the ways of the new 'hood.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring folly... Easter weekend

With thoughts of a gorgeous walk along Lake Winnipeg we set off on the morning of Good Friday to drive north to Victoria Beach.  We wanted to have an outdoor fire, roast a few wieners or smokies, enjoy the fresh air of the bush, introduce the dog to the wonders of VB, and generally "warm" up the cottage, which we haven't been in since the fall of 2008.  It's still standing, we knew that.  Glenda and Mike kept it in shipshape order, with some more repairs and renovations, including finishing off the inside of the porch.  This is at the end of a week of sunny, warm weather, with temperatures up in the high teens.

Just in time for the long weekend, a Colorado low swept into the province, bringing high winds (up to 90 kph), driving rain full of sleet and hail, and much cooler temperatures.  We sure had our day at the "beach", but had to go in to the fire to warm up.  No sun to be seen.  Pelting sleet on the beach.  There were a few hardy seagulls flying around, and there was lots of open water at the shore, which was quite amazing considering 2 years ago the shoreline was ice and snow until late May.  Turns out the wind pushed all the ice to the western shore, piling up to 10 metres high at Winnipeg Beach.

It was great to get back to the fire in the cottage, and a bit disappointing to have to leave. But there's no running water until mid May, due to the possibility of pipes freezing, so it's just not set up for a longer stay. Although we plan to do it next winter, once a few more baseboard heaters are installed. Then you can melt a few buckets of snow/ice and use that for dishes, toilet flushing, and whatever else you need to get by for a few days.

The dog was quite exhausted by the fun of walking along the beach -- a lot to sniff and chew. She needed a rest. We played another round of Blokus and headed back to the city, listening to an amazing story on audio CD -- Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. This one is set in an old graveyard in an English city, and a small boy is being raised by the inhabitants after his parents and sister are murdered. Great history and great adventures.