Thursday, May 26, 2016

Toronto ~ a quickie tour

Though our trip to Israel seems a distant memory by now...this post is a bit of a postscript to my Holy Land' travelogue.  Our route home took us through Toronto...where we found ourselves with a good part of a day to spare before leaving on the last leg of our trip home.  Since we had never seen the city (other than the inside of the airport) we took the opportunity to do a quick sightseeing tour while we were there.

By now I have forgotten much of what I learned that day but let me share a few Toronto pic's 'just for the record'.


And that was the view of Lake Ontario and the Toronto harbourfront on a beautiful, clear spring day...as seen from the viewing deck of the CN Tower.


The CN Tower was the world's tallest tower when it was completed in 1976.  It was constructed on former Canadian National Railway lands...hence the name 'CN Tower".


And on the other side...the view of downtown Toronto.


Taking in a Toronto Blue Jays game would have been nice...but we settled for seeing where they played!


The hop-on/hop-off tour took us down Yonge Street and Queen Street...past the art museum and the shoe museum...past churches schools and castles.  I'll leave it that!


High up above the street...we saw someone who found another way to get a fabulous view of the city!


I'm not convinced that our tour guide had the full story behind this photo....about the crane that has been on top of the new high rise condo for months.  His version states that the builders had not thought of a way to get the crane down once the building was complete...and so it continues to sit up there...causing quite the controversy.  I'd like to hear 'the real story'!



How was that for a quick tour of Toronto?  It was a lovely way to spend our day...have lunch in the city...and then take the express train back to the airport the same way we came. 


From there we 'winged our way' west...over those beautiful Rocky mountains and back home.  And that really is the finale of our trip to the Holy Land. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

April ~ moments to remember

Where to start? We enjoyed the blooms of spring all month long...so I think I will begin and end with flowers!



One can never have too many tulip pictures! :) We had our own local tulip fields this year...


...and I went on several drive-bys with camera in hand phone in pocket!



Sis-in-law Martha came out from Kelowna for a visit...and that called for another trip to the tulip fields.  They are here only briefly...but make a lasting impression!  Until next year...


We had plenty of sunny days and foggy mornings...with this being my morning view from my pillow.


This was one 'morning view' we weren't real happy about!  It seemed someone decided to do donuts on our front lawn while we were sleeping.  They left their mark.


Besides the blooms...we have enjoyed the birds over here this spring as well.  Some more than others!  I'd be quite happy if the crows kept their distance.


Blackbirds have been singing 'in the dead of the night' at the first sign of dawn...and I've been rewarding them with treats.



The eagles usually leave for the summer months...but these four decided to stick around and watch while the first cut of grass was being harvested. 

Now for some 'personalia'!


Uncle Jake and Aunt Maggie celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  And then they celebrated again at a surprise party earlier this month!  They are near and dear to me...and have been since that day 60 years ago when I was the wee flower girl.  I wish them many more wonderful years together!


And then there was the wedding of this lovely young couple.  They make the car look really old!  So glad we could share their special day with them.



Dad has been coming out to the farm several times a week this spring...to work in his shop.  He completed a few wooden bowls...like the ones he gifted his oldest two great-granddaughters.  Now he has moved on to another project.  Not bad for 93 years old!




Our Maggie has a soft spot in her heart for anyone who is hurting!  Her little lemonade stand raised a lot of money for Alzheimer's research and got the attention of the local media.  So proud of her!


We have a new community forest trail on the eastern hillsides just a few miles from 'my front porch'.  We decided to check it out a few weeks ago.  Beautiful!  The trail work is all being done by volunteers...and meanders through old growth forest and past babbling brooks.



I joined a busload of women on the annual 'Ritchie Smith Ladies Getaway' sponsored by our feed company. Destination?  Victoria.


Butchart Gardens have never looked so lovely!  (They got their own post right here.)



We happened to be in Victoria during a spring heat wave...when temperature records that had stood for over a century were falling.  It was the prefect weather for walking along the inner harbour.


So glad these two 'farm women' have connections to the same feed company!  We had such a fun time together.  Thanks for sharing your room with me, Lovella and Mary!


We enjoyed the ferry ride back to the mainland in the dining room on the Spirit of BC...where we had a lovely dinner and a ringside seat to the best scenery anywhere! 

Every trip seems to come with a little adventure...or should I say, misadventure?  We will never forget the bus ride back to the ferry...where the bus ran into mechanical problems and finally limped onto the ferry.  We made it across...and then bus rolled off the on other side.  But that was as far as it could go!  50 women sat on the causeway wondering how they would get home. Another bus was called out...and we all arrived home safe and sound.  Just a little later than planned!


On the farm...a new bunker silo was completed this month.


And then it was 'the hosting venue' for a hockey tournament by Ryder and his 10-year-old hockey friends.  And now...it is full to the brim of grass silage!


From the field to the bunker...next winter's feed for our dairy cattle.

Let me end this post with a few more of the blooms of April.


The irises have come and gone.  They came from my mother's garden originally...and I think of her every spring.  They used to bloom for Mother's Day...but have been several weeks early these past few years.  Did I mention that this was the warmest and driest April since the 1930's over here?



Never before have my hydrangeas bloomed in April! From now until fall...there will be hydrangeas to enjoy.

That was April through my lens!  Wishing you all a very merry month of May...


Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Butchart Gardens in spring...

Butchart Gardens ~ that's where this post is going today.  As I looked through my April photos for my 'month-in-review' post...I decided I would give the lovely gardens a page of their own.  My April post can wait for a day or two!


Butchart Gardens is a national historic site and has been in bloom since 1904.  Located near Victoria...the gardens are the legacy of Jenny Butchart...whose lifelong project was to create a magnificent garden in barren limestone quarry. The Butchart home (originally called Benvenuto ~ Italian for welcome) and gardens are being maintained just as they always were.



I had the good fortune to be in Victoria with a busload of women last week...the annual 'ladies getaway' planned by our feed company...and so enjoyed my time in the gardens. I don't think I have ever seen it looking quite so lovely! 



We happened to be there last week during the peak of the spectacular spring bulb display.


Some 300,000 tulip bulbs are planted annually to create the circus of colour that we observed.



From the sunken gardens...



...to the fountain in the quarry



...along canopied pathways



...past blossoming fruit trees


...we had the most delightful day!


Good company.  Fresh air. Birds singing. Sun shining. Bliss!



Did I say relaxing?  Some just came to sit a spell!



Or maybe to gaze up at the giant redwood trees near the Japanese gardens.


Whatever the reason...over a million visitors come to take a peek every year. 



And some come back time and again!




I'm hoping to return again one day...to the lovely garden above the bay!