Preserved in Snow

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Warm spells in winter

Cause icy snow to retreat;

Surprises revealed!

 

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Last week, for about a day and a half, the temperatures in our area moved up high enough that a good deal of the layers of snow and ice melted down.  As I was walking along the pathway toward the front door of our house on that warm afternoon, I noticed this still greenish oak leaf lightly embraced by retreating snow – but not withered and dry.  Still somewhat soft and pliable due to the preserving affect of the ice and snowy layers during the cold period.

 

 

 

 

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Sunset in January

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Walking in snowshoes,

Through the quiet woods in back;

Just crispy snow sounds.

 

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Sunset at 5 p.m.  Last Wednesday.  My son, Stephen, and I went for a little snowshoe walkabout in our back woods, both of us with our 35 mm cameras in hand. For some snowshoeing fun…..for some creative photography fun…..for some fresh air…..it was a nicer temperature….the snow was still fluffy in parts, crispy in others…and white! 🙂

And as we were making our way back towards the front yard, both of us went crazy on capturing the sunset. This photo I particularly like, because of the equally colourful and layered sunset reflected in the van’s windows (as was painted in the sky). 

Yep. Did that on purpose! Haha!

 

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A few more photos from that walk:

 

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When I look at this birdhouse, there’s always the thought that at any moment a tiny bird will pop its head out to peek at me!

 

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In this one it looks as if there’s an antler coming out of its head.

So, can you see the white dog face in this image? Gazing off to the right….the two eyes and the nose….?

 

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Stephen walking up the hill….

 

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And beside where we were snowshoeing, in a few places we saw some animal tracks.  Here, some deer had passed through…..and also someone’s canine friend?

 

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And…..here I snuck one in, peeking over Stephen’s shoulder as HE was taking a photo!  🙂

 

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A Happy and Healthy Christmas to you, my Friends!

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Inspired by a friend’s idea, I’m sending you a reflected wave with a festive backdrop and in the spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas!

And a Magical and Exciting 2018!

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And nature has been generous with sending lots of the white ‘n fluffy stuff over the past few days.  I took this photo today of the blue spruce in our back yard – it’s roughly 25+ years old – that we planted when we first moved here.

 

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Tall and majestic,

Richly adorned in white snow –

Winter Sentinel

 

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A Duckling’s Curiosity

Baby duckling near the Stone House, Nov. 15, 2017

 

With Mama Duck near,

Duckling is curious and

Comes to check me out.

 

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Such a cutie!!

This little duckling….foraging for food and sipping water in the puddles, along with its sibling and mama duck.

At one point it saw me with my camera and decided to come on over to say hi.

MADE MY DAY!! Hahaha! Wish I’d had something to feed it.

Ah well. I said hi.

There were some other water fowl in this nature reserve, which is a park area with a good-sized pond and being part of the grounds of an old historic building – called The Stone House – in this part of New Zealand.

 

 

 

The Weka – one of New Zealand’s flightless bird species

Weka at Tauranga Bay seal colony area, Nov. 11, 2017

 

Curious weka!

Busily foraging and

Unperturbed by me.

 

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The weka!

This pretty, brown mottled and modest bird.

Roaming freely….in this area of native flora and man-made walkways that leads visitors to the look-out points to observe the seals of this seal colony at Tauranga Bay.

I was looking at the information plaque regarding the penguins and other animals living in this ecosystem, when I suddenly realized that there was this friendly feathered friend walking about. Before it disappeared again into some brush. Saw it again later on the walk back to the car. It seems quite comfortable having people coming through.

My first time seeing one…..especially in its natural habitat! COOL!!  🙂

 

 

Waves at Tauranga Bay

 

Crashing waves in Tauranga Bay, Nov. 11th, 2017

 

Rhythmic sound of waves,

Continuously growing;

then crashing on shore.

 

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The mighty, foaming waves crashing in at Tauranga Bay!!

Such an awesome sight!! ^_^

And the roaring sound!!

I stood there….watching….feeling mesmerized by the beauty and majesty of the ocean in its endless dance.

 

 

 

An unfolding Circle

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Long green curled-up arm,

Rounded green fingers clasping

Little brown circles.

 

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This is the curled up tip of a large/giant fern, which is the approximate size of your fist.

I have been seeing many of these on my visit to New Zealand again, this being my first time to go in their spring time.

Every time I look at these “heads,” I am constantly amazed at the intricate detail of the fern leaves that will grow to their much larger size as the stem uncurls over time. They all look like wondrous works of art – with tiny nautilus shapes!

SO COOL!!

A friend asked me, as he was wondering, whether these unfurled fern heads are edible, similar to the MUCH smaller fiddleheads that are harvested in parts of Canada during our spring time and are considered a tasty dish.  My kiwi friend explained that yes indeed, these giant-sized fernheads can be steamed and eaten.

And here they are called pungers, which sounds like “pungas.”

 

A high-flying sunset

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Mesmerizing sight;

From the wing of an airplane,

Just as beautiful!

 

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A couple of photos that I re-discovered from July of 2007 on a flight from Blenheim to Auckland on the first stretch of my journey back home from New Zealand to Canada.

In a small propeller plane where every passenger has a window seat – a single row of 10 seats on both sides of the plane’s cabin – I felt lucky that I had one of them facing west where I could watch this unexpected and breath-taking view.

I have seen sunsets over oceans and lakes and over hills and valleys.  A sunset with its burst of orange colour and accompanied by fluffy clouds is pretty wherever you see them.

 

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So spectacular in design….and one feels embraced in warmth.

 

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I had zoomed in a little more with my camera to see what lay beyond those clouds, and it looks like a whole other kind of world over there.

 

A Treasured Hand-made Gift

My Grandfather’s Passion

I wonder what he envisioned when he held the untouched block of wood in his hands.

I wonder if his creation came to him in one moment or did it develop over time as he prepared and carved the wood.

I wonder how his eyes would have appraised the progress and noticed anything that needed some extra care.

I wonder at how his hands would have held the wood and turned it and applied the tools and correct pressure and motions to reveal the figure bit by bit.

I wonder at how he felt as he anticipated the joy it would bring me to behold his gift.

I wonder at the hours he spent carving and shaping and smoothing and painting.

And I wonder and feel thankful for the love he put into all of it.

 

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I pulled this wood-carved figure down from the shelf that it stands on to have a good look at it again.

My husband’s and my wedding anniversary is coming up next week, and this carved figure was a present in honour of our wedding day over 30 years ago, presented to us by my grandmother and grandfather on our honeymoon visit to see them in Germany.

My grandfather was self-taught at wood carving, and I know he had such a passion for it, as he carved many beautiful pieces over the years.  His skills may appear rough compared to more highly trained wood carvers, but in our family we appreciated all the work and joy he put into each piece.

Whenever I would go for visits to their place, in every room I would see a diverse array of his artwork, including a big and detailed head board for my grandparents bed.  He also lovingly carved an appropriate sized “stone” that rests at the head of their gravesite, which he made when my grandmother died before him.

 

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Do you wonder why this long-robed man carries a key?

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The answer lies with the good wish that came inscribed at the bottom of this wooden figure.

 

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My grandfather initialed and dated this wooden figure, along with the message, which translated means, “Our dear Ela, for her wedding and for the future the key to happiness.”

And he signed it “Vati,” my endearment for him.

❤ ❤

 

 

Last night’s little visitors

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Lightly effortless,

Suspended in calm stillness,

Nocturnal visit.

 

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There were a few tiny cute visitors congregated outside the front door and along the window yesterday evening.

What a wonderful surprise greeting us!

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These three were gathered higher up at the entrance, while one frog remained independently alone near the bottom….also attached to the window glass.

 

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About 2 centimetres in length….and I enjoy marveling at their amazingly strong legs and their well-adapted tiny fingers and toes.

 

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Upside-down…..and

 

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…..right side up.