Saint John is one of the sunniest cities in Canada… but only in the winter. In fact, an Arctic front arrived over the weekend, bringing clear crispy nights and bright sunny days. The crusty snow is so reflective you have to wear sunglasses outdoors to avoid being blinded by sunlight.
In short: it’s frigid. Currently, the windchill is minus 36 Celcius.
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I’ve written before about my efforts to find a job, and my decision to start my own business focusing on freelance photography and writing. It’s been a long wait and struggle trying to find the right niche. Well, I think I’ve found it. I’ve started working again, but I can’t as yet say too much about the job because many details are still to be worked out. And in the past week, I’ve had two people ask for my business card. So, I’ve ordered some business cards and started to put together a website here. Obviously, it’s still under construction, but I welcome your feedback.
In short: things are looking up. I’m thrilled.
Photo taken on January 22, 2010
Today is — according to the weather forecast — the last mild day of fall. I’ve acclimatized to this first change, finding that 10 degrees celcius does not feel cold after all. But after today, it turns rainy and and cold, and then sunny and cold, and then just cold… that’s when the winter coats will come out.
So I’m harvesting vegetables. I’ve been out in the garden today pulling carrots and parsnips, leeks and celeraic, and adding the last of the zucchini plants to the compost pile. Two sweet peppers I’ve potted up to see if they survive long enough to grow their pistachio-sized sweet peppers into something big enough to eat. The tomatoes, cucumbers and onions have already been picked and eaten (or preserved), and all that’s left of our scarlet runners are a few dry beans ready for planting next year.
The birds and animals have been scurrying around, collecting their harvest as well. Our rowan tree has been picked clean (I don’t know why this one in an uptown park is still covered with berries) and wild creatures of all sorts have made the wild apples behind the fence disappear. The chickadees are back at the feeder, and the purple finches and American goldfinches that kept us entertained all summer have flown south. We have a few more tasks to do — rake more leaves for mulch, empty the garden hose, store the window boxes and whirlygig, and put winter tires on the car — and then we’ll be ready. Are you ready for winter?
Taken on October 2, 2010
This weathered door has seen a lot of Octobers. This door on Elliot Row, a few houses in from the sea in one of the oldest parts of the city, has seen thick fog and hurricane rains, hot sun and freezing gales, and everything in between. You can see the marks where the door has been pushed, shoved and bumped, where the paint is worn down to the wood by frequent use. It looks like this door was painted white before it was red, and before that — before the new owners refinished it and repainted and re-sided and renovated the house from top to bottom — I wonder what it looked like then?
When the Nor’easter rolls up the Eastern seaboard and sends the Bay of Fundy waves pounding against the shore, it will stand firm. When snowbanks ploughed off the street climb all the way to the top of the railing, and ice encases the steps, it will still open and close, firm against the weather. For now, it’s strong enough. For now, there are flowers, and a pumpkin to mark the season of harvest and Hallowe’en. Welcome.
Taken on October 2, 2010
After you’ve lived in one place for a while, it’s easy to think you’ve seen it all. The same architecture, the same streets, the same sprawling malls, the same old, same old. And then one day you’re walking around a corner, looking for something else, only half paying attention, and there it is: something different. Hello, says the red vine, waving brightly from its yellow wall. Hellooooo, do you see me?
On another note, I’ve decided to post entries only on weekdays. As the days get darker, weekends are getting busier and sometimes I’d rather sleep in… So now you don’t have to waste, er, invest your weekends reading my blog, but I hope you’ll keep dropping by on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And thanks as always for your excellent comments!
Taken on October 2, 2010
It’s been rainy this week, and the forecast is for more rain next week. When the weather is grey and drizmal, I have two choices:
1) curl up on the couch and catch up on my sleep/reading while I wait for nice weather
2) put on my brightest clothes, look for some eye-popping colour or play some snappy music, then go out for an adventure
An adventure is going places. It could be a walk in a nearby park or an unfamiliar neighbourhood. It could be a shopping expedition, or a drive out in the country. It could be a visit with a friend, or going out to dinner or a movie.
Whatever it is, an adventure is something to look forward to, something to do right now instead of waiting for Mother Nature or the Ship of Opportunity to ring your doorbell.
This photo is loud. It’s a wake-up alarm, a call to action. Because I really need to be a little more active. And, you know, I can’t resist red.
Taken on May 29, 2009
When I take my camera for a walk, I tend to see differently. I notice light and shadows, lines and shapes, small personal details that tell a story. When I take Fergus as well, my walk is less predictable. We’ll linger in some places and rush by others. We might investigate the bushes at the side of the roadway, or run exuberantly up a steep hill (both of us panting at the top). He’s an energetic walking companion, ensuring I get more exercise than I would without him, and he’s mostly good at sitting and staying while I’m taking a photo, except when there’s a cat. Yesterday evening when we went for a walk, there were five cats… or maybe four cats and one Something Else. I only had time to take three photos, but what interesting stories we had to tell when we arrived home again!
Taken on August 5, 2010
Red is strong and smart and active and full of mischief. Red is comfort and plaid shirts and wool socks. Red is danger and anger and love and everything that makes your blood boil or sing. Red is a rocket and a camera and a very fast sports car. Red makes a big room cosy and conversational. Red is hearts and roses. Red is cherries and chili peppers, spaghetti sauce and apples. Red is the colour of luck and celebration in many eastern countries. Red is the colour of our flag. Red is barns and tractors and rosy cheeks on a winter day. Red is the candy you eat last, because it’s the best.
Taken on August 23, 2010
I suppose it was the tulips I noticed first. The bright colour caught my eye as we walked up the street past a small house, with white siding and white trim, tidy and unassuming. And here in the tiny front porch was a spray of tulips and a statue — Mary, Mother of God, her head inclined and hands pressed together in supplication. Mary, Queen of Heaven, wearing a heavy crown and modest white robes, waits with the constancy of a longsuffering wallflower while the tulips — neither socialized nor idolized — waltz into centre stage and sing for all the world in glorious tones of orange and red.
Taken on August. 26, 2010
We had fresh strawberries the other day, tiny little wild red berries that burst with flavour. My partner found them growing in the field behind our house and picked enough to make a cup, enough for a handful on our cereal, and then another handful cascading over our cappucino frozen yogurt later on. On Canada Day, we had fresh cultivated strawberries from Nova Scotia. My mother dressed them with a sprinkle of sugar and a generous dollop of whipped cream.
I think of that scene from the Lord of the Rings when Frodo can’t remember the taste of fresh strawberries, and I wonder how I would describe this taste — how can remember my first bite into a fresh strawberry that has never seen a refrigerator or 40,000 miles in a truck, this burst of flavour that is so instantly delightful in the mouth? If I was Frodo, I think I would have said: I need a little help remembering, please let me taste a another one…
Taken on June 22, 2009
Note: We are going to Nova Scotia today for a week’s vacation. I’ll be back to post again next Monday.
If you follow this road, you will drive by the oil refinery and pass a scattering of lakes and houses and then the airport, perched at the edge of town. If you go left as you head up the hill, you will find a cluster of shopping malls filling the bowl of what was once a primordial lake. If you turn right, you will see Courtney Bay on your right and then drive by the edge of an industrial park. If you turn left just past the tracks, you will pass a strip of fast food joints and car dealerships on the way out toward Rothesay. If you stay here, you can roll down the window, watch the train rolling slowly down the tracks, and enjoy the gift of a few moments when you are not going anywhere at all.
Taken on June 13, 2009
There is something slightly unreal — or perhaps surreal — about living on a residential area, a neighbourhood of picket fences and hedges and small tidy lawns, cars parked neatly in their respective driveways along the shady street. I’ve always been an uptown dweller, living in apartments, meeting neighbours on the stairs or in the corner store. Now we have our own tiny house and yard and lawn and garden. And I love it.
Taken on April 25, 2010