An Ordinary Day

Last week while taking a drive down a country road we passed by this old one room schoolhouse. You never know what history lurks around every corner, nestled in an ordinary place on an ordinary day.

 

Old One Room School House.

Old One Room School House.

 

What unexpected sight did you come across recently?

Stay tuned…

Categories: History, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Willow Wednesday #4

Time again for another Willow Wednesday. Who doesn’t love funny pictures of pets? Come on admit it you have spent hours watching silly animal videos on You Tube ;) Willow looks like a prairie dog here up on her hind legs. This is not a usual pose, but a sound or knock on the door piqued her curiosity.

 

Silly Pose – cat or prairie dog?

If you have a funny photo of your pet, or any animal, attach the link in the comment section below. Also I would appreciate a link back here, so we can find each other and share a giggle of all the funny animals.

Want more Willow? Then be sure to check out Willow Wednesday #1, 2 and 3.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Pets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Farewell Pixelventures

Farewell for Now

It is with sadness that I write this post as it may be the last one for the weekly Pixelventures Photo Challenge. It is one of the photo challenges I participate in faithfully and very few have I missed. Bastet has encouraged me and spread the word of CTB over the last year by providing links to my humble musings as well as did a “Close Up” interview of me last summer. I will be forever grateful for the additional readers she sent my way. Not only that, but she has helped me grow as a blogger by challenging me into taking better photos and writing poetry, something I rarely did. Again kind words have praised my efforts and pushed me beyond my comfort zone to try something new. I wish her well as she gets some much-needed rest, and ‘me’ time to mend her health and well-being.

For the final challenge she has decided to celebrate and ask us what we should bring to the Farewell. I let my imagination soar. What could I bring if I could bring anything? I decided big, beautiful, bright blue sky with fluffy clouds to accent the sky; the perfect weather and scenery for any party. After all nobody likes to rain on a parade and I imagine the perfect party would be outside.

Blue Sky From Above

Blue Sky From Above

I thought it would also be fitting to share a photo from one of the first Pixelventures challenges I participated in just over a year ago.

Never say good-bye
but see you later,
or see you soon
doesn’t make it easier
but gives us hope
to be reunited with friends
and to be together again

- CTB :D July 2014

So let this not be a sad farewell, but a see you later and hope to see you again soon.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Willow Wednesday #3

Baby Willow

Baby Willow

Time for another Willow Wednesday. Check out Willow Wednesday and Willow Wednesday #2 for more.

This shot was taken November 2012. Willow was just 5 months old. My how she has grown from this little puff ball. Look closely at her markings. Did you spot the unique shape on her side?

Stay tuned for more as we enjoy our time at home….

Categories: Pets, Photography | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

200 Years Ago -Canadian History

If you are from North America, chances are, you had to study the War of 1812 in history class. Way back when the British and French had control of most of North America and slowly ideas, government and people wanted change. The south became the United States of America, while the North wanted to remain loyal to the King of England. In a nutshell, tensions flared and border disputes began in what was known as the War of 1812. It lasted over 2 -1/2 years in and around the Niagara area. It stretched as far north as present day Toronto and as far south as present day Washington DC. Names like Laura Secord, Sir Isaac Brock and John Brant are well known even today as companies, universities, cities or streets and monuments that were resurrected in their honour.

Part of North American culture is reenactments of such wars for history buffs. I had heard about them, but never witnessed one. The battle of Chippewa, a small area outside of Niagara Falls, Ontario was hosting a 200th anniversary of the Battle of Chippewa and we decided to attend. It was more than just a short lived reenacted battle, but a full on affair.

Take aim..... Fire!

Take aim….. Fire!

When we first arrived white canvas tents dotted the bike path with men and women in period costume selling trinkets, foods and other antiques or replicas of period pieces. Soon shots were fired and the battle was about to begin. In the same location as the original battle men (and women) in costume lined up on the battle filed and fired guns and cannons. The traditional method of lining up in rows as each group fired and another loaded up. Some fell, as they had been ‘shot’ so lines retreated and then moved forward again. Orders were shouted and soldiers complied. The smell of sulfur and smoke filled the air. It felt like we stepped back in history as we watched authentic methods put to use.

Camp as it may have looked in 1814

Camp as it may have looked in 1814

When the battle was over we walked around the rows of tents that were filled with quilts, lamb skin and old fashioned wash basins. Traditional cast iron cooking utensils and open air fires were in view, as this was more than a display, but a working camp. What surprised me most was how they really went all out with the smallest of details.

IMG_7496-1812 MARCH

Events like this are often held at the various forts around the Niagara Region on both sides of the border, especially since it has been the 200th anniversary, which is now winding down. Smaller locations, like this in a farmer’s fields are also occasionally held. A knowledgeable speaker gave a play by play of events to explain the process to inform the crowd. What was best about this –it was free! What an interesting way to learn history and spend a Sunday afternoon.

Even some on lookers were in period dress

Even some on lookers were in period dress

Don’t forget about the 2 challenges held for Tourist in Your Own Town. June was Festivals & Gatherings and July is Home. This could be a response for Festivals & Gatherings AND Home. If you would like to participate add a link in your blog to this one here and tell us about it in the comment section below.

Stay Tuned….

Categories: Culture, History, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Willow Wednesday #2

It is Wednesday and time for another Willow Wednesday installment.

Who is this?

Who000 is this?

Willow loves to lay belly up and I happened to catch this close up. She always hears the camera and opens her eyes. She can be a bit camera shy, but I managed to click this before she ran off, or moved. My cousin said she looks more like an owl than cat here ;) what do you think?

Have any funny pet stories or photos to share? Why not add your link in the comments below and also link back to this post in case others want to join in.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Pets, Photography | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

What Lurks in the Shadows

20140531_223247_SHADOW

 

What lurks in the shadows
Can make our hair stand on end
Skin prickle and goose bumps
Fears ready to send

Fleeing away legs ready to run
Shiver down the spine
Is something out there
Or its that imagination of mine?

With lightness and darkness
Shadows and the mind playing tricks
Creating images and visions
Fear often it picks

To spook and to scare
Delightfully fright
Of the sounds and the shadows
That go bump in the night

© CTB :D/DFY July 4/14

Check more images of shadows at this week’s Bastet’s Pixleventures.

Stay tuned….

 

Categories: Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

HOME -Tourist in Your Own Town

Returning home to Canada for the summer holidays got me thinking about all the things that make HOME special. As it turns out it is all the little things that I miss and started to get excited about especially after 11 months away. Family and Friends are of course top of the list, but what else did I look forward to?

Double Double :)

Double Double :)

 

 

1. Food –especially Tim Hortons Coffee. As I walked through the arrivals hall I could see the long line and smell the coffee in the departures section below. Hmmm deep breath. It was too late in the day to savour a cup, but first thing tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

2. Blue Sky with Fluffy Clouds and Sunsets – sounds silly, but when the majority of your days are the same dull gray it is something to get excited about. A few weeks before I came home I saw a picture of blue sky and clouds and I caught my breath. I knew that sky; a distant memory. It was something I started to look forward to. Every day there is blue sky and colourful sunsets. I take a moment like little Frederick in Leo Lioni’s book to soak it all in.

Wide open spaces, blue sky and fluffy clouds.

Wide open spaces, blue sky and fluffy clouds.

3. Wild Life – Living in a large city you are not going to see anything other than birds and maybe dogs out for a walk. Living in a small town and heading to my brother’s place out in the country we experienced more than pets and birds in the last 4 days. Just today we saw a squirrel scamper across the back yard and a bunny munching on clover. Luckily I caught a glimpse of 2 very shy deer across a farmer’s field, at the edge of the forest, nibbling away on seeds or fresh shoots sprouting this year’s crop.

Field of Dreams?

Field of Dreams?

4. Fresh Air, Water and Green Grass – deep breath in… with the poorest levels of pollution, since we arrived in Shanghai, this past year it is nice to go out and not worry about checking the Air Quality Index. It has become part of my daily routine, as much as I check the weather. Levels this past year hovered around 150 with a few days less than 80. The worst was a 4-5 day stretch with the pollution levels getting close to 475, or higher. When day looks greenish and inside is hazy, you just know it is bad. To compare the worst I saw Toronto was 10 and people get excited about that. The World Health Organization state anything over 20 is poor. Then there is the water. A young passenger on the plane was quite surprised when I told him it was OK to drink the water from the tap. Oh the little things we take for granted.

Soft grass to run bare foot in. My feet on Canadian soil.

Soft grass to run bare foot in. My feet on Canadian soil.

5. People and Speaking – Coming home I can speak and be understood. I don’t need to worry if others will understand me. It is a little stress that I never really thought about, but it is there. Trying so hard to say something I practiced, but can’t get the tone quiet right or the difficult zzz and dzz sounds. It then becomes a frustration on both sides. A few times we have been thrown out of cabs because they cannot understand us. At home people are friendly, take a minute to talk and say excuse me, or move out of your way rather than be preoccupied by a smart phone and bump into you instead of taking a step around you. Just last night we were at Wal-Mart and the line was getting longer, but everyone waited patiently as we chatted to the cashier, a lovely woman nearing 75 years of age. Even though it was busy she took the time to chat and enjoy the conversation. That is what I miss most… friendly conversation. Tuesday we were in a Canada Day Parade for the Shriners. People called out “Happy Canada Day” and tears sprang to my eyes. I was home and all the little things I missed for the past year were right here to be enjoyed. Oh Canada, how I miss thee.

Just Clowning Around at the Parade.  My Point of View from our float.

Just Clowning Around at the Parade.
My Point of View from our float.

What makes your country or HOME special? What would you miss most if you moved away? Maybe it is your favourite restaurant, or park? Maybe it is a cool tourist attraction, or site to see? No matter what it may be share it in a post during the month of July and be sure to link back to this blog. Place your link in the comment section below so others can find you too. This theme will run for July and come back early August for a new theme (usually the first weekend of the month). We are in the height of Festivals and Gatherings, last month’s theme, so if you have anything to share of an event you attended or one about to happen let us know. Maybe someone travelling to your neck of the woods would like to check it out.

Looking forward to seeing you. Stay tuned… summer is just beginning.

 

Categories: Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Willow Wednesday

Hello everyone…. It is Wednesday. While many of you do a Wordless Wednesday I decided to do a Willow a Wednesday ;) you see Willow is our little cat. We bought her a year and half ago in Shanghai and she just turned 2 a few weeks back.  She is a pretty funny, very cute and SMART cat! Since we are in Canada for the summer we are missing our little 4 legged friend. So I have played with the idea and figured I would post a photo of her each Wednesday. Welcome to Willow Wednesday.

 

Willow in the Suitcase. Can I come too?

Willow in the Suitcase. Can I come too?

What do you think? Silly? Good idea?

Do you have any furry friends?

Stay tuned… a new Tourist in Your Town will come soon.

Categories: everyday occurances, Pets | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Playing With Pictures

I want to take the perfect photo. I have been trying for years to perfect my skills. I have learned about lighting, angles, framing to get the shot. A lot comes down to talent and sometimes just getting to be in the right place at the right time. That said I prefer not to play with my photos editing colour and the like. I rarely even crop my shots, as that is something I try to solve when I take the photo. This week Bastet has asked us to play with pictures and use an app or other program to showcase our work. So here is my attempt at something new and different.

I have used Picasa to adjust these photos of a thistle I took 2 summers ago. I also did the same thing as an experiment with some flowers in winter. You can see that post here.

What do you usually do to enhance your photos? What do you think of my attempts?

This weekend I am heading back home for the summer holiday. Hard to believe the last day of school, with the kids, was today. I may not respond as quick as usual, but soon as I get back on-line and back on the right time zone I;ll be back!

 

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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