Wednesday, 30 September 2009


The Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh painted two series of still life paintings of sunflowers, in Paris in 1887 and in Arles in 1888.
I can't look at sunflowers without thinking of his paintings.

Sunflowers are such amazing creations.
Each giant flower head is made up of numerous tiny flowers crowded together, and these will eventually mature into the sunflower seeds. These little flowers are arranged in a mathematical spiral pattern, each oriented toward the next by approximately 137.5°. This produces a pattern of interconnecting spirals with 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other, the most efficient packing of seeds within the flower head.

Sunflowers love the sun. And they're clever too.
When the sun comes up, the faces of most sunflowers are turned towards the east. Over the course of the day, the cheerful faces follow the sun from east to west, then at night they return to face the east, waiting for the sunrise.

And on top of all that, they're gorgeous.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


Here's the challenge for today:

Add a caption to this picture.
A prize for the funniest, to be judged by the parents of these two little monkeys.
Not sure what the prize will be yet, but it will probably be some worthless priceless treasure unearthed during my recent de-cluttering rampage.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Decluttering Steps 4, 5 and 6

The Decluttering Project continues.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a giant yard sale in the driveway. I spent a week going through boxes and cupboards hauling out "stuff" that hadn't been used in years. Magazines, outdated computer games, toys, books, ornaments, picture frames, plus numerous boxes of school and university books and papers, you name it, I found it.
Both OlderSon and YoungerSon arrived with unwanted junk really useful items to dispose of, and we spent most of the previous day sorting, pricing and cleaning everything up, ready to get rid of it sell it to prospective customers.
Now that the kitchen renovation is complete, I've been replacing kitchen equipment so there were lots of kitchen items on offer.
We were out in the driveway setting up tables by 7:30am, and our first customer arrived soon after. Anything that didn't get sold by noon was divided into three categories:
  1. "stuff" to be donated to the local charity shop
  2. "stuff" to store for our grand 2010 yard sale (the whole street will take part I hope)
  3. "stuff" destined for the garbage. The garbage was the biggest pile!
By the end of the day the garbage pile included a large desk, 4 office chairs, a box spring mattress base, 4 big green garbage bags stuffed full, and 5 boxes of recyclable paper and cardboard.

Next phase of the Decluttering Project is well underway.
The sunroom that runs the width of the back of the house has needed some TLC for a long time. The indoor-outdoor carpet is old and stained and the furniture had seen better days, so I started emptying it out.

The white sofa in the picture is now sitting on the street ready to be picked up on garbage day, and will soon be joined by another old sofa, a rug, 8 rolls of old carpet and whatever else I can find to throw out.

I spent the last three days ripping up the carpet... ugh what a mess. The foam backing had stuck to the plywood floor so I had to scrape it all clean with a shovel.

Black dust flying everywhere, thank goodness for my face mask and the shopvac.

Next step is to repoint some of the bricks, wash down and paint the wall, install a new back doorstep (the existing wood is splitting), and decide whether to put down more carpet or tiles. Then it will need new light fixtures and some new furniture. (Update: wall was washed ready for painting and new light fixtures were installed today, yippee!)

I'm really enjoying this. The place has been a home for outdated clutter for far too long.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Misty Morning

Waking up to a misty morning on Minden Lake in August.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Oshawa Ribfest

I have attended my very first Ribfest! For those of you who have yet to have the pleasure, let me explain.
It's basically an excuse to congregate in a local park, drink beer, listen to eardrum popping rock music, and consume enormous quantities of BBQ pork ribs doused in spicy sauce, corn on the cob, baked sweet potatoes and other gastromomic delights, while trying to avoid being covered with greasy fingerprints and spattered with sauce.

Ten teams of professional "ribbers" from Canada and the US compete for the top honours in both the ribs and sauce departments. And there are trophies to be won.... mostly with a little piggy on top.

Sorry, I didn't take any pics of the actual ribs.... we were too busy eating. Those ribs were MMM MMMM GOOD! Lots of finger licking going on, didn't want to waste any of that great taste. And we even sampled a deep fried Mars Bar.... it tastes way better than it looks.

Then of course, there's the midway. Callum went on one ride with his auntie but it was a bit too scary for him... but wait until next year, I'm sure he'll be a whole year braver! Isaac sensibly opted to stay safe and warm in his baby carriage.

Good times. (But not for the piggies).

Monday, 7 September 2009

Keep Your Fork, There's Pie!

There weren't enough blueberries for a full pie and a few peaches that were getting too ripe sitting in a basket on the kitchen counter, so I made blueberry-peach pie instead.

Apparently, it passed the taste test.

Friday, 4 September 2009

T-Shirt Troubles?

Have you ever struggled with a T-shirt trying to get those folds perfect? Your troubles are over. This is brilliant!

Or if following instructions in Japanese confuses you, the English version is here.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Reach For The Sky!

This is the back of my garage.
Four baby emerald cedars were rescued from an end-of-a-hot-summer garden sale at the local supermarket parking lot, all dried up and gasping for life in tiny pots, about five years ago.
They've done well, considering I haven't really looked after them.
Three look normal....

.... but what happened to the one on the far right?