Saturday, March 24, 2012


Hyacinth by susanvg
Hyacinth, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
A few more days of unseasonal weather and spring is bursting forth. What will these flowers do when more typical weather returns? Nightime temperatures below freezing are forecast. I can change my attire, but these beautys will have to shiver through the night.


For now, I'll focus on the colours popping out, watching as straw turns to green and the dusty gardens send out promises. My garden still has only shoots, but these scylla are blanketing a neighbour's flower bed.

Yellow Crocuses

Yellow has always felt like a happy colour to me. Its warmth sings of spring. The birds provide a chorus of joyful melodies. The world around me is waking up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sandals in March

Sandals in March by susanvg
Sandals in March, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Pasty white legs which have been covered all winter are visible in the May weather in March. The thermometer in my car registered


That's more than 20°C higher than normal (previous record high 16°C). It was cause for a stop at Bilboquet for a mini ice cream. I sat watching people pass by in summer dresses. It all feels surreal.

March 20 and the trees are budding

It's eerie how spring has taken hold so early. Temperatures this week have been more like early summer than late winter. Temperature records have been shattered. The trees are taking advantage of the warmth to open up their buds.

It's bizarre to see people in shorts and tshirts, some in sandals in March. Usually there is still snow on the ground and while daytime temperatures are above freezing, nights are usually below. Average daytime temperature for yesterday was 4C (about 9F) Yesterday it was 24C (about 75F). Climate change? I just read an article about the dates trees bloom here. the trend over the past 15 years has been a shift of two weeks earlier than in the past. I don't know how people can still say climate change isn't happening.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another Condo Build

Another Condo Build by susanvg
Another Condo Build, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Everywhere you look there seem to be new condos being built. Gas stations have given way to small condo projects while larger buildings are going up where older buildings have been demolished. This one is going up in my neighbourhood. I look at it with some nostalgia as I think of the restaurants and stores that were sacrificed for this development.

First Flowers

First Flowers by susanvg
First Flowers, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I always check out this garden. The southern exposure and reflection of heat by the wall helps these crocuses show their faces earlier than others. While I love the flowers in my house, I rejoice at the first signs of flowers outside. The warmer than normal weather continues, coaxing the shoots out of the ground. Soon more flowers will appear.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Green Again

Green Again by susanvg
Green Again, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: March 17

Little signs of green are showing, just on time for St. Patrick's Day. A day of rain brought the moss to life. And tiny shoots are beginning to poke through the just uncovered ground. I'm always on the lookout for signs of spring.

Spring is Emerging

Spring is Emerging by susanvg
Spring is Emerging, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: March 15
We are having unseasonably warm temperatures and the snow seems to be disappearing before our eyes. The park benches will soon fill up with people enjoying outdoor life. The local cafes are putting out their tables and chairs. People are enjoying the first warm rays of sun.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shedding Winter

Shedding Winter by susanvg
Shedding Winter, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Unseasonably warm temperatures are chasing the snow away. In many places grass can be seen. It's that dirty season, when the snow melts and the soot and dirt of winter remains. But the sun feels warm and walking with an open coat feels liberating.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Climbing by susanvg
Climbing, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Sometimes life seems so convoluted, with interlaced complexities. I'm in the middle of change which sometimes feels like a Rube Goldberg machine - each little change causes other changes so sometimes you don't know where it will all end.

Change is good. I'm clearing out stuff - readying for a move when I find the right place. It requires looking at the past and discarding - books, papers, furniture - paring down. But it is also about the future and assessing new needs and a new phase to my life. It's all entangled - much like this climbing equipment.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Red Roof Church

Red Roof Church by susanvg
Red Roof Church, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
St. John the Evangelist Church in Montreal is known, for obvious reasons, as the Red Roof Church. We went to a concert there by Flûte Alors! a recorder quintet. They were joined by harpsichord player, Mark Edwards.

The church sits beside what is now the Quartier de Spectacles, an area around Place des Arts. The Jazz Festival and other summer festivals hold outdoor concerts at various stages in the area.

I remember going to a recorder workshop in this church many years back. Nearby is a park filled with crabapple trees and they were in full bloom. Not last night, with temperatures just below freezing. Even the church had a slight chill. No one thinks of heating when designing churches. The high ceilings make for massive amounts of air to be warmed, so many of us sat with our scarves wrapped around us, or jackets perched on shoulders. No complaints as the music was warm and full of colour.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Temperatures

Spring Temperatures by susanvg
Spring Temperatures, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It was the first day of real spring temperatures. The "mountain" was buzzing with people enjoying the bright sunshine. People walked, with coats thrown open, feeling the warmth. While some hardy souls jogged in shorts, others donned their cross-country skis to enjoy going off the main trails.


The sound of melting was everywhere accompanied by the songs of birds as they too relished the weather. The fast-motion changes of spring are starting. There will be cold days and nights ahead, but spring is on its way!

Stop and Enjoy

Though this bench was empty, others had people stopping to watch the birds, read a book or just sit and feel the joy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Wolf by susanvg
Wolf, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
The temperatures had warmed up a bit and the sun's rays felt warm. A number of animals at the Ecomusée were enjoying an afternoon nap in the sunshine. While this wolf was semi-alert, his pal was sprawled on the snow soaking up the rays.

River Otters

The river otters found the sunny spot in their enclosure - out of the water and off the snow. While one slept, the other groomed itself and tried to rouse his sleeping friend. I think the sun won, finally making it lazy, too.


The fisher was very active, pacing in one area, then scampering on the rocks and climbing to the top. It found its stash of food and dug in then raced around some more.

There are a number of other mammals. It's interesting to see them - it's too bad they can't live the rest of their lives in the wild. In most cases of the animals here, it is through human intervention (mother was killed, animal was injured, animal was born in captivity) that they have lost the ability to survive in the wild.

Bald Eagle Squeaking

Bald Eagle Squeaking by susanvg
Bald Eagle Squeaking, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I was astonished to hear what a small voice this eagle has. Nearby, the golden eagle sang its raucous song which could be heard through much of the zoo. This eagle squawked back in high-pitched notes.

  Golden Eagle

There are a number of raptors at the zoo. 
Barred Owl

This barred owl sat quietly on its perch. A nocturnal bird, it may wait until evening to become more vocal.

Red Tailed Hawk

This red-tailed hawk obligingly turned its back to us to let us admire its rusty tail feathers. I had to keep reminding myself that these birds could not survive in the wild. I hate to see birds caged.

Almost Full

When I got home the moon was rising -almost full. 

Mammal pictures to come...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl by susanvg
Snowy Owl, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
I spent the afternoon at the Ecomuseum Zoo with a friend (a fellow photographer). The animals there are all representative of animals that live in  We were greeted by the snowy owls. I learned that adult males become pure white as they get older. It is the juveniles and females that have markings.

Snowy Owl

As they are used to living in the tundra, they don't need branches for perching.

All the animals in the Ecomuseum were either born in captivity or they were injured and could not be released into the wild. They do a lot of school visits, bringing some of the animals to talk to children about them.

Great Horned Owl

This Great Horned Owl was one of the birds of prey included in a talk on these animals. The zoologist who presented the animals was an expert with children, keeping them interested, amused and informed.

Great Horned Owl
Here's another view of this magnificent bird.

More on the Ecomuseum trip in another post...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Maple Seeds

Maple Seeds by susanvg
Maple Seeds, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Finally, we got out our snow shoes - the first time this almost snowless winter. It was wonderful to tramp through the snow and stop and enjoy the woods. These maple seed pods still cling to the branch, waiting for spring.

Snow Clings

The fresh snow stuck in crevices, on ledges and in clumps on the branches of trees. It created snowy sculptures.

Snowy Shape

Like the seed pods, a few dry leaves still hang on. So much to notice as we make our way through the woods.

A Dry Leaf

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Concordia by susanvg
Concordia, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Concordia University in Montreal keeps growing. It has now edged onto what was once part of the street to create a mini park. Its history goes back. Started in the local YMCA, it was a community college as well as a place where adults could complete their high school at night. My father had to quit high school and work to help support the family. It was at, what was then Sir George Williams College that he completed high school. He later went on to McGill University.

The college grew into a university and the building you see behind was the main campus. My late husband graduated from Sir George Williams University as did my current spouse.

In the 1970s it amalgamated with Loyola College and became Concordia University. Now many buildings in the area are part of the university with a few built in recent years. My son graduated from Concordia University. So the university in its many iterations has played an important role in my family.

Snow Clearance

Snow Clearance by susanvg
Snow Clearance, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photo: February 29

Snow has come to the city and the clearing crews have been around. I think they missed working with our low snow winter as they passed several times, scraping down to pavement.

It is a complicated process with graders pushing the snow to the centre of the road, the snowblower blowing it all into a convoy of trucks and little caterpillars clearing the sidewalks. More snow on its way, so the process will start all over again.