Thursday, November 15, 2018

Weather - a safe topic?

In polite society when conversation is getting unruly it is considered a good tactic to start discussing the weather. But when we get snow in mid November I'm not sure that is entirely true. Doubtless the children were delighted to get the day off school today but for many others it was a case of having to abandon plans for the day.

 When we woke up the snow was falling on the side yard...
 on the front yard
 and on the back deck.
 On November 2nd, after a long wait for the autumn colors to arrive, this was the view in our back woods.
 Then this was the view today. Notice how much green is still with us. The red leaves on the dogwood are hanging on but the orange on the small maple has about given up and shed it's fall colors.
 A closer view of the dogwood with a green backdrop.
 On November 5 I had my first sighting of the red shouldered hawk that visits us around this time of year. I had to take the photo through the window as I thought the noise of raising the window sash would surely scare the bird away.
 Today's back yard visitor was this one. I'm thinking it is a dove? But, with the temperature staying around freezing most all day long the bird had puffed out it's feathers to give insulation.
 Do you see what I see? We have had a pair of deer (both does) visiting almost daily for the last couple of weeks. They can often be seen nibbling the grass on my neighbors side yard but when I spotted them this afternoon they were actively eating the green leaves still on these bushes in my backyard. That was clearly a much more satisfying meal than the poor forlorn brown leaves of the hydrangeas.
One last view of what should still be in fine form - the autumn show on the chrysanthemums. But I thought this one had a quiet beauty today contrasting against the white surrounds.

Indeed it was quite the day for nature here. I also had my first sighting of the fox wearing it's winter coat. It hurried through the yard not long after I had been watching the deer. The deer will stand and watch me but the fox it just scurries fast as though it has a train to catch. For sure a sign that the seasons are changing as I had not seen the fox since springtime.

Weather - it always has something worth talking about.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Armistice Day Centenary

Today, depending on where you live, is Veterans Day (USA) and also Remembrance Day and Armistice Day. A day to remember all the veterans who have served their country and honor them. However, this being the centenary of when arms were laid down at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to end the Great War (of 1914 - 1918) that is what is uppermost in my mind today.
 Let's begin with the very poignant poem by John McCrae which always gives pause for remembrance.
 To honor the memory and service of my grandfather who served in the 1st Battalion, Otago Regiment with New Zealand's Expeditionary Forces for the four years of the Great War and was part of the Gallipoli long ,bloody, drawn out battle I made this quilt in 2015. You can read the story about it here
 The quilt was displayed, along with maybe twenty others, at a special exhibit at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City in June of 2015.
 This is a magnificent museum and well worth a visit if you are anywhere nearby. The interior of the museum is mostly underground but the Tower is easily visible from many points of the the surrounding city in it's location atop a hill.
 Here in Washington DC World War I has only a modest memorial in Pershing Park. However, I believe there are plans to significantly upgrade this in the near future.
 Veterans Day gives me the chance to honor the service of my father-in-law who served in the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army  (cap on the left) as well as the service of my father in the 36th Battalion Otago Regiment in the New Zealand Army. Both saw service in World War II.
 In these current unsettled times we need to remember all those who have given their all and guard against actions which might once more lead us into war.
Taken at the going down of the sun yesterday, from my upstairs window.

Lest we forget.