Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

Once again, going over my photos of 2012, there are so many I haven't posted.  There is no hope to make this post cohesive, so I'm jumping in with both feet:
We had very little snow in January 2012.  We got off easily during the entire 2011-2012 winter season, with little accumulation and extremely mild temperatures.  We had a warm snap in March, timed perfectly for Eric's birthday, where we celebrated in T-shirts and had beer on the patio.  That's never, ever happened.  I'd take a repeat in 2013.
Once again, we were spoiled with many beautiful sunsets.
With our warm snap in mid-March, suddenly everything came to life.  The fields were green within days.

We managed to maintain the grounds quite nicely if I can say so myself.  We took advantage of our head-start, which helped immensely.
Yet another photo-worthy sunset, this one taken on Eric's birthday.

Spring seemed greener than green.  It's so nice to see the change in seasons.  While I bitch and moan about the frigid winter temps and prohibitive snowfall, and hot, humid and stifling summer temperatures, I don't think I'd ever have it any other way.  I marvel at the change in seasons, (yet reserve the right to complain every step of the way).
We had some really amazing summer downpours.  On May 29th, we had 30 mm of rain in a very short period of time.  We always had rain in the nick of time, and copious amounts of it.  Many areas weren't was lucky in 2012.  Many fields were destroyed by hail, while others dried out. We consider 2012 a good year.
We're still on the look-out for timber-framers who can fix our old barn and return it to its former glory.  Desperation is right around the corner.
We had a lot of very nice evenings, and I took the opportunity to take long walks with Cooper, doing both of us good.
Once again, the swallow babies were fun to watch.  But this year, as soon as the fledglings could fly, the whole family disappeared.  Like with every spring, I keep my fingers crossed, and every year, a nesting pair comes back.  We'll see what 2013 brings.
We added another cat to the fray.  Little Capucine, AKA "The Pin-up", or Swiffer, or Cappucino has turned out to be one awesome little cat.  She's completely adorable, a quick learner, and wormed her way into our hearts at warp-speed.
2012 saw me tacking some projects I've procrastinated about for far too long.  Sorting through the storage space in our barn was one of those projects.  The above photo does not do this quilt justice.  It's made up mainly of ties, and has a sheen to it my camera skills could not capture in the limited light.  When our upstairs renos are done, I hope this will find a place of honour.  I used to scour flea markets for old linens, and this is one of my favorite items. 
No, I take that back.  This is one of  my favorite items.  A dégradé satin stitch table cloth depicting poppies.  This is a work of art, and if I had a square table in the house, this would see use.
Hard to believe this cross-stitch sampler is nearly a century old!  My grandmother Helene Dolch cross-stitched this in 1914, as a 14 year-old.  I come by my love for needlework honestly.  The base is a dish-cloth, and it's been meticulously stored for all this time, waiting just to be framed.  It might take a century, but it will happen...

(And I take everything back - my Oma's cross-stitch is my favorite!  Also, I have no clue what happened to I and J and Y, and likewise have no clue what 18, 24 and 36 represent - any clues?)
In days of yore, I used to refinish old furniture that I'd pick up at yard sales and flea-markets for a song.  I lost many a neuron to paint stripper fumes, and will probably lose many more when I tackle the chair above.  Or maybe I'll just sand it and take it to a body-shop and have it sprayed white.  I haven't quite decided what course of action to take.  But one thing is clear - when our upstairs is finished, this baby is moving into the house.
When I had Capucine spayed, I gave a lift to a neighbour's cat as well.  In return, I was given a dozen beautiful eggs from Mimi's mom's backyard flock.  What a sweetheart!  I was so touched, you'd think I was given gold.
Cooper turned 10 in 2012.  It's hard to believe 10 years have gone by.  I still remember the cold December morning I found him as an 8-week old puppy, at the side of the road and covered in snow.  What a gift!  Not only is Cooper a handsome boy, he's sharp as a tack, and has the temperament of a saint.  A dog like this comes along once in a lifetime, and I cherish every day we have with him.
Highway 30 was finally finished.  While I'm not thrilled about having yet another 4 lane highway within hearing distance, it's a necessary evil.  Zoomed in, it looks closer than it is, however, it's about 1.5 kilometers from the house, and down-wind to boot.  Things aren't that bad.  Given that our road was turned into a massive crescent because of the construction and all of our traffic is now local and not through-traffic, we're far better off than we were before.
We had so many amazing sunsets this past fall.  You can vaguely make out our house and barn in the distance.  With the construction of highway 30, a major drainage ditch that divides our property needed to be dredged.  We needed to replace the culvert pipe anyhow, so the work was timely.
There's a drill press in our living room.  Remind me again why?  Oh yes, so the Patient Wife of 2012 award can be hand-delivered to our house again this year, that's why.  (The prize?  Sawdust in copious amounts.)
We made new friends in 2012, and shared lots of laughter and food, music and libation.  One of our favorite winter dinners is a raclette, where conversation flows, the food keeps coming, and a good time is had by all.  And yes, we do light the Ikea chandelier on a regular basis, as well as its twin in the living room.

That, my dears, sums up a good year. There are many projects still on the back-burner, yet many accomplishments behind us.  2012 had its trials, as they all do, however we've weathered the storms, learned many new things, and stayed the course.

May 2013 bring more of the same.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Majestical Magical Snow

From time to time, when meteorological conditions cooperate, we open the blinds to a winter wonderland created by hoarfrost:

The scenery is just magical, and the sheer beauty surrounding us is breath-taking.  It's as though every branch of every tree is coated with powered sugar and held in suspension:
One word to describe the scenery is white:
With our recent 45cm dumping of snow, it's hard walking outside, but Cooper and I ventured up the hedgerow:
Coop's having a hard time managing.  To compensate for the deep snow, he needs to take flying leaps to plow his way through.
He knows where the snow is shallower, though, and makes his way towards the edge of the barn.  Once there, he turned to face the hedgerow and let out a big bark.  I know just how he feels...

The scenery is glorious...

...and the textures of trees and branches and vines look incredible with their coating of frost.

With more snow on the way, it's a winter wonderland of majestical proportions.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vizzie-billie-tee Zee-roh

Environment Canada finally got it right!  Well...sort of.  They forecast anywhere from 15 to 25 centimeters of the white stuff.  We've had about 40 cm already, which is well over a foot, with more on the way by the time the system passes this evening.  When this storm is said and done, we might have up to 50 cm, and coupled with 60 km winds and a windchill of -15C, we're looking at a cold white mess.

Want proof?
That's proof.  A cold white mess.

Like the Transport Quebec mouth-piece kept saying on the radio:  vizzie-billie-tee zee-roh.  Or visibility zero, if you need the translation.

Our snow removal contractor came by this morning, and within 45 minutes, it was like he hadn't even come by at all.  In fact, he's been by twice already, and it's impossible to tell with the drifting.

And my car?  You want to know where my car is? Why, it's in the garage:

And it's behind a 3-foot high wall of snow.  We keep the doors open because we'd never be able to open them with frost-heave and snow accumulation.

It looks like I won't be going anywhere until when?  March?

A blizzard like this comes along once in a while, and truth be told, we've become soft over the past few years.  I remember storms like this as a kid, where it took days to dig out from a big snowfall, but in recent years, we might have one or two big storms over 30 cm per season.  No big deal, really, but when it's combined with heavy winds, zero visibility, and reports of snow plows in the ditch, the only real option is to hunker down by the fire, grab some knitting, make some tea, and ride it out like the big white wave it is.

There'll be plenty of time for digging out tomorrow.  (Or in March?)

The look on Bob's face says it all:
I know this cat so well, I can tell you exactly what's going through his head.  He's saying, "dammit, eventually, I'm going to have to break down and use the litter box.  Or maybe Mom won't notice if I poop in this box"?  Bob, don't even THINK of it.

The worried look on his face also happens to resembles mine (minus the fur) as I take the last piece of firewood and chuck it into the wood stove, knowing full well that my next pit stop is going to be the wood shed.  The thought of spending the rest of my day freezing doesn't sit well.  During storms like this, power failures are much more likely, generally because some inexperienced driver has taken out a hydro pole.  A small localized power-outage like that is low on Hydro Quebec's totem pole, pardon the pun.  Speaking from experience, those power failures are the last to be restored.  Currently, there are major road closures all over the place, reports of hundreds of cars and trucks in the ditch and snow plows that can't even hope to keep up with the rate of falling snow.  Even public transportation has been suspended for the rest of the day.

Police are urging people to stay home, the ministry of transportation keeps adding to their list of road closures, yet people are still insistent on heading out.  It never ceases to amaze me.

I also made the mistake of listening to a local Montreal call-in radio show today.  I normally listen to Vermont Public Radio because the content is more...ahem....intellectual.  Listening to the cross-section of morons people describing "random acts of kindness" has me dumb-founded.  Using common sense and having manners does not constitute a "random act of kindness".  And since when did reading out tweets and texts on-air become relevant reporting?  No one gives a crap that Stephanie is stuck on the expressway with thousands of other drivers!  There's no content in that!  Listening to people calling in asking to be dug out of their cars (seriously!) because they're tax-payers takes fatuous to a new height, and the caller who suggested that richer neighbourhoods be cleared before lower-income neighbourhoods because "executives need to take care of business" deserves to have his Blackberry shoved (sideways!) where the sun doesn't shine.  What an entitled prick!

Clearly, this Luddite is not made for main-stream radio any more.  I'm sure there's a rock somewhere with my name on it that I can crawl under.

Come to think of it, I'm pretty happy I don't have to go any further than the wood shed today, either.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sloche and Donuts

The above screen-cap was the radar image on Tuesday, December 18th at 6:40 AM, for the record.  Just looking at it on the laptop that morning, I knew I'd be in for a wild commute to work.

"Sloche" is a popular Quebecois drink that is essentially a Slush Puppy branded under a different name for the primarily French market here in Quebec.  One of their most popular flavours is "Winchire Wacheur", a crazy blue frozen concoction that resembles its namesake, windshield washer fluid.   To say we're obsessed with slush is an understatement.  When we're not driving or walking through it in winter, we're drinking it in summer, in a toxic blue shade made to resemble windshield washer fluid, no less.

It had been snowing for the better part of the night already, and the forecast called for a snowy day ahead with about 20 cms or nearly 8" of white crap falling.  Like the Inuit, who apparently have a dozen different words for snow, we also call this kind of snow "heart attack snow", because shoveling it could cause a coronary, it's that heavy.  It was hovering just around the freezing mark, yet we'd rather see heart-attack snow falling than having to deal with freezing rain. 

Just as I had suspected, the roads were a horrendous mess as I made my way to work.  I decided to take the back roads because that route provides me with more options than the highway, and what normally takes exactly 22 minutes (why, yes, I do have it down to an exact science), my drive took well over an hour that morning.  Since I have a new (albeit used) car with nice Toyo winter tires, the empty parking of the post office proved too tempting to resist as I threw the last of my Christmas cards into the mailbox.  I tried out a few defensive driving manoeuvers by making a few donuts in the parking lot and finding the sweet spot the ABS decides it wants to kick in at.  It's always a good idea to know what your car can - and more importantly - cannot do in crappy weather and on crappy roads, both of which we have in spades.  Might as well try things out in an empty, slippery parking lot rather than experience them first-hand by careening into someone, or driving into a snow bank.

That out of the way, I needed to take one long detour because a school bus managed to strand itself on a hill, and finally, back on my regularly scheduled road, I came across yet another school bus who also managed to get stuck:
Having spent what seems like a quarter of my childhood on a school bus, I'm eternally grateful I have my own set of wheels.  And the above photo proves my point.  Snow plow?  What snow plow?  And sanding trucks?  No sanding trucks here, either.  For the record, this road is normally well-maintained, even during the worst weather which is why it's my route of choice when it snows.

When I finally made it into work, the power went off within a half an hour, and only came back on again 3 hours later.  We're no fools though, and called around town to find a restaurant that had power and a liquor license, just to make sure all of our bases were covered.  We were settled in and toasting each other happy holidays, all before 11 o'clock in the morning.  Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.
I captured a shot of this black squirrel making his way along the snow-packed hydro lines.  He was bounding along on top of the snow, and it was hilarious to watch him go back and forth in leaps and bounds.  I actually think he might have scared himself more than a few times.
There were huge pine branches down all over the place, snapped off by the heavy snow, and the lights flickered off and on all afternoon.

Driving home that night, this is how the road to our house looked:
By the accumulation of snow, no plow had been by here in a good long while.  And if you're wondering what that crap is on my windshield, why, it's the snow that formed a near-glacier on the roof of my car that I could not remove for the life of me, but finally slid forward as I stopped on an incline.  It's a typical occurrence during winter, and the reason I keep spare wipers in the car.  I passed so many people stuck in the snow banks at the end of their driveways that I almost dreaded coming home, but our snow removal contractor had come by already so at least the last 150 feet of my commute was OK.  He's getting an extra-big batch of cookies from me this Christmas. 

And those huge light standards on the new Highway 30?  Someone knocked one down during the storm, and the light standard managed to fall across all 4 lanes of traffic, effectively closing the highway in both directions for several hours.  You think maybe they really ARE too high?  That said and done, Eric took the new highway and bridge to the south shore right after the worst of the snow fell.  He said the off-and-on ramps were sheer ice, which proves my point that snow removal crews were caught off-guard.  His destination normally takes 1.5 hours, and using the new highway, it took 45 minutes.  One day, we might get it together in this infernal province...

Any day now, Environment Canada can take down the dire green tag on their website that says, "Chance of a Green Christmas?"

It'll be a white Christmas, after all.  Slush and donuts included.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Tale of Two Kitties, Part Two

Tessie's turned into quite the chunky little monkey.  She's not even very food-oriented, but she is prey-oriented, always watching, always stalking.  Because of her heft, I can always identify her walking down the stairs, or jumping down from a ledge.

The other day, she jumped down from her perch in the stereo room window, and quickly made her way to the neighbouring window.  I could tell by her willful walk that something was up.  When I looked out of the window, I saw this squirrel:
To say Tessie was enraptured was an understatement.  She even brought Capucine in on the action.  Little Capucine, who hasn't even ventured outdoors since her arrival in August, is being taught the ways of the wild from behind a pane of glass.

The squirrel knew we were watching, and he wasn't even remotely disturbed.  He gave us the ole' stink eye from time to time, and busied himself by burying kernel after kernel of corn, much to Tessie and Cappie's collective rapture.  Forget industrious beavers, they've got nothing on this squirrel.  He brought over a half a cob of corn from across the street, and breaking off one kernel at a time, proceeded to bury them all over the back yard.

I didn't have the heart to tell the little dude he's burying his stash right over the septic tank.

In unrelated news, the weather "turned" today, with flurries in the forecast but no appreciable accumulation.  It's officially hard to ignore that winter is on the way.  As it was, our month of November has been glorious, and we've been truly spoiled by the beautiful weather the past few months.  If only it would last.  The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a snowy winter.  I'm not sure just how much credence I place on their predictions, but it's good for making tongues wag.  Personally, I'd be happy with a reprise of last winter, with our first snowfall occurring just before Christmas, and by the time we celebrated Eric's birthday in mid-March, we were outside in T-shirts drinking beer on the patio.  Truly atypical, considering many a times, we celebrate Eric's birthday while the snow swirls outside, or freezing rain falls.  I've got fingers crossed that Mother Nature will be easy on us again this season.

Likewise, every year is a gamble as we renew our snow-removal contract.  One of our neighbours has a snow-removal business, and we've always received the best service from them.  They're close by, they're reactive, and there's something satisfying about hearing the tractor in the middle of the night, and pulling the covers over one's head, knowing full-well the driveway is one less thing we'll have to deal with in the morning.  Eric sometimes has to go to work at horrifying hours.  While I'm an early bird, Eric sometimes has to wake up at 3:30 AM.  The thought alone makes me nauseous.  At those hours, every minute of sleep counts.  Having to take our tractor out to clear the driveway on top of going to work would be a slap in the face in the middle of the night.  Let's just say that snow removal is one of those little luxuries we afford ourselves, even if some years we have a handful of snowstorms and it hardly seems worth it.  Other years, the snow removal contract pays off in spades.

As we hover at -8C right now,  I'm not one to place bets, but it's nice to know we've got our bases covered for the season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thoughts on UFO's

Now that I have your attention, I've got one thing to say:
No.  It's not a UFO.  It's's just...(waaaaahhhhh!)...the new lights from Highway 30, slated to open some time in December, after more than three years in the making, and over thirty in the planning.  I actually meant to walk the length of the highway this past weekend before it opens to traffic, just for the heck of it.  Now that the lights are on, I'd better put it on my to-do list for this coming weekend or forfeit my chance forever.

I was worried about those high light standards, and well, all I can say is they're there, and they're lit.  Impressed I ain't.  Cue more crying...waaahhhhhhhhh!

Because my photography skillz are virtually nonexistent, (exposure? aperture? huh?), I wasn't able to capture the shot as it views to the naked eye, but the peak of our barn falls square in the middle of the above photo.  I liked looking out of the window into darkness, but that's a thing of the past now.

While I embrace the progress that is NA30, I have mixed feelings about the encroaching urban environment.  I don't want to end up the crazy old bitch who ends up padlocking herself to a barn while bulldozers move in to build yet another Walmart, but que sera, sera. Hopefully, I've got a few decades to plan my exit.  Who knows how things will end up?  Maybe the new infrastructure will direct new development away from us?  Given our crumbling infrastructure, the "30 in 30 (years)" is a welcome change on the horizon.  It's just too bad it had to change our view.

Not to let you down, I've got a UFO of a different kind to show you:
Yes, a knitterly UFO, hopefully soon to be a FO, or finished object.  UFO of course stands for unfinished object, every knitter's nemesis.  This blanket fell from grace months ago, yet with colder temperatures heading our way, I thought it would be nice to get it back on the front burner, pun wholly intended.  As with every project, there's always something to procrastinate about, and the crochet steek was my hurdle.  I downloaded Kate Davies' overly-explicit instructions, printed everything up, and pored over the material as though studying for an exam.  I crocheted.  I cut.  Simple as pie.  Why in dog's name did I procrastinate about this?  I'll never know.  The question that now begs to be asked is why am I procrastinating about picking up the 780 edge stitches?   I suppose because it's 780 edge stitches.  Why oh why do I do this to myself?  Why? Anyone?

Actually, the above photo does serve a purpose, besides showing my wonderfully manicured digits.  What it shows is the crochet steek with the central knit stitch exposed.  This is my cut line.  On the left hand side, you can clearly see the dark brown edge (half covered by crochet), where I piled my darks one atop the next, in a precise vertical line.  This is not my first steeked project, but it is my first with 5 steek stitches.  I started out with clear vertical light/dark/light/dark/light lines.  Then neurosis struck, and I checked other Rams and Yowes projects on line.  Seems many people chose to do a checker-board pattern in their steek, and being the proper sheep (punny me), I changed my modus operandi to the checkerboard pattern.  WRONG.  Wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to start.  Those clear light/dark lines are perfect for crocheting into, and the checkerboard pattern...well...not so much.

While a nice checkerboard pattern might give the uninitiated the impression you know what the hell you're doing, you need a freaking magnifying glass and those mega-watt light-standards from highway 30 to do a nice job.

In doing clear vertical lines where you haven't staggered the colors, observe the nice proper easy-to-follow lines:
When you crochet steek, you're crocheting into one half of EACH light and dark stitch.  The central light stitch will get cut open.  Crochet into half of light stitch, and half of dark stitch.  Do same thing on OTHER side of cut stitch.  You will have 2 rows of crochet, and you will then cut between these 2 rows.  Just trust me, the light/dark/light/dark/light striping method will be much easier to crochet steek and cut.

There you have it.  The truth about UFO's.  I'm so glad we had this little talk.

Now excuse me while I find another distraction to keep me from picking up those 780 edge stitches.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On Earthquakes and Blue Holes

Here's another, "I pulled up the blind on the skylight and this is what I saw" photo, taken this morning.

Last night we had another earthquake, our second in less than an month.  While not that uncommon considering fault lines run along both the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence river valleys and we're located right at the confluence, having two in such a short period of time does seem note-worthy.  Personally, I like years between earth tremors, not weeks.  One on October 10 measured 4.5 and was located near Saint-Hyacinthe, and the one last night measured 4.2 and was located near Buckingham.   The first one was a surprise at 19 minutes past midnight, but last night at 4:06 AM, it was pretty obvious considering the earlier one was still fresh in my memory.  Cooper didn't budge from his dog bed, so to compensate, I hurled myself out of bed in a panic and did what most reasonable people do - namely stare out of the window.

The rolling and rumbling seemed to last much longer than during the first.  By the time my heart beat regained a normal tempo, the rest of my night was fitful.  Every time a freight train passed by, I kept one eye and one ear open, which obviously doesn't make for the best quality sleep.  Also, the cats didn't get the memo regarding the time-change, so my wake-up call has been a bit early the past few days.

I've been knitting what I've nicknamed the Blue Hole Shawl.  That's like a black hole, but involves yarn, prohibitive amounts of it.  I'm in a love/hate relationship with this project, and while part of me would just like to keep knitting, the other part of me whimpers every time I pick up the needles to knit a few rows on the most interminable project I've done in a while.  I think it's time to cast off, considering about 450g of sock wool has passed through my fingers in the past month.  If we consider that 100g of sock yarn is 420 metres - then I've knit about 1890 metres, or over a mile!

The whole premise of this project was to be "random" and to "let go". Considering I have issues with those concepts - especially when knitting - of course I cheated.  I was pretty sure the Knitting Police weren't about to show up at the front door and arrest me, so I did exactly what I wanted. You're "supposed" to stick your hand in your yarn bag and knit whatever you pull out, regardless of whether you think it matches or not.  As to how many rows, you're "supposed" to pull a number between 1 and 8.  I mean, who even made up these so-called rules?  Why not just, say, roll a die and make 6 your maximum row count?  I don't think I would have made it beyond 20 rows without deciding what colours I wanted to knit with, how much of each, and in which order.  It was strangely satisfying to see little balls of wool on the table in front of me, and get excited about seeing green next to pink, and blue next to orange.  To assuage my guilt that I wasn't "letting go", I'd let Capucine choose the colour from time to time.  Problem solved.  She got excited each time I plunked my orange grocery bag down and pulled out the shawl.

The best part of this shawl?  It cost nothing, just time.  All of the skeins of sock yarn were left over from other sock projects, and hailed either from my stash, or were donated by a few of my knitting friends who made similar shawls.  I decided the colour scheme would be primarily blue, but with orange, green, fuschia and purple accents thrown into the fray for added punch.  After my lame summer knitting only neutrals, it was so nice to get back to something colourful.  It's unbelievable just how inspiring knitting with colour is, and how it gets the creative juices flowing.

So I think I'll cast this baby off, and get busy blocking the heck out of it.  I know I'll get a lot of use out of it this season, as colder temperatures descend upon us.  It's presently -4C, which feels like a slap in the face since our spring, summer and fall have been magnificent.  Winter, here we come!

Even the cats are feeling it.  I found Tessie and BobCat snuggled up the other day:

BobCat's not in the most relaxed position, and with Tessie's heft sliding down onto him, I'm sure it's not.  But BobCat is a gentlemen as far as cats go, and tolerates Tessie's, and Cappie's and Schatzie's various moods with good nature.  He wasn't in a hurry to move.

So with one more project off the needles, I can go to the yarn store tomorrow and pick up my order of Rowan which just came in.

The timing couldn't be any better.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Red Sky in the Morning...

...sailors take warning.
Sad news this morning to hear the venerable Nova Scotia-built tall ship HMS Bounty (replica, it should go without saying!) sank off the coast of Cape Hatteras during Hurricane Sandy.  Two crew are still reported missing.  One can only hope they had cold-water survival suits on, as was reported, and then pray for the best.

Having grown up on the Saint-Lawrence river, I can recall the times the Bounty came through the shipping channel, and even dropped anchor right in front of my child-hood house once.  Each time it - or any tall ship for that matter - would sail by, we'd grab our binoculars and run to the shore, waving at the crew like we were ship-wreak victims waiting for rescue.  We marveled at her size and her complex rigging.  Our imagination went rampant as we'd imagine climbing aboard. 

Alas, I digress, but the above photo genuinely was our sunrise on the morning of October 29th, the day Sandy will make landfall somewhere on the US east-coast before meeting the cold front sweeping in from the north-west.  Like with any tropical depression, we can expect high winds and rain, but I feel confident that we'll be spared the brunt over the next few days.

All told, we have had the most beautiful October I can ever remember.  Sunny skies, mild temperatures, and only a few glove-worthy mornings sum up the month.

And the colours!  I'm not the only one to remark that this fall has been particularly bright, with reds and yellows and oranges more vibrant than the norm.  Also, the fall colour season seemed to last longer, perhaps because we didn't see any large storms blow through the area - until now!

We'll see what Sandy has in store for us as the hours and days unfold.

In the interim, I leave you with a few parting shots of our local colours:
I love the contrast of the the yellowing ash leaves against the blue pine.
Frost-bitten hostas look just like seaweed, don't they?
Dark skies against drying grass.  The light is particularly beautiful and muted at this time of year.

These wild asters are still showing their colours.  They're pretty much the only thing blooming these days.

The sunlight filtering through red maples can't be captured in a photo.  It's luminous and glorious.
The sunsets this time of year never cease to amaze me.  Warm, humid evenings cast a peach-y glow across the fields.
Inside the house, it brightens the living room.
And inside the barn, shining through the wood below, it lights up the timber-frame.
I find it awesome how the light squeaks though the little cracks above.
There is so much harmony to be found in the landscape.  Only Mother Nature can put yellow and red and green together so perfectly.
These are the trees in the back yard at the office.  We're near an old growth forest on the flank of Rigaud mountain, and the trees there are just awe-inspiring.
We have had beautiful days, and the grass seems greener than ever.
And, last but not least, Capucine says hello.  Cool as a cucumber, this cat watches me mercilessly.  She's plotting something, waiting for me to turn my back as she makes off with yet another ball of yarn.
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