I hope you have survived the winter weather and are well underway with your spring cleaning! Probably better than me. I have had a quiet time since December enjoying the end of winter/beginning of spring, slowly sorting out possessions in my condo, trying to be more organized but failing badly.. nothing new there. It will happen though.
This has been my favorite time of year, the last cold crisp days of winter clouds and snow and then the softening of earth preparing for new green shoots and the flowers to come.
I am back selling my photo note cards after a break since November. The last two weeks I spent two cold Thursdays with one other brave vendor at our carts standing outside historic St. Lawrence Market. More vendors are out now as it warms up. I have a colourful display of my cards and a few framed photos - of flowers, gardens, birds and butterflies, scenes of Toronto streets and skyline, boats at the Toronto Islands, and country scenes taken on my day bus trips. I only sell on Thursdays as the table rental is a lot more expensive on Friday and Saturday, plus very tiring standing with my arthritis, and for not much money, selling from anywhere from a bad day of about 5 cards that pays for the table but no profit, to a very good day of selling 35 or more cards that will pay for one of my day bus trips or towards my painting class.
On March 23rd I went on my first country bus trip of 2013. We traveled a few hours west from Toronto to the farmlands of southwest Ontario, north of Lake Erie. We stopped for a delicious buffet lunch at a Victorian mansion, the Elmhurst Inn, then on to Aylmer Wildlife Management area where between 20,000 and 60,000 tundra swans stop annually on their spring migration route from their winter home in the wetlands around Chesapeake Bay to their summer breeding grounds in the high arctic between Alaska and Baffin Island in Canada. Here is a video about them. youtu.be/SfpVeReq01o
There were thousands of swans to see and hear from several viewing platforms overlooking the shallow ponds created to look like arctic habitat. Spectacular! Flocks of swans would land or take off so many good photo ops. The young swans born last spring in the arctic, and returning there now with their parents, have beige necks while the adults are pure white. While we were there a tractor came along spreading corn to feed them and while some swans took flight, most of them simply moved away in unison, a tundra swan parade! We also saw many swans in farmers’ fields eating the waste corn left from last year’s harvest.
Our last stop was at Jakeman’s sugar shack to buy some maple syrup products and to learn about maple syrup production. Jakeman‘s has won awards for best tasting syrup and it certainly was delicious on the buckwheat pancakes I made the next morning.
I enjoyed that trip, driving by early spring fields and seeing expanses of open country and trees and cloud formations. Having no car and no money for vacations away, I so appreciate getting out of the skyscraper closed-in city on these little day trips to the country. Really all I need. No stress of airports and back the same day to my own bed and bathroom!
Over the Easter holiday, the large Victorian greenhouse complex in Toronto, Allan Gardens (free and open 365 days a year) has a special spring flower display. In my last blog I posted some photos from the Christmas display. Several of my photos have sold as photo cards at my table so I enjoy going there several times a year to take more. Here are some flower photos from Easter Monday.
I am still taking my landscape in oils class with the same teacher, After two years and about five courses I have become a perpetual student in his class and he says I am improving. Here are a couple new ones I painted using a palette knife, from the teacher's photos of Georgian Bay and Nova Scotia. Fun and faster to whack down the paint with the palette knife than with a paintbrush but uses up a lot of paint.
Between taking photos around the city and on occasional bus trips, selling cards and signing up for another oil painting course in May-June, I have interests that keep me busy and friends and family I enjoy being with. Still struggling to get my place in order on my good arthritis days and to eat a paleo type diet, avoiding wheat, dairy and sugar, to keep my weight down. I can really see a difference in my attitude and stress level, have stopped worrying about everything being perfect. Turning 65 in March has hopefully taken me into a new serene age where my expectations and possibilities may be less but I find more enjoyment and appreciation in all I have and am able to do. I am looking forward to the spring and early summer days before it is too hot out, to enjoy taking the ferry to Toronto Islands and the watching the changing flowers in my local city park and taking several more country bus trips. Coming up in the next few months - trips to lilac gardens, rose gardens, cottage and wildflower gardens, and a donkey sanctuary..
Enjoy your spring weather and flowers whatever climate you live in! Best wishes for hanging in there and continuing on with healthy food choices and exercise. WE can do it!!