My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Lack of Lilacs or Shortfall of Rainfall

We had a wild mix of weather during our long holiday weekend, starting out with a sunny Saturday near 80º that was perfect for all our outdoor chores and projects, but also a nice long walk with our three dogs (and my little neglected Kodak). The lilacs have been a riot of color and fragrance lately, and I was hoping to photograph some of them. Got lucky just a few blocks into our walk with this long and tall blooming hedge of them...

I added a discreet arrow to point out the white cluster of blossoms among the purple!

My attempt to get a better photo of the white blossoms wasn't very successful because of the mix of bright sun and shadow...

I ventured into the hedge for its fragrance and shade and most important, this artsy SkyWatchy photo :-) ... 

So pretty! If only there were a Scratch-n-Sniff app to go with it...

We decided to walk to the Trail End State Historic Site (or as it's often known locally, "Kendrick Mansion"), which first took us past a neighboring house that belongs to a couple we've been acquainted with for years. I've always loved their chimney, which looks to me like it could double as a bread or pizza oven quite nicely (if one didn't mind hauling the dough up a ladder to their rooftop to bake it!), so I finally nabbed a photo of it...

And here's a photo of the pretty sunroom addition that holds up the fun chimney, in case anyone's curious (the huge, original 2-story part of the house is to the right out of the frame, but I would easily be content to just live in this part!)

And then we spent some lovely, languid time strolling the grounds around Kendrick Mansion, where more lilacs seemed to be blooming everywhere I pointed the camera...

(You can see and learn more of the house and grounds on its official web site and this post)

The Carriage House, which now hosts local theater group performances

Can you see my tiny note below the purple lilac and to the left of the red and gold sign? 
Or more importantly, can you see who it's pointing at? :-)

After strolling the grounds and sniffing most of the flowers, checking the time on the formal garden's sundial, peeking to see if the rose garden behind the carriage house was blooming yet (not even close), and enjoying the beautiful mountain views from the lovely lawns, we'd exhausted all of Kendrick Mansion's possibilities for the day. So we walked home via one of my favorite little neighborhoods on a looping lane that's tucked away and always peaceful. I walk the dogs there fairly often, and there is seldom anyone around. But on this day there was one resident out enjoying the beautiful day (and a fresh salad lunch al fresco) in the side yard...

Should we tell him about the ladies having their own picnic back at Kendrick Mansion? :-)

By the time we got home, it had gotten humid and was clouding up, and it wasn't long after that the thunderstorms started rolling in and were persistent visitors throughout the rest of the weekend. Saturday's only brought very gusty winds (again!), but Sunday afternoon several severe thunderstorms rolled through, bringing pea sized hail and over a half inch of rain along with all the dramatic thunder and lightning. I took all of these photos on Sunday as the storms built and raged around and over us...

Thunderstorms building in the east

A big ol' bad boy to the northwest

This creepy cloud showed up behind our house between storm lashings

The sky was constantly filling up with dramatic photo ops during and between storms, 
but after photographing this last menacing cloud I hightailed it inside!

The real drama, however, was on Memorial Day. The storms had continued during Sunday night and Monday morning, dumping another ¾" of rain on us by the time the sun returned around 10am. But by noon, the skies to the north and west were starting to look ominous again so we decided to take the dogs for a quick walk around a nearby neighborhood. We were at the furthest point from home when we looked up to see that the sky above us had stealthily but rapidly turned dark as night - and then the thunder and lightning started, the wind went from zero to ohholycrap in .01 seconds, and we started hustling the dogs back home. We hadn't gotten far, though, when something hard hit me in the head - dime sized hail. We took the closest cover available, which was under a little copse of trees in someone's side yard, and when it appeared the hail had ended several minutes later we headed for home again. But almost immediately it started to hail again, nickel-sized this time and a lot more of it. So we took refuge on a covered front porch of a vacant house - a porch with a metal roof! The hail came down thick and hard (and LOUD) and seemed to go on forever, bouncing off the ground and hitting us with glancing blows. As it started to let up and we could hear each other enough to converse again, I said to BW, "I'm glad I didn't bring my camera with me!" And then I looked at the photo-op of ankle deep hail on the ground and covering the street, and thought - damn, wish I had my camera with me! 

Some people are just never satisfied. :-)

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  1. lol, I've often had those same sentiments about being glad I didn't have my camera but wishing I would have at the same time. That sounds like quite the hail! I'm glad you could find shelter from it because otherwise, ouch!!

    I haven't seen many lilacs around here yet, but ours should be blooming soon. They're always so pretty and is one of my favorite smells.

    That chimney is very cool and you're right, it could be an oven! ha! Quite the house it goes with, too. Very pretty, but I think I'd be spooked all the time living in something like that.

    We've been seeing a lot of deer lately, including a mama with her two spotted fawns behind our house. They're so cute! <3

    1. Ouch is right! I can tell you that first small hailstone that bonked me in the head stung! At least BW and I had hooded rain jackets on, the poor pups would have had the worst of it!

      Funny that Jane in Ontario got lilac blooms before you guys - you really did get a delayed spring this year!

      What's spooky about the house with the pizza oven chimney? The large size of it? Would you believe just two people live in it? He's a retired surgeon, his wife Vera is a retired surgical nurse (that's mainly how we know them, through Vera from when I worked at the hospital, though BW was the UPS man for Dr. Gould's office and was his patient once, too. (Funny story, "Dr. Gould" was what Vera would call him for the longest time after they got married, and Robyn and I would tease her mercilessly about it, lol) They used to walk past Dragonfly Cottage frequently - just as we would walk by their house frequently - and they commented once that they envied us living in such a small place, and were thinking of selling their place and downsizing. We encouraged them to do it - but when I ran into Vera a couple months ago and asked her if they still were thinking of doing that, she said no. They love the location too much, and I can't say I blame them! But I still think I'd just want to live in that addition. Which looks like a sunroom from the outside, but I have no idea, having never been in their house.

      How fun that you have a mama and her twin fawns hanging out behind your place!! Get some pictures! (As if I have to say it, lol) :-)

    2. Yup, the large size of it makes it seem spooky to me. Not a bad spooky, because I love that kind of stuff. Just not enough to want to live in something that large. :) I'm amazed that only two people live there!

    3. I know what you mean, I wouldn't want all the work of upkeep and cleaning, nor the heating bills! I'm pretty sure that house is where Dr. Gould lived with his first wife and their two kids. His first wife (also a nurse) died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at a Christmas party many years ago (I think she was only in her early 40s at the time). Isn't that awful? He married Vera several years later, and everyone was glad, because Vera is the sweetest person. Anyway, I think that place may still hold a lot of sentimental value for him, especially, as well as having that incredible location.

  2. I think we need not only scratch and sniff but sound, too. The smell of lilacs accompanied by the sound of hail on a metal roof — the essence of spring. Seeing the deer made me think of Punky and friends. I wonder if they miss you. (I know the reverse is probably true.) The chimney is wonderful, but somehow it doesn't seem to quite belong on the house.

    1. Well, here's what you can do - put a metal bucket on your head and then have Ken fly over in a hot air balloon and drop large pebbles on it. That'll be a fair approximation! :-)

      I wonder how Punky is doing and whether she misses us too! I sure do miss her. We have mule deer around here, and they're tame and beautiful, but except for chucking occasional organic apple cores over our back fence for them to find, I don't feed them. It's just not the same, they don't feel like "our" deer the way Jane Doe's clan always did.

      I never really paid attention before, so smitten have I always been with the chimney and the addition, but more as separate entities than as a total package. But I agree, they don't really match! That addition needs a rectangular chimney, and that chimney belongs on an English cob cottage!

  3. Glad you're ok from the cascades of hail that rained down on you. The lilacs and the mansion grounds are lovely!

    1. Thanks! We are too. Our neighbors were horrified when we told them we got caught in that hailstorm, and a guy walking his dog past our place last evening asked us if we were the ones he'd seen caught out in it! Turns out he's a neighbor of the vacant house with the metal-roofed porch. It was so weird, that storm coming up around lunchtime like that - it's usually mid-late afternoon before we get thunderstorms! But by that time, it was gorgeous out! Figures.

      Aren't those grounds beautiful? We used to walk up there all the time with the dogs when we lived below it in Dragonfly Cottage. Not too far past Kendrick Mansion is Kendrick Park, where the bison and elk are. The mountain views from there are spectacular too - I took quite a few photos from there in our D'fly Cottage-dwelling days. :-)

  4. That hedge of lilac made my heart sing. Oooh. And aaah. And the storm clouds were a joy too. Not to mention the deer. Lovely, lovely post. Again. Thank you.

    1. You're very welcome! I'm so happy that you enjoyed it all - I always enjoy your posts too, with your beautiful flowers and amazing birds and mischievous cats - and even your 10-breasted hot air balloons! ;-)

  5. I love the rebellious white lilac... (big manly voice)" We are lilac and we are purple" (squeaky voice) "I'm not, I never got the memo".
    I think the girly deer were out shopping and the guy deer was stuck at home with the gardening.
    The weather all over has gone crazy...who knew you'd need a bike helmet to go walking?
    Jane x

    1. LOL at your little lilac screenplay, there! :-)

      And you may be right, the girls were enjoying a "girls day out" while himself had to toil in the yard. Sounds fair! :-)

      No kidding! (That's not a bad idea, though we'd need to come up with something for the dogs!) And you with your tornado - Mother Nature is piiiiiisssssed! I don't blame her, but she needs to go pitch her hissies on the CEOs of Monsanto and Exxon and Conagra, not us good and happy green people!

  6. It's good to see a deer here again. :-)

    I could almost smell the lilacs. Great pix.

    1. It is, isn't it? :-) There have been several dear in the field behind our house some evenings lately, but the lighting has been too poor to get a good photo of them. And I've seen lots of muleys on our walks, but haven't had my camera with me till this time!

      I know, their fragrance is an easy one to call up when I see photos of them!

  7. Wonderful lilac photos Laloofah! Please come back to the Vegan Community on Pinterest - I miss you!

    1. Thank you, Heidrun! I'm glad you enjoyed the lilacs, and am touched (and surprised!) that you noticed my absence and are inviting me to return. I'll politely decline for now, but do appreciate it - that was very kind of you!

  8. Wowie!! That was quite an adventure.
    Those clouds are amazing and I don't think I would want to get bonked on the head by nickle size hail.
    Great post.

    1. Yes it was, a bit more of an adventure than we'd bargained for when we set out on our little walk! Fortunately, I got bonked when the hailstones were still just dime-sized - as much as that smarted, I'd hate to have been exposed to the nickel-sized ones too! And let's not even talk about the lethal potential of golfball size and bigger...

      Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  9. The mansion, and grounds around it, are incredibly beautiful! Nice post.

    1. It really is a beautiful place, and has a spectacular view of the mountains. Would you believe that back in the '60's they nearly tore it down and build condos there?!!! What an abomination.

  10. I still haven't thawed out yet from my COOOLLLDDD weekend with lots of rain and highs in the 40s so I can definitely relate to your freaky memorial Day weekend weather. I'm glad that you at least had one great day!

    I loved the lilac photos and so wish I could have been on that walk. They are such pretty flowers and they smell so good! I'll have to be satisfied with your post which are almost as pretty as the real thing though the smell is severely lacking!!

    My favorite photo was of the one buck behind the pretty purple flowers. He's so well posed I'm half worried this will be another statue and this will be another laugh for you!

    1. Brrrr!! It's in the 40s and mostly overcast and blustery here today, too! I'm trying to gird my loins for a walk with the dogs, but think I need hot soup first!

      I would think there'd be lilacs blooming in the Saulte, too - they seem to be blooming everywhere! You're right, the photos can be beautiful, but it's not the same as the real thing with the wonderful fragrance.

      LOL, nope - not a statue! He's the real deal. :-)

    2. I found some lilacs in the park at the Soo Locks today. Or I should say I smelled some and then I saw them - as observant as ever! hHey were really pale and not as pretty as yours but I was very happy to see/smell them!!

  11. Love the fragrance and showiness of lilacs... I've tried them here a few times but they just won't tolerate the heat. Next best thing is wisteria. I've been down oak canopy roads where it's a wonderland of purple branches and falling petals blowing in the wind. You are so fortunate to have a milder climate and a later spring... Seems like you can enjoy it all the more.

    Love the deer photos too! They must still have their winter coverings on?

    The storm clouds are awesome too. As we speak I've got some dark ones heading this way as well. We're in for a stormy (hope no hurricane) season... Hope we all hold on tight for sunny skies ahead. ;)

    1. Oh, I LOVE wisteria! They remind me a lot of lilacs, but I love how they drape and hang. A covered porch with wisteria climbing and draping all over it would be a dream! The oak canopy roads you describe sound like a dream too! We do enjoy spring here - and goodness knows we wait long enough for it - it's usually such a beautiful season. That's why all the ferocious winds we've had this year have been so frustrating. Soon enough it will be hot, dry, dusty, smoky summer.

      Yes, the deer were still shedding their winter coats when I took these, but we've had some muleys in the field behind our house lately and they're all slicked up and a beautiful golden-reddish-brown color for summer now.

      I hope those dark clouds didn't do anything unpleasant, and that hurricane season is quiet and peaceful!!

  12. wow, these photos are gorgeous! and the deer sitting by the purple flowers--it's absolutely beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Luna! That buck was sweet to pose so perfectly behind the purple flowers for me like that (and not run off while I fumbled with my camera!) :-) I wish I could have also captured the beautiful snowcapped mountains that were behind him above the treetops, but I wanted his closeup. I'm glad you enjoyed these photos!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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