Magnificent May

This month is quickly coming to an end, and what a ride it’s been!

My May dance card has been chock-full of activity all month, and sometimes I felt like I could barely catch my breath.

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On a warm day, this park was a busy spot – especially when the Mom-and-Tots group ended.

I’ve been going through my May photos and there is just SO MUCH stuff to choose from!

For starters, it’s been a month trying to embrace my artistic side.  I suspect this might be a laugh for those of you who actually are very artistic.

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Repainted 2 out of 3 old metal plaques of fence art which had badly faded over the years. 

It started some weeks ago with an online conversation with Mary from Mary J Melange.  I mentioned I had found a couple of painted rocks on my various travels on the trails, and she encouraged me to start painting my own “inspirational rocks” to leave on the trails when I’m out hiking and biking.

Painting rocks
My sister and I spent a day painting ‘inspirational’ rocks. They were all disasters and had to be painted over again.

So I setup a new Instagram account called WiseRocks to publish my creations, but I was too embarrassed by my first attempt to actually post it.  So sadly, my WiseRocks account remains empty and unloved.

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V 2.0 was more successful than the original, but met a runny end when I tried to lacquer it for the outdoors. If you’re hiking at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, you may find it.

Since the weather seemed to leap overnight from winter to summer, my spring allergies have been on overdrive.  I’ve been in a perpetual state of “stupid” from the antihistamines, and if you’re wondering why I seem to be visiting your blog with just “likes” and no comments, it’s because mentally, my lights are on but no one is home.

In spite of that, I’ve been out walking, hiking, cycling every chance I get.

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TooGood Pond, Markham

I had an amazing opportunity to go bird watching with the World Wildlife Federation thanks to a friend who’s been a long time supporter of the organization.

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The sign says the Bird Research Station is closed to visitors, but it was open for us.

Crossing the Great Lakes is a major undertaking for birds during their semi-annual spring and fall migration.  Spots like the Leslie Spit on the east end of Toronto are important sanctuaries for the birds to recharge on their long journey.

Bird WatchingWe were there to learn about tagging birds with little bands on their leg that allows for the bird to be tracked.  It’s remarkable how manual this tracking continues to be.

Bird Watching 3

However, it’s not just been birds returning to the area.  This month, I’ve had snake encounters …

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You can hide your head, but I can still see you!

… visits with horses …

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My friend, Cathy, and one of her Friesans.

… and other encounters with wildlife, mostly very small.

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Baby Canada Goose … it hasn’t matured to the obnoxious stage yet.

I’ve climbed mountains of stairs …

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289 steps to the top of the escarpment looking for Chedoke Falls.  The stairs are used by locals for training hill repeats

… and rode in a party bus, complete with disco ball …

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… but my favourite encounters have been with my own kind, and they have been special in every way.

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With my sons, Jordan and Misha

Yes, my May has been magnificent, and I hope your’s has been too.

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This post is part of Changing Seasons – a monthly photo feature hosted by Su Leslie at Zimmerbitch.

99 comments

  1. My goodness you have had a busy month! Bravo to you for trying our your artistic side. I would love to be wandering about and come upon one of your wise rocks. Looking forward to the full launch of the IG feed. So many happy photos, well maybe not the snake, but my favourite of course is you with your sons. xo

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  2. Wow! You have been busy!!! Hope you continue to enjoy the festivities as the wedding draws near. And I am looking forward to when you are comfortable to share with us your rocks – I have followed your insta account in preparation for when you start posting!

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  3. I think you may look in an arts section of a big box stores for an acrylic spray which goes over watercolors but I use acrylics on rocks! Look for flat or not glossy if you want it to look natural.
    I used to paint mushrooms or flowers, butterflies or lady bugs on mine. Just one word messages like “Believe” or “Shine!” On 🐌 snail rocks, “Slow down.” Two words, ha!
    Or glossy if you want it to stand out.

    I love weddings and family times, so my May has been overflowing with love, too. 💗

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          • Oh, good to know, Joanne. Thank you for this follow up!
            We have had a few rocks found decorated around OWU campus and around neighborhoods​ we walk through. I like how they are randomly placed. I try to tell me grandies they can “relocate” them but not take them home. . . Best for my not getting into trouble with their competitive siblings or their parents! 😀

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            • Ahhh – relocating is a good way of engaging them and ‘paying it forward’ so to speak.

              When I found the first rock, I took a photo of it and posted it on IG. The owner of the rock saw my post and commented that often people take the rock (which she doesn’t mind … they are left for people to discover), but she’s always thrilled when someone posts finding one. I’m hoping others will do the same for me 🙂

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  4. You have been busy, Joanne! I love your outdoor adventures and the photos of all the green and blue. Inspirational rocks is a fabulous idea and the idea of leaving the around for others to find is awesome. Once you get the proper paints figured out, you’re good to go! 🙂

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  5. magnificent May indded.

    really love the painting of the old metal art.
    and the boys and you in the frame – (heart tug)
    the bird tour sounds fun and laughed when you said not the annoying stage yet – and the photo was so clear you could feel the fuzzy fur (almost feel it)

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      • Have you seen the sweet movie called Fly Away Home?

        based on a true story – young girl goes to live with her dad and finds Geese eggs and raises them and then he helps them migrate – ?
        and cheers to June – mine has started off really nice… and we had sunshine – but more rain tomorrow – argh

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        • I have heard of the movie, but haven’t seen it. I would imagine that helping a bird migrate would be a MAJOR undertaking!

          June started off hot and humid here, but the weather changed overnight and it feels much cooler this morning. Looks like we’ll be seeing rain this weekend as well.

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          • Hi – and the movie is so inspiring – and funny to mention the movie and rain – because just last week I thought of the opening scene in that movie – it was done so well and it tugs myheart and once in a while I think of it when rain is pouring down because in the movie (spoiler alter) the opening scene has the tween girl driving in a Volvl with her mom and the wipers are going and the rain pours down – they crash and mom dies – so the girl has to live with her dad (and story unfolds from there) – and I guess the dangers of rain and driving keep me altered and funny how I think of that scene.
            Anyhow, the movie also is a coming of maturity story and the way the dad and daughter bond – and then the environmental angle is rich. Children’s movie that was enjoyable.
            Oh and stay safe as the rain comes your way this weekend 🙂

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  6. I love, love, love your rock project! I even like your Wish Upon a Star rock. It just looks like it caught in the rain.

    However did they catch that Kildeer? They’re so skittish, and fast! A trap?
    What a neat experience that must have been.

    You three look great with hat’s and a mask. I really like that frame idea!

    My sinus’ started acting up b/c the barometer was and up and down so I went back on sinus meds for a week. I hope we’re stabilizing now and I stop them. I hope your allergies calm down soon too.

    When is the wedding? Coming up non?

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    • Thanks Deborah! I love my rock project too and I hope after the wedding (next weekend) I can finally carve out some quality time to work on it! I’m hoping to take some rocks with me when I go on my cycling trip in Quebec mid-June.

      Thanks for identifying the bird. I forgot what it was 10 seconds after I was told during our tour. They set up nets in the trees that the birds get caught in. They are collected regularly throughout the morning and evening hours, banded, weighed, and then released again. Every bird that is caught in the net, regardless what it is, gets banded. If it’s been already banded, they record when and where. If the band has become unreadable, it gets replaced.

      When the bird station is not being manned, the nets are taken down. I was really surprised by how little a fight they put up. I thought they’d bite and peck at the hands, but they don’t.

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      • One year while watching and photographing Egrets, and Herons at a natural rookery we were watching a young Snowy Egret hang on by its beak to a branch as it struggled trying to figure out how to get back up to the branch and nest.
        My girl-friend and I knew it wouldn’t be able to let go and fly up to the nest; it was too young. It would get tired and fall 15 ft to the ground.
        It was heart breaking to watch. In the meantime I located a sanctuary nearby and when the bird fell my girl-friend ran over to it and scooped it up in her coat. She sat in the backseat with it while I drove to the sanctuary. I thought it would fight, peck, and bite her, but it never did!

        We were amazed by that. They told us at the sanctuary the Egret survived.

        Oh my it’s nearly here! I hope their wedding day is perfect!

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  7. I’m so glad you’ve had a nice May (minus the allergies). We went straight from winter to summer here as well. Complete with torrential downpours. A nearby neighborhood had its road washed away in a flash flood this past weekend and while I was gone a family lost their home to a mudslide.

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  8. Joanne, your May truly was magnificent! A menagerie wonderful critters and creations. The fence art is cool. Don’t get frustrated with the rocks and start throwing them. Here’s an idea. Paint them a peachy or other fleshy color. Draw a “W” (with rounded points) and call them Wise Cracks! Have a terrific Tuesday. Hugs.

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    • Thanks Ruth. I like having the visual interest on the long expanse of wooden fence. It works for me and I’m slowing adding new pieces every year 🙂 It never occurred to me though that the harsh summer sun would be so damaging to them.

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  9. Yeah, you were busy! Love the last image – fun! Joanne, art does not come instant – give it some time. It’s like learning to play the piano – you can hear it in your mind, but your fingers don’t instantly cooperate!
    Thank you for the comment about the mosaic – did you read that one doesn’t need as much skill for mosaic (especially in the beginning) than painting? the city/town where you live probably has an art association. Start asking there if one of the artists knows of someone who does mosaics. Wishing you success:)

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    • Thanks Jesh – all the artists I follow, like you, have all been so supportive of justing doing it. It seems that it’s all about personal expression and personal satisfaction. I don’t think there is a better reason for doing something 🙂

      I think my next step is to carve out some time each week to just doing it … much like learning to embrace meditation.
      Over the past few years I’ve been eyeing various art classes, but have felt too intimated to actually register for one. I think mosaics might be the way to dip my toes in. Thanks so much for your encouragement!!

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      • I understand intimidation. One time a teacher asked me “How do you deal with fear?” I asked her what she meant. She pointed at my painting and said, “when you do this, you have to deal with fear!” Came to the conclusion that it was very perceptive of her. When you do any form of art, you are exposing part of your inner self, which can be very intimidating! Of course, the lack of skill is another fear, if “am I good enough?” I think any attempt is “good enough” because at least you did the first step:)

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        • No! She said that?! I would have interpreted it as a major putdown and been devastated … wait, that’s exactly what happened in elementary school. A teacher told me I had zero ability. Definitely not one of the highlights of my schooling – I took it to heart.

          Thanks for the encouragement. It is much appreciated.

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          • Smile – I knew who said it and was already used to her blunt approach, and actually it was an intro because she wanted me to give her some pointers what to do with her fear.
            But your teacher …. I wonder if she enjoyed teaching!
            Since you are in the process of finding out which art direction you would like to take, there are also controlling artists – please do whatever you gravitate to. And if it does not work out, move on to something else. Sometimes other people just don’t know what you are made for. With art, as well as with psychology I had to force my own way through, and ignore what others thought.
            My mother called my sketches doodling, but at least she provided me with paper (so I would not “doodle” on the wall paper, and any blank piece of paper in her magazines:))
            So, dear Joanne, do what your heart tells you:)

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    • hahaha! You certainly didn’t spare the m&ms on this one! mmmmmmm!

      It has been all very magical and I hope we can hold onto that feeling for a long time 💕
      I’ve been told there can be a big let-down feeling after it’s all over – after having spent months of anticipation. I have a feeling that might not happen this time.
      I planned a cycling trip, on my own, a week after the wedding on the TransCanada in Quebec. I will then be meeting up with Gilles and Jordan who are racing in Quebec in a town off the TransCanada trail.
      So I’m going to be going from wedding mode, to solo adventure on a bike right away. Right now I’m not sure which one has me more nervous! June promises to be just as maniacal 🙂

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  10. Wonderful pictures…sounds like you had a great May, indeed! I think you did absolutely great on repainting the flowers on the fence. I really enjoyed all your pictures and as for the painted rocks…I see absolutely nothing wrong with the one you posted a picture of. To me, that just means it is handmade and therefore worth a tremendous amount more when it comes to charm. Please stop selling yourself short Joanne. 😉

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    • Thanks Susan for that encouragement! It’s so easy to be self-deprecating when trying something new and unfamiliar. It’s a good reminder that we don’t have to be ‘experts’ at everything we do … having fun and getting to express yourself in a creative way has no rights or wrongs 🙂

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  11. May has just been whooshing by for me as well! So busy. Mostly happy, although sometimes busy is too busy to enjoy all the happy. :/ I dunno how that happens, but it does.
    Anyway, those are great May photos! Bridge over the water especially!
    I love that you repainted the flowers. I’d like to have some metal art on the side of my garage, but The Mister, not so much.
    Moo and I have been talking about those painted rocks for a long time now, and we just need to do it. It’d be great to leave those on doorscursions 🙂
    We’re all, all the people and the dog, treated for allergies. It’s good. Modern medicine is awesome. I used to have to get shots!
    I hope June is more generous with pleasures and memories I can savor. Wishing you and yours the same!

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    • It would never have occurred to me to paint my own rocks and leave them to be found by others. Mary has given me a reason to stretch a creative muscle I never use 🙂
      I like your idea of painting rocks and leaving them on your doorscursions. I can’t speak for others, but I got a silly sense of joy when I found the 2 rocks on my excursions. Pass it on, I say 🙂

      As if it was even possible, June is promising to be even busier than May! Looking forward to it!

      Hope you are enjoying your long weekend in the US. Happy Monday!

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    • That’s it exactly, Karen. Our winters are so long and summer is so short … if we don’t get out and cram as much as possible into those short summer months, winter is even harder 🙂

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  12. Busy month, indeed! Love your rocks idea and your rocks! Was tickled to see a photo of TooGood Pond. I used to go for a run there when hanging out in Markham waiting for Jeff to finish his shift at the golf course he was working at. Finally, you post a picture of a place I have been also! Love it!

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    • You are one the people who have inspired me to stretch my dormant artistic muscle 🙂
      It’s just baby steps, but like everything else, I’m hoping that the more I do it, the easier it will become.

      I had walked around Toogood Pond with a friend and the sad part was I had never been there before in spite of living only a short distance away for the past 25 years. Sheesh! The treasures we manage to find in our own backyards, so to speak.

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    • Thank you! I appreciate it is just baby steps and I’m really hoping I get better at it 🙂

      Hope your allergies start to give you some relief soon. I think I’m over the worst of the spring pollen issues. Yeah.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a brilliant month and your exuberance spilleth over! Obviously on the countdown to the BIG event of the year. The rock thing seems to be spreading. But I have yet to come across one.

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    • I don’t know why, Jude, but I’m having so much trouble trying to reply to your comment. This is my 3rd attempt and hopefully it will not disappear again!

      Life has been overflowing for me this month and I didn’t really appreciate how much so until I tried to sift through all my photos for this post. It was a challenge trying to write something that didn’t rival War and Peace in length 😉

      Painted rocks do seem to be a spreading ‘thing’ and I was thrilled with each one I found. I love the idea of creating my own, but I haven’t yet adopted a routine to actually sit down and focus on making them. I better get into action though, because I leave for my 1st of 2 trips on the TransCanada in Quebec in just a few weeks. I want to leave at least 1 rock a day out on the trail while I’m gone.

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  14. Wow; you really have been busy. I’m feeling a bit knackered just thinking about all that you’ve done (especially when I got to the allergies,where I can totally empathise).

    I love your fence panels and I think the rocks are cool. You’ve got me wondering now about some painted rocks T and I found dotted around parks in Timaru recently. Maybe it’s a “thing” that people are doing?

    Wishing you an allergy-reprieve for the rest of summer (especially around the nuptuals; you’ll want the lights blazing for that).

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    • I think the painted rocks are a ‘thing’. I’m seeing more and more of them popping up on Instagram. I don’t have the artistic chops to compete with some of the rocks I’ve seen, but that’s ok. I want to believe that I’ll improve with practice!

      June is starting to ramp up just as busy, if not more so, than May. I’m ok with that. Our winters are so long and summer is so short, we have to squeeze every minute out of it that we can 🙂

      I think the worst of the spring pollen allergies are now behind me. Everything exploded so quickly it was a pollen tsunami here, but it doesn’t feel quite as oppressive any more {fingers crossed}

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    • It has been a great month 🙂 … and I’m looking forward to June being just as crazy busy!

      I’m a big fan of outdoor art work and I have several pieces around the yard. They’re all stuff I’ve scavenged at end-of-summer sales over the years. I wish I had learned of the trick of treating them with a spray-on lacquer beforehand though. They look very weather-beaten now although I guess some people would say it gives them character 🙂

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  15. My favorite painted rocks are “au natural” with Black Words (permanent marker, maybe?) They might be easier for you to manage. LOL

    Glad you had a good month.

    Did you see my last post? It featured a mama goose goose-stepping across the street with a baby in tow.

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    • That was actually our key learning with the painted rocks. We were trying to paint on messages which just wasn’t working for us. We assumed the problem was us – and not our methodology 🙄
      Permanent markers is definitely the way to go!!

      …. and I just saw your post earlier this morning! Great minds …. 🙂

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  16. I’m so glad that you’ve had a good May and I commend your ability to choose photos in a reasonable quantity. I love the painted flowers and the red star on your stone! Last week my mother went to the event in Ljubljana, Slovenia, called “I shall wear a red star”. We are still fans of it, while the state of Slovenia wants to get rid of it as if the fight against Fascism never existed. Ducks are cute (they grow up mean? really?), but the last photo takes the cake. 🙂 To new victories and joys!

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    • I know that seasonal allergies fall in the category of relatively minor ailments, but it does make me feel absolutely miserable some days. I hope you’re coming out of your allergy season soon. It’s not fun 😕

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  17. Busy month–that row of traffic from the moms and tots looks like a main street!

    The horse is beautiful, very sturdy and deep-chested–nice. Beautiful nature, and good for you for doing creative efforts. I personally paint very badly, and yet when I do it, it’s good for me. I keep planning to get better at it, but have sort of gotten out of the knack of it.

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  18. I loved this post! The baby goose–hard to believe he grows into obnoxious…that little fuzzy bundle. Your fence art is gorgeous, the horse is so darn cute, and you and your boys look great! Here’s to a great June for you!

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    • I most certainly did 😃

      The horse is gorgeous and Cathy was getting really annoyed with her because she was being a major twit that day … getting spooked by every little thing that moved 😆 I’m laughing but Cathy wasn’t amused!

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  19. We’re in sync, Joanne. What a nutsy month! But yours sounds like it was a lot of fun and look at you – a month where you took care of your creative self, your physical self, your curious self, your family self, your back to nature self.

    I’m impressed Joanne, not just by all you’ve done but by all you’ve done while your brain is feeling disconnected. You did have a magnificent May 🙂

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    • Wow Karen, when you put it that way, I’m starting to feel a little impressed with myself 😉
      I’m really grateful to people like you who have encouraged me to let my creative side out to play.

      I hope your nutsy month has been more fun than not – especially now that summer has arrived 🙂

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  20. Wow, you’ve been busy despite having out-of-body allergy experiences. I love “haven’t matured to the obnoxious stage yet” – isn’t that true of most baby animals. including (maybe especially) humans. June is going to be even crazier for you so hang on!

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