…and Now for Something Completely Different - theHumm February 2021
…and Now for Something Completely Different - theHumm February 2021
By Glenda Jones
Yesterday I could have sworn I was an extra in the movie Groundhog Day, but today I realize that, just like the proverbial river that is never the same for an instant, life moves on and it’s all completely different every day. So here goes “different”.
Yesterday the woods were grey, dripping dreck down the back of my neck, but this morning there are new tracks marking the elusive deer highway that is a never-ending draw for the dogs. They have this theory that if they follow the tracks the deer will be standing waiting for them. No end of exhortations to “get back here this very minute!” is enough to deter them, so I have to wait until they discover the sad truth for themselves. “Told ya so” also falls on deaf ears.
As much as we have fallen into a routine, they look daily for some new excitement. The squirrels provide a new experience every time they arrive at the feeder. Diva leaps about four feet high in her attempt to drive them away. It’s always different, always exciting, always a new and totally blasé squirrel. If the squirrel fails to elicit a response, we can count on the cat to meander into view and set off a small chase. She’s as nonchalant as the squirrel, but hey, it’s new and different, and that’s all that matters.
We’re fired up about Valentine’s Day. We rarely celebrate in hearts and chocolate fashion, but it would be a fine thing to try. I’m thinking the beer and chocolate experience might be totally different. I’ve got a recipe for a porter cheesecake that beats any other one I’ve had. However, it feeds an army, so I’d have to do some non-essential travel and dole it out to others. That would actually be essential travel though, or that cheesecake would migrate to hips pretty fast!
Our culinary excursions have extended to A&W for lunch. Exciting, eh? That’s definitely different, since otherwise it’s sandwiches at the kitchen table. Further, no dishes to wash is indeed exciting. We’ve even bent the rules and had breakfast pancakes for dinner. Eaten in the dining room with low lighting, pancake supper takes on a whole new ambiance. We pile on whipped cream, something reserved for special occasions. Then we pour a soupçon of white wine to add to the celebration. Breakfast never tasted so good.
We had a wonderful time at Christmas decorating trees in the woods and exchanging gifts with good friends outdoors while we sipped hot drinks and ate shortbread. We’re thinking it might be a good thing to do for Easter. It would clear the winter cobwebs and be something to anticipate before we all get in line for vaccines. (That is going to happen; just you wait, Henry Higgins).
Creativity has to come into this equation, so I’m gathering my old dishes in preparation for mosaic work on birdhouses for the April MVFN auction. It’s been a great way to clear out some old china and turn it into something worthwhile. Every house I’ve made is different than the others, and I can’t wait to get started on this new project.
Every day we need not look far to find something completely different than the previous day. That’s what makes life exciting. If you find yourself in a blue funk, you need to open the door and look for the one thing that wasn’t there yesterday, even if it’s just the smell of fresh cold air, a ray of sunshine making a shadow you’ve never seen before, or the light on one small snowflake. If that doesn’t do it for you, do what a little boy I know used to do: he’d put his boots on the wrong foot and walk in the snow to make crazy tracks. Whatever it takes, every day can be completely different and just a little bit less like Groundhog Day.
Birdhouse Auction, You Say?
Look for the ad and article in this month’s Humm; it’s been in Hummail, in The Millstone and touted about, so get busy on something different and you will be making a contribution to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ Cliff Bennett Bursary as well as joining in the community birdhouse auction. You’re only bound by your imagination in Functional or Decorative creations, with kids getting special attention in both categories. Go down the rabbit hole of YouTube to see the thousands of ideas you might want to pursue. Everyone will see their creations displayed both online and in local store fronts for a couple of weeks before the auction closes in late April. Then stand back when the spring birds arrive and find this whole area becoming birdhouse heaven! Check out mvfn.ca for details or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
When theHumm first featured oil painter Kaija Savinainen Mountain (her married name) in 2007, she responded to my inevitable question as to why she created her art with this statement: “I have a terrible need to create. It chases me.” She has continued her race to the top of her creative powers, but she has raised the bar on her ambitions. Today her answer is: “Nature needs our respect and care more than ever these days, and I challenge us all to be mindful of......
In the December issue of theHumm we issued an “invitation to write” by the name of Winterwords — asking readers to contribute up to 1000 words on the theme of “Back to Better in the Valley” and to contact us if they were interested in facilitating a writing workshop of some kind. The response has been warm and wonderful, and we are delighted to launch the 2021 Winterwords schedule of online events. All are free (or by donation to facilitators), and there is room for additional workshops should mo......
Artistic Excellence in our Area - theHumm February 2021
By Miss Cellaneous
Mary Pfaff: Companions
From February 17 to March 26, Sivarulrasa Gallery in Almonte is pleased to present Mary Pfaff: Companions, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Almonte-based artist Mary Pfaff. The Gallery is thrilled that this exhibition will include, in addition to new smaller works, four new 60-inch canvasses entitled Beyond, Home, Uncertainty, and Conversing with the Trees.
Mary Pfaff earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (with distinction) fro......
Build a Birdhouse! - theHumm February 2021
By Glenda Jones
The birdhouse auction in support of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists is only three months away, and crafters are scouring their treasures for the makings of a unique creation to tempt bidders. While a classic wooden house will suffice, a dwelling that once was a watering can or a toy could up the interest. Turn children loose with a box of odds and ends, and their imaginations are limitless. An old key will become a perch; an assortment of bottle caps will become shingles; a milk carton will......
By Kris Riendeau
Just before Christmas, I picked up a copy of Vickie Walsh’s Guide to Hiking Trails in Ottawa and Region. As I perused the pages and learned about many trails with which I had not yet become acquainted, it occurred to me that Vickie’s insights would be a wonderful addition to theHumm. Imagine my delight when she responded to my enquiry to say that she had just moved to Almonte and was interested in collaborating! Her background is varied and fascinating, and her dedication to promoti......
By Emily Pearlman
“I am inspired by empowered young people coming to realize our place in the world as the last generation to challenge Climate Change and environmental injustices,” says Ahlena Sultana-McGarry, one of the facilitators of Climate Network Lanark’s Youth for Climate Action group. She speaks with a quiet confidence which seems the right note to strike with the twelve young people from across Lanark who recently assembled as strangers for the group’s first meeting.
Sultana-McGarry, a graduate in Cro......
By Susie Osler
I ride a friend’s beautiful big black horse Izzy out into the fields on a farm east of Perth. It is a gloriously eerie afternoon in late November. A wet snow has fallen on not-yet-frozen ground and now a thick, vaporous veil of fog has gathered over the land.
Izzy is a game companion and I anticipate the adventure we have ahead of us. When the curtain of fog closes around us, separating us from buildings and barns, suddenly I am transported into the pages of childhood books — a girl on a pony, ve......
Finding Joy in Lockdown - theHumm February 2021
By Sarah Kerr
I had a bit of the “blue Monday” feels as I sat down to write this month’s Little Humm column. But the whole point of this column is to add some joy and encouragement to all my parenting peeps in the Valley. So in an effort to find inspiration for February, which is currently forecasting a continued lockdown and possibly a polar vortex, I decided to survey the kids of the Ottawa Valley to see how they think we should handle this situation. And it turns out, they’re not as upset about lockdown in wint......
Back to Better in the Valley - theHumm February 2021
By Jeanne d’Arc Labelle
Jeanne d’Arc Labelle sent in this thoughtful note and hopeful poem in response to our Winterwords invitation to write. She says: “I see the turbulence of the pandemic posturing on the unknown, all the while… its isolation being spun into hope, and gratefulness; and in small and big ways, all around me. I wondered, could such a context be captured in ‘Tritina Poetry’? Tritina poetry is choosing three words (1,2,3), to be used in rotation, at the end of three sentences, using ......
Dear Little One - theHumm February 2021
By Jaaron Hamilton
Jaaron Hamilton sent in this letter to her young son (as well as the photo) as her contribution to theHumm’s Winterwords invitation to write:
By the time that you’ll be reading this, all of this will be a distant memory. Maybe you’ll be reading about it in your history textbook, or watching a documentary about it on Netflix. In any case, there is one thing that is absolutely certain: this was not the year that we imagined. I don’t know what we expected, but this definitely wasn’t it.......
By Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe sent in this gently insightful contribution to theHumm’s Winterwords invitation to write. Artist Catherine Orfald allowed us to use her painting Ontario Farm Remains to accompany it.
This past summer, while tying up our tomatoes in the garden for what felt like the 100th time, my wife noticed our son Theo, in flight, speeding past the garden with a rusted-old-broken-thingamajig in hand toward the woodshed. She, boldly, remarked as to whether he had gotten around to co......
We and Covid - theHumm February 2021
By Frank Hirst
Frank Hirst is the author of A View from the Forest — a non-fiction collection of stories about his life. Born in England in 1939, Frank came to the Ottawa Valley in 1948. He taught for two years each in Ottawa, Northern Ontario and Dawson City, spent four years at Queen’s and retired from high school teaching in 1990, returning to his farm. Frank lived off the land for the most part in the Ottawa Valley, in a log cabin he built in the bush with his wife and kids. Frank’s adventures, captur......
By Jill McCubbin
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Or as my son said: “We are blessed to live in these times and we are cursed to live in these times.”
And so, in these times, libraries have ......
What is a Certified Feline Master Groomer and how can one help you and your cat? For Cassandra Prince, co-owner of The Cat’s Meow, the answer is multifold. Regular cat grooming can help owners wh......
Feb 17 - Mar 26 Exhibition: Mary Pfaff's paintings
Mar 10 - Apr 16 Exhibition: Jim Hake's Sculptures
- Kaija Savinainen —A Brush with a Gifted Environmental Activist
- Interested in Writing? Check Out Winterwords Online Events!
- Artistic Excellence in our Area
- Build a Birdhouse!
- Happy Hiking: an Interview with Vickie Walsh
- The Last Generation: to Act on Climate Change
- Hedgerow (where the domestic and the wild mix and mingle)
- Finding Joy in Lockdown
- Back to Better in the Valley
- Dear Little One