April 2023 Highlights

The last weekend of the month is when I do my monthly review. What have you been up to this past month? Here’s what’s been happening in my corner of the world and what I enjoyed in April.

Portugal

Week 1 of April was the second half of my adventures in Portugal that I started in the last week of March. I had good weather throughout my trip, with daytime high temperatures ranged from 20C to 27C (68F to 81F). My itinerary included Lisbon, Cascais, Sintra, Evora, Fatima, Tomar, Coimbra and Porto.

I used local transportation systems to get around, walked to explore every day, visited several incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites, met other travellers, savoured Portuguese cuisine and enjoyed Port wine tasting in Porto. I returned home with wonderful memories and many photos. I’ll publish my ‘Postcards from Portugal‘ starting next week.

Homecoming

Week 2 was a fantastic homecoming week. The highlights include Easter weekend with family and catching up with friends. During week 2, Toronto set new temperature highs (26C-28C) a few days in a row. Suddenly we had summer weather in mid-April. I enjoyed seven consecutive fun outings that include bike rides, walks with friends, bird and turtle watching, and seeing spring flowers in bloom.

Sakura

Week 3 highlight was the viewing of cherry blossoms or Hanami Sakura. The warm temperatures in week 2 encouraged cherry trees to bloom early this year. The cherry blossoms are spectacular but peak bloom lasts only about a week. Such fleeting beauty. I feel grateful to see these delicate flowers every spring.

April 16: Individual blossoms are clearly seen
April 20-27: Gorgeous cherry blossoms at peak bloom

Lumière

Week 4 highlight was an evening walk to see public art at the Lumière: The Art of Light festival. This free outdoor light exhibition allows visitors to explore Trillium Park and experience sixteen light art installations developed by Ontario artists. The theme Renewal of the exhibition celebrates the change of seasons from winter to spring.

To see some of the light exhibits, use the arrows to move through the following 8 slides. For more information about the artwork and artists, click here.

On the Blog

The weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup and Photographing Public Art Challenge have been going well in April. Thank you to all who have shared updates, comments and/ or photos from around the world. Here’s the links for April’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

For more blogging fun, I’m linking up with Sue’s #WBOYC and Ju-Lyn’s #TheChangingSeasons.

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #116 InLinkz below.

Happy May!

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What’s Been Happening | March 2023

I’ve been away for about two weeks and have some catching up to do. Reflecting on the month just passed, here’s what’s been happening and what I enjoyed in March.

1. Sisters Time

My sisters and I had a fabulous reunion in the first week of March in Charleston, South Carolina in the United States. We had fun catching up, exploring and discovering Charleston together. I am grateful for the wonderful quality time we shared.

2. Friends Time

Last year I started my Tour of Indie Cafés and enjoyed discovering a dozen cafés with family and friends. I decided to do a second tour with a selection of new-to-me indie cafés this year. A friend joined me for a 8K walk then we kicked off the 2023 tour at Neo Coffee Bar known for their coffee drinks, tea and pastries.

3. Winter Stations

I cycled to Woodbine Beach for a beach and art walk on a gorgeous sunny day. I enjoyed viewing the Winter Stations public art exhibition with the theme Radiance. To see the winners of the 2023 Winter Stations competition, use the arrows to move through the following 7 slides.

2023 winners include Delighthouse, the (Home), Winter-net, 3 Surfaces Pavilion, Ripple Hut, Life Line and Conrad. For more information on each design, click on the design name in italic. I have no photo of the eighth winner, WE[AR], as it is an interactive virtual installation. Which Winter Station design do you like?

4. Spring Arrival

In my corner of the world, Spring officially arrived on March 20 with sunny skies and daytime high 6C (43F). I was delighted to spot some pretty crocus flowers, dwarf irises, snowdrops and winter aconites on the first day of Spring. Birds are active and their vocals fill the air. I’ve been enjoying longer bike rides and long walks. Time in nature is always a happy time for me.

5. Exploring Portugal

I recently returned from Portugal. I had a wonderful time revisiting this beautiful country. On my previous trip, I explored Lisbon, Sintra and the Algarve. On this trip, I revisited Lisbon and Sintra, then continued north with a few stops until reaching Porto. Watch this space for my travel ‘postcards’.

Views of Lisbon from St. George Castle

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020, a few of my planned trips were cancelled. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel abroad again. I look forward to enjoying more travel adventures this year.

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #113 InLinkz below.

Happy April!

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Toronto Music Garden in Spring

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 25 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #75. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

This week I welcomed summer arrival in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21. As if on cue, Toronto had a heat event on June 21 and 22 with maximum temperatures reached 33C (91F), and felt like 39C (102F) with humidity. It was sunny and warm the rest of the week.

To pay tribute to a beautiful spring that I had, I’m taking you on an easy stroll in the Toronto Music Garden in spring. Aside from the gorgeous tall trees, let’s see colourful flowers, listen to birdsong, and smell the gentle floral scent.

The Toronto Music Garden springs from the imagination of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, the garden is made up of six “movements” whose forms and feelings correspond to that suggested in the music: Prélude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version and image name.

1. Prélude

This section imparts the feeling of a flowing river. Granite boulders that came from the Canadian Shield represent a stream bed. Low-growing plants soften its banks. Circular designs on the ground and at the edge of the boulders represent the water movements. The trees with straight trunks are native Hackberry trees. This is the only section in the garden that is not a dance form.

2. Allemande

This section imparts the feeling of a forest grove of wandering trails. The allemande is an ancient German dance. The trails swirl inward and move higher and higher up the hillside. A circle of dawn redwood trees and a small birch forest provide shades to the various contemplative sitting areas that look over the harbour.

3. Courante

This section imparts the feeling of a swirling path through a wildflower meadow. The courante is an exuberant Italian and French dance form. The trails swirl upward in a spiral form, through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. At the top of the swirling path is the maypole, with Celtic-patterned spirals and iron wheel, designed by Anne Roberts.

4. Sarabande

This section is envisioned as a poet’s corner with a centerpiece. The sarabande is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. The trails go in an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Japanese maple trees are also grown here. The centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

5. Menuett

This section imparts the feeling of a formal parterre garden of flowers. The menuett is a French dance movement. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of a circular pavilion. The pavilion is hand-crafted with ornamental steel by Tom Tollefson. It is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

6. Gigue

Gigue section imparts the feeling of a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The gigue, or “jog”, is an English dance. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree.

In spring, the Toronto Music Garden is a wonderful place to stroll, check out what’s blooming, watch birds, listen to birdsong, and reconnect with nature. Benches are available throughout the garden to sit and enjoy the scenery.

How has your week been?

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Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring 2022

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #62! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

Week 12/ 52

Spring arrived on Sunday March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere. I was ready to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring. On Monday, the daytime high temperature was about 14C (58F) and sunny.

A sunny spring day was the perfect opportunity to visit the 7th annual Winter Stations outdoor art installations at Woodbine Beach before the exhibits end on March 31st.

Lifeguard chair at Woodbine Beach.
Lifeguard chair at Woodbine Beach

Goodbye Winter 2022

Winter Stations began in 2015 as a way to highlight the beauty of Toronto’s east end beaches and make them a destination point for outdoor art installations during the winter. The artworks are set up at the lifeguard stations along Woodbine Beach, and each year an international competition receives entries connected to that year’s Winter Stations’ theme.

The theme for this year was Resilience. I’m sharing my pictures of the five winning designs for 2022. For each design, I included lake view and city view.

Click on the arrows or swipe to see the slides.

If you’d like to read the Station description, click on its name on the following list:

  1. S’winter Station – Design Team: Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science, Canada.
  2. The Hive – Design Team: Kathleen Dogantzis and Will Cuthbert, Canada.
  3. Introspection – Design Team: University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Canada.
  4. Enter-Face – Design Team: MELT – Cemre Onerturk and Ege Cakir, Turkey.
  5. One Canada – Design Team: University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Canada.

It was a beautiful day at Woodbine Beach where I said goodbye to winter. I love that even though Toronto is an urban centre, it has several Blue Flag beaches like Woodbine Beach. To see interesting public art on the beach is the icing on the cake.

Hello Spring 2022

Speaking of Resilience, on Tuesday, another sunny day, I spotted several early spring flowers in the public gardens. They have survived the cold winter months and bloomed amid the dead leaves. Seeing them made me so happy.

Hello snowdrops, hellebores, and a variety of crocus flowers! Welcome back. Even though winter still seems to linger, spring will take over. I look forward to seeing more lovely flowers in the coming days.

Click on the arrows or swipe to see the slides.

Your Turn:

  1. Which Winter Station is your favourite?
  2. What signs of Spring (or Fall in the Southern Hemisphere) have you seen?
  3. How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #FOTD, #PPAC41, #SpringFestival2022, #SundayStills, #ThursdayDoors.

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Spadina Quay Wetlands and Fun List

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #20! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

This past week the weather was glorious, lots of sunshine and blue skies with daytime high reached 27C (81F), felt like 30C (86F) yesterday. Since I’ve been cycling, walking, exploring and having fun with photography most days, I have a backlog of things to write up.

Today’s post is about my walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands and my Spring fun list update.

Spadina Quay Wetlands

Spadina Quay Wetlands is a gem located in Toronto’s waterfront area. It’s a thriving ecosystem full of plants, birds, butterflies, ducks, and fish. It’s complete with flowering heath plants, poplar trees, flagstone paths and a creek. Aside from nature, there is also art.

1. Birdhouse Sculpture

Artist Anne Roberts designed the Birdhouse sculpture on stilts that was installed in the wetland garden. This sculpture recalls the human activities of the Toronto lakeshore at the turn of the 20th century, with warehouses of the Toronto Electric Company, the corner bank, the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion and clusters of ice cream parlours and boathouses attracting Toronto residents to the lure of the water.

Birdhouse sculpture by Anne Roberts.
Birdhouse sculpture by Anne Roberts.

When the water level in Toronto Harbour is high, water fills up the small creek where the Birdhouse sculpture is located and it’s not accessible to foot traffic. This spring, since the creek has been dry, I was able to visit the sculpture up close.

A bird flying above the towers on the left.
Can you spot the bird flying above the towers on the left?

2. Bright Birdhouses

While walking around the wetland garden, I found these bright birdhouses. They made me smile.

Which birdhouse would you choose?

3. Gosling sightings

Remember I mentioned Lucy the nesting goose and my previous check-in? Her nest was close to the Spadina Quay Wetlands. She delivered five cute goslings.

It was a delightful walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands. As an urban dweller, I appreciate this green space and enjoy seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.

Spring Fun List – May Update

Back in March, I wrote a Spring Fun List of things to do while in COVID-19 lockdown. Most of my activities are outdoors or online and follow public health protocols so I’ve been checking off a few items in April.

I’ve recently completed two more items (#3 and #7). Here’s my update and contribution to Leslie’s Spring link-up.

  1. Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre: Yes, most days.
  1. Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art: Yes, most days.
  1. View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival: Yes, I saw gorgeous cherry blossoms and tulips in Toronto. I viewed the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa virtually due to the province-wide lockdown.
  1. Meet my family and friends outside: Pending. Starting May 22, outdoor gatherings for up to 5 people are allowed.
  1. Play 9-hole disc golf in a public park: Yes, here’s my intro to how to play disc golf.
  1. Paddle around Toronto Islands: Pending.
  1. Plant a small herb garden: Yes, it was warm enough to plant. A small bed, soil, assorted herbs, sunlight, water, and voilà, a herb garden that is manageable and useful for the next several months.
  1. Read 1 book per week and add to my Books in 2021: Yes, average 1.8 books per week.
  1. Take photos and share my explorations on my blog: Yes, every post so far.
  1. Try a new restaurant take-out: Yes, from Salad King.

So eight done, two to go. I hope to complete the remaining two items in June.

Linked with #LifeThisWeek.

How did your week go? What do you do for fun this weekend? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Pink Flowers, Pets and Fun List

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #16! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

A quick glance at my phone shows that in April I’ve seen gorgeous daffodils, dandelions, magnolias, forsythias, pansies, ranunculus, tulips, and many more pretty flowers. I’ve also taken photos of birds, the lake shore, historic buildings and public art displays. It’s been a colourful month.

On Wednesday winter’s last hurrah brought spring snow. By Friday, it’s 15C (59F) with sunshine. My coffee share today: Pink flowers, Outdoor pets, and Spring fun list update.

1. Pink Flowers

I chose the following images to contribute to Jude’s Pink colour challenge, Becky’s Bright Square and Cee’s Flower of the Day photo challenges.

Pink ranunculus.
Pink ranunculus (or Persian buttercup).
Pink tulips.
Pink tulips.

Here are four more from my photo archives in alphabetical order.

2. Outdoor Pets

Terri’s prompt for her Sunday Stills photo challenge this weekend is Pets or Kids and improvisations are accepted. So I’m improvising and introducing my outdoor “pets” that are nesting and expecting “kids”.

The first pair is Gucy and Lucy, two Canada geese. Lucy is nesting under a small tree by the waterfront. Her nest is made of mulch-like materials. Their babies (goslings) are expected after 25-28 days of incubation.

Canada geese
Canada geese
Geese nesting sign.

The second pair is Cob and Pen, two Mute swans. Pen is nesting on a small island. Her nest is a soft bed of round balls of grey fibres. Their babies (cygnets) are expected after 34-41 days of incubation.

Mute swans
Mute swans
Swan nest.

I visit my outdoor “pets” often and hope to see their “kids” soon.

3. Spring Fun List Update

Back in March, I wrote a Spring Fun List of things to do while in COVID-19 lockdown. Most of my activities are outdoors or online and follow public health protocols so I’ve been checking off a few items. I’m contributing this update to Leslie’s Spring link-up.

  1. Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre: Yes, I’ve been cycling on different routes and they bring me many bits of joy.
  1. Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art: Yes, I take walks most days. Examples: My walk in Yorkville and the above walks to see spring flowers and bird nests.
  1. View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival: In progress. I’ve been watching Toronto’s cherry blossoms virtually with #BloomAtHome, a 24-hour 4K BloomCam livestream during the peak bloom period. The Canadian Tulip Festival is coming up May 14-24.
  1. Meet my family and friends outside: Pending. Currently, we are not allowed to gather indoors or outdoors with anyone we do not live with, until at least May 20.
  1. Play 9-hole disc golf in a public park: Yes, here’s my intro to how to play disc golf.
  1. Paddle around Toronto Islands: Pending.
  1. Plant a small herb garden: Pending.
  1. Read 1 book per week and add to my Books in 2021: Yes, average 2 books per week.
  1. Take photos and share my explorations on my blog: Yes, every post so far.
  1. Try a new restaurant take-out: Yes, the Pad Thai and curry dishes from Salad King were good.
Azalea flowers.
Azalea flowers with a hint of pink last spring.

I look forward to more cycling, walking, watching spring flower blooms and welcoming warmer weather in May. I hope the lockdown will be lifted after May 20 so I can meet up with my family and friends.

How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking to: #BrightSquare, #Colour2021, #FOTD, #LifeThisWeek, #SpringList, #SundayStills.

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How I Enjoy Spring

Green chairs by the lake.

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #11! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station. Let’s sit in the big green chairs and chat while enjoying the views by the lake.

A Good Week

It’s been a good week, cool, with a mix of sun and clouds, and great for going outside. Five fun activities that make me smile this week:

  1. I cycled on a recently added bike path on University Avenue which is one of the main arteries in downtown Toronto. My trip was fast and fabulous.
  2. I visited the Bloor-Yorkville IceFest21 event. This year’s theme is A Trip Around The World. Click here to see some of the amazing ice sculptures.
  3. On one of my walks, I discovered several beautiful outdoor art displays and murals. Art where I don’t expect it is delightful.
  4. I read a good suspense novel, The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor, a new-to-me author. I enjoyed her debut novel so much that I read her second and also good book, The Hiding Place.
  5. I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share #11 and participating in the following link-ups: Leslie’s Spring Fun List, #SundayStills, #Colour2021, Cee’s FOTD, and #LifeThisWeek.
Tulips in Spring.
Soft Spring green.

Spring Fun List

As I type this, Toronto is still in lockdown. My Spring fun list includes what I can do while following public health measures:

  1. Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre.
  2. Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art.
  3. View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival.
  4. Meet my family and friends outside.
  5. Play 9-hole disc golf in a public park.
  6. Paddle around Toronto Islands.
  7. Plant a small herb garden.
  8. Read 1 book per week and add to my Books in 2021.
  9. Take photos and share my explorations on my blog.
  10. Try a new restaurant take-out.

The Sakura (cherry blossom) trees in Toronto’s High Park are a gift from the citizens of Tokyo. The first Japanese Somei-Yoshino cherry tree was planted here in 1959.

The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the historic Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians immediately following the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. Over 1 million tulips will be available for local or virtual viewing May 14-24, 2021.

Spring Green

Spring and green go hand in hand. Let me show you my Spring Green pictures from my photo archive.

The Emerald Isle: March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day which reminds me of my trip to Ireland. The Ring of Kerry, in the south west of Ireland, is a scenic drive that follows the coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way for about 180 km (111 miles). The stunning and green landscape has everything from the mountains to the shoreline.

The Ring of Kerry in Ireland.
The Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

The 16 emerald-coloured lakes at Plitvice Lakes National Park, the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. It was designated as a national park in 1949, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia in March.

Spring Showers: These Lady’s Mantle fuzzy and cup-like green leaves hold onto water droplets like little gems.

Water drops on Lady's Mantle leaves.
Lady’s Mantle.

Spring Flowers: Daffodils, tulips, and many more flowers bloom in the spring. Their green leaves provide a fresh backdrop and a good colour combination with the flower colours.

Daffodils and tulips.
Daffodils and tulips.

Spring Growth: From bare to green leafy trees. Move the arrows to see.


How did your week go? What do you look forward to this season? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Life with Flower Plants

Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope your week is going well. Come on into my blog space for a coffee or tea. We’ll catch up on what’s new since we last talked about May.

On Friday, Toronto Public Library announced that beginning on Monday, June 8, library users can start reserving times for curbside pick-up of holds at most branches where the service can be safely provided. I’m looking forward to scheduling time to pick up a few books. My default branch is still closed so the library has redirected my holds to another branch. I plan to bike or walk there with my backpack for my book haul.

The weather was great for the first week of June. Daily high temperatures were in the range of 23C to 30C (73F to 86F) with sun, clouds, and some rain. I’ve had several nice walks to local parks and by the lake. So grateful for the beautiful flowers, trees, birds, public art sculpture, and stunning lake views.

On one of my walks, I went on a photo hunt to find and take photos of ten different plants, ideally with flowers in different colours. I’m sharing the results of my photo hunt below. I hope the flowers brighten your day and bring you a smile like they did for me.

Allium

Allium 'Purple Sensation' flowers
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ with deep purple and rounded blooms atop tall stems.

Anemone

Snowdrop anemone
Snowdrop anemone clusters are fragrant and festive.

Apple blossoms

Apple blossoms
Creamy and light pink apple blossoms at their peak are gorgeous.

Azalea

Pink azaleas
Bright pink azaleas offer a colour burst and flamboyant flowers.

Lady’s Mantle plants

Lady's Mantle plants with rain drops on green leaves.
Simple beauty to my eyes: Clear rain drops on green leaves.

Pasque flowers

Purple Pasque flowers
Pasque flowers with violet petals, yellow centre and feathery foliage are attractive.

Scilla Siberica (or Siberian Squill)

Blue Siberian squill flowers
Siberian squill blue star-shaped flowers form a carpet and beautify the ground.

Spurge Fireglow (Euphorbia griffithii)

Spurge Fireglow orange-red flowers.
These plants offer clusters of pretty orange-red flowers and deserve the name “Fireglow”.

Tulips

Deep burgundy tulips
‘Queen of the Night’ tulips present dramatic deep burgundy blossoms.

Wild Tulips

Yellow wild tulips
Wild tulips provide bright yellow flowers and a sweet fragrance.

Here’s my photo hunt in numbers: 10 photos, 10 plants, 10 colours (purple, white, cream, pink, green, violet, blue, orange, burgundy, and yellow). Proof that plant life has been wonderful here this spring. The blooms beckon bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

I look forward to walking around, exploring what else is blooming, examining the plants from the root to the tip, and taking photos. When I see the beautiful flowers, they make me feel happy and positive. They expand my interests in garden designs and plants as well.

I’m linking up this post with Terri’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge, Cee’s Flower of The Day, and other link-ups as listed here.

How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.

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May Smiles

Tulips

Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope all’s well with you. Come on in my blog space for a coffee or tea. It’s the last day of May and a Sunday so I hope we can linger and catch up on what’s been happening. Let me share with you what brings me smiles in May.

Pink tulips

Spring continues to transform the scenery in my neighbourhood. Every week what I see is like one of many acts in a theatre play, where each act brings on new props. Tulips, trilliums, and dandelions have reached their blooms while lilacs and other flowers are getting to their prime.

Health

Lake view on a sunny day

I’m thankful that the lockdown started in the spring, as opposed to winter. Spring is the ideal time to visit local parks and gardens to see the beautiful trees and blooming flowers. They brighten my day and keep me in good spirits. I’m also thankful to have Lake Ontario nearby so I can go and soak in the ever-changing views and watch active bird life.

I’m committed to stay fit and have fun in May. I do a combination of meditation, strengthening exercises, walking, and yoga to keep me calm and strong. By adding Chloe Bent’s 20-minute dance cardio workout to my Friday fitness routine, I have something fun to look forward to on Fridays.

Home

White trillium flower

Grocery shopping continues to be interesting. Some products are still on short supplies or unavailable when I’m at the store. Fortunately, brand substitutions have brought satisfying results. One of the three supermarkets in my neighbourhood requires shoppers to wear masks. Bars, coffee shops, and restaurants can offer take-outs, delivery, drive-through, or curbside pickups only.

I used Jean Paré’s Muffins and More recipe book to bake my first Coconut Bread. It was easy to make and turned out very good. It would go well with coffee or tea. I’m learning to bake one new recipe per month just for fun. I’ve progressed from no baking to five successes!

Leisure

Pink tulips

Blogs: May 31 marks a full year that I’ve been using WordPress for my blog. I’m happy with WordPress and still enjoy blogging. Several ideas are floating in my mind so stay tuned for the next post 🙂

Hot Docs 2020 Festival: I enjoyed viewing some of the thought-provoking documentaries from the Hot Docs 2020 festival, one of the biggest documentary film festivals in the world, from the comfort of my home.

Languages: I learn French and Spanish lessons daily on Duolingo.

Movies: These movies are all about love and relationships. I gave them 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5. Their locations made my travel heart happy.

  • Ma Ma starring Penélope Cruz (Spain).
  • Boy starring James Rollestone & Taika Wahiti (New Zealand).
  • Girl on a Bicycle starring Louise Monot (France).
  • This Beautiful Fantastic starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson (England).
  • Take Me Home starring Sam Jaeger and Amber Jaeger (USA).
Pink trillium flowers

Music: I listened to a lot of pop music in May plus 2020 Jazz concert at Lincoln Center Gala, and classical concerts at Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall.

Readings: To shake up my reading routine and since May is Short Story month, I paused my book reading and started reading 73 Canadian short stories available free online. I also listened to actors’ readings of Harry Potter’s The Philosopher’s Stone or The Sorcerer’s Stone, chapters 1 to 7.

Shows and Theatre Plays: In May, I watched MacBeth, The Tempest, A Streetcar Named Desire (with Gillian Anderson), and the Cirque du Soleil special One Night for One Drop.

Walks

With a little planning, each of my walks outdoors is interesting. It’s getting warmer as we move into summer so I leave home earlier in the morning and add sun protection to make my walks more comfortable.

A wild bunny
A wild bunny

Two nice wildlife surprises made me smile this week. I saw a bunny, maybe the same Easter bunny that I spotted in April, and three new Trumpeter swans with tags X01, X02, X03 in the harbour. They are not the Trumpeter swans P24 and T63 that I saw before. The Trumpeter swan was near extinction about forty years ago so I was pleased to see five of them in two months.

Three Trumpeter swans X01, X02 and X03
Three Trumpeter swans X01, X02, X03

Conclusion

The end of May marks 22 weeks into 2020 and 11 of those weeks were under heavy COVID-19 impact. I anticipate that it’s a long haul even as restrictions ease up. In my own small world, May is a good month. I’m grateful that everyone in my circle of family and friends is safe and well.

Lake view with water taxi and ferry

June usually brings good weather here and Toronto Public Library starts curbside book pick-ups in early June. I look forward to being outdoors as much as possible and reading more books in the coming weeks. After all, the lake view and a good book are irresistible.

How did May go for you? What good things happened? I’d love to hear your comments.

I’m linking this post to Su’s The Changing Seasons at Zimmerbitch blog for the first time and my regular link-ups here.

Copyright © 2023 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

Life with Moments of Beauty

Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope all’s well with you. Come on in my blog space for a coffee or tea and let’s catch up on our news since last week when we chatted about staying fit and having fun.

Life This Week

Lake view with white clouds
The essentials of life: Air, light, water

If we were having coffee, I’d share that the Government of Ontario allowed more businesses to re-open starting May 19. All public schools in Ontario remain closed for the remainder of the current school year and online learning continues until the end of June.

The business re-openings have made no difference to my daily routine. We still need to maintain physical and social distancing. Canada’s public health officials now say Canadians should wear a mask whenever physical distancing is not possible.

I continue to stay home most of the time, except going out for short walks to exercise or to buy groceries. During the day I’m active and in the evening I have plenty of digital media to keep me entertained. I go for walks 5 or 6 times per week. While out in nature, I experience many moments of beauty that make me feel positive and grateful.

Moments of Beauty

If we were having coffee, I’d share the moments of beauty that came from the fresh spring flower blossoms on one of my walks. Every day new flowers appear and the trees become more lush with green leaves. The variety and individuality of the flowers are ideal for my virtual bouquet. Let’s see how many of them are familiar to you.

Trillium flowers
White trillium flowers
White trillium flower is the official provincial emblem of Ontario, Canada and is featured on the province’s official flag. The name itself derives from the fact that nearly all parts of the plant come in threes – three leaves, three flower petals, three blooming characteristics (upright, nodding, or drooping) and three-sectioned seedpods.

Pasque flowers
Pasque flowers
Pasque is the Old French word for Easter. The lavender colour of the flowers fits right into an Easter colour scheme. But happily, the Easter bunny will leave them alone because rabbits dislike leaves that are fuzzy. 

Little Beauty tulips
Mystery pretty flowers
These Little Beauty tulips (tulipa humilis) are lovely tulips that make a striking impact. I was excited to find out their name after some searching. Initially I called them Mystery pretty flowers.

Cushion spurge flowers
Cushion spurge flowers
Cushion spurge grows in an attractive dome (cushion) and the combination of neon yellow flowers on green leaves is eye-catchy when you see them in real life.

Grape hyacinths
Grape hyacinths
These grape hyacinths have clustered flowers hang from sturdy stalks, resembling bundles of grapes. They look luscious in the sunshine.

I’ll pause here since my virtual bouquet is getting big with all the flowers. There are more to see. Maybe in a future post. For now, another enjoyable walk done in my book. I come home with a smile and feel positive.

I call these flower blooms “moments of beauty” because the time period when they look their best is brief. I feel grateful to be around to witness these moments. Thank you for coming along with me. I hope my virtual bouquet brings you a smile.

If you’d like to extend the virtual walk, continue to my blogger friend Erica/ Erika’s Behind The Scenery Photo blog for stunning tulips and more.

How did your week go? What are the common spring flowers where you live? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

Copyright © 2023 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.