A Slice of Winter and A Wish For Spring

The Green Barn

I have tried to avoid the subject of winter because we’ve had so much of it this year. Still, here it is. Let’s look it in the eye.

Mountains of snow. Treacherous ice in amounts not seen in decades. Temps below zero for such an extended period of time my beautiful rhododendron, sadly, has finally given up the ghost.

(I hope the greenhouses are well stocked for a spring rush.)


Normal temperatures for this time of year range in the 1C area. Today we’re deep in another polar vortex that’s going to take us through until Saturday. We’re talking -15C with a wind chill of -25C. Triple-blanketing weather for my horse who’s already shedding his winter coat.

Which way?

A dear friend in England sent me a note yesterday in which she included the cheerful news that the first snowdrops had begun to show. I can only dream of a blanket of snowdrops when I’m staring at a bank of snow.

It’s going to take a long time for this mess to disappear.

Still, the days are getting longer. My horse continues to shed his winter coat. And little by little the snow, and the three inches of ice underneath, is melting. (But not today, of course.)

Let’s end on a happy note.

Longed For Tulips

I’m looking forward to seeing these purple darlings in my garden again.

Stay warm. Stay dry. Be happy.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

The Watering Hole

Blue Jays at the Watering Hole

With the prospect of 20mm of rain in the forecast for today and our lawn, like everyone else’s around here, still covered in three feet of snow, you can imagine there’s a concern about flooding.

Yesterday I was standing in snowdrifts shovelling the white menace away from the foundation at the front of the house forgetting, of course, that under three feet of snow there’s three inches of ice from our own ice storm that floated through here just before Christmas. This is of particular concern at the bottom of the driveway where our downspout from the house, built into the landscaping when we had it done a couple of years ago, empties into the street. Chipping away at the ice floe around that was heaps of fun yesterday.


And now as I gaze through the windows in my writing den out to said street I watch as a fiery pink sunrise bursts onto the horizon. “Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.” Hmmm … looks like we’re in for a doozy.

Well, since one of the main topics of conversation around the world of late has been the crazy weather, why should we be any different. Ten centimetres of snow two days ago; 20mm of rain and a possible thunderstorm tonight. And then back into sub-zero temps for the weekend and into next week. Why not?

So, I remind myself of warmer temps to come with this image culled from last summer’s archives.

Two young bluejays pay a visit to our bubble rock ~ the local avian watering hole ~ for a refreshing drink.

The bubble rock is presently buried under the snow. In a couple of months it’ll once again be the gathering place for thirsty birds and a quiet spot of meditation for me.

I can hardly wait.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy 🙂

Art in the Garden

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

Glass Objet d'art


This clever piece of glass garden sculpture, created by a Toronto artist, rests in the peaceful garden of my brother- and sister-in-law’s straw bale house-on-the-hill in Northumberland County, Ontario.

It’s actually composed of many separate pieces ~ can you identify them?

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Shout Outs

Tim Wolverson ~ Photo Blog

L’s Thoughts

Six Degrees Photography

Something Blue …

Something Blue

The weather brains say that temperatures tonight in southern Ontario will plummet to -40C.

This makes me feel a bit blue.

[Sigh …]

Still, let’s turn that blue into something beautiful.

Here’s some lovely hydrangea ~ one of my favourite summer flowers ~ to help ease the pain.

Just eight weeks, or so, until spring. 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

The Ice Storm

The ice storm has come and gone leaving in its wake a trail of destruction, particularly to the tree canopy, that covers a large swath of Southern Ontario.

There have been power outages in many areas. We were 36 hours without power in our small town 45 minutes north of Toronto. For a while there I thought for sure we’d be spending Christmas cold and in the dark. Thankfully, at 8:15 last evening, the lights flickered on. The temperature on the ground floor of our home at the time was 63F, kept to this more or less reasonable level by the gas fireplace in our family room.

Still, this is nothing compared to what some people are experiencing in the big city. Many areas will be without power until the weekend, and whole neighbourhoods of old trees have been lost.

Power loss is localized because of fallen tree branches taking out hydro wires. This is why it will take so long for some people to get back their power. The hydro workers are struggling to re-establish power lines, neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

My mother lives in one of the hardest hit areas at the north end of Toronto. She is determined to wait it out in her home even though she has no heat except for a small gas fireplace in her basement. This is where she has hunkered down. I have told her she is to come here if it gets too uncomfortable.

In the meantime, Mother Nature has punctuated her little hissy fit with Old Man Winter by sending in a blast of Arctic air. This has submerged the area in temps of -14C which means, of course, that the ice that weighs down our beautiful trees and other foliage is not going to melt any time soon. This puts even more stress on their already overly burdened branches. All we can do now is pray we don’t get any heavy winds, as that will bring another swath of problems, including more downed power lines.

Needless to say this little weather event has bitten into the holiday plans of an enormous number of people. We have postponed Christmas dinner until next Sunday when, with any luck, the worst of the stress of this experience will have passed and we and our dinner guests can properly enjoy a festive feast.

For many this won’t be possible. This storm has proven a cruel blow to those who were having family and friends come celebrate for the holidays.

We are counting our blessings in our home. Grateful that we have our power back and that so far our trees and shrubs have survived the icy onslaught. We’re also hopeful that they can hang in until the temperatures warm up and a melt can begin.

We are also grateful to the many hydro workers out there, local and from out of province, braving the frigid temperatures to repair the power system. I know it’s their job, but this wasn’t in their holiday plans either. 😉

Herewith a few images from around our garden.

Be well and take care of each other.

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

The Visitor …

Yesterday’s post was heavy.

Reading bleak newspaper headlines after a two-day bout of food poisoning will do that to you. 😉

So, here’s something a little more cheerful.

Just as I was starting to write this post we had a visitor to our bubble rock.

This lovely little gold finch stopped for a bath time frolic.

The Visitor

He may well return given that today, once again, we’re in for another wave of unseasonably hot temperatures.

(I bet my horse wishes he had a sprinkler he could stand under.)


Of course, it is September 11, a notorious day in recent history.

Even though it’s 12 years since that dreadful convergence of events, I know the memory lives in all of us who witnessed and were effected by it.

Love conquers all.

May we choose to live in love to honour the memories of those who lost their lives that terrible day.


This blog will be on hiatus for three weeks. I’m refuelling the creative engine. 😉

Be well and thanks for visiting.

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

The Watering Hole …

Blue Jays at the Bubble Rock

We had visitors to the bubble rock a couple of weeks ago.

Actually, our little watering hole attracts a lot of transients, especially on those really hot summer days when any supply of fresh running water ~ for drinking and bathing ~ is a welcome relief.

On this occasion a flock of young Blue Jays  ~ about five or six of them ~ stopped by for refreshment.

I’ve never seen so many in one sighting ~ it was quite spectacular. They lingered for several minutes, which gave me just enough time to capture, in digital through my kitchen window, a couple of them indulging in some Adam’s Ale.

I haven’t seen them since.

And I’m not likely to for a little while either. The water pump broke the other day and we’re still trying to get a hold of the people who installed it so they can fix it.

Needless to say, though I do my best to take it in stride, I am perturbed.

As much as the bubble rock is a nice rest stop for the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, felines and the occasional naughty puppy dog, it’s also my corner of solitude where I go to read in the late afternoon and catch my breath at the end of the day. I’m actually quite astonished at how unsettled I feel without the sight and sound of soft burbling waters running down the face of this non-descript boulder.  It’s my summer panacea; my place to chill; my rock.

Not to mention I miss the visits of my feathered friends.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWork 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia … Flowers in Her Garden

This week’s photo challenge asks us to wax nostalgic.

Frankly, I have no desire to return to my past. While there are memories of times and places and people that moulded me into the person I am today, that was then; this is now; life goes on.

A funny sentiment coming from someone who loves to read history.

Still, the best time of my life is happening now and this is where I choose to dwell.

Having said that, there is one place about which I feel particularly nostalgic.

Granny’s garden.

A restless spirit, Granny was a bit of a nomad but spent most of her later years in a small town north of Edmonton, Alberta. She lived alone, but for the companionship of a small dog of one kind or another, and a steady clientele of farmer’s wives and school teachers who passed through her beauty parlour every week.

She was a survivor and, to the extent she was able after 27 years of marriage to her misogynist husband, my grandfather, she became a thriver.

Her place of solitude was her beautiful garden. Fortunately, having been raised on a farm, she’d been blessed with a green thumb, so through the short growing season she had what I remember to be a most luscious and productive flower garden and vegetable patch.

Hollyhocks, daisies, petunias, sunflowers, sweet peas, dahlias, marigolds gilded the air with a melange of fragrances. Her dreary town lot became a kaleidoscope of living colour in the summer months which, sadly, I never really appreciated until it was nothing more than a memory. Granny and I had a difficult relationship, the reason for which I won’t get into right now.

Her vegetable patch grew an abundance of beets, cucumbers, onions, peas, potatoes, carrots, lettuce and tomatoes, et al. During pickling season she could be seen hours on end standing over the hot stove canning her precious produce for a winter’s pickled feast. I can still recall shelves and shelves of Pickled Beets and Bread and Butter Pickles lining the walls of her anteroom.

And oh, how I loved her Green Tomato Relish.

I regret that I never had the chance to learn from granny about gardening or pickling. Again, too many things got in the way. Her recipe for Green Tomato Relish surfaced several years ago when I was going through one of her old cook books and, with the help of a friend, I attempted to make my own batch. It was lovely, but somehow it just didn’t taste the same.

These images are of flowers I recall seeing in granny’s garden. Sadly I have no photos from way back when. Still, when wandering through any floral paradise, I always think of my granny and the flowers in her garden.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Shout Outs

Meg Travels

The Urge To Wander

Delightfully Different Life

Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Peony in Monochrome …


We were in Niagara-on-the-Lake recently and while walking along one of its beautiful tree-lined avenues came upon a garden sporting the largest pink peonies we’d ever seen.

Naturally I pulled out my camera and began clicking away.

At home I edited a few to black and white and really fell for this one. Look closely and you may even see in the shadows of the flower what looks like an eye staring back at you.

Nature is marvellous.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above … Fallen Flowers … Lismore, Ireland

Fallen in pink

This week’s photo challenge asks us to look from above.

I like to look up, but I also look down sometimes too. You never know what wonders you’ll find at your feet.

We were walking through the gardens of Lismore Castle in Ireland in spring and I noticed this bed of pink blossoms. I don’t know what they are. I love flowers but am not an expert.

I simply adored the colour and glory they exuded in their withering state.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013