Lessons from the Greenhouse

Lessons from the Greenhouse

Liz would tell you – as would the kids – that I’m the hardest person in the house to buy for at Christmas.

If I am difficult to buy for (I’ll neither confirm nor deny), you’d never know it from this year’s gift. Liz nailed it and I couldn’t be happier. One of the local gardening centers had a good deal on this 3m x 3m (10′ x 10′) polytunnel.

Fellow gardeners will understand my enthusiasm and putting it together over the past couple of weeks has taught me a few things…

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(re) Construction

(re) Construction

Just a quick post for today as it’s a Bible School weekend the day will soon be in full tilt.

Today’s feature photo (see larger version below) is, exceptionally, not one I’ve taken personally, but one which was published earlier this week by the National Heritage Foundation and features Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral as seen from a construction crane erected to work on restoring the world famous monument.

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"Snow Day" in Angers

"Snow Day" in Angers

If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you’ll know that the chances of having an actual snow day are slim to none. You will also have seen me use the expression back in early December when I had an unexpected Saturday respite from travel to the Paris region.

What do I mean by a “snow day”?

Growing up in the throws of a Canadian winter, snow was just part of the drill. You dressed a little warmer and on a good day, you got a fresh bread bag to slip your feet into before placing them in the snow boot. This wasn’t a “poor” thing, it was a “keep your feet dry despite snow getting into your boot” thing… and very effective.

Getting a snow day was when it had snowed particularly vigorously overnight, snowplows hadn’t reached all of the primary & secondary streets and the school board deemed it precautionary to cancel school for the day.

In other words… you woke up fully prepared and expecting to go to school (or work) and then… surprise, surprise… your day was completely yours… total freedom.

Those days happen less as an adult, but they do happen.
Let me tell you about mine yesterday…

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Welcome to A New Year!

Welcome to A New Year!

These are some of the lights put up in out little town, over the holidays.

The structure is a small scale replica of two great smokestacks that stand a kilometer or so west of that location. Here, it’s dressed for the Christmas season but last summer, city workers had that same steel structure planted top to bottom with flowers & vegetation… quite a feat really, extending the functionality of the decor over several seasons – ingenious.

The real towers are a throwback to the city’s industrial past and a winding staircase and platform make it possible to access the stacks and get a birds’ eye view of the city. So this tribute to them in the center of a major city traffic circle has been well done and well appreciated.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas tree-shaped meringue… that’s what’s in my hand in today’s feature pic. When you have a local baker (president of the regional bakers’ association) who always comes up with original ideas to add to an occasion, you like to support them… (and treat yourself in the process).

Merry Christmas friend!

Last weekend we were in the thick of getting ready for Christmas at church so I didn’t really offer up a normal post. In larger church settings, there are lots of hands to lighten the load. Our situation here is a bit different and given the makeup of the congregation and where many of them live… most things fall to us, making weekends like last weekend a little extra busy.

That being said… let me really quickly go back two weeks, before telling you about the past week…

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Merry Almost Christmas…

Merry Almost Christmas…

We’re in the midst of final preparations for tomorrow’s Christmas service at church so I won’t go into too much detail about the past week which, primarily for the kids, has continued to be heavily impacted by strikes in the transportation sector.

They go to school 30km from where we live and depend on the train. Due to strikes, their transport time has just about doubled daily making for very long days. Needless to say they’re very glad to be on vacation.

I’ll share more in detail in the coming days, but for now, we’d appreciate your prayers for tomorrow’s service as we are expecting a number of first time guests.

To tide you over… here are a few pics from this week… Christmas is definitely in the air!

Talk to you soon….
God bless you & Merry almost Christmas!

The Good, the Great & the Ugly!

The Good, the Great & the Ugly!

Today’s title will sound familiar if you’ve ever seen or heard of the 1966 western “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” … or as it was in Italian “Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo”.

Why do I bring up the Italian title?

Because, in case it wasn’t clear what I was holding in my hand, in today’s feature pic… it’s my Italian passport; only 5.5 years in the making!

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Nightlights…

Nightlights…

Last weekend, I had to pop out to a little community about a 1/2 hour from here to pick up Dominic who had been celebrating a friend’s birthday. That drive took me to the heart of a teeny-tiny little French village, about as typical as they come, along the Vienne River…. (the same river that runs through Châtellerault). Today’s feature picture is from that village. Welcome to Bonneuil Matours!

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Backyards & Bent Nails

Backyards & Bent Nails

Good morning from our backyard to yours!

Word on the street has it that some of you there in North America had to deal with snow this week. Thankfully, we haven’t had to go there just yet. In fact, today’s feature pic is one that I took Sunday morning as we were headed out the door to church.

Whereas snow is a sure sign that ‘winter is here’ back home, here… it’s mist. The further we get into winter, the more likely we are to see a cool mist hanging in the air.

It’s lovely and gives a bit of a magical feel to the surroundings… but I digress. Let me tell you a bit about this week…

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Navigating “New”

Navigating “New”

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a post this week that mentions “Moss Season”. It’s another term I use to affectionately refer to the lead-up to winter and late Spring.

As much as the summer was drought-dry…. the last two months have seen us receive just under 2x the average amount of rain for this time of year. Besides gradually refilling the water table, the abundance of moisture – combined with cool temperatures – means that moss grows like a bad weed!

(Below you’ll see a pic of moss beginning to flourish on a tar & gravel roof at the university.)

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