Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – And Here Comes The Holiday Season

Ho! Ho! Ho! Here comes the holiday season. Amid all the fun and jollity of the holiday season, over the years, we have experienced some epic highs and lows; the birth of one of our grandsons, the arrival of my Mum & Dad from England and the wedding of our eldest daughter last year were some of our happier moments, countered by the time said daughter had her car broken into while visiting and all the Christmas presents in the trunk stolen, same daughter having four wisdom teeth removed the day before she was due to host dinner resulting in the quick transfer of an enormous turkey to our house and finding the oven too small to cope with it, an exploding apple pie that sent shards of glass all over the kitchen (a story for another day) and countless times when the toilet malfunctioned while the house was filled with guests liberally supplied with soda and alcoholic beverages. Which leads me to this year’s debacle.

As I mentioned to a fellow blogger the other day, the only interaction we’ve had with anyone outside the family for most of this year, other than the grocery store cashier, has been with the guys who came to replace our wall oven and cook top, the chaps who put in a new furnace last month and the plumbers who showed up to mend a leaking water pipe in the basement three days ago. While we had them on the spot, we asked them if they would rod out the main sewer line and lo and behold they discovered 20ft of broken pipe.

We had already resigned ourselves to the fact that, because of COVID, we would be spending this Christmas on our own, something unheard of in the history of our family, but the idea that a large section of the garden, that I had worked hard to maintain throughout the year was about to be destroyed was the last straw.

I have to commend the plumbing company for their promptness. They were out here first thing yesterday morning, tearing everything out with a backhoe while I was still in my pajamas. I had hoped to nip out there and see if there was anything I could rescue before they started, but no chance. A beautiful mock orange shrub, whose roots were probably the cause of the trouble, was wrenched out of the ground along with hydrangeas, peonies, irises, daylilies, poppies and dozens of other perennials including next spring’s daffodils and tulips. I told myself I wouldn’t even look out of the window while all this was going on, but I did, and deeply regretted it.

On the bright side, everything in the house is functioning properly, and we can now well and truly say that, at least for us, this year has officially been flushed down the toilet!

Wishing everyone happy and healthy Seasons Greetings and an even brighter New Year. Goodness knows, we could use both!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – You Pick It

This week, Tina says, “You Pick It” for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and my reply would be, “I pick flowers,” but only figuratively speaking. I rarely pick flowers to put in a vase. I’d much rather see them growing in the garden. So, that being the case, here is a bouquet of some of my favorite flower shots taken from way back in the photo archives.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Now and Then

This week, Amy is taking a view of Now and Then for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. These pictures are not that great but they help to illustrate my take on the theme. I have to confess, I was feeling rather blue yesterday at the thought of spending Thanksgiving Day on our own. Despite a Zoom meeting with the family in the morning, which just isn’t the same as actually being with them all, I was positively down in the dumps and, just about when we would normally be sitting down to dinner, I had a bit of a cry.

Then I looked out of the window. There, in the garden, were no less than fourteen mourning doves, all sitting comfortably outside the kitchen, waiting to be fed. It was just the number that would have been gathered around our table. What are the odds!! I’ve never seen that many doves at one time before and it lifted my spirits more than I can say.

Preparations

Despite the current pandemic, life goes on. Preparations must be made for future events such as Spring at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The last time I was there they were planting thousands of bulbs which will eventually provide a colorful display of flowers in every area of the garden but more especially in the Crescent Garden.

They were also getting ready for their annual outdoor holiday display of lights, which I see from their website is already sold out. It certainly helped to make up for the lack of flowers on this trip. From what I could make out, part of the display will include installations depicting star constellations which would explain why they had the moon dangling from the bridge to the Japanese Garden.

Meanwhile, over at Brookfield Zoo, they were draining the ponds in preparation for winter and getting ready for their ‘Holiday Magic’ light display. Outdoor displays like this are an excellent way to lift our spirits while wearing masks and maintaining safe distances between fellow visitors. I just hope the weather cooperates.

Cee’s B/W Photo Challenge – Anything That Flies

This week, Cee is looking for Anything that Flies for her Black & White Photo Challenge. Charlie and Zeus are two American Bald Eagles that were discovered injured in the wild and brought to Brookfield Zoo in 2010 and 2011 respectively. They can fly but only just, which is why they are being cared for at the zoo.