After Hallowe’en

Friday, November 1st, 2019

This year’s house for the Candy Faerieβ€”




is hidden somewhere around hereβ€”






Hiking Friday @ the Waterville Trails

Friday, October 11th, 2019


This is my Iris. I love her with all my heart.




Iris loves me, too. She also loves trees.




Iris also loves her brother, tho you wouldn’t always know it.




Iris is cautious. Akiva is daring.

Iris has endurance. Akiva is impulsive.

Iris is devoted. And so is Akiva.




Being together enables them to do things that they might never do separately.




Iris writes Akiva’s name in pine needles.




Then she writes her ownβ€”





















We stay in the woods until the sun starts yawning and fluffing its pillow, ready to go to bed.




When we get back homeβ€” which is not too far awayβ€” Martin & his father are working on the siding.




This is the end of Martin’s 2nd week off work, so they can use all the help they can get.




Akiva works as hard as he usually works.




“Hi, Papa!”




…did I ever tell you the story of how we finally settled on this color of yellow?


Johnville Bog & Forest Park (Hiking Friday moved to Saturday)

Saturday, September 28th, 2019

Lately, every time we go to Johnville Bog, it rains. This time, we try to be prepared.

Upon arrival, the children check the weather. We might be prepared.




Some might think a bog an odd location for viewing autumn foliage, but that is likely because they are looking up.

I love the bog in all seasons. In autumn, I hear my friend Sunshine’s voice in my head:

“In Fairbanks, autumn happens on the ground.”

The Johnville Bog & Forest Park is a little slice of boreal forest in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.




I take some overcast portraits of my always adorable childrenβ€”




& #2




Then I head on, head down. Akiva is also head down.

Unlike his sister, he does not always enjoy walking.




But I take this opportunity of slowness to keep my eye between the cracks.




The light is low. My focus is off. I can’t get close enough. I wish I brought a tripod.

But I never bring a tripod: it is difficult to carry both a tripod and a 50 lb. child.




Cottongrass hovers in the spruce grove.




Pitcher plants nestle among mosses.




Mosses snuggle between the cracks of the decaying boardwalk.




In a boreal forest, autumn happens on the ground.








At the Wounded Trees (Hiking Fridays, Val-Estrie games)

Friday, September 13th, 2019

With their chests un-girdled,

with the ropes cut at last,

the trees breathe deep.

Their wounds are laid bare to the light.


After school, we walk around the former Val-Estrie propertyβ€”

still known as Val-Estrie due to the failure to acquire any other name.




On the way back from our walk, we stop among the tall cedars that grow just at the beginning of the games trail.




As Iris looks closely at things growing on the ground,




Akiva pulls loose stuck ropes that have been cut from the trees.




Slowly, people have been taking off the ropes that girdle various trees.




I have removed some. Others have removed others.




To soothe the trees’ wounds, my children give them hugs and kisses.




Trees are our companions.




I try for a posed photo amongst the cedars. My models have issues with the sunlight.




“Ow ow ow ow!”




“Perhaps is you face in opposite directions?” I suggest.




I take over 100 photos. All of them have cute children in them, which is a boon to any mediocre landscape photo.




Trees in the sunlight, sunlight in the trees.




I fill a bag full of ropes to take to the trash. There are many left.




 Slowly, slowly. Perhaps one day the ropes will be gone.


Photo Spot, Val Estrie Trails

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Iris once sat here & told me to take a photo of her, just her alone.

I think of it every time I pass this spot in the woods.


Camping du Pont Couvert

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Camping du Pont Couvert is only 15 minutes from home.

Martin passes by each night for dinner on his way home from work.


  *   *   * 


Tabea, looking like the little girl she is.

Inside this little girl is a magnificent brain, re-inventing the future as she sucks her thumb.




Akiva, looking like the little boy he is.

Inside this little boy is endless charm and fledgling mastery. Women swoon. Strong men tremble.


The Piano Obsession.

Monday, July 8th, 2019

There was an old woman tossed up in a basket

Seventeen times as high as the moon

And where she was going, I couldn’t help ask it

For under her arm, she carried a broom.

“Old woman, old woman, old woman,” quoth I,

“Where are you going, up so high?”

“To sweep the cobwebs off the skyβ€”

And I’ll be with you, by and by.”

β€”M. Goose


We saw her yesterday in Compton. A womanβ€” destined to be an old woman if all goes wellβ€” with a broom under her arm. Or over her head. Well, anyhow, she was making brooms. She remembered Iris from last year. She remembered the tiny veggie scrubber they had worked on together. She remembered how much of it they had made and she said to Iris, “This year, you are old enough to make your own broom.” She sat Iris in front of her on her broom-maker’s bench and made a broom with her. She was absolutely delightful and I didn’t say thank you nearly enough.


When we walked down to the school today, we took the broom so that I could carve Iris’s name & yesterday’s date on it, as Madame KeeVanne (a.k.a. Julie Jo) had said to do.




I took my camera with me, as you can tell. That’s becoming a rare event these days. I used to take it everywhere! I’m not sure what happened. Perhaps I got disgruntled with the quality of the lighting at the apartment. Perhaps I got distracted my a myriad of things to do. But I did take my camera. I like to document my children, to prove their youth and beauty.






On the way back, we stopped at the woods piano. These days, one has to hunt for piano keys on the ground if one wishes to play the piano with piano keys.




Akiva is my main piano player. He appreciates all pianos.




This was once an integral part of a once-beautiful upright grand piano.




Iris & Akiva play a duet.




Akiva bangs out a solo. 




Keys. There once were keys.



Brief photographic timeline of the woods piano:

Broken Down Piano: September 11, 2017

How Fares the Piano? April 9, 2018

Val-Estrie Piano (again): May 30, 2018

Decline of the Woods Piano (Winter): January 1, 2019


Walk to the Island

Friday, July 5th, 2019

We walk through the woods to the island for the first time in a very long time. 






I have not been sleeping well lately, & I have no energy to go in the water.

Pink Lady’s Slipper (L’Ile Du Marais)

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

I am missing the spring with all this work I am doing on the house, so we took an emergency trip to L’Ile Du Marais. It’s been a while! The woods were positively overflowing with wildflowers. Being mainly a photographer of two very specific individuals (I really should branch out), I didn’t take many photos of the delicate blooms. It was an absolutely delightful trip! We should go more often.



How does this superior-type expression of self arise in isolated individuals? Akiva has never seen someone take this posture.



Portrait on the very very very abandoned car.




Another five-leaf trillium!




Iris inspects the labia of a lady’s slipper.


Where the Foot Bridge Used to Be (Akiva Turns 4)

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

There is a woodland path that begins across Rue Gosselin from the school. I have photographed here often. When there was a camp at Val Estrie, there was an obstacle course of sorts for the children to take part in. In the years since the camp’s closure, the games have fallen into disrepair. Some have ropes that are strangling trees. Some interesting components have been moved to new homes someplace by adventuresome hands. The tires are rotting. This spring, the tiny bridge washed out.



The bridge was integral in getting from one side of the river to the otherβ€” as bridges often are. Now one can cross by getting wet, which is fine if the weather is warm and one is prepared to get wet. In winter, the river freezes over eventually, and then it’s simple enough to get to the other side. But during the winter thaws, the long autumns and the chilly springs, the little river is impassible to all but the most intrepid of little children and the most long-legged of adults. Because there is no longer a camp and the new owner has no interest in entertaining trespassers, there is little hope that a new bridge will be put in place.



You can see the tiny bridge in the last photo of this postβ€” β€”and in the first photo of this postβ€”