Jack’s Walk

Right now it’s a balmy 4° here, so things have gotten a bit warmer. The sky remains overcast, though, and rain is expected for the next 3 days. While it was still dry, Jack and I decided to go to the forest. We were hoping to find some sign of new life, but nothing is in bud yet. Nothing. So instead of a pretty picture of flowers or leaf buds, today you get to see Jack. He was the only ray of sunshine I could find.

dog

Jack

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Jack’s Walk

Jack and I visited the park this morning and this Canada goose followed us around for a bit. I think he was looking for a handout, but visitors are not allowed to feed the birds. They have a keeper who comes every morning to feed them a proper avian diet. We kept a respectful distance anyway because these birds are big and often aggressive, especially during nesting season which should start soon.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

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Jack’s Walk

I’m still in Toronto without Jack and although I miss him, I’m secretly smiling that I don’t have to take him out for a walk. The weather around here just keeps going from bad to worse. Yesterday we had snow and today we’re having a blizzard. The forecast for next week is no better with continued temperatures below zero and more snow to come. Again, ugh!

April Blizzard

April Blizzard

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Jack’s Walk

Jack is walking with his daddy today because I am in the big city of Toronto visiting a friend. I thought I would share a quick photo of Front Street in the heart of the city. On the left is the main transportation hub, Union Station where trains of several sorts come and go all day. On the right is a Canadian Classic, The Royal York Hotel built in 1927. In the center on the left is Citigroup Place and on the right is Simcoe Place. Me, I prefer the old classical buildings.

Front Street, Toronto

Front Street, Toronto

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Jack’s Walk

I think someone forgot to give Mother Nature the memo that it’s springtime. Yesterday we had a blizzard and today it continues to snow off and on. The temperature is hovering around -5 and everywhere I go people are grumbling. Jack and I decided to go to the park this morning and even the ducks and geese seemed out of sorts. Over at the frog pond the water is still frozen and there isn’t a single thing even close to blooming. What few bulbs that had poked their heads up have come no further. I don’t blame them. If not for Jack, I wouldn’t be outside today either.

Frog Pond

Frog Pond

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Jack’s Walk

It’s snowing here today with high winds (gusts up to 90 km/hr) and I just can’t bear to take one more wintry photo this spring. Instead, I give you this beautiful old willow tree that caught my eye the day Jack and I went to the lake. It looked so sculptural silhouetted against the blue, blue sky. I’m actually very fond of the look of bare trees in the winter. You can see how unique each one is and that they all have their own personality. Normally, I don’t find them depressing at all. Today, though, I would give a lot to see a tree fully dressed. Heck, today just a few leaf buds would thrill me.

Willow tree

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Jack’s Walk

Over the weekend Charly wrote an interesting post about different types of fungal infections in trees. Today, Jack and I came upon this downed tree and if I remember his post correctly this is a sapwood infection with unaffected heartwood. The damage is quite extreme and I think the infection is parasitic rather than fungal. So much of the wood has been eaten away that I suspect some sort of critter made a banquet of this tree.

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Jack’s Walk

We went to the lake today to look at the lingering ice and there was none! This was cause for celebration and Jack chose to do his happy dance in the cold, cold water. Don’t worry, though, he’s fine. Jack’s coat is so dense that only his guard hairs get wet. His undercoat and skin stay completely dry. Labs are thoroughly built to be swimmers. They even have webbed feet.

 

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Russia – Red Square, Moscow

I remember the days of watching Soviet military parades on the evening news. The route always went through Red Square and I grew up thinking that the square was so named because of the connection between communism and the colour red. I could not have been more wrong. In Russian, the name Red Square translates to “Beautiful Square” and the place is indeed very beautiful. The entire square has a fairy tale feel about it and is entirely majestic. It is bordered on all 4 sides by iconic Russian buildings erected during the Imperial days of the country. The building that everyone is the most familiar with is St. Basil’s Cathedral, built in 1552 by Ivan The Terrible. Its candy coloured onion domes are emblematic of Russia herself.

St.Basil's Cathedral

St.Basil’s Cathedral

Directly across from St. Basil’s is the Russian State Historical Museum. It was built in the late 1800’s especially to house over 4 million state treasures ranging from fossils to fine gems and everything in between.

Russian State Museum

Russian State Museum

Beside the sate museum resides the Upper Trade Rows, better known as the GUM department complex. It is known for its glazed roofs, interior bridges, fountains and galleries. Today it houses the finest of designer stores and is very exclusive.

GUM Department store

GUM Department store

Interior, GUM department store

Interior, GUM department store

Finally, the last side of the square is occupied by the fort wall of the Kremlin.

Kremlin with Lenin's tomb

Kremlin with Lenin’s tomb

In this photo you see Lenin’s tomb in the foreground, then the central nexus of the Kremlin Fort wall and finally one of the main buildings of the Kremlin in the the background. Lenin’s body is still on display and open to visitors everyday except Sunday, which is, of course, the day we were there.

 

Link to previous post – Russian Adventure