Christmas-y day trips (photo heavy)

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)December 21, 2009

As stress-relievers, in the last week or so we've visited two local conservatory/greenhouses with Christmas displays. I thought you might enjoys some pictures.... The files I exported from the camera came out larger than usual and then I uploaded them in a different way - so I hope they don't cause a problem for anyone with a slower connection...

It has become very obvious that Randy and I literally see the world differently - he mans the camera on our little trips and I say things like 'take a picture of [whatever]'. Invariably I meant take a 'big picture' view and almost invariably he takes a 'detail' one! So he now needs to get the fancy camera he's been talking about so I can have this one - then we can both take pictures when we go places - and look at the results to see how many times we 'saw' the same thing when we took a picture :-)

So I'm missing a few pictures here... :-)

The conservatory we visited last week unfortunately had this sign in the entrance:

Some things were wiped out but others totally unharmed:

A mechanical Santa was on duty in the entrance:

The major part of the display was gazillions of poinsettias in all possible shades and variegations of red, pink, white; single and double, some with variegated leaves. I didn't realize there were so many different form of poinsettias! There were also several interesting cone 'trees':

A close-up of the grass one:

They had a nice trompe l'oeil arbour around a bench. I really want to find a place for something like that this year in the garden so I've been getting pictures of any I see:

Today we went in the Toronto to the Allan Gardens to see the Christmas display there. As we got close to the gardens, we noticed a lot of people with dogs.

I didn't realize there is an off-leash area close to the main entrance.

I'm not sure if you can reat the sign... The gardens were officially opened in 1860. The domed 'palm house' was built in 1910.

The most intricate thing in the display was this rocking horse:

Cone 'trees' are obviously de rigeur for these Christmas displays as there were several here too:

I thought of Deanne when I saw this brug.

An odd and interesting ornament in one place was a couple of mobiles made from dried citrus slices!

When we got back, Randy was obviously inspired by the Christmas theme - he's in the kitchen making mincemeat tarts... We make our own mincemeat each year and it is yummy!

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cyn427 (zone 7)

Wonderful pics, Woody! The displays at the Allan Gardens remind me of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Theirs are a little more elaborate, but the topiary horse reminded me as well as those indoor displays. Longwood is worth a trip if you haven't been there.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 5:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Haven't been to Allan Gardens in years. Used to eat Thai food nearby!

I enjoyed the door sign, the closeup shot of pine cones, the glass house photo, and the great shot of Randy's smile!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 5:53PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Oh and I am so impressed that Randy makes mincemeat! Is it complicated? I'll bet it is delicious.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 6:07PM
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Wonderfully entertaining Woody. I found all the tree cones interesting and love the human and dog elements. I agree about the trompe l'oeil arbour , I think they are neat too.
Hope Randy gets his camera soon. I would like to see dueling photos. LOL


    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 6:42PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Norma - Randy will get an IOU in his Christmas stocking for a camera of his choice!

gb - I think the Thai place is still there - I noticed a sign for a Thai restaurant. We haven't eaten there but we have been to the Bombay Palace restaurant nearby. I like the picture of Randy's smile too - he complained I didn't zoom... I like context in the picture!

Cyn - I don't travel to the US anymore because of health issues but, if I did, Longwood would be on the list of places I'd want to see. I make the mincemeat; Randy makes the tarts! (And helps me bottle the mincemeat. The recipe is easy and delicious. The hard part is remembering to harvest - or buy - tomatoes while they're still green! The minecemeat gets made in August or early September. It's pretty 'raw'-tasting from the cider vinegar at first but, by Christmas, it has mellowed to a perfect sweet-tart state.)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 7:21PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Tell you what-when health and family cares allow, you and Randy can come here and we'll drive up to Longwood. I promise it will be worth the wait!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 8:16PM
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What a treat to see these Woody, I'm glad you are out and about , and sharing your journeys with us.Loved the citrus mobile-it would be very appropriate for my area--but where would I put it ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 9:00PM
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Hi Woody!
So glad to see your post. You and Randy make a good team. i got a kick out of your observation as to how two people who know each other so well, can still find interesting things about how they communicate. I find that same thing with Skip and me.

I liked all of your pics! I would love to see the domed palm house, and got a kick out of the ivy horse. I have a lot of ivy growing on trees in my yard, from before we bought the house, and should do something creative with it.

Thanks for sharing! And I hope you have a lovely holiday.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 9:20PM
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I love the horse, reminds me of one on a carousel. The second tree, are those purplish plants on it poinsettias?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 9:56PM
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Woody, what great photos. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. That's a good picture of Randy with Santa. I also like the trellis, the orange slices, and the rocking horse. Really there are lots of great ideas there. Hope the trips did what you intended and relieved some stress for you both.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:20PM
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Great choices for stress relieving, Woody, and such fine holiday details to study. The "Attention" dog photo is a classic -- so much action going on!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 10:29AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Cyn - sounds like a plan... but I'm not holding my breath :-)

Eileen - welcome to the Idylls! I'm not sure what the purplish plants are, but they weren't poinsettias. They were some sort of houseplant-type things with variegated foliage.

Denise - there's a little too much going on in that picture! I didn't look too closely before I posted - it should be X-rated! :-)

Shortbread cookies are on the agenda here today - and packaging up and delivering Christmas dog cookie treat bags to Misty's buddies in the neighbourhood.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 11:47AM
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Woody, the Attention! dog photo was the FIRST thing I noticed, and wondered if you were seeing if we were paying attention :)

I love the cone trees and dried citris (I wanted to do dried citris an apple rings with birdseed ornaments on an outdoor tree, but didn't find the time!

Christmas dog cookies will be an appreciated gift :)


    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 3:55PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Saucy - I just asked Randy if he took the picture that way on purpose - he didn't notice the attention-getting activity either. But it is a funny picture when you put it all together!

13 dog cookie bags (15 dogs...) 11 neighbourhood dogs and 4 others. Phoebe will get hers in January after gb returns. I wasn't organized enough to send it off early.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 4:57PM
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Oh my gosh Woody, LOL, I see what Denise is talking about. Missed the "attention" getting dogs on first viewing!!!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 6:29PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

I think you had a most diverting time, Woody -- I find it the most amusing how you and Randy view things differently thru cameras - I've often wondered about that when I see how many closeups people take -- the forest or the trees?

Attention -- LOL!!

Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 8:13PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Hi's great to see you and DH. I love the way you go out on these little excursions and I love the way you and DH seem to have so much fun together...that's very special.

Is that pink polka dot houseplant decorating the one cone? How cool!

I love the citrus mobile...but then I am a little odd! (Note I don't capitalize lol anymore...trying to tone myself down...LOL!

That horse topiary is pretty amazing too. He reminds me of the old carousel horses in the old amusement parks.

Glad you were able to make it back to the conservatory and glad you shared it with us. Thanks so much!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 6:54PM
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Finally able to spend some leisurely time enjoying your thread, Woody! I dislike skimming because Im afraid IÂll miss something important and all the neat details, the dog park being a prime example, lol. Superb colors and textures in these photos, thanks for sharing the excursion. The citrus mobile really caught my eye! Saucy, itÂs not too late to make one with bird seed ornaments - plenty of winter still ahead, right? Hope you do and post a picture to inspire me into giving it a try.

Woody, IÂm so curious about the doggie cookies you make for treats. Is this a recipe you formulated? Oh, and I did try some carry out samosas but even as I munched I knew they had to be a poor imitation of yours. The local Thai restaurant isnÂt exactly authentic. Also want to comment on the homemade mincemeat as IÂm not sure IÂd recognize it even if it was in front of me! My grandmother loved mincemeat pie but all I remember is that it came in a glass jar, was brownish in color and had some raisins. Probably bears no resemblance to homemade. So anytime you can get a picture of how you and Randy prepare, serve or plate it, I would be very interested.

Keeping you close in my thoughts as December gives way to JanuaryÂ

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 2:27PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

EI - pink polka dot plant is probably it - it's certainly a good description of what was there...!

Candy - the dogs cookie recipe originally came from a dog cookie recipe book a friend had. I tried a couple of the recipes but this is the one that seemed most popular. I changed it just a little bit. It took about 8 batches to make enough for the Christmas gift bags. There are quite a few dogs around here who succumb to cookie-lust and forget their manners when they see me coming... :-) I think the molasses is the special ingredient they are responding to. Mincemeat is indeed brown and has lots of raisins! The recipe we make has a base of green tomatoes and apples, with Sultana, Thompson and golden raisins, currants, brown sugar, cider vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and allspice, zest and juice of lemons and oranges. It smells like Christmas when we make it in the fall! Here is what the bottled end product looks like, with some of the tarts Randy makes:

They taste great cold or (my favorite) warmed up with Killer Plum Pudding Sauce drizzled on top :-)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Don't let me forget to try mincemeat next Christmas Woody ! Wonder what it would be like spread over a wheel of Brie ? I have a dog cookie recipe book, and the best received was one made of p-nut butter, grape nuts cereal, and honey.

Happy New Year to you and Randy ..I hope your troubles are few and far between ..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 11:25PM
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