Mountain Ash Berries

Sorbus genus

Mountain Ash Berries

The Mountain Ash tree is a member of the Sorbus genus. The fruit is not only safe for humans to eat, it is a favorite of many types of birds. Mountain ash berries hang on the tree well into the winter, making it a good source of cold-weather bird nutrition.

In Celtic and Norse folklore, the Mountain Ash was called a Rowan or Witchwood tree because it was believed they had magical properties.


If you have read the Harry Potter books, you might remember that Rowan Wood was prized for making wands.

It is commonly stated that no dark witch or wizard ever owned a rowan wand, and I cannot recall a single instance where one of my own rowan wands has gone on to do evil in the world.
– Mr. Ollivander, Harry Potter books –

This site about Wand Woods was of particular interest to me because the Red House woods not only have a Mountain Ash tree, they have numerous other trees that are good for making wands: several apple trees, many aspen, dogwood, larch, pine, poplar, spruce and willow. If I was inclined to start a wand making business, I would have lots of wood to choose from.

Have you ever started writing a post and found you headed off in a direction that was entirely different than where you started going? So it was with this post, which was simply going to be about photo filters that blur, add textures or shift colours. I thought I’d add the Latin name for the Mountain Ash tree and before I knew it, I had found sites about the many uses for the berries and, of course, wand making… and witches.

Most people think witches are a coven of lesbians dancing naked in the forest celebrating the semen stolen from imprisoned hypnotized males, which they then use to inseminate one another using turkey basters in order to create a legion of demon babies. Well, that’s only part of it. We are also active in community outreach programs.
– Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, a satirical novel by comedians Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert –

Well of Lost Thoughts – 2017

The QuipperyWhen I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them,  I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Facebook Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you.

How Cold was our Christmas this Year?
“On Boxing Day, extreme cold warnings were issued for a section of Canada stretching from the Alberta/B.C. border all the way to the St. Lawrence River. That’s a swath of Canada roughly 3,500 km wide.” from the National Post: Mars and the North Pole are warmer than Winnipeg

It was -30C (-22F) here at the Red House on Boxing Day (December 26). It takes a lot of fuel to heat our country in the winter – renewable resources are not going to be able to provide that much energy in the near term. In the meantime, we depend on fossil fuels. This video by Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, (filmed near Devon, Alberta on May 30, 2004) is a favourite for some of us who depend on this industry. The Car Guy will attest to the accuracy of the terms used in this song.

On the Topic of Jobs Where you Get Dirty
Mike Rowe has dedicated his life to making ‘work’ cool again. He recognizes and tirelessly promotes, the need for education programs for trades people.

We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.
– Mike Rowe –

Mike Rowe – You’ve Got to Make Work Cool Again

The Piano Guys – This is Your Fight Song
I first heard The Piano Guys at a friend’s house in Arizona this past spring. The group, who are from Utah, decided to perform at the inauguration of Donald Trump in January 2017. That caused a lot of controversy, but the ‘Guys’ explained “We don’t feel right limiting our positive message only to people that believe or act the same way we do.”

Christmas Joy
I am not a devout anything when it comes to religion. This has been quite useful as I traveled the world and visited churches of many faiths, listened to their music and read their history and stories. In keeping with this time of year  and the Christian traditions of many parts of the world, here are some videos that are fun:

Christmas According to Children

From England – Marks and Spencer Videos – lots of interesting stories, including this one from last Christmas:

Human Rights, Animal Rights and Plant Rights
A Dissertation on Plant’s Rights by Cowboy Poet Baxter Black DVM .

Last, but not least our Canadian airline, WestJet Puts the Fun Back into Travel

Deer readers, my gnu years resolution is to tell you a gazelleon times how much I caribou you! Sorry. Bad puns. Alpaca bag and leave.
– Greg Tamblyn –

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month.

My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!


They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.


O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
– English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –


The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree tradition when he put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848.

We have a Tannenbaum forest here at the Red House, but my Christmas Tree is a very realistic, artificial tree – I don’t want my forest to think of me as a tree killer…

Are you ready for Christmas, or are there still lots of things to tick off your list before you can say, “It’s a Wrap!”

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Favorite.


I could have (okay I did) spend hours one afternoon in front of a water fountain – taking photos of ‘never two the same’ Shape Shifting Blobs and impressively big Bubbles.

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,


Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,


For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

– William Shakespeare –