Monday, January 28, 2008

Farewell, to my good friend, Mark!

All photos are Mark Gurkin's...

Farewell to a Good Online Friend

Mark Gurkin aka “ggraph”

Elder's Mill Bridge

It’s always difficult to say “Farewell” to anyone when that friend reaches the end of life’s journey but when it’s a good friend, this is so much more difficult.

Mark Gurkin aka ggraph was a good online friend who I have never met but have spoken to on the telephone and have communicated with for almost a year. Mark was unwell. He was patiently waiting for a kidney-pancreas transplant which never came in time for our Mark. He had problems with his eyesight due to difficulty while on the dialysis machine. What a time he had! But he always sounded upbeat and happy in his situation—even though he was going through such difficulties.

Our last telephone conversation was on January 9, 2008 when I shared some good news of mine and he was elated to hear that news. He was looking forward to the time when I’d be able to go to Georgia and meet both Sue, his wonderful wife and caregiver, and himself.

My last email to him was on January 13 and I was telling him of a wonderful online church service I had watched on TV that morning and here’s a bit of what I said to Mark:

“This morning, Mark, as I was getting ready for church, Paul phoned me from Virginia. He had just finished listening to Charles Stanley's son speak on TV (from 7 am to 8 am). Usually, it's Charles Stanley from Atlanta but today his son, Andy, was there from a church called "North Point". Paul was so excited as he knows the area down there and he said, "Pat, Andy is so close to your friend, Mark! If Mark is at exit “xx”, Andy is just down at exit 10 off 400! Can you phone him and tell him that this was a wonderful program today?" I told him I would write to you, Mark. I'm listening to Andy Stanley as I type this Mark and he's just so wonderful today.

Here's the URL:

When you get to this URL,
you can click on a wee icon on the screen to see it full screen, Mark. It's really good. Please let me know what you think. I wish I were closer to you and if I were, I'd drive you to his church. Apparently, it's massive and it's right off the highway near you.

I will call you later. I must go to my church service tonight as I'm playing the organ. I had an email from Natalya and she sends you her best wishes, Mark.”

And I added as well, Hi Sue! I look forward to meeting you one day. Maybe Paul will drive me to Georgia someday. God bless you both and remember that my thoughts and prayers (and Paul's in Virginia) are being offered for you both every day. Sue, it's such a wonderful job you're doing caring for Mark. I loved every minute of my time caring for Jack and I realize now how important a job it was and only a spouse of a dialysis patient can even begin to realize what you are going through. No one else can. And only Mark can begin to know what you're going through as you care for him as Jack used to remind me all the time.

We'll chat soon. I just wanted you to know about Andy Stanley quickly as the video doesn't stay on the web site all that long. I hope you listen and watch.”

Old Homestead

So, folks, this is where I was with my friend Mark Gurkin. We shared much about my Heavenly Father and I told him how much Jack, my late husband, loved the Saviour. How I wish I had been able to make the trip down to Georgia to see both him and Sue. Mark so often said that Sue was his life and his wonderful soulmate. He lived for Sue. Jack was also on dialysis for 3 ½ years before he was promoted to glory and so I realize just how difficult it is to be the caregiver like Sue was to dear Mark.

Even though Mark could hardly see, he was still out there taking photographs as often as he possibly could. He loved covered bridges, birds and all kinds of wildlife. He displayed many of these lovely photographs in his blog entitled, Photo Life and on his website entitled, North Georgia Images

If you would like to post a comment also on the Photography Café where he loved to spend time during the past year, please do. His family will appreciate it. Here’s a link to a topic where the members of the Café are posting and you can simply register on the site to post your message of condolence as well. Farewell Mark aka ggraph and you might like to see the photos that he uploaded in the site. Here’s his Gallery on the Café.

I think it’s fitting to end this little memorial to our dear blogging friend and fellow photographer by using one of his own photos from his website.

From Mark:

“I often pass by this huge American flag. It's so large it takes a very windy day to get a full flag shot. While out one evening I decided to go by and see how it looked. When I got there the sun was beginning to set and the clouds were really great. Hence this image. A great image for the end of the day on the 4th of July”


A great image, Mark for the end of the day on January 27th, 2008

Our deepest sympathy to you, dear Sue, and the whole family circle of our dear friend Mark Gurkin.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Speed River at Sunset

A Photo from Igor Popovic...

Speed River at Sunset

This beautiful photo was sent to me by Igor Popovic.

Igor says: "This is a photo of a Speed River sunset, taken on the McCrae Boulevard looking towards Wellington St W. I was walking my dog Timo and had my camera with me so I took the shot. "

Thanks so much, Igor! I'm always so happy when folks send me their photos of our great city!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Clear the Cobwebs Hike!!

Photo by Bart Schuller


On January 1, each year, the Guelph Hiking Trail Club have a hike called "Clear the Cobwebs" and all of these brave souls set you no matter what the weather to hike part of the Guelph Hiking Trail system.

This year the hike was on Section 1 of the Speed River Trail and the weather was beautiful for winter hiking. Snow had fallen all night and the temperature wasn't too low.

These were two of six photos that Bart took and I thank him very much for sharing them with us.

THANKS BART SCHULLER and please do send more of your wonderful photos of this great city of Guelph!

Guelph is in Virginia!!!

Well, not really, but...

I've travelled to Virginia to see a friend and I'm just outside of Washington, DC and let me tell you, IT'S C-O-L-D!!!!

I'll get some photos of this place over the week and share if I get something worth posting...

I am going to put in a photo from a man here in Guelph that I tried to put in before I left on this little trip but my internet connection was "down". So I left without putting it in so will do that now! My journey was 515 miles one way and I was through white-out conditions in northern New York with so much blowing snow but soon I was driving down the beautiful Susquahanna River for miles and mile but no where to stop and take a photo!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

You Made My Day!


This photo was taken last year in Elora Gorge, just north of Guelph late one sunny day. I was standing in the sunshine side of the top of the gorge and already parts of the other side of the gorge were almost in the darkness. I loved the view as the sun seemed to light up the old oak leaves on the trees near to me.

I hope you like it as well!

"You Make My Day Award"

Rambling Round of Selma, Alabama made my day when she awarded me the "You Make My Day Award" for bloggers. Thank you, so much!

"The award rules say: "Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times."

I found this such a difficult task! I have so many blogs I enjoy so very much each day and it was one of the most difficult times to narrow it down to just 10!! Actually, I just couldn't do it and so ELEVEN are receiving this award as all have "Made My Day" in one way or another whether it be in encouragement or even just in the photographic skills I've learned from each of them or the travel experiences I've learned from reading their blogs.

So, here is my little list that could have been 15 times this size!! Please visit these blogs and congratulate them.


Fabrizio - ikol22







Jilly or


Vlada and Igor

You have ALL made my one way or another!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Any seeds for me?

"I'm so hungry!"

This little junco was watching carefully as other birds were spilling feed onto the ground...just waiting for a few seeds to fall so that he could fly down and pick some up!

I was so happy to be able to get this shot through the window! Our friends had invited us for New Year's morning breakfast and while sitting at the dining room table enjoying the food, I also enjoyed all the birds that were visiting our friends' feeders. So, even though unmannerly, I left my camera on the table beside me and kept on picking it up and snapping. lol

I want to thank you all so very much for all of the lovely comments on my ickle squirrel yesterday. He was sitting so cute on that old rubber tire and allowed me to get so close. Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Excuse me Ma'am... but do you have any peanuts?"

"Excuse me Ma'am... but do you have any peanuts?"

This little fellow was so cute. I didn't have any peanuts! I only had some coins in my pocket and he tried to take them until I took my hand away. It was difficult taking this with one hand and holding my other hand out to him.

I love these little critters who are so trusting of us.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dairy Building

Through these doors...

have passed many hundreds of students over the years as they have studied at the Ontario Agriculture College which is now called, University of Guelph!

University of Guelph
Dairy Building

Across the road from the War Memorial Hall is the building known as the Dairy Building. It is included in a Walking Tour of the University grounds and from this website you can read:

"In 1922 the Dairy Science building opened for teaching and research in dairy manufacturing, including condensed, powdered milk and ice cream (produced since 1908). On the main floor wall of the Dairy Science building (known as Food Science) are three large historical outlines describing how it began as the Ontario Experimental Farm Creamery in 1884".

Historical Highlights of the OAC (Ontario Agriculture College)

May 1, 1874 OAC opens with 28 students admitted.
1887 The degree program is launched.
1891 Initiation of short courses for the generalpublic.
1920 High school matriculation required foradmission qualification to the degree program.
1926 Graduate programs initiated.
1964 OAC is a founding college of the newly createdUniversity of Guelph.
2006 More than 3200 students are enrolled inundergraduate, graduate, and diploma courses atOAC’s four campuses.

There's a wonderful history written by Prof. H. Douglas Goff and David W. Stanley that you can read on the history website of the U of G. I really enjoyed reading it and the following is from that article.

100+ Years of Dairy Foods Research,
Teachingand Extension at the University of Guelph
The Ontario Agricultural College and the Universityof GuelphAgricultural education at Guelph began when the Ontario government purchased a 500-acre farm for its new Ontario Agricultural College,which opened in 1874. In 1903, OAC was joined on campus by the Macdonald Institute, which provided instruction in domestic sciences.

The Ontario Veterinary College became the third college to join the campus in 1922. In 1964, these three colleges were joined as a single institution, the University of Guelph. Within 10 years, they wereenhanced by the additions of the College of Arts, the College of Physical Sciences, the College of Biological Science and the College of Social Sciences.

Today, the 1000-acre campus is home for 16,000 undergraduate and 2000 graduate students (including 700+international students from more than 100 countries), 800 faculty and 2500 staff.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

War Memorial Hall

Click to see photo larger

University of Guelph's
War Memorial Hall

What a wonderful example of fine architecture on the grounds of the University of Guelph! I've been in this building many times for various concerts or debates or talks of one kind or another. For instance, last October there was a Campus Crusade for Christ talk in this building entitled, "Should a 21st Century Scientist believe in God?" and it only cost $2.00 to go to take part in this evening lecture.

On the University of Guelph's historical pages, you can read the following about the War Memorial Hall:

The first time Guelph alumni were asked to contribute significantly to the support of their alma mater was in 1919 when they were asked to donate $60,000 toward the cost of building War Memorial Hall. The provincial government donated $40,000 to the project, which came to fruition because of suggestions by students that the Ontario Agricultural College should build a memorial to the 109 college men who lost their lives in World War I.

Students wielded saws and axes against a stand of Norway Spruce to ensure that the building would stand on its present site and held a series of concerts to raise funds. Built of Georgetown limestone, War Memorial Hall opened in June 1924. Two bronze tablets face each other in the Memorial Chapel; one bearing the names of the 109 fallen men, the other remembering those who died in the Second World War. The hall quickly became a cultural centre for the city as well as the site of OAC's annual convocation ceremonies.

The example of War Memorial Hall and the good it brought to the campus may have influenced alumni giving in later years. A scholarship endowment fund created in 1959, the 1966 Development Fund that supported the establishment of the University of Guelph, and the University's last major capital campaign in 1986 all received broad alumni support.

And here:

Built in June of 1924 from Georgetown limestone, students forced administration’s hand in choosing the hall’s location by cutting down a stand of Norway spruce and digging the foundation one night. It was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of OAC and to honour students who had enlisted and died in the First World War.

Two bronze tablets face each other in the Memorial Chapel; one bearing the names of the 109 fallen men who lost their lives in First World War, the other remembering those who died in the Second World War.

View the portraits of five OAC Presidents and Professor William Graham between the windows in the main auditorium of this magnificent building.

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Back View of Church of Our Lady

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I drove up to the back of this large church building to see the amazing architecture. This is the view of the back of the church--the side that most folks don't very often see.

We've been looking at scaffolding on the building most of the summer but all have gone now as all repairs seem to have been done now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

REAL Car on Roof of House!!

This is a REAL CAR!

Today's photo was not taken by me. This photo was taken by one of our readers, Bill Moran, who tells us that this is a "REAL CAR ON THE ROOF OF THIS HOUSE!!"

Thanks so much Bill! I hope we see more of your photos in here in the future!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Snowy Scene in Guelph

We had such a snow fall on the weekend. This was one lovely scene just south of my home at the O.R.

It's been thawing today. And I've been stuck in the house nursing stomach flu!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

SNAP Guelph!


On New Year's Day, we were invited to a friend's home for breakfast and this was the driveway up to the house after a night of heavy snowfall.
What a lovely visit we had after traversing this drive with our vehicle up to the house!

The friends who own this home also own a wonderful newspaper here in Guelph and you'll see the logo for it on the left sidebar. It's titled, SNAP GUELPH and only contains GOOD NEWS. How lovely to pick up a newspaper with no bad news in it!

So, if you live in this area and have an event coming up, please feel free to click on the link on the left sidebar or in the information at the bottom of this post and talk to the folks at SNAP GUELPH and maybe your event will appear in this great newspaper here in our fantastic city!

Nicolas Bell
Get SNAP'd!

Submit your special events on line at

General Manager
SNAP Guelph
85 Speedvale Avenue West
Guelph, Ontario
N1H 1K1
Office: 519-821-8200
Cell: 519-827-8053

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Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year's Day Goldfinch

On New Year's Day, at a friend's home, there were many lovely birds outside the dining room window and that's where I spied this lovely Winter Goldfinch.