Monday, June 30, 2008

Pick N' Pay Strawberries

Plump red strawberries are ripening in the fields. Who can resist locally grown fruit, which always seems to taste better than supermarket produce? Not these two! And not me, either. And this year we've had sufficient rain to ensure juicy berries.
Did you know each plant can produce one quart of berries? Trouble is, they don’t ripen all at once.

This is a well-kept field with straw between the rows, keeping pickers' knees and shoes clean as well as the strawberries.
Don't these berries look scrumptious? Yep, they were. Sadly, they're gone already. We had the strawberries on waffles.

Hmmm. Maybe I should go and pick some more. ;-)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Purple-flowering Raspberry

This member of the rose family, purple -flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus), has no thorns, though young stems are sticky and hairy. It grows in shady and partly shaded areas along one of the paths I frequently walk in the forest. When it’s not in bloom, I hardly notice the plants, but this time of year it's hard to ignore.

The berries look a lot like regular raspberries although just a bit flatter, but I’ve never tried them because I didn’t know until today that they’re safe to eat. ;-) Apparently they taste even better than other raspberries…BUT they’re fuzzy and very seedy. Hmmm, I think I will might try one when they’re ripe later this summer.

The leaves resemble maple leaves and often measure up to 10 inches across. The leaves and stems are said to have a lovely aroma but, you know what! I’ve never noticed that. My nose will pay better attention next time we're walking in the woods.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sulphur Cinquefoil

Five delicate heart-shaped petals on each flower open in the morning and by afternoon there may be two or three petals left on each bloom. By evening yellow petals are strewn about the ground like confetti. But not to worry because there are many more buds on the plant, enough to bloom from June through August. Each morning new one-inch blossoms open.
Sulphur cinquefoil are relative newcomers to Ontario, the first being noted slightly more than a century ago. Immigrants from Europe, they are now naturalized across Ontario -- in fact, across North America.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Walk in the Forest

As you can see in the bottom left photo, the leader of the pack is heading us in the right direction. It looks like he's poking along, but he was about to pick up his pace.

Moving clockwise: common hawkweed (Hieracium canadense) , herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum), daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus), bladder campion (Silene cucubalus) and buttercup (Ranunculus acris)

I addded the botantical names becuse people everywhere give wildflowers different common names.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sailing, Sailing.../ Sky Watch

Not a beautiful sky on Sunday -- a hazy grey. But the air temperature was scrumptious with a steady breeze to cool the warm sun, perfect for visiting Lake Ontario's shore to search for polished glass and smooth stones, to daydream and to watch sailboats.
And what a great day for a race, even though cumulous clouds were forming to the south and west. But you can't see the clouds because this photo is looking northerly from New York to...Canada, if you have eyes like an eagle and a vivid imagination. :-) Lake Ontario is BIG.

For more Sky Watch photos, visit Wiggers World by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Replica Lighthouse, Olcott, NY

More than 130 years ago, a small, wooden lighthouse marked the mouth of Eighteen Mile Creek, the entrance to the harbour at Olcott, New York, on Lake Ontario. At that time, Olcott was a popular holiday destination and a port of entry with a customs house. Apparently many Canadians visited Olcott, arriving on steamers from Toronto.
The original lighthouse stood for many years on the western pier, extending about 800 feet into the lake, as shown on this old postcard.
(replica seen from the east side)
Today, Olcott is in the process of renewing itself and among its renovations is a replica lighthouse built in 2003 using old photos and postacards like the one above. Unfortunately, the original architectural plans are long gone.
(replica seen from the west side)
When the lighthouse was no longer needed in 1930, it was moved from the pier to a local yacht club. A little more than 30 years later in 1963, it had deteriorated and so was dismantled.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

W is for Weekend Walk

There's almost nothing like a walk on a beach to soothe the spirit, I think. I enjoy the sound of the water lapping up on the beach, the sight of the sunlight reflecting off the water, the whitewind caps when the is blowing...all of it is a wonderful relaxing experience.

This water is Lake Ontario, the Great Lake between Ontario in Canada and the state of New York in the US. And this beach is on the north side of Olcott, a neat village that was big news back in its heyday a hundred years ago. Apparently it was THE place to go for the summer holidays. It hit hard times but is now making a comeback.

I like to walk this beach looking for bits of beach glass, but the water is high right now and covers most of the sand and glass so instead I looked for pretty pebbles.
Wet pebbles are always so much darker and shinier than dry ones. I was trying to catch the bubbles that rolled up with each wave but they kept popping too quickly for me. There are few bubbles here if you really look hard.
And here are some dry stones and small piece of driftwood I collect beach pebbles, a few at a time. Hey, you never know when a beautiful smooth stone will come in handy. LOL

For more blogs celebrating ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place HERE.

Cobblestone Museum, Upstate New York

Last weekend, my husband and I visited Upstate New York, passing through cobblestone country where many, many old homes are faced with cobblestone. (Cobblestones are loosely described as a rounded stone small enough to hold in one hand.)

I've been interested in cobblestones ever since I discoverd a farmhouse faced with it in EG, which you can see here.

Traveling back roads and smaller highways, we passed through Childs, which boasts of the Cobblestone Society Museum, a former Universalist Church built in 1834 guessed it...cobblestone. Our car's tires screeeee-eeeeched to a stop. ;-) Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do! LOL

In my words, this is some of what the plaques said: As early settlers moved westward along the southwestern edge of Lake Ontario and into Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota and Ontario, they built approximately 1,000 to 1,200 cobblestone buildings.

But would you believe 90 per cent of those remaining today are found within a 75-mile radius of Rochester, New York?
Local masons who’d worked on the Erie Canal -- built between 1817 and 1825 to connect Buffalo (on Lake Erie) with New York City (on the Atlantic Ocean) -- constructed these homes, which soon became status symbols.

Where did all those cobblestones come from? Well, approximately 12,000 years ago, the last glacier retreated, leaving behind an immense supply of rounded stones in Canada and the Northern United States – boulders, cobblestones and pebbles.
This house, The Ward House, is situated on the plot adjacent to the museum. It was built in 1840.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Pretty

Oxeye daisies and birdsfoot trefoil are cheerful escapees found in many EG meadows and roadside ditches. Whether they are wildflowers or weeds depends on whom you ask. If you ask ME, I say they’re wildflowers, although I want neither in my gardens. ;-)
Early European settlers brought oxeye daisies to North America. They've quickly spread throughout the continent and are now considered a pest by dairy farmers because they make milk taste sour.

Oxeye daisies are not the same as ornamental Shasta daisies. But you are forgiven if you think they look alike. Shasta daisies are close relatives, hybrids of oxeye and three other kinds of daisies.
Birdsfoot trefoil is a leafy, fine-stemmed legume often grown for pasture forage, producing beefier cattle. Canada geese, deer and elk graze on it too. Because birdsfoot trefoil has deep roots, it’s drought tolerant.

The plant gets its name from its seed pod clusters, which resemble -- you guessed it -- birds’ feet.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blackberries, the original kind

Pretty, but don’t touch, or the blackberry’s thorns will get you. But it’s not just the prickles that make the bramble bush hard to love. Many gardeners dislike them because blackberry plants try to take over the whole garden plus the entire neighbourhood.
On the other hand, berry lovers … well … LOVE them because the fruit is delicious. What’s more, health enthusiasts expound the berry’s virtues, chock full of antioxidants that fight cancer.

But who -- lovers or haters of the plant -- can deny the beauty of the blossoms?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Doctor Who Was/Is Here

Dr. Who was where?

Here’s proof positive that the Tardis is not science fiction. Touch it with your own hands, see it with your own eyes.

The Tardis has transported Doctor Who through time and space to this secret location near EG.

And YOU thought it was a British 1950’s-style police box? Silly you! Why would an British police box be left in this field in Ontario, Canada?

Friday, June 20, 2008

First Graders in the Garden

It was a cool but sunny day in EG. Notice that even though it's mid June, the kids and adults are wearing jackets and sweaters. In spite of the weather, the first graders were excited. On this day they were planting annuals in a community garden.
Here they are lined up along the edge of the garden tending their plants. Every first grader got to plant their own cosmos, marigolds, or cleome.

During the summer, another group of kids -- nature campers -- will weed this garden and water it with watering cans filled at the ever-flowing spring across the street.
And here some of the first graders are waving hello to you.

The school year will be over at the end of June. But when school starts again in September, these kids will be SECOND graders, which means, of course, they'll be much bigger having grown like weeds over the summer. Hopefully there will be no weeds in the garden though. LOL And the cleome and cosmos will have grown very tall.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gumby meets Old McDonald/ Sky Watch

In my imagination, the clouds in this photo are really made of white cotton candy and the barn is cardboard.

To me this photo looks so flat that I keep expecting Gumby (Who remember the cartoon figure made of green clay?) and his pony, Pokey, to walk across the page.

Did you know Gumby was created by Art Clokey, who named his character after the clay found on his grandfather's farm?

Aha!! So imagining Gumby on a farm isn't that far out, eh?

Old MacDonald had a farm
Ee i ... ee i... o
For more blogs celebrating Sky Watch, visit Wigger's World by clicking HERE. Happy Sky Watch Friday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Big Wheel

What’s this crossing an Uxbridge, Ontario parking lot? An old-fashioned bicycle?

My friend, husband and I were visiting Uxbridge, the town just east of EG. Uxbridge was celebrating "100 Years of Anne" because Lucy Maude Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, lived just northwest of town for a few years.

When I asked the rider if I could take his photo, his wife called out “sure.” (Ha ha! I think she must enjoy watching him riding around in circles.)

After I took the rider's picture, he hopped down to tell me about his machine. It was popular during the 1880s, he told me. But only men of means could purchase one as it cost an average worker six month’s wages.
Why is the front wheel so big, I asked?

The fellow pointed to the pedals attached to the front wheel, pointing out that there’s no chain between the front and back wheels. Apparently manufacturers made the front wheels bigger when they realized that a larger front wheel meant the rider would travel farther with one rotation of the pedals. But the wheel could be as large as the length of the rider’s leg.

The bicycle tires are made of solid rubber, which along with the long spokes of the large front wheel afford a smooth ride. Unless of course the wheel hits a large stone or rut and the rider, high above the centre of gravity, falls off. That could be a tad embarrassing, eh?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

I confess that I'm bonkers about ox-eye daisies so when I spied this field our car screeched to a halt.
Luckily (or I'd still be there), I didn't get out to pluck the petals (he loves me, he loves me not) because my driver husband must love me to almost always stop when I ask him to. ;-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Strutting His Stuff

Driving along a quiet country road, my husband and I came upon this important-looking guy walking in the opposite direction. Where is he going? Where has he been? Is he supposed to be on the loose?

My husband stopped for barely a second to let me shoot a couple of photos. Not enough time for me to get a decent shot! My husband was anxious to drive to the next driveway to let the owner know the peacock was footloose and fancy free.
Ha! It turns out the peacock didn't belong at that house. Hmmm.

But the fellow who answered the door said there are three farms in that neighbouthood that own peacocks and ALL of them are allowed to go free. But apparently, they always return home to roost at night.

So what would YOU do if you saw a peacock walking down the road?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

An Hour at the Pond

Let's play fetch! Please, I want to play fetch!
Me too, me too!
I got it!
Hey, I got it first.
Hmmm. First doesn't mean I get to keep it, I guess.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Country Crafts

Taking the scenic route to my favourite gardencentre, we almost passed this mailbox. Well, we actually did pass it but then backed up because I had my camera and…you know the story. I just HAD to take a photo. ;-)
Across the road, the owner of the mailbox was mowing her lawn but stopped her mower to check out what I was up to. So of course I had to explain I was merely taking a picture not trying to steal her bills. LOL

Her driveway was lined with birdhouses, so I took a closer look. A friend of hers makes them and she sells them from her driveway, the basement of her barn (you can see in the background) and her side porch. I really like this cockeyed birdhouse, but there were so many others to look at too.
Here's her porch display. I purchased the birdhouse on the reddish brown stool. I love the jagged bottom edge. Sure I had less money to buy plants, but it was worth it, don't you agree?

My husband has anchored the new birdhouse on the side of his workshop/my greenhouse trellis. And would you believe a sparrow is ALREADY building a nest in it?

Ha! All that because I wanted to take a photo of a mailbox!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ferris Wheel - Sky Watch

Isn't the sky beautiful? This mom and her two kids think so. Thy're trying to get closer to it by taking a ride on the Ferris wheel. ;-)

Yep, more from the Mount Albert Sports Day and Spring Fair held last weekend at the grounds of the Mt A Community Centre in Mt A, the easternmost community in EG. (See last weekend's posts if you want to see more.)

And as you can see I have saved the best for last. Well, it appears to be the best if you scroll down and look at some of the winning posters created by kids at the Mount Albert Public School. The pictures were drawn BEFORE last weekend -- the theme: the kids' favourite memories of Sports Day 2007.
True, not all the posters had a Ferris wheel, but many did.

This is just a sampling done by kids in various grades. They were taped to the wall inside the Mt A Community Centre for all to enjoy. And as you can see I couldn't resist taking a few photos.
This year the entire weekend was beautiful. It usually rains, but notice their are pink skies and fluffy clouds in this artist's memories. Goes to prove the weather doesn't always spoil a good time. ;-)
And the last drawing doesn't seem to have a sky at all. But who really cares because the kid in the picture has such a BIG smile?
For more Sky Watch fun, visit Wom Tigley's place by clicking HERE.

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.