Sunday, August 28, 2016

Barn Quilt Trail

After spotting this quilt block on a barn up the road two weeks ago, I strated investigating.  Turns out there is a brand new "For the Love of Grey Barn Quilt Trail", started just this past June, centred so far around the hamlet of Rocklyn, a few miles to the north.  The other day I went out to find what I could using their map.

Here's the original one I found two weeks ago.

Another colourful one with an interesting pattern.  These all appear to be painted on two 4x8 sheets of plywood and mounted on the barn.

I liked this one that looked like a Scotch Thistle pattern.

There was one I never did get a clear view of, because the barn is behind both the house and some trees, but it's a bright star pattern.

And this was a nice mainly green pattern, rather unusual design I thought.

The "For the Love of Grey Barn Quilt Trail" has its own Facebook page, which tells you a bit about the history of this new initiative, and provides a map for anyone to drive around and spot them.  They are not all in place yet, but it will be an interesting addition to our countryside when they all are.  More participants are welcome.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Grey County Cattle

Quite a lot of beef cattle around these parts, to go with all the hay that's produced.  Spotted several herds along my route Tuesday.

This big bull was the most massive creature among all the herds.  Not often you see a real live bull out with the cattle anymore.  Rather flimsy fence in the background I thought.

And these were the cattle nearby, all resting by the fencerow.  Look like Herefords to me.

But the rest were all Charolais, and these ones were all moving steadily playing follow the leader.

Except one who stopped and looked up at me.

This herd was playing follow the leader too, all headed one direction.

But this herd thought it was time for a rest.  These was the biggest group; these are only a few of them.

And there was one lonely sheep farm.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

August Skies

On my drive the other day I caught a lot of beautiful Grey County skies.  The white clouds were blowing across the blue, the temperature was pleasant, just one of those great late summer days.

A view across part of the Wodehouse wetland just around the corner.

A recently combined field of wheat.

Another combined field, but the straw hasn't been baled yet.  Probably mixed grain or barley. 

One of three herds of Charolais cattle.

And another.

And another of those quilt barns - more pictures of those in a day or two.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Thursday Fences

Not getting out exploring enough, too much work going on around here.  So I finally took a break and went for one of those country drives, and picked up photos of a variety of things.  First, some fences.  I quickly realized that farms with animals (like horses or alpacas) in paddocks have the most fences!

One of my favourite well maintained fencelines, just down the road.  Some years there are cattle in this field.

Around the corner on Grey Road 12, and they are redoing the road.  All the guard rail fences are in, with the cables already attached, but they haven't been tightened yet.

I gave up on the gravel reconstruction and moved over a concession to go up the townline, past this metal fabricating shop.  Nice fence out front here too - one of those closely spaced ones to withstand the winter's snow and ice.

And on that road I quickly came to one of the horse farms around here.  This one has quite a few paddocks, and a number of people I know keep their horse there.

As you look across two or three paddocks, inevitably you see several fences.  But the horses certainly weren't interested in me.

Finally, one of them did look up.

Lots of fences here even where there are no horses in the picture.  The style of fences here are built to be easily visible to the horses.

After a loop north and back east, I returned down the 7th Line past the Alpaca paddocks.  With 6 big triangular paddocks , there are lots of fences here too.  I think you're looking across at least 6 fences.  The long points of all of the paddocks end at the barn, which makes it easy to let the animals out to their own field.

A couple of them were lying in the shade of the shelter in the closest paddock here.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Riding Toy Museum

Last week we enjoyed a fascinating visit to Meaford's Riding Toy Museum.  It was full of all kinds of toys a child could ride on - scooters, cars, wagons, sleighs, bicycles, tricycles and more!  Sadly, the gentleman who collected and restored all these passed away recently.  I had only met him once, out on the ski trails in the winter.  But a close friend of mine was also a close friend of his, and he was determined that we should come and see this while we still could.  The owner's wife gave us the tour.

This is a private personal collection built up over the past 15 years, and every toy was restored to riding condition.  There are several that visiting kids are allowed to ride too.

One of the prized toy cars, totally restored.

This dates from the days when the trunk was a trunk!  Notice the two postcards on the table.

This is one of those photos, showing the car as it was when it was found and brought home.  This gentleman had a complete shop for restoring these old toys, including a sand blasting set-up.  He did some truly remarkable work!

The batmobile is a favourite with visiting children.

The owner actually made these two toy locomotives himself.

An old wooden bicycle, one of a long line of bikes, against a wall of old sleighs.

Another mostly wooden bike, this one quite valuable because of the wooden wheel rims and the curved handlebars.

More types of scooters than I ever thought existed were mounted on one wall.  There were two walls of old wagons too, but somehow I missed photographing them.

Quite a few interesting old tricycles too.

And a whole wall of toy trucks, all designed to be ridden around the living room by a toddler.

Ontario has personalized license plates available; as we were leaving I noticed this.  This must be one of the most remarkable private collections that I've ever seen.  And an incredible investment in time to do the restoration!

Another great day for working outside here, and I'm making good progress (after four years of struggle) on our garden water feature.  Have to gather some photos of that soon.  Sun and clouds, but never got uncomfortably hot, so I got a lot done.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Harvest Continues

I finally caught up with a farmer combining a field of mixed grain the other day.  Wheat harvest appears to be over, and mixed grain is underway.  Soybeans and corn will wait into the fall.

I actually heard this combine before I saw it, the dull roar from two farms over when I was out walking the dog.  I hopped on my bike when I got home and rode up the road and there it was.  This is a moderate sized combine, probably owned by the farmer himself, the type that has a built in grain hopper.

He got to the end of the row, parked beside the grain wagon, and the auger swung out to transfer the grain.  Fairly small wagon too, not like some of the huge combines that are followed around the field by a second tractor pulling a big wagon, and a transport truck waiting at the end, with the large custom operations!

The auger transfers the grain quickly, and he headed back down the field.  You can see a bit of the head of the combine on the right.

 Inadvertent shadow self-portrait.

On a different field, where the wheat was harvested a week or two ago, I saw this enormous outfit.  I stopped to get a picture, and guess who pulled up beside me - the farmer!  We had an interesting chat about the equipment and their operation - obviously a big one!

At first glance this looks like the epitome of industrial agriculture.  I'm torn two ways when I see equipment this size.  One of the nicest things about living here is the availability of local food direct from farmers, but increasingly farmland is selling for a good price as world crop prices rise.  We do need to feed people.

Once I looked closely, I realized the investment these farmers had put into their operation.  The wide tracks on this tractor minimizes any rutting in the field, though you hardly ever see this style of tractor here.

And the huge wide tires on the manure tanks do likewise.  The liquid manure system didn't smell, and with enough storage is a way to ensure that the manure gets applied when it should, just before a crop is planted which will use up the nitrogen, which is the case here.  Personally I think liquid manure is a better choice than a heavy dose of artificial fertilizers.

A day or two later the farmers were back with a different outfit, this time a huge chisel plough, getting the field ready for planting - probably winter wheat or a cover crop.

Behind the chisel plough (designed to minimize erosion), came the rollers.  What a change from the days when it might take a few weeks with a horse-drawn plough to prepare the fields on this farm.  With this outfit it probably only took 2 or 3 hours.

Whatever you think of modern industrial agriculture, I come down on the side of respecting the farmer himself (usually it's a him doing the field work) for the work he does.  I enjoyed meeting the farmer in this case, and will now watch these fields with a bit more interest, and perhaps try to have some conversations with other farmers in the area.

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