Friday, September 18, 2020

More Signs of Fall

 I have two days left to accumulate mileage for the Hospital 5k Run, so I've been out riding lots.  And I'm seeing a few more signs of fall as I go.  But it's the temperature that really tells the story; the gloves have come out of my pockets more than once, and it's a jacket for every ride now.

Right here at home the Geraniums and Petunias have been replaced by Mums, Brown-eyed Susans, Pumpkins and some bright paper flowers.

I've only seen one other fall decoration in the neighbourhood though. 

A few more trees are showing light touches of orange colour.

And the Mountain Ash berries look ripe, though it's a very thin crop this year compared to last year.

I saw this large unused crop of fallen pears in a front yard.

I really liked this combination of yellow and purple at a friend's house - Brown-eyed Susans and Amaranth.

Those Amaranth leaves were looking really red!  Sunny but cold today, I'm headed out for my ride later.  As you can tell, the new Blogger is still having trouble with spacing!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Chasing Keefer Creek

You may remember the valley of Keefer Creek that we drive across when we drive to Owen Sound.  I have been under the impression that the tiny streams we see there, that represent the beginnings of Keefer Creek, emerge from springs around the hills south of the highway (to the left below).  The rock cuts that we go through at either end of the valley tell me that the entire valley is indeed below the escarpment.  However a friend here mentioned to me that the creek actually flows above the escarpment ridge before dropping down into the valley, and there might be sinkholes involved, so we went exploring.


Keefer Creek valley as you drive along Hwy.26.

This is one of the three tiny creeks that we see crossing the highway.  I've been thinking that they emerged from tiny little springs to the south.

But when we went exploring, this is what we found, Keefer Creek flowing above the escarpment west of the valley!  And it's not just a tiny stream.

The stream was bordered here by a dense growth of Knapweed, Queen Anne's Lace and some Milkweed.

And across the road a dense growth of Joe-pye Weed, the first I've been able to get a close picture of this year.

We drove on down the road, bordered by trees and fields.

Passing these wild Brown-eyed Susans behind a chained off field entrance.

And then we came to Keefer Creek Farm!  This I was not expecting, but checking the air photos on Google Maps later I saw the creek, which does appear to have its origin in the front field of this farm.  I wonder which came first, the name of the farm or the creek?

There wasn't much view of the farm available though.

So we drove down the road to a corner, just to see where it went, and passed both these bright Sweet Peas at the end of one drive, and these beehives in a corner of a hayfield.  (The road goes to two long dead ends in a swamp).

As we got back near the highway I got a view of the creek as it disappeared into the woods on the east side of the road.  So this creek must either tumble over the edge and down the slope, or vanish into a sinkhole and emerge as a spring lower down.  Based on my exploring I think the sinkhole is much the more likely option, but it's hidden somewhere back in the bush.

And I'm sure you remember the reason for my interest in Keefer Creek.  Yes, it's Keefer Falls several miles downstream where it falls over a lower level of the escarpment, the Manitoulin Formation.  Note the icicles still remaining in the shade of the rock; this was mid-April, 2016.

Much of Keefer Creek's drainage seems to be a mystery or a secret.  There is only one published reference to the falls, and it's in an out-of-the-way place where you have to know how to find it.  There is no public access, no conservation area.  And lists of the waterfalls around Owen Sound make no mention of it.  But it's a beautiful little waterfalls.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Friends' Garden

 Last Sunday afternoon we visited friends out in the country, friends who have a wonderful garden.  Like ourselves they are plant collectors, always interested in new plants for the garden.  And like us (previously), they work together on their garden, putting in a lot of work over the summer months!  This is another of those posts that features my love of bright colours.

Right along the edge of their driveway are these bright Marigolds and Petunias to greet you.  I was immediately drawn to them.

There was one pot of these dramatic black and blue Petunias too.  We were at the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK in 2011 when this Petunia variety was introduced to the gardening world.

There were big patches of bright yellow False Sunflowers in the back.  Their plants are actually organized with the shortest in front and tallest in behind.

This was an interesting blue Globe Thistle.

And this was a new one to us, but embarassingly, I can't remember its name!

Some nice Fall Anemones too.

They had a table out on the grass ready for us and another couple, with the most delicious blueberry cobbler and ice cream!  I looked down to see this frog looking up at me....

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Seasons Roll On

I'm back, and got the article with its immediate deadline done, sent off and approved for publication.  Sometime I'll adapt it for a blog post, but meanwhile I have several things to catch up on.  I'm still working on a couple of other pieces that need to evolve in my head and will take a good deal longer.  I will likely miss a few posts here.

today I want to reflect on the changing seasons.  I've never believed there were just four seasons, or that they start and end on the equinox and solstice as scheduled.  This year is just like all the others as we start moving into fall in early August and see the peak of the fall colours in early October.  More than half the fall season according to the planets is the desolate grey of November and early December.

To me, the yellow of the Goldenrod marks the coming of August, the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  I always watch for it's bright yellow blooms.  It always seems to arrive when summer is only half-way over!

Here around Meaford and Clarksburg the apple season is the biggest indicator of early fall once September arrives.  Apples are ripening on the trees and the big bins are ready for the harvest, largely picked by migrant workers.  This farm is switching to the big plastic bins from the old wooden ones.  We bought our first new apples of the season, some Early Gold and Zestars, just the other day.

Most birds have been out of sight the past 6 weeks, and many have already left for sunnier climes.  It's the quietest time of the entire year for birds.  I think I've only heard a single Nuthatch in the past two weeks, not even Blue Jays or Crows.  But the Ring-billed Gulls are back, gathering together on the golf course in early morning, presumably feeding on worms.  They are so dispersed during the day, I don't know where these al come from!

Not many butterflies left either, though the Monarchs are gathering to migrate, clusters of them on bushes over along the Lake Huron shore.  All these look bright orange and untattered, the most recent generation that has just emerged.

And finally, just the past week, the trees are starting to turn colour. Just small hints in these pictures, but we saw quite a few yellow leaves driving to Owen Sound and back yesterday.

Crops too are looking different.  The wheat is harvested and now only the soybeans and corn remain for this year.  Both are looking mature, and the beans are turning yellow.

Here at home the garden is nearing the end, but we're overwhelmed with tomatoes.  These will be the last though, and garden clean-up has begun.  Mrs. F.G. is progressing steadily with the new plantings and transplanting, with the help of our gardener who does the heavy work.  He should be arriving in about 20 minutes today.

The fall flowers are in bloom, the Brown-eyed Susans, the Butterfly Bush, the Echinacea and this gentle pink Fall Anemone, food for a foraging bee.

And pumpkins are for sale, including the occasional giant one here.  We have new front planters and 3 small pumpkins sitting out front.

It's supposed to be a nice day and I'm hoping the sun will peek through the light cloud cover a lot!  Good day to be out and about.  Hope your weekend goes well.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

A Brief Blogging Break

 I'm going to continue this blogging break for a few days as I'm busy writing.  I'm doing the final editing of an article on the geology of the Beaver Valley for the Bruce Trail magazine.  And I'm thinking out and organizing pictures for, a presentation on 'Waterfalls and Wildflowers of the Beaver Valley'.  Be back soon.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Challenge Updates, Sorting Files


My challenges have been going well.  In my run/walk for the Meaford Hospital I have accumulated 16.8 km. in 4 days, and I have until Sept. 19th to keep adding more.   I don't have much chance in that category though, a serious cyclist could do 100 km. in a single day.  I've also challenged my coffee buddies to sponsor me and we're doing quite well as they're all outbidding each other, pushing the total up, and they can all afford it!  The goal is to encourage donations to the Meaford Hospital.

The other challenge is the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain.  I'm now up to 104.9 km., which sounds great, but I need 780 to finish.  I still estimate it will take me a year and a half given that I can't ride in the winter.  (It's a 5-6 week walk in real life.)  But it's fun, and I've been surprised at how much these challenges, artificial as they are, do inspire me to get out there and keep moving - even if the chair does all the work.

I'm also learning very quickly where all the rough spots on the roads are, and which side of the street I should ride down!

Sorting Files

Have you given any thought (assuming you live with a partner) to how they would deal with banking, bills, insurance, etc. if you were to suddenly get seriously ill or drop dead tomorrow?  In my case it happened and we learned very quickly how difficult it was.  I was basically incapacitated for 7 months.

Mrs. F.G. was suddenly confronted with the need to pay bills, borrow money, deal with our savings, and keep on top of all the banking.  It was chaos for her at first.  Luckily we already had a financial advisor who she knew who she could turn to for help.  But she spent a lot of time just sorting out my messy files, and developed her own filing system to keep things straight.

So now we're combining our files and getting them clearly organized and labelled.  It will work for both of us, so that will be one thing off the list of pre-demise work to be done!

We had also experienced the sudden death of a good friend where his wife was suddenly and unexpectedly left to deal with everything.  She didn't even know the password to open up the computer.  It was a huge struggle for her, so we had already prepared a complete list of passwords and other critical information that Mrs. F.G. could refer to.  

We had also got Powers of Attorney for Personal Care signed so she could make the medical decisions on my behalf.  And I'm glad we did; she fought for me at every stage during those early months.  But we missed the Power of Attorney for Property.  We didn't think it was needed as we had everything in both our names.  But that isn't enough.  Particularly when it involves banks or the government you can't do the simplest bit of paper work on the other's behalf (like changing an address or paying a bill) without that authorization.

So:  - get your Powers of Attorney in place,
  - write out a list of passwords and important contacts,
  - organize your files!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Mrs. F.G. Shoots a Monarch

 We've had two Monarch butterflies fluttering around for days now, apparently newly hatched, for they are bright orange with no tattered wings.  They come to the Marigolds and Butterfly Bush to feed.  At this time of year they're np longer interested in the Milkweed; we presume this is the generation that migrates south.  Mrs. F.G. took the iphone the other day and captured some great shots!

I think this butterfly was much more interested in feeding than in the intruder!  I continue to be amazed at what the iphone can do, and Mrs. F.G. has these close-ups down to a fine art!

It was also feeding on the nearby Butterfly Bush.

Some weeks back when the Milkweed were in full bloom we had Monarch caterpillars on our plants.  We never saw them transform in a chrysallis, but now we're thinking that the two we have visiting may be from our own Milkweed.

In any case it's just stunningly beautiful!