Saturday, October 22, 2016


The weather forecast called for 'graupel'!  I had never even heard of it before, but it turns out to be your typical late fall wet snow.  The weather folks who make up this stuff call it a cross between snow and hail, sort of like mushy hail, or splatty rain.  All I know is that you can see the tiny white bits in the air, and it splats wetly on my windshield.

But first, a few barns.  As I drive around the rural roads seeking pictures of fall colours, it's inevitable that a few of my pix will capture a barn or two.  They add a nice point of interest, and are set off nicely by a few fall colours.

This was my initial view; the one above was the picture I like best.

And without moving, but looking in a different direction, another barn.  This was a couple of weeks ago, so the fall colours were just starting; now they're almost over.

I really enjoy just driving down rural roads that I'm familiar with.  I know what farmsteads are coming next, what views to expect, and often, what was growing in the fields this year.

This barn, just south of the village of Kimberley, is no longer in use I don't think, but it was owned by an older friend of mine 30 years ago, and housed his small herd of cattle.  Just southwest of Old Baldy.

Roads provide lots of nice fall colour view themselves, especially when they disappear around a bend or over a hill like this.

And this is the hill - Sideroad 7 northwest of Kimberley.  Drove both directions down here and back last week when I was out leading a walk.

Today the leaves are well on their way to disappearing, except for this bright yellow Tulip Tree in our yard.  The forecast was for 3 days of rain, but we missed much of it because the very cold arctic air came marching south across the Great lakes and pushed that warm moist air moving up from the south away from us.  It stayed mostly dry here yesterday.

But then that arctic air got set up over southern Ontario, and brought frigid air straight down out of the north.  As it crossed Lake Huron and Georgian Bay it picked up moisture off the relatively warm water, and turned it into snow at high altitudes.  Down came the snow, turning to 'graupel' as it moved through the warm lower air.  And we ended up with one of those changeable fall days alternating between dark gray clouds and patches of blue sky, periods of rain and 'graupel' when the clouds were heaviest.

Can you see a few tiny bits of white in the photo above?  The warmer lined pants have come out of the closet, the winter coat has been retrieved from the basement, and it's hat and glove weather now.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Woodstock Fleece Festival

Last Saturday we drove down to Woodstock with friends to check out the Woodstock Fleece Festival.  It's a mecca for weavers, spinners, knitters and other crafty types, as well as a few avant garde quilters who are moving beyond traditional quilting into fibre art.  Mrs. F.G. fits that last group and she came home inspired to try more new and different techniques.  There were several groups of animals, as well as just about any supplies and tools you might need for pursuing your fibre art interests.

A couple of different farms had Alpacas there, Alpaca wool being prized for knitting.  Take a close look at their faces so you can compare them to the Llama below.

There were two or three Llamas, including this 17 year old male, who was trained as a pack animal.  You can't ride a Llama because of the way their spine is built, but they can carry packs slung over their back.  And they too have prized wool for knitting, but a head that is quite different from that of an Alpaca.

The sheep seemed like an afterthought to me - almost as if sheep wool was rather passe in the fibre art world.  Getting pictures of any of the animals was challenging, as they were all in a barn that was very dark and poorly lit.

And with sheep, you might be interested in sheepdogs.  I believe this is a Great Pyrenees, a great sheep guard-dog.

As well as the animals there were tools, from tiny puncture needles to spinning wheels and looms.  This is a rather modern looking spinning wheel.  And the man using it was presumably  invading this field traditionally dominated by women.

An interesting small loom being demonstrated.

And wool - did I mention this was a fleece festival?  There were all stages of wool, from still on the sheep through bags and bags of rovings all the way to brightly dyed woolen threads.  Of course, it was the bright colours that attracted me.  To be honest, the vendor area was so crowded and busy that I found it very distracting, so you have to take this photo as representative of a lot of different vendors of lotsa different stuff!

Linking to:


This is the time of year when I actually the see the sunrises, because the sun rises so late!  It's not above the horizon here until nearly 8 a.m.  We had a couple of nice morning skies last week.

The first looked really promising, with widespread cloud cover, but then it was as if someone just shut the door!

The second faded to a blue sky, but the sun is rising right between those trees these days.  In a month it will be rising far to the right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fences in the Fall

A number of the fall colour shots I've taken have included fences in the foreground, so here's a selection of more recent photos.  If you're getting tired of fall colour, I'll be on to something else at least for a day or two tomorrow.

And this one is just to prove that we don't always have nice sunny days in the valley, though those are the best ones for getting fall colour shots.

If you look closely there is an old stone fencerow under that line of trees.

And this one is just a favourite road.  Got out for the longest hike in some years today, 6 km, which is a bit more than enough for me, but I'm building up my stamina.  It was the perfect fall hiking day, cool but warm enough and sunny.  Busy night tonight, turkey supper at the church.  Mrs. F.G. is already there, having peeled and cooked 10 lbs. of potatoes.  We all try to do our share.

Linking to:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Old Baldy

I cancelled our photography group outing to Old Baldy when a heavy downpour came over an hour beforehand.  But once the rain had passed I told the group I'd be there in case anyone showed up, and one person did.  By then the rain had long gone, so we enjoyed a nice walk out to the cliff, and two more members of the group caught up to us a little later.  The view was spectacular!

I think this was the best fall colour I've ever seen from the cliffs of Old Baldy.  It was a bit hazy in the distance, but the bright Sugar Maples were everywhere.

We started in on the Bruce Trail, and initially when we stepped into the woods the atmosphere was all yellow.  The golden canopy filled the atmosphere with a gentle glow.

But as we proceeded down the trail, the woods turned green again.  The edges of the woods had turned mostly yellow, but the interior was still mostly green.

Lots of plants on the ground, including these now frosted Bracken Ferns as we got close to the cliff.
And then we emerged at the first viewpoint, and had a look over the valley.  The village of Kimberley is in the centre of the picture, the old slopes of Talisman on the upper right.

To get a view down to the south of the valley, you have to cross some jumbled rocks out to a 'flowerpot' of limestone, the most visible tall cliffs in the area.  You get a neat view through the big 'V' of rock, but I've had quite a few people who were too nervous to follow me here.

No problem today; we got out to the top of the open flowerpot and enjoyed the spectacular view south down the valley.  We live above the valley on the upper right of the horizon.  There is far more forest cover in the valley than there was 50 years ago, but a few bright green fields mark where farmers still harvest hay.

The sun was coming and going (mostly going), but we got a few pictures with the trees lit by the afternoon sun.

Then we headed back down the trail through the now very yellow woods.

With the crunching leaves underfoot.

From a downpour an hour earlier, it turned into a memorable view of the valley, well worth the walk.

Monday, October 17, 2016

More Fall Colour

That trip to the 'North Woods' was two weeks ago now - time flies!  Here in the valley we're surrounded by almost fluorescent orange with highlights of yellow and red.  It's the Sugar Maples that provide the most and brightest colours; this year seems to be just amazing!  Many of the White Ash trees that turned yellow first have now lost their leaves, but the maples provide the peak colour.

I never know what sort of picture captures the atmosphere of the fall colour in the valley best.  I start with the broad landscape, here Old Baldy above, and Kimberley Forest, below.

Then I drive the rural roads, looking for shots that capture those lines of Sugar Maples that add so much colour.

Sometimes there are individual trees that stand out brightly.

Or the tops of individual trees, like this one that always seems to turn particularly red!

How's this for a bright red patch of leaves!

Sometimes it's a smaller portion of a tree, with a patch or several of leaves and the black trunks in the background.  Actually I think of all the pictures I like this the best.

And sometimes it's close-ups of only a few leaves - all of these right here in our yard, a Red Maple, Staghorn Sumach, and Burning Bush.  I could take pictures of fall colour forever, but it will all be over all too soon.  And none of these capture the essential atmosphere of being here.  It's as if the colour saturates the air itself!  Hope you're enjoying fall where you are.