Sunday, May 16, 2021

A Baltimore Oriole!


Early this morning Mrs. F.G. walked into the living room and saw a Baltimore Oriole at the feeder, sitting on one of the orange halves she had put out yesterday.  She quickly came back into the bedroom and asked for my phone.  Quickly she snapped a few pictures.  Here are the best three.

We watch for these every year at this time, about the middle of May.  They stay around for about three weeks usually.  After that they are being very quiet and hard to see while they are nesting.  They hurry back south too, before there's any risk of cold weather.

It had it's head in the orange most of the time, though it didn't stay very long.

The orioles are a highlight of the summer for us; we really enjoy seeing them.  Now summer is really here.

The plants have shot up and the leaves have unfolded in just the past three days of warmth, and it's supposed to be staying warm or even warmer all week!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Backyard in May

I think it's time to update you on the horticultural explosion happening in our back yard.  It's still almost all green, but there's lots happening and still to happen.  Mrs. F.G. is like an orchestra conductor for a piece with a very long slow introduction.  She knows what happening but the rest of us won't appreciate it until it's here!

The Leopard's Bane is the one flower that has burst into bloom and it's a beautiful bright yellow.

Before I even got off the deck though, there's this one little row of tiny leaves that is the beginning of our lettuce crop.

Down below I can see a patch of Christmas Ferns unfolding, their still fuzzy fronds covered in little white hairs, some of last year's leaves showing in the foreground.

Down below there are new 15 Day Lilies coming up, five new Peonies that will be in bloom soon and several other plants.  But in between are the still unseen beauties, since Mrs. F.G. has scattered seed in many spots.  I'm not sure what I'll see, but it will be interesting to watch this garden grow!

This looks like just a dead straight twig, right?  But no, it's a twig pruned from a Redbud tree, and stuck in the ground, and it appears to have taken.  We may have 2 or 3 new young Redbuds!

These are two of the five new Peonies planted as rootstock last fall, and as you can see it looks like they'll each have two nice big blooms.

I'll leave you with the golf course view from below, but there's one more bit of news.  The Orioles are back!  I heard them before I saw one, and they stayed up in the trees, but you could see their bright orange colour.  With some fresh oranges out we hope they come to the feeder soon.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Tree Flowers on a Gorgeous Day

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day and I finally got out for a ride.  Headed around a few blocks and actually spent more time stopped talking than riding I think!  But I was fascinated, as I am every year at this time, with the bright green new leaves just starting, and a number if trees in flower.  

This is one of the nice big Sugar Maples, just around the corner.  It seems to grow its leaves earlier than any other Sugar Maple around.

Its leaves were growing well, and soaking up the afternoon sunshine.

Nearby was a Crimson King Maple (a variety of Norway Maple that actually looks red), just in flower.

And down the street some Sugar Maple flowers, low enough to be photographed.

Down 2 or 3 blocks I found this Norway Maple with bright green leaves.

And around the corner another Crimson King Maple, this one in leaf.

Finally I was just fascinated with the branch pattern here, all convoluted and a little spooky.  Hope you enjoyed my fascination with trees leaves and flowers!

It's an even nicer day here today, probably going up to 20°C this afternoon, so I'm headed out on another ride soon.  See you tomorrow.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Driving Home

 We continued our afternoon drive, after passing those high-density apple orchards 3 weeks ago now, and I caught what photos I could to keep you amused.  I'm sure you've seen some of these views before, but equally I know you don't mind the repetition, so enjoy.

We headed west past the Beaver River first.

A few trees were looking like spring; the bright green here were probably flowers rather than leaves, just like the two Norway Maples here at home.

There's one more orchard as you go up the hill out of the valley, traditional style but well pruned.  This location half-way up the long hill is probably good for cold air drainage, but the soil isn't as good as the sandy glacial deposits down on the flat land where high-density orchards have been put in.

Over the crest of the hill we passed what we call the 'ugly house', completely white and totally out of place in a rural farm landscape.

Further along is this striking house, a bit too modern for my taste, but with a spectacular view.  I don't like black houses, but at least this doesn't stand out like a white one would!

Sorry for the car mirror protruding into the photo, but this is a Black Locust fencerow.  With their thorny branches these were recommended as fencerows decades ago and there are still a few of them around.

And this is a poor picture of a brand new fencerow, recently planted with evergreens.

And an older fencerow that I've watched since it was planted about 20 years ago.  This one is specifically designed as a snow fence along one if the worst winter stretches of Grey Road 7, high on top of the escarpment.

Soon it was over the hill and down into Meaford, a hazy view of the bay greeting us.

It's been seed planting day here.  Mrs. F.G has been outside much of the morning planting beans, and cucumbers in our new veggie bed.  Here's hoping we'll get a good crop.  There's already a thin row of tiny arugula leaves showing up in one of the planters out back.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

International Nursing Week

Today is International Nurses Day, a day we celebrate the enormous contribution that nurses have made to our health.  And in this year of the pandemic that needs no explanation!  Here in Canada it's National Nursing week, and all of this is built around Florence Nightingale's birthday, May 12th.  I won't tell you who else is born that day, but May babies have made an enormous contribution to the world!

I would personally expand the thanks and recognition well beyond Registered Nurses to include nursing aides, paramedics and all those others who give us the care we need - including my favourites, PSWs or Personal Support Workers.  I sometimes think that home care workers make a bigger contribution than anyone else simply because they keep so many people out of the hospitals, living at home.

So join with me in thanking all those nurses for what they've always done, and especially the incredible care they've provided over the past year!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Apple Orchards

Apple orchards around here are busiest in the fall of course, but there is quite a bit of work to do in the spring.  Traditional orchards need to be pruned, usually in earlier spring, and the new high density orchards need to be checked and if needed retied to be ready for those apples!  A couple of weeks ago we went for drive past a few of those orchards; here's what we found.

In this orchard the last remaining rows of traditional apple trees were being cleared out, in preparation for a final transition to high density plantings.

That barn is not looking too  good!

Right  beside this were all the new rows, complete with a windmill for frosty nights.

These tiny trees appear to be twisted around the supports in places.

And a few rows have bird covers available, nets that are unrolled later in the summer.  We're wondering if these rows might be cherry or plum trees rather than apple trees.

And at the end of that orchard came an area that is so new it doesn't have the apple trees yet, just all the stakes and supports to hold them when they are planted!

A short distance down the road is another orchard where a crew was out in the field tying up the trees.  These younger trees appeared to have horizontal metal spacers for some purpose, and look how close together they are.

The rows are all set at predetermined spacing to fit the equipment that is driven down between to pick up the apples.

And all of these orchards have high densely-wired fencing that is deer-proof.  So many up-front costs for such a long-term return.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Around the Neighbourhood

It was actually warm enough for me to get out and enjoy a brief ride up and down the street yesterday, though I certainly wouldn't say it was warm!  I spent most of my hour out in the fresh air sitting in the garage, in the shelter from the cold lake breeze, but mostly in the sun.

One neighbour has a beautiful Serviceberry which is now in full bloom.  Wonderful light lacy appearance to the flowers.  Serviceberries are relatively unusual as ornamental shrubs, but this one looks great!

Some Spirea shrubs are coming into reddish yellow leaves and looking bright in the afternoon sun.

One house has an ornamental pear tree.

And my favourite of the neighbourhood spring flowers, the Dandelion.  This patch is on one of only two spots left which have a good showing.  On most other lawns the herbicides have wiped them out, but I was glad to see they were creeping back on a few of those spots.

Down at the end of the cul-de-sac this big yellow monster was sitting; only two more foundations to dig, though I haven't yet met the folks who have moved into the last three houses built last year.

The golf course out back is getting its annual spring mowing.  They mow the fairways regularly of course, but 3 or 4 times a year they mow all the longer grass in between; this one is getting rid of the Dandelions.

I am picking up on two future topics for presentations, one perhaps on the Bruce Trail through the Valley (thanks Woody) and one on tree ID (thanks Kathy).  Starting to plan which pictures I have and which ones I'd need, so the first will come next, the second one on trees will have to be a long term project.