Wednesday, March 29, 2023

More Rural Countryside

After leaving the marsh we drove east and then north, passing through both Copper Kettle and Wolseley, before we got to Kemble.  It was a nice drive through a mix of country past pastures, woodlots and wetlands and a few crop fields. 

Woodlots have a special appearance to them at this point in the season, just half the snow melted - this is the woodlot of maple syrup season!

Another small rural church now converted to a residence by the looks of it.

And a creek now overflowing slightly with the spring runoff, and charging along fast!

We got to the village of Kemble, headquarters of the maple syrup festival this weekend, and turned south to stop at the Kemble Women's Institute Lookout.  A sapling interrupted the view, but still it was amazing as always on a sunny day.

Mrs. F.G. kindly got out of the van and took a few shots for me.  This is the monument to celebrate the local Women's Institute, the oldest continuously operating such group in the world.  Quite appropriately it's a table set for tea.

She liked the juxtaposition of the cedar rail fence on top of the line of boulders, and she thought this strange shape in one of the rocks looked like lips.

Can you see that thin sliver of an island on the horizon?  That is Christian Island, 55 miles away!  The atmosphere is certainly clear today!  And as you can tell in these pictures, the late March light is glaring.

And right across the road, the big manure pile is still there.

Monday, March 27, 2023

A Spring Sunday Afternoon Drive - Camera Success!

Yesterday was a glorious sunny day so we got out for a long Sunday afternoon drive, heading west on Hwy. 26 through Owen Sound to Shallow Lake.  After that we hit the back roads up through the marsh and eventually back to Owen Sound.  

But the challenge for me was taking my larger, heavier Nikon camera which I was unable to even hold after arriving home from the hospital five years ago.  I wanted to try and see if I could manage to use it for taking pictures from the car rather than using my cell phone camera.

We first drove the highway to Owen Sound, down and back up through the valley of Keefer Creek and then down into Owen Sound itself.

It was very much an early spring landscape, with the snow melting, the creeks overflowing and the willows looking bright yellow.

After stopping at our favourite Tim`s in Owen Sound to pick up lunch, we soon found the marsh.  It proved to be still mostly frozen, so not many waterfowl to be seen.

The edges were shrubby and had more open water.  We spotted what looked like a Beaver lodge of chewed sticks.

We did spot one pair of Canada Geese, checking out the marsh for possible nesting sites.  Canada Geese are normally paired off by now, and you see them on scattered still frozen ponds or wetlands well before nesting is possible.  It`s quite fun to see them fly in and skid across the ice as they try to stop!

Leaving the marsh behind, we wandered north and then east.  This is an old small church, still in operation I believe as the Shouldice United Church.

Regular patterns of tree trunk shadows across the road as we drove east.

I`ve judged my camera challenge as a success.  I was able to hold it and shoot pictures from the moving car quite easily.  The zoom function is SO much easier to use than with my cellphone.  And the big advantage, I can later crop the pictures much more effectively.  I have found that my current Samsung phone has an amazing zoom, but if you then try to crop any pictures, they are blurry..  Cropping yields much better results with my Nikon.  We shall do some more testing over the coming months.  This is a big step forward in photography for me.

This being said, I find that the light in late March is very bright, providing a lot of glare and giving your pictures a slightly over-exposed feeling, even after editing.

And when we got home, what had appeared but the first green shoots of our tiny Iris and a few Daffodils!  Yea! Spring is here!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Freezing Rain

We had a brief bout of freezing rain today, but the temperature was rising rather than falling so it wasn't too serious.  Thin ice on branches and a few inch-long icicles have all melted now, 4 hours later.  Another illustration of our fickle up-and-down spring weather.

On the Redbud right outside the window, and ...

on a distant Sugar Maple.  Never know when it's spring weather we're talking about!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Spring is fickle!

Weather in this early spring is definitely fickle!  It is sunny and warm one day and we get snow the next, sometimes lots of snow.  Looking back through old photos I came across this pair of pictures I really like that says it exactly.  These are taken at our old house, on the first day of spring and the day after that year.  They are both panoramas, which distorts the perspective slightly toward the outside edges.

The two photos are less than 24 hours apart.  We thought the snow had all gone, and then there it was, back again.  And that light snowfall was followed by a good deal more later that week!  Spring is always like that, coming in fits and starts.  You can see the shed I built to the right, and the pines I planted on the left.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Four Springs We Enjoy Here

Monday was the first 'official' day of spring and I wondered what to write.  But here it seems far too artificial a date to choose for spring 'arriving'.  If you look it up, Mar. 20th or 21st of March is astronomical spring, when the March equinox occurs, though there aren't many (any?) signs of green outside yet.  Weather forecasters, who always want to be different, pick March 1st as meteorological spring, which I understand, but can't see the value in.

So I started back through some of my blog posts over the past 10 years to see what and when I had written about spring.  And here's what I think.

Late March and April is sort of hydrological spring, or snowmelt spring.  And I found lots of evidence of snowmelt, temporary ponds and roaring waterfalls for evidence.

Eugenia Falls the year of severe early spring floods in the valley.  The water rose so high in Lake Eugenia that they opened the gates of the dam and let a deluge out over the falls and down the valley, flooding several homes and closing roads.

That flood covered the golf course at the old Talisman ski club.  This is where the local municipality wants to approve a new subdivision!  How short the memories!

And in our own back yard at the previous house we had a small pond that year.  Never before or after did we see water accumulating like this.  There's a path I used to mow right through the middle of that water!

So late March and early April are certainly the months when the snow melts, the streams refill, the groundwater is replenished and the waterfalls roar - sounds like 'hydrological' spring to me.  As for greenery, that's still a long way off, though a few early spring flowers like Snowdrops, Aconite and Skunk Cabbage do show up to provide advance promises of what's to come.  It's in May that the world turns green here, quite suddenly it always seems to me.

Early May in the woods, when there's a sheen of green across the ground but the tree leaves are still in hiding.  The beginning of that magical ephemeral spring wildflower season, in three weeks the woods will be a very different place.

And here it is three weeks later, the woods looks green and the shade is beginning to fill in.

Accompanied by Trilliums galore - if you know where to look.  At the end of May the risk of frost is over here on the southern shores of Georgian Bay and tomatoes can be planted.  May is truly our biological spring.  Right now that's just a promise in the future, but the snow is melting fast today, so that's encouraging.

So there you have it, my musings on the arrival of spring.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Cheerio Disaster!

It happened after breakfast, when I thought I might try and be helpful.  We had almost finished the box of Cheerios so I thought I'd get the next one open and ready for tomorrow.  Little did I think I'd make a mess of it.  I got the box open ok, but then the box tipped forward and half the Cheerios spilled out onto the floor!  What a mess, and I was helpless.

I had to call Mrs. F.G. who laughed, took a picture or two for posterity, and then went to get a broom.  We were still digging individual Cheerios out from under my feet at physio after lunch!

Here I am amidst the mess, hanging my head in shame.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Sunny Warm Day

It was an astonishingly warm sunny day here yesterday, just enough to remind me that spring is indeed coming - though today it is raining.  I got outside pronto and rode up and down our street 3 times, and even went around another block once.  Then I sat in the sun and enjoyed the warmth, can you believe it!  It reached 9°C!

Returning toward the house on one of those loops I opened my eyes enough to see the spectacular sky!  Mind you it was really difficult to get a decent picture with my phone.

Today I'm watching the green area in our front yard steadily grow and hoping it will grow even faster.  I can't wait for those warm dry spring days to get here so I can go riding about.  'Official' spring will arrive next Tuesday, and after that daytime highs look like they will remain above freezing, or even get warm again, but we have to live through a couple of cold days this weekend first.