Saturday, August 31, 2013

Water Droplets in the Schmir

It was another misty, rain-saturated morning here, with fine drizzle or 'schmir' on and off all morning.  But I found some amazing patterns of water droplets on certain plants.

Clematis blooms.

Purple Smoke Bush.

 Clover in the lawn.

 Yellow Smoke bush.

A grass.

Some plant seem to hold the water droplets on the surface just waiting to be photographed, but many don't.  It must be some type of waxy coating that account for the plants where the water droplets are so obvious.  Also caught some cobwebs, and wide blades of day lily leaves - but they might be for another day.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Crocosmia hiding behind the fence

I like the beautiful crocosmia flower for both it's bright red flowers, and the brilliant green long spiky leaves.  So I was glad when we got a couple for the garden.  We planted it against the fence, where we thought it would show up well - but the plants beside it exploded in growth and have rather overwhelmed it.  The result was that most of the red blooms showed up through the fence on the backside of the garden!

 We've also got one orange version of this plant, with these two flowers in bloom right beside each other.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013


The other evening there was a beautiful sunset here.  I was just getting home from walking the dog when I noticed the white wisps of cloud showing some pink.  I grabbed the camera and tripod and headed out back to where I could get a clear view.  For the next 15 minutes I just clicked away as the sunset spread across the entire sky, and then gradually faded away to the west.

This was about as bright as it got.

It started with a view to the north.

 And then I realized the sky to the south was pink too.

 Large streaks of pink cloud to the southwest.

 The sky gets darker and the sunset starts to fade.


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tree Seeds

I was walking a stretch of the Bruce Trail yesterday, along an old fencerow, when I started noticing the tree seeds.  Fencerows often have several different species of trees, so I was quickly able to find at least five different ones with visible seeds that I could photograph.  You may not have seen all these, so have a look.  These are all more signs of the seasons - but perhaps signs that I've been neglecting, we take them so for granted.

Mountain Ash berries are perhaps the brightest and most obvious.  Birds love them, and I've seen flocks of robins or cedar waxwings descend on a tree and eat every last berry.

This is one you may not be familiar with, the Hop Hornbeam, one of the trees known as ironwood.  Like the next two below, the seeds are usually so high in the tree that we can't see them.

Basswood has round seeds attached to a small linear leaf which acts as a parachute when it falls off, hopefully carrying the seed out of the shade of the parent tree to a spot where it can germinate.

You probably recognize cherries, but it's not often that black cherries are close enough to the ground so that you can get a picture.  And the wood of black cherry is perhaps the most valuable hardwood here in southern Ontario.

Finally of course there are wild apples, spread everywhere it seems in unused corners of fields and fencerows, perhaps by deer or squirrels.  If you're lucky, one of these trees may have some quite good apples for making jelly, if not for eating.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Misty Morning

We woke to heavy mist out in the world around us, the landscape a ghostly apparition hidden in the fog.  It looked like a fall morning - as fall arrives we get heavier dew and often those misty cold mornings.  Though it's still just late summer; when I went outside it was actually quite warm.

Even by the time I returned from walking the dog the mist was lifting.  The sun rose, warming the air, 'til it reached some magic tamperature, and then magically the mist disappears.

A bit of a celebration is in order for my blogging today - this is my 300th post on this blog, I just passed 20,000 pageviews, and I had the highest number of visitors ever today, 157!  Cheers!  Thank you all for such great encouragement!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

August Weeds of the Damp Meadows

There are two very different weeds compared to those I posted on Friday, that I like at this time of year.  They're both common, and they grow in the damp meadows like on a floodplain, or where there's high moisture in the soil - but not in real wetlands, unlike last Friday's 'weeds', which all grow in dry, gravelly roadsides and slopes.  The first of these is the bright yellow Elecampane, and the second is Joe-Pye Weed.

Elecampane, Inula helenium, in my experience is a large tall plant, usually so tall you can't look down on the flowers to get a picture like this - unless you get out your step ladder!  It's sunflower-like, but with very thin rays extending out from the orangey-yellow centre.   Really quite pretty as a 'weed'.

This is the way I usually see it from the roadside.  Because it's 5-6 feet tall, you're looking at the side of the blooms - but I've seen large patches of meadow down by the river painted in these bright yellow flowers.

It has huge lower leaves, in fact about the biggest of any plant around here.  The leaves can be mistaken for burdock, but these are larger, and longer rather than oval.  We have a small patch of these in a damp corner of our own meadow, where they bloom in mid-August.
One of my other favourites at this time of year is Joe-Pye-Weed, which has very bright pink flowers, and again I find this typically growing on the floodplain down by the river, often in large patches of pink, glimpsed through the trees.

It's not as tall as Elecampane, but still a tall plant, usually 3-4 feet, and it's notable for the leaves which appear in a whorl of 4-5 around the stem, making it easy to identify.  This is Spotted Joe-Pye-Weed, Eupatorium maculatum, identifiable by the purple spotted stem according to the flower guide.  Two more signs of late summer and fall soon to arrive!

Linking to Macro Monday:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reflections in the Pond

We once had a pond on our own property, and I always enjoyed wandering the edges, looking for frogs, birds, bugs, and whatever.  And I watched it change over the seasons, the water level going up and down, the pond freezing and unfreezing.  We had a chance to walk around a large pond recently, and caught some reflections which I liked, so here they are; hope you enjoy them.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Markdale Fall Fair

Again this year we went to the Markdale Fall Fair today, and my favourite part was the horse show.  We explored the displays of flowers, veggies, and numerous crafts, watched the calf showmanship classes, and then spent some time watching the heavy horses.  Here are a few of my favourites.

This class had 3 teams and wagons in it, from the left a team of Belgians, then the Clydedales, and on the right, the Percherons.  They're all amazing pairs of matching horses.

They ride around the ring twice, and then walk once.  To appreciate this picture you have to pretend you can here the thundering hooves as they come down the straightaway straight at you.  I could watch and listen to it forever.

This team in a separate event was driven by an 8 year old girl, with a little guidance, just learning the reins so to speak.

I find the photography more difficult than you'd think when the horses are moving past at a good clip.  I was very lucky to get this one as they trotted past, and keep both horses in the frame, but it's my favourite photo.

This is the team of Clydesdales in the event, such magnificent horses, all done up with some pretty fancy harness and a nice wagon too!

A closer look at these two.

And their feet - I love the Clydesdales feet!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Late Summer in the Meadow - Weeds

Late summer is revealed not just in the garden, but in the meadow, roadsides and ditches too, where Queen Anne's Lace and other weeds dominate.  They mark the changing seasons in many places I go exploring.

I have to give credit to Fred, of 'Fragments from Floyd', for the idea of shooting Queen Anne's Lace from underneath.  It makes a striking, beautiful picture this way to me, etched against the sky.  Fred posted a picture like this a few weeks ago and I thought it was so great I immediately went out and shot my own - and it worked!

Chicory is a tough, wiry plant of the roadsides, but I just like the beautiful light blue colour, and this 'weed' is one that opens with the light of dawn and turns toward the sun to welcome the day.  Smart plant I always figure.

Spotted Knapweed is another story, a genuine weed.  It's tough and wiry, infests old fields, is hard to walk through, and hard to get rid of - all the while it masquerades as a pretty pink flower.  And it's everywhere along the roads here.

White Sweet Clover is another August plant, growing 4 or 5 feet tall, but with tiny little blooms.  There's a yellow version too.  Another tough plant, with long roots that reach deep into the soil.

Mullein is a great plant, that grows a rozette of huge fuzzy leaves one year, and then sends up a tall flower stalk as high as 6 feet, late in the summer of its second year (it's a biennial).  It pops up in the strangest places, like back corners of our garden.  But I always think it deserves the chance to finish blooming once it's spent a whole year growing those leaves.

Evening primrose is another tough weed.  In a university botany class we had to gather seeds of a plant we chose and grow them, creating a scientific experiment.  It was really an exercise in how to use the greenhouse and how to lay out an experiment rather than anything to do with the plant we chose - but I chose this one, my one and only time growing anything in a greenhouse.

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