Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Walters Falls

Last week our local photography group headed out to the village of Walters Falls for an outing, and our first stop was Walters Falls itself.  The member who organized this outing had promised to show us the way to get below the falls for pictures, which I had never done before, so I was looking forward to it.

Normally you can only get a picture of the falls from the side like this, as there is no viewpoint out in front of the falls.

But before we got there we started upstream at the old mill pond, where we were practicing photos in the early morning light conditions.

Then we worked our way around the only building from the old mill that is still standing, where you can get a view of the milldam, and the sluice that used to carry water to the mill.

Looking the other direction, the sluice carried the water out to the edge of the cliff where it powered the millwheels.  The black vertical pipe at the end is the pressure relief pipe, that prevented the pipe in the mill from bursting apart, by allowing excess water to surge upwards.  You can see the more recently built elevated walkway to the right of the pipe, where visitors can walk out to look down on the waterfalls.

But before we stopped there we headed down into the valley.  In spite of the 40-50 foot cliff around most of the falls, it turns out there is a path down a long incline to the stream in the valley.  Admittedly steep, but quite accessible - if you know where to find it.

Well, we got out in front of the falls, but unfortunately, after two days of very heavy rains, the river was running like a torrent, pouring over the falls, sending spray in all directions, and flooding the valley below.  We could neither get close because of the flooded stream, nor could we stay dry because of the spray.  But now I know the route down, so next time I'll be ready, and come when the flow is just a little less torrential!

Back on top we checked out the remnants of the old mill, and then went to look over the end of the railing.

Here you can look straight down on top of one half of Walters Falls.  Tomorrow, one of the last water-powered mills in Ontario, right here in Walters Falls.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Our World is Turning Colourful!

The red and orange colours have been just bursting out on the sugar maples here, turning the world an incredible mix of bright colours.  And to go with that, we're into our third straight week of sunny warm weather and bright blue skies.  The nicest fall I can remember in many years, perhaps ever.  I can't resist just posting a few more colourful pictures of trees around here.

There will be more - there is just so much beauty in the valley right now, the most brilliant and awe-inspiring of the seasons.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Clematis and Coneflowers

In recent weeks we've had an interesting assortment of coneflowers in several colours, and some beautiful late-blooming clematis, as well as the earlier ones in seed.

This is the most recently blooming clematis, which has suddenly burst into more bloom than ever before (it's been there 10 years), sprawled over the top of a metal trellis.  It's just bloomed over the last few days, well after our first frost.

Another one I noticed 2-3 weeks ago was trailing over the stone fencerow behind some taller flowers, where I hadn't spotted it at all until it come out in these bright white blossoms.

This is the seed head I like best, worth a series of pictures all on its own - maybe I'll try that.  It is very light and feathery, reminding me of Prairie Smoke.

And this is the flower, a couple of months ago, a pale yellow.  It's pretty, but it's our most invasive clematis, spreading like mad where it can get it's stem near the dirt.  This one is kept up on a trellis so it can't, but another identical plant I've had to partly eradicate because it was taking over a corner of the garden.

This is our newest clematis, the thick beautiful deep purple blooms I posted pictures of earlier in the summer, leading to these interesting seed heads.  This is it's very first year blooming.

The coneflowers are just about gone now, and certainly looking sad, but we've had lots over the past few weeks, especially the classic purple ones which seem to spread almost too readily.

But we've also got some nice red ones, and one patch of yellow flowers although this specimen was looking almost finished before I got to it with the camera.

And finally one patch of white coneflowers.

There will only be a few more flowers in the garden to show you this year, and the veggie garden is all harvested, weeded, manured, and ready for planting - the garlic in the next few days, the rest next spring.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Praying Mantis Season

It's the time of year when I typically find a few Praying Mantises around.  They are mating at this time of year, so they're out and about I guess.  I like to find them, because they are predatory insects, helping to keep the population of other insects under control.

The first one I found by chance in our meadow, just noticing it when I was walking by; it was bright green among some dried grasses.  They are really quite the characters when you look at them closely.

I had to lie down on the ground to get the photo, and then it crawled quickly from one stalk of grass to another away from me.

My wife spotted this one on the house just outside the back door the other day.  I like how it's shadow looks about as predatory as the insect itself!

Again, as I got close with the camera, it started crawling away, but just on the wall of the house.

Shortly turning in a half circle and heading downwards.  One of my favourite insect critters to find around the yard.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

September Skies and More Colour

I'm waiting for the bright red colours of the Sugar Maples, but in the meantime we've got some brilliant blue skies, warm temperatures and perfect September weather for tidying up the garden and finishing the last fall projects.  And I've been struck by the brilliance of the trees that are turning yellow around here.

Some of the trees around here actually look fluorescent against the bright blue skies - sorry about the hydro pole in this one, but I can't get spot remover to work properly.

This was the tree in our own backyard that got me noticing the yellow leaves - mostly on the White Ash like this one.  I was cleaning up the garden today, and when I passed this tree beyond the compost pile I looked up and it really did look fluorescent yellow.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

Perhaps this one captures the colour a bit better.

And this one illustrates why you should break the rule about never shooting into the light, especially when trying to capture the fall colour.

On my morning walk with the dog.

Over at the top of the ski club.

And this is more like what I'm looking forward to in a week or so - colours are changing very fast now, so I'll be back with more next week.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Early Fall Colour

Well, it's definitely fall here now, and we're getting a lot of leaves changing colour.  It starts down in the swamps with the soft maple, and spreads to the yellowy elms and ash and is starting to show flashes of red on the sugar maples.  In two more weeks it will be at its peak, so this is just the beginning of a big seasonal change.  I think the photos speak for themselves.