Saturday, September 23, 2017

The French River

I'm back from my pre-move break, a wonderful 5 days canoeing on the French River in northern Ontario with some old friends.  Weather was perfect,  Canoed more than I have in several years, and enjoyed both the history and the scenery along the route of the old voyageurs who headed west on this route in the 16 and 1700's.

The French River in northern Ontario is a land of rock and pine trees.  Mile after mile you're paddling down rocky channels, past a White Pine forest, or sometimes rugged individual White Pines against the sky like these.

This is the main route of the fur traders and explorers in Canada's early history, starting in the early 1600's.  It's a large cauldron of long narrow rocky channels like this that carry the French, Wanapetei and Pickerel Rivers out to Georgian Bay.  It's amazing to think you may be paddling along the same route that Samuel de Champlain travelled in 1615.

Our trip started at the Hartley Bay Marina, a well-organized place where cottagers, fishermen and canoeists leave their cars, and head into the French River Provincial Park.

We loaded up, paddled out of the marina, and headed west down the river.  I've paddled with this group of friends 9 times before, on trips ranging from here to the Burnside River in the Arctic, but I had to give up a few years ago because my health issues made the portaging impossible.  

But finally, this year, the rest of the group reached the point where they were also finding portaging difficult, and they decided to rent a cabin for the trip, and do day paddles out from there.  Suited me just fine, and so I could rejoin them!  And I hope to continue in the future.

We stayed at the French River Lodge, in two cabins we rented for the week.  With 7 people, I brought along my smaller single canoe, the little red one here.  This was luxury!  A fridge, stove, beds, and hot showers.  What more could you ask for?!

We settled in and caught up with our friends, planning where we would paddle over the next four days.  It was SO nice to be back with this group, spending time in the north with all that rock and pine trees!

I took enough pictures to keep the blog going for the next month, so you'll be seeing a bit of the French River over the next few days.  Far too busy to do much photography around here at home.

Meanwhile, it's summer.  It took til after the fall solstice for summer to finally arrive with a few actually hot days!  Personally I'd rather have the cooler days we were having back again.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Created Spaces

The past 6 months have been a marathon, ever since we decided to move, bought our future home, and sold this one.  So many decisions to make.  And so much to get rid of!  We have a lovely home, partly a log cabin I built myself with help from my son.  We have a lovely garden; you've seen pictures on this blog.  But I'm not going to miss any of that.

The part I'm going to miss is the 'created spaces' around our property, spaces that I've created by planting, trimming, and mowing over nearly two decades (most of it in the past 7 years).  This is my favourite spot, some big chairs under the old apple tree.  I'm the only one who ever sits out here.

You can look out across the lawn from under the shade of the trees in the fencerow toward the main flower garden.

And walking past it, you come to the wide path in front of the shed I built.  At that point the formal garden ends, and beyond it is the big compost pile.  I've done a lot of work walking back and forth through here, and I won't miss that part!
 
Heading on, I've created a network of mowed trails.  These were the best thing I did.  I'm not sure we'd ever walk through our meadow to the back of the property were it not for these trails.

And since I started the trees, shrubs and plants around them have grown so much.  It seems like a jungle out there some days.

Two trails on the other side of the property, looking out, and looking back towards the house.  I love these trails, but again, I'm the only one who uses them.  And I mainly use them when I mow them.  But it has made this entire informal part of our property seem like a special created space that belongs to me, the creator of it.

Our grandson (before they moved to B.C.) loved this trail the best.  Planting this double row of White Pines was one of the first things we did, in 1999.  They were 12" seedlings.  Now you can walk down between them and feel you're in a forest.  For our grandson, this was the 'forest trail'.

The countdown is on to our move in 4 weeks.  I'm going to take a break next week before the final rush.  See you again in a week.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sunset, Sunrise

Believe it or not, I saw both a sunset and the following morning`s sunrise in the space of less than 12 hours last week.  The sun is both setting earlier, and rising later every day now.

No clouds in the sky, just a round ball of fire sinking toward the horizon.

We only saw it because we were getting home late from a trip further south and saw the sun setting across the fields.

The sun rose the next morning right out our kitchen window!

Another beautiful day here; summer has returned!  Or maybe it has finally arrived!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Garden in mid-September

The garden is certainly fading fast now.  Day lilies are over, and many of the remaining plants are dying off.  But there are still new flowers coming into bloom, and lots of yellow and pink flowers still around.

Parts of the garden actually look their best at this time of year.  The big circle of Brown-eyed Susans around our big rock looks great right now!

In the main flower garden there are still plenty of phlox, the giant Cutleaf Coneflower, and that disobedient Obedient Plant.

One small plant of glads hides behind a bar of the ornamental gate.

And just recently the mums have started to bloom.

This Persicaria, one of the Smartweeds, isn't very obvious except for its bright red flowers.

The fall Anemones start blooming now, one of our latest fall flowers.

And of course there are still some Hostas in bloom.  Different varieties bloom at different times over the entire summer.

A Bad Day

I managed to have a bad day in just 15 minutes this morning.  I had
brought the smaller patio set up beside the garage to see if our son wanted it when he
was here on the weekend.  I had leaned the glass table top against the far side
of the camper van.  Then I went out this morning, hopped in the driver's seat
and started to back up.  Do you know how many billion fragments a glass table
top breaks into when you drive over it!

I hope this was just a sign of stupidity and not early alzheimers!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pink Hay Bales!

I headed out yesterday to help my son with some clean-up at their newly-purchased old house.  Owned by an elderly couple for decades, it really needs some updating, so we had loads of carpet to take to the dump.  I drove pretty well straight west and saw a number of interesting sights along the way.  The farm landscape changes a lot between here and there.

I had to cross the Saugeen River and its tributaries, more than once.  And on the back road I chose, I came upon this beautiful old wrought iron bridge.  

Had to wait for that road grader (above) heading slowly up the hill, so I parked on the one-lane bridge and got a picture of the river.  This is a popular weekend canoe route, and this road is one of the designated put-in spots.

As you get closer to where our son and daughter-in-law will be living, you end up in a landscape of giant wind turbines.

Had to drive a distance to the dump, again down narrow back roads, and my son spotted this small flock of Wild Turkeys.

And an interesting new farmhouse castle, don't you think?  Talk about something that's out of place in the farm landscape!

You also go under the triple transmission line from the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant on the shores of Lake Huron, which feeds all the way across southern Ontario to Toronto.

Heading home later on I stopped at that old bridge, and got a better picture.  It's quite interesting how the wrought iron structure was actually put together, those curved pieces on the east side, and two straight iron beams on this side.

And yes, these are pink hay bales!

I ran into this sign on a rural road in the morning, so I drove around an extra concession to head west, but I didn't believe the sign.

So on the way home I drove down that road from the other direction, and I was right!  It was narrow and winding in places, but straightforward to drive right through.

Beautiful day to work in the garden here today.  We're getting close to the end of potting up some plants to take with us to the new house.  Actually got warm this afternoon.  We've also had a burst of 'getting rid of things', with trips to the dump, the toxic waste disposal (just don't buy those herbicides and such!), and on Sunday, two trailer loads to our son's new old house.  We're getting there!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Changing Seasons

The transition from late summer to early fall is a gradual one, and seems to vary every year depending on the weather.  The cool evenings and cold nights, and the early reports of frost around here certainly suggest summer is over.  And down in the swamps you can now find lots of colour in the trees.

You should know me by now - I'm just a magpie, the brightest colours (like red) appeal the most to me.

Most of the trees in the swamps are just starting to look more yellow than green, along with some that are dark purple.

These leaves are the classic shape of Red Maple, one of the two most common maples in the swamps.

These leaves reveal it to be a Silver Maple, the leaves more deeply dissected.  It loves the swamps too, and those two species hybridize, but they all turn colour in the fall.

Every now and then though, I'm finding a Sugar Maple along the roadside that has decided summer is over.  Few and far between yet, but soon they'll all be changing.

Sometimes it's just one branch on a tree.  This little patch of red leaves has been staring at me through the living room window for two weeks.

The evergreens don't change so obviously, but I do think there are some pretty heavy seed and cone crops on many of our Cedars and Spruce.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dewy Morning

It's cold in the early morning now, only 3°C this morning, and every day there's a heavy dew.  Got a few shots in the garden to share with you.

The dew always seems to show up best on the plants with long narrow linear leaves, like Day lilies, Crocosmia, and Yucca.

Those seedheads of the invasive Yellow Clematis are striking if you can get the focus right.  Been a long day, that's all for now.

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