Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Salmon Run

In Owen Sound yesterday, we stood on the bridge in Harrison Park and watched the salmon fight their way upstream to spawn.  The Sydeham River is about 50 feet wide and a foot deep here, running over a bed of gravel and boulders.

Looking downstream from the bridge you can see at least 5 salmon struggling against the current here.

We weren't the only ones there to watch!

There's a big sports fishery associated with the migrating salmon, but that takes place out in Georgian Bay, not upstream as the salmon search for a place to spawn.

The history of salmon in the Great Lakes is probably a lot more complex than you'd realize.  Today's fish population is totally artificial, with Pacific Salmon, an introduced species feeding primarily on Alewives, an invasive species.  By the mid-1930's the original fisheries in the Great Lakes had collapsed.  Lake Trout, the most valuable, were extinct in some lakes.  Whitefish had declined dramatically.  Then came the Sea Lamprey and the Alewives, migrating through the Welland Canal.  By the 1950's the Great Lakes were in bad shape!

By the late 1950's fisheries experts were searching for something dramatic to change the situation.  Howard Tanner, head of fisheries for the State of Michigan, decided to try introducing salmon.  It was an overnight success.  Salmon fed widely on the Alewives, growing fast, and creating some sort of artificial balance in the system.  Today the sports fishery is far more valuable than the commercial fishery, though some old tugs still go out after Whitefish.  The salmon are still widely dependent on stocking, but natural spawning is also part of the picture.

Here in Owen Sound you can go and see the salmon in action very easily.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Harrison Park

By about lunch the rain showers had stopped so we headed out for our weekend excursion to Harrison Park in Owen Sound.  We had a great soup and sandwich lunch in the restaurant, and I managed well in my wheelchair.  Glad to know I can comfortably handle a restaurant.

This plaque tells a bit of the story; the park was donated to the city in the early 1900's, and facilities have evolved ever since.   My grandparents lived Owen Sound and I remember bringing them to the park for a drive.

September is the month for the salmon run.  The local anglers group has done a lot of habitat improvement and promotes it for tourists.  They built the first fish Ladder in Ontario and run their own hatchery.  More details tomorrow.

This is what you see when you look down from the bridge, salmon swimming upstream in search of a place to spawn.  All the fish here have already survived the fish ladder downstream.

The most interesting feature from a historical  perspective is Owen Sound's role as one northern terminus of the underground railway.  An Emancipation Day picnic for the local black community has been held here since 1862.  This story is definitely worth a post of its own.

There's a beautiful stretch of open parkland along the river.  Most of these planted trees are donated in memory of someone.

There are a number of other interesting features, including a small campground, hiking and skiing trails, and a collection of wild bird species.  I'm sure Harrison Park will become one of our regular destinations,  with its wheelchair accessible trails  and restaurant!

We headed home after a great outing.  At one point where the highway crests a hill, a wide expanse of Georgian Bay opens out before you, at least on a sunny day like today.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Scarecrow Festival

The Scarecrow Festival is tomorrow evening, a parade through the downtown at 6 pm, followed by the festivities at the Harbour Pavilion at 6.30.

One of our smaller invaders.

  A popular place to hang scarecrows is from all the lamp posts downtown.

This year's saloon. 

And the entrance steps to Meaford Hall are always well-guarded. 

 These two fellas are just waiting for the fun to begin.

An early pioneer family arrives in town.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thornbury Harbour

 For our drive today we headed east to Thornbury, and drove right down into the harbour.  It was a cool but beautiful day, and the salmon were running.  Enjoyed a nice 45 minute 'walk' (ride) along the pathway that borders the water.

The harbour is a busy recreational harbour, but it wasn't busy today.  .  I've taken great photos of ice here in the past.

All the big sailboats were still in the water.

This interesting tug, transformed into a pleasure boat, was the only one moving.

Only one fishing tug was docked over on the far side.

And here's a rare picture of me in front of Georgian Bay.  The electric wheelchair is working great.

Georgian Bay was looking pretty grey, but there were several small fishermens' boats out there.

That's Christian Island over there, the last refuge of the Huron Nation in Ontario from the attacking Iroquois.

Just to the east of the harbour looms Blue Mountain.

More fishermen.  I think we'll head to Owen Sound soon and see if we can see some salmon migrating up the river.

Just as we were leaving, this big boat pulled up and a gang of hopeful fishermen starting loading supplies for a day out fishing on the bay.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Rainbow over the Bay

It's been a crazy busy day here, with a nurse, the homecare coordinator and a group of four guys to install the ceiling lift in our bedroom.  (To date we've been using the very awkward 'Hoyer' lift).  We're hoping tonight will go more smoothly. but by 4 p.m. the rush was over, so we went for another short drive.

The drizzle started fast and continued.

We drove up to Irish Mountain Lookout where one of Meaford's big red chairs is located.

The view is limited whem you don't get out of the car, and today was limited by the drizzle.

We finised off our drive by stopping at the 'DQ', and taking our cones down to the shore to eat.

You can see a hint of a second rainbow on this photo.
 Quite quickly the rainbow got brighter.

And then, in another 30 seconds it was over.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Scarecrow Invasion!

Meaford's Scarecrow Invasion is this weekend.  Scarecrows are hanging from streetlights downtown, and dancing around a few bits of open space.  It's an enormous amount of work considering that the scarecrows get new clothes each year.

These three are right here on our own street.  The scarecrows go into hibernation again Oct.15th, so I can share a few more before then.

The evening before it looked like we might get a good sunset too, so we went searching for it.  Not quite a colourful sunset, but interesting cloud formations nonetheless.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Back to the Bay

Last night we went for our first post-hospital adventure.  it was just a local drive down to the shoreline of Georgian Bay, but we stopped and picked up a pizza which we shared sitting in the car.  Then I drove the chair out and we headed down the sidewalk toward the inner harbour.  I got a selection of pictures of the bay.

I thought this panoramic shot turned out well.  All photos are with my iphone7.  I haven't got back to my big camera yet.

Mackerel clouds hung over the grey water of the bay.

Friday was the day of high winds and the Ottawa tornadoes as a cold front went through.  I should have come down to the shore to watch the waves.  These rocks were thrown up about 50 feet from the waterline by the waves.  Good thing I wasn't sitting on that bench!

The gulls disperse along the shore during the day, but as sunset approached they gathered on the roof of a marina building to catch the last rays of the sun.

I've never seen the Glen G in harbour before, but it was a nice looking ship.