Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Beautiful Day

I came out for breakfast this morning and was stunned again to see the bright orange leaves shining in the sun in our back yard.  Hope you enjoy the colour!

We put hawk silhouettes up on the big windows to scare the birds before they fly into the glass.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Leaves Fall

Over just the past week the fall colour has changed fast.  From the first bright red leaves to a few trees that are already bare, the colour spreads through the trees and leaves start blowing away.

This is the tree, straight out our window, that first caught my eye a week ago.  It started turning red, but it's ended up a dull orange.  Half the leaves are gone.

 I think in another week this tree will be bare.

Lots of leaves blowing around the yard now.

Taking my anti-biotics at home intra-venously is working out fine.  A nurse comes once a day to run the the drugs through, and I just sleep.  On top of that IV anti-biotics make you sleepy compared to the pills.  So I'm having some very sleepy days, though it's probably good for me.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Early Snow

The front did go through last night and left the first of our lake effect snow this morning.  Here in Meaford the waters of Georgian Bay moderate the temperature a little, so we just got another dusting, but further south up on the highlands, there were several inches of the white stuff.

By the time I was out of bed (it's a slow process now) and finished breakfast, the snow was evaporating fast.  An hour later it was gone.

With the snow come the birds, here a Red-breasted Nuthatch and a Chickadee on the feeder.  More on these tomorrow.

A week ago, before the snow I was pleased to see a pair of Blue Jays stop by.  We hear them a lot, and see them in the distance, but rarely see them up close like this.  Hopefully they'll be here all winter.

This is my favourite capture of that morning.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Yes. it's snow!

There are reliable reports of snow last night and this morning in the region.  And the forecast tonight is for our first serious lake-effect snow of the year.  It's not unusual for mid to late October, all part of the changing 'seasons in the valley'.

The most I've seen is this snow shower or sleet that shows up against the dark evergreen, but others have reported white-outs!.  We'll see what it looks like in the morning!

A Small Setback

Late last Friday afternoon I came down with some serious chills.  Within a couple of hours Mrs. F.G. had me on an ambulance headed for our local hospital, all of three blocks away.  After numerous blood tests I was admitted, and I only got home 3 hours ago.  What would be a minor fever for most they treated very seriously in my case.  After 7 months in the big hospitals in London, the most important thing I have to do is watch out for any infections, especially those that might affect my kidneys.

This is a small town, rural hospital, but my doctor is in touch with  specialists in bigger centres who can confirm what treatment I need.  Sorry, no blog the last 5 nights.  I've come home with one hand all wrapped up in gauze to protect an IV line, so I don't know how typing will get done in the next few days either!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Autumn Skies

We get all kinds of different sky views once fall arrives, from bright blue and sunny to fog.  Often brightened a bit by coloured leaves.

You may recognize this view, right out back.

And another close view.

These two pine trees against the blue sky looked striking.

On another occasion, down by the bay.

Georgian Bay as you come back into town.

I was glad to see I expanded a few of your vocabularies when I referred to the evening of this photo as 'smirr'.  It's a Scottish word meaning meaning rain that's between the texture of fog and drizzle.  It seems innocent enough, but it can soak you through before you know it!  We first encountered it on the Isle of Mull, while waiting for the tiny pedestrian ferry to the Isle of Iona.  When it wasn't smirr it was horizontal rain.  When we got home I realized the term could easily be applied here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Big Change in the Seasons!

The coming of fall colours followed quickly by the loss of leaves is one of the biggest and fastest changes in the seasons all year!  In a short two weeks here, the world out there changes from green to grey and brown.  Here's just one tree out our living room window as it's changed over the past ten days.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mid-summers Day in October

It was one of those rare warm sunny October days with the leaves changing colour fast.  For the first time since coming home I sat out on the deck and enjoyed the warmth, the view, and a good book.  I drove the chair down the ramps onto the lawn, and beyond that out onto the golf course.  All worked well.

The deck, with its view through our trees out to the golf course, turned out to be a nice place to sit.

I drove down the ramp and out onto the golf course - testing the wheelchair all the way.  It was a bumpy ride, but it worked fine.

Those big old maples are changing colour so fast you can almost see it.

 A few days ago this tree was still half green.

A neighbour's Burning Bush.

And a brilliant yellow White Ash tree next door.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Fall Colours

Today was a much better day for viewing the fall colours, which are changing very fast.  But we started out by sorting out my old camera equipment, which hasn't seen much action for 8 months now.  I'm back to my favourite Nikon, and it has definite advantages compared to my iphone.

The trees in our own backyard have barely begun changing colour, just a tinge of yellow and a bit of orange.

But right out behind us in the golf course are two old Sugar Maples that are showing lots of bright red.

So we headed down Co. Rd.12 toward the valley.  Roads were lined with many yellow and orange Sugar Maples,

Along the way we passed several quilt barns, this quilt representing a chicken!

Soon we were headed down into the Beaver Valley.  Colourful trees extended up the slopes.

We took Lanktree Drive that extends up the slope beside Talisman, and found the best group of bright maples that we had seen.  This is what fall colour is all about.

Then we headed home, but grey clouds and rain dulled the colour a little.  Glad we got out for the drive;  it's such a short time period every fall it's all too easy to miss it.  I have to say that it's nice to be back to my big camera too!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Fall has a jump on us

We drove south to Markdale for thanksgiving dinner tonight (delicious!) and hoped to get some pictures of the emerging fall colour.  It appears that the fall colour is well ahead of us, with miles of red and orange Sugar Maple along the roads and up the valleysides.  However very few pictures tonight because fog and smirr kept invading.

The long foggy hill out of Meaford.
Colour up the valleysides, but fog on the ridge.
Old Baldy

The iphone camera isn't good enough to capture images from a moving car.

Turkey Vultures overhead.

On the first sunny day we'll be out driving some of the same roads.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is about more than turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing, though I hope I'll get a generous helping of those tomorrow.  Thanksgiving is about being thankful for so many things, from the crops that feed us to the friendship of the communities where we live, from flowers in the garden to the woods and water of the natural world around us.

Over the next days we'll see the peak of fall colour here, though it's just beginning now.  One of the nicest two weeks of the year, and a very appropriate time to be celebrating Thanksgiving.

In our case we're just thankful that I'm here, given all that's gone on the last 8 months.  We saw my GP yesterday, and he expressed his own astonishment that I was still alive alive and kicking.  Every day that you're alive is a gift.

I remember big Thanksgiving dinners at my grandparents, and only slightly smaller dinners at my own parents.  Thanksgiving is inevitably in part about family, even if you can't all get together at the time.  But don't ever take for granted that things will continue unchanged.  Take time to be consciously thankful before you devour that turkey!

Friday, October 5, 2018

More on Apples

The more I dig into the production of apples around here, the more interesting the topic gets.  I started by asking myself why is Grey County (almost entirely the area around Meaford and Thornbury) the top apple producing area in Ontario, by a considerable margin?

 The only apple farm in the area that has a pick-your-own operation.

This region is tops for apples for two main reasons, soil and climate.  Apples like a sandy or gravelly soil, and don't like getting their feet wet.  They are most susceptible in spring if there is a late frost after the apples have flowered (as happened in 2012).  Here the soils are old glacial beach ridges, and the water of Georgian Bay has a moderating influence that delays blooming until the risk of frost is low.  A good combination for apples.

One of the new high density apple orchards, trees grown close together in espaliered style.

It's also important to understand that the apple market is actually divided into different sections.  Most Grey County apples go for juice (as do a majority of Ontario apples).  Among both juice and eating apples, only five varieties provide 75% of Ontario's production, and grocery stores tend to reflect this limited choice (Macs, Spies, Red and Yellow Delicious).  In fact there are at least 20 other varieties available, but they are grown in smaller numbers and in local areas.  To enjoy these you need to shop at farms and farmers markets.  We now always look for our favourite local varieties and enjoy the unique flavours.  As new varieties come on to the market, there are new possibilities.

Red Prince, one of the new varieties grown only here in the valley.

So next time you're looking for apples, check out your local farms or farm markets.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Apple Season

We stopped by Grandma Lambe's the other day to check out the apples.  The area around Meaford and Thornbury is the top apple growing area in Ontario, and therefore has the greatest variety of apples available for us to buy.

 'Grandma Lambe's' is just one of several farm outlets where you buy apples (and pies and other fruit) near Meaford.

The bushels and half-bushels were under a tent outside, being unloaded from a truck directly from the orchard.

On the left 'Sweet 16s', a recent popular variety only available for a short season.  On the right, the very successful Honey Crisp, my favourite apple for the taste.  But look at the price!  $70.00 a bushel!  With only a few trees bearing fruit yet, it's very pricey.

These are the bags the typical consumer will buy, in half peck and one peck sizes.  (When was the last time you heard the term 'peck' as a unit of measurement?  Apples are about the last crop sold in pccs; four pecks = 1 bushel.)

That's not me in the headless scarecrow outfit, but that is Mrs. Furry Gnome pretending to be Grandma Lambe.