Thursday, January 31, 2019


Have you been counting the days?  I have.  We are now halfway from the Winter Solstice to the Spring Equinox, a date that most us forget and probably wouldn't recognize, but which was one of the four great 'cross-quarterdays' of the Celtic seasonal year.

The Celtic culture, especially in Ireland and Scotland, rests on a cyclical view of the seasons, based on the four solstices and equinoxes that you would all recognize (though you might not recognize the names used here), as well as the 4 cross-quarter days in between.

Personally I can relate to this.  I've never thought that 4 seasons captured the variety of what I actually experienced on the ground.  It's much more of a continuum.

Imbolc is tied to the ancient Irish pagan goddess St Brigid, and stretches back perhaps 5000 years.  It is set at the beginning of spring (in Ireland), where Snowdrops are blooming today.  It certainly wouldn't apply here, with a 3 foot drift of snow out back!

And through various changes over time, Imbolc has re-emerged as Groundhog Day.  The nearest celebration for us is in Wiarton, for Wiarton Willie, the only albino weather-forecasting groundhog in Canada.

When I look out the back window here and see the snow, I doubt the anyone will see Wirton Willie sticking his nose out!

 There have been several different 'Willie's' over 5 decades, but each one carries on in turn.

If he sees his shadow, we'll have an early spring - locals claim he is 90% accurate; objective analysis says he's 25% accurate.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Reverend Appleyard's Windows

A month and a bit ago I shared some photos of the stained glass windows at Christ Church Anglican, here in Meaford.  The church has about 20 stained glass windows, but some of them are quite special - they're made up of fragments of windows in bombed out churches in England from WWII.

Christ Church Anglican is a beautiful stone church, built originally in 1872.  Harold Appleyard was chosen Rector in 1938, and left for England shortly thereafter as an Army Chaplain.

He was immediately struck by the hundreds of bombed-out churches in southern England with their shattered stained glass windows.

Appleyard began collecting fragments of the broken windows, thinking he would have the fragments put together into new memorial windows for his home church in Meaford.  One day he was put in touch with cox and Barnard Stained Glass works, and the project came together though them

There are fragments from 125 churches in the 4 windows, and some fragments are 700 years old, among the oldest bits of glass in Europe.

You can arrange to see these windows on Tues. or Fri, 10-2 by contacting the church.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Mute Swans

While we were down in Thornbury's harbour we spotted two smooth white boulders on the far side of the river.  Except they looked out of place.  So we stopped and watched.  In a few minutes they moved!

There's a head lifting from the freezing water.  With an orange/red/pink beak, these are Mute Swans.

Another head!  Mute Swans are most commonly seen in pairs here, and will stay all winter.  I've seen them here at the mouth of the Beaver River in the past.

The swans were just over to the right of the mouth of the river, Georgian Bay in the background.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Back to Thornbury

We drove down to the harbour in Thornbury the other day and got some more winter shoreline pictures. Some beautiful dark grey skies contrasted with the ice-covered trees.

Ice spry coats the trees on all sides.

It provides a clear line for how high the waves were.

What studies in contrast!

Any guesses?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sun and Snow

 A couple of days ago we woke to brilliant sun on the overnight snow.  It really was one of those bright sunny days, bright enough to dazzle the eyes.  Unfortunately it was also very cold!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Robbie Burns Supper

            We were pleased to find a Robbie Burns supper scheduled for his birthday, Jan. 25th.  And that means haggis!  So we organized a small group and got our tickets.  It was delicious!

 The Haggis gets piped into the dining room, carried by the Chef, Gilles.

 A closer look!

Before we're turned loose to eat the meal, a short toast to the Haggis.

And here's my dinner - neeps and tatties, a bit of salad and peas, a big slab of roast beef, and the all important Haggis!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Winter Weather

I think the school buses here have been cancelled 4 out of 5 days this week, either due to blowing snow or to icy conditions.  We've gone from windy days (when those trees by the harbour got coated with ice), through freezing rain and back to snow, propelled by winds carving drifts across the yard.  Almost all of it has been very cold!

 It started out with a beautiful sunrise Tuesday, a forecast of the freezing rain to come.

The next day we had a brief period of sunshine, but it was bitterly cold.  This is after the freezing rain; the squirrels were running across the icy surface.

This on the other hand, was today, and it still looks the same 8 hours later.  We must have got 8 - 10".

This streamer off Georgian Bay is the cause, though in the picture its broken up and heading off to the east.  It was parked over Meaford (just east of Owen Sound) for several hours dumping snow.


It is Robbie burns birthday today, and we're headed out to enjoy a burns supper, complete with Haggis.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ice Curtains

As the cold weather continues, the icicles on the trees down by the harbour build into ice curtains.  The wind varies day by day, along with the waves, and each layer of water adds to the picture.

These pictures have grown on me.  Particular corners of the pictures appeal to me the most. and with some judicious cropping, I've zeroed in on those.  I wonder how long these will last.

The Context - the two iciest trees.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Shoreline Spray

People are talking about the beautiful snowy/icy scenes along the shoreline here in Meaford.  Lots of locals with cameras!  Here's what they're seeing.

The ice is beginning to pile up offshore, though I certainly would not venture to walk on it.

We had a couple of very windy days which blew spray through the bottom 10' of all the trees.

The ice is piled up 100 feet out, but the slushy ice bits undulating up and down in the water extend several hundred feet beyond that.

The navigation marker is a wall of ice on the north-west side.  Winter is here!