Saturday, September 28, 2019

Fall Weather

It feels well and truly like fall now, with alternating sun and cloud, and frequent showers.  To say nothing of cooler temperatures; sometimes it's downright chilly out there!  Sweaters, sweatshirts and vests have been dragged out and I'm managing to still stay comfortable.

Meanwhile the gulls are getting ever closer to our yard as they hunt their way across the golf course in the early morning.  We're wondering what comes next!

And on Thursday we had a brief thunderous hail storm.  Don't see that very often here.

Finally this Crocosmia may well be the last of the newly bloomed flowers this year.  At least it's a brilliant red exclamation mark to the end of the garden season - though there's lots of garden work still to do.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Farm Dinner

On Sunday our son and his wife, our talented daughter-in-law, invited us to go out to a farm dinner, served right in the barn!  The place was 'Burdock Grove Farm' (I presume this says something about the weeds they found when they bought the farm), where the farmer is also a chef.  He likes doing a dinner for 50 people in his barn.  We assume many of the diners were also their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers

This is a typical old Grey County farm, with a big bank barn and some outbuildings.  Like several others we know of, this couple has developed an organic farm business growing veggies in polytunnels, and raising geese, ducks and chickens for their CSA or the local market.  They are part of the remarkable Eat Local Grey-Bruce food network too.

They let us park quite close and I only had to find my way across this grassy bumpy slope, then into the barn.

It was all set out for a big dinner, though I am glad Mrs. F.G. was there to look out for hazards like loose floorboards and sudden drops!

The barn had been well cleaned, though I wondered what old equipment had just been stored behind this screen.

It was the barn that fascinated me, and reminded me of my uncle's barn which I had been in as a child.  I once got to ride along on the hay wagon in the days when health and safety was not an issue - and when hay was raked and stored loose, not in bales, so I could picture this hay mow stored full to the rafters.

You probably canèt tell from the picture, but that big beam must have been about 30 feet long, and about 12x18 inches in size!  Where did they find trees like that?

 I do remember climbing the ladder to the top of the pile of hay, but I donèt know how you'd easily climb further to the top of the rafters.

 At our last house I had the chance to watch the neighbour's old barn being partly dismantled and reroofed, and it was fascinating.

 At a quick glance you would not recognize all the pegged mortise and tenon joints that keep these barns standing upright for over 100 years.  Every place a horizontal or diagonal beam meets a vertical one there is an invisible tenon that extends inside the mortise cavity and then it gets pegged to stay in place.  All you see on the outside is the ends of the pegs.  Here's a little diagram without the pegs if youère not making sense of this.  I think it's amazing.

Mortise                       Tenon

Soon enough it was time to turn to the menu.  Since it was a bit cool they has a warm cup of soup broth before you had the choice of going on aa farm tour.

The meal was served in serving bowls, each for 8 people, and it worked out well for all further 4 courses.

Here's the main course, duck with beets, greens and potatoes.  Desert was delicious too.  If you wonder why I didn't heap my plate up, I'm in the groove of eating half portions, since only half my body gets any exercise.

 It did drag out a bit, but we thoroughly enjoyed it and had a great visit with our son and daughter-in-law.  One of the more memorable meals we've ever had.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

O.S.F.D. Engine No. 1

The highlight  of the fire-fighting display at Grey Roots Museum was certainly the restored O.S.F.D. Engine No. 1, , the original Owen Sound Fire Department's motorized fire truck.

We were surprised and delighted to see this beautifully restored fire truck just inside the entrance to the exhibit.  Bright shiny red with gold trim, this looked like the Cadillac of old Model T's, enlarged and fitted out as a fire engine.

Mrs. F.G. got a little artsy with these photos, which just go to show how well the vehicle was restored.  She's getting to be a better photographer than I am.

You also get a bonus shot of Yours Truly, out and about and enjoying himself.  The remarkable part of this was that this truck had been delivered to the museum in pieces, and their dedicated team of volunteers had restored it.  It's now the museum's largest and one of its most valuable artifacts.  The volunteers have a large barn to work in which sounds like a wonderful way to spend your retirement days - if you know a little about vehicles, which I don't!

They certainly included reference to the sad fact that fire-fighting is sometimes fatal.  More than one local firefighter has lost his life during a fire.  We of course thought of William, who wasn't the typical firefighter, but lost his life never-the-less as a water bomber pilot.  If you haven't read about William you can find his story on tab above.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Busy Weekend!

A busy weekend here.  Our son and his wife took us out to a unique farm dinner held in a barn on Sunday, and Saturday we went out for lunch and then the Grey Roots Museum to see the new exhibit on fire fighting.  We found it very well done.

We bought a membership in the Grey Roots Museum this year, and so far it's nearly paid for itself twice over, and we still have the Fall Lecture Series to go.  They change exhibits regularly too, so there's often something new to see.

First we stopped at 'Kettles' for lunch though, a popular place on the highway just north of Chatsworth.  We know we'll get good food there at a reasonable price.

The exhibit we were there to see was the  just-opened 'Facing the Flames' exhibit.  Opening night was the night before, but it was very crowded; today we had the place almost to ourselves.  With my chair, that helped a lot.

The star of the show was the Owen Sound Fire Department Engine No.1, the original fire engine here, beautifully restored by museum volunteers.  More photos of it tomorrow.

An even older fire hose wagon that would have been hauled by horses was parked in the lobby.

But more than these displays there were quite a few interesting information panels.  You would learn a lot going through this exhibit if you stopped to read them all.  Here I learned that a fireman's full kit if he was pulling a hose weighs about 170 lbs.!!   You try even picking up 170 lbs.!

 An interesting piece was this large collection of shoulder flashes.  I found Meaford's, and learned that the Maltese Cross is the most widespread badge of honour for fire-fighting.  It dates back to the Crusades, when guns were not invented but naptha was, and fire became a weapon of war.  Crusaders who tried to rescue their brothers were later seen as the first firefighters.

The cleverest part of the exhibit in my view was a set of miniature firemen's suits, about right for a ten-year-old.  They could press a button to set the timer, scramble up a short stairs, fling themselves down a short firemen's pole, and try to get the whole outfit on before the timer went off.  This is my only picture of that, because the child there didn't want to take their suit off and I was trying to avoid getting them in the picture!

An interesting bright fire-fighting quilt there too.  Tomorrow more on the O.S.F.D. Engine No.1.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Hints of Fall Colour

We're approaching the biggest seasonal change of the year, when leaves turn colour and fall, leaving us open to the onslaught of winter.  I've noticed a few trees leading the way, but there'll be a much bigger change in the next two weeks.

These two trees were the ones I watched out the window last fall when I wasn't moving around much.  Now that we've had the trees trimmed I get a much better view.  Can you detect a hint of colour in the upper right of the right-hand tree?

 A closer look might help.

 This smaller tree has been catching the corner of my eye too, and is currently the brightest tree on the golf course.

This big tree down the street is running faster than any of them.  Much more to come in the next few weeks.

Friday, September 20, 2019

50 Things

I've been reading a blog about a young couple who have moved to the Isle of Rum, one of the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland, population about 30.  They have taken up crofting, which is a fascinating story.  But they've also always home-educated their two kids.  In the spirit of that they posted a link to a National Trust Program in the UK featuring "50 things to do before you're 11 3/4" ( I don't know why they didn't just say 12).  It's a wonderful wild list of outdoor activities you'd hope any child would get a chance to do, but probably today many don't.

I was pleased to see that I've done almost all of these (I haven't 'set up a snail race').  And I could easily think of another dozen to add to these.  I hope our own children got to do most of these too.  Check out the original list (it does have a bit of a UK bias), and see how many you've done.

My favourite was climb a tree.  Well I've climbed many trees; my tree fort was my favourite place when I was about 14.  Haven't done much tree climbing recently, but I've hugged this giant old Sugar Maple several times over the past few years.

Go on a winter adventure.  I think our most interesting recent winter adventure was the year that the river below Indian Falls almost froze over.  We could walk up the river on the ice to the base of the falls, a huge mound of ice from the spray right in front of us and bluish icicles all around the lip of the rock.

Go stone skipping.  No problem with that one, we have the 'Stone Skipping Capital of Canada' just a few miles away.  Can't say I'm very good at it though.

Wildlife watching.  A porcupine I once encountered, eating a fallen apple.  And parked right on the trail in front of me.

We watch birds avidly, especially in the winter.  But this Blue Jay was at a cottage up near Algonquin Park.

Find fungi.  Well, how many pictures would you like to see?  Probably thousands if I reviewed all my pictures!

Spot a fish.  these are salmon swimming upstream to spawn in the Beaver river.

Get up for the sunrise.  This isn't exactly the sunrise, though we've seen many of those since the sun doesn't rise until about 8 a.m. in January), but this is one of my favourite 'sunny' pictures.  That's our shed on a frosty late fall morning.

 Explore a cave.  This is one of my favourite crevice caves along the Bruce Trail.  One of the narrowest I've seen, the Bruce Trail goes straight through and up those steps at the end.

Finally, go paddling.  I could share so many memories, but this is an early morning on the French River in northern Ontario.  I'm so glad I did all those canoe trips when I did!