Friday, July 31, 2020

A New Patio

Well here it is, the big project reveal.  We've had a new patio constructed in the backyard, a playground for me.  This is my holiday up in the north woods, my cottage, my mid-life crisis sports-car, or whatever you'd like to think.  Mrs. F.G. thought I needed to be off the deck and sit in the shade of the trees.  Her idea, and this is the result.

As I'm sure many of you guessed, this is our big project, the first completed view out the window.  We had it poured of concrete rather than stone or inter-locking brick so it would stand up to the weight of a 500 lb. wheelchair and passenger.

I headed down off the deck, turned the corner and this was the view, the long curving path to get to the patio.  It seems enormous compared to the sketch on paper that we started out with, but they did a good job.

The patio itself is a good size rectangle, but when it gets loaded with plants in pots and chairs, it will still only leave comfortable room for me to turn around in the middle.  We have two big colourful Muskoka chairs that will end up down here (like Adirondack chairs for some of you).

Mrs.F.G. says the patio is for me, but it also opens up the gardening possibilities for her.  This long narrow strip in front of the deck will become a  'scree' garden, an area designed for small alpine plants with fine pea gravel on the surface for mulch.

And looking to the left the area between the patio and the trees will become a 'naturalized', partly shaded garden.  The nice green leaves are our Magnolia, the wheelbarrow is our neighbours.

Looking at the same area from the opposite direction, on the patio.  Her aim is to have 90% of the grass in the backyard gone in a few years.  We've hired a team of young guys to start the work next week.  We went to look at types of mulch and stone today so we're ready.

These gaps where there is still grass will all get filled in.  As you can see our existing garden here is very full, so we can do much of this by moving plants that need more space out from the existing small crowded patches.

Looking out the window, the first few plants have been put in place, though I'm sure these will evolve and be moved for a long time yet.  One of the favourite tasks of the gardener - dreaming and scheming about which plants will go where and what new plants need to be acquired.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Busy Days Here

It's busy days here. We're having a big project done at the moment and I am taking pictures to share with you once it gets finished. They've been here every day for five days I think now with more days to go. The technician is coming to  hopefully fix my bed today. It's a hospital bed that is supposed to rise and fall and all the rest of those good things, but it creaks and groans and sometimes does the opposite of what it's supposed to be doing. It's only two years old and cost an exhorbitant sum money!

Our cleaning lady returns this afternoon and after four months she will really have her work cut out for her!  This morning the lawn mowing crew is here.  So there's a lot going on.  The chances  of getting into the den to sit quietly at the computer for an hour are pretty well zilch. So I will get back to a blog post in the next day or two.

At least the temperature has cooled off after the cold front went through. It's quite pleasant to sit outside this morning.


It's 4 o'clock now and we've survived all the fuss and bother.  Everyone came, which was the first good sign.  Now they've all gone and we're getting a chance to sit still for a bit before supper.  Actually got out for a short ride too..

Monday, July 27, 2020

Noble Street

Last year Nelson Street West was my 'go to' ride, nearby, relatively interesting and no heavy traffic.  Well this year I'm enjoying Noble Street even more, largely because of the condition of the pavement.  There are several stretches on Nelson West that are simply painful, but Noble Street is much smoother and has even less traffic.  So it's rapidly becoming my preferred route this year, or maybe I'm just getting lazy, 'cause it's a little shorter.

Deep red Japanese Maple leaves shining in the sun.

This fellow has his work cut out for him.  I have no idea what he's going to use all this gravel for!

And around the corner a mystery in the grass.  Looks like there's an old sidewalk under there.

One of those old 'Ontario cottages', though it's mostly hidden behind the cedar hedge.  Note the triangular shaped top to the attic window.  That's a modern addition with roofline to match on the right.

Maple leaves shining transparently in the spring.

And an interesting lamp beside the front walk of this house.  It appears to be made out of 4" plumbing pipe.  They were putting it up one day as I went past.  The big lamp just shines down.

Another very hot day here but we're hoping for a reprieve by tonight.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Small Barn and Bird's-foot Trefoil

Exploring further west on Nelson Street the other day I was struck by two things, a window in a small barn at the far west end of the street and Bird's Foot Trefoil that has now gone to seed, right after I turn the corner.  Here's what I wanted to share.

This nice little barn is intriguing.  The property has one of those old 'Ontario cottages' that I described earlier in the spring, and it would be interesting to know when it was built.  It was certainly out on the far edge of town when it was built.  You don't see many barns with a brick foundation, or doors like those two!

But what I noticed was the bottles lined up inside this window.  Wonder how long they've been sitting there?

They have a reasonably modern tractor sitting back behind the barn, ...

As well as the basics of an old hay rake.  I talked to the owner the other day and found myself getting an open invitation to ride all over their grassy field if I wanted to.

The other thing I wanted to share today is at the farthest opposite end of my run down Nelson West.  You'll remember these bright yellow Bird's-foot Trefoil that are now in bloom all over the place here.

Well, the earliest blooms have now transformed into seed pods, and I hope you can see why they're labelled 'Bird's-foot'!

That's all for today, a very hot one here with possibly severe thunderstorms in the forecast.  I've been watching the radar, but I think they'll mostly hit eastern Ontario. then it's supposed to cool down a bit to more normal, thank goodness!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Nelson Street

I've ridden down the big hill to downtown several tines recently, in spite of the sidewalk from hell!  And there are interesting things along that ride besides the frustrating sidewalks.  Here are a few that struck me as picture worthy.

Perhaps the most striking is this Yucca that was in full bloom a week ago.

You have to make an extra effort to see up into a Yucca bloom, as they all hang down, but I did my best.

Right beside it was this bright yellow Day Lily.

You may remember the picture of a Black Elderberry, taken from across the street.  Now I've seen lots of Elderberry as they're common in woodlots around here, but I'd never seen this one.  I don't think they're native around here.  So I crossed the street on another ride and got a close-up of the deeply dissected leaves and flat flower cluster.

The very next house had this healthy cluster of Daisies.

And beside it a healthy cluster of  Lavender where I shot 25 pictures trying to capture this Cabbage White butterfly as it flitted around.  This was the only decent picture among them.  I'm sure I've seen 100 of these this year, but they virtually never land.

On a different note, the Ornge helicopter was parked at the hospital one day, though I saw no activity around it. 

Hope you're having a good day; it's been nice here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Sidewalk Frustrations

Ok, no pretty pictures today, just a rant about sidewalks and other barriers to riding in a wheelchair.  I'v ridden downtown several times recently, usually to go to the drugstore, and the sidewalks are FRUSTRATING!  Let me just complain a little, ok?

For most of my rides along Nelson Street West or Noble Street there are no sidewalks, so I'm riding on the road.  You may remember this view of Nelson West, one of my two favourite rides.

The main issue I have with these is the corrugated pavement which is bumpy as hell to ride over.  To understand you need to know that I suffer from a constant band of nerve pain around the level of my spinal cord injury.  Imagine you're driving a considerable speed down the worst corduroy road you've ever seen!  I end up following a fairly meandering path to avoid them.

There are other hazards I have to watch out for, like this broken slightly sunken grate which they finally marked with a pylon a few weeks back.  Maybe they're going to fix it!  I not only have to avoid this, I have to swing out in the road to miss the dip - one place where my new rear-view mirror is handy..  Luckily all these local roads I ride have very little traffic.

But going downtown beside the busy main stretch of Nelson Street I have to ride this sidewalk from hell!  I haven't figured out yet whether it hurts less to go slow and careful or just grit your teeth and drive at a normal speed!  It hurts a lot either way!

There are other things I certainly think I can legitimately complain about. The easiest accessible entrance to the drugstore is this one.  I have to move forward to reach the button on the left, then quickly back up as the door opens, then turn a sharp left through the door and up the ramp.  The door is usually closing on my wheelchair before I get entirely through.  There are lots of places where efforts have been made to provide access, but it's still very awkward or difficult for wheelchair users.

And yesterday they were burying a new sewer line under Nelson, blocking the one sidewalk.  I had to veer widely out and use that detour myself, watching for cars hidden behind the excavator.

On the positive side I found this handy rear-view mirror advertised and ordered one.  It's much easier to wear this on your wrist for your ride than trying to fit one to the wheelchair.

It works quite well, here showing the empty road extending behind me.  Anything that helps with safety.  I'm constantly on the watch for cars as I ride, so this really helps.

Rained here most of the day, which will balance out the week of dry weather coming.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


More of Mrs. F.G's photos today.  She came in after I was in bed and took my phone to go out on the golf course and get some sunset photos.  Then she came in this morning, twice and got some flowers and the dew in the morning light.  Hope you like them.

A beautiful sunset, one of the things I miss about our former normal life!

Morning dew.

Crocosmia glowing in the early morning light.  All the blooms are out across the front of the house now, just glorious.

The weather has turned normal finally, even a little cool which is fine for me.  Expect to ride downtown and get my prescriptions after lunch.  Hope you're having a good day.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Storm Damage at the Harbour

To pick up on yesterday's harbour adventure, I moved on the short last bit to the edge of the playground.  I've been troubled over the ongoing debate about cleaning it up.  But for me the view over the bay at the moment was gorgeous.

And there's another much bigger controversy going on, a proposal by the energy giant TCE (formerly Trans-Canada Pipelines) to build a pumped water storage plant over on the highest part of Cape Rich.  A dedicated local group Save Georgian Bay is doing its best to get the proposal rejected. 

The playground itself was still fenced off after the sorms of last November as Council and staff debate what to do.  You can see the shallow curve of the water, extending much further in than it used to and here looking brown rather than blue.  All the gravel around the playground equipment was washed up by the thundering waves, about a foot or more deep.

The debate is both over cost and whether to restore it as is or just remove the playground, recreate the former beach and leave it like that.  Staff recommended the latter, at least until we see where water levels are going to be for a year or two (they're predicted to be even higher), but some on Council want it just the way it was.  I think this is one time when Council has to use their common sense rather than just do what voters want.

There are numerous other spots down the shoreline where erosion damage was severe, waves carving spaces out behind the boulders that line the shore.

A gaggle of Canada Geese was following me along the shore.

A single 'lookout goose' was standing up on the rocks looking out for danger.

I turned around to get a picture and the whole group were put on the grass mowing down the grass!  I guess the lookout goose said the coast is clear!

There a few really nice homes along the inner side of the road, although the water was washing right across the road here during last fall's storms, so I hope they're prepared.  The one on the left is a recent total renovation of an old one-floor stone cottage, quite dramatic and quite a contrast with the grand century old stone home on the right.

A lone sailboat heading out for the day.

And I leave you with this lone canoeist heading along the shore.  Wouldn't that be nice!