Sunday, August 30, 2020


Sorry a total brain fart!  How could I be so stupid?  I misrepresented the Osprey as a Peregrine Falcon in the title no less.  I've fixed it now.  Thanks to David for the correction.  

The drive down to Misty Meadows in Conn was just as interesting as the store itself.  We had to go down through Kimberley, Eugenia and Flesherton as a bridge is being replaced on the 7th Line, so we stopped in Flesherton to pick up a sandwich for lunch.  Shortly after that Mrs. F.G. suggested we drive down a sideroad to check out the nesting platform for Osprey, though it hasn't been used for a few years.

And there it was!  Only one adult visible, but it does appear to be nesting, if the young have time to mature at this late date.  I can't imagine the bird nesting right beside the high tension transformer station with all its wires, but maybe that's why they put the nesting platform there.  It's on a separate pole about 50 feet away.

We tried not to disturb it, but the adult soon flew.  Oh for a telephoto lens at this point.

We had driven the long road down through the valley.

And passed the very interesting United Church in Swinton Park with its unusual belfry tower.  We've actually been in this church for a Strawberry Social once, and it's as interesting architecturally inside as outside.

The big new grain elevator sits in a field behind the church, this year with a huge pile of wheat straw bales from the field in the foreground.

Then it was along our favourite road through the woods, and after that we were nearly there.

But along the road we got interested in the iNaturalist app I recently downloaded, and the Bioblitz this week.  Mrs. F.G. started driving really slowly along the back roads and picking out species I could get a photo of to submit.  What better place to start than this big American Elm just west of Ceylon.  Not many of these left, but a few survive if they're sufficiently isolated from other elms.

Then there was a Helleborine Orchid down our road through the woods.

A Common Mullein plant in bloom across the ditch, nearly 5 feet high.

And a Mountain Ash with its bright orange berries.

Even a beaver dam, which was a pretty good indication of a beaver in the area.  They allow evidence other than an actual photo for mammals and birds.  And of course that Osprey back at the beginning.  We really got quite interested in all these things we spotted, and ended up with nearly 40 species that I haven't seen in Meaford.  Photos all ready for me to submit.

And today was peach jam day no less, with Mrs. F.G. doing a good batch this morning.  They've already disappeared to the basement, so no picture.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Misty Meadows Market, Part II

 The new market building at Misty Meadows is big, bright, cheerful and spacious.  Quilts are hung up high under the loft ceiling, along with some interesting decor like that old wagon.  One side of the store holds common household items, while meats are in the opposite direction and baking is in the middle.  All the fruit and veggies were outside at this time of year.

Of course today the cash desk is all walled off with plexiglas; these first three photos are from last year.

The building is built in an L-shaped barn roof style, providing all that space under the loft inside.

And they provide a hitching rail for the older order Mennonite customers with their horses and buggies, though we didn't see any this year.

Four big quilts were there again this year, though knowing how many hours go into making a quilt like this, I think the prices are too cheap!

I liked this little model of horses and a wagon.

This is the kind of store where you can buy foodstuffs in bulk, including all sorts of dried goods like flour and beans.  I've never even seen bags of sugar this big elsewhere!

Lots of varieties of honey.

And if you'd like a straw hat, I'm sure you could find your size here.

And of course there are the butter tarts!  Delicious!  The store is on Wellington County's Butter Tart Trail!

Meanwhile, here at home, Mrs. F.G. has been doing her best with the flowers.  These new ones appeared yesterday right in front of my place at the counter.

Lots of rain overnight and it's a relatively cool day here now.  I'm hoping it will dry up enough that I can get out later on.  We're expecting my sister and brother-in-law for lunch.  

Friday, August 28, 2020

Misty Meadows Market

 As I mentioned yesterday we had a great drive to and visit at the Mennonite run Misty Meadows Market in Conn, about an hour south and a place that's out of the way for most folks.  This has evolved from a roadside wagon with the horse grazing nearby, to a store in the bottom floor of a house, to a large bright new market building.  Quite remarkable growth over 15 years for this small business.  

We met the owner back in the early years, and still say hello to him when we see him, though they have a hugely larger customer base now.  The newly paved parking lot has been expanded and it was full.  It's the sort of place where you feel at home recognizing the people who serve you, even if they may not recognize us.  And they sell butter tarts!

All these fresh veggies need very few comments.  Must of this produce comes from the Elmira Produce Auction, a co-operative set up to provide a consistent market for both farmers (mostly Mennonites) and customers.  All of it is locally grown here in Ontario, and some grown locally right here around Conn.  It's the quality and quantity you come for here.

Great veggies, and you can buy large quantities of things like cukes for pickling.

There was lots of fruit too, though somehow I missed getting pictures of the Ontario peaches which we've been enjoying the past month.

I think the peppers win the prize for both bright colours and variety!  Tomorrow, a peak inside the store.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Late Summer Wildflowers

We had a wonderful drive down to Misty Meadows Market in Conn yesterday, the big new Mennonite-run store where you can buy all the foodstuffs you'd want including piles of fresh vegetables.  We take the backroads, so the drive is as enjoyable as the store!

But before I share that with you I do want to go back and document the late summer (almost early fall) wildflowers around here.  These are the plants that many would call 'weeds' and mow down because they think it looks messy, but they help make my life interesting.  In fact four of the little patches of wildness on my walks have been mowed down this summer, severely limiting my ability to see these plants.  

I do want these plants documented for future reference, but it is a picture heavy post, so just skip over it if you want and come back tomorrow.

We really did have a great time yesterday and I have lots of photos to share.  These Scottish Shorthorns on a farm near our previous home in the valley were very curious and friendly.

It's the Goldenrod that pushed me to write this post.  I've always seen it as the first real plant of fall, and once the fields turn yellow I know that the weeks of cooler temperatures are here and the leaves will begin to turn colour.  Our former back yard meadow was full of it.  It marks August more than any other plant for me.

This is a Mock Strawberry, with both leaves and flowers very similar to Wild Strawberry - except for the bright yellow flowers (and a tiny fruit that is very gritty).

Sweet Peas blooming in a nearby ditch.

Common St. John'swort, often used to treat depression.

This is the only Sweet Clover I've seen this year thanks to the mowing of a couple of patches.  Usuaully it's 4-6 feet tall!

Common Mallow, this one a pale mauve in colour.

Bull Thistle, one of our two common thistles.

Red Clover, a plant said to have a lot of medicinal benefits.

This Spotted Knapweed is definitely one of the prettier flowers among all these, but it's a tough invasice plant too.

Creeping Charlie, often a weed that spread (creeps) across our lawns, but I think this is the first time I've seen one in bloom.

The seedheads of Goat's Beard, like giant dandelion puffs.

Joe-Pye weed, sometimes called Queen of the Meadow, an interesting plant with leaves in whorls around the stem.  Do you ever wonder where these plant names come from?!

Daisy Fleabane, like a daisy but with very fine tiny petals.

Queen Anne's Lace, perhaps the most common August wildflower until the Goldenrods come into bloom, but there is still lots around.

And finally the Chicory, a beautiful blue but a tough 'weed', in bloom now for several weeks, and I think the most beautiful picture among all of these.

Hope at least some of you enjoyed these!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Another Visit Downtown

 Yesterday I got down for a refreshing trip to the bay, mainly a trip to the drugstore, but mostly I went to the shoreline.  And it was a beautiful morning, blue skies and warmish temperatures, though there's always a breeze off the water.

The sun was sparkling on the water of the inner harbour.

The first little beach I came to, which is sandy, was occupied as usual.  I always see at least 3 or 4 families here (usually moms with little kids).  (I waited until the kids were facing the water).

The waves were certainly rolling in arouind the little point that protects the beach.

I sat here and took 15 identical pictures and never did capture the waves crashing over the rocks in between each shot!

Unusually, there was a stream of sediment flowing eastward in front of the next little point.  Usually the river emerging here carries it the opposite direction, so it must be a strong eastward current today.

They've put a fresh addition of big boulders along the bay side of this point.

Actually caught a bit of a splash here.

They've added these small rocks all along this part of the shore.  I fear if the water levels go any higher it will take a much bigger repair here.

And they've done an excellent job of repairing Fred Raper park.  It's open now, and families can use the gravelly beach (so it's good for slightly older kids), though the actual playground equipment is still roped off.

I always love just watching the waves roll in on a beach like this.

I even caught a Ring-billed Gull sitting nearby on a high post.  I'll submit this to the Bioblitz.  Though we often mistakenly label gulls as 'Seagulls', there are actually no such things as seagulls, they are just gulls, of several different species.  Ring-bills are the most common here in Ontario.

And finally I caught a good splash for you.

Didn't frame this picture very well, but I did get to the library to renew my card so I'm ready for the new library opening in a few weeks.  As I said yesterday, I can't wait.

I had more than one offer to donate to my hospital run challenge yesterday, but I certainly didn't intend that in mentioning it.  They're having enough difficulty making the run virtual this year, let alone accepting international donations.  And I'm not sure we could work out how to do it legitimately in U.S.$, let along N.Z.$, but thanks enormously for the offers.  It's very kind and just goes to show how we bloggers become friends, even at a distance.