Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Busy Times!

I'm falling behind again.  There's so much going on in the garden, and things are changing so fast with our hot weather this week.  Mrs. F.G. has all of her tomatoes planted and lots of other stuff, but still lots waiting to go in as well.  I can't keep up with my photos.  And I've still got photos from the past two weeks to share.  So here's a smattering of things for your interest.

This is the big old Sugar Maple out in the golf course that our grandchildren discovered they could climb.  Both of them, as well as our daughter's partner were up that tree as often as possible, the oldest kid halfway to the top!  I've always thought that tree climbing is one of the great adventures of childhood.

We do have lots to share in the garden.  This Columbine is one of my spring favourites.  It just self-seeds, so we always have some, but we never know where they will pop up.

We went to Grey Roots for the 'Spring into Spring' event in the pioneer village.  Among other things they had a show featuring birds of prey, including this Bald Eagle.  Unfortunately the photos illustrate the limitations of my phone camera, which has an amazing zoom, but not much clarity at that level.

The apple orchards are in bloom.  You can hardly see the tiny white blossoms in this photo, one of the newest orchards following a big investment by an Italian company.  

Our recent drives to physio have also surprised us with the brilliant yellow blooms of the Canola fields.  And that's a smattering of notable recent observations here.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Along Nelson West

I sometimes ride down a stretch of Nelson Street West that doesn't get much traffic.  It's got interesting houses, old and new, including five of those old century homes I have written about previously.  What it also has is a lot of deteriorating pavement, breaking apart with small cracks that engineers call 'alligator pavement'.  And it's getting worse!  

There's one home where I can get close to this beautiful white Lilac.  It almost looked like it has passed its peak bloom.

There's also a wild apple tree on the edge of the small semi-wild stream valley.

I like these beautiful white Narcissus that grow in one garden that comes close to the road.

The house where I saw the Wild Turkey has this very bright patch of Tulips.  We don't grow Tulips because Mrs. F.G. has found that squirrels come, dig them up and eat them.

Before I got home again I passed this striking patch of Forget-me-nots.  These are part of a much larger patch that has extended into the nearby ditch.


Now, forgive me while I rant about road conditions!  There is no sidewalk here, as in most of our neighbourhood, so I have no choice but to ride on the road.  And remember, I have constant nerve pain at the level of my spinal cord injury, which is emphasized with every crack I drive over.  Larger bumps are annoyingly painful!  And some bits of pavement are so bad I don't feel safe driving over them.  Take a look at this selection.

The broken grate in the last photo is bad enough that I could get a wheel stuck!

So there you have it, my rant against Meaford's widespread deteriorating roads.  If any of you know a local councillor, please refer them to this.  I will not bother you with it again this year, and I won't be riding down Nelson West anytime soon!

Friday, May 26, 2023

Wild Turkey, a Bee, and the Rabbit!

I've just returned from a Friday afternoon ride and came around one corner to see a Wild Turkey calmly eating grubs out of someone's front lawn.  I've certainly never see one here in town before, though they're common in rural areas here.

It was standing in heavy shade, so the colours weren't bright, but it was intriguing to see.

And it did not move as I crept closer either!  I've always thought of them as wary birds apt to flee at the first sign of people.

I've never had much success or even tried with videos, but I thought this one of a bee visiting the Redbud came out rather well.  Change it to full screen if you can to watch it, much more effective.
And then there's the rabbit, right down under my window, not even flinching when I bang on the glass.

It peered around and hopped a bit, apparently looking for what it would like to chew on next.  Note the banquet of emerging hosta leaves available for it.

It obviously felt an itch behind its ear.

But I'm now under strict instructions now not to take pictures, but to hurry and call for Mrs. F.G. to chase it away.  (Or was that Mr. Macgregor?)

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

In the Garden

Our daughter and crew flew back west last night, arriving in Vancouver at 11.30.  Seven hours time change getting here, only one going home!  But in the meantime more plants are blooming in the garden, and more to come.  The theme in the back yard this week is bright yellow, in the front it's a new deep red.  Here's a snapshot.

These bright yellow Icelandic Poppies are native to most of the sub-polar and mountainous northern hemisphere, but ironically not to Iceland.  They're now bred in a ranger of bright colours.

There's a patch of Leopard's Bane as well.

The plant we know as Manitoulin Daisy (Latin Hymenoxis or now Tetraneuris acaulis) from our times on Manitoulin Island is widespread in the western prairies, but quite uncommon this far east in Ontario.  We have seen it on the flat limestone alvar at Misery Bay Provincial Nature Reserve on Manitoulin, a park I had a hand in establishing.  It is certainly thriving here in our garden.

I love close-ups of all these composite flowers.

Out front our deep red Fernleaf Peony is finally in bloom.  With very fine narrow leaves, it's the earliest of the peonies to bloom here.  theyèr pretty uncommon as garden plants, and very expensive if you try to buy one.

You may remember two 'mystery' plants I posted images of on May 1st and May 8th.  The first of those was this luxuriant white Bleeding Heart that's growing in full sun out front.  

The second was this relatively sparser pink Bleeding Heart growing in the shade out back.  Much more to come as the garden unfolds over the summer.  Mrs. F.G. still has at least 100 seedlings to plant, all now out in the garage èhardening offè.  There's a risk of frost tonight and tomorrow night so they won't get planted quite yet.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Today is a Day of Memories for Us

Eight years ago our oldest son William died when the water bomber he was flying went down over a forest fire in northern Alberta, caught in a fire tornado.  We were in total disbelief when we got the call, but now that the shock has long since worn off, we remember him proudly.  He pursued his dreams to become a water bomber pilot, and he achieved that.

This is my favourite photo of William working, he was so proud to make it as a water bomber pilot.

And this is one of our best photos of Will relaxing, taken during one of the summers he spent on Haida Gwaii.

In the immediate months that followed William's death, we attended four memorial services, one in Ottawa, one in Alberta, and one in B.B., as well as the local service here.  But the most memorable of those, and the one by which I will remember Will, was the one in Hinton Alberta, at the Hinton Training Centre.

This is the small memorial, nestled under the golden Trembling Aspen.  Sadly it includes plaques for more than 20 firefighters.

And this is William's plaque.

In case you're interested, this is the small 'Fire Boss' water bomber that William flew.  This was Will doing a demonstration at Lac Labiche in northern Alberta.  This is the way I choose to remember him.

If you're interested in learning more you can review the tab labelled 'William' above.  There is also a memories site site at, with lots of photos.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Around the Neighbourhood

We've had a wonderful week of visiting with our daughter and her family.  They stayed around the house here, helping Mrs. F.G. in the garden while the kids climbed one of those two big Sugar Maples out on the golf course, and loved it.  Meals were big communal affairs, with of course Mrs. F.G. doing most of the work, but the others pitching in a lot, especially with clean-up  It's been an exhausting but very memorable week!  They're off to Ottawa now, to visit the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial, where our son William's name is engraved, before flying home.

Meanwhile I've fallen way behind in my blog posts; for this one you have to go back two weeks to when the Magnolias were in bloom.

This magnificent Magnolia is just around the corner, and it puts on a spectacular show every spring.

Unfortunately its season is all too short, and on a windy day a week later many of the petals had blown across the lawn.

Two doors down in the opposite direction is this beautiful Serviceberry, an unusual but beautiful shrub for an urban yard.  I've seen it more often on my hikes.

It's a very delicate little flower, but the shrub is covered with them.

And of course ther are my favourite spring flowers, the Dandelions, spreading sunshine wherever they bloom.

I was pleased this year to see they were plentiful on the gold course field behind us, as well as on a couple of lawns nearby.  And I;, sure the bees appreciated them.

Another thing that has appeared recently are these lines of yellow flags.  I believe these are for underground installation of fibre optic internet cables.  I just hope they don't mess us my favourite riding routes!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Redbud is in Bloom !

We're having a great busy time with our daughter and her family, but I had to share the spectacular Redbud in our front garden.  I'm always amazed at how the brilliant pink blossoms of this small tree emerge directly from the branches.  A common understory tree of the Smokies in Tennessee, when planted separately here it is truly spectacular.

Full credit to Mrs. F.G. who took three of these pictures; she can get closer than I can!