Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Commenting Problems

You may have noticed I haven't been commenting for awhile.  It's all due to Google!  You all deserve a big apology but I think I've figured out a solution, and you may have started getting my comments again in the last 2 or 3 days.  It's been very frustrating because I often have something I'd like to say!

I read all your blogs in the evening, sitting with my ipad.  For some weeks now I have been unable to leave any comments, getting a range of different error messages from Google.  I've tried various remedies with no luck.

But then I tried commenting using my desktop computer, and it seems to work!  In some ways it's better because using the big keyboard for typing is a lot easier than the limited one on an ipad.  So I've started sitting down during the day and checking your comments on my blog, then going and commenting on yours (if I have anything significant to say).

I hope this will get me back to commenting regularly, and more thoughtfully too.  Rest assured I'm reading your blogs and enjoying them in any case.  Any ideas to fix this welcome.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Rollercoaster Weather - Part II

The weather rollercoaster has continued through yet another snowstorm and then further melting.  We're really experiencing a strange year for temperature.  If this is climate change I'm worried even though it makes life easier for me personally.

First a reminder of the 'graupel' we had on Feb. 11th.

On Feb. 14th a light dusting of snow.

A bit more snow,

until on Feb. 17ty the world was white again.  Winter had returned.

Our snowstick crane did have a bit of a winter blanket.

And on a sunny day the shadows were back.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

The February Weather Rollercoaster!

This has been the strangest February in my memory for up and down weather.  And the 'ups' have ben frankly ridiculous and a little scary!  It's worrying that we have had a February so completely unlike any previous February in my life!  We need cold and snow to kill off the bugs, replenish the water table, and keep the ski hills open.

This is our front lawn on Feb. 5th!  Absolutely absurd!

It just kept on melting.  Cross-country skiers were getting frustrated!

At the low point there wasn't much snow left, and lots of green - this on Feb. 10th.

Then the rollercoaster started back the other direction with a light bit of 'graupel'.

I love ferns, so I like this Christmas Fern with a those tiny bits of white accumulating.

For comparison, here's just one picture of our snowstick from a year ago this month.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Flesherton/Eugenia United Churches and the Hanley Institute

You will recall my recent (Jan. 31st) post on rural churches, in which I included the United Church building in Eugenia.  This church was part of a two-point charge with Flesherton United, but at the time I could not figure out which church was still in use, or if both were.  Well, one of my loyal and helpful blog readers here in Meaford came to my rescue, and the answer is very interesting.

This church in the village of Eugenia is now being used as the church and it's no longer a two-point charge.  That's one half of the story.

I find the double front doors interesting, but don't know the story behind that.

However, the interesting part of the story is that the church building in Flesherton is now the location of a group of youth programs under the umbrella of the Hanley Institute, started by a young woman by the name of Jenny Hanley.  As I read on their website about the Board members they have attracted, I'm really impressed.

The former St. John's United in Flesherton, now the Hanley Institute.
Sorry, even at this resolution the photo is blurred.
Only photo I could find. 

The newspaper clipping given to me refers to a small request for funding from the local council, but the group's website provides much more insight about their programs.  It offers primarily after-school and summer camp programs, and those programs are focused on building those 'soft skills' that we all know are essential for survival and employment.

As the website says, they talk openly about the 'Four Ss' - Sex, suicide, substances and self-esteem.  There is clearly a strong mental health focus and they are targetting young rural youth.  They do this by integrating themes like emotion management, self-esteem building, mental health awareness, team building and healthy life skills among others, into their programming.  All these are important for young teens in my opinion!

The direct inspiration was the death of a local youth by drug overdose, and some of the Board have tragically lost friends or family members to suicide.  They are also a talented bunch, with Jenny herself being a Certified Addiction Counsellor with 20 years experience.  (I've always said you're at your best when you're about 40).

Among all the rural churches I know of, this is the most innovative use of a former church building.  Most churches are mainly focussed on just keeping themselves open!

Sunday, February 18, 2024


Someplace in that sunny week there was a beautiful sunrise.  Mrs. F.G. came hurrying into my room while I was still in bed asking for my camera.  She opened the front door and got three great shots.  Enjoy.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Wheelchair rides in February!

It was last week now, but I still can't believe I was out riding around town in early February!  We had a full week of sunny days after that Saturday afternoon drive, with the temperature gradually rising to an unheard of 12 degrees!  It was actually warm!!  So here are a few pictures I took on one of my rides last week, my usual shorter ride, just to give you an idea.  Don't look at the houses; look at the sky!

Leaving home.

Let's start at the far end, 7 blocks away, just as I turn around to head home.

Then it's past the low one-story local hospital.  It may be small, but it's a godsend for local residents. That first tree on the right is where the squirrel was hiding in one of my fall pictures.

Ahead of us the street bends sharply left rather than continuing down the slope of another glacial shoreline, the ancient Nipissing shore.  You can follow it all the way through Meaford.  The tree on the left is another favourite for fall colour.

Another block and I turn back onto our own street.  For some reason it's like a wind tunnel on the prairies.  While there may be a gentle breeze on other streets, here it hits you as soon as you turn the corner!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

And the Drive Home!

The drive home is just as interesting as the drive down there.  You see everything in reverse.  And it was still a beautiful sunny day.  We chose to go a slightly different route and pick up some butter tarts.

Shortly after Eugenia we come to the first steep curve down into the valley.  That road curving up to the east takes you to a whole range of interesting places I've explored.

Around another curve or two and then the valley opens up ahead of us.

The village of Kimberley sits right down in the bottom of the valley where the old mill was built and a settlement grew up around it..

We got a glorious view of the Old Baldy cliffs just as we entered the village.  A popular climbing spot.

Through the village and looking back we get a totally different wide angle view of Old Baldy.

We chose to go a different way home and veered off to the right through the even smaller village of Heathcote.  Here we stopped at the locally famous Heathcote bakery, the Blackbird Pie Company.  They are renowned for their chicken pot pie, but we just picked up some butter tarts.

Eventually we found our way back to Meaford, coming over the crest of that Algonquin shoreline to see Georgian Bay spread out below us,

Halfway down the slope you can pick out the bright yellow Willow trees, tricked into thinking it was spring in the sunshine,

How do you like my shot of the thick black hydro cable?  I think it stands out really well against the background of the bright yellow willow tree.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Lake Eugenia

Up and out of the valley south of Kimberley, through the village of Eugenia, a left turn and down aways, and we ended up at Lake Eugenia, mostly frozen over now of course.  Lake Eugenia was created back in 1914 when they dammed the Beaver River and installed that power plant in the valley.  A lot of farmland was flooded.

This is just a small corner of the lake, on the south side of the causeway.

No birds at the Osprey nest yet of course, but it will be interesting when  they are home in later summer.

We usually pause where the old course of the river flows in under the causeway, here looking south where it's surrounded by a sea of stumps.  This is a great area to explore by canoe at normal water levels.

The vast majority of the lake is on the north side of the causeway, where it actually looks like a lake.  The entire shoreline has been leased for cottages by Ontario Hydro.  They let the water level down over winter in order to be ready for the rush of high water flow in spring.

It wasn't hard to spot some white birds, and by zooming in see that these are Mute Swans, a non-native species that does stay over the winter if there's open water.

I was trying to be artistic here, what do you think?

This shows you the context.

Some other interesting patches of ice and stumps.  Then, leaving the lake behind we headed home.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

A Saturday Afternoon Drive

On that first bright sunny day we'd had in weeks we decided to go for a drive.  We chose Lake Eugenia, straight south of us, and headed out of town.  The sun was glaring, but I managed a few slightly off-true-colour photos along the way.

The big hill on the way out of Meaford is not the Niagara Escarpment, it's the ancient post-glacial Algonquin shoreline.  That's another story sometime.

We passed the big steel grain bins along the way.  Here they both store and dry crops of corn, soybeans and wheat.  I presume they bring in seed for those crops as well.

Shortly after that we come over the crest of the hill and start down into the Beaver Valley.  Lake Eugenia is beyond the far horizon.

In a couple of spots we could look up to the cliffs where the Bruce Trail passes, and where I spent so much time exploring in my past life.  Sorry about the reflection.

Then we pass the old Talisman Ski Hill, site of my skiing in my teenage years, but sadly overgrown and abandoned now.

And on the left a beautiful view of Old Baldy, just before entering Kimberley.  I don't think I have many winter shots here.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

A Sunny Day Finally!!!

Saturday turned out to be bright and sunny!  And the same thing happened on Tuesday!  It's the downslope of winter here as the gloom fades away and the sunshine returns.  Now I can revert to posting about what's actually happening, at least close to the current date.

The first thing I noticed were the shadows. although of course with the almost snowless winter we've been having they aren't as bright as they might be.

It was truly a cloudless day, though the temperature didn't rise much above freezing.

Our snow stick was totally exposed except for his feet.

And the tree trunks against the sky were striking.  Hopefully we'll have more days like this!