Friday, 26 October 2012

Scotch Settlement

We went geocaching this morning. It's OlderSon and Callum's newest hobby. This particular cache was hidden at the Scotch Settlement Arboretum in Bradford, West Gwillimbury. It was a cool morning.... rain threatened.
In 1815, 140 Scots came from Lord Selkirk's Red River Settlement in Manitoba eventually making their way to what is now known as the Scotch Settlement in West Gwillimbury. The first school and church known as Auld Kirk was established in 1823 .
In 1865 a second church was established. Originally known as "The 2nd West Gwillimbury Presbyterian Church" — over time, the church became known as "The Scotch Settlement Presbyterian Church". The arboretum trees were planted by members of the local Horticultural Society. 
The small cache was wrapped in camo tape and well hidden..... I'm not going to tell where and spoil it.... but easy to find using the GPS.
So we signed the paper with the date and our names, tucked the cache away in it's hiding place and registered the find on the web site. This was a very small cache, but some of them are a lot bigger and contain all sorts of exchangeable items.
On the way back, there were lots of these grey mushrooms in an area surrounded by pine and spruce trees. Anyone know what they are?
Update: Possibly Grey Knight (Tricholoma terreum) also known as the Dirty Tricholoma. This is a late-season mushroom that thrives in pine forests, forming large groups with the first cold spells. And it's edible! But we didn't take any home for dinner.
Geocaching seems to be great way to explore areas that you'd otherwise miss. I had no idea that this little arboretum existed and I knew nothing about the history of the Scotch Settlement..

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Christmas in October

I bought a small Christmas Cactus at Home Depot a few years ago. Each year it gets a little bigger. It stays in my south window all winter and really does nothing much except enjoy the winter sunshine, and then in the spring it goes outside. I don't water it, I just leave it up to Mother Nature to look after it.
And then as soon as it starts to get colder at night I bring it in.
And I noticed that it was covered with tiny pink buds.
Obviously spending the summer outside and being ignored agrees with it.
Only a week later, the whole plant is covered with pink blooms. Just gorgeous.
It's giving me my Christmas present a couple of months early.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Seasonal Changes

O C T O B E R.
Where did the warm September sunshine go? It's getting colder. The furnace has had it's fall cleaning and maintenance and is already warming the house. And there's a frost warning tonight. Brrrr....
I took Tessa the mad DoodleDog for a gentle walk top speed romp through York Regional Forest, and even though it was a dull day, the fall colours were glowing.
I'm so lucky to be able to enjoy this beautiful public place and it's just a ten minute drive from my house. And Tessa's a lucky dog to get to go there with me! I hope she appreciates it.
There were quite a few walkers with their dogs out enjoying the brisk fall air. Most of the dogs were splashing in the pond. Of course, Tessa didn't want to be left out and she joined in the fun. That water must have been very cold but she didn't care! This pond is home to frogs, fish and turtles. The water is flowing all the time, and it freezes over in the winter.
I was just focusing the camera when a jogger suddenly appeared and made me jump.  He must have been hiding in the bushes!!!
I think I'll have to return to this tree with my camera on a sunnier day... the colour was stunning.
 And any amateur mycologists out there, who can ID this mushroom?
No, I didn't pick it, someone else picked it and discarded it. And no, I don't think I'll try it for dinner.... looks a bit dodgy.
Update: after "mushroom picking" through the internet, I think this might be a species of amanita, and definitely poisonous. Pictures here.