Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Michaelmas Day

Today is Michaelmas Day.... the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, celebrated on 29 September.   Saint Michael is the patron saint of the sea and maritime lands, of ships and boatmen, of horses and horsemen. Traditionally he was the Angel who hurled Lucifer (the devil) down from Heaven for his treachery. 

Michaelmas is one the four quarter days in each year on which servants were hired, school terms started, and rents were due.  The quarter days have been observed at least since the Middle Ages, and they ensured that debts and unresolved lawsuits were not allowed to linger on. Accounts had to be settled, a reckoning had to be made and publicly recorded on the quarter days.

And as the Autumn Equinox happened just a couple of days ago,  here are some Autumn colours. The reds, golds, yellows and purples.... a beautiful time of the year.

Saturday, 26 September 2020


Jolena was limping. She couldn't keep up with her girlfriends when they went out in the morning and she was getting left behind on the search for snacks. Jolena had a very sore foot. Jolena is a chicken.

She's not just any old white chicken you might encounter on a chicken farm. Jolena is special. 

Jolena is a Columbian Rock. She lays an egg almost every day. And she lives with her chicken girlfriends Ruby, Frenchie, April, Mango, Ms Silkie, um.... I forgot the other two chicken names, sorry, please don't tell..... with my grandchildren on their country property.

Jolena needed some first aid, so she was placed in a chicken style hospital bed to soak her foot in warm water and epsom salts for a while. The towel is to stop her jumping out and running to tell her friends what an awful time she's had.

It's hard to keep chicken's feet clean, and they don't like wearing shoes and socks! Her foot got a bit better after a few of these treatments, but I think she will always have a slight limp. Poor Jolena! However, the eggs keep coming.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Mulberry Tree?

 Are there any tree experts out there? Can anyone tell me if this is a young mulberry tree?

It seems strange that the leaves at the bottom of the branches are a different shape and also a different colour from the top leaves.

It's about 2 metres high, lots of thin branches, and is growing in a very weedy grassy area beside the pond near my house. Probably planted by a bird!

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

First Day of Autmn

Autumn Solstice happens today 22 September, unless of course, you're located on the Southern Hemisphere where you'll be welcoming Spring.  The weather here in Ontario has a touch of chill in the evenings and the maple leaves are starting to show patches of red and gold. But it's still a beautiful sunny day, definitely shirtsleeve weather, and winter's a very distant threat!

Time to get the harvest in from the fields.

There's still a long way to go to get this cornfield done.
But it will all be complete by the end of the day with the use of the harvester farm equipment. Time to get onto the next field tomorrow.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Bear in Area

The newest trail through the Rouge Urban Park goes from 19th Road Day Use Area, 5.1 km to the south, ending at Elgin Mills Road. There are parking spaces, an information board, and toilet facilities at the start of the trail. Eventually there will be a system of connected walking/biking trails all the way south to Lake Ontario. 

And no... I didn't come face to face with the bear, thank goodness. He (or she?) was sighted back in May or June so I think he's long gone from the area.

In the distance the skyline of Toronto. You can just about see the CN Tower. 
The trail doesn't loop back to the start, the only way back is to retrace your steps. And it's slightly uphill on the northbound return journey.  
Last weekend it was sunny but cool and breezy, perfect for walking. I walked both ways... that's 10km!
The trail is wide enough to comply with the "physical distancing" Covid rules. And the surface is good for walking and for bikes or strollers, and accessible for wheelchairs too. Lots of families out enjoying the beautiful day.
The trail meanders through wooded areas and also fields of both corn and soybeans, and there are log benches and patio chairs along the route if you need a rest. The trees are starting to show some autumn colours now. 
I noticed these unusual seed pods along the route... I'm trying to identify what they are. Any ideas?

Seed Pod Update: I met a Parks Canada Ranger on the trail today and he told me this is Velvetleaf, or otherwise known as abutilon theophrastiButter-print, Elephant ear, Indian-mallow, Pir-marker, abutilon feuille de velours. It was introduced to North America from Asia in the 1700s as a potential fibre crop and now it's considered a nasty weed. It's an annual plant reproducing by seed and one plant can produce up to 44,000 seeds that are able to lay dormant and viable in the soil for up to 60 years! Crikey!

Monday, 14 September 2020

Doggy Mailbox

 Here's a nice friendly doggy. No worries about this one chasing the mailman.

Perhaps for sending really long letters.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

The Marmite Crisis

 You either love it or you hate it. Me? I love it!

It's Marmite. The very British gooey smelly dark brown spread made from brewer's yeast, and various other yummy not-so-secret ingredients, such as folic acid, niacin, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and salt.... mmm... all my favourites!

My very best get-up-and-go breakfast.... a couple of slices of buttered toast with a thin scraping of Marmite, washed down with a hot cup of tea. Perfect cut into soldiers dipped in a boiled egg.

But sadly, my Marmite supply is running dangerously low. I've tried Metro, Foodland, No Frills, Longos, Supercentre, and come up with nothing. "We haven't had that for months" they tell me.

 I think I'm about to have a Marmite meltdown. 

Just when we all thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, there's a worldwide Marmite shortage! That nasty bug Covid 19 has a lot to answer for, not least the fact that there's a very short supply of brewer's yeast available, the main ingredient, because the pubs were shut for so long during the UK lockdown, and nobody was drinking beer.... well, not in pubs anyway.

I had plenty of toilet paper, masks, sanitiser, things to do and books to read, all ready to brave the lockdown, but why oh why didn't I stock up with Marmite?

Tuesday, 8 September 2020


 My grandson Callum has a new friend.... Everest.

So named because he is grey and brown and black and white, just like the mountain.

He's about 1 year old and is super friendly, super fluffy, and loves a cuddle. He came from the local SPCA as a homeless kitty looking for a place to hang his hat, and I think he's found the perfect family to take charge of and train to attend to his every need. He even bosses Badger the giant wolf dog around, so he's definitely moved in with authority. YAY Everest! Welcome to the family.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Sunny Sunflowers

A field near my house is covered with sunny sunflowers.... not the spectacular giant 10 foot high variety, but smaller with more blooms.  I was told that the farmer went to the local Costco and bought bird seed grade sunflower seed, and this field is the result.  That's an awful lot of bird seed.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

The Stripper

I've been doing some stripping this week.

No, not THAT kind of stripping. Get your mind out of the gutter! 

This old table has been sitting in the bay window and the sun has bleached the wood and melted the 1920s black varnish. Plus there were water stains and scrapes and dents and the top was a nasty mess, so grandson Callum and I carried it huffing and puffing out to the garage. The middle bit folds away and it becomes a narrow table.

A can of chemical stripper, a couple of scrapers, lots of newspaper and rags and sandpaper, and the loan of a neighbour's electric sander, then some walnut stain and a couple of coats of clear acrylic, and the table top looks as good as new. I didn't touch the legs or frame, they didn't need any attention. Definitely not a professional job but 100% better than it was. 

The table is back in the window now, and should be able to stand up to the sun with it's new modern finish. I still have some stripper left..... now what else needs some TLC? I'm in a stripping mood.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020


 It's September! Where did August go?

I have been a very bad blog member since July but I am mending my ways and renewing my blogging starting today. (You may have heard that from me previously....)   Looks like I am using the 'new" blogger.... well, I'll see if I like it. I wonder if there is any way to get back to the "old" blogger? Let me know if you've done it.

Our local male voice choir, the Men of Note, had to cancel all their concerts since March and haven't had an opportunity to rehearse due to the coronavirus lockdown, but recently they have been able to meet in a member's back yard and practice some of their numbers. Singing indoors is banned at the moment, but the choir have been able to perform on Saturday mornings in July at the local Farmers Market. Everyone spaced at the required safe distance, and wearing masks or face shields, of course. And well away from the public too.

I made sure I was there last Saturday to hear them.... but they weren't there. ONE PERSON has complained that it was unsafe to sing in a public place, despite the masks and the 2 meter spacing and the sanitizer, and the choir has been shut down.

It amazes me that ONE PERSON can have such an impact on something that brought joy to so many. I hope that the choir will be singing next week after some negotiations. We'll see.