Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

This year Canada celebrates the 150th (sesquicentennial) anniversary of Confederation.  But the name, and the country, are much older than that.  'Canada' itself is a native word meaning 'village', so if we look back in time, Canada as a home has been here since the ice left!

A lot of the public celebration has referred to Canada's "150th Birthday", which I find a bit misleading.  It's the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, but Upper and Lower Canada started officially in 1791 (226 Years ago), while Canada West and Canada East existed from 1841-1867. The original 'Canada' was a French colony established by Jacques Cartier in 1535, so that's 482 years ago. And that's to say nothing of the First Nations who were around for 10,000 years before that.  The native communities were helpful allies during initial settlement decades as the fur trade developed.  But I could go on for a long time about Canadian history!

In the meantime I've been seeing Canada flags, and other things red and white, everywhere!  Here's the giant chair outside Meadford Town Hall.

Meaford has a Scarecrow Festival in October, and as this display shows, it's going to be based on red and white scarecrows this year!

Canadian flag banners line the main street of Thornbury.

And I spotted this line of tiny flags in the town of Arthur when we were driving through.

Here homes, businesses, farms and even cars feature Canadian flags.  Hope Haven is the therapeutic riding centre just around the corner from us.

There's certainly a lot of commercial exploitation of the colours and symbols.  These are fabrics with a Canadian twist (note the Beaver and the Moose), in a small quilt.

And of course there are those red and white Tulips that bloomed right here in the spring.

This is the biggest single Canadian flag I've seen recently, painted on a barn roof a few miles northwest of here.

 Happy Canada Day!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Unique Solstice Sunrise

A disembodied voice called me out of a deep sleep on the morning of the solstice 10 days ago - there was a nice sunrise to see.  I think I was a little groggy, but it turned out to be the most unique set of sunrise photos I've ever taken.  You can actually see the sun!

The sky was almost all blue; only a tiny corner had some clouds that the sun was coming up behind.  Usually the spectacular sunrise occurs before the sun actually rises as its light from below the horizon shows on the clouds.  Once it rises, it is so bright that it blows out the picture.  It glowed brightly in my first picture, and I figured sunrise would be over quickly.

But the clouds kept blowing quickly past, out of the north, shading the sun just enough that you could see the actual orb of the sun itself, not just it's bright light on the clouds.

It kept rising quickly, and on a sharp angle, as it does at this latitude, but the clouds moved fast too, continuing to shade the sun enough that the circle of the sun showed up repeatedly.  Check out the sequence below.

Never before have I photographed a sunrise like this!  A great start to summer!

Then finally the sun did burst through, and the interesting part of the sunrise was over.  Sorry about all the wires, but can't do anything about them.

Linking to:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Flowers of the Field

There are lots of interesting wildflowers ('weeds') blooming these days in our meadow, and along roadsides, fencerows and in ditches.  They're mostly common, but I always like watching for them as the season unfolds into summer.

The bright yellow Bird's-foot Trefoil has become one of the most common along our roadsides.  Sometimes the roadside looks yellow there is so much of it.

And in our lawn, the clover is ubiquitous.  There is a little grass in there too, but the clover really helps the lawn stay looking green.

The hawkweeds are some of the most intricate little flowers.  The Yellow Hawkweed or King Devil seems more common, but we also have some of the Orange Hawkweed or Devil's Paintbrush (not to be confused with Indian Paintbrush).  It's one of my favourite, simply because I like bright colours.

The deep purple Common Vetch is one of the most persistent weeds in the garden, but it appears in the meadow and along roadsides too.

I've found the Yellow Vetch much less common, but still pretty.

These are the tiny Balsam Ragwort flowers.

There's lots of Red Clover too, really more a deep pink colour.

The Daisy Fleabane looks like a tiny daisy, with very small white rays around the yellow centre.

And finally this year I spotted some very tiny white flowers which turned out to be Bluets.  One of the most inconspicuous flowers, I've simply never noticed it before.  The blossom is about 1/4" across.

The yellow Goatsbeard, that opens in the morning to face the sun, has mostly gone to seed now, forming what looks like a giant dandelion seed head.

So next time you're walking the fields, along a fencerow, or even along the roadside keep an eye out for these 'flowers of the field'.  they do change over the season, and soon we'll meet some others that come out in bloom.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Garden Update

Our garden is growing as if it's had too much rain!  Butterfly season has arrived, along with flowers that provide beautiful fragrance.  I can't keep up with the weeding, so we've hired some help!  Here are a few of what were blooming over the last three weeks.

A very bright Painted Daisy.

A small but beautiful Spiderwort, one of the Transcantias.

These are some of the huge bright pink 'napping' peonies, double blooms so they don't serve the bees like are white ones do, but very pretty.  Sadly, they are so large and heavy that they fall over and lie on the ground to take their 'nap'.  The lawnmower doesn't like it.

These royal blue Iris are just stunning, a garden highlight before our day lilies start blooming.

Can't leave out the white Iris, they'd feel left out.

A tiny pink wild Geranium.

And tiny pink blooms on a 'wild' rose bush, wild in the sense that we just ignore it and it keeps blooming.  Don't know where it came from.

And here's a mystery plant for you.  Does anyone know it?  Believe it or not, it's an Allium, known correctly as Allium siculum, but the common name Mediterranean Bells seems much nicer to me.  The blossoms face downwards, and the hornets obviously like to visit.

This is what the garden looks like as a whole, lots of green plants growing like mad.  In a month it will be day lilies up front, and a month after that it will be the 8 foot high false sunflowers along the back.

If you're interested in the veggie garden, here it is, or most of it.  Mostly a garlic crop, along with my row of enormous rhubarb plants in the back.  A few tomatoes on the left, but blight keeps wiping them out.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Crops Update

It was three weeks ago that I shared pictures of the spring crops emerging.  I'm following these crops over the summer to watch how they grow until harvest.  Most of these are easy to identify, but the various spring grains all still just look the same.  We'll see as the season unfolds.

The Corn is growing fast, thanks in part to all the rain we've had - although eventually it will need some heat!  In places the plants are 18" high.  Remember, a clean field like this means it has been thoroughly sprayed to keep down weeds.  Most of these crops are probably GMO crops.

The Winter Wheat is looking good, almost showing a touch of yellow.  The grain has tassled, though it too could use some heat in the next month for the grains to mature.  This will be the first of the grain crops harvested.

Soybeans are filling in well.  They don't get planted until after the danger of frost, and will be one of the later crops harvested in the fall.

And I finally found a field of canola to follow.  It's a Brassica, a member of the same family as cabbage and radish, and it looks like it at this early stage.

And here's a new one on me, a field of spring grains and peas.  I noticed the farmer leaning against his tractor deep in conversation, so I stopped to ask.  He said the mixture here is Oats and Barley, with the Peas added for protein, and it will probably be cut and baled while the grain is still immature, for forage used as cattle feed.  Thanks for an email after the last post which put me on the right track.

There are lots of fields which still look just like luxurious grass coming up to me.  They could be Barley, Oats, or Spring Wheat, but I'm going to have to wait to tell which.  For now, they look they're doing well after all our rain.

Not everywhere is doing well though.  We've had so much rain here that farmers couldn't get on some fields until late; those crops are only emerging now.  And in some fields the wet conditions have prevented spraying, which causes other problems.  Here's hoping the season balances out for all these crops.  Next update in about 3 weeks.

Linking to