Monday, September 25, 2017

The Trail

On day two we also took time to walk round the trail on the island where French River Lodge is located.  It was a fascinating close look at the northern pine forest and its denizens - birds, trees, mushrooms, moss and lichens.

French River Lodge is a classic old fishermen's lodge, with a main building plus several cabins that provide the accommodation.  It's currently for sale if you want a unique opportunity!

They maintain a fleet of fisherman's boats, and I expect that most clients come to fish.  The old boathouse/workshop looks like a treasure trove of everything you might need to keep a place like this going.

As you can see by the picture, we walked the pink trail around the outer shore of the island.

Lots of Reindeer Moss (actually a lichen) and various lichens on the bedrock, including these foliose lichens.

Polypody Fern occupied other cracks in the bedrock.

Every now and then we had a look over Canoe Channel, our arrival and departure route.

Always more White Pine trees and those rocks.

Thanks to the keen ears and eyes of one of the expert birders in the group, we spotted a small mixed flock of feeding warblers and nuthatches - a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Red-breasted Nuthatch.  tomorrow I'll show you some of the numerous mushrooms that decorated the trail.

Glad some of you are enjoying this heat - but I'm not.  Can't wait for cooler weather now that summer is finally here!  Would you believe I referred to summer arriving after the "fall solstice" in my post two days ago, and none of you caught me up on it?  Talk about absent-minded!

Sunday, September 24, 2017


One advantage of not going from campsite to campsite on a steady diet of 20 km. paddles every day, is that we got time to go exploring.  So on day one we went out for a gentle paddle of only a few km, exploring some of the narrow rocky channels that the French River is known for.

Off we went, my favourite reliable paddling buddy in the stern.  Yes that's me with my new Tilly hat.  It's not actually new, it's a replacement for my 40 year old one that died - they have a lifetime guarantee so they sent me a new one!  This was one of those narrow channels where it's hard to avoid hitting the rocks beside you with your paddle.

There were a lot of bright red Red Maple saplings at the water's edge.  The water levels are high this year, and most of these were flooded - but then Red Maples like wet feet.

More of those pine trees and rocks, and if the water's calm, reflections.

We came out of that narrow channel and it opened up into a long narrow marsh, here filled with Smartweed.
More mature Red Maples on the shoreline were a deep purple red.

I tried to get pictures of some of the sedges, rushes and water lilies as we paddled by, but it's amazingly difficult to do so in a moving canoe!
After exploring to the end, eventually we found a different route out to the main channel.

And found some interesting rock formations.  First a wide band of white quartz, and second a good example of how metamorphic rocks get folded at some point in their history.

More bright red Red Maples.

And more rocks and pine trees as we made our way home.

Of course we did manage a GORP break along the way, our traditional mid-morning and mid-afternoon break.  I was responsible for two days worth of GORP breaks, so I made it a little more luxurious than the original 'Good Old Rasins and Peanuts'.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The French River

I'm back from my pre-move break, a wonderful 5 days canoeing on the French River in northern Ontario with some old friends.  Weather was perfect,  Canoed more than I have in several years, and enjoyed both the history and the scenery along the route of the old voyageurs who headed west on this route in the 16 and 1700's.

The French River in northern Ontario is a land of rock and pine trees.  Mile after mile you're paddling down rocky channels, past a White Pine forest, or sometimes rugged individual White Pines against the sky like these.

This is the main route of the fur traders and explorers in Canada's early history, starting in the early 1600's.  It's a large cauldron of long narrow rocky channels like this that carry the French, Wanapetei and Pickerel Rivers out to Georgian Bay.  It's amazing to think you may be paddling along the same route that Samuel de Champlain travelled in 1615.

Our trip started at the Hartley Bay Marina, a well-organized place where cottagers, fishermen and canoeists leave their cars, and head into the French River Provincial Park.

We loaded up, paddled out of the marina, and headed west down the river.  I've paddled with this group of friends 9 times before, on trips ranging from here to the Burnside River in the Arctic, but I had to give up a few years ago because my health issues made the portaging impossible.

But finally, this year, the rest of the group reached the point where they were also finding portaging difficult, and they decided to rent a cabin for the trip, and do day paddles out from there.  Suited me just fine, and so I could rejoin them!  And I hope to continue in the future.

We stayed at the French River Lodge, in two cabins we rented for the week.  With 7 people, I brought along my smaller single canoe, the little red one here.  This was luxury!  A fridge, stove, beds, and hot showers.  What more could you ask for?!

We settled in and caught up with our friends, planning where we would paddle over the next four days.  It was SO nice to be back with this group, spending time in the north with all that rock and pine trees!

I took enough pictures to keep the blog going for the next month, so you'll be seeing a bit of the French River over the next few days.  Far too busy to do much photography around here at home.

Meanwhile, it's summer.  It took til after the fall equinox for summer to finally arrive with a few actually hot days!  Personally I'd rather have the cooler days we were having back again.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Created Spaces

The past 6 months have been a marathon, ever since we decided to move, bought our future home, and sold this one.  So many decisions to make.  And so much to get rid of!  We have a lovely home, partly a log cabin I built myself with help from my son.  We have a lovely garden; you've seen pictures on this blog.  But I'm not going to miss any of that.

The part I'm going to miss is the 'created spaces' around our property, spaces that I've created by planting, trimming, and mowing over nearly two decades (most of it in the past 7 years).  This is my favourite spot, some big chairs under the old apple tree.  I'm the only one who ever sits out here.

You can look out across the lawn from under the shade of the trees in the fencerow toward the main flower garden.

And walking past it, you come to the wide path in front of the shed I built.  At that point the formal garden ends, and beyond it is the big compost pile.  I've done a lot of work walking back and forth through here, and I won't miss that part!
Heading on, I've created a network of mowed trails.  These were the best thing I did.  I'm not sure we'd ever walk through our meadow to the back of the property were it not for these trails.

And since I started the trees, shrubs and plants around them have grown so much.  It seems like a jungle out there some days.

Two trails on the other side of the property, looking out, and looking back towards the house.  I love these trails, but again, I'm the only one who uses them.  And I mainly use them when I mow them.  But it has made this entire informal part of our property seem like a special created space that belongs to me, the creator of it.

Our grandson (before they moved to B.C.) loved this trail the best.  Planting this double row of White Pines was one of the first things we did, in 1999.  They were 12" seedlings.  Now you can walk down between them and feel you're in a forest.  For our grandson, this was the 'forest trail'.

The countdown is on to our move in 4 weeks.  I'm going to take a break next week before the final rush.  See you again in a week.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sunset, Sunrise

Believe it or not, I saw both a sunset and the following morning`s sunrise in the space of less than 12 hours last week.  The sun is both setting earlier, and rising later every day now.

No clouds in the sky, just a round ball of fire sinking toward the horizon.

We only saw it because we were getting home late from a trip further south and saw the sun setting across the fields.

The sun rose the next morning right out our kitchen window!

Another beautiful day here; summer has returned!  Or maybe it has finally arrived!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Garden in mid-September

The garden is certainly fading fast now.  Day lilies are over, and many of the remaining plants are dying off.  But there are still new flowers coming into bloom, and lots of yellow and pink flowers still around.

Parts of the garden actually look their best at this time of year.  The big circle of Brown-eyed Susans around our big rock looks great right now!

In the main flower garden there are still plenty of phlox, the giant Cutleaf Coneflower, and that disobedient Obedient Plant.

One small plant of glads hides behind a bar of the ornamental gate.

And just recently the mums have started to bloom.

This Persicaria, one of the Smartweeds, isn't very obvious except for its bright red flowers.

The fall Anemones start blooming now, one of our latest fall flowers.

And of course there are still some Hostas in bloom.  Different varieties bloom at different times over the entire summer.

A Bad Day

I managed to have a bad day in just 15 minutes this morning.  I had
brought the smaller patio set up beside the garage to see if our son wanted it when he
was here on the weekend.  I had leaned the glass table top against the far side
of the camper van.  Then I went out this morning, hopped in the driver's seat
and started to back up.  Do you know how many billion fragments a glass table
top breaks into when you drive over it!

I hope this was just a sign of stupidity and not early alzheimers!