Friday, June 30, 2006

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian goose - an African bird, not sure what he was doing here, perhaps escaped from a collection - did look a bit confused, the Speed River not being much like the Nile.

Riverside Park, Cambridge

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gosling Garden #5

Allium Christophii - from the same family as yesterday's photo.

Arboretum, Guelph

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gosling Garden #4

Allium Giganteum - from the same family that brought you onions and garlic.

The Arboretum, Guelph

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gosling Garden #3

The Arboretum, The University of Guelph

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gosling Garden #2

Semi interesting and totally irrelevant fact I learned today: Cancer is not a modern phenomenon - the earliest references to it come from Egyptian papyri dating back 3600 years.

The Arboretum, Guelph

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Gosling Garden

The flowers are blooming wonderful at the Gosling Garden at the Arboretum at The University of Guelph.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

quiet morning in Rockwood

The Rockwood Conservation Area can be especially beautiful on quiet mornings as the sun comes up and through the trees.


Friday, June 23, 2006

snapping turtle

We went for a walk early last Sunday morning and came across this snapping turtle which had crawled up the river bank about 20 feet or so to the shoulder of the road to lay its eggs. It was about 15 inches or 40 cm long (bigger than a frisbee but smaller than a pizza in CMS, Consumer Measurement System) . These turtles range from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan - can live to 50 years old - normally they will just amble or swim away from humans but if they're tormented eg while laying eggs they can get nasty and their jaws are strong enough to take off a finger.

Rockwood Conservation Area

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Guelph Multicultural Festival #7

Chinese Seniors Tai Chi dance.

Now for something completely unrelated:

Photographs are often seen as more 'real' than other pictorial representations, e.g. paintings a la 'the camera never lies' (this despite the common belief that 'the camera adds 10 pounds').
With the current prevalence of digital cameras and software editing programs though most people now have a healthy skepticism concerning image 'reality'.
Most consumer cameras have various 'artistic' settings to 'enhance' photos, e.g. to intensify the colours or put the background out of focus.

One new wrinkle on this which I came across today was a camera with a 'slimming' control - you can set it to take 5, 10 or 15 pounds off of subjects. You think I'm making this up - check it out here.
Others have called it the 'eating disorder reinforcement camera' and the 'beer goggle camera' - I'm just waiting for the next model with the 'celebrity' control where no matter who you take a picture of they turn out to be Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Guelph Multicultural Festival #6

Indian dance.

"out in the bush garden, small hands sow the seed,
the sun warms the earth, the sky starts at your feet"

In a way dance is the proof that the sky starts at our feet.
Speaking of inspiration I just read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - a moving fable about "following your bliss" as Joseph Cambell would say. An easy read and well worth the evening or two invested. All ages material. More seasoned readers might want to balance it with some Tolstoy or William Styron though.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Guelph Multicultural Festival #5

Scottish Highland Dance.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Guelph Multicultural Festival #3

There is always a fascinating mix of people in the audience as well as on the stage at the multicultural festival.
Embracing diversity and practicing respect and tolerance are key to our success, which reminds me, I saw an interesting button today which read, "I'm straight - but not narrow."


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Guelph Multicultural Festival

One World Living Together is the theme of the Guelph Multicultural Festival taking place this weekend.
Some young Ukrainian dancers show their style of joy.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Colour Vision

Some believe that colour vision evolved because it conferred an advantage - the ability to select better food. Others believe it allowed better determination of the moods of those we interact with - emotional states are reflected in changes of skin tone. A sutble monkey's rump.
And still others believe G_d designed colour vision so we fill in the blank...enjoy colour TV more? (Pamela Anderson handing out Junos)


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What Good are the Arts?

What Good are the Arts?, an excellent book by John Carey, looks at the questions: what is a work of art? is 'high art' superior? can science help?, do the arts make us better?, can art be a religion? and concludes that 'there are no absolute values in the arts and we cannot call other poeple's aesthetic choices mistaken or incorrect however much we dislike them'.
He argues strongly for the value of art as an activity - and examines the measureable success art activity has had in engaging prison inmates - in particular those difficult to rehab through literacy and numeracy training.
Well written, funny and stimulating.

Goat's Beard going to seed, Guelph

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Riverside Park Gardens

A lot of work goes into maintaining the numerous plants and flowers at the Riverside Park Gardens. The outcome is worth seeing - and every day there's something new. While pausing to view it I realized that the romance of the chipmunks and waterfall was balanced by the air brakes and beer store lighting behind me.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Riverside Park Trail

The trail along the east side of the Speed River through Riverside Park in Guelph has been improved - widened and wood chipped.
Nice after dinner walk if you're brisk enough to evade the mosquitoes at this time of year.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fairy Potatoes

This bladder campion, AKA cow bell or rattleweed, was along The Kissing Bridge Trail in Guelph.
When we were more immature than we are now we would smash the bladders against our palms to make the sound of an explosion.
Now we just listen to the news.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Red Clover

A nice trail runs along the Avon River in Stratford - we saw monarchs feeding on milkweed, as well as other butterflies and dragonflies.
Butterflies and bumble bees are the only insects which can reach down into the flutes of red clover to get at the nectar.

Stratford, Ontario

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Gosling Wildlife Gardens

The Gosling Wildlife Gardens are a series of five different gardens at The Arboretum at The University of Guelph.
This plant is growing in the first garden - The Butterfly, Moth and Hummingbird Garden.
When I find out its name I'll post it.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

banded wood snail

I'm guessing this is a banded wood snail.

Waiting for my ride after work I checked out the garden and saw something I'd never seen - a baby snail.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Guelph Enabling Garden

Riverside Park is the home of the Guelph Enabling Garden which offers an accessible space to garden - especially for community members with varying degress of physical and cognitive abilities.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

handful of daisies

Although formal portrait photography is still a big business the focus has changed gradually as people have abandoned the imitation of painting for a more documentary look.
Many early photographers were heavily influenced by historical 'fine art' and sought to supply less expensive alternatives to paintings for their more middle class clients.
It is more the norm now to take portraits in situ - and much more relaxing and character driven.

Aurora, Headquarters Conservation Area

Monday, June 05, 2006

carpet of daisies

Magali at four months giving the secret sign that says everything's fine.

Headquarters C.A., near Hanover, Ontario

Sunday, June 04, 2006

field of daisies

Recipe for wonder: A beautiful warm sunny spring day. A visit with great grandmother. Rhubarb Raspberry Custard Pie. A gift of a mirror and barretts. A swing. A slide. Watching the white peacock spread his tail. Then a walk across a field of red and white daisies.

Headquarters Conservation Area, near Hanover

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Last week the poppies in our garden were nodding pods. Within a few days, as if conducted by the sunbeams' baton, they broke into a symphony, and now the petals are falling - leaving swaying skeletons.
In anguish Guelph's most famous poet, John McCrae, wrote "In Flander's Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row..." - then threw it away. Interesting story.
Ars longa.
There is an interesting project taking place here now - called "Afghanistan...On Guard for Thee??" seeking artistic statements reflecting on Canada's international reputation.
Vita brevis.
Let's hope we get it right.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Half an Everton pothole

This entire valley was under water as the Wisconsin glacier melted - water rushed through, and where depressions were present in the limestone bed sometimes harder rocks would be swirled around by the turbulence causing these potholes as the harder rock eroded the softer limestone. Some of the potholes here and in Rockwood are a few metres in diameter - others smaller. Some are quite deep. The side of this one was sheared off and you can see the structure and the layered nature of the limestone.

Everton, Ontario

Thursday, June 01, 2006

wild columbine

The land along the north shore of Lake Erie from Niagara to Windsor hosts a variety of trees, plants and fauna unique in Canada - it's called Carolinian - what lives there is also typical of areas farther south - down to South Carolina in the U.S. You'll find such rarities as Sassafras trees and flying squirels.
There's an excellent guide book which details various trails and also includes biological and historical information - called The Hike Ontario Guide to Walks in Carolinian Canada by Brad Cundiff. Our local library has a copy maybe yours does too.
We saw many of these wild columbines at Backus Woods - near Long Point. Beautiful flower.

Backus Woods