Monday, July 31, 2006

Blue Morning

It doesn't get much more peaceful than this.

Bayfield Inlet, Ontario

Sunday, July 30, 2006

On Vacation

Alec, Sarah and I went hiking along the Bruce Trail at the Petun Conservation Area near Collingwood a couple of years ago - he made this photo of me making this photo.
We're on vacation now for a couple of weeks - hope to get in some hiking and snapping.

Petun Conservation Area

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Flashback - c.1990.

Lake Huron

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jackie Washington

I remember seeing Jackie Washington at various folk festivals in the 70's and thinking he was really hip & good even though he seemed decades older than most other performers. It's absolutely amazing how he keeps going - born in 1919 - what's that 87? 88? What an inspiring man!
Watch a bit of a documentary on him here.

Home County Folk Festival, London

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

sleeping granddogger

One of the most pleasant things about being a grandparent is that you can relax and appreciate the moments spent with your grandchildren. To a parent a sleeping child offers an opportunity to get something done - time for action. To a grandparent it presents an opportunity to meditate and be mindful of the beauty of it all.


Monday, July 24, 2006

St. Peters Basilica

St. Peters Basilica & London skyline from Victoria Park.

London, Ontario

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

water lily

Water lily (Nymphaeaceae) seeds can live for 2000 years.
A Monet painting could live forever.

Terra Cotta Conservation Area

Thursday, July 20, 2006

stumped juggler

Juggler wondering just why that pin is hanging in mid air. Only the miscreants with the helium tank know for sure.

Downtown Guelph

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Shand Dam

As trees were removed and land cleared in the Grand River watershed - during the 19th and early 20th centuries - water levels fluctuated wildly resulting in increased flooding in towns along the river. In 1942 the Shand Dam was built in Fergus - the first dam built in Canada for water control purposes.

Belwood Lake Conservation Area

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

climbing nightshade

From the same family that brought you tomatoes and potatoes comes the bittersweet or deadly or climbing nightshade. Don't eat the berries. Just enjoy the view.

Terra Cotta Conservation Area

Monday, July 17, 2006

stiff arrowhead

A relatively rare stiff arrowhead plant flowers among the lily pads on Wolf Lake at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area. The stiff arrowhead is related to the common arrowhead or wapato - once a staple food of native populations across North America.

Terra Cotta C.A.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

art on the street

Here's French, bassist with Toronto's Magneta Lane, at todays art on the street event.

Downtown Guelph

Friday, July 14, 2006

common wood nymph

We saw these nymphs along the Bruce Trail between Cataract and Brimstone near the Forks of the Credit.
Nice hike with variety - waterfalls, meadows, river, forest, escarpment. No ice cream or coffee though. Bring that yourself.

Forks of the Credit, Ontario

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Black Eyed Susan

Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia hirta - a variety of Black Eyed Susan - waving in the colour riot of Tony D's front yard.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Guelph Lake shore

shore of Guelph Lake

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

and yet another greased pole pic

Women rise to the occasion - handling greasy things (poles, pigs, ropes) was a man's domain at fairs until recently. Here we can see one of the women's teams having a lot of fun - the crowd loved it as well.

Italian Festival, Guelph

Monday, July 10, 2006

greased pole climbing

A very intense greased pole climber at Festival Italiano.

Italian Canadian Club, Guelph

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Festival Italiano

Today was the Festival Italiano in Guelph. The crowd went wild as Italy beat France to win the World Cup in soccer. Then went wild again as the greased pole climbers struggled up to the big cheese.
Here one of the women's teams eye the prize - maybe it's just my imagination but one of those prizes looks suspect - don't recall seeing a similar item on the men's pole.
Greased pole climbing seems to be a tradition throughout the world but I can't find anything on the net about its origins. Let me know if you know.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Macdonnell Street

A quiet Saturday morning looking down Macdonnell Street from the church steps. The most cliche Guelph pic is the reverse of this - looking up Macdonnell towards Church of Our Lady. I've taken my share. Hey they're cliche for a reason - they look good. Vacuum cart street cleaners must have been by already been by - don't see any styrofoam containers strewn about with half eaten fast meals dangling out.

Macdonnell Street, Guelph

Friday, July 07, 2006

European Skippers on Blueweed

The European Skipper was introduced to North America accidentally in 1910 near London, Ontario via contaminated timothy seed. It is now one of the most common butterflies in this area - and a pest. Here a couple sit atop some blueweed (AKA viper's bugloss).

along the Eramosa River near Eden Mills

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Magali Cadence Joy

The smiliest baby in town getting support from neighbour Ahren.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cabbage White butterflies

A female cabbage white butterfly, on the left, mating with, you guessed it, a male on the right.
These are the most common butterflies in North America although they are imported - accidentally via a cargo ship to Quebec in 1860 - within a couple of decades they were everywhere.
Considered a pest since they consume valuable crops they are loved by all those of us who can remember chasing them in childhood.

along the Eramosa River near Eden Mills

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Blue Vervain

Blue Vervain in a wetland along the Eramosa River.

near Eden Mills, Ontario

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pied Nutter of Guelph

My brother pointed out to me the other day that conventional oil supplies will be exhausted in 20 years or so and this started me thinking about alternatives. Certainly conservation is foremost - we should stop wasting energy. After that we're looking at wind power, solar, small hydro installations, bio diesel, etc - but none of this works for city dwellers who comprise most of the world's population.

I was pondering this conundrum as I drove to the health food store - and there in the street I saw 12 or 15 squirrels. My first thought was - that's too many damned squirrels - I should kill them. But how? I figured it was probably illegal to shoot or drown them - and I don't have a gun or pool anyway. Bow and arrow maybe? Then my conscience got the better of me and said "Randy what if everybody did that". I thought yes, conscience, you're right - if everybody did that our taxes would fly up and away as the government created and then dismantled a new long bow registry.

So, I came up with a cheaper and more humane plan - I'd simply create a trail of nuts leading from downtown out and past the boonies - where the hawks are. The Pied Nutter of Guelph. After a little reflection I realized that this really wasn't feasible - for a couple of reasons. One, the nuts would probably get stolen by jays or small children, but, more to the point, as I checked the prices of peanuts at the health food store (especially the organic ones) I came to see that this was cost prohibitive.

So, onto a more natural, humane and cheaper scenario I thought - well, why not get a hawk myself. I checked the prices of hawks on the net and although they were worth it they still were a little out of my range. So, I thought, well, to make it pay for itself I'll just start a little business - Rent-A-Hawk.

Again my conscience piped up and said "Randy, do you really want your grandchildren seeing squirrels screaming and torn to shreds during their visits to your backyard"? Although I didn't have a ready answer for my conscience I did realize that cleaning up bones from all over the yard and possibly clogging the eaves troughs was not appealing.

So, I said to one of my many other selves, why kill them at all - why not just enslave them? I figured I could set up one of those pet cages in the back with a treadmill hooked to a generator and just feed the garbage in one end and get the squirrels to generate enough power to, say, run the clothes dryer. This would be especially attractive to city dwellers who are prohibited from having a clothes line.

I know what some of you are thinking - that although it sounds eminently doable there is a whiff of cruelty in feeding garbage to squirrels. All I can say is - well you're on your own there, feed em what you want - but have you checked the price of organic peanuts lately?

Precast Inukshuk at the Southampton market

Sunday, July 02, 2006

milkweed flower

Hard to believe a simple milkweed plant could reveal such a beautiful flower upon closer examination. Isn't that just like all of us.

In front of Sue's house, Guelph.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

uncle & niece

Magali and Uncle Alec amidst the storm of tiny duvet feathers shaken free by mom.