Monday, August 22, 2016


While wandering around Wiarton one quiet evening, I noticed some interesting creatures lurking. Wiarton is home to the albino prognosticating groundhog which I previously wrote about here. He is everywhere in town, but now he has some friends (at least I hope they are friends, or it could get nasty with wood chips flying...)
footprints along the sidewalk
and then a few more creatures...
there were no doubt a few more to find, but it was very warm out and I had an ice cream in one hand and a camera in the other...
then down the road aways, just south of town, was the source
Edwards Outpost has tree sculptures, carvings, a gallery, antiques, wool, and a chip shop if you get peckish run by Bobbi Switzer and Edward Knopf. But none of that was open at the time.

These tree sculptures were made by Bobbi Switzer. When a tree needs to be cut down due to rot, or other damage, often the stump is perfect for a transformation. She has done several carvings in the area over the last ten years or so, (another example is here) and now even her daughter has taken up the chainsaw.

a little something different for Jo's Monday Walks

Sunday, August 21, 2016

gold, silver and bronze

In 1976, for the first time ever, the Olympics were held in Canada. It was also the first time a host country did not manage to win any gold medals. (We would repeat that feat 12 years later in Calgary, though redeem ourselves in 2010 in Vancouver with a record 14 golds, though both of those were winter games.) Other memorable firsts stemming from these games would include Nadia Comaneci with her seven perfect 10s.  And for the first time, because of the games, a lottery was held in Canada. It proved so popular, that they continue in various forms to this day. An unfortunate legacy of the games was the last minute pull out of 22 African nations over New Zealand's participation after having played a rugby match in South Africa. And the biggest legacy was the serious debt for the city of Montreal for a very long time. The stadium was riddled with problems and the original estimated cost of $250 million ballooned to $1.6 billion - a cool $1,600,000,000 - that wouldn't be paid off until 2006, 30 years after the games ended.
As for the stamp, you'll notice it has a surcharge, this was also a first for the post office. It was seen as a way of getting people to feel a part of the whole Olympic excitement by allowing us "a convenient opportunity to support the Games on a voluntary and personal basis." You'll notice also that they are in a gold, silver and bronze.

The logo was designed by Georges Huel and the stamp was designed by  Alois Matanovic. The base features the Olympic rings and the top  represents a podium as well as an M for Montreal.

Rainbow colours would also used for the US set of stamps for both the summer and winter games. 

run, dive, ski, or skate on over to Sunday Stamps II for more Olympic stamps

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

with love from Australia

My Postcrossing profile says I like cute cats, so am not sure why I received this deadly snake. But, it is good to have your horizons expanded.

The Tiger Snake of Australia is
highly toxic.

Seek help immediately if you are ever bitten.

It is generally found in swamps and lagoons and areas near rivers and open forests in southeastern and southwestern Australia. Some other interesting facts:

  • the laughing kookaburra is one of their predators
  • they can climb trees as well as swim and dive
  • females give birth to anywhere from 20-30 live snakelets
  • from the moment they are born they have to fend for themselves

Sunday, August 14, 2016

high level

A walk around the High Level Pumping Station
located at Avenue Road and Dupont, in what was then the
Village of Yorkville (Toronto)
It is now in a residential area, which may seem odd, until you realize that none of these homes were here when the pumping station was built. Originally the pumphouse was built near the Castle Frank Brook. It wasn't long before the brook became insufficient and water was pumped from Lake Ontario with several expansions made to the 1906 pumphouse. Eventually, the Castle Frank Brook was buried as the area became more developed, but the 'spirit of the stream' is remembered in the two toned brick work on the road.
I was there during Doors Open so inside were displays and photographs of the way the building used to look.
sadly, that fountain is long gone. but doesn't it make sense for a pumping station to show off with a fountain?!
brightly painted machines pumping away
and some antique machinery no longer in use
big wheels with leather straps

and old wrenches

and these wonderful swing lights!

swing on over to RestlessJo for more Monday Walks

Monday, August 8, 2016

100 years

and never an accident

The mechanics of the Aero Car have been modernized, but the actual Aero Car itself is the one and only from 100 years ago. We can thank Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres-Quevedo for this wonder. (for this reason, it is also called the Spanish Aero Car, though the name was officially changed by the Niagara Parks Commission to the Whirlpool Aero Car in 2004. Mostly, it is just known as the Aero Car) The car is suspended via six cables – three on the left and three on the right. Twenty-four wheels keep the car moving from point A to point B. You do nip in and out of the US, but because you're suspended in the air while border crossing, and both end points are in Canada, you don't need a passport. 
It has been designated an International Historic Civil Engineering Work.
And, no, I have never been on it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


A map postcard showing an interesting view of Madison Wisconsin came in my mailbox from Eleanor.
The only thing I previously knew about this city was that it is the capitol, has a university, and was named for President James Madison. (okay, that last bit was a guess)  But, as someone who loves maps and is a bit of a geek regarding urban planning, I was fascinated to discover that downtown Madison is built on an isthmus.
An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two other areas of land usually with water on either side.  In this case, the water is two of the five lakes that are found in the city - Lakes Mendota and Monona.  Yes, this city has five lakes! The others are Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra. With all those lakes come 13 beaches. And a bonus 260 parks.

It is the creation of a local graphic artist, Lia Spaulding, who composed it according to characterizations gathered informally from an assortment of local residents. The “map” is an outline of the isthmus with labels superimposed, corresponding to different parts of the central city, walking a line on the funny side of stereotyping. Most of the image’s information is packed into the areas of campus, Capitol Square, and the near East Side. The Williamson-Marquette neighborhood is labelled “vegans,” “downward dogs,” and “hippies.” “Art fair,” “farmers market,” and “political protests” cover where the capitol sits. The neighborhoods where the majority of people of color in Madison live, on the South and North sides, are identified by landmarks or seasonal festivals rather than types of people. The South-Central sector, over 50% of whose inhabitants are people of color, is labeled “hospitals,” “runners & scenic route,” “mass brat consumption” (for the annual bratwurst fest) and “Christmas lights” (for the holiday light festival in Olin Park). “Duck blind” (the field where the Madison Mallards play), “airport,” and “Weinerville” (the Oscar Mayer factory) represent the North Side.

Madison sounds like a fun and healthy place to live. Besides all those parks, there is an extensive network of bike paths and it recently was awarded a Platinum Status as a bike friendly community. (this makes it one of the five best biking cities in the country.) There are several museums – and a zoo – mostly free. And, it is less than 200km from Chicago and around 100kms from Milwaukee if you need more urban excitement.
Plus, in light of recent events, it was also declared as the "least armed and dangerous city in the US" (Men's Health Magazine, 2008) In that year there were only 10 homicides.

Anybody out there reading this who has been to Madison? Please do share your stories.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


One of the things that many Postcrossers ask for is a traditional food or recipe from your country.  I'm not sure that we have many traditional Canadian foods.  There is poutine, of course, and for dessert we have butter tarts and Nanaimo bars.  And for drinks - my personal favourite at the moment - a Caesar.  None of these have ever been represented on a stamp.
I do have these stamps celebrating foods from Indonesia. They are unfamiliar to me - my knowledge extends mostly to satay and nasi goreng and those oh so delicious krupuk
and, interestingly, while searching for information I found that most of the pictures on various websites looked nothing like the versions on these two stamps!

Anyway, the top stamp features a sei, which is a smoked meat, most often pork, paired with a corn bose which is like a porridge made with coconut milk. (me, I will eat anything if it is smothered in coconut milk)
The second stamp shows a gulai asam pedas which translates as sour and spicy goulash. Or what we might call a spicy curry fish stew.
All of these might be perfect for a cold winter's night... which seems a long way off as we reach temperatures with humidex values of mid 30's overnight and nearing 40C this afternoon, with more of the same tomorrow.
But for now, I will make do with another bloody caesar.

get inspired for your picnic with more foods from around the world at Sunday Stamps II

Saturday, July 23, 2016

a nice garden in a nice town

As I walked around Chesley, I peered over the bridge on the opposite side to the little park I showed last week and found a lovely garden that just begged to be explored.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but the sign invited to enjoy...

I now know that this is 

The former grist mill and farm co-op has been converted to an events hall with apartments on the upper level
looking back towards the bridge
there is a mill pond, with swans
and a babbling brook
and fountains
as well as bits of whimsy

all of which I may not have chanced upon had I found a restaurant as was my original plan!

part two of my walk around Chesley - the "nicest town around" for Monday Walks with RestlessJo

Monday, July 18, 2016

the nicest town around

After spending much of last summer walking and photographing at the same time, it looks like I will be spending this summer finally getting those photos organized into coherent posts.
I drove over to Chesley, Ontario to a) see Big Bruce, and b) have some lunch as well as c) get enough photos for a Monday Walk post. 
I would be disappointed in one of those goals.
Chesley is in Bruce County, with a sign proclaiming it to be
"The Nicest Town Around"
There is a nice approach as you cross the bridge over the Saugeen River

if you walk down those steps in the first photo, you find a  park with a refreshing fountain (and a bit of history)

But, back up on the main street, things weren't quite so refreshing. It was very hot that day and I was gasping for a cool drink and some food to give me more energy to continue walking. This cafe across the road from where I parked turned out to be out of business.
As I walked up one side and down the other, I came to the sad realization that there was nowhere - not one restaurant - to be found in this small town of 2,000 people. A secondary highway goes right through the main street of this town, how could there not be enough people to sustain a restaurant, I wonder?

There were big churches

and big houses
and even a big theatre that for 20 years has been home for
 the Chesley Community Players.
and, if you walk back over the bridge, 
past the park, 
there is Big Bruce!
finding "Big Things" in small towns is always fun, I think!
Placed here by the Bruce county Cattlemen's Association as a tribute to Harvey Davis. Through his enthusiasm, integrity and expertise, Harvey made an outstanding contribution to the community and agriculture. A third generation farmer, Harvey was a great ambassador for Elderslie Township, Bruce County and the beef industry. Harvey was instrumental in having the Bruce County Cattlemen's Association purchase Big Bruce which travelled thousands of miles promoting Bruce County and the beef industry.

you can find him on many billboards throughout Bruce County
sharing this walk ... after a looong absence, (and a few setbacks since she keeps taking off for exotic places) with RestlessJo

and with Lesley's signs, signs