Monday, October 20, 2014

a tree walk

I met up with a friend in Toronto on Saturday and we joined a crowd of about 80-100 other tree enthusiasts for a guided tour around the arboretum at Mt Pleasant Cemetery
altogether the cemetery spans over 200 acres in a park like setting and has several miles of walking paths interspersed with fountains, statues, gardens, and rare and distinct trees. (as an aside, through the gates you can see the monument a certain Mr Steve Stavros had put up for himself which I posted about here).

there are interesting opening times listed to accommodate the variable dates of the time change
it was a rather dull day - usually good for photographs, but not especially for capturing the brilliance of fall colours.

okay, actually it was cold, the first cold day we've had, with a threat of rain all afternoon, but almost every one of the large crowd stuck with the guided walk for the duration

we learned about some of the many unique, and not so unique, species of trees in the arboretum and why they turn yellow or red and when, and some of their good and bad points. for example, the Norway maple is an invasive, non-indigenous tree that is planted all over Toronto. many love the massive shade it provides, but also lament that no grass will grow under the tree - because of the massive shade. it appears similar to a Sugar maple but one of its distinguishing features is that it is the last maple to change colour. so the one above is definitely not a Norway. 


this distinct maple is a long way from its natural habitat on coastal BC and northern California. 
we know it's a Vine maple as every tree has an identifying tag 
a few trees even have the original wooden tags still hanging on after more than 200 years








and, by the rugged condition of this poor willow, it is quite possible that this is one of the +200 year old trees in the cemetery
sharing this Monday Walk with Restless Jo       and signs, signs

Sunday, October 19, 2014

autumn

Autumn in Finland. Each year, Finland issues fall themed stamps.
These timely ones both arrived this week - and neither one was cancelled!

I couldn't find anything about the artist or designer of these fall themed stamps from 2013. 








Friday, October 17, 2014

sunbathing at a motel

My Postcrossing wishlist was recently changed to include any old postcards of motels - even used ones - and to my surprise, I've so far had three sent to me. This beauty arrived today from Chris in Michigan.

I especially like the sunbather on top of the motel sign.  This place is not only steam heated, but also air conditioned. And you have the new fangled telephone in your room!
The back of the card tells you that the White Village Motel is one of London's most modern motels with a swimming pool. Each air-conditioned unit has wall to wall carpeting, T.V., telephone, bath & full tile shower. Restaurant is adjacent.

In trying to date the card, I googled the name and found it still listed on one site, with the same name and phone number. No postcards, unfortunately. But when I did a reverse phone number look up, I found it had become Knights Inn, a recently renovated motel near the airport.
The website tells you that 
The Knights Inn has a charming family atmosphere with family rooms available. All rooms are recently renovated and feature a microwave, fridge, and free high speed wireless internet.
We have completed all our Daily Room's Furniture, Carpet and Decor changes in year 2012. All our rooms have LCD TVs with all major cable channels.
We also feature coin operated laundry, and vending machine one site. We have security System monitoring entire property. All rooms have drive up access with free parking. All rooms have free local calls.
Good to know that there is still a telephone in every room. Though it seems the restaurant may have been replaced by a vending machine. And no mention of a pool.
The above (in italics) was pasted directly from the website - perhaps they need someone to help with their grammar?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thanksgiving Birthday

the baby just keeps growing.
lacking a bit in the hair challenge, though.
she's at least a bit less messy than last year!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

ocellated




This is not the kind of Thanksgiving turkey you want to find on your table this weekend. He's an Ocellated Turkey that lives in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and also parts of Belize and Guatamala. Both male and female birds have body feathers of a bronze-green iridescent colour mixture which makes them easily distinguishable from their North American cousin. 










This week I received a postcard with a 'forever stamp' and this 70¢ orange butterfly which I now know is a Great Spangled Frittilary. 
According to the USPS website The square format of the stamp was developed in partnership with the greeting card industry to indicate that this stamp may be used for square envelopes weighing up to and including one ounce. Greeting card envelopes printed with a silhouette of a butterfly indicate the need for an additional 21 cents postage -- or the use of this butterfly stamp. The butterfly stamp may also be used to mail envelopes with irregular sizes and shapes.
  What I also learned from the USPS website is that the art for the frittilary was designed on a computer, using preserved specimens as models so it's a simplified stylized version of the butterfly. It can be found in all the northern states as far south as Georgia and California.  They also have a very close relationship with violets. The females will lay their eggs on or near clumps of violets in August or September. When the eggs hatch, the larvae crawl to the violets and hide among the fallen leaves and hibernate. When spring arrives, the caterpillars come out of hibernation and feed on the fresh violet leaves before form ing a chrysalis and transforming into adult butterflies.. An adult frittilary can have a wingspan up to 4". 

Just for fun, here is a video of a strutting Belizean ocellated turkey

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Willie

Continuing from Monday's walk in Bluewater Park... 
after you've done your outdoor fitness circuit, on your way back to the parking lot, you might want to stop and pay your respects to Wiarton Willie.
For those of you who are from away and may not be familiar (though I'm sure everyone has seen the movie Groundhog Day) we have a strange and quaint tradition here of raising up a sleepy-headed groundhog from his burrow to predict the arrival of spring weather. This happens every February 2nd, the halfway mark of winter. Supposedly, if he doesn't see his shadow spring is imminent. If it's a sunny day, he sees his shadow and scurries back into his burrow to sleep for another six weeks. Or until the vernal equinox... Spring.


you can actually go see Willie any time because he lives in this specially designed enclosure
though, he is a burrowing creature, so maybe you can't see more than just his house.....



Wiarton has built up a huge tourist industry around Willie. There is also a giant statue of a standing groundhog in the park as well as a memorial marker for the past Willies who are no more (the original one lived to the ripe old age of 23 and died in 1999)

Monday, October 6, 2014

a walk in a park

Earlier this summer, a friend and I had gone for a walk in Bluewater Park at Colpoys Bay off Georgian Bay. Wiarton used to be a lumber town, but by the 1930's that industry had vanished and the land became parkland. There is a small beach at one end. At one time a bigger beach was planned, with truckloads of sand brought in, but the topsoil wasn't properly treated beforehand and weeds soon appeared.
so the bit between the boardwalk and the water mostly looks like this, below
at the other end you can see the marina under the Niagara Escarpment.

the view is never-endingly beautiful
but what was new this year was the fitness equipment in the park! 
I had read about these, but hadn't actually seen one.

at each station were signs like these explaining how to use the equipment and which muscles are targeted. just like at an indoor gym
we tried out each piece of equipment and wondered why the park was practically empty, though it may have had something to do with the fact it was between 5 and 6 pm by the time we were there
and really, sitting here 
looking out at this
almost - almost - had me thinking I could live here

sharing this Monday Walk with Restless Jo

Sunday, October 5, 2014

planets




Se-tenant stamps are commemorative stamps printed together on the same sheet but differing in design.        I was particularly thrilled to find this sheet of United Nations issued stamps issued in 2010 for the 50th anniversary of the International Oceanographic Commission
(I bought it partly because of the turtles)
It is the oceans that make life on Earth uniquely sustainable within the solar system. The sustainability of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the climate in which we live is dependent upon the oceans.


which ties in nicely with this set from Finland for the 2009 Europa theme of astronomy (which I was also thrilled to find)
The pair of stamps depict a fantasy landscape of lakes and different heavenly bodies. The left-hand stamp has the Moon in the centre, with the Milky Way on the right. The stamp on the right bas a comet on the left side, and a solar eclipse and showing Saturn on the right

Friday, October 3, 2014

owls

Inuk artist Kenojuak Ashevak is being recognized with a Google Doodle (click on link to see)  today on what would have been her 87th birthday.  She was born in Ikirasaq, South Baffin Island, NWT and died at Cape Dorset, Dorset Island, NU in 2013. 

So I thought for PostcardFriendshipFriday, I would share some of her delightful owl designs.
Sun Owl
Illustrious Owl
Vigilant Owl












and her most famous drawing 
Enchanted Owl





 “Her early drawing regularly portrayed images she had already used in her sealskin appliqués. … Simple forms and bold outlines characterize Kenojuak’s early designs. In her later work, the birds are exaggerated and stylized, with colour and shape taking precedence over realistic documentation." (source)