Monday, August 31, 2015

three fishes

As a continuation of Bob's fish in the seas post, here are the three 1964 Romanian stamps he doesn't have in this series
Stingrays, like their relatives the sharks, have a skeleton made of cartilage and do not have bones.  Their main predators are these same relatives, the sharks, and also sea lions and seals. Their eyes are on top of their bodies but their mouth, gills and nostrils are on the underside so they can't see their prey and instead use their sense of smell and electroreceptors to find food.
Some stingrays can live from 15 - 25 years in the wild.

The Russian Sturgeon does have bones and is a relic of the dinosaurs. The sturgeon's mouth is on the underside of it's body with four whiskery projections which it uses, along with its sense of smell, to detect prey on the seabed or bottom of the river. It is native to the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Azov Sea. They live for a long time - some up to 35 years or more.

The horse mackerel is found in the east Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Caspian and Azov Seas and is thought to be so named because of a legend that smaller fish would hitch a ride on its back to travel long distances. It has a deeply forked tail which makes it fast swimmer. They can grow to 60cm in length.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

grave post - Roote

the reverse side of Ruth Phyllis Roote's headstone 
at the Saugeen Village Cemetery, Saugeen First Nations

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

phantom piper

there is a tradition of piping down the sun in 
some communities along Lake Huron 
where the sunsets can be spectacular
usually this happens on the beach 
but not in Kincardine
where the piper is atop the lighthouse

an old tree sculpture of the lighthouse and piper

The Pipe Band decided to have a piper play from atop the Lighthouse at sunset to honour the memory of an early Kincardine Piper, Donald Sinclair. Legend says that as he and his family were heading towards what is now Kincardine in 1856, dark clouds and heavy winds impeded their passage. He retrieved his pipes from the hold and played a lament while praying for his family on the boat. The winds carried the sound to where another piper, hearing the lament, went to the shore and played an answering lament. Donald Sinclair followed the sound to safety.  For many years after, Donald Sinclair often went down to the harbour to play the pipes at dusk.  They say it was a way to remember his good fortune and to remind others of the power of the pipes.

for Our World Tuesday
carrying a story to image-n-ing

Monday, August 24, 2015

to market, to market

It is all farmland around the hamlet of Keady and the place itself is really, really small. Apart from the two cross roads (county roads [Grey] 3 and 16) 
there are only two other streets with maybe a couple dozen houses and a couple hundred inhabitants.
there is a church
and even a restaurant

but we are visiting on Tuesday - when it is market day.
I had been told, as an aside while at the cottage I was visiting, that there was a farmer's market. Nothing could have prepared me for this place. I had naively thought it might be nice to go to a farmer's market that was truly local (as opposed to goods being trucked into a city market as I am used to) though pretty much every community in Grey-Bruce has a farmer's market on one day of the week. But none are quite like this one.
it is more than a farmer's market, or even a livestock market. it is also a flea market. and antiques market. and, some might say, a junk market. on a good weather day - because this is all outdoors and held rain or shine - there could be up to 250 vendors. in other words, there could be more vendors than residents, then add the thousands of people wandering through...

some vendors were helping out neighbours in Owen Sound (10 miles away) where recently a spate of arson had destroyed ten homes

This place is huge. I have now wandered it four times (and still not made it into the livestock market) and every year, though I now have some favourite vendors, there is always something new to see. I'm not sure how the real locals feel about this weekly event that draws thousands of tourists. The size of the market grounds, including the field for parking all those hundreds of cars, is larger than the area devoted to the residents of Keady itself. If you do go to the market, make sure to stop for a bite to eat at Maria's, the only restaurant in town, before you leave.

see a marketplace of walks at Restless Jo's
and Monday Escapes
and more signs at signs, signs 

Sunday, August 23, 2015


These are the oldest lighthouses from the east and west coasts, 
the St Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, 
a series of stamps that were issued in 1984 
They are from paintings by Dennis Noble who imagined how they may have looked when they were first built.
clockwise, from top left we have 
Fisgard built in 1860 and still in operation! Located on Vancouver Island at the entrance to Esquimalt harbour, it was the first lighthouse built on the west coast before BC was part of Canada. Built by the British it now is home base for the Royal Canadian Navy. Inside the building are two floors of exhibits dealing with shipwrecks, storms, and the everyday working equipment of the light keeper a century ago. A specially-made video evokes the loneliness and isolation that was the lot of the l9th century keeper.

Louisbourg built in 1734. It was for the 250 anniversary of the first lighthouse in Canada that this series was designed. Located across the harbour from the Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, it had a 70' tower built by the French and was severely damaged by the British in 1758. The lighthouse that stands there now is the third one and was automated in 1989. It is not open to the public.

Île Verte  built in 1809, was the only lighthouse on the St Lawrence River for 21 years. Île Vert is an island at the mouth of the Saguenay River. The original circular form and height (17') of the tower is still intact. It was automated in 1969, but for 137 years was operated by four generations of the same family with very little alteration to the buildings (wood siding over the original rubblestone was added). A restoration in 1983 by the Coast Guard replaced the original windows and front door.

Gibraltar Point built in 1808 on the Toronto Islands. The tower was originally 67' high and had a 15' extension built in 1832. Not much has been altered with this lighthouse since, including the wooden stairs inside. It no longer serves as a lighthouse and is rumoured to be haunted. In 1815, the first keeper, a Mr Rademuller may or may not have been murdered by some soldiers seeking some of his home brewed beer which he refused to offer as they were already in a drunken stupor. Some bones and bits of a coffin were later found by the third keeper, but nothing has ever been determined... some claim to have seen, or felt, his ghostly presence over the ensuing 200 years. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1956 and is now closed to the public. 

see the light at other stamps here

Saturday, August 15, 2015

a summer feeling

this stamp came out on the 16th of August 1978 for the centenary of the CNE, or the Canadian National Exhibition.  For people in Southern Ontario, this anticipated event is also a bittersweet mark of summer's ending.  It always closes on Labour Day (the first Monday in September), and the next day the kids go back to school.
The design for this stamp features a simplified rendering of the Princes' Gates, the imposing main entrance to 'The Ex'.  The varicoloured typography recalls the gaiety and excitement of this perennial people's festival according to designer Theo Dimson.
It's not a particular favourite, although I love the Princes' Gates (named for Princes Edward, the Prince of Wales and later Edward VIII and his brother George who later became Duke of York, who officially opened the Gates in 1927). 
Mostly I don't like that the stamp is so dark. You can't really see the gold lettering on the bottom which reads Canadian National Exhibition, Exposition national du Canada 1878-1978
You can see some vintage postcards of the Princes' Gates from this post This year, if you are wanting to go to The Ex, you'll need to be in Toronto sometime between August 21 and September 7.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

fruits of the season

I was quite pleased when this bunch of bananas arrived the other week. 
Part of a new series of definitives 'popular fruits of the Philippines' that came out in March of 2015. (though I have sent several to the Philippines, it was also my first Postcrossing postcard from there) 

Bananas and Plantains are grown in every humid tropical region and are the 4th largest fruit crop of the world, following the grape, citrus fruits and the apple.  Apparently, they were known as far back as 300BC in the Mediterranean.  Also, it is a banana plant, not a tree and is a large herb, with the banana itself being botanically a berry.  (so say several sources, no matter how strange it sounds).  The plant may grow as large as a tree, but what looks like a stem is actually large leaf stalks.

Another recent arrival was this stamp from Greece 
(also my first Greek Postcrossing card)

It was obviously a watermelon... and some other melon that I can't quite identify (it may be a European cantaloupe which seems to have a different skin than what I am familiar with - ours is a rough netted skin as opposed to a ribbed skin).  and tucked in the back are some large figs. 

This was a confusing stamp as it is listed as being part of a series of stamps for 'the month in folk art'.  There are twelve stamps in the series designed by Aleni Apostolou, each one representing something particular to that month.  This one is for August, which after seeing the other months, makes more sense to me than some of the 'folk art'.  Anyway, figs ripen from mid-August through September and I am sure taste far superior to any grocery store bought figs in North America.  I've never been to Greece and would not have associated watermelons with that part of the world - but it seems it is a popular dessert item and also a fruit that comes into season in August.

if you're still hungry, see what else is on the menu at Sunday Stamps II

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Uncool Tim Hortons billboard sign blocking the view of a finer painted sign in Rochester

An announcement in the Mt Morris Enterprise from March, 1953 states  

The Frank A Rivers Furniture Company 
announces the addition of 
Mr Gordon V Masten
57 Chapel Street
Mt Morris, N.Y.
to its staff
Mr Masten invites his many friends in the Genesee Valley Country to visit him at the Frank A Rivers Furniture Co.  He will be pleased to advise and assist in your selection of quality furniture, rugs, appliances, etc.  Come in anytime.

For over 42 years the Frank A Rivers Furniture Company has provided the folks of Rochester and the whole Genesee Country with fine quality furniture at reasonable prices. Throughout the years Mr Frank A Rivers has maintained an enviable reputation for reliability, integrity, and honest dealing, for giving his customers full value, and a little extra, for their furniture dollars.  You'll get courteous attention and quick service always, and of course, easy budget financing can always be arranged.

The Frank A.
226 South Avenue                                                   open Tues and Thurs nights
Rochester, New York                                                            all day Mon and Sat

Apart from the vagueness of the business hours (what if you want to shop on  a Wed, or a Fri?) I find it interesting that Mr Masten's home address is included in the announcement. But then I guess this was a small town newspaper and things were more lax and personal in the '50s. I had to look up Mt Morris and found it to be about 37 miles southwest and almost an hours drive according to mapquest, which would be a fair commute I would think at that time. It is near Letchworth State Park, and when I saw a bit in the google lists about the Mount Morris Italian Festival (now in its 19th year!) I suddenly had a flashback memory of a drive to Corning and the Finger Lakes and getting trapped in a detour and traffic jam. Yep, that would have been Mt Morris. I had thought of driving through Letchworth until the heavy clouds rolled in and the rain started and I decided to save that for another trip.  It was well over an hour before I could get through the town to the other end and on my way, without even seeing anything of this festival. (and yes, it now slightly bothers me that I don't have a photo of 57 Chapel St for this post when I was so close.)

see what other signs prompt memories at signs, signs

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

wishes and dreams

On a whim, I decided to go to Hendrie Park at the Royal Botanical Gardens. There is a nice tea house and I thought I'd get a few Postcrossing postcards written while enjoying the flowers
I've no idea how I managed this picture with so few people in the way
because I'd forgotten that it was  Enchanted Garden Weekend
and the place was brimming with fairies, gnomes and pixies
and not just young ones, either, as these ladies proved to be young at heart and spirit!

and, by far, the most popular tent was the one for face painting

the water lilies were in full bloom

and many dragonflies hovered around, but none stopped long enough to get a good photo

although these two gentlemen on the right patiently waited for hours (yes, they were still there when I returned from my tea break)
because this was my first stop
behind is a large deck backing onto the woods 
and a boardwalk for walking deep into the valley
though, before we get to the top of the boardwalk we cross this
Wishing Bridge

where you could write a wish on one of these colourful ribbons
"I wish to feel happy every day"
and it was at this point that the battery in my camera died
see how far others managed to walk with their cameras at Restless Jo's 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

black and white and red all over

 Both of these low value definitive stamps were issued in 1988 and designed by Peter Adam. And both of these animals have adjusted quite nicely for living in the city. One is sleek and graceful, and one waddles awkwardly and usually has his nose in the ground.
There was a time when it wasn't unusual to see these foxes in the city. Years ago there was even a three legged one that lived downtown. I always consider it a privilege to see one on my rounds at night, but they have been infrequently seen the last couple of years. A few weeks ago a young one crossed my path and I was able to follow him  for several minutes as he ran alongside my car before finally darting into the woods. I was enthralled. And vowed to never again leave the house without a camera.
Contrary to what many may think, most skunks don't have that perfect split white strip down their backs. There is one I see regularly that is almost all white, his stripe like a cape across his back. I've seen some that have only a white blaze on their forehead and a bit of white at the tail. Last night, I came upon one huge monster (truly he was so round and fat) with a perfectly formed white stipe that split evenly from his head to tail. I almost thought he was a thing of beauty as he rooted through the upturned compost bin.

Foxes have excellent sight and hearing and are quick on their feet. His tail is almost one-third of his body length. Skunks, on the other hand, are notoriously slow and near-sighted. If you see him stamp his feet and lift his tail, back away immediately.  They don't usually spray unless they feel threatened, or are attacked (perhaps by a dog or car).
Both animals are nocturnal and red foxes like to eat smaller animals such as voles, mice and rabbits (of which we have many thousands) and while skunks also eat voles and mice, they're also really fond of rummaging through garbage bins (of which we have many thousands).
The red fox (vulpus vulpus) is found in all provinces and territories while the skunk (mephistis mephistis) can be found from Mexico to the lower parts of NWT and Nunavut and from the BC interior out to the Maritimes (but, not in Newfoundland or in Vancouver, lucky them).

see what other wildlife appear on stamps at Sunday Stamps II