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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

grave post - Keroack

Maurice-Louis-Alexandre Kérouac dit Lebrice arrived in New France between 1721-1726. He settled in Kamouraska where he married Louise Bernier and had four sons. In his new home he was a merchant trader and as he was preparing to leave for France on business was taken ill suddenly and died on 6th March, 1736.
It seems Maurice-Louis Alexander was originally known as Urban-Francois, born in Brittany. While living in England and working as a royal notary he got himself into a spot of trouble which necessitated that he leave the country after being accused of robbery and attempted rape. 
He changed his name once he settled in New France, taking on the name le Brice (also spelled le Bris), but keeping de Keroac/Keroack/Kervoach. Unfortunately, he never quite settled on one spelling. His son, Alexandre has the name  Kirouac.
One of his descendants would be Jack Kerouac, the French Canadian, American born author who's name at birth was Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac but is Jean Louis Kirouac on his baptismal certificate. It seems to be a family tradition.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

street signs - Queen's Park

This poor street sign is a little worse for wear. It hasn't been up since 1827, but the University of Toronto, which has several of its buildings in this area, has been around that long. Indeed, Queen's Park itself is an enclave of the University (with a 999 year lease since 1854) which occupies most of the surrounding land. 
Queen's Park Crescent is the continuation of University Avenue and encircles the park. Inside the southern portion of the park (owned by the Government of Ontario) stands the Ontario Legislative Building. As often happens, the building and the government are simply called 'Queen's Park'. 
The "Queen" in this instance is Victoria as the park was opened in 1860.

Interestingly, it is very common to not include the road/avenue/street designation when speaking of an address so the street is also just known as Queen's Park. And if pressed, I would have said it was Queen's Park Circle
As it is in this map.

another street for signs, signs

Monday, July 11, 2016

Woodland Cultural Centre - quilt #2

This barn quilt is on the land of the Woodland Cultural Centre, the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School (1831-1970)
The Cultural Centre was established in 1972 to protect, promote, interpret, and present the history, language, intellectual and cultural heritage of the Anishinaabe and Onkwehon:we.

promoted on Our World Tuesday

Sunday, July 10, 2016

a pop of red

I realized, a bit late, that I'd already chosen the colour red as a theme for Sunday Stamps... but it seems to be a popular colour and stands out so well, that I left it in. I'm sure no-one had any trouble finding something. 
This stamp was issued in 2014 as part of the ongoing Photography series. It features a colour photo of a trio of boys hanging out in front of Bogner's Grocery in Vancouver. The photo was taken in 1960, but the small grocery store is no longer there.
However, Fred Herzog is still around, and still taking photos at age 85. He emigrated from Germany in the 1950's where he'd start working as a medical photographer and spending his weekends and evenings photographing street scenes around Vancouver.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

grave post - Green

133 years ago today, during what might have been another heatwave (as it is now)
Peter Deer died of sunstroke. 
He spent his life in the Six Nations Reserve 
and lies in the Mohawk Chapel Burying Ground.
Nothing more is known about his life.
The church was built in 1786, but didn't have a resident minister until 1827. Unfortunately, all the burial records were destroyed in a fire in 1903

(plaque, erected 1984 by Her Majesty The Queen)

Monday, July 4, 2016

double wedding ring - quilt #1

There is a barn quilt tour in southwestern Ontario that I periodically remember about, and last week I found one in a lovely village called Mt Pleasant.
 a double wedding ring quilt square
stands in front of the Bryning Manse (c1840).
Reverend John Bryning was the first resident Presbyterian minister in the Village of Mount Pleasant. The Manse is the only remaining board and batten building in Mount Pleasant and is the oldest surviving house in the community. It is a restrained one-and-a-half-storey structure, in the Regency-Gothic style, which was appropriate for a Presbyterian manse, in a rural pioneer community.
The double wedding ring pattern was chosen for this location in honour of all the weddings the Reverend performed in the village.

sharing the love with Tuesday's Treasures
and Our World Tuesday