Monday, July 27, 2015

junk art

This house near the Public Market in Rochester is almost a destination in itself. 
It's a bit difficult to describe - and almost as difficult to photograph well. But we met the owner as we were walking around the corner lot and he invited us in and walked us around his filled to the brim yard telling us the stories of everything in it. And trust me, there was a lot of stuff in his yard. Glass, metal, wood, granite, stones, plastic... As he said: one pink flamingo is sad, two or three is just tacky, but a couple dozen pink flamingos - or bowling balls - or croquet bats - or gnomes - is a statement. The roof of his shed was made from two dozen shower doors. And there are enough granite slabs to make any number of benches, statues or inukshuks.

an original 'mailbox' for junk mail, which it seems the mail carrier uses!

The place is owned by artist Antoni Eckmair
 who has lived here for 30 years and is constantly working at it by using castoff bits of scrap.
These wavy shingles and the asymmetrical door appeal to me

There are collections of stuff, some of which has been put to use as garden features

too many shovels can an acorn make

these stacked papasan chairs were obviously liked by at least one other Rochester resident as we later found a similar sculpture in another garden

The property is on a corner lot and as you walk around it you see it's completely surrounded by fences and gates 

all of it hand crafted from bits and pieces of scrap (those are old roller skates, bottom right, not quite sure what that is on the left)

this portion of the fence is topped with a bowling ball track, which he demonstrated to us before we even had a chance to ask about it. Actually, he was very willing to talk about all his pieces of sculptural art. Apparently, he is so well known that people often come by to drop stuff off for him - whether he might want it or not, is another issue. But he will likely find some creative use for it. If you are ever in Rochester, find your way to Hayward Ave.  

Here is a video found on youtube that demonstrates the track.

a walk around a yard for Restless Jo
and a sign or two for Lesley

Sunday, July 26, 2015


a timely stamp received this week for Sunday Stamps II for a flower symbolizing purity, beauty, majesty, grace, fertility, wealth, richness, knowledge and serenity.
(whew, that's a lot of responsibilty!)
Nelumbo nucifera is the Latin name for Indian lotussacred lotusor simply lotus.
this stamp was a 2007 joint issue with Korea for flora (general flowers)
The lotus flower is associated with purity in Buddhism and beauty in Hinduism and only grows in pink and white colours.
Its flowers, seeds, young leaves and rhizomes are also all edible. In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food. Even the stem is edible and in India is sometimes pickled. 
(has anyone ever eaten anything lotus related?) 
The Lotus is an aquatic perennial and grows in muddy water on a stem that is up to 2' tall. Under favourable conditions its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination found from seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


After several trips driving back and forth past an old armoury, a school and a church searching for the location of a mural-in-progress, we finally found it. It didn't make sense to me to drive around the back, but what do I know. Turns out the 'school' is now apartments for artists (click to see info) and behind that is a studio
and at the back of that is where we found the Swiss- based muralists 
Onur & Wes21 creating their work for Rochester's Wall Therapy mural project.
not many people will get to see this masterpiece, but it may be inspiring for the other artists who live/work at this address.
a find for signs, signs
and image-n-ing for Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, July 19, 2015

seen everywhere

This isn't the prettiest of butterfly stamps, but I was intrigued by the 'koolwitje', which translates to 'cabbage white'. Even though this fellow is most definitely yellow.
And might they be engaging in some mating activity?
According to the English wikipedia entry,
It is widespread and populations are found across Europe, North AfricaAsia, and Great Britain. It has also been accidentally introduced to North AmericaAustralia and New Zealand. The caterpillar of this species is seen as a pest for commercial agriculture. Often referred to as the "imported cabbageworm" they are a serious pest to cabbage and other mustard family crops.
The species has a natural range across Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It was accidentally introduced to Quebec, Canada around 1860 and spread rapidly throughout North America. Estimates show that a single female of this species might be the progenitor in a few generations of millions. It is absent or scarce in desert and semidesert regions and is not found in the Arctic, nor on Channel Islands off the coast of southern California. By 1898, the small white had spread to Hawaii; by 1929, it had reached New Zealand and the area around Melbourne, Australia and found its way to Perth as early as 1943.
(the Dutch wikipedia entry for this butterfly mentions none of the above) 
It is obviously a strong flier. Overal waarneembaar translates to seen everywhere.

Another strong flyer is the Monarch which travels 4,000 kms from Mexico (winter home) to Canada (summer home) seen here on this 22¢ stamp issued in 2014. 
To prevent stockpiling when the price for a domestic stamp was announced, all 'P' (or 'permanent') designated domestic stamps were taken out of circulation and reissued with the (then) current rate of .63¢.  Once the date came for the new .85¢ stamps, these .22¢ were issued so you could add them to your .63¢ They became an addition to the beneficial insect series.
Here is how the Canada Post website (surely in a mocking way?!) describes the issue
Monarchs are a symbol of metamorphosis for their ability to transform from caterpillars to adult butterflies through chrysalis. In a similar way, this monarch 22-cent low-value definitive will transform your 63-cent stamp into the current domestic rate. The “make-up postage” stamp features Keith Martin’s unique illustrative style found in the extensive series of low-value definitives issued over several years. 

Martin notes that “this issue let me take the 2009 two-cent stamp, which depicted the monarch caterpillar, literally to the next level.”

Although not yet on the endangered list, there is some concern about the Monarch's ever decreasing numbers, due to deforestation and natural disasters in Mexico and destruction of milkweed which they depend on to lay their eggs. A program to encourage people to plant milkweed has been hatched. 
Butterflies for Sunday Stamps

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

a view with the falcons

Falconwatch is winding down. I've been one of several volunteers keeping an eye on the new family of peregrine falcons in downtown Hamilton (see this post) This is the building where they like to spend much of their time. It has been a favourite for several of the falcons over the years. It's hard to see, but Ossie (dad) is sitting on his favourite perch, what we call the 'squiggle', and up on the far left on the roof by the cell phone tower thingies are the two youngsters

below are some screen shots from the webcam
Lily (Mom)

Barton (Daughter)

Both of the girls, McMaster and Barton, are strong fliers and there was no crashing into glass windows, or falling off perches or dive bombing into traffic. Thank goodness, because no-one really wants to do a rescue. As soon as the chicks have mastered catching their own food, they will start flying higher and farther away to find their own home. Originally, I thought I'd volunteer for maybe one two-hour shift a week. But the first week I did three days and after that, I was hooked and covering four days for sometimes four hours at a time. Some days nothing happened as the girls rested and other days I didn't want to leave when my shift was over and hung around with the others, just in case some exciting flying or talon touching happened.

I had a chance to go up to the 24th floor of the Stelco Tower, where the falconwatch co-ordinator sits for an in-the-sky view of the birds.
After Stelco went under several years ago, the top floor where the offices were were emptied and have stayed so ever since.

The views out over the city are spectacular 
(although, it is true that Hamilton is not the most beautiful of cities)
looking north (above) and south-east (below)
and east down below at Gore Park

sharing with Our World Tuesday
and image-in-ing for Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cabot Head

This winding road along the Georgian Bay shoreline of the Bruce Peninsula takes us through Cabot Head Provincial Nature Reserve. Cabot Head is named for the explorer John Cabot, even though he never actually explored this region.

As we walk further, we come upon the house style Cabot Head Lighthouse, built in 1896. The original tower and range light were replaced by an automated system in 1968 and the Friends of the Cabot House Lighthouse worked on restoring it and now operates it as a museum.
I had another post about it here, and I suppose it's about time I showed you around. So, for Jo's Monday Walks, let me introduce you to one of my favourite spots in Ontario
We first took a walk down to the rocky shore to have a good look at the bay. You can get an idea of the clear, clear blue of the water.

small trees grow in the rocks
and the rocks grow into inukshuks

There is a memorial to three young men from Poland, aged 15 to 23, who launched their boat on these shores on July 1, 2005 and never came back

further down there is an original rock post found in 2012, 150 metres from where it now sits. In 1964 the Canadian Hydrographic Service set posts in strategic locations along the shoreline for surveying purposes. Now, global navigational satellite systems are used.

As the on again off again rain started we climbed back up the wooden steps to see inside the lighthouse

where we found, besides the usual early 19th century items, 
the white walls covered in educational sketches
and a history of the lighthouse and the area

and looking out the windows, 100 feet above the shore, the spectacular views

and as the sky clears again, the turquoise blue of the clear water

Sunday, July 12, 2015

sporting life

I quite enjoy watching international sporting events and have little patience for people who complain that they aren't worth the effort to watch unless it is the best of the best who are participating (apparently, to some,  that means the Olympics or the FIFA Men's World Cup.)
The Pan Am Games have finally started in Toronto. To say that there has been little enthusiasm would be an understatement.
Canada Post hasn't even bothered to issue a stamp for the event, although stamps were issued for the 1999 and 1967 Games, both of which were held in Winnipeg.
There was a stamp issued for the FIFA Women's World Cup, however. 
(the booklet also includes little soccer ball stickers)
the stamps are large - 40mm x 32mm or about 1½" by 1¼"
The stamps shows the cities where the matches were held and features the captain, Christine Sinclair (#12) and Kadeisha Buchanan (#14) a defender who would go on to win the Young Player Award at the 2015 Women's World Cup. The third player on the stamp is keeper Ayumi Kaihori of Japan who has been in 24 international events (according to the Canada Post website, this is 'emblematic of players coming to Canada from around the world'). This is the 31st stamp designed by Debbie Adams.
We were knocked out of the quarter finals by England, who were in turn knocked out of the chance to play the gold medal game by a heartbreaking own goal in the semi finals.

Now, speaking of soccer and FIFA...
Germany thought positive about their win for the World Cup and had a stamp designed and printed before the final match. Five million stamps. Had they lost the final, all these stamps would have been pulped.
The stamps were ordered by Germany's Finance Ministry, which holds 21% of Deutsche Post.  Usually producing a stamp takes at least six months, but  designer Lutz Menze was contacted by the government after the tournament had already started. Unlike the Canadian stamp, this one doesn't show any individual players "in order to honour the whole team".

be a sport and check out Sunday Stamps II for more sporting events