Friday, September 22, 2017

End of Summer

My morning glory is gracing us with a few beautiful blue blooms every morning. Such a pretty flower and such an intense blue! 

It's so humid out there again. Wearing sandals with bare feet and walking through the few fallen dried leaves on the sidewalks seems so wrong. I'm ready for some fall weather now please. 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cleaning Copper

Awhile ago I was looking all over Pinterest for tips on cleaning copper. I have an antique copper sign from my parents' place, which originally came from my Great Aunt's place, which was probably originally purchased by my great grandparents or someone even earlier than that! I just don't know. But it's copper and it looked awful. My parents had this sign for quite some time, and I do remember that it almost gleamed with a nice coppery finish. Unfortunately the house my parents downsized to had some serious damp problems in the basement and a lot of their stuff got mildew and was quite ruined. The sign had got stuck in their basement, and this is what it looked like ...

You can see where I tried to clean it up with a chemical cleaner in the upper right corner, but it didn't seem to be working well.

Someone on Pinterest suggested an unlikely copper cleaner using ketchup! Well, what the heck! I had some ketchup, so I slathered it all over the sign and let it sit for some time, but not long enough for it to dry out.

After wiping off the ketchup and washing the sign as best I could (it's mounted on a wooden board so I didn't want to submerse it water), it came out looking like this ...

Not perfect, and not quite as coppery and shiny as I would have liked, but it's better than it was. At least now I can hang it up somewhere. I like the style of writing ... sort of "arts and crafts" stylized lettering. 

And here are some photos from my garden this afternoon :)

My son's climbing rose, which doesn't have anything to climb up!

the bumblebees are frantic to get in the last of the pollen from my turtlehead flowers

turtlehead patch

Everything is fading and browning around the edges despite the fact that the past two weeks have been in the high 20s!! Yesterday and today were quite unbearable with the humidity, and I confess I've been hiding out in the house where we have the airconditioner humming away. I think the a/c has been on more in September than it has been all summer. 

In a few days my husband and I are back camping in Algonquin Park where the colours are at their peak! Can't wait! I hope it's not too hot as we want to hike Centennial Ridges, which is a rugged trail. 

Thanks for stopping by!


hoping for a whole lot of this on the weekend ...

Canisbay Lake

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Royal Canoes

Update: I just finished reading this article about a display at Buckingham Palace showcasing gifts given to Queen Elizabeth. I guess these canoes won't be in that display ;)

When my husband and I visited the Canoe Museum in Peterborough earlier this summer, there was an interesting trio of canoes on display. Three canoes that had been gifted to members of the royal family from our Canadian government.

In the photo below, the three canoes are (from top to bottom), a cedar strip canoe commissioned by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau given to Princess Diana and Prince Charles for their wedding in 1981; a cedar strip Peterborough canoe given to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip for their wedding in 1947; and a cedar strip canoe made by Walter Walker of Lakefield, Ontario, given to Prince Andrew after his attending Lakefield College in 1977.

These canoes are gorgeous and real works of art, each one slightly different, but with beautiful details.

Queen Elizabeth's canoe shows signs of being well used ... which is a good thing! I wonder where they paddled it, and if their children enjoyed some fun times paddling it as well. It was wonderful to see these royal canoes, and I'm not sure if they are at the museum permanently now, or just on loan. I think something about that was mentioned, but I can't quite recall now. 

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was a great canoe enthusiast, and his favourite canoe is also on display at the museum (for some reason, I didn't get a photo of it!). He also received a buckskin coat from the Maniwaki Chamber of Commerce, made by Mary Commanda. Both Mary and her husband were renowned for their birchbark canoes. 

the English blurb can be seen in the next photo

This is another plaque about Mary Commanda and her husband William:

I'm currently reading another book by Roy MacGregor about canoeing and canoes in Canada. He talks about Pierre Trudeau who was great friends with film maker and canoe enthusiast Bill Mason. It was interesting to read more about these two men after seeing and reading about them at the canoe museum.

Sorry for the poor, grainy quality of the photos ... these were taken before we got our new camera.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

End of Summer Garden

We've been having some absolutely gorgeous weather here in southern Ontario for the month of September! Warm days and cool nights ... perfect combination for excellent fall colours coming to us soon. When we were up north last Monday, many of the trees had started to turn already, and some maple trees had completely turned. We'll be back again for one more fall camping trip very soon ... can't wait!

Back here at home, things have been going from dull to suddenly stressful in turns. I'll be happy to see the end of estate obligations by the end of this year. The gardening hasn't been as much consolation to me this summer as it has been in the past. I think because we had so much rain all through summer that I didn't feel motivated to get out and keep things in check and move things around like I normally do. Almost everything was left alone.

Here are a few shots of the flowers blooming out there now ...

played with this photo a bit :)

balloon flower

love lies bleeding did well, although it has since been trimmed up by chipmunks!!

I've waited three years for my milkweed to produce seed pods

Heavenly Blue morning glory
There is a nice patch of turtlehead flowers which I forgot to take photos of. I did move some of these to a new location, and I hope they spread well there. These are a flower that have done really well, and although they spread, it's done slowly over many years. The black-eyed Susans are a favourite of mine and I've transplanted them all over my yard. Love the deep yellow at this time of year, it just looks so cheery! 

I hope things are well wherever you live. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected through the recent hurricanes and on-going wild fires out west. My brother tells me that even in Victoria, there is fine ash settling over everything there. These disasters are not something we have ever had to deal with in my area, and seeing all of the damage on the news is incredible. Stay safe.

Thanks for stopping by today.


Last Monday :)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Flora and Fauna in Algonquin Park

While in Algonquin Park we see lots of beautiful plants and sometimes, if we're lucky, a bit of wildlife. Since we're in the canoe so much, many of our photos are taken from the water. I came across these flowers when we pulled the canoe up at "the point" on Lake of Two Rivers for a look around this old home site of a former superintendent of the park.

this looked to be some type of sedum

a lone daisy amongst the grasses
There are many restrictions on cottagers in the park with respect to what they can plant in their gardens. They are not to put any non-native plants in their gardens. I'm sure there are lots of people who don't hold to that rule. We had inquired about a cottage while we were there, and one of the things that needed to be dealt with by the new purchaser was to remove a bed of non-native plants alongside the cottage. There is a hike that takes you through a former site of a summer home, and through those woods you can find some bunches of non-native perennials, still blooming happily in the woods after being abandoned from human care for over 40 years.

Back in the canoe again, we had paddled along a quiet river at the west end of Lake of Two Rivers. My husband calls it "The Boring River" :[  It can get a bit monotonous with the never-ending twists and turns, but it's those turns that I enjoy the most. You never know what could be there ahead of you just around the next bend!

I mean just look at these sweet little brown ducks ... ducks in a row.

I've shown the melancholy cormorant in a previous post, but here he is again.

One of the nicest things about canoeing is that you have an opportunity to see so much more than you would from the shore. After our terrifying paddle in the thunderstorm, my son joked with me that I would never go canoeing again ... unless the water was calm ... unless the water was calm and the day was clear ... unless the water was calm, the day was clear and there wasn't a cloud in the sky!!! He wasn't far off. I wasn't ready to get in the canoe again until a couple of days later when we had this clear, still morning to greet us ...

I even brought my mug of tea with me ;)
And we saw this unusual sighting up in the tree ... a seagull!
I've never seen a seagull land in a tree before.

We'd been trying periodically through the week to see a moose on Canisbay Lake where we camp. We tried in the evenings. We tried in the mornings. We never did see a moose there like we have in the past. The beaver pond where they like to go was beautiful, but empty of moose.

There were lots of glistening spider webs in the early morning mist ...

The mist was still clinging to the little coves and under the pines along the shore.


We took a tour of the short river that leaves this lake. Despite the heavy rainfalls this summer, the river was still quite shallow. The beaver dam that holds the river high is slowly crumbling, and I wonder if this river won't dry up completely at some point. It's slow going in the canoe since there are spots where your paddle hits the river bottom and we have to dig the paddles in to get the canoe over some spots. 

We almost always see something down here. This year it was a great blue heron high up in a white pine.

We watched him for a quite a while. He sat and stretched and scratched and tidied his feathers. He was obviously enjoying the beautiful morning just as we were.

On the way out of the river we saw a pair of small hawks hunting together. In previous years I have seen a family of merlins in this same spot. The markings on these two hawks were not quite like a merlin, but I can't see what else they could be. Does anyone else recognize them? Apparently, there are three different colourings for merlins, and I think these are the "taiga" colouring (according to Cornell's ornithology website). They may have been immature birds without the heavy streaks on their tummies. They did fly with lots of flapping and not a lot of soaring, as described in this site.


Out in the open water, a loon decided to follow along with us. Maybe we were disturbing the little fish for him as we paddled along. He didn't seem bothered by us, and we just paddled quietly along. He's so sleek, you can't even tell he is covered in feathers. Often when the loons dive underwater, we just sit in the canoe waiting for them to reappear. It's amazing how far they can swim underwater! Many times we are left adrift waiting and waiting and they'll resurface way across the lake ... I think that's why the loons laugh ;)

Back in our own campsite I had a wander around behind us in the woods.  If I walked far enough back, I could see the river we had paddled down. I found a few tiny plants growing under the shade of the tall deciduous canopy of trees. Tiny red toadstools ...

Ghostly white Indian pipes ...

And I don't know what this plant is ...

There have been moose wandering around back there regularly too. I found lots of piles of this ...

moose droppings ... fertilizing the Indian pipes ;)
And while I'm on the subject ... ahem ... we saw this at the beginning of our bike ride early one morning, which travels through the deep woods along an old railroad bed ...

Yep, very fresh bear poop! Not a comforting sight when you're one of the first people on the trail! Do you see all those seeds? Be careful where you stop for wild raspberries in the park!! Just before you head into this trail, there is an old airplane landing strip that has been taken over by wild blueberries. There are lots of people picking blueberries there in August. There are also often bears enjoying the blueberries early in the mornings ... ha ha! Oh, and we didn't see any bears on the trail. Good thing because the snack of cheese, kielbasa and crackers were packed on my bike!!

We visited the art gallery in the park and outside on their lawn I found an old raven. I'm pretty sure this is the same raven I photographed last year over at the Portage Store. He's really scruffy and looks really old, but he's quite tame. I don't normally feed any animals in the park, not even the chipmunks, but I know that this guy eats french fries, so I caved in and shared a cookie with him (I didn't have anything healthy with me at the time). He hopped right over for that and I got a few nice photos of him. I just wish he was in an old craggy pine tree rather than sitting on mown grass.

When I did the lino cut for my canoe paddle, I wasn't sure I got the proportions right for the raven's beak. Every time I looked at it, it looked more and more like a toucan rather than a raven. I decided to try something with my photos of the raven and a photo of the paddle. I overlay the photo of the raven onto my paddle image. Looks like I got it right ...

 AAaaaaand one last critter ... the moose. We only saw three moose in the park this year. There is a lot of road construction going on in I think three separate spots along Hwy 60. We thought maybe the constant noise was keeping some of them away. These two moose (cow and calf) were the only two we got on film. The other bull moose was running alongside the highway at dusk, and we barely saw him. Thankfully there was a guardrail between us and him, and he ran back into the bush. Boy, moose are fast when they run!!

a little cafe latte coloured calf ;)
And that's it folks. Did I try your patience with too many photos yet again?! Having lots of photos makes a nice record of my holidays for me so apologies if it's a bit much for you to look at. 

Thanks for dropping by!


Linking up with Eileen's Saturday Critters today. Thanks for hosting Eileen!

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