Friday, October 30, 2015

House By The Ocean

Another photo of Inverness as I am still thinking about it.  Hopefully, we will get back there before too long. Click on the photo for full image.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fallen Leaves

The leaves are all off the trees and today has been rainy and windy.  Soon all the leaves will just be brown.

The bright green leaves of coltsfoot contrast nicely with the reddy-orange maple leaves.

Not a fallen leaf, this is a leaf of a heucherella (cross between a tiarella and heuchera), Solar Eclipse. It holds up well in the cool fall weather.

This evening primrose plant has lovely lemony yellow flowers in June, and then turns into a kaleidoscope of colour in the fall.

I just found this collection of leaves on the dead daylily leaves restful to look at.

A red leaf pointing to...maybe the snow to come.

These leaves almost look springlike with their pastel colours.

Raking the lawn, I got distracted with some of the patterns made by the fallen lilac leaves. I did go back to raking, and it's almost done now.

Not a leaf, but this ladybug looks like she's falling.  Actually she is securely poised on a hairy mullen leaf.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apologies to the Sedum

My apologies to the sedum that I neglected to include in the late bloomers.  This Frosty Morn sedum is still fresh and pink even after our -5 C frosts.  Originally this plant had some white variegation on the leaves, but over the years it has reverted to all green. The flowers are still pretty and, although the plant is not as vigorous nor does it form as large clump as Autumn Joy, it is  one very tough plant.

The reddish  Autumn Joy flowers are fading, but they still add colour to the garden.

The sedums are a good source of pollen for many insects in the late summer and fall.  They are super easy to propagate - just break off a piece of the stem and stick it in the ground.  Next year, it will leaf out nicely and bloom.

Saturday, October 24, 2015



The abundance of God's love
Pours mercy and joy
Into the plowed fields of our minds,
Soaks deep into our hearts,
And mysteriously transforms us.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Last Flowers

Up until the couple of hard frosts we had last week, the dragon wing begonia was still blooming really nicely.

 The red salvia had slowed down a bit but still was a nice bright red.

 The toad lily flowers are only about an inch across but I like the crazy spots.  Although a perennial, the plant freezes easily so many of the buds don't get a chance to open. It's a very late bloomer.

 The lemon dinner plate dahlia just kept making flowers.  The only down side is that the stems weren't strong enough to hold the flowers up. Cheery colour.

 One lonely flower opened on Japanese anemone.  I moved it and hopefully I will get more blooms next year.
 This phlox has been blooming for weeks and even after the frost, it is still OK.  Oddly, earlier in the summer it didn't show any white center.

 I let some of the broccoli flower because the bees appreciate the late blooms.  And anyway, I like the buttery yellow flowers.
 The cardinal flower is still blooming, and, although the frost gave it a bit of a shock, it wasn't totally frozen and still has some blooms on it.  I really hope they make it through the winter.

 The hardy cyclamen was not very robust this year.  I guess I need to top dress it with some compost.
But even with few flowers, the leaves are really attractive.  We had a very dry September, and I probably should have watered it instead of letting it fend for itself. 
So that's about it for the flowers for this year.  I think I have one lonely pansy flower out there today and a few sparse buds on the purple salvia.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Our older years are different
From the green leafy years of youth
But they can still be beautiful.

Friday, October 16, 2015

How Did the Cows Cross the Road?

They went through the culvert!  These cows were pasturing in a field across the road from the barn.  We drove by late afternoon, and I guess they figured it was time to go to the barn for milking so they were all making their way through the culvert.  No encouragement was needed by a person .  They knew the drill.
 Here they are coming out the other side.

 As they made their way up to the barn, a few of them stopped to say hello to the horses.

I blew this picture up so I could see the horses better.  It looks like a mom and her baby.  The baby is curious, and mom appears to be chewing on the fence post. Maybe they come over to the fence every morning and afternoon to say hi to the cows.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October Colour

 A few shots of the colour before the wind blows all the leaves down. We had beautiful sunny and warm weather over the weekend which was perfect for all the travellers and visitors on the move for Thanksgiving.

This weekend is going to be very chilly.  Time to find the winter gloves and put the snowblower on the tractor.  Not that the snow will arrive soon, but it just feels better to be ready. The starlings are gathering in huge flocks ready to fly south.  The geese will soon be honking overhead.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating this weekend.
We had a frost last night, so I guess the warm days are behind us . But the air is fresh and crisp, and the colours are vibrant.  A great time to go for a walk.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Blue Hills Of Sorrow

Blue Hills of Sorrow

Between the yielding inviting sand
And soft fresh clouds and sky,
The blue hills of sorrow
That launched one-way boats
Made of lumber cut by men
Whose lives were felled, too.
In whose depths, men and women and children
Picked and dragged relentless loads
Of darkness.

Blue hills of sorrow not forgotten.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Off To The Races

 Inverness has a harness racing track just on the edge of town.  My sister knows somebody who is involved with one of the horses so on race day we decided to go see the ponies.  I know next to nothing about harness racing other than they drive Standardbred horses and some races feature "pacers" and some "trotters", but I thought it would be more fun if we tried to assess the horses and put some money down. 
We bought a program that listed the nine races and which horses were running.  That seemed simple enough, but wait a minute what was all this on the other pages...
all kinds of statistics, and breeding history, and other inscrutable information. We were, after all, just at the Inverness (population 1,500) racetrack.  I had sorely underestimated how seriously the local people were involved with the horses.  We decided that given our ignorance, our best chance of picking a winner would simply be to watch them warm up. We placed $2 bets for the top three spots in three races and managed to get the show (3rd place) right in a couple of races. That earned us $4.20 on our $18 investment.  The last race featured a horse called Seaside Lizzie, and because my sister's name is Elizabeth, we decided pick her as the winner even though her odds weren't great.  Well, she came through for us with a thrilling finish and we made a whopping $8 for our $2 bet. We also managed to pick the show for that race.  All told we were only down $10 for the afternoon. 
Some of the winners had their picture taken in front of the scoreboard.  I love the way it's a family affair -even the dog gets to be in the picture.
A little bit of info on harness racing.  Harness racing goes back to the end of the 1700's and the founding sire for Standardbreds was an English horse called Messenger.  The standard was being able to do a mile in 2 minutes and 30 seconds at a trot or pace.  Horses that could meet that standard were eligible to be registered as Standardbreds.  They are similar to Thoroughbreds that are used for regular flat racing, but they are a little heavier and less high strung. Standardbred horses sometimes have the ability to pace which means that instead of trotting with diagonal legs moving at the same time, the two legs on the same side move at the same time.   The races are set for either trotters or pacers as pacing is a slightly faster gait than trotting. Most Standardbreds are bays or dark brown, but they can be any colour.
Many small towns in Canada had a track similar to this one.  It used to be the only legal way to gamble.  Now even the large tracks are struggling to stay afloat as there are lots of other ways to gamble.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cabot Links- Inverness, and Alexander Graham Bell

 Inverness was a coal mining town dating from the late 1800's.  The main mine went down 2500', which is hard to believe, but true nonetheless. After the mines closed in the late 1950's , the area was left with fishing and forestry as industries, and many people were out of work.  In fact the population of Inverness dropped from 3,000 to 1,500 over the next decades. 
After a few false starts, investors were found to build a links golf course in Inverness.  It opened in 2012, and has provided a much needed source of jobs and tourist dollars.  It is located on the site of the old mine between the town and the seashore .A short walk brings you from the main street of town, along the boardwalk by the golf links, and finally to the beach.
I looked up golf "links" to see what makes them a unique golfing place.  Firstly, a golf links needs to be within view of the ocean. It must have sandy soil and a natural terrain with native vegetation in the roughs. No watering is needed as the air is always moist.   I think it must be particularly challenging to factor in the wind, and deal with the unexpected rain showers, but I guess that just adds to the fun of playing on that type of course.  Some tournaments are only held at links golf courses, and they are not that common so this golf course draws people from many far flung places.
 It's hard to believe that this used to be a coal mine.  Certainly, it should encourage us that old industrial sites can be turned into useful and attractive spaces when their industrial life is over.
I like the fishing boats in the background in contrast to the golf cart that has just crossed to road to the beach.

One rainy day, we drove about an hour east over to Baddeck.  The road was rather gloomy, with thick forests and few houses, but once we arrived at Baddeck our day seemed brighter.  Baddeck is like a miniature version of Kennebunkport, Maine. It's a friendly combination of commercial fishing boats, touristy shops, and quaint B & Bs. We had a tasty lunch at the Yellow Cello Cafe that had fun decorations along the yellow and cello themes.
But what we had really come to see was the Alexander Graham Bell museum.  I am so glad we went.  It was so interesting.  I had no idea that Dr. Bell was involved in so many innovative projects.  Did you know he built a hydrofoil? Or an airplane?  Or that he was fascinated by kites? Or that he send sound over light waves?  He and his wife were also deeply involved in the running of their farm, and were attempting to breed sheep that would consistently have twins. Long before it was popular, they were interested in conservation and responsible land use. Dr. Bell was also one of the founders of the National Geographic Society.  And I haven't even mentioned his extensive work with deaf people.
He was a very remarkable person who really tried to make life better for many people. Wikipedia has a good long essay on him if you want to know more about him and his family.
I didn't take pictures of the museum - I guess I was feeling clicked out that day.  If I go again, I will definitely take pictures.
I found a great yarn shop in Baddeck -" Baadeck Yarns".  The owner has a really fun facebook page with info on yarns, and patterns, and lots of upbeat pictures of sheep! A very cheerful page.
OK, I know this post is too long. Maybe we'll be off to the races next time.