Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 19 Blooms

          So, I found all of these flowers blooming on Friday, December 19 in the Burlington/Hamilton area on Royal Botanical Garden's properties.  There might have been more but the gardening staff have been busy digging up the old flower bed of summer so some of the "weeds" that I have been watching have been dug up and turned under. Sigh. Anyway all but one of the flowers are "wild" as in growing on their own without being planted or cultivated. Five of them were in old flower beds as weeds. The dandelion was growing and blooming in one of the lawns. There were lots of dandelions seedheads about the area also. The two asters and the yarrow were growing besides the Hamilton Waterfront Trail on the Princess Point side of the road. I am never sure exactly where the border of the RBG is in that area but they are close enough for me to count as basically RBG finds in any case.

        I took some enjoyment is setting up the design for the display photo above using Photoshop. I discovered a new action in Photoshop that allows one to make lines to exact angles that made the process a lot easier. It appears that there is always something new to learn in Photoshop.

        I made up the angles first so that there could be 9 equal parts of the large circle, then figured out by experimenting what size the circles needed to be to fit into the parts. After making and placing all the smaller circles I put the larger one into the centre and then just cut and pasted from the flower photos into the template before erasing the template. It kept me off the streets and out of the yard for a couple of hours and was a good way to "rest" as my cold virus does not want me out right now anyway.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Fall Wild Flower Walk

        Every year since 1981 I have led a wild flower walk during the weekend closest to the end of October and beginning of November. For the last 12 years or so Fleur-Ange has co-lead with me. Most, but not all, of the walks have been on the Hamilton Waterfront trail for the last few years. There seem to be more flowers there later in the season. I am attributing the streetlights by the trail as well as the location right next to the harbour for the later blooms. In any case there are always more flowers blooming there.

        This year, on Saturday, November 1st, we found 52 wild flowers in bloom. Following is the list and two photos:

Alyssum, Hoary *
Aster, Frost
Aster, Heath
Aster, New England
Aster, Panicled

Beggar Tick Photo by Fleur-Ange

Beggar Tick, Tall
Bindweed, Hedge
Black-Eyed Susan
Bugleweed, Rough
Catnip *
Chickweed, Mouse-Ear *
Chicory *
Cinquefoil, Rough
Clover, White *
Clover, White Sweet *
Crown-vetch,       Purple  *
Dandelion, Red-Seeded *
Dogwood, Red-Osier (S)
Evening Primrose, Common
Flax, Common *
Fleabane, Daisy
Galinsoga *
Galinsoga, Small-Flowered
Goldenrod, Lance-Leaved
Goldenrod, Tall
Groundsel, Sticky * (S.Ragwort)
Knotgrass, Common *
Knotweed, Japanese *
Lady's Thumb *
Medick, Black *
Mint, Wild

Moth Mullein Photo by Dean

Mustard, Black *
Nightshade, Eastern Black
Queen Anne's Lace *
Ragweed, Common
Ragweed, Perennial (Western)
Saint Johnswort, Common *
Smartweed,   Water
Sow Thistle, Common *
Sow Thistle, Field *
Thistle, Bull *
Thistle, Canada *
Touch-Me-Not, Spotted
Vetch, Cow * (Tufted V.)
Wallrocket *
Yarrow, Common *

My apologies for the errors in the list. Blogger is doing strange things to my format for some reason.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Another Half Marathon

        I have run Hamilton’s Road-2-Hope race all eight times that it has been run. Seven times I ran the half marathon and one time, when I was 66, I ran the full marathon. During the past four half marathons I have been just a bit faster each time with today’s being the best of the last four. Before that I had one very slow run and two faster runs. Last year I actually place in the top three with a second place finish. Even though I ran faster this year, I came in forth in my age group out of 5. I was a bit disappointed but then I did come in before 236 other runners of whom almost all were younger than I and then there are all those who are not running or did not even make it to my age so I cannot feel too bad. 

Thanks to Fleur-Ange for the photo!

        Oh, today’s time was 2:22:24 compared to my slowest half marathon 2:37:54 back when I was 66. My fastest half was when I was 48 years old and it was 1:43:56. I am hoping to keep running for a few more years. I signed up for the Hamilton Bay Race next March. It is 30 km with a few more ups and downs compared to what I ran today. I shall not be trying for a faster time in that race but just to finish as it has always been a challenge for me and resulted in a long 6 year recess from running years ago due to an injury. I will be pleased to just finish!

Thanks to Donna Quick for this photo!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 29 - Tree Clean-up

        Earlier this week Fleur-Ange had our two old Ash-leaved Maples, between the house and the barn, taken down. In order to save money we had the tree service just cut down the trees and leave them to be cleaned up. They did cut up the large parts of the lower trunk as my chain saw was not large enough to cut through them but smaller bits were left along with all the smaller branches. 

        Yesterday, October 29, I skipped art class and gym time to work on cleaning up all the smaller branches. I worked from 9:00 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon on chopping branches, moving the smallest ones to the burn barrel, moving the larger branches to several piles, and burning the smallest branches and twigs in the burn barrel. During that time I only took a 5 minute break at lunch time to grab a piece of cold pizza to eat while I fed the fire and then another quarter of an hour to help in the barn when the farrier came to trim the donkey’s hooves as well as the goats hooves. By the end of the day I was feeling quite fatigued and made a couple of bad moves with the machete so I decided to quit while I was still whole. Fortunately the machete did not cut me as I had on heavy gloves and the blow was not too hard. 

        I did find, during the day, that the machete was much better than the larger heavier axe for about 95% of the cuts I wanted to make. I used the axe only about 3% of the time and them my little hand limb saw for the remaining 2% of the cuts. The chain saw cuts will come later when there is someone else around.    

        Having worked over 7 hours at the job left me quite tired and a bit sore in the arms and back but, for some reason, my left instep was the most painful. I do not understand why as I was not on my feet any more than a usual work day but the pain would not go away. I iced the foot, elevated it, massaged it and rolled it on my roller to try to ease the pain but it is still with me, fortunately to a much lesser degree, this morning. Hope it improved before the half marathon this coming weekend!
        Maybe a photo or two will be added later but I did not take any yesterday. I even gave up the opportunity to take a photo of a little wood frog that I found while working.

        I was way too dedicated to getting that mess cleaned up. I still have lots to do but will not do another 7+ hour chopping marathon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ham and Swiss Pie (Kind of)

Recipe from The Country Cape B&B in Whately, MA 

Ham &  Swiss Pie

2 cups cut up ham
1/4 cup chopped onion     
2 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
4 eggs
1 cup Bisquick 

Mix eggs, milk, Bisquick, salt & pepper
Pour over meat, cheese & onion
Put in greased 10” pie plate
Bake @ 350° for 35-40 min
(Done when knife inserted in centre comes out clean.)

        On our one B&B  of the trip that really served breakfast, we had a Ham & Swiss Pie that was so good that I asked for, and received, the recipe. Having been home for a few days I tried it out, in my usual fashion of using recipes as a guide only.  In this case I used pepperoni that was left over from making pizza the day before instead of the ham. I used an entire onion. The milk that I used was 1% instead of whole milk. I omitted the salt and pepper as we add our own at the table.Since I did not have any Swiss cheese on hand I used 1/2 cup of goat cheese and 1/2 cup of old cheddar cheese. Hey, I did use 4 eggs that were fresh from our hens so I did not change all of the recipe.  I try to not use mixes, i.e. Bisquick, so I looked at the ingredients of Bisquick and saw that it was basically flour, salt, shorting, and baking powder so I used 1/3 cup of tapioca flour, 1/3 cup almond flour, & 1/3 cup barley flour to cut down the amount of gluten in the mix and added about a half teaspoon of baking powder and half teaspoon of baking soda.

        I baked the mix in our oven at 350° for 37 minutes and it turned out great. I look forward to trying it again sometime soon!

        (I forgot to take the photo before any cutting. It actually got cut into 8 pieces but 6 of them disappeared at breakfast.)