Sunday, October 14, 2018

Some Fall Colours

I did another  l o n g  training run yesterday for my attempt at a marathon in November. I ran 36.7 k on trails along the Grand River. I had support for the last 20 k from another runner in my running group, Ian Slater. As I ran the first 16 k on my own, I saw three deer and managed to get a photo of one with my iPhone.

During the morning, while I was out running, Fleur-Ange got this wonderful photo of a Blue Jay just outside our kitchen window at our bird feeder.

The fall colours do not seem a bright as some years but Fleur-Ange and I both enjoyed the colours just east of our house as we had our morning coffee on the east porch.

I used the telephoto lens on the Canon camera to shrink the distances among these trees and I think the colours were increased too. This is from the north ravine trail on our property.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Tuesday Sunrise

I put this photo up on Instagram and Facebook and got more interest than any other photo that I have recently shared so I thought I should share it here too so I can find it when I want to. Photos on Instagram usually stick around but Facebook is notorious for always moving things around so one cannot find what one is looking for. (Have I ended enough sentences in prepositions to make all of my English teachers turn over in their graves?)

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Friday Flowers

On my October 5th wild flower walks in the Hamilton area, I walked in the Royal Botanical Garden's Arboretum "wild" trails and along the Hamilton Waterfront Trail near Princess Point. During the walk I found 71 wild flowers in bloom and was able to identify 70 or them. The one that I could not identify was growing in the middle of a patch of Poison Ivy. It looked like a polygonum of some sort but it did not match any of the plants in my book.

Following are some of the plants that I photographed:

Calico Aster
Aster Latériflore
(Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)

 New England Aster with close up lens
Aster de Nouvelle-Angleterre
(Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

 Wild Chicory
Chicorée Sauvage
(Cichorium intybus)

Indian Tobacco
Lobélie Gonflée
(Lobelia inflata)

Stramoine Commune
(Datura stramonium)

Jerusalem Artichoke
(Helianthus tuberosus)

The Jerusalem Artichoke leaves and stems are known for their extreme roughness as one can see in the photo.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Mount Douglas - September 19

On our first full day in Victoria, British Columbia, I went exploring near the house where we were staying with friends. Within a 20 minute walk I found what the locals call "Mount Doug". The trail map, which I did not have at the time, shows some of the many trails that lead up and around the "mountain". It was only 225 metres (738 feet) tall but quite rugged in spots. The trails marked in  yellow below show my route up and back on that first climb.

According to Wikipedia, "The aboriginal Saanich and Songhees people called the mountain Pkols [pq̕áls], meaning "White Head" in Senćoŧen dialect." There is an appeal to try to get the original name back on the records.

At the base of the mountain there were many tall Douglas Firs, Bigleaf Maples and Cedars as well as a variety of smaller trees. They were impressive but it was impossible to capture the feeling of them with a camera.

Below are two views from the top of Mount Douglas.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

From September 18, 2018

We flew to Victoria, British Columbia on September 18. The "Victoria" airport is actually 25 k from Victoria in Sidney. When we arrived, we had lunch at a local pub and then walked to a local art centre where a display of papier mâché pieces were showing.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Leaves and Bees - OK Wasps

            These are the leaves of the Thicket Creeper / Vigne Vierge Commune / (Parthenocissus vitacea).
Used to be (Parthenocissus inserta).

            So far the Thicket Creepers, some Cherries, and Sumac leaves have turned colour.

            We have had German Yellowjackets, we think, in a gourd on our porch for about half the summer but now we have the more common Easter Yellowjackets in a ground nest in our labyrinth. One needs to be careful where one walks these days. (Two of our running club members got stung on one of the trails in Brantford yesterday as we were out running. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!)

Monday, September 10, 2018


            I do not know what this is yet. Any ideas?

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Purple Crown-Vetch
Coronille Bigarrée
(Securigera varia)

            One of many flowers found last Friday along the Hamilton Waterfront Trail.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

        This gourd served as a House Wren nesting spot for two or three summers but this year some Yellowjacket wasps took over. We debated, then left them alone. They have been buzzing in and out all summer and recently started adding on some decorations on the outside. We are hoping they keep minding their own business as Yellowjacket stings can be very painful. They are very close to where we have coffee on our east porch several mornings each week so we have been watching and being careful to not disturb them other than taking a few photos.

            I found a dead one on the table on the porch this morning.

            I took a photo of the Red-seeded Dandelion / Pissenlit à Graines Rouges / (Taraxicum erythrospermum) from next to our east porch. The "red" seeds really need to be compared to a regular Dandelion but I could not find one. I will add a photo when I can.

            Here is a close up of part of the flowering head of the Big Bluestem Grass / Barbon de Gérard / (Andropogon gerardi) that we have growing in a stump in our yard.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

A Fly and a Flower and a Leaf Hopper

            I found this tiny fly on a Willow Herb. With help, I got the identification down to "a syrphid fly in the genus toxomerus."

            Here I am more confident. This is a very late flowering Red Raspberry / Framboisier rouge / (Rubus idaeus). Almost all of the other Red Raspberries have finished flowering, finished having berries, and have given up the berries to hungry animals, including me. For some reason, this plant decided to have another go at reproduction.

            I found this Leaf Hopper (Acanalonia conica) in a spider web this morning.

Monday, September 03, 2018

A Modest Walk

        Four years ago today, September 3, 2014, Fleur-Ange, her friend Pauline, and I started a 480 km walk from Montreal, Quebec, down the length of the state of Vermont, to the village of Deerfield, Massachusetts as an active, preformance art project by Fleur-Ange. Today, we did a much more modest 8 km along one shore of the Gordon Pittock Reservoir in Woodstock. (It did not take as long to do.)

        This morning, I took a photo of the road in front of our house showing all the Labour Day traffic. Yes, all of one car in the distance. Meanwhile there was a dawn chorus of one cardinal, one crow, one tree frog and a collection of crickets and other chirping, buzzing insects.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Wild Flowers of the Morning

            First I walked the dog for the small amount that she wanted then I continued, without her, for the walk we took all last winter and spring. She has not been keen on walking in the heat and mosquitoes of high summer.

            During the walk I found 64 wild flowers in our meadows that I could identify:

Alexanders, Golden
Asparagus *
Aster, Arrow-Leaved
Aster, Flat-Topped
Aster, Frost
Aster, New England
Aster, White Wood
Avens, White
Basil, Wild
Beggar Tick, Tall
Black-Eyed Susan
Bluestem, Big (Grass)
Butter-And-Eggs *
Carpenter's Square (Figwort)
Celandine *
Clover, Red *
Comfrey, Common *
Coneflower, Cutleaf (Outhouse Plant)
Coneflower, Purple *
Coneflower, Tall
Coneflower, Thin-Leaved * 
Coreopsis, Tall
Cucumber, Wild
Cup Plant
Daisy, Oxeye *
Dandelion, Common *
Dock, Prairie
Everlasting, Sweet (Fragrant Cudweed)
Fleabane, Lesser Daisy
Globe-thistle, Great *
Goldenrod, Blue-Stemmed
Goldenrod, Canada
Goldenrod, Gray
Goldenrod, Lance-Leaved
Goldenrod, Tall
Hedge-Parsley, Upright *
Herb Robert *
Horehound, Water
Indian Tobacco
Knotgrass, Common *
Knotweed, Virginia (Jumpseed)
Lady's Thumb, Spotted *
Live-Forever *
Medick, Black *
Motherwort *
Mountain Mint, Virginia
Nightshade, Eastern Black
Parsnip, Water
Pilewort (American Burnweed)
Plantain, English *
Queen Anne's Lace *
Ragweed, Great
Stickseed, Virginia
Sunflower, Pale Leaved
Tea, Oswego
Thistle, Bull *
Touch-Me-Not, Spotted
Vervain, White
Willow Herb, Purple-Veined (P-leaved)
Wood Sorrel, Yellow

Yarrow, Common *

            Then I found one wild flower that I am not sure about. The plant looks like a violet but the flower does not fit the pattern correctly:

[Note from Colin Chapman via Instagram:

"The flower has been affected by some pathogen. Youre right, the petals look weird, but the calyx is typical and everything else points to Labrador Violet (V. labradorica) if you ask me!"]

Tea Bag Notes

            I have been drinking "Traditional Medicinal Herbal Teas" for several years first thing in the morning. This morning I mixed Hibiscus & Ginger teas with a spoonful of honey and a spoonful of chia but I suddenly noticed that there were quotes on the tea bag tabs. How have I not seen these before? Have they always been there? Wondering.

            On Friday I did my usual wild flower walks on the Royal Botanical Gardens property. Here is one of my finds:

White Lettuce
aka White Snakeroot
Prenanthe Blanche
(Nabalus albus)
(was Prenanthes alba)

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Running +

            The sumac is already showing fall colours.

            The training run for the day was 27 km. Thanks to Ann Myhals for running company on the first 16 k and to Anita Bosagri-Chevarie for bike company on the last 11 k.

            As you can see from the chart, I did fairly well for the first 20 k then started faltering and then ended up walking for most of the last 3 or 4 km. My feet were really getting sore by the end and I was also running out of energy in spite of all the water, Stingers, Pretzels and Gels supplements. The +26 (+35)C temperatures i.e. +79 (+95)F for my U.S. friends, may have also been a factor.

            Our dog, Sadie, likes to wait under the breakfast table for me to finish breakfast as she knows that after breakfast we go out for a walk. That being said, during the heat of the summer and during this past month of mosquitoes, she has not been quite as keen as she used to be for going out.

Friday, August 31, 2018


        Procyon is, according to Wikipedia, the 8th brightest star in the sky. My camera caught it before sunrise this morning. I did not see it with my eye but the camera did.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Starting Again?

          It was dark enough and clear enough this morning that I was able to see the stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation of Gemini while I was doing my Tai Chi on the east porch. They almost make up for the fact that the early-morning, before-sunrise birds are not singing so early these days. I did hear a Cardinal a half hour before sunrise but the sun is coming up so late these days . . .

        The blog seems a bit late too. It's been a long time since my last post.

Eastern Comma Butterfly
Photo from August 29, 2018
Taken in our west meadow

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Late, Late, Often Late

        If nothing else, I am fairly consistently late with doing activities. I hate being late but that does not stop me putting off events until the last minute and then forgetting too. Sigh!

        My current "late" project is sending out postcards before April 30. Yes, it is May 16 today.
 Anyway, I had planned and still plan, to send out photos of a whirligig that I made  in 2017. It was shown at the You-Me Gallery in Hamilton Ontario and was one of several that were written up in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper and one of few that actually sold from the gallery. It is a "traditional" whirligig that shows a wooden figure chopping wood. Since that is one of my favourite winter activities, I thought it was appropriate. It was adapted from a plan that I found on the internet but adapted enough that I still call it my own.

        Following is a video that I took of it. I am putting the blog site address on my postcard so I should have some extra visitors to this page of the blog sometime in the, hopefully, near future.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Friday Walk Flowers Continued

        I found 24 species of plants in bloom yesterday, Friday, April 6, 2018. Given that it snowed in the morning and again in the evening, I was pleased to find that many. The complete list is below:

These six are native or naturalized to our area. (The * indicates that they are not really native to the area.)

Alder, Speckled (Shrub)
Chickweed, Common * 
Coltsfoot * 
Maple, Red (Tree)
Maple, Silver (Tree)
Skunk Cabbage

Silver Maple Tree Flowers

        The remaining are plants that have been planted and maintained to some degree on the grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario. The grounds include land in both city areas.

Christmas Rose * (Red Hellebore)
Hazel, Turkish * (Tree)
Iris, Netted *
Snowdrops *
Willow 'Hakura Nishiki'*
Winter Aconite *
Witch Hazel, 'Barmstedt Gold'* (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Brandis' * (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Brevipetala' (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Heinrich Bruns'*(Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Jelena' * (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Pallida'* (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Primavera' * (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Rochester'* (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Ruby Glow' * (Shrub)
Witch Hazel,  'Brevipetala'* (Shrub)
Witch Hazel, 'Wisley Supreme'*(Shrub)
Witch Hazel, Vernal * (Ozark) (Shrub)

Willow 'Hakura Nishiki' Tree Flower

Turkish Hazel Tree Flower

Friday, April 06, 2018

Friday Walk and Flowers

        It is Friday, April 6th and we have snow again.

        There was a lot of snow hanging onto the trees.

        There was snow on all the trails at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario.

        There was snow on the newly opened Netted Iris flowers.

       However, in the afternoon the snow melted and I saw the first of the Round-lobed Hepatica flowers for this spring. They are always a special treat.

        By evening, they were covered in snow again and more snow has arrived. (I like my snow in December, January, and February and am less keen the the months go on.)

Sunday, April 01, 2018

April Wild Flower Letter

        Every month, I send out a newsletter about flowers that I have found in years past in the Hamilton and Brantford area of Ontario. I can't remember if I ever posted the letter here before but here is the one from April of this year with a few omissions that did not seem to make sense for this blog:


April Greetings from Dean,

        I am still waiting for winter to give up. As there is still snow in the forecast and my fingers are still cold and there are very few flowers in bloom, the Monday evening walks are still on hold. I will send out a note when I schedule them to start.

        So far, quite a few flowers are about 10 days to 2 weeks later than my earliest dates. We did have a few warmer winters a few years ago that probably skewed the early date times so maybe this is closer to “normal.”

Following are the names of plants that have bloomed in past Aprils: (S is for Shrub, T is for Tree, * is for alien)

Alder, European * (S)
Alder, Speckled(S)
Anemone, Rue
Anemone, Wood
Ash, Blue (T)
Aspen, Large-Toothed (T)
Aspen, Trembling (T)
Baneberry, Red
Barberry, Japanese * (S)
Beech, American (T)
Bellwort, Large-Flowered
Birch, White (T)
Bittercress, Hairy *
Bluebells, Virginia
Butterbur *
Buttercup, Hispid
Buttercup, Kidneyleaf
Celandine *
Celandine, Lesser *
Chickweed, Common * 
Chickweed, Jagged *
Chickweed, Mouse-Ear *
Cohosh, Giant Blue
Coltsfoot *
Cress, Hairy Rock
Cress, Mouse-Ear *
Cress, Purple (Pink Spring Cress)
Crowfoot, Cursed
Crown-vetch, Purple *
Currant, Wild Black (S)
Current, European Red (Garden)(S)
Dandelion, Common *
Dandelion, Marsh *
Dandelion, Red-Seeded *
Dead-Nettle, Purple *
Dead-Nettle, Spotted *
Dutchman's Breeches
Elderberry, Red
Elm, American (T)
False Mermaid
Forget-Me-Not, True *
Geranium, Wild
Gooseberry, Eastern Prickly
Ground Ivy *
Groundsel, Common * 
Groundsel, Sticky * (S.Ragwort)
Hazel, American (S)
Hazel, Beaked (S)
Henbit *
Hepatica, Round-Lobed 
Hepatica, Sharp-Lobed
Honesty *
Hop-Hornbeam (T)
Horsetail, Field (Pollen)
Hyacinth, Grape *
Johnny Jump-Up *
Mallow, Common(Cheeses) *
Maple, Manitoba (T)
Maple, Norway * (T)
Maple, Red (T)
Maple, Silver (T)
Maple, Sugar (T)
Marigold, Marsh 
Meadow-Rue, Early
Medick, Black *
Mustard, Garlic *
Pennycress, Field *
Periwinkle *
Plum, Canada (T)
Pussytoes, Field
Pussytoes, Parlin's
Pussytoes, Smaller Rare In H/W
Redbud (T)
Redcedar, Eastern (T)
Rocket, Yellow *
Saxifrage, Early
Saxifrage, Golden
Scilla * (Blue)
Scorpion-Grass, Blue *
Sedge, Long-stalked
Sedge, Pennsylvania
Shadbush, Common (T)
Shadbush, Smooth (T)
Shadush Species (T)
Shepherd's Purse *
Skunk Cabbage
Speedwell, Corn *
Speedwell, Persian *
Speedwell, Slender *
Speedwell, Thyme-Leaved *
Speedwell, Wayside *
Spicebush (S)
Spring Beauty, Carolina
Spring Beauty, Narrow-leaved
Spurge, Cypress *
Spurge, Petty *
Storksbill *
Strawberry, Barren
Strawberry, Field
Strawberry, Woodland
Tamarack (T)
Toothwort, Cut-Leaved
Toothwort, Two-leaved (Crinkleroot)
Trillium, Red
Trillium, White
Trout-Lily, White
Violet, Canada
Violet, Common
Violet, Dog
Violet, Downy Yellow
Violet, Leconte's
Violet, Long-Spurred
Violet, N.Blue
Violet, N.White *
Violet, Selkirk's
Violet, Sweet White
Whitlow Grass *
Wild Ginger
Willow, Pussy (S)
Wood Sorrel, Yellow
Woodrush, Hairy

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Getting Close to Spring

        "Spring" is approaching. It will arrive at 12:15 p.m. tomorrow in our area. As I remember from many, many years ago at school the arrival of spring means equal hours of  day and night and the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west. 

        Guess what? It's not exactly true due to the tilt of the earth. Equal hours happen at different times at different latitudes.  Where we live, at 43 degrees 13 minutes north, the equal hours happened already on March 17. The sun rose and set at east and west within less than a degree of difference yesterday the 18th and today, the 19th. Tomorrow, the official time when spring arrives, we will have 12 hour and just over 9 minutes of day time and the sun will rise 1 degrees north of east and set 1 degree north of west. So it goes.

        This first photo is from Sunday, March 18 at the minute the sun is supposed to rise i.e. the top rim of the sun is just above the horizon. Of course there is no way I can see that with trees and clouds in the way.

        So, this is 13 minutes later on the same morning when I first saw the sun rising above the trees. According to my compass it was at least 3 degrees south of east so I don't know if the compass was off or my information from the internet was off or if it moved south of east very quickly.

        Just for the record, below is one of the earlier spring flowers for this spring. It was found in a protected courtyard at the Royal Botanical Gardens and was planted there as a cultivated flower. I have seen them as naturalized flowers in a few locations over the years and was puzzled for several years as they are not in the wild flower guides.

Winter Aconite
Aconit d'hiver
(Eranthus hyemalis)
[er-AN-thus   hy-EH-may-liss]