Thursday, August 31, 2006

ZimSculpt # 4

Here are more of the ZimSculpt sculptures. Églantine dropped by on Tuesday to take more photos and then the two of us went back on Wednesday and I took more photos. Since I first visited, last Friday, there have been a lot more sculptures placed about the gardens and many of them have been waxed and polished to a high shine that reflects the gardens around them.

Found on Clover

During our dog walk through the fields yesterday we noticed a bit of strange colour on a red clover.

A closer look showed us this tiny caterpillar half covered in plant material.

I have yet to find time to look through my caterpillar book for a name but, meanwhile, here is another view. I'll add the name, if I can find it later.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

ZimSculpt # 3

Three more Zimbabwean sculptures . . .

This is the only one shown today that is already set up.

This bird is waiting for its stand.

I assume this mother and child will be standing, but I think it looks good lying down too.

Backyard Growth

Just a quick diversion from the neat sculptures . . .

Looking from a distance over our asparagus and rhubarb gardens, one can see towering sunflower plants with more and more blooms.

Looking closer, through a foggy camera lens, one can see that we have tomatoes too. (The air was full of humidity and mosquitoes this morning so I did not spend too much time outside. After a very quick dog walk, and time for two photos, I escaped to the safety of the house.)

Églantine stopped for a quick close up of one of the sunflower blooms and sunflower pollen on sunflower leaves.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

ZimSculpt # 2

Three more sculptures from the ZimSculpt exhibit at the Royal Botanical Gardens:

More information here.

Friday, August 25, 2006


There will be, at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario, Canada a sculptural exhibit from Septermber 1 to 30.

Three, of over one hundred, sculptors from Zimbabwe will accompany the exhibit and demonstrate their sculpting skills with special stone also brought over from Zimbabwe.

The sculptures are scattered about the Royal Botanical Gardens rose garden area making an already beautiful place even more magnificent. I intend to put up photos here and on my Flickr site during the month of September. Here the photos will come and go in groups of three. At Flickr, I shall attempt to put up one photo, in a larger format, every day. If you are local, please do come and look at the real thing. If you are from far away, just enjoy the photos and realize that the real items are even more beautiful. Some of the works brought tears to my eyes with their beauty!

Thank you to the staff at the Royal Botanical Gardens for getting this exhibit, which will be the only one in North America.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


This is a close-up photo of the common Foxtail Grass (Alopecurus genus).

And even closer . . .

Maybe I can come up with a species name in another few hours. If so I shall add it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wedding Present

My daughter got married yesterday. She took a long time to find the right partner, but she did very well. Anyway, in my attempt to find the right present for two people who had lived for years on their own and had everything they "needed" in terms of household goods, I was pleased to find a unique clock.

This copy of a 14th century wooden clock with wooden gears came as a kit that I put together on the dining room table in one afternoon. It did take a few days of trial and error to get it running and I did, in fact, make a quick trip over to the clock maker for some final adjustments. (I was lucky to find the clock maker in a village just a few kilometres away. He makes a variety of wooden geared clocks which he has designed using old 14th century clocks as inspiration. I shall do another post on his clocks when I get my camera back.)

Here are close-up photos of the clock front, still without numbers, and the gears from both right and left sides. You can see that the gear arrangement is simple but requires accurate carving. (The clock maker uses a computer guided machine to make the gears. Imagine the skill it took in the 14th century to do them by hand.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


On Monday evening we had our wild flower walk by the Hamilton Harbour. This Black-crowned Night-Heron was just off shore.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Odds and Ends

Églantine had some wonderful bird photos that I was going to put on the blog this morning but other items came up that I wanted to share so the birds will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the order that they came to my attention, here are three odds and ends that you may find of interest.

First, Linda of the Linda's Backroad Musings blog had an entry about memories of going to a one room country school which brought back my own memories of a similar school. Have a look at her blog. If you have similar memories, it might be interesting to add them to her comments and make a link to them from your blog. Just a thought . . .

Second, We will probably have to relearn the planet names as several may be added to the list later this month. See the Space Weather site for August 16, 2006 for the quick version of the news or the Official IAU Press Release for more technical information.

Last, but not least, I recieved through the mail from this morning the absolute best, best insect information book that I have ever seen!

It is 718 pages of wonderful photos and excellent information about insects of eastern North America. It costs a lot of money! That being said, I do not regret for a second the money that I paid for it. OK, here's a bit more information; it is just over 3 kilograms (around 7 pounds) and 22 x 29 cm (8 3/4 x 11 1/4 inches) so it's not a book to take out in the field. It cost me, after taxes $66.46 in Canadian dollars (Listed as $95 in both and and offered for $62.70 Cnd or $59.85 U.S).

If you are from the east, (or not), are interested in insects plus some spiders, etc., and have the money, I highly recommend it! It is in the first printing of 2006 so it is hot off the press.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Sun

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Sunrise

I beat the mosquitoes up this morning and collected some sunrise photos before the swarms got moving.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Hawkweeds are difficult to sort out for identification. I am at least 90% sure that this one is Field Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum ssp. caespitosum).

Part of what makes hawkweeds difficult is the number of common names. This plant is also called Yellow Hawkweed and King Devil. The same names also apply, at times to other species of hawkweed. Not only that, the Latin has changed too. This plant is called Hieracium pratense in the Newcomb Wildflower Guide and in the Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers; however, the Ontario Plant List calles it (Hieracium caespitosum ssp. caespitosum).

Be that as it may, the leaf having hairs on both upper and lower surfaces is what makes the identification posible. The number and size of flower heads, the colour of the stem, and the sizes of the bracts and leaves also point to the same species.

Isn't flower identification fun at times?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Carpenter's Square

There is a plant called Carpenter's Square. It's Latin name is Scrophularia marilandica. Another name for the plant is Maryland Figwort. In the photo below I have tried to darken the background for the whole plant so one can see the overall shape of the plant. This particular one was about 2 metres (6 feet) tall. I also included a side view and bottom view of the strange little flower on this plant as well as a close up look at the grooved square stem.

I have no idea why this plant is named "Carpenters Square," but shall try to find out. If someone knows, please drop a line and it will save some research time for me.

Circle Maze Garden Revisited

I've been having difficulty getting this post up on the blog. Yesterday, and early this morning, I could not access the photos on my computer network. Then, when I finally got the problem sorted out, I put the blog on Whorled Leaves. It still makes sense there as we have been reading the "Geography of Childhood," which is about the importance of getting our children introduced to nature. Meanwhile, I did want this post here as I have posted information about our Garden Maze project at least two or three times on this blog. I hope it works this time!

Our Garden Circle Maze helpers visited last weekend to see the garden and us. They could hardly believe how big the plants were.

It is like a northern jungle out there.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I have been looking for Monarch caterpillars but not finding any. Instead I found this!

According to my Caterpillars of Eastern North America book, this is the caterpillar of the White-marked Tussock Moth.

It has a strange look about it from whatever angle or magnification one looks.

Monday, August 07, 2006

From the Garden

I was a bit disappointed in the size of the potatoes that I dug up this morning but then decided that the morning's crop of tomatoes more than made up for the small potatoes.

Below is another sunset photo. It's not as colourful as usual but interesting, nevertheless. I actually took it last Monday but somehow the last week disappeared without my getting around to much blogging. Maybe this week will be better.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Software

I bought some new software this past week and have been reading, reading, and reading about all the wonderful things it can do when I figure out how to do it. It's Corel Painter. It can simulate many different art media.

I had a less expensive version that came with a tablet that has a special pencil as well as a wireless mouse but somehow I did not ever do much with the software, as it seemed to be just a tease without the capability that I wanted. Now that I have the new software, I look forward to learning how to draw and paint on screen. Below is my first effort. It is the head-on version of the Scarlet Pimpernel that I posted yesterday. For this work I started with a grass photo, added a layer of colour, then did the drawing with "pencil," filled in colour with "watercolour" and then finished with a bit of gouache.

I realize I have a way to go before I am really pleased with final results but I was pleased enough with this first effort to share it.

Friday, August 04, 2006


As I was walking through a large grassy part of the Royal Botanical Graden Arboretum on the way back to the car from my search through the wild areas for wild flowers a bit of pale red-orange caught my eye. I seldom find this flower when looking for it. It usually just appears, as this one did, when I least exptct it. It goes by the name Pimpernel or Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


It's almost too hot to think. As the sun was coming up this morning, the temperature, with the 100% humidity factored in, felt like 29° C (84.2° F) at 6:00 a.m. this morning. This is not my idea of Canadian weather! (Yes, I know, it's a lot hotter in the south, but that's why I moved up here.)