Friday, December 23, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Early Morning

        Lots of exercise yesterday. Made it out of driveway and down snowy roads to do my usual Saturday long run but cut it short due to snow on the streets and roads. I did just over 7 km instead of the 13 on the schedule.

        I needed the extra energy however as I spent 2 1/2 hours shovelling out the driveway during the afternoon. That was the second time last week as I  spent an equal time last Monday cleaning out the driveway. I only remember doing it 2 or 3 time all last winter so this felt like a bit much: 2 times in the last few days of fall.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Some Winter Joys

            I had not seen the  Wild Turkeys for a while on our property but the snow let me know that they are still here. They were under the sumacs checking for sumac seeds and also checking out the wild grape vines for any wild grapes that were still hanging about. I saw track on both the north and south sides of the property.

            With snow outside and the temperature dropping, I decided this morning to start chopping firewood again. I thought I had lots chopped but it appears to be half gone already.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Friday Flowers - December 9, 2016

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

            This was one of 18 wild flowers that I found in the Hamilton area yesterday. They were either growing as "weeds" in and around the flower beds of the Royal Botanical Garden's Rose Garden or at the side of the parking lot or along the Hamilton Waterfront Trail. As would be expected, after several frost and a couple of snowfalls, they were all looking rather poorly but they were still blooming. The dandelions and groundsels were also still producing seeds.

Here is the whole list of wild flowering species seen:

Alyssum, Hoary *         Berteroa incana
Aster, Heath             Symphyotrichum ericoides
Aster, New England       Symphyotrichum novae-angliae  
Aster, Panicled          Symphyotrichum lanceolatum
Chickweed, Common *      Stellaria media
Clover, White Sweet*     Melilotus alba
Dandelion, Common *      Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion, Red-Seeded*   Taraxacum erythrospermum
Feverfew *               Tanacetum parthenium
Goldenrod, Canada        Solidago canadensis
Goldenrod, Lance-Leaved  Euthamia graminifolia
Goldenrod, Tall          Solidago altissima
Groundsel, Common *      Senecio vulgaris
Spurge, Petty *          Euphorbia peplus
Storksbill *             Erodium cicutarium
Tansey *                 Tanacetum vulgare
Witch Hazel              Hamamelis virginiana
Yarrow, Common *         Achillea millefolium

            As one can see 11* of the species are not native.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Fall Cankerworm Moth Activity


             Last Sunday, November 27, I took this video. At that time there were hundreds of these little moths flitting about. They are Fall Cankerworm Moths that breed in the late fall, overwinter as eggs, and then hatch out in the spring.

             On Monday the 28th I saw 105 moths as I walked the dog in the evening which is many, many less than I saw on the Sunday. Tuesday the 29th I only saw 67. Wednesday, the count was 35. This evening, Thursday, December 1, I only saw 1. Temperatures have been cool and we have had a couple of overnight frosts but nothing compared to earlier in November. The only real difference there has been in the weather has been a couple of overnight rains.

            I tried many times, during November, to get a photo of the moths but they kept moving and flitting about most of the time and when they landed they seemed to disappear. Finally, after a small snowfall, I was able to find one cold enough that it did not fly right away and was east to see against the snow.


            After a bit of internet research, I found out why there were so many moths flitting about. They were all males looking for females. The females develop without wings and do not move very much so the males have to keep looking, and smelling, to find the females. I was very lucky, after doing the research, to find a female below the many males seen in the video. She was in the mulch pile and just moved enough to catch my eye.

            Yes, she is quite small and hard to find.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November Sunday

            Sundays in November, as we reach the end of November, tend to be very quite on our trails. I found only one plant in bloom, a Tall Goldenrod, and heard only a few Blue Jays, some distant Crows, one Chickadee and one Goldfinch. ( I am ignoring traffic sounds as much as I can - cars, trains, and airplanes all went by within earshot.)

            Below is a Thimbleweed - Anémone de Virginie - (Anemone virginiana) with its seeds slowly migrating to the ground along the stem.  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Friday Flowers

            Well, a photo of only one of the Friday flowers. I found 35 in bloom and identified 33 of them with a bit of help from an RBG friend. Colin Chapman and I toured he edges of the flower beds in the RBG Rose  Garden then went into the Hendrie Valley. After lunch I moved on to the Hamilton Waterfront Trail where I found most of the flowers. The one below is the Heath Aster/Aster éricoïde or (Symphyotrichum ericoides).

            I am presently working on a photo book and need to stay at it. So many projects, so little time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

First Snow

            The first snow has arrived; not just a few flakes but a near ground cover here. It was preceded by a very cold rain yesterday that nearly caused a major problem for me.

            Yesterday morning, when I got up at 5:00, the temperature was +13 and it was still +12 when I went out to do chores. I had put on a long sleeved running shirt and just wore a light jacket when I went to do chores and by the time I got back into the house I had sweat enough to make the shirt quite damp so, in spite of the forecast that predicted rain and falling temperatures, I chose to change to a tee shirt for my Saturday run.

          When I left the house for the run it was still +12C and cloudy; however,  by run start it was +10 with light rain. By the end of the 10k run It was +6 and raining and my hands and feet were very cold. Perhaps a tee shirt, light jacket and running shorts were not a good idea? Anyway, I had difficulty getting my car unlocked as my thumbs were numb. By the time I drove across town to the gym for my shower my teeth were chattering and the cold had migrated from my hands and feet to most of the rest of my body. I had great difficulty getting my clothing off to get to the shower. I thought for a while I would have to wear my socks in the shower as my fingers and thumbs could not grip my socks to get them off. I did manage to get them off and spent extra time in the shower today to get warmed back up.  I had forgotten that I could get so cold when it was still 6 degrees above freezing.

            With the first snow happening overnight, I awoke to a near ground cover of snow with howling winds. I did my usual 2.5 k dog walk in spite of the new cold temperatures and winds but it was fairly pleasant  as the sun was out and most of the walk was near the bottom of our ravines and in bush so the wind was more evident as noise in the trees than actual movement on the face.

            During the last few weeks I have been seeing many, many small moths flitting about as I walked the dog.  Either they would not land, or if they did land they would just disappear so I could not get an ID. This morning one landed in the snow where I could see it and it was cold enough that it did not leave until after I had several photos. Now I know that at least one of the moths is a Fall Cankerworm Moth (Alsophila pometaria).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Quiet November Mornings Cont.

Pitter patter of rain
Blue Jay screams
A distant crow
Unheard Juncos

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday Sounds

Or should I say
Sunday morning and 
almost no sounds
mid-November greys
meet my eyes
crows caw from afar
a blue jay screams
chickadees squeak
and all the kinglets
that I see and hear
turn into chickadees
when closely observed
with binoculars
traffic noises
cars, train whistles, jets roar
but on our grounds
almost nothing

and then
a touch of green

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Flower

Common St. Johnswort
Millepertuis commun
(Hypericum perforatum)

            Today I did my usual walk through the Royal Botanical Garden's Rose Garden and then into the Hendrie Valley. On the edges of the rose garden plots grow many wild flowers at this time of the year when most of the garden workers have gone. It is a good time to see "weed" flowers. The Hendrie Valley, which is full of wild flowers during the spring and summer, is going slowly to sleep but there are a few holdovers still in bloom. 
            After I have done the tour of the garden and valley I move onto the Hamilton Waterfront Trail at the edge of the Hamilton harbour. There the waters of the harbour, the heat of the trail pavement, and the street lights that were installed all help to keep wild flowers alive and blooming into the late fall and early winter.
            Today's walk resulted in my finding  58 late blooming wild flowers. The temperatures were cool, about 7 degrees C, and the winds were brisk, but the sun shone brightly so I was able to photograph a few flowers.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

From My Daily Walk

            I feel very privileged to live in a location where I can see wild White-tailed Deer almost everyday. This was one of four that we saw from the breakfast table a day or two ago. I stepped out on the porch to take the photo which is why she is looking so attentively in my direction. I took over a half dozen photos before they wandered off slowly. (Most days I just see a flash of white tail as they move off through the bush on one of our trails but occasionally they stay to look back. My luck with Wild Turkeys is much poorer. I have yet to get a good photo of a Wild Turkey and I certainly do not see them everyday. They are very timid and move off as soon as they are aware of my existence.)

            I have much better luck with plants. They do not leave as quickly but they do leave. This Common Milkweed will probably be gone in another few months.

            At least the moon cooperates as it keeps coming back month after month. It is waxing toward full moon right now and this is from last evening so it will be even more advanced tonight.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Arrow-leaved Aster


This flower has been blooming beside our north ravine trail until yesterday. It has given up flowering today so I shall have to look in other locations to see if it is still blooming.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Monday, November 07, 2016

Road-2-Hope Half Marathon - November 6, 2016

Waiting for the race to start.

Road Rebel Running Group  posing.

Start line; I always start near the back of the pack.

About 8 minutes into the run and the group is already spread way apart!

We are on the way down the Red Hill Expressway. One can see the edge of Lake Ontario far ahead to the left.

We are almost at the bottom of the Niagara escarpment that runs through the city of Hamilton.

We have a kilometre or so of gravel bike path before lake front trail.

The bridge ahead takes bikes, pedestrians, and runners across at least 8 lanes of traffic.

The last few kilometres are along the Lakefront Trail beside Lake Ontario.

Finally I cross the finish line with my friend Jang Panag only a step behind.

Took a lot of time for the results to be posted but I was 2nd in my age group.

I reviewed two medals; one as a half marathon finisher and one for a 2nd age-group place. I also got a coffee mug.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

One Flower and Some Leaves

            This Henbit was growing and blooming as a "weed" in a RBG Rose Garden plot yesterday. It's a nice little November flower.


             These Goldenrod leaves caught my eye this morning as I walked the dog.

            These leaves were on a Black Raspberry cane.

Friday, November 04, 2016

RBG Friday

            Too bad thinking about blogging does not make a blog. 

            The day started nicely with our local Great Horned Owl singing to the dog and I at 5:30 long before the 8:01 sunrise this morning. 

             I did my usual morning work at the Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium then went down into the Hendrie Valley to look for wild flowers still in bloom. Between the Hendrie Valley and the edges of the plots in the Rose Garden I found twenty-four wild flowers in bloom. The brightest colours, however, belonged to the tree leaves and their reflections in the Hendrie Valley ponds.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Looking Up

            Going to post some looking up photos, but first . . .

            Hopefully I got the last tick of the season. I found one on my side last Friday evening that had been there for a while. Sigh! I suspect that I got it at Rock Chapel as I was there earlier in the day in the tall grasses. I have never had one on me so late in the season.

           Spring Peepers and American Robins are still making noises in the morning around our fields and Monday morning I saw a Pileated Woodpecker in the Walnut Tree closest to our house.

            The usual three deer were in our west paddock this morning so a bit closer to the house than usual.

            And finally, the "looking up" photos that I said would be here:

Sundogs from the road east of our  property. 
They stayed in the sky for a good hour.

Looking up at Milkweed Pods and seeds.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Morning Dog Walk

Three photos from the dog walk this morning.

First, from the top of a fence post, a bit of new moss growing.

Then an encounter with three deer, wondering which way to run.

And lastly a Panicled Aster bloom, still hanging on, more or less.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Royal Botanical Garden's Rock Garden - October 28, 2016

The best flower view of the day was by the front gate.

The "mums" put on a great display.

Seedheads of one of the grasses were quite beautiful.

They kept many of the original tall trees in the garden.

I think the waterfall is new, 
or at least I do not remember it being this tall.

Hostas next to a smaller waterfall look great 
even going to seed.

I liked how the water was catching and reflecting
the blue of the sky just below the falls.

This part of the garden reminded me a bit of 
Monet's Garden in Giverny, France.

If I have rock garden photos from my1966 visit, 
I have not found them . . . yet.