Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Re Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic

       I am taking a second course from the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic. This one is an "Introduction to British Folklore".

            The first section of the course is on British Ballads as collected by Francis James Child. It was suggested in the course that in many of the ballads, there was a practice of "leaping and lingering", where the ballad would move from one thought or place to another very quickly with no explanation and then linger at a new thought or place for a time before leaping again. As a creative quest, it was suggested that one might fill in a gap in a ballad in some manner.

            Back in the 60's, when I was singing folksongs with my guitar in various places, I used to sing a song that was made popular by Joan Baez. She identified it as a Child ballad called "Geordie". Due to my current studies on British ballads I have discovered that her "Geordie," was a new version of about a dozen versions that Child had collected. Her version was much simplified and much shorter. I have no idea who or when this new version was made. Perhaps it was Joan herself?

            Minutes ago I read in a Wikipedia article that there are "about 129 distinct versions - 40 from England, 27 from Scotland, 2 from Ireland, 52 from the United States and 8 from Canada." Amazing!

            Back to the task at hand: because there were two sites mentioned in the Child version 209F that I could identify, I chose to work with that version.

            Here is the complete 209F Geordie version from

 ‘GEORDIE Lukely is my name,
  And many a one doth ken me; O
  Many an ill deed I hae done,
  But now death will owrecome me. O
209F.2  ‘I neither murdered nor yet have I slain,
  I never murdered any;
  But I stole fyfteen o the king’s bay horse,
  And I sold them in Bohemia.
209F.3  ‘Where would I get a pretty little boy,
  That would fain win gold and money,
  That would carry this letter to Stirling town,
  And give it to my lady?’
209F.4  ‘Here am I, a pretty little boy,
  That wud fain win gold and money;
  I’ll carry your letter to Stirling town,
  And give it to your lady.’
209F.5  As he came in by Stirling town
  He was baith weet and weary;
  The cloth was spread, and supper set,
  And the ladies dancing merry.
209F.6  When she read the first of it,
  She was baith glad and cheery;
  But before she had the half o’t read,
  She was baith sad and sorry.
209F.7  ‘Come saddle to me the bonnie dapple gray,
  Come saddle to me the wee poney;
  For I’ll awa to the king mysell,
  And plead for my ain love Geordie.’
209F.8  She gaed up the Cannogate,
  Amang the puir folk monie;
  She made the handfus o red gold fly,
  And bade them pray for Geordie,
  And aye she wrang her lily-white hands,
  Saying, I am a wearyd lady!
209F.9  Up and spoke the king himsell,
  And oh, but he spok bonnie!
  ‘It’s ye may see by her countenance
  That she is Geordie’s lady.’
209F.10  Up and spoke a bold bluidy wretch,
  And oh, but he spoke boldly!
  ‘Tho [thou] should pay ten thousand pounds,
  Thou’ll never get thy own love Geordie.
209F.11  ‘For I had but ae brother to mysell,
  I loved him best of any;
  They cutted his head from his fair bodie,
  And so will they thy love Geordie.’
209F.12  Up and spoke the king again,
  And oh, but he spak bonnie!
  ‘If thou’ll pay me five thousand pound,
  I’ll gie thee hame thy love Geordie.’
209F.13  She put her hand in her pocket,
  She freely paid the money,
  And she’s awa to the Gallows Wynd,
  To get her nain love Geordie.
209F.14  As she came up the Gallows Wynd,
  The people was standing many;
  The psalms was sung, and the bells was rung,
  And silks and cords hung bonnie.
209F.15  The napkin was tyed on Geordie’s  face,
  And the hangman was just readie:
  ‘Hold your hand, you bluidy wretch!
  O hold it from my Geordie!
  For I’ve got a remit from the king,
  That I’ll get my ain love Geordie.’
209F.16  When he heard his lady’s voice,
  He was baith blythe and merry:
  ‘There’s many ladies in this place,
  Have not I a worthy ladie?’
209F.17  She mounted him on the bonnie dapple grey,
  Herself on the wee poney,
  And she rode home on his right hand,
  All for the pride o Geordie."

            According to Google Earth, it is about 50 kilometres from
Stirling to Canongate as the crow flies.

(Continued on the next blog entry . . .)


Re Carterhaugh part 2

From Google Earth
The portion of Scotland that includes
both Sterling and Canongate

            According to the "Geordie" text, Geordie sent a young boy from Canongate to Sterling with a letter to his wife who was in Sterling. He leaves at the end of 209.F4 and arrives at the beginning of 209F5. The boy arrives "baith weet and weary" in time for supper. I am not surprised that he is wet and weary as a 50 km walk, run or horse ride would take some time and effort. 

            (Having just participated in a trail run where some men and women ran 50 km on trails, I have some appreciation of the effort. I did 1/4 of the run, i.e. 12.5 km and that was a bit of a challenge for me. The winners of the 50 km run did the distance in about 4 hours but I am thinking that distance in Scotland would take a bit longer plus the 50 km was a crow's flight path not the path of a person through hills and bogs which would have been longer.)

            Following are some photos taken by a variety of people of some of the scenery between Canongate and Sterling and posted on Google Earth. The names of the photographers are on the photos. None are mine. I have taken the liberty of subtracting some "modern" buildings from the original photos so the areas look more like what would have been present in earlier days


Canongate Tolbooth
This building was built in 1591
It was a toll booth for the road going into Edinburgh
It was also the courthouse and burgh jail
So it would have been the place where Geordie
would have been, if the 209F ballad were based on truth.

            On the walk/ride to Sterling, there would have been many, many streams to cross. This one was just a a few miles west of Canongate.

            Barnbougle Castle was first built in the 13th century and was about 10 km west of Canongate. The body of water, called the "Firth of Forth" is a long fjord that was left from the last glacial period. Almost the entire distance from Canongate to Sterling is first along the firth and then along the Forth river.

            Much of the distance between Canongate and Sterling must have been through fields near the edge of the firth.

            Blackness Castle was built in the 15th century. (Sorry about the modern sailboats. They were too much work to take out quickly.) The castle was on the edge of the firth and just over 20 km from Canongate. It is on a bit of a spit into the firth so it might have been a bit out of the way for the trip to Sterling but then it might have been a good lunch stop.

            It spite of how it looks, the firth is getting narrower. This area is about 30 km from Canongate. Only 20 km to go to get to Sterling.

            This area is only 8 kilometres away from Sterling. The Forth River flows into the firth less than a kilometre away from here.

            This is the Forth River only a kilometre from Sterling. The hills in the background are larger now.

            When I found this photo, there was an old looking monument at the top of the cliff that overlooks the city of Sterling. When I discovered that it was actually built in the late 1800's I removed it. However, it was built to commemorate Sir William Wallace who was born around 1270 so he would have been a Scottish hero during Geordie's time so there is that connection.

            Not much time is spent lingering in Sterling as the heroine of the ballad leaves in 209F.7 and leaps to Canongate in 209F.8 to plead for the life of Geordie. (You can look at the photos in reverse order for her pony ride.)

           In this version, she is successful at saving Geordie. Yea!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Butter-and-eggs Flower

aka Common Toadflax
Linaire vulgaire
(Linaria vulgaris)
[lin-AR-ee-uh   vul-GAIR-iss]

Monday, October 07, 2019

Elecampane Seed Head

Inule aunée
(Inula helenium)
[IN-yoo-luh  hel-EE-nee-um]

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Run for the Toad - 12.5 k Trail Race


Map of the run - note all the contour lines - 
lots of ups and downs

Pinehurst Lake - Colours are just starting to change
Frost on the windshield this morning!

Opening ceremonies for the last Toad Run to happen
12.5 / 25 / 50 km runs today

(Had some video coverage of the children's run but it is not working)

I started at the back of the pack. 
It took a couple of minutes to get to the start line.

Beautiful day for a trail run.
Only a little bit was out in the open.
Most was up and down under tree cover.

The steepest hill was just before the 11 km mark.

Tough climb!

Always nice to have encouragement.

My usual look of exhaustion
at the end of a race.

Wendy, Barb and I after the race.
Some of us had more time to recuperate than others.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Wild Cucumber & Milkweed Seed Pods

Wild Cucumber
Concombre Grimpant
(Echinocystis lobata)
[ak-in-oh-SIS-tiss   low-BAH-tuh]

Common Milkweed
Asclépiade Commune
(Asclepias syriaca)
[ass-KLE-pee-us    seer-ee-AK-uh]

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Catching Up

            Again, like usual, I need to catch up a bit. Following are a few of the photos that were special for me in the past week or so. 

            During the last week of July, Fleur-Ange and I went on a Dragonfly Walk. In addition to the dragonflies seen, or not seen by me as I seemed to have difficulty picking them out from the background, we saw flowers. The Moth Mullein in the photo below was the tallest that I have ever seen!

            A "normal" Moth Mullein would be about up the waist of the man in the photo instead of being almost twice his height. We were in a river bottom field that was too wet this spring for any crop to be planted so it went to wild flowers.

            Speaking of wild flowers, I had been watching a White Trillium on our property all spring and summer. On July 28th when I went to check on it, the seedpod fell off exposing the seeds. I thought, briefly, about collecting the seeds and trying to plant them in the small forest next to our driveway but the instructions for planting were rather daunting and the seeds would have had to overwinter for one or two years so I was afraid I would not be able to keep track of them. In any case, it took a day or so for me to get back to the plant and by then the seeds and pod were gone so I will just have to watch the area where the original plant was to see if they come up there in a year or two. Below is the photo of the pod with the seeds coming out.

                       Capturing photos of butterflies is always a lucky affair. Below is a Summer Azure that I had the good luck to get.

             Some moths are easier to photograph as a few tend to fly at night and then stop and stay where they land for the daylight hours. Our barn is always a good place to look for moths. Below is a False Crocus Geometer Moth that I have seen many times over the years in our barn and finally have a name to attach to it.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Cicada, Cicada, Cicada

            According to various sources, there are over 3000 species of Cicada's in the world. I watched one come out of it's shell many years ago. If I had been more patient this morning, and if there were a few thousand less mosquitoes around, I could have watched this one come out. As it was, I saw it emerging and thought, mistakenly, that it had got stuck and died as it did not move when I touched it. However, I did go back a few minutes later just to check and found that it had emerged and was drying before taking off to look for a mate. These photos will have to do this time.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Lots of Blooms - So Little Blogging

            As usual, I think of blogging everyday and don't take the time to actually do any. Following are some of the flowers, and other things, that I have put up on other platforms in the last week or two.

Canada Sanicle
aka Canada Black-snakeroot
aka Short-styled Snakeroot (Newcomb's WF Guide)
Sanicle du Canada
(Sanicula canadensis)
Found on the Grand Valley Trail near Hardy Road
in Brantford, Ontario
July 8, 2019.

Wolf Milk Slime Mold
Lait de Loup
(Lycogala epidendrum)
Found on an old log
in the RBG's Hendrie Valley, Hamilton, Ontario
July 12, 2019.

Wild Yam
Igname Velue
(Dioscorea villosa)

Female flowers on a female vine
found in RBG's Hendrie Valley
on the left.

Male flowers on a male vine
found in RBG's Capt. Cootes' Trail
in the wilderness section of the Arboretum
Hamilton, Ontario
on the right side of the photo;
July 12, 2019.

Pale Jewelweed
aka Pale Touch-me-not
Impatiente Pâle
(Impatiens pallida)
found in the RBG's Hendrie Valley Trails
Hamilton, Ontario
July 19, 2019.

Hoary Alyssum
Berteroa Blanc
(Berteroa incana)
found on the outer "wild" edge
of the RBG's Rose Garden 
on July 19, 2019.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Three Flowers Not Often Seen

            We have found a few more new flowers or flowers that we do not see too often in the last week or so. On of the highlights was American Columbo / Frasère de Caroline / (Frasera caroliniensis). It starts life as a small rosette of leaves and comes back that way for several years, 5 to 30 years according to some sources. Then it blooms and dies. I have seen blooms a few times and this year was one of those times. There were 2 out of over 70 plants that were blooming.

            You can see a few plants under the blooming plant so there will be some blooms again, some year.

            On the way to look for the Columbo, one of the wild flower walker  spotted a very small green flower on the edge of the trail.

            I think I have only seen this plant one other time in bloom. In my wild flower guide it is called Wild Licorice. The accepted name is now "Licorice Bedstraw" / Gaillet Fausse-circée / (Galium circaezans). It was the rather different leaf pattern that alerted the person that found it for us. The flower was visible only on close inspection.

            Here is another plant that I have only seen in bloom on one other occasion. This one is Broadleaf Waterleaf in my guide book now called "Bluntleaf Waterleaf" / Hydrophylle du Canada / (Hydrophyllum Canadense).

Sunday, June 16, 2019

New Flower for Fleur-Ange and I . . .

            Last Thursday, on the Beckett Walkers walk, Fleur-Ange and I found a different flower. We thought it looked a bit like Wormseed Mustard but it was way too tall and the leaves looked different too. I spent an hour or so on the computer looking at various sites and came up with a name. I had collected a plant and kept it in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator until I could take it into the RBG Herbarium. There one of the summer staff took on the identification challenge and came up with a name. I was happy to find that his identification, via various web sites and use of the microscope, was the same as mine.

            Some Ontario sites do not list the flower and we only have one specimen in the RBG herbarium collected in 1980 from Thunder Bay. On the other hand, other Ontario sites say it is a common introduced plant found in various places around the province since 1941.

            Below are photos that I took of the Erysimum hieraciifolium or European Wallflower.
            Vélar à Feuilles d'épervière is the French name.

            I was pleased to see that a synonym was Tall Wormseed Mustard so our original thoughts were not that far off the mark.