Friday, 9 March 2018

Oshawa Second Marsh
March 9th, 2018

As a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Second Marsh, I took it upon myself to inspect the closed portion of the marsh today. This is looking down the berm from Colonel Sam Drive.

Just click on the images to enlarge them.

Just down the berm, looking east into Ghost Road Bush.

The entry point to Ghost Rd Bush from the berm. There is a well worn path around the fence but I don't think many are using it any more. There really isn't much to see, at least not now.

Though some trees have been taken down, the majority of Ghost Rd Bush (GRB) 'looks' pretty much intact.

This is looking back towards the berm (from GRB) from the boardwalk. I think they deliberately felled some trees over the boardwalk to discourage visitors.

Once you get past the muck and cut-down trees, the boardwalk (heading towards the Beaver Pond) isn't really in that bad condition... considering.

It was eerily quiet for the most part. A couple chickadees. Otherwise dead silence. 

You do have to keep your eyes open and watch where you step. There are a few bad spots.

I'm always ready to snap a shot of fungi. You can find some pretty ones any time of year.

I went as far as the Beaver Pond. This part of the boardwalk always suffers.

Directly over the Beaver Pond.

It's been a few months since I last checked out the state of affairs at the marsh. There are many more signs now of the woodpeckers feasting on the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

This shot speaks to me of the conditions in GRB. The chips at the base of the tree are the results of the woodpeckers work. The chips are at the base of many trees.

Lots of chips on the boardwalk too.

Do you think the EABs will return or have they finished their work?

Not sure... are these the exit holes when the EAB larva leaves? They look a bit 'D' shaped, or maybe they were originally at least.

I went down the berm to the water channel.

The trail going west from the berm (opposite the one into GRB), towards the bridge over Farewell Creek. No sign of the trail at all.

Some 'curly grass' along the berm... with its tiny seeds. Just inside the fence off Colonel Sam.

I'd been wondering for a while just how bad things are in Ghost Rd Bush. I expected worse. It's my favourite area of the marsh.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

A December Walk
December 3rd, 2017

We went for a walk today on the path. Chilly, but not cold. With a light mist in the air and no wind, it felt good breathing the fresh air and looking at the ever changing plant life that nature offers on an almost daily basis. There's always something new to see any day you venture out in nature... a small flock of geese flew over as we started out, honking their way to the lake. 

The tree tunnels have taken on their winter dress. Mist makes for good photos, but it also heightens the mood in nature.

It's been a bumper year for walnuts. The squirrels find a comfortable perch in a tree, and chomp down on the walnuts. The shells tend to fall at the base of trees. Though they start out as a golf-ball to tennis-ball sized green spheres, they blacken as they age, or at least what's left of them do, once the squirrels are finished with them.

It's been a while since I took many shots on the path. Maybe that's why I took several today. The rich green of this Garlic Mustard caught my eye. Jane & I were wondering how long it looks this green. Under the snow for a while? How much sun does it need to stay this bright? 

If you like nature's scents & smells, crush a leaf in your fingers and smell it. Pioneers used it in their cooking.

Some of nature's Christmas decorating... Wild Cucumber seed pods on a Cedar hedge.

As some of you already know, fungi are one of my favourite subjects. These are Turkey Tails.

The arched blue-ish Raspberry canes stand out this time of year.

We thought this was unusual. Looks like the tree rotted at its roots, close to the surface. Jane thought it looked calcified.

The woods in their December browns. If the white holds off for a few weeks, I'm fine with that. We kicked our way through the leaves like we did as kids. We do it every year. It's still fun.

A favourite type of shot for me on the path... someone else enjoying the day. The mist adds a warm, cozy feeling to the scene.

This has to be a perfect home for some small creature... squirrel is the obvious guess, but who knows? It was low to the ground so not a good choice for squirrels really. Maybe it's vacant.

The leaves still have some color, but it's softer & more subtle this time of year.

As we approached home, I was falling behind Jane, as I looked for more to shoot. Off she goes, into the mist.

Last night we went to a Christmas lamp-lighting ceremony down at the lake. Loved it. There are three heritage homes there that date back to the 1800's. This was on a wall. Interesting idea.

Trying to re-create the 1800's as best they could, the lighting was just oil lamps in some rooms... which your nose quickly told you.

The ornaments on the tree were home made, to reflect the times. It was a beautiful tree.

This ex-Nova Scotian sang Christmas songs of the day, with some from today as well. She had a beautiful voice. Besides the guitar, she played a Dulcimer.

After we visited the houses, and had our picture taken with a period Santa, we grabbed a coffee and went and sat under a gazebo overlooking the lake. Listening to the water lapping the shore, and watching a light fog drift in from the lake made it feel like we were thousands of miles away, in a dreamlike scene. It was wonderful... a feeling of solitude & peace.

With the quiet introduction to this busiest of seasons at the lake, and the walk in nature today, it feels for a short time at least, that all is right with the world.

All our best,
Bob & Jane

Monday, 27 November 2017


I met Teresita in El Salvador in 1999. I only spent about 15 minutes with her, but she was one of those people you meet who have a profound effect on you.

Some of you may have seen this image of her before. I've posted it in a few places. Her dress, the way she clasped her bananas and the few dollars she'd collected from them, melted my heart.

I've never posted this one. She was a tiny woman, but she had one of the biggest, sweetest smiles you'll ever see. With my limited Spanish I couldn't speak to her directly, but my guide, Irene, helped me. I did buy a banana. :-)

I wonder if she's passed away. To me, she's the kind of person who could live to a very old age.

A few more images of a very special woman...

She won't make any news reports. She may not affect many lives, but she sure affected mine. It's hard to define or explain. I'll never forget her. Maybe she's a reminder for me that we can all affect others in ways that we can't imagine.

I'm richer for sharing a few minutes of her life.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A Mix
November 6th, 2017

Tempis fugit. It's been a month since my last post. Returning from a visit to the hospital, we cut through Parkwood Estate, former home of multi-millionaire Colonel Sam. The grounds are relaxing and beautiful. From out of nowhere it seemed, this robot came at us... an Automatic Lawn Mower.  

A couple short videos of it in action...

With self-driving cars, AI, auto-this & auto-that, there are some huge changes on the horizon. Any attempt to predict what it will all mean is futile I think. The future is always different than our predictions.

Will the mowers be common in our neighborhoods soon? Probably. This model is about $3000 but you can get a cheaper version for around a $1000. Prices will drop quickly as they always do. We're only at the start of robots taking over jobs. It's a scary future for the young ones, especially those who don't have specialized skills.

RJ joined us at a farm market, as we looked for fall squash & vegetables. They have a kid's play area there.

Some of the squash we  picked up. We all thought the 'swan squash' was cool.

One day when I picked up RJ from school, he asked if I wanted to hear a tune he'd learned on the recorder.

RJ went out as the Grim Reaper for Halloween, complete with axe.

A scary trio.

No doubt the last tree tunnel shot I'll get this year. I can't resist them.

Our best,
Bob & Jane

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