Wednesday, June 30, 2010

gardens update

Poison ivy isn't the only thing that's doing well in the yards/gardens. The weather has been a mix of heavy rain and hot sun so things are flourishing. The veggie gardens/plots are not cropping yet apart from the kale. Why did we plant kale? No idea at all, the stuff tastes bitter and has a very rubbery texture, beware of dark green leaves I think.  It's not nice at all but it does look very pretty with its curly edges leaves.  Peas, peppers, and bush beans are flowering, courgettes/zucchini are growing and almost ready to crop. There are some green tomaytoes/tomartoes on the vines too. Eggplant/aubergine is making slow progress but it did last year too.

So far the critters haven't munched anything.

I'm still not used to the short growing season we have here but somehow it makes it more exciting to see everything growing in such a short space of time.

This is where I am trying the three sisters method. Down on the left is corn, pole beans, and squash. They are apparently good friends and grow well together. The classic ingredients to a North American Thanksgiving dinner.  On the right are some potatoes and further back some rhubarb.

Language notes: In British English a back yard is an area of concrete or paving with no flowers. In Canadian it's the whole area behind your house, the lawns, the flower beds etc. This in British English is the back garden. A garden in Canadian is an area of soil with flowers or vegetables in it. In British this would be a flower bed or vegetable plot.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Leaves of Three Let It Be

Poison ivy lurking under the cedar hedge. Any ideas on how to get rid of it without resorting to Hazmat suits?

Obviously we don't want to kill the cedar hedge and bearing in mind that in Ontario you can't use weedkillers that actually work- unless you are on a golf course of course, they are really important for some reason.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

House Portrait

I painted a portrait of my friend's house

I'm taking commissions on house portraits if you are interested then contact me!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Skywatch Friday Osprey

Neil's post at Light and Dark was a about an osprey so I thought I would continue the theme with this photo I took of an osprey flying over the River Trent in Hastings.

For more skywatch friday pictures visit here

Earthquake and Tornado (almost)

What day yesterday was.  First of all we are on storm watch with a possibility of tornadoes. Then the house wobbled. I was in the kitchen and didn't really notice it, I just felt a little odd- so nothing new there. Maybe a little dizzy but my man said he felt a wobble. The lights and some mobiles started swaying and that was it. Ooo, and there was a bit of a thud.  This picture in the sunroom moved position and that was it.  We were lucky.

The earthquake was graded a 5.0 and the epicentre was 300km away - just north of Ottawa.  

We stayed lucky yesterday when later on we realised that were had been put back on storm watch, on a storm warning with possible tornadoes. So we ran around in the dark with the wind whipping up grabbing lawns chairs and other stuff and putting them in the garage.  Fortunately we just had torrential rain and high winds around 11pm to midnight and then again later on. The blinds were being blown out from the windows, it was pitch black and in the light from the street lamps I could see the trees swaying.  No tornado for us thankfully but others weren't so lucky. I looked out around 3 am and all was calm, you could see the back yard again.

This morning I found our older cat sleeping in the shower in the spare bathroom. She must have read the instructions on where to hide in case of tornados.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The House in the Woods

This morning I visited a friend who lives up past Buckhorn and we sat out on the verandah looking at this view

and  watching this chipmunk doing chipmunky things

then I drove home over this causeway

and then this one, in Bridgenorth

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ospreys, common as muck round here

I love birds of prey, seeing them fly, and soar, and dive. Back in England we would see the occasional red kite and often see kestrels hovering over the hedgerows as they looked for a snack. Here we see ospreys every day, I can see two nests from my front porch.

Osprey were almost wiped out 40 years ago by DDT but have returned in such numbers that there are over 200 breeding pairs in the Kawarthas.  Their preferred site for nesting would be at the top of a tall pine by the water but those are scarce so they try and make their nests on top of hydro poles. Bits of the nest hang down onto the wires and cause power outages so the hydro companies build platforms about 6 feet above the wires for the osprey to use.

This morning I drove into Peterborough along County Road 2 which runs along the north side of Rice Lake and on that drive I saw 6 occupied nests. An absolute delight to see them. Even more of a delight to see the birds flying over our front yard.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rice Lake, Skywatch Friday

I took this when we were out on the boat on Rice Lake.

Rice Lake is just down  the Trent River from us in Hastings. It's a long thin shallow lake, 20 miles long, 3miles wide and 6-9 feet deep. Part of the 380km long Trent Severn Waterway that connects Georgian Bay in the north to Lake Ontario in the south. It's popular for boating, fishing and just holiday making with many resorts around the shore.

For more Skywatch Friday pictures look here

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Just a quickie, a blurred but I think interesting photo of two otters playing in the river. So lovely to see them.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

the second painting class

On Thursday I went to the second of my two painting classes, I wrote about the first one here.

The class was in Cobourg at The Painted Tree and the instructor was Lucy Manley. Have a look at her website here and see her colourful and stunning work.

So my painting progressed

I'm reasonable happy with it but need more practice, and that will be fun.

These are some of the other students paintings. It's fascinating to see different interpretations of the same scene.

And this is Lucy's demo painting of the scene.

I've signed up for some more classes in the fall and will paint some more in the summer months.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Skywatch Friday, An invitation to dinner and a walk

Coincidences.  A friend of a friend that we visited 20 years ago in Canada became a friend. We moved to Canada. That 'new' friend lives 3 hours drive from us in Dundas but has a friend with a cottage 5 minutes walk from where we now live. Guess who was invited to dinner? After yummy steak and salad we went for our usual walk hoping to see the otters playing.

We didn't but I used by Blackberry to take this picture of the village skyline at dusk.

For more picture of skies visit Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

veggie gardening

I've spent a few hours today in the back yard gardening. Weeding, hoeing, planting seeds, mounding up the potato plants.

We have three veggie patches, this one has rhubarb, strawberries, potatoes, maize/corn, squash, zucchini/courgettes, and runner/pole beans.

I wanted to try the three sisters method of growing corn, beans, and squash, but we didn't have enough space so instead of the circular mounds that are supposed to be used I've gone for rows but planted everything very close together, more on the square foot gardening method. The three sisters is a Native American planting system. The corn grows strong and tall providing a support for the beans to hang on to. The beans put nitrogen back into the soil and the squash covers the ground keeping the weeds out. The corn has sprouted as have some of the squash and today I planted runner beans and romano beans. Both are climbers. The runner bean seeds were hard to find so I have also planted the romano beans.

We also have two raised beds which we have planted, er in theory, using the square foot gardening method.

We have French beans, tomatoes, eggplant/aubergine, sweet peppers, peas, kale, and some marigolds to keep the bugs away. The little windmills are there to scare away the critters who like to snack as is the dangling thing. That's a windsock hanging in the tree branches. I may add some old CDs on sticks for added scare factor.

I say in theory as the peas were planted randomly by my man, he's not one for rules and order.

We also have a garbage/rubbish bin full of potatoes and a couple of flower beds that have some beans and sunflowers in them.

As long as those critters and bugs keep away we should have a bumper crop this summer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

panorama with RIce Lake- My World Tuesday

This is a stitched panoramic shot of the area just south of Rice Lake. The roads wind along every now and then giving you a glimpse of the lake.
Rice Lake is named after the wild rice that used to grow there and be harvested by First Nations people. Now it's a vacation destination especially for fishermen and boaters

For more world views visit My World Tuesday

Saturday, June 5, 2010

St James Anglican Church

This church is on County Road 45 between Hastings and Cobourg. It's high up on a hill and is quite an uplifting sight on the drive south.

It cost $866 dollars to build in 1863 and is in use today. I'm often surprised by the number of small churches in Ontario. Some are disused and converted into homes but the majority seem to have congregations.

The church is made of pine and a post and beam construction has been used. That's vertical posts with some horizontal beams plonked on top. I think the architectural style is Carpenter Gothic but I'm not sure if it has enough twiddly bits to qualify.

The plaque outside the church tells us that the bell was donated in 1925 by two pioneer families, the Dropes and the Cloynes, to commemorate their arrival 100 years before. The bell is 38 inches in diameter which is apparently something to boast about, also boastworthy is that the bell is only 8 inches smaller than the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

The best thing about this church? The disabled elevator/lift at the side of the steps.

Friday, June 4, 2010

it's no oil painting, oh yes it is

Painting is a great love of mine that I should do more of, by more I mean some. It's been a long long time since I put brush to canvas. To motivate myself I looked for some classes and  went to oil painting class 1 of 2. There should be 4 but I'm working the last two classes so will miss them.

The class was in oil paints, a medium that I have tried but have had no instruction in so I was excited to try it. I loved it. Have you ever done something that you enjoy so much that it gives you a warm cosy glow? -Apart from sex that is. I loved painting and I loved learning, what more can you ask for?

Here are some snaps of my effort, taken at different stages. I finish it next week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Skywatch Friday, A promise of rain.

For my new blog's first photo for Skywatch Friday I've chosen a view taken from the porch on Monday evening. We have had hot dry weather and these clouds were teasing that we might have some rain. We didn't that night but last night and today the heavens have opened and the ground has been watered. Our water bill is thankful

For more Skywatch Fridays please visit here