Friday, 7 September 2018

"Our" Path & Tree Tunnels
September 7th, 2018

I was just going to send a one-off of the tree tunnels on our path but decided on a short post on my blog instead. As nature nuts, Jane and I feel blessed having the trail literally across the street. This is the entrance... a couple 100 feet from our front door. A mini-tree tunnel of sorts.

Close to home.

Tree tunnels offer comforting shade on a hot day, especially near the end of day, when all the trees contribute, whether they're part of the tunnels or not.

The path is very popular with dog-walkers, school kids... and the rest of us as well. There are 4 or 5 true tree tunnels on the path, with short patches of sun between them.

We often meet others, several who we've met before, and stop for a chat and a laugh. Often we share a conversation about their dog(s). Dog walkers tend to be more approachable.

We even run into my barber and/or his wife now & then and catch up on things.

Yesterday we met our 'buddy' with his Yorkshire Terrier. Usually he had two with him, but sadly he lost one a few months back.

Jane a 100 yards or so from home. Many of the trees are Walnuts. We've noticed a real lack of walnut fruit this year. Last year was a bumper crop. Trees are noted for varying their fruit production through the years. The squirrels probably aren't impressed with a minimum crop.

The path from our place to the top is just over one mile. We don't always make the 2 mile walk these days like we used to. Depends what we've been up to for the day and how we feel. With this hot summer, walks tend to be late in the day.

I've walked over 2,000 miles on the path. It took over 7 years to do that. I don't record walks anymore. No way I'll ever make 3,000 miles. C'est la vie.

We do love our path though.

Bob & Jane

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Back to Chickadee Trail with RJ
August 31st, 2018

Today was the last day of the summer that we would share a a full day with RJ. He asked if we could go to Chickadee Trail. The only times I've really been out in nature this summer have been with RJ. These shots are actually from our last two visits.

Our first stop is usually waterside near the bridge. It's never quiet when migration is on.

As we crossed the bridge to Chickadee Trail, geese followed the food.

Depending on the day, and your luck, you can see  raccoons, deer, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, chipmunks, squirrels, red-wings, blue jays, cardinals and more. You're guaranteed to see something, so it's a popular spot for families. 

Lots of geese and ducks in the water but always lots on the trail too. 

One handful for the ducks, one for the chickadees. He got both at once a time or two.

RJ came up with another idea this time. He put seeds on the peak of his hat instead of holding out his hand.

I doubted that it would work, but it did.

All RJ gets to see are the tail feathers.

Four female wild turkeys joined us as we were about to leave.


 The coloring of their feathers is a real mix of hues & shades.

We had a good time as always. I do plan to get out more in the fall.

'Til next time,

Friday, 17 August 2018

Another Mix... and a Rant
August 17th, 2018

This post is some shots I took with my phone. In many cases, phones make excellent images. But in many cases they make lousy ones.

No viewfinder is problem #1. A real camera has a viewfinder so you can see what you're shooting in all light conditions. 

Problem #2 is zooming. It's a pain in the butt. With a real camera, zooming is easy. 

Problem #3 is manual controls... if you want to use them. Most people don't but I do. Yet another pain in the butt.

Problem #4 is focusing under low light conditions. Autofocus is primitive on most phones. 

Don't get me wrong, when it's the only camera you have with you, you can get great, or lousy results, depending on the shooting requirements at the time.

Ok... rant over. On to my blog with some not bad and some lousy images from my phone.

Sparrows don't get to share the limelight often. They're too common. No bright colors. But they entertain us in our backyard.


So do baby bunnies. All baby animals elicit 'ahs' don't they? This one is in front of our concrete garden duck.

Bath time... a baby Grackle.

I took RJ to Chickadee Trail. It had been a while. He said, "I love feeding the birds." Music to my ears. I give him a bag with corn, sunflower seeds and mixed seed. Sometimes he rations it out, sometimes he's really generous. I let him decide.

We've been to Chickadee Trail several times, but this was the first time we encountered ducklings on the trail. They were eating out of his hand. Momma approved. He threw some to Momma too.

You can't be sure in the warmer weather if Chickadees will appear, but we were lucky. RJ had 15 visits or so to his hand. He loves it when they do.

He commented on feeling their claws on his hand again today. He also said he moved his fingers and felt their feathers. "They're really soft" he said.

We also saw Blue Jays, Red, Grey and Black squirrels and Red-Winged Blackbirds while we were there. He seemed really happy to see the Blue Jays. He's rather blase about the squirrels, though he does try to feed them. Most aren't interested. Chipmunks think otherwise.

Some fuzzy fungus. A lousy shot but it was new to me.

There were dozens of ducks. In the water, resting on the fallen trees...  and on the trail. RJ throws seed into the water, but most of it sinks before the ducks get to it. They manage to grab some though.

A carefree 9 year-old, twirling his bag of feed. I told him the plants were cattails. He asked why they call them cattails. "They don't look like cat tails" he said. Just another of his many questions that I couldn't answer.

Leaf Miners. I can never get over this. Tiny creatures burrowing their way between the top and bottom of leaf surfaces. No wonder that their trails are visible. Nature blows my mind in 100's of ways.

When we got home I suggested to RJ that maybe we should go to Chickadee Trail once more before school starts. He said, "Maybe a couple times."

I love nature but I love the fact that RJ does too. To see him enjoy nature gives me as much pleasure as I get from nature myself. Watching a child discover the world of nature is like nothing else in my eyes.

RJ loves his cartoons on TV, his video games, Canada's Wonderland, etc. etc. but the fact that he enjoys nature as much as he does, is heartening. I hope his  love of nature lasts all his life.

Have a good one,


Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Something Different
August 8th, 2018

A video instead of stills. When RJ visits us, a buddy of his, JR, lives up the street. I'm all for coincidences... RJ and JR. Go figure. 

They were doing this dance in our backyard. Something about the 'Fortnite' game maybe. Not sure. But they obviously knew. They did this dance together. "So so different from our childhoods."

I thought it was really cool, even though I didn't have a clue what they were doing. :) They were both into it.

Here's the link if you want to stay connected to the current generation. To them, the Internet and screens are just like a telephone was to us... no big deal. They always existed, didn't they? 

RJ keeps reminding me of my past... unbeknownst to him... and he gets me thinking of the future. Even of the present. :) 

The world is changing at a frightening pace. Or, if it's not changing at a frightening pace, it sure as hell ain't like it used to be.

Keep well,

Sunday, 22 July 2018

A Mix from the Last While
June-July 2018

At the end of the year, RJ's school had a music concert. The younger ones played recorders. We had similar things called 'tonettes' out west. Any one else familiar with those?

After the official concert, some fun in the hallway with a buddy.

I still get out in nature once in a while. This was along a creek near RJ's baseball game. It's Dame's Rocket, aka Wild Phlox by some.

Grasses catch my eye, but I get very few images of them that I like. This one isn't great but not bad.

Signs in a shop. Both are pretty good.

Trying to cash in on the 'anti-Chinese' refrain.

My surprise birthday dessert when Jane took me out for dinner. No singing...  which is fine with me.

Garden colors change as the weeks go by. This was a a couple weeks ago. Maybe more.

I've always liked this guy. Tom Sawyer to me.

You never know what will catch kids' attention. RJ was intrigued by this mini waterfall in a park downtown.

And he loved this. A 'magic' glove with 'special' bubbles that bounced off it. Jane & I were impressed too. Very cool.

Another outing with RJ... to Oshawa harbour. We watched a couple tugboats bring this freighter into the dock. There are two tugboats in the image. One is harder to see.

To end the week, Jane & I went to Darlington Provincial Park. Turned out it was a free day for day visits. Not well advertised so it wasn't busy at all. Started with a hot dog at the park store, then went down to the beach. A hottish day but a nice breeze off the lake to make things comfortable.

People were soaking up the sun or swimming. When you can't see the other side of the lake, it feels like you're at the ocean.

We just had to stick around for this to see what it was all about... a turtle race. 

Yah, right. As you'd guess, the turtles just weren't into it. They went every direction except the one the were 'supposed' to. Kids had a ball, but us adults got a real kick out of it too. Lots of comments, lots of kidding.

We went for a short walk down a trail and Jane spotted these water striders below a bridge. Hard to make out in the image... too much sun. But if you're not familiar with them, they 'walk on water'... surface tension and such. You can see their feet on the water if you look closely.

I've never seen a gathering like this. I've only seen one or two at a time before.

We ended the day back at the park store for an ice cream cone. Not much choice. They didn't have any of my favourites so I tried a rum & raisin. Not bad but not one I'll add to my favourites list.

It was good to get out in nature again. Not seeing much of it lately. I must try harder to.

Take care,
Bob & Jane

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