Wednesday, 29 February 2012

On the Path -- February 29th, 2012

Snow. I timed it right today. With our here-today, gone-tomorrow snowfalls this year I didn't think I was going to get any decent snow shots at all this year. 

It snowed an inch or two today, but by the time I went for my walk it had changed to sleet. At least it wasn't raining as it is now. And with the warm temperatures predicted for the next couple days, the snow will be long gone soon.

I just had my shirt-pocket point & shoot with me today. This may have been a day I should've taken one of the big guys... "coulda, woulda, shoulda". But the P&S does a pretty good job.

On the way up... I finally got some snow sticking to the trees that I like so much.

In the woods at the top of the path...

And on the way home...

- fini -


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

On the Path -- February 28th, 2012

I've decided to take my point & shoot on my walks on the path every time now, even if I don't see anything to shoot. It's so small, I don't feel the weight of it at all.

Today was interesting in that I didn't shoot anything until the last 200 yards on the way back. Some grass caught my eye and then one thing led to another, as I find it often does in nature. Nothing exciting but I enjoy the ordinary too.

This shot is from yesterday. There was almost no snow left today.

This was the grass that caught my eye. It was all lumpy & bumpy for about 50 yards. It loses a lot of the effect in an image when you can only capture a small part of it. It's Tussock Sedge... Thanks John.

Fallen Asters... Thanks John.

My "Mini-Pearl" plant. There's a lot more of it than I was able to find when all the growth was surrounding it all. These are Asters too. Thanks for the ID John. I've wondered for a long time what these were. I never would've guessed Asters.

Tar Spot as it looks this time of year.

Black Locusts across the street. 1000s of seed pods are still on the trees but 1000s are on the ground too.

I looked up Black Locust on the Web, which led to some interesting stuff.
Black Locust...   A less frequently used common name is False Acacia… the bark and leaves are toxic. Flavonoids in the heartwood allow the wood to last over 100 years in soil.

Black Locust is a major honey plant in eastern USA, and, having been taken and planted in France, is the source of the renowned Acacia Monofloral Honey from France.

With its specific delicate aroma, flavor and very slow crystallizing, Acacia Honey is one of the most preferred. Acacia Honey is recommended for insomnia, gastro - intestinal, biliary problems and in all cases where you want to eat honey.

I have to find some of that honey to try it! ...Then I found a couple interesting comments from people that knew of Black Locust first hand.

“I am a wood flooring contractor and have installed a couple Black Locust floors. Not only is it tough (second only to Osage Orange as the toughest native wood) and resistant to moisture (much better than White Oak) and rot (way better than Cedar), it is gorgeous! If you haven't seen it, picture the grain of Oak and color it with gold and add a glow that shifts in the light. 

"Black Locust can last well in excess of 70 years in the ground without painting or chemical treatment. It looks great, in part due to its fluorescent grain.

I was wandering in the back room of a wood supplier and found a piece that glowed with a golden magic I've only seen in lightly flamed bamboo. The small grains are light and the meat is a brassy golden color. It was Black Locust. I bought enough to do an experiment. Wow - you should see it in the sunlight."

I find ice patterns intriguing... the shapes & delicate edges. When I put this one up on the screen I saw an alligator, a person, Woody Woodpecker and a bird's head... none of which I noticed when I took the picture... kinda like "Find Waldo".

And in this one I saw a Jurassic (Triassic?) dinosaur chasing some other creature and a Scotty dog. I didn't notice these when I took the picture either.

Each stone or pine needle that can catch the sun, warms enough to melt its own little "nest".

I think this bud is on an escapee from a neighbor's garden that is at the start of the path. Sure looks strong & healthy. It's a Horse Chestnut... Thanks John.

If you follow my blog you know I like fungi... these are just across the street where I start my walk.

Turkey Tail... Thanks John.

 Spring is in the air...

- fini -


Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Brickworks -- Toronto -- February 18th, 2012

A few of us from the Oshawa Camera Club went to the Don Valley Brickworks (now Evergreen Brickworks) on Saturday. The weather wasn't the best but there were a couple 100 visitors there... lots of families with their kids. They have activities for the kids.

Last time I was there things were a lot different. There's a small market now (just on weekends  someone said),  a nice cafe, and a dozen or so vendors with food or crafts & gifts. Some of the old buildings are still standing. Entry is allowed in the old brick-manufacturing building.


Sometimes it's the things "on the side" that grab your attention. That's the case here. This is the first electric car I've seen in the wild... plugged in and charging. It's a Mitsubishi. It's in keeping with Evergreen's green policy.

Turns out there was a second one on the other side of the lot. This is a Nissan. I wonder how long it'll be before they're common. And what about the chargers? How many and where will they be? I guess hybrids make more sense. Maybe these are both hybrids, I'm not sure.

The kilns used for making the bricks.

 I can't imagine it. Huge callouses I guess. How many bruised & broken fingers & thumbs?

There's lots of boring graffiti everywhere these days, but this one impressed me... haunting.

Another green vehicle... a mini-truck, about the size of a van.

It was a good shoot. Also picked up a couple toys for our grandson in the market building, and one for me too. :-)

- fini -


Monday, 20 February 2012

On the Path -- February 20th, 2012

This is a milestone of sorts for me. It's my 100th posting on my blog. When I started the blog I wasn't sure if I'd keep using it for more than a few weeks. It was an experiment on my part to see what blogs were all about. Since then it's almost taken on a life of its own.

Many of you have emailed me, or told me in person that you enjoy the blog. I truly appreciate your kind comments. Thank you again.


There's still a fair bit of snow on the ground from our snowfall the other day... about as much as we've had at any point this winter, so I took my shirt-pocket point & shoot along with me today. 

Snow clinging to the trees is always a beautiful sight. I haven't seen it like that on the path yet... other than out the front window a couple times. But then it was gone before I went on my walk.

Nature has her own "tree huggers".

The woods is a favorite spot for people to take a stroll or walk their dogs.

Yellow Birch look gorgeous in the sunshine.

The trees on the path catching the late afternoon sun are a pretty sight too.

What a great surprise this was... an early sign of Spring! The Pussy Willows are breaking out of their buds.

From the web...
Reference 1:
The Pussy Willow, as all willows, provides a compound called 'salicin' which is similar to the active ingredient in most over-the-counter painkillers. Native North Americans have extracted it from the bark and roots for a painkiller and anti-fever medication.

Reference 2:
Willow bark is full of salicin, which is a key ingredient in acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). Its medicinal properties were recognised by ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks and Native North Americans. Willow is not the only plant which contains salicin, though, and the best-known modern use of the medicine, in Bayer Aspirin, originally came from spirea. In fact, the "-spir-" in Aspirin comes from spirea. 

Can Coltsfoot be far behind?

- fini -


Friday, 17 February 2012

2nd Marsh -- February 16th, 2012

A dreary day. Go to the marsh? It'd been a while. A quick check of the weather forecast said tomorrow will be sunny. Maybe tomorrow would be better... get some blue skies in the shots. Just go for my exercise walk on the path instead? But I didn't feel like the walk today, so the marsh beckoned... do my walking there.

Am I ever glad I chose the marsh. Deer! I saw deer! 6 or 7 of them! It doesn't get much better than that for me at the marsh. As our 2 year old grandson would say, "Wooow!"

Before I even got to my usual parking spot I saw a flock of about 40 Robins on Colonel Sam Drive, across the road from the marsh. There had been two earlier reports of 360 and 75 Robins at  the marsh so I'm guessing that it's probably the same huge flock that is slowly breaking up.

Humans get the "February blues", nature gets the "February browns"... at least in our neck of the woods. Still, with the various shades, they have a beauty of their own, and with no snow they stand out more than ever.

In all my visits to the marsh I don't think I've ever had so many Chickadees come begging for seeds. It was a constant stream today.

Which one should I pick?

There's two left... one for each of us. Who's going first?

What's left of a Birch log... the colors caught my eye.

Moss isn't the only green in the marsh now, but it's the most brilliant shade of green to be seen, so it grabs your attention.

An interesting ice puddle pattern...

I'm a little surprised how much fungi is still around.

What will soon be a vernal pool. I like the way they stretch off into the back woods.

It always amazes me how Woodpeckers can rip apart a healthy looking tree. 

A Nuthatch... and it's usual upside-down view of the world.

I thought the moss makes for a nice border.

I get a kick out of squirrels. As you get closer, they play peek-a-boo for a bit, then they slip around the back of the tree out of sight.

I blew out the cap to get the detail of the underside.

Beavers have been hard at work, very recently judging by the freshness of the cuts. Their lodge must be in need of repair.

Black Knot, common on certain shrubs, is ugly looking stuff. If you're curious to learn more about it, here's a link...

As time goes by, some trees fall down, others need to be cut down for our safety. The number of downed trees (or cut-up pieces of them) that we see in nature areas everywhere is a reminder that everything has it's time on stage.

The third of the trio. You can usually count on seeing Chickadees, Nuthatches & Downy Woodpeckers at some point along the boardwalk.

I was about to see what was easily the highlight of my day. Ever since I saw my first deer in the marsh I'm always on the lookout for them. I saw a vole skitter across the boardwalk earlier and thought... I guess that's my animal for the day.

Then, almost back at the car, when I figured the day was done, I saw 6 or 7 bright flashes of white bounding off into the woods. If I had been more attentive, I'm pretty sure I would have been able to get a shot of them all, since when I saw them leaving they were less than 100 yards away. They must have been only 50 or 60 yards in front of me at first.

By the time I had my camera up to my eye, they'd vanished... or so I thought at first. It turned out that two of them only went 50 yards or so and stopped to browse, keeping their eyes & ears turned my way.

It was late in the day and the light was poor so I had to use manual focus with the lens I was using. Even in good light I would probably have needed to use manual focus, with all the branches in the way. The results aren't very good but at least I got something.

Since males don't start growing antlers for another month or so, I assume this small herd was a mix of bucks & does.

Sniffing the wind and listening...

They saw, smelled, heard something. It turned out it was some idiot with a pair of hounds. He didn't even have them on a leash. He obviously ignored the signs that say dogs aren't allowed. Jerk.

They quickly left. I was surprised how large the combined white patch on their rumps and tail is... it seemed huge. I don't remember it being as large with other Whitetails I've seen, but I guess it probably was. 

Terrible results but a good view of the white tails & rumps.

What a wonderful day at the marsh! One day I hope to get some great images of the deer, rather than the so-so ones I have to date.

The Friends of Second Marsh web site... 

A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...

- fini -


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