It won’t be long now, I expect, being a Hope Ness resident long enough to know this is a precious jewel of a day for October 21, just south of the 45th Parallel in Ontario, Canada: winter snow and freezing temperatures are coming soon enough. So this is a joy indeed for an old sun-lover like me, even if I take advantage of the warm, sunny weather to do the work that still needs to be done to get ready for winter. Continue reading
First, allow me to take a few moments to look on the bright, hopeful side.
This row of squash got through an unusually cool, wet summer in southern Ontario, Canada to produce an abundant crop. Nature found a way.
It is now officially fall in the Northern Hemisphere. That makes sense, after all, we’ve just had a long stretch of mostly sunny, warm, summer weather. Things in nature, and in human life hopefully, do have a way of balancing out. At least that’s what I told myself and certain of my garden plants throughout this now-recent, unusually-cool, wet summer.
Hang in there, be patient, I told my corn, squash, and beans especially in so many words: the sun also rises, and will soon shine for more than a day or two in warm succession.
Me, Sophie, and Granddaughter Mirabella in the garden
I was out picking peas in the garden one morning a few days ago when I started to think about how much gardening tells and potentially teaches us about life. That’s if we’re ready, willing and able to listen, of course. Continue reading
One of the most pleasant, accessible short hikes on Ontario’s famous Bruce Trail begins here, at the end of Cathedral Drive in Hope Ness, on the Bruce Peninsula. And right at the end of my driveway too, by the way.
Depending how leisurely you want to walk, Hope Bay is more or less a two-hour hike south. Or, conversely, a two-hour hike north from Hope Bay to this point.
If you start here, about 15 minutes in you’ll want to take a side trail to the cliff edge overlooking Hope Bay, reaching out in the distance to the broad, blue expanse of Georgian Bay.
I try to walk to the lookout, which I regard as a very special place, at least once a week. A few days ago on the way I saw the trilliums were starting to bloom. But I didn’t have my camera with me. Sometimes I would just as soon let the fleeting moments of natural beauty have their freedom, rather than capture them.
But this morning, to keep a promise, (Hi, Julie) I took a short walk in with my camera to take a few photos of the Province of Ontario’s official flower to post here. Trilliums are mostly white. But I saw quite a few of the rarer, delicately mauve variety.
Not everyone gets to live beside the Hope Bay Forest, so I hope you enjoy these few photos: Continue reading
Cultivating the “new garden” for planting this spring of sweet corn, squash, and beans. Yes, hope springs eternal. That’s a good-old Massey Ferguson 65, built about 50 years ago and still going strong.
The most interesting thing about the new Statistics Canada numbers detailing an increase in the number of farms in Grey County is not so much that it flies in the face of the continuing trend in Ontario and the rest of Canada; it’s that the growth in the number of small-farm operations in that part of our local, Grey-Bruce area is clearly linked to the presence of a diverse, natural environment, or “natural forage,” as a Grey County official called it.
I call it meadows full of wild flowers and critters, a spring-marsh chorus of singing frogs, lots of songbirds, especially robins and red-wing blackbirds. I call it an abundance of various insect pollinators that will soon be buzzing around, doing their vital work of keeping the natural world, and my vegetable garden, growing and healthy. Continue reading
A Portrait of A Young Canadian Boomer
I don’t know how much of an impression our local MPP Bill Walker made at Queen’s Park in Toronto with his recent comments and questions about the two big, unresolved issues of long-term-care bed shortages and school closures. But he sure gave me a lot of food for thought.
I’ve lately found out a lot more than I ever thought I’d want to know about Canada’s looming health-care funding crisis, especially as it involves homecare and long-term care for the most elderly and frail among us.
But publicly-funded homecare has its limits, as I’ve said before with full disclosure of my family connection to the issue. Continue reading
I’ll be glad when spring finally arrives.
What’s that you say? Spring has arrived?
Oh, alright then, I know: spring technically arrived more than a week ago here just south of the 45th Parallel, in Hope Ness, Ontario, Canada.
And, perhaps more importantly in a real and spiritual sense, the sap has been flowing for longer than that. Continue reading
There is a cliff,
Beyond the end of my “No Exit” road,
Up onto the trail,
Through the Cathedral Woods.
Last summer’s healthy potato garden
So, there I was, shovelling snow off a low-sloping roof here at the old Hope Ness farmhouse one recent, snowy, late afternoon.
My amazing 95-year-old mother who came to live with me a few months ago found this photo as I helped her sort through some of her precious things today.
I am tempted to say how much I wish I could go back in time and try to live better for this boy’s sake, and what might have been. He was so full of delight about being alive. I feel like I let him down. Continue reading