Ontario’s forest flower


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

In praise of living naturally



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

On the cost of Boomer lessons unlearned


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

Be the child you are


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

Reflections on the edge

earthThe world is turning:

My sweet corn is picked, at least three weeks ahead of last summer’s crop after an unusually cool summer. Not so this hot summer.

It was a pretty good crop, despite the prolonged drought conditions thanks to many buckets of water carried by hand from a dug well near the “hot garden” in the field near the house. The rainy season arrived, but too late to have much of an impact on the corn, except to make the picking of it more urgent.

Continue reading

Phil’s got corn


If I’m looking a tad smug and self-satisfied in that photo it’s because today was the day I started picking my sweet corn crop – and a good one it is too, if I dare say so myself.

All those pails of water lifted from the old dug well by hand and carried over to the corn during the drought appear to have worked; and not a sign of unwelcome visitors in those well-filled cobs of “peaches and cream.” There’s not much more a sweet corn-obsessed grower could want, except buyers of course.

It’s not like I’m on a main thoroughfare here at the end of Cathedral Drive in the most secluded little corner of Hope Ness on the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

So, if you happen to be that reader of my blog in Australia, and think you might just take a notion to jump on a plane and fly here for a feed of fresh-picked, corn-on-the-cob, be my guest. Likewise, you other folks wherever you are, near or far.

Spread the word: Phil’s got corn.