Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heat Wave

Our summer arrived in full hot force last week. 

Temperatures are creeping above 30'C now, and the humidity is making it feel like 40'C

Our above-ground pool, which is not heated, reached 30'C yesterday ... thankfully just getting wet does cool you off somewhat.
After a long day of work ... and I spent the entire day outside for it! ... it was a relief to just float around for a half hour before supper.
The butterfly bush is doing so well again this year, and I catch faint whiffs of it when I'm in the pool.
The bees buzz all around it, but still no butterflies ... I don't know how they can miss all those blooms!
The daisies are at their peak and looking a little lost now that the butterfly bush has grown to overshadow them.
I've started watering the plants in the early morning.
They're all doing amazingly well!
I've been ignoring the garden in the front of the house because it's too hot to work out there.
But I look down at the garden from my living room window and it makes me feel guilty to see a few weeds growing higher than the cone flowers & lilies!
So yesterday I went out to do a bit of quick gardening before the sun came around to the front of the house.
 I was pretty much melted into a puddle after that!
The weatherman forecasts a cooler 25'C by the weekend. 
I can't say I'll be disappointed ;)
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking up with:
Elizabeth and Co.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Loss of Limb

On Monday, Toronto was hit with heavy rains and serious flooding.  I live half an hour from Toronto and we got only a bit of rain.  But on Tuesday morning I awoke to find my lovely pine tree had suddenly dropped a huge limb!

There were no high winds, and this limb was growing right at the bottom of the tree, so winds wouldn't have caught it anyway.  You can see how long it is, and it crashed into my lilac bush.  I think it may be diseased, and I worry that other limbs may come away now.  The worst part is that it tore a huge hole deep into the middle of the tree when the limb did a bit of a twist when it fell.

Just look at that huge gaping hole!  We're going to have to get the professionals in to have a look at it.  I'm afraid of what they will tell us.  This tree provides the only shade and a huge piece of privacy in my backyard, and even right into my house!  I would hate to see it come down :(

We lost another mature tree in our backyard about 7 years ago.  A lovely locust that was ill from the day we moved here, but we let it be until some larger limbs were dying, and since it was quite close to our house, we were forced to have it chopped right down.  We felt so exposed when we lost that tree ... so I can't imagine how awful it will be to lose this one too.

I took a wander around the yard yesterday and snapped a few photos of the flowers now blooming.

The red and white lilies (above) are new this year ... "Strawberries & Cream".

The clematis growing along the shed is doing great this year!  If you can believe it, there are even more blooms on it today, and you can barely see any green leaves.

Up close the "Jack Miner" clematis.

The morning glory vines are twining up the chicken wire.  I tied some string onto the fence posts yesterday, and the vines have latched onto them and grown again overnight!

Shasta Daisies are blooming en masse.
My tiny lavender plants have doubled in size, which doesn't look so impressive, but I love these little guys and the fact that they have some blooms too :)
Miniature rose almost there!  Tonight I noticed bits of yellow finally peeking through the buds.
This tiny airy blue flower is Scotch Harebell.  I was surprised to see this pretty little flower blooming at Charleston Lake last week, clinging quite happily to cliff edges right near the water.  I guess it's a lot tougher than it looks.  This flower was looking rather messy throughout the garden last year (or maybe it was two years ago), and I ripped it all out.  Or so I thought!  Now that it's back again, I've decided to leave it and it can grow where it wants ... and it will remind me of my camping trip!
My butterfly bush yesterday was just about fully in bloom ...

Today it has burst out all over and looks and smells wonderful.

Another lily I picked up last summer on a whim.

I like the peachy colour beside the purple hostas flowers.

With our very wet summer so far, the plants haven't needed watering ... not once!!   and I'm surprised at the number of blooms emerging after two straight days of bright sunshine.  All the flowers shown here were taken yesterday, but today there are so many more bursting out ... it's really incredible.

Thanks for stopping by!
Linking up with Fishtail Cottage's

Monday, July 08, 2013


We've had a break.  A getaway.  And it was wonderful!

A few hours east of us lies beautiful Charleston Lake Provincial Park.  The lake is very large, and it's dotted with tiny irresistible islands ... perfect for paddling to and exploring.

Sweet wild flowers   (sorry don't know the name of these)  "Dog Rose" ... thank you Jane!

Look at that perfect little bud!
Remnants of loon eggs ... I don't think these were hatched, however, I think they were stolen and eaten as there was evidence of other bits left by fishers or martens.

Charleston Lake is noted for its many black rat snakes (tree climbing snakes).  We found some hatched eggs on one of the islands ... the snakes swim too :[

A tiny little swallow in its nest on a rock cliff (this was taken from the canoe)

 Our lunch island and our rides :)
Then into the marsh, where everything is green  ...
Lots of birds here if you paddle quietly.  The osprey has built his nest on a manmade platform.  Ospreys will return to the same nest year after year and add more sticks to the pile.  I see this osprey has plants now growing out of his nest.  They'll continue this until the nest eventually collapses from the weight. 
 This osprey wasn't happy to see us and began making his chirps to warn us off.  Do you se the baby osprey's head peeking out of the nest?
On we go ... quietly now ... the heron sees and hears us long before we see him. 
We paddle closer and closer and then wait, because we know he's going to fly ...
and away he goes ... only to circle around again after we paddle out of the marsh ...
We continue on again.  The water is so thick with marsh growth it becomes difficult to paddle.  Every dip in the water disturbs the green mesh, but it's just so interesting  here, that we can't turn around just yet.  I'm glad that we continue, because we soon see this ...
Can you see her too?  Lying low on her nest on this tiny marsh island.  We have no choice but to paddle right past her ... all other ways are clogged with logs.
A red eye ... I'm sorry that we are so close and that we're making her nervous (I'm using the zoom lens, so we appear even closer than we actually were).
But she's a good mother and doesn't move, doesn't flinch, doesn't blink.  She is stunningly beautiful.

I think we all breathe a collective sigh of relief when we have passed and she has remained on the nest.

I don't think there is a bird that impresses me more than the loon.  The black and white patterning on their back is so vibrant and graphic when you see them on dry land.  Their laughing and haunting calls are enough to make you weep.   I love to see them on the lakes when we go camping. 
A couple of years ago I took some photos of a loon fishing when I was out in the kayak early one morning.  I just sat in the kayak and snapped photos as the loon continued to swim around and under the kayak and burst out of the water beside me with tiny fish in his beak.  It was a magical moment.  I even had the dog in the kayak with me, but the loon didn't seem to be bothered by us.  I only stayed long enough to take some photos, and then I moved on.
While we were slowly drifting past the loon, this red-winged blackbird was dive-bombing us and causing a big raucous.  We could only assume that this little bird was protecting his loon friend. 
We  soon left the marsh alone again.   A walk on another day took us across the marsh on a boardwalk.  This is the view back into the marsh from the boardwalk.
Now doesn't that look like an inviting place to explore by canoe?

This funny little bug hovered in front of me as if begging to have his picture taken too.  So I obliged him, and he then flew away ...

Here's the loon out on the water.

There were lots of turkey vultures continuously soaring overhead too ...

I just love all the tiny islands.  Charleston Lake is just north of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River, so the landscape is very similar.
So that's where I've been for the past little while ... enjoying lots of canoeing, hiking, swimming and general relaxing as we camped in this wonderful provincial park.  I was sorry to have to leave to come home today. 
I hope everyone has been enjoying their summer ... the weather has certainly warmed up to be quite muggy, and I guess I'll be out in our own tiny dot of water (pool) this week.
Thanks for stopping by!
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