Sunday, June 7, 2020

Black Locust in bloom

Aunt Pat's Black Locust bloomed for the first time this year. It is five years since I transplanted it from her home in Curry Hill and it has turned into a handsome tree.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Baltimore Orioles

A couple of Baltimore Orioles flew out of this lovely crabapple. I attempted to take a picture of them as they were hopping around in the bushes but all I got were flashes of orange in leafy green. It is interesting how you can see things much more clearly in real life than in a photo. It isn't just a matter of pixels, "seeing" is more interactive than "looking". You change your focus of attention, you use your depth perception, you move your head to parallax shift thing that are in the way, all in order to construct an image in your mind of the item that has attracted your attention.

I've been noticing these violets along my path for about a decade now. The mowers abandoned their strip around the 1995 planting area over 5 years ago, and now the sumac are starting to overgrow the path yet the violets persist. The trilliums and bloodroot I planted that are a few steps away from these violets inside the forest are still there. They have hardly expanded there presence. I think there were 6 trilliums this year, before the rabbit tax. Time moves at a more sedate pace for plants.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Spring Stirrings 2020

Pink Spotted Lady Bug Coleomegilla maculata

These pink spotted lady bugs over-winter as adults in large groups and can often be found stirring from their slumber location in the early spring sun. I came across a bunch of them earlier this spring at the base of the large oak tree. A couple of days ago I think I came upon the same group but this time they were chowing down on dandelion pollen. Practically every dandelion close to the oak tree had a pink lady bug on it.

I've met this cute baby bunny a few times this past week. He has been hanging out by the large poplar cut down by the hydro people. The logs provide convenient hidey-holes for him. The logs also provide convenient places to sit.

I've planted 5 sugar maples seedlings, 2 baby spruce and a small cedar this spring. I've also done a fair bit of clearing of poplar suckers to give more light to the slower growing maple trees.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Hydro Easement Clearing

The hydro people cut down a few trees that were intruding into their hydro easement last fall. Two of them were large Cottonwood poplars and three of them were maples. Unfortunately one of them was my pig tree, so I've lost my piggy that was slowly getting swallowed by the tree. The cottonwood poplars were very large and when they came down they damaged a spruce tree, a maple tree and a bunch of sumac in the 2009 planting area.

It is an early start to spring. The snow is mostly gone, the buds are swelling and the grass is starting to green up. The starlings in the bushes across the Huntclub were making quite a racket as we walked along the path today. Other years I probably wouldn't notice them nearly as much but the reduction in road noise due to the coronavirus shutdown has been quite significant.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Woolly Bears

This was a good year for Woolly Bears. It was also a relatively good year for White Admiral and Monarch Butterflies. I saw a bunch of woolly bears on the trail up to Lusk Caves yesterday.

Bats aren't supposed to live in the Lusk Caves but even so the informational panel advised us to wash footwear and clothing to avoid spreading the White Nose Syndrome. I was happy to see a couple of bats along the berm earlier this year so I'll give those shoes a bleach treatment. Can't hurt.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

High Summer

This summer the sumac has grown gang busters. It has filled in the 2009 planting area so much that I've abandoned many of my old paths around the bushes and trees in favour of passing under the sumac. It looks like the sumac has also convinced the mowers to abandon mowing around some of the crabapples. This is the second summer that the mower hasn't attempted to mow around these trees.

I planted a Manitoba Maple out in the 2011 planting area today that I had rescued from my lawn earlier this year. The ground was surprisingly dry for what has been a relatively wet July. Hopefully he does well there. The 2011 trees had a drought their first year and the area has remained much more open than the other areas. I think the winter winds and road salt may also have a greater effect in the 2011 area as it is relatively exposed.

This coneflower is I believe the lone survivor of a packet of wildflower seeds I planted a couple of years ago. I was surprised to find it this year.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


This truck mud flap has got to be the heaviest piece of wind blown trash I've ever found. It weighed about 20 pounds and was about 80m from the road in the middle of a thicket of buckthorn tangled up with a scrap of tarp. I figure it must have been blown there in the tornado last fall as there is no way a person would have carried it into that thicket.

This spring picking up trash suddenly became trendy. According to the Clean-up-the-Capital website, over a thousand groups organized clean-up events in and around Ottawa this spring. It is great to see this activity picking up popularity, and I feel like Ottawa really did an excellent job cleaning the place up after 5 long months of winter. I've been picking up trash for years along HuntClub Road and this May was the first time I came back with only a half full bag because there just wasn't enough trash.

A sparrow is raising a family in my birdhouse! I put up the birdhouse in the fall of 2016 and this spring is the first time I've noticed someone using it. I was walking by it today and the momma bird startled me by bursting out of the house just as I passed it. I heard the faint chirps of the chicks and quickly retreated. I was a bit surprised because I've been on the lookout for activity at this birdhouse and another that was put up last spring and thought that they weren't occupied. Perhaps I should go take a closer look at Katherine's birdhouse.

I spent a bit of time today pulling up Dog-strangling-vine from the patch at the end of Newhaven. I pulled up over 300 plants and there is at least as much still to be done. I've been attacking this patch for several years now and it keeps on coming back. I don't think I've let many go to seed but it doesn't seem to matter. They must be coming back from the roots.