Monday, March 27, 2017

winter skiing

It has been quite a good year for cross-country skiing with one final hurrah of fresh powder in the middle of March. Now of course we are in the middle of the great melt with the rest of the week predicted to be above freezing. I feel very lucky to have this nice long stretch of open space for skiing any time I please. It isn't exactly quiet as the rumble from Hunt Club is ever present but it feels quite private as there is rarely anyone else about.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A peculiar fence

The old tumble-down fence at the end of Newhaven St. is, I believe, quite unique in Ottawa. It is the only dead-end in all of Ottawa where access is blocked to city owned open green space. I asked Keith Egli, the city councilor, about opening an access point there, so that people might have a convenient place to walk. He in turn asked the city staff and they said no-can-do. Why you might ask, well according to the accessibility rules they can't just remove a fence to allow people to access the green space without making it wheelchair accessible. To make it wheelchair accessible would require they create a paved path, and there isn't the money for that.

I wouldn't really want a paved path there either because, in order to connect it to the multi-user path on the other side of the berm, you would have plow a hole through the berm. If this was a new subdivision, I'm sure a fence would never have been installed there in the first place, the fence however was errected back in the 60s when Manordale bordered the experimental farm so we are stuck with it I guess. As you can see, the snowplows damaged the fence a few years ago and nobody has bothered to repair it. That doesn't really speak very highly of the civic pride in Manordale, but it is a bit of an orphaned fence that nobody really has a use for anymore.

There is something ironic about the accessibility rules preventing accessibility. There is another head-scratcher at the end of Cheryl road. There they have relatively recently put in a paved path along the hydro easement but failed to make it conveniently wheelchair accessible from Cheryl by leaving a rough patch of gravel between the paved surface of the road and the paved surface of the multi-user path. I'm sure there is some sort of rule there where they need a curb to divide the road from the path and as the end of the road is unfinished they couldn't pave up to a curb. Nothing is ever simple in government.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


This fall I built a birdhouse for the north-side of the berm. It is close to a duplicate of a successful birdhouse in the backyard where many generations of house sparrows have been raised. I placed it about 7 feet up on top of one of the posts I had planted earlier in the year to protect the young trees from the mower. The long grass mower had run over about 5-10 trees in the early summer but some of them were coming back from the inadvertent coppicing. The posts did the trick of convincing the mower to not follow the path taken in the summer when remowing the area in the fall.

I took the above picture on the 7th and it has stayed cold and snowy all December. In the poplar trees on top of the berm were a bunch of crows making a racket as I was taking this picture. They were a small part of the large flock that heads East each evening back to their roost on the Rideau.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Roadside Test Plots

Someone is conducting an experiment on a patch of ground adjacent to the road in front of the crabapples. Early in the summer (when I took the above photo) they sprayed herbicide to kill all the vegetation and spread clover seeds. Unfortunately for their experiment a heavy rain storm wash their seeds into puddles and what mostly grew up was ragweed except in the patches where the clover germinated. They then in the late summer repeated the experiment further along the road with much more success. It will be interesting to see how the clover handles the salt over winter.

This evening on my walk it felt like winter was coming at last. There was a strong wind out of the west and hundreds of crows were racing east overhead back to their roost on the Rideau.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Caught Cicada

This banded argiope, one of the common orbweavers has got super lucky; it has caught a cicada in its net. The poor cicada was still struggling when I noticed it.

I took this photo in September but the quality is disappointing. My camera bit the dust earlier in the summer and the camera on my phone just isn't up to snuff.

Friday, September 9, 2016


His sisters were busy biting me as this little male mosquito only had eyes for the goldenrod flowers.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Black Locust

Here is the black locust I transplanted last year. It is growing strongly and is now about 4 feet tall.