Category Archives: Nature

Best mushroom field guide?

Somebody landed on this blog today after searching “best mushroom field guide for Ontario”.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before. I use two.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.31.33 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.30.14 PMThey are the Audubon guide by Gary Lincoff and Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada by George Barron. They’re organized differently and depending what I’m looking for I use one or the other. Normally I have both in my car when I’m out chasing mushrooms. I’ve been told the Barron guide is the most accurate, but I have no way of validating that (except that the statement came from a fellow who knows more about mushrooms than I’m ever likely to know).

I’d like to ask the rest of you Ontario mushroom hounds, what guide do you use?

Who doesn’t want one of these?

Connected to this house, by a lovely dutch door on the inside is this greenhouse potting shed....so civilized...dutch doors too!
Connected by a lovely *dutch door on the inside of this house (*not visible) is this greenhouse potting shed….so civilized…dutch doors too!
Salvia and bearded Iris.   Like the Harlequin Maple tree, I'd never seen an Iris quite as crazy as this one. Flower power to the max.
Salvia and bearded Iris. Like the Harlequin Maple tree, I’d never seen an Iris quite as crazy as this one. Flower power to the max.  Tuffy P signing out for the night…. I will be back guest posting soon. Woof!

Garden signs on the Gates Open Home and Garden Tour

Thanks for staying with me…this is Tuffy P guest blogging this afternoon… hope you are enjoying the tour.  Tour ticket dollars go to support the Rouge Valley Health System Foundations’ vision to purchase leading edge medical equipment for their 2 hospital sites.

What signs are in your garden?
What signs are in your garden?
From the same house that brought us Trespassers will be composted... another sign.   What's wrong with me, I kind of like tumbling into this type of 'one more thing' in a garden.
From the same house that brought us Trespassers will be composted… another sign. What’s wrong with me, I kind of like tumbling into this type of ‘one more thing’ in a garden.

Cornell Campbell Farm from 1836 was on the Gates Open Home & Garden Tour!

Here's what the Cornell farmhouse looked like from an early 1900's photo. The family owned extensive land across what is now Kingston Road down to Lake Ontario.
Here’s what the Cornell farmhouse looked like from an early 1900’s photo. This is referred to as being in the Ontario Regency Cottage (ORC) style of home.  Characteristics included a low & wide roof, large windows, high chimneys and a large front facade. The family owned extensive land across what is now Kingston Road down to Lake Ontario. This is a copy of the first photo taken of the house. It was originally built in 1836.  Parks Canada now occupies the home proper and were on hand to advise on the history of this home and site.
June 2014 - Here's what the farmhouse looks like today. The family deeded the home, original barn, and farm buildings along with a large plot of land. Green acres!
June 2014 – Here’s what the farmhouse looks like today. The family deeded the home to the City of Toronto, which includes the house pictured here, the original barn, and farm buildings along with a large plot of land. Green acres!
Cornell-Campbell farm June 2014 front gardens maintained by the city. The most formal gardens of the day were these ones found on the farm. Not quite Versailles - but hey - we're in Scarborough today.
Cornell-Campbell farm June 2014 front gardens maintained by the city of Toronto. The most formal gardens of the day were these ones found on the farm. Not quite Versailles – but hey – we’re in Scarborough today.
Now it's 1913 - meet the Cornells!  We're going to see the barn in the background in a minute. It's still looking strong in 2014.
Now it’s 1913 – meet the Cornells! We’re going to see the barn in the background in a minute. It’s still looking strong in 2014.
Kitchen confidential a-la- turn of the last century - except for the crazy light fixture. Who's up for some dishes tonight?
Kitchen confidential a-la- turn of the last century – except for the crazy light fixture. Who’s up for some dishes tonight?  The kitchen is part of the rear extension of the house added in the 1800’s.
For all you chick lovers- here's the old bird bath at the Cornell-Campbell farm.  The concrete mimics a tree.  (Foreshadowing the pools I saw later on the estates of the Scarborough bluffs).
For all you chick lovers- here’s the old bird bath at the Cornell-Campbell farm. The concrete mimics a tree. (Foreshadowing the pools I saw later on the estates of the Scarborough bluffs).
The city rents out these community garden plots on the farm!  Veggies and plants were in full swing.  The fencing is there to keep out the Cornell-Campbell ground hog family.
The city rents out these community garden plots on the farm! Veggies and plants were in full swing. The fencing is there to keep out the current ground hog family.  The original family Barn is in the background!  If you visit, the local Horticultural society has a masterful garden along the drive up to the house.  You can’t miss it!
For all of you wanting to see the back of the Cornell-Campbell farm... here it is!  Great old door, and smoky olive paint.
For all of you wanting to see the back of the Cornell-Campbell farm where we first saw the kitchen… here it is! Great old door, and smoky olive paint. Time standing still in the city.  Worth noting, Albert and Helen Campbell lived here, and Albert served as Reeve and Mayor of Scarborough.

 

 

Guest Post – Tuffy P spends the day at Gates Open Home & Garden Tour – Scarborough

Second Annual Rouge Valley Health System Foundation Gates Open Home and Garden Tour June 14, 2014
Second Annual Rouge Valley Health System Foundation Gates Open Home and Garden Tour June 14, 2014
Gardener's and their vines!
Gardener’s and their vines!

Out in Scarborough today to take in the home and garden tour in support of the Rouge Valley Health System. Come along and see some interesting homes and gardens. THANK YOU to all the home owners who allowed everyone access inside their estates and out on the grounds.  Thanks also to all of the volunteers who generously gave of their time today out in the Scarborough Bluffs area of Toronto.

 

Bees and Pesticides

Honey Bees with beekeepers
Honey Bees with beekeepers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve seen numerous reports over the past couple years about declining bee populations in North America in general and in Ontario in particular, leading to the question, what’s killing bees.

 

In this CBC article, a beekeeper says millions of his bees have been killed by a new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Premier Wynn is doing what all politicians do…she’s forming an expert panel to produce a set of recommendations by spring of next year. Meanwhile the folks who make pesticides along with some scientists suggest that the culprit may be Varroa mites and not the pesticides. Corn farmers say they need the neonicotinoid. What if both the mites and the pesticides are contributing to the collapse of bee populations? Perhaps there are other factors at play as well.

From the Globe and Mail July 31: This past winter was one of the worst on record for bees. In the U.S., beekeepers lost 31 per cent of their colonies, compared to a loss of 21 per cent the previous winter. In Canada, the Canadian Honey Council reports an annual loss of 35 per cent of honey bee colonies in the last three years. In Britain, the Bee Farmers’ Association says its members lost roughly half their colonies over the winter.

So why are the bees so important? They pollinate a high percentage of our flowering crops, meaning with no bees we’re going to lose a lot of food directly, not to mention crops that are used to feed livestock.

We’d better get this right and get it fixed.

Chanterelles

I took the dogs out for a walk in the woods this morning, and was fortunate to find around 30 chanterelles. They’re a little hard to see right now. There is a lot of leaf litter on the forest floor and the chanterelles are just peaking out from under it. I had hoped to find some edible boletes too, but mostly just found boletes with red pores – not for consumption. I saw one bug-eaten lobster, a few yellow Amanitas and some red russulas and that’s about it. The chanterelles were the highlight.

Chanterelle hiding in the leaves
Chanterelle hiding in the leaves

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