Monarch Butterflies, Sam Smith Park

Visitors to Sam Smith Park here in Toronto are being treated to a great show of monarch butterflies right now. We took a walk with the dogs a short while ago and saw butterflies anywere there were flowers.

DSC06988DSC06991DSC06981DSC06963DSC06993By the way, Sam Smith Park is currently being studied by the city for designation as an environmentally sensitive area. I’m not sure all this designation implies yet, and so I don’t have any opinion on it. I’m all for keeping lots of natural areas in the park, but I also appreciate the park is used for many things from playing sports to watching birds. There’s a yacht club in the midst of it and schools. There’s a balance in there somewhere. Is this designation the right thing in the long run?  There will be some public meetings in November, where we can find out more.

Over the Waterfall?….

So there we were yesterday afternoon, fly fishing the upper Credit River, just a little ways below the former highway 24 (whatever they call that road now), when along come 2 guys each paddling a kayak. They each had a spinning rod ready to cast and they were all set for a leisurely float to the lake.

You guys know about the falls, right?
The falls?

Yes, the falls. It’s where the Credit River tumbles over the Escarpment. It is a very significant landmark, so significant they named the near-by town Cataract.  Hopefully these fellows paddled carefully, heeded the warning roar of the falls, and parked their kayaks and got out well before the abyss.  Now I suppose they might have picked up their kayaks and their fishin’ rods and carried around the falls. It is difficult but possible to get down there without hurting yourself if you’re really careful. But then they’d have to cope with the pocket water below, a dicey proposition, even in kayaks. I wonder how far they got? Did they look over the falls and carry their kayaks for a half an hour’s walk along the railway tracks back to their car? Or maybe they walked back up the river, dragging their kayaks behind? Or maybe they decided to try to portage the falls and navigate the pocket water.  Maybe they carried down the trail past the worst of the pocket water before re-launching.

The blind faith involved in decided to float a river without checking for enormous obstacles is great – but consider this – this was the third time I personally witnessed folks happily heading downstream hoping for a relaxing float to the lake. The best was the 3 guys in a 16 foot aluminum cartop boat several years ago. I was casting a dry fly to a rising brook trout when I heard the bumping and scraping of aluminum on rocks banging toward me. I told them they didn’t have a chance, but they kept on, wrong and strong.

Quicksand in Mississauga?

The Toronto Star has published an article about quicksand warning signs in an area of Mississauga, although their investigation failed to turn up any actual quicksand. I don’t think I’ve seen real quicksand before. It seems like something out of the movies. I have experienced some serious and difficult mud before – in fact just this Monday when I was out trout fishing. It looked wet but safe. There was vegetation growing on the surface….but I sunk down past my knees and it took me some time to free myself. It happened once before while out fly fishing with my friend East Texas Red. That time he kindly helped me get out. I can only imagine that actual quicksand, stuff capable of gobbling a guy up, stuff that pulls you deeper the more you struggle, must be tremendously scary.

A City spokesperson suggested there are soft spots in the Fletcher’s Creek area that could be difficult to get out of. Perhaps the signs are a little over the top.

FOREST LANDINGS

Mem and George
ready to hit the trail… but first… there is a box of timbits to investigate…
Georgie! Aug 2 2014
Being good… this is not how the day ended for George…. but right now, right here, he is being the best doggie in the universe…

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!

Flowers rock the world

Climbing roses - someone yelled out - Gardenias?, the fragrance of these roses...summer...spectacular madness...makes me want to grow roses...
Climbing roses – someone yelled out – Gardenias?, the fragrance of these roses…summer…spectacular madness…makes me want to grow roses…

Miniature Garden found on the Gates Open Home & Garden Tour 2014

There we go, a wee little wheelbarrow sets the tone for this miniature garden world.  Land of the Giants!
There we go, a wee little wheelbarrow sets the tone for this miniature garden world. Land of the Giants!

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.