Thursday, June 22, 2017

Motorcycle Skies.

Bright Blue over Erie.

[Photo reveals extensive cloud cover, south of Belmont.]

Early yesterday morning the sky was clear over my back deck. Hardly any breeze. Motorcycle time, I thought, still in my PJs. I was on my way south an hour later.

I discovered, while heading toward Port Bruce, a wide band of clouds stretched from London to Lake Erie's north shore. But over the water clear skies prevailed. Goodly numbers of people dotted the pier and rustic beach areas, soaking in a perfect day.

Photos from along the way, with snappy commentary : )

 In ten years I'll be parking in the shade.

 A break in the wall.

 Faint cloud cover several miles south.

 Purple Martins and sparrows share a house near the channel.

 Martins carry on lengthy conversations.

 Swallows feed their young under a bridge.

Within a week, wee heads will be visible at the doors.

I shall return.

Please link to Motorcycle Monday.

Photos GH

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Motorcycle Monday.

A Gateway to the Sea.

[Photo: Hop over a log and you're there!]

Yesterday morning, the TV said "rain starts at 2 PM for London and area." So, I quickly warmed up the bike, sailed to Port Bruce, and returned by 1:30. Could have stayed longer, but I'd left the workshop door open, with projects - ready for attention - on the workbench.

I stopped to check out mud condos along the way, parked in the shade at Port Bruce by 11:30, sipped coffee on the beach, saw dozens of swallows at play, discovered a gateway to the sea and felt grateful that Lake Erie is only 60 kilometres from my front porch. 

Photos from along the way:

 Swallow nests under a bridge lined w grass. No young birds visible, yet.

 "I keep my eye on the cloud cover"

 The Gateway to the Sea

Pat always offers her cellphone. I prefer rotary-dial!

I didn't have time for my usual BLT. However, on my way to Erie, I did stop at Spicer's Bakery, on Aylmer's main street (near the four corners), and enjoyed date squares, Trilbies, and a thermos of coffee under clear blue skies around noon. Sweeet.

Photos GH

Friday, June 16, 2017

Port Burwell Wind Turbines.

Close Enough for a Haircut.

My motorcycle stops for turbines.

As I near Port Burwell on Nova Scotia Line, from Copenhagen (outside Port Bruce), I look for my most-photographed wind turbine. It sits near a curve in the road, about a mile from the beach, and I can park right under it.

 SWOOSH!! "A little off the top, Gord?"

From the Port Burwell pier:

Please link to Port Bruce: Two Months Later.

Photos GH

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Walking through Harris Park.

A week ago Sunday, strong wind and rain battered the Forest City, and its trees - big and small. Tonnes of debris still lines walking routes throughout Harris and Gibbons Park and elsewhere.

Bark, sapwood and heartwood are clearly visible (above), and if one likes counting rings to estimate the age of a tree, the opportunity exists.

I estimate my dad was but a twinkle in his father's eye when this tree first poked it's head above the ground in Harris Park, beside the Thames River.

Please link to Walking Thru Wortley Village.

Photos GH

Scene of a Crime

It's not a good sign. When I see a disturbed nest and debris on the porch floor, I know a thief has come in the night.

The adult sparrows visited the birdhouse at various times throughout the day, by instinct, but there was nothing to be done.

My wife and I noticed the stillness, the quiet, and the watchful parents in the nearby apricot tree. A cat, a raccoon had done its dirty deed last night?

We also checked the box several times yesterday but all was still.

Please link to "Feed Me, Ma!"

Photos GH

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Swallows Rule the Air 2.

Mud Nests Lined Up Like Ducks.

Under the bridge on Hunter Crossley Line (it runs east-west, south of Belmont) reside 100s of mud swallows. After several 100s of trips with beakfuls of mud, from the nearby creek bed to the under-corner of the bridge, they created unique and sturdy nests in which young are born and raised.

Last week I counted about 85 nests.

When I stand under the roadway, the swallows are fearful, noisy at times, some swoop close to my head to inspect my intentions (all good, I assure you), and they fill the air around me while I photograph their homes - magical creations - lined up like mottled ducks in a row.

When I step back, a ways from the creek and bridge, the swallows return to work. The space under the bridge becomes a blur of activity.

More to follow.

Please link to Swallows Rule the Air.

Photos GH

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gord's Hop Farm.

Vigorous Vines.

Hayhoe's hop farm, south of Mt. Salem.

I know of one hop farm - doing well, it seems - 50 to 60 kilometres south-east of London. I know of another much smaller one very close to home, i.e., in my backyard.

Hayhoe's hop farm is healthy and expanding, so I assume he has found a market for his 4 or 5 varieties of hop cones. My crop is growing well too, stretching towards my new lattice on the back deck. Three local home brewers are certainly welcome to use the fall crop, same deal as last year. : )

The Hops are at the Birdhouse:

Birdhouses on the fence have visitors.

 Cedar lattice has a top rail now, and is under attack

I reposition hop vines twice per day to fill the lattice.

The vines are growing about 6 - 12 inches per day. News at 11.

Photos GH

Port Bruce: Two Months Later.

Wave Action Returns.

My first ride on the Virago in 2017 took me to Port Bruce, April 10th (above photo). I have returned several times since, and my last visit was but a few days ago, on June 11th. In between those dates, Lake Erie revealed many faces.

 April 14, 2017.

June 11, 2017. Not often is the pier empty of fishers.

We live near an inland sea and I visit its shores and wee ports often.

Where the Land Meets the Sea

More to follow.

Please link to Overheard in Port Bruce.

Photos GH

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Feed Me, Ma!"

Sparrows Talk to One Other.

A family of sparrows - with an excellent skill for communication - resides in a small birdhouse on my front porch. The chatter is constant (e.g., "Feed me. Now. Now") and the activity around the box is non-stop. (A chick's beak can be seen in the photo above).

 "We're here. We're ready"

 "Me first!"

"Ma, I want more!"

And they speak in a distinct language!

Both adults speak to the chicks during feeding time. The parents land, with food,  in a nearby apricot tree, and announce their arrival. (E.g., "Get ready.") The chicks then lean out the door of the box.

When I stood to get a photo of the two eager, hungry, wee ones, the male grew alarmed and sounded a warning.

He said, "Look out! Look out." (Really, his chirps sounded like those exact words.)

The heads of the chicks disappeared. I sat down. The female then announced she was nearby. The wee beaks reappeared at the door.

I thought, Why should I be surprised the sparrows talk to one another in chirps I can understand? They are English, after all.

Please link to A Return to Swallow Cliff.

Photos GH

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Under Attack! Hops are Hoppin'.

They started off early in the spring once the ground had warmed. They climbed the fence before the ferns blocked part of their path. They soon looked like they were going to take over the fence and back deck - like last year - approaching the deck at the rate of 6 - 12 inches per day.

And last week I realized I wasn't ready.

Here they come!! Hop vines climb twine toward by back deck

They are getting closer by the hour

But I'm ready for them this year!

Last year I attached blue spruce boughs to the deck railing and hops eventually covered them, making a lovely sunscreen. This year I erected a stylish structure made from western red cedar (top rail added yesterday) and have attempted to guide the vines with the use of twine runners.

I think I'm ready for a dozen approaching vines.

We shall see what we shall see.

Please link to last year's crop of hops at My Morning Smile 23

More to follow.

Photos GH