Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's getting to be a jungle out there...and other stories

It's incredible the amount of rain and thunderstorms we've had recently. Every day for the last seven days we have had torrential downpours, ro-o-o-lling thunder and scary lightning bolts. And according to CNN Weather we are due for more this evening and tomorrow.

Well, that's ok with us -- it's great for the lawn, damaged by prolonged freezing weather and snow, and which we are now trying to repair. In fact, it is getting to be a jungle out there! The grass seed, which looked like it would never take root, is beginning to sprout, and no sooner is the lawn mowed than it needs to be mowed again. The trees are in full bloom (in spite of the tree-hating, shears-happy neighbour who reaches over our fence from time to time and chops away at the branches from OUR tree which are overhanging HER garden! The ones she chopped at are sprouting up twice as full as ever before! Isn't creation amazing!

But we still find ourselves at war (well, a little put off, anyway) with nature. Look what happens to the grass seed we put down.
Suddenly, out of nowhere (I guess they SMELL it!), the lawn is covered with hungry crows. Never mind, the grass is growing, and the rain is helping the rest of the garden, too.
Clematis, Peonies and Sweet Williams are all flourishing nicely.
Recently, we decided to make the most of a break in the weather and headed to the Scarborough Bluffs, which always reminds me of Danes Dyke, close by to my childhood home on Flamborough Head in the UK.

A narrow, winding road, squeezed between high bluffs, snakes its way down to Lake Ontario. Once a picturesque, natural addition to Toronto's landscape, the Bluffs, especially on the weekend, are now over-run with people, from every ethnicity imaginable, who gather around a plethora of varying types of cooking apparatus for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon picnic. It is so interesting to walk through the park and experience all the 'flavours,' both of the cooking and the nationalities, as one moves past the peanut butter aroma and brightly coloured skirts of the Filipino gathering, to the saris and curries of the East Indians, and the calypso music and curries of the West Indians, on to the European Borscht and schnitzels, and then to the North American burgers and steaks! A huge multicultural experience covering less than a mile along the edge of the lake! But they are not the only ones taking over the park:
Wherever there is food, there are Canada Geese -- and they make walking quite treacherous (what goes in, must come out!). Once considered beautiful symbols of the majesty of nature, I read recently, they are now considered to be no more than pests, like mice or rats. I must admit that the fact that they are a protected species is creating a multitude of problems. But how can you be upset with them, after you've seen this?
I guess, as with any created species, they are SO cute when they are babies!

"Come on now, children....hurry along"
They weren't the only wild life we saw -- apart from the picnickers, I mean :)

Chasing them around the parking lot trying to get a good photo, we thought these were Sandpipers, but discovered, when we checked the bird-book later, that they are Killdeer, which I've never heard of. Funny thing is, the book says "If you get too close to a Killdeer's nest, the parents will try to lure you away with loud alarm calls and by feigning a broken wing" -- which is exactly what this pair did!

One last sighting:

This Red-winged blackbird sure was squawking about something -- someone in his parking spot, I guess. If you look REALLY closely, you'll see the tiny patch of red on his left wing (on your right).

All-in-all, an interesting couple of hours!

Oh -- and almost forgot; for all my hundreds of fans out there waiting to discover the criteria for the miniatures that end up in my collection -- it is simply 1) no more than 2" tall and 2) designed (in its larger state) to hold liquid of some kind.

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