Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Helper in the garden

Photo by Barry Wallace
It's only 3" long, is mostly nocturnal, and eats many insects and worms.   Much of what it eats are considered pests by the gardener.   The American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) inhabits Ontario, Quebec, most of the eastern maritime provinces, and the eastern U.S.A.   Its diet includes spiders, slugs, centipedes, earthworms, meal worms. crickets, ants, moths and a number of other small invertebrates.   We have a few toads in our garden.   As an alternative to insecticides, toads are always welcome in our flower beds.

A tree-toad loved a she-toad
Who lived up in a tree.
He was a two-toed tree-toad,
But a three-toed toad was she.

The two-toed tree-toad tried to win
the three-toed she-toad's nod,
For the two-toed tree-toad loved the ground
That the three-toed tree-toad trod.

But the two-toed tree-toad tried in vain,
He couldn't please her whim.
From her tree-toad bower, with her tree-toad power. 
The she-toad vetoed him.
                                                                              - David Van Alstyne
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tulips ~ show-offs of colour and style

Photos by Barry Wallace
Despite the squirrels beheading many of our tulip blooms this strange  springtime, we did finally see enough of them to make it all worthwhile.   We must get our thinking caps on for next year to prevent those furry little critters from decapitating these beauties.

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Oak Ridges Trail ~ Groomsbridge Tract

 Photos by Barry Wallace
Red-belted polydore (Fomitopsis pinicola)

This multi-coloured decay fungus is near the entrance of the Groombridge tract of donated conservation easements on the east side of King's 10th Concession, halfway between the 18th and 19th Sideroads.   The Groombridge families have also allowed the Oak Ridges Trail to cross this property.   The Red-belted polydore is one of the most common decomposers of conifer trees in northern temperate forests.   The Groombridge tract is mostly deciduous trees, notably mature maples.   The Oak Ridges Trail is very picturesque and quiet in this part of King, and circles around two medium-sized ponds near the start, and crosses several small watercourses, using wooden foot bridges.        

Maples are everywhere here and innumerable maple seedlings are as common on the forest floor as all the spring flowers, such as Dog-toothed Violets and Trilliums.   In the photo above a mature maple tree has two young saplings growing at an angle from between its huge roots.  

The large ponds in the Groombridge tract are man-made, with a readily observed dam, beside the trail, controlling the flow of a small forest stream.   There are several small streams in the woods, all of which eventually flow toward Schomberg and merge into the Schomberg River and flow as one through the village.
As mentioned above, this is quiet part of King and once in the woods and on the trail, one hears little more than the rustle of leaves, the chirps of birds and the calls of frogs.   Otherwise, solitude abides here.

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Peony or tulip?

Photo by Barry Wallace 
This flower was a pleasant surprise when it bloomed.   It is a tulip that looks like a peony.   It is the same size as a peony flower: just over 6' wide.   I do not know what its name is and we had no idea it would look so grand when it bloomed.   There are six of them and they have made quite a pleasant show.
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Friday, May 27, 2016

Deserti Home Bakery now open

 Photos by Barry Wallace

Deserti Home Bakery has opened for business on the north-west corner of the King Road and William Street, beside Rockford's Bar & Grill.
Manager, Christina (pictured at left) said the bakery and hot tables are open for business now, but the official grand opening will take place in mid-June.

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hard to miss this Nobleton eyecatcher

 Photos by Barry Wallace

This 1952 Mercury V8 pickup truck sits on the northwest corner of the King Road and Chinook Drive, in Nobleton, west of Hwy. 27.   The location is home to King Automotive Repair Service (KARS).

Please comment 
if you wish.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Big heavy horses and little heavy horses

 New Foal 
at Dog Tales
The Percheron mare, seen at right, surprised the folks at Dog Tales Sanctuary, when she gave birth about 6 weeks ago.   She had been purchased on a rescue basis at an auction and the big-hearted folks at Dog Tales didn't know she was pregnant.   The Dog Tales folks has since discovered that two or three other recently purchased mares may also be pregnant.
The new colt spends a lot of his time catching forty winks, as can be seen in the the bottom photo.   Dog Tales Sanctuary is meant to be a final destination for old and unwanted heavy horses.   Any colts and fillies born there will likely be sold or donated to other new owners or welcoming facilities.   Visitors can see this colt on Sundays.

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Photos by Barry Wallace

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This cool, long-arriving spring was like waiting for a sick friend to get better.

However, if you get close to the small flowers,
it is worth the effort.

Photos by Barry Wallace
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spring blossom spectacle north of Nobleton

 Photo by Barry Wallace
AGVIAR PLACE ~ 10th Concession
A single tree covered with spring blossoms is a joy to behold, but imagine journeying in and out of this breathtaking country driveway every day.   Indeed, nature's gifts are unsurpassed.
Please comment if you wish,
Barry Wallace

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Finally! Traffic lights for new plaza.

At last, construction of traffic lights is underway at the new King's Ridge Marketplace, on the King Road where it intersects with Stan Roots Street on the north side and Spring Hill Drive on the south side.   High school students are constantly running back and forth across the busy five lanes of the King Road to restaurants in the new plaza.   
It is equally hazardous for seniors and mothers with babies in strollers, who have to wait endlessly for a break in the traffic which is usually exceeding the speed limit, in both directions.   The situation has been an accident waiting to happen for quite some time, but now that appears to be coming to end.  The improvement can't happen soon enough.
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Meeting next week on future of Humber Trails

 Photos by Barry Wallace
May 25th ~ 7 p.m. ~ Nobleton Arena
An advertisement for a public meeting on a new trail plan for Humber Trails Forest and Wildlife Conservation Area will take place next Wednesday in the Dr. William Laceby Community Centre and Arena, in Nobleton.   The meeting is to be hosted by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which will present a new trail plan, featuring potential opportunities for improvements to trail conditions, signage, wayfinding, trailheads and parking.   Comments will be welcomed from all attendees. More information can be had in advance by contacting Adam Dembe, Planner, at adembe@trca.on.ca or (416) 661-6600 ext. 5939 or visiting the website at www.trca.on.ca/humber trails.   The two pictures above and below show recent damage to the main footbridge over the East Humber River.   Other photos below show some current scenes at the site. 

Wild Daffodils are still seen at Humber Trails.   They are remnant flowers surviving from the cottage colony that existing here in the early 1950s, prior to Hurricane Hazel's rampage in 1954.   Below is what remains of a water fountain that once served Humber Trails, during its time as a traditional park,  after Hurricane Hazel destroyed the cottages.

Above is an old tapped freshwater spring, encircled by field stones.   Few know of its existence near the old camping grounds at the rear of Humber Trails, and beneath the one-of-kind, giant oak tree beside the river.    In the photo below, one can see logs that once stabilized the river banks, now dislodged and lying on the river bottom.

Above, left, is a tiny broken footbridge over a trickling tributary to the East Humber River.   The photo on the right shows riverside seating for two, on private property on the south side of the Humber, where residents can look across the river to the lush pastoral Humber Trails bottom-lands on the north side.   Below is a photo of a the giant oak tree that several people (including me) think may the largest tree, of any kind, in York Region, or at least the biggest oak tree in the region.   Its circumference is almost 17' and its diameter is approximately 5.4'

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Friday, May 20, 2016

Last Sunday on the Oak Ridges Trail

Photos by Barry Wallace

Snow one moment ~ sunshine the next

Sunday saw a group of hikers on the Oak Ridges Trail between King's 6th and 7th Concessions.   Pictured at left is a Golden Lab named Milky (short for Milky Way), a Golden Lab who looked somewhat doleful as he waited for the hikers to show up at the start of the hike.
Pictured below are two of the warmly-dressed hikers who faced alternating sunshine and snow pellets, on and off, throughout the day.

Amidst the myriad of white trilliums, the hikers occasionally came across purple and pink trilliums (see above).   At the same time, hikers saw a glut of felled Ash trees which have been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer.   Hundreds of such trees lie in the forest or alongside trails (see below).   In the case of the main Oak Ridges Trail and secondary side-trails along this part of the Happy Valley Forest, only Ash trees on the south side of the main trail have been felled,   Ash trees in the Love Mountain forest, on the north side of the main trail, have been left intact, letting nature takes its course.

A study in contrasts shows a tree (left) on its way to being encircled by moss.
Meanwhile, another tree was set upon by beaver but the job was never finished. 

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Blossoms on Humber River trail in King City

 Photos by Barry Wallace

Can you identify these blossoms? 
A walk along the East Humber River, on the west side of Keele Street in King City, allowed me to photograph these two pictures last Friday.   The top one makes a bold colour statement to go along with its perfect construction.   It is a dandelion.   The second photo is a shot of pristine and delicate chokecherry blossoms.   
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fish mailbox on the 15th Sideroad

Photo by Barry Wallace
This appears to be a new version of an idea that's been around for a while, at a number of spots throughout the township.   I love the colours.   The gang hooks are a new feature on this version I believe.   You can't miss this on the 15th Sideroad, north of Nobleton.
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace