Storm Hits Ontario, Hard but Selectively

storm

Parts of Ontario were hit hard by a violent storm yesterday. Depending on where you live or happened to be at the time, you may or may not have experienced incredible damage. Most of the damage was to trees, some completely uprooted while others literally split in half. I was one of the (un)lucky ones to have the storm visit both of my properties. The first map shows you the extensive power outages in the Ottawa area. The second one shows you those affected in Ontario:

Cottage Property Damage

We were working outdoors at our cottage when the storm hit. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the tornado that destroyed neighbourhoods in Ontario back in September 2018, came close to our cottage property too. I thought I had posted about that story, but apparently not. I’m sure many of you heard the details though and have stories of your own. In short, two sons and a friend just finished installing a new roof on our cottage and were heading home when one son called to tell us of all the trees down and power outages on their way home to Ottawa. We had no damage to our property.

Yesterday’s (? tornado, the verdict is still out) storm hit closer this time. Hubby and I were working on outdoor renovations when the skies got dark and the wind picked up. That was the only warning we had. Others have said they heard warnings on TV and on their phones. As mentioned, we were outside with neither technological device handy. Just like last time.

This picture was taken by my daughter-in-law who was visiting her sister in Carleton Place. They were hit there about 20 minutes after we were hit in Ompah. The storm was cutting a swath from southwest to northeast Ontario, at least according to my contacts. From the map above it appears to have hit further north and west as well.

We quickly stashed our tools in the garage and headed indoors to watch the approaching storm from (relative) safety. I watched in disbelief as the first tree split and crashed thirty feet in front of me, then a second snapped like a twig landing on our paddle boat that was leaning against the tree. That’s when we ran for cover in our basement. These fallen trees were tall, healthy, mature evergreens (pine), part of the skyline I love so much on our property. They now lie across our lawn, between our cottage and the lake…this could take weeks to clean up….so much for renovations……again.

Many of our neighbours were not so lucky. Right next door, three massive evergreens were uprooted, two falling on their roof and one hitting the (old, unused) antennae on our roof. If not for the antennae it would have hit our roof. The good news is since these trees were uprooted, they fell slowly, so there is no damage to the roof.

Many of our other trees remain intact and unharmed, thankfully. Walking around after the storm subsided we could see an incredible number of downed trees and wind-blown furniture. What I found amazing was the sporadicness (?word) of the storm. We have a row of plastic, kid-sized lawn chairs on our deck, a few feet from the downed trees. The deck was littered with leaves but the chairs were unscathed, not even moved an inch!

Kanata (Ottawa) area Damage

Shortly after the message from my DIL in Carleton Place, I received pictures and messages from a neighbour in Kanata. I could follow the sporadic yet destructive path of the storm from my contacts. It was eery how some trees were demolished while others missed completely. Some areas (just) received heavy winds with patio furniture rearranged, but undamaged.

The trees on our street (Katimavik area of Kanata) were hit hard, at least those on the south side of the street. We live on the (north) lucky side, let with just a few small branches littering our lawn.

Upon return home, we walked around our neighbourhood gawking at all the damage. This is a video posted today.

Ontario Hydro and Hydro One

Both hydro companies are working overtime this weekend, trying to restore downed power lines and outages across the region. Reports of downed lines, towers and power outages are rampant on social media and news stations. These pictures are from Ontario Hydro:

Tree Removal

Tree removal services are also in great demand this weekend. Davey tree services were on our street shortly after the storm, working well after dark, then back again this morning.

Update

As time goes on, we have several updates. Environment Canada now calling the storm a derecho! Huh, a new word in my vocabulary. Here’s another one… atterradora is Spanish for scary! I’ve never heard of a derecho, but I’ve survived one! My Mexico-residing brother tells me derecho is Spanish for “straight-ahead” ………..interesting!

I hope you were one of the lucky ones that could watch the storm on the news, from a safe distance.

Finding Them Homes Fundraiser

This post is in support of a wonderful fundraiser my niece Jillian is currently involved with. The text was copied and pasted from the Finding Them Homes (FTH) Facebook pages. Please check them out yourselves.

Day-timers/planners

What’s CUTE and FUNCTIONAL? Proudly Presenting the 2021 FINDING THEM HOMES Daytimer! With month and week views it’s the perfect way to keep you organized and with sooooo many cute smooshy faces!

Contactless Pickup Locations

Shipping

Shipping is also available within Ontario! Due to Covid we are asking for orders to be paid for by e-transfer. Please send a direct message to Trista Lawless to arrange shipping (costs on the poster, above) or pick up at the location most convenient to you. As always, thank you all for your support.❤️

Support Team

Do you know how many awesome people and businesses support the work that Finding Them Homes does? Well, to be honest, we’ve never tried to count them because there are SO many! And without them, hundreds of dogs wouldn’t be rescued from hunger and cold (3,203 to the end of September 2020 including 329 in 2020).

Support comes in many forms. Among them are the beautiful FTH calendars and daytimers (aka day planners). Our talented designers use photos of adopted dogs, made by our equally talented photographers, to design these useful keepsakes. FTH is able to use all the proceeds from the sale of calendars and daytimers to pay for transporting rescued dogs to Barrie, find foster homes for them, get them the vet care they need, and finally, find them a forever home. And that’s because we have business partners that cover the cost of producing and printing the calendars and daytimers by way of sponsorship.

You can also support the work FTH does by patronizing our business partners when they offer a product or service you need. Each month during 2020 we will feature one or more of our partners.

October’s Featured Partner

For October, we are featuring KM Repairs. “By providing good, old-fashioned customer service over the years, many hundreds of area residents have come to depend on owner Ken Matheson, and to rely on the technical expertise of his friendly staff, to keep their family vehicles in peak running condition. You too can entrust all of your vehicle’s service and repair needs to the team of automotive professionals at K.M. Repairs. Call (705) 458-2266 today and find out what good customer service is all about!” You can also check out their website.

How Can You Help?

You can support the dogs and puppies at FTH by:

  • purchasing day-timers or participating in any or all of their other fundraising events.
  • hiring the services of FTH’s business partners if you are local to the areas indicated above.
  • making the commitment to adopt a dog or puppy! These are the sweet faces currently available for adoption. FTH contact information is on the Facebook page.

Imperial Moths and Caterpillars

Recently I told you about our experience with gypsy moths. After that batch of destructive caterpillars made their presence known on our cottage lot, we discovered another caterpillar, this one quite striking.

It was huge, over three inches in length and one half an inch in diameter. It was bright green in colour, with white spots and bristles. Google claims this caterpillar belongs to the Imperial Moth, and Wikipedia claims it is not found much further north than the New England states. That explains why we have never seen one before. I guess this guy wandered a little too far north.

I have been teaching my grandchildren the wonders of nature. I have no doubt my three year old grandson would love this colourful caterpillar; my granddaughters not so much. It has been much more difficult to convince them that (some) bugs are beautiful and beneficial.

We will keep our eyes out for the Imperial Moth this caterpillar will morph into next spring. It should be easy to spot as they can reach five and a half inches in size!

Union Bosses out of Control

Unions came into existence years ago to protect employees from unfair and unsafe work environments and practices. Over the years unions have become stronger, louder and ultra wealthy, at the expense of taxpayers, including the employees they are supposed to protect. Today union bosses control everything including wages, working conditions and even how their employees vote in elections.

How is it that unions are permitted to dictate how their employees vote in a democratic society where freedom of thought is cherished? Have you noticed how unions spend lots of money on advertisements during election campaigns? They have taken the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” practice to a whole new (unacceptable) level. Blatantly throwing money behind the parties that will in turn give them more (of taxpayers’) money when elected is disturbing. I heard from a reliable source that workers under the umbrella of one of these (too) strong unions are strongly encouraged (AKA bullied) to vote for whomever the union is promoting.

I believe in any profession some workers are better than others. The best ones should rise to the top so the not so good ones learn that their efforts and work ethic (and not the union) drive their success. In most worlds, success means a greater wage, making higher salaries fair compensation for harder workers.

Greedy union bosses prevent this practice of fairness since unions thrive on their stance that all workers are treated equally, good and bad. Their demand for more money only increases their coffers, making these unions stronger and the union bosses wealthier.

This cycle of corruption applies to most unions, including the teachers unions currently embroiled in a battle with the Ontario government. Taxpayers, parents, students and even the teachers themselves, are being held hostage because union demands for more money are not being met.

Teachers everywhere deserve respect for the job they do. Teaching children is a daunting responsibility and many (not all) teachers take this responsibility to heart, doing a wonderful job. However, the unions and the union bosses most teachers contribute to are out of control. They certainly do not appear to have the best interest of the children in mind.

Years ago, when my youngest son was perusing university degrees, thinking about his future, I thought he would make an excellent primary school teacher. I was discussing this idea with my sister that lives in the USA; she could not believe I would suggest a career in teaching. She went on to explain how overworked and underpaid the teachers are in the USA.

I am not saying that teachers here in Ontario, Canada are not hardworking, but I do believe they are well paid and respected. I also wonder how many of the dedicated teachers feel bullied into supporting their unions. I have three sons that are now past their school years and onto careers. Within their years of school I met many wonderful teachers and some not so wonderful. My eldest grandchild is currently in grade one with her siblings and cousins to follow within the next few years. I hope they are fortunate enough to be taught by men and women passionate about and committed to teaching without getting punished by the vicious cycle the unions create.

Although lots of money should never be considered to be the most important feature of success, in the competitive world we live in more money is, unfortunately, the ultimate goal. Unreasonable demands for more, at the expense of vulnerable children and their parents is just wrong.

Burning bush ablaze with colour

The colourful foliage this time of year is hard to beat, one of the reasons fall is the favourite season for many.  The burning bush in my neighbour’s garden is absolutely gorgeous this year.

burning bush
burning bush

Temperature, moisture levels and the amount of sunlight dictate just how colourful the foliage becomes.  Apparently the vivid colours on the deciduous trees and my neighbour’s burning bush can be attributed to the wet growing season we had as well as the cool nights and warm days this fall.  The scientific explanation involves fancy words like:

  • xanthophyll (yellow pigment)
  • carotenoids (orange pigment)
  • anthocyanins (red and purple pigment formed by sugar trapped in the leaves)
  • chlorophyll (green colour)
  • abscission layer (when nights get cooler, this layer forms blocking chlorophyll from entering the leaves, so other colours are visible)

Also (still) looking good are some of the containers I planted this season.  We have had a few frosty nights, but nothing severe enough to slow these beauties down:

As long as this nice weather continues I just may get all my gardens put to bed this week!

Morel mushrooms, our consolation prize

One good thing about our cool, wet spring weather is the bumper crop of morel mushrooms we have been harvesting at our cottage. This is the first year we have seen them, in fact I was not sure what kind of mushrooms they were and whether or not they are edible. So, I sent an SOS (and picture) to the “all things nature related” expert, my cousin John in Missouri. Whatever would we do without our handy cell phones?

morel mushroom
edible or poisonous?
morel mushrooms
delicious or poisonous?

He sent me this link so I could read up on these delicious discoveries before we sauteed them up in butter for dinner. We did wait until we were in the (relative) safety of our home to try them as the cottage is a bit far from any hospital. I am happy (and alive) to report cousin John was right, morel mushrooms are quite yummy. Lots of work though, to clean them up, as their brain-like crevices hold lots of dirt.

morel mushrooms
first harvest of morel mushrooms

As the (miserable) cool, wet weather continued into June, we are taking some consolation in the fact we have had three weekly harvests of these morel mushrooms now, each collection larger than the last. At first they were hard to find; now we know what to look for and where to find these beauties. And also to check that their stems are hollow, an important characteristic that distinguishes them from their more sinister cousins.

morel mushrooms
third harvest

This week has been much warmer, finally some summer weather, so that may be the end of our mushroom harvesting for this year.

Gardening? Today? Who would have thunk it!

This might not seem too outrageous in your part of the world, but in mine gardening today is definitely pushing the season. After all, we still have lots of snow and today is the first day our temperature has risen above the freezing mark.

So, for those of you also lamenting the late arrival of spring here in Ontario, I will give you the exciting details of what gardening chores I was actually able to accomplish today. The rest of you can yawn in boredom as you mutter “been there, done that already.”

Every time I pull in my driveway these days, I am reminded of how sick I am of seeing the brown and crispy fall/winter arrangements that looked so green and lush last fall and for most of the winter…

Today the sun is shining and the temperature above freezing so I pulled out my garden gloves and secateurs…

gardening today
gardening essentials

First I tackled the evergreen arrangements that are an eyesore, at least I attempted to. Even though the temperature is warm today, the soil these branches are sitting in is still frozen in one of the containers. (One gets full sun all day, the other only a portion of the day) What is left of the one is just the blue spruce branches that are still a beautiful bluey green color. I know, they look kind of lonely without anything else to complement them, so I will have to find something to add, even if the plants are fake. The other container will have to wait until the soil thaws sufficiently enough to remove the branches and ornaments.

By the way, the ornaments (red dogwood branches, pinecones on spikes, etc) spend the summer in my gardening tool organizer, AKA a plastic shoe storage unit, that hangs on a wall in my garage…

gardening today
gardening tool AKA shoe storage

Another thing I tackled in my brief gardening stint today is the ornamental grasses I could reach. I like to leave them over the winter so the fronds can blow in the wind, but by this time of the year they are either broken (from the weight of the snow) or the seed heads have blown off. Before they send up new growth, and as soon as you can access them, cut them back to a few inches from the ground.

I have several in my back yard, but they are still buried under at least two feet of snow, so will have to wait for their trim. I do however, have one large clump beside my lamp post in my front garden that is accessible and several as experiments in pots on my front veranda.

As this veranda is always bathed in full sun and protected from the wind, I can get away with less hardy plants there. This year I tried leaving the ornamental grasses I planted in pots last summer on the veranda over the winter. Each time it snowed, (quite often this winter) I covered them with snow for some moisture.

The general rule of thumb for perennials in containers is that you have to (should) use plants that are hardy to two zones below your gardening zone. It appears I was successful in my experiment though as I see some green inside the trimmed shoots. That’s a sign they did not die, exciting news to me.

Earlier this week I helped a friend stage her house. She wanted fresh, live pussy willows and spring blossoms for her front porch, but as the temperature was still close to -20C overnight, we settled for plastic. Plastic flowers have come a long way; not the plastic flowers your grandma used to have!

gardening today
spring blooms

Perhaps I will go back to the dollar store and pick out some plastic flowers for my front containers.

Buy Local, Support Small Business

As a small business owner myself, I am all for supporting and promoting local entrepreneurs. When you buy local, from growers, artisans or crafters alike, you are investing into the economy of your own community. That’s healthier on so many levels.

TruLOCAL is such a business delivering their local meat products anywhere in Ontario. Your chosen products arrive frozen in airtight packages, packed with dry ice to keep the contents cold for many hours. That means it can sit on your step until you get home. You also receive an email notification of when it will arrive.

I have received several shipments now and must say, I love the products and the ease of ordering online. You can easily change the frequency and size of your order as well as the products in each order. There are so many items to choose from. Each order is based on a point system, you simply fill your order until your “box” is full. For example, with BBQ season coming soon (I hope) I will be ordering more steaks and fewer roasts.

The best part? Their meat products come from locally raised, free run and grass-fed animals, that are free of hormones and antibiotics. In this era of heightened awareness, these qualities cannot be ignored. Sustainable foods are popular today, cows raised in pastures instead of feedlots turn out healthier, tastier meat with more vitamins and minerals.

If I have convinced you to buy local with TruLOCAL, use my referral code of
TRULOCAL2097 to earn us both free products!

Include vines in your gardens for vertical drama

Vines make wonderful additions to gardens, providing vertical drama to otherwise horizontal landscapes.  They can be used to cover unsightly fences, utility boxes or pipes, storage areas and more.  They make great privacy screens too, shielding your yard from neighbours’ views.  There are many things to consider when choosing a vine for any of these functions…

  • size matters: consider the coverage you need.  Some vines cover a small space, others need lots of room to sprawl
  • invasive:  some vines can be invasive and very hard to remove from places you don’t want them to grow
  • damage:  some vines can cause incredible damage, destroying eavestroughing, fences and even brick!
  • color: some vines change colour in the fall, an added bonus to landscapes.  Others are a bright, chartreuse green contrasting with other green plants in your yard.  Some have flowers, others are grown just for the foliage.
  • pruning/cutting back: some vines require more maintenance than others.  Many die back to the ground when frost hits them making cleanup easy.  Some have to severely cut back in the spring to prevent them from taking over your yard.
  • annual or perennial:  the vines I use are perennial meaning they come back each year on their own.  Included in the perennial category are clematis, ivy, golden hops, hydrangea, bittersweet, honeysuckle and silver lace. There are also many annual varieties available such as morning glories, sweet peas, black-eyed susans and more.
  • Here are a few I have in my gardens…

Choose a few vines to add vertical drama to your landscaping, just do your homework first so you will be pleased with the result.  As always, if you have any questions, please contact me, I would be happy to research the perfect vine for your garden.

Why do leaves change colour in the fall?

Have you ever wondered why leaves change colour in the fall?  This chemistry lesson will teach you all about photosynthesis and chlorophyll.  In the spring of the year new leaves emerge on the trees and plants as a bright green colour….

This bright green colour is due to the large amount of chlorophyll present in the leaves.  Chlorophyll is produced through  photosynthesis which needs water, sunlight and carbon dioxide to happen.  In the spring all of these requirements are available; the melted snow and rain provide the water and the sun is at an advantageous angle in the sky.

In the fall or autumn however, the sun is at a much lower angle with fewer daylight hours.  The soil  around the base of the trees contains much less moisture in the fall than the spring. Without adequate sunlight and water, photosynthesis shuts down, no chlorophyll is produced, and the leaves on the trees turn red, yellow, orange and brown…

That is your chemistry lesson on why the leaves change colours!  These colours on the trees are very pretty to look at, especially here in Canada and the northern USA where the roadsides are cloaked in them.  Get out and enjoy the colours of fall today!