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Summer 2006 in Ontario

In addition to the many items of writing on the Self-Sovereign Individual Project that occupied most of Paul and Kitty Antonik Wafer's time after completeing the major cottage renovations in the late Spring and early Summer of 2006, we got in a number of other planned and unplanned activities.

Crow-size woodpeckers made the chips fly White neck stripes and prominent red crest - Pileated Woodpeckers

We had never seen this bird before - obviously a woodpecker of some kind noting how the 2 of them did a major bark removal job on the old log. So we did a bit of research in our bird books and then online after our viewing was done. This is a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, crow-size with conspicuous white neck stripes and wing linings and prominent red crests. They live in dense forests and border areas. According to our Audubon Field Guide, this bird is adept at keeping out of sight and "obtaining a close view of one usually requires careful stalking." Well, Kitty just happened to be working at the kitchen sink and spied these two arrive and start the wood chips flying as they pecked away. Unfortunately only 2 of the 5 photos taken are much good, the rest being blurred from a combination of bird movement and lack of tripod for the distance shot. The birds spent about 7 minutes on this downed log before one of them flew off to the neighboring property; the partner took off shortly afterwards and the two eventually disappeared. We have never seen any of these woodpeckers since then.

A storm related power outage began the evening of August 2, the day before these photos were taken (and night the photos were snapped of the pileated woodpeckers above). We were able to determine from listening to the car radio - after awakening to still no power on August 3rd - that the damage was widespread in the eastern portion of southern Ontario, some of it severe with estimates of days before electricity would be restored in some areas. We figured on the worst and kept all opening of the refrigerator and freezer to a minimum. Cooking outdoors was possible with all the wood - and because no rain fell. (For description of the multiple tornados.)

Paul cooks our main meal on 5/04 from frozen food starting to thaw Stew of once frozen shrimp and vegetables plus regrigerated tomato sauce The ice cream we'd bought was getting soupy and had to be eaten Paul readies the cooking fire on Aug 5, 3rd full day w/o electricity Kitty makes scrambled eggs on 3rd morning with no electricity

Our electric power was reestablished late in the afternoon Saturday August 5. Plenty of people in the surrounding areas went longer. We saw lots of downed tree damage during our drives soon after our power was restored, but we still wonder about the quality of the electric transmission networking in this and other rural areas of Ontario. The photos of Combermere (~35 miles east/northeast of us) on this blog are typical of the damage reported where the multiple tornados occurred in southeast Ontario. (Note that "hydro" in the photos refers to hydroelectric - the source of still much of the electric power in Ontario.)

Paul obviously pleased with the muffinsAnd the muffins tasted great with a bit of gooseberry jamIt's not unusual in this area of Ontario in mid-August to have sufficiently cool enough temperatures to bring out the baking spirit. Paul does much of the mixing (hand sifting via the sieve) for our Super Nutritious Muffins and takes great pleasure in the outcome, especially when we've had a new version.

On August 24th we set out on a hike, part of it through a portion of the large wooded area of Harcourt Park in which Kitty had never and Paul hadn't been for many years. We were only a few minutes off the main road, down which we'd walked from our cottage, when we came across this curious sight. Here was a large tree that had been down for many years - sufficient for many reasonably sized trees to have grown out of it. Kitty was fascinated - never having spent much time exploring old forests, where this is not terribly uncommon. We spent over 20 minutes exploring and examining the tree.

Base of the fallen tree sprouts 3 well grown trees The roots of the largest of the sprouter trees Paul provides scale for mass of visible roots of sprouter treesDiameter of old fallen tree measures just over 3 feetCreature of the forestDowned tree at the far end Paul climbed the root end before we moved on

We then proceeded on to the east end of Lost Lake, which we had visited twice before, the first several years ago when Paul's dog Moose was still alive.

Paul climbed the root end before we moved on Downed tree at the far end Paul climbed the root end before we moved on

The lake drains ??ward into ??. The remnants of a beaver dam are seen here, but how old is it? There are no cottages on this lake and it's probably only visited by those like us who like to hike - rather than ride their ATVs.

Downed tree at the far end

We crossed over the old dam - jumping the open spaces and keeping our feet dry - Paul climbed the root end before we moved onand then headed northward from the lake edge.

Paul climbed the root end before we moved onBack in the woods, Paul waited for Kitty to get her fill of trying to get peeks at the receding lake view. Paul climbed the root end before we moved onThen he was on the listen for grouse, stopping periodically to let them relax and begin to chatter. We were treated to a few sightings, but none with Kitty camera-prepared for the rush and flight of the birds.

Paul climbed the root end before we moved on

Our exit from the woods was near a path intersection where we found ripe early blackberries - a tasty treat.

Our plans for the day were to end our hike with a stop at the large stands of blackberry bushes in various places off the main road to see how many we could harvest here at the beginning of the season. We were not disappointed.

Paul finds blackberries low downPlenty of berries in the middleAnd more blackberries to the right

Paul - and Kitty too when she wasn't snapping pictures - picked a good amount of blackberries from this major stand of bushes.

Single layer of washed & drained berries for freezingFrozen berries go into sealable container for storage in freezer

Since there were more berries than we thought we would be able to eat in a few days, we decided to freeze them - easily done after washing and draining. The technique is to place the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet into the freezer for a couple hours and then into a sealed plastic container. As the season progressed, we froze berries regularly and had at one time 8 containers this size filled with blackberries allowing us to enjoy them after the season was over.


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